Easiest DIY Ever

Coconut Body Butter… 1 ingredient and one electric hand/stand mixer.
Just use one cup of refrigerated or solid unrefined coconut oil and any optional scents (like lavender, lemon, vitamin E) and just mix on high for 6-8 min, until fluffy.
Store in glass jar with a lid and you have yourself a yummy, naturally fantastic body butter!

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Dashi On My Mind

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Lately I’ve had a bit of time on my hands. What have I been up to? Obsessing over “Mind of a Chef w/ David Chang” on Netflix. I just can’t get enough of the food, technique, camaraderie, and oh yes, Ramen!

Now although I am not part of the gluten free brigade, I love to incorporate substitutions for starch when I can. Insert, Shirataki Noodles. This is a tofu-based noodle that is a wonderful swap for anyone looking to avoid the dreaded “food coma” that follows a big bowl of pasta.

This soup is a nutritional powerhouse. Full of vitamins and antioxidants, this dish will also leave you satisfied. Here is my gluten-free, vegetarian take on David Chang’s Ramen Noodle Soup:

Shirataki Ramen w/ Mushroom Dashi: (serves 2)

1 pkg Tofu Shirataki noodles (angel or fettucine)

1 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms

2 cups shredded kale

1 stalk of green onion

2 daikon radishes

2 tbl red miso paste (white or yellow also works)

2 tbl liquid aminos (a GF soy sauce substitute)

2 tbl rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbl toasted sesame oil

1 cup roasted shredded seaweed

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Directions:

Mushroom Dashi

Fill a saucepan with 4 cups water. Soak dried mushrooms and bring to a rolling boil. Add sesame oil, liquid aminos, and rice wine vinegar. Once mushrooms are reconstituted, break out the hand blender and pulse until smooth. Add more amino and/or vinegar for stronger flavor. Continue to reduce liquid on med-lo.

Ramen and Vegetables

Add sliced daikon and green onion, shredded seaweed and kale to dashi. Follow directions on bag of shirataki noodles. Add noodles to broth and let them soak for 5 min. before serving. Serve it piping hot and use chopsticks for noodles if you’re bold! Enjoy!

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Jamaican Me Hungry!

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Have you ever tried Jamaican Fare before? I cannot recall having the opportunity before but was eager to be on the list of the “haves” instead of “have not’s”. In Rolando, there is a small gem called “Jamaican Flavor”. This place offers up regional dishes like Jamaican Curry, Jerk Chicken, and Fried Plantains. There is also a separate menu for the strictly vegetarian options. I was told that the Veggie Wrap is the most popular (and a beast!), along with their Loaded Jerk Fries (topped with Chicken, Pico de Gallo, and Spicy Jamaican Hot Sauce).

The Loaded Jerk Fries and Jamaican Curry were my absolute favorite. I could’ve eaten those all day. The only disappointment was the Jerk Chicken. It was rubbery and fatty. A few more minutes on the hot grill just to create a crust on the chicken would’ve done it wonders.

Jamaican Flavor also makes smoothies. We ordered the “Green Machine” (whatever its called, it’s just green deliciousness) and it was fabulous. With ingredients like Pineapple, Spinach, Apple, and Pear (I think); how could you not feel instantly better about yourself?

All in all, I really like this place and am looking forward to trying more on their menu and especially those loaded fries.

Shrimp+Lemonade+Thai Chilies= Summer Heaven

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Don’t worry… the above is not the new hot cocktail of the summer. It is, however, my latest creation in the kitchen. Although I love perusing cookbooks and eating with my eyes, I’m not always fond of following recipes to a “T”. This dish for me, epitomizes summer as it hits you with Thai heat and cools off with sweet mango and tart lime… ah. And so simple you could easily make this if ever deserted on Koh Mun Nork Island.

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To me, shrimp are the “blank canvas” of the shellfish world, perfect for experimenting. I had Thai Chilies from my last culinary adventure in L.A., and some Mango Lemonade in the fridge. Literally, five ingredients (besides the usual suspects S&P) later… dinner is served.

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Thai Shrimp w/ Mango Lemonade & Lime Glaze (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

5- Thai Chilies (add more if you’re “spicy” like that)

1 lb Key West or Mexican White Shrimp (shell and devein)

3/4 cup of Mango Lemonade (or any flavor you wish)

2 cloves Garlic (chopped)

1 Lime (juiced) (Optional: chopped Veggies of choice, I used Swiss Chard, Peas,+ Green Beans)

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Directions:

Put a splash of Olive Oil or pat of Butter in medium saucepan and turn onto medium heat. Once warm, place Thai chilies and chopped Garlic into pan. Cook until Garlic turns golden (1 min).

Toss in Shrimp for a quick sear (1-2 min), then add Lemonade (larger shrimp will take an extra 2 min). Add veggies to pan at this point . Hit it with Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer another 3 min. while sauce reduces. And unless you have taste buds of steel, remove the Thai chilies before plating. Finish with a squeeze of Lime and serve over Rice or Rice Noodles.

Hash House a NO-GO???

I have delved into the oh-so-famous “Sage Fried Chicken and Waffle Tower” enough times to say, “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!” But sadly for me, today was not one of those days.

My fiancĂ© Paul had wanted to go to Hash House for quite some time, so today we did. Being that it was a Tuesday, no epic-line in sight. Our excitement and anticipation building. After talking up Hash House for so long, I’m sure Paul had high expectations for this gargantuan feast. I let him decide what dish to share (of course I mentioned the “Tower”) and in an attempt to be more health-conscious, we went for the Farm Scramble with Bacon, Spinach, and Aged Cheddar (hmm).

As we watched a few of these glorious Tower’s ‘O Chicken passing by, our dish finally arrived. Now, you have to understand the magnitude of these dishes: they are served on platters you would serve your Thanksgiving turkey. The scramble was sloppy and not “larger than life”, almost hidden by the wonky chunks of potatoes and hunk of watermelon. The bacon was flaccid, while the egg and potato were completely under seasoned. Their “crispy potatoes” were not. The lack of seasoning was a bit shocking.

The only redeeming quality about this hot mess was the Biscuit and House-made Strawberry Preserves. And their fair-trade coffee.

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