Monthly Archives: June 2015

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - Hands - Teeth

3 products I’m keeping on my bathroom sink

June 30, 2015

If you look at my bathroom sink area, it’s pretty much an assembly line of everything I’m immediately testing before bed and in the shower. If it doesn’t work, it’s quickly removed and replaced. Since it’s prime real estate for my product testing, it’s really the best place to check out what I’m loving. Currently:

Essenza soap, Neutrogena's newest cleansing oil, and Philips Sonicare DiamondClean

Essenza soap, Neutrogena’s newest cleansing oil, and Philips Sonicare DiamondClean


1) Essenza Hand Soaps. On the quest to upgrade the small details in a equally small NY apartment, I added Essenza soaps to our bathroom. Well, kinda — although they look fancy with their saturated colors of blues and reds you can find them at the drugstore for less than $4. They are full of pure essential oils, shea butter, aloe, and mild cleansers. The Pomegranate Acai and South Pacific Water (pictured here) smells so good, even our guests have commented on it.

2) Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil. This hasn’t technically hit stores yet (it rolls out in July), but since I got an advance sample, I’ve been using it every day and night. I’ve tried cleansing oils before, sadly not with the best experience. The ones I’ve used were too heavy and actually felt like it was exacerbating some of my skin issues. So I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one. I’ve been using it for the past week, and I’m so pleasantly surprised on how much I really love it. I apply it to dry skin first, and massage it through and then use water to wipe it off. When you add water, it sort of emulsifies to a milky consistency and rinses off dirt and makeup. I know it seems counterintuitive to use oils if your face is oily (mine is combo), but the oil attracts oil, and I feel like this has been softening my skin without making it feel dry and tight afterwards. Double pluses for not irritating my eyes, AND smelling something like peaches. Note: it’s still a gentle oil, so all this said about how I love it for everyday, it’s not super heavy duty. So if it’s one of those nights you went OD on makeup, try double cleansing (i.e. use this oil first just to get  the superficial dirt off, and then follow up with your go-to face wash)

3) Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Tooth Brush. Update on my dental health: I just went in for a cleaning and zero cavities *happy dance*. THIS mechanical toothbrush has been the best one I’ve used in years. The one I had previously was sleek looking (and expensive) but was so rough on my teeth/gums. This one has five cleaning modes (including Gum Care, Polish, and White) that lets you customize it to your liking. And its beyond its years as far as features. Like a glass charging station (meaning you literally have to put it in a glass near its plugged charger instead of hooking the charger up to it directly) and a travel case that you can hook a USB up to charge the brush. Yes, your laptop can charge my toothbrush. Besides all that fancy stuff, it removes 5x more plaque than a regular toothbrush.

What’s made it to your sink lately?

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Shy
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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Recipes - Vegan - Vegetarian

Cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce

June 23, 2015

Ok so the last time I made cauliflower, it sounded a lot more promising than it actually turned out (see the maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower). The flavor was a little weak. But this is legitimately delicious. I made some tweaks to the original recipe that I’ll note below. I guess what I’m learning is whereas before I used to be so by-the-book when it comes to trying something new, now I don’t freak out if I’m missing an ingredient. I’m sure all real chefs know this already, but there’s usually a way around it…like, for example, if you don’t have bread crumbs but DO have crushed pumpkin seeds from the recipe you did the day before. Just think about making it your own :).

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Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu (I used feta instead since I didn’t have tofu at home)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used crushed pumpkin seeds instead because I didn’t have breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

To roast the red pepper, I put it in a tray drizzled with olive oil in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning it over once each side browns. Remove and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu (or feta cheese in my case) and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs (or pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

It ends up as a really creamy, decadent dish that can be a meal or a side. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Inspired by Daphne Brogdon’s recipe on the Food Network.


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Shy
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Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Not really Jennifer Aniston’s Breakfast Smoothie

June 22, 2015

This was inspired by the smoothie that everyone was going loco over because it’s Jennifer Aniston’s breakfast go-to. And you know Jennifer Aniston is probably doing a lot of things right because:

Ramadan approps?

Anyway, the one I made for myself is not reallyyy the same thing because she likes all sorts of chocolate cocoa powder and I just…don’t. That, coupled with the fact that she uses maca powder and I couldn’t find any at Trader Joe’s. If you’ve ever been to Trader Joe’s in NYC, you know you pretty much give up on doing anything else after because by the time you’re out of there you felt like you just came back from battle. So, even though I still plan on getting maca powder from a health food store at some point, I just didn’t have some on me in time to make this breakfast smoothie. [Update: I just bought some at the health food store — it ain’t cheap at $23 for a 8 oz bag. But here’s hoping the health benefits are worth it].

But, it still has a lot of good stuffs: protein, omega 3s, antioxidants. And PS, I’ve been making all my smoothies in a new Nutri Ninja Blender I started using — it’s really powerful and comes with different sized pitchers so I can easily make smaller portions on the go too. Will write more about it in my next post!

Jennifer Aniston's smoothie

Jennifer Aniston’s smoothie


INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp Carrington Farms flax chia blend
1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries
8 cherries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
10-15 sprouted almonds (just let raw almonds soak overnight for this!)
optional: honey
Jennifer Aniston smoothie 2 Jennifer Aniston smoothie 3
This much gives you a full tall glass that really fills you up. Try it and let me know what you think. Or you know, do the real Jennifer Aniston smoothie because she’s arguably winning at life.


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes - Vegetarian

Side dish: Seared lima beans with roasted pumpkin seeds

June 21, 2015

Anyone else watch the cooking channel while they’re on the treadmill? No? Well you should, because A) it makes an hour fly, and B) you will likely come across a new dish you’d want to try, like I did when I saw one from Damaris Phillips. She had an episode based on a recent visit to Mexico and she came back to make a three-course meal inspired by her trip. The appetizer she made looked just too good not to try: seared lima beans with roasted pumpkin seeds. I feel like I’ve been OD’ing on my favorite ingredients (mushrooms, avocados, quinoa, and that variety), so thought it would be nice to try something new. Never thought I’d crave lima beans so hard. It has a nice, nutty flavor and makes a good, light veggie side dish for a meal.

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Seared Lima Beans with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
[Makes 4 servings]
Ingredients

1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
3 to 4 tablespoons coconut oil
16 ounces frozen large lima beans, thawed
5 small green onions, greens parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread out the pepitas on a baking sheet; transfer to the oven and roast until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool to room temperature, then grind the pepitas in a food processor to a coarse-milled consistency.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and heat until very hot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lima beans and sear on one side until light golden brown, 3 minutes. Add the green onions, parsley, roasted pepitas and the lemon zest. Stir, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and season with salt to taste.

Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired tanginess is reached.


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Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes

Recipe: Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Burritos

June 20, 2015

As promised, here’s an addendum to the last post: using that smoky avocado quinoa pilaf and making it a breakfast burrito:

Avocado burritos


Ingredients:
4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of the cooked smoky quinoa pilaf mixture
4 eggs
1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

1) In a large skillet, warm the tortillas and add grated cheese. Set aside.
2) In a separate skillet, add smokey quinoa pilaf mixture from this recipe.
3) Crack eggs into a pan and stir with a flat bottomed wooden spatula until they are cooked through and incorporated into the quinoa mixture (I also cooked the eggs separately since I had already prepped the quinoa)
4) Add quinoa mixture and cubed avocados to tortillas. Roll up like a burrito.

430 calories, 22 grams of fat (0 trans fat, 9 g sat fat); 39g of carbs; 10 g of dietary fiber; 18 g of protein; 2 g of sugar.


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Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Vegetarian

Recipe: Smoky avocado quinoa breakfast bowl

June 19, 2015

I was recently invited to the International Culinary Center to learn more about the health benefits of Hass avocados and recipes using them from Julia Nordgren, who’s a physician, trained chef, wife and mother of two (this is the part where I momentarily feel like I’ve done nothing in my life).

At the International Culinary Center


Dr. Nordgren


Tea and an avocado/dark chocolate smoothie for breakfast


It was easy to see her passion for food and nutrition as she demonstrated some easy meals. She taught us about the big misconception of fats (and aversion of it) when we diet. Healthy fats, like the ones you find in avocado, are important to have in your diet because it helps you absorb vitamins, help you stay satiated, keep your skin healthy, etc (the fats that you want to avoid, she added, are saturated fats like what you find in sugary, processed foods).

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Nutrition lesson aside, she prepared a delicious Smoky Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. She emphasized trying to squeeze in as much fruits and veggies in your meals, and this plant-packed meal has 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber.

Smoky avocado quinoa



Smoky Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

(serves 4; prep time 10 minutes; total time: 30 minutes)

Ingredients

3 tsp olive oil
½ small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp of smoked paprika
1 ½ cups quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and cubes
2 tsp lime juice
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup small white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach


Directions

1) Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft (about 3-4 minutes)

2) Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add smoked paprika. Stir and cook for 1 more minute. Add rinsed quinoa and stir to combine.

3) Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

4) Sprinkle the cubed avocado with lime juice and pinch of kosher salt. Mix gently and set aside.

5) In a separate sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add white beans and spinach. Cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through and spinach is wilted.

6) Add the quinoa pilaf, stir to combine, and then spoon into serving bowls.

7) Top each bowl with a generous spoonful of cubed avocado.

You can even put this in a wheat tortilla to make a breakfast burrito. I’ll put that addendum in the next post. For more avocado recipes, visit http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-recipes. Enjoy!


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Shy
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