A New Dawn; A New Breakfast

Have no fear; things have been delicious and good in my life. Unfortunately, it has all been very chaotic and this has forced me to step away from the stove. Long days and tired nights have led me to fall in love with leftovers. I used to look down on them, but over the last few weeks they’ve grown to become my friends.

Our relationship with food is ever changing. Right now I simply don’t have the time for flair-tastic meals, but that doesn’t mean I’ve succumbed to take out and junk food. I’ve found new, fast, and fulfilling ways to keep my cooking hand strong while maintaining some semblance of sanity. I look forward to the less hectic days once this semester is over when I can find time to get back to my lackadaisical and ingredient heavy kitchen roots, but I’ve found enjoyment in this culinary break.

In the meantime, here is a savory dish I made for breakfast, which is outside the ordinary. I love eggs. I can easily go through a carton in a week. I understand the cholesterol in eggs isn’t necessarily bad, but something tells me the amount I eat is in the higher percentage and teetering on the edge of detrimental. Alas, I had no eggs left this morning, so instead of running to City Market for an egg and tomato breakfast sandwich, I sauntered over to the fruit bowl to try out a new recipe I found last night. It encompasses my love of bananas and avocados, and my sweet tooth gets to join in on the action. No one likes playing third wheel *wink/wink*

I “adapted” the amounts of cream and sugar for the recipe, due to the fact that I was borrowing the neighbor’s cream and I wanted to see if I could get that sweet taste while still drawing back on the amount of sugar. My “adaption” was most delicious and won’t leave you feeling like you’ve been cheated. Plus, it allows the flavor of the whole foods to shine through.

 

My instagram account is alive and well! Follow me at: jocellyn88

Avocado-Banana Salad (serves 2)

Ingredients
1 avocado, diced
1 banana, diced
1 tbsp ½ tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp ½ tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp 2 tbsp cream (I used half and half)

Instructions
1. Add diced avocado and banana to a bowl.
2. Measure lime juice, sugar and cream into the bowl.
3. Mix ingredients together gently.
4. Serve immediately.

Few things in life are better than cutting into an avocado to find  perfectly ripened, rich and (healthy) fatty perfection.

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

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You can have your decadence and chia seeds too!

My first foray into the world of chia seed pudding was a touch to ambitious, like attempting a swan dive when all I had done was a splash inducing cannon ball. Despite my seemingly crunchy food habits, I had not yet acclimated my taste buds to the slightly nutty essence of chia seeds, nor their inherent sliminess; the raspberry chocolate pudding was a throw away disaster. For months the package of chia seeds sat untouched, until I got the courage to try them again by adding them to green smoothies.  Soon I was finding excuses to add a pinch here and there, when last week I decided it was time to try out the pudding again. You know, get back on the horse. It needed to be the healthy, but still naughty tasting, a pudding that felt like a decadent dessert, but could also be eaten in the morning, for it’s never too early for sweets.

First I needed a good base: something thick and substantial. I set about making chia gel which consists of 1/3 a cup of chia seeds and 2 cups of water. Chia seeds like liquid. Once submerged the seeds bulk up and slowly start excreting a gel. If you are on the fly you can make chia gel in 15 minutes, but it’s best to let it sit for at least two hours. The cool thing about chia gel is that you can keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks—no rush to use it! It also starts to lose the nutty flavor (which is great for me) and starts to smell slightly sweet.

After I had my gelatinous base, I started to think of all the great things that go into a pudding. There is the richness, but also the creaminess. A duh: bananas and peanut butter. My secretly healthy, but delicious tasting pudding baby was conceived.

PB & Banana Chia Pudding (2 hearty batches)

½ cup of Chia Gel

2 Tbs of Peanut Butter

1 Sliced Banana

1 Small Capful of Vanilla Extract

A Couple Dashes of Cinnamon

Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Checking every so often on the banana slices, blend until you’ve reached a smooth consistency. Let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour to allow the flavors to incorporate and settle.

Filled with healthy fats (peanut butter), fiber and potassium (banana), and omegas (chia seeds), this treat is also the gift that keeps on giving. Much like flax seeds, chia seeds encourage (no, practically enforce) you to drink water, which in turn keeps you even more dehydrated and less bloated. I finished up the pudding before I went to work and easily drank a 32 ounce bottle of water. Honestly, how could it get any better?

Peel Away ❤ Jocellyn

Morning Cookin’

I’m a morning person, meaning the daylight doesn’t send me flying back under my sheets as if I were Nosferatu (except when I’m royally hung over, in which case a total eclipse would be most appreciated.) However, I like to really blend into my mornings. I hate being rushed. It’s not that I’m the high maintenance type of girl that needs hours to apply layers of makeup—mascara, maybe, and I’m out the door—or finagle her hair into a fun do—clearly, I don’t have a lot to work with—but I like to spend my mornings mentally preparing myself for the day, which means ample time for oil pulling, a shower that isn’t hurried, time to make 3 outfit changes incase I’m feeling a little chaotic, and moments to listen to a few dubstep beats that are owning my wobbly soul at the time.

An original player in the Dubstep genre 🙂

Can I have her legs, please?

 

Sometimes inspiration poor planning means I have to get extra beauty sleep in order to wake up and concoct some meal. Plus, I totally dig the morning sunlight for photos. Here is a lunch/dinner I found that will hold me over for 4 meals! It all starts with salmon. During my pesco days I adored this pink fish. I just couldn’t get enough of it. And then I was kind of over it after trying haddock that wasn’t breaded, battered, and fried into oblivion. Salmon took a back seat. I find salmon to be a finicky fish to cook, despite protests that it’s so easy to work with. Mind you it isn’t difficult, per say, but if you walk away for a hot second to long you’ll come back to a pink slab of tough-mess. Edible, but not savory. I’ve charred more than my fair share of salmon, and I admit it’s still a fish I’m working on. Questionable-ness aside, this is hands down the most delicious salmon meal I’ve ever had.  The glaze was perfect: not too sticky and not too sweet. Unlike the partners on Dancing With the Stars, the glaze and salmon meld together, taking care to work in harmony and not outshine the other one.

Fiscal Flash:  don’t be financially intimidated by this meal. I’ll be honest and say I don’t have the money to buy wild Alaskan salmon which is well managed, full of all the good stuff, and yada, yada, yada. If you are eating salmon on a regular basis then farmed might not be the way to go, but for the occasional meal a little bit of farmed salmon is not going to kill you, just like the occasional Big Mac won’t send a healthy person into cardiac arrest. It may seem tempting and easy to buy frozen filets, which I’ve done before, but don’t be afraid  to venture on over to the fish counter. Look for salmon per pound. Those perfect portion filets might seem the good way to go, but I was able to get 1.20 Lb of salmon for $7.50, whereas each 6oz salmon filet would have cost me $4; you do the math per pound and per serving.  Finally, to skin or not to skin? I’m personally a huge fan of the skin. It tastes great and is absolutely gorgeous to look at, like marbling on a perfectly aged steak (which I haven’t actually seen in real life, but it looks amazing on T.V.)  If you are frying or grilling salmon keep the skin on to make flipping it easy. If you are oven baking it you can go skinless. As with all cook, it’s really up to you, but you’ll likely only find skinless on the pre-portioned selection.

To accompany the fish I used rice noodles, which are very rapidly becoming a key player in my shopping cart. For gluten-free ladies and gents these are a god send. Even better, you don’t have to stand over a hot pot making sure they don’t stick together.  Just place them in a bowl, pour boiling water on top, and let them sit for 5-8 minutes (or whatever the package says.) Drain and give them a quick rinse with cold water. They are a little bland on their own, but great covered in whatever sauce and glaze you are making.

Okay, enough of the nitty gritty. Savor these pictures and check out the recipe.

Gorgeous!

 

Noodles soaking up the sauce. I let them rest for about 20 minutes and drained the excess.

Lunch!

What happens after “the talent” is done getting pics taken.

A mix-and-match breakfast! I used the “runt” piece as a taste tester. Boy, I was soooo amped for lunch

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

 

Living Room Facelift!

Normally I’m a craft klutz. My fingers are not nimble enough for knitting. I don’ have the precision for intricate design. I eyeball levels. I stare in awe at those awesome hex bracelets that have neon string running through the holes, creating an industrial and feminine, fun look. My parents never hung my art projects on the fridge. But just like there is a yoga fairy, the mystical ball of energy that sometimes allows you to do an asana you are struggling with just to prove that you can, before letting you return to flailing, I think there must also be a craft fairy. I imagine her being an older white woman with grey hair, a 1950s housewife voice, and crisp white button up. Just when I’m thought my living room could not look more rag-tag, she blew invisible glitter over the living room, allowing me to be struck by inspiration– but only for a few brief hours!

With all these new and exciting changes going on in my life, I decided it was time to move the living room around. In case you’re new, when I signed the lease for the apartment back in January, I was still seeing Chris. Our amicable breakup occurred at the end of the year, so we decided to see how living together would still go. Being the break up initiator, I decided to be the bigger person and settle into our well sized living room. During the first few weeks I procured two dividers to block the view of my bed, lest Chris’s friends see me in a rare display of open mouth sleeping. I slowly started to realize that Chris enjoyed spending his time with his friends in his room. Without even wanting it, the living room had essentially become my domain. If this had been a high income divorce, it would be like me getting the boat, the beach house, and the limo driver.  (Dear Chris, if you stumble upon this, feel free to come sit on the boat—aka the couch—anytime you want!)

Silliness aside, the most glaring issues in my glorified room and lounge was the cheap green 2 panel shutter I had been using for a divider, which was far less charming than the 3 panel white and wood one my upstairs neighbor had given me upon his departure. The nails I had weren’t strong enough to hang it on the wall, and I didn’t have enough scarves or belts to weave through the openings. Plus, it is right in line with the door, so I wanted something good looking for guests coming in. Being a writing major and poet lover, I do, however, have large collection of books; sadly, none of them are leather bound. With a little bit of finesse and common sense physics, I was able to fit at least half of my soft cover books into the slots of the shutter. When the weight of the books was too much, I covered the unused area with random pages ripped out of a poetry book I’m not particularly fond of. Come on, is this cool or what?!

A cute way to display my earrings on the other divider

I plan on continuing my text heavy motif throughout the living room. The coffee table  we had in our last apartment that was curb side rescue I plan on upcycling along these lines. I’m also going to cover the lower half of a wall with fun chalkboard paint to write down whatever I want. Perhaps I’ll even buy a bunch of throw pillows so guests can have comfy cheekies while they stun me with their chalk drawings, because, remember, I’m certainly no Picasso. Essentially, I want to find the same solace and excitement in my living room that I have in the kitchen, and it order to do that I need to make a few minor tweaks.

What room is your favorite? Do you take the time to decorate it?

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Leisurely Lunches

Lunch has always been a meal I’ve grappled with, and since going GF and DF (gluten free and dairy free) it has only become more difficult. Sandwiches are pretty much out of the question, and even the quick slice of pizza most people can grab on rushed days would send my tummy, hands, and head into a frenzy. Lately I’ve been learning the fine art of leftovers, which are great for days when I have an internship. But on my days off when I have the whole afternoon to myself to languidly slip through the day, I like to get a little creative—I grab my camera for naughty food porn, I listen to some Netflix, and I pad around the kitchen imagining I’m cooking for my dashing, attractive husband in our fabulous beach house; wishful thinking on most accounts, but if I crane my neck, I can kinddddddd of see Lake Champlain….

Until then, I have this to work with.

I’ve been gently re-introducing food, which my taste buds and energy levels are most grateful for, and I’ve found myself craving healthy fats and protein. Some crispy corn tortillas covered in avocado mixture filled with simple spices and runny egg to top it all off and served with a side of two honey and rosemary covered drumsticks seemed like a fresh and healthy idea. Not to mention it was insanely cheap. I bought a package of 5 drum sticks for $3.46 and ate 2 of them. Corn tortillas are less than $3 for a huge bag. One avocado is $1. The spices you probably have in the cupboard (or you can just omit them). Healthy, satisfying, and unique meals don’t need to be super pricey.

If I could change anything I would use a little less salt and up the rosemary

When it comes to chicken breasts I go skinless, but in the case of drumsticks I like leaving the bumpy layer and fatty bits on. Treat yourself 😉

Drizzle some honey on a plate to roll the chicken in before rubbing on the spices

Tinfoil is always, always, always your friend.

The avocado has a rich & cream  mouthfeel, but light flavor. The chicken packs a flavorful bunch. Opposites always attract.

 

Yes I’m a girl. Yes I Instagram photos of my food. Yes I’m proud of it ❤

 

 

Here are the recipes, which I tweaked slightly by adding honey to the drumsticks and tortillas instead of pitas. You might have noticed I used 2 tortillas (with a thin layer of avocado in between to act as glue.) Unlike flour tortillas which are sturdy, corn tortillas are delicate little butterflies. They are also much smaller than their wheaty cousin.

Avocado and Tortillas

Drumsticks

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

If only living was as smooth as my smoothies!

It has been a longgggg past few days. About a week ago my world was rocked when shocking rumors were brought to my attention. I was so angry, embarrassed, and humiliated. I hadn’t felt this way since high school, or, well, maybe since the ex-neighbor car incident (hint, hint: it involved the same people. Shock and awe.) I was a complete mess and kind of zombie like, which, if you know me, is pretty uncharacteristic. Thankfully, my good girl friends were there to lift me up; it is so nice to have others lift you up from time to time, as it saves you the hassle and sweat 😉

We celebrated ladies night with gusto, stumbled the night away, and I got to wish a friend a happy birthday.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I was still a little upset about the events and starting to feel sick.  If I can catch a cold while it’s still in breathing-on-the-back-of-my-neck mode, I will usually only have a day of feeling horrible and not a week! So I’ve been taking the last few days easy (not that my summer has been exactly a non-stop work fest…ahem), eating what I please, watching Netflix, and sleeping when necessary. Frankly, a cat would be jealous. But in the midst of my laziness and mild emotional eating debauchery (a post to come on that soon), I found the time to make several green smoothies when I was hankering for something sweet to drink while I watched Pretty Little Liars **spoiler alert: I knew it was Mona! …Yes, I’m a bit behind**

You may already know this, but I love green smoothies. In case you’re popping in for the first time, lemme catch you up to speed. When I first started eating healthy, green smoothies were a very clean drink I added to my diet. So, I guess you could say they are kind of like my first born child that can do no wrong. You can whip one up in three minutes, they aren’t nearly as cumbersome to clean up after compared to fresh juices, you get to use the fiber, and you aren’t stuck with a smelly trash can full of left over pulp.

This is what my typical green smoothie looks like. I’ll rotate the fruit around (frozen blueberries are finally cheap enough to buy again and the kiwi was an unexpected add in, but I gotta get to them before the fruit flies do!), and sometimes I’ll use some ground flax seed in place of chia—though I’m totally digging chia at the moment—but this is the basic set up.

I’ve been doing this by feel for the past year and a half, meaning I don’t use exact measurements except with the chia and flax (1 tablespoon). I know what fruit flavors don’t come through as strongly, which, depending on the mood, may mean I’m less liberal with the spinach. I know if I’m using chia seeds to add them in last; if you put them in first they will get stuck at the bottom of the blender and it’ll be a pain in the cheekies to clean. I know pineapple leaves a horrible stringy mess which irritates my texture phobic mouth and gets stuck all up in my teeth. But I have faith you’ll figure out the perfect ratio for yourself!

I really enjoy the energy these drinks give me, and how clean they are, but every now and then I like to treat myself to a “naughtier” smoothie. I was marinating some Moo Ping earlier (yup, the Thai food kick is still going strong), and I had a lot of leftover coconut milk. And thus the coconut milk smoothie happened. This one has a lot more calories since I wasn’t using water at the base, but coconut milk has some great benefits (unfortunately #10 isn’t terribly useful for me!). Consider it a very special treat or make it as a breakfast or lunch for a day you know you are going to be busy and might not be able to snack as often or get in a full meal. I haven’t had a coconut milk smoothie in about 7 months, so I think I can take the calorie and fat hit.

Coconut Milk & Blueberry Smoothie

1 Cup of Coconut Milk (see what I mean! Don’t make this on a daily basis)

1 Banana

1-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen blueberries

1 TBS Chia Seeds

 

Pour in coconut milk and sliced up bananas. Blend for a few sections. Then add in blueberries and chia seeds. Blend until mixed together, when there is no more white showing.
Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

The Tipsy Chef

Last night a friend and I went out to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. I’m a big fan of drinking there because it has a rustic log cabin feel, indulgent steak tartare, and a great selection of ciders AND Gluten Free beer! I tried one of each and was in tummy heaven. For me, 2 glasses of cider is the perfect kind of tipsy: totally in control, but still feeling a little light on the toes. However, even the smallest amount of sugary alcohol can provoke a mean hangover. Thus, it became imperative to make some food to prepare our bellies before conking out.  I decided on some scrambled eggs with Romano cheese and a plate of smoked salmon.

Crack open five eggs, add some milk, mix together with a fork, and pour it into a pan on medium-low heat. Breakfast foods like scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes take time and patience. If you put these items into a pan that is already hot the eggs will seize, the bacon will burn, and your pancakes will be all crusty on the bottom. Instead place the food on the pan before it heats up, that way your food can become acclimated.

Of course, what would a meal be without some photos be? My stove top is a 9.5 out of 10 on the grimy scale, so I decided the theme should follow!

 

Food Porn: The Best Kind of Porn

Lately I’ve been playing around with my camera. In my Food Gone Wild section I didn’t really give it enough credit. And then I started looking at reviews of it online, and I found out that for the size and price it’s a pretty impressive camera. I’ve been playing around with all the different aperture settings and making the best of the morning light. Here are some recent pictures that have been minimally edited.  I pray the kitchen in my next apartment has amazing lighting as well! I call this series, A Typical Morning– hehe

 

Recently I’ve been photographing a lot of citrus, because it looks so delicious with the right lightening. Well, eggs are also yellow (and delicious), so I thought I’d try my hand at shooting them as well. Look at that yolk! Shout out to Shadow Farms eggs for making me super happy every morning.

 

Greek Yogurt & Blueberries

As you can see, I go pretty heavy on the protein in the morning. Typically I have two eggs and a little cup of Greek yogurt with berries. For the weeks I buy my Udis gluten free toast, I would do eggs, a slice of bread, and a piece of fruit. Last night for dinner I wasn’t feeling very hungry, so I had a berry cup and a glass of red wine (pump up the antioxidants!) I couldn’t get through all the berries, so these were the leftovers. As you know, I’m a huge proponent of plain yogurt, be it Greek or regular, with fresh or frozen berries. That way you aren’t consuming the 20g-29g of sugar you would be getting with the fruit flavored kinds. Your waistline (or wherever you pack on the pounds) will thank you!

 

Breakfast of Champs!

 

Full Fridge.

For the first time since we signed our lease, Chris and I starved. Okay, I use the term starve lightly, of course (I’m not that first world insensitive…), but for someone who eats many mini meals a day, the one day of scrounging around for food was torture. Not to mention, I spent a lot of money buying three meals out. I was so excited to have a full fridge again! The lower section has essential been turned into my greens-for-juicing shelf! Those three kiwis are a little overripe, so I plan on making some kiwi sorbet. The smaller Mason jar is my green tea and lemon toner, which has been working phenomenally! The six pack of beer is actually cider. If you are gluten free (or a hater of beer, which everyone should be—yuck), cider is your best friend. As a Vermonter I was all about the locally made Woodchuck, but recently I’ve branched out to Angry Orchard. We like to stock the fridge with lots of produce!

 

Take some pictures of your food! If you are interested, leave a comment here or in my Food Gone Wild section and I’ll feature your pics with a link back to your blog!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

And I said: Darling, I don’t drink bottled orange juice anymore

I’ve really been putting my juicer through the paces, and I gotta say: I love the results. I decided to share my 2 favorite recipes. One is super simple and even though the other sounds intimidating, it’s absolutely brilliant.

 

The classic- Orange juice.

You haven’t had orange juice until you’ve had fresh squeezed orange juice. Tropicana ain’t got nothing on it. When it’s fresh squeezed it tastes like your drinking an orange, which, duh, seems really obvious, but if you’ve only been drinking from concentrate your taste buds have been horribly deceived for years. If you (or your family—for all you mom & dad readers out there!) go through a lot of orange juice, I’d strongly consider buying a juicer just so you can make your own. At my co-op I can get 15 Valencia oranges (which are made for juicing) for a little less than $5. That’s 3 glasses of prime juice without all the added sugar. Plus it’s an absolute morning after must if your friend takes you out for a night of (several) drinks at the nice bars downtown…

Recipe

5 oranges

Cut in half and press over the citrus attachment of your juicer.

If you’re a texture person like me, you may not like the left over pulp. I know, I know pulp is amazing, but I just cannot stomach it. Have no fear! If you have a fine strainer pour it over a bowl and then pour the bowl back into our cup. Pulp problem solved in 30 seconds or less.

Sip deliberately.

 

Getting fancy—Beet and Company (I’ve also heard it referred to as “Miracle Drink.”)

With juicing you sooner or later have to move away from the “just fruit” recipes and dabble in the world of vegetables and greens. I feel like this is a great beginner drink for people whose taste buds are still hardwired for soda and bottled juice. I admit the first sip is a tad tart (I love all things tart), but power through and you’ll feel better afterwards.

(I found this recipe on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog called GOOP.  I know she isn’t exactly the darling of Hollywood, but this drink is good, she practices ashtanga, and she “appears” to have a youthful glow. Yeah she’s the symbol of nepotism, and yeah she’d rather let her kids do crack than eat canned cheese…but if you’re so perfect raise your hand!—convincing? No? Just try the damn juice anyway!)

Recipe

2 Beets–When cutting beets wear an apron or shirt you don’t care about getting dirty. Those tasty buggers stain!

2 Large Carrots

1 Apple–The site suggested gala. I used either that or a pink lady. We bought an assorted bunch this week

1 inch slice of ginger

½ lemon juiced– If you have a citrus attachment for your blender than use it. If not you can use a manual citrus squeezer and stir it in afterward

This stuff is rocket fuel—as my poetry teacher would say.

Again, sip deliberately. This juice has a fair amount of heft to it and should be savored over a decent amount of time.Me thinks a juice fast might be in order this summer!

 

I don’t think I”ll be posting every juice recipe on here, but if you want to see what I drink on a day to day basis then check out my FB page for this site.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

First video!!!

Hello!

Can I just start out by saying having a full weekend off has been amazing? I feel like I’ve been so productive and able to creep into my day. Hopefully my boss will pull some strings so this becomes the norm. I’ve been far too spoiled with free Sunday’s the past two weekends, and I don’t know if I could possibly go back to the life as it was.

I have some exciting news to bring. As of today, this blog will now feature video content! Exciting, I know. Now, I’m not going to become the next Martin Scorsese, but I’ve been playing around on the Windows Movie Maker, and I feel comfortable enough to bring you this first video where I talk about 2 exciting food purchases I made this week.  Actually, there is a prior video… Maybe I’ll whip it out after I’ve become a video editing whiz as a whole “haha, look how incompetent I was” post. +2 points if you can find my awesome splice job. Fact one: I’ve definitely learned that if I mess up (or have to stop the video because my bread timer goes off) that I need to pause beforehand and pause before I begin so I can more easily edit out mistakes or my hand reaching to turn off and on the camera; aren’t I a quick learner!

So rest those tired, over worked eyes and listen to my sweet, sultry voice exclaim to the high heavens the benefit of trying new things!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn