Mango Soup

Sleep quality has improved ten-fold since getting my new bed. I love it. I feel rejuvenated in the morning. Heck, I’m bright eyed and busy tailed at 6:45, which is quite the feat! This morning was no exception, and I was a busy bee in the kitchen making kale chips for my yoga comrades (Saturday is teacher training day) and some raw soup to take to class. My last foray with raw soup—the carrot recipe—was not the greatest, but I have made a few variations of this one, so I knew I wouldn’t be terribly let down.  If you love mango, you must try this.

Cold Mango Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango, peeled and destoned
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1-2 small chilli peppers, minced (or to taste)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp grated or minced ginger

Preparation:

Process all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy, adding a bit more or less water as needed. Chill before serving. Makes two servings.

You’re in and out in 15 minutes max, and if you put your onion in the refrigerator the night before you’ll cut down on the teary-eye factor. If you don’t have whole chili peppers, approximately ½ a tsp of pepper flakes is equal to one pepper. Adjust accordingly. I’m a wussy and should have done a few less flakes, but it was still darn tasty.

Don’t Mind Me, Neighbors, I’m Just Shooting Some Food Porn on the Porch.

The best part of eating healthy the majority of the time means that when you do decide to splurge you generally have a lot less guilt. You’ll also find yourself returning to the same indulgent, greasy, stick to your inside’s foods, which is nice. My favorite “naughty meal”, aside from Amy’s (yes Amy’s, not Annie’s) Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese, is a nice rack of ribs. This week I decide to go with some boneless pork ribs. I hands down like the rack of ribs way better—the boneless version wasn’t quite as juicy—but they were still pretty good, and I used the same rub recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman.

This craving for rib couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had just bought this really cool plate set to do some more shooting on. From looking at other food blogs, I can tell one method is to get out all the ingredients used to make the dish, line up the boxes, jars, and canisters, and take a picture. Alas, my kitchen is rarely clean enough to do this, so I’ve latched onto the other “photo-of-thought” where you take a small amount of spices used and “haphazardly” arrange them on a chopping board. Lemme tell you, there was no haphazard. I was in there with my basting brush trying to wrangle everything into neat little piles.

Spices

Paprika

Garlic Salt (a must have in the kitchen! Throw that on some homemade Mac and Cheese and you’re in business, baby)

Salt

Pepper

Brown Sugar (don’t forget to add a heel of bread to wherever you’re storing it so it doesn’t harden up)

Dijon Mustard (to rub on the meat before sprinkling with the spices)

Summertime and the livin’s easy

^^ See this movie!

Summer break is here! I’ve sufficiently caught up on some much needed rest, thus it’s time for me to do what I assume many a blogger is doing and write the “my summer” post!

Read like a fiend

I have absolutely no excuse not to. Summer is great for reading and hobbies. Even if you are putting in mad hours at a job, you don’t have all that pesky paper work known as homework to consume your life when you’ve finished for the night. As you can see, I have a few books to preoccupy myself with. I have this habit during my breaks at The Goodwill of buying books that look interesting and then I never getting around to reading them. No longer! I’m really excited to take a peek at the two Carl Hiaasen books. I love his work! I even studied him Fall Semester during Literature Seminar. He never lets me down. Middlesex is a book I read in high school, but it was so good I’d love to read it again, which means a lot because I rarely give books a second go-around. I also have some cool yoga books in there (no, not EAT-PRAY-LOVE), and I hope to start reading bits and pieces of the Gita. It’s kind of a heavy read, so maybe I’ll chew on it like a sweet  bovine might munch on a clump of grass—slowly and deliberately. Sorry, the writer inside me likes to be silly, but really, I’ll probably do 2 pages a day and reflect back when all is finished. I also have a guilty read in there, you know, the kind of thing you bring to the beach. Bet you can figure out which one it is!  I also plan on keeping up with my poetry and writing a piece a week and submitting to a few places every month. Oh the toil’s of us writer folk.

Hone my food photography skills

This summer I’m buying a new camera and lens, but I swear I’m going to learn how to use it properly. I’m going to be sticking with the Canon family, so I’m very excited to get that security deposit check back so I can go shopping. Until then, I’ve been playing around with my little guy and seeing how I can tinker with lighting, aperture, and the “f” function.  I’m not sure what the “f” function means, but I know when I fiddle with it things get either lighter or darker in a very cool way. My user manual is AWOL so I’m kind of figuring stuff out for myself, which is honestly the best because its keeping me from becoming technologically overwhelmed.  So, I’m more of less ditzy-dancing my way into the world of photography! This blog post was SUPER helpful, and anyone else looking into food photography should go there. Taking some sage advice from the blogger, the first thing I did was go out and buy some white plates to shoot my food on. It really does look a lot cleaner. When I move into my new place I’m going to buy a little end table that is for my food photography and food photography only and plant it right in front of the window. I’m starting to realize I need to start making my fun meals for lunch so I can utilize the natural light #foodbloggerproblems.

Some shots I’ve been playing around with

 

Write a book

Yup, I’m writing a yoga book for my Capstone project, which isn’t due till next spring, but it obviously takes a few months to write, edit, and photograph a book. I’m thinking ahead! It’s going to be about arm balances and inversions, because I like living life on the edge and upside down (can you sense a possible title brewing?) Next week I start figuring out what poses I want to feature, and I’m sure you readers will all be my guinea pigs!

Besides devoting more time to the blog, those are my three biggest priorities, and I imagine keeping the list short and sweet will make these hopes more obtainable. Plus, I honestly want the chance to kind of relax this summer. I’ve been busting butt for a year, and a little chill time would be much appreciated.

I’d love to hear everyone’s plans for the summer!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

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

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get in my belly!

I go through phases when it comes to my meat consumption. Some weeks I eat it often and with gusto; Some months I hardly touch it; Some nights I crave a nice bleeding steak; Some afternoons I desire the simplicity of squeezing fresh lemon juice over chicken and garnishing it with some pepper. Instead of feeling like I need to eat X-amount of meat meals a week (or limit myself) I simply listen to what my body needs. This past week my body needed something nourishing– and a tad bit sweet, I admit.  I knew exactly what to make: lemon and brown sugar chicken.  As someone who has fiddled around (usually unsuccessfully) with brown sugar and garlic chicken—can you say sticky, icky pans?—I enjoy the pre-determined amounts this recipe has to offer. And since it’s baked in the oven I don’t have to open all my windows and brandish a dish towel at a wall of smoke creeping its way toward the smoke alarm. I found that when I first started cooking, I thoroughly enjoyed the allure of sautéing items on the stove and dancing around the kitchen with flourish and ease, bouncing back and forth between four pots and pan. Perhaps this summer I will be drawn back to my multitasking roots. But it is the end of the semester and motivation and energy is running on fumes. Learn to love the timer on the oven. A bonus, oven baked chicken is always juicy and cooked to perfection.

 

30 Minute Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken- Recipe found on the blog: Eat, Live, Run

serves 4

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

juice of two large lemons

1 T lemon zest

1 cup flour

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1.5 T canola oil

2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a meat mallet (or ice cream scoop), pound the chicken breasts thin. Set aside.

Combine the flour, paprika and sea salt in a cake or pie pan. Drop each chicken breast in the mixture and toss to coat completely.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Drop each chicken breast in the oil and brown on both sides (should take only about four minutes). Remove chicken breasts and keep warm on a plate.

Pour the lemon juice in the pan and stir to deglaze. Put chicken breasts in a casserole dish and pour juice on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest.

In they go!

Bake for thirty minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165.”

Don’t get freaked out by this recipe in case you are missing a few items. Feel free to use olive oil or coconut oil in place of canola. If you don’t have any paprika lying around then use chili powder (I had to the other night, and couldn’t tell the difference from the other times I’d made the recipe.) If you don’t have some of these spices, and aren’t entirely jazzed about having to buy a big jar of it, find the cheap spice section in your store. There is a Latin brand called Badia Spices and you can generally find it in the international section. This is a great option if you don’t live by a store with a bulk section. They sell packets of spices for under a dollar. These are great in a pinch if you want to try a recipe but don’t think you’ll need an entire jar of a particular ingredient. Of course, these aren’t the highest quality (source), but they aren’t terrible either. I bought some paprika for 88 cents and was able to use it for three different recipes.

If there is anything you absolutely need for this recipe it is a zester. I don’t know how I lived without one. You’re able to easily take the peel off without getting all the bitter pith, which will happen if you try to use a vegetable peeler. A cheap lemon juicer will also save you time. No longer will you have to pick out those pesky seeds! Oh yeah, use more lemon than you think! Once it hits the pan you need to deglaze Mario Super-Speedy Andretti style or the juice will evaporate. #beentheredonethat

Gluten free: If you cannot eat flour, have no fear. Just use an all purpose gluten free flour. Sadly, these mixes are kind of pricey. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour use a little less than 1 cup. Honestly, you don’t need to use it all. Waste not, want not.  I suppose this trick can be applied to regular flour users as well!

Test drive this recipe! Maybe it’ll be something you add to your dinner rotation.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn