Grits Sunny Side Up


Grits!? what is that? Being born and raised in Massachusetts, grits isn’t exactly a common thing, which lead me to thinking of where it came from. It turns out that grits origins came from American Indian corn preparation. Additionally, t
hree-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are predominantly from the South, stretching from Texas to Virginia. Grits is such a staple in southern culture, the state of Georgia declared grits as its official prepared food in 2002 and a similar bill was passed in South Carolina. Who would have thought how important grits could be.

pot of grits

My first encounter with grits was ironically when I moved to Georgia. Fast forward 10 years later, I married a Georgian and was reintroduced to this iconic staple meal. Boston isn’t really the go to place for grits, so of course it would have had to reenter my life through my southern connections. Per request from time to time, my husband will request a bowl of buttery grits! How can I deny the creamy bowl of deliciousness. If you’re interested in this twist of grits, continue reading. 

Ingredients

1 cup water

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup half n half

1 cup of 5-minute grits

2½ Tablespoons butter

Salt

Pepper 

1 Egg

Instructions

Add water in a pot and let it come to a boil. When it starts boiling, slowly add the 1 cup of grits while stirring steadily. When grits thickens, add the heavy cream, half n half and butter to the pot and keep stirring. You can now throw in your pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 5-7 minute, whisking frequently. While your grits are cooking on low heat, crack an egg into a heated pan with oil of your choice. Let the egg cook in the oiled pan for about 4 minutes. You will know the egg is ready when the yolk thickens. When your 5-7 minutes are up for your grits, remove from heat and top it off with your sunny side egg!

FYI: Grits thicken fast so serve immediately. If grits are too thick, stir in a little bit of water or milk before serving. If you encounter the opposite issue and your grits are too thin aka “watery”, just let them cook a little longer which will allow it to thicken.  

I kept this version simple, but some fun variations I’ve done that I will share at some point would be adding cheddar cheese for cheesy grits! Of course topping with shrimp instead of an egg. Adding green onions and bacon. You could even use chicken or beef broth instead of water to add a savory component. Your options are endless. 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Trending Spring 2017

Trends are not something I typical follow when it comes to fashion. I tend to like classic pieces that I can spice up or tone down depending on my mood. I also don’t like the idea of having to purchase a new wardrobe every season to keep up with what’s “trending”. I mean, of course if I had a wallet with zero limits, I might consider. The fact that trending fashion is popular at a certain point in time, its easier to purchase key pieces that are versatile.  For example, the denim jacket. That trend has recycled at least ten times since I was 5 years old. Which is what made me curious on what would recycle for Spring 2017. Check out what items are trending for Spring 2017. 

Trench Coat

Trench coats have been a staple and very much in style for years. So of course the transitional piece always makes its way back into every fashion guru’s wardrobe. This season’s twist on the classic includes puffy sleeves, to wide belts and asymmetrical finishes. Spring showers, bring May Flowers which is perfectly a valid reason to splurge on a new coat!  

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Oversized Sleeves

Bell sleeves have been growing in popularity since the new year. The bell sleeve can be either long or short and is usually set smoothly into the armhole and flares toward the bottom. Bell sleeves end anywhere from the elbow to the wrist. Perfectly pairs with jeans or elevated with a skirt. 

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Seaside Stripes

Stripes on garment first appeared in the Medieval times. During that era, only prisoners, criminals, clowns, prostitutes, hangmen, etc. were seen wearing a black and white stripped garment. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, a new definition of stripes was created by Queen Victoria. In most fashion, stripe print can be seen everywhere on garments nowadays. This trend is fun and can be in a simple white and pale blue or a little more spunky with a pattern of colors. 

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The color yellow

If there’s one unexpected color that dominated the spring runways, it’s yellow. The hue in all shades, from bright to mustard are all acceptable. GQStyle Fashion Director Mobolaji Dawodu mentions, “Yellow is not an in-between color, you’re either all in or you’re not!” Let’s all have a little fun and get that pop of sunshine.

yellow

Khaki 

For those feeling like their daily look is getting a bit stale, or for those of us, especially me, who find themselves in a mid-winter rut and turing to all black, head to toe. It’s the perfect time to rethink and upgrade. Simply inject some change into your look by replacing your black with khaki. Khaki is a staple that has been reclaimed on the runways and is fast emerging as as one of Spring 2017’s most noteworthy looks, state Vogue

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Banker Stripes

Regardless of your profession, chances are you have worn some sort of button up with stripes. This crisp, go-with-everything button-downs to get you through the week can often get boring. Reintroducing it to your life by wearing this print in dress form with a cute blazer on top or even as an evening look, with a flirty off the shoulder top; you can instantly transform the boring bank stripe into something fun and exciting!

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Shoulder cut outs

This is probably the #1 trending look. It is flirty. It is fun. It is stylish. It is simple. People tend to think trendy has an age limit, but the cold-shoulder trend is incredibly flattering for all women regardless of age and size. I mean, everyone has great looking shoulders! So why not show off the judge free zone that looks amazing no matter the body. 

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Capes

Nothing brings more drama than a cape. While the style might seem difficult to pull off, there is a cape out there for everyone. Whether it is in the form of a blazer, dress, blouse, or coat, you can’t go wrong and will without a doubt get brownie points for your trendy choice. 

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Floral

“Florals? For spring?,” you might have remembered them recite in the legendary The Devil Wears Prada. Well, actually, this time around, florals are acceptable. I promise, they really are. Pick yourself up an eye popping bouquet of florals in dress or skirt form. You won’t regret it.

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Sheer

Layering isn’t just about keeping warm anymore. It adds dimension to your outfit. Introducing sheer skirts layered over colorful florals could be an option. I prefer to layer with sheer tops! Such a great way to show some skin this spring while being sexy, subtle and sophisticated. 

sheer

Dragon Fruit

dragon 2Dragon fruit is native to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand. Taken from several cactus species, its luscious stem provides a uniquely delicious fruit. The flavor is slightly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and apple with crunchy texture. If you’ve never seen it before, it of course may seem a little strange.

I first came across this exotic fruit while watching the television show Chopped on the Food Network. While walking through Whole Foods Market, I saw it and of course had to try it. The one thing I like to do before eating anything lately, is checking out the benefits. Why should I be putting this in my body? How will it benefit me? I find doing that makes me turn to fewer junkie, unbeneficial foods. If I can’t find any benefits than I have no business consuming it.

Based on my research, the benefits of Dragon Fruit also known, as pitaya are endless. A bite of this wildly nutritious tropical superfood can deliver a wealth of benefits for the human body. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Calcium is present for strong bones and teeth, iron and phosphorus for healthy blood and tissue formation. Dragon fruits have zero complex carbohydrates, so foods can be more easily broken down in the body, helped by vitamin B1. The seeds of dragon fruits are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Eating dragon fruit can help the body maintain such normal function as getting rid of  toxic heavy metals. Be sure to scoop out the flesh, or quarter it and peel back the leathery skin eating only the white part with seeds and removing any and all residual pink parts, which are bitter. Also, you must only eat dragon fruit in moderation because it is high in fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. Too much of anything good, is bad!

Reasons you should add this exotic fruit into your life
  • Treats Acne
  • Improves Vision
  • Promotes Skin Health
  • Provides Essential Moisture To Dry Skin
  • Promotes Healthy Hair
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Helps With Stomach Ailments
  • Lowers Blood Sugar
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health
  • Cuts Low Hemoglobin Risk
  • Helps In Weight Management
  • Prevents Cancer
  • Prevents Congenital Glaucoma
  • Boosts Immunity
  • Helps Suppress Arthritis Pain
  • Is Good During Pregnancy
  • Prevents Renal Bone Disease
  • Stronger Teeth And Bones
  • Repairs Body Cells
  • Improves Appetite
  • Boosts Brain Function
  • Cures Respiratory Disorder

Beets and Squash Avocado Alfredo

Based on the many horrible foods that we probably shouldn’t be consuming, I have madeFullSizeRender_8 an effort to introduce healthier substitutes for the foods that I do love. One being PASTA! So walking through Wholefoods, I came across beet noodles and squash noodles. I couldn’t make up my mind on which I wanted, so I purchased both. I decided that pasta made from beets and squash would prevent me from eating a bowl full of carbs and would have a positive impact on my health and whoever else would be consuming it. Not to mention, the taste is actually pleasant. Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring! Some benefits that I discovered during my exploration for dinner purposes was:

Beets  are high in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects which benefit the women who plan on becoming mothers one day.

Squash helps improve the quality of your sight, skin , strengthens  the immune system, prevents cancer, manages symptoms of diabetes, builds strong bones, protects heart health, prevents inflammatory conditions, treats arthritis, eliminate ulcers, eliminates parasites and infections, increase prostate health, also protects against birth defects, boosts respiratory health, and reduces blood pressure. With all those benefits, why wouldn’t anyone want to consume a bowl of this stuff.

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 green onion shoots, diced small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 packaged of beet noodles

1 package of squash noodles

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

1 avocado

1/2 cup of cream or milk

Directions

Step 1: Start off my cutting up your avocado and placing it into the blender with a pinch ofFullSizeRender_9  salt and pepper. You then would add your cream or milk and blend them together. Depending on if you like a thicker consistency or not, add less or more milk or cream. In 30 seconds, your Avocado Alfredo sauce is ready to use for later.

Step 2: In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Add squash noodles and beet noodles to your skillet. Toss to combine everything together. Cook until warmed through. You don’t want to let the noodles cook too long so they don’t get soggy.

Step 3: Stir in the parsley and the Avocado Alfredo sauce you made in step 1. After about 2 minutes, turn the heat off and start plating. Once you are done plating your portion that you will eat and serve, sprinkle some Parmesan on top with any additional extra garnished you would like and give it a taste.

I accompanied my colorful plate of noodles with some baked chicken. This dish would be great with any meat of your choice. I would even suggest salmon filletAND feel free to add any other spices of your preference to satisfy your palette. 

Enjoy!

Shrimp Rangoon

I love Crab Rangoon! It’s usually apart of my order when I get Chinese take-out. On some menu’s they are called crab puffs and on others cheese wontons. Based on who is eating them, they can be served with soy sauce, plum sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or mustard for dipping. I serve mine with a sweet and spicy sauce. There is nothing wrong with a little twist on tradition.

Basically, they are deep fried dumpling appetizers served in American Chinese and, more recently, Thai restaurants, stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, traditionally crab meat or imitation crab meat, scallions, and/or garlic and onion. These fillings are then wrapped in Chinese wonton wrapper in a triangular or flower shape, then deep fried in vegetable oil. Based on the roots of this scrumptious appetizer, it is known that cream cheese, like other cheese, is essentially nonexistent in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine leaving the history of Crab Rangoon to remain a mystery.

Continue reading if you would like to make some Shrimp Rangoon!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb cooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1/3 cup of green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the shrimp, garlic and green onions. You could use a food processor to make the job easier.FullSizeRender_7
  2. Add soy sauce, parsley, vinegar, green onions, sugar, black pepper, and cream cheese to your chopped ingredients and mix them all together. If using a food processor, you would pulse all the ingredients together until mixed.
  3. Take one tablespoon of the mixture and add them to the middle of a wonton. Using your fingers rub all the edges of the wonton with water, which will act as glue. Fold your wrapper into a triangle by taking any corner you want and matching it to its opposite corner. Get rid of any air bubbles by pressing the edges together to seal it well.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until the desired amount of Rangoon’s have been formed.
  5. In a small heavy pot heat oil to 375 degrees. Gently add a few Rangoon’s and cook until golden brown.
  6. Drain on paper towels for just about 15 seconds. Serve warm.
  7. Feel free to add your own twist and share if you do 🙂

Enjoy!

White Teeth


pre-white-teethMany of you might have seen the new trendy way to whiten your teeth. I was a fan of this method simply because it was “natural”. Who doesn’t like natural? I’m of course talking about that messy paste that is pitch black that you see everyone brushing their teeth with… It’s called activated charcoal! It may sound crazy, but adding the use of activated charcoal as part of your dental hygiene regiment is extremely effective if you are looking for a brighter smile and a cleaner less toxic mouth in general. You can find this gem in capsule or powder form. No worries, it’s tasteless and odorless.

toothbrush

When I first used activated charcoal back in June 2016, it kind of freaked me out. Especially since it looked poisonous to me. No worries, activated charcoal does not just whiten your teeth but it also removes the toxins in your body. When you brush with charcoal, it absorbs toxins that are on your teeth’s surface. Your body will not soak up charcoal if ever you ingest some of it because it will actually go to the GI system. Phew! Glad to know that you and I won’t die over this.

I would definitely recommend this product. You don’t have to order the specific brand, you can pick up activated charcoal capsules from your local pharmacy (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) and break them open to release the powder that you will need to brush your teeth.

  1. dip toothbrush into the activated carbon powder
  2. Brush teeth for 6-10 minutes
  3. Rinse out mouth until black tint is gone
  4. Brush teeth with regular mint toothpaste 
  5. Top it off with some mouth wash!

There is no wrong or right way on how you choose to use this. After using it for almost a year, I just developed the routine on how it works best for me. Would you try this product?

My Before & After

before-and-after

 

Check out more reviews

Bucket List

With all the obligations that we all have on the day-to-day basis, it is essential that we make time for the things that make us happy. Doing things that we enjoy often gets placed on the back burner. You then blink and 10 years has passed and you still haven’t accomplished anything you wanted. One fun and effective strategy for ensuring that you take the time you need for the “more fun things” in life (as well as some important goals you may have) is to create a “bucket list”. Some people like to create a list of things they hope to do before they die, but I specifically create bucket lists that I need to tackle within a 24 month period. If I haven’t accomplished it within the first 12 months then I still have time to complete the list within the following year. When everything is checked off, then create a new list to tackle for the next 24 months. You’ll be surprised what you are able to accomplish when you equally focus and prioritize the “fun” things and the “must do” things of your life.

the-bucket-list-logoHopping on the bandwagon of making your first bucket list will help you get in touch with yourself. It will allow you to discover what you value most, it will remind you on what your goals are in life, it will help spark some creativity, and best of all, it will allow you to grow mentally, spiritually and physically all while maintaining your happiness. A good way to keep track of what you have and haven’t done is to keep a checklist. Once you complete the task, you check it off and move to the next item on your list. By no means is there a wrong and right way of doing this. Some items will be easier to accomplish than others. Which is OK.  If you are the creative type, like myself, you can take your list a step further by taking a picture of you completing “the goal”. That picture you take will represent the completed task on your list. When your list is completed, you’ll have a pile of pictures to validate, share and look back on your accomplishments. Keep in mind, 24 months is just a target. If you get to the end of your 24 months and you aren’t finished, then just add them to the next list. I will be sure to share my journey with you all. Feel free to share your own experiences with me too!

My Bucket List 2017/2018 

Go to Music Festival

Go to a Shooting Range

Go to Cuba

Attend a Broadway show(s)- NYC

Cancer Walk-planned 

Milk a cow

Indoor Skydive

Take Acting class

Visit Austin

Visit Toronto

Be a member of TV audience

Take belly dancing class

Visit Hawaii

Go Fishing

Race a go-cart

Visit Niagara Falls

Ride a Hot Air Balloon

Hamilton Play-Chicago

Run a 5k

Go to Disney World

Bruno Mars Concert

Visit Sydney, Australia

Master a 3rd Language

Visit Ireland

Horseback riding

Buy a house/condo

Visit Bora Bora/Fiji

Apply to PA school

Jump off a cliff into the ocean

Ride an elephant

Take a cooking class

Visit San Francisco-DONE

Zip Lining

Visit Savannah, GA

Visit New Orleans

Visit Bali, Indonesia

Volunteer

Get on Food Network show

Sushi making class

Go Kayaking in Maine

 Surfing lesson

Visit Costa Rica

bucket-list