4.29.2011

Royal Wedding... Royal Breakfast!



Ok, they kissed...twice. Now it's time to celebrate!
Now make your English Breakfasts, kids.

Happy Friday!




To prepare this meal you need lots of veggies, beans and toast. And don't forget the tea!


Sautee mushroom caps, spinach and tomato slices separately in olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the baked beans (fat free can/vegetarian) over the stove. Toast and butter the bread.

Brew the tea. It's that simple!

Add scrambled or soft boiled eggs, sausage, veggie sausage, or Canadian bacon!

4.28.2011

Guest Post: Layla's Favorite Burger!


Here is a guest post from Layla... and looks so yummy!


Favorite Burger

I am a sucker for burgers. I'm not sure what it is but if a burger is an option I will always choose that. The problem is that burgers are technically not healthy and lately I have been on a health kick. So what does one do when they want a burger and still be healthy? Well for me, I asked my health nut friend what my options were, and he shared with me his favorite burger recipe. This has become by far my favorite burger!

Zucchini-Garlic Burgers
Adapted from Runner's Magazine 


Ingredients:
1 Pound ground beef, extra lean
1 bulb Garlic roasted
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1+1/2 T. Rosemary, freshly chopped
1 small Zucchini, coarsely grated
1 T Soy Sauce

Directions:
Wrap garlic in foil and place in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. After garlic has cooled squeeze out cloves from papery skin into bowl. Mix with other ingredients. Shape into 6 patties. Grill/Broil till desired doneness. Serve open face on whole wheat bun  or English muffin with arugula, caramelized onion, goat cheese and tomato. 
Thank you so much, Layla!

4.26.2011

Guest Post: Summer's Amazing Dessert!

Hi Behold the Metatron Readers.

My name is Summer and I blog over at Athena in the Middle.

I have been reading K's blog for quite some time and I have to say she often feeds my tummy with her recipes!  I am a great baker but not such a good cook. I need guidance when it comes to dinners for the week. Plus, she is always doing something healthy and delicious.

And since we live in the same city, I may try to convince her to make me dinner, if I bring the dessert!  haha!

Today I was gonna talk about a lot of things and then it became a mumble jumble mess.

So I thought, 'Summer, what are you good at?'
The Answer: Desserts!

Now this is not vegan (working on that) but it can be and oh, it is delish!

First of all, I am obsessed with sweet and salty, so I present you with:

(click the link above for recipe)


I know. I know. You are thinking, um -- what????
But, trust me, it's good.
I served this at my own birthday dinner.
People were in love.
And if you want it to be a little richer, leave out the whipped heavy cream.

Back to the party and planning it, I am the queens of themes.
I think with a good theme, you can never go wrong.
I decided that everything needed to be sweet and salty at the party and each friend followed along quite nicely.
We had a sweet and salty eggplant dish, watermelon/jalapeño margaritas and baked brie with caramel and peanuts!  

Mouth watering yet?

GOOD! 
And on that note, I shall say thank you and farewell!

XO
Summer


This looks AMAZING Summer.
You sold me on that pie!


More Guest Posts to come this week...
Who could it be?

4.25.2011

Guest Post: Jaime's Travel Essentials!





 Today's Guest Post comes from Jaime of La Vie... J'aime!

Thank you so much, Kristen, for letting me guest post on your lovely blog!  I love to travel, and while I have been to many European cities (Florence, London, Venice, and Paris, to name a few), Barcelona is on the list for one of my next destinations.
With so much in history, culture, art, fashion, and food that Spain has to offer, a girl needs to pack the right items to make sure she is comfortable and fashionable for seeing the sights and eating the eats.  The plane ride may just be “across the pond”, but when I am travelling by airplane, I always make sure to have these essentials:
·       Chap stick, some sort of hand cream, and eye drops—I have a tendency to get very dry.
·       Travel pillow/blanket—I have this TravelPro in red.
·       A good book or magazine.
·       iPod/iPhone—for music and games
What to wear on the plane? I typically wear something comfy, such as Juicy sweats or leggings, but not too frumpy for getting off the plane. I always throw a pair of socks in my carryon to keep my feet warm.
Once you land, it’s off to see the beautiful architecture (like La Sagrada Familia) and museums. Old European streets tend to be uneven, so I would recommend wearing flats or comfy, chic sneakers. Layering is key too—as sometimes you are going in and out of hot and cold temps.  Don’t forget to snap some pics to share with us!
A good vacation would be nothing without a night on the town!  I would pack wedges, so that my heels don’t get stuck in cobblestone—all the better for dancing the salsa all night.  Wear something bright & spicy, and *cheers* your vacation with some Cava sparkling wine or Sangria.
Kristen, I hope you are having a wonderful trip! 
Tell me, what are your packing essentials?

Thank you Jaime!!
More guest posts this week... who could it be?

4.22.2011

Guest Post {Leanne}: Khacha...huh?

Hi all! My name is Leeann and I have a little blog called Join the Gossip. I've been a reader of Kristen's for some time now and am happy to do a guest post while she's away on her magnificent trip to Barcelona (lucky gal!). Only problem - she blogs about food and yummy recipes but I can't cook! So what's a girl to do? Buy food and blog about it ;)

I have been wanting to try Khachapuri for some time now so this was a great opportunity. Ever heard of it? A Georgian type of bread, Khachapuri, can be made several different ways. I ordered the Adjarian style Khachapuri, named for a region of Georgia. Apparently the various types of this dish are named for different parts of the country.

My Khachapuri consisted of dough formed into a boat shape and filled with cheese and eggs (over easy). Sounds weird, I know. I have seen this dish on the menu of my local pizza joint and have been eyeing it for a few years now but couldn't decide if I was disgusted or intrigued. I love eggs and who can resist bread? But still, kinda crazy. This post finally pushed me to order it. Here are some pics of the dough, egg, and cheese in all of its glory:





My final verdict - it was OK. It just tasted like I was eating a breakfast dish but with thicker, softer pizza crust. Unfortunately I think the fact that I live in Hollywood and ordered the Khachapuri from a shop on Hollywood Blvd. - where there is NEVER any parking unless you are lucky enough to find a meter or want to fork over $20 for a lot (wasn't going to do the latter to pick up to-go food, thank you very much!) - had a huge effect on my meal. Because I had to circle the block for 20 minutes, my food was cold and the over easy eggs hardened. Had it been warm and consumed in the way it was intended I think I would have enjoyed it more. The man who took my order suggested that I not add any toppings since it was my first time eating it. The dough was just too dry though. I actually ate the dough with pepperoncinis and jalapenos for flavor. Had the eggs been runny it would have made the dough better.

All that being said, I will order it again from another restaurant to see if it tastes any better.

Side note: I am pretty sure that this dish is also made in other areas, I know it can be found in Turkey. Does anybody else know?

Has anyone else ever had Khachapuri?

Thanks, Leanne! 
I've never tried this but definitely will, and will know to sit in the place to eat it to avoid solidified fried eggs when taking out!

Stay tuned for more guest posts next week!
Who could it be?

4.21.2011

Guest Post: Nicollete's Asparagus & Prosciutto!

 Today's guest post comes from the lovely Nicolette!

Hello everyone! I'm Nicolette from Simply Colette soon to be Simply Colette in Europe for 2 months! I'm so honored to be blogging for Kristen as her meals always inspire me.
So here's an quick appetizer recipe for you to entertain with ease...
 


Asparagus & Prosciutto 



 
1 bunch of asparagus
3 slices of prosciutto
1 tbsp of olive oil
garlic powder
ground pepper
kosher or sea salt



After washing and drying the asparagus, rather than cutting off the ends, snap each one in half, it will break in the best place on it's own. After snapping them all, drizzle olive oil on them, sprinkle garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and kosher or sea salt on them and toss. Bunch into sets or groups of two or three depending on your preference. Arrange on foil on cookie sheet or broiling pan. Cut or tear prosciutto into strips about an inch or two wide. Then tie them around each set of asparagus. Bake on high heat, broil, or even on the grill if you prefer a nice char for about 9 -13 minutes.
 
When buying prosciutto, I usually buy 1/3 of pound of from the deli because it's typically a better bargain and fresher than the pre-packaged kind. I'm usually a 5-ingredient or less kind-of-a-girl, and like to select my favorite items and mix it up to keep meals enjoyable, easy, and affordable.
 
Bon appetit!      

Thank you SO much Nicolette!
This looks so simply delicious!

Come back tomorrow for another Guest Post!
Who could it be?

4.20.2011

Guest Post: Ashlea's Fabulous Brunch!

Today's Guest Post comes from Ashlea of The Little Kitchen That Could!

Hosting a potluck brunch is the best of all worlds for me. I am in my mid 20's and while I love entertaining, I have a small kitchen and do not have endless funds to throw extravagant dinner parties.  If you are in this boat of quarter-life cooking, you might find that potluck brunches are the best of all worlds for you too.

To get you in the brunch time mood, feast your eyes on some great inspiration.  

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What's not to love? A perfect way to start your Saturday, easy for everyone to bring a breakfast item (if they cook, something homemade, if they don't, they can bring a topping for a yogurt parfait bar or a fresh fruit salad)  and perfect to kick off spring with fresh flavors. 

Southwestern breakfast cups are my  favorite brunch time recipe for so many reasons.  I love individual sized portions (easy to serve), they can be prepped the night before and popped in the oven right before serving, and it is such a nice blend of cheese, egg, ham and biscuit.  You can provide this hearty breakfast item and drinks and have your friends bring the rest.  Below is one of my favorite brunch time menus.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy. 

 Spring Time Potluck Brunch

Mimosas
Southwester Breakfast Cups
Yogurt Bar with Toppings
Banana Nut Bread
Mixed Berry Salad
You provide:
Southwestern Breakfast Cups (recipe below)
Orange Juice & Champagne for Mimosas

They provide: 
Toppings for the yogurt
{honey, granola, berries, chopped bananas, died cherries or apricots, walnuts or almonds}
Mixed Berries
A Sweet Breakfast Bread
{Banana Nut Bread or Apple Bread}
Individual servings of plain or greek yogurt

Southwestern Breakfast Cups


Recipe Notes
The filling mixture for this recipe can be made 2-3 days before and stored in the refrigerator overnight.  This makes the morning preparation even quicker.  Also, I have always had alot of the filling leftover so if you are making this for a big group, you can buy a couple more can of biscuits without having to double the filling.  You can also half the filling and have enough for about 15-20 biscuits.

Ingredients
2 to 3 cans buttermilk biscuits
1 small can diced green chilies, drained
1 small can diced black olives, drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups finely chopped ham
1/2 cup diced onion
3 to 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Mix everything, except biscuits, in large bowl, set aside. 
3. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. 
4. Put 1 biscuit into each cup spreading it up the sides of the cup. 
5. Put about 1 heaping tbs of ham mixture on top of each biscuit. 
6. Bake 20 minutes or until biscuits begin to brown.
7. Serve immediately.

This looks amazing, Ashlea. Thank you for sharing!
Stop by for another Guest Post tomorrow...

Who could it be?

4.19.2011

Guest Post: The Perfect Beach Dress

{photo credit}
With the sun finally making an appearance we are beginning to get that summer feeling. That feeling involves a great urge to go and visit a beach, or to go abroad to have a guaranteed, rain free, beach break. But without the right beach attire, that summer feeling could come falling down around your feet.

Ideally the perfect beach outfit is a dress with your swimsuit or bikini underneath. The dress allows for comfort in warm weather and it also looks pretty. The added bonus is that you can easily change your bottom halves underneath a dress when you are on the beach and have no privacy. All these things are essential and will enhance your beach experience.

The dress that seems to fit the list of criteria is the maxi dress. For a start it is the height of fashion, which means you will easily find one and also not feel as if you have dressed like your mum to go to the beach. The maxi dress looks brilliant with a bikini top on underneath as it gives the illusion of straps to the dress and is the epitome of that summer look.  

However, the one reason it is perfect for beach wear is the length. Admittedly if you have it dragging you will have a few sand issues, but if you wear it just skimming the floor you will avoid this. The reason the length is good is to do with privacy and the inevitable changing out of wet swimming wear with some decorum. Under a Maxi dress you can easily do the required changing and still be able to show your face in public.

Finally the maxi dress is perfect for the beach as they are generally made of fabric that is colourful and exciting. You will be adding to the sunshine in a maxi dress and this will brighten your mood as well as every one else’s. Also if you wish to be more adventurous and go for the bolder, brighter fabrics then you will be guaranteed to stand out from the crowd and clear a path through the swarms of people as they fall at your stylish, classy feet. Every girl’s dream. 

Very.co.uk has some great beach and swimwear to wear now that the summer is making an appearance, and the sun is starting to shine.

{photo credit}

Guest Post: Fleur's Scrumptious Ham & Cheese Mini Quiche!



Today's Guest Post comes from Fleur de Lis!

Hello!
This is a very simple recipe that is truly a success not only to a picnic, but also as a starter in a dinner with friends and family. Is very easy to do and with simple ingredients that you can find everywhere. It just requires a bit patience in order to do each quiche perfectly.

Ingredients:

rolls of pre-prepared puff pastry 
(as seen in the photo. Each one makes about 6 quiches, with a good size and easy to manage)
Mozzarella cheese
Ham
cooking cream
egg yolk
Note: In this recipe you can just adapt the ingredients according to your taste. For instance, use other type of cheese good for grating, choose chicken or turkey ham, instead of pork, and try bèchamel instead of regular cream - in this case, add a bit of nutmeg. I don't give any quantities because I usually make them without a specific measure. It's easy to see how much is enough in each quiche.
Preparation step-by-step:  (pre-heat the oven)
Step 1:  
unfold the pastry, always keeping the cooking paper that comes with it and gently drill holes throughout the pastry with a fork
Step 2:  
cut large squares in the pastry. It makes 6 with a good size (10cm x 10cm)
Step 3:
place the sliced ham in the middle of each square
Step 4:
Then add the cheese on top of the ham in each square 

Step 5:
Start to roll the pastry in order to do an edge with some height, to keep the ingredients still.
Step 6:
Gently drill holes in this border so it will cook better. Be careful in this part.
Step 7:
Add the cream or bèchamel in small amounts, just to create a good texture in the quiche.

Step 8:  
put in the oven (about 200ºC) with the turbo on, so the pastry can grow. When it becomes golden, take it out and gently add a bit of egg yolk in the pastry to give it a good colour. Put in the oven again to finish cooking. (as said before - keep the cooking paper that comes with the pastry, it helps it not to stick inside the oven. If your roll of pastry doesn't have this paper, use your own, you can get it easily in the market)
When they are golden, pastry and cheese, they are ready. It takes about 15 min, but it depends a lot on the type of oven, so my advise is to keep looking. With a bit of practice you can do this recipe in 30 min for 12 mini quiches.
And I hope you like this recipe*
Fleur-de-Lis
Thank you for this lovely recipe!
More Guest Posts to come...
Who could it be?

4.18.2011

Barcelona Bound!

Happy Monday all!

In a few days my blog will be taken over by a bunch of AMAZING ladies.
They will all share their recipes, fashion tips and more!
Where will I be?

BARCELONA!

I can't wait to find amazing treats and sites to share with you all.
I will not be updating you on my travels here on the blog until later, 
I will try and post some up-to-the-moment happenings and photos when I can.

I obviously don't have any pictures yet of this wonderful city... 
so I'll just leave you with this gorgeous trailer from Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Didn't really love love the film (I don't like it when rich good looking people hate their lives- haha)
but it sure looked pretty... and so did Javier!


Adeu!

4.14.2011

The NEW Egg Salad

What comes to your mind when you hear "Egg Salad?"
Mayo?
Fattening?
Takes too long to prepare?

While there are healthier ways to make traditional egg salad (ie light/less mayo, less of the yolks and more whites, adding some veggies like peppers, etc...) lets think outside the shell!

Let's take a completely different approach to the title Egg Salad. I've posted about having a side salad with my eggs before... but now I've combined the two! And before you cringe at the fact that runny egg is touching your lettuce leaves... remember that many delicious dressings call for egg yolk! And for a good reason... because it's delicious and a healthier way to make a dressing creamy!

Kris's Fried Egg Salad


All you need to do is prepare your favorite greens and crunchy veggies. I love mesclun, romaine, roasted tomatoes, and sauteed asparagus (just cooked for a few minutes in a pan with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder). Asparagus tastes wonderful with egg. Then, what's an egg without some cheese? Goat cheese is one of my FAVORITE cheeses for eggs. Again, another oddity when you first hear it but if you've never had a goat cheese omelet before... you haven't lived yet! Top the salad (sans egg) with a balsamic dressing.

Cook your eggs over easy. My trick for not breaking the yolk when flipping is to always cook the eggs with a lid on the pot. Just when you would have flipped the eggs, lightly pour 1-2 tablespoons of water in the pan to create a steam bath. Cover the lid again and check the eggs for when the tops look cooked but the inside is still an orange/yellow goo!


Carefully place the eggs over your greens, veggies and cheese. You can have a little fun decorating this plate. And you can have even more fun eating it! A great post workout meal too if you workout in the mid morning and need a great lunch.

Is it Spring yet in your area? Sorry to my Montana friends... I saw it was snow for some of you today. Sending you warm sunny vibes! 

My little guy has been enjoying the spring birds lately too! He just came to say "meow!"

4.08.2011

Smoothie Time!

My trip to Barcelona is only 1 1/2 weeks away and I am very determined to send my best figure, in a while  lets say, there! From exercise to eating lighter there is one thing that I am also doing everyday... SMOOTHIE TIME! I'm only sorry I didn't start sooner because after 1 week of breaking a sweat everyday, eating HUGE salads, and drinking 1-2 all fruit (with a little milk or yogurt) smoothies everyday... my skin is looking fab, and my pants feel looser and my face is less bloated! Imagine if I got my shite together months ago... Just think!

Here's the smoothie recipe!


Very Berry Banana Smoothie:

Toss the following into a blender: 1 handful blackberries, 1 handful raspberries, 1 handful blueberries, 6 large strawberries, 1 banana (cut into pieces first). Add 3/4 low fat milk. Blend away then slurp up! You can add a little peanut butter too and then it would be like a PB&J Smoothie! For the adventurous... you can add 2 large handfuls of spinach to the blender. You won't taste it I promise. It's a great way to get more fiber, vitamin c and iron!


Does it take a trip or event to get you moving like this? Yeah me too. Wish I had that kind of power no matter what was on the horizon!



4.05.2011

Guest Posts Wanted!

Do you write about...


IF SO...

... I'd love to feature you here on my site. I will be traveling, gathering deliciousness for you all to feast your eyes on in Barcelona! I would need all entries by 4/16 in order to pre-post. If you are interested, please email me your ideas to prettyzestyblog (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll talk about it! I look forward to sharing your passions with my readers. Thank you!!

ps. If you have another idea about fashion, crafts, or anything else awesome pitch it to me!

4.04.2011

The Royal Wedding Cake!

Fiona Cairns will be making the Royal Cake for Kate and William's nuptials. 
Don't her cakes and sweet treats look elegant and regal?
Perfect choice... can't wait to see what she creates!







{al photos via Fiona Cairns}




4.01.2011

Guest Post: What NYC Can Teach You About Cooking!

The city that never sleeps abounds with flavors and foods from around the world. Walk down Restaurant Row , have a late lunch in Hell’s Kitchen or duck into any of New York’s numerous diners , and you’ll discover new tastes to delight your palate. The trick then becomes taking these incredible sensory experiences and integrating them into your own kitchen. Cooking for yourself will not only be easier on your wallet, but will also be easier on your waistline. Studies show that we eat less and choose lower fat options when we cook our own fare. If all of this seems overwhelming, fear not, as you do not need to have attended one of the many cooking schools found online to recreate many of these recipes. In fact, you can spice up your dinner table and take your family on culinary adventures with just a few simple steps.


Step out on the street in New York, or any major city, and you’ll find a plethora of restaurants. Your favorite Italian pasta joints and Japanese sushi houses are always reliable, but you’ll find a stunning array of other options if you step off the main drag. Have you ever eaten doro wat scooped on pieces of injera? If these terms leave you confused, you’ve probably never been to an Ethiopian restaurant . Have you tried beef galbi in little Korea? Or have you tried the burning spiciness of the Nigerian kabobs known as suya? Other restaurants offer true Mexican cuisine, regional Italian and country French.

These culinary adventures will give you a taste for new cuisine and introduce you to some of the staple ingredients and how they should be prepared. Learning to love these exciting foods is the first step to discovering new depths to your cooking talents. For an easy way to discover the best restaurants for everything from soul food to paella, checkout Zagat.com , which offers restaurant guides, reviews and helpful information to find the perfect restaurant for a night of culinary adventure.

{click photo to see more produce}
Tracking Down the Ingredients

Many of the ingredients that comprise these exotic and intriguing dishes can be found in the local grocer. Chicken breast, yellow rice and ginger root are fairly common. Others, such as saffron and whole vanilla beans, might seem exotic but are often found on the shelf right alongside other spices.

When searching for more exotic ingredients, it is best to start with those that pertain to the cuisines you most enjoy. If you love Indian food, consider investing in several different types of curry. Similarly, lingonberries, cardamom and lamb are staples of Scandinavian cuisine. For help in finding the best places to buy specialized ingredients, yelp.com  offers city guides to help you find the best places to get unusual ingredients that will make your dinners pop.

{click photo for recipe}
The Kitchen Essentials

When you live in the city, your kitchen might be the size of a closet. However this doesn’t mean that you can’t cook, it just means you have to consolidate your supplies. Don’t waste money on useless gadgets, and look for pieces that are versatile. A few key pieces go a long way to making it possible to cook a wide range of options. Cooks Russ Parsons and Amy Scattergood, discuss their kitchen essentials in an excellent article for the Los Angeles Times , which also discusses what pieces you can skip. Some of their best recommendations include a deep-dish roasting pan, counter top scale and a mircoplane. Each serves multiple functions, and the counter-top scale will make cooking with recipes that call for metric measurements a snap.

In addition to the items found on Parsons and Cook’s list, there are a few other pieces that are good to have when the only outdoor space is the fire escape and your microwave is pint-sized. For instance, a counter top grill will provide you with most of the benefits of its full-size counterpart and doesn’t require trips to the roof with charcoal briquettes. Likewise, an electric skillet not only makes cooking pancakes a breeze, but it also serves for frying, searing and general sautéing. Another can’t be beat item is a slow cooker, often called a crock-pot. It works for soups, stews, roasts, chili and plenty of other foods, and it gives you the benefit of starting dinner in the morning, before the day gets hectic.

Recipe Finders

There are a number of excellent recipe resources available online. For example, the Food Network provides a lot of recipes with easy-to-follow instructions for the aspiring cook. Other sites focus on specific types of cuisine. Simply Google “Ethiopian food” or “Scandinavian recipes,” and you’ll find a plethora of resources.

Traditional cookbooks are a great place to find truly traditional, absolutely delicious recipes. Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking ” is often cited as the go-to classic, but nearly every cuisine has its version of this tome, from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone’ to Penelope Casas’ “The Foods and Wines of Spain.” Simply browse the shelves of your local bookseller or cruise the foodie sites online to find the best cookbooks for any type of cuisine that might interest you.

{click photo for recipe}
Putting it All Together

The city offers you the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of different cuisines. Eating out is the first step. It introduces your palate to new tastes and teaches you how ingredients should be prepared. If you discover a dish you truly enjoy, ask the server to find out if there is a particular spice or other ingredient that truly distinguishes it. Chances are, they’d be happy to provide you with more details. Once you’ve discovered a food you enjoy, don’t be afraid to try cooking it yourself. Even pizza can become extraordinary when you make your own dough and sauce and sprinkle it with chorizo sausage or artichokes. Ultimately you find that you’ve learned an entirely new cooking repertoire in no time, thanks to the restaurants that are right outside your door. 

Thanks, Ben!