This is an effort to help you realize that one thing matters when making proper French Toast. The difference maker is… ATTENTION. Tender love and care, if you will. If you’re lazy when you’re making it, your french toast will end up like the gross one below. If you’re into the process and taking care of it nonstop, it will look like the really pretty one! This is a very loose recipe, I don’t give specific measurements, but you’ll get the idea.
My boss has a big bounty of a garden and he generously brings in lots of different kinds of fruits. One of these fruits in which he brings surplus of is passion fruit! Passion fruit is such a treat because it’s not very common. The abundant amount of rain Southern California has received lately has helped more fruit, well, come to fruit. Passion fruit has a certain tropical flavor. It also absolutely looks like an alien fruit: it has a purple shell and inside, there are a bunch of green slime covered seeds. Sounds appetizing, right? Well, it’s actually super tasty and they’re only about 15 calories a pop!
My boss had brought in a large amount this time and I had quite a few sitting in my fridge. I didn’t want them to go bad, so I looked up passion fruit recipes and found this one. I altered it a little to have less sugar. A passion fruit pudding cake…full of moisture and flavor without being too sweet. Those who know me know that I’m not a huge cake fan, but this recipe is a cross between a pudding and a cake so I like it. It may look a little intimidating, but it’s quite simple to do. I’ve already baked it twice because it’s so delicious. It’s perfect for a guilt-free dessert because it’s so light, but also hits the spot because of its flavor and texture.
This new year has been so busy already! However, I’m finding more time for creative outlets, like: cooking, baking, recipe-trying, writing, and such. It provides such a great counterbalance to the other stresses of life. Being creative helps relieve that tension, burden, and stress…at least for me it does. Hungry and I have been doing a tough if not repetitive program for the whole month of January (more to come on that later) and we need all the protein we can get to help our poor muscles rebuild each day. I follow the Minimalist Baker and was inspired by one of her recipes found here. Although this recipes differs from her original, it has the same base ingredients. I wanted something easy to pop in the mouth while still getting good nutrition. So, I came up with almond butter chocolate protein bites, and I’m really trying not to eat them all in one go. The ingredients are simple and the macros are great. They are a touch sweet with wonderful texture and you know you’re eating something healthy!
There’s no food quite like Cucumber Sandwiches to make you feel like you’re having a proper tea time (except, perhaps, tea). They’re dainty, delicate, mild, but better yet, delicious. They want to make you drink tea, lift your pinkie, and wear a fancy hat. To go along with our Downton Abbey themed get-together where we also had raspberry meringue pie, a summer salad, and egg curry sandwiches, we of course had to feature cucumber sandwiches! I took this recipe right from the The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding – More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs (Unofficial Cookbook) and boy did it serve us well. This is the perfect bite to satisfy any party, tea or not! There are definitely substitutions that can be made to make it even healthier.
When a coworker asked me for my opinion of PB Crave, I responded with a fairly short… what? I hadn’t heard of it before, and naturally, I assumed it was one of those protein-packed peanut butters, or peanut butters without calories, or something along those lines. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I could not be happier about being wrong. We get so caught up in counting our calories and measuring our macronutrients that we often forget to stop enjoying life and being happy. PB Crave makes you happy. Why?
We’ve done posts in the past about salt… lots of them. We also had a post where we talked about our unconventional uses of pickle juice. Everyone has their flavor of choice and sometimes, that is all you need to put a smile on someone’s face. In this household, vegemite, capers, olives, and pickles are more valuable than silver and gold… almost. A cracker with cheese, apple, vegemite, and pickle is a higher traded commodity than a filet mignon. That might be because Fit doesn’t eat filet mignon but nevertheless, flavor rules.
It’s hard for me to make a recipe for you to follow and I apologize for that… but I don’t! For me, recipes can be a little too formulated and strict because above all else, you need to make sure you taste your food and season it accordingly to make sure it has that perfect flavor when it is served. Preparing good food is about using the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can find, and also seasoning it properly! With that being said and taking that into consideration here is the best recipe I can provide you.
What you need:
As for quantities, it depends on how much you are serving and what ratios you prefer. You can tell by my pictures what I prefer. Everything after the first three ingredients is to your taste, so those amounts are not designated. If you want to make it a good first course for yourself, two handfuls of spinach, a tomato, and a half a ball of mozzarella is my preference.
Obviously, nothing is cooked.
First, thoroughly sort and clean your spinach. Only use leaves that are not bruised or wilted. Clean them without damaging them. Remove excess water.
Next, wash your tomatoes and chop them into about twelfths, if they are romas. With larger tomatoes, consider cutting them into sixteenths. A thicker tomato provides more texture to this salad and butchering them less helps retain some of those delicious natural juices. Add them to the spinach. Apply some olive oil, salt, and pepper to the two ingredients and taste. You want to be able to taste all of the elements if you have seasoned properly. I usually coat the ingredients in olive oil, toss lightly. Six to eight cracks of pepper, and a teaspoon of salt, sprinkled from 18 inches above the mixing bowl.
Next, slice your cheese carefully, especially if it is soft as to not create messy cuts, into quarter to half inch cubes. Relatively large, I know. Again, this is meant to be a salad with larger components so that every bite can include one of each of the three main ingredients. If they are cut or added in large enough pieces, a fork can easily pierce and hold all three components.
You are nearly finished. Add the balsamic at this point and toss lightly. I usually add half the amount of olive oil that I used.
Now comes the most important step, take a bite of your salad. All three components at once. How does it taste? What does it need? At this point I usually add a drop of the liquids, a crack or two of pepper, a healthy amount of salt. I think the salt helps bring out the other flavors in the dish and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and the balsamic. The cheese is the only rich component along with the olive oil so the salt has a significant effect in this regard.
Toss lightly again to ensure that every piece of the salad is dressed evenly and then drain the salad. Yes, drain it carefully. Remove the excess dressing. At this point, the salad has been treated so carefully that every component is dressed and the juice in the tomatoes will help keep the salad moist. If you dressed it properly, draining it will have no negative effect. You can save the dressing, obviously for other uses.
The salad is ready and it is time to plate. You can take the rustic approach and use a pasta fork, much more delicate than tongs, to scoop a portion onto a side plate. I prefer serving on a plate rather than a salad bowl because of the composed nature of this salad. If you take this path, make sure that your ratios are correct and there is spinach, cheese, and tomatoes in the serving. Otherwise you can technically and methodically place the spinach first, topped with tomatoes, and finally cheese. That is up to you. A final crack of pepper, sprinkle of salt from above, and without adding final liquid components, serve with a fork.
You can also serve with a slice of good toasted bread and make a crostini. Leave that option to your guests, or yourself… whoever is eating. Note: You can actually finish with olive oil and balsamic, just make sure you do so and immediately serve to prevent the pooling of juices in the bottom of the plate. If the liquid components do pool, make sure you have a piece of bread or something to scoop it up with!
BONUS KITTY PIC
As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was chosen to sample and review new Vega Bars of all assortments. Lucky me! Before this, I had never tried Vega Bars. Sometimes, I’m wary about nutrition bars. Some have a plethora of unnatural ingredients, but not so for Vega Bars. Despite a few differences, I would definitely pick up a Vega Bar in the store.
There are a few reasons Vega Bars rise above other energy/protein/nutrition bars:
1. They don’t leave your stomach feeling iffy. I’m an active girl. I’m a personal trainer by profession and I work myself hard after-hours as well. I frequently use bars to fuel my day. However, some bars under certain brands make me feel blah. My stomach gets bubbly and my desire for activity plummets. With Vega Bars, after I eat any kind of them, I feel good. There’s no bad after-effect, just natural energy. I appreciate that.
2. They have simple, natural ingredients. Some other bars have ingredient lists longer than I care to read. Vega Bars‘ are short and simple. They are all organic, natural ingredients. It’s good to know what you’re putting in your body to fuel isn’t crap. Vega is in support of this notion.
3. They actually taste good! Taking the above point into consideration, it does happen where the taste buds aren’t exactly jumping for joy. Not with these bars. With the Vega Bars, you enjoy every chomp, almost feeling like you are indulging yourself. They are delicious and nutritious! Not a bad combo, there.
4. They have probiotics. I was especially excited about this once I read one of the bar’s packaging. I’m always trying to have enough probiotics in my system to have a healthy gut. I had never heard about a bar having a considerable amount of probiotics! Usually I would run into drinks or pills. I love this little aspect about it.
I’ll keep the bullet points short, but you can see that they’re an all-around solid company making delicious nutritious bars. My only qualms would be to add more protein, but it’s tough with natural ingredients like this. Getting 15g from a healthy bar is fine by me. Vega has several different types of bars, setting each one apart for different purposes. Let’s check them out:
Vega Bars get a thumbs up from Hungry and Fit. Natural ingredients with good macros paired with great taste is a win win for us. If you happen to see one at a store, just try it out. Certainly a product we can get behind. Eat Vega Bars to stay hungry and fit!