Posted on 06 April 2010.
South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem…P90X, Curves, 24 Hour Fitness, The Firm… Dexatrim, SlimQuick, Slim Fast, Herbalife! Are you kidding me? Really?
For most people (including me, for the most part) this stuff might as well be a different language. Honestly, who really knows what works and what is just some guy making it rich off other’s desperation? Am I supposed to count carbs, calories, or minutes of cardio?
The problem is, with all the technology, scientific advancements and research, it has actually made it harder to know the truth and put it into practice. What are we really supposed to be doing to live a healthy lifestyle? I am not talking stick-thin, anorexic Calista Flockhart lifestyle. I am talking functional living that is manageable on a daily basis without making you feel like you are going to go crazy or shoot someone because you are so cranky. Here’s the deal, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but the truth is… a healthy lifestyle is different for every person. Saying that this one thing, or this one way of doing things is right for everyone is like saying every square peg fits in a circular hole. No two people have identical lives, therefore no two people are going to live their healthiest life the same way. And by the way, that is perfectly OK!
I’ll tell you what else is perfectly OK… to eat yummy food. I’ll tell you WHAT ELSE is OK… skipping a day of workout. I will tell you the one principle that is universal for everyone. MODERATION! Scarfing down gallons of ice cream every day isn’t good, but neither is starving yourself and only eating 5 green grapes a day just so you can fit into those size -2 jeans.
I am not a nutritionist. I am not a dietitian. I am not even a personal trainer or one of those really cute, never aging teeny-boppers that teach aerobics at the gym. (How the freak do those girls get that much energy? I couldn’t steal that much energy!) I will tell you what I am… I am a girl who has struggled with my weight my entire life and am pretty much a walking almanac of dieting and weight loss tricks. All that experience and knowledge has gotten me nowhere, except confused and 15 years older.
Bottom line, I can’t tell you what to do, nor would I want to. What I will do is share my experience and knowledge of what works and doesn’t work for me. in hopes of helping you carve your own path to healthy lifestyle success. I am always open to suggestions, comments and constructive criticism. Please feel free to leave comments, words of encouragement for all readers and possibly even questions you want me to research or expound upon.
In health and happiness (and a little bit of humor),
Ashley Hull “AJ”
Posted on 02 March 2010.
I fill a titch of spring in the air today…exciting. Why? Because it’s definitely time for a food change. I know that there is still a big bad snow storm that is going to sweep in right when we get our hopes up, and that is okay because I might not be quit ready to give up the comfort food just yet. So here is to the last of the comfort food…and hello to the flavors of spring!
Combine all ingredients together and mix for about 5 minutes. When well combined add more flour if needed. You’ll know there is enough flour when you see the dough freeing itself from the sides of your mixer. Place in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split dough into two equal size balls. Roll into round balls and place on sheet pan. Loosely cover with plastic and let rise again for about 30 minutes. Remove plastic and brush generously with olive oil then sprinkle with a bit of salt and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Posted on 15 December 2009.
Is there anything better than Holiday Parties? I don’t know about all of you, but I have already been to a ton of parties this season, and I’ve catered a lot too. So, like me, I am sure that you are dying for a new recipe to have around in case you want to throw your own Holiday party. I know they can be a lot of stress, but make it easier on yourself with these simple appetizer recipes.
1 bunch asparagus
12 pieces prochutto
1 red bell pepper roasted (cut julienne)
Blanch asparagus and set aside. Take a strip of prochutto and lay flat on the cutting board. Cut 1 piece of asparagus into three pieces, and lay in the prochutto, take one piece of the roasted pepper and place on the asparagus. Wrap the prochutto around the asparagus. Display on a platter and serve. Drizzle lightly with Olive Oil and season with salt and fresh black pepper.
Wild Mushroom Frittata
2 pounds mushrooms (variety chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ shallot (minced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup shredded parmesan
TT salt and pepper
In a medium sauté pan add olive oil, when heated add mushrooms. Sautee until mushrooms are caramelized. Place in the bottom of a small baking dish. Take eggs and beat, then add to the baking dish. Add ¼ cup shredded parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees until fluffy and lightly browned on top. Take out of the oven and shred on top of the frittata.
Cut into small pieces and place on platter. Garnish with basil or balsamic vinegar.
Posted on 16 November 2009.
A new year is on the way with Kristin Trevino,
a Le Cordon Bleu certified Executive Chef.
All classes $20.00
January 12th & 14th 2010
This class teaches a meal from top to bottom.
January 26th & 28th 2010
Quick & Easy Pastas
Three different pastas, three different ways
February 9th 2010
Tired of the same thing week after week. Broaden your horizons with these new recipes.
February 23rd & 25th 2010
Soups and Maybe a Salad
Comfort in a bowl
March 9th & 11th 2010
This is a series we started last year. Light and satisfying meals to change the way you and your family eat forever.
March 23rd & 25th 2010
Orzo, Rissoto, Polenta. and more. This class will teach you everything but potatoes.
April 6th & 8th 2010
This class is hands on and seating is limited.
April 20th & 22nd 2010
This was one of my favorite classes in school. I’ll take you somewhere amazing.
All weekday classes are from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.
All classes include a tasting of all prepared
foods and one-on-one instruction as well as
recipes you can use.
Reserve your seat today by calling
208.438.5105 or 208.312.3958
Posted on 05 November 2009.
Pesto, this is my all time favorite item in the refrigerator. The great thing about it is that there are very few items involved in making this amazing condiment. It smells like heaven and taste even better.
It is so very versatile in its uses too. You can pour it in a cream sauce, over your favorite pasta salad, or in mayonnaise for an amazing sandwich. It’s great in breadcrumbs for fried chicken or to flavor any great tomato based soup, and the list goes on and on.
I love it in the summer because it makes everything taste like sunshine. I plant basil in the garden and enjoy it all summer long. Then in the fall, since it is very sensitive to the cold, you have to harvest it early. Make your pesto, freeze it, and enjoy it all through the winter months.
4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons
extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor purée garlic and pine nuts, add basil with remaining ingredients and puree until smooth then season with salt and pepper.
Posted on 26 October 2009.
Each year my food styles change with the seasons, and sometimes I forget from season to season, the foods I’ve been missing. It has taken me a few weeks to get into the fall food kick, but I think I am finally remembering all those warm and cozy meals that come back every time the wind turns cold, and the nights grow long.
The dish that came to mind tonight was chicken potpie. It’s one of my favorites! I don’t know if it is my southern heritage, the fact that my mother loved potpies, or that they are just so good.
I have a few variations you can do with your potpies so here it goes. I love mine the way that the recipe reads and that is with a biscuit topping but, if you are short on time, just buy some already made biscuits, place them on top, and cook until golden brown. I also like to get the frozen puff pastry, thaw it, roll it out a bit, and place it on top for a crust. Or you can do it the way it has always been done and place a piecrust on the top. And there you have it, a classic potpie.
Creamy Chicken Potpie
½ onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
1 cup peas, frozen
2 waxy potatoes, cubed
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
4 chicken breasts
5 cups chicken stock
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh, or dry parsley
TT salt and pepper
In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer, add chicken breast, and let simmer until done. While chicken is simmering place a saute’ pan on medium heat with butter, onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Let them saute’ until there is a small amount of color, then add your flour. Remove chicken from the pot and add stock to the vegetables. Then add your peas, whipping cream, parsley, and salt and pepper. Place in a dish and cover with biscuits or piecrust.
Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup chilled butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients along with cheese into a food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate everything. Add butter then pulse until dough is crumbly. Then slowly add in milk. If the mixture is dry add a few more tablespoons of milk. Remove from processor and place on floured surface. Form a ball and then roll out dough. Cut out a piece of dough that will cover the dish you are using. Place on top and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Posted on 09 October 2009.
This is week two and I didn’t get any questions from last week. So, please email or send in comments and questions.
My next favorite food item in the fall is pumpkin, and one thing that tastes the most amazing on pumpkin is Burnt Butter Frosting. When you brown butter, even before you put it together with your frosting, it does something that is so delicious. The butter solids, which would be the fat solids in the butter, brown and take on the incredible taste of caramel or toffee. It’s heavenly!
If don’t believe it you’ll just have to try it for yourself. It will make any of your pumpkin bars, cookies, jelly rolls, and cakes taste like nothing you have ever had before. So here is the recipe of a frosting you and your family will love. When you try it you will capture a little taste of why fall is so amazing.
Burnt Butter Frosting
4 cups powder sugar
½ cup butter
1/4 cup cream cheese
5 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
Using a small pan add butter, cook over medium heat until the milk solids have turned brown in color, then remove from heat. Using an electric mixer whip the cream cheese, vanilla, and powder sugar while slowly incorporating the browned butter. Add milk to get your desired thickness. Spread over anything pumpkin or just sit and eat.
Posted on 01 October 2009.
Kristin Trevino is a local chef that has more talent with a pot and food, than Tiger Woods has with a driver and golf ball. She is fun, spunky, and creative and it shows in her amazing dishes. Check out www.cookingwithkristin.com
My ultimate goal in writing this article is to help you women, and men, become more familiar in your own kitchens. I know that there are a lot of people just dying to be great cooks, the only problem is you just don’t know how. I hope I can help you better educate yourself on cooking, so that someday you will be able to throw some food in a pot, and have it turn out amazing. I am asking for questions and problems you might have in the kitchen, in hopes that I can answer them in future articles.
Yesterday was, in my opinion, our real first day of fall. It is officially here and I LOVE it. For me, and cooks across the country, this means amazing things will be happening in the kitchen this weekend. In my house, it has been all about the harvest. We have canned everything from tomatoes to marinara, salsa, jalapeno jelly, and apple filling (which by the way was fantastic and smelled just like Christmas). So, I am glad the freeze has come. My all time favorite thing about fall is that my crock-pot comes out and the soups begin! The great thing about soup is that you can throw about anything in the pot and it usually turns out. So pull out your pots this weekend and get busy.
This is my favorite soup recipe. It is so fast and so easy I hope you will love it too. The secret here is the salt, if you are lacking flavor try to add some salt. Salt it a natural flavor enhancer. I also like to use kosher salt because the flavor is better in cooking savory dishes. I also find it easier to use.
Potato Leek Soup (Vichyssoise)
1 tablespoon butter
2 leeks, chopped
½ onions, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
4 Potatoes, Cubed
1 cup cream
TT Salt and Pepper
In a pot add butter, onions, and leeks sautéed until they are translucent. Add chicken stock, and potatoes, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are done. When potatoes are done, add cream and season to taste. Using a blender, or hand mixer, puree the soup and serve. Should be of a thick consistency.