St. Patrick’s Day Cardamom Matcha Pavlova with Lucky Charm Marshmallows

Cardamom Matcha Pavlova With Lemon Curd Whipped Cream

March 15, 2016

Sifting through a pile of St. Patrick’s Day’s most relevant breakfast cereal, I found myself full of questions.

Could I name all of the Lucky Charms from memory? Wouldn’t the cereal be luckier if there were seven charms rather than the current eight? Is the cereal mascot offensive to the Irish, or perhaps just unflattering to leprechauns?

I contemplated, discarding chipped horseshoes and broken rainbows, fishing out only the best and most-charmed marshmallows to bring my pavlova luck.

Are balloons really charmed? I feel like that’s a stretch. Same goes for hourglasses.

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Tropical Smoothie Detox Bowl

Tropical Smoothie Detox Bowl

February 18, 2016

This is a smoothie for people who hate smoothies.

Usually relegated to punishment for an indulgent weekend, brief but fervent moments of health-consciousness or intensely regimented diets, smoothies are often boring, unsatisfying and unappealing visually. Not to mention they virtually ALL use bananas as a thickening agent. Blech. Don’t tell me you can’t taste them in a smoothie – YOU CAN TASTE THEM and they taste like bananas.

But the real problem for me is, they are just so… smooth. Like eating nothing. Or worse, like eating something that FEELS like nothing and that you’re being forced to eat because you are unable to chew or perceive texture due to a tragic injury.

Smoothie bowls fix this egregious error of viscosity by making the smoothie play support to a riotous parade of interesting, textural toppings. Teensy, crunchy chia seeds, creamy and toothsome cashews, bumpy berries or chewy dried fruit – the possibilities are practically endless to liven up the uninspired smoothness of smoothies. Join me in making this Tropical Smoothie Detox Bowl, and together we can fix what is wrong with the classic blended meal.

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Torchy’s Tacos Queso Pop-Up, Ink Lounge

Torchy’s Tacos Queso Pop-Up, Ink Lounge

January 29, 2016

Only a Texas transplant truly appreciates the rarity of good queso north of the homeland.

Though many I know judge – and harshly – the quality of a restaurant based solely on the mastery of its salsa offerings, I tend to lean toward queso as a barometer of success instead. To reach the Tex-Mex ideal of a golden, molten, not-entirely-natural bowl of mildly spicy cheesy heaven, viscosity is key. The mixture should be not so thick as to support a standing chip, but not so thin as to drizzle miserably off a wanly-coated one, either. It should be just spicy enough to light a fire in your mouth, but not so much to make you suffer before your inevitably delayed water refill, and I prefer mine to be festooned with some mixture of south of the border goodies – pico de gallo, cilantro, jalapenos and yes, even more cheese in the form of queso fresco or cotija.

Settle in with a toasty bowl of lightly salted tortilla chips (not from a bag, please and thank you), or better yet, a few hot griddled flour tortillas for dipping, and tell me you’ve never eaten your fill before the entree arrives.

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Quick Bite: Leftover Brown Rice and Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowl

Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowl

January 15, 2016

I’m usually a scrounger when it comes to lunch. If I hem and haw at the fridge long enough, eventually I can Iron Chef that situation and come up with something that will sustain me until dinner, however unglamorous. Some days its just an old pear and some cottage cheese with cinnamon and honey, other days its whatever is leftover from the night before.

And some days, you get lucky with a magical combination of bits and bobbles that come together like the most masterfully planned dish.

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Abby Salad with Fire-Roasted Green Chile Ranch and Honey Smoked Salmon

Abby Salad with Fire-Roasted Green Chile Ranch and Honey Smoked Salmon

January 13, 2016

After two weeks of unbridled holiday gorging in Texas, the month of reckoning is upon me – being sustained solely by a diet of Tex-Mex, barbecue, kolaches and Christmas cookies, my body hates it when I go on vacation.

But I’ve gone through the wilderness and have emerged ready for all things green, nutritious and light.

As a general policy, I try to eat pretty healthily in my day-to-day life, focusing on eating fresh, whole foods and preparing meals at home, managing portions (sometimes) and even counting calories when I’m feeling motivated. I do have a serious weakness for dessert that is managed some days better than others, but as a rule, I try to keep it together nutritionally.

That is, except for “special occasions.”

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