Whole Wheat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

My original intentions were to make these cookies entirely of whole wheat flour, however, my husband felt that this was an abomination. We compromised, as all good couples do, and opted for a half-half flour mix, which was utterly delicious! Personally, I think these cookies would be delectable made entirely of whole wheat flour as well.

These cookies are chunky, yet chewy and moist! A perfect combination! I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips which taste so much more decadent than other brands. Considering that we are using whole wheat flour, I highly recommend splurging on high quality chocolate chips!

And now for a song. I remember so distinctly when I first heard "Elephant Gun," by Beirut, five years ago. I had never heard anything like it and was so moved by it. The song combined Eastern Eurpoean music, with Balkan folk, and pop. When I later found out that Zach Condon recorded it entirely himself, in his bedroom, as a mere teen, I think I fell in love with him for a brief moment.

Until next time, cheers and happy eating!

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients
1 cup all-pupose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
3/4 cup, plus one tbspn, unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbspn vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. The dough will be stiff. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon or spatula. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheet about 2-3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

The Art of Scrambled Eggs

I am super happy that eggs are making a come-back. They were getting such a bad rap for quite some time! Once the subject of such great scrutiny, under the mantra "bad for your heart," eggs are no longer taking a beating (pun intended.) The biggest culprit for being so berated was the fat content in the yolk which does contain cholesterol. However, we are beginning to understand that there is indeed a distinction between dietary cholesterol, found in our friend the egg, and blood cholesterol, found in foods that contain saturated fat.

So why eat up your eggs? Did you know that eggs contain the highest quantity of pure-protein and that nutritionist actually use this as a comparison to measure the protein content of other whole-foods? Aside from protein, eggs contain an array of other good-for-you benefits, including vitamins A,D and E, a slew of B-vitamins (all found in the yolk), and iron, choline, potassium and calcium. Not to mention, that two eggs contain only 120 calories and close to 15 grams of protein!

For how easy scrambled eggs are to make, it is amazing how many people don't get them right. There are two secrets to perfectly fluffy eggs: milk and leaving them be while they cook! People tend to pour the eggs into a hot pan and start scrambling away as they cook, but that beats out all the fluff. You must leave the egg and then slowly, and gently, "move it around" the pan.

Now, a plea for organic cage-free eggs! Caged chickens live out their entire lives on less than a sheet of paper, making these animals the MOST confined animals in agriculture. This confinement deprives these sweet creatures of many of their natural behaviors, like nesting, and furthermore, this confinement, turns these docile creatures into hostile ones, that succumb to high levels of stress, causing them to attack (or peck) their roommate. For just a dollar more, you can support organic, cage-free farms that offer their chickens a standard of living that allows them to roam freely, spread their wings and lay eggs in nests. All this, equates to a better tasting egg with less cholesterol, less saturated fat, twice the omega-3, 3 times the vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene and 4-6 times the vitamin D!. Unfortunately, this does not mean cruelty-free but organic, cage-free varieties are your best best.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

2 eggs
3-4 tbspn of low-fat milk
salt and pepper
1 tbspn of butter

In a bowl whisk together the first three ingredients.

In a small skillet, non-stick if you have one, melt the butter. Pour the egg mixture and let it sit for a few seconds (this is key!) until the edges begin to cook. Use a spatula, scrape the cooked edges very gently, essentially moving them from the outer edge of the skillet to the center and letting the uncooked edge fill the pan. Do this 2 or 3 times until the eggs are cooked. You might have to flip the eggs once or twice. Just make sure to NOT OVERWORK THE EGGS!


The Best Damn Salad Ever!

Bold statement people! Bold statement! Yes, as of now, this salad is the best damn salad I have ever made. Yes, I said damn! Such a perfect word to express utter enthusiasm! Maybe it's because of my love of all food Mexican (if you don't believe me, check out how many Mexican recipes I have posted) or maybe I am just that good...just kidding. I served this for dinner last night and my husband and I pretty much ate silently...and it's not because we have nothing to say to one another...it's because we were too busy scarfing down our food!

I served this with shrimp, but I actually think I will try mahi mahi next time, which will soak up the marinade better. You can really use any protein you would like, but baja-style equates to seafood. Also, I am going to give you the recipe for the marinade and the salad dressing, however, for the salad, I will give you a breakdown of all the ingredients I used, and you can decide how much, or how little, you would prefer for you salad creation.

And of course, a tune from a band featured in a webisode before, Good Old War...this song makes me think of summer. I mean, the song is titled "Coney Island!"

Until next time, cheers and happy eating!

Baja Salad with Cilantro-Vinaigrette

For the marinade:

2 tbspn olive oil
1 tbspn lime juice
1 1.2 tspn honey
1 tbspn chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (use a little less if you are sensitive to spice)
1/2 tspn garlic powder
1/2 tspn cumin
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Marinade protein for at least 1 hour.

For the salad dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbspn red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tbspn lime juice
1 tbspn honey
1 1/2 tspn jalapeno pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of cumin
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender. Allow salad to sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. Give it a good stir before you serve.

For the salad, I used:

Romaine lettuce, chopped
red onion, diced
red pepper, julienned
canned black beans, rinsed
canned sweet corn
crushed tortilla chips, chili or lime flavor preferably
shredded cheddar cheese


Beet It

Yeah, I was totally singing a Michael Jackson song when I typed the title, but that is only because of my excitement to convert all you beet-haters into beet-lovers. For the past 29 years I have shunned away this magenta vegetable, but recently I had a "F*** it!" moment and decided it was high time I gave it another try. The truth is, I had never even tasted a beet, yet somehow was totally convinced it was the grossest thing on Earth. CRAZY! Apparently, I am not alone, as my husband is in the same boat. What is it about beets that turns so many people off? Sure, at the store it looks a little sad, but once you peel away the dirty looking layer a beautiful gift appears. A smooth, skin-staining, vibrant purple veggie that is crying for you to try him out. So have a Nike moment, and "Just Do It!" Give the beet a chance!

And for your listening pleasure, a band close to my heart, introduced to me by my hubby nine years ago when we first met. The Stars have produced countless amazing albums, yet have maintained a low-key status which gives even more integrity to the substance of their music!

Till next time! Cheers and happy eating.

Roasted Beets

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 ounce of olive oil
1 1/2 TB of honey
1 tspn of agave (optional)
3 large beets*

*Beets will stain your skin! Wear gloves if possible! If you don't have gloves, I sometime use plastic grocery bags.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the first 4 ingredients and whisk.

Trim both ends of the beets and peel away the dark, rough skin. Place in a small, glass, oven-proof container. Coat with dressing and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes. Make sure to stir often! Use a fork to check if the beets are tender. Serve over your favorite salad and enjoy!


How I Love Thee Sweets

If you meet someone that doesn't love themselves a sweet treat here and there, they are clearly in some sort of denial! The problem with sweets though is the guilt most of us feel after we devour them! No one should ever feel guilty for taking pleasure in something. Actually, research has proven that indulging here and there will lead to successful weight loss, and a happier you. I have compiled a list of "healthy" alternatives to satisfy the craving when it comes knocking on your palate! So go ahead, cave in, and don't go crying in the corner that you did so!

Larabars come in a plethora of flavors, my favorite being chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chip brownie. They are made of entirely whole ingredients including unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Unfortunately, with 11 grams of fat, and 220 calories, they are not exactly diet friendly. However, when you look at the ulterior, they are a much smarter option.
Another one of my favorite bars, LUNA Bar. S'mores is hands down my go-to flavor. It has a layer of chocolate goodness under a layer of graham cracker crunch. I am also partial to Dulce de Leche, which is so sweet, I sometimes have a hard time finishing it! Made with all natural ingredients and packing 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and a list of vitamins. LUNA Bars have about 5 grams of fat and 180 calories per bar.

Though made for kids, who is to stop me from eating anything with the words peanut butter, brownie and chocolate chip? I LOVE to heat the chocolate brownie flavor in a bowl and serve it with a bowl of low-fat yogurt. Z Bars are made by Cliff and contain no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils. This organic bar contains 3.5 grams of fat, 130 calories and has 12 essential vitamins and minerals.

All of Edy's Slow Churned ice cream flavors are outrageously good! My favorites are Chocolate Fudge Chunk, Cookie Dough, Cookies N Cream and Caramel Delight. This brand is so rich, it is hard to believe that it has 1/2 the fat of regular ice cream and 1/3 fewer calories.

thinkThin bars are an all natural, gluten free and sugar free bar. They are fairly high in fat and calories to be considered a waist-friendly snack, but with such a high protein content, 20 grams, that keeps me satisfied for hours, I use these as a meal replacement. My husband and I love these so much, we buy them by the box! Brownie crunch is divine, as is the white chocolate.

I am not exaggerating when I say this, but I had a Nutella sandwich at school every single day until I was 16! I mean EVERY DAY! The combination of things you can spread this hazelnut spread on are endless! My favorite is a graham cracker with a toasted marshmallow on top! Other healthy ideas is a slice of whole grain toast with bananas, a whole grain tortilla shell or simply dipped strawberries. There is actually an entire site dedicated to recipes featuring Nutella. Visit it by clicking here. You do have to be careful, as Nutella, when compared to peanut butter, is not the healthiest option. It has 7 times more sugar than peanut butter and no where near as much protein. This is certainly an indulgence, just be smart about what you pair this delectable spread with!

Until next time guys....cheers and happy eating!