Month: January 2014

Hi Loves,

Now, I know this blog is supposed to be full of healthy recipes, but it’s also about the real-life day-to-day things I do. Once in a while those things include full-fat ice cream, bacon, or chocolate for instance. And sometimes those things might include all of the things.

All the things.

All the delicious things made more delicious by being combined with other delicious things.

Yes? Yes.

I think that’s enough rambling for now. My point is that this ice cream is so worth it and sometimes you just need the real deal. So how about some coffee ice cream with chocolate covered bacon and cocoa nibs!?IMG_0954

Now I will preface this recipe by letting you know this is by no means a low fat treat. (Duh)

And I will also say that I was dying to tweak it to make the base a lot healthier, but it was the first time the Chef and I attempted to make ice cream and he wanted to go traditional with a creme anglaise base which includes milk, sugar and egg yolks, so we compromised. He got his creme anglaise, but I insisted on organic, local everything, hormone-free eggs, rBGH-free dairy and humanely-raised bacon. If we were going to use milk, dairy, eggs and meat this is the only way I would agree. If you are unfamiliar with any of these terms or just want a refresher, here is a breakdown and why they matter to me:

Organic: Foods produced without the use of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

  • Pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic hormones wreak havoc on the immune system and build up toxins in the body.
  • Studies show that organic foods have more nutrients and antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts.
  • Organic is better for the environment, better for our bodies and tastes better.

Local: I love to support local farms and businesses in my area. Keep in mind that we vote with our dollars. I feel better knowing my dollars are going towards local, often organic food from people who care about quality and sustainability.

Hormone-free: It is standard practice in the food industry for farmers to administer artificial growth hormones to their livestock. The increased hormones cause the animals to grow larger than they would in nature and at an alarming rate. Elevated estrogen and testosterone levels are a concern, but no conclusive studies have been done to see what effect this could have on humans.

Researchers are concerned that artificial growth hormones could be linked to:

  • Breast, vaginal, prostate and colon cancer
  • Reproductive and developmental complications
  • Early puberty in girls

rBGH: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone or Artificial Growth Hormone. Monsanto and other such companies manufacture this hormone to forcefully extend milk production in dairy cows. Due to unnatural constant lactation, many cows develop mastitis-inflammation of the udders. If the affected milk gets into the food supply this becomes a matter of public health. Because mastisis is so common in cows treated with rBGH often times higher levels of antibiotics are administered.

Possible Health Risks Associated with rBGH:

  • Increased rate of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers
  • Increased rate of fraternal twin births
  • Antibiotic resistance in humans
  • Here is a great resource if you want to read up on all of the controversy surrounding rBGH.

Humanely-raised: I made the choice to eat vegetarian mainly because I was made aware of the horrific conditions of the standard livestock industry in our country. I became extremely interested in meat industry practices and did a lot of research on labels and what each one meant for the quality of life for the animal. Most didn’t completely satisfy me until I came across the label “Certified Humanely-Raised”. To adhere to Certified Humanely-raised standards farms must provide nutritious feed free of antibiotics and hormones, shelter and adequate roaming space and the ability to engage in natural behavior. Most farmers adhering to these practices care deeply about their animals and the environment they live in.

A paragraph from HumanelyRaisedMeat.com:
What does humanely raised mean to us? It means that all animals are pasture based and raised as close to nature as possible; no one is ever caged, or confined to a barn with a concrete floor. Chickens do not get their beaks clipped, or their combs dubbed. Roosters roam with the flock, protecting their hens from predators, and calling them to tasty morsels that they scratch up. Pigs do not have their teeth or tails clipped; their noses are not rung, and they farrow on pasture rather than being confined to a farrowing crate. Ducks are free to raise up their clutches of ducklings, and to teach them how to preen and swim. Cattle are never fed anything other than grass, hay and water, and they are not separated from their calves. All this takes a little more time and effort, but we feel this is the right way to raise livestock, and we would not do it any other way.

<3 This is a highly personal choice, but if I am going to purchase meat I feel immensely better supporting a farm with this level of care, passion, responsibility and respect for the animals and the environment used to sustain them.

Okay, I think I’ve said all I want to say for now. How about that ice cream!?

Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Bacon and Cocoa Nibs

Coffee Ice Cream Base:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla or half of a scraped vanilla bean
Pinch salt
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup crushed coffee beans (use your favorite and crush just enough to open the bean)
Add-Ins:
1 package bacon
1 bar high-quality dark chocolate (I like 70%)
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
In a saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients except eggs.
In a bowl whisk egg yolks.
When cream mixture comes to a boil remove from heat. Whisk small amount of hot cream to egg yolks. Pour yolks into saucepan and whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring, until mixture coats the back of a spoon. At this point, follow directions on your ice cream maker.
In the meantime, place bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, checking for desired crispness every 5 minutes thereafter.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Break up bacon and add to chocolate. Coat pieces and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until solid.
When ice cream is 12-15 minutes from being done add in bacon and cocoa nibs.
Eat!

 

 

 

 

Best. Day. Ever!

Hey loves,

Working in a restaurant, I have unusual hours. I usually go to work around 3pm and don’t get out until sometime after 12am. On the bright side, I avoid rush hour and enjoy supreme flexibility with my schedule. I try to coordinate my days off with the Chef’s, which is generally only one day a week for him. Because of that we try to make it count. At some point during the day, even while doing the simplest things together I declare that it is the Best. Day Eveeeer! I totally mean it, but it’s become a silly joke between us :)

Our day is usually Monday so this is how we ended our Sunday night:IMG_0926

What can I say? We like to get a head start. Overachievers 😉

And here is my idea of the perfect start to our day off:

IMG_0927

We trekked through rainy ice pelts to visit my friend at the coffee shop he works at. I call him The Coffee Whisperer. Seriously, any espresso machine this man touches turns out the best cup I’ve ever had. His soy latte was enough to make braving that weather totally worth it!

A morning latte isn’t complete without a sweet treat. We enjoyed a maple glazed scone that was light, flakey and vegan! It’s always a bonus when I find a treat to satisfy the Chef’s sweet tooth and my nutritional standards.

After coffee we wandered around the neighborhood, stopped in cute shops and a really cool liquor store. All of the bottles have a tag around the neck featuring unique tidbits about the spirit inside.IMG_0928

A new Whole Foods opened up a week ago so you know I needed to check it out. While exploring, we came up with the best idea! I’ll be sharing the recipe in a few days, but for now, I’ll give you a hint:

IMG_0932

Looks like breakfast ingredients, huh? Nope, not even close :b

We finished the night with some dinner and vino that I picked out at the liquor store.IMG_0943

Twas loverly :)

Now off to bed. Have a great night, friends!

xoxo,

Sam

…after writing this post I realized the whole day pretty much revolved around food and bev. Anyone else think good food and drank is essential to a good day. Or…OR…The Best. Day. Eveeeer!?

Too much?

:)

New Year, New Blog

Happy 2014 friends!

I spent the morning revamping the blog. It’s still got a ways to go, but I’m super excited to have a clean, functional space to write. It makes such a difference!

Since I woke up to a sparkling city blanketed in snow, oatmeal seemed like the perfect breakfast. My all-time favorite trick to sweetening my oats is microwaving half a banana until it gets gooey and caramelized and then adding it to the pot. I will share my go-to oatmeal recipe with you all soon.

What I REALLY want to share with you today is this delicious lunch

photo(4)

My dad’s from-scratch manhattan clam chowder soup! I brought some back with me after visiting my family for the holidays. By “from-scratch” I mean he cooks and chops the clams, makes bacon, chops that up and adds it to the pot with the cooked clam water, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and some other magical ingredients. He only makes it once a year for my sister’s birthday, but it was so good this year he promised he would make it more often. Yes, please!

Alongside my soup, I enjoyed a few pieces of socca. I first discovered socca from the Purely Twins girls. It’s delicious and super simple to make.

Basic Socca Recipe:

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Any herbs/spices you like

*I added turmeric, paprika and cayenne to mine

Heat a skillet on medium high. Add your choice of oil to the pan. (I used coconut)

Whisk all ingredients together and pour into the skillet.

photo(2)

photo(3)

Check after 10 minutes and flip when golden brown. Cook for 5 minutes on the other side.

Done!

photo(5)

I also like to add lemon juice over mine when it’s done. It adds a nice brightness to the savory socca.

Well that’s it for today friends. I’m going to grab an afternoon cup of coffee and get ready for work at the restaurant. I’m always surprised to see how many people venture out in the snow to eat. I guess to some New Yorkers snow ain’t no thang. This New Yorker prefers her nice warm apartment and a bowl of soup 😉

Have a happy Friday!

xoxo

Sam