Want Clear, Healthy Skin? Avoid These 17 Foods

Is your skin breakout city, population: one? Skin creams, cleansers and enzyme peels aren’t the only things you need in your beauty arsenal to maintain radiant and glowing skin. Keep Reading!

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Barbecue Pork Polenta Bowls With Pineapple and Guacamole

These BBQ Pork Polenta Bowls with Pineapple and Guacamole popped up in my Instagram feed and totally grabbed my attention! Bright, bold and fresh flavors simply bursting off of my screen, how can one resist!?  Keep Reading

Personal Development: Ignite Your Spark

Do your daily habits reflect your best self? Do they align with your goals, aspirations, dreams or what you want to improve upon or learn? If they don’t then it’s time to re-evaluate how to make your daily habits reflect YOU! Keep Reading!

H2O: Do You Drink Enough?

You hear it all the time from, “you should drink more water,” to “eight glasses a day!” but do you actually drink enough water?
Drink How MuchYou should! Heck, it kind of is us. “Water makes up about two thirds of who we are, and influences 100 percent of the processes in our body,”says CamelBak hydration expert Doug Casa, PhD. In a most basic sense your body craves it, needs it and will benefit from it. Right here, right now make a conscious effort to fuel your body with the water it needs to thrive.
Start today. Operation hydration here we come! Let’s dive in to some proven ways water can benefit you and make you even more awesome than you already are:

Water-Lemon

1. Aids Weight Loss: If you are looking to lose some lbs. up your water intake! It’s not uncommon to pack on some extra pounds mistaking thirst for hunger so, the next time you think you are hungry, reach for a glass of water instead it may be just what your body needed. H2O is also a great replacement for high-calorie drinks like soda and alcohol ’cause really who needs all that extra sugar, carbs and fat anyway!?

TIP: Add some flavor and zest to your water naturally, try: lemon, mint, cucumber or berries

2. Energy Boost: Being dehydrated can zap your energy and make you feel tired and sluggish. The next time you’re feeling sleepy (when you shouldn’t be) reach for some H20 to refresh and re-energize your mind and body.

3. Natural Headache Cure: Often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking enough water. Going without water for too long causes headaches for some people, and has been identified as a migraine trigger. Your headache Rx: Try drinking two to four cups of water for headache relief within one to two hours.

4. Healthier Skin, Hair and Nails: Drinking water can clear up your skin and help you get that fresh glow look going on! Commit to drinking a healthy amount of water over a week and see the effects it has on your skin, hair and nails.

5. Keeps Things Moving Digestive-Wise: Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to properly digest our food. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems and along with fiber it can cure constipation.

6. Scrub Brush For Your Kidney’s: Your kidney’s remove waste from your body but they can’t do it alone! Water is used by the body to flush out all of those toxins so, the more water you drink the better your kidneys will function!

7. Better Exercise: We all know it is essential to drink water when exercising, but did you know being dehydrated can negatively impact your workouts? That’s right dehydration will slow you down and make your workouts harder. Be sure to drink water two hours before you plan to exercise, and of course during and after.

8. Mood Booster: The next time you’re feeling irritable, grumpy or down in the dumps reach for a glass of H2O: Drinking water can refresh you so much, it can actually improve your state of mind. Don’t let dehydration get you down, drink water to clear your mind!
IS IT ENOUGH?
So, now that you know how water really does make you AWESOME let’s see if you are getting enough. The best way to determine if you are getting enough water is to take a peek at your pee! Yeah, you heard me! Remember, our bodies are about two thirds water… so, if your pee is bright-dark yellow you need to drink more, if your pee is clear to light straw-colored you’re a-okay.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I DRINK?
As for how much water you should drink each day well, that’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Eight Glasses of WaterAlthough no single formula suits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water you should drink each day. Try this hydration calculator from CamelBak to help you determine your water intake needs. Also, the “8×8” rule (eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day) isn’t supported by hard evidence, but it’s easy to remember and is a good start towards determining how much water your body needs!

 
Raise your glass and follow this infographic to help you make water a daily habit for better health!
water-when-to-drink

 

 

Coast to Coast: 12 Crazy Food Truck Cuisines Worth Road Tripping For | Brit + Co.

via Coast to Coast: 12 Crazy Food Truck Cuisines Worth Road Tripping For | Brit + Co..

We’ve scoured the country from coast to coast in search of  unique, weird and downright crazy food-truck cuisine. Grab your keys, your friends and unlock your taste buds as you hit the great American highways and byways. Road trip your way from truck to truck savoring what they’re dishing out: Love balls, Fi-Yo for fido anddonuts like you’ve never imagined them before. What are you waiting for? Go and taste something crazy!

1. Takoyaki Love Balls: What exactly is a Love Ball? We’d take our guesses, but it’s better to be advised by the experts dishing them out in Austin, TX. The Love Bus rolled into town to dish out typical Japanese street food, takoyaki: A fried pancake ball filled with octopus, pickled ginger and green onions, drizzled with takoyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, aonori and bonito flakes. (via Love Balls Bus)

2. Lobster Macaroni and Cheese: Check out this lobstah shack on wheels. Not only is it sustainable, but it’s dishing out lobster from NYC to DC. Get your hands around a buttery lobster roll, live lobster or this decadently lobster-adorned mac and cheese. (via Red Hook Lobster Truck)

3. Margherita Pizza: There’s nothing too crazy about classic Neapolitan pizza, besides the fact that it tastes CRAZY good. What’s crazy? This Neapolitan pizza is wood fired from a transatlantic shipping container on wheels! (via Del Popolo)

4. Bear Dog: Cracker Jacks and whhaaaaat on a hot dog? The Phoenix-based, dog-loving Short Leash Hot Dog Truck is dishing out a dog (in a bun) adorned with Cracker Jacks, peanut butter, smoked gouda, bacon and BBQ sauce. (via Short Leash Hot Dogs)

5. Beet Fries: You can’t beet ‘em! This truck serves up late-night and lunch grub with an Asian spin. (via East Side King)

6. Apple Bacon Gorgonzola Waffle Cake: Quit your wafflin’ and bite into this masterpiece: A buttery, flaky, waffle dessert topped with Granny Smith apples, creamy Gorgonzola, whipped cream, pecans, bacon and cherry balsamic mist… ohhhh balsamic mist! (via Waffle Cakes)

7. Deconstructed Samosa: Like a tasty science experiment on wheels, this truck’s serving Indian street food like you’ve never imagined! Take the deconstructed samosa, filled with garbanzos, pico, an array of chutneys, “secret” green sauce, zingy tamarind, tomatoes and red onion all piled atop a smashed samosa. Don’t forget to top yours off with chicken, beef, pork belly, lamb, paneer or tofu. (via Curry Up Now)

8. Crawfish Beignet: Believe it or not, there’s soul food in Seattle. Get your Cajun fix at Jemil’s. He’s dishing out po’boys, etouffèe and, if you’re lucky, a crawfish beignet on special. (via Jemil’s Big Easy)

9. Boss Hog Doughnut: Is it a doughnut or is it a meal? Well, at Gourdough’s, they eat like a meal. The boss hog is a handmade doughnut topped with pulled pork, potato salad and drizzled with honey BBQ sauce. Have a sweet tooth? Check out the Funky Monkey topped with grilled bananas and brown sugar. (via Gourdoughs Big Fat Doughnuts)

10. Ice Cream Sammies: Spanning from LA–>NYC,  Coolhaus is scooping up the COOL-est ice cream sandwiches you can get your hands on. Select your cookie like the Potato Chip + Butterscotch or Vegan Chocolate Truffle Banana. Choose your ice cream… Peking duck, anyone? For reals, it’s Peking duck skin and fortune-cookie crumble in a Chinese five-spice ice cream with plum-sauce swirl. Still hungry? Bite into the edible wrapper. (via Coolhaus)

11. Frozen Hot Chocolate: It’s HOT, HOT, HOT in Miami, so why not cool off with a frozen hot chocolate? Hip Pops is cooling patrons off with all natural, frozen desserts that follow the old-world tradition of Italian gelaterias. (via Hip Pops)

12. Fi-Yo: A bone-a-fide, gourmutt food truck for dogs, Chicago-based Fido to Go is dishing out frozen yogurt treats and homemade cookies all for pups. Your furry friend will drool over the flavors like Salmon Fi-Yo, Lamb Asiago or Bacon Cheeseburger. (via Fido To Go)

What crazy eats are rolling through your town? Share below!

Brown Bag It! 18 Healthy Lunches | Brit + Co.

Brown Bag It! 18 Healthy Lunches | Brit + Co. by Michelle Swift

We understand life gets hectic, but come on. Treat your body right by skipping the drive-thru and brown bagging this: 18 healthy lunches that can keep up with your busy on-the-go schedule. All it takes is a little planning, prep and a way cool lunch tote to get you on the right track. Boost your health, inspire co-workers with your creative eats and save some cash all by bagging your lunch. Start Monday and eat your way through Friday with our healthy suggestions. We promise, lunch will become your most sought after hour of the day.

1. Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad Sandwich: This sandwich is a smashing success. Hearty chickpeas are smashed with the buttery texture of avocado then hit with a zesty zing of lime, cilantro and green onion. (via Two Peas and Their Pod)

2. Pretty Purple Picnic Wraps: Lunch is always a welcomed break from the daily grind. Make yours even more so with these vibrant purple wraps. (via Green Kitchen Stories)

3. Tijuana Torta: Head south of the border for a Latin-inspired sandwich, la torta. (viaDelish)

4. Feel Good Lunch Bowl: Having a bad day? Boost your mood with this bowlful of glorious goodness. Black bean and quinoa meet roasted squash, cauliflower and creamy hummus. (via Oh She Glows)

5. Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowl: Yeah, lunch bowls are in, so get your spoon in one. Adorn quinoa with Latin flair, and be the talk of the lunchroom. (via The Shiksha in the Kitchen)

6. Chicken and Quinoa Bowl: Cozy up to seared chicken, zucchini, broccoli, dark leafy greens and toasted pine nuts. Go ahead, watch your coworkers drool. (via The Cozy Apron)

7. Grains, Roasted Veg and Hummus: Keep things simple when eating on the go. Try your hand at big batch cooking. You’ll find yourself eating healthy lunches all week long with a combo of seasoned grains, roasted veg and takes on hummus. (via Deliciously Ella)

8. Savory Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with White Beans and Kale: Try this totally adaptable baked sweet potato with whatever beans and veg you have on hand. (viaThe Kitchn)

9. Greek Salad Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Fusion is in. Rack up some creativity points around the office by introducing Greek salad to roasted sweet potatoes. (via So Let’s Hang Out)

10. Thai Stuffed Avocados: Stuff yourself on these spicy parcels: Plump avocados filled with creamy hummus, crunchy sprouts, spicy Sriracha and toasted peanuts…. nom, nom, nom. (via Eat, Live, Run)

11. Tortellini with Spinach and Tomatoes: 20 minutes of prep and $3 per serving gets you a bowl of Italian goodness: Cheesy tortellini combine with baby spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir things up midweek by adding your own twist with mushrooms, zucchini, broccolini or pesto. (via The Clever Carrot)

12. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad: Cool off after a busy morning with a light, refreshing salad of tender chicken, sweet grapes, crunchy celery, creamy yogurt and candied pecans. Just a fork will do! (via Tablespoon)

13. Orzo Super Salad: Known to be transported from one end of town to the other by 10 speed or scooter, this salad (packed with green goodness) is up for an on-the-go challenge. (via 101 Cookbooks)

14. Steamed Cabbage Dim Sum: Unwrap the traditional wonton and rewrap it in green cabbage kicked up with spicy ginger and savory pork. Did we mention these are bite-sized? Because they are. (via Mummy, I Can Cook)

15. BLT Springroll: A twist on the average BLT turns into a not-so-average spring roll. (via White on Rice Couple)

16. Spicy Kimchi Pancakes: Crazy for kimchi? Have your mixing bowl at the ready for these savory eat-with-your-hands pancakes. (via My Korean Kitchen)

17. Ricotta Crepes with Smoked Salmon: It’s been a long week. Treat yourself to flaky smoked salmon, creamy ricotta, vinegary capers and red onions, all wrapped in a thin DIY crepe. (via Beaugureau Studios)

18. Whole Wheat Tortilla Pizzas with Arugula + Prosciutto: Tortillas aren’t just for tacos! Keep these tortillas flat for a pizza base. Add your sauce, cheese and toppings for a simple yet satisfying lunch on the go. (via The Clever Carrot)

What are you carrying in your lunch box? Give us the dish below.

Spring Day Perfection

For today this just seems fitting, in fact I’d love to just fit myself into this recount of a NYC spring day:

“I landed in New York to find the weather itself conspiring against me. It was one of those magical Manhattan springs; fresh winds were blowing gently across the island so that each time I inhaled, I breathed in the faint salt smell of the ocean. Daffodils and tulips nodded from every corner; lilacs and apple blossoms danced through the parks. On the avenues tables and chairs edged slyly onto sidewalks, promising summer. The sun poured from the sky like honey, and people threw back their heads and drank it in.

Spring-NYC.jpg

At Tiffany’s the windows were filled with eggshells, cracked open, spill- ing diamonds. Customers strolled through fancy food stores collecting wild strawberries imported from France, Japanese beef bred on beer, hand-churned cream from grass-fed cows, and caviar by the pint. The restaurants were packed with handsome people begging for tables, and great crowds jockeyed in the museums, trying to get a better view. Marble buildings once black with soot had been polished to a shine, and the statues all over town were newly gilded. Alone in New York, I wandered the streets and allowed the city to seduce me.”—Ruth Reichl

Jot It Down on Paper: Facebook’s Newest App

Are you head-over-heels excited to get your hands on the new iPhone app available February 3rd? It’s like Facebook meets Pinterest meets Instagram meets Twitter meets Feedly. Facebook imagined the unthinkable and created a new publishing tool to share stories.

Story-Telling

Go ahead and say hello to Paper. Jot down your story, read the stories of others from around the world, share it to Facebook, and get your news fix too. Yep, Facebook outdid themselves. You may never open the Facebook app again after trying your hand at Paper.

Paper was designed with you in mind. The iPhone app is meant for users to spend some time appreciating the content they’re engaged with. Right off the bat you’ll notice the stark contrast to the multitude of tabs of Facebook’s news feed. Paper delivers a captivating set of fluid, horizontally scrolling screens.

Each section consists of a main screen with a cover story suspended over a list of smaller stories at the bottom. We should mention stories are shared with elegant, visual appeal. You may scroll down through each of the stories or pinpoint the one that interests you, select, and fully immerse yourself.

Paper-GESTURE

Bid adieu to tabs and buttons. Paper is designed to be navigated via gestures: Thumb, tap, twist, and tilt. Don’t worry, if you get stuck, the app will give you a helpful tip on how to navigate.

Browse through sections of organized content for fast and fluid perusing of themes and interests. Every section includes photos, videos, articles, essays, and more for you to find what captures your attention. Make your Paper tailor-made by dragging and dropping the content you like into sections.

Paper-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Paper, Facebook created a beautiful space for us to visit, and share stories. A place to get away from the clutter, slow our pace, and spend some time looking into the world around us.

Intrigued to check out this beautiful app on your hand-sized screen? Let us know in the comments below.

Avocado Salad

Buttery avocado, zesty lime, the warm earthiness of cumin, and refreshing cilantro combine in this fresh salad, pairing nicely with spicy foods.

Avocado SaladAvocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado, diced
1 Tomato, chopped
3 Green Onions, finely chopped (include the green tops)
1 Green Chili, chopped
5-10 Sprigs of Cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp Cumin
Juice from 1 Lime
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salt to taste

Avocado Salad Avocado
Method:

In a bowl, mix the following ingredients: Green Onion, Green Chili, Tomato, Cilantro, Cumin, and Black Pepper, Then add in the lime juice and salt and mix again. Finally, gently add the diced avocado being careful not to mash it. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Spaghetti in a Caper Cream Sauce with Parmigiano

A rich, homestyle creation that will have you coming back again and again.
Think comfort food—Italian style.
Creamy bèchamel, a hint of toasted nutmeg, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano, and a salty-acidic bite of caper.
Buon Appetito!
Spaghetti in Caper Cream Sauce
Spaghetti in a Caper Cream Sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
3-4 Tbs. butter
1-2 teaspoons flour
4 Tbs. capers
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 lb Spaghetti noodles
Dash of hot pepper (fresh or flakes)
Dash of nutmeg
Freshly grated black pepper and salt to taste

Preparation:

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Once melted, add the flour, stir until combined to make a roux, and simmer until it becomes sandy in color. In a separate saucepan warm the milk but don’t allow it to boil. Once the milk is warmed begin slowly adding it to the roux, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, continuously stirring. Next, add the dash of nutmeg, and the cheese, continue stirring until the cheese melts.  If the sauce becomes too thick, just add more milk. The trick is to constantly stir! Once combined add in the capers, black pepper and salt to taste.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Once the pasta is cooked add it to the Caper Cream Sauce and gently toss until combined. Add a generous amount of freshly grated black pepper, garnish with hot pepper and olive oil if desired and serve.

 

 

 

Stuffed Collard Greens with Quinoa and Legumes

Roll into the New Year with a healthy twist on the traditional cabbage roll!
Let the economical collard green shine in the limelight as it’s typically downplayed by its similar leaf, kale. Although kale bodes more popular, collards are nutritionally up to par. Both greens are exceptionally rich in vitamins A, C, and K, along with beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and potassium. Collards are infamous in the Southern United States and are typically served with a salted or preserved meat.
Plated

However, these stuffed collard leaves are full of protein and flavor sans the meat. Quinoa is the perfect grain to use because it’s a complete protein (unlike most grains) and adds a nice, fluffy texture.

Stuff

COLLARDS STUFFED WITH QUINOA AND LEGUMES TOPPED WITH FIERY ROASTED TOMATOES

Ingredients

• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 can red beans
• 2 onions, * (1 finely diced) the other (finely sliced)
• 1 tomato, finely sliced
• 2 Hungarian wax peppers, diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• 5-6 cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. thyme
• 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
• salt and pepper to taste
• 10 leaves of collard greens

Instructions

Begin by cooking the quinoa, typically 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. Boil the water, add quinoa and simmer until quinoa fluffs about 10 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil then add the onion and a generous pinch of salt, saute, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown. Next, add the Hungarian pepper and celery and cook, adding a little water if it starts to dry out, until the vegetables are tender. Add the mushrooms and the garlic and cook for another minute.

While the vegetables are cooking put the fire roasted tomatoes into a small mixing bowl. When the vegetables are done remove 3/4 cup of the vegetables from the skillet and add them to the fire-roasted tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Now add the cooked quinoa to the skillet, along with the beans including 1/4 of the bean-liquid and the seasonings. Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding additional liquid if it starts to dry out. Remove from heat.

In the meantime prepare the collard greens, bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the collard leaves and cut off the stems level with the bottom of the leaves. The secret to perfect cabbage/collard rolls is to trim the tough, central stem, so turn the leaves with the coarse side up, and holding a very sharp knife parallel to the leaf, trim off part of the thickened central rib.

In two batches of 5, place the collard leaves into the boiling water, gently submerge them and boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in cool water. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Assemblage

Prepare a casserole dish with olive oil and layer the thinly sliced onion and tomato to the bottom of the pan. Then, spoon half of the fiery roasted tomato mixture on top.
Have your cooked collard greens ready, lay them out trimmed side up and stem closest to you on a flat surface.
CollardsFor small leaves use 2 tablespoons of the quinoa and legume mixture and for larger leaves use 3 tablespoons and place about a quarter of the way from the bottom:

StuffFold the bottom up and over the filling, then fold in the side edges over the middle and roll up tightly into a package:

Roll-Up

Place each roll into the casserole dish:

Layer_Pan

Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the rolls, and cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Buon Appètit:

Fire_Roasted_Tomato_Sauce

Black Beans with Sweet Potatoes

Warm up a fall night with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes!

Black Beans/Sweet Potatoes

A simplistic meal, nutritious and quick, it can be used in a myriad of ways:

– Eat it as is
– For more of a substantial bite serve atop rice or quinoa
– Use as a taco filling topped with avocado
– Eat cold as a salad for a power-packed lunch
– Add stewed tomatoes and chili powder to start a pot of chili.

A one-pot meal using cupboard staples and boasting versatility….a great way to perk up leftovers!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato

Black Beans with Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 Can of Organic Black Beans
1 small Onion (red, yellow or white utilize what’s on hand,) chopped
4 cloves Garlic, chopped (not a huge fan of garlic, use a clove or two less)
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano
dash of Cinnamon
dash of Smoked Paprika
dash of Cayenne Pepper or Chili Powder
dash of Coriander
1 Tomato, chopped
1-2 Hot Peppers, chopped
***don’t have tomato or hot peppers on hand use 2 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite salsa instead!
1 Sweet Potato, cooked and cubed
1/2 bunch of Cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 Lime
1 tsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

To Prepare:

Begin by boiling or roasting the sweet potato until cooked.
Boiling Method: Fill a pot with water, enough to submerge the sweet potato, boil 25-30 minutes, until tender.  Drain and allow to cool.  The skin with easily slip off at this point, then chop into cubes.
Roasting Method: Cut sweet potato into cubes. Heat oven to 375°. On a well oiled baking sheet, place potatoes in a layer. Bake until tender, 15 minutes; let cool.

In a sturdy saucepan heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add onions and saute until softened and carmelized, then add garlic, spices and pepper.  Saute about 3-5 minutes before adding the beans, tomatoes or salsa.  Bring beans to simmering then add diced sweet potatoes and cook until heated through.  Add juice from fresh lime and chopped cilantro before serving.

Gomen and Lentils

The familiar collard green stars in the Ethiopian dish, Gomen:

Gomen with Lentils


Typically served atop a platter of injera and eaten with your hands, I served the greens over brown lentils. A powerhouse of vitamins and fiber not to mention flavor, Gomen tastes great eaten hot or cold.

There are few necessary steps to be made before having Gomen on the table, but I assure you it’s simple and worth it. Begin with Nit’ir Qibe otherwise known as, spiced clarified butter/oil which gives Ethiopian cooking its signature flavor. Nit’ir Qibe is best made in a larger quantity using what you need, and storing the rest for later use. It has a longer shelf life compared to regular butter and can be kept handy to add flavor to soups, stews and anything else you deem flavor-worthy.

Forkful of Gomen

NIT’IR QIBE-ETHIOPIAN SPICED CLARIFIED OIL
Makes 1 1/2 cups
*in this recipe I used a good olive oil in place of the butter

Ingredients:
– 1lb. butter or substitute good olive oil
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 3-inch piece of ginger, grated
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
– 1 teaspoon fenugreek
– 4 cardamom pods, ground
– 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped

To Prepare:
Melt the butter or olive oil in a saute pan over low heat.  With the butter be sure to skim foam as it rises and discard, continue until no more foam appears.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and continue to cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Removed from the heat allow the mixture to sit until cooled and the spices settle to bottom of the pan.  Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a heat-resistant container such as a mason jar.  Discard the onion and spices.

Cover the Nit’ir Qibe and store in the refrigerator, it will keep for about 3 weeks.

Gomen with Lentils

Gomen or Ethiopian Collard Greens
Makes 4 Servings
Ingredients:
– 2 bunches of collard greens, washed, stems removed and chopped
– 1/4 cup Nit’ir Qibe (see recipe above)
– 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 2-inch piece of ginger, grated
– 3 Anaheim chili peppers, seeded and chopped
– 1 cup water
– Salt and Pepper to taste

To Prepare:

Heat the Nit’ir Qibe in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili peppers, ginger and garlic, cooking until the pepper softens.  Add the collard greens, water and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender.  You may need to remove the cover to allow the liquids to boil off. Adjust seasonings accordingly

Serve with fresh injera bread or lentils.

Fried Eggs in a Spicy Tomato and Harissa Sauce with Crusty Bread

Eggs in Tomato Harissa SauceA quintessential meal to satisfy the appetite for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Healthy, quick and the perfect blend of spice to warm the chilly onset of Fall and Winter.
Fried Eggs with Spicy Tomato Harissa Sauce may become your new go-to comfort food!

Harissa is a versatile Tunisian condiment, typically sold in tubes or jars, yet it can easily be prepared at home: Blend red chili peppers into a thick paste with the addition of garlic, olive oil, and aromatic spices such as cumin, caraway and coriander. Depending on the heat level of the peppers, a spoonful of harissa can go a long way!

Fried Eggs in a Spicy Tomato and Harissa Sauce with Crusty Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 14.5 oz can tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp prepared Harissa, add more if you like it spicier!
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley, chives or cilantro

To Prepare:

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the oil then the onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and harissa. Increase heat to medium-high, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Now, turn the heat to medium-low, carefully add the eggs, salt and pepper and cover. Cook until the top of the eggs set, about 4 to 5 minutes, or to your liking. Garnish with chopped parsley, chives or cilantro. Serve with good, crusty bread!

Home Sweet Home

home-sweet-home…and that is the richness of travel,
sense of home broadens.
A melding with places sought,
people met,
challenges faced,
memories made,
conversations over meals shared,
and looks exchanged.

Sense of place fades
as your world expands.
…the richness of travel,
your heart no longer belongs
to just one place or one face.

Florence

Photo by E. Fina
by E.Fina

Romanticalism at it’s finest.
Yes, I say romanticalism—not really a word you say?
Well, it’s describing romanticism in a heightened sense—a strengthening of language.
Florence.
Ah Florence.
Where one can simply stand, enamored in it all.
The Medici’s, Leonardo, Botticelli, Giotto, Raphael.
Approaching Brunelleschi’s Duomo, an unfathomable sight, causing one to feel insignificant in size.
Sauntering across the Ponte Vecchio, pausing in view, the River Arno, outstretched.
Lunching in a quaint, corner shop, crumbs dusting the floor.
Cobbled streets, marble statues and colored facades.
Strolling hand in hand—step by step—breath by breath.
History—rebirth—Florence.