Apr 30, 2012

New, Fun Food Finds!

Here are a some new foods I’ve discovered either on websites, in stores, or through friends.

1. Riceworks Tangy BBQ rice crisps.image

I’ve had the Salsa Fresca flavor and they were so good. I’d like to try these next.

2. How much do you love the brand name Cookiehead? I saw these at La Guardia airport. Must find here!

3. These granola bars in the dairy section of the grocery store and as a bit confused. Apparently they contain real milk in them. They come in Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, Mixed Berry, Chocolate, and Strawberry.

4. Weren’t SnackWell’s products all the rage in the 90s? Their slogan is “Be Bad. Snack Well.” Interesting, huh? I’m curious about Mint Fudge Shortbread cookies.

5. Jello S’mores pudding. What!

6. My friend Lauren told me about these beet chips. Holy cow.

They also make apple snacks.

7. Some like it hot, hot, hot!

8. I see VitaTops on blogs a lot. Are they actually good or are you guys tricking yourselves?

9. These were spotted at Whole Foods. The bars contain ONLY fruit.

10. These Pure Bars look really good and come in a ton of flavors: chocolate brownie, cranberry orange, apple cinnamon, cherry cashew, wild blueberry, and dark chocolate berry.

Which ones have you seen or tried?

Apr 27, 2012

The Friday Five

1. What I’m Reading: I finished Fifty Shades Darker last weekend and immediately purchased the third book of the trilogy:

I’m trying to read this one slowly for two reasons: 1)It’s the last one – I’m kind of sad, and 2) I read the first two so fast that I missed a lot of details, and this one seems the most serious of them all. Anyone finished with the trilogy? Which book was your favorite?

2. What I’m Listening to:  After shamelessly posting Justin Bieber last Friday, I figured I share something a little less, uh, teeny-bopper. This is my favorite song off of Nicki Minaj’s latest album, Roman Reloaded:

Tell me you’re not dancing in your chair right now. [PS: Thank you, Carolyn, for making me listen to that song first. xo Smile]

3. Memes I’m Loving: 

WHEN I GET TO THE MOVIE THEATER EARLY AND GET A GOOD SEAT

And because I love love love Betty White, this one cracked me up.

WHEN SOMEONE ASKS WHAT I’M INTERESTED IN

4. Foods I’m in Search of: Remember when I made those disgusting pickle popsicles last Summer? Yes, that was gross. The other day, my friend Brandy tagged me in this picture:

Apparently they can be purchased at Wal-Mart. Yikes. Btw, I’m pretty sure that 25% of my tagged facebook photos are actually of food. 90% of said food photos are pickles/frickles.

I also read about this bar in Fitness Magazine and now I need it! Dear Corazonas, please send this hungry girl some snacks. image

5. What I’m Bookmarking:

Thanks, Rick, for this one. Too bad I am actually the nazi and not the hugger.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Apr 26, 2012

Spicy Kale & White Bean Soup / CSA Week 2

It’s Christmas again! Err, Week 2 of my CSA with Gruber Farm I mean. Same thing, right?DSC_0141 (1024x731)

Included in the box from Week 2:

  • strawberries
  • kale
  • turnips
  • snow peas
  • lettuce
  • a GIANT head of cabbage the size of my head
  • sweet onions

Just like last week, as soon I picked up the box, I immediately washed and ate most of the strawberries. I can’t help myself.

I don’t know what happened to our “Summer” weather, so I had no problem using the massive amount of kale to make another soup.

Spicy White Bean & Kale Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound kale, stems and veins removed and leaves washed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2  (14.5 oz.) cans white northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Preparation:

  1. Cut the kale into small strips, about 1/2 inch thick. In a medium saucepan, heat 1olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until softened, or about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the beans, stock, water, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Stir in kale, salt, and both peppers. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until kale is tender and dark green.
  3. Serve immediately and top with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.

image

Nutritional perks of kale! According to The World's Healthiest Foods, kale is an excellent source of Vitamins K, A, and C, and manganese. It is a very good source of fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium. It is a good source of iron, magnesium, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, protein, and many others. Check out the full profile here.

For just a few ingredients and very little seasoning, this soup has a lot of flavor. It’s not too spicy – just a bit of kick! Kale makes me feel like the healthiest person on the block. It’s just so….green.

You should also check out these kale chips I made last year.

When I walked into work on Wednesday morning, I found that my coworker Dane had brought me 3 different cupcakes: Vanilla, Lemon Blueberry, and Red Velvet. What a sweet guy! After dinner, I had no problem devouring some (most?) of the Red Velvet.image

HUNGRY MEETS HEALTHY MEETS  SUGAR. REPEAT.

I must also note that I completed my “20 Pure Barre Classes in April” that night. More on that later ;)

What’s your favorite kale recipe? Next week, I’ll have a kale salad for you. It contains many of the ingredients found in a mojito! No, not the liquor. Sorry guys.

When you have a clean, healthy dinner, are you more apt to indulge in dessert?

Apr 25, 2012

What I’m Loving Wednesday

1. At least once a week, I end up at the Blackbaud help desk. Occasionally it’s for tech support, but the majority of the time, it’s for candy. Let’s be honest. Those boys always have a ton of snacks. When I popped in last week, they were really excited to show me this vintage chair they found in a random closet. How huge is this thing?!

To put it in perspective, it comfortably fit me AND a giant bag of candy.IMAG0024

2. My friend Shana knows I like winking, so she sent me a picture of her breakfast.

Sriracha and egg wink at all the fine gentlemen!

3. After stopping by a pet adoption event, I was thisclose to leaving with a pup. Look at this cutie!! It was love at first sight until the volunteer told me he was part malamute and would end up the same weight as me. Ok, woah. He was really excited to take a walk around the building with me. Really excited.pup

4. More memes!!

WHEN I’M AT THE GYM AND TRYING TO SCOPE OUT THE HOTTIES:

Pardon the language on the next two, but they were too funny not to share.

WHEN ANOTHER ONE OF MY FRIENDS GETS A BOYFRIEND:

WHEN I MAKE A TYPO ON MY BLOG AND PEOPLE GET THEIR PANTIES IN A TWIST ABOUT IT:

5. This chart is so accurate.

6. Hot damn, you guys are excited about the new LUNA bars. Keep the giveaway entries coming! 6 days left to enter!

What’s your favorite breed of dog?

Do you make faces with your food?

Recipes tomorrow!

Apr 24, 2012

Giveaway!! *New* LUNA Fiber Bars

I am so excited you guys. LUNA has come out with a new line of fiber bars! Each bar is a delicious, nutritious, and convenient high fiber snack that is sure to satiate you.

Nutritional benefits:

  • 7g of fiber
  • 110-120 calories each
  • contains the Core 4 vitamins and minerals -- calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D
  • 70% organic

The new bars come in 3 flavors: Peanut Butter Strawberry, Chocolate Raspberry, and Vanilla Blueberry. LUNA Fiber will be available in stores nationwide in May, or you can purchase them online here. LUNA Fiber 3 Flavor Fan - 022212

Don’t even tell me you’re not drooling.

I’m equally excited to be able to share these bars with YOU! I have three boxes to give away to three winners (one box/person).

For a chance to win:

  • leave me a comment telling me which flavor you’re most excited to try (mandatory)
  • follow me on twitter - @christinaorso (optional)
  • tweet about this giveaway and tag me (optional)
  • become a fan of my facebook page (optional)

*Leave a separate comment for each entry!*

Giveaway ends Monday, April 30th, at noon EST.

GOOD LUCK!

Apr 23, 2012

Weekend Happenings

After a work project was completed on Friday, Rachel and I were given gift cards to Bottles for helping out. Woohoo! I managed to scoot out of work by 5 pm and headed over to find a delicious red wine.

I highly recommend this! It’s a full-bodied, fruity red with hints of strawberries and cherries. With a glass in hand, I finished Fifty Shades Darker. It left me wanting to jump into the third book immediately, but sleep was more important.

Saturday morning I took my 16th Pure Barre class in April. I’m so close to completing the 20 class challenge! During the day, I met up with my friend Courtney for lunch and shopping. That evening, a few of us went out for drinks and dancing at Closed for Business and Oku. Much later, somebody (no, not me) had a wise idea of going to IHOP. After being convinced they had “healthy options” on their menu, I went along with the gang. healthy

My friend Dodd ordered probably the most disgusting thing on the entire menu. Country fried steak with um, “gravy.” It was just awful looking…IMAG2217

And I had the face to prove it.

I ordered one of the healthy menu options (egg whites, toast, fruit, and “bacon”) and it was terrible. Just terrible. Now I know why I don’t eat here. We did have a lot of fun though. The people watching was incredible.

Sunday Funday was much more delicious! For brunch, Steve, Ryan, and I went to Butcher & Bee. This place is BYOB, and Steve surprised us with beer, champagne, and orange juice. The pineapple o.j. is money in a mimosa! The shark that Steve is holding is actually a bottle opener.IMAG2222

To eat, I had the Shaksuka, an Israeli dish of poached eggs in a tomato sauce with onions, garlic, cilantro, and a dollop of tahini served with crusty bread.IMAG2226

It was really good. We also shared a cream puff for dessert. IMAG2227

Yum and yum.IMAG2229

Butcher & Bee on Urbanspoon

Sunday night, a bunch of us went bowling. And by a bunch of us, I mean Lauren and I with eight boys. She and I really enjoyed that ratio. We also kicked their behinds. I definitely dominated my lane on the last game.IMAG2242

I swear, it’s because I’m left-handed. Winking smile

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

Apr 21, 2012

7 Course Tasting at Iacofano’s Italian Bistro & Bar

Last weekend, I was invited by Chef John Iacofano to come to his restaurant, Iacofano's, for a 7 course tasting dinner. I happily obliged, and brought my friend Rachel along with me. One of our coworkers is a long-time fan of Iacofano’s and he and his wife dine there at least 5 times per month. We’ve heard him tell us about his wonderful experiences there many times, so we were eager to see just how good their Italian food was.

The first thing you will notice about the restaurant is its d├ęcor. Although it’s in a strip mall, once inside the restaurant, you’re warmed by red painted walls filled with family photos. The staff is quiet, but friendly, and you will be greeted immediately. It’s always nice to walk in a restaurant and feel that the owners and staff appreciate your business.

Once seated, we were offered a glass of champagne. Way to start off the night! As we sipped our bubbly, our server brought Course 1: LOCAL STRAWBERRY SALAD: with baby lettuces, hazelnuts, goat cheese &
hibiscus vinaigrette:
DSC_0080

The strawberries were from Boone Hall Farms – yay, local! The flavors complemented each other well. Our only gripe was that the vinaigrette was much too vinegary. I loved having hazelnuts instead of walnuts or almonds, which you typically see with strawberries & goat cheese.

Soon after, we were presented with Course 2: HOUSE PULLED MOZZARELLA
over roasted plum tomatoes, pesto, fresh cracked pepper & grilled Focaccia:DSC_0083

While eating this course, I probably said “Omg, this pesto” like five times. It was SO good. The tomatoes, also from a local farm, tasted like they had been plucked from the vine that afternoon. But seriously, that pesto…can I have it bottled?

Course 3: GRILLED CALAMARI - Chilled & marinated with pickled cherry peppers, Sicilian Oregano, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & lemon with chickpeas & sweet chili threads:DSC_0085

Before this dish, neither Rachel nor I had ever had grilled calamari. This dish was complex with a bit of heat from the peppers and chili threads. I loved the addition of lemon and chickpeas.

Course 4: SWEET CORN BISQUE with tarragon and fennel:DSC_0086

Oh, I liked this a lot. I usually stray away from fennel, but it wasn’t overpowering at all. You could tell the corn was fresh, as it had that nice crunch to it.

Course 5: PAN SEARED DIVER SCALLOPS -over green pea risotto, sweet corn broth & topped with fennel pollen:hThough I immediately dove into the pea risotto, the scallop ended up stealing my heart. This was, by far, one of the best tasting scallops I’ve had. It was cooked perfectly! I would never refuse another one of these scallops, no matter how full I was. Ahhh.

Course 6: RAVIOLI CARBONARA - parmesan cream filled ravioli with peas, bacon, and roasted mushrooms:DSC_0090

I thought this would be a heavier dish due to the parmesan, cream, and bacon, but the ravioli so light and tender.

And then came my dessert! Course 7 : CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TORTE and APPLE CAKE with cream cheese frosting, salted caramel sauce and strawberries.DSC_0094

Rachel and I just stopped talking and started mmmming at this point. As a chocolate cake lover, she enjoyed the chocolate torte. The apple cake was right up my alley, especially along side the salted caramel sauce. After the cake was gone, I used my fork to scrape up the rest of the caramel. I mean, wouldn’t you?

We really enjoyed our evening. Not only was the food divine, but we were constantly entertained by Chef John and our server. They were happy to tell us about the different ingredients, proudly noting that they were sourced from local farms. What I noticed  about all of the dishes was the freshness and effort put into each of them. The staff seems to be genuinely proud of the restaurant and its food, and I appreciate that.

Next time you find yourself craving Italian food while in Mount Pleasant, check out Iacofano’s. They also have affordable happy hour specials with excellent wine choices. Many of my friend Trish’s wines from Vidalco are on the wine list! TRY THE EL HUIQUE CABERNET SAUVIGNON. Do not leave the restaurant without having a glass. It’s incredible.

For more information on Iacofano’s, check out their

Tell John I sent you and ENJOY your dinner!

Iacofano's on Urbanspoon