Sunday, June 28, 2009

Your Go-To Cookies

Whenever I'm pressed for time to bake some goodies for my friends or an event, my 'go-to' choices are banana bread, pumpkin pie, and molasses cookies. I didn't have any ripe bananas on hand this time and pumpkin pie just screams 'Halloween' and 'autumn' to me, so my final decision rested on the molasses cookies.

I feel bad for molasses cookies because they are often over-shadowed by the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, or peanut butter cookies. I guess molasses is an acquired taste, but if you like ginger and spices, then you should definitely give it a try! Mine came out soft and chewy (thanks to the brown sugar and butter). Although it's not as visually appealing as your chunky chocolate disks; still, don't underestimate this underdog. Give it a chance!

What's your 'go-to' cookie in a hurry?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The High Line Park, New York, NY

This isn't a food-related post, but I was so proud of myself for visiting this 'new' park and finally got my shutter bug activated again, I just wanted to share some photos with y'all.

According to the website, the High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated, steel structure built in the 1930s to carry freight trains. It currently runs from Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, through the West Chelsea gallery neighborhood, ending at 34th Street, next to the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The last train ran on it in 1980.

So what makes it so special that many are raving about it? Well, that's because it's just so much fun to have an elevator greenery in the middle of Manhattan and not to mention that right under the track is an array of high end restaurants and warehouses and factories that have been converted to art galleries, design studios, offices, retailers, museums, and residences.

While it can't be compared to Central Park and I find it an oxymoron to grow flowers between the cracks of debilitated rail tracks, somehow, I could still seek out serenity in this park. Yes, I do see myself going back real soon. It's nice to escape from the city in such proximity.

Let me know if you'd like to see more photos. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Homemade granola

Walking down the cereal aisle in a supermarket, you'd be confronted with an array of cereal boxes and different flavors of granola. Vanilla, chocolate, or cinnamon is just some of the choices out there. But as I'm becoming more conscious about the ingredients, I'm starting to react to the excessive among of 'additions' manufacturers add to the the supposedly harmless oats. Canola oil? Sugar? Salt? Tons of sweetened dried fruits and chocolate bits? That's nice downing a dessert, not a healthful grain. So, I like to make my own version of granola and it doesn't take long at all! Heck, I even burnt mine because I left it in the toaster oven for too long.

I keep the ingredients and process really simple and of course, you can add in any items you like as well! I mainly use old-fashioned oats (of course), wheat flakes, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds. Then I add in a teaspoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of brown sugar and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 F and remember to check on it and mix it around so everything is nice and toasty. Then coconut shreds and some dried cranberries are tossed in at the end. And Viola! Add some yogurt, milk, or almond milk and you got yourself a really delicious, guilt-free breakfast, snack, or even dinner! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Avocado - our friend or foe?

It's time to do avocado some justice. First of all, avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable. 75% of the calories comes from fat, 19% from carbohydrates and the rest from protein. Some people might scream when they here that so much fat is involved, but it's the 'good' fat. The monounsatuated fat, which lowers cholesterol. Avocado also contains more than 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which helps to prevent chronic diseases. Studies have shown that a little fat can help to absorb other nutrients, so a little goes a long way.

Now why does avocado get such bad rep? Because it's 'fatty'? But it's much better than the satuated fat from your diner burger or the greasy fries. A fifth of a medium-sized avocado has about 50 calories, where as a small pat of butter has about 100 calories already and let's not forget the nutritions that are being offered by this fruit.

Before, I may shun from anything that links with 'fat', like olive oil, avocado, or nuts/seeds. But now, I embraced them because I realized that a little goes a long way. I actually find my appetite lasts a bit longer when my dish includes a little fat in it. I often like to end a meal with a few almonds to satiate my hunger or throw in a few beans as well.

There are so many culinary ways to use avocado, such as a spread on your sandwich, guacamole (of course), topping on soups or even an avocado shake! I've even heard of an avocado face mask! That I need to try out someday. But for now, I crave the green creaminess from this amazing fruit. I love to 'massage' it into my salads instead of using salad dressing. Even in the restaurant, I ask to sub avocado for the cheese too. Unfortunately, my dining companions still have evil connotation of my avocado, but who cares, I know it's good for me as long as I don't over do it (as for all types of food).

It's time to recognize the health benefits and the deliciousness of this forgotten fruit - avocado.
How do you use your avocado?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer Food

Now that the temperature is finally creeping up by the single digit, our appetite also may fluctuates along with the temperature as well. It's common that we crave for hearty and heavy dishes during the winter, but a fresh, crisp salad during the summer. Heat often suppresses my appetite, so I always crave for cold and juicy food, like a slice of watermelon or a big, bowl of refreshing salad. Call me crazy, but a new wierd addiction of mine is frozen brussel sprouts. Hey, if it's ok to snack on frozen grapes, why not vegetables as well? Try it! It doesn't even taste like that funky, overcooked brussel sprout flavor! But of course, semi defroze it, otherwise you might break your teeth. :)

What are some of your favorite summer food that you're forward to?