Showing posts with label Sarah Afshar Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sarah Afshar Food. Show all posts

Monday, July 29, 2019

National Lasagna Day 2019



Lasagna is one of the best dishes to ever come from Italian cuisine. In fact, as one of the oldest pasta dishes in the world, this southern Italian classic has managed to find its way on virtually every single dinner table around the world. Originally created in the 14th century, this holy grail of appetizing aliment was featured in the medieval cookbook Liber de Coquina. 

Having only used semolina and water to make the pasta, time has evolved and the ingredients have been changed or more so amplified. Although staying true to the original roots is always ultimately impressive, multiple variations have been created since the time this dish was introduced centuries ago. 

Lasagna is one of the most universal pasta dishes, as you can create virtually any kind of variation. Not only can you change the flavor of the pasta, but the sauces, the ingredients and the best part - the cheese. As much as I encourage creativity, it is also crucial to execute the flavors properly because a treasure vision can easily turn drastically into trash if you mess up. 


I love to cook lasagna. It is one of my favorite things to make. I love to created a variety of adaptions, as it is very fun to get creative; however, the best lasagna is the classic with tons of tomato sauce, a variety of herbs and tons of cheese. As a vegetarian, I love a lot of cheese, especially with my lasagna. 

As you can see from the photos I have shared, this cult-classic Italian staple is one dish I enjoy making. And my favorite variation of this dish includes homemade lasagne noodles, homemade tomato sauce (or as Italians say "gravy"), basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, buffalo mozzarella and regular shredded mozzarella. It's as simple as it gets, but what is simple exudes and epitomizes extreme deliciousness.  

Does it get any better? 

From my home to yours - Happy Lasagna Day! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

National Hot Dog Day 2019

Making homemade vegan hot dogs. 
National Hot Day was first established on Capitol Hill in 1991 by hot dog lovers around the country. As we fast forward to 2019, this day is tradition among those who love and appreciate the almighty mystery meat. In my case, I enjoy plant-based hot dogs, as vegan and vegetarian are my go-to choices. 

When I was young, my mother use to work a night shift from 7 pm until midnight. I never waited up for her as I always had school the next day. She would always wake me up when she got home and surprise me with a hot dog smothered in onions, chili and nacho cheese. Still until this day, I have garnered such a fondness for them. 

And granted I haven't had a meat hot dog in over 20 years, I have to admit I love veggie dogs more so than ever. With so many ways to execute them, I always find myself getting creative and inspired in the kitchen. 

To celebrate today, I want to share with you several variations of veggie hot dogs I have made. 


Nacho Chili Cheese Veggie Dog. 
With virtually everything from the dog to the bun being homemade here, this is what makes an incredible veggie dog. Using nacho cheese and homemade chili paired with raw Idaho onion, it just doesn't get any better than this. 

Although it doesn't embody the classic one I tried when I was a child, it tastes a million times better and doesn't harm animals. It also goes great with an ice cold Budweiser

And if I am being honest, I find myself wanting to try so many different types of veggie dogs because it seems like you can do so much with these. Everything from the bread to the sauce is destined to he tested. 

On another note, another rendition of the classic hot dog that I loved making, was my interpretation of a classic Chicago dog. As this is 100% vegetarian and plant-based, I love this because of the flavor and overall execution. If I were sitting at a baseball game and looking to satisfy my cravings, I would aim to enjoy this wonderful food. 
Chicago Style Veggie Dog.


My Chicago style hot dog consists of a homemade veggie dog, homemade hot dog bun, homemade kosher dill pickles, shredded cheddar cheese and spicy Dijon mustard garnished with diced spring onion. 

And whether you are enjoying a cold brew of your favorite beer or even a cold brisk Sprite, it just doesn't get any better. 

My final veggie dog that I will sharing for National Hot Dog Day 2019 is the Mediterranean hot dog. I have yet to see this in any restaurant because I have dined at so many and yet to find one on the menu. As risky as it is make this particular veggie dog, believe it or not the reward is well worth it. 

Why? Because it is amazing. For this particular hot dog, everything is homemade but the veggies and the cheese. But what makes the Mediterranean dog so great is its use of ingredients that work together that really stand out. For this particular veggie dog, I garnished diced red onion, feta cheese and burgundy olives. For the sauce, I made a honey oil sauce with a little bit of lemon, saffron and za'atar. 


Mediterranean Veggie Dog.
This is by far one of the most delicious things I have ever put into my mouth. The flavor is outstanding. To be honest, when I originally made this hot dog, I truly did not know what to expect because no one has ever made it. I was definitely happy with the outcome. 

Of course this incredible veggie dog goes great with Persian doogh or even a frappe, but a San Pellegrino will do too. 

I hope you are having a wonderful day. Happy National Hot Dog Day! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Simple Wheat Chapatis

Dating all of the way to 16th century when Indian emperors ruled the Indian subcontinent, chapatis have made a name for themselves all throughout India. In fact, this cult-class staple can be found in virtually every Indian home, on every Indian dinner table. 

And the best part is chapatis are so easy to make. Once you master them, you will never go to any Indian restaurant again, as you will want make them at home. 

This bread only uses two key ingredients with a few others mixed in between. All you will need for this recipe is wheat flour, salt and fresh water. No need to add any butter or anything else to the mixture. One thing I have learned about Indian cuisine is that less is more, but flavor is everything. For good measure, I added some garam masala and a few extra spices hence why my bread is a little darker in color. 

Add your ingredients into a mixing bowl or even on a table. Take a small Indian rolling pin (commonly known as a chakla belan) and roll out the dough to form a small circle. The dough portions should be smaller in size. Now, take some ghee (purified butter) and place it onto a tava (which is basically a round frying pan) and place it onto it. If you don't use ghee, you can use butter or oil. 

It is helpful to have a set of cooking tongs nearby. Now it is time now to cook your chapati. I recommend cooking on medium heat and doing one at a time. A lot of authentic Indian people love to cook this bread directly on the burner, flipping both sides. They swear this is the key to making epic chapatis. 

One thing you will notice when cooking these is that each side of the bread should kind of rise, as if it were breathing. Amazing right? Once you are done and the bread is cooked on both sides, add some ghee and/or butter. Then, you will want to plate your bread. Make sure to plate each bread, one-by-one or piece by piece. 

Finally, garnish with your sauces of choice. This is strictly optional. In India, ghee is very popular. Especially when adding it to chapatis. The more, the better. The more, the merrier. In the picture I shared with you today, I cooked these tonight for dinner. I topped my chapatis with butter, ghee and fresh curd and garnished with fresh dill and mint straight from my garden. 

Once you master what makes an incredible chapati, you can get creative and add more ingredients later. In the meantime, embrace simplicity. This allows you learn how to make it. Especially if you haven't tried this bread before. It is one of the best breads you will ever eat. In fact, according to many Indian people this bread is the best there is.  

I hope you are having a wonderful day. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

National Veggie Burger Day 2019

Thanks to the power of plants, veggie burgers have been made possible to consume on a regular basis. What started as an idea turned into reality for Amy's Kitchen, when the world renowned vegetarian brand started "National Veggie Burger Day" back in 2017. Veggie burgers have such an incredible impact on the environment and much healthier than their carnivore counterparts. 

According to Cowspiracy, growing crops to feed animals killed for food not only consumes almost 60% of water in the United States, but contaminates the water also. Additionally one hamburger alone requires almost 700 gallons of water to produce. 

And according to an article published from the book Water Resources and Industry in 2013 on Science Direct, animal agriculture is responsible for up to 33% of fresh water consumption. As 70% of the planet is made up of water, only 3% is fresh. 

So the real question remains, is it possible to enjoy a plant-based rendition of this carnivore classic? Absolutely. I think the pictures I've shared, of the veggie burgers I've made speak for themselves. 

To celebrate today, I ask and encourage all of you to eat and enjoy a veggie burger. From my house to your house - Happy National Veggie Burger Day!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Rajma Chole Masala + Chapati Wrap

So, tonight for dinner I decided to make a unique Indian dish which consists of an epic fusion of the classic Rajma (a simple curry primarily made up of kidney beans) and Chole (a chickpea curry). I garnished this dish with white onion and cilantro. In India, you will notice onion is paired with a lot of dishes. Indian utilizes onion more so than lettuce in a salad substitute. 

And what better way to pair this dish than with a sun-dried tomato basil bisque Chapati wrap. Chapatis are a cult-classic staple in India and remain to be one of the most popular flat breads in the country. Of course adding butter is a must, as butter not only makes the bread shine, but taste even better. 

I don't know what it is, but it seems like I always find happiness in the kitchen. I don't eat out much anymore, as I have garnered a love and appreciation for my own cooking. And lets face it, when it comes to food, there is simply no place like home. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Strawberry White Peach Smoothie

The weather is absolutely beautiful today here. It is sunny, but without the excruciatingly humid factor. It isn't cold, but is far from being hot. At least hot as it usually is here. Overall my day has been relatively good with the exception that I am still in dire need of a secretary. In between double workloads and multi-tasking, it can be extremely overwhelming, as it has been in recent months. 

After work today, I decided that I wanted to have a smoothie. I decided that I wanted something with strawberries and peaches, so I took the liberty of heading to the kitchen to make a smoothie with strawberries, white peaches, water and ice with a hint of agave syrup. 

I garnished my smoothie with some chocolate mint, as I have quite bunch of it growing in my garden. One thing I notice about mint plants is they try to take over your entire garden and eventually do if the proper maintenance is not kept. Rest assured, I have it under control. I probably should just have a garden with only mint considering I grow six varieties here at home. Chocolate mint seems to be the most flavorful, as it is my favorite from the bunch. 

Strawberries have an array of health benefits. They boost immunity, they regulate blood sugar and they prevent a plethora of problematic health issues. I also like them because they are great for your teeth excluding the seeds. White peaches also provide you with a variety of health benefits too. They are considered an antioxidant, so they very rich in vitamins and minerals. They boost immunity and work towards reducing allergy symptoms. They are also great for digestion. 

Sometimes simplicity is the only thing you need. And sometimes the best things in life are simple. This smoothie definitely epitomizes total bliss.  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, as I hope you have a fantastic weekend. #TGIF

Friday, April 12, 2019

Black Smoothie

After a long day at the office, I decided that I wanted some food bliss. I was craving a smoothie, especially something cold so I took the liberty of heading to my kitchen to make one of the most amazing smoothies I have ever consumed, the black smoothie. You are probably wondering "what on earth is a black smoothie?" as it is quite a rarity in the world of healthy drinks. A black smoothie is basically a mixture of only few fruits and ingredients, with the main ingredient being activated charcoal. 

So, I basically added fresh golden pineapple to my Cuisinart blender followed by golden mango and peaches. Then, I added some activated charcoal followed by some sea buckthorn berries, organic sugar cane juice, Vita Coco coconut water and some ice. 


This smoothie totally exceeds in my expectations, as it is extremely delicious. It is also modestly filling and gives me a much needed boost. The black smoothie is truly one I think I will make more often. 

Activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body, so it basically traps and eliminates all toxins in your body. This powerful antioxidant basically grabs the bad molecules in our bodies, traps them and eliminates them. 

Incredible right? 


Activated charcoal is extremely beneficial to health, as the benefits are endless. It is great for those of you with stomach and gut issues, including those of you with digestive and gas issues. It is amazing for those of you who suffer from kidney issues including those of you who suffer from kidney stones. It lowers cholesterol levels and is great if you have high cholesterol. It helps with those of you who suffer from potent and strong body odor. Another great use is insomnia, as this powerful holy grail can help you get more sleep at night. It helps those of you who suffer from any skin issues such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. And it also helps to whiten your teeth. 

Some people actually consume activated charcoal if they intend to get drunk, as most believe this cult-classic staple is great for hangover prevention. Personally, I've never tried this as I don't drink often. And as you may or may not already be aware, it is used in hospitals for people who have overdosed on drugs and/or poisons, as it works to attack and eliminate them in the body. Additionally, activated charcoal helps work as a natural water filter and works to remove fluoride and various forms of bacteria. 

Although I am not vegan (at least at the moment, I currently identify as vegetarian) I have been eating vegan for about three days and this smoothie is a great addition to virtually any vegan and/or raw vegan diet. It is also great for fruitarians also. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mango Spring Smoothie

I just got home from a long day and the first thing I started craving was a delicious mango. As the national fruit of India, mangoes are quite possibly one of the most cultivated fruits in the world today. I love them in an array of dishes, especially sweet, savory and fruitful dishes. 

Today, I wanted to make a simple smoothie with just mango, ice and Vita Coco coconut water, which is what I did. I didn't add any sugar to this nor any other ingredient. I added these ingredients to my Cuisinart blender. 

Mangoes are very nutritional. Often dubbed the "King of all fruits" in India, this cult-classic staple is one of the healthiest foods can ever put in your mouth. 

Why?

Mangoes contain a natural form of "zeaxanthin" which is a powerful antioxidant which corrects, protects and prepares your eyes from harmful UVA/UVB rays. It also works to protect your eyes from various environmental stressors and DNA damage. And because of their vitamin A amount, mangoes are great for overall eye health.

This powerful fruit is infused with a lot of Vitamin K which is extremely vital in bone health. Low Vitamin K intake is associated with poor circulation, blood clots (including disorders such as Anemia) and stress fractures. Lack of Vitamin K is associated with poor bone mass and strength. To prevent these problematic issues, mangoes are one thing you should eat everyday.

Collagen is extremely vital. Vitamin C essentially helps in assisting collagen to build itself in the body. Excluding the 16 types of collagen, the most popular and important are type I, II and III; with I and III being important for the hair, skin and nails. Eating mangoes can help aid in hair health, skin health and nail health. 

Amazing right?

Additionally, eating a mango also helps with heart disease, in both prevention and restoration. It also helps with those of you who suffer from type 2 diabetes. And it helps with boosting immunity. By consuming this fruit, you can also boost your mental health and well being, as it helps with eliminating depression. Eating mangoes also helps with those of you with digestive issues. 

I am going to drink my smoothie now. Have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

2019: Happy National Beer Day

Today is officially National Beer Day. As you may or may not already be aware, beer day is held annually every year on April 7th. Primarily made up of hops, barley, yeast and water, beer is clearly the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. They hold events all over the world including tap takeovers and beer tasting. 

I have to admit, though, I don't drink much, so when I drink a beer it is very rare. Although a nice cold brewsky can be good to enjoy sporadically. Especially with a double veggie burger, triple cheese pizza and vegan nachos. Can we say yum?

Surprisingly though, beer has an array of benefits. Can you believe it? At first, I couldn't, as anything with alcohol is never really good; however, beer in low amounts can actually work to help a variety of health issues including insomnia, stress, depression, dementia, gallstones, kidney stones, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and even hair loss. 

But, what does beer actually help? 

Beer works to protect, prevent and restore heart disease. It does this by creating "homocysteine" an amino acid present in the blood stream which helps regulate blood flow. Additionally, beer also helps with blood clots, poor circulation and even Anemia. 

It is also said that beer is known to help lower blood pressure. Because it is infused with the amino acid homocysteine and Vitamin B6, beer also works not only protect your heart, but helps aid in restoration. 

Who knew?

Additionally beer has a tremendous impact on your mental well being, as beer helps to eliminate stress, depression and even dementia. It also helps with insomnia and allows you to get a good nights rest. 

This does not mean consume a whole case of beer a day or even drink a full keg. These benefits are only found when consuming beer in moderation. So, the time is now to switch out that case of beer for just one a day, at the most. 

And before you stop reading, shockingly enough, beer has the same antioxidant level as wine with more protein and vitamin B than wine. Beer is actually healthier than wine. So you may consider switching your favorite glass of burgundy for a Budweiser. 

Happy National Beer Day! 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Buffalo Style Macaroni Cheese

Some people seem to think that when you are a vegetarian, you have very few options to choose from. This, of course, is false. As a vegetarian, I can tell that you have many options to choose from. Some of which, I have shared on this blog.

Today, I found myself wanting macaroni and cheese; however, I had a craving for bleu cheese and hot sauce also. Don't ask me why, I just wanted those two together. 

Then, it hit me. Why not incorporate those into this American classic dish to make a buffalo style? I basically boiled water, added some salt and pepper before adding the pasta. 

In another pan, I melted American cheese, Cheddar cheese and butter with a hint of cream. Then, I added some crumbled bleu cheese followed by some Frank's RedHot Sauce. I cooked this on medium heat before draining the pasta and adding it to it.

Finally, I plated the dish accordingly. I also added more hot sauce followed by crumbled bleu cheese for good measure. 

This is ultimately amazing. Although I know I won't be able to finish it all, I am pretty certain I will eat most of it. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Indian Cheese Paratha

Today I decided to make a cheese paratha. Utilizing flour, water, butter, ghee, milk and cheese, I am modestly satisfied with the result. And as flavorful as they are, I added a little garnish to them which consists of homemade pickled onions and sweet dill pickles. I also added two bay leafs for photographic purposes. 

Parathas are commonly made flatbreads in virtually every Indian house. Derived from Sanskrit, this delicious cult-classic staple are quite possibly one of the most popular flatbreads in India next to the famous Chapati (Roti) and Dosa. The first paratha I have ever tried was an "Aloo paratha" which consists of parathas stuffed with potato and spices. 

Tonight I decided to create my own style of paratha using paneer cheese, chhena cheese and buffalo mozzarella cheese. When preparing the dough, I used flour and water. I did not add any butter or ghee. 


I rolled the dough out using a small rolling pin. I added the ingredients in the middle before rolling it back. Then, I covered the entire dough with ghee. I used a lot of butter by placing some on the flat cast iron pan. I cooked both sides generously. I made only a few parathas, as one is quite filling. 

Finally, I placed them onto a plate. Garnished them with ghee and butter before adding the pickled onions and the pickle followed by the bay leafs. 

Needless to say they turned out great. The flavor is wonderful and the texture reminds me of why some of the greatest food on the planet comes from India. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Starbucks Iced Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato

The new Iced Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato.
Only at Starbucks.
(Photo by Armstrong Studios)
It is official, Starbucks has introduced the new Iced Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato. Inspired by the Spanish Summer classic Leche Merengada, this spectacular Starbucks addition combines the essence of cinnamon and lemon zest for a very acquired yet flavorful, decadent drink.

This new addition to the Starbucks family includes a hallmark of layers. It starts with the whipped cloud cold foam (made with egg white powder) infused with a hint of cinnamon and a touch of lemon syrup and is topped with the internationally known coffee house's espresso. Then, the drink is garnished with caramel drizzle crosshatch and a pinch of cinnamon.

And like the Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato, this drink is available hot. The drink features an array of alternatives, as you can get this drink with almond milk and coconut milk. If you were to order a venti size of this drink with 2% dairy milk, the drink would be a total of 240 calories with 45 grams being from fat. With 42 grams of carbohydrates alone, this drink features 225 mg of caffeine, 36 grams of sugar and 7 grams of protein.

This drink is also offered in the blonde version, which is a less robust espresso and great for those who are looking for a lighter fare of the classic coffee drink. For more information about the new Iced Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato, simply visit Starbucks today.

Starbucks Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato

The new Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato.
Only at Starbucks.
(Photo by Armstrong Studios)
Today, Starbucks introduced the Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato. This superb Starbucks addition starts with an unique blend of whipped cloud cold foam (made from egg white powder) and vanilla syrup and features the world-renowned coffee house's bold espresso. Then, the new drink is topped caramel drizzle in a decadent crosshatch design.


This drink is also available in hot and offers an array of milk alternatives too. So, you can order this drink with almond milk and coconut milk instead of traditional dairy milk. You will be on cloud 9 if you are a fan of this incredibly delicious Starbucks espresso fusion.

A venti size delivers 240 calories with only 40 grams of fat. This is in a dairy milk drink. With 40 grams of carbohydrates and 34 grams of sugars, this drink possesses 7 grams of protein and 225 mg of caffeine.

This drink is offered in a blonde version, for those of you looking for a lighter espresso drink. From past to present, Starbucks has been serving you only the best since the late 80s. This drink is definitely destined to feed your fix from start until finish. For more information about this new drink, simply visit Starbucks official website today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2019: National Frozen Yogurt Day

So today is National Frozen Yogurt day. Introduced in 1970, this healthy spin on the cult-classic staple we call "ice cream" has been taking over the food industry for decades. Of course, I wanted to celebrate by going to Kiwi Loco in Ontario, Oregon. 

The 40 minute drive from Meridian to Ontario is well worth it, as this is one of the best frozen yogurt shops I have ever been to. 

With so many toppings to choose from, Kiwi Loco also offers some of the best frozen yogurt I have ever tried. And the staff here is some of the nicest group of girls, as they are always so courteous and welcoming. 

If you haven't tried frozen yogurt, you need to. And if you don't like it, you haven't tried the right one. Once you try the healthy ice cream from Kiwi Loco, I don't think you will want to eat ice cream again. Unless of course it is really good and hard to put down. 

Happy National Frozen Yogurt Day everyone! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Starbucks walks into Winter with the Cinnamon Shortbread Latte

The new Cinnamon Shortbread Latte.
Only at Starbucks.
Starbucks is one of my favorite places to go, especially when I am working. It is close to where I work, so it is convenient and ever since they started offering the rewards program, I find myself gravitating there daily.

The holidays have sprung and Winter has begun. In fact, the snow falls have been hitting all us here in the United States with full force. Today Starbucks introduced an incredible seasonal beverage: the Cinnamon Shortbread Latte.

Combining the richness of brown sugar, butter and vanilla, this warm delight is topped with some of the finest gourmand spices which embody the holiday season, nutmeg and cinnamon. This drink tastes a lot Cinnabon. As most of Starbucks seasonal offerings rarely disappoint me, this flavorful addition joins forces with those that are simply amazing.

I will admit, I prefer cold coffee (iced coffee and/or frappes) to warm coffee drinks, but this drink is the perfect pair with Starbucks wonderful old fashioned glazed donut.

And in addition to this fantastic latte, Starbucks is introducing quite a few wonderful things. It is has been one year since Starbucks had the blonde espresso on the menu. The blonde espresso is a robust coffee drink which is modestly smooth and a little sweet. Today, Starbucks is introducing two new drinks to complement this type of espresso. These drinks include the Starbucks Blonde Flat White, which consists of a blonde espresso shot made with whole milk and the Iced Starbucks Americano, where espresso shots are topped with water to produce a natural crema effect and served over ice.

Starbucks is also adding two new drinks to complement their signature espresso. first drink is the Iced Caramel Macchiato, which combines Starbucks' signature espresso with vanilla syrup, milk and ice as well as a caramel garnish. The second drink is the White Chocolate Mocha, combines the essence of white chocolate and steamed milk. This drink is then garnished with whipped cream. I enjoy both of these drinks with almond milk and/or coconut milk.

The world-renowned coffee house will also make the morning bun a permanent item in their bakery items, which I find to be fantastic. It is one of my favorites on the menu right. And the new Red Velvet Cake Loaf is to die for. It is definitely one of my favorite bakery items they have out right now.

I don't know where you will be, but I know where I will be today during my breakfast, my lunch and my dinner. Starbucks, I hope you are waiting for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Enjoying a veggie burger from Smashburger

Tonight, I decided to get Smashburger for dinner. Located in the heart of Meridian, Idaho on East Louis Drive, I was so hungry after work and took it upon myself to grab a veggie burger and French fries to-go. As the menu here is quite extensive, offering so many great options for both vegetarians and vegans, I inquired about ordering one of their newest and most popular burgers, the Triple Double using their black bean burger patty.

The Triple Double burger and is served on an egg bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. I wanted to substitute the bun for the pretzel bun. Not because I don't like the egg bun (because it is good) but because I've never tried the pretzel bun and it looks better. The burger comes with extra American cheese. I decided to go the extra mile and order extra American cheese and extra cheddar cheese or melted aged cheddar cheese.

So, what did I think? The black bean burger patty was a little soft. As it was extremely flavorful, I felt like it was a little undercooked. The pretzel bun was delicious and really complemented the burger overall. The French fries were just ok for me. They are always good as a side, but I live in Idaho and prefer the thicker, homemade style of fries.

The Smash Sauce is outstanding. It is like a thousand island minus the ketchup. Better yet, if you were to make a thousand island sauce, mustard would be the main ingredient instead of ketchup. I literally would buy this sauce alone if they sold it there. Although the ranch was decent, I didn't find anything extremely special about it.

Overall, dinner was great. I managed to eat everything, as I was extremely hungry. I think the next time I eat Smashburger, I will definitely try something different.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Vegetarian Indian Style Butter Chicken

Recently, I have discovered so many things about the Indian culture. As rich as it is, it is also exotic and filled with an array of uniqueness that goes beyond what I can put into words. At least today. One of the things that I love about India is the food. And because the population is so large, their cuisine varies upon region. Utilizing agriculture and farming, most dishes are plant-based and/or vegetarian with the exception of a few. India offers quite a few staples, with one of them being butter chicken.

I decided to create a plant-based, vegetarian rendition of this classic dish. Originating from New Delhi, this North Indian classic uses dahi, garam masala, ginger, garlic, cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon, black salt, and black pepper. To give it more of a vibrant flavor, you can add some lemon juice to it. To thicken the sauce, you can also add some butter or even some curd. I decided to add all of the above. As it took a little bit of time, everything was executed very well. I added a lot of butter to this dish, as I didn't have any ghee at my disposal.


When originally creating this dish, I was thinking of using another plant-based alternative from Gardein, but instead went with the Gardein Chick'n Strips. I decided to cook the sauce in a regular standard pan before adding the Chick'n Strips. This chicken is not only soy-free, it is dairy-free and certified kosher. I decided to cook the entire dish on low-to-medium heat as the plant-based chicken alternative was completely thawed out in the refrigerator.

Before plating, I made sure that the chicken had a good texture. When I originally added this to the pan with the sauce, it was soft with a modestly slimy texture. It is crucial that it is firm when it is cooked. After stirring multiple times to check, I knew that my cooking was done for the evening.

As I plated the food, I decided to garnish it with some homemade curd I made. I was very happy with the way it turned out. I am looking forward to making this again, only trying another vegetarian and/or vegan, plant-based chicken alternative. If you are a vegetarian looking to enjoy one of the greatest dishes from Bharat, this is it. From my home to your home, Namaste.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Carl's Jr. Froot Loop Mini Donuts

When I heard about the new Froot Loop Mini Donuts at Carl's Jr. I just knew I had to try them. As a reinvented spin on the popular cult-classic cereal, I was modestly intrigued from the buzz these little donuts generated on social media. 

Today, while out and about I decided to go to Carl's Jr. to get them. Although the Carl's Jr. here in Meridian doesn't have a veggie burger or any good vegetarian alternative other than sides, I was eager to taste test these donuts to see if they are were as good as what others said. 

So, what did I really think? Of course you are wondering what I thought of these little donuts. In spite of being a little overpriced (almost $3) for only five small donuts, the flavor is amazing. These taste just like the cereal. Surprisingly the yellow and green donuts are my favorite; however, they all taste so similar you really wouldn't spot the difference unless you were purposely trying to look for it. 

As a vegetarian, it is very tough to eat at Carl's Jr. as most fast food joints do not offer a veggie burger, but I am hoping this will change in the near future. These donuts are fantastic and worth the splurge. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

First Dinner of October 2018

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am always innovative in the kitchen and if you know me already, you know how much I love to cook. Tonight is no exception. As today is the first day of October, I decided to treat myself to a classic yet amplified version of the classic veggie burger utilizing organic baby arugula, red onion, and homemade thousand island dressing (which consists of buttermilk, a little bit of mayonnaise and some ketchup) on a homemade sweet pineapple roll which I toasted using only butter.

The veggie burgers were beer battered with butter before I placed them on the other side of the bun, which was also toasted. I wanted something a little extra to this vegetarian comfort food so I took the liberties of adding some classic veggie bacon which was also beer battered in butter.

Amazing right?

And that is not all. To cheese it up, I used mozzarella and butter in a hot pan followed by a teaspoon of cream to melt the cheese down before drenching both the bacon and burger in it (the cheese that is). I added some of the cheese to the bottom bun for good measure and to make it that much more appealing. Who doesn't love cheese?

I didn't add anything else to the veggie burgers, but did enjoy them with Perrier mineral water. This is 100% vegetarian. You could create a vegan version of this using plant-based cheese and sauces instead of dairy.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino Coffee Drink

Good morning. One thing I am really loving lately is the Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Coffee Drink in the bottle. I love the flavor of them. Plus, they are so convenient. You can put them anywhere and reach for them at all anytime. 

I love this drink because it provides your palate with the traditional over roasted flavor and still possesses that gourmand sweet flavor, for an epic balance. To me, coffee should never be savory and should definitely never be too sweet. It should be digestible and give you a real dopamine rush to want to reach for it every few minutes. 

As much as I love the ice briskness of the modern Starbucks Frappe, this is definitely a drink I can get use to when the options are limited and I need a very much needed pick-me-up.