Sunday, August 19, 2012

I spent the entire day yesterday at Yellowstone

I truly apologize for not keeping you as updated as I should be. Life does get busy, however; in the end, I should always include you in my life. So, as I am off for a few days from work, I decided to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park yesterday. 

I entered the park via West Yellowstone, where they held their "crazy day" event which was manifested with great deals on souvenirs, as well as, food and other fun. I also managed to run into friends and acquaintances when walking through the areas. Despite being relatively scorching hot, I had a great time. 

I didn't see everything (which is truly impossible for just a one-day-trip), but managed to see the things that I wanted to see for quite a while including the Steamboat Geyser, the largest active geyser in the world and at Yellowstone. I am getting a new laptop, so I will post pictures soon. In the mean time, I hope you are doing great and I promise that I will do my best to blog more.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and day. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gardein's Home Style Beefless Tips, a great twist to healthy eating


As a woman who has engaged in lacto ovo vegetarianism and remains true to excluding the consumption of any meat or fish products, I truly believe anyone can enjoy vegetarian friendly food. When it comes to purchasing any vegetarian and/or vegan friendly food, I will definitely try anything once. Even if it does include Cilantro (and for those of you who know me, you know that I am not Cilantro's biggest fan).

Just because one is a vegetarian and/or vegan doesn't mean that they cannot enjoy an amazing variety of healthy alternatives and if you don't believe me click here. So, when shopping at Safeway, I had the opportunity of discovering Gardein's "Home Style Beefless Tips".

PROS

When it comes to the actual taste of this vegetarian friendly food product, I have to admit that Gardein truly demonstrated why it is good. I was very impressed with the taste. There is absolutely no weird smoke undertones, artificial charcoal flavors, or gastly notes that were unnatural.

I love this amazing addition to Gardein because you can prepare this product several ways. Whether you want to deep fry it, cook it on low heat on the stove, barbeque it on the grill, or even prepare it in the microwave, it still remains to taste great.

The overall health benefits of this product are amazing. There are 18 grams of protein alone in this product. Only 100 grams per serving (which is relatively decent) and just 130 calories. The carbohydrates are also quite low.

It's a very flexible product, that can be prepared a variety of ways, and also adapt to every cuisine and dish out there.

CONS

The texture is relatively soft, especially when completely thawed. If you are looking for more of a robust texture, you may not find this product appealing. The great news about the texture, however; is that it becomes more stable when it is prepared.

Rating - 94%

You can purchase Gardein's Home Style Beefless Tips at your nearest Gardein retailer. Although price varies, the price for this product averages between $3.99-$4.99 depending where you shop. They are available in a lot of health and/or natural food stores. Would I recommend this vegetarian friendly product to a friend? Yes. Would I eat this product again? Absolutely.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A look at Gibbon Falls at Yellowstone National Park

Gibbon Falls is an incredible waterfall on the Gibbon river. With an over 80 foot drop, the Gibbon Falls is just another fascinating site and reason to visit at Yellowstone National Park. The Falls Overlook on the Gibbon Falls trail is 400 feet as the Lower Outlook is 1,000 feet. 





 Photos by Sarah Afshar

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cupcakes are as unique and diverse...

...as the individual that not only eats them, but enjoys them as a result. The cupcake seller asked me which one I would like to taste test and I just cannot decide. Which one would you choose?












Photos by Sarah Afshar

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to go from brunette to blonde

Going blonde is like taking a risk more so than going the extra mile. You can mess it up and in the end, there is distinct a possibility you can do more damage than ever. Not only will this result in damaged hair, but you will end up spending so much money just to fix it. There are a lot of pros, as well as, cons when doing your own hair. Especially something that is of a drastic change.

Today, I am going to demonstrate how it is possible to go from brown hair to blonde hair without messing it up and destroying your hair, as a result. This is the first time I ever bleached my hair and guess what? It turned out amazing. Are you ready? Let's begin...

First and foremost, you want to make sure that you have the right products to start. One of the most important products is the actual mixing bowl. You need something that is accessible, but also gives you a lot of space to mix the right amount.

You will also need a mixer followed by an actual application hair brush. I like to use a medium to large brush, so to bleach my hair, I went with Diane's Medium Hair Color/Dye Brush. The handle is like a dark red/burgundy color.

Also, when coloring your hair, you want to use rubber gloves simply because the peroxide and other components in the actual developer can irritate the skin. I know this first hand, simply because a little got on my pointer finger and my finger actually dried up and turned white. Obviously if this happens, you just run your finger under cold water and it goes away. It is still a tribulation that a lot of people forget when bleaching their own hair. 


To achieve blonde hair from dark hair, you are going to want to use powder bleach. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent bleach, but you do want to buy something that lifts several levels, so you can obtain the right color before toning.

When bleaching my hair, I decided to go with L'Oreal's High Performance Quick Blue Powder Bleach. Not only is it dust-free, providing you with only the easiest of application, but it lifts up to 7 levels. It is also very affordable, costing less than $20. At least on Amazon, where I bought it from. 

Powder bleach is nothing without developer. There are many types of developer on the market, however; for my hair, I went with Wella's Color Charm Clear Developer in Volume 30. It is also 32 oz. The reason that I chose 30 is because it is the right amount of peroxide content you need, when lifting color. The developer works with the bleach to actual lift the color. Using a 20 Volume only works for women with lighter hair or women looking to color their hair, not bleach it. Using a 40 Volume developer is actually not the wisest choice, as your hair can actually fall out. I actually watched several videos on the YouTube platform of women who used the Volume 40 and ended up having their hair melt off.

When you go from dark to light, you will end up with an array of undertones. Most of them are orange, however; there are many that are yellow. In order to effectively bleach your hair to a nice blonde, you are going to want to use a toning product. You also want something with more of a lavender undertone, as this will cancel out any orange or yellow you may have in your hair. I decided to go with Wella's Color Charm Toner in T18 Lightest Ash Blonde. This product is also known as "White Lady". It is clearly one of the best hair toning products in the world today and I highly recommend it.

Once you have these products, you can begin coloring your hair. Please note that this is a process and you won't achieve this overnight. Well, you could, but you are at high risk of destroying your hair. 

Are you ready? Let's begin!

In the mixing bowl, you want to mix about a scoop of the powder bleach into the bowl. Depending on how much hair you have, you can add more if you feel like there isn't enough. One scoop goes a long way, as does building.

The developer should be added shortly after. You want to add at least 2 oz to the powder bleach. If there is more bleach, you want to add a little more developer. As it develops, the texture should be relatively paste-like in texture versus watery. You don't want anything too dry or too liquidity, otherwise your color will not lift. Ok?

You want to mix generously, but allow it to settle. Usually in about a minute or two, you will notice if it will develop into a paste-like texture and not a powder mass or liquid. Make sure you have your gloves on.

The bottom part of the hair tends to lift slower than the top, so you want use your hair color brush and apply the bleach mixture on the bottom part of the hair first, as you continue, you want to move up. Slowly building each time. 

You want to avoid the root area and save that part for last, however; once you begin the root area, you want to do underneath the hair, towards the bottom and then the top. 


Leave the bleach mixture on your hair for about 45 minutes or until desired color. If you are like me going from dark brown hair to blonde, you may want to leave it on for a little longer. As you do this, make sure that you blow dry your hair, as the heat helps the color lift faster and even more effectively. Wash the hair color out. Blow dry.

The color you want to achieve before toning should be the color of what hair colorists refer to as "inside of a banana". It should have more yellow tones than orange tones. If your hair is still orange, you will want to bleach it again.

If your color is still orange, you may want to wait at least a day or two before repeating this process. The toner can cancel out the yellow and orange tones, but only if the number of yellow tones in the hair exceed the orange tones. I have had to bleach my hair a total of 4 times in order to achieve the desired color before toning it.

Once you have bleached your hair and your hair has lifted to a very light shade with yellow tones, as well as, some orange, you want to tone your hair. You don't have to blow dry your hair, as towel drying works great. In fact, before applying the toner, I just towel dried my hair. Toner works as an amazing product, as it supports the cancellation of any yellow or orange tone your hair will endure. 

Toner does not lift color, it just helps control it. You want to mix about 2 oz. of developer with the entire bottle of Wella toner. I used 20 Volume developer and mixed a little bit of 30 Volume developer to it. Apply to your hair and leave on for about 40-45 minutes before rinsing.

Bleaching in theory is not the best for your hair, however; for some reason, it has had a reverse effect on me. My hair has actually improved since bleaching it. Weird right? In order to maintain wonderful hair health, you want to use products that allow you to manage your hair.

It is crucial to style your hair after bleaching your hair, as it is very vital to keep up with great hair maintenance. For that, I recommend the the following products:

Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Color Freeze Silver Shampoo is the shampoo I use. I have tried some others and find that they strip hair and make hair appear brassy. This one will not only prevent your hair from become a brass mess, it will actually eliminate all orange and warm tones in your hair. 

I don't use conditioner much, although I probably should. I feel like most I have tried tend to weigh my hair down. Instead, I find myself using a lot of the Oscar Blandi Vivid Clear Shine Glaze which makes my hair look and feel amazing. 

I like to do as deep condition or hair mask maybe once a week. These products vary. I do like to use organic cold pressed coconut oil in my hair. I am not a fan of certain oils and refuse to use anything that smells bad on my head. I am picky and selective so I will make sure to add specific products later here. 

Remember to not worry so much when doing this. And if you are fearful, try doing just a small strand. If you are still fearful, just go to the salon and get it done. I wish you all the best of luck.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Loving my blonde hair!

It has been officially 7 days since I colored my own hair blonde. And guess what? I am truly loving it. I don't really like attention, but for some reason I am getting a lot of it since I went blonde. Perhaps the saying "blondes have more fun" really can apply, since it is a proven fact that most men prefer fun women.

I am fun as a brunette, but I guess my personality must shine more so since becoming blonde. Platinum blonde, that is. I feel more compelled to style my hair on a daily basis now since becoming blonde also.

Is this normal?

Either way, it has been a week and I am truly loving my blonde hair. It's a change, a dramatic change at that, but I really like it. I'm also noticing my hair doesn't seem to be damaged and feels like it has more texture to it. The only thing I don't like is the fact that my hair grows fast and I feel like I have to touch up my roots once every two weeks.
For today's look, I decided to really dip into quite a few new hair products. Right now I am really loving the Oscar Blandi At-Home Salon Glaze. It really does wonders for my hair. Probably the most used styling product I use.


A lot of you have asked me what shampoo I use since becoming a blonde. I have tried quite a few, but right now I really love the Schwartzkopf Professional Bonacure silver shampoo. It is literally the best one I've used for blonde hair. If they were to come out with another one, I would not hesitate to use it.

In terms of conditioning, I condition my hair using Matrix Biolage Oil Conditioner has it tends to bring the moisture back into my locks and treats my tresses amazingly. I haven't tried as many as I could be, as I have been sticking to only a few. So far; however, this one is my favorite.

I'm currently living in a very old Victorian house in Butte, Montana, but will be moving soon so I will have more space. Which means more beauty products to try and hoard. I am on the lookout for a good curling iron. I've used so many different types, but haven't touched as many as I should or could as I would go to a stylist and get my hair professionally styled. If you have any you want to recommend please do so.

I hope you are having an amazing day. It is beautiful here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Very Berry Vegan Cupcakes

I tried my first vegan cupcake a few years ago at a bakery called Sprinkles. There are locations all over the United States, but it was the one in Chicago where I had the opportunity to eat one. It was delicious.

I kept thinking to myself "How can a vegan cupcake taste this good?" As much as I love regular cupcakes (which I still do) I wanted to attempt to make vegan cupcakes. If I messed them up, I messed them up. There wasn't much to say. The ingredients you will need are...

1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Raspberries
1/2 Cup Strawberries
Silk's Fruit & Protein in Mixed Berry
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup of Margarine

First and foremost, you want to blend the blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries together to kind of make a thick puree, almost like a pasty texture.

As you continue, you want preheat the over for 350 degrees F. You want to combine everything into your mixer. Blend generously. Don't worry about overblending. The actual batter isn't going to be extremely thick.

Once you have mixed all of your ingredients, you want to begin filling the cupcake cups 1/2 to 3/4 way with the batter you just produced. Depending on the type of cupcake pan you use, if you notice that there isn't much space in between the spaces, you want to only fill them 1/2 way. If you do notice some space, you can fill them 3/4 way. 

Bake your cupcakes for 19-23 minutes. Let them set for 5 minutes before applying the frosting.

Which reminds me, frosting was something I was highly debating. If I were to make and use a regular buttercream, these cupcakes wouldn't be vegan. I must say that I was a bit relucant to make the frosting, as I was half afraid to mess it up. The biggest mistake cooking and baking enthusiasts make is fear. Anything can go wrong and the reality is, if you want to master something, you may have to mess it up a few times. (And that's ok)

As I pondered the type of frosting I wanted to make, I settled with making a simple vegan buttercream frosting. The ingredients are simple and sometimes less is more. What you will need to make your vegan buttercream frosting include...

3 Cups of Powdered Sugar
 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Margarine
1/2 Cup of Silk's Soy Milk in Very Vanilla

Add everything into a mixer (I prefer to use my Kitchenaid when I make frosting) and simply blend together.

You're done! Great job!



Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe


Happy Birthday to the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. You will be forever missed. You may be gone, but your legacy remains forever.

“A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left.” 

“When you're young and healthy you can plan on Monday to commit suicide, and by Wednesday you're laughing again.” 

“I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”
“If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”

“No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't.”

“If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” 

“To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly.”

“All a girl really wants is for one guy to prove to her that they are not all the same.”

“Men are always ready to respect anything that bores them.”  

“Your clothes should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to show you're a lady”

“I live to suceed, not to please you or anyone else.”

June 1st 1926-August 5th 1962


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I made Pesto earlier...



Fresh Basil (chopped)
Raw Garlic (minced)
Walnuts (chopped)
Parmesan (grated)
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine the basil, garlic, walnuts, parmesan, vinegar, and olive oil into a blender and blend generously on the lowest setting.


Continue to cook on low heat. Stir slowly. Chop and/or grind pinenuts. Add them to the mixture.


Continue stirring. Add grated Romano cheese.


Continue cooking on low heat. Add grounded Grana Padano cheese. Slowly fold into the pesto. Stir moderately.


Pesto sauce is almost ready. Allow it to continue to cook on low heat. Make sure that your walnuts and pinenuts are not hard. Stir moderately.



As you continue, check your pasta. Focus on getting your actual pasta ready.


Dinner is ready! Add the pasta to your plate. Add the pesto sauce on top. Finally, garnish with some grated parmesan cheese.





Monday, May 21, 2012

How to make "Sarah's Vodka Tomato Sauce"

One of my favorite pastimes is definitely cooking. One of the things that I love and value most in life is creativity. But, not just any vision, a vision that works. Something that is very effective. When it comes to creating anything dealing with food, it is definitely in my forte. I have decided to share with you a simple recipe that is not only incredibly delicious, but an original recipe that I personally created...Sarah's Vodka Tomato Sauce.


The ingredients you will need include:

5 Tomatoes (Diced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
4 Cups of Water
1 Cup of Absolut Peppar Vodka
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup of Butter
1/4 Cup of Parmesan
1/4 Cup of Basil (Minced)
1/4 Cup of Red Onion (Diced)
3 Tablespoons of Oregano (Dried)
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Cynar Artichoke Liqueur
3 Teaspoons of Sea Salt

First and foremost, when it comes to making any kind of homemade tomato based sauce, you want to begin by blanching your tomatoes. You want to first boil water. The pan should not be huge, however; it should be at a size where you can fit 5 tomatoes into it. To make blanching easier, as this will allow you to remove the skin with minimal effort, cut the bottom of the tomato in a criss cross shape (an "x" shape).  You want to boil the tomatoes for just one minute. Do not go longer, as you will ruin what you have started and therefore; will have to start over.

As you continue, you want to remove the skin. Because you blanched your tomatoes and cut a criss cross shape (or an "x" shape) on the bottom, you can peel the skin off easy. Once you have accomplished this, you can continue chopping your tomatoes. Place your tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.

You want to begin mincing your garlic. After you are done, you want to sautee garlic, as it is very strong and although you don't want to lose flavor, you will need to done it down. All you have to do is add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to your pan followed by your garlic. This will be the same pan used for making the tomato sauce, so make sure that it is a good size. Good size does not mean ridiculously massive, but a good enough size to fit the result of 5 tomatoes and other ingredients.

Saute on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes that you set aside followed by 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Add 4 cups of water. Continue stirring until the tomatoes base are more of a thick liquid texture. To achieve this, cook for about 10 minutes on medium to high heat. Before adding all of the ingredients, you want to make sure that your basil is fresh and also minced. This ingredient (basil that is) is very important and brings this entire sauce together. If you don't add it, it just won't work.

As you continue, you want to add the vodka, followed by the heavy cream, butter, parmesan, basil, red onion, oregano, and cynar. You also want to add 2 teaspoons of salt and of course 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Cook for 40 minutes to 1 hour on medium to low heat.


Congratulations! You just made Sarah's vodka tomato sauce. Enjoy!

This week is National Vegetarian Week

Today, Monday, May 21st is the start of National Vegetarian Week.

There are several types of vegetarians. These include:

Lacto-Ovo - Does NOT red meat, does NOT eat white meat. Does NOT eat fish or seafood. Does eat eggs and honey. Does consume dairy.
Lacto - Does NOT eat red meat, does NOT eat white meat. Does NOT eat fish or seafood. Does NOT consume dairy products. Does eat eggs and honey.
Ovo - Does NOT eat red meat, does NOT eat white meat. Does NOT eat fish or seafood. Does NOT eat eggs. Does eat honey. Does consume dairy.
Vegan - Does NOT eat red meat, does NOT eat white meat. Does NOT eat fish or seafood. Does NOT eat eggs or honey. Does NOT consume dairy.
Fruitarian - Does NOT eat red meat, does NOT eat white meat. Does NOT eat fish or seafood. Does NOT eat eggs or honey. Does NOT consume dairy. Does NOT eat vegetables.

and of course other vegetarian diets influenced by vegetarianism...

Raw Vegan - A vegan that does not consume anything that has been cooked. 
Jain - A vegetarian that does NOT eat red meat or white meat, as well as, fish or seafood. Despite being allowed to eat eggs and honey, but the Jain does NOT consume dairy. Certain veggies are also excluded like potatoes, garlic, onions, and carrots, etc. This vegetarian also follows a specific pattern of eating too.
Buddhist - A vegan that does not only exclude the basics (meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or honey) it also excludes various vegetables from the allium family. Some of these vegetables include: garlic, onion, leeks, chives, shallots, etc.
Macrobiotic - A vegetarian that emphasizes on substituting meat and fish for grains. Not exactly a vegan, but you can follow a vegan macrobiotic diet.

As many of you already know, I am a lacto ovo vegetarian. I don't eat meat (whether red meat or white meat) and I do not eat fish. I do, however; consume dairy, eggs, and honey. Lately, I have been eating vegan a lot and have stopped drinking dairy milk. Although I have stopped drinking dairy milk, I do love cheese (a weakness, of which I wish to give up eventually) and doogh (a Persian drink that consists of Yogurt).

Becoming a vegetarian is hard mentally if you worry about what you can and cannot eat. It is also hard on those that think of what to substitute with meat. If you are a heavy meat eater and are you looking to go vegan instantly, forget it. It just isn't going to happen. Vegetarianism is a process and there are many types.

I truly recommend that you start out as a semi-vegetarian because after all, you don't want to lay all of your eggs in one basket. I would highly recommend following a simple "Pesce Pollotarian" diet. If you are wondering what a "Pesce Pollotarian" is, it is a semi-vegetarian that basically does not eat red meat, but does eat white meat and of course fish. If you are looking to cut out meat completely right away, then I highly recommend eating a simple "Pescatarian" diet which consists of not eating meat (whether red meat or white meat) but allows you to consume fish.

Once you get use to allowing your body to enjoy this change, it will get easier for you. Then, you won't even have to think nor worry about the food you eat, as all you have to know is that you don't want to eat anything with a face and/or was once living.

If you are looking to start to become a vegetarian and/or vegan, I truly recommend checking out the list of vegetarian/vegan substitutes and looking at the huge list of alternatives. It is a great change. I have been a vegetarian for a long time and I love it. I would never change my eating habits, as I am not only healthy, but happy too.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stato della Città del Vaticano, an easy Rustic Pizza

Stato della Città del Vaticano which translates to Vatican City. My inspiration for the "Stato della Città del Vaticano" rustic pizza came from Vatican City's official flag. This is a relatively easy rustic pizza recipe.


You want to begin by preparing the dough. When it comes to any kind of rustic pizza, the dough should definitely be homemade.

Preparing the dough...

2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Water (Cold)
1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Yeast (or an envelope size amount)
1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
Cornmeal (optional)

The dough should never be over spiced. It should not be pristine. In fact, it should possess some taste, but not be overcompensated with ingredients. To some that is bland, to many it is perfect.

A secret you should know about the way I like making dough is the fact that I don't like to let it set for a minute or even an hour or two hours. I like to let it set for at least 4 hours. Also, depending on the type of pizza or any bread based food or dish I am making, sometimes I like to let it set for a day (depending on yeast). For this particular recipe, however; you just want to let it set for 4 hours. 

As you continue, you want to preheat the oven for 400 degrees F. Then, after you allow the bread to set, you want to spread it out in a circle shape. If you have a round pizza stone (which I truly recommend purchasing) it makes it easier. Add some Cornmeal to the dough to kind of dust it. This is optional, but I like to do this, as it makes the dough very accessible.


Are you having fun yet? The fun part is yet to come. The time is to now decorate the pizza. The toppings are what make this pizza as unique as the individual that enjoys it. For the toppings, I am going to let loose and have some fun. The ingredients included in the Stato della Città del Vaticano Rustic Pizza include:

Yellow Bell Peppers
Orange Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Sweet Onions
Artichoke Hearts
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmasan Cheese
Piave Cheese
Caciocavallo Cheese
Garlic (Roasted)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For this particular rustic pizza, I am not going to add tomato sauce or even a cheese or alfredo sauce. I am going to use Extra Virgin olive oil. Then you want to begin by adding your cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmasan, Piave, and Caciocavallo), followed by your vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and roasted garlic). You want to top the pizza off with a hint of olive oil followed by parmasan cheese.


Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 18 minutes. Let it set for about 2-3 minutes before serving. Enjoy.


This pizza is vegetarian, not vegan.

The Mean & Green Smoothie, a recipe

The Mean & Green Smoothie was created for those partaking in the smoothie diet or are on a typical smoothie binge. These individuals who drink nothing, but smoothies and liquids. I actually have tried this and in 2 weeks with Yoga and exercise, I lost a lot of weight, as a result. I created this smoothie simply for those looking for something a little less sweet, but sweet enough. It has a rather acquired taste, but a taste that everyone can enjoy.



(I apologize for my blender being messy, as I accidentally got a little mango juice on it when trying to make a compost for some cupcakes I was making while making this smoothie) 


You will want to first and foremost, add these ingredients to your blender...

Strawberries
Baby Carrots
Black Beans
Artichoke Hearts
Spinach

Although you can add Chia Seeds, I wouldn't recommend it simply because most of the ingredients added are fillers. Chia Seeds do possess a nutritional value that allows you to enjoy them despite the fact they are a filler, so it is entirely up to you.

Once the ingredients are added, you want to go ahead and add your soy based product. Today, I am going to use Silk's Fruit & Protein (which is a soy based product) in Mixed Berry. Because most green smoothies possess a certain percentage of fruit to balance out the taste, the soy based product that I am using will balance out the taste because it's berry.


You want to begin to blend generously. If you add Chia Seeds, don't forget to blend a little longer than usual.

Finally, serve in a glass. This mixture is good for three meals.

Kitchenaid 5 Quart Artisan Stand Mixer in Tangerine

If you love cooking and/or baking, I truly recommend owning a Kitchenaid Mixer. It is one of the best investments one can make, especially if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking and/or baking. They also have a lot of features. You can also purchase attachments for them, which allow you to create different things. They come in an array of colors. I love several of them, but for some reason, the "Tangerine" catches my attention the most.


They last relatively long too, as I have used this for several years and it is still a wonderful product. To buy the Kitchenaid Mixer in "Tangerine", simply click the banner below...
KitchenAid 5-qt. Artisan Stand Mixer, Tangerine

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Earth Angel smoothie, a simple green smoothie recipe

Green smoothies are simply healthy blended drinks that are created with the use of an array of raw fruits and vegetables. The term "green" usually represents any type of raw (and yes, green) leafy vegetable. To avoid pesticides, it is recommended to use organic fruits and/or vegetables rather than regular, however; pesticides in any produce at the local grocery store are very uncommon.

In order to balance any kind of "green" inspired drink, especially the green smoothie, you want to use at least 60-70% fruit and/or vegetable and at least 30-40% green leafy vegetable, as this not only allows you to get the nutrients from the smoothie itself, but tends to balance the actual taste. I have made some smoothies where I didn't balance the ingredients and let me tell you, they were revolting.



The Earth Angel smoothie is a green smoothie that I created using minimal ingredients. You will want to add these ingredients to your blender...  

Spinach
Broccoli
Strawberries
Bananas
Kiwis
White Grapes
Chia Seeds (optional)


After you have added the spinach and broccoli, followed by the strawberry, bananas, Kiwis, and White Grapes, you want to add Silk's Fruit & Protein (which is a soy milk based product) in Strawberry Banana. (You can get this at your local grocery store)


Once added, blend generously. If you do intend to use Chia Seeds (which is entirely up to you) make sure that you blend the Earth Angel green smoothie a little longer and modestly than you normally would without them.



Finally, serve in a glass.



Monday, May 14, 2012

Nutella Frangelico Cocoa Cupcakes, an original recipe

Recently, I had the opportunity to create some amazing cupcake recipes. One of the amazing cupcake recipes I had the chance to create was/is definitely "Nutella Frangelico Cocoa". It is a Sarah Afshar original, so enjoy.


Nutella Frangelico Cocoa Cupcakes

3 Eggs
1 Cup of Nutella
1 Cup of Silk's Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
1/2 Cup of Cocoa (unsweetened, I used Hershey's)
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup of Frangelico Liqueur
1/4 Cup of Hazelnuts (Chopped)
1/4 Cup of Pecans (Chopped)
1/4 Cup of Walnuts (Chopped)
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Combine the eggs, nutella, dark chocolate almond milk, cocoa, vegetable oil, frangelico liqueur, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, baking soda, chocolate liqueur, baking powder, vanilla extract, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mixed generously.

Once mixed, add the batter to the cupcake cups.

Preheat oven for 350 degrees (F that is) and bake the cupcakes anywhere from 20-23 minutes. After baking, let the cupcakes set for about 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from cupcake pan and place the cupcakes on a plate.
 

Frosting

2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Cup of Cream Cheese (Softened)
1/4 Cup of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
Pecans (optional)

Combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and white chocolate liqueur into a mixing bowl. Mix generously. Once mixed, apply to cupcakes.

Garnish with a whole or half of pecan. Then, add some light colored pastel yellow sugar sprinkles.




Lemon Cream Cupcakes, a very basic recipe

 

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

3 Eggs
2 Cups of Water
2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Sugar (Granulated White)
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup of Marshmallow Creme
1/4 Cup of Sour Cream
1/4 Cup of Butter (Melted)
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Peel (Grated)
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Extract
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
Fresh Strawberries (optional)

Preheat over for 350 degrees (F, that is). Combine the eggs, water, flour, sugar, brown sugar, marshmallow creme, sour cream, butter, grated lemon peel, lemon extract, lemon juice, vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.

Mix until blended. Fill empty cupcake cups with batter.

Bake cupcakes for 19-22 minutes. After baking, let the cupcakes set for about 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the cupcake pan and place the cupcakes on a plate.
 

Frosting

1 Cup of Marshmallow Creme
1 Cup of Powdered Sugar
3/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk

Combine the Marshmallow Creme, Powdered Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Butter, and Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk. Apply to the cupcakes.

Slice fresh strawberries and apply them as a garnish to the cupcakes.
 

The cupcakes turned out great. Although the decorating could have been a little better, they were absolutely delicious. Also, when you attempt to make over a hundred cupcakes in one night, simplicity tends to be more embraced.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

One of the best things to become addicted to...


Silk's Fruit & Protein

One word - Amazing!

If you are looking to include something healthy, yet delicious in your diet, I highly recommend this incredible addition to Silk. Flavors include: Mixed Berry, Mango Peach, and Strawberry Banana.

Please don't ask me what flavor I prefer, as I love them all. It depends soley on what I am in the mood for. Today, it is definitely Mixed Berry. Yesterday, it was Mango Peach. Tomorrow, it is probably going to be Strawberry Banana.

This product is still relatively new, so I really do hope that Silk decides to keep it. I truly predict that it will sell amazingly considering it is amazing. If you haven't tried it today, the time is now to visit your nearest grocery store and pick some up.


It's official, I am done drinking regular dairy milk...



As most of you already know, I am "lacto ovo" vegetarian. In case you are wondering what a "lacto ovo" vegetarian is, it's simply someone that does not eat meat or fish, but does eat dairy, eggs, and honey. If you are trying to distinguish what a "lacto ovo" vegetarian is versas any other type of vegetarian, just think of a lacto ovo as someone who doesn't eat anything with a face or better yet, is or once was living.
 
 

With all of the numerous alternatives which range from soy and almond milk to rice and even coconut milk, there is nothing that says I should drink dairy milk. With that said, I have decided to give up drinking dairy milk.

 

You are probably thinking "So Sarah, what brought on this sudden urge to change?" Well, I attempted to drink a milkshake the other day at a restaurant and noticed an "after taste". The same "after taste" that I endured when I switched to drinking soy and almond milk from dairy milk. It was almost as if the reverse effect was happening. So, i've decided that giving up dairy milk is a good option for me at that time.  

 

Everyone who knows me, also knows how much I love cheese. Now, if only I could give that up, then I could cut dairy out of my life completely and become an "Ovo" vegetarian, which is a vegetarian that does not consume meat or fish or "dairy", but does eat eggs and honey.