First, I would like to thank mom (the other half of The Delicious Divas) for relentlessly posting blog posts for over the past year. Without her commitment to posting her adventures with food, we wouldn’t have the following and great comments for those reading the blog. I admit I lost my creative and writing drive while I was unemployed. As a foodie, I love cooking and baking. However, while I was working full-time at a bar and working off tips, my main priority was paying bills like my mortgage. Consequently, dedicating myself to this venture that mom and I started became less of a priority.
Now that I have a full-time job, I have the time and resources to try out new and healthy recipes and hopefully share them with everyone that follows our blog.
In addition to dedicating more time to the blog, I have started on a new venture – personal chef for my friend Laura. While driving to work one day, she mentioned how bored she was with the food she was taking to work for lunch. As she knows I love to cook, she asked if I could cook a main dish and one or two side dishes, as well as dessert on occasion, to get out of her rut. I was happy to accept. In addition to making her some proven recipes, I get to use her as a sort of guinea pig.
Laura, like me, loves healthy, low-fat eating. I defy anyone to tell me that just because something calls for fat free or reduced fat ingredients it can’t be delicious and tasty! So, I combed through the recipe catalog on Weight Watcher’s and my issues of Cooking Light magazine. To date, she has loved everything I’ve made for her. Here are several dishes that I’ve made for Laura (links included). These dishes are easy to make the night before, so you don’t have to worry about packing lunch in the morning. This leaves more time to sleep in!
Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Note: I use Perdue Short Cuts Grilled or Oven Roasted as a time saver.)
White Bean Dip (taken from the Five Factor Diet book)
1/3 can of rinsed, white beans
4oz fat-free cream cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste.
Put everything in a blender and mix until smooth. Serve with your favorite veggies (I like baby carrots, Laura likes them with Special K’s cracker chips)
Asian-flavored Quinoa Salad (courtesy of Weight Watchers)
1 1/2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or water
3/4 cup(s) uncooked quinoa, *
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup(s) uncooked sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
1 cup(s) shredded carrot(s)
1 cup(s) shredded red cabbage (Note: I use broccoli slaw, therefore eliminating the need to shred carrots.)
1 small sweet red pepper(s), thinly sliced
3 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
2 Tbsp uncooked scallion(s), thinly sliced
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
In a small saucepan, combine broth and quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, marmalade, oil, ginger and salt; set aside.
After quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, toss in snap peas to partially steam them; cover and simmer until most of liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in carrots, cabbage, peppers and dressing; mix to thoroughly combine. Garnish with cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving.