Friday, September 13, 2013

Foodie Superstitions

Happy Friday the 13th blog readers!
I love all things horror movie related (I worked at a haunted house for four years after all) and so you better believe that I will be celebrating one of the greatest movie villains favorite days with a Friday the 13th marathon.
Friday the 13th is not only about my favorite machete wielding mad man, but a day where  superstitions come to life. We all know the obvious ones: don't let a black cat cross your path, don't walk under a ladder, and if you break that mirror get ready for 7 very unlucky years. But did you know there are tons of superstitions revolving around food?
Here are a couple of fun ones that I found:
1. Garlic. legend says that garlic was a powerful deterrent against werewolves and vampires. It was also a way to repel the evil eye.
2. Salt. rumor has it that spilling salt is unlucky, and the only way to turn back your luck is to throw it over your left shoulder. A circle of salt is also said to keep away witches (hello hocus pocus!).
3. Egg Shells. legend has it that if you do not crush the egg shells after you crack open an egg they will be gathered by a witch who will then use them to make a boat for herself. If you crush them, then they are no use to her.
4. Bananas. fisherman used to believe that the presence of a banana would bring bad luck for the days catch. Others believed it would bring death (that escalated quickly).
5. Noodles. while eating your chicken lomein never cut your noodles! Long noodles symbolize long life, and if you cut the noodles then you are cutting your life short.
Bet you didn't know some of those! Have a safe day out there bloggers and remember, if it is raining where you are wait until you are outside to open that umbrella.
What are some of the craziest superstitions you have heard? Do you believe?


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

O Sushi

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life ( and there was no such thing as Chipotle of course) it would be sushi. I am always on the lookout for awesome new sushi joints, so when my cousin suggested we try out a new sushi restaurant in North Kingston I was very excited.
Let me just start out by saying this sushi is amazing, and some of the best I have ever had. I always say that Kon's in East Greenwich has the best sushi, but I think O Sushi may have it beat. We started off with some mushroom soup which consisted of mushrooms in a clear broth. Can't go wrong there. We also ordered some edamame (one of my favorites). Then the sushi arrived. We ordered four different "fancy" rolls to share because we just couldn't decide.
The first two rolls we ordered were the Surf & Turf and the Spicy Crispy Tuna roll. The Surf & Turf roll consisted of shrimp tempura, red onion, and was topped with seared beef and avocado. The Spicy Crispy Tuna (which was my favorite roll that we got) included spicy tuna, avocado, and cream cheese. Then the whole roll was deep fried in a tempura batter and finished with the chef's special sauce.
The second two rolls we ordered were the Sweet Heart Roll and the Hot Babe. The Hot Babe had spicy salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and jalapenos, and was topped with shrimp, avocado, and wasabi tobiko. Now if you know me you know that I hate salmon. This roll however did not have an overpowering fishy flavor that to me salmon gives off. The Sweet Heart Roll came shaped in a heart and consisted of spicy crab, avocado, tempura flakes, topped with tuna and chefs special sauce. This was the first time I have tried sushi with the raw fish on top, and let me tell you that tuna was melt in your mouth delicious.
This sushi place located in a mini mall does not look like much on the outside, but on the inside they are serving up a variety of fresh and inventive rolls that you just have to try.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Foodie Facts; Healthy Substitutions

About two months ago I made the decision to be more aware of the things that I am putting into my body. Adding more healthy fats, whole grains, and fresh produce has not only helped me look healthier, but feel healthier. And so I have learned a couple of tricks that help lower fat content without sacrificing taste.
Here are five of my favorites:
1. Substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream. This is probably one of my new favorite things to do. With plain Greek yogurt you can add whatever herbs and seasonings you prefer to create a healthy low in fat topping to your favorite meal. One of my favorite uses is to add a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dill to two tablespoons of plain nonfat Greek yogurt to use as a topping for a homemade grilled chicken gyro. This idea is becoming increasingly popular with the launch of Oikos dips. They have French onion, dill, and a few others which are sold at a variety of different supermarkets.
2. Vegetables as pasta. When you grow up in an Italian family pasta is a staple in your diet. When you are on a diet however, pasta can become your worst enemy. Luckily, I have found two alternatives for pasta to enjoy with your pot of gravy and meatballs: zucchini and spaghetti squash. For zucchini: take a vegetable peeler and slice thin long strands along the side of the zucchini. Place the strands in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender. Place in a bowl and top with your favorite sauce. For Spaghetti Squash: slice the squash in half and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the skin is soft. Remove the seeds, and then take your fork to loosen the strands. Add the squash to a pan and sauté with your choice of seasonings for about two minutes. Add your sauce and enjoy.
3. Apple sauce for butter or oil when baking. Last summer I worked as a culinary instructor at a camp. The kids in my group ranged from 3rd to 7th grade. We spent a lot of time focusing on healthy snacks, so when the kids said that they wanted to bake cupcakes we knew we had to improvise. The kids were amazed that we could make delicious cupcakes by using applesauce instead of butter or sugar. The cupcakes were a little denser, but in no way lacked flavor.
4. Oats instead of breadcrumbs. Oats are high in fiber and are a healthy carbohydrate. Instead of breading your chicken breasts in store bought breadcrumbs high in salt content, add your own seasonings to your rolled oats for a crispy exterior. A simple way to make your meal even healthier? Bake the chicken instead of pan frying it. It really is that simple.
5. Utilize Cauliflower.  When I read about using cauliflower instead of rice today it blew my mind. All you need to do is finely chip the cauliflower in the food processor or by hand and cook for a few minutes. This produces an easy and healthy side dish for your next meal without adding the extra carbohydrates. Another use for cauliflower I am excited to try? The cauliflower pizza crust I have been seeing all over Pinterest. I will be trying this recipe very soon and I will update you with the results!
So there you have it, five easy and healthy substitutions for some of your favorite meals. Remember, healthy eating does not mean you have to give up on flavor!
What are some of your favorite healthy substitutions you have tried? I would love to hear them!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Food Truck Love; Mama Kims


Nothing has taken the culinary world by storm quite like Food Trucks. They are quick, convenient, and offer amazing quality food and moderate prices. Providence is a mecca for awesome food trucks, but none is as popular and more sought after as Mama Kims Korean Food Truck. They take food truck fare to a while other level.
A little history about the place: Mama Kims was opened by Sook Kim and her son Hyun after experiencing the wonder of food trucks in California. All of the ingredients that they use are from local purveyors, and is cooked by young chefs from my alma mater Johnson & Wales.  

On Saturday while venturing out to get some coffee, I spotted the truck outside of the JWU Campus. I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to finally try their food. My boyfriend and I each decided to try one of their wraps.
I decided on the Beef Bulgogi wrap which consisted of shaved sirloin, sautéed onions, and mushrooms in their house marinade with a wasabi-aioli. The flavor of the beef was incredible, and it was very tender. The best part for me was definitely the wasabi aioli. It added just a hint of heat without being too overpowering. My boyfriend tried their pork kimchi wrap which was made with pork belly and pork loin in their house marinade, grilled with fresh house made kimchi.
At three dollars each this is an incredibly affordable meal that definitely does not lack in flavor or quality. Mama Kims menu includes other items such as rice sets, deserts, Korean sweet potato fries, and daily specials.
Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out where they are located today. I know I will be tracking down the truck again very soon to try out their Beef Galbi Sliders.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What I Really Think of The Blueprint Cleanse

Diet fads. They come and they go, but none have gained popularity quite like the juicing fad. Whether you are concocting your own “Green Monster” with your personal juicer, or picking up a bottled version at your local Whole Foods, you can admit to at least trying the trend. I have to admit that I have taken part in the bottled variety. When I first heard about the Blueprint Cleans I was infatuated by it. Then when I discovered their Instagram I was determined to get my hands on their brightly colored juice in their cute square bottles (I am a total sucker for packaging).
When I found out individual bottles of the stuff was sold at Whole Foods I had to run over and pick some up. Now let me start out with how expensive these things are. If you order the full cleanse online you can get one day’s worth of juice ( six bottles) for $65, two days for $130, three days for $195, four days for $260, five days for $325, and six days for a whopping $390. Now I am not sure who has almost four hundred dollars to shell out on juice every week, but I do not. You could buy enough fruit to make your own juice for a year with that kind of cash money. If you go the Whole Foods route like I did you still need to be prepared to shell out about $10 a bottle.
And now for how the juice tastes. If you enjoy the taste of liquid beets or spinach then this is totally for you. If not, then don’t let the other ingredients like apple or ginger fool you – you can’t taste them. The juice has an overwhelmingly earthy smell and flavor. The lemon and cayenne juice left a very uncomfortable burning sensation in the back of my throat.
How did I feel after two days of the cleanse? Like I was dying. And I didn’t even drink the recommended six bottles (like I could afford that). I had a horrible headache and went straight to bed after work. I did not feel energized or healthy for that matter. I wanted a quick weight loss solution before my vacation but there isn’t one. Eating healthy and staying active is what works, and it takes one day at a time. It takes knowing exactly what you are putting in your body and cutting out the processed foods without depriving yourself.
Different things work for different people. Maybe drinking your veggies works for you, but I would rather eat mine raw. With hummus.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What I am Loving

1.       The fact that fall is literally around the corner despite these ridiculously hot last days of summer. Fall is seriously my favorite season, and this list pretty much sums up why My personal favorite line? "In all your outfits knitted glory, it's like your scarf is giving you a big pumpkin spice hug every moment of the day". yes.
2.       Speaking of, these are back and no one is more excited than I am

3.       Fall television. My favorites are coming back and I am super excited! How I Met Your Mother is bringing its final season, New Girl, and The Walking Dead. And of course I am counting down the days until the Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special and the premier of Ravenswood.
4.       So Many Activities. With fall comes all sorts of fun things to do including apple picking, The Roger Williams Zoo Jack O Lantern Spooktacular, The Big E, Farmers Markets, and more. And I plan on doing it all

5.       Movies on the block. Speaking of activities, through the end of September movies will be playing on Westminster Street outside for free. Who doesn’t want to cuddle up on a cool fall night with that special someone by your side. On the 26th they will be playing Paranormal Activity, which brings me to
6.       Horror Movies. Fall is prime time for horror movies thanks to one of my favorite holidays. What do I have on my must see list so far? Insidious 2 and the Carrie Remake
7.       Slowing down. In the midst of all these fun things I am also looking forward to lazy Sunday mornings with my boyfriend with a nice cup of coffee and a movie. Oh, and naps. Fall is a great time to relax, recharge, and enjoy the little things.
8       Fall clothes. With cooler weather come some of my favorite things: scarves, boots, flannel shirts, and sweaters. I’m ready.
9.       Bath and Body Works new pumpkin candle scents. I have stocked up on two so far, Pumpkin Cupcake and Apple Pumpkin, and I love them already. Of course I will be heading back for a few of my other fall favorites such as everybody’s favorite Leaves Candle, and Cinnamon Sugar Donut.
10.       Eating healthy. I have been eating cleaner for about a month and a half (the longest I have ever lasted. So proud) and I am feeling awesome. I have lost eight pounds already, but besides that I am feeling way more energized. Winning.
11.       Blogging. Recently I have been sucked back into the blogging world full force, both reading and writing. Some of my current favorite blogs to read in the morning include “A Beautiful Mess”, “Fit Foodie Finds”, and “How Sweet It Is”. As for me, I have been going back and forth in my mind on what this blog is all about. Is it all about restaurant reviews or is it a lifestyle blog? Well I will let you in on a little secret, I have no idea. This is a blog to share my musings, whether it be on food, work, or life. Fall is the time when my creative juices start flowing, and I don’t want to get stuck in a rut. None wants to be stuck on one narrow path, because how exciting can life get without a little creativity? Which is why I have decided to change the name of my blog from Simply Casey (so vague) to Creatively Casey. Bam.
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties"
-Erich Fromm