Monday, February 27, 2017

Yummy Healthy Snacks for (Almost) Spring!

It's the end of February and Heart Health month is almost over – but we’re rolling right into bathing suit season! Here in the south, in less than 2 months we are heading for the pool or the beach. Here’s three EASY and DELICIOUS ways to welcome March with feel good yummy food - with fast and accessible ingredients to make feeling good easy.

Black Bean and Avocado Hummus
Making the Most of an Avocado by including it in a dip to make the dip creamy.
A serving of Guac is 2 TB - Who eats 2 TB?
Using Fresh Herbs – Cilantro
Serve with Crudité instead of chips

1 Large Garlic Clove
3 Cups (2 Cans) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 TB Fresh Lime Juice
¼ Cup Packed Cup Cilantro
½ of a Peeled Avocado
Sea Salt to Taste

Add the ingredients from the garlic to the avocado to a food processor and blend until smooth. Sprinkle with salt and serve with crudité.

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette
What to do with Roasted Veggies
Using sugar appropriately
Using Fresh Herbs – Ginger
Making Your Own Salad Dressing
Sweet OR Savory Dressing – use if for fresh fruit too.

2 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
3 TB Maple Syrup
2 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake well. Serve with roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes and red onions, parsnips, turnips, etc.

Choose three or more veggies; toss them with a little olive oil or spray well with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, (add a sprinkle of any spice or spice mix that you like), and place in a PREHEATED 400F oven until soft and brown on the edges, about 45 minutes for root veggies.

OR Toss with Fresh Fruit like sliced Apples, Pears – or make it tropical with mangoes, pineapples or even oranges.

Salted Peanut Chocolate Bites
Grocery Store Healthy Choice – being a label detective
Making it better

2 Cups Whole Me Salted Peanut Chocolate Bites, crushed
(Or Your Favorite Granola)
2 Tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Log Goat Cheese
Pretzel Sticks

Whisk the Almond Bites and Chocolate together and place on a plate. Make small balls out of the goat cheese and roll in the almond bites. Skewer with a pretzel stick and serve.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Everything on Your Plate - The Peach and The Porkchop

“If you ever open a restaurant together, you should name it Peach and The Porkchop” said the co-owner’s father. You gotta love a restaurant that’s takes itself SO lightly that it’s named after Peach - the wife and her husband - Porkchop. Located in the far reaches of Roswell, (okay so now you know I’m ITP) this restaurant is worth the drive. No, really. Let me tell you why.

It’s been over a month since my visit, and although a really delicious memory, I’ve procrastinated about putting my enthusiasm in print. But, I’m at the Georgia Organics conference this weekend celebrating local food and farmers, the best that our state has to offer. (Love rubbing shoulders with others who are conscious in their food decisions and know how to enjoy good food.) So naturally, The Peach and the Porkchop burbled to the top of my mind.

As an Atlanta Food Blogger, I’m lucky to get invites to eat out weekly. One reason I don’t attend many is they don’t fit my point-of-view, and there are lots of writers out there who do a great job of reviewing. As a Healthy Chef Partyologist, I appreciate a well-made chicken wing. I LOVE French fries, and a good steak every once in a while makes me a very happy camper. (Ditto on a craft cocktail or excellent glass of wine.) Don’t call me a food Nazi I’m not. I just prefer to treat that tangle of fries as a real treat, and I think its lots easier to find a good steak in this town than it is to find a great veggie plate or food that honors our place in the South.

So when “Porkchop” beginning rattling off his list of local purveyors, I was intrigued. It not often you find an owner who can tell you where his lettuce last grew, the pasture his beef last grazed and the name of every vegetable farmer who contributed to a plate. The results of the restaurant’s local sourcing and the skill of the chef, Keegan Hughes were beautiful and delicious.

Some of my favorites? Lets start at the beginning…with drinks. Two luscious cocktails with clean and clear flavors appeared. The thyme in the Bourbon Peach Thyme Smash was just the right touch and the London Dry Gin and Green Tea drink named the “Writers Block” hit only high notes. As for other libations, I was surprised to see a diverse wine list with more than the usual suspects appearing. Congrats to wine director Brendan.

My favorite of the appetizers, the tea glazed deviled eggs were interesting and pretty. Two salads were served, both yummy, but the P and P really rocked. Pickled baby heirloom tomato, crispy chickpeas, cilantro, cucumber, shaved pecorino gran cru drizzled with a honey lime vinaigrette. (I’ve had dreams about how good that pickled tomato would taste nestled in a very dry gin martini.)

Of the entrees, two rang my bell. The trout topping broccolini with pancetta jalapeño creamed corn was notable for its intensity of flavor. And the massive pork chop was tender and juicy, its bed of greens cooked perfectly.

Oh, and did I mention dessert? Yes, the group devoured decadent, gorgeous towers of chocolate and cheesecake, coconut cake and more. The tiny glass of Choc-zilla Adult Milkshake made my evening perfect. Chocolate liqueur and Van Gogh vanilla vodka over chocolate ice cream, count me in.

I’m glad I traveled - It's a legit culinary destination for those of us who take pleasure in good food and where it comes from. Every menu item I tasted was scrumptious; I’ve just talked about my favorites here. Word to the wise: plan on sharing plates with two or even four eaters, or take home lunch for the week. (Portions are ginormous so know this before you order.)

Fellow Atlantan, go. It’s worth the traffic and worth exploring. For those of you who live in Roswell, Alpharetta and points beyond, this should be your local hangout. Especially families, since out of the 23 kid-friendly menu options only the ice cream is frozen. This should be a BIG draw. Better yet, ask me to dinner. I’ll split the porkchop with you!

Full disclosure - my meal was absolutely free, I enjoyed it and have already sent friends back!
The Peach and The Porkchop
Slightly North of South

12040 Etris Rd, D100, Roswell, GA.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Chocolate Treats for YOUR Valentine!

I’m whipping up some easy, delicious, fast and fun ways to enjoy better-for-you chocolate with friends and family on ATL and CO tomorrow, February 13th in the noon hour, (11:15 to 12:15) on NBC 11alive in Atlanta.

I’ve got two recipes to share with Christine – an Amazing Chocolate Ricotta Cream with only 3 Ingredients for the most perfect Chocolate Mousse. And a cookie to “die for”, a Chocolate Almond Banana Bite. It’s a super yummy treat made with less sugar, contains protein from natural almond butter and surprising gluten free.

While we are baking together on the show, I am going to share tips about what kind of chocolate to buy if you are looking for a healthier option:
Contains at least 70% Cocoa
Chocolate, Cocoa or Cacao should be first ingredient
NOT Dutch processed or processed with Alkali, (you lose anti-oxidants when its processed.)

Hope you can join me to see these decadent desserts in action!

Banana Almond Chocolate Bites

1 Medium Banana
1 Cup Natural Almond Butter
1 Large Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Demedera or Raw Sugar
1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Dark Chocolate at least 70%

Step One Preheat oven to 350F. Mash the banana in a large mixing bowl. Add the almond butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Fold in the chocolate.

Step Two Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 ½”  apart, they will spread!  Bake them for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly brown and set. Remove and let cool for a minute before removing from the baking sheet.

Amazing Chocolate Ricotta Creams                      

1 (15 OZ) Container Light Ricotta Cheese
2 TB Confectioners Sugar
4 OZ at least 70% Dark Chocolate, Melted
Berries and mint for topping

Blend the cheese, sugar and melted chocolate together in a food processor until smooth. Spoon the mixture into wine glasses and place in the fridge for an hour to set up, remove and top each glass with a fresh berry and mint.,