Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moroccan Roasted Carrots

I don't like boring vegetables, these Moroccan Roasted Carrots are the cure. A sweet and spicy gluten free side!

I got like all serious a couple days ago about bullying (here) and well now I got carrots. Kinda feels weird to jump right back into food after pouring my heart out and letting you all see my sensitive underbelly.

But alas it's back to food, which is MUCH easier to write about.

I got the cure for your boring sides: it's gluten free, sweet, spicy, colorful and exotic.

It's some seXXXy veggies.

Moroccan Roasted Carrots. Ohhhh yeah! Carrots have never been more sexy!

These are roasted tri color carrots, tossed in olive oil and moroccan spice and then topped with feta, mint and pomegranate seeds! Seriously, how can this NOT be delicious?!

I actually ate these for dinner without anything else, but they would go great with some grilled chicken or streak, dontcha think?

They're seriously easy to make and look all fancy and shit!

Moroccan Roasted Carrots

by Sophia @ NY Foodgasm
Prep Time: 5 mins.
Cook Time: 20 minutes.
Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 1 pound carrots ( I used Heirloom multi colored carrots), halved and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Ras en Hanout (moroccan spice blend)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • freshly cut mint
  • drizzle of honey
Preheat the oven to 425º
Toss together your carrots with the spices and olive oil.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden on the edges
Cover in the rest of the ingredients
Serve and ENJOY!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Then & Now - from bullied to beautiful

Most of us have struggled with being bullied. This is my story and the story of how I moved past that struggle. If I had the courage, this is what I would have said to them.

This is my most personal post to date. It's hard for me to write, yet I come to it with some sense of ease. Everyone has a story about a bully, most of us have been teased at one time or another.

This is my story...

I was overweight since age 10. At first I was blending in well, then middle school hit, and maybe it was the hormones..., we all started changing. That's when it started for me. At first it was more or less innocent, a little teasing about my weight or my teeth but nothing too harsh. (I had bad teeth too!) Not sure when exactly, maybe 7th grade, I realized I was heavier than the other kids and I became a target. A big fat target.

Comments followed as I walked down the hall. Kids yelled "Boom, boom, boom" because I was heavy. Others called me sofa instead of Sophia, referring to my size. One kid threw gum into my hair in English class. I actually yelled at that kid but besides that one time, I usually suffered in silence. I let them get the better of me.

These comments they made- they became my story. They became the person I told myself I was. Not good enough, not pretty, not cool, someone without value.

It reached the most horrific point when I received a letter in the mail. It had a picture of a sexy naked lady from a nudie magazine folded inside. Written over it in black sharpie was something to this effect:

"You wish you looked like this. You're fat, you're ugly and no one will ever love you!"

Just writing these words make me wince in pain and embarrassment. What I've just told you, I've never even told my own parents. I threw that letter out and sobbed alone. I think I was 13.

Now here's the thing, if I was a jerk and made enemies I can understand receiving such a thing in the mail, but I was peaceful. I just wanted to be friends and never made an enemy at school. Someone went out of their way to hurt me. Someone put effort into choosing a picture, writing on it, and mailed it to me. Still don't know who it was.

All through high school I didn't fit it. Guys asked me out as a joke. Popular girls laughed at me. Once I was invited to a sleepover so that the cool girls could do mean things to me when I fell asleep, but a funny thing happened. They realized they liked me when they got to know me.

Now, I've done some shit I'm not proud of. I wanna admit it right here. Prime example; this guy I had a crush on asked me, dared me to pull another girls hair, I'll call her V. I did it and I was disgusted. How could I? I became the kind of person that made me suffer for so long.

(In fact, I took a break from writing to tell her that I was sorry. I think I may have already apologized, but I wanted to be sure. I'm friends with her now on social media.)

For years after I got that letter, the names people called me was what I believed of myself. I was fat, ugly and no one would love me. It haunted me still and I didn't realize it until, as an adult, I was able to see that it was all all just a story I was told. Inside, I believed that I was amazing. With the help of a close group of friends in college, I started to realize that I was cool, people liked me and I was fun to be around.

I never had a boyfriend and I was still a virgin all through college, and even some time afterwards.

I'd like to say it all changed in college, but I didn't. I had a Scarlet O'Hara obsessed roommate Freshman year, she used me to get close to a guy she liked, she pretended to be a guy to ask me out and generally made my first year sorta hellish. But I did meet an awesome group of girls I am still friends with to this day. The liked me the way I was, they encouraged me and made me feel I was the amazing person I thought I could be. (Love you Marie, Jamie and Megan!! XOXO!)

This was where I started to love myself....

After college I met the best dude in the whole fucking world, just when I thought I would never find love. He fell out of the sky and saw the awesome inside me: saw the person I hoped I was, the person I wanted to be and he loved her despite her size. He loved everything about me and no change was needed. It was his love and unconditional support that got me where I am today.

I made the choice to lose weight after we were married. My choice was based on my realization I was becoming physically unhealthy. I tried and failed a couple times at losing weight and then I actually did it. I lost 73 pounds and kept it off. My weight was the one thing I wanted to change. I didn't want to be skinny, just to fit in a straight size, but I never thought I could do it. I heard those voices in my head. You're fat, you're ugly, no one loves you was whispered to me all along. When I realized how horribly I spoke about myself, to myself, I replaced the voices. I replaced them with you're worth it, you want this and you have every right to it!

I was conscious of my thoughts and my inner voice for two weeks and turned it around. That was when I really started dropping the pounds.

By conquering this beast I knew I could do anything! So I started this blog and I feel like I shoulda shared this with you sooner.

So if I ever found out who sent me that horrible note in the mail I would tell them,
"I'm fucking fabulous & loved by many especially myself!"

My calling is to make a contribution, to inspire and to help others be happy.

Through food, through fitness, some encouragement and with a nice pint of beer!

But mostly I want you to know... you are amazing, you are beautiful and you can make a contribution to the world!

By turning your mean girl voice into a supportive friend, you can accomplish ANYTHING!

I would like to hear YOUR stories here in the comments or email them to me if you feel uncomfortable.

What mean things have people said to you in your past & what would you say to them now?

How have you overcome bullying?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kitchen Bootcamp: How to make firm lentils

Lentils can turn to complete mush unless you know how to properly prepare them. Firm lentils are especially crucial for lentil salads.

While I am a food blogger, I am not a culinary professional. I know flavors and how to mix and match, but my skills are few compared to my creativity. So sometimes it's good to take a step back, do some research and figure out how to get it right.

I was doing some research for a lentil salad and came across an awesome article and video by America's Test Kitchen on how to make firm lentils. Not only do they give you instructions, but they tell you WHY you need to do these things and take these steps.

I mean who wants mushy when you can get them firm, like this dude's butt!

Basically it is PURE GENIUS!

FINALLY someone tells me why, so I don't skip a step that seems inconsequential. (Yeah I know some big words...)

So you can watch the video here or I can shorten it and outline the steps for awesomely firm lentils below. (Firmer than Suzzanne Sommer's thighs from her thighmaster!)

Step one: 

Choose Your Lentils wisely. Not all are created equal. I used Trader Joe's Green Lentils. Some are more prone to a mushy texture. I didn't hear of the specific ones they pointed out so picked up what I could find. But definitely do not use orange or red, they will get mush no matter what!

Step two: 

Brine dried lentils in salted water.
1 cup lentils + 4 cups water + 1 teaspoon salt
Why? The salt in the water makes the pectin in the lentil sin more pliable.

Step three: 

Simmer lentils in the oven at 325º for 40-60 minutes.
2 cups water + 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock + 1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: add 5 smashed garlic cloves, herbs, peppercorns etc. for flavoring
Why? The oven offers a more gentle and even heat than the direct heat of stovetop. The salt added makes sure they stay firm and also seasons them with flavor so they're not bland.

Hope this helps you guys out!! I will be doing more posts like this to help you navigate your kitchen so all these things aren't so scary. Also you really cannot run til you learn to walk. Learning the right way to make things is tried and true and works!

I am ALL for creative license, but the basics are a MUST and I never even thought to look into them because it's not as fun. SO I made it fun with a silly zombie graphic.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Best Guinness Brownies You'll Ever Eat! #StPatricksDay

You want the ultimate dessert for St. Patrick's Day? This recipe is for the BEST Guinness Brownies you will EVER eat! More like fudge than a brownie and more decadent than any brownie you have even eaten.

Every now and again I get sooooooo ridiculously excited to share a recipe I can hardly contain it! THIS is one of those times. WHY?!

I made the best damn Guinness Brownies you will ever stuff in your face- that is not a claim I make with wild abandon. I have eaten my fair share of brownies and these far surpass any that I have eaten. Yes ANY brownies, not just of the Guinness persuasion.

Well for one it's not every day you eat a brownie quite this decadent with an entire pound of chocolate and a half pound of butter. (I paid for this dearly at the gym, I assure you.)

It's also not every day that one has put Guinness into a brownie and not JUST Guinness but also Jameson's Whiskey. (It actually compliments the beer quite nicely with it's toffee notes)

Another awesome thing about his recipe- only seven ingredients- NONE of which are brownie mix. I don't play with that stuff anymore... all real baby. Feel 'em!

Well when I made and perfected this recipe I knew it was one of the most foodgasmic moments I have ever had. I didn't share on my blog's social media, but rather my personal and EVERYONE wanted to recipe. I am soooo soooo sorry to my friends that had to wait! But finally it is here and I get to share it with the world!

Can you EVEN handle the fudge.... OMG!

I wrote this AMAZING recipe for SheKnows.com. Get the full recipe after the jump!!

Check out the FULL recipe HERE!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What to expect at South Beach Food and Wine Festival, is it worth it? You like food? Then check this out.

Okay so things started pretty boring... waiting in line for an hour. We had tickets and were waiting that long on line. So that SERIOUSLY sucked. Below is the line, you cannot even see where they take your ticket. BUT it was February and it was fabulous weather in Miami. As a New Yorker I cannot complain. I was surrounded by Palm trees and other food loving people!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bourbon Spiked Vanilla Quinoa Pudding

Why would you waste your time with rice pudding when you could use quinoa and make it healthier?! This recipe also spikes it with a little bourbon for fun.

You guys... I realized I've never seen a recipe for quinoa pudding. So naturally I got on that shit STAT. I mean it's a no brainer. Why have I not made this before? It's just like a slight twist on the classic and you are adding all the nutrition of quinoa and it's health enough to call breakfast....


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adventures in Food, Wine and Beer in Florida Pt. 1 #SOBEwff

If you ever wanted to know what it is like attending a Food Network Food and wine festival, I've got your look inside here of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

A month ago, for the hell of it, I wanted to see when the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was... I remembered my uncle told me he could score me tickets if I ever wanted to go. Yeah I realized it was only a month away and just like that I decided I was going to go to Miami! I am no rich fuckin chick, so even affording airfare was a struggle, but the food and the beach beckoned me!