Does cold weather drive you to sugar? It always makes me crave tea, & of course, a dessert to go with it. Everyone in the apartment has been slacking a bit with brownies & cupcakes constantly coming out of the oven, so we decided to do the Under Armour ‘Rule Your Nutrition Challenge‘ this month! Shifting focus to be extra aware of what we eat.
This healthy stirfry bowl is the perfect lunch for the challenge- it has protein to rebuild muscles after a workout, veggies for all the vitamins, and low in carbs. (Though always check with your doctor before making any dietary changes!) This bowl delivers flavor & goodness all in one.
And if you’re looking for a breakfast option, try the citrus bowl.
Healthy Stir-fry Bowl
2 T olive oil
1 chicken breast, diced
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup asparagus
1/4 can of corn
1/4 cup broccoli
pepper, turmeric, & lemon juice to taste
handful of spinach (or any green, leafy base)
spoonful of Greek yogurt
Warm the olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium heat. As the oil is warming, dice the vegetables and chicken breast. (This is a great recipe for meal prep too! You can dice everything at the beginning or the week and throw into a pan later.) Transfer all the ingredients into the pan. Add your pepper, turmeric, & lemon juice on top and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
By the time your mouth starts watering, the stirfry should be good to go! Pile over your washed greens and finish with a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Your ridiculously easy lunch packs all the nutrients for a midday pick-me up.
Let me know what you guys think! Do you want to see more quick and healthy recipes? Tag your recipes with #curatedcooking for me to test or see how you liked any of the ones here!
Confession: Being a Florida girl, I thought tangerines and navel oranges were the only citrus worth having. A sort of provincial citrus snob. But, diving more into healthy eating and plating art, blood oranges kept cropping up. The color & flavor profile definitely intrigued me.
Easter & citrus season actually coincide well, and we volunteered to bring a fruit salad. Seeing as I hate banana & melon based salads (they always overpower the other fruits), it was the perfect time to try a citrus salad. It was a hit! But… I wanted a more substantial recipe for breakfast or snack. Enter the citrus power bowl! A little tart, a little sweet & very refreshing start to spring.
Citrus Breakfast Bowl Navel Orange
2 blood oranges
Cara Cara orange
fresh mint leaves
sprinkle of sat
plain Greek yogurt
This also makes a great citrus salad! Just swap the yogurt out for some bitter greens (e.g. arugula) + Feta cheese.
This is another recipe that just reacquires a lot of individual prepping and then throw everything together.
To start, grab a bowl of Greek yogurt. The sourness of the Greek yogurt will balance the sweet & tart flavors of the oranges. Next you’ll need to segment your oranges. “What’s segmenting & how do I do that?” Well, today is a two-fer post, so hop on over here to learn the how & why’s. After the oranges, julienne(cut thinly) fresh mint & almonds to sprinkle on top.
To assemble, just layer the oranges, almonds (you can toast them for a different take), & mint over the yogurt. Drizzle with honey and finish with a sprinkle of salt. Trust me on the salt- it brings out the sweetness. Whenever a dish feels like it’s lacking something, it’s probably salt.
Quick note on segmenting: What I’ve found is that the navel & Cara Cara oranges are the easiest to segment. Blood oranges don’t have perfect segments and lose their rigidity pretty quickly, and have seeds around the outer flesh that need to be removed to save your teeth. The pith on the Cara Cara oranges aren’t bitter at all, so you can leave the pieces as is one those if you want. As always when using a chef’s knife, make sure it’s sharp & be careful!
Also, let me know if a basic cooking series would be helpful! The segmenting tutorial was a blast to shoot.
Segmenting (or supreming) citrus is a great way to remove the bitter taste of the pith & dress up any dish. This is a basic knife skill you can master with a bit of practice in one day! Use a sharp chef‘s or parring knife to get clean cuts.
1| Slice off the top and bottom of the orange enough to see the flesh.
2| Bracing the now flat side against the cutting board, work your knife between the skin and flesh trying to follow the curves of oranges as closely as possible. (The fruit left on the skin is a nice snack if you can’t wait until you’re done segmenting. That might be me every time…)
3| With the skin successfully removed, cut the orange segments away from the pith.
Some cooks like to keep the orange in hand (like pitting an avocado), some like to leave the orange on the cutting board. I found that holding it in hand gave me better control & access.
Halfway around the orange you’ll start to wonder why is this step necessary…
4| You made it! Two options: you can take a bite out of the pith leftovers to understand why this was worth it… OR squeeze out all the juices left behind and save it. (First time segmenting an orange, I took a bite of the pith. I will never doubt again.)
If you’re making the breakfast bowl from ctrl + curate, add the juices right into the yogurt.
Picture perfect segments! Use your new skill and make the breakfast bowl as seen here.
I’m sorry Oak Park, but there’s a new Park in my life- I’m quickly falling for Wicker Park. Adorable shops & cozy cafes have stolen my heart. Last ICP review was for another Wicker Park spot, Bru Cafe, and I had debated doubling down cafes on the same day (though Buzz is technically Bucktown, Bru & Buzz are only a 10 minute walk from each other). I’m glad I gave Buzz: Killer Espresso it’s own day though. This spot has fast passed it’s way to 1st place.
If you’re new to the blog or Indie Coffee Passport, hop on over to this post to see what it is, how it works, and how you can start your own coffee adventure.
Buzz: Killer Espressohit everything I want in a coffee shop: It’s a well thought out space with plenty of natural light, divided areas for silent work or socializing, music at just the right background noise level, & of course great coffee with the perfect pastries to compliment it.
Unlike a lot of the ICP cafes, they don’t try to be everything. Yes, there is still wifi, but their focus is more on good coffee and less “everything but the kitchen sink”. Their baked goods are from Vanille– a great French bakery that I now need to hunt down. If you’re doing ICP, these are the drinks your passport can get you.
Black Diamond Pour Over
What I had:
Black Diamond Pour
The pour over was incredibly smooth and the perfect temperature. One of my biggest gripes with coffee houses is how their brews cool too quickly after being served. Coffee makers, please explain how this happens. Is it the cup the coffee is served in? The brewing temperature?
Whatever the technique, Buzz: Killer Espresso has it down pat. A lot of people compare it to Wormhole, another spot in Wicker Park, so I might have to do a cross comparison review later.
I’ll get some loose leaf tea (they serve it in clear teapots!) & one of every pastry.
Everything. Stop by while shopping in the area or make it a study staple.
In an effort to cook more but not spend hours in the kitchen, pasta dishes always seem like the best go-to. But how can you elevate the sauce jar dump to something truly savory? Pasta Al Pomodoro is an easy and light way to intensify your basic sauce. In just 30 minutes you can have a satisfying weeknight dinner. Game changer.
My friends at Italian Expo shared this recipe to show people how to cook the Italian way. The recipe has been tested and parts are edited for clarity, but the techniques are authentic. Mangia!
Pasta Al Pomodoro | makes 4 servings 2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 medium carrot
1/4 celery stick
1 can passata (tomato puree)
1 packet of spaghetti
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
salt & pepper (to taste)
Warm the olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium-low heat. As the oil is warming, finely chop the onion, carrot, & celery. Transfer the veggies into the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.
Cook until the onion, carrot, & celery are soft. Add the can of passata, salt, & pepper, cover, and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
While the sauce is cooking, boil water in a large pot. Make sure there is enough water to fully cover the pasta. Once the water is boiling, add a dash of salt and your spaghetti. Cook 1 minute under the al dente box instructions.
Drain the pasta but save ~1/2 c of the pasta water. You can add this into the sauce if you find it too dry. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce for another minute. Add Parmesan & basil to taste. Take a bite and realize your pasta game will never bee the same.