05.18.2016

10 Tips to Master the 21 Day Fix

Do you know what the 21 Day Fix is? I bet you’ve seen it on TV or you’ve heard someone talk about it. Or maybe, you don’t watch TV like me!

In case you haven’t heard of it, this is a workout program that helps you lose weight and tone in 21 days. Now, this is not some kind of miracle, you have to work for it! The thing is that it is actually a brilliant concept because, you know what they say, if you do something for 21 consecutive days it becomes a habit, therefore this program helps you create an exercise routine habit. Now, to my favorite part: the food! Yes! You know I love food, and I know you do too, and probably that’s the main problem in this search of “how do I lose weight but still drink my wine?” Yup, I know, that’s me, and always be.

Now, enter the brilliant Autumn Calabrese and her idea to incorporate to the 21 Day Fix some handy dandy color-coded containers. So, these guys are great because each one means a different kind of food (carbs, proteins, fruits, fats, etc) and the program will show you how much to eat of each of type of food per day, even leaving room for wine! How awesome can a program like this be? Now, I’m not saying you have to have your vino everyday, but once a week and you get to lose some weight? Brilliant!

In this video I go over my top 10 tips to master the 21 Day Fix program. Let me know if you have any questions or you want to know more. Because, let’s face it, summer is almost here and we are all leaving everything to the last minute. Remember those New-Year’s Resolutions that we keep pushing to “next week”? Let’s go conquer them! 🙂

10.14.2015

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup I have never been a soup kind of girl. I always felt that in order to eat and feel satisfied I needed to chew food, ha! Was I wrong! Anyways, for some reason in the past few years I’ve become more and more interested in soups, especially during the fall season. That’s why I got very excited when I came across this awesome and perfect 2 lb box of already chopped squash. I started to think about it’s posibilites (insert evil laugh…) Granted, it’s about 70 degrees here in San Francisco, but let’s just ignore that fact for now.

Butternut Squash Soup Here’s a recipe I’ve been making for years and it’s a crowd pleaser, or at least a husband pleaser. When I went to check out the leftovers this morning they were pretty much gone! The guy loves to eat…

Bonus points, it’s very healthy! Low in calories, it’s very filling, it’s rich in vitamins A and B.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 lb Butternut squash whole
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 green apples peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Allspice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 425.
  2. In the meantime cut the squash lengthwise into 2 pieces, remove seeds, and brush the flesh with a little bit of oil and sprinkle allspice.
  3. Roast the squash, flesh side up, for 50 min to an hour until knife tender. If you use already chopped squash roast for 25-30 minutes turning once. Remove from oven and then cool it down.
  4. While the squash is cooling down start the soup by sautéing the onions and the apples in medium to low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. While this happens remove the flesh of the squash from its skin and add it the soup base.
  7. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Puree with an inmersion blender or in a stand blender.
  9. Optional: Strain through a cheese cloth, or colander, if you prefer the soup very liquid.

What’s your favorite fall/winter soup?

02.23.2015

Chocolate with Churros

Chocolate con churros

Chocolate con churros in San Ginés

Well, well, it’s been ages, I know, life got in the way but I’m back. Nothing too exciting has happened during this time except for being super busy at work and for the 2.5 weeks we spent in Madrid. That was fun, and I wish we could do it more often.

We went to visit family and friends during the holidays, and we had missed them sooooo much. I wish I could show you pictures, but I barely took any. Yes, I brought the big camera. No, I really didn’t use it. The thing is, since we spent most of our time with our friends, we didn’t really go out sightseeing. Even if we had gone to see other places, although I always enjoy the surroundings, I always forget to take pictures. I should get better at that.

Anyways, one of the things I do there, non-stop, is eat. I think we didn’t have any vegetables for a week, seriously, I’m not joking! One of the best foods you can have for breakfast or afternoon snack (or for lunch, dinner, I won’t judge) in Spain is chocolate with churros “chocolate con churros“. At this point, everybody knows what they are, but you will never know what you are missing until you try them in Spain, so there’s your excuse to get on a plane. The chocolate is so thick that, in my mother-in-law’s words, “you could put a spoon in the mug and it would stay up straight”. This is a little bit of an overstatement, unless my sister makes the chocolate. Then, yes, the spoon will stay up. You can make the chocolate at home, actually we always get the bars and bring them back here, but not the churros, that requires more work. Back in the day you could find the chocolate with churros pretty much everywhere, but unfortunately, nowadays there are less and less places where they make the churros. I remember, when I was young, going to the churrería (churro store) to buy them for breakfast on Sunday mornings, while my grandma or my mom would make the chocolate.

Spanish Chocolate

New Year’s Day breakfast – take-out chocolate with churros, yum!

Lucky for us, we stayed at my sister’s who lives in a little town in the mountains (sierra) of Madrid. Turns out that this little town has one incredible restaurant, or bar as we call it, that makes chocolate with churros to go. Unheard of for Spaniards, especially for us, the ones who left a long time ago. Needless to say, we order quite a few times from there. I have no words to describe how delicious that chocolate was.

Chocolateria San Gines

Chocolatería San Ginés and my mini model

If you ever go to Madrid don’t miss San Ginés, photo above, and indulge in their chocolate with churros. Be careful, they are addictive.

08.25.2014

Healthy Mac n Cheese

Healthy Mac n Cheese
When I moved to the U.S. I learned about the famous boxed Mac n Cheese. Me being 1. not cooking savvy, and 2. in a new country and trying to embrace its culture, I told my husband that I would make it for him. Let me put it this way, I know I mentioned that I used to make mash potatoes from a box here, but seriously, this was so bad that I erased that taste from my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not miss healthy I am going to eat everything fresh and made from scratch, but I just didn’t like it.

Butternut Squash Mac'n Cheese

The star of the dish

Thanks to my trusty Food Network, I learned to make real mac n cheese, which I only cooked once. It was way too elaborate and had like a pound of cheese. If we put things into perspective, to me being the very literal person I am, Mac n Cheese should be just that; two ingredients: pasta and cheese, you mix them together and you are done. It may not be that appealing but at least it’s better than the stuff from the box.

Healthy Mac n Cheese

A few months ago I learned about Blue Apron; although we don’t subscribe to it I like the idea. I saw this Mac n Cheese recipe and decided to give it a try. I don’t remember how many times I’ve made it so far. It’s a healthier alternative to the original recipe because it uses butternut squash instead of cheese, and if you have kids, they won’t even notice.

Healthy Mac n Cheese Healthy Mac n Cheese Healthy Mac n Cheese
I more or less doubled the original recipe since I don’t measure everything. Remember, you may use more or less butternut squash, salt, cheese, etc. depending on your preference. I also used a big baking dish but you can definitely make it in ramekins, for individual servings, or in cupcake pans for a party or something like that.

Healthy Mac n Cheese

 

Healthy Mac n Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash (about 2 lbs or a little bit less)
  • ½ Tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 Pound of Whole Wheat Pasta (elbow, penne, any short pasta will work)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour (regular, whole wheat, gluten free)
  • 1¾ Cup Milk
  • 1 Dash Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Breadcrumbs (optional)
Instructions
  1. While you bring a big pot of water to a boil, peel and cut the butternut squash into chunks. To make the pealing easier I put the squash in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Salt the water and add the squash. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the butternut squash is fork tender. Once it's done, take it out of the water with a slotted spoon and puree it in a food processor.
  3. Add the pasta to the water you cooked the butternut squash in. Drain when al dente.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven and start making the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan in on medium to low heat; don't let it burn. Once it's melted add the thyme and the flour. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute or so. It will turn yellow. Pour the milk slowly while whisking it into the flour mix to avoid lumps. Season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it thicken for 2 minutes or so.
  5. Add the butternut squash puree and half of the cheese to the béchamel.
  6. Combine the pasta with the butternut squash mix and put it in a baking dish.
  7. Top the pasta with the rest of the parmesan and breadcrumbs if using them.
  8. Broil for about 5 minutes or until the top gets golden and crispy.
  9. Enjoy!

08.18.2014

Brunch in San Francisco

Brunch
If I had to pick my favorite meal to eat out it would be brunch. I love the whole concept of it: eggs, potatoes, French toast. It’s not lunch, it’s not breakfast, it’s just Brunch! No question about it. It’s not that I don’t like to go out to dinner, but brunch is just relaxed, casual, you can even go directly after yoga and nobody cares, at least here in San Francisco.
I just can’t get enough of it. The only thing that I don’t like, and that’s why I don’t do brunch out as often as I would like, is the lines. Restaurants usually don’t take reservations and sometimes the wait can be up to an hour.

I wanted to share with you a couple of places I like for brunch in San Francisco. Check them out next time you visit. You won’t be disappointed:

  1. Zazie – It’s a French Bistro in Cole Valley, and there’s definitely a long wait. Sometimes we’ve been able to get in in half an hour, but an hour is usually normal. Their poached eggs are insanely delicious. I don’t like hollandaise sauce, but this is the only place I would order them.
  2. Rose’s Cafe – It’s a bistro with Italian food located in Cow Hollow. It opens early in the morning, so even if you just want coffee and a pastry, you’ll be set. Being the coffee snob I am, this is one of the few places where I could actually enjoy my coffee. They change the menu every day.
  3. Cliff House – This building has a couple of restaurants and a souvenir store, and as its name implies, it’s on a cliff with breathtaking views. The brunch menu is fixed price and buffet style. One of the few places where you can make a reservation for brunch. Try to go on a sunny day to enjoy the views and the beach.
  4. Stacks – Good old-fashion American diner with great service and a big menu in Hayes Valley. The food is just plain good, but careful with what you order, portions are big!
  5. Pomelo – There are two locations, Sunset and Noe Valley. What makes this small place unique is its menu. Each dish comes from a different part of the world, which gives you the opportunity to try different cuisines at the same time.

There are definitely more places, but these are the ones I tend to go more often.

Do you also enjoy brunch? How’s the “scene” in your city?