Sunday, September 30, 2007

6 Recipe #22: A Healthy Mango Smoothie That's So Good You'll Think It Was Soft Serve Custard!

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Here's another original recipe that tastes more like a dessert than a healthy beverage:

Corey's Delicious Mango Smoothie


Ingredients:
2 oz. Lifeway plain Kefir (get low-fat version if available)
1/3 c. light vanilla Silk soy milk (the refrigerated version)
Juice of one 1/2 lemon
6 oz. frozen mango chunks
2 tsp. plain whey protein isolate

Directions: Pour all ingredients into a blender in the exact sequence as listed above. If you pour in liquids first, it evenly disperses the ingredients & prevents the protein powder from gathering into a congealed blob on the bottom of the blender. Pulse ingredients until blended into a custard-like consistency. Do not overblend, as you want to keep the mixture thick. Too much blending will liquefy the mixture. The consistency of this recipe should be more like that of a custard or soft serve ice cream! And in fact, it tastes more like a dessert than a healthy breakfast beverage! Enjoy!

Chef's Notes: It's very important to use frozen mango chunks, as this is what gives the smoothie it's excellent texture. The best kind are from Trader Joe's; I've found most other types to have a funky/rather unpleasant aftertaste. Also, be sure to use a strainer when squeezing juice, to avoid having seeds drop into blender. :)  And lastly, whey protein can usually be found at your local health store, i.e., GNC, or ordered online.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

0 Yes, Finally Some Foodie Content Again!!!!!!

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Yes, I know it's been an endless string of posts about awards & thank you's for these awards, & I bet you're probably thinking, "Enough already, when's she going to write some foodie content?!?" Or "How about atleast stringing us along with a recipe or two?!" Well wait no more. My stomach is growling, my kitchen cutlery & sense of humor are both sharpened, & I'm ready to talk about food!

Well, the new season of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares has begun & Gordon is as blunt as ever! Certainly not a man to cower from confrontation, he's in rare form, once again telling restaurants where to stick their horrible-tasting food! But he's not all criticism; he pitches in, offers useful advice, & helps restaurants by retooling their menus & helping the staff clean up their heinously unhealthy kitchens that would make any health inspector cringe!

You have to be fairly thick-skinned to take his harsh-but-true style of criticism. While watching the show, have you ever considered whether or not you yourself could take that kind of bluntly delivered criticism? It might be uproariously funny & very entertaining, but I know I certainly wouldn't want to be the object of his fiery harangues! ;-)

I think I'd probably be like some of the more feistier chefs featured on his show, who'd give it back to him in spades! All lip & attitude, & a big spatula-smack to his rear to boot! Hahahaha!

I'd probably start out by getting mad, then get even (no, just kidding!), & then settle down & take his criticism. In the end, it's really the way you tell someone that their soufflé stinks, or that their menu needs work, that makes all the difference. ;-)

Ultimately, no one enjoys criticism, but atleast constructive criticism usually is given with the intention of helping you to get better. Gordon could use some work in the tact department, but then again, the show probably wouldn't be nearly as amusing to watch. ;-)

Heaven only knows, Gordon isn't a man with the time or patience to politely couch his constructive criticism in euphemisms. And his bluntness sometimes leads to drama & chaos, but I guess in the end, I'd rather have someone tell me the truth than kiss my ass. Wouldn't you? Atleast you know where you stand.

1 OMG, More Awards!!!!!

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YEA, YEA, YEA, YEA!!!!!! WHO-HOOOOOOOO!

Now I know Barby of Meh is just way too modest & doesn't want me to make a big deal of the award she recently gave me, but nonetheless, I'm going to jump up & down & get just as excited as I did when I got my very first award.

So there. ;-) My apologies to Barby for being such a spazz (& for taking so long to post this!)......

But I think it's very cool that she thinks enough of me & my blogs to nominate me for an award. Her blog, "meh" is totally hilarious; you'll definitely want to check it out if you don't already know about it! My sister, Missladybug of Ladybug & Co, was the one who originally introduced me to Barby's blog, so I must thank her as well! ;-)

So, here's the award:



...and the link back to Barby's original post.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

2 Wow, More Awards! Thank You, Yet Again!

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Geez, I don't know if I can handle being showered with all of these great awards! :-) You sure do know how to make a gal feel special. Thank you everybody!



Yes, I can't believe it myself, but I just got ANOTHER "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award, this time from Missladybug of Ladybug & Co, which brings the count of awards to four - two "Rockin' Girl Blogger" awards, one "Bodacious Blog" Award, and one "Totally Fabulous Blogger" Award! Wow, this is so COOL!

Thank you, Missladybug!!!!!!! I appreciate the wonderful mention on your blog, as well as the exciting, blogalicious comments you left on my blog.



For those of you who don't already know, Missladybug writes a witty (no, make that HILARIOUSLY FUNNY!) blog filled with all sorts of useful tips & advice. You will probably fall off your chair from laughing so hard!

As she's a doctor, writer, musician, gourmet chef, & just all-around talented renaissance woman, she's got a lot of good solid advice to give on multiple subjects. So head on over to her blog for a fun time & some excellent advice!

0 Wow, Thank You, Christy & Ann!

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This is me doing the "Happy Penguin Dance"!!!!

Whoo-hooooo! This is just too cool for words. I've won a Fabulous Blogger award from my blogger pals, Ann Clemmons of A Nice Place in the Sun (& two other great blogs) & Christy Zutautas of Totally Fabulous.

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Ann & Christy for my Fabulous Blogger award. Ann & Christy are not only talented writers & bloggers extraordinaire, but also very kind & thoughtful souls.



I will proudly post my award on this blog's sidebar for all to see, with a link back to Ann & Christy! (Click here & here to visit Christy's blogs & to read more about her. Click here to see a listing of all Ann's blogs & to find out more information about her.) So please check out their excellent blogs!

Friday, September 14, 2007

0 A Fine Feathered Fish Connoisseur!

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Check this video out. It's a true story. When I saw this, I just had to post it! There's nothing like fresh fish, especially when it's been hand- (er, flipper!)-selected just you by your very own penguin pal. ;-) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1 Feel the Love.....

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Oh my goodness, my BlogCatalog pal, Joolz888/JOolian/Julian, just bestowed a "Bodacious Blog" award on me. Thanks so much, Julian. You are too kind!

I will proudly post my award on this blog's sidebar for all to see, with a link back to Julian's blog! So please check out his awesome blog!

While I'm at it, I'd also like to thank all of my readers & blogger pals for your outpouring of good vibes & support. Right back at ya! 8-)

-C

4 And Now For the Awesome GUY Blogger Awards.....

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Now I just couldn't leave out the guys..... There are many very worthy & deserving guy bloggers out there too, whom I think deserve some recognition.

And so, & in the spirit of gender equality, & to show my appreciation to those guys who've been, well, awesome (!), I've decided to dole out awards to my favorite guy bloggers!

And so...... Drum roll, please! (DRUM-DRUM-DRUM-DRUM-DRUM-DRUM-DRUM!!!)

I would like to bestow the following awesome guys with the "Awesome Guy Blogger" award:

Chessnoid of Chessnoid Random Noid Musings

Cymrusteve of Run Bulldog Run & 2 other cool blogs

David B. Dale of Very Short Novels

Vincent Wright of Wright Hand Blogger & about a zillion other websites

RennyBA of RennyBA's Terella

RoarinRow of R Playground & other blogs.

Joolz888 of Just JOolian ~ Hippocampus Hi-jinx

Ryan0Rules of The Crazy News

ZMoney of ZBlog

Castaway of Run-a-bout! & other interesting blogs

Nathan of Nathan's Running Blog

Greg of Greg on the Run

Tom of Runners' Lounge

Bob of A Bob A Day

Francoyong of Mind Body Spirit And Fluttering Thoughts

LarryB of Mommy, Where Do Customers Come From? A Guide to Marketing & Selling to a Connected Customer

Vishnuap of Arbitrary Servings from the Noodle Joint Upstairs

Gashcrumb of gashcrumb.homelinux.org

Artknight of Spicypage Blog

SecludedHabitat of Sydney through a Local's Eyes

Fruity of Fruit Species

Congrats!

Feel free to show off your award on your site & link back to this post (like I did with my award & link back to BlackTennisPros, who gave me my award), showing proof positive of where you won your award & proudly displaying your "awesomeness" to the world (although you probably already know how awesome you are)!

I hope you'll enjoy displaying your award on your website! Please "pay it forward" & pass on the good vibes by honoring other fellow awesome guy bloggers out there! And while you're at it, you're welcome to bestow a few "Rockin' Girl Blogger" awards to some rockin' blogger gals as well! ;-)

Sincerely,
-C

8 You Are All Rockin' Grrrls! Now Here's Your Award!

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Hello there everybody,

As promised, I'm going to fulfill my responsibility as a winner of the "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award and pass the torch to other deserving lady bloggers. I'm happy to have the opportunity of passing on the good vibes & the respect! (Reminds me of the movie, Pay it Forward.)

So, I'd like to bestow a "Rockin' Girl Blogger award to the following rockin' blogger girls:

Bonnie of How Can I Do That?

Nubia of The Disconnection: Encounters with Strangers

Wikta of London, The Music, & many, many other blogs! (Thought I had a lot of blogs! Don't know how she does it!)

Missladybug of Ladybug & Co

Badthing of Marilyn's Non-Violent Planet Newspage & other blogs

Cutetoes of Meh

Slugger of A Nice Place in the Sun

Heather of The Wishful Writer

Anna of My Hints

Zvi Band of With The Band

Dana of Run Granola Run

TequilaMockingbird of Tequila Mockingbird

Amy of Runners' Lounge

Tracy of The Zen Housewife

Suz of Suz on a Diet

EJ Cooksey of Losing It - Getting Fit

Abi of Couch to 5K & other blogs.

Deann of Living the Life

Fishwithoutbicycle of Fishwithoutbicycle

Thank you ladies, for your bloggerific friendship, generosity, and kindness of spirit! I greatly appreciate your warm feelings of camaraderie & sisterhood! Thank you for being people of substance & doing it with style -- I applaud you for trying to make a difference by blogging about things that matter, &/or for just trying to make people smile & laugh, which is definitely a necessary part of living a healthy & happy life!

Congratulations!

Feel free to show off your award on your site & link back to this post (like I did with my award & link back to BlackTennisPros), showing proof positive of your award & your "awesomeness" (although you probably already know how awesome you are)! I hope you will "pay it forward" & pass on the warm fuzzies & good karma by honoring other deserving blogger "grrrls"!

Peace,
-C

Monday, September 10, 2007

1 I won a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award! This is SO COOL! I rock!

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Hi Everybody,

I'm happy to announce that I just won a award from Sheila of Black Tennis Pros. Here's the original post about it: It's A Beautiful Day: I Rock!.

So check out her very cool blog!

In my next post, I will continue the good karma by bestowing this award on other Rockin' "Grrrrl" Bloggers out there in the blogosphere.

So stay tuned & rock on!
-C

Sunday, September 9, 2007

1 The Email Letter I Wrote to Duff Goldman

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Hi Duff & the Ace of Cakes People,
I know you are all really busy, but I wanted to ask Duff a really amazing question: Did you happen to work at Capital Camps (in Waynesboro, PA) during the Summer of 1993? Because if so, I think we might actually KNOW each other. That year I was the art director at Camp Kaufmann. I just have to know if that was really you that I worked with all of those years ago. Too many of the details I remember about this person fit your description -- The guy I knew was around the same age & looked a LOT like you, was from Maryland, plus he was a graffiti artist, played in a band, drew these really crazy cartoon sketches of pickles (!), & happened to be Jewish, just like you. It was so long ago, but every time I watch your show, I used to get the feeling that I knew you from somewhere, until it dawned on me one day. If you get the chance, check out my photo on my blog, http://cookingwithcorey.blogspot.com, & see if you recognize me. I probably look a bit different than I did in 1993 (don't we all?!), but let me know if my face rings a bell.
-C

Saturday, September 8, 2007

0 Very Cool Update: Found More Supporting Evidence That I Might Know Duff!!!!

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OK, now listen to this! I just read on another blog that Duff is a graffiti artist. That's right, you heard me. Isn't that an interesting "coincidence," after what I wrote in my last post. What are the odds? Now, all I need is a direct confirmation from Duff himself, that he worked at Capital Camps in '93.

This is getting more interesting by the minute.....

Will keep you posted as new developments occur.....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

4 Duff Goldman, Do I KNOW You From Somewhere?

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In a recent post (i.e., two posts ago), I rapped about how much I liked Ace of Cakes. Or rather, more accurately, first I ranted about some Food Network chefs who annoy me and then raved about the Food Network chefs who rock, like pasty chef Duff Goldman & his crew from Ace of Cakes. :-)

Since I wrote that particular post, which ended on a discussion about Ace of Cakes, I started thinking more about the show. And then I remembered a recurring notion that I just couldn't shake:

Every time I watch the show, I kept getting this feeling of certainty that I know Duff from somewhere. I couldn't never seem to put my finger on the exact place or how I know him, but he looks really familiar. This is not out of the realm of possibility, since my past is in fact, connected to many people from Maryland (& Massachussetts, his home state).

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks -- The summer of 1993. Yes, I think I actually might KNOW Duff Goldman. (No, I'm actually serious!)

Back in the summer of 1993, before I had a full-time job in the real world, I was the art director at Camp Kaufman (the older kids' camp) at Capital Camps. I remember this kid who was an amazing graffiti artist & helped us decorate the inside of our art shack with graffiti! (Yes, they let us do that, believe it or not! Some of the kiddies got a little too enthusiastic though & couldn't resist putting some graffiti on the outside of the art shack while I wasn't looking, which they later offered to help me scrub off, to keep us all out of trouble! But that's a completely different story altogether....)

Anyhow, I think this guy was actually a younger counselor or perhaps a CIT. He had a skater punk kind of vibe & also drew these funny cartoons of pickles. (Judging from the expression on their faces, I think they were half-sours & not regular dill. ;-) Ba-dump!)

After all these years, I can only remember what he & his artwork looked like (his artwork was very cool & left quite an impression on me!), but he did look a LOT like Duff. In addition to the physical resemblance, his sense of humor, artistic sensibilities, hobbies, & love of food definitely all fit the description.

Now, it possibly could be a case of mistaken identity, but if that guy I worked with back in '93 actually WAS him, wouldn't that be a completely amazing coincidence??!!!!

So, just for the heck of it, I emailed Charm City Cakes via their web form & told them how cool I thought they all were & also how I blogged about them & am thinking about utilizing their services for my upcoming nuptials. At the time, I didn't mention that I might possibly know Duff from a previous association, but wouldn't it be really cool if Duff & his crew read this post & respond!!!!!

So Duff, if you're reading this, did you happen to work as a counselor at Capital Camps (either Camp Benjamin or Kaufman) in Waynesboro, PA??!!!! Was that REALLY you I worked with in 1993?! If so, you're welcome to email me & say "hi"! And even if that wasn't you, heck, it'd still be very cool to hear from you! ;-)

So, were you a graffiti artist in your past life? If so, it's good to see you channeling your artistic talents into something legal (!), like baking cakes!!!! 8-)

So how the heck ARE you, man? Judging from your show, it looks like you're doing pretty darn good! 8-)

-C

Monday, September 3, 2007

0 Prestone Punch, Anyone?

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In college, during the spring semester of my senior year, I attended a very typical college dorm party, comprised mostly of friends from our school's film appreciation club. The party might've been typical, but the beverage they served was anything but. I can't forget it, even until this day.

Called "Prestone Punch" for its radioactive-looking, bright neon green color, obtained by mixing untold quantities of numerous alcoholic spirits together, it was a favorite among friends. Now I know it sounds like it'd be truly disgusting, but the taste was fantastic; I'd even go as far as to say "transcendent." ;-) Some people drank it in large quantities to get drunk, but I actually drank it for its great taste. I swear it's true!

Yes, a drink worth leaving that much of a lasting impression is worth the effort of hunting down the recipe.

Now college was a long time ago. A few years ago, I tried contacting some of my college buddies from the party, but no one seems to remember the recipe. I think it might've had blue Curaçao in it, & perhaps some Midori (which would explain its electric green color), but I can't be sure.

So, if you happen to be a classmate of mine or from the same school during that four year period, and happen to know the recipe for Prestone punch, & strangely enough, happen to also be reading this blog post at this very moment (yes, highly unlikely I know), I'd be ever so grateful if you could send me recipe. :-)

0 It's Smack-Down Time: Nigella Lawson vs. Rachel Ray!

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Now the guys might like to think that I'm talking about something else completely different with a title like that. This is still the Food Network I'm talking about here, so don't get too excited. There will be no mud wrestling face-offs with scantily-clad female chefs. No battles to the death, with chefs armed with nothing more than spatulas and rubber chickens. ;-) (After all, how much could damage could a beating by rubber chicken actually do?!)

But how fun would it be to see Nigella Lawson kick Rachel Ray's behind?! Maybe it's because I really like Nigella, who seems to be genuine person, while I find Rachel Ray to be one of most saccharine, annoying human beings on the planet. Plus, her trashy "marshmellows-and-dorritos-on-a-spit" type of recipes make me want to yak!

Is it just me or does anyone else find many of the TV personalities on the Food TV Network just totally annoying?!

Let's start with the females of the species first, shall we? (After all, it's ladies first! ;-) ):

I find that some of the female hosts suffer from a serious case of the "squeakies" and some seriously plastic over-smiling.

Take note, Giada (De Laurentiis) and Rachel (Ray), high-pitched squeaky voices and permanently plastered-on smiles are just NOT appealing in any form. So just cut it out, you fakers!

The two of them are about as natural as polyester. :-)

When you start modeling your behavior after a Barbie Doll, that's really not a good thing at all. Barbie is inanimate and has a plastic head, which is sometimes gnawed upon by the family dog. Perhaps this lack of regard Fido has for Barbie should be a sign to pick a better role model.

OK, the Barbie-resemblance thing is just really flat out disturbing, not to mention the just-too-darn-perky demeanor. Frankly, it freaks me out. It's just unnatural, I tell you. I bet one of them is secretly on crack cocaine, just like Mr. Rogers! ;-)

I also have a sneaking suspicion that Giada is not as nice as she appears on TV. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something unsettling about her. Now I realize I have absolutely no grounds for saying this, but it's just a hunch I have. Maybe she's secretly been replaced with a Stepford wife and we just don't know it yet. So if her true personality ever had a movie equivalent, how many of you secretly think she'd probably have been cast as one of those snotty cheerleaders from the movie Heathers? ;-)

Atleast Giada's recipes do have some appeal, although she focuses way too much on pastas. Judging from the look of her, I bet she doesn't eat her own high-carb cooking. Or her skinny rear would resemble a giant pumpkin.

Next on the hit-list is Paula Deen. She seems to focus entirely on sweets and very heavy, unhealthy types of food. Not exactly a role model for healthy eating. Not to mention that her voice drives absolutely batty.

I have a fairly neutral opinion of Ina Garten's personality, but again, just like Paula Deen, she certainly uses enough fattening ingredients in her cooking show. I don't know HOW eating so much butter and cream like that on a repeated basis could possibly be good for you. Her poor husband. Although his taste buds might be temporarily thrilled, he's probably in danger of having a major heart attack.

Next up on the chopping block, the guys:

Does anyone really get Emeril Lagasses's off-kilter jokes (which most times aren't really even jokes) and his strange, ill-timed conversational pauses? I've watched that man's show a few times, and while he might truly be a great chef (I have no idea), his manner is really off-putting. I just couldn't keep watching his show. It was truly painful to watch. Like one of those of those TV shows that relies on cringe humor for laughs, except that, in this case, it's all cringe and no humor. ;-)

And did you ever notice how many spaced-out, freaky people are in his audience? It's like he intentionally scouts out the weirdest, most rabid fans out there and bring them into the audience so they nod vigorously in agreement with every strange utterance he says just like robots. Maybe the studio doles out a few rufies to subdue the audience and keep them from leaving.

To be fair, I have tried some of his recipes, but had to modify several of them into healthier versions or change/omit a few ingredients to make them more suited to our own personal taste. They weren't exactly horrible, but I wasn't horribly impressed either.

Dave Lieberman seems like a likable enough guy, but his verbal tics and show's repetitive format made me stop watching. Same goes for Napa Valley chef, Michael Chiarello. Both had decent recipes, but frankly I'd rather just get their recipes from the Food TV Network's website. :)

What I'm getting at here is that many of the aforementioned chefs are just NOT suited for roles as TV personalities, and frankly, would be better off resigning themselves to taking a job as a restaurant chef where their only interactions would be with kitchen staff (!).

And at that, I wouldn't be surprised if the sous-chef aimed a kebab skewer at Rachel Ray's head after the first 15 minutes of working in the kitchen with her.

When your personality is so totally distracting that we can't focus on your cooking techniques and instead want to jump out a window, maybe you should consider that a sign that a TV job is not for you. ;-)

Now before any of you lay into me too heavily for being "all rant and no rave," I will say this about the Food TV Network's chefs: Firstly, I do have many favorites whom I think have great personalities and are also great chefs: Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, etc.

And I really like Duff Goldman's show, "Ace of Cakes." I like the dynamic of the people in his show. I think he has a really healthy attitude towards his business (i.e., Charm City Cakes) and towards life. You can tell that, while he gets the job done, that he never takes himself too seriously. I like how he injects a sense of humor into everything he does and is so laid back. (You just know that a man with the same name as Homer Simpon's beer has got to be a casual guy! :-) ) He seems like he'd be a fun/easy person to get along with and work beside. I guess it helps that most of the people he hires are his friends and around the same age as himself. Which makes for an easy and hospitable work environment.

Of course, this is a show about cakes made for special occasions, so I think I can let go of my "death-by-chocolate," soap-box style rant in this particular instance. Yes, I can forgive him for making hip-widening cakes because I like his show so much. ;-) The show's more about the creativity that goes into the cake-creation process, and about the people who make and also buy the cakes.

The funny thing is that I'm considering asking him to do either our wedding cake (which is most likely going to be just a small family wedding), or possibly a different cake for the picnic we're going to throw for our friends who live in the area, in celebration of our wedding. Yes, picture two giant bride and groom penguins... in cake! And when we cut into the cake, the inside of the cake will be red! (Just like the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias!!!!) HAHAHAHA!"

Well, I guess I'm just another person who doesn't like to take themselves too seriously! ;-)

Keep Cooking!
-C

P.S. I promise that the next post will NOT be a rant. ;-) There might be another zany installment of "what it's like to write a cookbook" coming your way. Who knows what's in store. Not even me. I don't usually know until I start to type! Atleast this way it keeps it exciting for us both! ;-)

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