Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Green Tea

So, as mentioned in the video, I've been trying to move away from drinking so much hard core black coffee.

Enter - Green Tea

Generally, I am not a tea fan.  I just don't like it.  I enjoy a soy chai latte from time to time but, that's kind of like someone who doesn't like cheese saying that they occasionally enjoy cheesecake - it's a treat; a totally different animal.  So, the majority of the time, I don't have any desire to partake in a mug of the green stuff, or black, or mint infused… however you spice it, I generally haven't been a "tea person."

However, I recently tried plain ol' green tea with a splash of almond milk (which is the kind of milk I most prefer) and it was… well, it was alright.  It wasn't bad but, it wasn't good either.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, "Try it with some honey or a little bit of sugar."  But the thing is you see, that's one of the reasons I so enjoy my coffee - because I can drink it black and, though I'm surely doing my part to bolster the tooth whitening industry, I don't have to doctor my coffee to where it's no longer healthy for me.  I don't want to transition to tea if I have to add a bunch of stuff to it to make it palatable.

I think maybe tea, like coffee for some, is a bit of an acquired taste.  Well, with the possible exception of the preferred liquid-elixir of the south, Sweet Tea.

Those of you who have had Sweet Tea, actually from the South, know exactly what I'm talking about.  I'm getting a toothache just thinking about it.

Actually, now that I think about it, for one whirlwind night, me and tea, well, we had a thing… a fling I guess you could say.  I distinctly remember one night when I was at some kind of big, church function where there was a huge buffet (not surprising either if you've ventured south) and the beverage selection consisted of water, some kind of bright red drink, and sweet tea.  I think it was the first time I'd ever tasted the stuff.  And I was hooked.

I just have this image in my mind of one of those red, plastic cups, with my name scribbled across that side, always being half empty or half full.  All night long I went back for more.  The buffet was of no concern to me.  But the tea… yes… that was something.

The evening ended with me hurling.  Yep.  I know.  Sorry, but it's true.

I drank so much sweet tea, my body just couldn't handle it.  I got terribly sick and, though I don't remember the gruesome details of the evening, I remember thinking, "I'll never drink tea again!"

So, I think its fair to say that tea has been at a bit of a disadvantage for some years now.  That night probably served as more of an admonition against gluttony than anything else but unfortunately, for me Tea was linked with the strongest association to that evening's unpleasant finale.

But, that was years ago.  I no longer have a unpleasant, visceral reaction when I think of tea.  Rather, coffee just has such a head start, it would be difficult for me to imagine any warm bevy coming anywhere close to it in the satisfaction factor.

However, knowing what I know now about the highly publicized and much touted health benefits of green tea, I feel it would do me good to at least try to incorporate a steaming cup of the green stuff more regularly, even if it just stands as a good alternative to my long time warm beverage, morning go-to choice of bold, black coffee.

How do you take your Tea?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Linkage Issues

Okay so… if you're viewing this then you've found the blog under the new name.  I'm so glad!  However, this little blogger did not really realize all the implications and ramifications of changing the name.

all, all, ALL! the links are messed up throughout the blog.  So, over the next couple of days, I'll have to work on getting those updated or fixed.

Until then, thanks for your patience.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's in A Name

The other night, my husband and I went on a mini-date.  We were meeting up with another couple for dinner.  We arrived at the restaurant about 30 minutes earlier than we had discussed…

SIDE NOTE:  My husband hates to be late.  I hate to be early… well, a certain amount early.  It's like, I don't know what to do with myself or something.  I think it has to do with my personality.  I'm kind of all about getting there, doing what we came to do, gettin' home… that sort of mentality.  I'm not saying it's right or that I even necessarily like it but, it's just something I've realized about myself.  My husband on the other hand, well, he's pretty much the most laid back guy you could ever meet.  That's part of why we're good together I think - you know, the whole, "We balance each other out" argument.

So, we're 30 minutes early.  I literally said, "What are we going to do?"  My man just looked at me.  With a  tilt of his head and a smirk on his face, eye brows raised and a question in his voice he said, "Mini-date?!"

*shrug*  "Sure."

We fake jogged into the restaurant (you know when you're scurrying kind of… it's more than a fast walk but not a full out run).  "Buh!  It's so freakin' cold!"

[Where we live, it's so cold I literally have to remind myself, "I'm not going to die.  This can't kill me.  I'm okay.  This will not kill me," when I'm standing outside filling up my car or anything else that requires me to spend anymore than t-minus 2 seconds out in the beastly winter cold.]

Okay.  So we made it into the restaurant alive.  We make our way over to the bar and order drinks.

"I'll have the house 'Cab'" and he's craving wheat beers lately.  We imbibe.

We're chit chatting, as husband and wife do, small talking with the bartender, also a displaced southerner, and the conversation turns to my goals, my dreams, my hopes for where this blog might go, the potential it might have and what I'd like to accomplish in the next year.

In a completely candid moment, my husband said something to the effect of, "You know babe, the name… the blog name - if you want it to be successful, people have to be able to say it.  I've heard you say it a million times and even I still can't say it… 'Mangoes Voss Vert'… Word of mouth is so important but, no one could ever tell anybody else about your blog because, it's too hard to say."

He was right.  I knew it.  I had given some thought to this before.

But, I'd bought pretty business cards that had the name on it and I'd shared it so many places and it was going to be printed along with my bio in a publication… I mean, I just had excuses okay.

You know… how's it go?

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…"

Yeah.  Well, you know what's sweet?  Being able to pronounce the word "rose," or any other name you might apply to it.

One of the most difficult things about starting a blog, is just identifying an available name.  This was part of what deterred me from trying to change what I had with "Mangiez Vos Verts."  But, it had to be done.

I switched my little brain into high gear, prayed to God to help get my creative juices flowin' and then started clicking around my posts for inspiration.  I actually found a few options that had potential but, in the end "Surprisingly Satisfying" came out the winner.

There will be several revisions/ updates coming over the next week or so but, this was the place I had to start.

"Surprisingly Satisfying" just seemed to fit the bill.  Since this blog features mostly meatless meals, that name seemed fitting, and since the blog is also just about life and all the "stuff" that comes with it, I thought it was a fitting title in that regard too.

So there you have it.  I felt like a name change definitely required an explanation.

I have no idea how many people really read this blog.

At the very least I hope that, whoever does read it walks away feeling like it was a worthwhile read… not a waste of time… satisfied, if you will.

So, there you have it.  The name change.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Step by Step Salad

I think it was in the Simple Salmon post that I mentioned this salad.

This is one of my favorite, go-to salads.  I keep the ingredients on hand so it's easy to throw together in a matter of minutes.

At first glance, you might not think the flavors would be complementary.  Trust me though, this is a dream team of textures and tastes that is sure to make you say, "Um…"  This salad combines spinach, toasted almonds, black beans, dried cranberries, and a splash of plain ol' balsamic vinegar into one dish that has both warm, smoky flavors from the beans and toasted nuts, but also a bright, sweet, bite with the cranberries and the balsamic.  I often dust mine with fresh, crushed black pepper and, from time to time, sprinkle a few goat cheese crumbles on top which lend a complimentary, creamy finish.

What you Need:
- spinach
- about 1/4 c. slivered almonds
- about 1/3 c. dried cranberries
- about 1/3 c. black beans (drained and rinsed)
- tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar
- black pepper
- cookie sheet
- oven

Preparation:  Step by Step

Turn oven to "Broil" at 500 degrees and lay almond slivers out evenly on cookie sheet.  Place in oven, leaving the door open just a crack, for about 5 minutes or until almonds reach a brown, toasted color.

While almonds toast, lay down a bed of spinach.  

Add black beans.  

Sprinkle on toasted almonds.

Add dried cranberries.

Top off with black pepper, balsamic, and goat cheese if you like.
(I got distracted while I was taking pictures for this post and ended up just eating it without taking a final pic.  It was quite delicious.)  

Some people may prefer less toppings.  As my girlfriend once said after she'd finished most of her salad at my house, "I really just prefer a sprinkling."

I eat mine this way because I intentionally try to "beef up" my salads.  There's really little else (well, aside from finding that I have like, crusty silverware or something) that bothers me more than going to a restaurant, ordering a salad, and out comes this sad, wimpy looking thing that literally looks as though someone just poured a bag of lettuce on a plate and topped it off with whatever remnants might be found lurking in the back of a college guy's fridge.

Salads don't have to be boring or puny.  They are versatile.  They are colorful, beautiful.  They are incredibly good for you and can be very satisfying.  You can pretty much put anything on top of lettuce and call it a "salad" and with so many varied fruit, nut, seed, bean, and veggie options, there's really no excuse why you can't have the makings of this healthy option on hand.

For me, this particular combination never gets old.  The taste of toasted almonds is amazing.  Uh! and the Smell… Ahhh!  The toasting fills your kitchen with their uniquely enveloping aroma and… well, it's just such a delight.

Try it for yourself and see what you think.  The possibilities are endless.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Answer to Kiwi is Grapefruit

I have always loved kiwi.

It's bright green color hidden under a fuzzy brown exterior.  The way the little black seeds crunch in your mouth as you munch down, expelling their juicy, bright flavor.

I just think it's a pretty fruit; a pretty, lime green, sunburst-looking fruit that adds a delightful tanginess to any fruit salad.

But, personally, I have always been deterred from buying kiwi simply because I felt like it was a very high maintenance fruit.  You've gotta peel it first, then slice it or dice it… whatever you have in mind.  And, for such a small piece of fruit, that is a lot of work.  So, I would enjoy a kiwi from time to time but, it was hardly a staple in my diet.

Until now.  You see, I was having lunch with a friend of mine and I saw her eating a kiwi this way.  I was talking to her about something… who knows what, when I stopped in mid-sentence and said, "Whhaaaat are you doing?"

She answered, "I saw the locals eating their's like this when I studied abroad in Italy and I've just eatin' mine this way ever since."

Oh "THANK YOU!" you marvelous southern Europeans!

My friend had cut off the top of the kiwi and, with a grapefruit spoon, was easily scooping out spoonfuls of kiwi.  My eyes widened with excitement and my brain buzzed with food envy.

"I must try this!  How freakin' fantastic!"

It's one of those things that's just so simple you sit there thinking, "Now why didn't I think of that?"

But I don't care that I didn't think of it as much as I'm just glad me and my girlfriend had lunch that day so that I could observe this technique and begin enjoying kiwi more regularly.

Here's what you do:
Chop off your top

Grab a spoon with serrated edges (Grapefruit Spoon)!

Spin and scoop

Until it's all gone!

C'est manifique, n'est pas?!?!

Well, I was delighted anyway because now, I can eat kiwis much more easily which means I get to more frequently benefit from their lovely health-promoting properties.  Kiwis are a really good source of Vitamin C (higher than oranges in fact), they deliver as much potassium as a banana, they have great antioxidant properties and they're a good source of fiber.

Let me know if you have any other food-ease tricks I need to know about.  I'm all EARS!