Happy Friday!!!

Happy Friday!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend and remember to Live, Laugh, and Love not only THIS weekend but EVERYDAY of you life ❤

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Weekend Is Coming to an End (tear) – Plan A Fitness Goal For the Week!

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Fitness Motivation (Image from motivationblog.org)

Hello My culinary foodies!

Hope you all had a FABULOUS weekend. Unfortunately mine was spent mostly in bed due to a cold. But now I am feeling a bit better and even spent the day doing my Sunday rituals (Church, Brunch, and a bit of Shopping! :-)) Since January is coming to an end and I know all of you are probably over fitness, fitness, fitness! Let’s face it, it is the time of the year where fitness products are in your FACE! You cannot even go to a store without seeing fitness wear being displayed as you walk in, or your local grocery store having all their health and wellness food products on sale. (Well benefit for us who do actually buy such products LOL). But here is the thing, you should take ADVANTAGE! Now I know for my culinary people out there, the last thing of our minds is working out, ESPECIALLY after an 8 hour work shift. Trust me after working all day in the kitchen and running out to do errands, by the time I come home all I want is food and my bed! But let’s face it, the more fit and health we are, the more energy we have for work and our daily lives. It also doesn’t hurt to fit our clothes better and turn a couple of heads 😉 But aside from that to be healthy is such a goal that we all should have.

Fitness Motivation #2

Fitness Motivation #2

I have to say I get so inspired from our fellow bloggers who document their weight loss goals or just encourage others by posting healthy recipes or workouts that they encourage others to try. It inspires many to accomplish their own goals and so many have succeeded. Even myself I was once a health nut who ate nothing but healthy food items and even worked out 2-3 times a day. While I was at the slimmest and most healthy every, I also can say I was happy. It was great to walk into a store and not worry that I could not find anything to wear, my skin was glowing, I was forever smiling (For the most part), and I had energy for days! But when the lost of my grandmother happen, I let all of my healthy habits and just focused on helping my family go through such a major lost. Sometimes when we lose someone we tend to forget ourselves and focus on other things. While that time for me was very hard, I did eventually get through and I am better mentally than before. But there was one thing, I gained the weight back! I did not even notice till one day I really looked at myself in the mirror and said, “What the HELL happened to me!”. While I knew I was gaining weight, I did not really pay attention to my eating habits. I had become a fast food junkie that ate fast food everyday and would indulge on things like cookies, ice cream, and LOTS of Resses mini peanut butter cups (those are ADDICTING!!!) So I had said enough is ENOUGH.

Since January started I have stopped such habits completely and went back to my old healthy habits. I can tell you that I feel soo much better since I have stopped such habits such as not eating fast food, and not eating carbs at night, I can already start to feel that I am losing weight. (In my next few blogs I will go into detail my change in eating habits.) Now to my fitness goal of the week…

I will be on my third week of focusing on my diet and since I have that down pact (not one thoughts of cheating) I am now on the fitness! So I have decided to challenge myself to 6 weeks of Tae Bo Insane Abs. I had bought the DVD a while back when I was really into fitness and did the workout video a couple of times. I absolutely love Tae Bo Fitness and the dvds are awesome (I have about 5 that I would play and workout with religiously!). They are easy to follow for anyone getting into cardio and they give you RESULTS! I would recommend them to anyone who is entering the world of fitness and would like to do it in the comfort of your own home. The creator of Tae Bo Billy Blanks motivates you throughout the DVD and gets you revived up and going!

Tae Bo Insane Abs!

Tae Bo Insane Abs!

What my main focus is to work on my upper body and hopefully get the abs I have always wanted or at least a flatter tummy will do LOL. Overall I am striving for better health and for now I want to start with goal #1. I would like to fit back into this awesome dress I wore last Easter. I felt so great in this dress and I hope to fit nicely into it after the 6 weeks. (Thankfully I can fit into the dress but not zip it up all the way ;-()

I loveee this dress!

I loveee this dress!

So my friends while I tackle my goals I want to know what do you want your fitness goals to be, and if you do have one what are they? We should all strive for good health and to feel comfortable in our own skin. I know I will not be a size 2, nor do I want to be but I want to be HEALTHY and feel GREAT! So good luck to you all my friends and lets make ourselves better this year of 2013 and every year after!

Happy Fitness Quote :-)

Happy Fitness Quote 🙂 (Image from sparkpeople.com)

Who would not want one of these 🙂

the CITIZENS of FASHION

Worked in straw, raffia, rattan and jute, spring’s woven accessories go from utilitarian to ultrachic.

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Clockwise from top left: Coach wedge; Delman flat; Mark Cross bag; Tiffany & Co. bag; Kotur Bag; Stuart Weitzman shoe; Vince Camuto flats;Yestadt hat; Alexander Birman bag; Tommy Bahama Bag; Zoraide wedge; Agl bootie; Felix Rey bag; Tory Burch necklace

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From left, Anya Hindmarch’s straw cluch with raffia embroidery,Roger Vivier’s rope and silk satin clutch with crystal buckle and Pierre Hardy’s jute and leather sandal.

PHOTO ASSISTANT: BIEL PARKLEE; FASHION ASSISTANT: ALEXANDRA VERCRUYSEE

PHOTO BY KYLE ERICKSEN

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DIY: Inspire Yourself With Your Own Inspiration Board!

Write what inspires you!

Write what inspires you!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein

Hello my culinary girls and friends of all shapes and sizes!

I wanted to first off say how excited I am that I am gaining a following and that I am enjoying writing so much!  I hope you get some sort of inspiration through each post. I know for myself I am just by writing what I know and love. So thank thank you thank you and I hope anyone who stumbles upon this enjoys the blog and gets inspired!

So about two weeks ago I had created an inspiration board for the new year. I had gotten the idea in an old magazine while waiting for my car to get an oil change a while ago (Soo boring but it turned a success! LOL) and thought it was an awesome idea! I had heard in the past that putting up any ideas whether notes of future projects, pictures of items you wanted, or whatever it may be often puts the idea in your head and can lead you to accomplishing your goals. I thought this year since it is the year for change let me make an inspiration board. Making the board was def not hard. Growing up I loved creating collages of pictures of friends or subjects that I was really into like fashion, music artist, make-up and beauty, the list goes on. What I always loved about collages was the fact that I could be as creative as I want and make this keepsake that I could keep for as long as I wanted. So when I made my inspiration board I treated it with the same concept as a collage.

Photo collages I have created

Photo collages I have created

I had started with just going into a crafts store for stickers, colorful scrapbook paper, etc. to fill my board. I wanted it to be like a chalkboard almost, putting things on as I go. Here are some of the things I bought or found around the house:

Board supplies

Board supplies

  • Poster board – I bought black but there are an array of colors and styles in the store you can choose from.
  • Glue – either stick or the gel (I prefer the gel since it holds better for a poster)
  • Stickers – I loveeee stickers and depending on your theme they can add flavor to your board
  • Magazines /Catalogs/Newspapers– You can find all kinds of inspiration in these
  • Paint pens – Great investment if your into crafting, not only can you write with awesome colors for poster board but also glass, ceramic, the list goes on. I usually have an array of colors for different projects 🙂
  • Scissors – well you will need to cut of course!
  • Great music! – listen to what gets you going, I always have Pandora in the backround if I’m working on a project, cooking or baking

Now that you get an overall concept of making your own inspiration board, now go for it and make one! Pick a day where you have some free time to really think about what you would like to accomplish within the year. I always say that inspiration comes when you least expect it, it could happen while your surfing blogs, or having an outing with friends, a previous dream, listening to a lecture, watching your favorite TV show, reading your favorite book, the list goes on. For me it honestly took me a while to find the time to really sit down and make one, and it is still a work in progress. Life changes everyday and so do our dreams. So get inspired and display what you love and want. You never know what you can accomplish! So happy inspiration board making and always remember that with lots of effort and determination, and the belief in yourself ANYTHING is possible 🙂

My Inspiration Board!

My Inspiration Board!

So happy inspiration board making!

Norah 🙂

MACing it Up! Creating Your Signature Mac and Cheese

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese w/ tomato and grilled chicken

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese w/ tomato and grilled chicken

Hey my culinary peoples!

So during this long and crazy week I had the pleasure to make Mac & Cheese for the kiddies. Normally I would make a standard mac and cheese but lately I have been experimenting with different old recipes that I normally use. Maybe because it is the new year but I definitely been in my creative flow and have been making new changes to recipes ever since!

Now Mac & Cheese is nothing to really mess with, while it is a simple dish, many make different variations and there is always a debate about whose Mac and Cheese is the best! Reason why I love Mac and Cheese, you can be as creative as you want to be You can go either simple or gourmet, death by cheese or subtle, or even add various things like chicken, bacon, veggies, the possibilities are endless. So in my search for a unique way to make mac and cheese, I came across this homemade baked mac and cheese recipe (Courtesy of divascancook.com). What was unique about it was they had added cream cheese to their cheese mixture and I thought that was just brilliant! Once I had tried the recipe I knew it would become a stable for future mac and cheese creations. Another thing that I about the recipe was how creamy and flavorful the mac and cheese to the point it resembled the Haitian baked macaroni and cheese that I LOVEEEE (A staple side dish at any haitian event involving food, if you do not believe me ask any haitian person!) The haitian mac and cheese or macaroni de gratin, is filled with yummy flavors such and onion and garlic, they many put different meats and cheese or keep it simple. Now that you clearly know how much I love Mac and Cheese we will now get to the recipe!

Courtesy of plumsintheicebox.com

Example of Haitian Mac and Cheese: Courtesy of plumsintheicebox.com

I will not lie there are alot of steps to my new mac and cheese creation but once you make this once you will not miss a bit in the future. It is simple and fun and guess what, I made EVERYTHING in my rice cooker prior to baking it in the oven! (I told you I love that rice cooker!) Now lets get crackin!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Pasta – (Your choice of elbows, rotini, any of these pastas will do)
  • Equal parts of Chicken Broth and Water to boil the pasta (Example: 1 cup of water and 1 cup of chicken broth)
  • 1 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 1 cups of Evaporated Milk (such as Carnation Milk) or Half and Half
  • 2 tbsps of butter
  • 8 oz of Cream Cheese (1 package of cream cheese)
  • 1-2 cups of Diced Tomatoes (I used 1 can of Hunts Diced Tomatoes) or you can use fresh (I def will try in the near future :-))
  • 2-3 cups of Diced Grilled Chicken Breast 
  • Olive Oil (enough to cover the minced garlic in the bottom of the pan)
  • 1 Tbsp of Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • Paprika (to sprinkle on top)
  • 3 cups of Cheddar Cheese blend (I like to blend sharp and mild cheddar and you can even add montgomery as well or gouda – the desicion depends on your taste buds)
  • (Optional) 1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese (to sprinkle with the cheese and on top of the baked mac and cheese you put it in the oven)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Panko Bread crumbs (I found that panko bread crumbs are lighter and give the mac and cheese a great crunch)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Boil pasta with equal parts of water and broth till cooked and set aside or put in your baking pan
  3. In your rice cooker sautee your minced onion in some olive oil than pour in your diced tomatoes and stir in till simmering

    Diced tomatoes and minced garlic in Rice Cooker

    Diced tomatoes and minced garlic in Rice Cooker

  4. Meanwhile dice your already cooked grilled chicken breast and add the chicken to your diced chicken and minced garlic and simmer to enhance flavor.

    Diced chicken cooking in diced tomatoes and garlic (In Rice Cooker)

    Diced chicken cooking in diced tomatoes and garlic (In Rice Cooker)

  5. Meanwhile add chicken broth and butter to a medium size pot and reach to near boiling. While in the pot you can add in your seasonings such as garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Than slowly add your milk or half and half to the broth and stir till near boiling and remove.
  6. Cut your cream cheese into chunks and add to your milk and broth mixture and whisk in, I had also used a hand blender to blend in the cream cheese to make the mixture smooth.

    mac and cheese 3

    Broth and milk mixture blended with cream cheese

  7. Once blended you can now stir in your cheddar cheese to the cream mixture than pour into your macaroni, than add your tomato and chicken mixture.

    Macaroni w/ chicken, cheese, tomato, and milk mixture

    Macaroni w/ chicken, cheese, tomato, and milk mixture

  8. Once all added sprinkle parmesan and cheddar cheese on top of macaroni mixture and put into the oven for 25 minutes or until golden.

    Mac and Cheese prior to being baked

    Mac and Cheese prior to being baked

  9. Serve straight out of the oven as a side dish to your fave meal or even by itself with your fave veggies.
  10. Enjoy and trust me you will!

    Bon Appetit!

    Bon Appetit!

I hope you are not overwhelmed with the recipe, this is one of my many creations of baked mac and cheese. Cooking should be looked as a creative form of expression, when I cook or bake anything I like to be creative and see how far I can take a standard recipe and make it my own. I encourage anyone who cooks or bakes to next time instead of following the recipe to the T to switch it up! You might surprise yourself on what kind of new creation you make 😉

Happy Cooking my culinary friends 😀

It’s Our Year to Shine!!!

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Fireworks!!!

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR WORLD!!! As the world celebrates a new year, I am relaxing and sipping on my mother’s famous hot chocolate feeling like I can take on the world! (Even though I am a bit sleepy and dreading going back to work after a long and needed vacay, but thats beside the point! LOL) While I was on vacation I had thought long and hard about my resolutions and I even had an awesome list of my resolutions. Unfortunately I locked it somehow on my Nook and they are LOST! (tear) … But even with the lost resolutions the theme was to make my life even better than last year. To not be afraid of trying new things, not falling to same tired old routines and feeling comfortable with same old same old. As humans I notice how we can get into a steady groove and just settle. Do not get me wrong, some of the most simple things can give you peace, but I have notice my soul is craving for new and exciting things to experience. In just a couple of days I will be turning 25! That is a quarter of a century old! As I feel like I’m getting old (Oh NO!) I decided to finally step out of my safe bubble and experience life and share what I know and love to the world. 

I am blessed to be in a field that I can express my creativity and share it with anyone in my path. I promise this year of 2013 to change into a better me and take every advantage to pursue my dreams and at the same time help others along the way. Resolutions come and go but for me I will just say I strive to make this year my year to shine and make it mine!

So before I go and enjoy the rest of the first day of the year I wish you all a Happy New Year filled with positive changes, lots of love, good health, and awesome food and treats. 

 

Love you all!

Norah 😉

Green Smoothie Anyone?!

When you think of green smoothies you are probably thinking yuck gross! Who would want to drink something like that. Well I used to be one of those anti veggie anything good types of people until a couple of months ago. One thing I have noticed is I love to drink my calories from time to time. With my busy schedule I tend to forget or do not have time to prepare a proper meal so when I researched what I could make quickly and still have all the nutrients and still lose weight, I was all over it! Smoothies are not only a great alternative to a meal (done well) but also taste great and mask out any of the “nasty” veggie taste that people stay away from. One smoothie that I love and have every morningis my “Green Smoothie” . It might not be soo appealing but trust me it taste GREAT! This is what I put into my green smoothie but you can put whatever fruit and veggie mix you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • Handful of fresh spinach (I prefer a head of spinach but a bag of spinach works just fine)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen tropical fruit blend (Shoprite brand)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peaches
  • Couple ice cubes (optional)
  • Water (enough to help blend the banana and spinach which equals 1/3 cup)

The way I position it is I cut the bananas first, add the spinach, my ice, frozen fruits, than water…

 

Blend and you pretty much get this, I know it does not look so great but trust me, taste like a yummy sherbet that you would never know contains spinach.

I usually like to put my green smoothie in my fave insulated cup that you can keep ice drinks in. It keeps it nice and cool for a couple of hours actually and I usually take it with me either to work or in the morning while running errands. This smoothie is definitely for the ones who are looking to add fruits and veggies in their diet. It taste great and gives you great energy in the morning. Hope you enjoy this if you do make it and of course…Happy Blending!