December 29, 2013

Peri Peri Chicken Kebabs

Peri Peri Chicken Kebabs
You say piri-piri, I say peri-peri, he says pili pili? Alright. Why does this hot sauce have such a spelling-identity-crisis?
Old-faithful Wikipedia has an answer: Pili pili is the Swahili word for 'pepper pepper'. Other English language spellings may include pili pili in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or peri peri in Malawi, deriving from the various pronunciations of the word in parts of Bantu languages-speaking Africa. Piri piri is the spelling of the name as used in the Portuguese language.”
In other words, all spellings are correct. Makes sense.
But whichever way you spell it, this spicy, fiery, and lively hot sauce can be better described as *awesome*, *badass* or *da bomb*.
Around the world peri peri is best known as a chili based sauce used as a seasoning or marinade for meat, especially chicken.

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December 27, 2013

Sweet Potato Gratin Dauphinois

Sweet Potato Gratin Dauphinois
My mum made a classic potato gratin dauphinois for Christmas Eve dinner. IT.WON.RAVES.I swear I saw guests on the brink of fighting each other over the last bit (I won’t point fingers nor name anyone in particular, I just want YOU to know that I saw what happened!)
That’s something I would have never expected.
I don’t mean to diminish my mom’s cooking, but a gratin dauphinois is a pretty simple dish — potatoes cooked/baked in a milk mixture and topped with some cheese. Easy.
Apparently, just a very few ingredients deliver an irresistible creamy potato side dish that almost caused a brawl between two gentlemen. Who knew?

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December 24, 2013

Have Yourself An Awesome Merry Christmas + (Paleo) Meringues

Christmas
And it is Christmas Eve.
Which has to be my favourite day of the year. All that has to be done, has been done and if it hasn't happened there is little you can do about it now.
There is family, there are friends, there is warmth, and if you’re lucky enough there might be also snow on the ground. There’s nothing quite like a White Christmas, isn't it?


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December 23, 2013

A Simple Fennel, Orange and Pepper Salad

Fennel, Orange and Pepper Salad
This salad was a big hit at Christmas’ brunch last Saturday.
Which is kind of ironic.
It was one of the simplest things I served, yet it was gone in a heartbeat; and everybody asked for the recipe.
Which got me thinking: is there really such a thing as a recipe for a salad?
Well if you consider super-fancy salads, then yes. But this...this is more of an idea.
Anyway, as all my guests enjoyed it so much, I decided to share this recipe/idea with you.

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December 20, 2013

Momofuku's Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Momofuku's Roasted Brussels Sprouts
I used to hate brussel sprouts, I mean really hate them. I hated them so much one time when I was a kid I gagged at the dinner table because my parents forced me to eat them. They were the most awful thing I have ever put in my mouth, and I will never forget that.
That wasn’t until I went to David Chang’s Momofuku ssäm bar for dinner for my friend Nicole's birthday party a couple of years ago.
Somebody ordered a couple of servings of roasted Brussel sprouts; and for some reason the waiter put them in front of me.
I looked at them for quite some time, trying to decide whether I should give Brussel sprouts another chance.
I hesitated for a couple of minutes, but then I realized I was ripe (and brave) enough to try them again.
And luckily I did, because they blew me away.
See? People change.

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December 19, 2013

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

In the summer I easily get excited about cooling drinks such as smoothies or juices. But in the winter - especially when it’s snowing outside - I crave hot drinks that will warm me up from the inside out.
However, I find it hard to come up with anything more than a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa. I mean, you can call them Mochas, Lattes or Macchiatos...it’s still coffee with some add-ons.
Don’t get me wrong, coffee (or tea) is awesome, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up a little.
And I’m not talking about getting your booze on.
In that case there’s a variety of hot drinks to choose from: Hot spiced wine, eggnog with a dash of brandy or hot buttered rum.
But as much as the idea of getting wasted in the morning is tempting, that’s not really how I roll.
So...back to square one? 
No, not that fast.
How about a warm smoothie?
Don’t turn up your nose just yet; not before you’ve heard it all.



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December 18, 2013

10 Last-Minute Gifts For Health Nuts

10 Last-Minute Gifts For Health NutsI know this is very last minute.
Christmas is just a week from now, but if you - just like me - have yet to finish your Christmas shopping, here’s a couple of last-minute holiday fitness gift ideas. 
Now, before we get started, there’s something I ought to tell you. Fitness-related gifts are fraught with danger.  
No matter how many times your significant other, best friend or sister said they want to be more active or get fit; that gym membership under the tree is going to earn some looks; and a “Do you think I’m out of shape or something?” might even be heard.  
Trust me you don't a fitness gift to put you in the middle of the "So, you think I'm fat?" conversation. Dangerous stuff.
On the other hand, there are those who are so into fitness and heathy that they have already all the equipment they need. 
But fear not people, it is possible to give fitness gifts without giving offense and avoiding duplicate (or redundant) gifts. 
I’m talking about these gifts that might also work as little extra incentives start a healthier lifestyle.

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December 17, 2013

Crock-Pot Italian Beef Stew

Crock-Pot Italian Beef StewIt's chilly and snowing outside, and I've got John Mayer singing “Who says I can't be free. From all of the things that I used to be? Rewrite my history. Who says I can't be free?
I’m glad I'm inside in the warmth and coziness of my apt, and for some reasons it feels like the perfect time to cook something hearty and good.
IMO nothing beats a warm bowl of beef stew on a day like this.
And why make a regular beef stew when you can make the Italian version of it that tastes a hundred times better.
Loads of fresh veggies, lots of herbs, Italian red wine, amazing flavors.
This may be my new favorite stew. I even prefer it to Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon my mom’s makes, and it’s so much easier to make.
When there’s a slow cooked involved it's usually pretty simple...

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December 15, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé (Low Carb & Gluten-Free)

Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé (Low Carb & Gluten-Free)
What are your plans for this coming Christmas?
Spending more time with your family and friends and less time on worrying about getting duped by the Grinch, I suppose.
As for me, I’m hosting a big brunch on Saturday (the 21st) for my clique; on Sunday night dinner with my mom’s side of the family. 
Then the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my parents and siblings; and finally the huge Christmas lunch with my dad’s side of the family.
A bit intense, but it’s Christmas after all.
Loads of food, loads of drinks, quality time with your loved ones...I mean, isn’t it the best time of the year?

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December 13, 2013

"Ugly But Good" Nut Cookies

"Ugly But Good" Nut Cookies

*Updated on 12/15/2013. I made a new batch of cookies last night. 
I used less sugar and cook the batter on the stove for just 6 minutes. They came out even more awesome than the previous. I took a couple of new shots. 
I hope you don't mind...

Do not judge a book by its cover, they say.
I wish I could say that I am one of those people who do not judge a book by its cover but, I am.  
I am so one of those who will pick up a book (including cookbooks) solely on the cover.
That doesn’t mean that I won’t read something that sounds good just because it has a bad cover; but if a cover does not capture my eye, it is very unlikely for me to pick up the book.
That’s probably why I still struggle to read on my Kindle. I like to look at the cover, I like to feel the paper in my hands and to flip through real pages rather than clicking. Call me old fashion.
Truth to be told, evaluating things by their appearance is second nature in so many circumstances in life.

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December 11, 2013

Holiday Frittata

Holiday Frittata
I’m still battling with the cold and flu. So far, I seem to be winning, but damn that headache and fever!I skipped running this morning - which sucks - but I still managed to do some Vinyasa yoga at home. 
When I can’t make it to the gym, I unroll my yoga mat, log onto DoYogaWithMe.com and take one of their awesome on-line classes.
If you don’t know this yoga website yet, you really should.
It has hundreds of videos, organized by level of difficulty, style, length and teacher. All videos are free. No account creation. No sign-in. No spam. In other words, awesome.

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December 10, 2013

Exercising While Sick + Honey, Lemon & Ginger Tea

Honey, Lemon & Ginger Tea
Today I woke up with a terrible sore throat and stuffy nose.
The savvy thing to do would have been to make some tea and curl back up into my bed. But no,
I headed out the door in hopes that running in the freezing cold would reinvigorate me and cure all.
About two miles in, I felt like I was moving slower than a sloth and could not breathe for the life of me.
I contemplated heading back to the house, but hey, am I or am I not a triathlete? Nothing can stop me, right?
So I convinced myself to keep running. Worst.Decisions.Ever.
After one mile I had to stop and walk back home. Fail.
My lungs were burning, my throat felt like sandpaper and I was feeling like the biggest IDIOT in town.
I arrived home light headed but at least the agony was over. I brewed me some honey, lemon and ginger tea (recipe below) and went back to bed. Which is where I should have stayed all along.
Considering that cold (and flu) season is in full swing - and the poor judgement on my part this morning - I thought it would be a good idea to discuss whether it’s to ok to exercise while sick.

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December 8, 2013

(Paleo) Gingerbread Cookies

(Paleo) Gingerbread Cookies
I’ve been told that TheIronYou is lacking holiday spirit, just like my apartment.
Thing is, I'm not big on Christmas decorations — and that doesn't mean I don't like Christmas or that I’m against participating in the excitement of the holidays.
I DON'T put up Christmas lights or decorations, even though they were a big part of my childhood (maybe it’s a dude kind of thing.)
A couple of years ago I went with my cousin to Target and bought string lights, a pine wreath, two 50-piece ornament sets and assorted decorations.
But they'd been sitting in the attic collecting dust ever since; still sealed in their boxes.
One day I’ll put them to good use, for now however decorating is still something foreign to me.

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December 6, 2013

Kiwifruit: A Health Powerhouse

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit is a small, nutrient-dense fruit that packs a stunning amount of health benefits.
It’s an amazing source of vitamin C, and has almost the same amount of potassium by weight than a banana. It’s also a good source of Vitamin E, and contains a small amount of Vitamin A.

That’s only if you consider the green flesh, if you take into account also the black seeds you’ll get an average of over 60% of Omega-3 ALA acid.
Furthermore, the inner white part of this fruit packs so much fiber, it’s been reported to have mild laxative effects.
Considering such an awesome nutritional profile - which rightfully grants kiwifruit the status of superf
ood - one would expect kiwifruit to be much more popular than it actually is.
Unfortunately, especially in the US, kiwifruit is not much sought after by consumers.

So what I'm trying to do here is try to convince you
to include kiwifruit in your diet.

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December 5, 2013

Crock-Pot Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce

Crock-Pot Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce
Apparently my quest for finding an “edible” gluten-free/paleo-ish pasta isn’t over yet.
Although two months ago I sweared I wouldn’t waste any more money on ‘fake’ pasta...I did it again.
Are you guys familiar with ‘recidivism’?
In criminal law it's defined as the relapse into criminal behavior. Basically you commit a crime over and over again, even after experiencing negative consequences of that crime.
OK, I won’t go as far as saying that buying shitty gluten-free pasta makes me a recidiv felon, but repeating the same action, and expecting a different result, makes me at least some sort of dumb-ass — as per my friends words. Yeah, THANK.YOU.GUYS.
And gluten-free pasta can be quite expensive too; ergo I’m dissipating my income.
But as I like to tell myself “If you don’t try it, there's no way of knowing if you'll like it” so I’m still at it.
The gluten-free pasta quest is still on.

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December 3, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Zucchini Kebabs

Spicy Chicken and Zucchini Kebabs

You guys know me loves me a good kebab.
I don't know why eating food on a stick is so dope, but it is.
I'm always amazed at how versatile kebabs are and how they always manage to stretch whatever I'm cooking.
It must have something to do with surface area and spatial relations. When food is served on a stick, it just seems like there is more of it.
Take this for example: You can feed 3 to 4 people from one chicken breast; but if you cube it and skewer onto sticks it’s enough for 6 hungry adults.
Which is also proof that we eat more with our eyes than we actually do with our stomachs.
Because the amount of meat is exactly the same, if you know what I mean...

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Goji Berries, The Himalayan Superfood

A couple of readers asked me about Goji berries. I'd assumed that Goji berries were fairly common, hmm...guess I was wrong, my bad. 
So here's a couple of facts about this awesome bright red colored berry.

Goji Berries, The Himalayan Superfood
Goji berries (also known as wolfberries) are a bright orange-red berry that comes from an Himalayan tree.
In Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations.
In fact, goji berries have been used for over 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to: Protect the liver, help eyesight, improve sexual function and fertility, boost immune function, improve circulation and promote longevity. 
Goji berries can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. They taste like a vibrant blend of berries, they have mild tangy taste with a mild sweet and sour aftertaste.
Hidden within its ruby pigment is the magic that makes it nature’s perfect energy fruit. Goji berries are actually packed with antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

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December 2, 2013

Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole

Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole
This is the kind of dish I typically make on a Sunday night while watching football.
Other dudes drink beer, and shout at the screen while munching popcorn, nachos or pretty much anything they can get their hands on while watching football. I can’t do it.
First off I can’t sit still for too long (oh yeah, I’m the worst person to go to the movies with!)
Plus during football games there's a ton of commercial breaks; and I hate commercial breaks.
Being passively bombarded by innumerable ads won’t do it for me; I need a distraction.
But, most of all, Sundays are valuable to me.
It’s when I get to do things I don’t have time to do during the week.
Nothing transcendental - nothing like bringing world peace to the world - more like doing ordinary chores.

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December 1, 2013

(Paleo) Choc Chip Mini Muffins

(Paleo) Choc Chip Muffins


So I bought a mini muffin tin a while back. I want to make these mini frittatas baked in a muffin tin I’ve keep seeing all over Pinterest.
Except that...I never made them.
Thing is, when I’m in the mood for frittata I usually grab a frying pan, crack a couple of eggs, add some sauteed veggies and voilà, the frittata is served.
It doesn’t even cross my mind to preheat the oven, grease a muffin tin and bake the frittatas in the oven.

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