Category Archives: Bella Features

Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
Pinch of salt
4 cups water

Put it all in a crock pot on LOW when you go to bed. It will be ready when you awake. Let everyone add their own unsweetened almond milk, nuts, chi seeds or flax seed meal, raisins or frozen blueberries or sliced bananas or diced apple and some cinnamon. (If your family is used to a super-sweet package instant oatmeal, you may want to add a little REAL maple syrup-drizzle it on the top so they can get a little with each bite) Serves 4

Written by Heather Millar Quintana

To find out more healthy back-to-school recipes, pick up our latest issue on stands now!

Wasena City Tap Room

Roanoke just keeps getting better and better when it comes to great places to live, eat and hangout. Wasena City Tap Room, in the Roanoke River House, is the perfect addition to the bar, food and hangout scene! Step into a relaxing pub atmosphere and enjoy their incredible beer selection and tasty meals!

Wasena City Tap Room offers over 30 beers on tap, many of them from our very own local breweries and a wide selection of pub grub with a tex mex style flair! The beer selection cycles fequently and keeps a good amount of the favorites on tap at all times.

To find out more about Wasena City Tap Room, pick up our latest issue on stands now.

Posh Pad: The Perfect Bar Cart

Bar carts have made a huge come back within the last few years.  Call it the “Mad Men Movement” or whatever you like, but they are back in a HUGE way.  Guarantee that if you surf any home improvement website or creative home blogs, you’ll see a slew of bar carts.

Whether you like to have guests over or you enjoy the after work cocktail, having the perfectly stocked bar cart helps you entertain with ease.

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

To find out how to stock the perfect bar cart, pick up our latest issue, on stands today!

Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole is a hit at my breakfasts, and with good reason.  It’s cheesy, full of potatoes and tasty sausage, just enough egg, and buttery, peppery goodness.  It would be ideal for a great beach vacation breakfast, when you are looking for something easy yet filling to make for a house full of hungry vacationers, or just as perfect for a sunny weekend “breakfast for dinner.”

As it stands, it’s an amazing meal, but you can change it up to suit your tastes.  Not a fan of sausage?  Try beef or turkey burger.  Want more kick?  Add hot sauce or some pepper jack cheese.   Cut up a few ripe tomatoes and toss them on top?  Oh my heavens.

You’ll never look at breakfast the same way again.

For this great recipe and more, pick up our latest issue, on stands now!

 

Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is one of my favorite desserts and I’m always trying out new flavor combinations, like these blueberry lemon cuties.  Crème brûlée is a dish some people are intimidated to make, but this recipe is really simple and impressive to entertain with.  You can make these a day ahead and flame the sugar on top in front of your family and friends for some extra “ooohs” and “aaahs”!

 

Makes 3 crème brûlées

 

Ingredients
½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup fat free sour cream
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons brandy
Sugar topping (fine granulated sugar or raw/turbinado sugar) – about 1/3 cup total

 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Place 3 standard size ramekins in a baking dish.  Add a small handful of blueberries to the bottom of each ramekin, reserving some for topping if desired.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow in color.  Add the granulated sugar and whisk to dissolve.  Add the sour cream, heavy cream, lemon zest and brandy and whisk to combine.  Pour equal portions of the cream mixture into each ramekin.

 

Pour warm water into the baking dish until it covers the bottom half of the ramekins, making certain not to get any water into the ramekins.

 

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the centers are just set and jiggle slightly.

 

Remove the ramekins from the water bath, and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 6 – 7 hours until completely cooled.

 

To serve, top each ramekin with some of the refined or raw sugar, and brown with a kitchen torch or broil just until the sugar is browned and caramelized on top (brûlée = burnt).

 

 
Check out more on my food blog, Leave a Happy Plate.

Clean Plate Club

Eating “clean” is pretty popular right now, with celebs like Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Katy Perry touting its benefits. Clean eaters report feeling less bloated, more energized and having that healthy glow.

There are many variations of a clean diet. Paleo enthusiasts eat clean by avoiding grains, starchy vegetables and sugar. Vegetarians avoid meat; a clean vegan eschews all types of animal products. Others search out raw dairy and fermented foods to add to their diet.

In my opinion, eating clean requires you to tune into your body and eat in a way that fully nourishes and honors your unique dietary needs. While there isn’t one definition of clean eating, there are some basic tenants:

1. Eat whole, minimally processed foods. No Velveeta, here. Real food, simply prepared, tastes amazing. You decide if meat and dairy help you feel well. Standard white or brown sugar is avoided in favor of less processed options like honey, maple syrup, and coconut or date sugar.

2. Focus on meals or snacks that add value. Clean meals have added nutrients– whether you add pureed squash to macaroni and cheese or greens to a smoothie, or use sweet potatoes instead of white, it’s all about elevating nutritional value.

3. Use healthy, monounsaturated fats + coconut oil. Think nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oils. Coconut oil has been shown to resist candida albicans (yeast) and is thought to be heart healthy, though more research is needed.

4. Experiment with gluten-free grains. Many people have gluten sensitivities. Even if you don’t, incorporating gluten free grains into your diet adds nutrient variety (millet, quinoa and amaranth need some love, too!)

5. Buy local & organic, when possible. Food has the most nutrients when it’s fresh. You’ll find the freshest (and often the least expensive) fruits and vegetables at your farm stand or farmer’s market. Buying organic protects water quality, protects the health of the farmer and field workers, and promotes biodiversity.

So, you wanna eat clean but don’t know where to start? I recommend choosing one meal and focusing on cleaning it up 3-4 times a week. For example, if you want to upgrade your lunch, you can find a few clean recipes you enjoy and strive to eat clean at lunchtime for 3-4 days that week. Repeat until it feels comfortable, then move on to breakfast or dinner.

Don’t get slowed down by trying to eat perfectly “clean.”  Remember, your diet is a vehicle for living an energized life. Fuel it 80 percent of the time with high-test, healthy foods and leave yourself some room for treats.

 

Written by: Katie Haines, CHHC

Healthy Roots, Happy Life LLC  www.healthyrootshappylife.com

Chocolate Macarons

My college roomy and best lady got me hooked on these delicious French cookies.  For her bachelorette party last summer, the ladies packed into a cute little bakery for a macaron cooking lesson.  I don’t remember everything we were taught (oh, wine) but I do remember how amazing the cookies were.

This is my third attempt at making macarons.  My first batch was a major flop; my egg whites did not get fluffy  (see note 2).  My last batch was good, but not as fluffy as batch #2 (see note 3).  Therefore, the recipe below is a combo of a few recipes, one of which was adapted from Martha Stewart.

A few notes:

  • Macarons taste better the next day (but that certainly doesn’t stop me from eating a handful on day 1).
  • The chef at the cooking class said you can use boxed egg whites, but the kind I tried did not form stiff peaks, so I suggest sticking to egg whites straight from the egg!
  • Sifting may seem tedious, but it’s worth it.

 

Chocolate Macaron ingredients

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar (regular granulated sugar pulsed in a food processor for about 1 minute will work)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

 

Peanut Butter Frosting ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Pulse confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form.  Reduce speed to low then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and gently fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined or silicon mat-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air.  Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting.  Mix the butter and peanut butter together in an electric mixer on high speed, then add the vanilla.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just combined.  Add more confectioners’ sugar if desired for a thicker, sweeter frosting.

Match up like-sized cookies and pipe about 1 teaspoon of frosting on one macaron, and gently press another macaron on top to make a sandwich.

 

Check out more on my food blog, Leave a Happy Plate.

Summer Cookout: Sultry Sides

Whether it’s hot dogs, chicken, or hamburgers, nothing is better that an entrée done right over a flame. Everyone has the entrees down, but what is there to do about the sides? Of course there are always the classics of potato salad and baked beans, but every now and then don’t you want to switch it up?

The first side to try is a twist on a classic: grilled corn. You’re going to want to remove the silk, but keep the husk and soak in cold water for ten minutes before grilling. Once you’ve done this, lay the corn on a piece of aluminum foil and spread a thin layer of butter over the ear(s). Then sprinkle the ear(s) with a little pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Wrap the corn tightly and lay on the grill and cook for ten minutes or until soft.

This next item is sure to have your mouth watering for more. Get a few sweet potatoes and slice them like French fries as thick or as thin as you like. Place the wedges on aluminum foil and sprinkle with paprika, lemon juice, salt, and a dash of pepper then coat with a tiny amount of olive oil. Wrap the foil around the wedges and make sure it is securely sealed at the top and place on the grill. Let these cook for about ten or fifteen minutes, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.

You know of grilled vegetables, but a well-kept secret is grilled fruit. Take a wooden spear and soak it in water for about thirty minutes. Chop up fruit like apples, mangos, pineapple, oranges (with peel still attached to side that will touch the grill), and cranberries that will make this treat even more delicious. Place the fruit pieces on the spear according to personal preference and grill for seven to ten minutes each spear.

These quick and easy sides make even the most cliché grilled dinner full of life. Adding semi-sweet touches to your favorite grilling classics can send your taste buds soaring and wanting more.