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Now Eat This! Cookbook
As a Professional Diva who is somewhat health conscious, I am always looking for ways to enjoy the foods I love without neglecting my waistline. I come from a southern background, and I am not a stranger to soul food. The problem with southern cuisine is that its dishes are typically high in calories, fat, and sodium. Although this combination is a recipe for numerous health ailments, it seems a bit unfair to completely cut these delicious and savory foods from our diets. Let’s face it…these dishes are delectable and comforting, and is usually the backdrop for all of my family gatherings. But what if there was a way to enjoy these foods in a healthy way without sacrificing taste? I think I may have found the solution!
Head to your favorite bookstore, and pick up Now Eat This! 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods All Under 350 Calories by Rocco Dispirito. This cookbook deconstructs some of your favorite comfort foods, and makes them healthier by substituting key ingredients. For example, the Penne Alla Vodka recipe uses low fat Greek yogurt and marinara sauce, instead of heavy cream and tomato sauce. This simple swap eliminates almost 300 calories per serving! Amazing, right? There’s more where that came from. This cookbook provides recipes for reduced-calorie appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood, beef, and chicken entrees, pastas, side dishes, and desserts. It also discusses and explains fat-free cooking techniques, such as faux frying, poaching, and flash frying. In a nutshell, this cookbook is AWESOME!
With that said, I encourage you to check out Now Eat This! (See Must Have Reads section below). You will not be disappointed with the recipes. They are easy, and delicious! You can thank me later!
Martini Break - The Pina Coladatini
Winter will never end! At least it feels that way. This Winter has been brutal all over the country. How often do we hear of a snow storm in Dallas, or an ice storm in Atlanta? No city was safe from Old Man Winter this season. If you are anything like me, and I think you are, you are anxiously awaiting warmer weather. I am checking off the days until Spring makes an appearance in New York City, and all other cities around the country that have been hit with harsh Winter weather. And so…in the spirit of channeling Spring, I present to you the Pina Coladatini! The pineapple and coconut flavors will hopefully transport your mind to a warmer time. If not, it will definitely make you feel warm on the inside! Divas…the Pina Coladatini!
2 oz of Coconut Flavored Vodka
1 oz of Coconut Flavored Rum
1 oz of Pineapple Juice
½ oz of Coconut Juice
Fresh Pineapple Wedge for Garnish
- In a shaker, combine ice, vodka, rum, pineapple juice, and coconut juice.
- Strain mixture into chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge.
And there you have it! Sit back, sip your Pina Coladatini, and dream of the warm days ahead…they’re on the way! Drink responsibly!
Martini Break - The Vanilla Bean Martini
First and foremost, I must apologize for my failure to post last week’s martini recipe. How negligent of me! Sometimes things happen in life that requires you to rearrange and readjust your plans. The key is to make adjustments while preserving your fabulousness. Additionally, when your change of plans affect others, be sure to make it up to them. Here is my attempt to make it up to you Divas! In the spirit of making amends, I have a double dose of recipes for you this week. Forgive me?
Recipe number one is an interesting one: The Vanilla Bean Martini. This recipe is meant to be served cold. Feel free to substitute the caramel for chocolate. Enjoy!
4 oz of Vanilla Flavored Vodka
2 oz of Vanilla Liqueur
Vanilla Beans (Chilled)
Caramel Drizzle (for garnish)
- Drizzle caramel along the insides of a martini glass and chill for at least 1 hour.
- In a shaker, combine ice, vodka and vanilla liqueur. Shake!
- Drop a few chilled vanilla beans in the bottom of the chilled martini glass.
- Strain mixture into martini glass.
Very easy, and very tasty! Sit back and enjoy. Stay tuned for recipe number two!
Happy President’s Day! Drink Responsibly!
For the first time in a long time, I watched the Grammy Awards! I honestly thought the program as a whole was quite boring, but there were some bright spots. In the spirit of sharing, here are 6 things that I absolutely loved about this year’s Grammy Awards. Please feel free to add you own. Enjoy!
6. Mick Jagger Does the Grammy’s – How is it possible that the legendary Mick Jagger has never performed at the Grammy’s? The Rolling Stones’ front man took the stage last night…and he rocked it! His performance was high energy, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. On another note, I will be a happy woman if I have half the stamina as Mick when I’m 67. Work Mick!
5. Esperanza Spalding Wins Best New Artist - How many times have you watched the Grammy’s, and found yourself immersed in disappointment when your favorite artist failed to win the award? Welcome to the world of Justin Bieber fans everywhere! Esperanza Spalding, the singer and jazz bassist won the Grammy for Best New Artist, upsetting the favorite Justin Bieber. Let me be clear that this was not one of my favorite moments because Justin Bieber lost. This was one of my favorite moments because an extraordinarily talent artist, who may not be all that popular, celebrated a well deserved victory. This time, the Academy got it right!
4. Cee-lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Performance – I don’t know about you, but I was glued to the television trying to take it all in. It was all so colorful and festive. And also creative! Who knew that the Muppets had so much soul! Aside from the party that was going on on-stage, Cee-lo and Gwyneth complemented each other wonderfully! They had an unexpected chemistry that made the “kick ‘em to the curb” lyrics come to life. There was only one other thing about this performance that made me jump even higher for joy (see #3)…
3. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Shoes – I had an instant shoegasm! Gwyneth donned the Christian Louboutin multi-colored stiletto booties from the Spring 2011 Collection…..I won’t comment any further. The shoes can speak for themselves!
2. Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae, and B.O.B. Share Their Multiple Talents – One word describes this performance: AMAZING! This was, in my opinion, the best performance of the evening. Three stellar artist sharing one stage, and sharing a multiple of talents. B.O.B.’s rendition of his hit “Nothin On You” was melodic and somewhat soothing. Bruno Mars seemed to channel Sam Cooke in his version of “Grenade.” I love the eccentricity of his voice. Finally, Janelle Monae, one of the most gifted artists out there, brought the house down with “Cold War.” It was epic! And imagine my surprise to see Bruno playing the drums and B.O.B. strumming the guitar during Janelle’s performance. I was astounded by the level of talent displayed on that stage. If you haven’t already done so, please support these artists. You won’t regret it!
1. Lady Gaga arrives in an egg! - I am still laughing out loud! How creative of her! No one has ever done it. So congratulations to Lady Gaga for being innovative and thinking outside of the proverbial box!
Good Evening Divas! And welcome to Tax Season! If you are anything like me, you have been planning how you will use your tax refund for several months now. In speaking with my fellow Professional Divas, I’ve uncovered many different uses for tax refunds. Some Divas will use their tax refund to contribute to the cost of their weddings. Others plan to use their tax refund for a relaxing vacation. Many plan to save and/or invest their tax refund in preparation for retirement. The common denominator here is that there is a plan!
In speaking with these Divas, I thought it would be a great idea to compile a short list of great ways to spend your tax refund this year. This is not an all inclusive list, but it’s a start! Let me know what you think!
1. Save It This is the simplest thing to do with your tax refund. If you choose to do so, be sure to meet with a financial planner, who may be able to highlight several different savings options that can help you achieve the greatest yield.
2. Pay Off Credit Cards Being in debt sucks! Plain and simple! Debt is, however, a reality in many of our lives. In order to alleviate the agony of making monthly credit card payments, use your tax refund to pay off, or pay down, your balance. You would feel better, and your credit score will thank you!
3. Start or Contribute to Your Emergency Fund How many times have you been advised to have at least six months worth of living expenses tucked away in case of an emergency? The better question is have you done it? If not, use your tax refund to start your emergency fund. If you have already started your emergency fund, but have not hit the 6-month threshold, use your tax refund to help you get there. Easy, right?
4. Make an Extra Mortgage or Student Loan Payment This is another easy one. If done every year, using your tax refund to make extra mortgage or student loan payments could dramatically reduce your payoff time. Enough said!
5. Invest in You As Professional Divas, our careers are extremely important to us. So important, in fact, that we strive everyday to be the best at what we do. In an effort to preserve the fabulousness that is you, why not spend some of your tax refund to make you more fabulous. Use your tax refund to take a continuing education class, or enroll in an education program that will help you advance to a higher position, or be better in your current position. It can only make you a better professional. So just do it!
6. Treat Yourself You earned it! Use a portion of your tax refund on something you really want. A new dress or pair of shoes, a kitchen appliance, a new sofa, a vacation, a wedding….whatever! How dull would life be if all you did was work to pay bills? Sometimes you have to treat yourself. Remember not to go overboard…there is a limit to this form of self indulgence. Be good to yourself, but also be smart.
7. Donate to Charity Do you have a charity that is near and dear to your heart? If so, why not make a donation to the charity in your name. You would be contributing to a great cause, and you could possibly write off your donation on next year’s taxes. Double win!
Again, this list is certainly not all inclusive. If you have some clever ideas on how to spend your tax refund, please share! We’re listening!