Friday, March 25, 2016

Chocolate Coconut Clusters for Spring!

It’s officially Spring, which means it’s time to break out the bright colors, the flirty dresses and of course, the super cute sweets!
I find it funny that the winter holidays are the only ones taking a bad rap for being the time to indulge, but when you think about it, there are plenty of occasions year-round where we encounter sweet sabotage.
There are the bunny rabbit cupcakes, beach ball cookies, and endless backyard barbeques that can leave you wondering where all these calories are coming from.

I decided to put a healthy spin on a classic Springtime treat from my childhood. My mom would always make little bird’s nest candies with Chow Mein noodles, peanut butter chips, and the adorable mini eggs. As cute as they are, they're loaded with empty calories… I mean, it’s candy after all. So I thought, what if I swap out some of those non-nutritional ingredients for something that packs a little more of a punch. I started with semi-sweet chocolate base and added in some Kelapo Coconut Oil to give it that nutty taste with the added benefit of healthy fats! Next up, I traded out the old school Chow Mein Noodles for Fiber-rich cereal such as Kashi GO Lean. The shape of this cereal was exactly what I needed to maintain the nest like shape.

After adding some toasted coconut, these treats were just about done. Don’t get me wrong, you can stop here and serve them year-round, but given the time of year, I decided to jazz them up with some Springtime candies.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Heart Healthy No-Fail Coconut Vegetable Fried Rice

As we are about to wrap up Heart Health month, I wanted to share a fresh new recipe that puts a healthier twist on one of my favorite dishes, Fried Rice! If you’ve ever been to a Japanese Steakhouse or Hibachi Restaurant you’ve watched the chefs chop and dice and throw their knives around creating beating hearts out of their delicious fried rice, right? It’s my favorite part of a hibachi meal, but have you ever noticed what they are actually throwing into it? You know that wad of garlic butter that they toss in there…that’s the equivalent of a whole stick of butter! No wonder it tastes so darn good!

Anyway, when I teamed up with Kelapo Coconut, I knew it would be a great opportunity to play around to tweak this recipe and boost the nutritional value. I'll be swapping out all that artery clogging butter for nutrient rich coconut oil. 

Did you know that coconut oil is comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which have been shown to help the body absorb important nutrients and minerals as well as eliminate harmful bacteria and fight signs of aging. So just adding coconut oil into your cooking routine will skyrocket the nutrients of the rest of your meal!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kasey's Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essential Guide
Illustration by Evelyn Henson

I've been feeling a lot like an adult recently. With all the engagement parties, and showers, and weddings, and housewarmings that I've been attending it has become obvious that my friends and I are entering into adulthood and locking 'ish down! Yay, us! 

In this new-found adulthood, I decided that it was time to share my guide to Kitchen Essentials. That's right, it's time to toss the IKEA knife set you bought in college and ditch that one pan your mom gave you when you moved out. 

The fabulous Evelyn Henson did me the honor of illustrating some of my essentials for you too. Aren't they fabulous!? Check out more of her work on her site and on Instagram. I swear she illustrates everything that's in my mind.

So now, without further ado, here are Kasey's Kitchen Essentials!

This item is without a doubt a staple. Call if your membership card to the Cool Kitchen Club. Coming in a variety of colors, it’s the perfect countertop accessory. Now since we’re all about beauty AND brains, I can’t leave out the incredible functionality of this machine. Aside from the awesome attachments that you can get to make pasta, juice fruit, and stuff sausage, the machine itself can do wonders! My favorite use (that not many people even think of), shred meat! I throw in cooked chicken or pork and use the paddle attachment to break it right up. Hello easy pulled pork!

I have dozens of silicone spatulas around my kitchen because I use at least two or three while I prepare every meal. The material prevents scratching so it prolongs the life of your cookware, plus if you get a good brand, it can withstand tons of heat!

If you know me at all, you know that I’m not one for cleaning. Having a great set of non-stick pans is essential in any kitchen. Take the time to invest in a quality set that is oven-safe and ones that can go in the dishwasher. Good bye scrubbing!

Every kitchen needs a nice set of knives. There are plenty out there but do yourself the favor and invest in quality. I’m a big fan of brands like Henckel and Wusthof. Another trick, make sure that the Chef’s knife (the big one) has good weight to it. You can test this by balancing the knife on your finger where the blade meets the handle. If it tips in either direction, it’s not balanced.

This little gadget can save you an insane amount of time in the kitchen. Just peel your garlic, give it a squeeze and you’re good to go. Sometimes they are a pain to clean, so look for one that can come apart or has a flap to push out the remnants.

Get them in all shapes and sizes. Seriously. I use tongs to turn meat, toss salads, pull things off high shelves… everything! Get them made of different materials as well like silicone, metal and wood. You’ll find different purposes for each one!

Or really any sort of vinegar, but balsamic is my favorite. A friend of mine who is a fabulous chef once told me that if you taste your food and it’s missing that “something” then it’s either salt or acidity.  Adding a touch of vinegar to dishes can help bump it up to a whole new level. In my opinion, balsamic is the most versatile in the kitchen. Afraid of the color? Grab a white balsamic to get that same sweet tangy taste without the dark coloring!

Slow Cooker
We all have busy lives and sometimes we know that if we don’t plan ahead, we’ll end up with some fast food garbage for dinner. Thanks to the slow cooker you can prep all your ingredients in the morning (or even the night before) and just plug it in, turn it on, and let it do its thing while you’re doing yours. When you get home later that night you have a delicious home cooked meal waiting for you! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Drank The Essential Oils Kool-Aid.

A few months back, I started seeing a ton of post on social media about Essential Oils and how great they are for anxiety, focus, weight loss, hair growth and everything in between. My skeptic hat instantly went on and I thought that this had to be a bunch of crunchy-granola-hippy-dippy shiznit. I shook my head and brushed off all these fabulous claims thinking that there’s no way it could actually work.
A few weeks later I was on a girls getaway and suffered from an unexpected anxiety attack (for those of you who have never experienced one, you don’t always know what causes it or how to prevent it, so it can be a major pain in the 'arse'). After a sleepless night I treated myself to a massage hoping that it would help. The therapist asked if there was a certain scent I wanted used for my massage and I told her whatever would help kick anxiety out. She claimed that she had just the thing. I saw her shake two little bottles into her hand and quickly rub them together. She told me to close my eyes and take three deep breaths. With each breath, a sense of calming came over me and I got this weird tingly feeling. I instantly had to remind myself that there’s no way this is actually working – but then I took another breath and felt even more relaxed, ok, maybe there’s something to this… with the third breath I was in a deeply relaxed state and the therapist had yet to lay a finger on me. After our 60 minutes were up, I asked her what she used in the beginning. She told me it was a combination of Lavender and Orange essential oils and that there are millions of little sensors in our nose that help transmit emotions and (a bunch of other hippy-dippy words) to our brains.

This sent me into a researching frenzy. I read blog after blog about how Essentials Oils worked, the different brands, the different ways you get duped, everything! I figured I would try it out and ordered a set via Amazon. Word the wise, don’t bother. The ones on Amazon are crap. There are only two brands that are certified to be ingested (taken orally) and that’s DoTerra or Young Living. I did a lot more research after sending back the bogus Amazon set (thank you Amazon Prime) I decided to go with one of the bigger brands – Young Living.