Author: Christine Hughes

Hello world! I am a cook, teacher, engineer by education, and stay-at-home mom of three sharing my passion for gourmet cooking and style. While I do love gourmet, every now and then, I do have to use something canned to save me time. My favorite type of food to cook is EVERYTHING ETHNIC. As for the style, one of my hobbies is following fashion trends. I'm also a girl on a budget and will share my fantastic finds with my fellow gourmets and fashion followers. Why keep it to myself, right? Just writing for fun... Thank you for following!

My new favorite company…Gigi New York (#giginewyork)

Last year in a boutique in Alexandria, I spotted this fabulous #giginewyorkclutch. It comes in a smaller version (#allinonebag), which is great to use from bag to bag, especially if you have kids. This way you don’t have to dig in your huge diaper bag for your wallet and phone. I started doing this after having my third child and it really has helped. I have no idea why it took me having my third to figure it out so here’s hoping that this helps some of my fellow mommies,especially the first timers. Why is it so convenient? First, my phone, wallet, lip gloss and neosporin are all in one place and I don’t have to spend time finding my #iphone only to see a #missedcall when I find it. Second, if I need to run to the store or go for a walk, I just grab the clutch and go. I don’t have to use the diaper bag or transfer to another bag.

Here are the clutches and they can be personalized! #personalizedclutch

The All In One Clutch

The Uber Clutch

So why is this on my list of favorite companies? First, the customer service is nothing less than stellar. Second, the quality of the products is excellent and lastly, THEY ARE #MADEINTHEUSA .
The larger clutch is $145 and the smaller is $105. Personalization is $15 more.
If you call the store, they have some colors still on sale and you can get them for 50% off.
They also give 10% off when you get on the email sign up list, but it’s only on regular priced items.

The bags come in beautiful packaging and in gift boxes. They make great gifts!

Go grab one for yourself or for a gift at http://www.giginewyork.com

-FG

My week in Florida…Day 2

What is on my radar this week?
CURRY PUMPKIN SOUP with COCONUT MILK and SHRIMP or LOBSTER
yes…this is quite a feat, but I’m up for the challenge! I’m going to use a fellow Caribbean native’s recipe for guidance along with one from http://www.everdaypaleo.com….
#everydaypaleo is a GREAT website! My family isn’t completely paleo, but we are close to it!

http://everydaypaleo.com/creamy-pumpkin-curry/

href=”http://caribbeanpot.com/a-creamy-caribbean-curry-pumpkin-soup/”>

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

happy August!

-FG

Creamy Hummus Dip

Traditional HUMMUS DIP
by Christine Hughes
(#WITHOUT#CUMIN)

I love this #hummus recipe because it’s very #traditional and #withoutcumin!

Ingredients:

1-14.5 oz can of chickpeas (undrained)
1-14.5 oz can of chickpeas (drained, but reserve liquid and a couple of chickpeas for garnish)
1 large clove of garlic (for garlic lovers, add more to taste)
1 tsp of sea salt
1/4 cup of tahini (try to use Lebanese tahini bought at a Middle Eastern market #Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria, VA or the Greek tahini, #Krinos , found in the grocery store)
Juice of 1 Fresh lemon (do not use lemon juice from bottle)
Paprika-Garnish
Extra Virgin Olive oil-Garnish
Parsley-Garnish

Directions:

Add 1 whole can of chickpeas (undrained) in a food processor and let process for about 1 minute. Add the 2nd can of chickpeas (drained), but reserve the liquid. Process for about 30 seconds. Add tahini, salt, garlic, and lemon juice and process for about 1-2 minutes. Add very small amounts of the reserved liquid until mixture has reached the desired consistency and keep processing until creamy, about another minute. Be sure to add small amounts at a time to avoid making hummus too thin. Add more salt to taste. Once the hummus is ready, serve in a platter and sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with parsley, an olive, or a couple of chickpeas and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil for a nice touch.
Serve with warm pita bread, pita chips, or some fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, and red bell peppers.

VIETNAMESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP (PHO BO) (UPDATED)

Happy Friday to Everyone! After making Pho twice, I wanted to share some an update on the recipe. At first, I mentioned to use all beef broth, but it turned out too greasy. It is better to use a water/broth mix because it reduces the salt content and for some reason, the taste of the spices aren’t overwhelmed by the beef broth. I just updated the recipe so, enjoy!

http://gourmetanise.com/2012/11/09/pho-friday/

PHO FRIDAY

When it’s nice and cold outside, nothing better warms the body more than soup, especially a big bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup or Pho, as it is called. It’s a great comfort food without the guilt, and this recipe eliminates the MSG that most of the recipes contain. I have been trying to perfect this recipe for the past year and as my son would say, “Triumph!”. My family loves Pho (prounounced Fuh), but taking my two little boys to a Vietnamese restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night is not my idea of a fun night. For those of you who have children, you can relate. It was time for me to learn how to make my favorite foods, such as Pho, in my home, without having to worry about my kids misbehaving and sitting quiet in a restaurant with people who are there to relax. Most Vietnamese restaurants are not as loud as Chili’s. ☺
So, here is my recipe. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if there are any changes you would make. As a low carbohydrate option, my husband and I use less noodles in our bowls and more bean sprouts. If you’ve never made this yourself, please try it just once and you’ll never go back to the restaurant again. Okay, well maybe that’s not true, but making this in the comfort of your home for dinner and a movie night and not having to fight Friday evening traffic is an added bonus. I promise that this recipe is simple so try it, come back to my website, and write me to let me know how it was.

Happy Friday!

Christine

VIETNAMESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP (PHO BO)

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (PHO BO)

Makes 5-6 servings

2 pounds of Beef chuck shoulder roast sliced, about ¼ inch thin
1 pound of rice noodles, medium size
3 inch chunk of ginger, chopped
3 1/2 tablespoons of good quality fish sauce
1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice
2 medium onions, halved and sliced, not chopped
32 ounces of Organic beef broth
32 ounces of water
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed with stems
1 pound of bean sprouts, washed
1 stick of cinnamon
3 whole cloves
2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil
2 limes, cut in quarters
Sea salt to taste
Sriracha hot sauce (optional topping)
Hoisin Sauce (optional topping)

Directions:

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, whole cloves, and five spice in the oil for about 3 minutes on medium-high heat with about ¼ cup of broth adding more if needed so that onions don’t burn. Add beef and sauté’ for about 1 minute just to infuse the meat with the flavors of the spices on high heat. Add remainder of the broth, water, and fish sauce and bring broth to boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 25-30 minutes, being careful not to over-dry the meat. While the broth is cooking, boil water for rice noodles, similar to spaghetti, but take stop cooking when the noodles reach al dente. Caution: rice noodles cook very quickly and they will continue to cook in the broth when served.
Once the broth is done, serve desired amount of cooked noodles and bean sprouts in a soup bowl and add broth with meat right over them. Serve with desired amount of cilantro and garnish with lime. Serve with Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce on the side.

Rice Noodles with Vegetables in a Garlic and Chili sauce

Do you ever have a craving for Chinese noodles? Rice noodles are a good alternative to egg noodles because they’re gluten-free and are a lighter option. I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat from my diet to see how it affects my body. Here is one of my fast 15 minute “Go to” recipes. Add any meat to it for added protein,but this recipe just has vegetables, specifically sugar snaps and bean sprouts. You might think that this recipe calls for quite a bit of bean sprouts, but I always use a lot of bean sprouts in noodle recipes and reduce the amount of noodles since it’s a little healthier. Feel free to use less bean sprouts or eliminate the ingredient altogether.

20120825-121811.jpg

Ingredients:
4 oz of rice noodles (medium)
1 cup of sugar snaps
1 cup of fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions (chopped with white and green parts separated)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of hot chili oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of rice wine (not vinegar)
2 tablespoons of water
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

Directions:
First, cook noodles like you would spaghetti, except only cook for a minute or 2 and check for texture. You want to cook the rice noodles until right before they are “al dente” because the noodles will continue to cook while you are sauteeing. Drain and run under cold water and set aside.
For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk the chili oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and water together and set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan, heat sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on high heat for about one minute, then add garlic and white parts of green onion, and cook for another minute or two, constantly stirring the ingredients. If you are going to add tofu, poultry, or meat, do it before you add vegetables and cook until almost fully cooked, set aside in a plate, and then add vegetables to the same pan. Add sugar snaps or snow peas and bean sprouts and continue to sauté for about one minute. I like using sugar snaps because they are really crunchy and still hold much of that crunch after heating. Add noodles and green parts of onion to vegetables and saute for about a minute and toss until everything is mixed evenly and then pour sauce over the noodles. Toss in sauce for about a minute or two, but be careful not to mix too much because the noodles will get too soft. Serve with chili oil (with little specs of chili in it) on the side for added heat.

Pan Fried Fillets of Sea Bream with Cauliflower and Samphire

This looks amazing and a nice choice for all my friends on a low-carb diet.
It seems like a good challenge for a Friday or Saturday night. Thanks Chica for the recipe! -Christine

Chica Andaluza

Living temporarily on the south coast of England gives us access to super fresh fish, and to varieties which are not always available to us in Spain. The local fishmonger had beautiful Sea Bream the other day, we usually eat Sea Bass. The flavour is very similar but the bream is a softer, creamier fish.

Unlike Fish Man, who delivers fish to us out of the back of his refrigerated van, this is sold in a shop with all the facilities to clean and prepare the fish for its customers, so I took advantage of this and head the two bream I bought scaled, gutted, de boned and butterflied. What luxury! Also in stock was Samphire, which I had only ever eaten before in a restaurant, so I was curious to try it at home.

I came across a few recipes and discovered that it pretty much only needs…

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