okie dokie artichokie » hey guys, i'm steph! i'm a personal chef by day and food writer by night. this blog is all about the food i love to cook and eat-- some sweet, some savory, all delicious. welcome to my realm! xo

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A Healthy You in 2017 + Tropical Smoothie Cafe Giveaway

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Detoxing Smoothie

 

Well, it’s that time again my friends. With all the festivities, cookies, champagne, hangovers, crazy weird uncles, and pie behind us (well, for a short while at least), many of us are looking to make some serious adjustments to our diet as we kickstart 2017. I, for one am pledging to drink a little less and exercise a lot more.

Also, drink more smoothies.

I just scored a shiny new Vitamix blender for Christmas so when Tropical Smoothie Cafe was nice enough to share a special recipe for their Detoxing Smoothie with me, I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll be upfront with you. When I looked at some of the ingredients for their Detoxing Smoothie, I was hesitant. Kale. Avocado. Ginger. Celery?

But you know what? It was delicious. The sweetness of the green apple, the brightness of the lemon, and the butteriness of the avocado really balance everything together. It’s so surprisingly good and was pleasurable to drink. And I felt like I nourished my body with some pretty awesome things, too.

2017 will be only as good as we make it. Let’s focus on how we can make impacts– with other people, with ourselves. Health and fitness have played an important role in my life over the past several years, much of which has granted me happiness, physical strength, and confidence, just to name a few. Making a conscious effort to feed my body nutritious food has made a huge improvement in my overall health.

 

So with that in mind, and working towards shaping new and positive impacts on others, I’m giving away 2 – $25 gift cards to Tropical Smoothie Cafe*.

To enter this contest, share how you will work to better your health this year in the comments below. To increase your chance of winning, tweet this post and mention me @wokinglunges. Good luck!

*Contest open to U.S. residents only. Contest dates run from January 3 – January 5, 2017 11:59 pm EST. I will announce the winner on January 6, 2017. 

 

In the meantime, check out Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s newest line-up of smoothies:

Detox Island Green– spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana and fresh ginger

Chia Blueberry Max– roasted banana, chia seeds, blueberries, peanut butter, almonds, dates, coconut, cinnamon, whole grain oats and whey protein

Health Nut– blueberries, mango, banana, almonds and your choice of protein

Immune Blast– banana, orange, apple, and orange juice

 

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 2017 Promo

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

 

 

// More healthy treats: 

 

 

 

David - year I have decided to cut soda from my diet entirely. I also live close enough to work that I should walk when the weather allows it, and I plan to take advantage of that.

Jordan D. - I’m trying to work towards reducing my intake of processed/packaged foods by snacking less and doing more weekend meal prep in my crockpot. Another goal I have is to get better at drinking water! I downloaded a water tracking app on my phone to help me reach my goals! I’d love to win this giveaway, thanks for the chance 🙂

Jennai - I have already begun with aqua aerobics classes. I also plan to drink more water and walk a lot more!

k9maiz@hotmail.com - I have always had trouble following through on good faith efforts concerning diet and exercise. I developed horrible eating habits at a very early age as a result of medication side effects that went unchecked and emotional trauma. I stopped lifting weights regularly in my early twenties and have sporadically lifted every couple years since. I’ve had a solid knowledge base on exercise and nutrition most of my life and over the years the science innovations of both have supplemented and revised that base, but my motivation and willingness to commit to changing my lifestyle has continually faltered.

This year I have hope in making the change and social media has a lot to do with the steps I’ve taken. Inspiration and access to instructionals online are kick-starting my year, but again seeing others on Twitter and Instagram are invaluable. I’ve started using kettle-bells for weight training, I’ve shied away from barbells because of certain hand injuries and the kettle-bells offer more versatility. I’m cutting soda/diet soda out again, especially after the Diet Coke Holiday Binge of 2016. Sugar is horrible and I significantly cut back in 2016, but it creeps back into the diet too easily because it is in EVERYTHING. Read the labels, stay vigilant! I love raw veggies, so incorporating them along with using more greens is ideal. I also believe that preparing more meals in advance is necessary for my personal success.

Whatever your goals are for the new year I wish you good luck and happy health. Damn good recipes on this blog, can’t wait for the cookbook!

Judith - i will go to the gym more often

Amie martin - This year I’m planning to focus more on strength training and diet. I’ve been slacking in these two areas and it’s high time I did something about it!!

Chris - I will stop eating my wifes ice cream after she goes to sleep in 2017

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina

 

For me, food and family are intrinsically connected. Many of my most vivid memories as a child revolve around, you guessed it, eating. Born and raised in Peru, I really had no choice at all but to fall in love with food. Cooking and sharing meals with family and friends is central to our culture, and perhaps a reason why food blogging is a natural extension of myself. I may also just be extremely biased and think Peruvian food is the best ever and want you to eat a lot of it all the time forever. I am out of control.

I mentioned sharing. This potato salad you definitely need to share. I mean, look at it, it’s huge. Hey! Here’s another fun fact about Peruvians: we don’t know how to make only a little bit of something, only a whole lot of something, plus more just in case. Modesty is not in our nomenclature.

Papa a la huancaina is a cold potato salad often served as an appetizer or first course at parties. The potatoes are first boiled, peeled, and then sliced before being scattered over fresh lettuce leaves and doused with glorious, spicy, aji amarillo cream sauce. Hard-boiled eggs are cut into quarters and black olives are sliced in half before getting strewn on top. Papa a la huancaina is a delight to eat– it’s unbelievably creamy from the tenuity of the potatoes and the richness of the egg yolks; every bite yields readily in your mouth.

 

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

// More Peruvian foodstuffs: 

 

 

 

Sticky Banana Pudding Cake with Maple-Bourbon Syrup and Bourbon-Soaked Cherries

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

There comes a time in life where you have to accept the fact that you are an adult and need to make adult decisions. Case in point: embracing the decision to drink (and like!) bourbon. With the guidance of bourbon-aficionado friends, I gradually adopted the taste for it. It was a deliberate process– initially, adding water and ice to the bourbon to mellow it out, and then decreasing the amounts each time I imbibed until I became accustomed, and appreciated, the flavor of the bourbon itself. Tasting different varieties of bourbon and figuring out which ones I preferred was an adventure in and of itself (and continues to be!) during my introductory phase. I very quickly learned that I favored a dry, spicy bourbon as opposed to a sweeter one. I can now say in earnest that I love drinking bourbon and always have it stocked in my bar. Being an adult isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

Now that I’ve thoroughly divulged my regard for bourbon, it should come as no shock that I make a cake with it. This banana pudding cake is sticky. It’s luscious and sinful. The banana cake itself is delicious and custard-like but melts in your mouth. The real showstopper here is the maple-bourbon syrup that awaits you at the bottom. Warm and gooey, this pooled and drizzled over the cake is complete rapture. Serve it with ice cream (butter pecan, here) and powdered sugar and you’ll be one very happy adult.

 

 

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

 

// Other ooey gooey syrupy sweet things:

 

 

 

 

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

 

If the short ribs I posted earlier this week elicit romance, opulence, and proper decorum, then ají de gallina resides on the opposite spectrum for when I eat this, I want nothing more than to cozy up in my favorite, most slouchiest pajama bottoms and go at this with a ravenous, no-holds-bar hunger that I’m certain is terribly unattractive, disheveled and wide-eyed as I appear. I have my reasons for looking so savage, I can assure you.

*growls, hunkering down over my plate*

Oh, how can I explain this to you. Ají de gallina to Peruvians is like macaroni and cheese to Americans. It is the ultimate in home-cooked, ooey, gooey, cheesy, slop-it-on-my-plate-and-just-let-me-eat-it-now comfort food. You don’t mull over this. You inhale it.

Ají de gallina is a creamy, spicy, chicken stew. Or, as the child of one of my clients’ so aptly calls it: chicken goop. She is not wrong. The chicken, once shredded, is left to simmer in the peppery ají amarillo sauce until thickened. Ladled over white rice, it is a mound of gooey chickenstuff. But, as with many things, this is so much more than it appears.

The suppleness from the rotisserie chicken with the etherealness of the creamy, piquant sauce intertwine so harmoniously together the mouthfeel is something I find tremendously pleasing. The blanket of rice offers a nice toothsome quality to each bite, and the egg delivers an extra dose of heavenly awesomeness.

As I write this, I am overjoyed at the promise of eating this for dinner. And I can say with total confidence that I will wake up tomorrow morning, brighter-eyed and more bushier-tailed than normal because I’ll know what awaits me for breakfast. No, I don’t play by the rules.

 

 

Aji de Gallina

 

 

 

// More Peruvian comfort food type things

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braised Short Ribs with Chile and Coconut + Creamy Polenta

Braised Short Ribs with Chile and Coconut + Creamy Polenta

 

If you asked me what the perfect, most-romantic, make-my-heart-go-aflutter meal looks like, it would be this. Sumptuous short ribs, braised for hours in a coconut and chile infused sauce and perched atop a blanket of soft polenta is exactly what my mouth craves on cold, winter evenings. Paired with a bold, full-bodied glass of red wine it is absolute perfection.

This is seduction on a plate. I’ve oftentimes made this just for myself to enjoy for several days but it’s even better shared with someone you love. Turn on some sexy music, dim the lights, and celebrate life. Savor every morsel.

 

// Other cozy-up, wintery things

 

 

 

 

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