Author Archives: Kelsey Walden

About Kelsey Walden

I love travel, fashion, food, wine, pretty flowers, coffee, and having fun.

What does food mean to me?

As I start to write a blog centered around food, the first step I probably need to do is figure out what food actually means to me. The standard summary of it feeds us, it fuels us, it makes us not-hungry comes to mind (and is the obvious answer) but food means so much more and is so different, for so many.

Personally, food has always been in control of my life. When I was younger, I was in charge of “cooking” dinner and having it ready when dad arrived home. Unfortunately, this meant many nights of box pizza, hot dogs and french fries, sometimes just ice cream sundaes, pasta or raviolis, and the occasional vegetable (covered in mayonnaise). True story, I’m being a bit dramatic here, as I’m sure my dad and grandmother would cook for us some nights, and I’m sure those plates are what the USDA would call healthy but the point of the story is… my schedule was mapped out by meals to feed the people who took care of me.

Luckily, when I went to college, my palate began to expand. I met new people in places I had never been before, experiencing different cultures and delights. I was exposed to how other families gathered, what my friends would eat, and all the good smells that came from these homes and restaurants. I went from eating very plain food with little to no greenery on the plate, to craving coconut curry vegetables, and sushi, and duck, and seafood, and things I had never tried before just because I wanted to know the taste.

But at the center of these meals, above the memory of the food… were laughs, and love, sometimes tears, once a fight, and great conversation… it is the memory of the people I was with.

I guess food to me means family. The definition of family is a whole other post, but what I’m trying to say is food gives me a sense of place and comfort.

These days, most nights out of the week, I enjoy eating alone (does that sound weird?). Work is crazy, the holidays are nuts, life is not slowing down, and I’m noticing more and more that food is great way to ground me. I guess you could say it still controls my schedule… In a way that reminds me to stop working, call a friend, or my family, and distract myself with a purpose. As the Culinary Institute of America would say, “Food is LIfe” and I see that as… Food is me.

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Vanilla Oreos

vanillaoreos5Oreo cookies are probably my favorite cookie ever. I could easily take down an entire box if you dared me to do it. When I came across this vanilla recipe from Cupcakes and Cashmere, I thought they would be perfect to bring to a friends birthday party. They were a hit and the sprinkles added just the perfect amount of festive fun. VanillaOreos1vanillaoreos4vanillaoreos2 vanillaoreos3

Lemon Water

LemonWater_1-6-5

One of my first steps towards taking better care of myself in 2015 is to limit my intake of coffee. Over the past four or five years, I have developed quite the addiction… seven or eight cups a day kind of addiction. I don’t even want to know what that is doing to my body so I’m limiting myself to ONE (maybe two) cups.

My substitution is lemon water. I’ve read countless articles about the benefits that lemon water can have for your body and these are a few of my favorite reasons:

1. Boosts your immune system. Hello Vitamin C. 

2. Enhances your mood. Lemon energizes you and can help reduce anxiety and depression. 

3. It’s cleansing. The little yellow fruit helps detoxify the liver, clears skin, and freshens breath. 

(info from Healthy Holistic Living and Lauren Conrad)

There is also this awesome lemon tree/bush that has so many lemons in our backyard that I just do not want to waste!

Lemon Water 2

After just four days, I feel great. I’m not getting as tired in the afternoon and I’m sleeping so much better.. Waking up refreshed and not needing to reach for the coffee… It seems kind of ironic. Anyways, I’ll keep you posted! Eventually I would like to cut out coffee completely or have it as a treat every so often but we will see. Hehe.

What are your substitutions for coffee? I’ve heard green tea is a winner so I think that’s my next step!

Skinny Orange Chicken… Just kind of paleo…

Skinny Orange Chicken

Working at a Chinese food restaurant usually makes me steer clear of any sort of Chinese style food but I was craving a healthy orange chicken one night. After scouring Pinterest for what felt like hours, I decided to combine two different recipes (here and here) and mix in a little bit of my own thing and came up with something even the boyfriend approves of.

I have to admit that I am still learning in the kitchen but this recipe made me a bit more confident.

Ingredients

For the orange chicken… I followed this recipe but substituted the animal fat with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil… I also only used 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice and a few dashes of gluten free flour instead of the arrowroot powder (I literally have no idea what that is so I wasn’t ready to go out of my way to buy it… But that is what makes it more paleo and probably better for you depending on who you talk to.)

Orange

Orange Chicken Sauce

Cooking Orange Chicken

Veggies

For my roasted veggies… I peeled about 4-5 whole carrots and then cut them in half and then quarters and then in half again until I got skinny little things. I cut up the crown and stem of the broccoli so each piece was relatively the same size and threw them all into a bowl.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and spread foil over my baking sheet.

I drizzled olive oil for a couple seconds over the bowl and then sprinkled some garlic powder over everything… Mix everything up with your hands so you know you get everything nice and coated. Place everything onto the foiled baking sheet and place in oven. Here is where you kind of need to be observant… I only had the veggies in the oven for about 15 minutes but it really varies for everyone. My broccoli was a little over done but my carrots were perfect… I’m thinking next time I will prepare the broccoli separately and put them in a bit later…

orange chicken full

And voila! A yummy dish that made me full but not weighed down.

And if you could please give me some other ideas for other healthy dishes, I would be much appreciative!

live. breathe. fulfill.

Girls Night Appetizer – Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Prosciutto Bites

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I never had Brussels sprouts as a kid because my dad hated them and said that he would never make me eat them. So I, of course, assumed the worst and never tried them.

Well, if dad had tried this recipe I’m pretty sure he would think different about those little green monsters.

 

The best thing about this recipe is the simplicity. The only ingredients are roasted Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper and some prosciutto.

Brussels Sprouts

Prosciutto

Stalking together

It took me a little over an hour to make this and get ready for wine night… they were gone in less than ten minutes.

And did I mention that they are paleo?! Even better.

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

live. breathe. fulfill.