What’s in Season: Asparagus

It’s that tall skinny vegetable that’s known for making your pee smell a little funny. It’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I have to admit, before writing this I really didn’t know much about it.

So I hopped over to World’s Healthiest Foods to find out more. The most interesting thing I learned, was that in addition to having several beneficial vitamins and minerals, asparagus contains a substance called inulin.

Inulin is a carbohydrate that is able to survive your digestive track and make it all the way to your intestines. Once there, it helps to support the good bacteria in your gut. When there’s a healthy ratio between the good and the bad bacteria, you have a happy gut, but when the bad guys take over, that’s when you can start to experience all types of health issues. The bad guys live off all the junk we eat. And the good bacteria, well one thing that promotes their well being is inulin.

After suffering from UC for so long, anything the promotes a healthy gut is a winner in my book. Especially, something I love as much as asparagus.

Since I made the commitment to eating healthier, one of the things I’ve been trying to do is incorporate more veggies into my diet. I’ve found that a great way to do that is by starting my day with them, so asparagus for breakfast it is.

Asparagus Leek Frittata type

I found this recipe for an Asparagus and Leek Frittata at Epicurious. This is a perfect spring dish since both Asparagus and leeks are in season in the spring. This recipe is also vegetarian but my meat lovers can always add sausage to the frittata or serve with a side of bacon. Either way, you’ll feel good that you started your day with veggies and something that’s good for your gut. Frittatas are also an easy egg dish for those of us who aren’t skilled in the omelet flip.

First, wash and cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, removing the tough bottom parts.  

Next, wash your leeks then cut all the beautiful green parts off, so all you’re left with is the light green and white section. If you’ve never cooked with leeks before, make sure you pull off at least one of the outer layers. Leeks are grown partially under dirt, so it’s very common to find dirt trapped between the outer layers and no one wants dirt in their frittata.

I adjusted the recipe slightly. I added garlic because I love garlic but decided to skip the mushrooms since I’ve never been a fan of them. I also threw in some sundried tomatoes because of the mild sweetness they add.

Let the butter heat up, then add the asparagus, leeks, garlic and tomatoes, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

As a side note: I sampled the sautéed mixture before I added the eggs and cheese and I liked it so much I ended up cooking it (minus the tomatoes) for dinner as a side dish later that week. It went perfectly with Chicken Parmesan.

Once the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add the egg and cheese mixture to them. Before your eggs completely set, sprinkle some more Parmesean and Fontina cheese on top and stick the pan in your pre-heated oven.

Your fritatta only needs a few minutes in the oven. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese on top has melted and starts to turn golden and when the eggs puff slightly.

When it’s done, it’ll be time to enjoy a dish featuring what’s in season, asparagus.


Great Crepe Expectations

I spent the last day of 2015 with good friends, under the moonlight and bright lights of Las Vegas Blvd, watching the fireworks. After a night like that, how can I make the first day of 2016 as special as the last?



In my dreams, I’d grab my passport, hop in my private jet and dash off to Paris to grab some drinks and breakfast someplace in view of the Eiffel Tower. In lieu of that option, I headed down Eastern Avenue to Crepe Expectations. Champagne check. Nutella check. View of the Eiffel Tower, nope, but this place has so much character you’ll forget you’re on Eastern Avenue. Walk past the outdoor seating and step into a charming room, accented with a dark wood bar that faces the crepe making station, stone detail around the counter, and purple walls.

Being the first meal of my day, I opted for a breakfast crepe, The Monterey, to be exact. Bacon, scrambled eggs, tomato, red onion, mild Serrano peppers, Jack cheese, and since I wanted to start the new year out on a healthy note, I added spinach. While the menu describes the Serrano peppers as mild, they definitely have a noticeable kick which works well with the slight sweetness of the crepe itself.

Usually, when I go to Crepe Expectations, I’ll choose a pot of warm jasmine tea or a glass of fresh squeezed OJ with my crepe, but today I went with the Mimosa Trio Sampler. My choices: pomegranate, blood orange and strawberry.


After my breakfast crepe and trio of mimosas, my stomach wasn’t quite bursting at the seems yet, so I tried to convince my eating companion to go half on another crepe, something on the sweeter side, maybe the Avalon or a Simple Delight. We decided not to give in to gluttony and just savor the experience of breakfast. When I finally returned home and the “itis” settled in, I was glad we had taken the less gluttonous route.


The Monterey Crepe with a side salad and Mimosa Sampler

The owners got it right in describing Crepe Expectation as “Yum in Action,” their trademark. With 3 categories of crepes to choose from: sweet, savory, and breakfast (served all day), plus an ample selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, there are several reasons to love Crepe Expectations, and to keep coming back.

Crepe Expectations
9500 S. Eastern Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Try Something New, You Just Might Like It

Last week, one of my friends tweeted that she had tried sashimi for the first time, or “the raw stuff” as she called it.

Following her request, I checked on her later, and she admitted, “it was pretty good.” I was proud of her for trying something new. She asked me if I ate, “the raw stuff”? Indeed I do. I’ve been eating sushi since I was about 10. Back then, I liked masago on my sushi for the same reason I like potato chips on my sandwich, they add a little extra crunch and saltiness. I don’t think at that age, I really dwelled on the fact that those little red things were actually tiny fish eggs.

Even with some of my adventurous eating habits, there are still many things I’ve never tried, that I turn my nose up at without having an actual legitimate reason. Recently, I was at my favorite taco spot in Las Vegas, Tacos El Gordo. In additional to your basics like carne asada, you can also find tacos de lengua a.k.a. tongue tacos. One day, my co-worker and I happened to catch one of the cooks at Tacos El Gordo, picking up a whole cow tongue and placing it in the pot to cook. The image brought me back to an episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff makes cow’s tongue soup. At one point, he lifts the whole cow’s tongue up out the pot. I remember Theo saying, “I don’t want to taste anything that can taste me.” This has always been my philosophy with regards to tongue.

One of the guys who works at Tacos El Gordo, overheard my conversation about my feelings toward tongue. Instead of getting offended, he offered me a little taste. I accepted. On a small tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, salsa and a few squirts of lime, was my cow tongue. Somewhere between not wanting to seem scared of a little piece of shredded meat, and not wanting to be rude, I pulled off a little piece of the cow tongue sitting on the tortilla in front of me. I mean, all it was was a little piece of meat right? Drumroll… I liked it. It was quite tender, nothing like what I expected. Going back to that episode of The Cosby Show, I think I envisioned cow tongue being some solid muscular hunk of meat that might come alive in my mouth and lick me back. In reality it was a tender and flavorful, and if no one told me it was cow tongue, I wouldn’t have thought twice before eating it.

I find that American’s are very pretentious when it comes to food.  We turn our noses up at anything that people in other cultures eat that deviates from what we consider the norm. Serve a fish with the head still on, or something like cow tongue, and we freak out. And for no legitimate reason. While you don’t have to become the next Andrew Zimmern, and start eating scorpions or drinking cobra blood, I am asking that you to take Satindoll’s and my lead and try something new, you just might like it!

You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Eat Organic

The other day,  I overheard a conversation that inspired me to write this post. This guy said he didn’t make enough money to eat organic food. The lady he was talking to started raving about how affordable Trader Joe’s was and how much she liked Whole Foods. That’s when the guy admitted that he had never actually set foot in either place.

I remember before there was a Whole Foods in my area, my mom and I shopped at food co-ops or small health food stores. The common thread amongst shoppers was usually their viewpoints on the environment and health, not tax bracket. Today, the presence of a Whole Foods in a neighborhood often tells you a lot more about property values, than people’s love for the environment. But do you really have to be well off to include organic food in your diet?

I decided to compare prices  at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Albertsons for a few staple items. I was shocked by what I found.

I looked at the prices for three items you’ll find in most refrigerators in the U.S.: milk, juice and eggs.

Milk: I was shocked that the Shoppes Value whole milk at Albertsons and the Trader Joe’s whole milk were the same price. The milk at Trader Joe’s is made from cows not treated with rBST, an artificial growth hormone. Nothing on the Shoppes Value label mentioned whether or not the cows that produce their milk have been treated with rBST. The FDA says no significant difference exists between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows however, rBST is not approved for use in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Eggs: The Albertsons eggs were the least expensive, with the greatest savings if you have an Albertsons savings card. Without the discount card, the savings is $0.70 versus Trader Joe’s cage free eggs and $1.70 versus Whole Foods organic, cage free eggs. After I read this article about organic and cage free eggs, the additional $1.70 for organic, cage free eggs is probably worth it though.

Juice: The Hawaiian Punch falls in the middle price wise. However, it was the only drink to contain high fructose corn syrup as well as an ingredient called Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin, that’r right, wood rosin. The lemonade at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods was mainly made of the same ingredients you would use if you made it at home: sugar, water and lemons.

If you need milk, eggs and juice you won’t break the bank if you go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but what if you wanted to have a more complete meal?Someone’s Italian grandmother might roll over in her grave, but you can ease your hunger pangs with minimal effort if you boil some spaghetti, open of a jar of tomato sauce, and pop open a bag of salad. If you wanted to purchase the items to make a basic spaghetti dinner, which store would you save the most?

Once again, organic items at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s turned out to be the better priced options. I was blown away by how much of a savings Trader Joe’s offered. As I continued to compare other items like butter, olive oil, mustard, deli meat, and sliced cheese, I was continuously shocked to find that either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods had lower prices. If Albertsons had a lower price, it was not more than a dollar cheaper than the price at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and it either lacked the organic ingredients and/or had more additives.

So the next time you pass a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s, don’t clutch your wallet in fear, it is possible to include natural and/or organic foods in your diet without breaking the bank.