Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad


Make-ahead recipes to keep you going strong! 

If food was fashion, then quinoa is the new black…and it looks good on you.  Touted as one of the healthiest and most diverse foods on the market, as well as a pantry staple for many of today’s top celebrities, quinoa is the perfect addition to the Sexi menu.  It’s loaded with fiber and protein as well as a slew of other nutrients such as iron and amino acids to keep you satiated even in a time crunch.  Its subtle flavor makes it the perfect canvas to create a flavor profile to suit any and all palates, and the fact that it’s gluten free makes it a welcome addition even to specialized diets.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Singer’s Life: On the Road

Audition season can RUIN all the hard work you have done to eat right and exercise. It’s quick and convenient to run to the nearest fast food joint and spend your hard earned money. Use these handy tips for staying healthy and stress free while traveling for auditions or gigs.

THE DAY BEFORE YOU TRAVEL:
-Make a detailed list and pack a day in advance. Include everything— the perfect shoes to walk the streets of NYC, audition clothing, music, and of course, your toothbrush. Be specific, but do NOT over pack.  Lay out your clothes and narrow your picks down to what you actually need. And don’t forget to check the weather.  No one performs their best when they’re blue with cold. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sexi Spicy Chipotle Pasta

If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, you know their menu is a thirty-something-page novel of just about every tantalizing flavor combination imaginable, and then some. From lettuce wraps to seared tuna to the classic cheeseburger to the overly tempting 33 different types of cheesecake (but who’s counting?), there’s bound to be a favorite for anyone. Then, there’s this little gem. Nestled somewhere in that vast expanse of menu lies what could be one of the most delicious, most unique, most unexpectedly indulgent dishes out there: the Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta. It breaks the rules of what one may consider a traditional pasta dish. Creamy, spicy, and smoky with little bursts of sweetness from both peas and peppers…this dish has it all.


And we mean all…

All the soul-tingling flavors, the break from the ordinary, the stunning “feast with your eyes” presentation and unfortunately, ALL the calories (there’s always a catch!) …a whopping 1749 of them, to be exact. YIKES!

Now, that’s not to say you should never order this dish from The Cheesecake Factory …you should. You really should. It’s that good. Everyone deserves a little indulgence from time to time, right? But what about those days when that creamy, smoky, spicy craving hits you and you don’t want to break your calorie budget? Here it is: your new favorite pasta dish, gone Sexi.  Keep all that flavor and lose all the guilt… at only 391 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving, you can indulge all you want and even feel good about it!  

Sexi Spicy Chipotle Pasta
  
Cooking spray
1 medium red bell pepper, roasted and chopped*
(jarred roasted red pepper can be substituted)
1 c. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 c. skim milk + 2 TBSP
¼ c. fat free sour cream
¼ c. fat free cream cheese
2 TBSP salt-free chipotle seasoning
1 TBSP Adobo seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 TBSP corn starch
2/3 c. frozen peas, thawed
½ box whole wheat penne pasta
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Sautee asparagus over medium low heat until just cooked, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in a small bowl. Set aside. Add 2 cups milk, sour cream, and cream cheese to skillet over low heat, whisking frequently until smooth. Stir in chipotle seasoning, Adobo, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce begins to thicken. While thickening, cook pasta according to package directions until “al dente”, approximately 9 minutes. Drain and set aside, spraying lightly with cooking spray to prevent sticking, if needed. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch and remaining 2 TBSP milk until smooth. Add to sauce and stir until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in peas, asparagus, and red pepper. Add cooked pasta and toss until well coated.  Top with fresh chopped parsley.

Makes 3 servings.

*If roasting your own red pepper: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pepper on a roasting pan and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, turning twice during roasting to allow all sides to darken. When pepper is soft and skin is blistering, carefully remove from oven and place in a large Ziploc bag. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Open bag and peel and discard skin from pepper. Skin should peel easily. Remove seeds and chop pepper into large pieces. Set aside.
Author’s notes about this recipe:

-You will notice that The Cheesecake Factory dish contains chicken and this recipe does not. This recipe provides you the framework so that you can customize this dish to suit you, whether you choose chicken, turkey, chicken sausage… this dish works with any type of meat you’d like! Adding 4 oz. of cooked, cubed, boneless, skinless chicken breast will bring your calorie count up to 431 per serving, but this recipe is still WAY under 1749 calories and you added extra protein to boot!  

-Using the full 2 TBSP of chipotle seasoning will give your sauce a bit of a kick. If you prefer a more mild sauce, reduce the amount to 1 TBSP (or whatever fits your preferred heat level) and add an extra half teaspoon of paprika for flavor and color.

-Those cute little toasts on the side? Super easy, super delicious, and a great flavor pairing with this dish. Simply pick up your favorite whole grain baguette, slice into thin rounds, and top with a light spread of a good store-bought basil pesto. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes or until crisp and, voila! Cute and tasty pesto toasts!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Personal Style: The Singer’s Guide to Standing Out in Rehearsal

-->First things first, define who you are! Ask yourself: who are you? Who do you want to be? What roles do you want to play? How do you want others to see you? Using these questions to help guide you, choose three or four words to describe your personality. Then pick three or four words to describe the types of characters you play. Once you’ve picked your words, use them to inspire your style!

Sexi Spicy Chipotle Salad


If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, you know their menu is a thirty-something-page novel of just about every tantalizing flavor combination imaginable, and then some. From lettuce wraps to seared tuna to the classic cheeseburger to the overly tempting 33 different types of cheesecake (but who’s counting?), there’s bound to be a favorite for anyone. Then, there’s this little gem. Nestled somewhere in that vast expanse of menu lies what could be one of the most delicious, most unique, most unexpectedly indulgent dishes out there: the Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta. It breaks the rules of what one may consider a traditional pasta dish. Creamy, spicy, and smoky with little bursts of sweetness from both peas and peppers…this dish has it all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

You MUST stand...


     "You MUST stand out!"

                   -Maria Callas

Friday, September 6, 2013

If the Shoe Fits...

We’ve all heard it:  ladies must wear heels to auditions.  It’s not a surprise, but it can cause major frustration.  Do you opt for the fabulous pair that make you feel super cute, or the comfy pair that have the low heel your coach suggested and get the job done?  It may seem obvious, but you’ll get the best audition experience if you opt for both.  Does the perfect shoe exist?  Certainly.  You just have to know what to look for.