Cream of Asparagus Soup

Recipe Testing in The Home Idea Factory (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)
Recipe Testing in The Home Idea Factory (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

New year, new opportunities and tons of cleaning up of files, recipes, and closets to do!

As a Lifestylist® I spend a lot of time on the road searching for what’s new, but when I’m home I love spending time in the kitchen working on comfort food recipes that are so easy anyone can make them.

Cream of Asparagus Soup Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography
Cream of Asparagus Soup Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

I love Cream of Asparagus soup and I spend a fortune buying it so I decided it was time to come up with a recipe I can make at home. This recipe is so easy and by using vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock most recipes call for it keeps it vegetarian and reduces the sodium levels.

Fresh Asparagus from Dallas Farmers Market Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography
Fresh Asparagus from Dallas Farmers Market Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Fresh Asparagus is already showing up in the grocery stores and farmers markets – give it a try and see what you think.

Celebrating 2013

SE R R Models Dec 13 212013 was a great year for the Lifestylist Brands. We were honored to be asked to speak at some large national conferences, new clients joined our family and we continued to be more active in social media.

Flipagram is an app that lets you choose photos that you used in Instargam and make a flip book movie out of them.

Take a look at our Flipagram movie and see some of the people, events and places that made 2013 a year to remember.

Spicing Things Up

Spices throwaway 12Spices throwaway 3The Lifestylist test kitchen is almost complete! As I was taking everything out of drawers and my old pantry I realized now is the perfect time to check expiration dates on everything and get rid of things that aren’t as fresh as the rest of the ingredients I use in my dishes.

I was amazed that most spices didn’t have expiration dates on them, but here are a few simple tips that can help you decide whether to keep or trash you pantry inventory.

* Smell – always the easiest. If something smells “off” or in the case of spices has no scent at all it’s time to replace.

* Appearance – if something looks off as far as color or texture get rid of it immediately! The last thing you want to do is make yourself or your guests sick. Faded spices can mean that their strength isn’t what it should be and will throw off the taste of your dish.

* Expiration Dates – I do trust these and if somethings past that date will get rid of it. It just isn’t worth ruining a dish of dinner party to save a few dollars.

* Moisture – if something get introduced to an outside moisture source I would get rid of it instead of having to worry about mold or having it compromised.

My sweet contractor made me a spice rack and I can’t wait to start filling it. My favorite source for the freshest spices is Penzeys. They have opened quite a few stores and they also can be purchased online.

My new absolute spicy find though is Tabasco Spicy Salt. I’ve never found it in the stores but you can but it at their online store. It’s a blend of their very own slat that is mined on Avery Island, Louisiana and ground red pepper. It has quite a kick and a little goes a long way. I use it on everything!

Sweet Snacks

Cookie Chips 15
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but regret the calories that most of my favorites have as soon as I eat them.

Cookie Chips are my new favorite snack – sweet, crunchy and only around 20 calories each! These great bites are made by HannahMax Baking and are all natural, no artificial flavors or colors and no trans fats!

My favorite is the original which tastes like an old fashioned homemade butter cookie. They are also available in Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate Chip and Sea Salted Peanut Butter.

It’s been really hard to get in the kitchen these days with the Lifestylist® Brands being so successful, so discovering these treats is almost as good as making them myself.

Super Bowl Party Recipes

Pepperoni Pops8
The Super Bowl isn’t only about football – it’s also about getting together with family and friends and having a great time.

Being a Lifestylist® is all about Life Celebrating Style, and we’ve put together some quick and easy recipes that will make any gathering an event to remember.

Our Pepperoni Pops are one of our favorites, but you can find all of them on our Lifestylist Recipe page.

The Fear of Cooking

Thermador Cooking 116Thermador Cooking 335
I’m always amazed how many people are afraid to cook. They think they don’t have the skills or the knowledge to put together a meal so they depend on eating out, take out and convenience foods.

Last week we were invited to visit the spectacular new Thermador Culinary Experience in California. Not only are there beautiful kitchens displayed with the cool new products that Thermador offers, it also has working kitchens where Chef Kyle will help you experience first hand what a difference these appliances can make in creating your own culinary creations.

Being a Lifestylist® is all about Life Celebrating Style, and we love being in the kitchen and sharing that time with friends and family. When we got ready to prepare our lunch in the Culinary Center they asked us to pair up with someone. Holly said that she would love to cook with me, but she didn’t know how to cook.

Holly and I looked at the recipe for Pecan Pie and we jumped right in. We quickly realized how much easier it is to cook with the right appliances and tools, and working together our pies were in the oven in no time! By the time lunch was over, Holly no longer was afraid of cooking and she couldn’t wait to share her new culinary skills with her daughter and family.

Cooking should be a labor of love, and it can be lots of fun to spend time in the kitchen. Try taking a cooking class with friends and I think you might be surprised how much you might begin to enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

Healthy Recipes From Scratch

Vegetable Soup 1
This is going to be a busy week! I leave tomorrow to do some new model homes for SE Homes of Texas in Louisiana, so while I’m enjoying all of that Cajun cuisine I wanted to cook up some healthy meals my Lifestylist® family could enjoy.

Ro-tel® (tomatoes and diced green chilies)is a staple in my pantry. It is low calorie, low fat, and full of spicy goodness and is an important part of my vegetarian chili and my vegetable soup.

I make this in my slow cooker – it’s a perfect weekend dish because you can prep all of the vegetables and let it cook up on it’s own. Use vegetables that your family prefers or ones that are fresh at the farmers market – my version changes with the seasons.

You can find the recipe on my Lifestylist® Recipe page – enjoy!

Kitchen Trends for 2013

Thermador Oct 11 29t’s looking like this Lifestylist® is going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen this year, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our test kitchen is coming along really well, and we have a lot of kitchens we are designing for clients which is always lots of fun.

January is going to be a month spent on the road. Besides working with all of our clients we have been invited to the beautiful Thermador flagship design center to see what’s new as well as work on new appliances for the future.

The International Builders Show will be taking place in Las Vegas, and it is always a great source of trends in home design.

We’ll have lots to talk about and share, and we are also anxious to know what you think about the new trend to brighter, whiter kitchens. Susan Serra, one of the premiere kitchen designers just did an article for Cultivate on Kitchen Predictions for 2013 that has lots of great information so we wanted to share. What do you think will be the top kitchen trend in 2013?

Here’s To a Healthy 2013!

Fiesta Salad 33With just a few more hours until 2013, we wanted to get an early start on some healthy recipes for the New Year.

We love using as many local foods as possible in our cooking, but winter limits what we can find.

Our New Beginnings Fiesta Salad uses Rotel – a great spicy tomato and chili mix that is low on calories but adds lots of flavor. When we make this in the summer we’ll use fresh tomatoes, peas, and chilis but this is the perfect way to pay homage to the southern tradition of having black eye peas on New Years for luck.

You can find the recipe on our Lifestylist® recipe page. Happy New Year!

Chef Joanne Bondy To Be Featured at James Beard Dinner

Chef Joanne Bondy, Executive Chef at The Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Texan has been asked to host a special evening at The James Beard House for the third time. This Lifestylist® was honored to be able to help prep the last dinner in the James Beard kitchen, and then stay behind the scenes to capture the experience on film.

Chef Bondy treated member of the Gaylord Food and Wine Society along with other guests to a preview of what will be served at the October event recently, and this is definitely going to be a meal to remember. Palmaz wines will be featured and served with the dinner.

For information on how you can attend this very special event, contact the Gaylord Texan team at: 817-778-2210