Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chocolate Velvet Birthday Cupcakes

Happy (belated) Birthday Hubby! 

Chocolate Velvet Birthday Cupcakes

Words can't begin to express how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. He is kind, caring, supportive, everyone loves him and most importantly, he LOVES my food! As Ryan dives into the last year of his 20's, he celebrates friends, family and things that are important to him. It is amazing how things come into perspective as you grow older.

We have been together for nearly 10 years, something that we find hard to believe. We met in college during our freshmen year through mutual friends. The journey has been unforgettable, going from this....

Kettler Cuisine
After 6 months of dating!!
to this...

Kettler Cuisine
After 1 year of marriage and 9 years together!!

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes

His birthday just happened to also be Oscar day!! We decided to throw a little Oscar party to celebrate. The champagne was flowing, bets were made for the "Oscar Pool," and "red" velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were consumed. I say "red" because I was unaware of how much food coloring was required to actually make them red. In my mind, I just thought there was some sort of red ingredient that naturally turned the batter red....but, no! That is fine with me, because food coloring creeps me out. So I made chocolate velvet cupcakes instead with cream cheese frosting. Hop on over to Foodiecrush, where she admires the recipe from Cucina Marie.

Red Velvet Cupcakes from Cucina Marie

Cream Cheese Frosting from Cucina Marie

Chocolate Velvet Birthday Cupcakes

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vegetable Tempeh Curry

Last year, Ryan and I started experimenting with Indian spices and flavors. Our favorite dish, which is also the most popular, is Tikka Masala. Unfortunately, this is not a very forgiving dish for the waistline. 

In true Jessica Kettler fashion, I embarked on a journey to recreate the recipe so my beloved husband and I can enjoy it and not feel so guilty!

Vegetable Tempeh Curry

Curry is a flavor that I am much more comfortable cooking with now after posting a few recipes on the blog:
Searching through several recipes didn't leave me with a good sense of basic ingredients that I could easily substitute for healthier ones. I increased my search and came across a curry recipe on 101 Cookbooks that resembled the taste and texture of Tikka Masala sauce that I was looking to mimic. This was the perfect starting point since I love both Heidi's writing style and recipes. Obviously the biggest difference here is that there is no meat! I thought the tempeh was a great substitution for a veggie-friendly dish. However, chicken could easily be substituted in (see notes below).

Vegetable Tempeh Curry

Vegetable Tempeh Curry

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks recipe Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

4 cups of vegetables (suggestions: cauliflower, sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini, Brussels sprouts)
½ yellow onion
1 large shallot
1 T ghee (or butter)
1 T olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne (reduce amount for less heat)
1 15.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
¼ cup water
2 tsp red curry paste
½ tsp salt
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Portabella mushroom caps, cut into ½-inch pieces
8 ounces tempeh, cut into ½-inch pieces

To prep ingredients, start with the vegetables. Steam the four cups of vegetables until almost to the desired doneness. 
In a small bowl, blend the cumin, curry powder, turmeric and cayenne.

In another small bowl, combine the red curry paste and water and stir until well combined. 

In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil, add the onion and shallot. Cook over medium heat until slightly translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture, then after about 30 seconds, stir in the tomatoes, red curry water mixture, and ½ tsp salt. Remove from heat, stir in the yogurt and blend with a hand blender. Note: you might need to transfer it to a bowl to puree, then return it to the skillet.

Once the curry is back in the pan, add the mushroom and tempeh and bring to a low simmer. Let this cook for 5 minutes and then stir in the steamed vegetables until everything is coated in the curry sauce. Cook another 5 minutes covered on low heat.

Note: If using chicken, sauté in the large skillet with heated olive oil until mostly cooked through. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Don't wash out the skillet and then melt the butter in the olive oil and cook the onions and shallots.

This can be served over fresh spinach, quinoa, couscous, any type of rice or with a toasted piece of naan.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts

2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour. That was the challenge.

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts (Gluten Free)

When you live with a runner, it's only a matter of time before you become a runner. Ryan jumped on the bandwagon last fall and finished his first race this weekend! Yay! Go Hubby!!

Krispy Kreme Challenge

This race didn't only involve running, but eating as well. The Krispy Kreme challenge is an annual event held in Raleigh that challenges not only your physical ability, but your stomach strength as well. 

Probably the worst idea for a race, but it started with a few NC State students on a dare.  The race is now one of the largest charity races in North Carolina (not to mention a great shout out for Krispy Kreme).

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Two of our closest friends drove up to run in the race with us. Jordan decided to partake in the dozen doughnut consuming aspect of the race, but Nancy and I were smart, we just ran and watched everyone be miserable!

Since Nancy and I stick to a gluten-free diet, it was only fair that we get doughnuts too! So I made these chocolate gluten free doughnuts for us to enjoy! I know, most people hear gluten free and run, but honestly these were amazing!

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts (Gluten Free)

Since this was my first time making doughnuts (thanks for the baking dish bro), I did a little research to get started. I found inspiration at Running To The Kitchen, another fantastic healthy food blog that provides a lot of raw, gluten free and Paleo recipes. I started with a recipe for Chocolate Baked Donuts and went from there.

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts (Gluten Free)

These were a great guiltless treat after the race. Here's to having your doughnuts and eating them too!

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts (Gluten Free)
Adapted from Running to the Kitchen Chocolate Donuts
Yields: 10 doughnuts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes

3/4 cups almond meal/flour
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 tsp baking soda (gluten free)
pinch of salt
3 eggs (separated)
3 T melted coconut oil or melted butter
4 T honey (add more for sweeter doughnut)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp espresso powder

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a donut pan.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, cacao, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. In two smaller bowls, separate the eggs putting the whites in a slightly larger bowl. Set the whites aside and add the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla to the egg yolks. Whisk to combine and add to the dry ingredients bowl, stir to combine.

Beat the egg whites with a hand held mixer until light and fluffy. Fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Pour the batter into a large Zip-loc bag or piping bag and squeeze the batter into the donut pan, about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove from the pan and cool before eating.

Chocolate Baked Doughnuts (Gluten Free)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Menu Ideas

Ryan and I don't like to go out for Valentine's Day anymore. Restaurants tend to be more crowded and there is so much pressure to have the perfect meal. Instead, we discovered a few years ago that we have much more fun coming up with our a menu together to cook at home.

Much like our One Year Anniversary meal, we like to make it special, but simple. Our meal planning always starts around the protein, which in this case will be Alaskan King Crab Legs if we can find them. Don't worry, we will share pics and recipes!!

Here are a few menu ideas for a nice home-cooked date night.


Valentine's Day usually involves a drink of some sort. Whether it be a really good bottle of wine from the cellar, crisp champagne or a fancy cocktail, it is nice to begin the meal with a wind-down and toast to your relationship. Since I am starting to find blood oranges around, Ryan requested that we start with a Blood Orange Martini or Old Fashioned.

Valentine's Day Menu

We will probably pull out a bottle of wine to finish the night and hope to not be feeling it the next morning! 


Next up is a nice appetizer to keep your appetite at ease while making dinner. This is also a good way to prolong the evening and slow the meal down. We just picked up some yummy goat cheese from the Farmers' Market, so we will probably make Roasted Grapes with goat cheese and crostini. 

Valentine's Day Menu

A simple cheese and crackers are a good choice too, but don't eat too much and ruin the star of the show! 

Main Course

We usually like to get seafood, something that we don't purchase a lot. We are straight up seafood snobs, and not afraid to admit it! My regular readers know from previous posts that I rarely spice up seafood. If it is fresh, then none is needed! Lobster tails are a great idea for main course because they take very little time to cook. The prep work (cutting of the shell) can all be done ahead of time, so your attention can be on your date or loved one and not the food! 

Valentine's Day Menu

We tend to stay away from attention seeking dishes that fall into the "labor of love" category, like risotto. Same goes with the side dishes. A simple vegetable or rice pilaf works great. Occasionally we will spruce up something with a sauce, but most of the time we keep it light so we aren't painfully full at the end of the meal either. This just better prepares us for the best part - dessert! 

Sweets for my Sweet

Yes, I love saying that and LOVE making desserts for Ryan. I always offer to make the dessert for our special meals. This year we are going to take a crack at a chocolate souffl√©. My advice would be do any chocolate dessert such as:

Valentine's Day Menu

We are looking forward to having a nice date night at home with delicious food. Hopefully we can find the Alaskan King Crab legs! 

Happy Valentine's Day :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kettler Travel Journal: Keep Austin Weird

2012 was filled with amazing trips, including a weekend getaway to Austin, Texas in early November to see one of my best friends get married. Since this was our first time in Austin, Ryan and I decided to spend as much time as possible there to check out what all of the hype was about.

Keep Austin Weird

Ryan is a great travel partner. Even though he can be very impatient with airlines (but let's be honest, who isn't), he is great at navigating! This definitely comes in handy when we are in an unknown city, especially since I am HORRIBLE at finding my way around. I still use my GPS around my hometown (sad, I know). 

Back to Austin, the city that lives by "Keep Austin Wierd." Home of SXSW (South by Southwest) an annual music, film and interactive conference and festival.

Casino El Camino in Austin

Day 1

After some very unfortunate and frustrating flight delays, we finally arrived to our destination around 1am. Just enough time to grab a shot, drink and one of the best burgers in Austin at Casino El Camino. Ryan and I shared a burger with chili verde fries and threw back a few local beers (Rahr & Sons Blonde and a Fire Eagle IPA).

Casino El Camino in Austin              Casino El Camino in Austin

We were disappointed that the burger was a bit over cooked (but didn't mind since we were starving and we showed up about 5 minutes before the kitchen closed). I had a feeling the next day would start out better! 

Day 2

After a very warm run through a local park, we walked to Second Bar + Kitchen for an early lunch and cocktails. Ryan and I have a way of putting ourselves into the "vacation mentality" way too easily when traveling. This usually leads us to order something like Truffle Pommes Fritte with Foie Gras. Yes, that's right folks - truffle french fries with a slab of foie gras on top! Seriously the most indulgent and most expensive plate of fries we have ever ordered.

Truffle Pommes Fritte with Foie Gras in Austin

I could only manage a few bites with my sensitive tummy, but Ryan was in food heaven! He savored and enjoyed every bite!

Keep Austin WeirdKeep Austin WeirdKeep Austin Weird         

After that, does it even matter what else we ordered?!?! Just for kicks, I will share. We split an avocado and fried egg sandwich with an escarole, sweet onion relish and black pepper aoili. Yum! To wash it down, he ordered a Mimosa and I indulged in a Patriots Punch - tea infused rum, orange juice and tea syrup. All in all, day 2 was starting out great! 

We then walked over to another bar district to meet the Groom for a drink! After a few local beers and food truck tacos, the Groom was ready to meet his bride at the alter.

Wedding in Austin
Our dear friends Taylor and Katie getting hitched!

Day 3 - Franklin's Barbecue

After a lot of drinking and a VERY late night, we sluggishly woke ourselves up early for the last day. This was the big day - the day we would visit Franklin's BBQ. Drum roll please!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

There was a lot of hype for us to go to Franklin's BBQ while we were in Austin. Like North Carolina, Texas is also known for BBQ, but they focus on a different animal - the cow. We were about to experience the best beef brisket BBQ in all of Texas.

The morning started with a brisk walk from our hotel to Franklin's, with a quick coffee stop. We were told that if we expected to actually get some barbecue, we should be in line by 9am (for an 11am opening). Crazy right?!?! Who waits in line for 2 hours just to hopefully get barbecue. This place runs out of food every day it's open - good sign!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

We found our place in line, 7th and the countdown began. Luckily we brought our books and the neighboring, anxious patrons were all VERY nice! I anticipated Franklin's to be a tourist attraction, but was nicely surprised to find most of the patrons in line to be local.

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

I snuck into the restaurant to use the restroom and found myself meeting most of the staff!   They told me that the infamous fatty beef brisket cooks for 14 hours! Talk about a labor of love....literally. After a two hour consultation from the locals, we finalized our order and watched as the line kept getting longer and longer.

Franklin Barbecue in AustinFranklin Barbecue in AustinFranklin Barbecue in Austin

It was like Christmas morning when we finally made it through the door at 11am. We decided to go all out: 1 pound fatty brisket, 1 pound ribs, 1/2 pound turkey, side of coleslaw and espresso BBQ sauce, banana bourbon pie, pickles and (as if we would have room for it) the Smokey Franklin Porter, brewed just for Franklin's!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

We were treated to a few burnt ends while we were waiting for our order and went for it! I ordered the turkey for the sake of my tummy, but snuck a bite of the brisket and ribs - holy awesome Batman!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

This meal was like a religious experience! I am usually not one for meat overindulgence, but this was SERIOUSLY good. We walked back towards our hotel, much slower and heavier than before and stopped in a few places for photo ops. After a short food coma, er, I mean nap, we packed up and headed out for a final drink before departing for the airport. Glad we did, because I found inspiration for my Clean Margarita at Chipacabra!

Keep Austin Weird

We did find Austin to be a bit weird, but loved it. We are already anxious to return, just not in the summer time!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Powerberry Green Smoothie

If you haven't heard, juicing and smoothies are all the rage right now. Several of the food blogs I follow have mentioned either a juice fast or smoothie craze since the New Year. Why shouldn't they? Juicing and smoothies are a great way to sneak in raw vegetables that are essential for a daily diet. I am usually not one of those "jump, how high" kind of girls, but I had to give it a shot.

Powerberry Green Smoothie

Plain Ole' Blender

Since we don't have an $800 Vitamix or juicer, I had to experiment with my Cuisinart blender that we received as a wedding gift (thank you, Becky)!! I have to say, it is pretty dang powerful and does the job perfectly. I wanted a smoothie that contained a good amount of raw vegetables, but hidden under a mask of sweet fruit taste. After many attempts, and a few rough breakfast smoothies to take down, I resulted with the below recipe. 

Powerberry Green Smoothie

I first experimented with frozen fruits and refrigerated raw vegetables. By using frozen fruit, there is no need for ice cubes which can water down the taste. A frozen banana is a great secret tip for a creamy, smooth texture. We usually buy a bulk of bananas at the store since we eat them a lot. Freezing bananas are a great alternative for keeping almost too-ripen bananas. Simply peel, wrap and freeze for future smoothies!

30-Day Shred

This smoothie, along with some of my other healthy habits, have all come at a great time. Today, is the start of a 30-day shred with my friend, Virginia! 

I have not been running or exercising like my normal self since the marathon. Something about running 26.2 miles just makes your body want to stop for a while. But my dear friend Virginia is starting Jillian Michael's infamous 30-day Shred today! Every day of February, we are going to do one of Jillian's 30 minute workouts. Day 1 successfully completed!

Powerberry Green Smoothie

Serves: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes

1 organic banana (preferably frozen)
1 cup frozen whole organic blueberries
1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
1 organic pear, quartered
small handful of fresh spinach (optional)
1/2 medium cucumber or 1 small one, halve
1 Medjool date, pit removed (or 1 tsp honey)
1 tsp chia seeds

Place the banana and blueberries into a blender and pulse until it starts to break down. Add in the milk, pear, spinach, cucumber and date and blend until well combined and smooth. Quickly add in the chia seeds, pulse 2 times and serve immediately.

Powerberry Green Smoothie

Additional Notes:
 - Honey or maple syrup (Grade B) is a great substitute for the Medjool date. I usually always have dates in my kitchen for the Raw Brownies.
 - This smoothie can easily accommodate any type of frozen fruit or vegetables, depending on the power of your blender. Since I don't have a super, subsonic speed one, I tend to stick with softer fruits and vegetables.