Honey, Hunny, Huhhneee!


Honey, Hunny, Huhneee!

We absolutely LOVE honey in our house. We’re almost never without it in our cupboard and our daughter, Nia asks for it by saying “huhhhhneeee!” ūüėč Just like my little girl, my own fascination with honey began when I was a child learning how to read. One of my favorite books from my childhood was Winnie the Pooh. I enjoyed looking at the illustrations and got a kick out of some of the shenanigans he would get himself into for his favorite food… “Hunny” ūüėČ
I’ve tried all kinds of honey on my culinary travels and some are far better than others. I find myself purchasing organic honey or straight from the beekeeper at my local farmers market. Wildflower, Orange Blossom, Clover, Tupelo… They all have very distinct colors and flavors. It’s kind of difficult to back peddle into buying and consuming anything less than top shelf golden goodness. Organic raw honey just tastes far superior to most of the store brands that I grew up with.
Most brands of honey are mixed and contain corn syrup or other liquid sweeteners and lose a lot of their nutritional value in the heating process of factory bottling. image¬†Although the price may be a bit higher, I’m willing to dish out the extra bucks for better taste and quality of organic or farmers market honey. Especially since, in my household, we use it for more than just sweetening our oatmeal or tea. Honey has a vast array of uses and has a buttload of health benefits.
The use of honey goes waaaaay back. Like 2,500 years and has been used by so many different cultures for its medicinal qualities as well as it being pretty damn tasty! Here’s a small list of some of it’s various uses and health benefits…

Weight Loss: When honey is consumed with warm water, it helps to digest the fat stored in your body.

Vitamins and Minerals: Honey contains Calcium, Vitamin C, and Iron

Skin Care: There’s a reason that milk and honey are often served together. They both help in maintaining smooth, beautiful skin. Add enough honey to taste in either warm or cold milk. You can also sprinkle a few drops of vanilla extract or even better, half of a fresh vanilla bean for added flavor!

Sleep: Honey helps to trigger melatonin and regulate stress levels in the body, allowing us to just simply relax and achieve REM sleep.

There are like a gazillion other uses and benefits to consuming raw organic honey! It’s crazy how great this stuff is for our bodies and can be substituted for white sugar in almost every recipe. The general rule of thumb for doing this is to reduce the amount in 1/4 cup intervals. So if your recipe calls for 1 cup of white sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3rds cup of honey.
Honey also makes killer sauces and marinades. Try making your own honey mustard sauce, or a salad dressing with your favorite vinegar or fresh lemon juice and oil. Honey is so versatile and it’s culinary uses are up to you!
So the next time you’re out shopping or even better, at a farmers market, check out the honey booth and ask for some samples. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, at least you’ll have had your honey fix for the day. I hope this encourages you to get your honey on with your hunny, and be creative with how you use your huhhhhneeee! Cheers, hugs & meows!
Nikki Meow


Flippity Flap Steak Fajitas


Forgive the EXTREME close up on this pic, meows…but I really wanted to get up in there! Mission accomplished. I try not to eat red meat too often, although I do enjoy it. But when I do, it’s either in the form of a juicy burger, meatballs, meat sauce for pasta, or a nice tender steak. Now there are many cuts of beef out there and one of my new favorites over the past few years has been Flap Steak, which is often times confused with Hanger Steak and each is even sold as the other at times, so be on the lookout for that or ask your butcher which cut it actually is when buying it because there IS a difference between the two, despite their visual similarities.¬†

Flap Steak¬†comes from a bottom sirloin butt cut of beef, and is generally a very thin steak. It’s also referred to as Flap Meat which is a rather unflattering name given how delicious it really is. It’s kind of the underdog of the beef world in a way. There was once a time that this particular cut was fairly inexpensive simply because no one was buying it! Not anymore, meows… Very popular in Latin Cuisine from carne asada to various Asian dishes, the market price on the flippity Flap Steak has gone up and up! However, you can find the occasional sale and I do think it’s worth buying. I mean, you’re still going to pay triple the price dining at a restaurant, so think of it that way.¬†

When cooking Flap Steak I recommend these particular methods for maximum flavor and texture. Grilling, Hard Searing, or Saut√©ing. If you’re fortunate enough to own some type of flat top grill or Plancha, I’d have fun putting it to use with this cut of meat. Tonight for our dinner I went with a quick hard sear. That’s when your saute pan is nice and hot with a bit of oil, ¬†not scorching. But close! Searing the meat quickly at a high heat will ensure that you get a perfect sear or crust on both sides while keeping the meat tender and easy to chew and break down while eating. Otherwise, as with anything, if you over sear it, it’ll be like a piece of friggin shoe leather and no one wants that… ūüėõ And another little tip from me to you, meow… Don’t touch the meat at ALL until you’re ready to flip it over. Why you ask? Cause I said so! No really. There is a legit reason. And this is gonna sound corny, but if you interfere, you lose your sear! Meaning, if you play around with the meat too much, you’re allowing the moisture and natural juices to run around the pan, creating too much steam, thus creating water and loosing the whole “frying” action of the sear. You want some sexy caramelization on that meat! This tip pretty much applies to anything that you’re searing.¬†

Ok. I’ve rambled on long enough about this. So lets get on to how I marinated the meat and what I served it with. I pretty much use garlic in all of my marinades and tonight was no exception. I minced 3 cloves of garlic and used some roasted garlic cloves that I had left in the fridge, adding a sweet nuttiness to it. So lots of garlic. Then I added some fresh cracked pepper, salt, and a dash of soy sauce. Just a dash because I didn’t want it to be too salty. I let that marinate for about 30 minutes and when I was ready, I seared it up! I removed the meat from the pan and let it rest. Which is VERY important for all meats, really. Letting it rest allows the residual heat to permeate through and not only redistributes the juices, but allows the meat proteins to relax and settle. Trust me.¬†

While the meat was resting, I sliced up one medium sized yellow onion, 3 Pasilla Chili’s I had roasted and frozen ( yes you sure can freeze your peppers once you’ve cooked them) and some red bell pepper. I sliced up the peppers and used the same saute pan that I seared the meat in to add some of that charred flavor to the veggies. Saut√©ed that for about 5 minutes and was good to go. Sliced up the meat, mixed it with the onions and peppers, adjusted the seasoning and had my flour tortillas at the ready. Garnished with some salsa and sour cream and then… SHOWTIME! I hope that this longwinded post of mine inspires you to run out and get your Flap Steak on one of these days… I’ll have some other yummy recipes using this cut of meat in the future. Thanks for reading this and sticking with me! Cheers, hugs and meows!¬†

Nikki Meow

Big Shrimpin’!


Who doesn’t love shrimp? Unless you’re either allergic to it or just don’t get down with seafood. I absolutely ¬†love it. Aside from being tasty and delicious, these yummy morsels¬†¬†are primarily made of protein. Three ounces of baked or broiled shrimp provides about 20 grams of protein, just a few grams less than a 3-ounce chicken breast. Each jumbo shrimp provides about 3 grams, and contains very little fat and carbohydrate.

Aside from protein, shrimp provide a pretty impressive array of nutrients. Four ounces steamed contains over 100% of the Daily Value for selenium, over 75% for vitamin B12, over 50% for phosphorous, and over 30% for choline, copper, and iodine. ¬†In addition to being a mineral that plays a role in immunity and thyroid function, selenium is an important antioxidant that helps fight damaging particles called free radicals, which damage cell membranes and DNA, leading to premature aging and disease. Another antioxidant, called astaxanthin, which provides the primary color pigment in shrimp, has been shown to help reduce inflammation, a known trigger of aging and disease. See? And you thought it was all going to be fun and games around here, aye? Hey man… Knowledge is POWER!¬†

There are so many other health benefits to eating shrimps, but we’ll pause it here and get on with talking about the picture posted above of some KILLER Garlic Lime Shrimp! There’s no real measured recipe to this other than a few cloves of minced garlic, the juice of 1 Lime, and salt and pepper to taste. I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil and cooked them for about 2 minutes per side. You always want to be sure not to overcook shrimp cause they become very rubbery, tough and hard to chew.¬†Once the shrimp are cooked, before you remove them from the saute pan, deglaze with a couple tablespoons of water, chicken stock, white wine or butter to make a bit of a pan sauce to collect all of the caramelized, concentrated bits of deliciousness! Then serve them in any way you like. Over a salad, pasta, rice, tortillas… you name it! Cheers, hugs and meows!¬†

Nikki Meow 

Welcome To My Blog!

Hello there, dear meows!

Welcome to my new blog page where I’ll be posting all kinds of pictures, recipes, and other lifestyle and beauty goodies! A bit about me… I’ve been a¬†professional Chef for almost 20 years now. It’s a bit crazy to think about how long I’ve been in the cooking biz. But I¬†absolutely love to cook and create new dishes, as well as learning as¬†much as I can about exactly what food is all about. Where it comes from, its nutritional¬†benefits to the mind, body and soul and how to incorporate as much of it as I can into my daily life. I also have a podcast on BlogtalkRadio called The Phantom Zone Radio Show ,¬†where Ive been¬†fortunate ¬†enough to have had the opportunity to interview some of my¬†favorite ¬†celebrities from all realms of the entertainment industry. I’m also a comedian, a total character and a half, I’m drawn to the darker things that lurk in the shadows and I’m a sucker for anything horror related. I’m also a self diagnosed beauty junkie ūüėõ I just love makeup and to be honest, own more makeup and skin care¬†products than I’ll ever be able to use! But we’ll get to all of this down the road… ūüėČ

One of the greatest things to ever happen to me was becoming a mother. My daughter Nia is my everything and I just adore her. She inspires me to become a better person in every way imaginable. She’ll be 3 years old in January 2017, and I can hardly believe it. Her father, Jay and I are so proud to be her parents! Jay, the love of my meow is a¬†phenomenal¬† artist and writer. We’ve been together for almost 8 years now, and you’ll get to see some of his artistic prowess here on this page.

So needless to say I’m on a bit of a¬†journey of self discovery, and I suppose reinventing myself. I’ll be 41 in November and I am loving where I am in my life. I’ve been through quite a bit, as we all have, and feel as though life is just now getting started. But there’s so much more I want to¬†achieve. I’m in the process of creating my first cookbook and developing some really cool projects for the very near future. I hope you’ll tag along with me and check out what I have to offer in terms of, well… whatever the heck I start¬†posting here! Cheers, hugs and meows!¬†

Nikki Meow