Nicci Morris

Archive for the ‘Nic's Picks’ Category

Zaftig-approved goodies…

In Lifestyle, Nic's Picks, Zaftig-Approved on November 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Zaftig-approved Goodies - by Nicci Morris

Whether you want to lose weight or you’re at the point in your Zaftig journey where you are maintaining your curves, the fact is you have to eat and you have to move to get the results you desire.  Getting to and staying at a healthy weight does not require deprivation and you don’t have to give up snacking. On the contrary, grazing throughout the day while remaining mindful of your nutritional and caloric intake can actually rev up your body’s metabolism. That means you’ll have better results, more energy, and you’ll feel and look better than if you were restricting calories too much. Bottom line: Eating and weight loss/maintenance go hand-in-hand.

Hence, this is the first installment of “Zaftig-approved” goodies. If a goodie is “Zaftig-approved,” you can count on a few things:

  1. You’ll probably like the way it tastes and it will be satisfying. No sense in eating something that’s full of empty calories, devoid of nutrition AND you’re still hungry 30 minutes later! Zaftigs don’t do the calorie wasting thing… We know better. While we’re never going to all agree on what’s delicious and what’s not, I know you’ll love most of the picks. (No, I won’t give you your money back if you buy something I recommend and you hate it. Keep your receipt, love!)
  2. I’ll tell you all about how and where to find the goodies. I hate when someone tells me how great something is and then I have to hunt down the brand to find the nearest retailer. Part of why I’m here is to share deliciousness with you, and I plan to do just that.
  3. Finally, because we know good health is all about balance and moderation in everything we do, Zaftig-approved goodies won’t always be food. A goodie is anything my fellow Zaftigs would find appealing (a great beverage, fabulous workout gear, dreamy shapewear, great walking/running shoes, a great deal at a gym, can’t-miss exercise videos or equipment, lotions, makeup, a book you can’t put down, etc…)

If you want to send me suggestions for items, please feel free to do so! And I definitely look forward to you guys weighing in with your own opinions of all the Zaftig-approved goodies to come!


A pom addiction…

In Entertaining, Nic's Picks, Recipes on November 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Pomegranate arils

It happens every year. Brisk mornings come, the leaves change, and I wait… And then the day comes: Pomegranates arrive at the market. When the poms came in this year, I loaded the conveyor belt with them, salivating at the joy to come. The cashier picked one of them up as if it was coated in slime and asked, “What in the world can you do with these?!” Plenty.

I am an unabashed pomegranate addict. From the shape of the fruit to the glistening rubies nestled within, I adore everything about poms. The sweet-tart flavor and the brightly-colored juice lure me in each fall and winter. The taste and texture is unlike any other fruit I’ve had the pleasure of devouring. At about 230 calories for an entire pomegranate, it’s a wonderfully nutrient-dense vitamin C-packed superfood.  Pomegranates contain polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins, all beneficial antioxidants. Studies show it contains more antioxidants than most other fruit juices, red wine or tea. There is also some evidence that drinking pomegranate juice can reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

While I am perfectly happy to eat a big bowl of arils (the proper name of the fleshy covering of the pomegranate seeds), my foodie brain won’t always let me keep it that simple. So yesterday I decided to make a “bruschetta” using a sourdough baguette, pomegranate arils, fresh mint, gorgonzola cheese and honey. The result is something beautiful, fragrant and delicious. Interesting to look at and a perfectly-portioned mouthful of flavor, these would be great for a cocktail party, a wine tasting or as a starter.

Pomegranate Bruschetta 1 - By Nicci Morris

Photo By Nicci Morris

Pomegranate “Bruschetta”

Sourdough baguette

4 ounce container of Gorgonzola cheese

1 1/2 cups pomegranate arils

Fresh mint


Preheat broiler and line baking sheet with foil. Cut bread on the bias into ½ thick slices. (The bias cut will give you a bit more surface area for the goodies.) Layer slices on baking sheet and place under broiler until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sheet and flip slices before returning them to the broiler until lightly toasted. Remove and add gorgonzola to each piece of toasted bread (about ½ teaspoon of cheese to each, more or less if desired). Top with pomegranate arils. Return to oven and broil until cheese has just melted, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven. Tear mint leaves and top each baguette slice. Drizzle lightly with honey.



What’s for dessert? Simply Thee Best Peach Cobbler

In Love/Relationships, Nic's Picks, Recipes on September 23, 2009 at 2:47 am

Photo by Suat Eman

Photo by Suat Eman

Some of my favorite childhood memories are linked to my maternal grandmother and the time we spent together in her kitchen. Dear, as my cousins and I call her, did lots of little things in the kitchen that meant the world to me, leaving an indelible impression on my budding little foodie mind. Like the time when she baked sweet potato pies for church, only to find (right as she was about to pack them up to leave) that the crusts on each one had been systematically pinched off. I didn’t even get in trouble. She just laughed her throaty laugh, kissed my crumb-covered face and playfully swatted me on my rear. But my favorite memories from her kitchen are the times when she would bake cobblers, fruit pies or tarts and use the leftover dough, filling and a miniature pie tin to make an individual version of the same thing just for me. I don’t think a child can feel more special than I did back then with my “Nicci pie” and tiny fork in tow.

My grandmother instilled within me a love for family and food and the many ways the two go hand in hand. Tonight I made a peach cobbler, inspired by the scores of deliciously simple recipes (and lessons in love) she’s given me over the years.

Fresh peaches are wonderful in this, but if that’s not an option, Margaret Holmes Osage Peaches are the perfect alternative. They are definitely one of Nic’s Picks. Once you have tasted a raggedy freestone Georgia peach, I doubt you’ll ever want a California cling peach again. This recipe falls squarely in the indulgent category and should be enjoyed sparingly. You cannot eat this all the time and live in Zaftig Zen.

I took pictures of it, but it is beyond difficult to make peach cobbler look good without professional lighting. Trust me when I tell you the pictures do it no justice, so I’ll spare you.

I feel very lucky that my grandmother passed the good-cook gene on to me and that I can share it with you. And I consider myself exceedingly blessed because I can still call her and thank her for it. In fact I think I’ll do that right now…

Simply Thee Best Peach Cobbler


2-29 ounce cans of Margaret Holmes Osage Raggedy Ripe Peaches, drained and sliced

1/2 cup peach juice, reserved

1 cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon good vanilla extract (it makes a world of difference)

¼ teaspoon lemon extract

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into tiny cubes


2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

½ cup shortening

4 tablespoons ice water (temperature matters)

1/3 cup melted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except for butter. Mix gently and set aside.

For the crust:

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut shortening into the flour mixture. When you see it has a mealy texture, gradually add ice water, stirring, just until the dough holds its shape. Roll out on a floured board. Cut half of it and tear it into two large pieces.

Pour the filling mixture into the prepared baking pan. Dot the filling with the remaining butter. Tear one of the halves of the dough into 8-10 smaller pieces and tuck them into the filling. Take the other half of the dough and tear it into 4-5 large pieces and lay on top of the filling. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

*Yes, you could cheat and use a prepared pastry dough… I’ve done it. The filling is so good no one will care.


Nic’s Picks: Heaven on a spoon…

In Food, Nic's Picks on September 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I love pomegranate. I love Greek yogurt. So (follow along with my logic for a second here) that means the good people at Chobani Greek Yogurt must love me. Why else would they make Greek yogurt and flavor it with pomegranate?


I adore this product because Chobani stirs actual pomegranate arils and puree, not some sort of artificial taste or color, into the dense, rich, non-fat yogurt. The juicy little seeds were an unexpected but most appreciated boost of antioxidants. You can chalk my shock up to the scores of fruit-flavored products (many of which manage to not contain fruit at all) that fill the store shelves all over this country full of sugar addicts. At just 140 calories, this yogurt is great for a quick breakfast (alongside a slice of whole grain toast or with a spoonful of high-fiber cereal stirred in) or as a snack anytime. And it packs a whopping 14 grams of protein! Let me go over that again, in case you missed it…

140 calories

0 grams of fat

14 grams of protein

Not too shabby (unless, of course, you’re vegan)… Click here for information about where to buy Chobani Greek Yogurt.

Greek yogurt has become extremely popular as word has spread about this delicious way to get protein and cut the fat. And the beauty of it is the dense, rich texture and wonderful flavor tells your palate into thinking you’re indulging even though you’re not.

Chobani threatens to steal my heart with the pomegranate flavor, but my love for Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt still burns bright. I have yet to find another brand that can beat Oikos’ texture. Velvety and beyond creamy, it’s easy to love.  And I can’t get enough of their simple, straightforward flavors, especially the vanilla. A serving has just 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein. Nice…  Click here for information about where to buy Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt.


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