Feeling Matters dives into new food trends in the Houston area

I recently interviewed some foodie friends: what tips and tricks make their life in the kitchen easier? What new foods are there right now?

I like to ask these questions from time to time. I always receive useful or delicious ideas. Good things anyway.

Here are some of the coolest tips I’ve heard lately.

Mushroom coffee

Sometimes I slip vegetable purees into baked goods. I make cupcakes with beets and brownies with grated zucchini. Mushroom coffee is the same idea.

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It’s a mixture of coffee beans and dried ground mushrooms, generally considered more medicinal than the ones you eat for dinner. Not button mushrooms or portobellos, but varieties like chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane.

A few of my friends love it. They say it gets them started – it’s energized like regular coffee – but without some of the nagging side effects, like shaking or feeling excessively tired. It’s logic; there is less caffeine in a cup of coffee where half the coffee is mushrooms.

But there may also be something about the mushrooms themselves. They have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Different mushrooms claim different benefits, including preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol, improving immune function, and boosting energy.

Anecdotally, my friends who drink this coffee on the reg swear it eliminates brain fog and provides a reliable, balanced boost.

The variety I tried (Sun Alchemy) comes in small packets that mix with hot water. You can then drink it black or with milk, cream, sugar, whatever your style.

The sachets make for a dark, sweet, slightly nutty drink that’s not bad, as long as you don’t expect it to taste exactly like your regular breakfast mix.

I only drink this stuff occasionally, and I don’t think I like it, but I’m intrigued enough to keep trying.

Protein pancakes

High-protein diets continue to be popular, and there’s a lot of creativity in them these days. They don’t necessarily involve eating meat all day.

This recipe is from my friend, restaurant recruiter and general foodie extraordinaire, Aldo Catania (see @aldocatania15 on Instagram).

Pancakes seem to be very high in carbs and sugar, so the fact that they contain protein makes them worth shouting out and trying.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kodiak Protein Oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • 8 ounces liquid egg whites
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes or mashed pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener options: 2-3 packets NutraSweet, 1 tbsp light honey, or 1/8 tsp liquid monk fruit (or to taste)
  • Toppings of your choice

Instructions:

Blend the rolled oats in a blender to create a fine flour.

Pour the flour into a bowl. Add baking powder, salt and cinnamon if desired. Stir to combine.

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In another bowl, mix the egg whites, pumpkin or sweet potato, vanilla and sweetener of your choice.

Fold the wet mixture into the bowl of flour. Mix gently until well blended; do not stir too much. (The harder you work the dough, the denser the pancakes).

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

To cook, briefly stir the mixture again (if the liquids have separated). Grease a griddle or nonstick skillet. Use 1/3 measuring cup to scoop batter and form pancakes on pan. Bake like typical pancakes and serve with fruit and/or syrup of your choice.

Makes 6 to 8 pancakes.

Flip the peanut butter

Peanut butter is inherently high in fat, so I don’t want a brand that contains extra oils and fats. I also usually eat it with something sweet like an apple or jelly, so I don’t want any extra sugar either.

Bottom line: I always buy natural peanut butter. I check the labels to make sure the only ingredients are peanuts and, sometimes, salt.

The only problem with natural peanut butters is that they can be very painful to stir. The oil rises to the top, so when you first open these containers, they’re a beast, and they don’t get too easy over time.

Here’s the life-changing tip: store your pot upside down. It makes the hustle, and your life in general, cleaner, easier, and just better.

Store asparagus and herbs like flowers

The best way to keep asparagus fresh and crisp is to store it in the refrigerator as if it were a bouquet of flowers.

Cut off the ends and place the spears in a glass or jar with about 1-2 inches of water. For best results, cover loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate.

Stacie Zollars, creator of the tantalizing site Sugarfacebakes, says the technique also works for preserving fresh herbs, like cilantro and parsley.

Hope these tips help you keep things fresh!

Marci Izard Sharif is an author, yoga teacher, meditation facilitator and mother. In Feeling Matters, she writes about self-love, sharing self-care tools, stories, and resources for getting to know yourself and being kind to yourself.

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