Monday, September 30, 2013

Catering by Chrisetta: The Dawson-Dallas Wedding

A couple of months ago a friend of a friend asked me to cater her wedding. I was honored, but also a little apprehensive. I’ve done a few small catering events for about 30 guests, but this would be for 60 guests and –- a wedding!

I tell you – I NEVER worked this hard in my life. 
- Planning the menu
- Several meetings with the bride’s support team
- Placing orders for meat and seafood
- Grocery shopping at six stores (even a trip to a friend’s garden for fresh rosemary)
- Prepping and preparing the food (16 hours + with the help of two assistants)
- and finally presenting the food
This was by far the most challenging yet rewarding catering event to date.  I learned a lot about myself, the process, and things I can do differently in the future.Working with awesome people, receiving positive feedback and love from the bride and groom, their families, and guests made it all worth it. 
An overwhelming number of the guests came to me and raved over the food. One couple stopped and talked to me at length “We could taste the love in the food.” Bingo! That’s why I make all my sauces, dips, and spreads from scratch, hand chop my fruits and vegetables, and use fresh herbs -- I want you to taste the love.

I never want to lose my joie de vivre for preparing and cooking food. That’s why I’ve been apprehensive about catering on a large scale. I want to keep the events intimate, that way I'll always be able to hand chop the vegetables and make most things from scratch. I want to connect with the people I'm feeding. I want them to ask questions about the food, talk to me about the food, and it's origin. It's that whole Outside of the Box thing.  
Thank you Sue-Mar and Mel for inviting me to be the caterer on your special day. Here’s to a lifetime of love, happiness, and good food!

I was extremely busy on wedding day so I wasn’t able to get many of the finished photos, so I'm giving you what I got!

Poppy Seed Dressing

The  most talked about side dish was the Potato Gratin in a Parmesan cheese sauce. This classic, comfort dish was elevated to another level with the addition of fresh rosemary and shallots. When I write my next cookbook the recipe has earned a spot.

Marinated Vegetables (grill ready): Eggplant, squash, zucchini, and sweet yellow onions with fresh basil, Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fruit Tray (with hand-cut melon)

Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

Grilled Shrimp Scampi Kebabs

Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken

The wedding scene

The bride, the bride's proud parents, and the groom

The Dawson-Dallas customized menu:

Hors d’oeurve
Assorted Fruit Platter
Crudités Platter with Hummus and Poppy Seed Dressing
Cheese Platter with Fancy Crackers
Hot Spinach artichoke Dip with Blue tortilla Chips
Olive tray
Assorted Nut Bowls

Sides & Vegetables
Wild Rice Sauté
Potato Gratin
Grown-up Macaroni & Cheese
Marinated and Grilled Vegetables

Arugula Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing (warm)
Greek Orzo Salad
Grilled Carrot Salad with Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette

Grilled Lemon rosemary Chicken
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple
Grilled Beef Kebabs

Grilled Shrimp Scampi Kebabs
Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Gym: I don't like it

I've done it again. Fallen off the workout wagon... It's been three weeks since I've taken my scheduled cycling class and two weeks since I've had pool time with Christie. What on earth is wrong with me? Why do I do this to myself? The short answer, I just don't really like working out. So if anything, any little thing distracts me I get off track. 

Sure working out makes me feel better, increases my energy, helps me sleep sounder, but the physical act of working out -- I just don't like.  And to be truthful since I haven't shed any pounds in forever, I'm even less enthused about working out. I know better than this, all of this, but somehow I'm here again.

I talked to my dear friend who is active and healthy she says she goes through similar phases too. Maybe this is just to be expected, eh? I dunno. I just know that I want to better than this, or do I? Heavy sigh. I'll stop rambling. I'm sure I sound like a broken record. How many times have I been in this place? Geez, when will I come up with a plan I can stick to and enjoy? Back to the drawing board again. I'm reminded of this saying... if you don't like starting over, don't stop.

Other related blog post: 
It's hard
Better for it

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Now on Kindle

Super duper exciting news..."Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box" is now available on as an eBook for Kindle. To take a look-see (you don't need a Kindle) or to purchase check out the link! Coming soon on iTunes and Nook.

Thanks to Joe Morales of Flight-ID for his hard work: Formatting, uploading, and getting it just right.
 Taken from "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box with Chrisetta Mosley"
Everything about this cookbook is “Outside of the Box,” including my journey and how I came to author it. I invite you to read this introduction where I share a little about myself and the inspiration behind the book.

I’m a product, and now a survivor, of childhood obesity. At my heaviest weight I tipped the scales at a whopping 388 pounds. At the time, I was a single mother of an eight year old daughter and was earning a bachelor’s degree from Seattle University (SU).

My experience at SU changed my life and saved my life. At 388 pounds it took an enormous effort to walk the hilly campus - aching knees, struggling to breathe while I walked. Then once in the classroom I was overwhelmed by the youthful intellects that filled the room. They were running circles around me intellectually and physically. In the hallways, they were taking stairs two at a time while I waited for the elevator to go one flight. In class, the humiliation of not being able to fit into attached desk-chairs was compounded by being afraid to speak up because I felt my ideas were less than important and not so intelligent. SU is a private Catholic school. Most of the students there had been attending private schools their entire lives. Me, well, I went to a public high school umpteen years prior and transferred in from a community college at the age of 28. I was new to the culture, the learning environment, and critical thinking.

There was the feeling of shame while attending SU I always felt like I was under a dark cloud, in a daze. In retrospect, the highly caloric, sugary, processed boxed foods I was eating kept me feeling drugged and crappy. It’s no wonder I didn’t have a lot of energy or enthusiasm.  The good thing that came of all of this was the more I grew intellectually the more I became intolerant of obesity. For the first time ever, I believed I could change, had the right to change, and the courage to do it.

Fast forward, 2012: To date, I’ve lost 170 pounds. I’ve done this by making conscious food choices, preparing my meals at home and exercising regularly.

A healthy lifestyle for me begins at home in my kitchen. Cooking at home allows me to be in control of my food and what I eat. I love food and unlike a drug or alcohol problem with food you have to still use, in this case, eat. So, over the years, I’ve had to re-examine the way I think about food, how I interact with food, and most importantly how I prepare food. Today, I lovingly prepare 99 percent of my meals at home using fresh, whole ingredients.

I share my passion for food and cooking with others through my blog, Farewell Fatso! and by teaching cooking classes. Blogging and teaching others how to create good healthy meals brings me great joy, but I had a desire to offer more of myself. I wanted to share my enthusiasm and zeal for life by helping people transform themselves. In the fall of 2011, I enrolled in the Fitness Trainer program at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.

Again, education was a catalyst to my growth. I was taking Health 100: Food and Your Health taught by Veronica Brock. Being a food enthusiast, this class quickly became my favorite. It was more than just what to eat or not to eat. It was about how food related to my health, how it nourished my body, and something that I became particularly interested in -- how food and nature are connected.

Inspired by my blog followers, my cooking classes, and the information I was learning in Health 100, I authored my first cookbook Bringing Cooking Back. Veronica, of course, knew about the cookbook and even bought a copy. Our relationship continued to blossom even after the quarter was over. I was thrilled months later when Veronica called asking me for recipe ideas that could be used in Clark’s curriculum, and honored when the health department asked me to author this cookbook.

In creating Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box I want to help you re-connect to food, to truly appreciate food. I hope to inspire you to be mindful while shopping, cooking, and eating. As you shop for berries, go ahead pick them up and smell them. As you prepare the grains run your fingers through them and become familiar with the texture. Relish the beauty and the aroma of the freshly roasted peppers you pull out of your oven. When you sit down to eat, take your time -- enjoy the meal, enjoy the experience.  Maybe even take a moment to pay homage to those who were instrumental in bringing the food to your plate. 

I truly hope that the sections of this book will allow you to celebrate every aspect of food preparation from shopping to savoring the meal you made.  For this reason, I chose to include a section on Grocery Shopping and Planning that will help you easily locate all the wonderful foods in your store and help you stock your fridge and pantry. You’ll also find a section on basic recipes that will help you whip up a healthy meal in a flash: Beans, Whole Grains, Tomato Sauce, Olive Oil Drizzle, Vegetable Stock, Vinaigrettes, Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs.

The recipes in this book focus on using fresh, whole ingredients and are centered around simple, everyday foods that you can find in the supermarket: Wheat berries, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, kale to name a few. My goal is to help you learn to make simple “Outside of the Box” healthy meals that will free up your time to do more of the things you love.  It’s time my friends to Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Excerpt from "Bringing Cooking Back"

Tomorrow I will meet with a panel of four to see if we can incorporate my recipe ideas into their new program. It's an exciting opportunity. As I've been preparing for our meeting I've been fumbling through my cookbooks. I thought it would be nice to share with you the introductions from each.

Taken from "Bringing Cooking Back" by Chrisetta Mosley published November 2012


I love food. Good wholesome food. Not so-called food from a box or in a box. But, food, my late grandmother would recognize. Food that grows from the earth, free of preservatives, and will eventually rot. 

I prepare 99 percent of my meals at home. Honestly, I don’t know any other way. Cooking is natural for me. My mother cooked at home. My grandmother did too. I have fond memories of watching my mother in the kitchen lovingly preparing dinner for us. The aroma of freshly baked cornbread, butter beans, and fried chicken for Sunday dinner.

My love for food became a problem though when I ballooned up to 388 pounds. One too many pieces of cornbread, consumption of highly caloric processed food, with no exercise contributed to my progressive weight gain. I’m proud to say, however, I took control. Through conscious food choices, food preparation, and exercise to date, I’ve lost 170 pounds and counting.

A healthy lifestyle for me begins at home in my kitchen. Cooking at home is not only how I was raised, but it allows me to be in control of what I eat. I abused food for a long time by making poor food choices and overeating. Today, I no longer abuse food, I enjoy it to the fullest by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and adding zest to my dishes with seasonings.

I prepare, cook, and eat at home because the thought of a complete stranger preparing my food seems impersonal to me. Cooking is a labor of love. Creative, love. I chop, dice, mince, puree, grate, and stir with affection. I’m feeding my body, after all; that calls for the finest ingredients and loving preparation.

I’ve never bought into the fat-free, sugar-free, craze. Frankly, I don’t want to compromise the taste of my food by using substitutes. I use real cream, real butter, and yes, even sugar. My recipes call for these ingredients, I encourage you to use these ingredients too. Maybe some critics will say my meals don’t fall into the “healthy” category, but I’m confident preparing my food at home is much better than the alternative. Besides, I’ve lost 170 pounds -- my way.

I welcome you to make adjustments to my recipes to suit your taste and dietary needs. Perhaps you want to make my to Die For Southwestern Chicken Soup less spicy. Go ahead, omit the cayenne pepper. That’s the beauty of cooking at home. You’re in control. Once you become comfortable in the kitchen you’ll learn to experiment freely.

I’ve strayed away from my mother and grandmother’s recipes a bit, but the art of cooking was taught to me by them and will always stay with me. Today, I follow modern day cooks and add a few of my own twist to come up with good wholesome recipes.

I’m thankful for the women in my life for passing on their love for home cooked meals to me. Undoubtedly, I’m sharing the same love for food with my daughter as well.
What will your children remember from your kitchen? What recipes will you pass down?

My hope is that my recipes will inspire you to cook and enjoy meals at home. Perhaps you’ll allow your kids to join you in the kitchen, dine at the table, and unplug your electronics.

From my kitchen to yours -- healthy, happy eating!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Catering by Chrisetta: Poker Tournament

Greek Salad

I was all jazzed up about this Greek themed catering event. Greek food happens to be my favorite, simple ingredients with delightful flavors.  On the menu:
- Fig & Apricot Quinoa Salad
- Greek Salad
- Green Salad (Arugula, Endive, and Romaine)
- Grilled Chicken Kebabs marinated in Greek Yogurt infused with Greek spices
- Grilled Chicken Kebabs rubbed in a unique blend of cinnamon, cumin, and I can't tell you the rest
- Tzatziki sauce with Naan
- Crudités platter and Pita chips with Hummus
- Bowls of Nuts & Olives
- Fig Newtons
- Shortbread cookies served with Apricot Spread

Thanks to my mentor and friend, Veronica, and Edith for having me serve their friends. It was a delicious time!
From garden to table: Gathering fresh goods from Edith's garden

Edith filling the water pitcher with oranges, limes, lemons, and mint

Greens: Endive, Arugula, Romaine tossed with Lemon Vinaigrette

Fig & Apricot Quinoa Salad

Chicken Kebabs served with made from scratch Tzatziki sauce

As always, I hand chopped the vegetables for the Crudités platter. Fennel bulb, carrots, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, red and orange bell peppers served with Hummus

Greek Goodness! Naan, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, Hummus, and mint leaves

Veronica lovingly displaying the freshly baked shortbread cookies served with Apricot Preserves

Dining and enjoying each others company - my job's done!


Sweet Endings

Shortbread cookies with Apricot preserves

Fig Newtons
Veronica: "Fig Newton anyone?"

The lovely co-hosts of the party Edith & Veronica

Oh yeah, the poker

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News