Sunday, February 24, 2013

Quinoa Banana Muffins

So in my quest to take better care of myself, to lose weight and just start treating my body like it's meant to be treated, I've been eating a nutritionist specified diet.  In it she states that I need to avoid all dairy and soy products, I'm also to avoid pork (bye-bye bacon for the moment) and anything that's processed (see ya Mickey-Ds and all kinds of tasty but icky stuff).
One of the biggest struggles was containing my grain intake.  I'm "allowed" just one serving of grains a day.  I was missing bread, pancakes, muffins and other tasty treats like that.  And then I discovered that quinoa isn't a grain... it's a SEED!!  And I'm allowed those (a couple of servings a day).  So I bought some quinoa flour (I also picked up some chickpea flour because thats a legume... yah!).  Problem was, I didn't know what to do with it besides the yummy pancakes I had made (but I'm pretty sure that eating pancakes all the time wasn't going to be good for me).
Today I woke up inspired.  I decided I was going to play scientist in the kitchen and make muffins.... That's right, I took a risk and developed my own recipe:

1 cup quinoa flour
1 ripe, mashed banana of medium size
10 fresh raspberries (optional)
1 tsp of baking soda
1tsp of baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium sized eggs
1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of Hershey's Special Dark Mini-Chips

Combine all the ingredients and plop them into mini cupcake tins (it made 26 mini-muffins for me... each muffin is about 39 calories - you may be able to find the recipe on MyFitnessPal.com - I entered it there too, so all the nutritional information could be located) and bake at 350 or so (I use a toaster oven here in Singapore so the temperature might not be exact...) and bake until they are golden brown on top or about 10-15 minutes.


They were delicious...

Happy Eating!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Hi readers!  It's been a long time, I know and I'm very sorry.  Moving to Singapore has seen a lot of my writing and cooking go out the window but having reached at all time high on the fat and fluffy scale, I've begun to seek help and get back on track in more ways than one.  This may be the only one you are interested in though, so here it goes:

Today's fabulously healthy recipe came about because I needed to find a way to cut grains way down if not completely out of my diet.  I thought this would be easy because I don't eat a lot of bread, but I live in Asia for crying out loud... RICE, RICE, RICE... it's everywhere and then there are the heaps of delicious noodles all over the place!!  AHHHHHHH!!!!!  As I began to pay closer attention to my diet (marking down everything via My Fitness Pal), I realized that I was CARB heavy and this was making me plain old heavy.  I sought out a nutritionist who asked me to move to just one serving of grains a day.... sure, you think it's easy until you try.  That meant no more bread, rice, noodles, wraps, sushi (sashimi is still okay) and the list goes on.  I was finding it hard until I stumbled upon quinoa flour and garbanzo bean flour here in the grocery store.  I quickly bought a small bag of each and got to searching online.

Most recipes seemed for savoury pancakes but I wanted a sweat variety and I stumbled upon this blog and the delicious recipe.

Here are the ingredients I used... I also added a little cinnamon and vanilla for extra flavour:


The batter looked a little runny but puffed up light and fluffy in the pan.


 I used organic coconut oil for cooking with as it's a healthier option than canola oil etc. 


There they are... yummy, fluffy, filling and delicious pancakes with a pat of butter and real Canadian maple syrup.  The whole thing was about 450 calories total and kept me going until about 3 in the afternoon... I was surprised how filling.  

The recipe found on the blog I've linked you to was the one I used.  It makes two large pancakes, so adjust to the number of people you are serving.  I think part of the reason I enjoyed this recipe so much was because it was intended for a single person really... a big, delicious, hearty breakfast with little mess or fuss and no leftovers!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home-made Black Beans

So it's been a long, long time... sorry for my absence but in Singapore it's often just easier to eat out.  And it's so cheap here when you eat at the hawker centers that I don't know if I could cook cheaper.  However, I do know that I can cook healthier and that's what I've started doing.  I've come to the realization that I am, quite simply, far too heavy.  It's making an already bad back very much worse and I don't even want to think what it is doing to my internal organs.  All I know is that I am tired of it and am taking control.  I started by buying organic as much as possible, not eating as much processed foods (I'm no saint though, so don't start thinking I gave them up altogether), and I'm getting back into cooking my own foods (I'm trying to eat as much vegetarian as I can as well).
So the other day, while doing a quick grocery shop (I literally had 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and some ramen noodles in the house), I spotted a bad of dried, organic black beans.  My little brain juices began to flow and I thought... I love black beans, I hate canned food... hm... I can do this!!  So I picked them up, tossed them in the cart and brought them home to sit on my counter for the next 4 or 5 days.  Today, I decided to do something about it.  Here's what I did:

You will need:

*1 bag of black beans (organic or not, up to you)
*2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (you could use white if you like, Balsamic might be nice as well)
*1 white onion, finely chopped
*1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
*1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped (minced really)
*1 teaspoon cajun spice (optional... but I like a little heat)
*1 bay leaf
*2 teaspoons smoked chipotle Tabasco Sauce (also optional but gives a nice smokey flavour)
*1 tablespoon salt
*6 cups water
*(you can add a strip or two of chopped bacon if you want to have a meaty flavour... I didn't and they were delish!)

You will also need a crockpot or slow cooker and a big pot for boiling.

First dump the beans, water, cajun seasoning and salt into a pot and bring to a boil.  Allow them to boil for about 10 minutes or so.

While the beans are boiling, turn your crockpot on high and add the oil, onions, garlic, and Tabasco Sauce, letting them blend together and create a layer of flavour.  They won't cook really but get warm enough to blend the flavours a little.

Add the beans (water and all) and the bay leaf and turn the crockpot to low and allow them to cook away for a good 4 or 5 hours (test the beans to make sure they are the texture you like).

They will keep in the fridge for about a week and in the freezer for about 6 months (so the package says).

Happy Eating!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cheese-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped BURGERS!!

As many of you know and have probably experienced for yourselves, I've been a little obsessed with the Pinterest.com website.  I simply love the fact that I can look at a huge variety of ideas on there and on other websites and organize them how I might want to use them.  I have a pin-board on there called Nom Nom.  This is where I pin the ideas for recipes that I want most to try or that I have tried (some of my recipes from this blog have made it there). Well, this recipe was inspired by a pin from Pinterest.com, although I had to make lots of little changes because of my time constraints etc.

Today I was running errands with my mom and we were discussing dinner as we went.  We couldn't figure out what to make.  Originally we thought to make a homemade mac and cheese (I really want to try a quinoa one) and some veggies, but the day was hot and we were running late and out of time.  So I thought that I would try these burgers.  All our ground meat at home was frozen and we didn't have buns so we made a quick stop at the grocery store (where I also got some brie cheese for my burger and some bacon for wrapping) to pick up what we needed. Here is what I used:

President's Choice Prime Rib Burger patties (they come 8 to a box but we just used 4)
Brie cheese
Cheddar cheese (my dad isn't really into the fancy cheeses much)
Regular bacon (perhaps using turkey bacon would be a good alternative)
Whatever burger condiments you'd like (we had lettuce, tomatoes, purple onions, avocado and your run of the mill things like mayo, ketchup, mustard etc)

Once I had the patties thawed (about 5 minutes on an auto defrost in the microwave), I put a 1 inch cube of cheese in the middle (okay, if we are being truthful, I may have gone a little bigger than that) and then molded the patty around the cheese so that no cheese was showing and patty seemed even.

Next I wrapped each burger with 4 pieces of bacon, going in a criss-cross pattern to help it all stick and to make sure the coverage of the beef was even (I think you could use turkey or chicken or even salmon for the burgers if you wanted... hm... some interesting ideas popping into my head).

Then I popped those bad boys onto a hot BBQ grill because, let's face it, everything tastes better in the summer when it's grilled!!  They take longer than a regular burger to cook, so be patient and try to give the grill a coating of Pam or olive oil at the start to help with the sticking.  Make sure you monitor your burgers because the fat dripping off the bacon will cause the flames to flare!!

Lastly, I laid out the condiments and built my giant tower of goodness!!  The burgers were fantastic but a little tall... I think next time I will try to find a way to flatten them out a little more by spreading the cheese out instead of having a brick of cheese.



Best thing about this is that the possibilities are endless for meat and cheese combinations: blue cheese and beef, brie and turkey, cheddar and turkey, cheddar and beef, mozzarella and beef, mozzarella and chicken... endless!!! 

HAPPY EATING!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fancy and Simple

Yesterday as I was meant to be working diligently on my reports while on a planning period I let my mind wander (those of you who are teachers or work full-time probably have this happen from time to time too... shoot I'm sure it happens to everyone!).  Anyway, I began to think about what in the world I was going to make for dinner.  I looked at my pinterest board and didn't feel inspired (this is now a rare thing) and I certainly wasn't inspired to order in or to go to the grocery store for additional ingredients.  So I went to one of those recipe finder sites and plugged in the fact that I had asparagus, fresh green beans, cheese and the like in my fridge.  Several cool recipes popped up but the picture for one amazed me and as I read the simple recipe, I felt inspired.  Of course I made lots of little tweaks but what came out of the oven was beautiful and TASTY!! 

What you need:
Fresh green beans (or not)
Asparagus (or not)
eggs
fresh parmesan cheese
fresh or grated mozzarella cheese
butter
salt
pepper
garlic

I used both the beans and the asparagus but you don't have to.  You can use one or the other really.  I boiled some salted water (I used sea salt) and let the veggies hang out in it for about 4 or 5 minutes and then I strained them.

Then I plopped the veggies into my square pyrex dish, cut a little butter into squares and put that over the veggies as well as some of both kinds of cheese (you can use as little or as much cheese as you like).  Then I added salt, pepper and a little garlic to taste. 

The next step involves melting some butter and putting the eggs (one or two per person) in it to fry a little.  Once the whites set enough for you to move the eggs, then gently move them and place them on top of your veggies. Drizzle any remaining butter over the whole thing and sprinkle some more cheesy goodness on the top before popping the whole thing into the oven for 5 minutes or so at 375/220 degrees.  If you want the yolks on the eggs hard, then bake it a little longer.  I like mine runny so out it came at about 5 or 6 minutes. 

 In the pan...

On my plate...

It was such a simply dish, so tasty and it looks a little fancy.  If I had small gratin dishes for the oven I would have used those as they would have been easier for serving.  With a little rustic bread on the side it is the perfect quick throw together.

Gooey, Gluten-Free Brownies

Okay... I cheated a little in the sense that I used a brownie mix that is imported to Turkey from Germany but I don't know if I've ever had a better mix (even the gooey, gluten laden ones can't match up).  So forgive me.  Once I mixed the batter, I threw in about a cup full of dark chocolate chips for good chocolatey measure and then I spooned part of the mixture into greased muffin tins.  I cut up a Bounty bar into bit sized pieces and stuffed one bit in the middle of each brown cup and baked as directed to on the box.  I don't know if the chocolate bar made it more gooey or what but they were delicious!!!! So get creative with your brownies, people!  It's well worth it.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Iced Coffee Goodness

So I haven't blogged much lately but it's because I haven't cooked much lately and what I have made I've found on www.pinterest.com, which is a GREAT site.  The recipe I'm sharing with you today is from there but I just HAD to make sure that all my readers saw this... it's so easy, so delicious and fun.

All you do is freeze some of your leftover coffee into ice cubes... I think it'd be fun to use flavoured coffees too but since I didn't have any I stuck to some great west coast grinds I brought to Turkey with me this past summer. 

Once they are frozen throw them into a glass of sweetened (if you like) milk.  I don't drink regular milk anymore so I used almond milk for mine and a little maple syrup to sweeten with.  Super delicious. 

Happy sipping!