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 - 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!