Sunday, May 29, 2011

Teriyaki Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas


Tofu is a sponge. It literally absorbs any seasonings you cook it with and becomes so flavorful. This recipe is incredibly quick and simple, providing you with a satisfying meal. The tofu can be substituted for any meat, but cook timing will differ.

Gather:
    • firm tofu
    • sugar snap peas, string beans, snow peas, whatever peas
    • Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce
Whatchagottadois:
  1. Cook on a saute pan, skillet, or a wok if you're fancy schmancy
  2. Pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on the pan. Once the pan is heated, place the amount of tofu you want to cook. 
  3. Cook for a few minutes on a low-medium heat and add the peas (you can either boil, saute, or steam them so feel free to add them in here or cook them completely separately and add them at the very end).
  4. Once you've cooked this for about 4 minutes, add your Soy Vay Sauce, however much you'd like. A little does go a long way. Put on low heat for a few minutes. 
  5. Serve into a little bowl and enjoy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Low Cal. Strawberry Smoothie



I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to drink calories. I only drink water (with/without crystal light). But I decided it was a gorgeous day and I should make this. It came out delish and refreshing. And its super healthy, basically made of fiber and antioxidants. Here’s the recipe:

Gather:
  • 3/4 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 huge handful of ice
  • 1 splenda packet
  • a squirt of lemon juice (or fresh lemon)
  • ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon of chobani greek yogurt (or any yogurt…I’m sure this is optional, but I felt like adding some protein)
Whatchagottadois:
  1.  Put everything into the blender, make sure the ice is on the bottom so it blends.
  2. Once you have your smoothie, taste it to make sure you like it. You can always add more of any ingredient if you think something is missing.
  3. Drink and enjoy :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Corona Cake

My boyfriend just turned 21. I'm pretty cheesy when it comes to birthdays and so I decided that a Corona shaped cake would suffice.
I spent 4 hours working on this little guy. He tasted great.

I make the cake from scratch, I'll send a link to the recipe since it was AMAZING. 
It's extremely moist (oh, that word...moist). The recipe includes a cup of fresh brewed coffee rather than water or milk. I HATE coffee, but it ended up tasting so rich and chocolaty rather than "coffee-y."


 And prior to baking, the batter looked as if it was drowning, but that is how it's supposed to look.

It comes out like this:
Delish.
And I don't even like chocolate cake!

I basically just waited a while for the cake to cool. Then I cut out the shape I wanted and frosted the entire surface. Food coloring and some gel icing were the final touches.

As you can see, he was shocked with the cake.





Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peaceful Mornings

I'm definitely categorized under one of those people who love to ease into their mornings. My routine begins with boiling water for tea. Then I take time deciding what I want for breakfast, whether it be fruit, greek yogurt, or cereal. But my favorite breakfast is the most simple of all:



A bowl of freshly made oatmeal with slices of fresh strawberries.

The smallest things in life can bring you great pleasure.
Wishing you a good morning and a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

National Vegetarian Week!

Happy National Vegetarian Week! (May 23-29)


As a veggie myself, I've decided to dedicate this blog to my personal experience and perhaps inspire others to try out this lifestyle.

I've been a happy veggie for about 3 years now. I started at the end of high school because I ate meat A LOT. Every meal was meat. My father is the most amazing cook/barbecuer I've ever met so meat is easily embraced in my family. Yet one day I decided to go cold turkey and completely give up of my beloved tacos, chicken parms, juicy hamburgers, and savory bacon.

Now for some reason, it wasn't hard for me. I had no regrets or any mixed emotions on giving it all up. And the further I get from my dinner of meat, the less I miss it, the less I want it, and the less I can fathom going back.

But in the beginning of my meatless journey, the road I traveled on was scarce and unfamiliar. I thought giving up meat was enough to satisfy a vegetarian diet. So my meals consisted of oatmeal, apples, salads, and Progresso soups. I lost weight really fast. Too fast, in fact. In 90 days, I lost around 10 pounds and was weak. And my soccer performance on the field showed it (injured easily and major fatigue after a work out). I learned that what I was doing was NOT a healthy vegetarian diet.

I've come a looong way from those days, now highly educated on what foods energize me, which meals give me the best nutrients, and supplemental vitamins to fill in any gaps. I've learned to prepare my own tofu meal and include healthy veggie burgers and other soy products into my diet. When a veg. diet is done right, you feel so fresh and clean from the inside out and you have energy just like anyone else. But to say that the diet is an easy one would be a dishonest. It's not so much about craving meat, its about monitoring yourself daily to make sure your diet is substantial and filling out every nutritional requirement.

For example, I've become very involved in running long distance (6k's or more 5 times a week). A few months ago, I noticed my energy exponentially decreasing and going to work outs was more of a chore than a privilege. My long work outs make it even harder for my body to raise my low iron level and I was on a road heading for iron deficiency anemia. Since I'm trying to balance my love for my diet and love for running, this dilemma is a current issue I'm facing.


So do I recommend this diet to you? Of course you should try it. But I'm not a PETA supporter nor do i believe meat is bad for you. It is our personal decisions that make us unique and only you can decide what you should eat or not. But in honor of the National Vegetarian Week, I recommend you going out to a vegetarian restaurant or making a veggie dinner for one night and experience something you might never have tried!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carrot Cake Cookies

It literally wont stop raining here. I cant take it anymore! I came home from college, where its basically a tundra 3/4 of the school year and monsoons the other 1/4, and it's like the gross weather followed me home. Last year, I was sprawled out on the beach by now. Sigh, well since the weather is this for the next week:




...I'm going to be doing a lot baking.


This "inside-out" carrot cake recipe is a must. I'm quite the fan of carrot cake, so switching up into a cookie sandwich recipe was an intriguing new idea. Beware, they're addicting. I'm eating one as I type...nom.


Ingredients:



  • 1 1/8 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted softened butter
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of grated carrots
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • optional:
    • 1/2 cup of raisins
    • around 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter or spray your baking sheets
  3. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Slowly add in the carrots, nuts, and raisins at low speed.

5. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until batter in mixed.

6. Get a spoon and create even size cookies on the baking sheet.

7. Put into the oven for about 10 minutes (since carrot cake is best when it's not dried out). 

8. While they are cooking, mix together the cream cheese (best if at room temperature) and honey.

9. Let cool for 5 minutes. Then begin sandwiching the cookies with the cream cheese frosting.

10. Put in fridge and eat when ready.



Recipe adopted from here!

                          Friday, May 20, 2011

                          Enter At Your Own Risk...

                          So there's only a few things that can get me up before 10 a.m. nowadays. Some kids get excited to go to the golf range, an expensive brunch, or i don't know, a cruise to Bermuda, with their dad. Me? I go to Fairway Market. Ask my dad and he'll say, "It's sort of a cross between a Costco, a Whole Foods, and a Stop and Shop." Ask me and I say, sick olive oil and vinegar tasting bar, your choice weird-ass organic fiber cereals or generic Frosted Flakes, and pretty much the closest your taste buds get to heaven. This place has it all. 

                          We invited my sister this time, acting like it was some really great movie she hadn't seen. "OMG, you haven't been to Fairway yet? You must to see it. It got great reviews, you'll love it."

                          Well, she did. And we spent 3 hours there and 10x that amount on food. Yup, we're set for the next 6 months.

                          Oh yeah, and the guys behind the seafood bar let me hold a live crab. 

                          video
                          Direct quote:
                          Dad:"I always like putting them in a frying pan and watching them hop around"
                          Me: "What's wrong with you?!"


                          So yeah, check this place out if there's one near you. I promise its quite the experience.

                          Thursday, May 19, 2011

                          Strawberry Orange Muffins



                          This was a new recipe for me as I usually stick with my banana muffins. I'm not a big fan of the fruit orange (pathetic true fact: to this day, I still do not properly know how to eat an orange. I just suck the juice out). But I'm always open to knew recipes and these little muffs turned out to be pretty unique and tasty. 


                          Strawberry Orange Muffins
                          (makes 12)


                          Ingredients:

                          • 3 tablespoons almonds
                          • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
                          • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
                          • 3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
                          • 1/2 teaspoon salt
                          • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
                          • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
                          • 2 teaspoons baking powder
                          • 1 teaspoon baking soda
                          • 3/4 cup buttermilk
                          • 1/4 cup orange juice
                          • 1 large egg
                          • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                          • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

                          Preparation

                            1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with oil or spray.
                          1. 2. Crush up your almonds and put them in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Put in 2 tablespoons of oil and stir.

                          1. 3. Whisk 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, all the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons orange zest and 1/4 cup oil in a medium bowl with buttermilk, orange juice, egg and vanilla extract. 



                          1. 4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add strawberries.

                            1. 5. Evenly put the batter into the cupcake tray. 

                          1. 6. Bake the muffins for about 18 minutes. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!




                          Wednesday, May 18, 2011

                          YAY I'M FREE!

                          Everyone knows the feeling of finishing their last final exam. It was an unfortunate truth that I had 3 research papers, 1 graphic design project, and one in-class exam. No big deal right? Yeah...except my sister's graduation was the week before everything was due so I HAD to finish early!! So after writing practically a novel and spending the weekend in Georgia for the graduation, I'm finally home. 


                          So am I excited to be home? Well, leaving college this year was difficult since I had the time of my life and I miss everyone...but I love catching up with my friends-they make my town worthwhile. And I'm one of those people with a really close extended family so that's definitely a highlight. But OMG. Being able to bake and cook for myself is so rejuvenating!


                          As you can see, I didn't waste any time.

                          For my first breakfast, I made my version of an egg sandwich. Check out the recipe if you're interested.

                          Egg White Mediterranean Open Sandwich

                          Ingredients:
                          • fresh bread (like ciabatta, sourdough, whole grain)
                          • 2 eggs (yolks removed)
                          • fresh mozzarella cheese
                          • cherry tomatoes
                          • salsa
                          • fresh basil
                          • crispy onion topping
                          • salt and pepper to taste

                          Preparation:
                          1. While heating your buttered or oiled skillet on the stove top, begin toasting your bread of choice. I personally love my bread burnt...weird? Probably.
                          2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and cut off 2 or 3 slices of mozzarella cheese. 
                          3. On low heat, cook the egg whites until they're to your liking.
                          4. When the bread is done, put a layer of salsa on it. Then place the cheese down. Then the hot eggs (that will melt the cheese mmm). After, you can put all of your toppings on (the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, crispy onion bites if you have them, and etc.)
                          5. Sit down. Take a bite. Smile.