Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Pear Custard Pie

This Christmas, KStead's sister, who lives in Milan, Italy, sent us a Harry and David gift. The Taste of the Valley basket consisted of Royal Riviera Pears, smooth Red Pears, award-winning Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue cheese, buttery Havarti and a walnut-handled spreader, this uniquely designed trivet made of sustainable bamboo unfolds into a pear-shaped basket. KStead engulfed a few pears and they were so juicy. We decided to make a pear pie since I had a frozen pie crust in the freezer. I wanted a recipe that didn't require me to leave the house, so I found a custard pie recipe from Martha Stewart. The pie turned out great! I usually don't eat seconds, especially with desserts, but I kept on going back for more.
Pear Custard Pie
  • 3 Royal Riviera or Red Pears, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; Prick pie crust with a fork and cook for 5 minutes.  
  2. Peel, halve, and core 3 pears; slice 1/4 inch thick lengthwise. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in crust.  
  3. In a blender, process 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 1/3 cup each granulated sugar and all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs, and 3/4 cup milk until smooth.  
  4. Pour batter over pears; bake until golden and firm to touch, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    The Great American Bake Sale

    First of all, I have to thank those that participated in the great American Bake Sale which I organized at my jog along with the help of the fabulous Nurse J. I thought, "What a great was to help raise money to end childhood hunger" because I love sweets and so do our patients at the clinic. But our patients are primarily obese people with diabetes and hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, so I thought, "Why not do a bake sale of all our favourite holidays treats, but make healthier versions of them?" So here's what we came up with and soon to come... The Cook Book! Big thanks you to the Milwaukee Cupcake Company for donating TWO DOZEN gluten free cupcakes to the bake sale. 

    Nut Clusters
    Cupcakes from Milwaukee Cupcake Company

    Chocolate Truffles

    Mini Sweet Potato Pies courtesy of Dr. I

    Even the medical student joined in by baking granola bars

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Slllllooooow Cooker Asian Short Ribs

    The weather has been getting a bit chilly here in VA: that's a sign for warm comfy homemade food. I've always wanted to make short ribs but was scared I wouldn't get the same "fall off the bone" effect as in restaurants. Until now! I found this recipe on Real Simple and... it's real simple. I ended up making this dish twice within a week. Kstead and I gobbled this up the first night and the second night we had my parents and Kstead's mom over to meet for the first time. Prep time took no more than 15 minutes!


    • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 8 beef short ribs (about 4 pounds)
    • 4 medium carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


    1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Add the short ribs and carrots and arrange in a single layer.
    2. Cook, covered, on high for 5 to 6 hours (or on low for 7 to 8 hours), until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.
    3. Transfer the short ribs and carrots to plates. With a large spoon or ladle, skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard.
    4. If the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and sprinkle with the scallions (if using). Serve over jasmine rice.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    India in Milwaukee

    So last month CP and her man JP came over for dinner for CP's birthday and we decided we celebrate with a home-cooked Indian dinner. So we raided the grocery stores and got all the ingredients to make vindaloo, naan, mango lassis, cilantro chutney, cucumber salad with yoghurt dressing, and basmati rice. OMFG, the dinner was beyond awesome! all the food tasted fantastic, which it should have after the way we slaved over the stove... well not really slaved. We actually totally enjoyed the evening making dinner and drinking Malibu with mango lemonade on the rocks (which, my friends, is a truly delicious drink and makes cooking even more enjoyable). So we couldn't get our hands on any lamb or goat that day for the vindaloo so we used beef instead. Totally perfect substitution. And instead of grounding all our spices manually, we just bought the pre-grounded spice mix.  Umm yes, just because we used pre-ground spices the meal is still considered homemade, And why not? We cut all the veggies, the meat, cooked the sauce, cooked the dish.

    We even made our own naan bread. That's right, we baked bread! It really wasn't that we baked it, because actually we grilled it on the grill pan. Basically it was water, yeast, white flour, sugar, salt. Following the standard rules of making bread, we let the dough rise and then divided it into small balls, flattened them out with our hands, brushed oil over them, and then threw them on the grill. 

    So what do you serve with Indian food? Umm no, its not ketchup. Eww! So we made some cilantro chutney. Basically all we did was dump a lot of cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and a little bit of cumin, tumeric, and chili into a blender and let it whirl and whirl and whirl until you've got a sauce :o) Ahh, isn't Indian food just so easy? So yeah, that was CP's birthday dinner. After that we made a stop @ Kafevino for some red wine... some yummy Australian red wine. I think it was a 10 point birthday dinner. Sorry I don't have the recipes typed up step by step, but honestly, there are so many variations to these recipes I suggest just google a basic recipe and just putting your own twist to them. If you don't like spicy then don't use green chili. If you prefer chicken instead of beef, or lamb instead of goat, or maybe fish or tofu, go for it. Just be creative and bon appetit. 

    Pina Coloda Cupcakes

    So my girlie CP and I were tempted to create our own version of a Pina Colada cupcake after we tasted the ones made @ Milwaukee Cupcake Company (which, by the way, are awesome. Sorry H and K, you guys should have called me in advanced and I would have happily got the Lady Gaga cupcakes for you). Anyway, so on one of our many girls' weekends we hit Whole Foods and got all the ingredients to make Pina Colada cupcakes following the Coconut Rum Cupcake recipe from the How Sweet It Is blog. We did make a few changes for instance we used brown sugar instead of white (because that's what we had in the kitchen) and unsweetened coconut. We also sweetened our frosting with maple syrup (maybe because CP and I are Canadian we just love that maple syrup). So anyway they turned out yummy yummy in our tummy. Not too sweet, but not so alcohol-y either (but oh HUNNY, that Malibu tasted oh so fresh and so clean). I think our next cupcake experiment is going to be in the peanut butter category...

    Pina Colada Cupcakes (adapted from the Coconut Rum recipe)
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
    1.5 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 cup coconut milk
    1/4 cup shredded coconut
    1/4 cup Malibu rum
    Preheat the oven to 359 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and eggs until it becomes white and fluffy. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix them well. Mix the dry ingredients separately and slowly add half to the wet mixture, combining the dry to the wet 1 cup at a time. Add the coconut milk and then the rest of the dry ingredients. Make sure it is all combined. Add the rum and shredded coconut. Pour the batter into a cupcake tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
    When the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting. We decided to take a separate approach to the frosting from that in the original recipe. We went ahead and made a cream cheese frosting. In a mixing bowl we combined one package of cream cheese softened with 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1/4 cup Malibu and 1 tablespoon vanilla. When it was all mixed I put it in a plastic baggie and did my best to pipette it on top of each cupcake while CP sprinkled coconut on top. Et voila!

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Oh Canada!

    So recently, well like two weeks ago, I went back home to Montreal to take care of some business and visit old friends. Well, there's nothing as amazing as the food in Montreal (except the shopping, and night life, and the hockey!). So my first day there I travelled down to Boul. St. Laurent for breakfast @ Cafe Sante Veritas which is a health food cafe that caters to both meat eaters and vegetarians. Everything is cooked to order (except the muffins and cookies, but they're baked fresh). ATTENTION NON-HEALTHY PEOPLE: they don't serve soda. By the way, why are you drinking soda anyway? Its so bad for you. All that sugar, artificial sweeteners, food colouring. I mean, is water that frightening to you? But if you're not into water, they have a wide range of fresh fruit juices, Odwalla smoothies, fresh smoothies and coffee and tea. So anyway, breakfast, right. I had the Belgian Porridge which was delicious! Porridge with oats, mixed nuts, raisins, apricots, and apples topped with soy milk, its just a bowl of happiness.
    But if you're not in the mood for oatmeal, they have the fluffiest egg white omelettes you'll ever see (I think they whip up the egg whites in a mixer first) with all sorts of mixings like sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach...

    Cafe Sante Veritas
    480 Boul. St-Laurent
    Montreal, PQ

    So later that evening I needed to find somewhere to have dinner. Well, unfortunately they rain decided to show up during my stay so that night I decided to have dinner @ the Petit Opus in the Omni Hotel (where I just happened to have been staying). Well, like most hotel restaurants, vegetarian options are usually hard to find, but this one, most likely because it is in Montreal, and a really nice vegetarian stir-fry dish with tofu. What I really liked about this dish was that the sauce wasn't thick and didn't over power the meal. A lot of times I have found that restaurant chinese food is drenched in sauce and that the sauce is usually too sweet and over powering. Sprinkled with some black sesame seeds, the Omni's Petit Opus satisfied my appetite and my vegetarian diet.
    Omni Mount-Royal Hotel
    1050 Sherbrooke St West
    Montreal, PQ

    Well my last night in Montreal I had to go to my favourite Italien restaurant growing up: Wienstein & Gavino's. I knew right away what I was going to have: Risotto Con Pera (risotto w/ pear). OMG! It was the best risotto I have had in the longest time (and had me set on a risotto cooking escapade when I returned home). So creamy topped with warm slices of pear. every bite was just bliss. Unfortunately, the dish was a a la carte item so it may not always be there.
    After my fabulous risotto dinner I had to go for some gelato. I mean, how can you leave Montreal without having dessert? So the waiter brings my friend and I this HUGE cup that contained two scoops and vanilla gelato and two scoops of chocolate gelato. I'm sure she have one scoop and I completed the other three scoops. It was so good though, I couldn't let it go to waste.
    Wienstein & Gavino's
    1434 rue Crescent
    Montreal, PQ

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Lulu's take on Pad Thai

    So last week some family from the mommy's side crossed the Atlantic Ocean and came to visit. It was an interesting week filled with a lot of food (mostly out) and a lot of excuses of why I didn't want my uncle to cook for me (polite excuses). I'm sorry, but there are very, VERY few men in my family that can cook. Well, let me rephrase that, there are very few men in my family that can cook well. Its why they're all married. 
    ANYWAY, on our last day we went to this Thai restaurant in midtown Savannah called The King and I. I ordered the pad thai w/ tofu (without the egg) and LOVE IT! Well, honestly, it was the first time I ever ate pad thai so I'm sure there's better out there, but I really enjoyed my meal and cleared my plate. I have to admit, it was a little sweet (even when I asked the waitress to ask the chef  to make it hot) because I think there was quite a bit of brown sugar and peanut butter. Eh, still enjoyed it enough that I decided I would try and re-create the dish at home. So the moment we left the restaurant I pulled out my trusted iPhone and started Googling (yeah, I just don't care for Bing, sorry) and found a pad thai recipe from Well, I went to the store, bought the ingredients, but for some reason it just didn't taste right when I made it last night. It was missing that PA-POW!. So I made the dish again tonight, but made a few changes and HELLO! we had success. I hope you guys enjoy my version of the original.

    Tofu Pad Thai
    8 oz of rice noodles
    2 tsp olive oil
    2 minced garlic cloves
    1 thinly sliced bell pepper
    1 cup of halved grape tomatoes
    4 oz of snow peas
    4 oz of tofu (firm)
    1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    1/2 tsp natural crunchy peanut butter
    1 tsp pickled chili (from the Indian grocery)
    2 Tbsp lime juice
    2 Tbsp sliced green onion
    chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup slivered almonds
    2 oz mung bean sprouts

    Bring a pot of water to boil and add rice noodles and cook to soften. While the noodles are cooking, in a hot skillet (unless you've a wok) add the olive oil. Add the garlic and bell peppers and cook until soften. Next add the tomatoes, snow peas, and tofu and stir fry them. Add the soy sauce, peanut butter, and pickled chili, and lime juice and stir well. Cook for  203 minutes. Add the rice noodles and mix well. Turn the heat off and add the green onions, cilantro, mung sprouts, and almonds and toss well. Divide the pad thai into four bowls and serve. 

    The King and I
    7098 Hodgson Memorial Drive
    Savannah, GA 31406

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake

    So its my puppy's first birthday and I wanted to make him a beautiful birthday cake for us adults to enjoy :o) but its ok, my baby got some treats and presents to enjoy. So I decided to make a cheesecake since it seems to be the cake of choice in my family. I thought at first, how about Hershey's website for a cake recipe? I LOVE chocolate. I wanted to make a chocolate cheesecake. There was one, bit it looked a lil' too simple so I thought: GODIVA! And that's where I found a beautiful chocolate cheesecake recipe. Well, my family members have some dietary restrictions so I decided that I would take the liberty to adapt this recipe to my family's needs. For instance I made a few changes to the crust, I used Splenda (R) instead of sugar and a few other minor changes. In the end, I got a beautiful, HEALTHY version of the Godiva Cheesecake.

    Godiva Cheesecake
    1 cup dates
    8 Enjoy Life Double Chocolate cookies
    2 packages of fat free cream cheese
    1/2 cup coffee
    1 cup Splenda
    11.5 oz Godiva Milk Chocolate chips melted
    1 cup egg whites
    2 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp salt

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Greese a springform cake pan (mine is 10") and wrap the bottom in aluminum foil. In a food processor, mix the dates and cookies into a paste and then pat into the bottom of the cake pan and refridgerate. In the processor beat the cream cheese. Slowly add the sugar while mixing. Add the egg whites. Dissolve the salt into the coffee and then add the coffee to the cream cheese mixture and mix again. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and mix well. Pour the cream cheese chocolate mixture into the cake pan and place the cake pan into a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water so that its half way up the cake pan and then bake 60-70 mins (when cake is set). Turn the oven off, hinge open the door and leave the cake alone for an hour. Remove the cake from the oven and cool. Once cooled, cover the cake with foil and refridgerate at least 6 hours.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Soy Delicious

    Ok, so I never product reviewed before, but its food so I'm gonna talk about it. I LOVE THIS STUFF! Wow, so I was craving ice cream for a very long time, but I knew buying a tub I'd just sit there with a spoon and temporarily have portion control amnesia so I decided to go with an ice cream bar. Well now there are TONS of choices when it comes to ice cream bars, but this one caught my eye as it was only 70 calories and 3.5 grams of fat and, umm, COCONUT! I love coconut (is it because I'm brown?). Yes, the coconut flavour is strong, but with the mild chocolate coating on top, its just the perfect balance of sweetness. Give it a try, I'd love to know what you think.


    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Tofu with Pineapple and Cilantro Sauce

    Umm, so I decided to give vegetarianism another try. This time I am NOT going vegan and I am NOT wasting my money on "fake meat". As I am starting my new job in July and will end up with TONS of expenses (rent, student loans, dog food, my food, cable, utilities...) I decided I needed to cut out certain things in my life to save money. I found that I really do spend a lot on meat considering I eat a lot of goat and lamb (ehh, chicken really isn't my cup of tea). So I found this lamb dish from Claire Robinson's show 5 Ingredient Fix called Lamb with Pineapple Mint Sauce and decided to change it to a vegetarian version. The outcome was very tasty and I think veg people out there will enjoy it.
    Tofu w/ Pineapple and Cilantro Sauce
    1 package of firm tofu
    1 pineapple chopped into tiny pieces
    1 bunch of cilantro chopped
    1/2 cup water
    two cloves of garlic minced
    olive oil
    salt and pepper
    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat a olive oil in a pan. Season the tofu (make sure you've drained off the water with a paper towel so no oil splashes when it hits the pan) with salt and pepper and place it on the hot pan and allow to brown. Flip over and brown other side. Place the tofu on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
    While the tofu is baking, add a little bit more oil into the pan and add the garlic. Cook the garlic until soft and then add the pineapple. Stir the pineapple around to make sure its well coated w/ the oil and add the cilantro and water. Reduce the heat and cook down the pineapple. It will take about 30-40 minutes. You'll now its ready because the pineapple will be very soft.
    Take the tofu and with a very sharp knife slice it and arrange it on a place. Pour pineapple cilantro sauce on top. I took my tofu and served it with some spinach and pearl barley.
    Bon appetit!

    Ele Fine Fusion

    So like two weekends ago my friend P stopped me in the middle of the street while I was walking my dog on a scortching Saturday afternoon (well, actually she saw me walking puppy and texted me). Her friend was having a birthday party at an Asian fusion restaurant on Wilmington Island called Ele Fine Fusion.
    The restaurant is actually a very beautiful building. With a glass floored entrance above water (lol, I was a little hesitant to make the first step thinking I was going to fall into the water) and interesting layout- one side regular diners sit in individual closed off booths while the other side is the party room. We, of course, were in the party room. Large and lovely, the room's walls had paintings on the wall that had a modern flair as well as a wall of wine bottles.
    Ok, so the food. Well, first of all, you better bring a fat wallet if you plan on having dinner here. The prices are definitely on the higher end- which actually I expected considering what was on the menu and how it was presented. The menu had everything from lamb, vension, mahi mahi, king crabs, bbq chicken.... well I had the mahi mahi special which was pan-seared and served with organic vegetables. The mahi mahi was then stuffed with fresh pulled crab meat. Overall, the dish was beautiful, but I have definitely had better at local seafood restaurants (so remember, expensive doesn't necessarily mean better). The fish itself was actually cooked really well, and the vegetables were really nice. I found that the crab was kind of dry and the overall dish was too oily (which isn't good for someone like me who eats very healthy and isn't used to such oily food). P, her sister, and I also ordered the sampler plate of appetizers which included sauteed beef, tempura shrimp, and dumplings. I stuck to the beef because I don't eat pork or deep fried food. The beef was tasty; however, we all noticed that the peanut dipping sauces were definitely on the sweet side.

    Anyway, if you're in Savannah and you decide, "Hey, I want to go to Wilmington Island for dinner and Uncle Bubba's is too packed, AND I don't mind spending the $$" then by all means go to Ele. The food was decent.

    Ele Fine Fusion
    7815 East Highway 80
    Savannah, GA 31410
    (912) 898-2221

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Mushroom with Orzo

    Over the weekend I went to H&R block (not the tax preparation business) for a small gathering. It's been too long since I've seen Obi and I was excited to spend some time with them. H requested a mushroom and orzo salad, so I thought I would jazz it up a bit and add some more veggies to it. I recently bought The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook for healthy eating and I saw a quinoa with mushroom dish I thought I could twist with orzo. This recipe took 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook. This is the easiest recipe I've ever cooked!

     Photo courtesy of Angry Asian Creations

    Mushroom with Orzo
    Serves 8

    3 cups of orzo pasta
    1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 1/2 of broccoli slaw (can be found in the produce section. Contains broccoli, carrots and red cabbage)
    2-3 cups of diced mushrooms (any kind, I used button, shitake, and portobello)
    2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

    Boil water and cook orzo to desired texture. While the water is boiling, put oil in a saute pan and saute onions and garlic for a minute. Add in mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until tender. Add broccoli slaw and cook for another 2 minutes. When pasta is done rinse with cold water to stop from cooking. Add orzo to the vegetables and mix together. To serve you can sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and enjoy!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Lamb & Mint Meatballs

    I randomly browse through Food Gawker and Tastespotting when I need a little food inspiration. To be honest, if the picture looks good that's when I click on it. I noticed a picture that caught my eye and it was lamb and mint meatballs over farro risotto. I've never cooked with ground lamb before so I thought I'd give it a shot. The aroma of the mint while cooking the meatballs was incredible. I opted not to use risotto because KStead and I usually eat our meatballs like kabobs. We ate them with rice and naan. I am a huge fan of Greek food and especially tzatziki sauce. Below is my homemade version. I eat this with pita bread, veggies, and now with lamb meatballs.

    Lamb & Mint Meatballs
    1 pound ground lamb
    2 handfuls mint (chopped)
    1/4 cup red onion (diced)
    1 egg
    1/4 cup breads crumbs
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon coriander (toasted and ground)
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 tablespoons olive oil for pan

    1. Mix the lamb, mint, onion, egg, bread crumbs, cinnamon, coriander, salt and pepper.
    2. Form the mixture into balls.
    3. Heat the oil in a pan.
    4. Add the balls a few at a time, without crowding the pan, and brown on all sides until the middle is cooked, about 10 minutes.

    Adapted from Closet Cooking

    Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
    Greek yogurt (any brand, any %)
    Handful of dry or fresh dill
    3/4 cup diced cucumbers
    Pinch of salt and pepper

    Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Add more salt or pepper to taste.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Goat Vindaloo

    So last week I flew home to Canada (Ottawa to be exact) to take care of some business and spend some family time with the cousin and her family. Well, my cousin, being as cute as  she is, insisted on cooking everyday in attempts to make me eat (let first say, I DO eat. I eat a lot, just not large amounts in one sitting). Anyway, so we had all this goat in the fridge (how much does it suck here that I've to drive two hours away to get fresh goat and they can go like 10 minutes?!) So yes, we had all this goat so we decided to make some vindaloo. How accurate our dish was to what you find in the restaurant, well that'll be for you to decide, but this is what we came up with.

    Goat Vindaloo

    • Make a paste in a food processor of a small/med onion, garlic, and ginger
    • Make a powder w/ cumin seeds, black pepper, salt, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, two dried chilies, tumeric, coriander, and paprika (I used about 1 tsp of each)- stir in about 2 tbsp of rice wine vinegar (if you want, use distilled) and make a paste
    • 2 lbs goat chopped in pieces
    • 1 can of tomato paste
    • 1.25 cups of water

    Brown the goat in olive oil in batches and drain on a paper towel
    Cook the onion paste to get the rawness out and then add the spice paste and mix well. 
    Add the goat, tomato paste and water and stir well
    Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook ~ 45 minutes

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Strawberry Cookies

    For our friend's 25th birthday, Angry Asian Creations made Hello Kitty faces out of fondant and we put those on top of these strawberry cookies. They were pretty in pink!

    Strawberry Cookies
    Makes ~ 24 cookies

    1 box strawberry cake mix, any brand is good
    1/3 cup vegetable oil

    2 eggs, beaten
    1 teaspoon coconut extract
    1-2 tablespoons of water
    1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, oil, coconut extract, and eggs until just combined.
    3. With a medium scoop, scoop onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Do not press down.
    4. Take a pinch of coconut flakes and lay on top of each cookie. Do not press down.
    5. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

    Frosting (optional)
    4 oz softened cream cheese
1 Tablespoons softened butter
    1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoons milk
    Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Spread frosting on top of cookies then sprinkle toasted coconut over top of frosting.

    Adapted from Picky Palate

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Sweet Potato and Avocado Salad w/ Chicken

    So my girl A and I decided we are going to create the best diet and exercise plan to get our bodies into bikini shape for Miami and the summer. Well, we totally are doing it! If there are any chicas that want to give it a try (or guys) lemme know how it works for you.
    Here's our plan:
    Breakfast- oatmeal with berries, fruit and skim milk
    Snack- whole grain toast w/ peanut butter and fruit
    Lunch- lean meat and veggies (salads are the easiest way)
    Snack- fruit
    Dinner- leam meats, tons of veggies, and 1/2 cup grains
    Dessert- a little bit of chocolate to fix that sweet tooth

    We run three days a week and some time of muscle toning workout another three days

    So, today I decided to make a large amount of salad to last me the week so all I have to do is cook the chicken at lunch and be done. I have a Jamie Oliver cookbook where he makes this salad with new potatoes, watercress and avocados. Well I didn't have all the ingredients, but I think my version came out pretty nice.
    Sweet Potato and Avocado Salad with Chicken
    1 lb sweet potatoes
    4 cups of mixed greens
    2 T olive oil
    2 T lemon juice
    salt and pepper
    1 avocado
    1 lb chicken tenders
    Clean the potatoes well and boil them until tender. Peel and cut the avocados in however size pieces you prefer and put in a big salad bowl. Take the potatoes and cut them into good bite sized chunks and add to salad bowl. Add the greens. Add the salad greens, the oil and lemon juice. Toss. Season to your liking and toss again. Pound the chicken tenders so they're flat and season with salt and pepper. Lay them on a well oiled pan and cook completely on one side then flip over and cook the other side. Make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked. Slice them and top the salad.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Turkey-Apple-Barley Risotto


    So I wanted to make a special dinner for me and my baby (my lil' puppy) so I needed to make something not too spicy and no wheat or corn). Well RICE! I wanted to make risotto because its a dish both he and I could enjoy (normally I do not feed my dog people food). Well, first I googled healthy risotto recipes and I found one by Mario Batali which called for green apples, white wine, and a few other things I don't have so I took the recipe and re-invented it. Plus, I had to had protein in there too.

    Turkey Apple-Barley Risotto
    3T margarine
    2T EVOO
    1/5 cups pearl barley
    1/2 cup thinly slice red onion
    1 thinly sliced gala apple
    10 oz ground turkey
    3-4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
    1 cup water
    salt and pepper
    1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
    handful of cilantro
    In a deep pan over medium heat  melt 2T of better with the EVOO and sautee the onions. Add the apple and meat next. Cook few more minutes and then add the barley. Once the meat starts look pretty cooked and the barley is nicely coated with the oil (4-5 minutes) add 1 cup water (I used water because I can't give alcohol to my puppy). Once the water has been absorbed, add about 1.5 cups of broth. Stirring occasionally, continue to add the broth when you see its mostly absorbed. The total amount of liquid will depend on your barley (keep adding liquid until its cooked). Add the cheese next and stir. I add salt and pepper next because the parmesan is kinda salty so if I add salt first the dish may turn out too salty. Turn the heat off and stir in cilantro.

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Penne with Spinach and Ricotta

    So first of all, no this recipe is not vegetarian, nor is it vegan. I, Lulu, have decided to go back to eating meat. Why? Because we humans are designed to eat meat. Our bodies need the amino acids from the breakdown of protein which comes from animal protein. And although yes, I could get sufficient protein from a vegetarian diet, I have to eat way too many soy and bean products. And honestly, there are so many chemicals and preservatives in vegan/veg products, I'd rather eat healthy and NATURAL. More important to me than eating veg is eating natural.

    Ok so here's this recipe I adapted from Fitness Magazine. The original recipe calls for broccoli rabe and lean turkey sausage. I had neither and so I used ground lamb (mmm, lamb how I missed thee) and spinach.

    Penne With Spinach and Ricotta
    1/2 cup frozen spinach
    3 oz whole wheat penne pasta
    1 tsp olive oil
    3 oz ground lamb
    1/8 of a red onion sliced thinly
    1 garlic clove thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon of fat free ricotta
    1 tsp parmesan 
    salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
    Boil a pot of water seasoned with salt. Once the water reaches a boil add the spinach and cook about 4 minutes. Remove the spinach and add the pasta to the pot. Cook the pasta al dente. Save a little bit of the pasta water when draining the pasta.
    In a skillet heat oil and cook the onions, garlic, and lamb with the chili flakes ~ 8 minutes. Add the spinach. Lower heat and add the pasta. Toss all the ingredients well. Add the ricotta and parmesan and mix well. Add black pepper to taste. Et voila, a terrific meat dish (just to show that not eating meat for three months doesn't diminish my abilities to cook the yumminess).

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Tasty travels in Phoenix, AZ

    So last week I was in Phoenix, AZ, to visit a hospital where I applied for a job. I decided to spend a couple of days there to get familiar with the city if I get so lucky to move there. Well of course, in those four days I needed to eat. Phoenix just developed a light rail system. Its nothing compared to DC's and NYC's, but its new and still the baby phase. Well, it was good enough to take me to Mill Ave in Tempe, AZ, where there is quite a bit of shopping and some delicious places to eat. And of course, having a weakness for the Middle Eastern meal, I stopped at Med Fresh for a falafel dinner.
    For barely nothing, I got a huge plate with five delicious and crispy falafel, salad, two whole pitas, tahini, hummous, and this red chili sauce. I promise I cleared my entire plate (well, of course I only had a bowl of cereal that day so I was famished). Anyway, the food is great there. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something delicious, yet inexpensive while out shopping at the cute boutiques (and Urban Outfitters). They also have various kebabs and stuffed grape leaves that are worth taking a bite into. 
    Med Fresh Turkish Grill
    414 S Mill Avenue, Suite 117
    Tempe, AZ
    (480) 642-9709

    The next day I decided to have dinner @ the hotel. I was staying at the Radisson Phoenix City Center. Well, the menu was definitely for meat lovers so I asked if it was possible if they could make me something vegetarian. So this is what they brought out of the kitchen for me:

    No its not a veggie burger. Its a beautiful mound of grilled pineapples, red bell peppers, red onions, eggplants, salad greens and avocado on a toasted hamburger bun. Oh, with a side of greens and raspberry dressing. MMMM! So, no I'm not telling you to stop at the Radisson for dinner, but I'm just saying, when you think there's nothing on the menu you can eat, just ask. Lots of kitchens are willing to make some changes to make you happy (because getting your money makes them happy). 

    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    Pop Rocks Chocolate Lollipops

    Take your childhood candy plus chocolate and whoa-la! MyMy Bijoux adapted these lollipops from the Top Chef finalists' Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. These pop in your mouth with the fantastic taste of chocolate. If you want to order these in milk chocolate, dark chocolate or both, email My My Bijoux at

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Tropical Oatmeal Brownie Cookies

    So I'm off to visit some people in Phoenix tomorrow and I wanted to take them a thank you gift. I could buy something local like pralines, but I think the best gifts are homemade (when giving food. Fellas, never give your girl something homemade when you can get her diamonds!). So I decided to make some oatmeal cookies (because I am craving oatmeal for some reason), but I wanted to make them different. How? How can I make them different? Well. I scrambled through my cupboards and pulled out everything I could find and see how I could add them into a cookie. Well here's what I cam up with.

    Tropical Oatmeal Brownie Cookies
    2 egg whites
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/3 cup agave nectar
    2/3 cup oat flour
    1 cup old fashion oats
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup dried chopped tropical fruit
    1/2 cup coconut
    1/3 cup Hershey Dark Chocolate cocoa powder
    1/2 cup soy milk
    Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper and lightly grease it. 
    In a mixer, beat the eggs white until they peak then add the agave and vanilla. Continue to beat for a few more seconds to make sure the ingredients are well mixed.
    In a separate bowl add flour, oats, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir well then slowly fold in the egg white mixture. Add the dried fruits and coconut and stir well. Slowly add the milk- I add the milk last because maybe 1/2 cup can be too much. It just depends on your batter. You want it to be moist, but not runny. Once everything has been incorporated, grease your hands slightly and make balls out of the batter (I get a dozen cookies out of this recipe). Place the cookies on the cookie sheet leaving about an inch between each cookie and bake for 10 minutes.

    Why did I use oat flour? Well, certain people that will be enjoying these yummies has a wheat allergy. You can totally use white flour or brown (when using whole wheat flour remember to do half white. This is because whole wheat flour can have a bitter taste).

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Tofu and Hummus Sandwich

    First of all, I apologize for the blurriness of the picture. After today I'll start using my camera instead of my iPhone to take the pictures (turns out when you blow up iPhone pics they get fuzzy a bit).
    So I went to Brighter Day Foods last week and had this tofu tahini sandwich and I thought, "self, maybe I can re-create this somewhat". Well, I could easily have bought all the ingredients, but for some reason tahini is like 8$ a bottle, whereas hummous is 2.99$. And as for the bread, well I decided to get a little creative. I decided, instead of making a sandwich on bread, why not put it on a scone? I think its because every time I turned on the Food Network everyone was making scones. So here's the scone recipe I used:

    Dried Fruit Scones
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup oats
    1.5 T ground flaxseed
    1/2 T baking powder
    1/4 t salt
    2/5 T margarine
    1/4 cup soy milk and 1 T
    1/4 cup chopped dried fruit
    1/3 cup agave nectar
    1 egg white

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I mixed all the dry ingredients in the food processor except for the dried fruit. Then add the margarine and pulse the food processor to mix well. Add the dried fruit and pulse. In a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup milk with aganve nectar and egg white. While the food processor is on, slowly add the liquid via the feed tube on your machine. Flour your surface well (and your hands) and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. I used a drinking glass to cut out rounds in the dough (so six scones total). Place the scones on a greased sheet and brush them with the left over milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

    When the scones are cooled take one, slice in half and spread some Nayonaise on one side and hummous on the other. Add some sprouts, tomatoes and bell pepper. For the tofu I drained the water and added some tamari, parmesan, salt and pepper, chili flakes, and cumin. I took 1/4 cup of the tofu mix and put it over the veggies then topped the whole sandwich with the other half of the scone.

    No, your eyes are fine... blurry pictures

    So I realize some pics are a little blurry. Well, I've been using my iPhone to take the pictures and turns out that when I try to enlarge them, they get a little blurry. Sorry. I'll leave them @ normal size.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Cranberry Chocolate Cheesecake

    Yes, that's right. I made a cranberry chocolate cheesecake. Simply, I used the recipe for the Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake from Vegetarian Times and replaced the can of pumpkin with a can of cranberries and instead of 3 eggs I used 3/4 cup silken tofu, and dark chocolate instead of bittersweet. For the crust I used one package of chocolate GoldFish graham crackers and I used Earth Balance instead of butter. Oh, I used fat free cream cheese and cottage cheese as well.

    Black Bean Veggie Burger

    So I'm finding that veggie burgers are just the easiest, most healthy form of dinner for me due to my schedule. I'm up at 630 am everyday and by the time my day is done its 530pm and I'm really not in the mood to go all gourmet and make a sexy plate of food. So I grabbed a few things from the kitchen, dumped them into a bowl et voila, bean burgers. So what did I put my quick and easy dinner this time? Well, I dumped a can of black beans with half a chopped onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper, cayenne powder and grilling seasoning, 1 package of spinach (defrosted and liquid squeezed out) and one chopped zucchini. For my binders I used 1/4 firm tofu and 1/2 cup TVP (already soaked in 1/2 cup water). Using my hands I mixed the ingredients well and them formed them into five thick burger patties.

    Once the patties were formed, I heated some oil in a skillet and placed the burgers in the skillet. it took somewhere like 5-7 minutes for the burgers to cook well on one side, and once they were browned and looked like they wouldn't fall apart, I flipped them over and cooked the other side.

    I served up the bean burger with a cup of brown rice topped with a 1/4 cup of tropical dried fruit and a cup of steamed broccoli seasoned with a lil' salt and pepper. Really, its so easy to be creative with veggie burgers that I think I can def be eating them for a long while.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Mom's Granola- Courtesy of Alicia Silverstone's mom

    So I wasn't planning on making granola, but I was rummaging through the pages of Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Life" and I came across a granola recipe that her mother made for her when she was a child. Well, since its after to make a batch of granola one time and eat it throughout the week rather than making oatmeal on a daily basis, I decided to give it a try. I made a few small changes which I've underlined just because I used what was available in my kitchen.
    Hope you enjoy!
    Mom's Granola
    • 6 cups quick cooking oats
    • 1/2 cup maple sugar (I used 1/4 dark brown sugar)
    • 3/4 wheat germ (I added 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed as well)
    • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (I used pumpkin seeds)
    • 1 cup raisins
    • 1/2 cup safflower oil (I used 4 tbsp Earth Balance)
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    So spread the oats on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then remove the oats and mix them with the other ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the mixture evenly divided between two sheet pans and bake for 10 minutes, stirring at 5 minute mark. Let the granola cool and then break and store in an air tight container. My version a half cup serving is 204 kcals 29 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat and 4 grams protein.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Birthday Cupcakes

    My birthday is in a few days and E Lo gave me a nice surprise...CUPCAKES! She had these delivered to my door today and I had 2 tonight they were so good. These cupcakes are from Free For All Cupcakes located in Fairfax, VA owned by 2 sisters. As soon as I opened the box the smell of the chocolate cupcake and buttercream icing leaked through the air. Thank you E Lo for a great bday treat!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Homemade Bean Burgers

    So my friend J came over last weekend and we decided to have dinner @ Ruby Tuesday's as I had one of those "Buy One Get One Free" coupons. Well, its not much of a restaurant if you're vegetarian. The ONLY vegetarian meal- besides the lame salad bar- is the Veggie Mini Combo, which is two veggie sliders with fries and a salad bar. The burgers, not that bad, made of rice and beans, but nothing special. There really wasn't much going on in terms of flavour, and the burgers didn't hold well. So that's when I decided that I was going to try my hand at the bean burger. I looked up some recipes and I found this pretty awesome one on Whole Foods' website. I decided to make a few changes to the recipe because I really didn't feel like going to the store and planned on using what I had @ home.

    Homemade Bean Burger
    • 1 can of mixed beans
    • 1 cup of rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup of apple sauce
    • 1/2 a chopped onion
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    • sea salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano
    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • lettuce and tomato
    • Joseph's whole wheat flax pita

    So I took all the ingredients, except for the tomato, lettuce and bread, and mixed them well with my hands. Add as much seasoning to your taste I prefer to use fresh herbs, but dry is just as good. Remember though, dry herbs are more pungent. Mix the ingredients well and form 5-6 patties (just depends on how big you make them). Heat olive oil on a pan at med-high heat. Once heated lay the patties on the pan and cook until browned then flip and cook the other side.
    Warm the pita then cut in half. Spread a little Nayonaise or Veganaise on the pita with whatever else you like. I like grainy, spicy mustard. Then place lettuce and tomato on one pita, then a bean burger, then top with the pita.
    I roasted some broccoli and asparagus and served it as a side (because I'm not into french fries much).
    Bone appetit!