Gluten-free coconut pancakes

I got this recipes from My Thin Eats  and I just happen to have all the ingredients at home. Check it out! Maybe next I’ll substitute the 2 eggs with a banana.

I topped this with my granny smith apple, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and dried blueberries mix. This was suppose to be the filling for the apple strudel, but after my first attempt not working out so well and lots of apple filling leftover, I was better off using this as toppings for pancakes.

Improvizing with Marscapone Cream

I made this little pie for National Pie Day (January 23rd). I’ve had this Marscapone cream I made in the freezer for a while and I wanted to save it for another day.

Anyways here is the recipe for Marscapone Cream. Source: My Moleskine Recipe Journal

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure: Mix

Tart:

Ingredients: 

Graham crackers

Melted butter

Marscapone Cream

Fruit

Procedure:

1. Crush the graham crackers and mix it with butter.

2. Using a cupcake pan, I pressed the graham cracker mixed against the surface. I let it set in the fridge for as long as I need to.

3. Take out the cupcake pan from the fridge. Fill the little tarts with marscapone cream and top it off with fruit.

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Roast

Source: Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds pork top sirloin roast, tied
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Rub the pork with oil and then season with salt and pepper and rub with fennel seeds, anise seeds, and red pepper flakes.
2. Place pork roast with the fat side up in the oven for 60–70 minutes.
3. Let the pork rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Review: Pork is not my favorite meat to cook because it gets too tough to eat and it can taste bland but this recipe was pretty good. I think this could be better if the pork had more fat so the skin would be more crispy.

Dressing up my toast

I decided to be a bit more creative with my toast ever since I had that Eggs Bruschetta at the Coral Tree Cafe at Encino. I told myself I got to learn how make this.

Anyways I got this idea from Pinterest and this keeps me full until lunch time!

Ingredients:

- bread (I used sprouted bread)

- peanut butter

- strawberries

Caramel Chicken

My fiance loved this dish — he said it was the juiciest chicken he’s had in in a while. I was surprised to like it too — this might be a stapled. Plus it tastes better the next day.

Source: Bon Appetit Magazine — I did some changes too. I did not have any ginger. I did not have shallots either — I just served with white onions.

Ingredients: 

- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil

- 2.5 lbs of chicken with skin and bone

- salt

- 8 garlic cloves, peeled

- 1/3 cup of brown sugar

- 1 cup of chicken broth

- 1/4 cup of rice vinegar

- 1/4 cup of soy sauce

Procedure:

1. Heat oil in a heavy hot in med-high heat.

2. Season chicken with salt and cook it until golden brown and crisp for 6-8 minutes per side. Set it aside on a plate.

3. Add garlic to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add 1/2 cup of water and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve until mixture thickens and turns into a deep amber color. Add vinegar and stir to dissolve.

5. Add chicken broth and soy sauce.

6. Add the chicken with the skin side up and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 20-25 minute, until the chicken is cooked.

7. Serve chicken with rice and white onions.

Review: The sauce was amazing with the rice and remember I am cutting back on rice by eating it once per week. I actually didn’t let it thicken enough to coat the chicken but that’s ok with me.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

This dish is pretty good at room temperature. I think I’ll probably take this pasta to our next friend’s gathering.

The recipe is from Bon Appetit Magazine but I decided to make some of my own changes.

Ingredients:

- garlic clove, diced

- 2 lb tomatoes, chopped

- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, but

- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

- 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil

- salt, pepper to taste

- 1 lb medium shell-shaped or other short pasta

Procedure:

1. In a bowl combine garlic, tomatoes, basil, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.

2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, drain.

3. Add pasta to tomato mixture and toss to combine.

Review: It was a very easy dish. I did add a little bit of this tomato sauce. This was part of the White Elephant gift I got last year and I thought that night was the opportunity to try it. It’s suprisingly spicy.

I just needed to drizzle this tomato sauce just to add some kick to the pasta.

Julie Bites – Late Summer Harvest

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Been making a couple no-bake granola bites and they’re an awesome snack that would help me get through the work day. I get hungry and there’s no more food in my lunch box because I only pack lunch and 1 post-gym snack. Can’t wait to make more of them. I also use snacks from my Nature Box subscription which I started this past month to add to my bites.

Ingredients:

- minimum 1 cup of dates

- rolled oats

- chia seeds

- dried cherries (I used the cherry granola snacks from Nature Box)

- Dried Cranberrries

- Dried apples (the dried cranberries and dried apples were from the Tart and Tangy Fruit medley)

- sea salt

I used the Ninja to create the date paste and then added my dried fruits, rolled oats, and chia seeds.

Then after that I roll the mixture into little balls, wrap it in plastic, and put it in the refrigerator.

 

Black Bean, Quinoa, and Arugula Salad plus Chimmichurri

This week in 20 dollars of groceries was way over budget. On Tuesday, I have a little get together and I did say that I did not want to count alcohol and food we are preparing for a party. Highlights is two bottles of Lambic Framboise, frozen packets of Acai Puree, and gluten free BBQ sauce (which I did not know was gluten-free — I picked out the cheapest BBQ I could find).

Ehh…that’s ok. Anyways I thought maybe we can start Monday off with some salad!

Maybe I should start eating more salad — eat salad once a day, everyday. I’ve attempted a few times before by taking salad to work and everyone assumes that you’re on a fad diet. Example:

Day 1: Coworker: what are you eating lunch?
Me: Just salad.

Day 2: Coworker: what are you eating today for lunch?
Me: Salad.

Day 3: Coworker: What are you eating today for lunch?
Me: Salad.
Coworker: Are you on a diet?
Me: No.

And that ends the conversation. I don’t know why people assume I was dieting. And it usually leads to someone telling me that I don’t need to diet. Please. I eat a lot more at home anyways. I like making salad and I do just more than Caesar. I can make filling and I can prove it.

The salad I’m going to make is from Good Food Buzz, but I made a little changes. Also, I made a chimichurri sauce for the dressing and it tastes AMAZING!

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Quinoa, black bean, Arugula salad (I need a shorter name :-P)
Ingredients:
1 cup of Quinoa
1 can of black beans – drained
Arugula – I bought a box of prewashed Arugula from Sprouts (2.99)
1 Avocado (0.50)
1 Red Bell Peppers (0.50)

Feel free to change up the portions to whatever you like. My box of Arugula is good for about until Friday (assuming I’m the only one who eats the salad) so I probably am going to use a 2nd avocado and more bell pepper.

Procedures:
1. In a saucepan, cook quinoa until it’s fluffy and set it aside to cool.
2. Chop bell peppers and avocado.
3. Add the chopped bell peppers, avocado, and quinoa to the arugula.
4. Enjoy!

Cost to make:3.99 (did not include the cost of beans and quinoa because I bought them a while back). 3.99 for 5 days equals to 0.80 a day, I think I should start making salad at home more often.

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Chimichurri sauce
This a very versatile sauce. Apparently people in Argentina use this sauce like ketchup — this usually goes with steak. My friend uses Chimichurri sauce with her fish and growing up she would dip bread and chorizo. Today, I’m going to use it as a dressing. Can’t wait to try pairing it with other things!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of oil (I used grapeseed)
2 tbsp of red vinegar
1 cup of chopped parsley (0.50)
4 cloves of garlic chopped (0.33 for one garlic)
1 tbsp of salt
1/4 tbsp of black pepper
1/4 tbsp of red pepper

Note: I used the Ninja to chop the parsley. I mixed the oil, red vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red peppers and put the parsley last.
Also to note, I need a cute container to serve sauces.
Cost: 0.88. If you already got oil, vinegar, and spices — you can pretty much make almost any type of dressing :-P.

Hong Kong Style rice porridge

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Another week of living off 20 dollars in groceries. Its starting to get really challenging because I wanted to get avocados but I knew I would be over budget. I wanted to get açai puree but I knew I would be over budget. I just had to tell myself “maybe next week.” Oh the temptation! This week I went over by $2.06. Not bad…I think its because of the chicken that I needed for my favorite margarita pasta recipe (will post that next week).

So here is what I bought this week:
Sprouts had an amazing 72 hour sale (Friday-Saturday):
1. Mom’s Best naturals Toasted Cinnamon Squares
2. 1 Gallon of 2% Milk
3. Roma tomatoes (1.29 for a pound)
4. Shredded cheddar cheese (1.30)
5. Grapes (0.88 per pound)
6. Chicken breast (really small portion for 2.83)
7. Pasta (1.50 each!)

Vietnamese market down the street from my place — I usually like buying meats here.
1. 1 pound of pork shoulder (1.99 per lb)
2. Pork neck bone (0.99 per lb)
3. Ginger (I only needed 1-inch of ginger. Don’t recall how much it was per pound but I was only charged 4 cents)
4. Dozen medium eggs (1.19)
5. Preserved duck egg

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of my grocery shopping trip. But just take my word for it folks.

I’m going post the congee recipe by popular demand. It’s called by many names throughout Asia — Chao (Vietnam), Jook (China), Lugao (Philippines), and more.

Anyways, I grew up eating this dish and I didn’t like it too much growing up. Maybe because my mom made it every week and my dad liked it and that was all he asked for. My boyfriend loves this dish. In fact, he tried to make it and I didn’t like the texture too much–too much rice. Then one night, my friend took me to a Hong Kong cafe in Alhambra. She told me her favorite dish was the rice porridge and I said “eh…really? I’m not too crazy about it because my mom always makes it. My boyfriend loves it and makes it. My boyfriend’s mom makes it too.” Then when the tilapia with preserved egg congee came in, I became a believer. It sounds like an unusual combination but its so good, it’s addicting! I guess it was the creamy texture and the preserved egg that bought me in.

A couple weeks later, I took my boyfriend to the same Hong Kong Cafe in Alhambra and ordered the tilapia with preserved egg congee to show him what it’s all about. He liked it too and I was trying to find out how this congee’s smooth and creamy texture.

After researching, it’s very easy — no blending or breaking rice required. It’s a very forgiving recipe so feel free to change the quantities. Also it’s very cheap to make.

Pork and Preserved Egg Congee

Ingredients:
2 cups of rice, rinsed
Oil
Salt
13 cups of water
1 lb of Pork (1.99 for 1 lb)
1 lb of pork bones (69 cents)
1-inch of ginger (4 cents)
4-6 preserved eggs (1.99)
Ground Pepper
Green Onions

1. Rinse rice and put rice in a container. Marinate rice with sesame (try other oils too if you don’t have sesame) oil and 1 tbsp of salt. Take your time.
2. In a stew pot of 13 cups of water put in pork, pork bones, and ginger and let it cook all the way through. This will be your pork stock. (Feel free to put chicken or beef stock).
3. After the pork cooks, take out the pork and cut it into small pieces and set it aside for later.
4. In the stew pot, let your pork stock reduce (to however you want). Add more salt to taste.
5. Take out the pork bones and discard.
6. Rinse your marinated rice with water and put it in the stew pot and let the rice cook. Take your time with this one. How the rice becomes so creamy and fine is that when the rice cooks in the stew pot, it pretty much get “overcooked” that it breaks itself. See? No blender needed.
7. After you get your desired texture, you can add more water to make it less sticky.
8. Add back your pork. Add quartered preserved eggs and let it heat up.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Add in green onions (I didn’t have a lot of green onions in my porch, so I used chives too).
11. Serve :-)

Feel free to add soy sauce or fish sauce or some sriracha :-).

Enjoy!!

Cost of ingredients: $4.71 (does not include rice, oil, salt, ground pepper, green onion).

Banana pancakes :-)

This was an easy recipe (Blogilates) –just one ripe banana and two eggs and feel free to add whatever toppings.

Can’t believe this is gluten free and processed sugar free! It’s amazingly good — now I need to perfect making neat pancake circles!

P.S. I have a cold — need to make it go away. I think it was all that travelling and studying and multi-tasking that’s been bogging me down :-/.