Monday, March 26, 2012


As much as I try to slow down and savor the art or cooking whole food meals everyday, my life as a grad student is fast-paced and sometimes all I need is an "on the go" wholesome snack right? I'm also sick and tired of scrutinizing the labels of the so-called health bars trying to find one that has enough protein to fill me up but not loaded with sweet extracts of this or that.

I used to experiment with making different granola bars in order to avoid any sneaky substitutes for wholesome ingredients but really never found one that I could whip up in a jiffy and store easily... Until about a month ago,that is, when I happened upon this:  Protein Cakes

5 ingredients. Check!
15 grams protein per bar. Check!
Can be made in 20 min flat. Check!
Tasty. Check check!

Needless to say, I have made these bars 4 weeks in a row and have modified the recipe as shown below. What's great about these bars is the fact that you can change the flavor, texture, and sweetness very easily depending on your cravings that week. But most importantly you can be confident that you are providing your body with wholesome protein for sustainable energy when you have "a lot on your life's plate" so to speak.

The following 5 ingredients can be tweaked to suit your taste bud's needs.

1 cup protein powder ( pumpkin seed, whey and hemp are my favorites)

1/2 cup cocoa powder ( that is of course if you like them to be chocolate flavor)

1 cup applesauce ( unsweetened organic)

2 eggs

Stevia to taste

Mix all the ingredients and pop in a bread pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 400 for 15-18 min depending on how moist you want them.

Once they are done slice the "bread" into "bars" and refridgerate or freeze for a quick, yummy, nutritious everyday snack.

Ps different variations that I have played with and have liked are:
Berry : add 1/2 cup of frozen berries
Banana walnut : add 1 mashed banana and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Vanilla chia: add 1 T vanilla extract and 1/4 cup chia seeds. Let this one sit for 15 min before baking to let chia seeds expand.

With all variations, modify the texture by adding or subtracting applesauce.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baby Bok Choy... Oh too cute!

This week I decided to try out making a soup with Baby Bok choy. Not only is it in season, it couldn't be more cute right?

Yes. I did wrap one in a blanket...

 I bought 4 little babies and whipped together this soup in 20 minutes. I'm so impressed by how sweet it is. The tender leaves are filled with Vitamin A, C, beta-carotene and fiber. But most importantly it is part of the cabbage family which is highly protective against cancer. Even though it is just a baby, its a powerhouse of nutrition...

Here are the ingredients I used for my soup:

1 onion
2 scallions
1 T oil (coconut is my favorite)
4 baby bok choy
1 rutabaga
2 T white miso
Soy sauce or Bragg's liquid aminos

1. Saute scallions and onion in oil.

2. Add 4-5 cups of water and bring to a boil

3. Add chopped rutabaga. Simmer for 5 min or until rutabaga is soft

4. Add chopped white portion of baby bok choy. Simmer for 2 more min.

5. Add miso and soy sauce to taste. Simmer until well combined.

6. Add chopped green stems of bok choy.

7. Optional: blend the soup for a creamy soup. ( Blended half of it and added it back in for a creamy miso)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Goodies

Wanna give someone a little yummy treat that is FULL of healthy ingredients? I've got an idea for you!

What about a raspberry chocolate muffin?

And some tea?

In a cute little box?

Last night I whipped this tasty recipe together and I can't wait to share...

If you wanna offer some love to your friend's taste buds (and health) try it out for yourself. They'll never believe you when you say you put a can of black beans in it....

1/4 cup applesauce
1 can (15 oz.) black beans drained and rinsed
3 bananas
2 cups frozen organic raspberries, thawed
2 eggs
¾ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
½ cup coconut flour (or whatever flour you have on hand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Stevia to taste
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
1)   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)   In a large bowl, stir  flour, baking soda and baking powder.
3)   Put aside dry mixture and in a Vitamix or blender, combine black beans, applesauce, 2 bananas, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla and coffee extract.  Combine this mixture with the dry mixture and stir thoroughly until all the flour is mixed into the wet chocolately mixture.
4)   Chop up the 3rd banana and stir in for some fun banana chunks in the final muffins.  Add whole defrosted raspberries and stevia to taste
5)   In a 12-cup muffin pan place cupcake paper cups and using a spoon, scoop in batter in equal parts. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve warm.
6) Sprinkle cinnamon on top if desired.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Time to show Kale some LOVE!

Call me cheesy but I honestly love Valentine's day. Not for the Hallmark cards, or the roses, or even the chocolates. No. I simply love a day devoted to showing others that you care about them.  Brainstorming all the ways that I can put together little care packages with goodies and infuse them with love is something I treasure and probably spend way too much time preparing. I just wish everyday were more "valentine's day-esque".   

In the spirit of all this love, I thought it only be fitting to show Kale some love as it basically provides us with a 100% naturally sourced multivitamin. Its curly edges and rough texture might make it look a bit standoffish but give a little massage and it becomes incredibly sweet and tender!

If you don't believe me give it a try with the following recipe... 

My dear friend Vange taught me this amazing preparation and I honestly can't go more than a week without making it since it is so simple, tasty and nutritious!

Massaged Kale Salad with Apples and Gorgonzola 
2 LARGE bunches kale (curly or lacinato "dinosaur" varieties work great, whatever looks the best)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (optional)
¼ cup diced red onion 
1/3 cup currants (optional)
¾ cup diced apple, (½ apple)
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or whatever cheese suits your fancy)
1. Be sure to choose 2 large bunches of kale.
2. De-stem kale by pulling leaf away from the stem.  Wash  leaves.  Spin or pat dry. 
3. Stack leaves, rollup and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade).
4. Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, massage salt into kale with your hands for 2 whole minutes. The volume of the kale should reduce by about 1/3.
5. To toast seeds, put in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes until they change color and give off a nutty aroma.
6. Put kale in a fresh bowl and discard any leftover liquid. 
7. Stir onion, currants, apple and toasted seeds into kale.
8. Dress with oil and vinegar and toss.  Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary. When at desired flavor, toss in cheese. 

Now that you've massaged kale, treat yourself to a massage as well.

Happy Valentine's day!

Monday, January 30, 2012

TopChef Competition BASTYR!

Last quarter my good friend Alicia (who by the way is a superstar chef) and I jumped on the opportunity to compete in Bastyr's annual TopChef competition. We both thought it would be a low key fun night of cooking but little did we know it would be an hour of intensity that we'd never forget but nor would the taste buds of the audience...  

This quarter has kept me far more busy than last quarter and so I really didn't put any thought into the impending competition until the day of and as Alicia and I were walking to the kitchen she turned to me and said, "ya know... I think this is a  pretty big deal! More than 150 people are coming to watch and it's posted in Seattle's Top List of weekend activities". Needless to say I was completely taken by surprise and injected with a dose of adrenaline. Yes I love to cook, but no I don't have any culinary education that could win awards. All I knew is that we needed a knife, an apron and we would be given a random protein and grain. Oh my. 

One incredibly stress-infused hour later, Alicia and I had produced what the people deemed to be the top entree of the evening and I'm hoping you'll try it out for yourself!! Since the whole experience was such a whirlwind, and we can't quite remember specific measurements etc, Alicia has diligently made the award winning recipe every night since the competition to perfect the recipe and voia la!  She's amazing.  In fact Alicia has her own website dedicated to absolutely incredible vegan meals that are simple to prepare yet hard to forget. So lucky to have had her has my partner. Tempeh was the protein we were assigned and with my love of coconut oil and her culinary expertise, the following dish came together BEAUTIFULLY. 

Ginger-Infused Glazed Tempeh with Crisp Pear Ribbons

Makes: 4 servings
Approximate prep time: 35 minutes

1 tsp ginger, minced
¼ tsp garlic, minced
½ cup maple syrup
¼ tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt

2-3 tbsp coconut oil
1- 8 oz (227 g) package of plain tempeh, cut into 4 pieces (¼ inch or approximately ½ cm thick)
1 Bartlett pear, sliced very thin (see procedure below)
cilantro, minced (for garnish)

1.           Begin by preparing the glaze. In a small pot over medium heat, combine the garlic, ginger, maple syrup, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil then lower the fire to low heat to keep the glaze warm, allowing the flavors to combine.
2.          In a large pan or skillet over medium low heat, add the coconut oil and allow to melt.
3.          While the coconut oil is melting, cut the tempeh into 4- ¼ inch (approximately ½ cm) thick slices. With a basting brush, spread a thin layer of the warm glaze on each side of the tempeh pieces and sprinkle each side lightly with salt.
4.        Once the coconut oil is hot, add the tempeh and allow to pan-fry for 10-12 minutes per side resulting in a golden-brown crust.
5.          Once you turn the tempeh over to cook on the other side, begin to prepare the pear ribbons. Cut the pear in half  (leaving peel in tact) and using a peeler, slice very thin ribbons of pear incorporating both the flesh and the peel. Slice 5-6 ribbons per tempeh piece or your desired amount. Set aside.
6.         When tempeh is almost finished frying, use a sieve to strain the glaze into a small bowl so as to remove the garlic and ginger. Add half of the glaze to the pan of tempeh. Coat both sides with the glaze and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes per side.
7.          Remove the tempeh from the pan. Serve immediately with pear ribbons propped on top and remaining glaze drizzled over each tempeh slice. Garnish with a sprinkle of minced cilantro.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mighty Mushroom Miso

Lately all I've been able to think about are MUSHROOMS! There is one mushroom in particular that has an incredible ability to stimulate the immune system called the shiitake mushroom so I thought this week would be perfect to incorporate it into some Miso. 

I gathered the following ingredients and 10 minutes later... alas I had miso!

1 leek
2 cloves garlic
1 daikon radish
2 cups shiitake mushrooms (chopped)
2 T soy sauce or braggs aminos 
2 T miso paste (I used barley variety)

Saute leek and garlic for 1 minute in coconut oil. Add 4 cups of water and the rest of the ingredients. Boil until the mushrooms are soft. Add the miso and salt to taste.

Such a warming soup for the week ahead. Enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ringing in the new year with some black eyed peas!

O.k I know I'm a day late but better late than never eh? This week's vegetable super star is collard greens but I thought it would be a great chance to throw some good luck into the recipe with some black eyed peas! Class started today and boy am I going to need some good luck: )

Here is such an easy recipe that I modified from Oh She Glows.

  • 2 cans of black eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of garam marsala
  • 2 teaspoons of tumeric
  • 3 cups of collard greens
  • 1/2 t – 1 t Lime juice (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt spices and sauté until tender, a couple minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, black eyed peas  and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the stew come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another few minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Here's what collard greens have to offer you:
As an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese, and a good source of vitamin E, collard greens provide us with 4 core conventional antioxidants.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits
As an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA), collard greens provide us with two hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients

Digestive Support
The fiber content of collard greens—over 5 grams in every cup—makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support. You're going to get 85% of your Daily Value for fiber from only 200 calories' worth of collard greens!