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Braised Lamb Shoulder with Mixed Spices

I came up this recipe on my own on a whim. When you didn’t have anymore decent emergency protein handy, gotta improvise a bit. Feel free to adjust the seasonings accordingly. I didn’t really measure them exactly, just whatever spices combo that came in my mind when preparing the marinate. Of course, feel free to use any kind of protein of your choice. 🙂

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Mixed Spices
Ingredients:
2 lbs of lamb shoulder – chopped (mine was pre-cut already)
2 Tbs peppercorn
Dash of caraway seeds
Nutmeg
Coriander powder
1 white onion – chopped
4 whole cloves
1/4-1/2 cup coconut aminos
Salt
Handful of fresh lime leaves
1 Tbsp butter

Directions:
1. Mix the seasoning (except cloves, onions, lime leaves and butter) in the bowl.
2. Using a gallon size zip lock bag, marinate the lamb shoulders for about 2 hour or overnight.

3. Heat the pan in medium heat with 1 Tbsp butter
4. Saute the chopped onions, fresh lime leaves, whole cloves until fragrant
5. Pour in the lamb shoulders – including the marinate
6. Cover and cook for about 1 hour in medium low heat or until the lamb is tender (I used pressure cooker so I cooked it under pressure for about 20 minutes, turned off the heat and let the pressure came down for about 15-20 minutes)
7. Serve!

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6 Comments

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in food, recipe

 

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Chaotic Sunday Cooking

On Sunday morning, I got up a little later than usual and I had a bunch of things to do.

So many that I even had to write them down to keep my sanity.

On the list:
– Five Spice Baked Chicken – marinate DONE!
– Cream Broccoli soup
– Butternut squash puree
– Dumplings
– Marinate tofu – press first
– Vacuum/cleaning
– Ab-tastic Exercise Challenge

Obviously, I didn’t finish everything on one day.

Here what I managed to do:
– Five Spice Baked Chicken – baked
– Cream Broccoli soup
– Dumplings
– Ab-tastic Exercise Challenge
– Pressed the tofu

K was kind enough to do the vacuum and cleaning 🙂

Five Spice Baked Chicken (Primal)
Ingredients:
– 2 cornish hen
– 1 white onion -sliced
– 1 Tbsp honey
– 3-4 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
– 2 tsp salt
– 3-4 tsp five spice powder
– 3-5 garlic cloves
– 1 inch of ginger

Directions:
1. Mash garlic and ginger with mortar pestle or food processor
2. Mix with the tamari soy sauce and five spice powder

3. Line the sliced white onions on the baking dish
4. Place 2 cornish hen and rub the seasonings generously

5. Marinate for about 4 hours or overnight.
6. Bake for about 1 hour or until done in 425°F – turn it over once (I reduced the heat to 375°F towards the end b/c the onions start to get burn)

Not quite pretty but taste very very yummy! 😀 It has similar taste to those char siu sauce. Who needs a sodium, msg, processed sugar and chemical added store bought char siu sauce when you can make it your own? The onions gave the sweetness and nothing beats the smell of caramelized onions! Hmmm….

Next…
After I saw Zuzana from Bodyrock.tv posted her Broccoli Cream Turkey Breast recipe I couldn’t wait to try it. As usual, I always HAVE to tweak the ingredients. For some reason I just CAN’T stick to the recipe to the “T”.

The recipe should be very simple but since I don’t like do good with milk, I used my homemade almond milk. I spent at least 1 hour to make the almond milk prior making the dish. But fresh almond milk always taste the best 😀

Cream Broccoli Soup with Chicken (modified from Bodyrock.tv)Primal
Ingredients:
About 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts -cubed
3-4 broccoli crowns
About 2 cups of almond milk
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
Salt, pepper
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 white onion – minced
2 shallots – minced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp avocado oil

Optional:
– chopped walnuts
– shredded carrots

Directions:
1. Heat up the pan with 1 Tbsp avocado oil in medium high heat
2. Saute onions, garlic and shallots until translucent – add in the butter
3. Pour in the almond milk- bring slowly to boil – don’t over boil – just simmer is enough
4. Once it simmers, add the chopped broccoli

5. Season with coriander, salt, and cumin to taste
6. When the broccoli is soft, turn off the heat and let it cool down
7. While waiting, heat up a pan with 1 Tbsp avocado oil in medium high heat
8. Lightly pan fry the cubed chicken meat until brown
9. After the soup has cooled down, puree it in your food processor

Serve!

Instead adding the chicken into the soup, I decided to keep it aside and add them in when consuming it.

Option: Add grated carrots and chopped walnuts or any other nuts for extra crunch!

The cream broccoli soup might not look appetizing (it reminds me of baby food LOL) but it taste AH-mazing!

Still with me? One more: Dumplings!

Pork Dumplings/ Meatballs (not quite primal due to the gluten in dumpling wraps)
Ingredients:
– 2 lbs ground pork meat (I picked a meat cut and asked the butcher to ground it. I don’t like buying pre-grounded pork)
– 1-2 jicama – minced
– 1 egg
– 3 green onions – chopped
– 1-2 cups of shredded cloud ear fungus
– 3-5 cloves of garlic
– 1 inch of ginger
– 1 white onion -minced
– 1/2 tsp white pepper
– 3-5 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
– 1/2 package of dumpling/wonton wraps (to keep it primal, skip the wraps and just make meatballs)

Directions:
1. Mash garlic and ginger (I used mortar pestle)
2. Soak the dried cloud ear fungus until soft
3. Mix all ingredients (mushrooms, mashed ginger-garlic, chopped jicama, chopped green onions, egg) – season accordingly.



To taste, boil a little bit meat piece in microwave.
4. Wrap in the dumpling skin

place the meat in the middle - not too much

wet the edges with egg white wash or water

fold diagonally

connect the corners together

5. Boil a pot of water
Good ones – boil for about 5 minutes – until it’s floating

Badly wrapped – steam for about 7 minutes or more

Dash with sesame oil – serve!

I froze the rest of the meat mixture for another time. Next time I might just steam the meat 🙂

Remember the homemade chicken broth I made?
It came handy to make this super simple vegetable soup!

tomatoes, carrots, some Asian veggies – yummers!

After all those chaos, I still completed my workout of the day! 😀

Do you always stick to the t when following a recipe?
I can never make same dishes exactly the same. There’s always something a bit different from the last time I made it. Baking on the other hand is the ONLY thing that I usually do it consistently.

How do you and your significant other or roommate divide the house chores?
I usually do most of the cooking and some cleaning, K does most of the cleaning and dishes. 🙂

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2011 in food, soup

 

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Homemade Almond Butter with Flaxseeds

When I saw my local grocery store sold their dry roasted raw almonds for $3.99/lbs, I know I just had to grab some! Most places I’ve seen are selling at much higher price! Besides they sell it in a bulk bin so we can scoop as many as we want. I got total 3lbs of almonds.

I bought a bag of Roasted Golden Flaxseeds from TJ a while back and it had been sitting in my freezer forever. An idea popped in my head: Why don’t I make Almond Butter with Flaxseeds instead?

Super Easy Homemade Almond Butter Flaxseeds
Ingredients:
1 cup of dry roasted raw almonds
About 3/4 cup Roasted golden flaxseeds – I’d reduce it to 1/2 cup next time

Directions:
1. Blend flaxseeds in your food processor until mostly grounded

2. Next pour in the almonds

3. Blend at high speed for about a minute – occasionally stop and scrub the sides. – at this point you got almond meal

4. Keep blending until it becomes nut butter

Like this!

VOILA!

Hmm…the smell of the roasted flaxseeds sure heavenly!

Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.

Use it for dippings, make raw almond cookies etc.

Super easy!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in food, recipe

 

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Cocomania Primal Dishes

After I received my iHerb order, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer to start cooking with them!

Just like the title, I used Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos.

Minced Meat & Mixed Veggie Quiche (inspired from Nom Nom Paleo)

Ingredients:
1.5 lb ground pork (or any other meat)
1/2 onion – minced
1.5 cup shredded cloud ear fungus (you can find this in Asian market -usually they’re dried – has to be soaked in water before use)
1 shallot – minced
Broccoli slaw (I made my own using my food processor – shredded broccoli stems with carrots – the amount is up to you – I like mine with lots of veggies
1/2 fresh jicama – minced
1-2 Tbsp raw coconut amino (or tamari soy sauce or regular soy sauce if you’re not into Primal/Paleo)
6 small eggs (or less if you use large eggs – lightly beaten season with some salt – not too much)
1/2″ ginger – peeled and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

Directions:
1. Heat up non stick skillet in medium heat – put in the coconut oil -it was solid in this cool temperature.
2. Once the oil melted, saute the onions, shallot, ginger, and jicama until onions are translucent.
3. Mixed in the ground meat, stir
4. When the meat is half cooked, pour in the broccoli slaw and the shredded cloud ear fungus
5. Season with salt and pepper accordingly (don’t go too overboard with the salt)
6. Pour in the coconut amino acids/soy sauce
7. Remove from the heat and pour in the meat mixture into a baking pan (already lightly greased with oil or butter)
8. Preheat oven to 350F
9. Pour in the beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes.

Easy Seaweed Medley Stir Fry (Vegan)

Ingredients:
1/2 onion – minced
1.5 cup shredded cloud ear fungus (you can find this in Asian market -usually they’re dried – has to be soaked in water before use)
1 shallot – minced
Broccoli slaw (I made my own using my food processor – shredded broccoli stems with carrots – the amount is up to you
1/2 fresh jicama – julienne
1-2 Tbsp raw coconut amino (or tamari soy sauce or regular soy sauce if you’re not into Primal/Paleo)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 cups of soaked seaweed

Directions:
1. Heat up non stick skillet in medium heat – put in the coconut oil -it was solid in this cool temperature.
2. Once the oil melted, saute everything
3. Season with salt and pepper accordingly (don’t go too overboard with the salt)
4. Pour in the coconut amino acids/soy sauce

Easy peasy healthy quick fix meal 😀

Tropical Citrus Chicken


Ingredients:
1 lb chicken breasts (boneless & skinless) – cube cut
3 ripe tomatoes – diced
1/2 onion – minced
1/2 ginger – julienne
3 garlic cloves -minced
1 shallot – minced
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup of fresh orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken meat with salt – set aside for 15 minutes
2. Heat up the non stick skillet to medium heat, add 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3. Lightly pan fry the chicken meat until light brown – set aside
4. Heat up 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
5. Sautee the garlic, onions, shallots and ginger until the onions translucent.
6. Mix in the tomatoes and the pineapple chunks, stir until everything incorporates together
7. Pour in the orange juice and cover the skillet for 2 minutes
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste
9. Mix in the chicken meat, mix until everything incorporates together
10. Increase the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce a bit
11. Remove from the stove and serve!

This taste ahmazing! With a slight hint of coconut oil mix and the citrus juice it gave that fresh taste. Not to mention the citrus juice tenderized the chicken meats.

I love coconut oil and I love how much healthier it is. It got bad reputation because of the saturated fat and cholesterol but those are NOT TRUE! This article and this explain it well.

So does the chart below (source)

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of blogs that talk about this Primal/Paleo. The more I know, the more interested I am into this.

One quote I like:
“Primal is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”

The main thing about being Primal is you eat whole foods (veggies, meat, fruits and nuts) and avoid grains/gluten/starch and sugar as much as possible.

I saw this post about being vegetarian can be primal as well.

Since last week, I’ve been totally primal (finally I cut out grains/wheat from my diet) and I’ve been feeling great! Before I usually had wheat toast for b-fast and always got super hungry before lunch time, or there was time I ate a bowl of oats and I felt way too stuffed (not in a good way).

Ever since I changed my breakfast menu to more primal (protein, fat, fiber and some fruit occasionally) I notice I could last all the way until lunch time. I feel full in a satisfying way, not overstuffed.

I know I’m not a strict Paleo/Primal as I still enjoy my dairy (greek Yogurt, cheese) and there might be time that I have to dine with friends and relative, which not quite Primal/Paleo approved. The point is if 90% of the time I stick to Primal/Paleo, 10% won’t hurt. Afterall we gotta enjoy our life to the fullest, right?

More info about Primal/Paleo can be found here and here.

Whatever your diet/lifestyle choices are, do you consider yourself to be strict on it or you can be flexible?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2011 in food, health

 

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Challenge Accepted!

Recognize the title? It was Barney Stinson’s quote from “How I Met Your Mother“.

How’s your week been so far? As for me, it’s kinda hard to get back into the grind after 2 consecutive short weeks *sigh* But at least I still managed to stay true to my workout schedule, except Monday.

Monday
I took a complete day off from working out, which was something I haven’t done for a month or two I think? Even though I am working out everyday, mostly they’re only 30 minutes max and on some days I only do short mini workouts which only about 15 minutes. All thanks to Zuzana’s workout style 🙂

Yesterday
I got a complete brutal workout which left me totally drenched in sweat despite the chilly morning. It always makes me feel good whenever I got good sweat from my workout.

However, the b-fast wasn’t quite great. I whipped out 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats with 1 cup of homemade almond milk and a dollop of homemade almond butter, remaining Kashi Go Crunch cereal crumbles and nuked it for about 4 minutes.

The oats turned out to be a little too thick and creamy (might be from the creamy almond milk?) After I consumed the whole bowl, I felt a little too stuffed, not in a good way.

I much preferred Monday’s b-fast

A glass of creamy unsweetened almond milk with 2 banana pancakes I made days ago

I made a bunch of tea eggs again on Sunday night and this time I used 4 Lipton tea bags, 2 star anises and a bit more salt. Results? More flavor! Love it!

And I had 2 of these!

Since I didn’t workout prior to the meal, I stick to non grain/starchy carbs and it made me felt great!

Anyway I’ve been obsessed with Banana Nut Squash! Yesterday I made b-nut squash soup with mixed veggies (carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic sprinkled with dried parsley) and with only couple dash of salt, that soup was super yummy!
Taste so good especially eaten in this chilly weather! Hubby loved it too!

So I made another batch of b-nut squash soup for the remained half. This time I pureed them in my food processor, resulting this creamy soup- without any cream at all.

Lately, I’ve been trying to cook without using sugar other than from fresh fruit juices and so far so good.

Braised Sweet and Sour Chicken
2-3lbs chicken breasts – cut in cubes/bite size
2 red apples or any apples – puree in food processor/blender
1-2 tsp salt to taste
1 bell pepper -diced (I used yellow color)
2 very ripe tomatoes -diced
1 inch of ginger – julienne
3-5 cloves of garlic -minced (or more if you are big garlic fan)
3-5 cubes of fresh pineapples
2 scallions -minced (separate the white and green)
1/2 apple – chopped

I pre cut this to save time for the next day

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken with pureed apple and salt for 4 hours or overnight

2. Heat non stick pan with cooking oil of your choice – lightly pan fried the chicken meat

I got lazy and was in short of time so I just sauted them instead. Not much time left to cook for dinner after you got home from work!

3. Saute the garlic, ginger and peppers until fragrant. Add in the remaining veggies.

4. Frankly I added 1/2 chopped apples (peeled) to give more taste. Add salt and apple cider vinegar accordingly.
5. Stir in the cooked chicken meat
6. Cover the pan in medium low heat for about 5 minutes.
7. Serve with veggies of your choice

with the puree b-nut squash soup..yum! I had 2 bowls of that!

This dish came a bit watery and doesn’t look pretty, but taste good! I love it (and so does K)!

So far I’ve been stayed true for not using any sugar in my cooking and it’s quite a challenge. I might wanna experiment with different fruits like pears, orange or even pineapple!

Another challenge that I’m doing is to not looking at myself into the mirror for 30 days! What it means I won’t trying to look at how much tone my arms/ how much more flat my abs need to be. I will only to look at the mirror if I’m combing my hair, adjusting my shirt and that’s it! This way I’ll be more focus on my work out and diet and I won’t let my physical appearance ruling my life.

Have you challenged yourself for something?

Do you watch any TV shows?
As lame as it sounds I watch “Desperate Housewives“, “How I Met Your Mother” (Neil Patrick Harris Doogie Howser MD was my childhood idol:P) and recently No Ordinary Family. Strangely though I never watch these on TV. I don’t have time to commit myself to watch them on their scheduled time so I usually watch them online later. And I don’t own cable TV (not even the basic one) nor TiVo.

Do you like to cram your to do list in one day?
I’ve made 3 doctor’s appointment in one day couple weeks from now. LOL. So glad I finally could cram those in one day so I only need to take 1 day off from work and no need to go back and forward!

Have a great week!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 5, 2011 in food, recipe, soup

 

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Chicken Patties

As I promised, here’s another recipe that I made recently.

Chicken Patties (adapted from Zuzana’s Chicken Patties)
Ingredients:
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts
Chopped cabbage (about 3-4 leaves?)
1/2 jicama – chopped into small cubes
3 garlic cloves – minced
2 carrots – coarsely chopped (I used food processor)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 brown onion – minced
2 egg whites (reserved the yolks for other thing)

1/2 jicama

Chopped cabbage, onions, jicama

Directions:
1. Heat a non stick skillet in medium heat, pour 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

2. Lightly saute the chopped veggies until the onions turn translucent. This to drain all the water from the vegetables so the chicken patties won’t be mushy.

3. Turn off the heat and let the veggie mixture cool down

4. Cut chicken breasts into small pieces. Then use your butcher knife and pound the chicken meat until evenly ground.
Good workout for your arms eh?

(Option: You can buy pre-grounded chicken meat from the market, but I am skeptical about pre grounded meat because I don’t know how fresh the meat is)

5. Pour in 2 egg whites into the ground chicken meat. Mix until everything incorporates.

6. Mix in the saute vegetable mixture to the ground chicken meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Option 1: You can lightly pan fry the patties for more color

But make sure to use medium low heat. Apparently they browned so quick!

8. Option 2: You can bake them in your oven in 350°F for about 20-30 minutes (depends on your oven -mine needs about that)
Lightly grease the baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil. Shape the chicken patty mixture into palm size.

I personally like the baked version better. It’s juicier, no burned parts and the appearance reminds me of shrimp patties. Probably the orange colors from the chopped carrots?

Happy New Year’s Eve!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2010 in recipe

 

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Being a little overactive lately and New Year

Hey everyone, how’s everything? Are you ready for the New Year yet? Any plans?

I don’t have one and am not planning for one either. My plan would be just chill and stay home. New Year’s Eve is the WORST time ever to go out. Traffic jam, crowded places, drunk drivers etc, you name it. So I prefer to have a nice, calm and safe New Year’s Eve.

We got another rain yesterday and it’s been FREEZING and blowing. I’m currently freezing in my room while typing this post.

Anyway, on Sunday we planned to have lunch at Ka Shabu Asian Fondue because I wanted to use Groupon that I got.

But bummer, they closed for lunchtime on that day. Special holiday hour, I guess.

So we swung by to this one instead: Sushi on Fire

we decided to get lunch specials

K ordered this Crunch Rolls - was ok..I only had one...just like California roll topped w/ tempura batter and drizzled with teriyaki sauce

nothing beats complimentary miso soup in the cold weather!

Lil bro ordered a bowl of ramen...that guy really likes ramen as much as rice 😀

ramen came w/ salad

hubby's bento lunch - chicken teriyaki

Mine - New York steak - I felt like having meat that day..and for some reason they forgot that I asked for extra salad in place of the rice

apparently they were kind enough to give me that extra salad!

I gave all the california rolls, rice and the fried gyoza to the boys. I only ate the steak and the salad (with very minimal dressing)

So what does the title of the post mean?

Well I’ve been pretty active in my kitchen experimenting cooking simple stuffs yet healthy and want to share them with all of you! 😀

Basic ingredients that I used in the following recipes:
Half of jicama – shredded (I used my Cuisinart food processor)
Bell peppers
Carrots
Cabbage
Garlic
Salt and peppers to taste

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Vegan)
1 package of firm tofu – pressed and drained – I used Furama tofu brand
Curry paste
5 bell peppers
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic -minced

I love colorful vegetables!

Note: I drained 2 packages of tofu, but actually I only used 1 (4 tofus total)

Directions:

Coarsely chopped carrots in your food processor

Same thing w/ the cabbage

Blend tofu in the food processor until smooth

Mix the mashed tofu, carrots, minced garlic and cabbage together until everything incorporates

Put about 1-2 tsp3 of curry paste - don't put too much or it'll has some bitter taste. Mine turned out that way..lesson to learn

Mix until everything incorporates. Also salt and pepper to taste

Slice the bell peppers horizontally, remove the stems

Stuff the bell peppers with the tofu mixture

Preheat non stick skillet medium heat and greased lightly with extra virgin olive oil.

Pan fry the stuffed bell peppers with the tofu mixture side down in medium heat

You could cover it to speed up the process 🙂

Flip and taa daa!

Serve them over a bed of steamed cabbage

Delish!

I had extra ingredients left so I made another batch of Cauliflower Fried Rice cooked with a bit of butter. This time it tasted even better than the first time I made it! Guess the extra veggies gave it more flavor. Hubby surely loves it!

I have one more recipe to share but this post is already long enough so I’ll post it next time 🙂

The year 2011 is upon us and we heard lots of people making New Year resolution/goal/intention/plan etc etc.

Personally, I am not a New Year resolution/goal/plan etc type of gal. For me it’s just another year and I don’t usually try to make a resolution or a goal or anything like that. I can always set my goal anytime, doesn’t have to be around New Year. I’m just hoping the year 2011 will be better than this year and the economy will pick up.

How about you? Do you have any New Year resolutions/goal/plan/intention etc?

Happy New Year!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2010 in food, vegetables

 

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