|October 30, 2014|
A while ago, I visited Koreatown for the first time in Los Angeles with a bunch of other food bloggers in the area. Christina of Christina’s Cucina was our tour guide for this food crawl. It was my first time ever in a Korean market and boy was I glad Christina was our tour guide. There were so many things that I’d never seen before or never cooked with before. By the time our crawl ended, I had a full bag of groceries and somewhat of an idea on how to use them…
What I learned was…
1. Most food packaging is not in English, but most still have the ingredients and nutrition listed in English.
2. Watch out for MSG. It’s in a lot of products offered at a Korean supermarket.
3. When they have jerky-like fish samples… it’s not jerky. It’s meant to flavor broth.
4. You can buy SO MUCH MORE in terms of produce. It’s a lot cheaper. Even organic food is cheap!
5. I love buckwheat noodles. They have a similar texture to normal noodles but have protein in them! Great way to sneak in extra protein on those cheat days when I eat carbs.
6. Bibimbap is actually a pretty healthy lunch option, as are many Korean food items.
7. It’s official. I can’t resist the milk tea and boba… No wonder why I rarely go to a mall. The boba calls to me.
8. Kimchi (or Kimchee) is really cheap and easy to make. Save yourself the $ and just make it yourself.
Easy Kimchi (Kimchee) with Sriracha
- 1 head of napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white rice vinegar
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1/3 cup sriracha
- 1 bunch of scallions
Quarter cabbage lengthwise, then chop into pieces. The size of your chop depends on how little or big you want each bite. I chopped 2 to 3 inches each piece.
In a large bowl, toss with 1/2 cup of kosher salt and let stand for 2 hours at room temperature. Toss occasionally (about every 20-30 min) while it sits. Drain excess water as needed when tossing.
Rinse cabbage with water & drain. Squeeze out all the excess water with your hands and transfer to a large bowl. Tip: I used a colander during this process. It makes it much easier to rinse & drain.
Purée garlic and ginger with vinegar in a blender & pour over cabbage. Add scallions and sriracha. Toss until the cabbage is evenly covered.
Put it in a jar and let it marinate overnight in the fridge & enjoy!
Note: The longer you let the flavors marinate in the jar, the better you’re kimchi will taste. If you have the patience, wait a week before eating it.)
Storage: The best type of containers to store Kimchi is in a glass container. The red juice can stain plastic containers. Keep it in the fridge. It should last you a while because it’s fermented. Mine lasted me about 2 months before I ate it all (and it wasn’t bad yet). I have no idea how long it actually will last because I ate mine before I could find out.
>> If you keep yours longer for 2 months, let me know and I’ll update this to let other readers know how long it lasts.
|January 28, 2014|
So I finally broke down and bought a juicer. I love my Vitamix but some times you just want a juice. There are definitely pros and cons on both sides of the juicing-blending spectrum. Since I bought my juicer, I really can’t say which one I like better.
Blending vs. Juicing
When you juice, most of the fiber is stripped from the fruit. However, with the lack of fiber, fresh juice requires minimal digestion giving the digestive system a break. The concentrated form of nutrients can be more quickly absorbed in the body. That being said, that also means the natural sugars from the fruit and veggies will also be absorbed quicker and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Blending only breaks down the fruit you put in so all the fiber is left in there for you to drink. It’s still in a liquid form so it still delivers nutrients faster than eating the whole fruits would be, and without significantly spiking blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content. However, if you’re comparing how much fruit and veggies yielded one cup of your drink, juicing uses more fruits and veggies, packing in more nutrients. And when blending things like carrots, it is very unlikely you will get a juice consistency without watering it down.
Having now been juicing for a week (supplemental to solid foods), I do think despite the fact that juice is not rich in fiber like smoothies are, it does not mean it won’t “clean you out.” Haha! So really, it’s personal preference and up to you to do your research. There really isn’t and answer to which is better for you because our bodies all take what we eat differently. But I CAN tell you I am kinda addicted to my juicer now. It’s super fun! I already have some more juice recipes planned for you all 🙂
Orange Carrot Juice
Macros: Fat 1g, Carb 56g, Protein 4g
- 2 oranges (peeled)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 apple (cored)
- 1 cup fresh spinach (or one large handful)
Follow your juicer’s instructions and juice those babies! Feel free to try different apples and figure out which is your favorite. I personally went the cheap route and bought a bag of whatever was on sale. Recipe should give you 2 servings as a snack or one serving if you’re having it as a meal. (Macros were calculated on the whole recipe, not by servings.)
And if you’re new to juicing, my friend Catherine from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth wrote a great post called “Juicing for Dummies.” It covers everything from shopping for your fruits and veggies to cleaning your juicier.
Note: Some say it’s ok to juice whole apples because the seeds don’t have enough cyanide to be harmful. I decided why even eat ANY cyanide at all when it only takes a few seconds to core it. But if you core it you might not get as much juice because you’re wasting some of the apple. It’s up to you.
|October 23, 2013|
There are tons of tempting appetizers that pack more calories than cheeseburger. Stay away from creamy or cheesy apps and dip into some guacamole.
Avocados pack a dose of healthy fats into your diet – rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, B6 and your Omega-3s.
Really, where the turning point is when eating guacamole are the excessive amounts of chips usually involved. Just like when I go to any mexican food restaurant, I limit my number of chips before I even start eating them, counting the chips as I eat – that way I hold myself accountable to a quantifiable number.
- 2 avocados
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 of a roma tomato, finely diced
- 1/8 of a white onion, finely diced
- 1/2 of a jalapeño, finely diced, seeds removed
- 1 tsp lime
- 1 orange bell pepper (optional for garnish)
- blue corn chips (or the chips of your choice)
Cut avocados in half and remove the seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel and put in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado until you reach your desired consistency. (Personally, I like mine a little chunky.) Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together.
To make the Jack-O-Lantern bell pepper, use a pairing knife and cut a face out. (I free-handed it.) Pull any seeds or flesh out that interfere with the face through the cut mouth opening.
Serve with blue corn chips (they look black) and/or slices of orange bell pepper.
You can play around with the jalapeño and add more or less if you like things more mild or on the hot side. This recipe yields for a mild to medium guacamole (in my opinion).
|September 16, 2013|
So this recipe I actually created as one of the first recipes for my blog, but I came across the issue of not having a high speed blender OR a food processor. If you aren’t sure if you have a high speed blender versus a regular blender, generally the question to ask yourself is, “does my blender work as well or better than a food processor.” Ok, well that may not be the official question to ask yourself but I sure asked myself that one.
The first time I tried making this I put the avocado and banana in a blender with the almond milk, thinking that it might blend like I was making a smoothie and I would add all the other ingredients after. FAIL! There was not enough liquid so it barely blended and there were still chunks of avocado and banana. I ended up pouring it into a bowl and trying to mash it by hand and then I whisked the ingredients together. I ended up with chunky pudding, and no one wants chunks of avocado in their pudding. It was gross. So if you get chunky pudding, you might not have a high speed blender.
But after all said and done, I am finally sharing my recipe (and it tasted good this time) because I finally got my kitchen essentials. I got a food processor as a house warming present from a friend and this Summer I bought a Vitamix at the OC Fair. So giving it another whirl, my recipe really was good once the chunks were no longer in the equation. Enjoy 🙂
PS – I promise you that you can’t taste the avocado. It’s my secret ingredient … it adds the creaminess to the pudding without any dairy products.
Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding
- 1 ripe avocado (pitted & peeled)
- 1 overripe banana
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if you can’t eat it all in one sitting. It should serve two for a snack or one for a full meal. Feel free to garnish with an extra banana cut into slices (to get a similar look to my photos).
If you are like me and add protein powder to everything: Reduce the honey to 2 tbsp and hold the cocoa powder. Add a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the blender or food processor. Then add raw cocoa to taste. You probably wouldn’t be adding any more than a few tablespoons max. Most flavored protein powders will have enough chocolate to flavor your pudding. Also, they usually have added sweeteners which is where the decrease in honey comes in. Of course if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can add more honey.
As for using the raw honey – You don’t have to use raw, I just prefer raw because it’s less processed. Easy 1:1 conversion for raw versus regular honey if you don’t have raw. Although I suggest you try raw honey at some point. It tastes amazing!!!
|July 8, 2013|
A coworker of mine brought in a ton of HUGE white grapefruits for everyone to take home. I didn’t know much about white grapefruits. Most grapefruits I’ve eaten are pink inside. After doing what anyone would do (hello Google!) I discovered white grapefruits are generally a little more tart and bitter than the pink ones, which tend to be a little sweeter.
So I figured I’d try it in recipe like a lime. Less sour so I could make a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, no salt needed to balance out the sour. I’d never experimented with them before but my recipe was a success!
Sneak peek into my next recipe: it also includes white grapefruit and has my best friend’s stamp of addition on it, so you better buy some extra grapefruits. I’ll post that one later this week once I get my new memory card reader in the mail. (I lost mine, fail).
White Grapefruit Cilantro Dressing
- 1/2 white onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic (I used 4 because my cloves seemed larger than usual)
- 1 bundle of cilantro (about 1.5 cups chopped)
- juice of 1 white grapefruit (no more than 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure it says for dressing and not for frying)
Put the onion and garlic in the food processor and chop fine. Add the juice and chopped cilantro. (My cilantro comes from the regular market in a bundle and I have seen it like that at multiple stores. But if your store doesn’t sell the cilantro in a bundle, once you chop it up it should equal around 1.5 cups.) Once it’s all chopped, almost like a pesto, add the olive oil and continue to allow the food processor to do it’s work until it’s all mixed and chopped into a pesto (or liquid) form.
Recipe makes about a full bowl full. If you make it, plan to eat it all week or freeze some for later.
Note: A really nice high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec will be able to process the recipe into a liquid. More cost effective products like my food processor (a Cuisinart) will produce more of a pesto texture.
ALSO!!! This recipe tastes amazing cooked as well!!! Sorry, I don’t have any photos but I have been making my scrambled eggs with it, and using it as a sauce for chicken on the BBQ. It’s very versatile. If you prefer a less potent garlicky oniony taste, you can sauté the garlic and onion before adding it to the food processor. I keep mine raw until I add it into my recipes (like my grilled chicken) so I have the option to cook or not to cook. AND, pre warning you – worst garlic breath ever. Definitely not a good date food, haha.