|November 9, 2015|
People used to tell me all the time that saying you “don’t have time” was an excuse. But I really believed I didn’t have time. And I used to look at those fit people who’d be at the gym every day and have these healthy looking meals packed with envy. I wished I had the time to meal prep they way they did.
I started a #90DayChallenge with my gym and since I started, I learned I DO have time. I spend one day over the weekend making all the food for the week. Then the rest of the week, I don’t have to slave over the stove every night trying to make something healthy, because I already did it already!
I had a few outings last week that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to a microwave. But I didn’t want a normal salad so I came up with this spicy Mexican corn salad. It’s a great option for a packed lunch because it’s a no-heat dish! (It’s also a no-cook dish so it’s super easy to prepare!) I just added a side of cold cocktail shrimp to add some protein to my meal and I’m ready for a healthy week.
Note: Notice my serving size is divided by 7 for easy meal prep. You’ll start to see a lot of my future recipes also divided by 7.
Mexican Corn Salad
Macros: 11.1g Fat, 33.1g Carbs, 7.5g Protein (Serves 7)*
- 3 cans of corn, no salt added
- 1 can of black beans
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 bundle of cilantro, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)
- 3 tbsp mayo
- Optional: cotija cheese
Gently toss the corn, black beans, tomato, onion, and cilantro together. (You can chop up some of the stem too. I’m lazy and don’t pluck off the leaves. I just chop the whole thing up.)
Next, put the habanero and garlic in a small food processor with the coconut oil and mayo and puree into a sauce (you definitely don’t want big chunks of habanero all in one bite). Then mix the sauce into the salad.
Top with some crumbled cotija cheese and serve with your choice of protein.
Spicy Note: if opting not to use a habanero pepper, feel free to use a garlic press and stir in the pressed garlic, coconut oil, and mayo – skipping any need for the food processor.
*Macros were calculated off Del Monte brand corn (5 cups), Sun Vista black beans (1.5 cups), 12 oz tomato, 10 oz onion, Hain organic brand coconut oil, Kraft mayo, and 3 oz cheese.
|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.
|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.
|February 19, 2013|
I was really craving an egg salad sandwich this weekend. Egg salad used to be a staple in my lunchbox. But I am definitely the type that wants is super creamy (aka covered in mayo). I also am not the type to sit there and stomach fat free mayo. Seriously? If you don’t like it, why eat it at all.
So back to this weekend. I decided to try a few things and see where it took me. Firstly, if you try to limit the mayo to only a teaspoon or so, it’s kinda dry. Does not satisfy a craving for egg salad what-so-ever. Secondly, never swap the mayo for cottage cheese. It’s kinda gross and lumpy (unless you’re really into cottage cheese then I guess you could try it). Thirdly, if all you used to add to your egg salad was mayo and S&P, then you will also learn that after swapping the mayo for a healthier alternative, you will need to add a little more than plain salt and pepper.
Finally, I was able to satisfy my craving and I am IN LOVE with my recipe (not to be tooting my own horn). I used Greek yogurt! The texture is thinner than the fatty-mayo version, so if you’re packing it for lunch, you might want to put it in a Tupperware and assemble your sandwich when your ready to eat to prevent the bread from getting soggy. But it’s really good. My boyfriend was skeptical (he’s not a healthy nutty like me), but even he liked it!
Healthy Egg Salad Sandwich
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 1/2 tbs plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbs chopped celery (about a 1/4 of a stock)
- 1/2 tsp chives
- 1/4 tsp (a pinch) of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 slices, bread of your choice (I used whole grain wheat bread)
Mash the hard boiled eggs in a bowl using a fork. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spread it on your bread. Easy peasy 🙂
(Next time I’m gonna try toasting the bread and see how that comes out.)
|January 29, 2013|
I’m a HUGE True Food Kitchen fan: food made with purpose and with intent that goes beyond flavor. Food that’s rich in nutrients and good for you. A good friend of mine that introduced me to this restaurant invited me to go hear Dr. Andrew Weil (the founder of the restaurant) speak. WHAT? How could I turn that down? Plus, he would be available to sign my copy of his cookbook after the show. Bonus points!
He spoke about so many things at this lecture I don’t even know where to start. It’s almost hard to pick and choose what to write about in this post. So I am going to pin point what had the biggest impact on me or what I personally found most interesting (and of course I will share the secret to his Kale Salad recipe).
Not only is Dr. Weil responsible for True Food Kitchen, he also has written numerous books about health and happiness. Many people in today’s society see happiness as being associated with luck or wealth. He believes “contentment is integral fulfillment.” What I took from this was not that we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves and reach for our goals, but to be able to stop and look our own life and say, “I am happy.” Sure, there are a lot of things I want to do and accomplish that I haven’t done yet, but it doesn’t mean I’m not content. Ultimately, being happy and content with your present state will only help you live a better life physically and mentally helping you to achieve those future goals.
During his seminar, he gave us a breathing technique to help with anxiety and stress. I tried it and it really does have a calming effect. It’s recommended to do no more than 4 sets of the exercise in one sitting.
- Place your feet flat on the floor. Back straight. Your tongue should be touching the roof of your mouth.
- Breath in through the nose for 4 seconds
- Hold for 7 seconds
- Breath out through the mouth (forcefully) for 8 seconds
And finally, I know this last part is random but I can’t help but to point this out. Leaving the lecture, one thing I found funny was the amount of people taking the elevator. After listening to an hour or two of Dr. Weil talk about being healthy and eating and exercising and all this good stuff, you would think that there would be an influx of people opting for the stairs…nope. I know our seats were more than a few flights up the stairs but seriously, such an inspiring speech I would think would make more people consider stairs as an option. Especially because going down is always easier than the climb up.
True Food Kitchen’s Kale Salad (with a few modifications)
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pinch of red pepper chili flakes
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- free range organic eggs (optional)
To prepare the kale, wash very thoroughly in cold water. Seriously, wash it good: One time I got kale from a farmer’s market and you know it was freshly picked when there were these little green bugs in there. Completely safe but still, you don’t want to eat those. Then slice the kale along the stem. The stems can be tough to eat so when eating raw kale, it’s normal to omit the stems from the recipe. Slice the leaves in smaller bites to your preference.
In a salad bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and chili flakes. Add the kale and toss until evenly coated. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 – 30 minutes. (That’s right! This is the secret. There’s something about the lemon and salt combo that pulls some of the bitterness out of kale according to Dr. Weil.) Then add the grated cheese and toss again. Serve into individual bowls. True Food Kitchen’s recipe calls for 1 tbs of toasted whole wheat bread crumbs which they tossed in with the cheese. I omitted this to be gluten-free friendly and I also try to avoid extra carbs when they can easily be excluded.
Pan fry an egg using some of the leftover salad dressing. I did mine sunny-side-up but you can prepare yours how you choose. Then slide it out of the pan onto your salad. The egg is something I added to the recipe, not served at True Food Kitchen. I personally like salads as a meal and thought it needed some additional protein (and eggs are my favorite). I am sure hard boiled eggs wouldn’t be half bad either if you are taking this as a packed lunch.
1. Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and very low in fat. One cup of kale has only 34 calories, 5% of your daily fiber and 0.5 grams of fat.
2. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health. Iron deficiency is a leading cause of anemia, common in the vegan and vegetarian communities.
3. Kale is filled with Vitamin K and other antioxidants. Vitamin K and antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
4. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Adding more kale to your diet can help lower cholesterol levels.
5. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk.