Sunday, December 16, 2012

Food Allergy ALERT!

     First off, Sorry this post is so long but there was no short way to say it all.

     For the past six months I have been dealing with health issues. It all started with frequent infections that I couldn't seem to shake for good. I was also having more sinus issues than normal and headaches. I also felt tired often (but I never really use this as a symptom for anything because I feel like who isn't tired often? haha). Anyways I saw probably five different doctors for the infections and was finally told that I would be given a 12 month supply of a prescription and I should just take a pill like clockwork every time I could feel an infection coming on. So for the rest of my life basically I would be swallowing pills and dealing with the side of effects of an antibiotic....something about this seemed messed up so in one last desperate effort I decided to go see a Naturopathic doctor (something that was easier now that I lived in a big city with tons of them). Basically after a variety of tests she ran on me (including allergy test, hormone tests, thyroid, adrenal etc) it was discovered that I had a pretty serious allergy to milk.
     An allergy to milk is different than lactose-intolerant. I am literally allergic to the proteins in milk (any kind of animal's milk) and apparently I'd be allergic my entire life but it had slowly gotten worse. My allergy was not the kind that showed itself with rashes or stomach issues like many peoples. An allergy is essentially when your body does not recognize something (in my case milk) and your immune system attacks it. So basically I was constantly forcing my body to be at war and I was quickly tiring myself out and causing all sorts of problems on the side because my entire body had gotten so out of whack. I also was on the verge of developing an allergy to gluten, but it wasn't quite at that point yet. At first I was like "well it's only milk, that's fine, I can live with that". But then when I realized all the things milk were in it started to look very hopeless and depressing (MILK chocolate, butter in anything, cheese! that means cheese ravioli, macaroni and cheese! any kind of cake made with butter!)
     My doctor suggested that I go on a cleanse to help "reset" my body. The cleanse would last four weeks. At first all I could think of was the celebrity diets you hear about where they just eat grapefruit and juice or vinegar for days and they lose tons of weight only to gain all of it back when they stop. However she quickly explained to me this cleanse was more about detox than weight loss. I could eat as much as I wanted, but only certain foods. Immediately I began to wonder if this was all worth it (and I might add that before I finally started the cleanse the boyfriend and I went out for Mexican and I proceeded to spitefully consume half a bowl of cheese dip- which later I will confess gave me a headache) It was christmas! and everyone knows the holidays are an intense time of eating haha and baking and candy and I could go on but I will only torture myself haha. Regardless I weighed my options, slowly watch my body fight itself into exhaustion or suck it up for four weeks and try this cleanse. I decided to try the detox cleanse. Initially I wanted to do it on my own by researching a cleanse on the internet instead of paying my doctor for a plan and the supplements but it was all so confusing and most the cleanses I found were about weight loss which is not what I wanted so in the end I chose to do it the safe way with my doctor.
     The weirdest part about learning about my allergy was realizing how many people have food allergies. It's kind of scary. There are various controversial ideas on why this is. If it's the toxins were being exposed to or how our food is too modified etc. All I know is either way I don't get to eat chocolate chip cookies haha. Anyways! My main point in posting this was to share some of the awesome resources I've found, I'm still searching so I will be posting more and more but there are a lot of good options for people with food allergies or intolerances. It especially helps if you live in a city because there are more health food stores, vegan bakeries, raw food restaurants etc. Eating right can be costly but in the long run if you do it right it's not that much more expensive and your health should be the thing you want to spend money on. I read somewhere that eating healthy only costs about 2$ more per food group so in the long run, not that much.
   Also there are a lot of people (like myself) who have seemingly unrelated medical problems that no one can seem to figure out and then it turns out it's a food allergy and voila problem solved!So if you've been struggling with some health issue or headaches, fatigue etc you may want to do some googling and if it seems to point to a food allergy go to an allergist and talk to them. I felt SO frustrated and helpless because I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I felt like I was going crazy. Even though giving up dairy (and for the most part gluten) and going through this cleanse is going to be tough at east I found out what was going on and that there is a solution.

    Here's a link to my Pinterest board in which I've started posting some gluten-free and dairy-free recipes and tips: CLICK!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
these are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg free! AND they actually look edible!!
    Also I am going to be posting about my cleanse later and giving tips etc so you can follow it and feel free to join in. Like I said, when I researched cleanses, everything said something different and I didn't feel confident enough to do it correctly without a doctor's supervision. However, I will be posting exactly what my doctor has recommended I do so people essentially can follow along on their own. A detox cleanse is not just for people with allergies but everyone could benefit from a cleanse at some point. It helps "purify" your body of all the crap you've put into it either by eating unhealthy food, or drinking, smoking etc etc. People claim to feel much better afterwards and more "connected" with themselves. I'm not at that point yet, I'll be honest. The only thing I want to connect with is a cheeseburger and a milkshake haha but I do notice that my body is healthier and I can already tell that at the end of this cleanse (2.5 more weeks to go!) I will feel much better and have a clean slate to start my dairy-free life!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Split Pea Soup

To me, split pea soup has always looked gross haha there's just no way to dress it up (as you can see from my lovely picture here haha-I'm pretty sure my blog wins least appetizing food pictures ever, but its ok I'm getting a decent camera for Christmas. all is not lost) but it always tastes SO good.

Anyways, pea soup is another perfect recipe for leftover ham, so after I made the Chunky Fleechky I used the ham bone to make the pea soup. Apparently you can also get really cheap ham bones from the Honey Baked Ham Co. stores.

It was my first time making it and I used the crock pot again, but there are ways to make it without one (my mom never made it in a crock pot and hers was always delicious). We got to enjoy ours with some of my boyfriend's aunt's homemade bread- SO GOOD. It's also a relatively cheap recipe depending on how fancy you want to get. Ours was pretty basic and still tasted delicious.

  • Ham bone
  • 1 bag of split peas (1 lb)
  • Carrots (I used about 9 baby carrots chopped up but you could use 2 large carrots instead)
  • Onion (diced)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp of dried parsley 
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 c diced ham (OPTIONAL, I didn't do this, but if your ham bone is really clean you may want to add in some diced ham for more flavor)
  1. Rinse peas in a strainer
  2. Layer ingredients in your crock pot in this exact order: Peas, ham bone (and diced ham if you want), carrot, onion, garlic, parsely, salt, pepper. Then pour water over the top of all of it. (I checked to make sure the water could get to the bottom of the crock pot so my peas wouldn't burn and stick to it- my crock pot can get pretty hot) DON'T STIR
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 8-10. You will know it's done because your peas will be very soft and mostly disintegrated and any ham left will be falling off the bone.
  4. Turn off heat and pull out the ham bone. I also pull out any chunks of gross fat or bits of bone that have fallen off into the soup. I then pulled any good chunks of ham I could off the bone and chopped them off and re-added them to the soup. 
  5. Stir soup and let sit uncovered for 10 mins so it will thicken. 
  6. Serve! (Preferably with a side of homemade bread haha)
*Something I also learned, when I refridgerated the leftovers they turned almost jello-like in consistency. I just added a little water and stirred and microwaved and repeated until I got the consistency back to somewhat normal*

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chunky Fleechky (yes you read that right)

So this is a truly original recipe. Don't bother googling it, no matter how you try spelling it, you won't find it haha (trust me I tried already). I don't know how long exactly this recipe has been in my family. I'm pretty sure its a Czechoslovakian recipe but it could be Irish. It's a great recipe if you have leftover ham.
I made mine in a frying pan but an electric griddle is the best thing to make it in. As you make this recipe you're probably going to be like, this doesn't look right...and that means that you've perfected it. It's the weirdest recipe and it's not going to seem delicious until you take a bite and then you'll be very surprised. I tested it on the boyfriend last night and I even made sure I burnt the crap out of it and he still liked it and was asking for more. (yes this is another plus to this recipe- the more you burn it the better it tastes, its pretty much foolproof). This recipe is also perfect for me because it's so cheap (cabbage is 64 cents!), it's pretty much impossible to mess it up and it doesn't take long at all to make.

Yes, this is ugly food but didn't your mama tell you not to judge a book by its cover!

Ingredients (serves 2)
*The amount of all of these is flexible- again this recipe is pretty much foolproof so just use these as a guideline

  • Ham (about 1/2 cup, cut in small cubes, more or less depending on how much ham you want)
  • Cabbage (1/2 head diced in small pieces)
  • Onion (1/2, diced)
  • Medium egg noodles (about 2 cups cooked)
  • Ketchup (this is a must! In fact we didn't have any and I ran to the store mid-cooking to pick some up)
  • Butter or oil
  1.  Boil water and cook noodles al dente (basically soft but still firm, use the minimum cooking time on the package as a guide)
  2. Put about 1 tbs of butter (or a little oil) in a frying pan (or electric skillet), then add cabbage. Let cabbage cook down until its soft.
  3. If you are not doing this in an electric skillet, saute your onions in a separate pan then add them to the cabbage. If you are doing this in an electric skillet add onions and let them cook until they're transparent. 
  4. Add your ham and cooked noodles to the pan
  5. Fry the crap out of everything. Don't burn it all the way black but crispy edges and brown bits make this dish better (for my family at least but we're probably weird)
  6. Enjoy (and serve with ketchup- I squirt mine liberally over the top of it all! SO good!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tomato and Goat cheese sort-of panini

I'm not a sandwich person- too much bread. But this is my favorite thing to make for lunch. EVER. Tweak it all you like and have fun with it. Mine varies according to what I have in my refrigerator but the basics are still there.

  • pita  bread
  • greens of some sort (I use baby spring mix)
  • goat cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette (I make my own with olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar and a little garlic powder)
  • tomatoes (sliced large ones or sometimes I split in half cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • prosciutto (if you want the protein- I've done it before and it's delicious but prosciutto isn't really one of those staples in most households haha)
  • 2 tbs chopped onion
  1. Put a little oil in a frying pan and add chopped onions and saute (if you don't know what that means its basically pushing them around so they don't burn until they turn somewhat see through and flimsy)
  2. Slice your pita bread in half then seperate the top and bottom to form a kind of pocket (See picture). I don't like that much bread but if you do you could just use two whole pieces of pita for a top and bottom instead of splitting one into a pocket.
  3. layer greens, goat cheese, tomatoes, onions and anything else inside of pita pocket then drizzle a little balsamic vinaigrette. (If you'd rather you can keep out vinaigrette and just dip your sandwich later)
  4. Put your two pita pockets in the already greased and hot pan and cook (flip every now and then and squish down with your spatula)
  5. ***If you have a george forman*** put the pita pockets on your george foreman and squish down the lid, watch carefully so they don't burn
  6. DONE! Enjoy

Crock pot Chili

The weather is getting chilly here in Atlanta! I like it because I get to wear my boots and layers (I am SUCH a girl) but I dislike it because warming my lovely house gets expensive so I've been keeping the thermostat at 65 and walking around the house in various robes and blankets haha.

BUT! another pro about cold weather is all the fun food. Hot tea, hot chocolate, the salted caramel mocha at starbucks haha, apple cider; thanksgiving is right around the corner so that brings lots of delicious food and another winter favorite is CHILI!

My mom makes the best chili (if you've been reading any of my posts then you would understand that her chili recipe is probably on the back of some package at the supermarket just like her cookie and jam recipes haha that I grew up thinking were some secret special recipe). However, this is not her chili recipe this is brought to your from your faithful friends at google ("crockpot chili")

It got good reviews. It was easy and it was cheap and as poor post-grads we intend on eating it for the next 2-3 days. (these are all of the reasons I started this blog- to bring to you delicious, fast, somewhat healthy and preferably inexpensive recipes)

So since this recipe is not original in any way shape or form you can access it here!
Also keep in mind:
  • you need a crock pot (if you don't have one, you should invest in one- my mom is awesome and got me a nice one from Sam's club that came with a cute mini one for fondue BUT! my old roommate found a perfectly good one at Goodwill for 5$)
  • It takes 7 hours to cook
  • If I did it again I would add a can of corn 
  • This recipe is for VERY mild chili (I'm a complete baby when it comes to spice and this is perfectly fine- so if you like spicy chili add some peppers or red pepper flakes and more cayenne pepper than the recipe calls for)
  • I also made corn muffins to go along with the chili straight from a box of Jiffy :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grandma's Apple Cake

So here's another awesome fall recipe! I just moved and I wanted to take something over to my neighbors. I decided it should be something a little more fun than just cookies so in the spirit of fall I decided to try to make my grandmother's apple cake. This is my favorite thing that she makes and my grandmother is an awesome baker. It was my first time trying it but it turned out delicious! Set aside a good amount of time to make this as it took me a while to peel, core and dice up my apples but if you have one of those awesome apple peelers or even an apple corer (is that a word?) it'll probably go a lot faster...
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c chopped nuts ( I used pecans. They were delicious but expensive! 15$ for a bag)
  • 4 or 6 diced and peeled apple chunks (My chunks were about 1 inch and I used about 4 Granny Smith apples which worked perfectly) *Fun tip: Freeze the peels then add them to post-workout smoothies for some added fiber
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix sugar + oil, add eggs and beat all really well together (I used a mixer but you could use a whisk)
  3. In seperate bowl stir baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour together.
  4. Add dry ingredients to your sugar, oil and egg mixture and mix together but don't blend (basically use either your mixer on the lowest setting or just stir it all together by hand)
  5. Add apple chunks and nuts (I wasn't sure how much apple to add and thought I had added too much as there didn't seem to be enough batter but it ended up working out perfectly)
  6. Bake for 60 minutes (this may seem like a long time and I kept checking it but it worked out perfect. Touch the top of the cake and if it springs back up it's done, if it causes a dent it's not)
yummy apple batter- I swear these pictures will get more appetizing once I get a better camera haha

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds (in flavors!)

So it's fall (more specifically it's halloween time) and that of course means pumpkin carving which of course means pumpkin seeds!

Don't judge me for what I'm about to say- I still can't scoop out the inside of my own pumpkin. It makes me gag. It's a texture thing I think. When I was young my parents did it. In college I bribed my friends to do it. This year the boyfriend refused to do it so I wore rubber kitchen gloves and managed to make it through. The only good thing about the disgusting inside of a pumpkin is the seeds. The lovely boyfriend redeemed himself by picking out all the seeds of both our pumpkins (he says this took him 3 hours, I think this is an exaggeration but regardless those 3 hours were well worth it.

I made three batched of pumpkin seeds with different seasonings (something I had never heard of until my friend was talking about cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds. Between a mix of google and common sense and learning from my mistakes I have come up with 3 recipes for the variety of roasted pumpkin seeds I made.

We stored our whole mess of pumpkin pulp and seeds in a mixing bowl in the fridge for 2 days until the boyfriend had time to pick all the seeds out. Then he stored them an additional day in the fridge until I had time to bake them. Put seeds in a colander then rinse them and get the big pieces of pulp off. Don't worry if some pulp stays; it adds flavor. Spread the pumpkin seeds out on a pan or towel and let them dry overnight. DO NOT let them dry on a paper towel. It will stick to them.

For each flavor I used about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt 1 tbs of butter in small bowl
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds
  4. mix all together (clean fingers work best)
  5. Add seasonings (as follows) mix altogether again
  6. Spread out on greased baking sheet (I used tinfoil for quick cleanup)
  7. Cook for 30 mins (Stir now and then during baking so the seeds cook somewhat evenly)

2 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbs red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs garlic powder
*Mix these together in the bowl, then once you've spread the seeds out on cooking sheet (make sure it's well greased) sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I used a blend of parmesan and asiago that came in a convenient shaker from my local Kroger and is normally used on top of spaghetti, so fancy- just kidding)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Peppers and Hummus

This is going to be just a small quick post but one of the best snack foods I've found is bell peppers and hummus. I'm not going to lie hummus is better with the garlic flavored pita chips but it's much healthier with bell peppers.
I have a couple secrets that make this snack easy and delicious
  1. I don't even buy pita chips anymore (resist the temptation haha)
  2. As soon as I get home I wash my peppers off and slice them up in long strips then put them in a Tupperware so whenever I'm in the mood they're already ready for easy dipping!
  3. My favorite hummus is Sabra roasted red pepper 
  4. DON'T use the green bell pepper. Technically they're not ripe yet so eating them uncooked can give you a stomach ache.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sushi: Guest Recipe! from my momma

     Colleen has been busy this week interning on a fabulous film being shot here in
Savannah, so your’s truly has volunteered (begged) to be guest blogger extraordinaire.
I feel quite honored as this blog is the bomb.
     As a new vegetarian, I have begun to find food a bit repetitive (rice + beans + corn =
mexican, rice + beans + edamame/bok choy = oriental, rice + peas (smaller beans) +
spinach = Indian) so Colleen purchased a new veggie cookbook for me with gorgeous
pictures that I would equate to food porn. Shannon (the famed hippy sister of previous
blog) and I realized that very few Sushi restaurants in Franklin have good vegetarian
sushi, so we embarked on a quest to make the perfect sushi roll. Even though I am
considered a decent cook, a food so beautiful intimidated the hell out of me. After a
few modifications, and several rolls, this is our recipe, and our tips. Enjoy!

  • 4 cups of cooked Japanese rice (sticky can be white or brown, follow directions on package for cooking)
  • nori sheets (basically seaweed paper)*
  • rice vinegar
  • mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • soy sauce or nama shoyu
  • shitaki mushrooms (they must be shitaki) 2 cups loose
  • 2 Tbls sesame seeds, toasted (sometimes you can find them toasted, but we will tell you how)
  • Vegetables of your choice (carrots, cucumbers, advocadoes, bean sprouts)
  • Sushi rolling mats (they look like little bamboo placemats and can be picked up for a few dollars wherever they sell the sheets of nori
  • Cream cheese if you are not vegan, cut into bricks 1/3 by 1/3 by 4 inches.

AND if you want Tempura Fried rolls
  • Tempura mix
  • Deep Fryer
  • Vegetable Oil

  1. The key to pretty and tasty sushi is cutting the vegetables to matchsticks. Theyshould be 1/4 in in heighth and width. They can be 2 or 3 inches long.
  2. Put between 2TBLS and 6 TBLS rice vinegar in your rice after it is cooked and still with a wooden spoon (do not “mush” it). This depends on your taste, so start with alittle and add more if you like.
  3. Chop your mushrooms up fine, about the size of peas. You should have about 1 cup.
  4. Toast your sesame seeds. Put them in a pie plate or cookie sheet and slide them under the broiler in your oven. Shake gently and check frequently, about every 30 seconds. When they are light brown remove.
  5.  Add your sesame seeds to the mushrooms. Add 1 TBLS Mirin and 1 TBLS soy sauce and mix. Even if you think you don’t like mushrooms, you will like this. And it really adds a nice texture and exotic flavor to the roll.

  1. Roll out your sushi mat so the wide edge is closest to you and the shorter edges are on the side. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top.
  2. Place a seaweed sheet on the mat with the shiny side down.
  3. Spread about 1 cup of sticky rice on the sheet, leaving 1/2 inch on the long side farthest from you and 1/2 inch on the long side closest to you bare. You will have to wet your hands to pat the rice down evenly and firmly.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup of those chopped mushrooms on the rice. YUM.
  5. Lay veggies in a strip in the middle (side to side, not front to back) of the square. It should be about 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide. Do not overfill. If you want, also put in a slender brick of cream cheese.
  6.  Begin to roll sushi away from you, folding over close bare long side of sheet to begin and then pressing with mat, continually rolling up sheet tightly while using mat to press and maintain cylindrical shape of roll. DO NOT ROLL THE MAT OR PLASTIC INTO THE SUSHI.
  7. Seal the roll by pressing firmly into the bare end and let the roll rest for several minutes.
  8. Cut the roll with a very very sharp knife very slowly to maintain shape.

  1. Prepare tempura mix. We found it easiest to make batter in a loaf pan because it was long and thus easy to dip the roll. Really use ice water. Let water sit with ice for several minutes then add to dry mix and stir. Gently. Do not over-mix. There will still be lumps.
  2. Put vegetable oil (not olive, not canola, not crisco) into deep fryer to the correct depth and let heat to between 375 and 400 degrees.
  3. Put uncut roll in batter. We used our hands and kitchen tongs. Cover ends. Retrieve and scrape off excess batter. We liked ours best when the tempura coating was very thin.
  4. Gently put the entire roll into the fryer. Let fry for about 3 to 4 minutes or until it is very light brown. If your roll is not submerged, be sure to use tongs to turn it.
  5. Remove with a slotted spatula or tongs. Place on paper towels.
  6.  Let cool a minute or two then cut.
  7. The cream cheese melts beautifully in these rolls. We restricted the veggies to mushrooms and carrots.


*We got all of our ingredients at Whole Foods, including the mats, but Publix probably
has them

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have been a bad blogger :/
I have been out of town for the past three weeks and now that I'm back in Savannah, I'm doing an internship and classes which have kept me busy. However here is a delicious recipe that I made for my mother when she came in town a couple weeks ago. It's healthy because it's baked instead of fried and it was pretty simple and doesn't require a ton of ingredients even for the sauce! I got the recipe from this site (Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken) and I didn't tweak it but I do have a few hints for you and some pictures!
  • Don't go too heavy on the cornstarch when dipping. and do dip cornstarch then eggs but shake off excess egg
  • Like the recipe says, DON'T cook the chicken all the way in the pan, look at my picture if you need help with when to take it out of the pan
  • Don't forget to turn your chicken every 15 minutes so that it cooks evenly

Assembly line: chicken, cornstarch, eggs
Chicken in pan
chicken just out of oven :)
Served with rice and salad with balsamic dressing! YUM!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I was in SPAIN!

Hey everyone!
Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I had finals, then graduation, then I went to Spain! I have a new recipe to post but it will have to wait for a couple weeks for technical difficulties.
However! In the meantime, I just got back from a trip to Barcelona and Granada Spain so I'm going to make a list of my impressions of spanish food.

  •  When in Spain you should probably stick to Italian food. 
    •  They have really good pizza and pasta if you can find it. I had a pizza with onion, pear, tomatoes, goat cheese and honey. I know it sounds disgusting but I'm going to try to make it here because it was delicious!
    • Spanish food is actually not very good at all haha or healthy. The don't have a lot of fresh stuff and they eat a lot of meat and fried things! Who would've thought?!
  • When in Spain, go to Granada and do a "tapas crawl"
    • I invented this word, but basically Granada, Spain was one of the coolest places I've ever been and if you go to a restaurant or cafe and order anything (even just a water!) they bring you a free tapas. You don't get to pick but normally it's pretty good and it's free!
    • So basically just go around to different cafe's ordering drinks and you will be full after about 4 free tapas!
  • When in Spain, expect to eat a lot of ham.
    • These people love their ham. It's on everything: pizza, toast, vegetables, it's even served by itself on a plate as a tapa.
    • I witnessed a small child point at a dead pig hanging outside a restaurant and the server smiled and chopped off a piece and handed it to the delighted child like it was a lollipop. The whole thing was very strange. I don't get it, but if you go to spain, I hope you like ham.
  • When in Spain, Tapa and Sangria yourself.
    • Sangria is delicious. It tastes actually a little spiced cider-ish. But really I drank Sangria at ever meal and they have cool straws with spoons on the end to eat the fruit with.
    • Tapas are the best invention for a picky eater like me. They're basically like small appetizers and you just order a bunch and share. You get to try a bit of whatever and you get to share it so if you don't like something hopefully your companion does, and it helps you avoid ordering a bunch of stuff you'll never eat. I was a big fan of tapas.
  • When in Spain (or really anywhere in Europe), eat Ketchup Chips and gelato daily.
    • Ketchup chips- I love them, you will love them. They taste like french fries, just trust me. 
    • Gelato- I don't need to explain this concept but you will get fat if you do this daily probably but I really happen to think that once you explain to people the 50 extra pounds is from daily gelato they will just be extremely jealous.
  • When in Granada, try a Churro
    • but not just anywhere or it may suck. There are key places that have the best ones so ask around. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (low carb AND delicious!)

So my boyfriend is on this new low carb diet. Wait, excuse me "it's not a low-carb diet. It's the PALEO diet and he's doing it to be more healthy".
Anyways regardless, the boy is basically only eating meat fruit and veggies (no dairy, no grains, no fun deliciousness basically). However the other day he was craving pizza and because I am such an amazing girlfriend I looked up a recipe for some sort of no-wheat pizza crust and found this!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
I know it sounds absolutely disgusting but it was actually really good! And it's healthy! It had dairy in it (cheese) but he relaxed his diet so he could try it just this once. I found the recipe from the blog above and followed it exactly however I have a few hints for how to make this.

  1. This is probably much easier if you have a food processor of some sort for the cauliflower but I did it with the cheese grater and it didn't actually take THAT long. 
  2. You want your cauliflower to be as dry as possible so I poured mine on a paper towel and tried to squeeze the moisture out of it that way.
  3. DO NOT overcook your cauliflower in the microwave. Make sure you cook it altogether. If you split it into smaller batches it will burn into a little black crisp (I am speaking from experience).
  4.  I greased my pan before I put the dough on it but it still stuck to it like glue and I had to get it up with a knife :/ I'm not sure if this is because I let it sit for awhile before putting the toppings on and putting it under the broiler or if I pressed my dough too thin but just be aware of this and try to use a super non-stick pan and grease it well!
  5. Pre-cook your ingredients before you put them on the pizza. I put spinach, mozzarella, goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes on mine so that wasn't necessary, but I did saute some onions before hand and then put them on.
  6. Watch it carefully under the broiler! It will start to burn the edges but the dark edges on mine didn't taste particularly burnt and I'd rather have that then a soggy center

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eat Right, Now. or Eat. Right Now.

I’m a small girl, I don’t think I’m fat, but I have a confession...

I am hungry or eating all the time and it used to be unhealthy food. So here are a few of my tips on How to eat mostly right on a small budget with a large appetite and a bit of a sugar addiction (like me):
  1.  Instead of drinking sodas (or in my case straight lemonade 24/7) buy powdered drink mix (i get country time lemonade at Sam’s Club but that's definitely not the best health-wise haha, i do make it weak though so technically less sugar) then buy POM juice or straight no sugar added all natural cranberry juice. Pour yourself a glass of your juice and add a splash of cranberry or POM. It’s yummy and it has lots of antioxidants and other good stuff that's in pomegranate and cranberry juice. You also save a bunch of money because one thing of POM will last you for awhile depending on how much you mix and powdered drink mix is pretty cheap as well.
  2.  Make your own trail mix. I take mine to class for break. I love freeze dried peaches or strawberries and you can get them in bulk from this great company Provident Pantry. They may seem expensive but they are so good and there are a ton in one can. Because they are just the pure fruit there are no additives and they last forever and have just as much vitamin c as the fresh fruit. I also add pecans and (because I have chocolate cravings 24/7) I bought almonds covered in cocoa powder. They’re healthier than chocolate covered ones and they’re really good and have protein. You can get them in a big jar for cheap at Sam’s.
  3.  Organic milk. I always used to avoid organic milk because as I insisted “I like my milk with as many preservatives as possible so it's not gross”…and don't worry I realized how stupid I sounded. However, one day I noticed the sell by date on the organic milk versus the super-fake-not-even-from-a-real-cow milk and decided I was only drinking organic milk from now on (it lasts sooo much longer.)
  4.  Snacks. I snack all the time. Like I said I'm always hungry and so instead of trying to just stop snacking (which I realized was too much effort and made me grumpy ) I just decided to snack healthier. Here are some of my favorites (I am not paid by any of these companies although they really should): 
  • cherry tomatoes- dip them in balsamic and they're delicious. Don't put them in the fridge though (they get gross and wrinkly)
  • Soy crisps- like mini rice cakes only better for you and only 230 calories if you eat 1/3 of the entire bag! I know…awesome. And they come in flavors like ranch (my favorite), salt and vinegar, barbecue and original. Organic Section in Kroger
  • Pop chips- they're not fried and they have no preservatives yet they're not baked so they still have taste. They're literally "popped".  You can find them in some convenience stores now but definitely in the organic section in Kroger.
  • Snikiddy all natural baked fries- they’re baked. they’re organic. they’re cheesy. and I eat a whole bag if I dont watch myself. They are so good I have to keep checking to make sure they’re actually not normal junk food. Organic section in Kroger.
  • hummus and pita-classic. hummus does have a lot of fat in it though so if you're worried about this switch it out with an organic salsa or a homemade one!
  • organic chocolate bars- I like the brand “Endangered Species” They are a little pricey but so good and they help save endangered species!! My favorite is the cranberry and almond one partly because that's a delicious combination and partly because it has a picture of a wolf and wolves are my favorite.
  • Snapea Crisps- I like the original, but they have “Caesar” as well. It says to put them on a salad but I eat them by themselves. At first I didn't like them but then I found them strangely addicting. They have a lot less calories than potato chips and they are snap peas so they’re good for you and the method in which they're preserved also preserves the nutrients in them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roasted Carrots

These were delicious. This was the first recipe I got creative enough with to call my own.
sorry for the poor picture quality. they don't look very pretty anyways but they taste delicious!

What you need:
  • 4 to 5 medium to large carrots
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Wash and peel carrots then cut in half and cut down the middle. 
  3. Place curve side down on a baking pan
  4. combine a drop of honey, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, mix together
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil then mix together. 
  6. Brush (if you have one) olive oil over carrots, if you don't have a brush then just sprinkle and try to coat it with your clean finger
  7. sprinkle on cinnamon salt and pepper
  8. Cook 25-35 minutes depending on thickness of carrots

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sour Cream Chicken

I'm a big fan of chicken breasts in case you didn't notice. Chicken is tasty, easy and you can easily cook it for one. However I used to hate chicken because I always seemed to be eating really dry chicken. Lately I've been baking my chicken cause I've found I have more luck keeping it moist that way. So here's a great EASY quick recipe for baked chicken with sour cream and breadcrumbs. If I did it again I'd sprinkle on a little more seasoning or maybe use Italian dressing instead of simply seasoning. I also made rice and served it with that. Because I have an obsession with balsamic vinegar I sprinkled some balsamic on the rice and the chicken once it was cooked and like it but then again, I'd probably eat dirt if it had balsamic vinegar on it.

Also most of this recipe came from and was only slightly modified by yours truly.

  • chicken breasts
  • italian seasoning or italian dressing
  • sour cream
  • bread crumbs (or just toast bread and crumble it)
  • shredded cheese (parmesan is best)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Put chicken breast on it
  3. Sprinkle on italian seasoning, salt and pepper or italian dressing
  4. Cover with sour cream (spread pretty thick)
  5. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of the sour cream.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on top
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes

Strawberry Jam: diabetes in a jar

So this post may be a long one but it's worth it. if you like jam, which everyone does. By the way in case you wanted to know, the difference between jam, jelly and preserves is the form of the fruit.
  • jelly-the fruit is in juice form
  • jam-the fruit is a pulp or crushed
  • preserves-the fruit has big chunks in a jam
Anyways! On Wednesday I woke up at 8am and dragged my boyfriend to the strawberry patch with me to go strawberry picking before my 11am class. IT WAS WORTH IT. I think even he would say so. I knew I wanted to make jam with the strawberries because that's what every mom, aunt, and grandma does with fruit (or maybe that's just my awesome family) and i knew i wanted to freeze some and eat some fresh so I thought we'd need a lot...we picked 5 buckets worth. Turned out, that was a lot more strawberries than we needed, but it was really fun and the weather was cool because we went early and it only took about an hour to pick that many. If you have never been fruit picking of any kind I highly suggest you go and then i highly suggest you follow the rest of my blog and make JAM! you could probably pick about 2 buckets and have enough to eat, freeze and make jam :)

Ok so now the part where I tell you how to make jam...that's not going to happen. you know why? because I called my mother to get her super delicious homemade recipe and this is what she told me "buy sure-jell near the canning supplies at the store and look at the recipe inside the box". This happens often, I used to brag about my mom's awesome chocolate chip cookies and how amazing and special they were and when I asked her for the recipe she said "it's on the back of the chocolate chip package". So here's some advice: if you want a delicious recipe, it's probably on the packaging of the key ingredient. and it's probably better than all the recipes that you have to actually buy out of a book.

But my experiences with jam making were good and it paid off, but here's a few tips...

Preparing your fruit:
  • dump fruit in a bowl of room temperature water to clean it. Move the berries around gently with your fingers then take berries out and put in a strainer. This is the best way to clean them without bruising them and it also helps you notice the gross crushed berries.
  • Put in a strainer to drain for 10 minutes. 
  • Cut off all the tops
  • I then sorted my berries into 3 Tupperware containers: those to freeze, those to keep fresh, and those to make into jam. The jam ones were the most ripe ones or the ones that were bruised. 
  • *technically you shouldn't wash berries until you're ready to eat them because they could mold but I did and mine stayed fresh in a Tupperware container for at least 5 days in the fridge. I think you just need to make sure you give them plenty of time to dry off before closing them up.
  • For the strawberries you freeze make sure you use a freezer bag and when you thaw them the best way is to do it in the fridge for a day and then they won't get that nasty soggy texture.
Making your jam:
  • Make freezer jam. It's much easier and quicker to make. You don't have to seal the jars in a hot water bath afterwards which requires special pots and things. I also think it tastes better just make sure you have enough room in your freezer to store it. When you want to use it put a jar in your fridge and it will last a month there.
  • I made ten jars of jam. This required me running to the store multiple times and I ended up using almost 2 entire bags of sugar and 4 packages of sure-jell. So keep in mind if you got 5 buckets of strawberries haha you'll probably need more than 1 pack of sure-jell and more than one bag of sugar.
  • My Kroger did not carry any kind of fruit pectin so I had to go to Publix. I would call ahead and ask if you live in a stupid anti-jam city.
  • Buy new jars (or if you already own canning jars buy new lids) even though it's freezer jam everything needs to be pretty sterilized. I boiled my lids for 2 minutes on the stove and ran the glass jars through the dishwasher alone. 
  • Follow the sure-jell instructions exactly (or your other brand of pectin such as Certo). They're really helpful and detailed. Make sure you measure your fruit (after its crushed) and your sugar exactly or else it may not "jam" right. I think the technical term is "set" but I really like the word jam haha
  • You will be alarmed by the amount of sugar. There's about 4 cups of sugar and 2 cups of fruit for every jar of jam. If you want a less sugar recipe (although come on, it's jam- live a little) you can buy the reduced sugar sure-jell packets and follow those directions. 
  • INVEST IN A FUNNEL. I didn't and my entire kitchen was a disaster zone from trying to pour the jam into jars. 
  • My way may be a hard way. But I didn't try to make several batches of jam at once because I was worried about my measurements etc so I just made my four batches one after the other. It took a while, but once I got rolling and put on some music it was relaxing.
  • clean off your jar tops before screwing on the lids. The jam can get really funky if you don't. I used a hot damp paper towel.  
Good Luck! Happy Jamming!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My adventure at a "raw restaurant"

      So I visited my sister in St. Petersburg this past weekend and she's pretty much a hippy, but she's a real hippy- she cares about the earth, she recycles, she goes to protests, and she is now a vegetarian so in my opinion she has a right to talk about peace all the time, have a few dreads in her hair and wear long flowing skirts.
     Anyways! this is not the point. The point is that she took me to a "raw restaurant" called Leafy Greens. Nothing is cooked, its all vegan and organic and once we got there and I read the sign and realized everything is also gluten-free. Therefore I couldn't imagine what was left to eat other than celery sticks and air. So I was fully prepared to stop at McDonald's after. However! I was very wrong. There is no recipe in this section (sorry) but it's not like it's necessary. They didn't COOK anything so I'm pretty sure you could just figure it out. Anyways it was actually pretty good. I stayed safe and got the Tuscan Pizza (from what I could tell it was some kind of cracker with hummus, marinara sauce, sun-dried tomatoes,grape tomatoes, onions and herbs).

My mom and sister got the "spaghetti" which consisted of zucchini "noodles" in a pesto sauce. I was not a fan. However they had great deserts too! i got chocolate coconut cookies somehow made without dairy or wheat (so i guess almond milk? and who know what else) but we also all got tea and it was really good. I LOVE African Rooibos tea and they had it. I first tried it in South Africa but  you can get it in some places in the states its just not as common. It's caffeine free and it's loaded with antioxidants and it has a really good fruity kind of flavor but not over powering. It's known to help with digestive problems and allergies. The container the tea came in was really cool. When you put it on top of your mug it like engaged some lever that let the tea pour out through a strainer in the bottom. Also notice the water in this picture. Particularly the lemon in it which had a sprig of mint through the center of it. fancy fancy.

Tinfoil Chicken and Vegetables

This recipe sounded like an amazing idea for me. Fast, nutritious (it has vegetables and meat!) and so easy as well as cheap (there are only really 4 ingredients)! I found a recipe, then of course modified it and I like mine better haha.

What you need:
  • Chicken breast
  • 1 cup of greek dressing (or italian- but I like greek)
  • 1 pack of frozen veggies ( I used green giant "healthy heart" veggies but next time I'll probably just use frozen broccoli)
  • 1 Can of diced tomatoes (I didn't have any but it still turned out good)
  • Tinfoil

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Use two sheets of tinfoil (roughly 20" by 12") layered to form packets
  3. Put defrosted chicken breast on tinfoil
  4. Pour 1 cup of dressing over chicken breast
  5. Layer frozen veggies over chicken breast along with 1/4 can of drained diced tomatoes
  6. Bring up short sides of each foil packet and double fold top. Double fold both ends to seal each packet, leaving space for steam to gather.
  7. Cook 30-45 minutes (Keep checking it and cutting to see middle of chicken depending on how you folded it and how much veggies you used etc the chicken could cook slower or faster; mine took a pretty long time to cook) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Colorful Balsamic Pasta Salad

       So last weekend some of my friends and I went to a movie in the park! I've been before and I always end up grabbing Sonic or KFC beforehand, but some people go all out for this event with wine and candles and colorful tablecloths with homemade food so...I decided this year we needed to do it up. Our menu consisted of grilled chicken, pasta salad and strawberry shortcake (oh and lots of white wine). My roommate made the grilled chicken but I made the pasta salad and kind of the strawberry shortcake so I'm going to include my basically made up recipe for the pasta salad. I made a TON but it was delicious and I ate it for lunch the next day. ALSO it is much healthier than creamy macaroni salads (which is normally my go to at Publix). And I know I said I wouldn't mention calories but 3/4 cup of Public brand Macaroni Salad has 350 calories and this pasta salad probably had about 200 calories plus lots of healthy veggies and the tri-color rotini has dried spinach in it so I'm sure you get health points for that!
      Depending on how fast you can chop things this recipe is medium-quick to quick (don't you love my preciseness?). You could also use smaller quantities of everything if you don't want to make a ton. 
Sorry I don't have a picture of the finished product but it looked beautiful and colorful and delicious

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes
  • 1 box of tri-color rotini
  • 1 cup homemade balsamic vinaigrette (yes i use this for everything props to my roomate for coming up with the recipe: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey etc)
  •  1 package of crumbled feta cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (boil water, add pasta, wait 7-8 minutes) Begin chopping veggies then when pasta is done strain add a little olive oil and mix it around so it won't stick together and set aside so it can cool
  2. Chop your peppers and halve your grape tomatoes (no I don't know how to julienne peppers, I don't even think I use the right knife for things so small squares (diced) worked fine for me. I just made sure I cut them in half then cut out the part with the seeds and then I rinsed them to get rid of all the seeds (I hate those seeds!)...I do know that for the tomatoes I used a knife with a serrated edge so I didn't squish them)
  3. Add feta veggies and cheese to pasta and mix. Then make vinaigrette and add that and mix in as well. 
  4. Put in fridge and let cool (or not).
  5. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eggs in Ham Cups

This recipe amazed me, it was easier than cooking eggs the normal way, and it was so much more impressive looking!
I would credit the site I got it from but honestly I looked at a few different recipes and combined them.

Ham slices
Cheese (any kind, shredded)
Salt and Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes (if you like your eggs spicy)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray then take ham slices and fold into muffin cups. Any way is fine just be sure there are no holes in the ham. (I only used one ham slice in each of my muffin cups)
  3. Crack egg and pour into ham/muffin cup. Be sure not to break yolk
  4. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cheese and red pepper flakes (if you want) on top of egg
  5. Bake for 12 minutes until the outside is stiff and the inside is runny
  6. Remove from oven and remove ham cups from muffin tin (this was a little tricky, I used a spoon and moved it around the edges first to make sure it was all unstuck)
  7. Serve with a strawberry (because they make everything look better)


I tried this new recipe today and I was so excited to post pictures and the recipe but...I messed it up. So I just thought I'd quietly scoop it down the disposal (or give it to my boyfriend who will literally eat anything, this is both endearing at times and gross at others) but instead! I decided that cooking failures are EXACTLY why I created this blog so I needed to share my mess as a "what not to do"

Here is the beautiful recipe picture:

 And here is my version (I used tri-color rotini cause it's what I had):

I messed up the sauce :( . It has that gritty texture that really turns a delicious meal into something pretty gross. It tastes fine, it even looks fine, but it just bothers me. Basically, I melted the cheese in the milk too fast. Ways to avoid this: use a double broiler to avoid hot spots in your pan, melt with less heat, add cheese in small clumps so you can monitor the melting more efficiently. A way to correct this (I haven't tried it but would be interested to see if it works): mix cheese sauce with a mixer at highest speed to dissolve the clumps.

To find the recipe click here. It was super easy and fast and looked like it was complicated and not-fast haha. In the future I will add more sun-dried tomatoes, not screw up my cheese sauce, and maybe finish it in a casserole dish with breadcrumbs on top for more of the traditional mac and cheese feel. 

Summer Ice Cubes

This is a totally Martha Stewart thing I'll confess but it made me happy so whatever.

We have a fresh mint plant and we never use it for anything so I searched online what to do with fresh mint and these ice cubes came up. I modified it a little but basically...

Fresh Mint Leaves
Berries (blueberries or raspberries)
  1. Boil about 2 cups of water and 8-12 fresh mint leaves on the stove. When the leaves turn dark remove the leaves and set the water aside to cool (This is important!)
  2. Squeeze half of a lemon into 2 cups of water and slice the remaining half into small chunks (mine don't look as pretty as I had hoped)
  3. Pour lemon water into ice cube trays and drop berries or lemon slices into each one.
  4. Use the mint water that is now cool and pour that into the remaining ice cube trays, drop a fresh mint leaf into each one.
  5. Freeze! 
I have used these for everything from alcoholic drinks, to lemonade to water. The lemon ones taste good in water as they melt and the mint ones taste really good in lemonade! Sometimes I also just pull them out of my freezer and look at them then put them back.

Tomato Bites

These were delicious! I found a similar recipe and then modified it. They kind of taste like pizza but they're more healthy.

Dressing (Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Garlic, Honey)
Shredded Cheese (I chose the 4 cheese Italian mix in the store)
Goat Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2.  Cut tomatoes in 1 inch slices, while doing this I sliced and grilled some onions in olive oil on the stove
  3. Top tomatoes with cheese and onions. (I put the cheese, then the onions, then a little more cheese, so that when the cheese melted it would help hold the onions on top of the tomato)
  4. Bake tomato slices on cookie sheet for 8 minutes
  5. Mix together dressing (or you can use store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, but the one my roommates and I make is so good (and cheaper!) and the honey makes it even better) and pour over tomato slices or if you're as cool as us you can steal a sauce dish from Chili's and put it in there for dipping (I think I just broadcasted on the internet that I stole something)

There's something I should confess before I start...

I can't really cook...
or at least I'm learning, which is why I made this blog. Being a college student it's hard to eat healthy and eat fast particularly when you have no idea how to make anything and often recipes get so complicated and there's that one little "step" in them that tells you to do something that you don't understand how to do and it ends up taking you an extra hour to call your grandmother or your mother and ask them what exactly it means to "puree" something. (Ok maybe that's just me)
     Anyways, I created this blog because I want to show the simple tricks I've found as I've begun cooking. I want to share easy fast recipes that are mostly healthy (but I won't be including calories etc) and that can be made for just one person.
     Basically this is a non-housewife blog on cooking. I'm not cooking for a family, I'm not cooking for "dinner guests". I'm cooking for myself and sometimes friends because I'm tired of eating packaged noodles and I have found cooking is actually a little fun (I never thought I'd say this much less start a cooking blog).
     So what I want to promise my readers (or followers, not that this is a cult I swear) is I will provide you with food that is relatively easy, on the cheaper side and healthier and now and then there will be something completely impractical thrown in (such as summer ice cubes) which will just make you happy.