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.