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If there’s one pantry staple that I like to keep around the house, it has to be Nutella. I remember eating it for the first time when I was eleven at a French bistro and that experience was pure magic. It was tucked between velvety crepes and dotted with sliced strawberries. A generous dollop of sweetened whipped cream topped off the crepes and all of those flavors were simply amazing. It wasn’t too cloying like Hershey’s chocolate syrup and yet it had enough chocolate goodness to make it a treat.
Although I don’t consume too much of it, I do admire the fact that this Italian spread is made with a bit of cocoa, ground hazelnuts, and skim milk. If that taste combination sounds familiar,then you probably tried those fancy-looking Ferrero Rocher chocolates. It combines the same flavors of Nutella, but more concentrated since there’s a whole hazelnut hissen in every one. The most popular way of consuming Nutella is on toast for breakfast or in crepes, but here are a few ideas I like to do with the spread:
When most people think of Vietnamese food, the most famous dish out there has to be pho. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a rice noodle soup usually made with beef. The broth is seasoned with star anise, onion, and ginger to compliment the heartiness of the beef. Pho is usually topped off with a plethora of greens such as sawtooth herb, cilantro, Thai basil, and bean sprouts. In addition, a squeeze of lime juice, Sriracha hot sauce, or hoisin sauce can be added to the soup to one’s preferences. Although I really like the beef one, I’m more preferential to the chicken one (called “pho ga”).
While pho is usually a labor-intensive recipe (with most of the time boiling the bones to create the stock for long hours), there’s another recipe that uses elements of pho in a different way. Rice noodles are pan-fried into a pancake and cut into bite-sized pieces while a stir-fry of vegetables and chicken (or any desired protein) is served on top of the noodles. It’s called “pho ap chao” and it’s actually one of my favorite dishes. In order to save time, purchase a rotisserie chicken and wash and cut the vegetables beforehand.
Finals are coming around for yours truly and lately, I haven’t had the time or energy to cook much. I was also recovering from a very nasty cold last week that rendered me to a sniffling mess. It’s also been pretty chilly outside and one of the things I was craving was a nice bowl of soup. Not chicken noodle soup in particular, but a rustic, creamy, yet soothing soup that would be easy to prepare.
I have a head of cauliflower I needed to use up befchoore I go back home to SoCal for winter break. I also had two cans of chicken broth sitting in my pantry, carrots, half an onion, and some green onions sitting in my fridge. Making a soup out of cauliflower sounded pretty good to me, so I browsed the internet and stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cauliflower soup. Obviously, I trimmed the fat content in the soup so it would be lighter on the tastebuds (and the waistline), but there’s still that creamy sensation since I pureed the soup. A bit of butter, half-and-half, and reduced-fat milk add a smooth texture to the soup so it’s perfect for the winter!
We all know that one person who refuses to eat pretty much anything. It could be your significant other, your best friend, or a co-worker who refuses to go to a certain restaurant because everything is too “weird”. Personally, I think picky eaters can be an annoyance since it’s almost as if they are unwilling to even try anything new in the first place! This is highly evident in children, who seem to be the most discerning eaters. When children see something foreign on their plates, they either don’t touch it, push it aside, or if you try making them eat it….they always like to scream out, “NO”!
My sister and I babysat a set of 1-year-old twins this summer and for some reason, they will not touch anything resembling beets or broccoli. When we had to spoon-feed the twins during lunchtime, they usually had a light soup of minced vegetables, some tofu/meat, and brown rice. Most of the time, they relished their meals but if there’s anything resembling a beet or broccoli in their spoons, they scream in horror. Sometimes, they like to grab the spoons full of the food and toss it on the ground (which made my sister and I feel pretty peeved).
If you know any picky people in your life (young and old), here’s a little video (located under the cut) I made that shows various healthy foods from A to Z! If they weren’t amused by the colorful foods, at least the hip soundtrack is fun to listen to?:
Sometimes, I find myself in a gigantic rut when it comes to what to eat. For a college student like myself, this can be a harrowing dilemma, especially if resources are running low in the fridge or pantry. With finals coming up, I would want to eat something full of energy yet satisfying so I won’t have to get up and snack all through the night.
One day, I was rummaging through my pantry and found two cups’ worth of almond flour left from making that Scottish Oat-Almond cake. I wasn’t in the mood for sweets so I browsed the internet to find some inspiration on what to do with the almond flour. I found a recipe for almond-bean burgers and it did sound delicious….but I didn’t have any beans. I did have a lone egg sitting in the fridge as well as some seasonings sitting in the pantry. With a little ingenuity, I managed to make a healthy and protein-packed meal that kept me going.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving/Black Friday this weekend! I pretty much recuperated in SoCal with my friends and family and it was absolutely relaxing. I wish I had pictures of my Thanksgiving meal, but the entirety of my family and relatives consumed everything in sight. Any way, this picture’s been sitting on my computer for a while, so I might as well do a write-up. About the picture…well, there was an advertisement on my college newspaper (Spartan Daily, represent!) from a local Japanese restaurant called Tengu. They had a coupon for a California roll set or a spicy crab roll for $3.25 with student ID (tax not included) and at first, I was adamant about the deal because for $3, how good would the food be?
Turns out, it was pretty fresh and delicious! I really don’t have much to say about the restaurant since it was a very small place. I believe at full capacity, about 26 people can fit in the dining area, but I must say that it was very cozy. With my coupon and student I.D. in hand, I managed to pay a cool $3.48 for an eight-piece spicy crab roll set. Since I ha a class within the next hour, I decided to take it to go and sit near my department building to enjoy my lunch. Along with my spicy crab roll was a few steamed edamame (soybeans) as well as the usual pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi. From my first bite of the spicy crab roll, I got the first kick of heat, but there was a creamy seafood flavor that balance well with the rice and seaweed. The edamame was run of the mill, but it was a nice side to the sushi. Would I order this again? Maybe, but only when I’m having a serious craving for cheap sushi.
If there’s one thing I don’t do a lot of, it has to be baking. I’m not a bad baker so to speak, but I prefer to cook to my heart’s content. I remembered my friend Stefani giving me a recipe book on Scottish tea-time treats while she was studying abroad in the United Kingdom earlier this year. Sadly, I didn’t being that book with me when I went to college and I was saving one of the recipes for a rainy day. On Friday, it was pretty dreary to say the least and I wanted to make something warm to nibble on. My mom gave me a pound of almonds the last time she visited me, so I decided to grind that up in a blender to create almond meal. I believe one can buy bulk almonds at a wholesale grocery store or a health food store for relatively cheap (I think my mom got her almonds for $2.50/lb?). I also had three sacks of plain instant oatmeal so I decided to blend that into oat flour (which made about one and a half cups).
Although the recipe I am going to post isn’t the healthiest recipe to date, sometimes a little indulgence doesn’t hurt once in a while. It’s also a nice gluten-free recipe for those who cannot consume any wheat products. When you make your own homemade almond meal, sometimes there are little chunks of the almond present. Some people throw them out, but I like to keep them in the recipe since it adds a surprising crunch. Since it is a gluten-free cake, it can be a bit crumbly but it does go well with a nice cup of hot Earl Grey Tea! I made a very simple boysenberry sauce to go with the cake out of jam, but you can use whatever jam flavor you like.
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Everyone loves potatoes in all shapes and sizes. From the French fries in fast-food joints to a side of mashed potatoes, this starchy tuber can be prepared in a variety of ways. Potatoes also come in different types ranging from the humble Russet, the thin-skinned new potatoes, the popular Yukon Gold, and more exotic varieties such as the Okinawan purple potato. From my observations, the most popular way of eating the potato has to be French fries hands down. According to an article from CreditLoan, the average American consumes about 23 pounds of fries per person every year! That sheer amount of French fry gorging can go straight to the arteries as well as the thighs.
A very nice, simple, yet healthy alternative to French fries are the oven-roasted versions! Not only do they have lesser fat, they’re ridiculously easy to make. It’s the perfect recipe for the college student since potatoes are dirt-cheap (pardon the joke) and require very little prep time. In addition, the seasonings can be customized according to one’s taste! It’s an excellent side for chicken, fish, or a snack to go with your favorite condiment.
Pardon for the slightly blurry camera phone picture, but I must tell you of a wonderful, hearty, yet satisfying lunch I had a few days ago! Prior to my media class, I wanted to do something different and eat out for a change of things. I normally don’t purchase food when I am out and about in school since I’d rather save money and eat at home. However, I was craving for some Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food and I remembered that The Kebab Shack opened a month or two ago. Located right in downtown San Jose by San Jose State University, The Kebab Shack has a variety of options from the die-hard carnivore to vegetarians and vegans. I stopped at the restaurant around noon and I guess it wasn’t the lunch hour yet since it was still pretty empty.
The ambiance of the restaurant was nice though, since it had a very cheerful orange color to the walls as well as sleek white furniture. The server working the register was very helpful when it came to describing the menu items on display. According to the restaurant’s flyers, all of the recipes were passed down by generation and everything is made fresh daily (including the sauces)! There’s a variety of food selections ranging from kebab plates, pita sandwiches, salads, and other Middle Eastern goodies. I was torn between getting a chicken kebab plate or a falafel pita, but the server recommended me getting the Aphrodite Pita. To make a long story short, it’s a falafel pita with a lot more goodies (including French fries)!
Halloween is coming right about next week and I admit, I’m pretty excited for it! Despite the fact that I don’t have time to dress up in a costume and enjoy the festivities, I decided to commemorate the holiday with my own spooky concoction. I was inspired by the green smoothies sold at Jamba Juice as well as those old Nickelodeon shows where that mysterious “slime” is oozed pretty much everywhere. My dad came up for the weekend and he brought some fresh avocados from his friend’s house as well as a small box of kiwis. I also had a few bananas that were looking less than prime so I decided to freeze them for future smoothie consumption.
With all of these “green” ingredients lying around, I wanted to make a delicious yet healthy smoothie to celebrate Halloween. I decided to add an avocado to the smoothie to amp up the green color, and you’re probably thinking, “Avocados in a smoothie? Gross.” Well, the tartness of the kiwis and the sweetness from the bananas mask the avocado flavor. Another plus of the avocado is that there’s a creamy texture when sipped, which is a nice alternative to using yogurt or ice cream. This smoothie is great as a breakfast drink or for children who are picky about their fruits and vegetables!