Monday, April 30, 2012

Curried Tofu & Spinach

I've had a realization: I should be a party planner.

After several parties hosted at my apartment--both current and past--I realized that I am a very happy hostess. I love organizing parties. Planning everything from music and hors d'oeuvre, to decorations and outfits (for myself) makes me really excited.

And fact: I am a very organized person. I'm OCD in almost everything I do; and I won't stop until I'm satisfied. I've also realized that every party I throw, I try to up the ante. What once started as just mixing cocktails turned into baking cupcakes and covering strawberries with chocolate and sprinkles. At first, we (my roommates and I) threw regular parties, but now that's not enough. Now our parties come with a theme. Anything goes, Halloween, Christmas, hats or the most recent, Fire & Ice.

Anyways, I've decided to start thinking about becoming a party planner, even if it's just on the side. Plus, it doesn't hurt to just think about it right?

Curried Tofu and Spinach (adapted from FOOD)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 6 oz. package extra-firm tofu.
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add spinach and water and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to low and continue simmering for 10-12 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook stirring for about 1 minute.
  3. Add tofu and Greek yogurt; cook until done and all liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add seasonings and stir to combine. Serve immediately

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Post to Break the Rut...

I know, I know, I've been terrible about posting these last few weeks. To be honest, I even had to look at my blog to remember what my last post was. Not cool.

And to be honest again, it's not that I haven't had time to post--because time I have had and lots of it. It's just that I haven't been very inspired to cook new things lately. For the past few weeks I have been subsisting on a constant diet of egg whites, mushrooms, bell peppers, oranges, soup, cheese, turkey, bread and chocolate. Quite sad, I know. But what can I say, I love all of the above and I obsess over practicality.

I'm still really disappointed that the last time I posted was April 10! That was two weeks ago! So here is the post that is breaking my food rut.

I found a recipe that combines egg whites and vegetables (basically any) into a delicious treat that can be a part of breakfast, lunch or dinner and even eaten as a snack. Plus it is practical--if you don't take into account the time spent cleaning the dishes. Anyways, I found a recipe for frittata muffins. And they are delicious; and healthy; and can be kept in the freezer for future meals. Seriously, why did it take me so long to find this?

I decided to make my first batch with cupcake liners (thinking it would be idea since I didn't have cooking spray) but I would recommend just spraying the pan or dabbing it with oil before baking. If you do use cupcake liners--which I won't in the future because yummy pieces of the frittata stick to them--make sure they are the metallic type. Stay away for the usual paper liners because I guarantee you will not have a fun time taking them out of the pan or scraping off the last bits of frittata.

Here is my version of the recipe--I added some of my favorite veggies--but substitute vegetables as you like. There are plenty of combinations that would go great. A few: mushrooms and spinach, leek and sweet onion, tomato and goat cheese. Enjoy!

Pepper, Onion and Tomato Mozzarella Mini Frittatas (adapted from Weight Watchers)
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes, including cooling.
Makes 12.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted bell peppers
  • 3/4 finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, whites, salt, pepper and water until well combined. Ad chopped vegetables and mix. Whisk in mozzarella and cream cheese, making sure that cream cheese is incorporated. 
  3. Spoon 1/4 cup mixture into prepared baking dish (should be almost to the rim of each). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set. Place on rack and let cool for about five minutes. Serve warm. Let cool completely if planning to freeze.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easy Tofu

Today was one of those days when I was annoyed by everything and everyone. Still am actually. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Twice.

Literally though, I had a horrible night--insomnia at 4 a.m. followed by a wake-up call at 7-- and a very long day. I was anxious all day long; I was crabby; I was mean; geez, I hated myself today. Can it just be tomorrow already?

Anyways, I am not about to vent all night long, so here is a recipe I had saved from a couple of weeks ago. I featured a recipe similar to this one before, but this one is better. It is an easy lunch/dinner with a healthy twist. Tofu and vegetables, my favorite combo.

Broccoli Cauliflower Tofu
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 15 minutes.
Makes 2 servings.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 oz. extra firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add tofu and lower heat to medium; cook until slightly browned and crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer tofu to a plate and set aside, keeping pan over heat.
  2. Add vegetables to pan and bring heat to medium-high. Add soy sauce and vinegar and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Return tofu to sauce pan and stir, cooking for another minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

A cupcake I like

Ok, so here are the cupcakes that I was supposed to make over the weekend. First of all, I am so happy I made them because I have discovered that egg white and applesauce bind perfectly with boxed cake mix; the result, a deliciously moist cupcake that is not filled with empty calories.

Second, I'm no fan of cupcakes. Actually, the last time I ate a cupcake it was for a class assignment--a very yummy gluten-free one. But even then I only took a couple of bites.

What is my reasoning behind not liking cupcakes you ask? Well for one they're not as moist as cake. I find cupcakes are usually on the dry side. Plus, if you want to get a good bite, you have to get it all: frosting and cake. But the problem with this is that sometimes there is too much frosting and sometimes not enough. So in order for me to like a cupcake, it has to have the perfect cake-to-frosting balance. It also has to be small enough to take a bite of everything every time. Forgive me, but yes, I am OCD about cupcakes.

But, there is hope. The cupcakes I made today met--and surpassed--my expectations. They call for coconut milk, egg whites and apple sauce, so the final product is a fluffy delectable goodness. Also, they're skinny cupcakes, so eating one (or two, or three) comes with less guilt than eating a regular cupcake. Oh and they're super simple to bake. Enjoy!

Skinny Coconut Cupcakes (adpated from Skinny Taste)
Makes 24 cupcakes.
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes + cooling

  • 8 oz. (one package) 1/3 less fat cream cheese 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk, available in the Thai aisle at supermarkets
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • Shredded sweetened coconut, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cupcake pans and set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons coconut extract with an electric mixer until incorporated, about 1 minute at medium speed. Transfer to bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine remaining coconut extract, egg whites, coconut milk and apple sauce. Beat about 2 minutes, until fully combined. Add cake mix and beat until batter forms, about 2 minutes. Do not over beat.
  4. Pour batter onto lined cupcake pans, filling each about halfway. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool.
  5. Top each cupcake with 1 teaspoon frosting and shredded coconut right before serving.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fennel & Mushroom Quinoa

Happy Easter!

Yeah, I know this dish isn't really Easter-related, but it's the thought that counts right? I never got around to making the Easter cupcakes that I planned. I ran out of time and egg whites--after having them for breakfast everyday how wouldn't I.

Anyways, I decided I am definitely staying in Boston for a part of the summer (May & June) and I am very excited. Early morning runs followed by tanning reading sessions on my roof deck? I think so. I'll be taking classes too though, so it's not all fun and games. Although really, it kind of is--summer college students can vouch for it. Plus, given the four--yes four-- months of vacation that I have, why not spend a couple of months in one of my favorite cities?

Here is another quinoa dish that I can across and I immediately bookmarked. It easy and delicious. I'm bias because it has some of my favorite ingredients (mushrooms and fennel), but it is quite tasty. And healthy too, so eat up. Enjoy!

Fennel Mushroom Quinoa (adapted from Weight Watchers)
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes.
Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced into 1-inch rings
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When about to simmer, add leeks and fennel and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add mushrooms to pan and cook for another ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat until quinoa is ready.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in cold water 3 times and drain well. Place quinoa and chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff using a fork; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add quinoa and soy sauce to vegetables and stir over low heat for 1 minute. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

All Hail the Tomato Juice

This morning I remembered the bottles of V-8 vegetable juice on the top shelf of my fridge. So I said to myself, "Why not create a Bloody Mary Moctkail?" I grabbed some condiments, a slice of celery and made myself the perfect non-hangover drink.

Speaking of cure, ironically, that is the name of a place I went to last night. Last summer Cure was my go-to place. Every Thursday, I would go and break out my salsa moves--or lack there of. The place has a "latin room" that I'm obsessed with; every time I go I end up dancing the night away in that room.

Spiced Tomato Mocktail
Total time: 5 minutes.

  • 1 lime
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi sauce (available in specialty food stores or in the Mexican aisle at some supermarkets)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-8 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 12 oz. V-8 vegetable juice or Clamato
  • Pepper
  • Celery, for garnish
  1. Slice lime in half and run it around the rim of the glass; then dip into a bowl of salt so that the rim is salted. Squeeze the rest of the lime juice into the glass. Add Maggi, Worcestershire and Tabasco in the glass and stir.
  2. Add juice and stir again, adding a bit of pepper. Add ice and garnish with celery stick.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eggplant Fries

It's Monday again. Can't wait until Thursday.

A week of studying, midterms and writing awaits me. Oh and hectic workouts. I'm doing Insanity and it's killing me--feel like throwing up killing me. But I'm relaxed... or at least for now.

These days I find myself freaking out one second and fine the next. It's not cool. My crazy-stress-over-everything self is coming out more often than not. So what am I doing about it? Cooking. Problem is I don't always get around to the writing part. Yeah I know writer's block is like blah, blah, blah to most people, but it's definitely invading my life at the moment. But here is tonight's effort to change it.

And moving onto food...

I recently found an awesome blog with great healthy recipes. I am obsessed; it's my idea of gourmet heaven. So basically I have bookmarked a ton of recipes that I will hopefully be making in the near future. Today I decided to try eggplant fries. They're easy to make, yummy and "skinny." Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Stickers

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Italian season breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated (or shredded) Parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with oil. 
  2. Remove ends of eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut in half and then into 1/4 inch sticks. Place in a large bowl and dress with olive. Season with salt and pepper and toss until well coated.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl. Place egg whites in a separate bowl. Dip a couple of eggplant sticks in the egg whites and transfer to breadcrumbs. Toss to coat and transfer to lined baking sheets. 
  4. Spray eggplant with more oil and bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake for another 5 minutes or until toasted. Serve warm.