Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mango lime kefir smoothie

Fast post for a fast recipe. 

I love smoothies. In college, I worked in a convenience store/coffee/smoothie shop in the dorm and enjoyed mixing different fruits and bases (yogurt, juice, orange sherbet) to make my own special concoctions. 

Now, I do the same. Except with more natural ingredients and no super sweetened pre-mixed nonsense. 

A friend gave me some milk kefir grains, and I have been dutifully feeding them whole milk and allowing them to curdle and make a tasty, healthy, probiotic filled drink base. 

Measurements are approximate.

~1/2 cup kefir (plain yogurt works too)
Chunks of 1 ripe ataulfo mango
juice from 1 key lime (or about 1/4-1/2 of a regular sized lime)
Zest from 1 key lime
6-7 ice cubes

Optional: sugar/honey/stevia for those who do not care for tart smoothies

Stick all the ingredients into a blender. Blend til the ice chunks are gone. Pour into a festive glass and drink up. 

this is not the whole recipe, I was just thirsty...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chicken thigh curry with coconut sticky rice

This "recipe" falls under the category of "I like it but I'm not sure how I got here." Hmm. It is also another reminder that I need to go out and get some cardamom to make my curry more authentic. None in the pantry today. Maybe next time. This recipe is pretty flexible, I think adding other veggies like carrots or potatoes would work well.
After finishing this post, I realize that I am trying to combine Indian curry with Thai sweet rice. Forgive me. I didn't have any basmati rice either...that's going on the shopping list.

1 cup sweet rice (I used "Hakubai Sweet Rice")
1/2 cup coconut milk

4 chicken thighs, bone in skin removed but saved
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste or powder
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into long pieces and "bruised" with the back of a knife. (Normally, you can eat the white part that is close to the base, but my stalk was super dry, so I just steeped it to infuse flavor)
2-3  tomatoes (mine were Super Fantastics with skin removed, so canned stewed would work)
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Ahead of time:
1) Rinse the sweet rice until the water is clear-ish. Cover with 1 cup of water and let soak for at least 40 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup coconut milk, bring rice to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minute, then turn off heat and let rice sit for another 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

2) In a large pan w/ a lid, render fat from the chicken skins over low heat until skin is crispy and there is some fat on the pan. Remove the skin (salt and eat, it's tasty!)
3) Add onion and bell pepper, cook on medium til slightly softened.
4) Add curry paste or powder. Stir to coat the peppers and onions.
5) Add tomatoes, lemongrass, and coconut milk. stir to combine. Cover and simmer for awhile to let the flavors meld.

simmer simmer simmer

6) Add the chicken. Continue to simmer for about 45 minutes-an hour on low-ish heat until meat is tender. Remove the lemongrass (or just eat around it).

I tested the middle one with a fork to make sure it was tender. 
7) Serve chicken and curry over the sweet coconut rice. Season w/ salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Chip Bread with Coconut Flour

Maybe this would've been a better post in October, as #PSL flooded the Twitter/Facebook world. But, if you have a can of pumpkin and a handful or two of chocolate chips leftover from holiday baking, you can enjoy this recipe! Super moist and tasty, we devour the loaf in under a week. And, it's gluten free!

Notes: I'm a huge fan of spices, so if mine seem excessive...feel free to scale back. Also, I don't add much sweetener because the chocolate chips have sugar (and, hello, CHOCOLATE) to compensate. Add more if you hate chocolate (and puppies).

Special Note: I'm baking in Utah at 4,500 feet- if you don't live in the mountains, reduce the flour by about 1 Tablespoon and modify the baking time...unless you like dry bread (just like using regular recipes up here gets me half-baked-gooey-gummy bread). Just sayin'.

6 Tablespoons butter, softened (unsalted)
3-4 Tablespoons honey
5 Medium or 4 large/xl eggs
~2 cups pumpkin puree

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon tapioca starch (optional, but can help the loaf stay together)
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2- 1 cup chocolate chips

To do:

1) Beat butter in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add honey, cream more. Add eggs, beat it all up. Add pumpkin puree, beat more. At this point you should have an orange soup of sorts.

2) Combine dry ingredients (coconut flour through baking soda), add to the wet, mix until well blended.

3) Add lemon juice, mix again.

4) Add chocolate chips, fold/mix to combine (Do as I say, not as I did tip: The chips sank in try to distribute the chips evenly). The texture should be pourable - not too thick, not too thin.

Kinda like this. 

5) Pour mixture into a greased/parchment paper lined loaf pan - I used an 8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5"

Smooth the top for even baking
6) Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for around 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

After some cooling. The top was initially a bit domed
7) Let cool for about 30 minutes before removing (if it is removed too early, it tends to fall apart).
Still pretty warm
8) Slice and serve! The chocolate chips were still melty and a bit gooey. Mmm melty chocolate.

First (blurry) slice!
Chips are on the bottom.

Om. nom. nom.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Roasted Veggie Soup

Greetings! Today, I made use of my favorite kitchen gadget - the immersion blender. Husband gave me one for Christmas a couple of years ago (yes, a blender for Christmas, and I was thrilled!), and it has transformed my view of purees and soups. No longer must I transfer boiling hot soup from pot, to blender, to new pot, to blender, to pot...big mess and multiple opportunities to spill a ladle of hot soup all over the kitchen. Now, I stick the blender in...*buzz buzz buzz*...and bam! Soup.

A bundle of carrots and peppers sat in my fridge, and I was tired of just roasting/stir frying. Here's what I used for a little pot (3-4 servings):

2-3 cups chicken broth/stock
Chunk of salt pork, chopped (can sub a couple slices of bacon)
1 red pepper, sliced
3 carrots, chunked
1/4 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons tumeric
1 teaspoon paprika
~1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1) Chicken broth goes into a small pot/saucepan, heat to a simmer.
2) Throw salt pork into a skillet over medium-medium low heat. Render fat. Put remaining pork into broth, leave fat in the pan.
3) Turn heat on skillet up to medium-medium high. In batches (to avoid overcrowding), throw the carrots, red peppers, and onion into the skillet until just blackened. This would be easier if I had kept the veggies separate...but I didn't. Once blackened, add veggies to the broth.

Carrots and onions, hanging out in the pan.

4) Add a little bit of oil/fat if you're out, turn the heat down to medium low, and throw tumeric and paprika into the skillet. Push around for about 30-60 seconds. Don't burn it. Add to broth and veggies
5) Add the vinegar.
6) Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until carrots are soft. Turn off burner, remove from heat.

Give your veggies a little black crust...don't be afraid!

7) Use immersion blender to blend the whole thing up.

Serve. Yum yum. If it's too thick for your liking, add some more water or broth.

Finished. Now if you're excuse me...lunch calls.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Accidentally Delicious Soup

I'm all about saving money. Thanks to my mom, I've always viewed coupons and the weekly ads as  essential components of grocery shopping. Regular priced items never made it into our carts, and you could just forget the checkout line candy. Sidenote: the most delicious candy was the checkout candy bought after biking to the local grocery store, across a major road (major = any road outside of the subdivision) (sorry, dad).

In order to save money while staying well-fed, I shop the ads and "manager's specials" and have started to incorporate non-meat proteins into our diets. While my husband has always enjoyed beans and lentils, I've found them to be an acquired texture. Fortunately, a few adventures into soup, including this one, have nudged me toward these formerly shunned legumes.

During today's grocery trip, I found a package of store made pork sausage at only $1.99/pound. Sold. Of course, the sell by date was tomorrow, so I had to do something with it. Back home, I pulled dry garbanzo beans and an online recipe (credit where due), but soon discovered that I was all out of cumin AND rosemary (note to self: make shopping lists for herbs and spices...). So, I improvised. First, I pulled shawarma seasoning, but the sausage was already seasoned with green chile, and pork + middle eastern just didn't sound right. Then, I pulled a taco seasoning, but decided "nah," and "I'll just make something up." Half an hour later, I discovered that I had made the right decision (thankfully). Enjoy!

please ignore the dirty spatula...

Accidentally Delicious Soup

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
Olive oil
3/4 pound seasoned sausage, casings removed
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups chicken broth (I used a diluted homemade concentrate, but canned would work)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste (I used ~1/2 teaspoon)

1. Rinse and sort garbanzo beans, removing rocks or other debris, cover in 2 inches of water, soak overnight, drain. OR if you're me, rinse and sort, cover in 2 inches of water, boil for 1 minute, remove the pan from heat source, cover, soak/steep for 1 hour, drain.

2. While beans are soaking, heat a small splash (1-2 teaspoons) olive oil in a pot over medium heat, add the sausage and garlic and cook, chopping up the sausage, for about 5 minutes until browned.

3. Add the tomatoes, pepper, paprika, and onion. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add chicken broth and garbanzo beans to the pot, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.

5. Add lemon juice, taste, and salt as needed.

Yield: Approximately 6 cups of soup



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oven Baked Plantain Chips

Well, nearly a month later, I have returned to actually write my first food post (the cat is not food...). 

In an attempt to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, I began to make a point of buying new and different produce items. One of those items was the plantain, a relative of the banana. Unlike bananas, plantains should not be eaten raw...they do not taste good and leave an awful "green banana" feeling in your mouth afterward. Generally, green plantains will be more starchy/potato-like, and yellow/blackened ones will be sweeter and more banana-y tasting. For this recipe, I used yellow plantains, and the chips came out tasting like bananas. Pretty good. 

Simple ingredients: Plantains, and Coconut oil. The real trick here is to get the plantains sliced evenly, which, without a mandolin, can be difficult. Here's what I did:

1. Slice ends off, remove skin by making 2 cuts through the skin lengthwise down the length of the fruit. Gently remove the skin. 
2. Slice plantain into even thirds - this will make cutting the slices easier. 
3. Slice off rounds about the thickness of a nickel. Attempt to make the slices as equal as possible to ensure even cooking. 
4. Place rounds into a bowl with some melted coconut oil - about 1-2 teaspoons per plantain. Toss the rounds to coat with the oil. 
5. Pre-heat oven to "warm" - mine registered at 170 Fahrenheit. 
6. Arrange rounds in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. They can touch at the edges, because they will shrink as they bake. 
7. Bake for ~6 hours, opening the oven every half hour or so to "vent" the moisture. Flip the rounds around the 3 hour mark. 
8. Remove to cool for a bit, store in an airtight container. 

One of two sheets, I used 3 plantains.

Slightly oily, but not bad at all.

I found some of my chips to be a bit thicker and chewy, but most of them are nice and crisp. Unfortunately, I did not take "before" pictures of the unbaked chips, but I'll likely make these again and perhaps leave something to show just how much these guys shrink. 

Here's one of ideal thickness and crispness once finished.

Special note on today, remember to pray for the families and friends who were hurt by the tragedy 13 years ago, and for the brave people who continue to serve their communities and country. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The very beginning

Hello world.

Let's do a little introduction.

Who: Me! Siew. Christian, wife, Michigander living in Utah (so a Utahn? Utahan? Ute?), wannabe blogger.
What: Food! I enjoy cooking, eating, and figuring out how to create healthy dishes that my husband will eat without coercion.
When: Now (and on occasion thereafter)! Been taking pictures of some plates and concoctions, so it's high time I posted them and started stretching myself to attempt new dishes.
Where: The Internet! From my Utah apartment.
Why: Why not!
How: With food, my camera, and the power of the internet!

Welcome. I will close with a picture of...Littles, the least caring cat I know.