Saturday, November 7, 2015

Broccoli Salad

We're now deep into football season (both college and pro!), and I'm starting to feel a little burned out on my usual football snacks. You can only eat so many dips and spreads before you start to crave something a little bit healthier.

My old go-to 'healthy' football snack was a simple vegetable platter of baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, served with a creamy buttermilk ranch or maybe a nice homemade tzatziki sauce. This weekend, I opted to make my Mediterranean 7-layer dip and a light, creamy broccoli salad. 

Most broccoli salad recipes call for raw onion, which I cannot stand - you simply whip up a quick, mayo-based dressing, add broccoli, and a few other ingredients for flavor and texture. I've always added bacon to mine for a bit of salt, complemented by dried fruit for a bit of sweetness. If you're a vegetarian, feel free to omit the bacon. Nuts and seeds add a nice bit of crunch as well. 

This recipe can be prepared in minutes. You can take a few shortcuts if you wish - buy your broccoli already cut into florets, and use the real bacon bits from the salad dressing aisle. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Iced Yuanyang (Coffee w/ Milk Tea)

I've never been a regular coffee drinker, and I've ALWAYS preferred iced coffee to hot coffee, but recently I learned about a new coffee drink, and had to find out more. 

It all started when Season With Spice, my favorite online spice retailer, posted this recipe for Iced Yuanyang.

Yuanyang is a popular coffee & tea drink in Hong Kong. Typically it's make with 3 parts of coffee to 7 parts of milk tea, and is served hot or cold. The drink is starting to gain a loyal following here in the states, where it is usually served iced and in a 1:1 coffee to tea ratio.

So, while everyone else is going crazy for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and anything else that can be 'pumpkinized', I'll be over here with my yuanyang. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Thai Coconut Soup with Mushrooms & Tofu (Surin Soup)

The last few months have been a whirlwind of crazy, life-altering changes, so the blog unfortunately got pushed to the backburner for a bit. But, I'm back, settled into a new home in a new city, and ready to get back into the swing of things! 

I've concentrated solely on ultra low-carb recipes lately, but, after losing 50 pounds and successfully maintaining for over 6 months, I'm beginning to ease up on how restrictive I've been. Now, I follow a more 'slow-carb' lifestyle about 80% of the time, and allow myself to enjoy whatever I'd like the rest of the time. I'm still maintaining, and I know longer feel the crippling guilt over food that I used to feel. It's nice not having to feel controlled by a diet, and still feel like I'm making good choices. 


It's nearly October, but still not quite cool enough for soups...yet. But, when you want soup, you want soup - weather be damned and all that jazz. Plus, it's officially fall now, so I'm going for it.

I've mentioned Surin, our local Thai chain, before on the blog - specifically when I decided to make my own version of their Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl. There's actually a Surin location up here as well, so I *could* still indulge in their food if I wanted to...but making it at home is so much more fun! One of their most well-known dishes is their spicy chicken or tofu coconut soup. It's creamy and coconutty, with just a hint of spiciness and curry flavor, studded with little mushrooms and either chicken or tofu. I like mine with both chicken AND tofu, since I typically enjoy the soup as an entire meal rather than as a starter. 

However, if you want to make this dish completely vegetarian, just omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead. You can also use tamari in place of fish sauce to make this dish completely vegan!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chipotle's Guacamole

Sigh. I've gotten pretty damn lazy lately. Well, maybe not exactly LAZY, but I've gotten myself stuck in a repetitive cycle of basically eating the same few easy-to-prepare meals over and over again. One of my go-to lazy meals are simple tacos, served on low-carb tortillas. I vary up the meat, from baked fish to the standard ground beef, but I always have to have sour cream, a sprinkling of shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and guacamole. 

I've even gotten lazy with the guacamole, opting to buy the premade stuff instead of making it from scratch. Shameful, I know...

I also realized that I've never posted an actual guacamole recipe here before. I mean, I've posted various avocado recipes, from Sinh Tố Bơ to Chocolate Pudding, but never THE quintessential classic avocado recipe. 

Luckily, Chipotle recently revealed its recipe for their much-loved guacamole. Personally, as a long-term low-carber (over a year now!), I love knowing that I can indulge in Chipotle and still hit all of my macros - thanks to the burrito bowl, without rice or beans, topped with plenty of sour cream, cheese and that guacamole. I love their guacamole so much that I don't even know how much extra it costs, nor do I really care. 

So, since I've already meal-prepped a ton of taco meat for next week, it's guac time!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slow-Cooker Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo is a classic Spanish/Latin American stew with ground beef, tomatoes, and plenty of rich seasonings. It's almost like a thick chili in texture, and can be eaten in so many ways - serve it Cuban style with rice and black beans, in tortillas or even as empanada filling. C is a huge fan of stuffed peppers, so he opted to use the leftovers to stuff some peppers for lunch!

I like the Cuban version; the sofrito is studded with peppers and garlic and tons of my favorite spice - cumin! Some versions also call for potatoes, but I've left those out in order to keep this dish lower-carb. Raisins and olives are also an integral part of the traditional recipe - I know, meat, olives and raisins sounds weird together, kind of like Rachel's Thanksgiving beef trifle from Friends, but trust me, IT WORKS.

Ideally, if you're going traditional, you'll want to use alcaparrado - this is a blend of green olives, pimentos and capers. You should be able to find it at most Hispanic markets and maybe in the Hispanic aisle of your regular grocery store. If you can't, just use regular green olives and everything will turn out just fine.

The raisins are a sweet element to offset the sour brine of the olives. I left them out this time, but they really do add a nice element to the whole dish.

I ate mine taco-style with (low-carb) tortillas, but enjoyed them the next morning plain and topped with a runny egg for breakfast :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Baked Fish Tacos w/ Chili-Lime Slaw

I know, I's been a while since I've posted on here, and I'm really sorry about that. I've been obscenely busy lately, and I've also been doing a lot of meal planning/batch cooking over the weekend. C & I have been making a concerted effort to eat up what's in the deep freezer, so I haven't really made anything *new* lately. On a bright note, we have ended up WAY under budget on our grocery expenses over the last month or so. I did all of my weekly grocery shopping yesterday morning, and spent a whopping $55 for a week's worth of healthy, homemade meals!

That being said, it's Memorial Day weekend, which, for most people, means grilling out, going to the beach, etc. Basically it's how we kick off summer! Of course, THE most important thing about Memorial Day is to remember what it stands for (and please don't confuse it with Veteran's Day). So, while you're spending your long weekend with family and friends and enjoying that 3-day weekend, take a moment to remember those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this freedom. 

C and I always have individually-wrapped frozen fish filets in the freezer. I'm a salmon fan, and make my Easy Oven-Baked Salmon at least twice a month. He likes to keep cod on hand for Beer-Battered Fish & Chips as well as tilapia for fish tacos. We both like our fish tacos pretty simple - fish, slaw and tortilla, maybe with a squeeze of lime or a tiny bit of Creamy Salsa Verde. Usually he handles the fish tacos, lightly breading the fish and pan-frying it, but I decided to make it more low-carb by baking the fish and using some low-carb tortillas

This recipe is super easy - you don't have to deal with any messy, splattering oil. You can make the slaw while the fish is in the oven, or make it a few hours ahead of time. I made the slaw while preparing the fish marinade, about 4 hours before cooking.