Archive | March, 2013

Homemade Pasta from Scratch

30 Mar

As you all know, I performed a cooking demo in front of other students last week for my Culinary Arts Student Union club (CASU), showing them how to make pasta from scratch. But I never got to give all of you the details as to how YOU can do it too! So I decided I would take today to do exactly that so that you can make this delicious, better-than-you-would-get-at-an-italian-restaurant, pasta yourself!

It is SO simple. you really only need three ingredients for the pasta itself, and NO special machinery, just a simple roller, and knife to cut the dough with.

First step:(If not wanting to do it the true Italian way, you can simply mix all these things in a bowl for less of a mess!) Take two cups of flour and put on counter, making a volcano type shape so you have a “pit” that will hold your eggs. Crack two eggs into the “pit” of flour, add a touch of olive oil, and begin to slowly beat it all together, incorporating the flour little by little from the sides, without breaking the barrier completely so that the liquid does not run out. As it gets thicker and more “dough-like”, you won’t have to be careful anymore, and can incorporate the rest of the flour until a ball forms.

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Step 2: Knead dough by folding it over on itself, and then pressing in with the heels of your hand. Repeat until the dough is pliable and has been thoroughly kneaded.

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Step 3: Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until desired pasta thickness

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Step 4: Roll the flattened dough up into a log shape, and then cut the log width-wise.

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Step 5: Unravel the cut up pieces from the “log”, and prepare boiling water on stove with a touch of salt

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Step 6: Place pieces of dough into boiling water, and cook until done!

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Step 7: Prepare any toppings you would like, such as these veggies which we cut up and sauteed in a pan.

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Step 8: Serve veggies over freshly cooked pasta, top with any cheese or sauce you may want (we drizzled olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with veggies+shredded Parmesan cheese). Mix and allow all the flavors to combine and the cheese to slightly melt. Enjoy!

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I hope you all will give this a try! It is so much fun to do, and it’s a delicious, easy, and healthy meal!

Pancake Batter Smoothie AND Coconut Banana Pancakes

29 Mar

Today’s post has TWO recipes in it. Get excited.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, when we’re making pancakes, it’s just way too tempting to just eat the batter off the spoon. Or is that just me?

Haha:) My usual philosophy is that anything is better in the uncooked form, like cookie DOUGH, Brownie BATTER. And I can’t lie, I do even think I like pancake batter better. Call me weird.

But I know with eggs usually in it, it’s probably NOT the best thing to eat. So what did I do today when I made egg-less protein pancakes and had some leftover batter? Well, I would do what any normal person would do..I made a shake flavored with it!

So to tell you how to make this, I’ll give you the recipe to this first, which is the protein pancakes that the batter came from!

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Coconut Banana Pancakes
-3/4 cup coconut flour
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder
-1/4 cup Greek yogurt
-1 cup almond milk
-2T shredded coconut
-1 small, very ripe banana
-1/2 tsp coconut and vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-optional: 1 T peanut butter/coconut oil (a little healthy fat makes it taste a lot better!)
-touch of salt, and sweeten to taste
Directions: Melt banana in microwave for 30 seconds. Combine all ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Melt some coconut oil in pan, and cook pancakes as normal.

 

All you have to do once you have that batter, is add two big spoonfuls of it to all the other ingredients, and you’ll have your pancake batter shake! But of course, if you just want the shake and not all the pancakes first, I’ll show you how to get that batter flavor without all those extras. But I must say, these pancakes were very good. Coconut banana flavor with a hint of peanut butter to be exact:)

Anyways, the answer to your dream of being able to eat all the pancake batter you want in shake form lies below:)

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Pancake Batter Shake
**You can make any flavor, but I used some of the batter from the above recipe, and created a Hawaiian flavor with a hint of peanut butter!**
-2 T pancake batter (from above)
-1/2 frozen ripe banana
-1 scoop peanut butter protein powder (or regular/vanilla)
-1 cup almond milk
-1 tsp vanilla and butter extract
-2 T oatmeal
-2 T PB2 (or 1 T peanut butter)
-1/2 tsp baking soda (I know it’s weird, but don’t skip this! It makes the batter flavor)
-stevia/agave to sweeten
-sprinkle of sea salt
Directions: Blend all ingredients together! Very simple :)

**If not wanting to make pancake batter: Add 1T coconut flour (or any type), more banana, and don’t forget the baking soda! Add any additional flavors that you want your shake to be.
Possible Add-in ideas: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, instant coffee, berries..sky is the limit!

 

 

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

27 Mar

The other day during the cooking class I was leading, I was teaching them how to make egg souffles in apples. To do that, we scooped out all the insides of the apples. But see, I don’t like to waste anything, so I most certainly wasn’t going to let all that good apple go in the trash! What did I do?

I made homemade applesauce. Why go buy the stuff in containers at the store when you can easily make your own?! Especially when it’s so easy! And let me say, homemade is SO much better than store bought. I am not even the biggest fan of just eating it plain, but when it’s homemade, ohh well let’s just say it’s already gone! So delicious. Add a little cinnamon and sugar, and you really have yourself a yummy, healthy snack:)

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Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce
-6 apples, peeled and diced
-cinnamon and sugar if desired (I added 1T cinnamon, 2T agave)
Directions: Blend apples in food processor. Pour apple puree into pot on stove,add any cinnamon and sugar, and cook at low/medium heat for about 25 minutes. Remove from stove, and enjoy! Be careful, it’ll be really hot at first! Or refrigerate to serve cold:)

3 Ingredient Cookies

26 Mar

Wait what?! Only THREE ingredients?! And did I mention NO added sugar?! Cookies could never be that easy! Or healthy! Well, actually..they most certainly can! These are not only easy and so very healthy, but extremely delicious!

Sunday night at my bible study, one of the girls brought cookies over for us all. They looked so good, like all oatmeal cookies look, that I had to try one. But what my mouth tasted at that very moment was no ordinary oatmeal cookie. This cookie was soft, chewy, and packed with such a delicious banana flavor! I had to ask what the ingredients were. And that’s when she told me it was so simple and only three ingredients! Of course, I went home only to make them the next day.

But of course knowing me, I spiced it up a bit and added some extras to bring out the flavors. Try it as you will. For me, chocolate is always a must. But any choice you make, it’s delicious. And healthy. And easy. Did I mention absolutely delicious?!

These will certainly be a weekly creation and my new favorite dessert every night. And no, I am not sorry that I ate over five of them when first bringing them out of the oven. Or that I’ll probably eat some for breakfast.  I did say they were healthy..right?

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3 Ingredient Cookies
-2 cups rolled oats
-2 very ripe bananas
-1/2 cup applesauce
-Optional (What I added): chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cinnamon (or anything else you desire! Nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, egg whites for protein,  ect.)

Directions: Mash bananas. Stir in oats and applesauce. Add in any extras you desire. For me, chocolate chips was NOT optional :) Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

My First Cooking Demo Class

25 Mar

Wow, where do I even start! I guess I can begin by telling you first that a few others and myself just established a culinary arts club at my college, University of Florida, at the beginning of this Spring semester. Yesterday, we had our first cooking demo in front of other students! It was so much fun. As the food director, I create the recipes, and preform the actual cooking in front of the students. Last night, we decided to make homemade pasta (yes, completely homemade!), and a combo of both tofu, and shrimp spring rolls.

It was such a great experience! It was my first time having to cook in front of others while instructing them how to make it themselves. The other executive board members took part in it as well. I was mostly in charge of making the pasta, rolling it out, and cutting it.

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My one friend Kim, cooked the shrimp and tofu, and then prepared the spring rolls.

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And the other members helped with all the additional preparations, like the sauteed veggies that were later mixed in with the cooked pasta, and the yummy and delicious sauce for dipping the spring rolls in, made of coconut cream, Hoisen sauce, creamy peanut butter, and much more!

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Overall it was a great night! Of course some stress beforehand with preparations and getting everything together for an event like this, but that’s what begins the adrenaline and allows everything to proceed with excitement!

Recipes for the homemade pasta and spring rolls will be up soon:) Until then, keep letting me know of anything you would like to see! As it is all of you that make this site what it is :)

Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

24 Mar

One of my favorite things to do is to find something really good in a store, and then use my creativity to make something like it, but with only fresh, natural ingredients in my own kitchen! It gives me a challenge.

Well last night was one of those challenges. Recently, I bought this dip at Trader Joes that was called a “guilt free spinach kale” dip, made of Greek yogurt. I thought wow, here’s something that’s healthy and made of natural yogurt instead of all the processed stuff! So I bought it and took it home. And man, it was certainly very good. BUT, I was sad to look at the ingredients, and find that it was indeed made of mayo, along with the Greek yogurt that had been advertized in big font on the label. Sure, if you consider anything lower in calories “healthy”, then I guess you could call it that. But for me, I say something is healthy when it’s made of all natural ingredients, no fake sugars or chemicals, and has actual health benefits in it.

So what did I do? I decided to make made my own! Completely out of Greek yogurt instead of that yucky mayo.  This one is packed with protein and made up of so many different veggies that are vitamin and mineral loaded, not to mention detoxifying ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, kale, and lemon juice :) I hope you enjoy!

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Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip
-1.5 cupe Greek yogurt
-4 oz. water chestnuts, finely chopped
-1/4-1/2 cup cooked spinach, finely chopped
-1/2 cup kale, cooked and finely chopped
-1/4 cup each: red pepper, onion, carrots
-1 tsp each: garlic puree, apple cider vinegar,lemon juice, guar gum and agave
-seasonings: (about 1/2 tsp each) sea salt, garlic salt, italian seasonings, dillweed, onion flakes, mustard powder, season salt

Directions: Place yogurt in bowl. Chop chestnuts, spinach, kale, red pepper, onion and carrots up, and mix with yogurt. Add in all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste, and add more seasoning if needed. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Coconut Protein Bread

23 Mar

You know that not so great taste of distinct protein powder you can usually taste in high protein breads and bars? Not present in this recipe!

I love experimenting with protein powder in recipes. Since I was a competitive athlete all the way up until my first year in college, as a soccer player and a cross country runner, I was really into any kind of protein shake, bar or bread. I love to just throw together ingredients that I think may make a great bar, and see if it turns out. So many failures, yet, that’s what makes those few successes so great! Many times I’ve created a recipe, and then cut some up for my family and I to try, only to get looks of disgust across their faces..that’s when I know it’s one of those labeled, “failure”. Haha, but that’s why I love baking so much, that’s where all the fun in it is!

Thankfully, this recipe came out as a success though.  Don’t worry, I wouldn’t mislead you and give you a recipe to one of my “failure” labeled creations! No protein taste. Actually has good flavor to it. Sweet enough, but not too sweet. You can enjoy it sweet with some agave on top, or savory with some nut butter or regular butter. I was pleased :)

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Cinnamon Coconut Protein Bread
– 1/2 cup coconut flour
-1 scoop raw vanilla protein powder
-1/2 cup greek yogurt
-1/2 cup almond milk
-1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
-2 T ground flaxseed
-1/4-1/2 cup agave/honey (more for a sweet bread/cake taste)
-1 T cinnamon
-1 tsp each of vanilla and coconut extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 cup egg whites
-pinch of cream of tartar (or can use a tad bit of vinegar)

Directions: Mix all ingredients up through baking powder together. In separate bowl, whip egg whites until frothy with electric beater. Add cream of tartar (or vinegar), beat some more until white and slightly stiff. Fold egg whites into other ingredients gently, just until thoroughly combined. Bake in an 8×8 pan at 350 degrees until done! (about 30-40 minutes)

Red Velvet Cake Shake

21 Mar

Has a nice flow to it, right? Well let me tell you, the taste of this most certainly upholds to the greatness of the Red Velvet name! Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but did you know red velvet cake is mainly just chocolate cake? I know there’s always a huge hype about the stuff, but its really not much different than your normal chocolate cake. I think its the addition of the typical cream cheese frosting that everyone is truly crazy about. I mean, who wouldn’t be??

Thankfully, this shake does indeed taste better than just your normal chocolate one, I mean, it is red velvet cake flavored..and we all know how good that is!

It was actually inspired by this! Even though it was quite a let down because this extract doesn’t taste much like red velvet, at least to me. Smells and tastes like a red skittle to be exact. Not what I was going for when buying a “red velvet” extract. But still, it is what sparked my desire for this flavor shake, and I came up with the ingredients to flavor it as I pictured the real stuff would.

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I love making my shakes thick enough to serve in a bowl and eat with a spoon. It’s the best way to enjoy one in my opinion. You’ll realize a lot of my more decadent shakes are made this way:) The best thing about shakes, they are so healthy, it can even serve as a quick breakfast or post workout shake! Or forget the protein, and add more sweetness (maybe even some frozen yogurt!) and make it a decadent shake for a treat!

Along with this today, I made my own cranberry jelly, and then hosted a cooking demo for my culinary club here at the University of Florida where I made homemade pasta and spring rolls in front of other students! It was such a great experience. I’ll be posting more about that tomorrow though:) All in all, today was a food-filled day most certainly! But with school work and a big biology exam Friday morning, my books are calling my name! Goodnight everyone!

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I topped my red velvet shake today with some oats, homemade coconut protein cake all crumbled, and some clean homemade chocolate syrup! Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Velvet Cake Shake
-1.5 cups almond milk (or any other kind of milk)
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (not necessary, but makes it thicker and protein packed!)
-1/2 frozen banana(not too ripe unless you want it to taste like banana)
-1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
-2 T low fat cream cheese/cottage cheese (can be fat free if you really want)
-1/4 cup oats
-2 T cocoa powder
-2 T devils food pudding mix (can omit)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Agave, honey, or natural sugar to sweeten!
Directions: Blend altogether! Add more milk for a thinner consistency, or more oats for a thicker shake!

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt Bites

20 Mar

I know with seeing the word pumpkin again, those of you who are not the biggest fan may be tempted to click out of this before reading, but wait! If you don’t like pumpkin flavor, these are so so easy to make any other flavor as well :)

Frozen yogurt, in bite form?! I think yes. All the more reason to eat more of these healthy,protein-filled guys!

You may have seen these before across the internet, but of course I put my own little spin on them. I’ve made them in the flavors of chocolate and vanilla before, and now pumpkin! They are such a yummy and delicious snack..and of course, healthy! Yay for healthy things that actually taste good. No more of this yucky health food stuff. This site here is to show you that you can turn anything you love into a healthy food! (Well, in most situations!)

Have something that you really wish was healthy for you? Let me know and I’ll experiment with a recipe! I would love to create something that you all are really desiring to have! Any feedback would be awesome :)

But for now, here are my lovely pumpkin frozen yogurt bites!

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Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt Bites
– 1 cup greek yogurt
-1/4 cup pumpkin
-1/4 cup sweetener of choice ( I used agave)
-1 T cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla extract
**If you want another variety, say chocolate, sub in chocolate powder for the pumpkin and add some chocolate chips!  Or leave all that out and just make plain vanilla frozen yogurt  bites :)
*Directions: Mix all ingredients together to make you’re pumpkin yogurt. Spoon out little blobs on parchment paper, and freeze! Keep in freezer and pull out as desired :)

Almond Joy Butter

18 Mar

Wait, an almond joy in a spreadable form? Yep, I believe I created it. And I even added a little extra ingredient to make it healthier:)

Are you a peanut butter or almond butter lover like I am? Sometimes people rule it off as a “bad” food, because of the fat in it..but surprise! Our bodies actually need healthy fat to function to it’s fullest potential :) So instead of ruling it out of your diet, let it count for those grams of healthy fat that your body wants and needs!

Nut butters are so healthy, especially when getting the all natural kind that don’t have all the preservatives and sugars in it. And guess what? This one has none of that. All freshly grounded and food processed right here in my own kitchen. Here are some of the benefits!

Benefits of Almonds
-Reduces risk of heart attack
-Lowers bad cholesterol
-Helps build strong bones and teeth
-Provides healthy fats and aid in weight loss
-Lowers the rise in insulin after meals
-Provides good brain function
-Alkalizes the body
Benefits of Coconut (too many to list all!)
-Helps prevent obesity
-Improves heart health
-High in dietary fiber
-Low glycemic index
-Reduces sweet cravings
-Improves digestion
-Gives energy boost

Okay so you’re probably thinking by now, I don’t care about all of this, I heard the word almond joy and just want the recipe! Haha, well here you go :)

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Almond Joy Butter
-1 cup of freshly ground almond butter (or about two cups of raw almonds)
-1/2 of one big, very ripe banana
-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut or 1/4 cup coconut butter
-1/4 cup almond milk
-agave or stevia to sweeten as desired

Directions for making your own almond butter: Toast the two cups of almonds in the oven (about 5 to 10 minutes). Place almonds in food processor and turn it on. This will take awhile depending on the strength of your food processor. Be patient! It will grind down to small bits, then a powder, then begin to slowly clump up. You will have to knock the almond puree down from the sides several times (like i said, making your own nut butter requires patience). Keep blending until almond butter texture is achieved (about 10 minutes of processing).

Directions for rest of recipe: Place coconut in food processor and blend until butter form. Add banana and almond butter (if you used store bought almond butter, you can blend all three together in any kind of blender). Add almond milk to achieve desired consistency (more for a thinner texture). Sweeten to your liking with agave or stevia. Enjoy!