Being a little cheesy

 

Week nights are a little busy for me of because of my work schedule so cooking time is limited.  Luckily comfort food doesn’t take too long to prepare.  One of my favorite broccolivegetables is broccoli; growing up I remember my mom and aunt serving it with a creamy cheese sauce.  I decided to turn that memory into a meal by adding rice.  The end result was comforting cheesy-broccoli rice.

To make this quick meal, you will need:

  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown/white rice
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (regular works as well)
  • 1/4 cup cheese ** I like things cheesy so I usually add more** 

In a large skillet, add the rice, Greek yogurt, and mustard.  Slowly add in the broccoli, gently fold the rice and broccoli together, mixing will break up the florets making your dish look messy.  Finally throw in the cheese and watch it melt. Give the dish a few more fold so that the cheesy goodness spreads.  *Add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve hot.

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Totally Bananas

When I was growing imgresup my mom spoiled us with baked treats every week.  She turned me into the food enthusiast I am today.  Moving abroad meant that I had to give up that huge comfort and start feeding myself.  One of the things I missed the most was freshly baked banana bread.  I recall enjoying it on rainy days with a dollop of butter and a steamy cup of tea.  During my first year living alone I didn’t own an oven so I felt a little deprived, food wise.  I made a list of all the things I would cook and bake as soon as I got an oven.  At the top of the list was BANANA BREAD.

After a year, I received an oven from a friend who was moving away.  I called my mom and asked for her signature banana bread recipe.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get all the ingredients here in Korea.  So, she sent me another recipe.  Only this one combined a second favourite, carrot!  In sort, this was the best of both worlds.  A fusion of banana bread and carrot cake if you will.

The ingredients were already in my pantry and refrigerator so no extra shopping was required (even though I personally won’t pass up the opportunity to go shopping), and the method was super simple, which made prep-time shorter.

To make this delightful tea-time treat, you will need:                 IMG_0823

  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 200ml brown sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 125ml oil (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup carrot (finely grated)
  •  3 bananas (grated)
  • 1.5 cups flour (375ml)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder (10ml)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (5ml)

**Optional**

  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cinnamon {I love the smell of these spices, and it also creates a wonderful symphony of flavours when you eat.}

Method

Beat the sugar, eggs, and oil together.  Sift the dry ingredients and alternate with carrots and bananas -[ add some flour, then a little banana, and some carrot, then flour and so on].  Basically, you start and with flour.  Pour the beautiful mixture into a ring or loaf tin. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 – 40 minutes.

Note:  This mixture works well as a muffin mix.  

Mini-muffins

Mini-muffins

The end result is a treat for all the senses.  It’s my go-to comfort treat, especially in autumn.  The colours compliment the season well and it’s not too sweet making it perfect for those of us trying to watch our waistline during the colder months.

I hope your  taste-buds are delighted as mine when you try this recipe.

Happy Baking!

Between two slices

I love quick dinners.  Something that does a beautiful dance on your palate but is ready in under 15 minutes.  The quickest thing to make is toast or a sandwich but those options don’t exactly beam with excitement.  Whenever I go to the local bakery I study their selection of sandwiches and try to recreate them at home.

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On a recent flight I was severed a ham and cheese sandwich with a light spread of guacamole on fresh brown rye bread.  It was one of the best things I’ve eaten on a flight.  When I got back to Korea I was on a mission to recreate that.  However, I decided to add my own spin to it just to be creative.  My bakery didn’t have rye bread on that particular day so I got whole-grain seed bread which was just as good and was low on calories.  I also opted to used sliced avocado instead of guacamole.

To make this sandwich I used:

  • Sliced ham
  • Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Avocado (sliced)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 2 slices whole-grain seed bread

I began by placing the lettuce on the first slice of bread followed by the ham.  I  placed the avocado on top of the ham and sprinkled my shredded cheese on top before placing the second the slice of bread creating a beautiful tower of deliciousness.  Since it’s still pretty cold in Korea I decided to toast  the sandwich.  I spread a light layer of butter on the outside of both slices of bread and placed the sandwich in a frying pan for about a minute on each side.  The cheese melted and fused with the avocado and the ham let out it own bursts of flavor.  It’s definitely something worth trying.

As an optional side you can have a crunchy garden salad to keep things healthy and balanced.

*For a vegetarian option simply eliminate the ham.

Image source: Google

Breakfast on the go- Reloaded

We all have heard that “breakfast is the most important meal” a thousand times.  Most of us though don’t always have time to sit down and eat breakfast because somehow time goes by faster in the morning.

A few posts back I wrote about the answer to my breakfast prayers, smoothies.  Making a smoothie is super fast and it gives you more time to spend in front of the mirror.  It’s packed with flavor and nutrients and is perfect for the health-conscious as it doesn’t have too many calories.  It’s also a great way to finish up the fruit you may have bought but just don’t feel like eating.

This morning, I chopped up an apple and banana to create an amazing smoothie.  I have found that bananas are a great addition to any smoothie.  It helps create a thickness to the texture of the smoothie and the flavor is just out of this world amazing.

All you will need for this simple sippy breakfast are;

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 red apple (leave the peel on)
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 3 ice-cubes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut

Put all your ingredients into a blender and let the machine do the magic.  After about 2 minutes you will have a delicious smoothie which you can enjoy on your way to the office.

Variation: Instead of coconut, throw in about 6 almonds.  The nuts will create a new burst of flavor that will dance on your palate.

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Peanut butter cookies

Living in Korea means that you have adopt and adapt to new things.  This was not always easy for me but after four years I feel as though I have mastered it, well…Almost!

During my first year it was difficult to find products I would normally find back in South Africa and the Korean brands didn’t have that comforting taste of home.  Then, one day, I discovered Costco.  Everything I could wish for was under one roof. If you’re familiar with Costco you will know that everything is sold in bulk and are packed to feed a family.  For a single person this is not ideal; however, when you have to have something you will make that purchase no matter what.  Which brings me to the huge jar of Skippy peanut butter that is currently sitting in my cupboard.

skippy-peanut-butter

Even though I’ve eaten a lot of it, the contents don’t appear to be decreasing.  This inspired me to look for recipes that require peanut butter, one being the smoothie I wrote about.  My search continued and I stumbled upon an insanely easy recipe, which asked for the fewest ingredients .  These cookies were originally made by Paula Deen (I know what you’re thinking, it’s probably filled with a ton of butter), but it’s not.  I was really skeptical when I saw the recipe because it only asked for three ingredients and NO FLOUR (Whhaattt?!?). Yes, No flour.  A friend said that she had tried them but they did not turn out quite right.  I was still curious, so I decided to try it for myself.

I made minor changers to the original because I didn’t want them to be too sweet and I added vanilla extract.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar (original asks for 1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not in original)

Method: Whisk the egg, sugar and vanilla together.  Add in your peanut butter.  You should end up with a soft dough.  Scoop a tablespoon full at a time onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 175 degrees (350 F).

If you want, you may add a chocolate chip, or a Hershey kiss to your cookie.  Place the chocolate on the cookies as soon as you remove them from the over. Allow to cool and enjoy with a glass of milk.

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Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/peanut-butter-cookies-recipe/index.html

Zany for Zucchini

A friend of mine and fellow blogger (thewolfwilltravel.com) asked me to share my zucchini cake recipe after seeing a picture of it in an earlier post.   Zucchini is by far one of my favourite vegetables; however a few people consider it to be boring so nobody bothers to do anything creativewith it.  During one of my internet trolling sessions I stumbled upon this amazing recipe that turns my favourite vegetable into something spectacular. Naturally, I HAD to try it!  With a few minor tweaks to the original recipe, zucchini cakes have became a frequent guest at my dinner parties as they are a perfect accompaniment to any main course.  These little treats  are really light and fluffy,  I could eat about a dozen in one go.  Preparation is quick and easy, so if you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, this is perfect!

raw-sliced-zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (Coarse breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup  parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Grate the zucchini and drain out the excess water.  To do this, wrap the grated zucchini is paper towels for a few minutes.   
  • In a large bowl combine all the ingredients at once. Using your hands, squish the zucchini into the bread crumbs with the help of the egg.  The spices add a rich flavour and beautiful aroma to the cakes so ensure that they are mixed in well.
  • Once you have a sticky dough, scoop a tablespoon full at a time into your hands and form a small patty.  *(You can make them bigger if you wish)
  • Fry your cakes in shallow oil over medium heat till they are golden.

I love these cakes with chicken and baked potatoes. When I’m in the mood for a full vegetarian course, I like to serve them with a beautiful stir fry.  Sometimes, I prefer to just eat them on their own with a sweet and sour sauce.  Whatever your taste preference, I’m certain you will enjoy these flavourful little cakes.

Happy cooking!

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Zucchini cakes served with mac&cheese and vegetable stir fry

Source: http://www.lifesambrosia.com

Breakfast on the go

Every morning I have the constant battle of deciding what to wear to work and what to have for breakfast.  I end up standing in front of an open closet looking at all my clothes and saying to myself  “I have nothing to wear”, before I know it, time has flown by and there’s not enough time for breakfast.  I usually just fuel up on coffee and run out the door.  NOT GOOD!!!

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Story of my life

I wanted to get rid of this awful habit so I started picking out my outfit the night before (thank you weather app) so that I had time in the morning to eat something.  When I lived with my parents my mom would fix me breakfast but living alone means that the burden falls on my shoulders.  Fortunately, I discovered Pinterest (Thank you, Dena) and it’s plethora of recipes.  I troll that site everyday for inspiration for everything from apple-pies to zoo animals.  During one of my “pinning sessions” I found a quick-fix-breakfast.  SMOOTHIES!

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I’ve tried several recipes but my favourite was the peanut-butter&banana smoothie.  It asks for few ingredients and the taste is amazing.  It sustains me till lunch and I can I drink it on my way to work which makes me love it even more.

To make this delicious drink, you will need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • A tablespoon of your favourite peanut-butter
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • +/- 6 ice-cubes

Throw all the ingredients into your blender and flip the switch.  After a few good swirls inside the blender you will have the most delightful breakfast smoothie.  Pour it into your travel mug and enjoy on the go!

*For an added burst of flavour throw in some almonds.

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The most delicious smoothie

Source: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/