The $2.25 Salad

Hey ya’ll! I’m pretty exhausted today. Seriously almost too tired to post, but then I was like I can’t leave my loyal followers out of the daily loop. I’m tired because I took my brother and his friend on a self-made food tour (I should totally do for money in real life), and we walked for hours upon hours around the lower part of Manhattan. After that I had around 4 hours of straight class, which can get pretty exhausting. However I am pushing through and showing ya’ll one of the recipes I made during my SNAP Challenge. With the SNAP Challenge, each meal is only supposed to be around $1.50, but this was 2.25$. I got two lunches out of it though, so I think it was pretty good. Plus some of my other meals were pretty cheap.

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Cranberry Almond Apple Salad

1/2 bag of Romaine Lettuce (.96 cents/serving)
1/10 of Granny Smith Apple (.07 cents/serving)1 chicken breast (1.07/serving)
a pinch of cranberries (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c so .15 cents if use that)
a pinch of almonds (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c, so .13 cents if use that)
light drizzle of mashed raspberries with water (.05 cents/serving)

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1. Take a single chicken breast and slice it up into tiny chunks.

2. Place in a medium sized pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through.

3. Place Romaine lettuce in a bowl. Then add in the cooked chunks of chicken.

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4. Slice up a Granny Smith apple into 10 slices, only use one of the slices to chop it up into fine pieces to place over the salad (you can use the rest of the apple for whatever you please. I ended up eating mine for a snack a few hours later by just placing the slices in a plastic bag and placing them in the fridge).

5. Add a pinch of almonds and craisins to the top of the salad. I didn’t add that much because I wanted to save my nuts and craisins for snacks for the other days, which would provide me with energy from the healthy source of fat.

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6. Mash a few raspberries in a small plastic container. Add a little bit of water and olive oil until it becomes a runny dressing. Drizzle over the top of the lettuce and you are good to go.

I was actually pretty proud of myself for making this salad and having it under 7$. Salads are so expensive, and I don’t understand why. You can make them really cheap, so why are you charging more for a salad in comparison to a hamburger. Get with the program people! America is fat, so why don’t you charge more for the fattening stuff and less for the healthy food items. I know there is much more to this situation since I am a nutrition masters student, but still it just bothers me that people don’t have the access to healthy foods like they do with the fattening junk. I am going to reflect on my SNAP Challenge on my Thursday post about life as a nutrition student. Ya’ll will get to hear my struggles through this experience and my realizations about people who live on SNAP. Anyways back to the deliciousness that is this salad. I was so impressed with it that I am actually going to be adding it to my regular routine of meals. I like having a salad a few times a week because they are fun to just mix in random things with and create whatever you desire at the moment. Plus it is an easy way to get in a large amount of fruits and vegetables, so definitely go for creating your own salad to help get nutrients!

I know I promised this post last night, but I ended up getting distracted by working on my SNAP challenge paper. Plus my internet was pissing me off while I was trying to upload pictures of my salad. How rude! Anyways lucky for ya’ll, I’m giving two posts for one! So stay tuned for my WIAW post.

Sweet Potato, Kale, Caramelized Onion Cauliflower Pizza

Hey ya’ll! I just had a mini panic attack. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to blog today because my computer wouldn’t connect to the internet. After multiple scream sessions (at least without me throwing anything), I managed to get my computer back onto the internet. Today I have a special recipe for you. A sweet potato, kale, caramelized onion cauliflower pizza. Wow. That is a mouthful. It is definitely a mouthful of greatness.

Sweet Potato, Kale, Caramelized Onion Cauliflower Pizza

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1 c of Kale (you can add more if you want, which I ended up doing)
1 onion
1-2 large sweet potatoes (this depends on how much sweet potato sauce that you want)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp skim milk
1 bag of frozen cauliflower
2-3 tbsp of basil paste
1-2 tbsp of garlic
2 eggs
1 cup of fat free mozzarella cheese
Extras: I added some honey sesame chicken that I made a few days before on top, cheese for the top

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1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stab sweet potato with a fork all over and place into the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until soft.

2. Chop onions into slices. Place oil into a skill and toss in onions. Keep on medium to high heat. Stir every few minutes for around 30 minutes. Keep going until brown and caramelized.

3. Once they have caramelized, add in the kale. Cook until it has softened.

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4. Boil all of cauliflower in a pot for around 5 minutes or until soft. Then place into a food processor. Grind until into fine bits that are easily mashed.

5. Place into a mixing bowl. Add in the basil and garlic. Mix well.

6. Then add in cheese and eggs. Spray a cooking sheet or cover it with parchment paper (then spray it with cooking spray). Place mixture on the paper and smash it down until it forms a large pizza.

7. Once the sweet potatoes are done, remove, and turn the oven up to 450. Place in the oven and bake for 25-3o minutes, waiting until the crust is pretty brown.

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8. While the crust is cooking, take your sweet potatoes and get out all of the insides and place into a small mixing bowl. Add in the milk an stir well until it makes a creamy paste.

9. Once the pizza is removed from the oven, spread the paste on the pizza as if it was sauce.

10. Then add on all of the toppings on the pizza with the cheese being the last thing that goes on the pizza. Place back into the oven until the cheese melts.

11. Enjoy!

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Look at that bad boy. It was packed with nutritional benefits and it had a ton of flavor. It was definitely one of the best cauliflower pizzas that I have made. You really can’t go wrong with caramelized onions. They are one of my favorite pizza toppings. The kale was actually really nice too because when it was in the oven it got crispy and turned more into kale chips. The sweet potato was a good alternative to pizza sauce because it was more creamy and smooth compared to the chunkier sauces that I have used. I was pretty much in a pizza coma. There was so much fiber packed into this that I was full for hours upon hours until I went to bed that night. That is a nutrition win if I do say so myself.

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The one mistake that I made was not spraying the pan with nonstick spray. It took me forever to get each slice off of the pan. It still tasted great though. The chicken was a good addition because it allowed me to get some protein while I was consuming all of this vegetables. I will definitely be making this again. It has inspired me to make some other kind of pizzas too, such as BBQ chicken pizza or a thai style pizza. I really like making the massive pizza instead of making 4 individual ones because it just provides with bigger slices and lots of little portions for me to eat throughout the week.

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I hope you enjoy my little slice of pizza heaven and have a good Tuesday. I’m going to be off to class soon, which consists of Nutrition Counseling and Food Nutrition and Behavior. Tuesdays are a long day for me, so I pack a ton of snacks to enjoy throughout the class. I will be having my leftover pizza for dinner though.

What is your favorite type of pizza?
What is the best topping on pizza?


S’mores Banana

Hey ya’ll! Today is such an exciting day. We had our first “snow”. Technically it was only snow flurries, but it was still exciting to wake up and see it snowing out the window. I’m lucky because I get to stay inside, enjoy the weather from the window, sip on my hot chocolate, and study for my advanced nutrition exam. This makes me one happy camper! It also is getting my really excited for the holidays. I can’t wait for Thanksgivukkah! Also as an avid shopper, I’m looking forward to Black Friday, but enough about that! Onwards to the delicious recipe that I’m about to share with ya’ll: Banana S’mores! A healthy alternative to my favorite treat.

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Banana S’mores

1 banana
10-12 mini marshmallows
a sprinkle of chocolate chips
aluminum foil

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.. Unlike how I did it in the picture, you want to peel your banana first before placing it into a sheet of aluminum foil. Once you peel the banana, place it in the aluminum foil, wrapping the foil around the sides of the banana. Then make a deep slice into the banana, so that it spreads open a bit.

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3. You then want to stuff the banana with your marshmallows and chocolate chips. This is the fun part. You can either just do marshmallows and chocolate chips or you can get really creative, such as adding nuts, dried fruit, etc. You can also either limit yourself by only putting a few or you can add a lot.

4. Then place in the oven on a baking sheet. You can either let it cook for 12 minutes or just keep on the oven light and monitor it for when the marshmallows get toasty. I prefer the second option because I get to make it as melty as I want.

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5. Remove from the oven, let cool, and eat out of the aluminum foil wrapper. Enjoy.

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This treat is so delicious and really low calorie. If you are having a sweet craving, but don’t want to spend all the calories in something super fattening then this is the way to go. It provides you a ton of fiber from the banana base and you get the sweetness from the marshmallows and chocolate chips. If you really want it to be s’mores like, you can crumble a graham cracker along the inside of the banana before you place it in the oven. I didn’t miss the graham cracker part because my favorite part of a s’mores is the way the marshmallow gets crispy on the outside, but is extremely soft and melted on the inside. This sort of reminded me of a campfire treat and you could actually make these while camping. Instead of placing them in the oven, you just put them over the fire.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this recipe because my stomach sure did! I can’t wait to get creative and make all kinds of combinations with my bananas. Now it is back to studying for nutrition. Fatty acids are on my mind. Nerd out.

What would you put in your stuffed banana?
What is the best s’mores flavored treat that you have had?

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Spaghetti Squash)

Hey ya’ll! It’s Monday. If this were a normal school, I would totally be happy because I would have the entire day off for Veteran’s day to study for my advanced nutrition exam that is on Wednesday, but no I have class from 3-9. Go me. In order to cheer myself up, I have decided to share another recipe with ya’ll with some of my favorite ingredients. One is obviously pumpkin. I think pumpkin is one of the greatest things about fall, besides my birthday of course. The other ingredient is spaghetti squash. Ya’ll know I can’t live without my spaghetti squash. Seriously that thing is a staple in my diet. A good one too. So today I have for ya’ll: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1/2 spaghetti squash (if you really don’t like it, you can use regular noodles)
1/2 to 3/4 c of pumpkin (depending on how pumpkiny you want it)
1/4 c of light cream cheese
1/4 c of skim milk
1/3 c of shredded cheese (I used WW Mexican blend)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
sprinkle or two of pepper
Turkey bacon and green onions for garnish

1. First you will want to cook your spaghetti squash. I heat my oven to 400, stab my spaghetti squash all over with a knife, and then place in the oven for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Then I remove, let it cool, and then split it in half. You only need half of the spaghetti squash or even less than half because it provides a ton of “noodles” for the recipe.

2. Place your noodles in a medium pot and turn the heat on medium low.

3. Add pumpkin, cream cheese, skim milk, shredded cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot. Continuously stir as the ingredients heat.

3. You want to heat the dish until the cream cheese and shredded cheese has completely melted through. There will be no white chunks in the noodles is when you will be able to tell that it is ready.

4. You can let it sit on low heat while you work on the garnish. Heat a small skillet pan and place two to three slices of turkey bacon on. Cook until crispy. Then chop up into small pieces to place on top of pasta dish.

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6. Split into two or three servings depending on how much you want to eat. It is a pretty low calorie recipe since you are using spaghetti squash instead of actual noodles. This way you don’t need to feel as guilty.

7. You can top each bowl with green onions too, which gives it a nice flavor. Enjoy.

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This sort of looks like a pile of mush that isn’t appetizing in the least bit. However then you realize it is made with cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese? If you don’t like cheese, we probably can’t be friends. Actually that is a lie because one of my friends is allergic to dairy and I still love him. Anyways this dish is cheesy goodness with a light pumpkin flavor. To get it more pumpkin flavored and less cheese like, you will need to add more pumpkin. I thought it was perfect like this because it was a cold day and I was looking for something warm and filling to bring for my dinner that evening to class. The best part about this dish, besides it being super cheesy, is that it is pretty healthy for you. All the cheese and milk was low fat or fat free. Plus the base of the dish is just a vegetable. That is why I love spaghetti squash. You can create any pasta dish that you want without all the unnecessary calories while still getting a good source of fiber. It is a win-win in my eyes.

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Cheeeeeeeeese!

Happy Veteran’s day! I’ll be having fun in class all day, so wooo!

What is the best thing you have made with spaghetti squash?
Have you ever used alternative options for noodles?

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had a pretty fantastic weekend. Those of you that don’t have school or work tomorrow are lucky because the perks of being a graduate student means that I get to go to my 6 hours of class tomorrow. Weeeee. Anyways this has been a pretty good weekend. On Friday, I went to this salsa dancing place with my best friend from home, Isa, and these two guys. It was interesting to say the least. I am a pretty good dancer, but even I felt like the whitest person in the room. The rest of the weekend I have been working my butt off on all these assignments for school. Yes more perks of grad life. Luckily this has given me time to make a ton of delicious recipes to share with ya’ll. I have a doughnut recipe for ya’ll today. I was so happy when my mom mailed me my doughnut pan because it means I can make some delicious treats to enjoy with my hot chocolate (and for my roommates to have with their coffee in the mornings). Since it is fall, I obviously had to go pumpkin themed!

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Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

2 cups of flour (any type – I used white all purpose)
1 1/2 tsp of baking power
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ginger
1/4 tsp of cloves
1 1/2 c of pumpkin
1/4 cup of softened butter
3/4 c of brown sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tbsp of skim milk
3 medium eggs

Maple Glaze

1 1/4 c of powdered sugar
1/4 c of sugar free pancake syrup (use maple or regular syrup)
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of skim milk

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1. Preheat the oven to 350. Get out your doughnut pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease with some butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, all the spices, and salt together. Stir well with a whisk until the ingredients appear to be thoroughly mixed by making the flour appear a brown color.

3. If butter is not softened, place in microwave for about 20 seconds until soft. Then place into a mixing bowl with the brown sugar and pumpkin. If you have a kitchen aid or mixer, you can use that. However I used a whisk and did it by hand. You can add more pumpkin if you like depending on how much pumpkin flavor you want to the doughnut. Once you have mixed thoroughly, the mixture will appear to be a grainy brown texture.

4. Add in the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until the eggs are no longer seen. Then slowly pour in the flour mixture. I used a 1/4 cup to pour it in slowly while I hand mixed it. At times, it gets a little harder to stir. It will appear to be a thick mixture, so you have to spoon it into the doughnut pan and move it around with your hands because it is not liquidy enough to pour.

5. Bake in oven for 16 minutes.

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6. Let the doughnuts cool until you can remove them from the pan. This recipe made about 12 doughnuts. While the doughnuts are cooking, you can make the glaze. Just put all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix.

7. You want to set up a frosting station by placing aluminum foil down and then placing a wire rack on top. I was lucky enough that our microwave came along with a wire rack.

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8. Dip the doughnut into the bowl of frosting one at a time. Really let the doughnut soak into the frosting then flip it over and place it on the wire rack. Repeat for each doughnut.

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9. Let the doughnuts harden for about 20-30 minutes, so that the icing solidifies on the top of the icing. Eat and enjoy.

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These doughnuts are the bomb. I wish there was a never ending supply of these because they are just that good. The doughnut is really soft and moist inside, which is nice because it is baked instead of fried. The icing really soaks into the cake too. It gives a good syrupy taste inside the doughnut. The spices mix really well. At first I was worried because when I tasted the batter it was kind of over spiced. I think that baking in the oven helped mix all of it together and let it become less ginger-like. I can’t wait to enjoy these in the morning with my hot chocolate. I may even crumble one into my bowl of oatmeal. I am getting all kinds of ideas now.

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I am obsessed with doughnuts. I’m not even sure what started this obsession. Maybe Gourdoughs? Dunkin? I’m not sure, but who cares because doughnuts are so delicious. I can’t wait to start exploring with other recipes in my pan. This will definitely be a treat for my weekends every few weeks or so. I am already brainstorming delicious doughnut combinations. Ya’ll will be excited with what my brain has for you! I hope you enjoyed this recipe and try it out because you definitely won’t be disappointed.

What is your favorite flavor of doughnut?
What is the best pumpkin treat you have made this fall?

Homemade Dolsot Bibimbap

Hey ya’ll! I have an awesome post for you today. Remember that picture of bibimbap that I shared with ya’ll for last WIAW? Well Carrianne and I decided that we were going to learn to make our own, so we didn’t have to pay 14-20$ every time we wanted dolsot bibimbap. We adventured to Koreatown on Saturday to look for our very own stone bowls. We ended up going to H-mart, which sold bowls for about 9$. That included the lid, bowl, and a plate. We got a few food items at the market to add to the our bibimbap too. On Sunday, we started our Asian food adventure.

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Stone Dolsot Bibimbap

1/2 c of cooked brown rice
bean sprouts
matchstick carrots
sauteed zuchinni
sauteed mushrooms (we used a mix of shiitake, crimini, and regular)
1/4 c of cooked meat (we used ground beef with 1 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of soy sauce)
1 egg
1-2 tsp of sesame oil
Gochugang (red paste)

1. First you place your stone bowl on the burner with medium-low heat. Let bowl get extremely hot. Once hot, add in the sesame oil to the bottom of the bowl.

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2. Once you add in the oil, you want to layer in the rice. Try to get the rice coated all along the bottom and the sides.

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3. Then you add in the vegetables one at a time, making a fan like organization throughout the bowl.

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4. Make sure you have cooked everything before placing it on the bowl. A good tip to getting all the vegetables on the bowl in a nice manner and not making a mess is by using tongs to pick up all the things and place them in your stone bowl.

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5. Place the fried egg on the top and in the middle of the bowl. Keep heating until you hear a strong sizzling/crackling noise, which will be the rice cooking with the sesame oil. If you want the rice crunchier, you should leave it on the heat for a longer period of time.

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6. Remove the bowl from the heat with two oven mitts because the bowl will be extremely hot. Place on your dolsot plate that came along with the bowl.

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7. Top with the red paste (be cautious because it can be very spicy depending on the type that you buy), and mix well. You can stir it up and mix all of the things in with the rice.

This was amazing. Seriously tasted just as good as the time we went to the restaurant in Koreatown with our guy friends. We somehow bought the super spicy red paste, so we were about to explode. However I love sweating and cleaning out my sinuses. The rice was perfectly crispy from cooking in the sesame oil in the bottom of the bowl. We had a great amount of vegetables too. You could definitely make a vegetarian bowl by using only vegetables and tofu or vegetables only. I can’t wait to try out more combinations in this bowl because I think there are some good meat options that you can stick in this. Things such as pork belly or real bulgogi beef. Yes, we made a knock off bulgogi with ground beef. It was really delicious though, which was a nice surprise. I am so happy that we ended up buying dolsot stone bowls because this dish ended up being very cheap to prepare.

Also cooking with two is great because you also can clean together, which makes the whole process go by quicker. Anyways Carrianne and I have decided that we are going to be cooking all kinds of Asian recipes, so we can save money and enjoy the food that we love. I hope ya’ll enjoyed this recipe as much as I did. I definitely recommend going out to buy your own stone bowl because this is a really easy and healthy recipe to make. It was like a luxury too. I felt like I was enjoying takeout without having to pick it up or pay for it. Overall this was a success.

Have you ever had bibimbap?
Have you ever tried to make something from a restaurant at home?

 

Orange Cauliflower and Rice

Happy Halloween to everyone! I am having a pretty boring Halloween compared to my past. I’m just having a night in with the roommates doing school work. Oh the life of a graduate student. Actually I’m doing that because Carrianne and I are going to a crazy concert tomorrow, which I CAN’T WAIT FOR! So to make up for the lackluster Halloween events, I have a delicious recipe for you: Orange Cauliflower and Rice. I do love cauliflower (ya’ll know that from my cauliflower fried rice and cauliflower pizza).

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Orange Cauliflower

3 T Egg Whites
1/4 c of flour
1/2 c of water
1/4 c of corn starch
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped up
3 chopped up green onions
zest of orange + all of juice of orange
2 T of soy sauce
2 T of rice vinegar
1/4 c of orange juice
1 tsp of corn starch
1 tsp of brown sugar
1 bag of frozen cauliflower

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1. Cook frozen cauliflower to directions on bag.

2. Mix flour, cornstarch, water, and egg whites into a small mixing bowl until a batter like texture if formed. Make sure that the batter isn’t super thick.

3. Heat 1/4 c of olive oil in a pan while you coat all the pieces of cauliflower until each piece is fully coated.

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4. Place cauliflower in pan until completely cooked and browned. Place cauliflower on paper towel to soak up oil and dry.

5. Heat 1 tsp of oil and the chopped up garlic in a new pan for a minute.

6. Add half of the green onions, the zest, and the juice of the orange into the pan and cook for another minute.

7. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar. Turn up the heat until it has reached a boil. Turn back down and toss in the cauliflower. Cook until it has been fully coated in sauce.

8. Remove from heat and place over brown rice (I just used Uncle Ben’s whole grain brown instant rice because I’m super lazy).

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9. Throw orange juice, brown sugar, and tsp of corn starch into the same pan. Heat to a boil for one minute, constantly stirring the dish.

10. Drizzle the sauce over the cauliflower and brown rice.

11. You can garnish the dish with the remaining green onions, orange zest, and sesame seeds.

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This dish is so delicious. It actually tastes like orange chicken minus the soft tenderness of the chicken, but the cauliflower is such a good healthy alternative. Chinese food can be packed full with calories, especially the Americanized food items like sesame chicken, orange chicken, and others. By placing a more vegetarian friendly option, you can lower the amount of calories while still enjoying the classic taste of the sauces. It was a nice warm meal to have when I was craving some greasy Chinese. I will definitely have to try this out with other popular Asian sauces. I like making healthy version of my favorite types of food because that allows me to enjoy them on a daily basis instead of just my fat day, which is Saturday.

I hope ya’ll enjoy this! Have an awesome Halloween. I’m catching up on all my missed TV shows while I make notecards, blog, and work on my review paper! Happy Halloween!

What is your favorite Chinese food item?
What are you going to be for Halloween?