“Protein” Bars

These are so easy to make… and what a fabulous replacement for their high sugar boxed enemies!

Thank you to Diane, who was a client of mine last January, for sending along this recipe!

1.5 c uncooked oats
1/2 c dried fruit (I used cranberries)
1/2 c chocolate chips or carob chips
1/2 c liquid sweetener (I mix 1/4 c apple sauce and 1/4 c maple syrup or agave.  You can use all syrup or all agave too and they are extra yummy)
1/2 c peanut butter or any nut butter
1/4 c coconut oil (optional, but it helps them freeze and hold together well)
optional ingredients:  it’s really whatever you have in the cupboard and want to add in- you can’t really mess it up
1 ripe mashed banana
1/2 c shredded coconut
flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds (2 Tbsp)
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stir it all up and press it into a pan. You can line it with wax paper to for easy clean up.  Freeze, only takes an hour or so and then cut to desired size (pizza cutter works well).
Enjoy!

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

I cannot wait to try these, they are such a great change from the normal heavy meat ball.  So many different options on how to use these as well!  You could also use this marinade on chicken or fish.

Ingredients- Meatballs:

  • ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt/pepper

Mix all together and form in to meatballs.

Ingredients- Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (these are salty, but so little over so many meatballs is fine!)
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

Mix all together, and coat each meatball in sauce.

Heat a bit of EVOO in a skillet and place meatballs over medium heat, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through.  About 10-12 minutes and covered between turnings.

Enjoy!

Crisp Apple Pie

Almost done:)

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ghee or butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • salt
  • 1 cup plain rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut or almond flour

Pie Filling:

  • 3 large honeycrisp apples (organic if possible, may need 4 since organic are smaller)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Oven to 350- use an apple slicer to divide apple into 8 pieces and then slice them again to make 16 skinny pieces. Toss apples in all filling ingredients, pour into pie baking dish.

Combine crisp topping ingredients and pour over apple mix.  You can always make more topping if you want!

Cover with foil and bake for 20 min, uncover and let bake an additional 5!

ENJOY:)

Gluten Free Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake

Last but not least….dessert:) I know the tradition is pie (which we do), but I have been dying to post this recipe that I adapted a few years ago from Fine Cooking. It is AMAZING.

Keep in mind…just because I am posting this– a healthier version of dessert, does not mean you can eat the entire thing:) Always in moderation, just much better ingredients than most dessert!

Vanilla Batter:

  • 8oz organic full fat cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth, set aside.

Chocolate Batter:

  • 10oz bag of dark chocolate chips- you can also break up bars of dark chocolate, goal is 70% or higher!
  • 8tbsp ghee or unsalted organic butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1tbsp dark rum
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Raw Cacao powder for dusting

Melt the chocolate and ghee/butter in a large bowl, whisk until smooth and let cool for a few min. Add other ingredients and beat until smooth, 3-4 min.

Putting it all together:

Pour half the chocolate batter in the bottom of a greased (olive oil spray works well!) 9 inch round pan. Alternate adding spoonfuls of vanilla and then chocolate- take a knife and swirl the two together. Make any design you like:)

Bake on 300 until a tooth pick comes out gooey but not liquid about two inches from the edge, 40-42 min. The top will be puffed and slightly cracked. Let cool for an hour. Loosen cake from pan by tapping, flip onto cutting board or baking sheet. Dust bottom of cake with cacao powder, flip back over and ENJOY:)

Asparagus Coconut Chicken

Ingredients: (double triple quadruple if needed!)
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup almond meal/flour or coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, 1 clove
  • 16 asparagus spears
  • 1 large egg white
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Once the pan has heated, add the garlic and asparagus and cook until the asparagus brightens in color- approximately 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Slice the chicken breast down the middle and then into four pieces.  Using a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast to thin in out enough to wrap around four asparagus spears.
  • Place the egg white into one bowl and the coconut, almond meal, and garlic powder into a second bowl. Dip each side of a chicken breast into the egg white, dredge both sides through the almond mixture, and lay flat on a plate.
  • Place four asparagus spears onto the edge of the chicken and roll. You can use a toothpick to hold it shut if need be.
  • Continue this process with the remaining chicken breasts. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray and place each chicken roll evenly apart. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Bake for 23-25 minutes and enjoy!

Grilled Mango & Real Food Challenge!

Grilled Mangos with Jalepenos

Memorial Day is not only an important American holiday but the beginning of grill season! This is an awesome side to any dish.

Ingredients:
3 Mangos, peeled and sliced into flat pieces
2 jalepenos, sliced
Cilantro, chopped
1 lime
1/2 cup plain green yogurt mixed with 2tbsp coconut milk (regular milk okay too)
EVOO
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne

Method:

After slicing, drizzle each mango slice on each side with EVOO, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Grill one side then flip for about 2-3 minutes total or until there are grill marks on each side.

Place mangos on serving tray and squeeze lime, drizzle Greek yogurt mixture, and too with jalepenos and cilantro!

Creamy Mexican Grilled Chicken

Make sure you get the grill master of the house- chicken can be tough to get right! This creamy marinade will help keep it from drying out.

Ingredients:

1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 cup chopped cilantro
2tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon squeezed with a press)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts (or cut into tenders!)

Method:

1. Mix all ingredients except chicken into large re sealable bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. Grill chicken when ready! (You can always bake at 350 for 20 min!)

Cravings, Sudden Cravings

Without a plan, I craved Lomi! Definitely not good because I haven’t gone to the grocery store in a week. So… searching our fridge, pantry, down every nook and cranny, I found these.

I called my mother-in-law, my Chinese cooking mentor, and asked her to recap the recipe.

And quickly and easily, here goes… No Ingredients Lomi!

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 cup meat, diced (pork, chicken, beef or seafood)
3 pcs fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced in thin strips
1/2 medium cabbage, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 thumb ginger, sliced
1 small pack fresh noodles (I used mami noodles here)
3 cups chicken broth or water
3 pcs medium eggs
1 Tbsp cornstarch, dilute in 1/2 cup water
1 bunch spring onions, minced
To taste salt (or patis) and pepper

For noodles:
Boil a pot of water with ginger. Add noodles as soon as water boils. Boil for 3-5 Mins or until noodles are cooked yet firm to the touch.

Strain while pouring cold water to stop cooking. Reserve.

Procedure:
1. Sauté onions and garlic in sesame oil. Add five spice. Quickly add meat.
2. Cook meat well. Add mushrooms. Season.
3. Add all vegetables. Add broth if available, if not, water will do. Season.
4. Add noodles and simmer until vegetables are cooked.
5. Add cornstarch and continue stirring slowly while adding the eggs.
6. Season and top with spring onions.

Sambal Petai (Chilli Smelly Beans)

According to wiki, there’s a whole string of names for it Parkia Speciosa (scientific), bitter bean, smelly bean (English), Sataw (Thai), Petai (Malay & Indonesian)

These delectable beans are one of God’s strange creation, you either love it or hate it; in terms of aroma and taste. Like asparagus, petai has high content of amino acid, hence after consuming these yummy beans, it is detectable from your breath and pee for at least 2 days. Your poor friends and family will also have to deal your heavy flatulence effect.

When I was younger, I had to help my mum to extract the petai from the casing. After which I had to split the beans to check if there’s any worms, ooh I hate worms…I remembered I use to screamed, jumped and run away whenever I cut through a worm. Eeew I still squirm till this day when I prepare it.

Fortunately, today the labor is cut by half and many local supermarkets and markets sell them in packets ready peel. I still split the beans to check for worms though.

Choosing Petai

Whilst you’re out shopping for petai be sure to choose the beans based on its appearance. It should look bright green, big and plump (looks a little like broad bean after removing the skin), check for worms in the bag. I recommend Geylang Serai Market, it is cheaper, there’s more in each packet, and you can easily purchase the other ingredients and spices there. Not to forget you can have your breakfast or lunch at the food center on the 2nd level. The Nasi Padang is a bomb!

Avoid the shrivelled, tainted brown petai, chances are the petai has been left on the shelves for a while now and there are worms burrowed in it. Recently I picked up a bag and a swarm of worms came surfacing. Needless to say, I screamed, threw the bag at vendor and scared the rest of the customer and I ran away.

Preparing and Cooking it

You can literally use petai in whatever dish you fancy. The Southern Thais tend to use it in their curries, fried rice and Nam Prik (a salad dish where you dip the raw vegetables into thai chilli chutney). The commonly know Malay, Indonesian or Nyonya dishes cooked with petai  are normally Sambal Petai cooked with prawns, ikan billis (dried anchovies), squid or mince pork (there’s a really good version of petai mince pork at Sin Hoi Sai at Tiong Bahru).

The recipe that I’m going share with you is one that I stole from me dearest mummy. It not traditionally nyonya, its been tweaked with a little Thai influence.  I especially like her version of Udang Sambal Petai cos she minces the prawns. This way you will always get a good mouthful of prawns and petai with every spoonful.

Udang Sambal Petai

Paste

10-15 cloves Shallots

3-5 cloves Garlic

4 Candlenuts

30-45 Dry Chilli

15 Fresh Chilli

1 tablespoon Belachan (about size of 3-4cm cube)

4 stalks Lemongrass

1 thumb size Galangal (Blue Ginger)

2 tablespoons Tamarind (Soak in 1 cup hot water, strain and remove pulp. Use a little for the paste)

2 tablespoon of dried shrimps (dry fry the shrimps and blend finely) *optional

Roast the shallots and belachan on an open fire to release the fragrant. Be sure not to char the shallots and belachan otherwise it will be too bitter.

Blend all the ingredients together, add a little water/tamarind water to help make it pasty.

The Cooking Stage

1kg of small-medium prawns (shelled, minced)

*recommend to minced with a knife, this way it there are some chunky bits of the prawns. You may mince it in a blend but it may become to pasty.

200g-250g of Petai (halves)

1 cup Coconut Milk (*optional but I love it for the fragrant)

Remainder of the Tamarind Water

Shredded lime leaves

Oil

Lime Juice

Fish Sauce

1 teaspoon heap Brown Sugar

Fry the paste till it fragrant or when the oil seeps through the paste.Heat up the oil in a large pot or pan.

Add the tamarind water, coconut milk, brown sugar, petai and lime leaves, simmer for about 7 minutes or till the petai is slightly cooked.

Add the minced prawns and stir the sauce so that the prawns do not clump together. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Season to taste with the Lime Juice and Fish Sauce.

Best eaten after it has been set aside for several hours or the next day; cook heaps of rice to accompany the petai.

Note: some people enjoy the raw taste of the petai, so they will fry the petai 1st in oil for about a min or two and set aside. Using the same oil to fry the paste and only to add the petai at the end.

Ikan Billis Sambal Petai (Anchovies) – you have to do this in stages. Fry the ikan billis till crispy, then the paste and the petai, finally add the fried ikan billis.

Sotong Sambal Petai (Squid) – clean and skin the squid, cut into rings. Fry the paste, followed by the petai and add the squid at the last minute. Be sure not to overcook the squid.

Minced Pork Sambal Petai – cook the same way as the mince prawn version.

Budget Paella

Made from the available ingredients from my kitchen, this Paella might have been concepted and executed without much primping but the best thing is IT WORKED!

Armed with my foodie friend Jeng’s gift of paprika pimenton, I salivated for Paella and created it with only what’s inside my pantry.
  • A pack of frozen seafood
  • Green peas
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chicken bits (leftover from last night’s dinner)
  • White long grain rice
  • 2 pcs Tomatoes
  • 2 pcs of leftover chorizo
  • Leftover hard boiled egg
  • Olive oil
I did it anyways. Sautéed the chorizo on olive oil. Placed them aside for later. Sautéed garlic and onion with seafood. Saved them for later. Cooked the tomato sauce and tomatoes in the same pan and oil. Added the chicken and rice, making sure rice was coated in oil. Added water (around 3 cup first for 2 cups rice). Allowed it to boil and then simmer while covered.
I added a generous sprinkling of sweet pimenton to the rice. Placed the seafood and chorizo back. Added some more pimenton for good measure. Tasted it. Added a bit of salt and pepper.
GREAT! No fear. Do what you can with what you’ve got! Take note, I do not own a paellera (yet!).
Here’s how…