Tofu Bean Sprout Soup

With the cool weather comes the need for baking and soup making (like my little rhyme there?). As you know I have been trying to retrain myself to eat intuitively. It’s kind of a slow and steady process but I’m happy to say I’ve lost 13 pounds! Even with these improvements some days I just feel ravenous and find myself wanting to eat a massive quantity of everything! In order to allow myself to be able to eat more and hopefully feel full I made myself a big pot of bean sprout soup today. As weird as it sounds… I absolutely love this stuff. I especially craved it when I was pregnant. It’s low in calories and it fills you up fast. A little back story…

A few years ago my mom came across Asian dramas (with an emphasis on the Korean dramas) and a whole new world opened up to us. Asian romances and Asian food! Our love of the Korean culture even pushed my mom to sign up for a Korean exchange student who lived with us for nearly a year. We had so much fun learning her culture and tasting the new foods she shared with us. Bean sprout soup was definitely a “love at first bite” for me.

It’s so yummy and a nice addition is tofu and rice. This soup is gluten free as well as paleo if you forego the rice.

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Tofu Bean Sprout Soup
(Slightly Adapted from Bap Story)

6 cups water
200g bean sprouts (about 2 cups)
6 dried anchovies (or 1-1/2 tsp. dashi)
1 piece of dried kelp
2 inch slice of daikon radish
7 ounces firm tofu
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Korean red chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Add water, anchovies (or dashi), kelp and daikon radish to pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Remove kelp and anchovies. Add bean sprouts and tofu. Cover pan with lid and increase heat. Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes.

Then add salt, Korean red chili powder and green onion. Let simmer for a few minutes and serve. To make it a little more filling you can add a 1/2 cup rice to your bowl and its delicious. If you are Paleo then leave out the rice and its just as tasty!

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September GNCO – Apple Pie Cookies

For the month of September our game night cook off “special ingredient” was crust – anything you considered crust. The winner of the night was a beautiful chicken pot pie. I followed in second and third with Chicken, Bacon Broccoli Quiche and Apple Pie Cookies.

With two little munchkins to attend to the Apple Pie Cookies initially felt like a big hassle but in the end they were so worth it! It is definitely the season for baking apple things!

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Apple Pie Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Crust Recipe
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces, dipping fork
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold (I pour 1 cup and add ice while I work, then measure 1/2 cup from it when I need it)

Filling
2 medium apples, I used Granny Smith
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg and/or any other spices you like with your apples

To finish
1 large egg
Coarse or granulated sugar for garnish

Additional stuff
2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper
Rolling pin, pastry brush (for egg wash), fork (for crimping and dipping) and sharp knife (to make slits)
A cookie cutter about 2-1/2 inch in size.

Make your pie dough first: Mix together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Using a pastry blender work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Knead it two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.

On a well-floured counter or pastry cloth, roll out your pie dough thin, a little less than 1/8-inch thick. Lift and rotate your dough as you roll it, to ensure that it rolls out evenly and so you can be sure it’s not sticking in any place. Use your cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets and keep them in the fridge until you need them. Once you’ve finished the first packet, repeat the process with the second packet of dough

Prepare your apples: Peel your apples. Cut thin (1/8-inch thick) slices from each side of the whole apple until the core is all thats left. Cut the apple slices into small cube-like pieces. Place them in your second bowl, covering them with a few drops of lemon juice to keep them from browning. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and add to the apples. Mix together until all apples are coated with the sugar mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Assembly:
Grab your first disc of chilled dough and lightly dampen it on one side with the water. This is to help it seal. Place about 1 tbsp. (as much as you can fit without the dough tearing and still be able to crimp the edges) in the center of the dough. Lightly flatten. Place a second disc of dough on top; I found it easiest to seal it by picking the whole thing up (this is when you’ll be glad that your dough is cold and semi-firm; if it’s soft and getting sticky, chill it until it’s easy to pick up) and press the tops and bottoms around the apple with your fingers. Hold the pies at an angle and place one edge of pie on floured surface. Rotate pie as you crimp around the edges with a floured fork. Place on cookie sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut decorative slits in your “pies”. Brush your cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake your apple pie cookies for 25 minutes, or until puffed and bronzed and very pie-like. (If this is your first batch, peer in at them at 20 minutes, to make sure your oven doesn’t run hot.) Let cool if you have enough patience!

Do ahead: These will keep for a few days at room temperature. You can freeze them by doing everything but brushing on the egg wash and sugar. Keep them frozen until needed. Bake them directly from the freezer just adding on a few minutes to the bake time.

Day 9 of Intuitive Eating

In the book, “How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too” the author recommends not weighing yourself. Since the body changes weight constantly it can be discouraging if it seems like you are making no progress. She suggests using clothes, about a size smaller, as a way to determine if you are losing weight or not. Every time you want to step on the scale to check your progress instead you can try on your too small clothes and gradually you will see the changes in your body.

I have a pair of capris I chose as my weight loss determiner. I had bought them at a yard sale 3 or 4 weeks ago and couldn’t even button them. After a couple days of eating intuitively I could! They don’t look attractive (yet!) but it was encouraging. As fun as this is I did cheat this morning and step on the scale. In these 9 days I have lost 4.5 pounds! I’m sure some was water weight but what is awesome is I have been eating whatever I wanted when I was hungry and still lost some poundage. At different times throughout the past week I’ve had lemon chicken pasta alfredo, coconut-lemon cake, Schwan’s ice cream almost every evening, raspberry cream pie, muffins, a latte, coffee with creamer, burritos, tacos, hot dogs, bagels.. and the list goes on. How awesome does it feel to know I’ve lost 4.5 lbs. while enjoying foods that I love and knowing I am capable of eating them intuitively – I actually stop when I’m hungry and as of today actually threw the rest of my meal away when I felt full. It feels great! 

This morning I started my day off with an Egg McBagel (egg, turkey bacon and cheddar cheese on a delicious, soft, potato bagel from Costco) and some watermelon. Yum! I ate the watermelon and half of the bagel because I was full. Since it would keep OK I set it aside and when I was hungry later I ate it as a snack.

Egg McBagel

Egg McBagel

For lunch I ate the last of the Tilapia Fish Taco with Spicy Coleslaw stuff I had. Mmmm…Fish Taco

For a snack I had a small cup of decaf coffee with vanilla creamer and a macadamia nut caramel cluster (normally I could have eaten like 10 of these!). I had planned on making a shrimp Alfredo tonight but my husband wasn’t hungry so I popped open a can of Nalley’s Chili and ate it over Fritos with cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and sour cream. What can I say?… that’s the way I like it and since I CAN eat it that way I will.. hehe. 

Chili

There is something about this chili and chip combination I love and yet somehow, in 9 days, I was able to know my hunger and stop when I was full… I know it’s not a lot but for me it is. I actually threw this away. Go me! 

Leftovers

And for dessert I am enjoying, once again, a delicious slice of Raspberry Cream Pie with Schwan’s Raspberry Rumble ice cream. An excellent combination! 

raspberry pie

Making Changes

Eating intuitively seems like such common sense but in my real world I’ve spent my entire life over eating and eating when I wasn’t hungry. There is something about dieting, telling yourself you can’t eat certain foods, that suddenly makes you crazy for food. When I would tell myself… you can’t have that donut… it was like 20 times harder not to eat it. 

Allowing yourself to eat ANYTHING and learning your hunger cues is so exciting! Food no longer feels like it has a hold on me since I can eat whenever and whatever I want. At the end of the day it’s not so much, “how much did I eat today?” but more like “how much DIDN’T I eat today?” I am having so much fun starting this journey and I can already see some positive results. 

Today I started my morning with a high fiber pancake with maple syrup and a slice of turkey bacon. Normally I would probably eat 2 of each and still feel a little deprived (or at least think I’m deprived). Around 10:30 I drank half a cup of coffee with some creamer because I was sooo tired! For lunch I had one Tilapia Fish Taco with Spicy Coleslaw. Then for dinner I ate half a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with tomato soup, roasted asparagus and watermelon. I didn’t even finish my soup because I felt good. And for dessert I enjoyed a slice of Raspberry Cream Pie with a scoop of Schwan’s Raspberry Rumble ice cream. A great way to end the day! 

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Tilapia Fish Tacos with Spicy Coleslaw

Today was one of those days as a parent where I think, “how do I survive on so little sleep?” and “why does my 2 year old need to get up at 6am?” I get my 2 year old down for his nap and then my 3 month old thinks it’s time to play. If only they would sleep at the same time so I could do the same! With my lack of energy today I was thankful for some leftovers from dinner last night to keep me fueled for the day.

Fish Taco Final

Tilapia Fish Tacos with Spicy Coleslaw

(adapted from Tyler Florence)

Spicy Slaw:

1 head green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, grated

2 green onions, chopped

1 red chile, sliced

11/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Creole mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 lemon OR lime, juiced

Pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Several dashes hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrot, green onions, and chile in a large bowl.

In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice (or lime), and sugar; stirring to incorporate. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the coleslaw with celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Chill for 2 hours.

Tilapia Prep:

(From Home Cooking Memories)

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.

2 pounds tilapia fillets, fresh or frozen that have been thawed

1 lime or lime juice

Salt & Pepper

Seasoning (see below) or your favorite seasoning

Corn tortillas or flour tortillas. I personally love the pre-made tortillas at Costco that you cook up yourself. So fresh and tasty!

Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, guacamole, lime wedges, cilantro

For Seasoning:
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika

Instructions

  1. To make seasoning: Mix together all seasonings and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tilapia fish fillets on a greased baking sheet or a glass dish , and squeeze lime juice over them. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is done (flakes easily with a fork).
  3. While fish is baking, prepare toppings and heat tortillas.
  4. To assemble tacos: place desired amount of fish, broken up slightly, lengthwise in the middle of your tortilla. Depending on the size of your fillet, each one can usually make about 2 tacos. Top fish with spicy coleslaw and cheddar cheese, a squeeze of lime juice and a couple squirts of Tabasco sauce if you like spicy… or any other toppings you think sound good.

Lemon Chicken Pasta Alfredo – GNCO August Winner

My family and I have restarted a Game Night Cook Off that we used to do when I was in high school. Each person brings a dish that must include the “special ingredient” of the night. The winner of each cook off gets to choose the following “special ingredient” which so happened to be lemon for the month of August. Each dish is judged by everyone in 5 categories: Taste, Texture, Aroma, Presentation and Use of Ingredient. The winner takes home the Cooking Champion Trophy until the next cook off. I just so happened to win this week so it gets to chill here at my place… hopefully forever if I can keep on winning!

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And this is how one looks when they lose…image_2

This is my brother, he won the previous months’ competition with Chicken Alfredo Garlic Bread Pizza (it was amazing!). He actually made a delicious Lemon Coconut Cake but scored low in presentation or he possibly could have won the lemon round as well.

I will be sharing some awesome recipes but sadly some of pictures got deleted so you will just have to trust me until I remake these and get some visually appealing pictures up to win you over!

Lemon Chicken Pasta Alfredo

Part 1: Lemon Chicken Breasts

(Lemon Chicken Recipe From Ina Garten on the Food Network)

*If you are only cooking for 2-4 people then I would cut the lemon chicken part of the recipe in half. If you are cooking for more than that I would double the Alfredo Pasta part. The Lemon Chicken is excellent in quesadillas and Caesar salad so making a little extra will give you more yummy meal options!

Ingredients 

1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-6 boneless chicken breasts
1 lemon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Part 2: Lemon Pasta Alfredo

Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen

  • 1 lb fettuccine or penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. lemon zest (depending on how lemony you like it)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rosemary for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Cook ¾ lb noodles in salted water according to package instructions and drain. Don’t rinse (this helps the sauce stick to the noodles better)
  2. In large sauce pan, over medium/high heat, add 2 Tbsp butter and onion and sauté onion till golden. Stir in garlic and sauté another minute. Stir in ⅓ cup white wine and reduce to about 25%.
  3. Stir in Cream and simmer until it starts to thicken. Add ⅓ cup parmesan (or add to taste) and stir until creamy and smooth. Add paprika and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in drained, un-rinsed pasta, and lemon chicken. Garnish with rosemary, extra parmesan and freshly cracked pepper if desired.

The 2nd place dish, which followed very close to 1st, was Oven-Roasted Cauliflower.

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower – GNCO

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed cauliflower this much! 

This was the 2nd place winner for our August Game Night Cook Off (GNCO). I have never enjoyed cauliflower so much. And yes it lacks a picture – I will promptly cook this myself so I can post the yumminess! 

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower

From Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network

5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan,  roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.