Monday, September 10, 2012

The Most Amazing Sauce Ever.

I've been on a gigantic Greek food kick lately. I feel the need to make something Greek once a week. My dad requested that I make the 'gyro sauce' the next time I made falafels, and was happy to oblige. Little did I know that it would turn out to be... the best sauce ever! I kid you not.

Normally, I'm not a huge Greek yogurt fan. I don't care for cucumbers and I don't like dill. However, magic happens when they're all combined together. And it's stored in the fridge really well. I made a batch a week and a half ago and it's still in the bowl with some plastic wrap covering it, and it tastes just as fresh.

The best part: you can put it on ANYTHING. This recipe makes a huge batch, so after eating it with our spanikopita and falafel we had so much left over! I dipped pita bread in it, my dad used it in place of mayo on a wrap, we used it for a vegetable dip instead of ranch dressing, we poured some over quinoa pasta to make a cold pasta salad, I added some to spaghetti and it tasted like an alfredo sauce, I topped a quesadilla with it instead of sour cream, and today we mixed it with chicken to make a quick chicken salad. It tastes amazing on anything!

You really should try it! I've eaten it as part of same meal every day for almost two weeks now.

I think I have a problem.

Magic Tzatziki Sauce


*3 cups plain Greek yogurt
*2 tbsp lemon juice
*2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
*1 clove of garlic, minced
*1 tbsp dill (you can substitute mint if you like, but the dill was amazing! I think I ended up dumping 2 tbsp in by  accident...)


1. Place the peeled and diced cucumber in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and place a plate and something heavy over the top. (I looked around the kitchen and grabbed three potatoes. It looked ridiculous to anyone else entering the kitchen.) Let it sit for 30 minutes. This will draw the extra water out of the cucumbers and make the sauce less runny. Drain and wipe dry with a paper towel.

2. In a food processor or blender, process the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, and dill until smooth. Add in the yogurt and continue to process until smooth and even. (It honestly looks like ranch dressing to me.) Let it sit, covered, in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Warning: It makes a lot. Next time I'll probably cut the recipe in half, so we can eat it all in a week. Don't be afraid to play with the amount of dill depending on your taste. I didn't add any salt, because I added too much salt to my cucumbers during the draining process, so it was already pretty salty! You could add pepper if you'd like!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The best wrap ever, and my new favorite dessert!

 I've been eating some variation of this wrap at least two or three times a week this whole summer. I've recently discovered that I like avocados, so apparently I've been making up for lost time and eating them every day. There's something about this wrap that's so refreshing and it's ridiculously easy! You can toast it or eat it cold, and basically throw on whatever you feel like!

I start with a homemade whole wheat tortilla (check out the recipe on 100 Days of Real Food!) then spread a layer of hummus. Then I add on mozzarella, tomatoes, and avocado slices. Sometimes I drizzle it with balsamic vinegar for a bit of a kick, and boy is it yummy and filling! Just one of these babies fills me up for a good chunk of the day! I've also added leftover chicken, spinach, black beans, and just about anything else in the fridge depending on my mood- but this is definitely my favorite!

And speaking of favorites....

Holy Chocolate Avocado, Batman! I've discovered an awesome new dessert!

I've seen this recipe floating around Pinterest, but never remembered to try it. I also never believed that it would taste good, but boy was I wrong! You would never believe there was avocado in it! I served it to my dad and little sister without telling them what it was (they both hate avocados) and they loved it! It took less than 10 minutes with my food processor, and tasted better than any chocolate mousse I've ever eaten! It has a wonderful dark chocolate taste and will definitely satisfy those chocolate cravings. A little bot goes a long way- it's very rich!

PS- the white stuff on top was my attempt at making my own whipped cream which obviously failed because I was too lazy to get the mixer out, and my hand got tired after five minutes... It still tasted great though! Just wasn't fluffy... heheheh

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
 (Servings: 2)

* 1 avocado, soft and ripe, peeled and pitted
*1/4 cup cocoa powder
*1 tsp vanilla (I used real vanilla which gave it a sort of liquor taste to some people, it was yummy!)
*6 Tbsp Milk
* 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (once again I used the real stuff!)


Dump it all in a food processor! What could be easier?!

Note: I tried to use a blender at first and it did not work. The avocado was chunky, and you definitely want this to be pureed! I processed the avocado first and then added the ingredients in. I quadrupled the recipe and used four avocados which made about 6 half cup servings if I remember correctly. You really don't need a lot!

I also attempted my own whipped cream (see note above) by using 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp maple syrup, but was lazy. It still tasted awesome on top though!

You might be able to play around with the amount of maple syrup, to save on calories. I think that was the worst part for you! And I think it's better to get a little avocado in you that eat pudding or other mousse. This will definitely be replacing my chocolate pudding recipe! And a few spoonfuls is enough and will completely satisfy your chocolate cravings!

Try this one! It will surprise you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spanikopita Bites

Spanikopita Bites, Falafel, Baba Ghanoush, Pita Bread

I have been on a HUGE Greek food kick lately. I feel the need to eat something Mediterranean at least once a week. I've also become a lot braver in the kitchen which makes it much more fun to try new recipes. I first found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to make it for my dad one night. The hardest part was definitely using the phyllo dough, but i don't think i let it thaw enough before trying to use it. Luckily, it didn't affect the taste at all!

The moral of that story is: Relax! breaking the phyllo dough won't kill the dish!

I served it with homemade Baba Ghanoush, pita bread, and falafel and I'll post the recipes later for those!

This refrigerated really well too! The day after, I reheated it in the microwave and it was still crisp! The next few days, the dough got soggy, but it was still yummy. I literally ate it all week!

Spanikopita (I'll get a better picture next time!)

Spanikopita Bites


*1 small onion, chopped finely
*3 green onions, finely chopped ( I bought pre-cut green ones
and just threw in several handfuls)
*10oz. Frozen chopped spinach ( I bought a tub of fresh baby
spinach and sautéed it with garlic and then chopped it. )
*6 oz feta cheese
*1 cup cottage cheese
*1 egg
*Salt/pepper to taste ( I actually forgot this part and it still
tasted fine. I didn't think it needed any!)
*1 lb. phyllo dough, thawed
*1 stick of butter, melted
*3 tbsp. olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 375

2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over med. heat and cook onions for roughly 3-4 minutes. (This was when I cooked and chopped the spinach).

3. Mix spinach, feta cheese, cottage cheese, and egg in a mixing bowl. Add onions, and salt/pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

4. Combine melted butter and rest of oil.

5. Unroll dough and cut into small squares. Size depends on the muffin tray you use. Brush the muffin tray with butter. Then, place two small squares of dough into pan and press into a cup shape. Brush butter on bottom and sides, and place two more sheets of dough. Brush with butter. Put two more sheets of dough, and brush with butter one more time.

(This was the hardest part- I may consider buying the pre-made cups next time, but these ended up cooking perfectly!)

Then, scoop a spoonful of the spinach mixture into the dough cup and close the extra dough sticking out of the cup over the top. Brush with more butter.

(My dough kept cracking so I used the broken pieces and pieced it together. The butter ended up keeping it all together!)

6. Bake for 20 minutes.

I used a regular cupcake pan and this recipe made 12 spanikopita muffins. The crust ended up turning a light golden brown and the mixture was yummy! They came out easily and didn't fall apart. The most time consuming part was dealing with the phyllo dough!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homemade California Rolls

I've recently discovered my love of sushi...well, to be honest. I still don't like raw sushi, but I love my California rolls! Publix actually had some delicious spicy California rolls, but at the rate I was eating through them, I figured there had to be a way to make them myself! Plus, I actually looked at the label and there was SO MUCH processed ingredients and chemicals in something that should be so simple! AHH.

I found a wonderful sushi recipe on one of my favorite blogs: 100 Days of Real Food. I made these a few weeks ago, but we're making it again tonight which reminded me that I needed to post this! The hardest part was finding the Nori Seaweed sheets. Most grocery stores had no idea what I was talking about. I ended up finding several choices at Whole Foods, so I stockpiled! It really doesn't take many of the sheets for a dinner. I also bought some organic Shoyu Soy Sauce which is supposed to be closer to the real soy sauce, and there's no weird ingredients! Let me tell you- that stuff is delicious! So much better than any other soy sauce I've eaten!

It's so much easier to make than I thought it would be! And it's really fun to assemble. We did it as a family and had fun making our own rolls! One trick I learned is to have a bowl of salted water to dip your fingers in when you're dealing with the sticky rice, or else it's ... sticky. You'll end up with more stuck to your fingers that to the Nori! I also kept the plastic wrap on the roll as I cut it. This kept the rice together and made it much neater and prettier! You can put whatever you want in these! Last time, we used salmon and crab (real, not imitation!), but the salmon was a little too strong for me. Tonight we're trying tuna and shrimp. All cooked of course ;)

UPDATE: The short grain brown rice wasn't nearly sticky enough to hold the roll together. I may try a different brand later, but if you want to make sure it sticks use the white sticky rice!

  • 3 cups short-grain brown rice (we used the white sushi rice the first time, but we're trying the brown rice tonight!)
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • seafood filling- last time we used 1 can of salmon and 1 can of crab and it made enough for 5 with some left over. 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut lengthwise
  •  Avocados, sliced lengthwise
  • Nori Seaweed Sheets
Other Necessary Supplies:
  • bamboo rolling mats- or use a cookie sheet and plastic wrap
  • Chopsticks (if preferred)
  • Wooden or plastic spoon to prevent rice from sticking
  • Bowl of salted water
  • Any spices, wasabi, etc you want to add
  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Once the rice is done stir in rice vinegar.
  2. Chop veggies- I put each type of seafood in a seperate bowl and put a plate with all the veggies on it to make assembly easier.
  3.  Cut Nori sheet in half long ways. You may need to experiment with how much you cut off depending on how fat you make your rolls ;)
  4. Lay Nori sheet on plastic wrap, and start patting rice in a thin uniform layer over the entire sheet. (The 100 Days blog has pictures of the process if you get stuck!)
  5. If you prefer the nori to be on the outside of your sushi roll then leave it the way it is with the rice on top.  If you like the rice to be on the outside (like me) then flip it over.
  6. Make a nice and neat row along the very bottom edge of the nori with whatever ingredients you’d like on the inside.
  7. Roll it over as tightly as you can and keep rolling until it is closed up completely. Then squeeze down on the roll with a little force to really secure it together. I had to add a little extra rice at the end the first time, because I didn't put enough to close it together!
  8. Using a sharp knife cut through the plastic and the roll until you have the desired number of pieces of sushi.
Enjoy and get some organic Shoyu to dip it in! Mmmmmm, so yummy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

Whoops! I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post. However, I've spent the past two months trying lots of new recipes, so now I have a lot to write about!

I did stumble across a new quinoa recipe on Pinterest this week, and it was delicious, healthy, filling, and there were lots of leftovers! It's a win-win situation! Plus, I think it would be easy to freeze, and I love when things are baked into individual servings. It was so easy to make and we had everything on hand!

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes
(Originally found at So Very Blessed )

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 stalks green onion, diced (We were out of onions, so I used 1 tsp of onion powder)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I substituted parsley instead)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used 2 cups of cheese...I like things very cheesy!)
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour(I used whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
 1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, flour, salt and pepper.
3.  Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each).
4.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

I wanted bigger servings, so I used a regular muffin tin and added 5 more minutes to the baking time. They turned out so lovely, with a slight crunch to the outside. My mom said they tasted like cheesy biscuits! Success!

This blog recommends using Honey Dijon, salsa, or sour cream to dip them in, but I wanted something with a Cajun flair! I ended up adapting a Remoulade sauce, and it was so yummy!

Stephanie's Remoulade Dipping Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice- I just squeezed a wedge of lemon
1 spoonful of minced garlic
chili powder to taste
Creole Seasoning to taste
1 tbsp Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

The actual recipe can be found at All Recipes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

I discovered a new. healthy snack today: Roasted Chickpeas!

I've always been a big fan of hummus, but I never realized how much you could do with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). You could flavor these in so many different ways, and the best part is that they will keep in an airtight container for up to a week. I've had a hard time finding healthy snacks that are also travel friendly or that I could just throw in my purse!

We bought a bag of dried beans at Whole Foods. Our local grocery store only had the canned version, and if you look at the ingredients list there is so much other junk in there too! Why?! I just wanted the beans. Anyways, more on that rant later. We cooked the beans according to the instructions on the bag. Then, we dried them off and put them on a metal baking sheet. Next, you drizzle with olive oil and any seasoning you want (we used garlic salt). Bake at 400* F for 30-40 minutes and enjoy!

To me, they tasted like a cross between corn nuts and popcorn, and they're surprisingly filling! They also only lasted about an hour in the house. They're that delicious, and give you a satisfying crunch if you're missing those chemical-laden potato chips :) I want to try using honey & cinnamon, and other spices like chili powder too! Yum!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Do you know what you're eating?

I've decided to start blogging again, and the direction might change. I think I'm going to continue to post crafts, but I also want to document the change in food my mom and I are taking.

Recently, I've been inspired by Micheal Pollan's books Food Rules and In Defense of Food. One of my favorite books was Dr. David Kessler's The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. That one visually explained what companies and restaurants do to our food, and it's horrible! Everything is engineered to make us eat more and more, and it's all mostly fat and sugar. I've never been disgusted with additives and processed foods until reading these books. They prompted me to research more about what I eat and how it affects my health. It's been enlightening.

The past 3 weeks my mom and I have been trying to cut out all processed foods and additives. I'd estimate we're about 90% of the way there. It's hard. I've never realized or cared about how many chemicals where in my food. We've been sticking to our 5 ingredients or less rule (from Pollan) and have been using the 100 Days of Real Food blog as inspiration. I've been trying to only use honey as a sweetener, eat more lean protein, and try new healthier foods.

Since changing our diets I have felt better, my skin is clearer, my sugar cravings have lessened, bloating has decreased, and my taste buds have started changing. Restaurant food doesn't taste as good anymore- it's too salty or makes me feel sick afterwards. I haven't been eating as much, because by eating more 'real' food I'm not as hungry. I've lost 4 inches in my stomach, and 6 pounds so far. Mom's grocery list has shrunk and we're spending less even though were getting lots of yummy fruits and vegetables and fresh seafood. It's exciting! I actually find myself wanting to eat vegetables, and not fries. And I used to looooooove fries.

I plan to start posting more recipes and things we learn along the way as we start to eat all real food and make more from scratch. Hopefully, it will inspire you to read the ingredients list and give real food a chance too!