Some Recent Kitchen Experiments

I know I’m not the only person who logs into Pinterest when they are bored and tags a dozen delicious-looking dishes and then signs out. But this past week I was bound and determined to try out some of those recipes! Check out the links and my feedback below:

1. Cinnamon Protein Waffles

  • Serves 2 – makes 4 waffles
  • 1/4 cup oat flour/ground oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored whey protein
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 tablespoon sweetener
  • 1 banana
  • 2 egg whites


1. Put ingredients in a bowl and mix with a hand blender or put all the ingredients in a food processor to mix. This is important or else you won’t get a nice thin batter, mix until you get a smooth batter.

2. Pour a 1/4 of the mix into each of your waffle moulds, cook for approx. 5-6 minutes.
3. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Per serving (2 waffles) 173 calories | 2.3g fat | 0.2g sat fat | 23.9g carbs | 15.4g protein.

I’ve been looking for ways to cut down on carbs and increase protein in my life. But I LOVE carbs. All of them. So I thought this recipe might be a way to up my protein while satisfying my carb craving… and my breakfast craving. I was ultimately underwhelmed though 😦 The first issue was that I thought the recipe looked too small for two people to share, so I doubled it. Well, that made a LOT of waffles. Too many. The cinnamon and banana flavors smelled amazing and while the waffles were cooking, they made our mouths water. But when we went to eat them, they were just a bit dry and a little too dense for me. I will say that we had them for dinner one night with sausage and they were just as good the next morning with eggs and turkey in sandwich form. I can definitely play with the batter proportions for next time, but I might just scrap this recipe and look for another one.Do any of you have any suggestions?!


2. Simple Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey meat (prefer thigh meat)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced (or whatever fresh herbs you like)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
cheese (optional)

Mix ingredients together and form 4-6 patties. Grill on medium heat for 7 minutes a side. 2 minutes before burgers are done, place a slice of cheese (optional) on each patty. Serve hot.

In addition to breakfast and carbs, I also enjoy Greek-style cooking and ground turkey. Frozen turkey burgers from the store lack a bit of flavor, in my opinion. So I wanted to try to make my own patties and it helped that my mom just gave me a Tupperware container made specifically for pressing and freezing homemade patties! This recipe ended up making seven patties for me from the 1.08 pounds of ground turkey. So that patties are a great size as far as portion-control goes. I used my George Foreman to grill them, since my oven has been out of commission. One turkey patty on an English muffin, topped with cucumbers, spinach, and tzatziki sauce, was the PERFECT dinner. I am so sorry I didn’t take a picture of the whole ensemble but I’ll try to remember to update the blog the next time we have them. I thought the spices gave the burgers enough character to hold their own and it was super easy to make. The best part? Having five extra patties to put in the freezer for another meal. I highly recommend checking out this recipe for quick and yummy burgers!


3. Zucchini Carrot Oatmeal Muffins


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs + 1 large egg white
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and oil. Stir in grated zucchini and carrots. Add to dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for approx. 20 minutes. They are done when a knife inserted comes out clean, and tops spring back when lightly touched.


My love of carbs and Greek-influenced foods drove my decision to make the first two dishes I shared tonight. But my DISLIKE of things is what drove my choice to make these muffins. Now, I do like muffins and I’ll eat zucchini. But I actively do not like carrots. Cooked or uncooked. Dunked in hummus or stir-fried with broccoli and cauliflower. None of it. They just aren’t my thing. I also don’t prefer oatmeal. It’s grainy and borders the “hot liquid” category that I avoid like the plague. But, I am trying to sneak more veggies into my meals and swap out white flours for brown or whole wheat flours. I will say that once I got started on this recipe tonight, I realized that there was still a LOT of sugar and a mixture of flours. Baby steps, right?

Anyway, I made this recipe exactly as written and it was DELICIOUS! I got 18 muffins out of the batter, so I’ll have some to freeze and keep for later. I haven’t had dinner yet but I couldn’t wait to try the muffins so I snuck a hot one off the pan. Everyone knows that’s when they are the best anyway 😉 I could actively taste the oats and carrots, but didn’t mind them! There were also raisins in the batter, which I considered leaving out, but decided to keep everything as prescribed the first attempt. They were moist and flavorful and yummy! I can’t wait to have another one as a side to my chicken dinner tonight.



Sochi Inspired Life

As most of you know, I spent ten days on the East Coast. I posted some pictures on Facebook that you are welcome to check out, but the bottom line is that I saw a ton of awesome people, I saw a LOT of snow, and I was cold 🙂

Since I’ve been back in sunny (and warm) SoCal, I’ve been really focusing on starting and finishing projects that have been on hold for months. For example, I submitted my passport for renewal (who wants to travel once I get it back?!). I’ve really kicked off organizing my scrapbook supplies with the goal of making my Briar Woods book in the coming weeks. I’ve also watched a lot of the Olympics. Like a lot a lot. Using Mom’s Verizon password I have access to NBC’s Live Extra app on my iPad which allows me to watch hours of coverage of the events. I’m basically in heaven. Because I’m basically obsessed with the Olympics.

So what else have I done today? I have Growth Group tonight which is the weekly Bible study that ties to the sermon from the past week. Growth Group is something I love most about my church. But I digress. It’s my turn to bring dessert tonight, so I figured I would keep with my Olympics theme and make a Russian dessert… Ha! After much searching on Pinterest, I stumbled across this “easy” recipe for Sharlotka, a Russian apple cake that looked delicious and fairly straight-forward. It also looked like something people would actually want to eat. So here we go!

First, the peeling and coring and dicing of the apples… I was over it before the first apple was done. I also don’t really love apples, so that may have had an affect. You’ll also see that I opted for the 9×13″ option over the 9″ round, basically because I had this and I don’t have that.

20140220-150046.jpgOnce that was done, I had to mix up everything else. No big deal here, got to use my blender and my mixing bowl with a lid (it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools). I was watching men’s skier cross during this part of the process. Technology is amazing 🙂 Once the batter was done, I folded in all the apple chunks and we were good to go!

20140220-150100.jpgThen I just had to pour the mixture back into my pan and throw it in the oven. I taste-tested the batter left in the bowl and was happy that I at least liked the taste of that. Since I was using the bigger pan, I didn’t have to cook the dish as long, which was an added bonus of my choice.

20140220-150111.jpgWhile that was cooking for 20-25 minutes, I sat at the table and worked on part two of my dessert plan. So I figured Russian apple cake would taste good with the option of heating it and adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which I bought. But I also wanted an option for people who might not like apple cakes, or trying new things. So I decided to take five bowls and sort M&M’s into Olympics rings colors. Then I could have a bowl of round pretzels as well to carry out the rings theme… nerdy, I know. But here is a shot of my sorting process anyway, because it made me happy. As a side note, I was watching women’s skiing half pipe… not to dis-credit these women, they are Olympians and I’m not, but this event is SO different from the men’s event. They just aren’t comparable at all. Which didn’t stop me from watching it while I sorted.

20140220-150136.jpgAnd yes, if y’all were wondering I DO feel a little bad for the orange ones because they aren’t going to the party. But I’m sure my roomies and I will snack on them this weekend. Please also notice the two cutie oranges on the table, which is to prove that I didn’t eat the chocolate and stuck with the fruit instead!  Additionally, if you are curious there is officially NOT an even distribution of colors of M&M’s in a 42 oz. bag. Poor yellow and brown (shown here as the black ring). When that project was finished, so was my cake!

20140220-150143.jpgI still need to add a light dusting of powdered sugar (or dare I say “snow”) to the top but overall it looks good! I hope my Growth Group appreciates my Olympics themed dessert tonight and I’ll have to let you know how it tastes once we cut into it. Overall I am happy that I forced myself to create a new dish and to expand my cooking inventory. Happy Sochi Days!!

Das Schnitzel Schmeckte Gut

Translation: The schnitzel tasted good. This past Tuesday night we decided in German food for dinner and I chose to take on making schnitzel. I wanted to try frying in my new, bigger skillet! I will admit that I cheated and bought my pork already filleted and tenderized from Tip Top meats. But I did then go through and trim some of the bigger fat chunks off the edges.


Next, I set about prepping the coatings. On the left is flour and on the right is breadcrumbs. I realized I only had Italian seasoned crumbs, but we rolled with it. For the center mix, I blended three eggs, a cup of milk, and three tablespoons each of salt and pepper. I felt like that was way too much? But my sou chef Sean said to go with it, so we did. I should pause to mention that this was not a healthy entree on any standards, but I did try to substitute healthier ingredients where I could.


Next up was the coating and frying process! I wish I had a picture of my hands after dipping the meat first in eggs, then in flour, then back in eggs, and finally in the breadcrumbs. I did get smarter after the first two rounds and just go ahead and dip the last four all at the same time so I didn’t have to clean my fingers each time. After it was battered, I dropped the meat (carefully) into the hot oil and watched it sizzle!


The frying process actually took a lot longer than I thought, but it was also a lot cleaner too. Of course there were a few splatters on the stove too, but I didn’t get hit at all and nothing got on my clothes, yay! After checking each side and flipping and guessing and discussing, we finally concluded that about 5-6 minutes on each side was the ideal time. I had the oven on 200 degrees with a baking sheet in there, and put each piece in to keep warm since I was frying one at a time.


Once all the pieces were done, and our delicious asparagus (Sean’s contribution), we grabbed our glasses and sat down to eat. I should mention that we had sangria, which is very un-German because I am going on a cruise in June and we can take two bottles of alcohol on each. I don’t love regular wine though, and I saw this sangria at Costco the other day and wanted to try it. The boys saw it in the fridge, so away we went! Oh, and not shown in the picture below is the amazing German chocolate cake Xavier brought for dessert. I wasn’t a huge fan of the coconut mixture on top, but I did really like the cake and it was the perfectly sweet ending to our slightly Americanized German dinner!


Last Cooking Class :(

Monday night I had my last Japanese cooking and conversation class.  It really was bittersweet because I’m glad to have my Monday night back, but I loved making these dishes and getting to know my classmates.  We made three dishes this week, a full meal in fact. Miso soup was our appetizer, then we had fried rice as the main course, and mochi as the dessert.


Starting with the miso soup. Those of you that know me know that hot liquids or soups are not my thing. But I did sample this at the end, once it had cooled off for a while.  It wasn’t bad and the tofu in it was pretty good, but I probably won’t make it again until someone requests it. I can’t even really remember what was in it because I was prepping for the fried rice dish while others in my group made the miso.  But I do have the recipe so I could recreate it if necessary. Above is the boiling pot cooking and below is my individual sample cooling off.


Next, was the fried rice dish.  I was really excited to make this because it seems like a good freezer dish for weekend dinners. We started with all the veggies and cooked them on our “stove”. We used carrots, green beans, peas, and corn. Then we added in our meats, which were chicken and ham but you can use almost anything. Then we mixed in the already cooked rice and some soy sauce for seasoning.


After this part of the dish had been properly fried, we removed it from the heat so we could attend to the eggs. We first mixed the eggs with some sugar and salt, then cooked them on the stove. Once they were done, we chopped them up and layered them on top of our dish. Then some green onions were sprinkled on the top. We added some red ginger shavings as well, but I took the picture below before that and forgot to go back and take another one.  This dish turned out great and was SO good. I could’ve eaten the whole pan if I had tried. Will absolutely make this again.


Our final dish of the evening was mochi. Now, I’ve only ever had the ice cream version of this so I didn’t know what to expect. We made our own first, which were basically rice cakes fried on the stove for a minute, then seasoned and wrapped in seaweed.  I won’t lie, they weren’t sweet enough for me to consider them a dessert.


Then, one of our classmates had bought a variety of bean-filled mochi from a Japanese market near her house. So we had a sampling of all of these different varieties of mochi.  They were a little better, but again I prefer the ice cream version which comes in green tea or strawberry or chocolate 🙂


Again, I absolutely LOVED this class and our instructor was adorable. I would recommend it to anyone in the SoCal area! I’m sad it’s over but my stomach is also glad because it was stuffed every Monday night for the last six weeks, lol. I hope you all have enjoyed reading about all these yummy dishes and be sure to go back through my Cooking/Nutrition category to read about our past creations!

Getting Fat in Class

As y’all know, I LOVE my Japanese cooking class on Monday nights! You should check out my past creations in the cooking/nutrition category over on the right. We made two dishes again last night in class, one that I loved and one that wasn’t so much my thing but was still good.  I’ll start with the only okay dish 🙂 We made curry rice with beef in an apple/honey curry mix. It was kind of a stew, which is why I didn’t love it.  But the veggies were good! We used carrots, potatoes and onion.  The big dish is below, without the rice base that we served it with.


The second dish we made was way more my speed! I have an undying love for breakfast foods, of all kinds, at all times of the day.  So I was very excited when I heard we were learning how to make Okonomi-yaki, which are Japanese pancakes.  I won’t be able to describe all of the ingredients because some are quite Japanese, but I’ll try!  The batter started with a powder mix similar to American pancakes, but then we added in cabbage, green onions and eggs. This made a thick batter, super thick. I should’ve taken a picture of it.  Next step, we cooked cut up strips of pork on the griddle and then poured the batter on top in a circular (ish) shape.


After cooking on both sides, we spread a secret sauce on top and then sprinkled with seaweed flakes.  There was an option to add mayonnaise as well but thankfully we didn’t do that (gross!).  Here are two shots of us cooking the pancake and then the final product being cut on the plate!


Following in the breakfast theme, I finally got around to making donuts this morning! I got a mix for apple cinnamon donuts for Christmas and I have donut baking pans, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.  So this morning I mixed it up, tossed them in the oven and let them bake! Honestly, the hardest part was spooning the batter evenly into the pans without covering the area for the hole.  Sorry for the wonky camera angle on that shot, by the way.


I was a little hesitant about the baking because I wasn’t sure if they would be too heavy versus the light donuts I love so much. After they came out of the oven I tossed them in cinnamon to really make them delicious. And after eating a few, I was happy with the result! They were light enough, not fried in oil, and were “only” 90 calories each which is way better than the average donut that clocks in at 220. I can’t wait to see what other donut recipes I can find to try in my sweet pans!



Stir-fry and Salmon Times Two

Week four of Japanese cooking class and we got a little fancy. Our sensei split the class into two groups and had us each cook a different recipe. I was in Team Beef Teriyaki with six others while the other half made Oyakodon.


This was a dish similar to the Katsudon we made last week. It’s called Oyakodon which means parent-child dish because chicken and eggs are used, lol. The cooking dish is above, the green being spinach. The pinkish food on the right of the bowl below is “fish cake” so kind of like a fish meat sausage. Weird texture but not a terrible taste!


But our side made our own teriyaki sauce which was very good, a little garlicky for me but good. Then we stripped and cooked the beef and served over a bowl of rice. It was really good and tender, but not anything too special. Our pot is below!


This week for Thursday night dinner I filleted a salmon on the grill. I seasoned it with lemon and a little olive oil and rosemary. The rosemary was from our bush in the backyard, can’t get fresher than that! And I was just proud of myself for not burning the house down with the grill 🙂 The other salmon was baked in the oven and stuffed with a crabmeat concoction. This was a Costco special, but really tasty as well! Images are below, enjoy!




Cultural Culinary Creations

The first part of this will be about my third week of Japanese cooking classes.  Be sure to check out my first two posts about fried noodles and sushi too!  This week we prepared Katsudon, a traditional fried pork dish.  This was a great “all-in-one” dish that could serve as an entire meal.  The first step was to bread and deep-fry the pork chunks. They came out looking like Chick-fil-a nuggets 🙂 In the future, I would probably just bread and bake these pieces to make it a little healthier.


Then we seasoned and cooked the veggie parts of this dish. Then we dumped everything into the frying pan, well at least the veggies and fish bullion and pork bites.  After it cooked for a while and the veggies softened, we added the weirdest part: raw eggs. We literally just cracked eggs and dumped them on top of the whole dish.  We let it simmer for a few minutes so the eggs could cook, then topped it all with some green onions for color and flavor. Here’s the final product, ready to serve eight people.


The second half of my cultural adventures this week take us to Ireland! This Thursday for dinner, the boys stepped up and volunteered to make corned beef with cabbage and carrots. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had corned beef and didn’t even really know what to expect. This was another slow-cook recipe, but it came out way better than my last attempt.  I thought the meat was really tender and delicious! The veggies weren’t bad either (for veggies). Here’s a shot of our whole spread.


So if the boys took lead on the entree, what in this picture did I do? I took this opportunity to try out a fruit dip I’ve been wanting to try.  So I picked out all green fruits (to keep with the St. Patrick’s Day theme) and whipped up the dip.  It was really easy and a vanilla yogurt kind of flavor.  Not the healthiest dish I’ve tried so far, but it was good!




Oh, and I also purchased Irish soda bread from the store, because I was too nervous to attempt this on my own.  And because it was baked fresh just for me earlier in the day.  It was AMAZING. Raisins and warm and yummy and I could’ve eaten the whole loaf myself. And I brewed my first batch of Passion iced tea, like for real boiled hot water and steeped it and then cooled it in the refrigerator.  It’s the red drink in our glasses above and it was really good actually.  I will continue this process in the future for sure.


Oh! And how could I forget the surprise ending to the meal? One of the boys homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream that was delicious! Seriously, so good. I am glad I don’t have the machine he does, because I would get fat for sure… but I also can’t wait for the next batch he makes sometime in the future!  Overall, this was a good week for food from other places.  I tried new stuff, liked all of it, and just had fun eating it with my good friends 🙂  Happy Ides of March everyone!

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