Teehee. TEEHEE. It’s been awhile, guys. Truth is… I’ve honestly been cooking and baking a lot… I’ve just been so busy with school/work/life that I haven’t found the motivation or the energy to write blog posts.. :/ But you guys can check out (most) of what I make on my Instagram and follow me on there! And also, let me know what kind of posts yall are more interested in. Recipes? Nutrition education? Etc? Here’s some stuff I’ve been making recently:

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Apple Cider Glazed Donut Holes

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Turkey & Beef Chili

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Pumpkin Bread!! (Of course…)

 

Anyways, back to this post. Anybody who knows me can probably vouch for me when I say that my favorite kind of food is breakfast food. I’m totally one of those weirdos who can eat cereal or oatmeal or scrambled eggs at any time of the day and be satisfied. Tonight I randomly had a craving for waffles (which I definitely prefer over pancakes), so I decided to make a batch that I could store in the freezer and pop into the toaster during the week. Since I’ve been into this whole pumpkin craze cuz of the fall season, I decided to make pumpkin waffles with whole wheat flour, for a “healthier” alternative. As for the brown butter… it’s just something that goes so perfectly this time of the year with anything baked or… in this case, even not baked. When you brown butter, it really kind of gives it a different flavor and aroma, making it more nutty than buttery. To get this recipe, keep on reading.

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One of my favorite breakfast foods is oatmeal. I know that sounds weird to hear, since most people dislike oatmeal due to the “yucky” texture, but personally, I love oatmeal! With that being said, I always love a good oatmeal raisin cookie. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the classic chocolate chip cookie… but when given the option between the two, I will more often than not opt for the oatmeal raisin cookie. There’s just something about oatmeal and dried fruits that complement each other so well.

Earlier this week, I made a trip back home to Dallas and got to shop at one of my favorite grocery stores again (Sprout’s). I saw that their bulk supply of cranberries were on sale, so I thought to myself – why not? Cranberries are well-known for being a superfood and is the second leading antioxidant source, ranking higher than other fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, spinach, oranges, carrots, and broccoli. Research has proven cranberries to be especially effective in preventing urinary tract infections, cancer, and inflammation, as well as promoting cardiovascular and digestive tract benefits. 

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Today was my day off from work, so I decided to do some experimentation with my baking again. Since I love oatmeal and I had cranberries on hand, I decided to go for an oatmeal cranberry cookie while using whole wheat flour (keep in mind that you can substitute the wheat flour for all-purpose flour; I’m just weird like that and so… yeah). The oatmeal I used is the Mom’s Choice natural old-fashioned oats (my favorite brand), and I used King Arthur flour.

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Keep reading for the recipe:
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Man, this week has been crazy…… I’ve seriously been so swamped with school that I feel so strangled with no room to breathe, and it’s not even finals week yet! This week pretty much consisted of:

  • 2 presentations
  • 1 research paper
  • 2 lab practicals
  • 2 final exams
  • 2 other exams
  • 5 quizzes
  • 17 hours of work

More “real” posts to come once I’m done with finals, but for now, here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been making (all of these pictures are taken from my instagram)

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This has been my favorite breakfast lately…whole grain toast with three scrambled egg whites (seasoned with bragg’s, pepper, & mrs. dash seasoning), a 1/4th of an avocado, and of course…sriracha! With a cup of tea or coffee on the side and fruit of choice. I’ve only been getting ~3 hours of sleep lately (sleeping at 1 and waking up at 4am to study), and this is what helps me get through the mornings 🙂

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Of course I still gotta keep up with my meal planning even when I’m busy!!!!!! For the week, I made 7 packaged meals on Sunday. Basically it consisted of brown rice, fresh green beans, serving of sweet potato, half an avocado, and either a serving of boiled, shredded chicken breast or half a tilapia fillet. Simple and clean is the way to go, y’all. And gotta stay nutritionally prepared even when you’re busy. Making a week’s worth of meals literally only took 2 hours! No excuses

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What lunch or a snack typically looks like. Whole grain toast with tuna salad (I made the tuna salad using canned tuna, greek yogurt in place of mayo, and various seasonings. Mix together and store in a tupperware for about a week or so), half an avoacdo, and cherry tomatoes. I seriously love tomatoes……I bought a huuge box of cherry tomatoes from Sam’s club this past week and it was gone in like…3 days… -_- And I know it looks like I’ve been eating a lot of avocados lately, but they’re actually all only 1/2 or a 1/4th of an avocado. Gotta get in those essential omega fats!


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LOVE when my man makes me food! ^_^ Sometimes I’m just too tired to cook and wanna get treated too! This is spaghetti aglio e olio (basically spaghetti with olive oil and garlic.. simple but classic) with parmesan cheese and chicken breast. ‘Twas delicious, I say 🙂


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I made some cookie dough a couple of weeks ago, and had them stored in the freezer for awhile. Well you know me, I love to take study breaks by baking!! So one day I decided to whip these out of the freezer and bake a batch…tastes like those chessmen cookies from milano

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This is actually an old picture of my famous mint-brownie cookies that I reposted just recently. I am obsessed with anything that is mint chocolate!!!! And these cookies that I use to make all of the time were ALWAYS a crowd pleaser with everyone who had them!

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In my food delivery systems class, the past three weeks consisted of lab practicals that count as exam grades. Basically, in a nutshell, we are to plan and coordinate a meal that meets a third of all the nutrients for various age groups. This is a picture of the first round of practicals, which was designed to fit a low-income family with the nutrition requirements of a 20 year old woman. And this whole meal costed about $1.10 per serving, I believe! Something to think about next time you think about how “expensive” it is to eat healthy…it is actually much, much, MUCH more expensive to eat out all the time, rather than prepare your own food at home!

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More study breaks by baking cookies.. hehe

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Gotta have my muffins :’) Hey…at least they’re healthy!

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One of the conflicts that I face as a nutrition major as well as someone who loves to bake is exactly that….I LOVE TO BAKE!! Although there are definitely “healthier” versions and modifications of your favorite baked goods (which I always opt for), the combination of flour + sugar + fats (oil, butter, etc) is never exactly “ideal”. After taking my food science course last year and learning all of the components of different ingredients, such as oil and sugar, and how they contribute to your resulting product, it’s becoming harder for me to seek out “sugar substitutes” and “fat substitutes” as replacements, because they don’t possess the same characteristics and qualities as that of straight up sugar and fat. And as a perfectionist in the kitchen, I want my products to be as perfect as possible in structure and mouthfeel. (Btw, if you would like a separate post of me talking about the characteristics of sugars and fats and how they are unique in baking and hard to mimic, then let me know). However, there are other options that can be considered to yield a “healthier” product. Three easy examples are to…

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1) USE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR WHEN YOU CAN.
When I make my banana muffins or banana bread, or really anything that uses a significantly sweet fruit, I will usually choose to opt for the whole wheat flour instead of your standard all-purpose flour. Personally, I am accustomed to the taste of wheat because any kind of bagels or bread that I buy in the market are almost always whole-wheat or whole-grain, but I can understand if the taste of wheat isn’t as desirable by some people. If you are one of those people, try making banana muffins with whole wheat flour! Or try mixing the wheat flour with all-purpose flour. I can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to taste the difference, because the texture and sweetness of the ripe bananas almost masks and enhances the wheat flour, in a way. In fact, last year in one of my food classes, a partner and I performed an experiment where we made two versions of banana bread – one made with whole wheat flour and one made with all-purpose flour. The participants almost unanimously voted for the wheat bread! There’s just something about bananas and wheat flour that really compliment each other.
Now, why is whole-wheat flour a healthier alternative to white flour? Well, for starters, the “brown” version of any food is almost always healthier than the “white” version – pasta, rice, grains, bread, etc. In general, whole-wheat flour is higher in nutrients because it is made with the whole kernel of the grain, rather than just the interior endosperm portion (this is also why the color is darker – because it hasn’t been stripped of its outer nutrients). However, the protein content in wheat flours are higher than white flours, so this may cause a problem for those who are gluten-free. But the most notable difference between the two flours is the fiber content – “brown” flours contain almost 4x as much fiber as “white” flours! And on average, women (and most men) don’t receive enough fiber in their diets to begin with, so this is definitely an easy way to implement some fiber into your diet if you’re like me and love to bake 🙂

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#2) USE GREEK YOGURT INSTEAD OF SOUR CREAM
Greek yogurt and sour cream are pretty similar in both texture and flavor (if you get the plain, tart flavor of yogurt). However, they are drastically different in nutrient content! To give you an idea, here is a comparison of the content in:
1 C of greek yogurt (nonfat): 130 calories per cup, no fat, 9 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar and 23 g protein
1 C of sour cream: 445 calories and 45 g of fat but just 5 g protein, 6.5 g carbohydrates and 8 g sugar

As you can see, greek yogurt contains almost 4x as much protein as sour cream, at about 1/4 of the calories! It is also lower in fat and cholesterol, which is always a good thing.
Sour cream is usually used in baking because it yields a dense and very, very moist product. This is typically desirable in certain cakes and cake-breads. But an easy healthier alternative would be to switch out your cup of sour cream for a cup of greek yogurt! It yields a product that is just as moist, at a far better nutrition standard.

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#3) USE DIFFERENT MILKS

I have never personally been a fan of cow milk. Before, I would try to drink enough 1% or 2% milk to fulfill my calcium requirements, but since I’m not fond of cow milk, it was pretty difficult to meet adequate calcium intake levels. But a couple of years ago, I discovered one of the greatest substitues – almond milk!! Almond milk is so great… (check out my post for a more in-depth description of why almond milk is better), and it can easily be used as a substitute for milk in baking products! There is no noticeable change in flavor, and you are receiving a much more nutrient-dense product 🙂

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Something that I’ve been doing for almost a year now is mass-cooking my meals for the week at the same time. What is mass-cooking? Basically, it’s making extra meals that you can package into tupperware or containers to store in the fridge or freezer and heat up throughout the week. When I’m mass-cooking my meals, I generally like to keep them as simple as possible while providing adequate nutrient value at the same time. Here are some examples of meals that I’ve mass-cooked so that you can see just exactly what I mean by “simple”

Tofu with stir-fried bell peppers, onion, & broccoli, on top of brown rice and kale.
Chicken breast (3oz) with brown rice, broccoli, & green beans
Tofu scramble with mixed veggies & quinoa
Salmon fillet (4oz) with brown rice & a simple spinach and tomato salad
Chicken & vegetable soup made in crock pot
Tilapia fillet with brown rice, kale, and broccoli
Salmon (3oz) with mashed potatoes and asparagus.
As you can see, these meals really aren’t fancy or complex at all. I mean it when I say that I keep it as simple as possible. But at the same time, I try to incorporate all of the nutrient groups together to make it a well-balanced meal. By cooking all of your meals at once and portioning the nutrients out adequately, you have your serving size of protein, grains, and veggies.
Now, why do I do this?

For many reasons, really.

 
 
First of all, it helps you control your diet and prevents over-eating when you’re hungry. If you think about it, a lot of the times when you’re feeling really really hungry, you’ll tend to just reach for whatever is in site or easy to prepare. Most of the time, these convenience items are junk foods or highly-processed foods. By preparing all of your meals in advance, you can easily heat one up to eat, rather than choose the convenience foods. Also, when you’re feeling extremely hungry, you will tend to “binge-eat”, or eat more than your body needs. When you have a prepared meal like this, you can enjoy it slowly, and you will realize that it will actually fill you up, and you do not need all of the excess food!
Secondly, like I said, everything is already portioned out for you! This encourages you to meet your daily intake in all your nutrient groups (minus dairy, which I get from almond milk, and fruits, which I always, ALWAYS make sure to eat everyday after each meal). If you were to separately cook your meals every time you got hungry, chances are, you wouldn’t even think about receiving your proper serving of grains or vegetables. But here, since you already have a nice portion of everything, it really balances out your diet. And going off of the portion control – by preparing your meals like this, you really prevent yourself from over-consumption of nutrients as well. Did you know that for someone my age and size, a serving portion of protein is actually 3 to 4 oz? As you can see from the pictures, that is a lot smaller than what you’re probably used to! And, being an Asian who naturally loves rice, I will admit to having eaten more rice than I should have on occasions. But when you properly portion everything out (3 oz of meat, half a cup of rice), you prevent yourself from eating too much of what you don’t need.
 
Third, it saves time and energy. You may think that by cooking 6x as much as you need, that you would be spending hours more in the kitchen…but the reality is actually the exact opposite! Having done this for awhile, trust me when I say that it really doesn’t take that much longer! I probably spend a maximum of 2 hours a week preparing my meals, including the preparation and cleaning time (in contrast with the approximate hour it would take each day to cook and clean). If you were to cook separate meals every time you got hungry, I can almost guarantee that it would take you a much longer time. In addition, doing this really does save you energy! Rather than having to turn on the stove or oven every day to cook, you can conserve energy by doing it all at once! It really does make a big difference.
 
Fourth, it saves you money and improves your health because it prevents you from eating out as much. I only allow myself to eat out once a week, which is usually on Sundays, after church. And when you think about it, a lot of the times when you’re feeling really hungry, you would probably rather go out and get some fast food, instead of cook your own food at home. And I don’t think I even need to go into detail about how bad fast food is and how much damage it does to your body… but regardless, it definitely does a lot more “bad” than it does “good” to your health. However, if you already have your meals prepared, you will find that you do not have nearly as big of an urge to eat out and instead, you can have your own balanced and healthy meal in your home instead 🙂
Anyways, I’m just going to end it here because this post is getting to be really, really long and I don’t want to bore my readers to death. But seriously, you should give this method a shot! You may be surprised 🙂

Hey guys!
Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile… life has been kinda stressful and hectic lately, but I’m back! And I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my incredible viewers who check this page daily or weekly. I can’t believe I got 1000 hits this past month…. it may not seem like a big deal, but to me, that’s a huge deal! It’s so encouraging to know that there are people reading my posts 🙂 It inspires me to do more research and write more for you guys :’)

This has nothing to do with food, but I thought I would entertain you guys with some photos of my life lately as a way to ease back into the habit of blogging. I promise I have some posts for y’all on the way 🙂

Studying all night like the good student I am
I LOVE strawberries with greek yogurt! So delicious :’)
Salmon is probably my favorite food ever! And I love asparagus… which it wasn’t always so expensive though >_< And guys… homemade mashed potatoes are literally SO EASY AND SIMPLE!!!! Way better and healthier than that processed junk you buy at supermarkets!
I’m an alien! Ahhhhh~!
Tired after work >_<
S and I have been on an Indian food/curry addiction lately… so one night I made some Thai green curry! With chicken breasts, zucchini, carrots, & potatoes. Still craving curry to this day..
MY LOVES. OMG I LOVE MY VIBRAMS!!!!!!! Best shoes to run in, hands down
Baylor vs. Kansas! Such a great night to be a bear when we killed them :’)
Look what S bought for me!! I was sooooo happy, and will definitely be putting this bad boy to good use. You guys will probably see a lot of posts with this guy 😀
We love him! Best walk-on player ever.
The asians at the BU – KU game
Basketball was my first love! Bet a lot of y’all didn’t know that… I played on a team for six years before I had to quit, due to having a herniated disc in my spine 😥
I made Biscoff muffins! They were… amaze-balls. Yes, they are as good as they look… maybe even better
I made strawberry-lemon muffins! With whole wheat flour… what did I tell y’all… I love muffins…
S and I after running our second 5k together. I finished in under 25 minutes and he finished in under 30! So proud of us :’) And…I found out that I placed 21st out of 529 women that day!!!
I recently invested in a crockpot and have been in love with it. What you see here is a week’s worth of chicken soup that it made while I slept that night :’) S and I have been eating this all week with some oriental style noodles. SO GOOD. Tastes like chicken pho. Needless to say, you guys will definitely be seeing some posts relating to my newfound love for the crockpot.