Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Sugar Journey is Ending Soon [Addicting Spicy Warm Egg & Nut Salad]

Recently, I've been consuming ice cream, cakes, cookies, and sweets throughout my week. My lowest point was eating a Nestle Drumstick for breakfast, which I didn't even enjoy. I only ate it, because it was in my refrigerator. It's time for a sugar intervention. Starting on May 1, I will be committing myself to a No Sugar Challenge for the month. I will be posting rules in another post closer to my start date.

I'm not sure how I will handle a month without sweets since my blog is 95% dessert based. It will be a challenge, but it will force me to practice photographing savory foods, which means more savory recipes for you! I can honestly say that JSB will be happy with that change, because she is always complaining that I make too many sweets. In honor of her, I finally wrote down the recipe for her favorite Warm Egg & Nut Salad.

Addicting Spicy Warm Egg & Nut Salad

Note: I love multipurpose recipes. As a salad, it's a great snack in the afternoon or an appetizer in a multiple course meal. When the egg is omitted, it turns into a lovely bowl of spicy nuts to munch on during the day. In the past, I have used mixed nuts (from Trader Joe's) and almonds. Any type of nuts work. I prefer my nuts chopped into smaller pieces, but feel free to keep them whole.

Serves 1

1/3 cup nuts
1 egg
1/8 tsp sea salt
pinch of sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 mustard powder
1/4 heaping tsp cheese powder
1/4 of a green onion, thinly sliced

  1. With an egg in a pot, fill it with water until the egg is submerged. Cover. Put over high heat until the water boils. Turn off the heat, leave the cover on, and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add sea salt, sugar, garlic powder, cayenne, mustard powder, and cheese powder. Stir.
  3. In a skillet set over medium heat, add the nuts. Shake occasionally. When the nuts are hot to the touch and toasted, spray with olive or canola oil with an oil sprayer. Sprinkle seasoning onto the nuts and shake the skillet  until nuts are evenly coated. Turn off the heat when the nuts are dry to the touch.
  4. The egg should nearly be done. When the timer goes off, pour out the hot water and run cool water over it. Take the shell off the egg and cut into 6 - 8 chunks.
  5. In a bowl, toss the nuts and egg together until mixed. Taste and add more salt as needed. Enjoy while warm.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

For my Sis. [Fresh & Simple Guacamole]

The Ingredients + Cilantro

I was on the a roll in the kitchen today and boy does it feel good to be back! I made guacamole and had time to photograph it. Woah, right? I also made layered jello and lunch for tomorrow. Now that the fun part is over, it's time to get back to writing papers.

Fresh & Simple Guacamole

Servings: 1 to 2 people

1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 of a small tomato (approx. 2.5 inches), diced
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
a small handful of cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
3 - 7 slices of jalapeno, depends on spice preference
salt to taste

  1. Put the diced avocado in a medium sized bowl and use a fork to gently mash until only some small chunks remain.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime, jalapeno, and salt. Mix and taste. Add more salt as necessary. Put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavors develop. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Back! [Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie]

What's my excuse for being gone this long? I have plenty. First, my computer took a dive for a week. Second, homework was piled up. Third, taxes. Fourth, birthday celebrations: hello 26 year old me and to one of my best buddies. Fifth, I'm engaged.

The truth is that I missed blogging and writing out what's been going on in my life. I attempted to write several times these past weeks, but the words wouldn't come. The cause of it is probably all the papers I had to write. I haven't been baking up a storm either. I've been doing repeats such as granola and Peanut Butter Bars.

Last week, JSB and I went on a bulk food binge. For $37, we bought 1 LB of Saigon Cinnamon, cheese powder, citric acid, sea salt kosher flakes, poppy seeds, and mustard powder AND 4 oz of white tea leaves. With an abundant of spices sitting in my cupboard, I've been experimenting with savory dishes in the kitchen. One of my winning dishes happened to be a warm egg & mixed nut salad that JSB and parents adored. She's been asking for the recipe...perhaps this week I'll have time to recreate it and post the recipe for her. LOVE YOU my YOUNGEST MOST ADORABLE sister. <3

In the mean time, enjoy these Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. These cookies are special for the reason that fresh cranberries are used. The chewy caramel bites mixed with the crispy oatmeal and tart cranberry slices are a welcoming combination.

Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie

Note: This is my first time using fresh cranberries in cookies and I was impressed by the results. I was expecting mushy juicy bits, but it turned out to be moist with a bit of chew. Because it is a good deal juicer than dried cranberries, there is a longer bake time.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 TBSP whole wheat flour (or substitute all purpose)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup fresh cranberries, sliced
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for making caramel praline)

Making Praline

In a skillet, sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly across the surface. Turn the heat to medium low. As the sugar starts melting and turning color, swirl the sugar around. If necessary, use a wooden spoon to stir in the stubborn sugar pieces that aren't melting. When it's the color of medium-dark amber, take it off the heat and pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Quickly tilt the cookie sheet so the praline spreads into a thin layer.

  1. Make caramel praline (above for directions).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Add egg and vanilla extract until blended.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
  6. Break cooled caramel into tiny pieces, approximately 1/2 inch pieces or smaller.
  7. Fold oats, cranberries, chocolate chips, and caramel into dough.
  8. Drop teaspoon sized dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until browned around the edges and the surface of cookie is dry to the touch.
  10. Let the cookies cool down to room temperature before removing it from the parchment paper. The cookies will fall apart if they are moved while still warm. The cookies are the best enjoyed the day it is baked while the caramel is chewy and the oatmeal is crispy. Because fresh cranberries are quite moist, the cookies will lose the chewy crispy texture and turn into soft cookies that fall apart the next day.


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