Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken Potato Salad

A new twist to an old classic, the potato salad. The intention was to boil potatoes for mashed potatoes... except my mom didn't quite pick the most suitable for the occasion, tiny little baby potatoes with skins still on it isn't the best way for mashed potatoes, so what is one to do? Being quick on my feet when it comes to food, I thought making a potato salad would be the perfect alternative. My mom also conveniently boiled an egg... perhaps the intention was for a potato salad all along....

This is when a pair of kitchen shears come in real handy, cut the potatoes into fourths, cut some green onions, cut some leftover chicken breast, cut up the boiled egg, add in some extra taste enhancers, and BAM a delicious potato salad in the making! I never liked mayonnaise in potato salads so what would be a good substitute...hmm... hummus + yogurt dip perhaps? I know it sounds weird but it works! The best discovery ever! Made one of the best tasting potato salad (actually my first time making potato salad, after seeing my mom go at it in years past, it wasn't such a dark jab...), even my mom was impressed, I think I've just moved us away from mayonnaise in yet another dish! **small victories!** Using hummus and yogurt instead of mayonnaise/sour cream (or I actually don't really know what's in a normal potato salad... but I'm going to stick to this one) makes this loads healthier, I didn't say healthiest, but healthier. Little life changes is all it takes! End lecture.

The recipe is a rough estimate mainly because I was making it based on tasting it rather than exact measurements so I suggest the same if you care to venture into this crazy new concept.

Chicken Potato Salad
Ingredients:
  • 4oz cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes/shredded
  • 1-2lbs boiled potatoes, cubed
  • 2 bunches of green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp hummus (I like the spicy kind, gives it a nice kick)
  • 3-4 tbsp yogurt dip (I used the cilantro yogurt dip from Trader Joe's)
  •  1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jelly (this is weird, but again, it works! Brings a bit of sweetness to it)
Procedures:
  1. Combine and mix. Taste for further seasoning.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pumpkin Bread!

A happy (post) Thanksgiving to everyone! Hope this year there is much to be thankful for.
I have to admit Thanksgiving never gave me much meaning when I was younger, it was always just another day but it was nice because we'd always get the day off from school/work/whatever. My family were never big on the idea of Thanksgiving and being only the 4 of us each year, things can get a little bland. As I got older though, I can understand the meaning behind the holiday a bit more. Its about being grateful with everything we have, a day of reflection.

Now forgive me because I'm about to start a rant that might stir a few hairs. I love the concept of Thanksgiving but then we go and completely contradict ourselves with a  stupid thing called Black Friday that traditionally follows right after where people turn into animals and fight over the best things to buy. Really? Do we need any more things?! Here we have a day where we give thanks for everything that we are given, then we all turn around and basically say "I'm thankful, but not quite, so let me just buy some more." I'm sorry if you happen to be one of those faithful Black Friday shoppers but I think its just terrible (my opinion and no one has to agree). I love to shop as much as the next girl, but its just too much.


Instead of celebrating with loved ones and taking a nice day(s) off to reflect, rest, relax, etc, people are lining up outside in the cold to buy (fight for) more things ... how poorly does that reflect on us? I think if it wasn't for recent years though, I wouldn't mind Black Friday as much. I understand the marketing concept behind it but wow, thanks for showing us that making money/buying new things is more important than anything else. In the past, everyone got Thanksgiving day off, everyone, if you went outside, you'd probably hear a pin drop. Nowadays, stores are opening as early as 6pm on Thanksgiving (so those unfortunately employees have to work on their supposed day off) and call it an early bird special for Black Friday... really?! There should be a law where no one is allowed to go shopping until 8am on Friday and no one is allowed line up outside of stores until 6am of Friday morning. Period. 

I would probably be less annoyed if Black Friday was on a different day than right after Thanksgiving, I guess contradicting concepts drive me a little bit crazy. What can I say, I believe people should do as they say and say as they do and Thanksgiving/Black Fridays are not those things.

Nonetheless, this is not to say there aren't people out there who truly appreciate the holiday for what it is and actually do spend the time at home with people they love. So to those people, I applaud you! Well done. 

What am I thankful for? Life -- People that I care about and care about me. Happiness. The little things. Being able to express my thoughts. Fancy, shiny things that I tend to buy a little too much of during the rest of the year. Food. Celebrating the small victories. Health. Family and friends who sometimes makes your blood boil but also melts your heart in the sweetest ways. Silliness. Being able to laugh like a mad woman without a care in the world. Peace and freedom. Exploring different parts of the world. Knowledge. The ability to bury myself in a good book. Being fortunate enough to be in an environment that allows me to appreciate all these things! Happy Thanksgiving.

Oh and one more: Pumpkin Bread! 
Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
from America’s Test Kitchen: Pumpkin Bread
 
Ingredients
Topping:
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 can 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese (I used ricotta cheese instead)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Procedures:
  1. Mix all the topping ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside
  3. In a sauce pan over medium/high heat, cook the can pumpkin puree with cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt down to about 1 ½ cup  (should take roughly 6 minutes)
  4. Once the pumpkin puree has been cooked down, incorporate white sugar, brown sugar, cream cheese, and vegetable oil, mix until will mixed (oil may not be completely mixed into puree at this point, that’s okay)
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in buttermilk and eggs
  6. Slowly fold in dry ingredients and then add stir in walnuts
  7. Pour into loaf pan, top with topping and bake at 350F degrees for 40-45 minutes (or done when toothpick comes out clean)


 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bacon Pastrami Flatbread

Time seems to have just slipped through my fingers, I could have sworn I posted something this month... but apparently that was a month ago... I'm getting so bad at this! I blame not having a life for over 3 months and now I'm playing catch up with everything else that my blog has been neglected. Heck, even my food experiments have taken a toll... but no worries, with the holidays coming right around the corner, I'm sure I'll have plenty of excuses to bake, cook, and make messes (also going to the movies, catching up with friends, shopping, etc, you know the essentials in life)!

Nothing fancy for this mediocre update, just another flat bread recipe I threw together for a quick lunch meal, though nothing short of delicious, don't be fooled by its simplicity. Call it a warm up post to (hopefully) a flood of future posts to come.

I don't know why I do this every time but going to the grocery store when you're starving is never a bright idea (and this has nothing to do with the fact that my gym is right next to one and out of convenience, that is where I go after gym time aka starving to death), so anyways, I went to Trader Joe's and picked up a few items for this recipe so this post may be heavily populated with Trader Joe's products...

Bacon Pastrami Flatbread
Ingredients:
  • 4 oz of pastrami, diced
  • 3 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 ball of pizza dough (roughly 8oz, I cheated a little and bought the ready to bake kind from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 bunches of green onions, diced
  • 4 tbsp of hummus 
  • 4 tbsp of yogurt dip (optional, I used the Trader Joe's cilantro and chives yogurt dip)
  • 1 tsp mustard (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cheese of choice
Procedure:
  1. Prepare dough as advised on package, roll out to a flat baking sheet
  2. Mix together hummus, yogurt dip, and mustard and spread evenly on the dough
  3. Sprinkle green onions on top followed by a light layer of cheese
  4. Top with pastrami and bacon and another layer of light cheese
  5. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for approx 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.