Monday, December 22, 2014

Single Serving Protein Pancake.


Hey everyone :) I know it's been a while, but this blog is no longer a tip top priority! Med school has me busy busy, along with all the typical life stuff that has to happen. Talk about a balancing act!

Today I bring you a recipe for a single serving pancake. I've been eyeing pancake recipes lately, especially the "single lady" ones, but I was never quite happy with the ingredients that were used, so I chose my own.

Banana slices hiding on the bottom, with greek yogurt and cooked strawberries and raspberries.

This pancake is everything I could ever want in a pancake :) It's fluffy, has a nice nutty flavor from the flaxseed, it's full of protein, and isn't too sweet, so it's easy to top it with things like a touch of maple syrup, butter or some yummy berries and yogurt.

The secret to success in this recipe is measuring the ingredients, and also using a non-stick pan. I know that non-stick pans are not at all the best choice health-wise, but there's really no alternative when you want to make some awesome pancakes.

Single Serving Protein Pancake.
    serves one or two

    15 grams / one serving of brown rice protein powder - I use Nutribiotic plain, you could use brown rice flour here also
    50 grams / ~1/2 one normal sized banana, mashed
    8 grams / 1 heaping Tbsp  ground brown flaxseed
    3 grams / 1 scant Tbsp  ground chia seed
    12 grams / ~1 tsp  runny honey
    2 eggs / about 100 grams  give or take depending on your egg size
    1 gram  baking soda (this is a very small amount)
    15 drops  vanilla extract (I used a dropper)
    pinch each: salt, ground cardamom

To make your pancake:
  1)  Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk well, scraping off the sides with a spatula and getting everything incorporated. The only lumps present should be a little bit of mashed banana. The batter will appear thin, and shiny from the eggs, resist adding more dry ingredients.
  2)  Preheat your nonstick pan on medium-low heat (#4 on my stove, point at small hand on the 7 in 7 o'clock).
  3)  Pour batter onto the pan. Do two batches, or pour it all in for one pancake (this is what I do).  Cook on one side for about 5 minutes. Pancake is ready when there are some bubbles on top and you can see the edges are beginning to set. Work your rubber spatual around the edges of the pancake and also the bottom. One pancake requires one massive or two normal sized spatulas to flip it.
  4)  Flip pancake and wait another 1-2 minutes.
  5)  Remove pancake to a plate with banana slices already on it. Place pancake on top of sliced bananas. Drizzle with maple syrup or whatever is desired. I like to put some butter on top, berries and homemade yogurt. ENJOY!

My first attempt; not quite right but topped with yum!

Because someone will want the stats ;) Thanks to

I hope you are staying both warm and well this holiday season :) Love to all my readers :)
Merry Christmas!

PS - And no, this recipe will not work if you substitute the egg for something else.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Favorite Chia Pudding.

Most likely you've seen and heard about all the hype surrounding chia seeds. And most likely you've seen a gazillion recipes for "chia pudding." And... if you're like me, you wrinkle your nose and think sarcastically "really, how can THAT be good?!" Well this food craze wasn't going away, and I decided to stop being a baby and to stop saying "eww" inside my head when I hadn't even tried it. (You know that if you're a foodie, that's rule #1: Don't knock it till you try it). So I sucked it up and haphazardly threw some chia seeds in my smoothie bottle, poured in some vanilla, some this and that, enough liquid that looked appropriate, shook shook shook shook, and left it in the fridge to do it's thing.

Now I can easily say that the jokes on me people. The next morning, as I pulled the chia goo out of the fridge, I was skeptical. But I dipped my spoon in anyways and took a bite. My brain exploded. Holy cow how is this good?! This tapioca-like substance is SOOO not tapioca-like at all. I think I proceeded to eat half the batch I made right then and there. But then I showed restraint, because I knew I'd want some more yumminess later.

Ever since that fateful day, where I felt both like a Queen (hey hey, this girl tried chia pudding and LIKED it) and like a fool (this idiot waited too long to make omg-delicious-pudding), I've been experimenting with my own chia recipes. It is a little bit of a science and an art. You have to combine the right ratio of liquid to chia in order to get the right consistency. The right consistency may be firm after it has set overnight, or it maybe slightly more runny after setting overnight. But the best thing is, you can choose the texture of your pudding! See my tips after the recipe for getting this part right.

I've made this stuff with herbal coffee and coconut milk (divine), with coconut milk and vanilla (divine divine), and also with raw milk and vanilla. I like this recipe because it's the easiest of all, and it literally takes 1 minute to make. Have your roommate/partner/spouse come into the kitchen and time you. Real food doesn't have to take forever to make.

A couple notes, the quality of the liquid which you use as the base of your pudding makes the biggest difference here. In all the test-runs in my kitchen I've always used black chia seeds from my local Whole Foods or other awesome grocery store here in Seattle, so I can't speak for the other varieties of chia. But I do know that whatever milk you use DOES make an incredible difference. The milk I used here is non-canned Arroy-D coconut milk which comes in tetra packs. You can use other alternative milks, but it may make slightly different pudding. For instance, raw grass-fed milk has a much higher fat content than say rice and almond milks, so the end result has slight creaminess to it, and therefore milk alternatives like almond and rice probably will not. But really, this recipe is so versatile, and sure to please anyone in your family.

Someone obviously ate some already ;)

Classic Vanilla Chia Pudding.
     makes one quart mason jar

    1 qt  organic coconut milk, tetra-pak Arroy-D is my fav
    1/2 cup  whole organic black chia seeds
    1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
    15 drops  stevia clear liquid

To make your pudding:
  1)  Grab a clean mason jar with a tight fitting lid.
  2)  Add milk; add vanilla, add stevia
  3)  Pour your chia seeds into the jar.
  4)  Screw on lid and shake shake shake.
  5)  Put jar in fridge and go do something for 5 minutes. Come back, shake shake shake. Return to  fridge, come back a few minutes later. Shake, shake, shake. Repeat.
  6)  Let puddin' do it's thing and get all yummy overnight.

Getting the texture right: Now I know that pudding is like brownies (cakey or fudgey?) and smoothies (thick or thin?), everyone has their own opinion about the perfect texture. This recipe features a pudding that holds together but is not either super firm or very runny. My advice? Start here. If you want the pudding a bit more thick, add a Tbsp of chia seeds and give it time to absorb into the liquid. After a few hours, if it's still too runny, add more, but please know that as this sits in the fridge it does get progressively (just slightly) less runny and a bit more firm as it continues to sit. If you like your puddings more runny, just add 1-2 Tbsp less chia, give it time to sit (4+ hours, overnight is best) and then see where you're at. Overall, very forgiving and you can adjust from there. But in general it's good to have a baseline recipe, and then you can easily switch up some of the ingredients to make it more interesting.

On a non-recipe note, I have been trying to enjoy my summer since it's post-basic science Boards! I am still in classes though, so even though I haven't been doing much studying (me need break) I haven't been sharing my new recipes with y'all. I've got a bunch of them on Notes on my iPhone, and I really need to get cracking, buckle down and make some of these babies and take photos of the yumminess and then share them with you!

Thanks for sticking around even though my posts are less regular as they used to be. Med school kind of re-prioritizes your life.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grain-free Unsweetened Paleo Banana Bread.

I've been wanting to share this recipe with y'all for too long. Banana bread is one of my all-time favorite things (which is no secret, see below for more banana-centric recipes), and for a long-time I've been elusively searching for and experimenting with the perfect-for-me banana bread recipe. Two years ago I created my delicious grain-free unsweetened primal pumpkin bread, and I love that recipe so much that I believed it had to be possible to morph it into a banana bread instead. After a few different tries, what I'm sharing with you now is a paleo banana bread recipe I am most proud of :)

Grain-free Unsweetened Paleo Banana Bread.
    makes one standard loaf

    1 cup  blanched almond flour
    1/2 cup  organic coconut flour
    3 happy eggs - mine were large
    1/2 cup  coconut oil - mine was soft
    1 1/2 cups  mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
    1 tsp  baking soda
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 Tbsp  raw apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp  ground nutmeg
    1 Tbsp  cinnamon
    2 tsp  vanilla
    20 drops  clear stevia

To make your banana bread:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Pour all ingredients into a high speed blender (Vitamix!)
3) Blend briefly until incorporated.
4) Pour into a glass, standard loaf pan, that has been greased with coconut oil, and floured with coconut or almond flour.
5) Bake for about 20 minutes, check on the bread and maybe rotate the pan, and bake for another 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. Let bread cool in the pan, then carefully turn out and slice. Store it in the fridge, or the freezer! But most likely your family will gobble it up in no time!

And now, I invite you to explore my other banana lovin' recipes!

Banana Bread Muffins

Grain-free Zucchini Bread


Banana Macadamia Nut Muffins

Almond Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins

Grain-free Post-surgery Banana Bread

Grain-free Almond Banana Waffles

Grain-free Unsweetened Banana Cake

My Original Banana Cake

Fruity Vegan Oatmeal Bake

Enjoy your banana bread. It's great spread with some almond or peanut butter or slathered with some juice-sweetened black raspberry jam :) YUM. Or even butter, if you're so inclined.

And I know the pictures aren't super great. It's been really hard to adjust to all the poor Seattle lighting!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Sauce or Ganache.

(Hello everyone :) I am alive! I've been busy (with medical school), but here I am again!)

Sauce or ganache? Why the fuss?

Well, technically, this is a "ganache" recipe... since ganache is composed of melted chocolate + cream (coconut milk here), which makes it spreadable and allows it to just barely harden into a lovely smooth chocolate experience.

Chocolate sauce, on the other hand, tends to be more of a more syrupy/sugary composition that is perfect for drizzling. Chocolate sauces commonly include corn syrup, or a simple syrup, which gives it a characteristic sweet smoothness that holds its shape when swirled and twisted on a spoon (and on top of your ice cream!)

This recipe rides in the middle. Best of both worlds, I'd say :)

And it's paleo, primal, gluten-free, soy-free, and barely sweetened (my favorite). Which by default makes it amazing. Obviously.

Paleo Chocolate Sauce.
    makes enough for a crowd, or some for one and enough for later!
    Time to prepare = < 10 minutes

    3 oz  unsweetened Baker's chocolate* - or 3 oz of your favorite
    8 oz  unsweetened coconut milk - this one is my favorite**
    1 tsp to 1 Tbsp  runny honey*** (or more to taste)
    splash  vanilla
    dash  unrefined sea salt
    stevia drops - (optional and to taste)

To make your chocolate sauce:
  1)  In a double boiler, or a heavy bottomed pan, add chocolate chunks, coconut milk, honey. Heat on medium / medium-low until chocolate is melted. Whisk whisk whisk until smooth and entirely incorporated.
***To measure out the honey in this recipe, I usually stick a regular eating teaspoon into the honey, to get it moderately coated, and then place it into the chocolate sauce pan; I am estimating this is about 2 tsp to a whole tablespoon of honey. Feel free to use more if you want more sweetness.
  2)  Add vanilla extract, stevia (if desired) and salt. Whisk again. Taste. Add more stevia or honey if desired.
  3)  Enjoy! Dip in some strawberries, apple slices, spread on unsweetened pumpkin bread use to make into chocolate bark, use it as cake frosting (pictured); or put in a jar to use on ice cream! This sauce can do anything! Stored in the fridge this should last 1-2 weeks.

*I used the old size Baker's chocolate squares which I stocked up on right after they changed / halved the sizing of their packages.
** This brand is 100% coconut milk, and I can get it locally (if you're in Seattle, look at Central Market or PCC) for a great price (and no yucky canned coconut milk flavor!)

PS. I am now officially a third year medical student! I finished second year today. This will be a busy summer, as I am taking classes, starting clinic, and taking BOARDS in August, but you should hopefully hear more from me! I've got some recipes I've been meaning to share you guys. I hope to have some more time to get you some more yummies :) I know I've been completely MIA, and I appreciate my readers who still subscribe and share and benefit from my recipes!

PPS. The first picture is this chocolate sauce over my favorite grain-free gluten-free chocolate cake! (The sauce has harded at this point, and is exactly like a ganache!) I halved the ingredients to the cake and topped it with chocolate sauce, for a yummy dessert that is only minimally sweetened. The second picture is this chocolate sauce after being made, so it is still warm and in "sauce" vs ganache form. I love how versatile this recipe is!

Happy Day!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Protein Balls 1.0. (Cinnamon Almond).

As I talked about last time, I've changed my diet every-day-food-selection recently. More protein! Less carb! Easy to digest things! And among all that I've found the need for an afternoon or pre-dinner snack that fits the bill. I've been eating too many Lara Bar Lemon Pie ALT bars, and Quest bars, and it's just not sustainable. I needed something that I could make at home, that was less costly, portable, protein rich, with just a little fat and a low CHO content... and so this recipe was born! (Oh, and it had to be easy, since I've got a busy schedule over here!)

This photo was taken right after I rolled them, before the fridge. I made two different kinds this morning, one which I will share at a later date (notice the balls lighter in color in the lower left hand corner).

And daaang, these babies are so good I don't know why I didn't do something like this sooner. They are also very easily customizable to make different flavors, providing you keep the general ratios the same ;)

Protein Balls 1.0. (Cinnamon Almond)
    inspired by deliciousness

    1/2 cup  homemade almond butter - or storebought - or nut butter of choice
    1/2 cup  rice protein powder - I use this one
    1/4 cup  ground flaxseed
    2 Tbsp  organic coconut oil, melted - source
    1 Tbsp  organic cinnamon - source
    1 Tbsp  local runny honey
    1/4 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1-2 Tbsp water (optional)

(Be precise on measurements for best results. I'm an eyeballer too, but definitely get out your measuring cups for this one!)

To make your protein balls:
  1)  In a large bowl, combine almond butter, protein powder, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, honey. Mix a little. Then add melted coconut oil. Mix until a dough like texture forms. Add water if necessary, I've found that every mixture is slightly different, but I've found you usually won't need to add the water.
  2)  Divide the dough equally into 10 balls. Roll dough with clean hands into balls. Then store in an air-tight container in the refridgerator. (They will soften outside of the fridge, like if you take one out and put it in your purse for later.)
  3)  Enjoy!

If you make 10 balls, here are the (approximate) stats (thanks to MyFitnessPal):

Calories - 159 kcal
Carbs - 7 g
Fat - 9 g
Protein - 13 g

Not bad, huh? I am not an advocate of counting calories, but sometimes it's good to see where recipes stand, especially if your aiming for something like a high protein snack, which I was. You can always make bigger or smaller balls to suit your own snack needs.

This is a great kid-friendly recipe as well - pour all the ingredients into a bowl - let them mix it - and let them help you roll them into balls! But no snitching, otherwise you'll throw off your macros ;)

There you go! Your very own homemade "protein bar!" Woot! Enjoy - and stay tuned for other versions soon. I have a feeling I am going to be making these alot ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Good For You" Hot Cocoa.

I recently posted about this on my Instagram account, and it was one of my most popular posts, so I thought I'd better share the recipe!

Hot cocoa or hot chocolate has been one of my favorite things ever since I was little. Unfortunately what I had when I was younger was the very processed, very sugary, completely fake Swiss Miss from a package, mixed with hot water. It tasted good at the time, but it was definitely not good for me!

Hot cocoa does not have to be hard to make to be tasty, and it doesn't have to be loaded with fat and sugar either! My version is light, satisfying, and won't cause any blood sugar spikes, as it has virtually ZERO sugar. Cocoa is also rich in flavanoids and good fats. You could have this every day!

"Good For You" Hot Cocoa.
    makes one serving (mine is a large 16 oz mug)

    2 tsp - 1.5 Tbsp*  unsweetened cocoa powder
    pinch or two of real salt, to taste!
    1 cup  unsweetened organic almond milk (I like to add a touch of stevia, vanilla and real salt right to the carton to make it taste better); you can also use whatever other milk suits your fancy; I also recommend coconut milk, raw goat milk, and raw cows milk
    1 tsp  vanilla extract
    1/2 to 1 dropper  Stevia clear liquid (adjust to desired level of sweetness) 
    8-16 oz boiling water (depending on the size of the mug and how rich / thick you want it)

To make your hot cocoa:
  1)  Boil water.
  2)  In a small saucepan, heat up almond milk gently on the stove. Stir frequently!
  3)  In a dry mug, add cocoa powder and sea salt.
  4)  When water is boiled, let it settle, then pour about 1/4 cup into mug with cocoa powder.
  5)  Use a small whisk, or spoon, and stir vigorously, to incorporate all cocoa powder, and to be sure there are no lumps.
  6)  Slowly pour in hot almond milk. Stir, stir, stir!
  7)  Add vanilla and stevia. Stir. Taste. Top it off with some more hot water. Adjust if needed. You can't add more chocolate at this point, however, otherwise it will clump!
  8)  Enjoy your piping hot delicious chocolate beverage :) This does make enough for two people to have a cup, so if you're so inclined to share.. then share away! :)

*The reason there is a range on the cocoa powder is because sometimes I want it slightly less chocolatey (yes, that is possible) or sometimes even more chocolatey! There is room to vary it for taste. I usually stick around 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, though. You can use whatever type of cocoa powder you have on hand, just as long as it's unsweetened. I've made this with raw cacao powder, Ghirardelli cocoa powder, and Trader joes cocoa powder; all yield a good result, just with different flavors of chocolate!

This hot cocoa will really warm you up.  What a perfect recipe for winter!  For even greater warming effect, add a dash of warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger!