Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl

Before I begin, yes it's necessary to say YEAAAA GIANTS!!!!!

Ok so in preparation for the game, I cooked up some dinner recipes. As usual, I try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible. This meal turned out to be really flavorful, filling, and healthy.

Sweet Potato Fries

I cooked these a couple ways and the recipe to follow was my favorite way. I like fries to be on the crunchier side without being deep fried. Therefore this recipe produces a fry that is crunchier from the potato not being soft all the way through, rather than being fried.

3 med. sweet potatoes, peeled
Cooking spray
Spice mix**

**a long time ago I bought this amazing spice mix from Costco called Sweet Mesquite Seasoning which I believe is mostly for grilling. However, I found it to work great in other dishes. See if you can find some sort of mesquite grill run or seasoning. If not, experiment with chili powder+brown sugar+cayenne pepper+garlic power+salt+pepper

1. Preheat oven 350F.
2. Cut potatoes into fries. Approx. 1/3" thickness or less.
3. Place in ziplock bag and add spice mixture. Spray with cooking spray. Shake up the bag to coat potatoes.
4. Spread out on foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 5-10min.
5. Remove from oven and place in pan to fry (Pan needed more cooking spray).
6. Cook for approx. 15min more or until desired tenderness.

Bean Chili

1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
3 med. carrots
1 14.5oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2c. yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
Frozen corn
1 14.5oz can black beans
1 14.5oz can pinto beans w/jalapeño
Same spice mix from above.

1. Roughly chop onion and mince garlic. Put in a medium saucepan and sauté.
2. While the onion and garlic are being sautéed, roughly chop carrots in 1/4" thickness. Cut bigger pieces in half or in third. Once onions start becoming softer, add carrots.
3. Chop both peppers to about the size of a 1/2" square and add to saucepan.
4. Drain/rinse both beans and add to pan.
5. Add tomatoes, frozen corn, and about 2tsp spice mixture next. Bring mixture to a boil. (Depending on how it looks, you might want to add some water. I think I ended up adding about 1/2cup).
6. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30min. Mix occasionally.

Notes: This was my first time making and trying chili and I enjoyed it tremendously. One of the best aspects of making chili, I learned, is how versatile it is. You can really experiment with proportions of spice, veggies, and thickness. It was an especially great dish to make on a chilly day like today because it really fills you up while still being super healthy.


Nutrition Estimates:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tomato Cucumber Salad

I can relate VERY well to the feeling of not wanting to cook on a lazy day. This recipe is for my usual go-to dish on days like that for a few reasons: it's cheap, fast, very healthy and DELICIOUS. I especially like making it during the summer, but it's great all year round. I think I got my idea for it from when I went to Israel and they served yogurt and veggies at almost every meal, so I just mixed them together. The veggies are filling and the greek yogurt adds protein so it could make a great snack between meals or could be a dinner side.

Yield: 1 big (or 2 small) servings

1 cucumber (with or without peel, whichever you prefer)
1 tomato (I like the flavor of plum)
3 Tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt **
ground cumin

**for a vegan version, use a little bit less of soy yogurt because it's not as thick

1. Chop cucumber and tomato into approx. 1/4-1/2" pieces.
2. Add greek yogurt and mix. Add salt and cumin to taste (probably close to 1/4tsp)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vegan Cheesecake

So, last month over winter break I was at home in sunny Southern California with ample time to do some experimentation. I decided to try my hand at a vegan cheesecake. It was loosely based off of one I saw online on, but I did some tinkering to improve it. Let me warn you before you start, this is an expensive recipe! That said, I was lucky it turned out well and my family enjoyed it - it will be worth it!

1 3/4 Cups Granola
2 Tbsp Soy Margarine
1 Tbsp Water

If it's too crumbly, add more water. Then after mixing, press into an 8 or 10 inch an and bake for 6-10 minutes (it should look slightly more brown/crisp)


2 lbs Soft or Silken Tofu (Be careful about this part, if it's bad quality tofu the pie will turn out soggy and awful. This is important. I trusted Whole Foods and it served me very well. Another time I bought a cheap brand at an asian convenience store and it was disastrous).
2 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup/Granulated Sugar/Agave (Can combine these or just use one)
1/3 Cup Canola or Vegetable or Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract (Maybe more depending on the taste)
2 Tsp Lemon Zest (or just add more lemon juice)

Put all of those ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Then pour half the filling into the crust, add some semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any other filling you would like) and pour the other half on top.

Bake for 25-35 mins in 350 degree preheated oven. When it's done if you lightly touch the center it should spring back. After the cheesecake cools for a while you might see some water come to the top - make sure to pour that out! Also, if you put the cheesecake in the fridge to chill, pour out excess water upon removing it again or it could get soggy.

Lastly: proceed to devour with little, if any, guilt.

Bon Appetit! :)


So this is our first published attempt at vegan baking. We did initially start with a plan/recipe in mind...but we should've probably checked the pantry BEFORE we began. Regardless, we loved them and are most definitely making them again soon!!

Here's how it ended up:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup honey almond butter (Justin's)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Cream of Wheat ***
1/2 cup chocolate (any kind, broken up bar, chips, chunks, etc) or whatever other type of cookie gems you care to add (nuts, berries, etc).

***The original recipe called for flax meal to act as a binding agent in place of eggs. We didn't have any so upon exploration through my limited college pantry, we saw cream of wheat and figured it would do the job well enough (the dough was VERY dry before we added any). I did a couple tablespoons of (instant) cream of wheat and added 1/2 cup of boiled water and let it stand for about a minute. Then mix it.

Yield: 12 cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. We mistakenly added all the ingredients, up to the sugar, progressively to one bowl. (It seemed to work out fine. Next time we might cream the almond butter and sugar together separately as that is what the original recipe called for.)
3. At this point the dough resembled clumpy sand. Experiment to see how much of the cream of wheat you need to add, as the consistency of both your dough and the cream of wheat may vary.
4. Add chocolate chunks (or other fillings) as you round that dough into balls (we did approx. 1.5" balls).


5. Bake 10-13min on paper-lined cookie sheet (could do it w/o paper too). (this produced a cookie on the chewier side)


Nutrition Estimates (per serving):
Calories: 175, Fat: 8.5g, Carbs: 19g, Protein: 3.5g

These cookies were DEFINITELY not what we expected, but in a good way! First of all, they very closely resembled snickerdoodles but with a nutty kick. Secondly, the almond butter, unlike peanut butter, has a milder taste and therefore its flavor didn't come through as much as you might expect it to. If you really want that nutty flavor, you might look into either trying this same recipe with peanut butter or adding almond extract. That being said, these cookies were INCREDIBLE, and I'm not talking just "vegan good." Our friends told us they were amazing by both vegan and non-vegan standards!

Welcome to our blog!

Hello! We are Dina and Bhavna, two semi-crazy semi-nerdy, but totally lovable gals. We decided to start this blog to chronicle two of our mutual hobbies: traveling and cooking. Being as we are in college and therefore have limited funds, the focus of our blog will be about staying healthy and frugal. Stay tuned!

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