Learning How to Cook!

I’ve always been somewhat intimidated with cooking. I was more of the type to go out, dine at both fast food places as well as fine dining every weekend. My mother has instilled in me her “tradition” of always going out to eat, because that was what she considered to be having a “good lifestyle” where one has the luxury of never having to cook. You know the “ladies who lunch” type… Growing up, I’ve always had money for food at school, and she rarely prepared any lunches for me, even though she is an amazing chef. I never touched the stove until I was in my mid-2o’s and only in recent years did I realize that eating out all the time is actually horrible for one’s health. However, work and school still prevented me from entering the kitchen because I just did not have time to cook – although I’ve always admired those who can dedicate the time and effort!

Within the last few months, I’ve been working out pretty much every other day and trying to be more healthy again. Naturally, I had to focus on my food intake as well and watch out for all those calories. Not to mention that I bought a new home with a beautiful kitchen at centre stage, I had to make use of it! So I’ve discovered allrecipe.com which is a great website for all levels of cooking. It’s also one of the few websites that shares nutritional info, i.e. calorie content. I’d like to share a few really easy to make recipes that are very healthy and nutritious.

 

Breakfast

Usually I have milk with cereal, but once in a while I like some variety. I was getting these crazy muffin urges but each one at Starbucks or grocery stores is at least 300 Cal! I can’t afford that much! So I decided to look into making them myself and replacing certain ingredients with healthier alternatives, such as oats and wheat bran. I only use the best ingredients and everything is organic. There are no butter, oils, or sugar! I use yoghurt, apple sauce, and Splenda. Of course, don’t expect them to taste like French pastries… but they sure are fabulous for a person on a tight diet and great for on the go – I just freeze the 5 dozens and grab 2 every morning! I also made these amazing cinnamon baked apples with raisins! They taste great with either the Apple Bran or Peach-Oats-Almond muffins! 😀

Calories in each muffin: All 80-90, except chocolate-banana-oats which is 135 Cal
Calories in cinnamon raisin baked apples per serving: 100 Cal

BakedApples.Muffins_PeachAlmondApple.2

Muffins_5Dozens2

Muffins_SecretBerries3

^Above is one of my favourites and I call them “Secret” muffins because there’s a hidden Godiva milk chocolate cashew in the centre of all those yummy berries.

 

Soup and Salads

My first time making chicken noodle soup from scratch was a complete success! It was so good and the chicken breast was amazing cuz I sauté them in garlic and ginger before which adds extra flavour. There’s a lot more veggies underneath the broth not shown in the pic, like peas, green beans, corn…etc. Super healthy and filling too!

Calories per serving (1.5 cups): 100 Cal

 

ChickenNoodleSoup2

 

“Tropical” Crab Ceviche inspired mango salad – 165 Cal per serving (1.5 cup)

This is one of my more experimental salads which is so good with a sweet and tangy taste (lemon juice, raspberry vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste)! Serve fresh, not suitable for freezing because of the avocados. I’ll try adding some shrimps and a kick of spiciness next time!

TropicalCrabCeviche

 

Organic Red Quinoa Salad Mix – 400 Cal per serving (2 cups)

This is like a “power” salad giving you a lot of energy with healthy red quinoa mixed with dried cranberries, sultan raisins, almonds, avocados, parsley, green bell peppers, carrots, and fresh Royal Gala apples for some crunch all tossed together with olive oil and raspberry vinaigrette! Trust me, this salad is like a trail mix that’s full of antioxidants and is addictive too! Everyone at work seems to admire my lunch these days, it’s actually quite funny how people are interested in what I’m bringing into work lol.

Quinoa_CranberryAppleRasin

 

Southwestern Pasta Bean and Chicken Salad – 400 Cal per serving (2 cups)

I’ve already showcased this salad before, but it’s one of my fav, so here’s a close-up pic to show the texture. Eats like a full meal and is very filling! I can never get enough of this stuff!

SWpasta_salad2

 

Main Dish

Baked Vanilla Dijon Haddock – 135 Cal per serving

I’ve never cooked fish in my life, but my local grocery store always sells some of the freshest and I couldn’t resist trying this out. I prefer either haddock or tilapia because they’re both white fish with the least calories (about 80-90 per 100 grams). Haddock is a little more pricey and has a bigger “flakier” texture whereas tilapia tends to be too crumbly and disintegrate I find. So I prefer haddock fish. The recipe is super simple too using 3 Tbsp dijon mustard (I only go for Maille‘s from France), instead of honey, I opt for 2-3 Tbsp Starbuck‘s sugar-free vanilla syrup, 1 Tbsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Bake all that for about 30 mins and then broil for another 5 mins to get the top browned. I also add lots of bella mushrooms and red onions underneath, as well as a bunch of shrimps and scallops! Add some veggies (boiled green beans) on the side and remember you can just use the sauce from the fish, no need to add olive oil or anything more on top! Enjoy!

VanillaDijonTilapia

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