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Archive for the ‘Indulgences’ Category

I made up this cookie recipe last night when I was craving something sweet and healthy. I’ve been trying to incorporate flax into more of my recipes since you can mix it into anything to increase the nutritional value and let me just say these are some of the best cookies that I have EVER made! The oats, flax, raisins, and walnuts add a HUGE nutritional punch to your diet and the coconut and chocolate give the cookie a sweet flavor that will leave you craving more and more and more. I think I ate 4 cookies within 4 minutes! I brought these to work today and they were a HUGE hit. A must-make for a BBQ, potluck, or just because!

Makes: ~ 48 cookies

Oven temp: 325 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 2.5 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ground golden flax (I use Flax USA brand from Costco)
  • 1.5 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together brown sugar, white sugar, and butter. Add in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a another bowl, gently mix together flour, oats, flax, and baking soda. Add in slowly to sugar/butter/egg/vanilla mixture.
  4. One at a time, add in coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, and walnuts.
  5. Scoop cookie batter using a tablespoon onto cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies start to brown around the edges. Let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet and then immediately move cookies to a cooling rack- this is the secret to making them chewy!
  7. Serve with milk or crumble cookies over ice cream. Yum!!!

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This appetizer sampler was inspired by a lot of random things in my refrigerator… another time that my scrounging has led to yumminess! Sometimes I will make this for a little dinner for myself or I will make it for a group if I am entertaining. I didn’t list amounts in the ingredients since you can pretty much just make as much as you need! I love cheese and crackers at any time and the salami is an added yummy factor. Asparagus and proscuitto is a simple appetizer that a lot of people think sounds complicated but it it super easy and quick to prepare. Babybel cheeses are little and fun and they have so many different flavors to choose from: Original, Bonbel, Gouda, and White Cheddar (and I may be forgetting one or two). Try this little appetizer platter and you will wow everyone- yourself included!

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite crackers (I like the big round whole wheat ones)
  • Sliced deli cheese (I like all kinds but especially Swiss and Cheddar for this)
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Asparagus
  • Babybel cheese (I love all flavors!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over a large baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut ends off of asparagus and rinse. Pat dry and roll asparagus in oil, salt, and pepper and place on baking sheet. Put in the oven and cook on both sides until it starts to brown (turn it after about 5 minutes but check in on it depending how hot your oven is).
  2. While the oven is preheating and asparagus is cooking, work on everything else. ūüôā Cut cheese slices into 4 and assemble salami and cheese onto the crackers. I like the big round crackers since the salami fits perfectly on top (I use Safeway brand whole wheat crackers but I am sure there are a ton of other similar kinds).
  3. When asparagus is done cooking, let it cool and then roll it the long way in the prosciutto.
  4. Arrange everything on a large serving plate (or you can have a plate for each appetizer if you are making lots of each). Something else fun that I like to do is make a little plate for everyone that I am entertaining but you can do whatever you want to. ūüôā
Serve with: White or red wine and/or cocktails. This is a perfect starter for an Italian meal- I used it as my starter for a meal of stuffed shells and Caesar salad and it was a perfect pairing. ūüôā

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I was flipping through Food Network magazine and came across the recipe for this dip and could not wait to go to the store, buy all of the ingredients, and make it! And let me tell you, it is just as yummy as it sounds (as looks). This is a perfect appetizer for a party (superbowl is coming up…) and will definitely win you any man’s heart. Try it and see, I guarantee EVERYONE who tastes it will love it!

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups Daisy Brand Sour Cream
  • 3 ounces bacon bits
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  3. Place the mixture in a 1-quart baking dish. Cover.
  4. Heat the dip for 25-30 minutes or until hot.
  5. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables, crackers and/or chips.

*Serving option: Dip may also be placed in hollowed round sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Recipe source: Daisy Brand

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2011 is here, I just turned 27, and it’s been far, farrrr too long since I’ve contributed anything to this blog.¬† And while I can’t change how fast time seems to fly these days, I can make it a point to share my latest foodie adventures with all of you – and between the holidays and some major culinary indulgence recently, I have a whole lot to say.¬† I just finished putting together a list of my favorite Japanese restaurants on Oahu for a client (which of course led to me spending about an hour compiling a list of the rest of my current favorites…), and I thought I would start of my 2011 blog entries with it.¬† So here goes…If you’re in Hawaii you’ve got to give them all a try, if not, this list looks like the perfect reason to book a trip!

TOP SIX – Reservations are a must for these, and I highly recommend sitting at the sushi bar and asking the chef to serve you what they think is¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† best/fresh that day…you’ll never be disappointed!

  • Imanas Tei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/imanas-tei-restaurant-honolulu this website rates it as being quite pricey, but you can go and have a mid-range¬†meal there easily.¬† The sashimi platter is the very best…the fish is very, very fresh.¬† I hear their nabe is also really good.¬† Amazing delicious and not too formal, this is the perfect go any night of the week kind of place.
  • Sushi Izakaya Gaku: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sushi-izakaya-gaku-honolulu My absolute number one favorite sushi place in all of Hawaii right now.¬† The fish is unbelievably fresh, their Izakaya dishes are to-die-for and the service and ambiance are wonderful.¬† The head chef of Imanas is the guy who owns/runs Gaku.¬† Very limited seating and very popular, so make sure to make reservations.¬† It is pricey, but worth every single penny, I promise!¬† Just make sure you give the seared O-toro and the Spicy Negihama Tartare.
  • Hakkei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hakkei-honolulu Hakkei specializes in Oden which is a Japanese soup similar to Nabe or Shabu-Shabu.¬† Their focus is much less on sushi (we had some sashimi but that was the only raw fish dish to be seen) and more on warm, comfort type food.¬† Don’t be mislead though, they change their menu monthly to focus on season ingredients, and each and every dish is creative and exceptionally delicious.¬† They have three tasting menus or you can just order off the menu.¬† Very traditional from the food to the ambiance and the staff, I felt like I was back in Japan for a few hours!¬† Apparently they also serve lunch (check out their website).
  • Ideta: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ideta-restaurant-honolulu Incredibly fresh fish, very straightforward, traditional yet inventive, clean, focused and mouthwatering flavors.¬† Sit at the sushi bar for sure, the chef/owner is a true master.¬† This one is a bit off the beaten path and¬† bit pricey as well, but most definitely worth it!
  • Matsugen: http://www.yelp.com/biz/matsugen-honolulu If you love fresh Soba this is the place to go.¬† Make sure to try the duck broth with the soba and their fresh tofu as well.
  • Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tonkatsu-ginza-bairin-honolulu Right next door to Matsugen, this place serves Tonkatsu like nothing you’ve ever had before in your life.¬† Top-grade pork (when you call to make a reservation you can actually reserve the pork as they only have so much and tend to run out as the night goes on), only the freshest ingredients flown in from Japan and an old man whose life has been dedicated to perfecting this dish makes for an unforgettable meal.
Low-Mid Range Favorites
  • Phuket Thai:http://www.yelp.com/biz/phuket-thai-restaurant-honolulu very, very good thai food!
  • Hale Vietnam: One of my very favorite Vietnamese restaurants…you must try the Imperial Rolls if you go!¬†http://www.yelp.com/biz/hale-vietnam-restaurant-honolulu Reservations are accepted here.
  • Covenant Books & Cafe:http://covenantbooksandcoffee.com/ Hawaii really lacks good soup & sandwich places, but Covenant really makes up for it in every way possible.¬† Nestled in a Christian bookstore, their sandwiches are amazing, and they make a different soup every day that makes you want to melt (they have a soup calendar on their website!).¬† They also serve an incredible breakfast.¬† I live for their croissant french toast with flambeed bananas….closed on Sunday.
  • Cafe Kaila:http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-kaila-honolulu Cafe type food, really yummy breakfast and lunch place.¬† Crazy on Sat/Sunday mornings, but always worth the wait.
  • Bogart’s Cafe:http://www.yelp.com/biz/bogarts-cafe-honolulu Very similar to Cafe Kaila
  • Diamond Head Grill:http://www.diamondheadmarket.com/ When I don’t feel like cooking or sitting down at a restaurant, but I want take-out that is healthy and always top-notch, I go to Diamond Head Grill.¬† They have prepared food available in the market to take home and heat up, or you can order from the grill outside.¬† Their ahi salad at the grill and their desserts in the market are my favorites.¬† If you like scones, they have the most insanely good blueberry and sometimes banana scones unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
  • Olive Tree:http://www.yelp.com/biz/olive-tree-cafe-honolulu BYOB, this is the hands-down the best Greek restaurant on the island.¬† Fat Greek which is down the hill from your house is good as well, but Olive Tree really kicks it up a notch.¬† VERY busy all the time, so either get there early, order take-out, or be prepared to wait.¬† There is a wine shop right next door for your convenience ūüôā
  • Little Village:http://www.littlevillagehawaii.com/ I know we have a China Town teeming with Chinese food places, but trust me when I say that Little Village is the very best.
  • Mocha Java:http://www.yelp.com/biz/mocha-java-cafe-honolulu Located at Ward Center, this is a wonderful healthy place to go for breakfast and lunch.
  • Himalayan Kitchen:http://www.yelp.com/biz/himalayan-kitchen-honolulu Love this place!¬† BYOB also (go to Tammura’s down the street for great wine and beer!) We eat here all the time – great ambiance (lots of outdoor seating) and delicious food.
  • Waioli Tea Room:http://www.yelp.com/biz/waioli-tea-room-honolulu If you want to get out of the city and escape into the jungle, this is the place to go.¬† They serve a great lunch all week, but it is for their breakfast brunch on Saturday and Sunday that I hold out for.¬† Eating here always makes me feel like I’m on Kauai ūüôā
  • Formaggio: http://www.yelp.com/biz/formaggio-honolulu Great french/Italian food and awesome wine list.¬† Perfect place to go during the week for a quick but great meal and some really yummy wine.
  • JJ Dolan’s:http://www.yelp.com/biz/jj-dolans-honolulu Simple but delicious pizza and beer place located Downtown.
  • V Lounge:http://www.yelp.com/biz/v-lounge-honolulu More artisan style pizza place that is definitely worth a try.
  • KCC Farmers Market: Saturdays from 7:30-11:30 a.m. at Kapiolani Community College…..best Farmers Market on the island, the produce, food, flowers, and everything else there makes it my favorite place to be every single week.
  • Tango:http://www.tangocafehawaii.com/ More in the mid-high range, this place serves excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Tokkuri-Tei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tokkuri-tei-honolulu another hole in the wall Japanese place, the food here is amazing.¬† It’s small and very popular, so you might have to wait¬†if you go on a popular night, but it’s well worth it. (Since I wrote this I think they’ve expanded to a larger location, but I hear it’s still packed!)
  • Tsukenaya: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tsukuneya-robata-grill-honolulu this is different than any Japanese food you are used to and its wonderful!¬† The style of cooking originates from Nagoya in Japan so the focus is less on sushi and more on the robata or bbq style of cooking.
  • Maguro-Ya: http://www.yelp.com/biz/maguro-ya-honolulu Go here for the sushi.¬† Very traditional and straightforward, I’ve never been disappointed here.¬† If you like green tea and azuki beans for dessert, theirs is a must-try!
  • Kochi: http://www.yelp.com/biz/kochi-restaurant-and-lounge-honolulu If you are looking for a good place for happy hour and sushi rolls, this is the place to go.¬† It’s on King St. and I think it’s a bit of a hidden gem.
A bit pricy but VERY worth it:
  • Alan Wongs:http://www.yelp.com/biz/alan-wongs-restaurant-honolulu very pricey (appetizer, food, dessert and alcohol aprox. $100 a head) but SO SO SO worth it.¬† Alan Wong is one of Hawaii’s very best chefs and I promise that you will not be dissapointed.¬† If you go to one restaurant while you are in Hawaii, this must be it!¬† Make sure to make reservations WAY in advance.¬† Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.
  • Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel:http://www.yelp.com/biz/hokus-honolulu this is another amazing one, and the location is just beautiful.¬† It is about a 15-20 minute cab ride from your hotel.¬† If you go, I recommend going early to have drinks first, and then to dinner…the hotel is breathtaking. Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.
  • Town: Farm-to-table, the ingredients are always fresh, and local and organic whenever possible.¬† One of my all-time favorites for sure.¬† http://www.yelp.com/biz/town-honolulu#hrid:kEZQplvbjxjkTEBjAT_4mA/src:search/query:town%20restaurant
  • 12th Ave. Grill:http://www.yelp.com/biz/12th-avenue-grill-honolulu#hrid:_887lbqstrayqaZ6BZSeIA/src:search/query:12th%20ave%20grill fantastic food, totally hole in the wall restaurant.¬† Right near Hale Vietnam and Town.¬† Food genre is “New American.”
  • Chef Mavro:http://www.yelp.com/biz/chef-mavro-honolulu One word: unbelievable.¬† Different than anything you’ll find here in Hawaii, Chef Mavro’s french restaurant is worth the indulgence (both financially and in calories).
  • BLT Steak:http://www.yelp.com/biz/blt-steak-honolulu I’ve heard mixed reviews, but my experience there was fantastic.¬† I think it’s the best steakhouse on the island personally.
  • Royal Hawaiian Hotel: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com/ just renovated, the Royal is one of Hawaii’s landmark hotels and one of the most beautiful.¬† Great restaurants but quite pricey – at the very least go for a Mai Tai at their beach front bar because they make the meanest Mai Tai’s you’ve ever had!
  • Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel: http://www.moana-surfrider.com/ another of the landmark hotels in Waikiki – their ocean front veranda is beautiful and a great place for breakfast, tea, or drinks at sunset.¬† I hear the restaurants are good as well, but on the pricier side for sure.

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The added cinnamon to the classic peanut butter chocolate chip cookie makes it perfect for winter and the holidays. I got this recipe through the daily emails from MyRecipes.com and couldn’t wait to make them. They were delicious and a HUGE hit at work. The huge chocolate chunks and peanuts make them a crowd pleaser and everyone loved the taste that the cinnamon added. I can’t wait to make these again soon!

Here is the recipe, straight from MyRecipes.com:

Yield: Makes 28 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2¬† cup¬† butter, softened
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† shortening
  • 1¬† cup¬† chunky peanut butter
  • 1¬† cup¬† granulated sugar
  • 1¬† cup¬† firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2¬† large eggs
  • 2 1/2¬† cups¬† all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2¬† teaspoons¬† baking soda
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† baking powder
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† ground cinnamon
  • 1¬† cup¬† unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1¬† (11.5-ounce) bag chocolate chunks

Preparation:

  1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add chunky peanut butter and sugars, beating well. Add eggs, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Add to butter mixture, beating well.
  3. Stir in peanuts and chocolate chunks.
  4. Shape dough into 2-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie). Flatten slightly, and place on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 375¬į for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pan 1 to 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Chunk-Peanut Cookies: Reduce flour to 2 cups; add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted. Proceed as directed.

 

Recipe Source: MyRecipes.com

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My friend Tanya and I made this dessert for our Cultural Nutrition class project and it was absolutely delicious. The main flavor is coconut and it gives the rice pudding a creamy and luscious flavor that is unlike anything I have ever had before! We topped it with fresh fruit, consisting of mango, kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple. In my opinion, the more fruit the better!

Here is the recipe for this delicious dessert!

Serves 2-4

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called “sticky rice”, available at Asian food stores)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1-2 ripe mangos, cut into bite-size pieces (look for mangos that are fragrant and easily bruised), or 1 pkg frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (for a natural sweetener substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. + pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut flavoring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water

Preparation:

  1. Soak the sweet rice in 1 cup water for 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  2. The sticky rice can be steamed or made in a pot. To make it in a pot, do not drain. Add 3/4 cup (more) water to the rice, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. coconut flavoring, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Stir this into the rice, lifting any rice grains that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Turn the heat down to medium-low (#2.5 to 3 on the dial).
  4. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Remove the pot from the heat, place the lid on tight, and leave to “steam” cook for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Make sauce and serve the dessert right away, or store the rice (covered) in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  6. To make the sauce, warm the rest of the can of coconut milk together with 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp. coconut flavoring (optional) and 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring over medium heat (5 minutes).
  7. Add cornstarch (dissolved in the water) to the sauce and stir to thicken it slightly. As it thickens, turn down heat to low. When thickened, remove from heat. Tip: Try not to boil the sauce, or you will lose that wonderful coconut flavor.
  8. Before serving, taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. If too sweet for your taste, add a little more coconut milk.
  9. There are 2 ways to serve this dessert:
  • Place scoops of the sticky rice in bowls (Note that sticky rice can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, as desired). Ladle a generous amount of warm coconut sauce over the rice (creating an ‚Äúisland‚ÄĚ of sticky rice). Add slices/pieces of ripe fresh mango. (If using frozen mango, be sure to give it enough time to thaw before serving.)
  • For “saucier” rice: Add rice (portion out 1 scoop per person) directly to the sauce pot and stir over low heat, gently breaking apart the larger lumps, but leaving smaller lumps/chunks). Now add the mango pieces and gently stir until everything is warmed through. Portion out into serving bowls, making sure everyone has equal amounts of rice, mango, and sauce. Enjoy!

Zoe’s Notes: This recipe originally just used mango as the fruit part of it. For our class project, we were challenged to make healthy modifications to the recipe, so we added the additional chopped strawberries (1 pint), 2 sliced kiwis, and 1 large can of pineapple chunks. If there are other fruits that you like, I would definitely recommend adding them and please let me know how they taste in the recipe!

Source: About.com

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Just in time for Halloween, here is a super fun recipe for pumpkin cupcakes! I got this recipe via the daily emails that Real Simple sends out and it seemed so quick and easy that I wanted to make them immediately. With only 6 ingredients, you can’t get a much simpler and yummy cupcake recipe!

Here is the recipe:

  • 1¬†18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†pumpkin pie spice
  • 1¬†15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2¬†8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2¬†cups¬†confectioners‚Äô sugar
  • 24¬†pieces¬†candy corn

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350¬į F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
  2. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

Zoe’s Notes: Instead of making the cream cheese frosting, I bought it pre-made… you can do it whichever way you like! I also doubled the pumpkin pie spice since I love that flavor… try it and see what you think!

Source: Real Simple

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