Archive for the ‘Under $15’ Category

I have definitely been MIA on the blog lately with a new job and summer school, but I wanted to post this yummy recipe since it has been a big hit at my house. Usually when I ask my boyfriend what kind of veggie he wants with dinner, his response is “no veggie.” Since I am studying nutrition and know the importance of veggies, this is really frustrating to me, but I have found a veggie that he loves now, so I try to make it as often as I can. We came up with this recipe pretty randomly but I am glad that we did, because it is delicious. It is so tasty that it almost seems like dessert, but it’s also good for you, since sweet potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient),vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Here is the recipe for these delicious sweet potatoes:


  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes (depending on how many people you are feeeding)
  • Butter, for greasing the cookie sheet(s)
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease cookie sheet(s) with butter or PAM spray.
  3. Peel and rinse sweet potato(es). Slice into thin rounds, about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar onto greased cookie sheet, just as much as you would like. I do a medium coating. Place sweet potato rounds on top and then sprinkle more brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Place cookie sheet(s) in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until sweet potato rounds are soft.

Note: I think that this would be an amazing side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner too… it will definitely be on our dinner table when these holidays come up!


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What better way to start the day off than with banana stuffed croissant french toast and an amazing cup of coffee from Covenant Books & Coffee on 12th. Avenue in Honolulu?  I dare say not much.  If you can’t make it for breakfast (they also do a mean breakfast burrito), stop in for soup (a different one made fresh daily) and a sandwich (my fav is the veggie delight)….hands down one of my very favorite breakfast/lunch places of all time.

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While I forgot to take a photo of the Apple Tortoni in the midst of all the madness, I did get a chance to snap a picture of the full moon reflecting off of Waikiki bay...it's a shame my phone doesn't have a flash, otherwise you would also see Diamond Head all lit up in the backdrop. So beautiful.

Years ago, I got involved (read: wrangled – what happens when you are the vice principal’s daughter…) as a volunteer in the annual Island School Auction (my high school Alma Mater) as their day-of, on-site event coordinator.  When a girlfriend with Type 1 diabetes discovered this two years ago, she asked me to sit on the planning committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Annual Gala Auction.  Last year I suggested that we incorporate a Dessert Auction into the JDRF Gala as an additional way to raise money.  They have been doing this at the Island School Auction – as part of the silent auction portion – and it is wildly successful every single year.  Our first go round at last year’s JDRF Gala went wonderfully, and so I found myself, with Tori thank goodness, on the committee to plan and execute that portion of the night again this year.

We have been calling and begging for dessert donations for the past few months and spent a good portion of the day yesterday picking them all up and getting them to the Royal Hawaiian in one piece.  But of course, life happened, and I arrived 20 minutes late with three of the desserts, and poor Tori had to watch as one of the star donations slipped off the display table and onto the ground in a giant mess of chocolaty sadness.  No matter, we persevered and by the end of the night all nine of our desserts (one of which I baked) sold for upwards of $60 each.  It was a success to say the least.

The rest of the evening was fantastic – the food was outrageously good (all tailgate inspired finger foods as the theme was sports related) and the setting – an indoor/outdoor venue right on Waikiki beach at the Royal Hawaiian – was to die for.  It was all so fun (and exhausting) that I was in bed by 11 last night and woke up at 10:15 this morning – and only got out of bed then because I had work to do before my open house this afternoon…All of the hard work was completely worth it of course, and since I didn’t get to eat the Apple Grand Tortoni that I donated AND because I still have a bag of apples that need to be used, I just may have to find some time this week to make another one 🙂

Apple Grand Tortoni

From “Another Taste of Aloha,” I first had this tart when my mom made it over memorial day weekend.  A good variation to your standard apple pie, the crust is thick yet flaky, and the cream cheese filling topped with the thinly sliced, cinnamon coated apples on top is a perfect balance.  The recipe calls for it being served either warm or chilled, and personally I prefer it warm…I do imagine that it would be divine with ice cream as well.  Just make sure you put a large piece of slightly cupped tin foil on the rack below the one you are baking it on as the juice from the apples leaks out of the spring form pan and makes for quite the smokey mess if there is nothing there to catch it!



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and flour.  Mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides of a deep 9″ springform pan.


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 to 4 apples (depending on their size – for larger ones I use 3, for smaller ones 4)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and egg until smooth.  Pour over crust.  In a large bowl, mix apples with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Pour apple mixture on top of cheese mixture and sprinkle with slice almonds.  Using a wooden spoon (or your fingers), push crust down on sides even with apples.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (it is important that you are careful about the baking times/temperatures or else your run the risk of burning it). Serve warm or chilled.

*This is an excellent dessert to bring to a party as it travels very well in the spring form pan and can be easily released and served in perfect condition.  Also, I imagine it would be quite delish for breakfast 🙂

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I’ve had a hard time eating meat after we dissected a cat in my Anatomy & Physiology lab this week, so I picked up some veggie burgers at the store the other day. I tried the Morningstar Farm brand and I LOVE them! They have so many delicious flavors to choose from. I got the Garden Veggie, Mushroom Lovers, and Spicy Black Bean and all of them are so yummy! They are super healthy too, with about 110 calories per burger, around 10 grams of protein, and 3-7 grams of fat. 

The burgers are about $4.59 a box, with 4 burgers in a box. You can cook them on the grill or in the microwave. I cook them in the microwave, and they only take 2 minutes! 

Morningstar Farms also has a multitude of other vegetarian burgers and products that I know I will love when I try them. Check out their products here!

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Shrimp is one of my favorite foods and I love it every way, but I especially love it grilled. It’s so easy to make too.

Here is what you need to do to make your very own grilled shrimp… Purchase large cooked shrimps, rinse, and skewer them. Season both sides with lemon or lime juice and desired seasonings (we like lemon pepper), place on the grill, and cook, turning after about 5-7 minutes and cooking for another 5 minutes or so, but you will be able to tell when they are ready to turn, they just need to be starting to brown a bit. Make sure to use a potholder or mitts when turning the shrimps, since the skewers will be hot.

Serve with rice or pasta salad and fruit, like we did. Enjoy!

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My boyfriend picked up these couscous gourmet meal kits at the grocery store recently and I am so glad he found them, because they are so yummy and so quick and easy to put together with chicken to make an amazing meal. They come in two flavors, Mediterranean Herb and Chicken Provencal and both are delicious. Just follow the directions on the back of the box and serve with your favorite vegetable… we did broccoli. 

To learn more about these gourmet meal kits, click here!

Served with broccoli

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I made these on an impulse tonight and they turned out so good! It’s a delicious choice to serve as a veggie side and a healthy alternative to the everyday potato. Sweet potatoes are a great nutritional choice, since they are high in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient),vitamin C, and vitamin B6. 


  • Sweet potatoes or yams if you can’t find sweet potatoes (1 medium will serve 2 people, so just buy as many as you need depending on how many people you are cooking for)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Peel and rinse sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch slices. 
  3. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet and then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place sweet potatoes on the cookie sheet and then season the tops with additional salt and pepper.
  5. Place in the oven and bake until they start to brown and become slightly crispy, about 30 minutes (depends on your oven too, so keep an eye on them).


Served as a yummy side!

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