Cheat Meal: Spinach Quiche with Homemade Turkey Sausage (GF Crust)

We don’t have a cheat day but instead employed a cheat meal because a day of cheating with your eating can sometimes get out hand. Having said that, some people say why even cheat? Well, with my diet restrictions, my husband will get a burnout if we don’t.

For this meal, I chose to make Spinach Quiche with Turkey and Pear Sausage. This is still (sort of) clean eating but I included ingredients that are high in calorie and fat contents.


Some of the changes I made — use scallions instead of thyme and put more spinach, for the sausage: I didn’t use butter and mace. Even with those changes, the quiche turned out oh-so-great! πŸ™‚

Kitchen tested, the JZ’s approved!

Happy Eating!

P.S. I took the photo before it went into the oven. I wasn’t able to take a good enough photo after it came out because there’s no more ambient light from outside.


200 and Under Calories – Nilagang Baka

With the intent of eating clean and healthy which we started at the beginning of this year, I recreated a Filipino dish, “Nilagang Baka.” πŸ™‚

The original recipe is, in it’s own way, already healthy but it largely depends on the choice of the cut of beef. Most Filipinos will use the center cut of the shanks that holds the most bone marrow – and while it’s very delicious, it has a very high fat (and calorie) content.


For my version, I use a 90% lean cut so overcooking this isn’t an option. πŸ™‚

I cooked this the way I learned it from grandma and that is just winging it. If you are interested to make it, you can ‘google’ ‘Nilagang Baka / Beef’ and you will find plenty of hits. The key to keeping it under 200 calories is portion control and again, the choice of meat… And yes, be careful with your salt use (or patis for some). πŸ™‚

Happy Eating!

Kitchen Tested: Emperor’s Beef Stew

Cooking took a back seat (of course) after having a baby but hubby and I started picking recipes for each other to cook… It’s the start of something really fun…

One of the first things we cooked was Emperor’s Beef Stew (Recipe here). I picked this for him to cook (since the flavor is too close to home) but somehow he managed to make me finish cooking it (well he did all the prep work).


Anyway, the only modification we did were to not use beef shanks but instead use the roast beef that we have in the freezer and to add a little bit more sugar and spices. πŸ˜€

Well, this recipe was kitchen-tested and we approved. Yum!

Recipe: Semi-Organic Homemade Nutella Ice Cream

I don’t usually eat ice cream that much but since I run a lot, I know that I need the fats (to prevent wrinkles) and the calcium — plus I know how to consume in moderation anyways. It is my treat and reward, too, which I think is important in ones diet (*justifying*). πŸ™‚

My first attempt to make (melon) ice cream was a “pretty” disaster hence it didn’t make the blog at all. My husband, who usually loves most ice cream, didn’t even care for it… yes, it’s that bad… :p

So to redeem myself, I gathered two of his favorite ingredients — vanilla and nutella — and decided to give ice-cream making another try. πŸ™‚ It was so great, I cannot even believe that I made it. πŸ˜€

The recipe and “how tos” are pretty simple so please try it. All you need is an ice cream maker which are getting cheaper and cheaper nowadays. πŸ™‚


2 large organic eggs

1/2 cup organic raw (brown) sugar

1 1/2 cup organic whole milk

1 1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla (I used madagascar vanilla)

2 TBSP Nutella Β (let me know if Organic Nutella exists) πŸ˜€ – put this in a piping bag or ziploc bag (I did the latter)


1. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (About 1-2 mins)

2. Whisk in the sugar a little at a time until completely blended (About 4-6 minutes)

3. Pour in the cream, milk and vanilla. Stir until blended. Avoid over stirring because it causes bubbles.

4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions. (I used KitchenAid Ice Cream attachment)

5. About two minutes before it is done, squeeze the Nutella into the mixture.

6. Once done, transfer into an airtight containing for freezing (in your freezer) for 2 to 3 hours if you like firm ice cream otherwise ENJOY this unbelievably fabulous treat!

Muy deliciouso! πŸ˜€

Recipes: Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow / Hakaw)

I have read somewhere that most of the gluten is removed from wheat starch hence I braved making my own wrapper for shrimp dumpling. Oh my, it was difficult… However, I think it was worth it as it satisfied my cravings for some good dumplings. πŸ™‚

Here’s how I made it —


a. Filling
1 lb of peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tbsp of minced water chestnuts (or bamboo shoots)
1 tbsp of minced scallion (white part only)
1 tsp of finely grated ginger
2 tbsp of minced pork fat
3 tsp of soy sauce (gluten-free)
2tbsp of Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
Β½ tsp of salt
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp tapioca starch, potato starch, or corn starch
A dash of white pepper

b. Wrapper
1Β½ cups of wheat starch, plus extra for kneading
2 tbsp of tapioca starch
1 cup of boiling water
1 tbsp of vegetable oil

1. Mince the shrimp and add in all the ingredients for the filling.
2. Mix until everything is incorporated and the mixture almost has an elastic feel to it. Set aside and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

1. In a large bowl combined the wheat starch and the tapioca starch together.
2. Make a hole in the circle of the bowl and pour the hot water in.
3. Add the oil and combine until a ball of dough starts to form.
4. Transfer the dough into a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth.
5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and form it into a cylinder shape. Cover it with a damp towel or napkin and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
6. After 15 minutes cut the cylinder into 1 inch diameter and about a quarter inch thick pieces.
7. Roll the dough out into round pieces until it’s thin enough. πŸ˜€
8. You can make the wrappers 1hrs or 2hrs before you need it. Just remember to cover it with a damp towel or napkin.

(How to Wrap)
1. Traditionally, there are about 7 pleats per dumpling. Pleat the wrapper with however many pleats you can muster. πŸ˜€
2. Take your filling (about 2/3 TBSP) and place it in the middle of the wrapper.
3. Seal your dumpling. Use water if necessary.

1. Lightly grease your bamboo steamer so that the dumplings won’t stick.
2. Place the dumplings on the steamer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Recipes: Ribs and Italian Sausage with Spicy Chipotle Sauce

(Taken using my iPhone because I tweeted about it. This is right before it went into the oven – before step 7 below)

My husband called it “meeting of great minds in celebration of 1 year in our house” while I just told my friends that it’s our 1st anniversary here in our home. πŸ™‚ Yes, we have been in this lovely home for a year now and with that, we invited friends over last Saturday to celebrate it with food, fun, drinks and badminton. πŸ˜€

One of the things that we served that day was ‘Ribs and Sausage with Spicy Chipotle and Green Chile Sauce.’ I wasn’t even expecting that that will be a hit (maybe it’s because it’s reminiscent of our own ‘Caldereta‘)Β hence I didn’t even take a photo of it after it was cooked. Β I mentioned it to them as well that I just lifted the recipe from Real Food Magazine which is available for free at our local Lunds and Byerlys stores. I made modifications to it which are highlighted below.


1 tsp salt (recipe called for 2 but I reduced it by half)

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder (recipe called for 2 but I reduced it by half)

6 pounds St Louis style pork ribs (recipe called for beef short ribs)

8 Italian sausage, chopped diagonally about an inch (this wasn’t in the recipe but I added this to mix the flavors of Italian and Mexican altogether)

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 large red onions

5 cloves of garlic (minced)

3 cups chicken stock

2 cups canned whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes)

12 chipotle chiles (these chilies are so spicy that I may cut it just 6 the next time I make it)

12 mild green chiles sich as Anaheim or Poblano (seeded and cut inti 1/4 inch thick rounds)

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime juice to taste


Chopped cilantro

Lime wedges

Shredded Jack cheese (I omitted this)

Store-brought green salsa (I omitted this)


1. Β In a small bowl, mix the first five ingredients and then sprinkle the mixture over all sides of your meat. This step can be done a day ahead with the ribs covered and refrigerated or you can proceed with directly with the recipe.

2. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

3. Heat a large dutch oven with the evoo over medium-high heat. Brown your meat on all sides. It may be necessary to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding. Once done, set them all aside.

4. Reduce the oil (fat) that’s in the dutch oven to about 1 1/2 to 2 TBSP and then reduce the heat to medium. Saute the garlic and onions until the latter is translucent. (about 5 minutes)

5. Add broth and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. This is when I added the sausages in.

6. Add tomatoes, lime juice, and chipotle chilies. Bring it to a boil before adding back the meat into the pot.

7. Β Move the pot into the middle-rack of the preheated oven, baking for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is quite tender.

8. Once tender, remove from the oven. Remove the ribs from the sauce and set aside.

9. Boil the sauce until it becomes syrupy. Reduce the heat and add green chiles and simmer for about 5 minutes. Skim the fat from the surface if there’s any before putting the ribs back into the pot.

10. Taste the dish. Adjust it with salt, pepper and lime juice if necessary. I added 1 TBSP of agave nectar because it was so spicy for my liking. πŸ˜€

11. Serve and enjoy! πŸ™‚

The next time I make this, I may consider putting potatoes and carrots to make it more hearty! πŸ™‚

(Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 2.5 hours – Serves about 10. Make it extra spicy and it will serve over 15 people) Β πŸ˜€

Recipes: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s 4th of July and we are invited to a SoirΓ©e at a friend’s 20th floor condo in Downtown Mpls (his abode is the perfect location to watch the fireworks later on). πŸ™‚ For this gathering, we decided to bring Chicken Lettuce Wraps to share. I hope they will like it. πŸ™‚

Ingredients: (serves about 8-10)
2 lbs. of chicken breast (either ground or cut it really small) – I did the latter
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 large onion (diced to almost minced)
1/4 cup shiitake mushroom
1 cup water chestnuts (diced)
1 cup organic carrots (diced)
6 stalks of scallions (chopped finely)
1/4 cups raw cashews (chopped) *optional – I just added this for more texture

1 stalk of cilantro (chopped)

1 to 2 head of iceberg lettuce

(For stir-frying – mix them altogether beforehand)
1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1/8 cup sweet rice wine
Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 TBSP brown sugar


1. Saute garlic and onions until the latter is semi-translucent.

2. Add the chicken, cashew and the stir-fry sauce prepared earlier on. Bring to a quick boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Add the carrots, water chestnuts and the mushroom and the simmer for 1 min.

4. Add the scallions and cilantro and then remove from heat. Let it cool down for a bit as the heat will make the lettuce wilt easily. πŸ˜€

5. Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves.

6. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

I decided to omit using a dipping sauce since my husband said it doesn’t need it. πŸ˜€

Recipes: Jap Chae / Chap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles)

Logging about 35 to 40 miles of running weekly, I need to find creative ways to add more carbohydrates (and vegetables) into my diet (or should I say ‘our’ diet since my husband has to eat what I prepare). πŸ˜‰ If you know me or if you have been a frequent visitor of this blog, you are probably aware by now that pasta and bread are out due to allergies. On the other hand, we are trying to avoid white rice due to its lack of complex carbohydrates. (we are not fan of brown and wild)… That’s when I found Korean Glass Noodles which is made out of sweet potato starch. Perfect. πŸ™‚

Being a Filipino, I can cook pancit bihon with my eyes closed πŸ˜‰ Β however, the sweet-sesame flavor of Jap Chae has been haunting me since one of my good friends served that to us years ago. We tried 2 Korean restaurants here in the Twin Cities but both of them failed in satisfying my cravings — with that, I rolled up my sleeves to see if I can recreate that same haunting taste. πŸ™‚

Here’s what came out of my attempt to cook this Korean dish. I hope the Koreans will pardon me if in case I did it entirely wrong. πŸ™‚


Korean glass noodles (soak in hot water) — should yield about to 2 1/2 cups when soaked

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

1 medium onion (chopped)

1 medium-sized carrot (sliced like a dime)

1 cup of mushroom of your choice (shiitake was recommended but I used baby Bella) πŸ˜€

2 cups of sugar peas (or snow peas)

1 cup of spinach

5 stalks of scallions

1/4 pound of meat of your choice (optional especially if you want a vegetarian dish)

3 – 4 TBSP of soy sauce (I used gluten-free soy sauce)

3 Β TBSP of Β Kikkoman Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning (if this isn’t available, you can substitute 1/2 tsp. of sugar instead)

1/2 TBSP Sesame oil

1/2 TBSP olive oil (or canola) for sauteing.

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Sesame seeds (for topping)

Fried egg (for topping) optional – please prepare this beforehand and please don’t ask me how. πŸ˜€


1. Soak the noodles in hot water with sesame oil. Set it aside.

2. Saute garlic and chopped onions until the onions are semi-transparent.

3. Add the meat (if you opt to have it), carrots, soy sauce, water and Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning. Let it boil and then let it simmer for about 2 minutes.

4. Taste the sauce if it needs salt. Add pepper and the red pepper flakes to taste as well.

5. Add the mushroom and the snow peas. Simmer again for another 3.

6. Add the noodles, spinach and scallions and then give it a quick stir. Let it simmer for another 3 minutes or until the noodles are cooked. (It gets stretchy like rubber bands once cooked).

7. Β Top it with fried egg and sesame seeds before serving.

8. Enjoy! Β We certainly did! Β πŸ™‚

Recipes: Gluten-Free Banana Bread (with Chocolate Chip and Walnuts)

It would have been so painful not to eat bread but thank goodness, I am neither a bread-eater nor a big fan of it however my poor husband is (or was). πŸ˜€ Anyway, there were 3 super overripe bananas in the trunk of my car from our recent trip and I promised JZ that I will make banana bread from them once we get back to Minneapolis.

The recipe from our bread machine calls for wheat flour and buttermilk — both didn’t appeal to me due to my allergy to the former and the fat content of the latter. I decided to improvise and try quinoa flour and use light sour cream and fat free milk instead. I made some other changes too hence now I call this recipe my own. :p

The result was fantastic — it is so moist and delicious hence I am sharing it here.

Ingredients (produces 2 lb. banana bread)

1/6 cup of organic non-fat milk

1/6 cup of light sour cream

1/3 cup of butter or margarine (I use organic butter because I trust the cows more than the food chemists)

3 organic eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

3 bananas (mashed) — should equate to about 1 1/2 cups

1 tsp. salt

2/3 sugar (or lesser if you prefer it less sweet)

2 2/3 cups of quinoa flour (or any gluten-free flour you can find in your local store)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup walnuts (optional — added this for additional nutrients)

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate (optional — just added this for JZ)


1. Mix/combine all the wet ingredients on a mixer or in a big bowl. Make sure that you mix this well.

2. Add all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Don’t overmix them.

3. Mix in the walnuts and then top it with the chocolate chips (optional step)

Using conventional oven:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F)

2. Grease bread pan to prevent the bread from sticking.

3. Pour the batter into the pan.

4. Bake for an hour or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Using breadmaker

1. Since most (if not all) breadmaker has it’s own pan, you can do the first 3 steps above using the breadmaker pan.

2. Follow your breadmaker’s instruction in making quick bread. Again please do note that the recipe above is for a 2 lb. bread.

3. Press start and let the breadmaker do it’s magic. πŸ™‚ (I stopped the machine at 1:45:00 since the side of the bread is already getting too brown).

Once done, cool it for a few minutes before removing from pan and then cool on a wire rack. Slice a piece or two and ENJOY! πŸ™‚