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Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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A few weeks ago, we bought some bananas, but I was on my diet and couldn’t eat them, and my husband wasn’t really in the mood to eat them.  They started to turn black when I came across this recipe.  It is the most simple thing I have ever seen, and it actually worked out beautifully.
All you do is slice up the bananas into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.  Then you freeze them.  The original recipe has some beautiful pictures, and a great explanation, so maybe go check it out.  She froze them flat on a cookie sheet over parchment paper for about two hours.  I actually froze them a few weeks ago, and threw them into a plastic freezer bag and just froze them in a big chunk in the freezer.

This morning I pulled the bananas out of the freezer, and let them thaw for about 15-20 minutes.  Next I threw 1 cup batches into the food processor and chopped and mixed and blended and stirred until it became smooth.  I had about three batches of that, as I had about 5 bananas frozen.

Once all the banana is blended, it turns into an amazing creamy ice cream textured ice cream.  I stirred about 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips, and threw it back into the freezer.

It is important to blend the bananas frozen, so you get this creamy whipped texture, rather than a banana mash, as you might for banana bread.  It does not seem to have an overwhelming banana flavor, and hey, for someone who can’t eat eggs, and is allergic to milk, it is a perfect solution (if only I liked bananas more)!

This would also be good adding peanut butter, or cocoa powder, etc…any number of add-ins that  can be good with banana.

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As for WW points, since bananas are 0 points, and 1/3 of a cup of chocolate chips is 7 points…the entire container of ice cream is 7 points…break that up as you will 😉

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Pho Real!

My favorite food since middle school is Pho (pronounced Fuh).  Pho is Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup.  My sister had a baby when I was in middle school.  She lived with her in-laws, who were from Laos.  Every time we came over, the family made pho.  It was sooooooooo good!  I loved it each and every time, and I remember the first time I had it, I experienced cilantro.  I had never tired it before, and now it is one of favorite herbs.  For those who are from countries other than America, cilantro is what we call the plant form of coriander.  We call coriander the seeds of cilantro.  they have two different tastes, so we classify them differently.

I have always known pho from that standpoint, from my sister’s in-laws.  She and they always told me that it was Vietnamese beef noodle soup.  Well, when I moved to Korea, I was introduced to chicken pho.  I didn’t know that pho could get any better than beef noodle soup, but it turns out that chicken noodle soup is even better!

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This past week I discovered konjac noodles.  In America they are mostly known as Miracle Noodles or Shirataki noodles.  They are not approved on Phase 2 of the Omni HCG diet, but I have done some research online saying that it is approved as a freebie food for other HCG diets.  So, I decided to try them.  They are very filling. I cooked a few things with them this week, or added them to other meals just to make them more filling, but 2 days ago, I got the idea that they would make the perfect pho noodles!  I did change it up a bit, as I used chicken instead of beef, and it turned out AMAZING!

First, I boiled 5 chicken bouillon cubes with a pot of water, and three chicken breasts.  I boiled it and added garlic, while peeling and slicing 2 onions.  Once the chicken was done, I shredded it, and then I flame roasted the onions

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I roasted it on both sides just until charred.  I used two onions and roasted both of them that way.

I got some of the char off, and added it to the broth.

Next I added some garlic (maybe a tablespoon or two), and powdered ginger to taste.  I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon, as one of the recipes I referenced suggested throwing in a cinnamon stick.  I figured since I have ginger in there, it couldn’t hurt.

I  let the soup continue boiling while I prepared the noodles. The noodles are found in the refrigerator section and are packed in water.

DSC01841To prepare the noodles, you cut the bag open, and rinse the noodles off in hot water.

DSC01842Next I use kitchen sheers to cut them up, as the noodles are quite long.

DSC01843The next step is to wash and slice up some green onions and wash up some bean sprouts and cilantro.  I didn’t have any fresh, so I added a little dried cilantro to the soup to extract as much flavor as I could.

Next up, add a little more ginger or garlic powder to taste, and you may want some salt and pepper if you prefer.

Next serve up some noodles, and make sure there is a lot of broth in a bowl.  Once you are all served up, put the sprouts and green onions over the top.  This is where you add the fresh cilantro if you have it.

Pho tends to be a bit sweet and spicy, so if you are on weight watchers, you can add some hoisin sauce, and some sriracha sauce for very little points.  If you are hcg, you can add a few small pinches of stevia, and some Franks Red Hot sauce (the approved hot sauce).  I honestly used tobacco  cause it is what I have now.

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Each bowl is about 7 Weight Watchers points, and for HCG I have no idea how to measure it, but everything except maybe the noodles are approved.

Purple Pizza-Tortilla Style!

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Purple is my all time favorite color!  Last week I used it in eggplant, this week, I use it in beets!  I cannot wait to go back to America, and use it in blackberry this summer!  Yummmmmmmmmm

I was inspired by several things for this recipe.  Last week a good friend of mine liked a tortilla pizza on Pinterest.  I honestly didn’t even read the recipe, but I LOVED the idea of using a tortilla as crust!  It is close to impossible to get a good thin crust pizza here!

I also had a beet that I needed to use up.  I really had no idea what to do with a beet, as I have never had one that was not pickled out of a can.  So, I decided to oven roast it, and throw it on the pizza.  I looked at several recipes that called for caramelized onions.  This sounded like a good base to me, so I started by roasting the beet.  It took an hour and a half, so I did it last night to have it ready.

DSC_0250I got a big cut of tin foil and folded it in half.  DSC_0251I took the beet, and put it in the foil.  I

covered it with a little olive oil  and wrapped it up like a package.   I then put it in the oven for an hour and a half, until it was soft.

After it cooled a bit, I just put the package in the fridge until I needed the beet today.  The color had changed from a dark wine, to a deep purple, and it was very soft and juicy.  I used a peeler and gently peeled off the skin, and diced the beet.

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Next I began to caramelize two onions.  I sliced them thin, and put some olive oil in the pan over very low heat.  You cannot rush this process.  The onions do not get seared,  they turn brown, but this can take a long time.  One time I made French onion soup, and it took two hours to properly caramelize all of the onions. Tonight, I gave it about 20 minutes, and as you can see, they were not done before I pulled them off…I was just impatient.

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Then I used the same pan to cook up some chopped up bacon, then two chicken breasts.

Once I had drained the bacon, and let the chicken rest, I sliced up the chicken as well.

I also washed up some spinach to put on my pizza.

To assemble the pizza I put a taco sized flour tortilla on a pan.  I put three tablespoons of Classico Italian Sausage pasta sauce on it (you can use, red sauce, white sauce, or even the oil that has been infused with the beet as you roasted as your sauce.

Next I put on some chicken, bacon, beets, garlic, onions, and spinach on the pizza.

I measured out one ounce of partly skim Mozzarella cheese, and put it over the top.

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I was surprised with one ounce of cheese, it was enough, but using a microplane grater to make a very fine grate, it worked out beautifully!  Even better, part skim mozzarella is only two points per serving instead of three of most other cheese that we eat!  Great news!

I baked it in the oven on a cookie sheet for 12 minutes, then I put it under the broiler only for about three more just to get the cheese bubbly.

Next I removed it to a cutting board, ran a pizza cutter through it, and slide it onto a plate.

13 weight watchers points per pizza, and to be honest, I ate two of them!  Yummy!

I love that this is one of those empty out the fridge and use whatever veggies you have kind of dishes.  I used beets cause it was what I had, but you could use bell peppers or even zucchini if you have it.  Heck, if I had made it last week, I would have thrown on an eggplant!

I think the biggest shocker of all with me working with beets, is that I didn’t dye my entire kitchen, much less my skin purple along with dinner!  😀

Anyway, enjoy!

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Greek Geek!

Ever since 2000, when I went to Greece, I have been in LOVE with Greek food!  I have made gyros, and Greek salads, and even a kebab which may have actually been more Turkish  but whatever.  One thing I made for my mom and granddad when I got home, but had never made again was Moussaka.  A delicious dish described as Greek lasagna, or a casserole.  I had an awesome recipe, which I don’t have with me in Korea, but I have been thinking about it ever since.

My challenge with Groove Magazine has me pulling out Korean ingredients trying to incorporate them into my every day life.  Well, one food that I don’t usually use, but have been thinking about for a long time is eggplant.  I have some ground lamb in the freezer from Itaewon (the foreigner district in Seoul), and now I have eggplant in the house at the same time!  What is more perfect that making a traditional moussaka?!  Okay, I cheated a bit, and it would have been less weight watchers points had I not cheated, but I didn’t  feel like making both tomato sauce and a white sauce in my tiny kitchen at the same time.  So those came from jars.  After searching some general recipes on youtube and perusing several different written recipes (although mostly going from memory), I compiled my own recipe.  The first thing I did was wash 3 small potatoes.  I used a mandolin to slice them up very thin and quickly fried them at a high temperature just to make the outsides brown.

Then I did the same thing with thinly sliced egg plant.  I did learn that I should probably slice these things by hand, or at least with a thicker attachment on my mandolin, as the cuts were too thin, browned very quickly almost to the point of burned, and the eggplant cooked into almost nothing.  I peeled the eggplant before slicing, as after doing some research, I found out that unless they were fresh, the peel could be chewy.

Next, I diced up two onions, and two cloves of garlic.  I put them in a frying pan with just a little oil (using up what was left over in the pan from the potatoes and eggplant.  Once they started getting clear, I added in 250 grams of ground lamb.  I stirred it together and let the meat cook.  Once the meat had turned brown, I added 1/2 of a jar of roasted garlic sauce into the pan.  I stirred it, and let the meat soak up the sauce.  I wanted the meat to be the star, and wanted it to be very thick, so I did not overwhelm it with too much sauce.  I removed it from the heat when the liquid had cooked out a little, and it was very thick.

Next, I layered ingredients like a lasagna into a pan.  I put a layer of potatoes, then egg plant, then meat.  My pan was not yet full, so I did that a second time.  After finishing with three layers of potatoes, three of eggplant, and two of meat sauce, I heated up 3/4 of a jar or roasted garlic Alfredo sauce and poured it over the top.  I then topped it off with a sprinkle of dried parsley, and a light dusting of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Next I let it bake until the top was starting to turn golden brown.  The more I think about it, my original recipe had me covering the entire top with fresh mozzarella, but that was not going to happen on weight watchers…

I scoped out 4 servings from this pan, at 17 weight watchers points per serving.  Luckily I had enough points today for two servings, however, I only ate one.

After the two meals with lamb that I have made recently, I am learning that I really don’t like the stuff very much.  this is a sad realization but true.

Anyway, the food turned out amazing.  If the sauces had been homemade, it would have been so much more incredible!

Turkey and dumplings

Thanksgiving was last week.  It was a blast!  I had Thanksgiving with one of my classes of Korean students.  The students had never tried turkey before, and they got the whole thing, from turkey to homemade pumpkin pie!  The students loved it, and what an amazing experience for all of us!  We went around the table and said things we were thankful for and everything.  That got me warmed up!

Well, I did that on the tuesday before Thanksgiving, then we had friends over for another turkey dinner with ALL the trimmings, and NO diet foods.  We had a great time, and got to enjoy a day with friends.

We pulled a turkey breast out of the freezer so we could enjoy some left overs with turkey…You know, you always have t have at least one turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce right?  Well move on a little further in the week, we have turkey for sandwiches, but only one person in my house likes sandwiches ever day.  So, time to think of another use for turkey.  Well it is as usual, a cold winters night, and there is nothing better than a nice hot pot of comforting soup!  So, turkey soup here we come!  It is what mom always did after thanksgiving with the turkey carcass.  Only, I don’t have a carcass.  I mostly used chicken broth, but added as much turkey juice as I could.

The first thing that I did was put 6 cups of water, 6 chicken bouillon cubes, and five small diced up potatoes in a pot and turn it on high.

Next I chopped up and threw in two large carrots.

After that, I diced up and threw in two onions, and three cloves of garlic.

I dumped in one can of corn and one can of green beans next.

Lastly, I dumped in all the juice from the turkey packaging, and diced up and threw in 400 grams worth of turkey breast.

As it was cooking, I measured out 2/3 of a cup of sundubu tofu (liquid silken tofu), and blended it up with another cup of water.  I should have blended it with broth, or some sort of cream though, as it did not cause the texture to be creamy.  I added it to the pot.

After I added it to the pot, I cut up 1/2 a roll of Pillsbury crescent rolls and put that half onto the soup to hopefully be the dumplings.  I know you can do canned biscuits, so I thought maybe crescents would fluff up a bit and work as dumplings.  I put the other half in the oven, and put the lid on the pot.  They fluffed up in the pot when covered, but still stayed pretty flat and lifeless.

They still tasted good, but got stirred into the pot a little when I realized I had not seasoned my soup at all!  So I broke a whole and added some rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.  They were not very floaty, but they still tasted good!

Turkey and dumplings:

400 grams turkey breast

1 can of corn

1 can of green beans

2 carrots

6 cubes of chicken bouillon (better yet, turkey broth!)

2 onions

5 small potatoes

2/3 cup sundubu tofu (liquid silken tofu)

1 can of biscuits for dumplings.

Peel and dice 5 small potatoes.  Put them in a pot with six cups of chicken broth (6 bouillon cubes, or 6 cups of turkey broth if you have it!).  Turn stove on high.  Peel and chop two large carrots and throw them into the pot.  Peel and dice 2 onions, and 3 cloves of garlic and add those as well.  Add a can of corn and a can of green beans.  Put tofu into the pot.  Blend first if you prefer, but not necessary.  put in 400 grams or whatever leftover turkey you have.  Bring to a boil.  Season with favorite herbs and spices.  I chose rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  Drop in sliced up pieces of canned biscuits for dumplings.  If they don’t all fit in the pot, bake them in the oven following package directions.  Bring the rolling boil of the pot down to a steady simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.  When dumplings cease to be doughy, take off the lid and serve hot, with a biscuit (or in my case crescent roll) that came out of the oven.

Weight watchers people!  This pot of soup renders abut 10 bowls full, I am saying 1 bowl = 1 serving, and it is 9 points a serving.

Mexican(ish) Super Foods!

Wow, I was going through my to be posted file tonight and realized I am really far behind on my posts!  I have about  4 recipes  that still need to go up here before I forget how I made them!

Mexican is one of the favorite food generas in this house.  Strangely enough, I have not really done Mexican food for a long time.  I am not sure why, it used to be one of my staples.  Well more recently, my husband and I discovered quinoa, and he mentioned that it would make a good Spanish rice substitute…got me thinking!  I decided to try this, only “beef” it up a bit.

I made what we might think of as traditional taco meat, with a few changes.

First, I took a small package of firm tofu, and crumbled it up.  I mixed it by hand with 500 grams of ground beef, and cooked it up.  I also added 1 small onion.

When the meat was done, and the onions were turning translucent, I drained them and followed the directions on my taco seasoning packet.  I added 2/3 of a cup of water, and the packet and mixed.  I let it continue cooking until it was almost dry and then removed it from the heat so I could continue to use the stove top.

My kitchen is so small I can only have one pot or pan on at a time.

Next, I got out all the cans I would need for my Spanish Quinoa.

I strained the tomatoes saving the juice, and rinsed the black beans and corn.

I sauteed another small diced onion, and garlic in the  bottom of a pot, and then added the tomato juice, a little jalapeno juice and enough water to bring the total liquid up to 2 1/3 cups.

Bring this to a boil, and then add the quinoa.

 Lower the temperature and cover the pot.  Let this simmer for about 15 minutes until the white ring starts coming off of the kernels  and they are soft.  It is okay to take the lid off and stir to check on it every once in a while, unlike rice!  Which is good cause I burned my first batch!

When all the water is soaked up, and the quinoa is done, add all the veggies in, as well as your spices.  I used chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, and pepper.

This is what it looks like when it is done cooking.

Next is the super easy part…grate your cheese, get out your sour cream, and use your tortillas…

(yes you can make your own tortillas, however, the ones I made were actually store bought Paratha Indian bread)

Assemble your tacos as you normally would with rice and meat.

Spanish Quinoa and Ground Beef/Tofu Tacos:

Spanish Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

1  can corn

1 can black beans

1 can diced tomatos (I used S&W diced tomatoes with jalapenos)

½ cup jalapeno juice (optional if you have pickled jalapenos around)

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1-2 teaspoons cumin, chili powder, paprika, pepper, salt to taste.

Water

Strain tomatoes saving the juice.  Measure out the juice.  Fill the measuring cup to a total of 2 1/3 cup, of liquid using the water and jalapeno juice.

Dice one medium onion, and 2 cloves of garlic.  Sautee them in a pan until onions turn translucent.  Add the liquid and boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add quinoa.  Cook for 15 minutes or so, checking and stirring every once in a while (I burned my first batch cause there was not enough liquid).  Quinoa is not like rice, you can take the lid off and stir every once in a while.  While that is cooking, rinse out a can of black beans, and a can of corn. Add them to the tomatoes and set them aside.  When the water is absorbed and the quinoa is blown up, soft, and the white edges start separating it is done.  Add the tomatoes, beans, and corn, as well as your cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  I did about 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 of paprika, 1 of chili powder, and just a dash of salt and pepper.  Heat on the stove until hot.

Taco meat:

500 grams ground beef

320 grams of firm tofu

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 small onion

Crumble up 1 small block of firm tofu.  Mix it by hand in with ground beef. Add the mixture to a pan and cook until meat is done.  Add one diced onion while cooking.  When the meat is no longer pink, follow the directions on the back of your taco seasoning packet.

Tacos:

Grate 2 oz of cheddar cheese for 10 tacos.

Use 10 flour tortillas.

And sour cream.

Also you can use salsa, guacamole, olives, cilantro, spinach or lettuce, and fresh tomatoes if you happen to have them.

Assemble your tacos with a scoop of the Spanish quinoa (like you would Spanish rice), and a scoop of the meat.  Mixing the two together is actual an okay idea as well, and just serving from one pot.  Put a little cheese on, and a dollop of sour cream (about 2 teaspoons).  Add any other veggies you enjoy on tacos.

This meal is jam packed with protein, with the quinoa, beans, meat, and tofu, and is incredibly filling!

This whole meal is maximum 8 points per taco, but I actually wound up making enough filling for about 20  tacos, which I will use tomorrow night, so in actuality  they are probably about 5 points each counting enough tortillas in the recipe for 20 tacos.

 

I took some of the filling and some wanton wrappers the next night and made these delicious fried empenadas.  I filled the wrappers, and fried them in olive oil.  Then I had a bowl of finely grated cheese, and some sour cream.  Dip into the sour cream, then dip the cheese…I would have mixed the  cheese into the filling, but I forgot…also dip in hot sauce or salsa…very good…

I don’t want to know what weight watchers points are!

Hippie Potato Soup!

 

I am known in my family and circle of friends for my amazing potato soup.  I have made it for Christmas, and been told I could trade staying the night at a friend’s house for feeding her family soup.  My husband HATED potato soup before he met me, now he loves the stuff!

I have never really written my soup recipe down, as it changes every time based on what I have in the house at the time.  It usually consists of cream, or at least milk, potatoes, onions,  garlic, and if I have it broccoli and some sort of leafy veggie such as kale or spinach. It has reminded people in the past of the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Tuscana soup.

Well it is the soup time of year again, and I have already made a few.  Tonight however, I really wanted to make some potato soup. I do however, have a cold this week, and this is the most terrable time for me to eat cream.  For one I am allergic to it, but for two, when I am sick it really congests me.  So, I decided to alter my recipe to both accommodate my illness, and accommodate the food that I have in the house.  Thus the reason for the name, Hippie Potato Soup.  I used what my husband and I (being from Portland, Oregon) might call hippie food.  I wound up making almond milk potato soup without much dairy, and it was thicker and creamier than almost every cream based soup I have ever made.  I am sorry I forgot to take photos, my kitchen is a mess right now, and there was no room for the camera in there!

Here is the recipe for my Hippie Potato Soup:

5 cups of water (or just enough to cover the potatoes chopped up in a pot)

1 cup of silken tofu

2 small/medium onions

2 slices of bacon for every person you are serving

1 crown of broccoli

about 2 oz of cheddar cheese (I used 72 grams, the end of my loaf)

3 bouillon cubes

5 medium potatoes

3 cups of almond milk (separate one cup out)

garlic to taste (I probably used 3 cloves)

1 medium to large carrot

various herbs and spices.

First, wash and peel potatoes.  chop them up in quarters, then in bite sized pieces from there.  Chop the carrot into bite sized pieces as well.  I quartered the carrot then sliced it smaller from there.  Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the potatoes, carrots, and  3 bouillon cubes and let them boil until almost soft.  Cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy.  Drain some of the bacon grease leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Chop up onions, garlic, and broccoli, and fry them up in the bacon grease until the onions are transparent, and the broccoli starts to change to bright green.  Take it off and let the veggies drain in paper towels until potatoes are soft.  when they are, add the veggies and 2 cups of almond milk to the soup.  Add the last cup as well as the cup of tofu to the blender, and blend them well to make sure the tofu is not lumpy.  Also add this to the soup.  Season to your liking, and let the soup thicken for maybe five minutes before removing from the heat.  It should have thickened up a lot.  Stir to make sure the  bottom does not start to burn if you are boiling.  I then cut up 72 oz of cheddar cheese, and with the very thick soup, it melted beautifully.  I crumble the bacon over the top of the bowl.

I seasoned with parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, chili powder and Tobasco.  I do like this soup spicy, and I didn’t have any spicy sausage to put into the soup, so I threw the Tobasco in.  It was the kick it needed and it tasted amazing!  I love this almond milk and tofu for thickening soups thing!

One bowl is only 8 WW plus points!