Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun articles and resources about sugar

To my friends, it is no surprise that I love my low-carb lifestyle. A year ago, I was sick with an insulin-related illness. During that period, I learned that, based on my family history, if I don't pay attention to what I eat, later in life I could develop insulin resistance (aka diabetes). 

This experience changed my life for the good. With a commitment to a low-carb lifestyle, I am doing my part to help my body. Yay!

Here are few fun articles to read about sugar and resources to jump-start (or continue) a healthy lifestyle:

Know what you eat: 

Recipe and exercise resource (I love the workout log):

Fitness and Nutrition articles:

Hope you find these beneficial ;)

Eggplant Involtini

It was a lovely Sunday dinner with a few girlfriends. We have gotten together every Sunday for 5 years now. It is a fun time, where we catch up on the week, support each other, and bring to the table delicious creations, complete with appetizer, salad, entreé, dessert, and of course, wine! I highly recommend it. The person who hosts prepares the entreé. The remaining items are brought by the rest.

Recipe for Sunday Dinner


Lots of Good food
Lots of gossip (usually work related)
Great wine

Serve immediately and enjoy!

As the host of the Sunday dinner, I prepared the entree, which was inspired from Food and Wine magazine. It was a recipe for Eggplant Involtini ("stuffed," Italian) but I completely re-created it, using fresh ingredients that I had from Sunday Farmer's Market.

Eggplant Involtini with Feta and Red Peppers

4 servings


1 small onion chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese (try Trader Joe's fat free feta - it is very flavorful)
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used a home-made sauce from my friend, Amanda)
3 long eggplants thinly-sliced length-wise
1 red pepper chopped
1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes


1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl with 1/2 cup hot water. Allow to rehydrate for 20 min. After the tomatoes are rehydrated, retain the liquid and finely dice the tomatoes.
3. After thinly slicing the eggplants, spray with olive/canola oil lightly. Roast in the oven for 15-20 min until lightly brown (particularly on the bottom). Save and chop the parts of the eggplant that could not be thinly sliced. Retain for the next step.
4. While the eggplants are in the oven, add the onions to a fry pan. Once the onions are lightly browned, add the chopped eggplant and red peppers to the pan. Cook for 5-8 min until softened. 
5. Add the chopped tomatoes (fresh and sun-dried), tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Cook and season with salt and pepper. Most of the liquid should cook off during this part.
6. Pre-heat the broiler or the oven to 500 degrees F.
7. To assemble an involtini, lay the eggplant flat on a cutting board. Fill with a small amount of the cooked vegetables. Lay in a roasting pan.
8. Top all of the assembled involtini with remaining vegetables, additional tomato sauce, and feta cheese. Broil for 5-8 min until browned on top. 

Lots of different veggies and cheese combinations will work well here. I would definitely try goat cheese! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spinach and Mushroom Pita-crust Quiche

I had a few friends over and looked in my fridge to decide what to prepare. 

In my fridge, I had delicious low-carb pita bread, spinach, shredded cheese, shiitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, onions, and egg whites. 

After looking through my recipe book, where I keep print-outs of all previously used recipes, I came across my favorite quiche recipe. If you want a hearty, quick, and easy recipe, go for quiche. You can combine almost anything with eggs and make a great quiche. Since I needed to be really fast and didn't have time to return to the store, I used this pita bread to make it. 

Adapted from

Spinach and Mushroom Pita-crust quiche


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, white button, diced
  • 1/8 cup shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pita, separated
  • 12 tbsp egg whites or 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Layer separated pita pieces over quiche pan (I love the one my fiancé gave me for Christmas).
  3. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites (eggs) and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy....I might have to make that tonight. 
This pita bread is amazing. You don't miss the carbs one bit. Look out for Middle Eastern Baking Co. "Carb-Watch" whole wheat pita bread in your grocery or local market.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Pecans

It was one of the last days I had with my fiancé before he returned to the east coast for his residency. To properly introduce him, he recently started an orthopedic surgery residency. Meanwhile, I am working on a biochemistry Ph.D.  We feel well matched. Perhaps our careers have influenced our philosophy on food - it should not only taste good but also be good for your body

This morning called for a warm, comfort food. With the pumpkin puree remaining from the cheesecake recipe, we made pumpkin bread

Adapted from

Pumpkin Bread


  • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (note: this is slightly more than original recipe to help the wheat flour rise)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (to taste)
  • 2/3 cup solid pack pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • 12 packets of splenda or 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons and 1-3/4 teaspoons water
  • 1-1/3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cranberries (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pecans (optional)


  1. Grease and flour one 7 x 3 inch pans and a few muffin tins. (I used canola oil spray.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Measure flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl. Stir to blend. 
  3. Add pumpkin, water, salad oil, and eggs. Beat until well combined. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and tins.
  4. Bake for 45min - 1 hour.

    Our oven took 45 min to bake the bread and it was delicious. It was hard but I exercised restraint and didn't eat the muffins. Therefore, he had these to carry back east.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Delicious cakes from Christmas and Tailgating

    After many requests, I know I had to post pics of some of the other things I ate on Christmas.
    My future mother-in-law made a lower sugar version of this 7-up cake that was very light and fluffy.

    She also made this buttermilk pie. The delicious flavor of the nutmeg in the buttermilk pie is very memorable. 

    After a wonderful Christmas, I took my fiancé to the 49er-Lions game in San Francisco to celebrate him for all that he does. We had a great time.

    It inspired us to cook a pot of turkey-sausage chili. It was quick and easy. Can we claim we tailgated without doing it at the stadium? I say we can.

    Turkey-Sausage Chili with nachos


    1 can kidney beans (50% reduced sodium)
    1 can black beans (50% reduced sodium)
    Lean turkey meat diced
    2 pork sausages sliced
    2 roma tomatoes
    habanero sauce (we used trinidadian hot sauce but add jalapenos/habaneros to your liking)
    1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion chopped
    1 bell pepper chopped
    1/2 cup shredded light cheese
    1 cup beef or chicken stock (reduced sodium)
    1 cup tomato sauce 
    2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    Note: For each of the canned ingredients, we chose reduced sodium versions since the meats do provide a good amount of sodium. If you were using left-over turkey meat or don't mind the salt (or the bloating), regular sodium versions could be substituted. 

    (1) Preheat the broiler for the nachos.
    (2) In a large pot, brown the chopped onions. Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, brown the sausages.
    (3) When the sausages are fully cooked, add them to the onions. Chopped bell peppers can next be added and allowed to cook until soft.
    (4) Add 1 cup of beef stock and 1 cup tomato sauce. Make sure you choose a tomato sauce with lower sugar if you are watching the carbs.

    (5) Next, add the beans, which have been washed twice with water to remove the additives that mask the flavor of the bean. Also, add in the diced turkey and the jalapenos, if you are not using pepper sauce.
    (6) Allow the pot to simmer and the flavors to meld. You will want the sauce to reduce to about 2/3rds. 
    (7) Meanwhile, sprinkle the cheese over the nacho chips in a baking  pan or tray. Place in the broiler for 4-6 min (keep an eye on these because they can burn quickly). Remove and cover with foil until the chili is complete.
    (8) Here is the most important part. Season the chili to taste with your pepper sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. If you are using jalapenos, add these around step 5 so the flavor permeates the dish.

    We had a great time at the game, tailgating, and most importantly eating the delicious, filling chili. 

    We couldn't resist after the bowls of chili, a sweet treat sent from my phenomenal mom. It is a delightful, light, and moist cake filled with raisins and other fruits that have been soaking for months in rum. Additional Rum is added to the cake before packaging in an alumninum tin and allowed to soak in. 

    Here are pics of her rum cake (recipe still tba). Yummm.