Thursday, 24 January 2013

Day 4: Exam Stress!

OMG! It's that time of year again *groan* Time to bring back the sweatpants and hoodies, rocking the messy bun and praying for good marks. Exam season is back and I have a whopping semester. Finished up Physics today (and I am actually feeling pretty good about that one!) and I have math tomorrow. Needless to say I am pretty stressed out as of recently, and even though I am ALWAYS craving to cook or to have treats, there is NOOO free time, and that's why I have (unfortunately!) neglected this blog for a week or two, sorry guys. 

Anyways, the GREATEST thing happened to me today! I finished up my exam and went home to relax, found myself reading a great book (Digital Fortress by Dan Brown... Thanks Joey!) and sipping tea out of my favourite owl mug, when my eyes went wandering to a Pinterest Post from one of my followers! a quick recipe for something I was craving... A 2-Minute Brownie In A Mug... say what?! a super easy super delicious mix that's done in 2 minutes... I'm not even joking! 

Unfortunately I cannot track down the original post, but I can give you guys the recipe! 

So, It's so simple it worked for me the 1st time round: 

- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tblsp cocoa powder
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 3 tblsp water (or milk, if you like it richer) 
if you'd like your brownies like how I like them, thick and gooey, substitute the 1/4 cup of flour and of sugar for only 4 tablespoons of each. It will leave the brownies tasting more like a lavacake. 

Okay, now to cook it, mix all the ingredients together in the cup, stir until it's thick and consistent like a pudding, then microwave for 1m 40s* and enjoy!
*Times may vary for microwaves and watch out! It's hot!!

This is a SUPER CRAZY EASY way for this stressed out student to satisfy her sweet tooth without cutting too much study time out of her day. I'm not even kidding guys, this recipe takes 2 minutes to complete! Longer than my tea takes to brew!

I hope you guys enjoy that little gem I found on Pinterest today, and enjoy it as a quick dessert tonight! You deserve it! 

Keep Cookin' Guys!!
- Amanda
Birdie Bites

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Day 3: The Vegan Detox

Morning Guys! I've been feeling kind of crummy lately, with a lack of sleep and lots of colds running around town, and I've been thinking of trying this new concoction of kale, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, coconut milk and bananas as an organic, vegan pick me up during the winter slump. I found this mixture on the blog The Ambitious Kitchen (my new favourite website!) and it's really delicious! Here's the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries.
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large frozen banana, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or alternate milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, loosely packed, stems removed (you can also use spinach)
  • Large handful of spinach

All you have to do once you've gathered your ingredients is peel what needs peeling (ie cucumbers, banana) and pour it all into a blender. *vrooooom* done! Depending on personal preferences, you might need to add more milk or ice (I personally added more kale, and extra banana and more milk to mine) and it'll be delicious and super healthy power shake! The only problem I had with this, is the colour. Because I added blueberries and strawberries, the colours red and blue, to the kale, which is green in colour, it made a really gross brown colour. Now, I'm not overly picky, and I loved the taste of this shake, but i was tempted to put some green food colouring into it so that I could drink it. I am going to add more leafy greens into the next batch so that the drink looks as beautiful as it did in the A.K. blog. Other than that small cosmetic problem, the recipe went flawlessly. So effortlessly easy and so adaptable to any taste palette it'll be the perfect vegan treat for anyone feeling kind of down.

Let me know if you guys got prettier shakes or better results than me in the comments!
Enjoy guys and Keep Cooking!!

- Amanda
Birdie Bites

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Day 2: The Quinoa Jackpot

Okay guys, so normally, I pick a recipe, write my pre-review (like everything I have to get ready and how I'm planning on getting it done) then I'll make it and write my review after, but today, this recipe was just to tasty to waste a single second before making it. I call it the Quinoa Jackpot because it is absolutely AMAZING and stuffed full of the yummy super-grain quinoa!

The recipe I'm reviewing today is Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes from Ambitious Kitchen blog. I stumbled upon it on Monday, and have been anxious to make it ever since! Goodness it was a great pick! Perfect for a nice, warm, early morning breakfast, or even an afternoon snack (like I did today!) It is an instant favourite of mine, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who's hesitant to try Quinoa, or who doesn't like the taste of it when it's all alone, or as a main component such as a replacement for rice. It won my family over, and lets just say they aren't as open to the whole quinoa thing as I am, but I think this is going to be a new morning staple around here :) 

Anyways, enough about me blabbing on how much I LOVE this! Let's get to the review;
Fluffy Quinoa!

Here's the recipe

1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup all purpose flour (I prefer whole wheat, but white flour is still good too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large egg whites
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I used organic vanilla yogurt, rather than greek because it was not available to me at the time, but that tasted great as well!)
2 tablespoon of milk of your choice (I chose Vanilla coconut milk, you can tell I like vanilla, eh?)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or the lemon juice that comes in that plastic lemon, for easy use, just try your best to organic!)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (yum!)
2/3 cups organic, fresh blueberries

The instructions on how to make it can be found on the A.K. website by clicking on the links above, or by clicking here, if you have any trouble loading it, let me know in the comments and I'll work to fix those problems, I just want to give all credit to her for the PHENOMENAL recipe.

Now, for my review on it! As you can tell in the intro, I am a HUGE fan of this recipe. It'll make a quinoa-lover out of anyone. It is so easy to make too! I'm really really bad for screwing up everything possible while I'm cooking (who knows why I am trying a food blog!) and I was able to complete this recipe flawlessly! Quick, easy, simple steps are things I like to see! Now some troubles I ran into for this recipe were only personal preferences as to what I like to eat. The ingredients I had available to me tonight that I would change for next time would be a plain or vanilla organic greek rather than just regular organic yogurt, because greek has more protein, is thicker in texture and I think it would complement the taste of the cakes better than just the plain yogurt. As well, I would have liked to use whole wheat or gluten-free flour rather than the white all-purpose flour because I always want to pick the healthiest choices while I'm baking, because why not? If I can make something as healthy as I possibly can, I might as well, it's only going to do me good :) 

On a side note! I only recently (*cough cough* TODAY!) learned how to make proper, fluffy quinoa today, rather than the little jawbreakers I was used to, and I'm going to have to say thank you again to the Ambitious Kitchen for teaching me, finally, to make the perfect quinoa. So for all those who want to try this recipe, but have never made quinoa before (or who could never get it quite right) check it out, it's the one thing that'll make or break this recipe.

I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did! Leave e a comment if you tried this and let me know how it went! I'll be back tomorrow reviewing another yummy recipe to keep you living happy and healthy with me!

- Amanda
Birdie Bites

Day 1: Inside Out Lasagna: Review

     Okay guys! I had a LOT of fun making this dish, but accidentally cheated... I substituted the make-it-yourself sauce for PC Organics Tomato and Basil sauce (because there was no basil to be found at my local grocery store), to which i added 3 more cloves of garlic (rather than the suggested 5) as well as 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick, which was a bad idea. I learned the hard way that if you have a premixed sauce, it's probably already delicious, don't mess with it. It was SO spicy I ended up chucking my concoction in lieu of a better tasting sauce, and the rest of the jar I had left over, just so that my mouth wouldn't burst into flames. 

     Outside of that little disaster... The hardest part I found was one; Timing. I didn't realize how long the ricotta would take (almost 40 mins!!!) and how short the pasta would be (done in under 10) I highly recommend making the Ricotta 1st, then making the sauce, as you heat and mix the sauce, THEN put the pasta on to boil, and then everything will be done around the same time. Secondly; reading the instructions, I found them kinda all over the place and hard to make out, so I did screw up a lot here and there, but everything still turned out fine, I got the thumbs up from my taste testers who gobbled down the entire thing and didn't leave any leftovers for today (even though I made a TON!) For a lower calorie food, it's absolutely going to be a new favourite of mine, I loved the taste, it's Just like lasagna but better for you, and not covered in chunks of cheese. 

I hope that helps you out, that you can enjoy this meal and will have better luck than I do with this task!

Good Luck!

- Amanda

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

1st Food Blog! Inside Out Lasagna

     So today, I'm just going to come right out and say, I eat A LOT. It might just be my age but for whatever reason, I still eat a tonne of food. So while cutting weight for my first tournament, I've found it kind of difficult to keep on track with my goals that I've put in place, so I thought "hey, why don't I scour the internet and places like FitSugar and Pinterest for new recipes to try to keep my so-called New Year's Resolution on track?" And that I did! So from today out, I'm going to to make a new recipe every day, eat it and let you know how it goes! Not only does this help me out with my cooking skills, which at the moments aren't exactly at chef level, and also keep me in line for my competition! 

     Tonight I'm trying Inside Out Lasagna from FitSugar tonight and hoping for the best! This dish Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and only ~275cals per serving so that'll be good post-workout, i'm hitting the gym after Math today, and great before BJJ because it won't be too heavy. 

     If you click on the link above, it will open in a new tab so you can follow the recipe yourself, but I'll copy and paste the ingredients here too, so that you can see my tips and tricks along with some things you might need to know while shopping or cooking the dish. 

yum! Sounce: Inside Out Lasagna 

First things first: 

- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (Preferably San Marzano) (I used PC Organic Tomato and Basil Sauce instead of making my own)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced (I used less, because I am a little sensitive to garlic)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (not too much! It's spicy!)
- 1/2 cup coarsley chopped basil

For the Baked Ricotta:
- 1 cup Reduced Fat Ricotta
- 1 Large Egg
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
As well as 
1/4 cup of fresh parmesan for topping
12oz whole wheat or Gluten-Free Penne* 

*(I personally wont be using the Gluten Free version, because I don't have a sensitivity to it, and because we already have Penne at home, but the next time I make this I might swap it out to see if it changes the taste at all. It's all personal preference, so enjoy it the way you would like!)
I'll be cooking this around 3pm tonight, so I will have my review and some pictures up tonight by 5pm so check back in and give it a try yourself! let me know how it went!
(To read my review, click on the word "Review" for the link! It'll open itself up in a new window, Thanks!)