Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds Recipe

I eat breakfast every morning, but it's always at my desk when I get to the office.  I want to get as much sleep as possible, so I make my breakfast at night, leave it in the fridge, throw it in my purse in the morning, and then eat it when I get to the office.  Lately, I've been making this concoction of chocolate soymilk, chia seeds, and oats.  I've done various takes on this - different flavors of almond milk, frozen fruit, coconut milk. They're all delicious, filling, and healthy.  To be honest, the chocolate one I've been making recently tastes more like a dessert than breakfast.  

Chia seed facts:
One tablespoon of chia seeds has 55 calories, 2 grams protein and 6 grams of fiber, plus calcium, iron and potassium. They’re also gluten and cholesterol free 
According to the nutrition facts panels, the fat content of different brands of chia seeds varies from 3 to 9 grams per tablespoon. The type of fat found in these tiny seeds is mostly polyunsaturated, specifically the ALA omega-3 type – brands vary from 2,000 to 6,000 milligrams per serving. 
Research indicates the ALA form of omega-3 needs to be converted to DHA and EPA forms in order to benefit heart health (something omega-3s are famous for). Some recent reports have indicated that milled chia seeds allow for better ALA conversion, though it’s still unclear if this makes chia better for heart health.


Here's the recipe:

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
1 packet Splenda (or your sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup of chocolate soymilk (I use Silk brand, the light version)

1. Mix all of the ingredients together in some tupperware.

2. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Eat. Enjoy.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 1 serving, which is:
Cals: 270
Carbs: 47
Fat: 7
Protein: 10
Fiber: 8

Sodium: 85

Friday, February 8, 2013

Moroccan Lantern Light Fixture

Jessie and I decided our apartment needed more lighting in one corner, so we started looking at table lamps. After perusing the selection at Target, we didn't find anything we fell in love with.  That's where the idea of a chandelier or a light fixture hanging from the ceiling was born.  

I've always been a fan of Moroccan lanterns and decorations.  In fact, when I have my own house, I'm going to dedicate a room to a Moroccan theme - there will be lanterns, and poufs, and floor pillows, and a gorgeous hookah.  And candles everywhere.  So one day, Jessie and I were at the yoga studio where we take a Bollywood dance class, and I pointed out the Moroccan lantern light fixture they had.  She liked the idea and so did I, so when we got home, I took to the interwebs in search of an affordable light fixture.  I didn't have any luck finding something that looked nice and was affordable, so then decided DIY might be the way to go.  I searched Craigslist for Moroccan lanterns and came across the lantern pictured to the right.  This woman was selling a bunch of lanterns that she had used as centerpieces for her wedding.  I contacted her, negotiated a lower price for three lanterns, and picked them up the next day.

When I brought them home, I took a look to see how I would be able to turn these into a light fixture.  The lantern has doors on it that open up to insert a candle.  I decided the opening was large enough to fit a light bulb.  The top of the lantern, where the hook is for the stand, actually moves down to make room for a cord.  So the next step was to find those cord kits that people use for paper lanterns.  The cheapest ones I found that had the on/off switch were these, which Jessie bought. 

When the cord kits arrived, we simply strung the cord through the inside of the lantern and out the top, until the bulb-holder part was inside the lantern, snugly at the top, and the cord was completely out.   Then we bent the pin inside each lantern, so it wouldn't scratch the light bulb.  And finally, we screwed the bulbs in and closed the lantern doors.  All we had left to do was figure out how to hang the lanterns.
The cord kit came with a ceiling hook, so we drilled holes into the ceiling where the hooks would go, and inserted the ceiling hooks.  We placed the hooks in an equilateral triangle formation to achieve the look we wanted.  When we hung the first lantern/cord on the hook, we learned that the lantern was too heavy for the cord to stay in place. So, we tied a knot in the cord, just above the height we wanted each cord to be.  We staggered the length of each cord to get our look.  

The next step was to deal with all the cords.  We used an eye hook, that was opened up with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and screwed it into the wall, close to the ceiling, near the corner.  We gathered all of the cords at the top, and used a zip tie to keep them together.  Then we threaded the cords through the hook on the wall, to keep the cords against the ceiling and down the corner/wall.  Using a surge protector strip, we plugged all of the cords in, so that we have easy way of turning the lanterns on all at once.  

To complete the look, we have a couple more steps.  One of our options is to get a wireless switch outlet, like this, so that we can have a light switch to turn on the light fixture.  

The final step is to figure out how to hide the cords coming down the wall in the corner.  The best idea we've found so far is to buy a strip of crown molding, paint it the color of our walls, and nail it into the corner, around the cords.  I got the idea from this blog post (towards the end).  Here are some pictures of that idea: 

I'll post more pics when we finish this project!

Monday, March 26, 2012

De-seed A Pomegranate In Seconds

I love pomegranates, but hate all the time it takes to de-seed them.  Honestly, I really only bother with them when I go to visit my parents.  One of my grandmothers lives with my parents and she likes to whatever she can to be helpful, and de-seeding pomegranates is one of those things she does.  So, when I go to visit, we'll buy a bunch of pomegranates and she'll go to town de-seeding them.  I'll end up with a huge container full of pomegranate seeds that I take home with me.  I love pomegranates, so this supply usually doesn't last me more than a couple of days.  Today, I came across this amazing hack on how to de-seed a pomegranate in seconds.  I can't wait to try this out!  Check out the video:

Update: I've tried the method and it works amazingly!  In addition, I do this over a bowl of water, so all the little white membrane pieces float to the top.  I skim those pieces off the top, drain everything in a mesh colander, and I'm left with beautiful pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roasted Tex-Mex Chickpeas Recipe

I love salty snacks.  I love crunchy snacks.  I crave them.  I'm satisfied after a crunchy, salty snack.  Most of the options at the grocery store are too high in calories/fat for a small portion (except for the wasabi peas and the oriental rice crackers).  So I decided to come up with some crunchy and salty snack recipes.  Here's the first:

Roasted Tex-Mex Chickpeas


2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
4 teaspoons chili poweder
Juice of 1 lime
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander (I love this stuff)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Open cans of chickpeas, rinse and drain them and pat dry.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil (I use my Misto).

4. Spread the chickpeas out in a single layer in the pan.  Place in the oven and back for 45-50 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes.  The way to tell that they're done is to take a few chickpeas out, let them cool, and bite into them, checking for crunchiness.


5.  While the chickpeas are roasting, combine the other ingredients in a bowl: olive oil, lime juice, salt, chili powder, ground coriander, and cilantro.

6.  When the chickpeas are done, let them cool for 2 minutes, then add to the bowl containing the mixture.  Stir until the chickpeas are coated with the mixture.  


I stored mine in an airtight container and ate them over the next few days.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 6 servings, each serving is:
Cals: 140
Carbs: 17
Fat: 7
Protein: 5
Fiber: 5

Sodium: 527

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Growing up, I was never fed Brussel sprouts.  In fact, I didn't try Brussel sprouts until I was an adult.  My first experience with the vegetable was the Green Giant baby Brussel sprouts and butter sauce - and it was DELICIOUS.  Since that isn't so healthy for me, I decided to come up with my own version.  I make this recipe all the time and have converted people into Brussel sprout lovers with it.  My finicky eater of a mother had never tried Brussel sprouts before, so I made it for Thanksgiving and now she's obsessed!  She makes this dish all the time and made all of her friends try it too!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Recipe

1 stalk Brussel sprouts (or already off the stalk if that's how they sell them at your grocery store)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Your favorite seasonings or Italian seasoning blend
Salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.

2. Break the Brussel sprouts off of the stalk, wash, and cut in half.  Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. (funny: when I first typed this, I typed single "lawyer"... wonder what's on my mind)

3. Drizzle the olive oil over the Brussel sprouts and add in all of your seasonings, salt, and pepper.

4.  Toss to coat.  Make sure the veggies are spread out evenly in a single layer.

5. Stick them in the oven for about 45 minutes, depending on how "done" you like them.  I like mine crispy and crunchy and not the least bit soggy, so I cook them between 45-60 minutes. If you like them less crispy, keep them in the oven for 30-45 minutes.


Nutritional Information:
Makes 3 BIG servings, each serving is:
Calories: 180
Carbs: 15
Fat: 11
Protein: 5
Fiber: 8
Sodium: 223

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zucchini "Fries" Recipe

I love zucchini fries.  There's this place in downtown LA that serves zucchini fries for happy hour and they are heavenly.  Since I can't really eat those any more, due to the distance and the diet, I decided to come up with my own healthier version.  I have to say, these turned out pretty awesome.  I served them to friends who aren't watching calories, and they actually said, "these are really good, especially for being healthy!"

Zucchini "Fries" Recipe


3 medium zucchini
1 large egg white
2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Misto or other olive oil cooking spray
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Fresh ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425°.  

2. Chop the zucchini up into the size "fries" you want.

3.  Whisk the egg white in a bowl with the garlic salt and fresh ground pepper.  Pour the Panko into a ziploc bag.

4. Spray a baking sheet with your olive oil spray.  Coat the zucchini sticks in the egg white mixture, then place in the ziploc bag and shake bag to coat the sticks with Panko.  Place the breaded sticks on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Spray the tops of the breaded sticks as well.

5.  Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve hot with marinara sauce.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 4 servings, each serving is:
Calories: 92
Carbs: 14
Fat: 4
Protein: 4
Fiber: 3
Sodium: 161

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tilapia Cakes/Patties and Raita Recipe

For weight loss purposes, I started eating fish this year.  I needed more protein in my diet and fish seemed like a good way to get it in without a lot of calories.  Since then, I've been experimenting in the kitchen, trying to come up with new ways to cook it.

When I've told people that I've started eating fish, many have asked about which fish I've tried and whether the decision extends to all seafood.  Then they tell me that they love crab cakes.  Taking that recommendation, I decided to come up with a recipe using one of the fish that I've actually tried, tilapia.  So here's what I came up with - Tilapia Cakes/Patties:

Tilapia Cakes/Patties Recipe

1 pound tilapia (4 filets)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons Panko
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 dashes hot sauce
Salt and ground pepper
Olive oil mist/spray

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the tilapia filets and pat dry.  Mist a baking sheet with olive oil and place filets on the baking sheet.  Mist the tops of the filets with olive oil.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.

2. Once the fish is cooked, use a fork to flake it.

3.  In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg, and add in the flaked fish, chopped onion, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, Panko, cilantro, hot sauce, and 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Mix to combine. 

4.  Form mixture into eight equal-size patties and place on a baking sheet or cutting board or plate.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I let mine sit in the fridge overnight). 

5. To cook, mist some olive oil onto a nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat.  Place patties onto skillet and cook two-three minutes on each side.

Here's what the cooked patties look like:

I served the tilapia cakes with some raita.  The recipe for the raita is below.

Nutritional Information:
Recipe makes 4 servings (2 patties per serving), each serving is:
Calories: 121
Carbs: 5
Fat: 2
Protein: 19
Fiber: 0
Sodium: 540

Raita Recipe


1 Persian cucumber (or half of a small cucumber)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 packet Splenda
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt


1.  Shred the cucumber using a box grater and place in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add in the yogurt, cumin, salt, and Splenda.

3.  Stir to combine. 

Nutritional Information:
Recipe makes 4 servings, each serving is:
Calories: 41
Carbs: 4
Fat: 0
Protein: 6 
Fiber: 1
Sodium: 313

Monday, December 26, 2011

Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe

My family loves spicy food and they also love tex-mex.  Every time I go to visit, my mom makes me cook any new recipes I've come up with.  About two summers ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to make the addicting Mexican rice and salsa they have at restaurants, but healthier.  I came up with this recipe and now every time I visit, my family doesn't let me leave without making this a few times, and making extra for after I leave.  I will make a huge container of this salsa, and my dad will have eaten the entire thing in two days.  He also does this with my guacamole.  I'll post the guac and Mexican rice recipes soon.

Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe


4 roma tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 red onion, chopped
lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the tomatoes and jalapenos in a pot and cover with water. 

2. Place on stove and bring to a boil.  Boil until the skins of the tomatoes are wrinkly and start to come off.

3. Peel the skins off of the tomatoes and chop the stem off of the jalapenos.

4. Squeeze out as much water from the tomatoes as you can, then blend the tomatoes and jalapenos together.


5.  Add in the cilantro, onion, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

6.  Mix everything together and serve!

Nutritional Information:
This is for the entire batch, it ends up being nominal per tablespoon.
Calories: 193
Carbs: 42
Fat: 5
Protein: 5
Fiber: 7
Sodium: 1189