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Posted on Jan 14, 2014 in Food | 9 comments

Creamy Garlic Avocado Sauce

There is literally no food on this green Earth that I find more naturally beautiful than an avocado. When you cut into a perfectly ripe avocado, and twist the two halves apart to reveal that ombre green center… it’s just a damn beautiful fruit, okay? And luckily, it’s also one of the most amazing sources of healthy fat, um, ever. I’ve long been a vocal opponent of the idea that fat makes you fat — it doesn’t! Fat is satiating and a necessary component of healthy meals. In fact, the personal trainer that I trained with told me that a good ratio of nutrients for weight loss is 40/30/30 — that’s 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat! The same amount of fat as protein. BOOM.

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So when I came down to brainstorming for my final Almond Breeze recipe — what will hopefully be the piece de resistance — it was really quite fortuitous that I also happened to have a bulk bag of avocados from Costco ripening away (BEST VALUE EVER. It was like $5.99 for 7 avocados or some nonsense). Because it gave me a chance to revamp a recipe that I believe I originally posted back in the earliest blossoming days of this blog… but I can’t be sure, because it was so long ago that I can’t actually find the post I’m thinking about. (Whoops.)

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Aaaanywho, yes, this is the better, delicious-er, avocado-ier version of my original recipe. I actually intended to serve it over a bed of roasted spaghetti squash, but I got too impatient waiting for the squash to finish cooking, so I ended up eating it with some leftover pasta that I had in the fridge. Yep, the sauce gets done THAT fast and it’s THAT good. And would you believe that it’s UNDER 100 CALORIES per serving?! Believe me, you are not going to want to miss out on this one.

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Creamy Garlic Avocado Sauce
Makes 6 servings of sauce

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados
1 clove raw garlic
1 loose cup spinach
1/4 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine avocados, garlic, and spinach.
2. Pulse until finely chopped.
3. Add almond milk in batches and blend until desired consistency is reached. For a runnier texture, you may need slightly more almond milk.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! Toss with pasta, top chicken or fish, or serve as a dip with crackers!

Nutritional information: 99.4 calories, 9 g fat (but it’s good fat!), 5.4 g carbs, 1.3 g protein.

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I’m not going to bother calling it a pasta sauce, because I think that it honestly has tons of possibilities. Toss with noodles, use as sauce for a rice bowl, or top chicken or fish with this creamy green deliciousness. Keep the texture a little thicker and serve it as a dip! (I’d probably add a little lemon or lime juice to maintain it’s freshness if I did that, but I didn’t have any on hand this time around and it really is delicious as is.)

My tip for preserving leftovers is the same as for making guacamole: cover the sauce with a layer of plastic wrap — as in, have the plastic wrap actually TOUCH the food in its container, and then put on the lid. Keeping the air off of the sauce will help keep the top from browning (since, even though it’s still totally fine to eat, browned food never looks appetizing). And bon appetite!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 8 comments

Boozy Vegan* Hot Chocolate

*Well, I suppose that depending on your definition of vegan, this recipe is only vegan-ish. But we’ll get to that.

So. The government has shut down. And while Ron Swanson is probably having the best day of his life…

… a lot of people are very unsure as to what their future (and their future paychecks!) may hold. And hey, I get it! While most government contractors and federal employees have gone quite a while between shutdowns, let us remember that I used to work for the FAA. Which meant going through the emotional unquiet that is an impending, looming, potential FAA shutdown at least twice a year. I’m definitely grateful that my job now is unaffected by the shutdown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain of all my nearest and dearest.

So I’m trying to help in the only way I can: by giving you a recipe that makes it’s totally acceptable to start getting sauced first thing in the AM. Enter: Boozy hot chocolate. I mean, hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

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Besides, I suddenly found myself with a couple of flippin’ adorable custom whiskey airplane bottles, thanks to one Miss–oops, I mean MRS!–Army Pants and Flip Flops, whose wedding I attended last weekend. 😀

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Boozy Vegan Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 large steaming mug

Ingredients:

2 cups Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk (I used original unsweetened)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp honey (this is where the whole maybe-it’s-not-really-vegan argument can begin — just replace with sweetener of choice if you don’t want to use honey)
3 tbsp whiskey (sorry kiddos, these tricks are for adults only)

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat almond milk on medium heat.
2. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. Stir until combined (the lumps in the cocoa will continue to break apart as the milk heats up.)
3. Add in whiskey, stir to combine, then pour into a mug. Top with whipped cream, if you have some available, and enjoy!

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This recipe is sure to put some warm-fuzzies in your belly, believe you me. I mean, I may or may not be a little bit buzzed while writing this post… though to be fair, I didn’t even use the entire airplane bottle in the recipe! 3 tbsp uses up about 3/4 of the bottle. But it didn’t really seem fair to just leave that little bit left in the bottle all by its lonesome, so…

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Just consider me having poured one out (into my mouth) for my government homies. Salud! You can also clearly make this a non-alcoholic (but still vegan-ish) hot chocolate simply by omitting the whiskey. If you do that, it might be fun to try adding in a tsp of various extracts — mint, almond, etc!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 3 comments

Creamy Gazpacho

Summers in our nation’s capital come in pretty much one flavor: humid. And though, granted, this summer has been slightly less sticky than most, I’m still just one big ball o’ sweat most of the time when I’m outside. So when it comes to foods that I’m craving in August, I’m almost always going to prefer something chilled over something hot. Duh.

Of course, one can’t live off of popsicles forever (I’ve tried, believe me), so upon occasion you might find me in the kitchen trying to whip up a nice no-heat meal. Don’t worry, I’m not going raw. I’m just hot — all the time. Which brings us to the following recipe — one that’ll make you forget you ever even liked hot soup to begin with.

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Whether eaten (er, drank?) straight from the blender or allowed to chill for a few in the fridge, I just know that this creamy (yet dairy-free!), zesty gazpacho will hit the spot. It’s light, it’s bright, and depending on how spicy you want to make it, you can take your tastebuds for a real ride, hehe. Reserve a bit of the tomato, cucumbers, and onions to chop and serve in the bowl for a bit of texture, or blend it all to your heart’s desire. There’s really no wrong way to make this, since all it takes is a handful of fresh, natural ingredients and a blender!

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Creamy Gazpacho
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed tomato juice (about 3 medium to large ripe tomatoes)
1/4 large onion, or 1/2 small onion
1 small cucumber, cut into rough pieces
1 poblano pepper (or green bell pepper)
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lime (juice only)
1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk (vanilla or original — your choice!)
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of green chile Tabasco sauce (optional)

Instructions:

1. Crush tomatoes until you yield ~1 cup of juice. Seeds and some pulp are okay.

2. Combine tomato juice, onion, cucumber, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and jalapeño (if using) in blender. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the onion and cucumber if you want to dice and add to soup for texture. Blend on medium – high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, or until ingredients are all finely combined.

3. Add lime juice and almond milk, salt and pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco (if using) to the soup and stir.

4. Pour over chopped tomato, onion, and cucumber, or serve ungarnished! Eat immediately, or keep it in the fridge to chill further before consuming.

5. Enjoy!

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almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Jul 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 11 comments

Homemade Bubble Milk Tea

So, I throw the word “Whasian” around here a lot. And yes, I know it’s partly because I have a bit of a complex about people not knowing that I’m half-Chinese… since I don’t look particularly Asian (except for maybe a handful of times of year, which usually coincide with things like Chinese New Year or my brother’s Chinese Banquet-style rehearsal dinner). Though, to be fair, I went on a cruise with my family the summer after my Freshman year in college, and the ship’s photographer thought that I was Ben’s girlfriend (gross) rather than an actual part of my family. So I think said complex is at least somewhat understandable.

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ANYWAY. For as much as I mention my ethnicity on this blog, I don’t really highlight too many Chinese recipes. Mostly, this is because my mom is such an amazing cook that I don’t dare try to copy her recipes for fear of ruining the dishes for myself. But that’s not to say I don’t prepare my fair share of Chinese cuisine. I love whipping up a batch of frozen xiao long bao at home (steamed soup dumplings), I adore going out to dim sum, and I am absolutely OBSESSED with bubble milk tea.

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Bubble milk tea, boba, pearl milk tea, zhen zhu nai cha — whatever you call it, I love it. I was first introduced to this most magic of beverages during the three years I spent living in Taiwan, and to this day it is one of the surest ways to make me a happy, happy girl. Unfortunately, all the most authentic bubble milk tea places around here seem to be up in Rockville, and I don’t enjoy braving Seven Corners traffic enough to frequent the Eden Center on a regular basis. So, I’ve had to figure out ways to satisfy my total obsession occasional craving on my own.

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Now, admittedly, I cheat and use a milk tea powder more often than not. But! For you folks, who have probably come here to read at least a somewhat healthy-ish recipe, I decided to brew up a batch from scratch. You’re very welcome. 😉

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Introducing my very own taste-tested and Whasian-approved recipe for bubble milk tea. And because I love you guys so much, I even made it dairy-free, don’tcha know! I used regular ol’ black tea bags, but if you really want to go authentic, head for your nearest Asian grocery store and pick up a can of looseleaf Hong Kong-style black tea. Also, since I imagine most of you don’t keep the pearls in your pantry, you can zip right over to Amazon.com and pick up a pack of tapioca pearls, along with some of those nifty fat bubble tea straws.

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Bubble Milk Tea
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 black tea bags, or equivalent looseleaf black tea
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup uncooked tapioca pearls
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk
Ice (optional)

Instructions:

1. Steep tea in boiling water. You are aiming for a very strong brew, so let steep for a good 8 – 10 minutes. It is also best to allow the tea to cool somewhat before mixing your milk tea.
2. While tea is steeping, heat water on stove in a small or medium sauce pot until boiling. Add tapioca pearls and cook until all pearls float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar to pot and stir just until dissolved. Cover and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Reserve about half of the tapioca pearls and sugar water for each serving of bubble tea.
3A. For frozen bubble milk tea, add tea, milk, sugar water from the pearls, and ice cubes to a blender, and blend until ice is fully incorporated. Add tapioca pearls and enjoy!
3B. For regular bubble milk tea, simply combine tea, milk, and sugar water in a pitcher or glass, then add pearls. If the mixture is not cool enough, you may add ice cubes or refrigerate* the tea first. Enjoy!

*Do not refrigerate the pearls in the tea — store them in the sugar water separately. The pearls become hard when cold, and will need to be reheated in the microwave to become soft again.

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So there you have it. You can add as much or as little additional sweetener as necessary to achieve the desired taste of your milk tea, but I tried to keep it fairly light. As mentioned, you can store any leftover pearls in the sugar water mixture (a mixture of water and honey is also a great preserver, and gives good flavor to the pearls). Just reheat the pearls for about 30 seconds in the microwave if you decide to use them later! Easy peasy.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Jun 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 4 comments

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Rice Pudding

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, people, because the more time I spend here writing this post, the more time I spending with my fingers typing instead of shoveling spoonful after spoonful of ooey, gooey, creamy, dreamy chocolate rice pudding into my mouth. Yeah, it’s pretty good.

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This steaming bowl of deliciousness is so, so easy to make, with only four real ingredients, plus a few seasonings and whatnot. Plus, it’s dairy-free! (And maybe gluten-free? I’m not actually sure about that. But definitely gluten-lessened!) With no added sugar other than what’s in Almond Breeze’s Chocolate almond milk (and perhaps a drizzle of chocolate syrup at the end… if you’re a glutton like me, hehe), it’s still very rich, hearty, and makes you feel all warm in the tummy.

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Rice pudding in general is actually quite versatile. It’s a dessert that can also be a breakfast food (just think oatmeal, minus the oats), so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re pretty much covered. I added dried plums (mmm, fiber!) and blueberries to this dish to make it a little more appropriate to eat before 11 AM, but if you’re looking for something even less desserty, you can always just sub in non-chocolate almond milk, too!

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Chocolate Rice Pudding
Makes 2 heaping servings

Ingredients:

3 cups Almond Breeze chocolate almond milk
3/4 cup rice of choice (I used jasmine)
1/4 cup dried plums (or dried fruit of your choice)
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
Drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional)

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat rice and almond milk until it reaches a soft boil.
2. Add seasonings and dried plums, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. As the milk gets absorbed and the rice thickens, being stirring more frequently. When the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat. Stir in blueberries and serve.
4. Drizzle on a squeeze of chocolate syrup, if desired, and enjoy!

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Nutritional info: Per giant heaping serving (1/2): 345 caloris, 4.6 g fat, 4 g protein. Per normal person’s serving (1/3): 230 calories, 3.1 g fat, 2.6 g protein.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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