Friday, January 27, 2012

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

These were mass-produced for my speech team carbo-load!
I also take pride in the fact that I garnered rave reviews from seven non-sweet-loving Chinese guests when these little cheesecakes were served for dessert at the dinner party my parents hosted last night.
Cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries, and souffles are three desserts with the common misconception that they are very difficult to make- which is quite a pity because they are actually three of the easiest desserts to create, and I looove me some chocolate covered strawberries! Or, better yet, chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake. Cue the heavenly hallucinations...
Found this recipe on I shall blame that website for how tight my jeans will soon be getting.  ;P

Mini oreo cheesecakes

RECIPE: (makes 12)
*2 packages of 8 ounce cream cheese, or 16 ounces
*1/2 cup sugar (I used about 3/8 ish cup so they wouldn't be too sweet)
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*2 eggs
*12 oreos (or wafer cookies)

1.) Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well blended

2.) Add in the eggs; mix until blended
3.) Place one cookie into each paper-lined muffin cup, and spoon batter evenly into each cup

4.) Bake for around 20 minutes, though I would say probably 18-19 minutes are sufficient, or the tops will start to brown.
5.) Remove and let cool. Refridgerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
* I cup them in half before serving, but you can pop 'em whole!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nuts and Seeds

God help me.
My mother has discovered marshmallows. She is pan-melting mini marsmallows by the pack and covering them with walnuts, sesame seeds or puffed rice grains to attempt to create the not-too-sweet candies dipped in childhood memories of growing up in China.
They were right. Nostalgia can be dangerous. And now my house is filled with pans of sesame and rice candy.

Okay, okay, maybe the takeover of chinese candy may not be the worst thing in the world. You can probably see that from the fact I am shoving handfuls in my mouth right now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Super moist Banana Muffins (made healthier and reposted)

Just three words to describe these muffins: Yum yum yummy.
If you've read my old blog, they'll look familiar, since this is a repost of that recipe, with some substitutes to make it low-fat and just as healthy as they taste good. Which is very, if you haven't figured it out by now. ;p
Anyways, I saw this bunch of browning bananas on the kitchen counter and thought; why not?

The muffins are super moist from the bananas, and incredibly easy and foolproof. When I first saw the rave reviews for this recipe on catcancook I was a  bit skeptical, but after I tried making them this became my go-to muffin recipe, and I made a batch tonight for my Synergy meeting tomorrow. Teenagers never turn down free food!
I added some chopped dates and subbed half the butter for yogurt; here's the original recipe, but the light version turned out way better than I expected and taste even better than the original because you can have an extra muffin without feeling guilty. ;p

RECIPE: Makes 12 muffins
*3-4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister, so I use 4)
*1/2 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I don’t like them too sweet)
*1 slightly beaten egg
*3 tablespoons butter
*3 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 cup AP flour
*Any other add-ins you would like! Chocolate chips, wheat germ, dried fruit, nuts... etc.

1.) Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and margarine together. (My fave part is smashing the bananas, lol. I enjoy smashing things.)

2.) In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.
3.) Mix wet and dry ingredients all together!
4.) Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees F oven for approximately 20 minutes.

*These are much more flavourful the next day, and they freeze very nicely too!
You can add a handful of walnuts (or any kind of nuts, really) or chocolate chips if you like. I added some walnuts and almonds, because we ran out of chocolate chips. Yum!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolatey Test Day

I'm sure there's some sort of correlation between taking a test and craving chocolate, at least for me. And it wasn't even a really hard test day- I knew all the material and wasn't the least bit stressed. Yet chocolate cravings still hit hard...
Hey, I deserve it after taking 4 final exams in 4 different classes today, right?
I strained one of my shin muscles (got a shin splint, I think it's called.) from running too hard last week, so I'm giving it a rest day today and just did a moderate-level (for me, anyways; it's rated as quite intense) floor ab workout from and a bit of toning yoga plus 30 rapid sun salutations for some low-impact cardio.
Then I tackled my chocolate craving with this improvised smoothie:

*1 large banana
*1/2 a cup of milk
*1 tablespoon chocolate chips
*1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats
*1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

... plus a home-made granola bar packed with dried fruit and chocolate chips, and finished it off with a fudgy-centered milk chocolate truffle. Yum. ;p

I happily received my CNY cash last night and while the specific amount shall remain undisclosed, I can inform you that it ended with the lucky number six. And will afford me a haircut + new workout gear + new shoes. And some will be put away towards my purse/splurge fund.

After all that chocolate, I'm definitely looking forward to pushing myself through a torturous, sweaty-as-hell heavy-impact cardio workout tomorrow, or whenever my shin feels better. Before then I'd rather not risk causing more damage and being sidelined for a month or more.

What're some of your suggestions as to a calorie-torching at-home cardio exercise that won't stress my shin too much?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

新年快乐!Happy Chinese New Year!

Yes, it is Chinese New Year's Eve, the Chinese equivalent of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's eve combined in a 15 day holiday.
What totally kicks ass is that you can have plenty of days of nonstop fun/partying and still have 2-3 days to spend with family and feel all virtuous and good about getting the family time in while trying to remember the name of the friend of the cousin twice removed of your third great aunt's coworker.
Did I mention the fact that you also get red envelopes of good luck money from all your relatives? Well, I if I hadn't before it's probably because I've pretty much spent all my CNY cash ahead of time... ahem...
But I mean, will you just check out all the online CNY sales going on! Plus it's tradition to start out the new year with a new outfit. Or five.   ;P

Chinese New Year Eve dinner can NEVER not have dumplings at my house! There are a huge ton of superstitions and traditions for Chinese New Year depending on wher you're from in China, but we  celebrate it pretty casually at my house since in America it's hard to capture the festive spirit. Anyways, I officially made my first dumpling ever today! I was pretty proud of my handiwork since it blended in well with the rows of professional, perfect-looking dumplings my parents churned out.

Will post more about my awesome new yoga app tomorrow after I get home from a day of intense end-of-semester finals. Gotta go watch the Chinese New Year's Eve show now!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Intense 60 minute workout

I did the Jillian Michaels 16 minute bodyblast workout (though it took me 20 minutes to get through 2 supposedly 8-minute sets) and then 20 minutes of interval training;
10 minutes tabata routines on ground:
*20 sec mountain climbers, 10 seconds rest, 10 sets
*20 sec high knees jumprope, 10 seconds rest, 10 sets

Then 10 minutes of intervals on the treadmill:
*2 minutes at 6.5, 30 seconds at 4.0
*2 minutes at 6.6, 30 seconds at 4.0
*30 seconds at 8.0 and 30 seconds at 5.0, 4 sets
*20 seconds at 8.0 and 10 seconds at 4.0, 8 sets

Finished with 20 minutes of steady-state cardio to finish burning calories, as my body was in intense fat-burning mode from all the strength training and interval work:
*10 minutes light jog at 5.5, incline set to 4.0
*Hill Climb going up 1 step on incline every minute with speed at 4.0 and running at 6.0 for the last minute with incline at 10.

After a workout like that, I made myself a bowl (or two!) of half a cup of low-fat all natural plain yogurt + 1 tablespoon wheat germ, 1 teaspoon honey, and a handful of chocolate chips. Also threw in half a sliced pear. Yogurt parfaits are my fave, totally guilt-free dessert, though to be honest all the yogurt and honey and wheat germ simply serves as a vehicle for the chocolate ;p

The chocolate chips are my favorite part ;p and I always add extra, then eat all the yogurt around it and save the big mouthfuls of chocolate for last. Yum!

And here's one of the highlights of my week-
Traditional, and ever so simple, Beef Noodle Soup! Sounds super simple, just noodles in beef broth, but there are chefs in China who specialize in it and spend their lives making broth and noodles just for this one dish. Mom made it two days ago and it was just heavenly after freezing ass outside waiting to be picked up from school.

First speech meet of the season (and for me, ever!) tomorrow; will fuel up and try not to be too grumpy about having to wake up on a Saturday morning.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peanut Butter and Apples with Chocolate Chips

The super easy classic combo of peanut butter on apple slices is taken to another level with chocolate chips and added benefits of wheat germ! You can sprinkle them with oats or really just about anything if you don't have wheat germ, but I just happened to have some on hand and thought it would up the health level of this quick eat even more.
Kids and adults alike will love ya' for adding chocolate chips, I can guarantee you that!

You simply slice an apple, spread on some peanut butter, add the chocolate chips, and then sprinkle on the wheat germ.
Aside from oats, I'm also addicted to chocolate chips and wheat germ. ;P

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

I had a lovely brunch with the family this morning, which consisted of stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp. I finished with four or five mini clementines to satisfy my sweet tooth and took advantage of the lighting to snap a few shots.

Yes, you can imagine how things are at family reunions when I have my camera.
Usually though I dislike being photographed because I just have one of those faces that don't look very photogenic. I prefer to exude my charm face-to-face because everytime I pose for a photo I end up looking strained and constipated.
Anyways, more random shots of brunch:

Went on a 4 mile run around noon when the sun was high (yes I realize that sounds like it came from an old-school country song) and soaked in some Vitamin D, running 3.5 miles and then coming home and dragging my ungrateful dog out for another half mile walk/jog.
I had a fantastic time until I realized I had to do homework and finish studying for finals tonight... But whatevs. I'm writing this blog post as a way to procrastinate anyways, so screw it. I'll focus on it when the time comes, say, maybe around tomorrow morning...?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Healthy White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Fruit

Yes, I know, I know. I'm officially obsessed with oats. I absolutely adore the combination of oats and chocolate. If only I could find Dark Chocolate Cherry Kashi bars at my local Costco! I swear I would live off them.
But in the meantime, here's a recipe for oatmeal cookies I found on the back of a bag of Craisins. I figured if people are getting paid to come up with these recipes for these food companies, they probably don't taste horrible, right?
The cookies came out really good. Like I-can't-believe-this-is-healthy good. They're almost like little snack-cakes and were super moist, but with the oaty flavor still there. Definitely going to be a hit with my family, even with my processed-sugary-food addicted little bro!

I subbed half the butter for yogurt, ditched the craisins since they were expired, and chopped up some dried mangoes and dates instead.
These dried dates are packed with anti-oxidants, free from any preservatives or added sugar, and are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth, plus they're gluten and nut allergen free!

I chopped up some white chocolate since we didn't have any chips, and had a bit left over. Wonder where that's gonna go... ;p

TIP: When buying white chocolate, look for cocoa butter in the ingredient label. Really good quality white chocolate should have cocoa butter listed as the very first or second ingredient.

White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

*1/3 cup butter
*1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
*1/3 cup brown sugar (my family isn't into really sweet things so I halved the amount of sugar because the original recipe called for 2/3 cup. Even with half the sugar they came out just sweet enough thanks to the dried fruit and chocolate.)
*2 eggs
*1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
*1/2 cup regular All Purpose flour
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips (regular chocolate works fine too)
*1/3 cup chopped dried dates and mangoes, or any other dried fruit works fine too

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2.)Mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt
3.) In a seperate bowl, cream together the butter, yogurt, and sugar, beating in the eggs
4.) Stir wet and dry ingredients together, adding in the chocolate and dried fruit

5.) Drop onto cookie sheet by rounded teaspoonfuls and bake for about 6 minutes.

The original recipe with all the butter called for 10-12 minutes, but I think because I used yogurt it only took 6 minutes for them to bake.
6.) Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

I enjoyed the (six, lol) cookies with a mug of green tea after my workout.

Say hello to my mug, Steve! I picked him up at Goodwill for 99 cents. Too cute!

I came back around 1:30 today from my group tennis lesson and was itching for a run, so I went for a quick 2 mile run with my dog. Though the tennis lesson was one and half hours, it was a group lesson so only got me sweating a little bit and not very exerted, so the run burned off my remaining energy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

100 Calorie Guide to nuts and a 30-minute strength + treadmill interval workout

I fueled for my workout this morning (yes I know I'm insane for getting up before twelve on a Saturday morning) with 7 almonds and a teaspoon of all-natural peanut butter. Nuts are a great pre-workout snack because fats hit the bloodstream quicker than protein and carbs and give a great burst of energy. Plus they're heart-healthy and good for you! However, you should watch the portions because a handful usually adds up to well over 100 calories. And even though I don't count calories (except for what nature gives us, most low-cal foods on the market are high in sodium and filled with artificial crap that gunks up your system and actually makes ou want to eat more) because calorie counting gives me a headache and I get too obsessive over it, but knowing portion sizes just makes it much easier to control.
A quick 100 calorie guide to nuts:
*14 whole raw or dry-toasted almonds
* About 8 walnut halves
*4 and 1/2 whole brazil nuts
*About 10 pecan halves

Anyways... onto the workout!
I'm quite the cardio junkie, but I'm also a huge proponent of interval training. It burns a ton more calories than steady-state cardio and also helps build endurance. As I usually don't have more than 30 minutes a day to work out, I usually do 10 minutes of strength moves to get my body into fat-burning mode, 10 minutes of super intense intervals to burn the maximum calories, then 10 minutes of moderate/less intense steady-state cardio. If you're strapped for time, you can cut the steady-state cardio to 8 minutes and give yourself 2 minutes of slow walking and stretching to cool down.

30- Minute Strength and Treadmill Interval Workout

Strength: (repeat 2 sets or as many sets as you can get in 10 minutes)
*1 round of pivoting pushups- do pushups in a circle around one point 360 degrees
*1 minute of donkey kicks

*30 seconds of lunges on each leg
*20 chair dips

*30 jumping jacks

*2 minutes of high intensity running, 8-9 on the intensity scale, followed by 30 seconds brisk walking at 4 mph. Repeat 4 times
*10 minutes of steady-state cardio; 5 minutes jogging at 5.2 with incline set to 4.0, and then 5 minutes of hill-walking at 4.0 with incline set to 8

*Stretch and cool down.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Wonder of Kashi bars

Am just taking a quick moment to blog after coming home from Speech practice today; I need to pratice piano and get a buttload of other things taken care of before I head to my one and a half hour dance class.
I've got individual team practices tomorrow after school but will have enough time in between to work out and shower at my school's weight room, which smells like the inside of an old gym sock, but whatever.
Just thought I'd take a few moments to highlight one of my fave snacks:
The widely available, highly transportable, and High Fructose Corn Syrup-free Kashi bar!
They're super healthy and filling, and I always try to have at least one or two in my bag in case I get hungry during class. Apples or bananas can get smushed in my bag, so these tend to be my go-to snack.
They come in a variety of flavors, but right now I've got the trail mix kind.

As you can see; I've got quite an addiction to granola!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Sparkling Clean Slate and a super simple and addictive granola recipe

There's just something so incredible about starting over. About beginning a new chapter and knowing what you did wrong last time. I'm telling you, it's almost better than my mom's lamb and rice.
Almost. ;p
If you're a redirected reader of my previous blog, then thank you for supporting me all the way through! I'll probably be reposting a lot of familiar old recipes, so please put up with me.
If you're new and just stumbled apon my little corner of the blogosphere, then a warm and hearty welcome to you! I offer you imaginary triple white chocolate caramel oatmeal cookies, and you can watch me devour them. JK; that might be going a little too far, though I could certainly use a cookie right now, or pretty much anytime. Who doesn't want a cookie?
Okay, I digress. You'll find that happening a lot- rambling on and on about random subjects tends to be a hobby of mine.

I'm not going to bore you with introductions right now, though if you would like to read more about me then head over to My Food Philosophy page.
I'm going to repost a recipe from my old blog that I cannot live without- the easiest and most delish granola bars ever! (The header is actually from this blog post.)

This is hands-down the simplest, tastiest, and best granola recipe I have ever tried. The saying "the best things are simple" clearly applies to this case. Yum. I've been looking for a granola recipe that's simple and has more of an earthy/oaty taste, and this is it.
It's a great recipe if you (like me) don't have any rice crispie cereal on hand and need a super nutritious and non-processed yet satisfying snack.

They're a great no-bake option as well- just press dough into pan and refridgerate for 60 minutes.

You can add dried fruit, chocolate chips, wheat germ, flaxseed, nuts, other seeds, and such to your granola bars to your taste. I added some wheat germ and chocolate chips, since in my world everything's better with chocolate!

RECIPE: (from
*4 cups rolled oats
*1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
*3/4 cup natural peanut butter or sunbutter, melted
*1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used honey and it works gorgeously)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.) Mix all ingredients together and knead until fully incorporated. You may need to add a bit more honey or peanut butter depending on what you added into the granola bar
3.) Press dough firmly into greased pan and bake for about 25 minutes
4.) Take out and let cool


I crumbled a bar onto half a cup of low fat plain yogurt and added some raspberries and blackberries. Drizzled it with some honey and voila! The perfect pre-workout snack!

Just looking at this makes me happy ;p

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...