Jump-starting the New Year with RED KIDNEY BEAN CUPCAKES

It is not easy to eat healthy nowadays!

Every minute of the day we are bombarded by images of mouth-watering food in television, the internet and social media. These food and beverages are packed with either bad fats (saturated or trans fats); bad carbs (high calorie, high sugar); or bad proteins (meat with high saturated fats). Worst, some of these food contain genetically modified ingredients if not chemically-laced. We are well-aware of this reality. We just chose to give it a cold shoulder.

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Do we have choices left? I certainly believe we do; however it needs serious work and smart decisions. Buying pre-packed, ready-to-heat, processed food is always easier and convenient than making meals from scratch. But always, home-made food are healthier especially if the ingredients are chosen appropriately (healthy).
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Cajun Shrimp Stew

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I first learned about Cajun flavor when I started eating and making Jambalaya rice. I usually buy it in a box and I would just add meat or seafood into the rice. Coming from a rice-bowl society in Southeast Asia, the concept and taste of Jambalaya rice is still new to me. Since my introduction to this flavor, it opened my eyes further to the diversity of the flavor traditions in Southern United States, specifically Louisiana.

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You can say that Cajun flavor found an unexplored territory in my palate. That was my first encounter with Cajun cooking. Then I started making soup Gumbo, which is another Louisiana cuisine but in a Creole tradition. A first, it got me confused about its distinction with Cajun. So I started digging for facts and I found the simplest explanation there is on the web.

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It says, the basic difference between Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisines is that the latter (creole) uses tomatoes either fresh, paste or sauce while the former (Cajun) does not.

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Coconut Cream Pie Makeover

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I will not apologize for deconstructing this classic Coconut Cream Pie recipe because the result was equally creamy and delightful. I took layers and layers of high-fat ingredients and brought them down to the bare essentials.

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I took the pastry out of the crust equation. I didn’t use either the traditional graham crackers or any wafer or cookies for the crust. Instead I grabbed some granola bars (or call it by its many other names: breakfast bars, energy bars, diet bars, etc.) and microwaved them to turn crumbly. Molding the crumbled granola into the pie pan wasn’t too challenging, they formed pretty easy.

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