Archive of ‘blogger secret ingredient’ category

BSI: Corn Bitelettes

This is a fun, easy, CORN-y recipe that I made up for this week’s BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient)…  I’m trying to use up some orange juice that’s in the fridge, so I incorporated that as well.  It adds a really subtle sweetness that is mandatory for all good cornbread.  And the bitelettes are just too cute.

Corn Bitelettes with a Hint of Orange


Ingredients (makes 27 bites)

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran (or flour)
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (or flour)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients (olive oil, egg whites, OJ).  Mix together the dry ingredients (corn meal, wheat bran, oat bran, baking powder, salt).  Mix them together.  Add the corn! and mix well.
  3. Drop tablespoons of batter into mini-muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 18-19 minutes at 425F.


Enjoy! I wish I had thought to put cheese on them.  That would have been perfect.  These are delicious and corny and oh-so-yum.  I hope you try them :)  Since I forgot to put cheese on top, slathered on some fresh whipped butter.  It was great.

Awesome Macrobiotic Apple-Raspberry Pie

This recipe for apple pie is a far cry from the buttery, sugary goodness that my Grammie serves up each year at Thanksgiving… but it’s different in a good way!  Bobby and I both loved the flavors and textures of this unsweetened-yet-strangely-traditional apple pie.  I hope you try it out, because it’s really delicious.

The inspiration comes from Meg’s blog – she recently posted this recipe for apple pie.  I made a smaller and slightly different version.

Macrobiotic Apple-Raspberry Pie (Unsweetened)


Ingredients – crust

  • 1/2 cup oat bran (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients – filling

  • 3 medium apples, sliced up
  • 1 cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • a few raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.  Mix together the oat bran, flour, and salt.  Add the oil and lightly mix with a fork.  Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, keeping the dough slightly crumbly.  Put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Spray a small pie dish with non-stick cooking spray (or olive oil).  Pour in about 3/4 of the crumbly dough and mush it down to make the crust.  Reserve the remaining dough.  Cook at 375F for 15 minutes.  After you take it out, turn the oven temperature down to 350F.
  3. To make the filling, boil the water, apple slices, salt, and lemon juice for about 6-7 minutes or until the apples tart getting soft.  Drain the apples (save the water!) and set aside.  Return the water to medium heat.  Mash the raspberries and add them to the water.  Then slowly add the corn starch.  Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken (5-7 minutes probably).
  4. Put the apples into the cooled pie crust (wait at least 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven).  Pour the thickened water mixture evenly over the top of the apples and crust.  Crumble the remaining dough (uncooked) over the apples and top with a few more raspberries.
  5. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes.


I enjoyed mine topped with more raspberries and some fresh blueberries.  Bobby did the same.  The entire pie is almost gone and it only came out of the oven an hour ago!  Even though it has no added sweetener, the fruit has enough sweetness of its own – I really can’t describe how awesome this pie is.  You just have to make it.

I will do an actual update of the Whole Life Challenge tomorrow (it’s going well!)… I’m trying to make the most of the little free time that Bobby and I get to spend together.  Tonight’s plans – hot tub and hookah!  Feel free to comment on this post with your Whole Life Challenge updates and I’ll include them in my post tomorrow.

Make sure to check out Sophia’s blog for the next Blogger Secret Ingredient!  She’s giving away some adorable prizes :)

BSI Winner!

The Blogger Secret Ingredient for this week was kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and I had some wonderful entries:

I asked Bobby to help me pick the winner, and this week’s winner is…


Michelle, with Oven-Roasted Fusion Kabocha!  (My mom actually commented that this looked amazing and incredibly gourmet – she reads the blog.)  Go make her recipe!

Thank you so much for all of the creative entries.  I’m passing on the BSI to the only person that might love kabocha more than me (well, I’m pretty sure she loves it at least as much): Sophia @ Burp and Slurp~.  Check in on her blog for the next Blogger Secret Ingredient announcement!

The Whole Life Challenge continues… check back in tomorrow for an update.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!  Take a moment to remember our fallen troops.

BSI Update & A Whole Life Challenge

Keep the BSI entries coming in!  I have some great ones so far… (if you’ve entered and you’re not on the list please let me know!)

You have until Sunday night to submit!  Then I’ll pick a winner and announce who’s going to be hosting next week.

There have been a few challenges recently (Shelby, Coco, and probably more) that I really liked.  I’m going to propose my own challenge.  If you want to join me, pick at least one of the following tasks and keep me updated with your progress!  Ways to do this:

I’ll post summaries of your updates periodically (depending on how much of a response I get I might post this every day or every other day).  I’m calling this the Whole Life Challenge, because I think it’s important to have balance in our WHOLE life – not just bits and pieces!  This means nourishing our body, nourishing our mind, and nourishing our soul.  Feel free to use this icon or make your own…


The Whole Life Challenge starts tomorrow, Friday May 22nd, 2009!  Let’s try to do it for two weeks.  If we like it, we can continue on through the end of June.  Feel free to join at any time.  Here are the options (remember, you only have to pick one for each day, but you can do more):

  1. Yoga every day (at least 10 minutes)
  2. Walking every day (at least 10 minutes)
  3. New meals each week (at least 1 *new* recipe each week – can be for lunch or dinner; this can be a recipe that you make, or a meal that you eat out that you’ve never had before; preferably more than 1 each week!)
  4. Eating a big enough dinner so that I don’t need to snack before bedtime (aiiii, this is the hardest one!)
  5. Going organic for greens…
  6. So that I can eat a nourishing bowl of green oats each day! (any variation of “green” is good here – green smoothie, green oat bran, green oatmeal, green anything!)
  7. Pick your own!  Just let me know what you want to try to do for 2 weeks.  I’ll post about it and link back to you if you have a blog.

I’m going to try to do all of them.  Are you with me?  Try to do one each day!

Blogger Secret Ingredient: KABOCHA

Lara passed me the BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient) torch!  I’m sure you all know what’s coming.  This week’s pick:



Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin. It’s rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins.  You can find it in the produce section of a market – probably with the other squash or root veggies like potatoes.  If you can’t find it in your normal grocery, try looking at an Asian market, or any other small market.  They’re really abundant here in California but I’m sure you can find them anywhere.  My mom and grandmother get them in New Jersey and I’ve seen bloggers across the country find them as well.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with.  The rules:

  1. Make a recipe that uses kabocha (it can be original but it doesn’t have to be) BEFORE SUNDAY NIGHT.
  2. Post about it and link back here, or if you don’t have a blog, email me ([email protected]) your recipe – pictures are great but optional.
  3. Comment on this post letting me know that you entered.

Good luck!  If you want to know more about kabocha, check out this post.

Broiled veggies (BSI entry)

I was so happy when Biz @ Biggest Diabetic Loser decided to bring back the Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI)!  She chose zucchini, a very versatile and tasty veggie.  I was going to make grilled skewers, but had no skewers!  So I just broiled up a bunch of veggies.  It was quite delicious, and very healthy.  This is another Rice Diet Cookbook inspiration.

Broiled Veggies (BSI = Zucchini)


  • 1 cup brown mushrooms, chopped in half
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped in 1 inch squares (approximately)
  • 1 red onion, chopped roughly
  • 3 small zucchinis, halved and then chopped in 1 inch pieces (approximately)
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
  • <1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice (about 3/4 of a whole lemon)
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper.  Pour over the veggies in a large bowl and mix well.  Let them sit for 20 minutes, mixing again halfway through.
  2. Preheat your broiler.
  3. Put all the veggies in a large dish.  Broil for 10 minutes about 6-7 inches away from the broiler.  Mix them around halfway through.
  4. Move the veggies up as close to the broiler as possible, and broil for 4-5 more minutes.  Mix them around and broil for another 4-5 minutes.  They should be slightly browned in some areas.

Enjoy!  I had mine with a great whole wheat pasta salad that I will post sometime this week.

Healthy Carrot Burdock Kinpira (BSI Entry)

Remember that Carrot Kinpira I made the other week?  Well I tried a different variation with burdock, too.  This is going to be my Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) recipe.  This week’s BSI is being hosted by Catherine over at Stevia ‘n’ Spice and she chose carrots!  They are one of my favorite things.

Kinpira is a Japanese method of cooking.  It’s typically used when cooking root vegetables.  The popular seasonings are soy sauce, mirin (cooking wine), and chili flakes.  I never have mirin on hand, so I just omit it, but I find that some rice vinegar is a great substitution.  Kinpira is a perfect addition to a lunch (think bento boxes), a side dish for dinner, or even part of a savory breakfast.  I adore the Japanese way of eating – simple, fresh, and always in moderation.  There’s a reason that less than 3% of the Japanese population is obese!  Take this recipe and run with it – let me know what you think and what other veggies you would use.

Carrot and Burdock Kinpira is typically called “Kinpira Gobo” in Japan.  It’s definitely a staple.  Oh yeah – it’s vegetarian and vegan to boot!  Give it a try…

Healthy Carrot Burdock Kinpira


  • 2 large carrots, chopped into matchsticks
  • 5-6 pieces of burdock (the carrot to burdock ratio should be about 1 parts carrot to 2-3 parts burdock, but you can change it as you like)
  • scant tablespoon sesame oil
  • dash of chili flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons white sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • about 3 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Prepare the burdock – scrub it (like you would potatoes), then cut it into matchsticks and soak it in water for a few minutes.  I like to use hot water.  Drain the burdock, then add fresh water to cover it, and soak for another couple of minutes.
  2. Heat the sesame oil on medium-high in a wok (or large saute pan) and add the carrots and burdock.  Toss them to coat.
  3. Add the chili powder and cinnamon (if using).  Toss again.  Add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and about 2/3 cup of water.
  4. Lower the heat a bit (to medium) and simmer until the water has evaporated, tossing every 20-30 seconds or so.  If the burdock is still too crunchy (taste it!), add some more water and repeat until it’s soft enough for you.

Enjoy!  What would you eat this with?  Have you ever tried burdock?  It’s delicious and incredibly good for you.  It’s earthy-tasting (in a good way), and very versatile.  My mom used to make burdock tea when she was pregnant with my little siblings.  It’s also good for your blood (cleansing) and apparently does wonders for the hair and scalp.

Last night of the weekend… so sad.

I got in a nice walk this afternoon (a little over an hour).  When I got back I had lunch.  This was an eggwhite scramble with random veggies, topped with ketchup.  That muffin is what I made for the BSI.

And of course:

For dinner I made this new kind of noodle (kelp noodles) and they were awful.  I also had butternut squash fries.  The noodles were actually so bad that I couldn’t finish them and just made a bunch more b-nut fries with ketchup.  I did eat out the fake meat and the veggies from the noodle dish (I’d put in a chopped up chunk of leftover tofurkey).

For dessert I made a fruit salad with 2 small fuyu persimmons, green and red grapes, and about 1/2 cup of lowfat ricotta cheese (inspired by Coco).  Thanks for the idea!

I might have something else later; I’m not sure yet.  Enjoy your night!

How To Pimp Muffin Mix (my Walnut BSI entry)

For this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient, Amy @ Coffee Talk chose WALNUTS! A perfectly wintery ingredient – I knew just what to do with them… Muffin mix may be a bit of a cop out, but with the right alterations you can get some awesome baked goodies.

How To Pimp Muffin Mix

Step 1:  Buy muffin mix at local supermarket.  Sales are good.  Mine was $2 for this box of Fiber One Banana Nut mix.

Step 2:  Pick your mixins.  I like to pick 1 each from 2 categories: nuts and fruit.

Good fruits:

  • apples, pears, bananas, peaches, etc…

Good nuts:

  • WALNUTS, peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc…

Step 3:  Chop the fruit (2 pieces – I used 2 apples) in little bits.  Dump into a bowl.

Step 4:  Take about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of walnuts (depending on how nutty you want the muffins – I don’t use that many) and crumble them up.  Dump this in with the fruit.

Step 5:  Add the mix and follow their instructions, but increase the oven temp by 25F because of the fruit.  (Adding eggs, water, oil, etc…)

Step 6:  Spoon muffin mix into muffin tins.  I like to use a measuring cup for ease (1/4 cup size).  I pour in heaping 1/4 cups.

Step 7:  Top with more walnuts!  But be careful that they don’t get burned, which mine did.  Use a very low rack in the oven.

Step 8: Bake!

Step 9:  Lick the bowl.

Step 10:  Eat lots of muffins.

This recipe made 16 muffins (the original box was only supposed to make 12, but the apples bulked them up!).  The walnuts on top and in the batter made these incredibly delicious.  We’ve been eating them all day.

What’s your favorite pre-prepared food?  The only ones I ever really make are baked mixes, like for muffins or cornbread.

Seeing cousins :)

Bobby’s cousins were in town today (they live in Portland currently) and we had a lovely lunch with them at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  It seems like we take all of our visitors there!  I had the same salad that I got when I went last week with my coworkers: Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork.  The pork was so lean and flavorful – delicious, as always.

I also had pieces of both shrimp and veggie spring rolls (dipped in peanut sauce) as well as a sample of the Chicken salad that our cousins ordered.  And I had a few bites of Bobby’s beef soup (pho) – that broth is so good.

After our leisurely lunch (we talked so much and had such a wonderful time with them), we took them to our favorite grocery store – Milk Pail, a small partially open-air market.  We got our groceries for the week for a total of $21.60… which brings us to $125.14 for the Thanksgiving Challenge.  I think we made it!  We still have 2 extra meals leftover to eat out, and I don’t think we’ll have to buy anything else for the rest of the week.  It’s too soon to celebrate now, but I think we did it!  I’ll do a more detailed post regarding how I felt during the challenge after it’s officially over.

I found something amazing at Milk Pail – honeycrisp apples for $0.59/pound.  I got no less than 6.5 pounds.  I am so happy.  So I had one when we got home:

For dinner I kept it simple:

  • Gliding Calm baked tofu
  • Vietnamese cabbage salad (sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, sliced onion, sliced celery, and basil; topped with a sugar/fish sauce/lemon juice/water dressing)
  • Wild rice with smart balance – about 1/2 cup
  • more pumpkin puree with smart balance (seconds on this)

And dessert was a staple as well:

  • 2 Honeycrisp apples with lemon juice (shared with Bobby – this pic is of the first)

I also had 2 of the Chocolate Raisin Peanut Pumpkin Cookies that I baked yesterday for the BSI contest.  Yummy!  I am staying out of the kitchen for the rest of the night though.

Hope you all have a wonderful start to this very short week!

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