3-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

After many, many years on the internet, I have become the kind of person who regards “life hacks” and Pinterest/Instagram foods with suspicion. Sometimes, I just outright dismiss a lot of them. Make ice cream by blending frozen banana? That’s not ice cream, it’s just frozen banana? And yet there I was, very happily enjoying the soft-serve-esque texture of a blitzed-up frozen banana, begrudgingly admitting that the curated photos on social media didn’t lie this one time.

A similar recipe that I had many doubts about were the paleo-friendly 2-or-3 ingredient pancakes. In its simplest iteration, you mash up a banana with a beaten egg and fry up pancakes with the mixture — without it tasting like scrambled eggs with banana. I believe I attempted this once several years ago by beating an egg with a fork in a bowl and then mashing a banana into the egg with that fork. It was… meh.

But I kept seeing this recipe get touted over and over again, and other people’s photos of these pancakes looked a lot more like pancakes than my initial attempt.  Maybe I did something wrong? This recipe came back into my life as I started to remember why I am not the kind of person who is able to skip breakfast. These days, I am trying to be better about making sure I have a protein-filled breakfast so that I have fuel for when I do actually go work out in the mornings, since I have been feeling myself struggle a lot physically when I try to exercise on an empty stomach. I also feel myself thinking about lunch at about 10:30, which is pretty early to have your mind on lunch, if we’re all being honest here! While these pancakes are not allowed on Whole30, they are paleo, and I’ve found 2 added components have improved the entire process enough to make this a new breakfast staple for me:

  1. A blender (I use this super cheap personal blender)
  2. Protein powder 

The blender makes mixing it a much easier and smoother process, so I’m not left with a scrambly-egg + mushy-banana consistency. The protein powder makes it more like a pancake and less like banana-y eggs. I’ve also been adding spinach to the whole thing for a bit more nutrition. Occasionally I also add a bit of cinnamon to see if I can get any of its purported health benefits. I fry them up in some coconut oil (who am I…) and I have some healthy green protein-packed pancakes for breakfast so that I have some fuel in the morning!

Here’s the recipe, adapted from PaleOMG:

  • 1 ripe banana – the browner and riper, the sweeter!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla/chocolate protein powder
  • Coconut oil (or oil/fat of your choosing)
  • Optional: handful of spinach
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: pinch of baking soda

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 10.56.21 PM.png

  1. In a blender, pulse your eggs and banana until you have a smooth, consistent mixture.
  2. Add in your protein powder, starting with 1 scoop and adding 2 if the consistency is too liquid, depending on the size of your banana and eggs. (You want the batter to be a bit viscous.)
  3. If the mixture is still fairly runny with the added protein powder, add a bit of baking soda to help add fluffiness and rise to your pancakes.
  4. Add spinach and/or cinnamon if you’d like green pancakes or a teeny bit of warmth.
  5. In a non-stick pan, heat a small amount of coconut oil.
  6. When the oil is hot, pour small dollops of the pancake into the pan to form 3- or 4-inch wide pancakes. Since they will be runnier than your traditional pancake batter, keeping them small helps them cook through a bit faster and makes them easier to flip.
  7. After about a minute, flip the pancake to the other side; you’ll know it’s ready to flip when the edges are browning and the batter on top is becoming a bit less funny.
  8. Cook on the other side for 30-45 seconds, remove from the pan, and place on some paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
  9. Serve plain or with syrup, jam, whatever pancake accoutrements your heart desires.

Enjoy

greenpacakes2
Clean eating green pancakes, a similar recipe from Emily at LouisianaBrideBlog

Have you ever tried a recipe you saw online and didn’t think would work only to be pleasantly surprised?
Are there any super popular internet recipes you think I should try? I haven’t tried very many of them but after some recent successes, I’m trying to have an open mind! Trying to get back into cooking more for myself, and prepping breakfasts and lunches in advance, so any recipe suggestions would be so appreciated!

A lot of things have been happening in the news that are difficult to ignore. I try to keep the tone on this blog positive and upbeat, not only for you, my handful of readers, but so that I have something positive to reflect on myself. Please know that I am staying informed, staying vigilant, and staying active in supporting a world that is good for more people than it was before. 

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Sansa’s Lemon Cakes [recipe]

Season 6 of Game of Thrones is in full swing! I am a reluctant latecomer to this show, as I don’t watch any HBO shows and tend to not really jump on a popular show’s bandwagon once it gets really big. Especially dramas. I was definitely really resistant to watching GoT because I heard it was very graphically violent and sexually explicit, two things I usually avoid in my shows.

But with spoilers on my newsfeeds and timelines every Sunday evening and Monday, I knew an awful lot about Game of Thrones without having ever watched a single minute from the show. I could have made a very impressive “Things I Know Without Watching the Show” slideshow, as I did with Doctor Who a few years back. (In fact, I think I started one and then just decided to watch the show, because I had so much information on my hands…)

Sansa refusing to eat her favorite food with Tyrion Lannister

So of course, in a totally expected move, I decided to have a themed watch party for the season 6 premiere! It was my first time watching the show live (and not several episodes at a time on HBOGo) so we went to Don and Megan’s (of recently-married fame on this blog here) and had a themed feast! Don made each of us our own honey-glazed Cornish game hen with roasted onions, potatoes, and carrots. Ben and I brought bread & salt (which was supplemented with some olive oil and black pepper) and a salad to balance out our feast, as well as the ingredients for Sansa Stark’s favorite lemon cakes.

Lemon cakes served to Sansa by her aunt Lysa

Most fans may know that lemon cakes are Sansa’s favorite food, but why? It stems from young Sansa’s aspirations of being a lady, doing ladylike things, living that lavish lady life. Lemons are extremely hard to come by in frosty Winterfell, so it makes sense that a young girl who wants to live this life of luxury would yearn for this hard-to-get delicacy and how easily it fits into her image of what life as a lady would be like: laughing in a courtyard, drinking tea, eating lemon cakes, with other ladies who shared her interests. It’s an idyllic world that, unfortunately, is unlikely to become a reality for Sansa. But she can still enjoy delicious lemon cakes.

Margaery and Olenna Tyrell offering Sansa lemon cakes

This was my first time using a recipe by Rosanna Pansino, aka Nerdy Nummies, and I had a few issues with doing so:

  1. While she does have the ingredients + quantities listed in the video description, there were no steps written in the description and no link pointing to a written recipe anywhere to be found. So, I was stuck rewatching parts of her video over and over in order to get the steps. Thankfully, this was a fairly short and simple recipe.
  2. The video was a bit annoying to watch over and over again. I felt like the target audience for Ro’s video was children, with her overly playful and silly tone and jokes, and it was irritating listening to them over and over again trying to determine the directions for these cakes.
  3. These cakes are intended to be served upside down so that the lemon on the bottom of the tins when you bake are on the top when you serve them. This is all well and fine BUT because we are baking in muffin tins, they have rounded tops and will not sit flat unless you slice off the bottoms. Which I would prefer not to do to avoid crumbly edges.

With that being said, here a written-down recipe adaptation of Ro’s lemon cakes, which did turn out very delicious, especially served with the freshly whipped cream that Don whipped up.
Read More »

Pre-Anniversary Dinner [recipes]

Today is not only Veteran’s Day, as it is also my anniversary, celebrating my not messing up my first relationship for three whole years.

All jokes aside, today is all about gratitude. I’m grateful to those who fought for us and I’m grateful to my boyfriend for sticking with me all this time.

Since we are going to one of our favorite places for dinner tonight, I thought I’d make us some dinner last night. I couldn’t decide which meal I wanted so I made both baked tilapia and linguine with shrimp scampi at my boyfriend’s place. He didn’t have every ingredient I wanted, but considering he usually tries to keep his kitchen more low-maintenance, I was really excited at what I did have on hand. I guess I was actually REALLY excited because I wanted to throw together a post based on our meal, but just please remember how my recipe posts go.

First, since it sits in an oven for a while:

Baked Tilapia

(Similar recipe used as reference)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tilapia fillets (thawed from frozen)
  • Butter
  • Seasoning
    • I used garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt & pepper. At home, I’d also use some Old Bay, but you can use whatever you’d like.
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • Frozen veggies
    • I used a mix that contained cauliflower, broccoli, & carrots, but feel free to use any veggies that you like to enjoy with fish. I would recommend a hardier veggie like broccoli versus something really small like peas, due to cooking time.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Line your baking dish/pan with aluminum foil and cover with butter/oil/cooking spray.
    • This ensures that you can remove your fish for serving.
    • I used sesame oil because I was feeling cheeky and I love sesame oil.
  3. Place tilapia fillets on the foil and season.
  4. Put little bits of butter on the tops of the fillets.
    • Then they melt and ooze flavor and it’ll be good stuff, really.
  5. Place 2 lemon slices evenly-spaced on each fillet.
  6. Put frozen veggies on tray around the fish and lightly season.
    • Optional: Drizzle a teeny amount of oil/put teensy bits of butter on veggies. They won’t really need the extra fats but it’s up to you.
  7. Cover the dish/pan with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven.

I served this with Trader Joe’s Chimichurri Rice (very yummy!) and kept my seasonings and buttering of the fish very light so that it wouldn’t be too heavy with the seasoned rice.

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How it looked before I put it in the oven

While you wait for the fish to finish cook in the oven, you can work on:

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:

A lot of these ingredients

  • Linguine
  • Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Lemon zest
    • HACKS: If you don’t have a zester or microplane like me, try using a vegetable peeler to get the zest off and then mince it up.
  • Lemon juice
    • And yeah, you could probably throw lemon slices in there like Ina did
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
    • I’m going to be really honest with you guys, I almost never cook without garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
    • My boyfriend doesn’t have these but I do and wished I was weird enough to bring them with me for this recipe.
    • Plus, that chimichurri rice is really flavorful, so it’s okay if this isn’t too heavily seasoned

Directions:

  1. Boil your linguine according to the instructions (boil a pot of salted water, put your pasta in, cook until a bit more than al dente because you’ll be cooking it a tiny bit more soon.)
  2. While your pasta is boiling, melt your butter in a pan with olive oil over a medium-low heat.
  3. Add minced garlic and sauté.
    • Don’t burn your garlic! Minced garlic burns especially easily because it’s so small.
  4. Add your shrimp to sauté until they just turn pink while adding in your dry seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice, (lemon slices,) and any other yummies you may have, e.g. red pepper flakes, parsley.
  6. Drain your cooked linguine and put it back in the pot with your shrimp and other goodness.
  7. Toss everything well and enjoy!

2014-11-10 18.11.12

Happy Veteran’s Day and happy anniversary to my better half.

2014-11-10 18.26.22

Share a recipe that you got really excited to cook lately, please? I’m really in the mood to cook as the weather gets cooler, so I’m super excited to make my kitchen werk.

Soondubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개) [recipe only]

(The other post got wordy. Here is a clean version of the recipe that may actually be useful for cooking.)

Soondubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개)

Thanks to Maangchi (excellent Korean recipe site that also goes in depth on the specific ingredients) and EatYourKimchi (Canadian expat who makes fun videos about living in Korea) for their recipes, which I adapted and Frankenstein-cobbled together to make something that worked for me.

Ingredients

Note: Asian cuisine is about adjusting things to how you like it, so you are free to use more or less of things, as this is not a precise recipe and all quantities are simply what I used; I will likely never use these exact quantities in this exact combination ever again, and all measurements listed are approximations. Feel free to substitute

Stock (멸치육수) (you can also use pre-made seafood stock or beef, chicken, vegetable, etc.)

    • 12 dried anchovies (myulchi, 마른멸치)
    • 8-inch strip of kelp (dashima,다시마)
    • 1 medium onion (sliced/diced if you’d like)
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms

Jjigae (stew)

  • 1 oz. fatty pork
  • 1-5 tbsp of hot pepper flakes (gochugaru, 고추가루)
  • 1 oz. kimchi + some kimchi juice
  • 1 cup of mixed seafood
  • Silken/soft tofu aka soondubu
  • Green onions aka scallions for garnishing
  • Sesame oil for serving
  • 1 egg for serving

Optional

  • Ddukbaegi (뚝배기) – black earthenware pot traditionally used for cooking and serving
  • Onion (sliced) for the stew
  • Zucchini (sliced) for the stew
  • Other seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp)
  • Soy sauce for flavor
  • Fish sauce for flavor
  • It’s a stew, add whatever you want, really.

Instructions

  1. Clean your anchovies by removing the intestines.
  2. Soak anchovies + kelp in water for about 20 minutes in ~2 cups of water
  3. While you are soaking your dry ocean ingredients, place your stock onion, whole garlic cloves, and dried mushrooms into a pot of ~4 cups of water.
  4. Boil, covered, for ~15 minutes
  5. Remove cover and reduce heat to allow the stock to reduce
  6. Add anchovy+kelp water to the pot of stock
  7. Boil, uncovered, until you’re happy with the stock (~10 minutes, do not overcook).
  8. Skim off icky foam
  9. Strain out the liquid for the stock to use in your stew.
    1. Optional: Remove (and slice) mushrooms and/or onion to use in stew
  10. Heat your pot that you will be using for your jjigae
    1. Optional: Add vegetable oil to aid with sautéing
  11. Brown your pork
  12. Add your vegetables to soften (onion, zucchini, more garlic if you love garlic like me)
  13. Add kimchi + hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  14. Fry until you can smell the kimchi + gochugaru in the air
    1. Optional: Drool over the smell
  15. Pour in stock until your bowl is about 3/4 full (it should sizzle when you do)
  16. Add seafood mix and let the stew come up to a boil
  17. Add tofu and break it up in the pot
  18. Reduce to a stew consistency (this is not a soup so let it get nice and thick)
  19. Adjust flavor with gochugaru, soy sauce, fish sauce, etc. if needed
  20. Take off heat
  21. Drizzle sesame oil
  22. Garnish with chopped scallions
  23. Crack the egg into the stew
    1. Either scramble it in or cover the pot and let it poach whole

Serve while still bubbling with a bowl of steamed rice and your choice of banchan (반찬) or side dishes.

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Enjoy!

Soondubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개)

(For a clear, actually usable recipe, please click here.) (Because the recipe included in this blog post is, much like the cook, chaotic.)

I live in a town with an extremely prominent Korean community. This is a bit of a change from where I lived previously, which had the largest Indian demographic of any town in the US along with a sizable Chinese and Jewish community. Whereas I used to have 3 Chinese supermarkets within a 10-minute radius of my house previously, I now have 3 Korean supermarkets within that 10-minute radius.

So, 7 years of living here have resulted me not being able to speak very much Korean. BUT I am a stickler for pronunciation, so the little bit I know is pretty convincing, according to some sources. (Source: Very kind friends.)

I had my very first taste of soondubu jjigae (순두부 찌개), otherwise known as Korean soft tofu stew  and a variety of other romanizations (soondooboo, sundubu, soondoobu, etc.) just a few weeks ago. The weather on the Eastern seaboard had gotten quite noticeably colder and I decided to try it. This bubbling pot of spicy tofu stew with an egg and seafood sounded really promising.

A bowl of soondubu jjigae, rice, banchan
My first soondubu jjigae ever! (Actually, it was my brother’s and I pilfered some.)
From: Manna Korean

Obviously, I never looked back since. I’ve had 3 soondubu jjigaes in the past month. That’s 3 more than I’ve ever had in my whole life previously.

My second soondubu jjigae (which was all mine!)
From: Gah Rahm Restaurant
My third soondubu jjigae, from a restaurant that specializes in soondubu jjigae!
From: Lighthouse Tofu

I was really determined to learn how to make this. This resulted in me going to a Korean supermarket on Saturday to buy the following things that I didn’t have in my house:

  • Ddukbaegi (뚝배기) aka “Dad I need to get one of those cool Korean black pots”
  • Myulchi (마른멸치) aka dried anchovies for an authentic-tasting stock
  • Dashima (다시마) aka kelp for an authentic-tasting stock
  • Gochugaru (고추가루) aka hot pepper flakes for spiciness (I later found out my dad had a secret store of this already what)

I used a few cheats and not-quite-right-but-it’ll-do substitutions to make do with what I had at home and not buy literally every ingredient from Lotte. Many thanks to Maangchi (excellent Korean recipe site that also goes in depth on the specific ingredients) and EatYourKimchi (Canadian expat who makes fun videos about living in Korea) for their recipes, which I adapted and Frankenstein-cobbled together to make something that worked for me.

Watch me struggle!

Here is a video I recorded while I was cooking to document the process. I edited out a lot of my struggle…

Without further ado…

Soondubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개)

Ingredients

(Note: Asian cuisine is about adjusting things to how you like it, so you are free to use more or less of things, as this is not a precise recipe and all quantities are simply what I used) (I will likely never use these exact quantities in this exact combination ever again)
(Because if you see “cups” or “tsps” or “oz” it’s seriously a complete guess I measured out nothing XD)

Stock (멸치육수) (it’s best to make the stock for the specific flavor, but you can also use pre-made seafood stock or beef, chicken, vegetable, etc.)

    • 12 dried anchovies (myulchi, 마른멸치)
      • Be sure to clean these by removing the intestines, or your broth will have a bitter flavor D:
    • 8-inch strip of kelp (dashima,다시마)
      • I think you’re supposed to use dried squares of these, but I used non-dried strips so… ??? I’d say maybe like 6 square inches?
    • 1/2 to 1 medium onion (sliced/diced if you’d like)
      • I sliced mine and used about 75% for the stock and reserved the other 25% for use in the stew
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 6 dried mushrooms
      • Officially, these should be dried shiitake, but I used something else oh well

Jjigae (stew)

  • 1 oz. pork (or protein of choice)
    • Fatty pork would be best here, e.g. samgyupsul, 삼겹살, but I only had lean pork so I may or may not have used a bit of bacon fat because it made sense in my head at the time…
  • 1-5 tbsp of hot pepper flakes (gochugaru, 고추가루)
    • This is one of the most easily adjustable parts of the recipe, as you are determining the spice level. It’s always best to start with less so you can add more later. I used one heaping Asian soup-spoonful (probably close to 2 tbsp)
  • 1 oz. kimchi + some kimchi juice
  • 1 cup of mixed seafood
    • You can buy cheap bags of frozen seafood mixes filled with things like mussels (out of shell), shrimp (peeled and deveined), calamari rings, etc. and thaw them while prepping your stock
  • Silken tofu aka soondubu
    • Since you add this towards the end, you’ll have to use your judgment for how much will even fit in your pot. Korean brands come in nice tubes, sometimes, but I used about 1/4 of a full square tub because I ran out room in my pot oops
  • Green onions aka scallions for garnishing
  • Sesame oil for serving
  • 1 egg for serving

Optional

  • Ddukbaegi (뚝배기) makes you feel cooler but is not necessary
  • Onion (sliced) for the stew
  • Zucchini (sliced) for the stew
  • Other seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp)
  • Soy sauce for flavor
  • Fish sauce for flavor
  • It’s a stew, add whatever you want, really.

Wow. Sorry about that… um… ANYWAY LET’S GET TO IT.

Instructions

These will be more straightforward since the ingredients list was such a mess.

  1. Clean your anchovies and get out the amount of kelp you want for the stock.
  2. Soak anchovies + kelp in water for about 20 minutes in ~2 cups of water
  3. While you are soaking your dry ocean ingredients, place your stock onion, whole garlic cloves, and dried mushrooms into a pot of ~4 cups of water.
  4. Boil, covered, for ~15 minutes
  5. Remove cover and reduce heat to allow the stock to reduce
  6. Add anchovy+kelp water to the pot of stock
  7. Boil, uncovered, until you’re happy with the stock (~10 minutes, do not overcook)
    1. Taste a little as you’re cooking to make sure you have maximum flavor without overcooking the anchovies into a yucky mess
  8. Skim off icky foam
  9. Strain out the liquid for the stock to use in your stew.
    1. Optional: Remove (and slice) mushrooms and/or onion to use in stew
  10. Heat your pot that you will be using for your jjigae
    1. Optional: With vegetable oil if your pork isn’t fatty enough
    2. Super optional: Bacon fat is what I used but… probably not the best XD
  11. Brown your pork
  12. Add your vegetables to soften (onion, zucchini, more garlic if you love garlic like me)
  13. Add kimchi + hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  14. Fry until you can smell the kimchi + gochugaru in the air
    1. Optional: Drool over the smell
  15. Pour in stock until your bowl is about 3/4 full
    1. Note: It will SIZZLE and that’s perfect! Don’t be scared 😀
  16. Add seafood mix and let the stew come up to a boil
  17. Add tofu and break it up in the pot
  18. Reduce to a stew consistency (this is not a soup so let it get nice and thick)
    1. At this point, you can adjust the flavor with more gochugaru, soy sauce, or fish sauce, or add more water/stock if the flavor is too strong
  19. Take off heat
  20. Drizzle sesame oil
  21. Garnish with chopped scallions
  22. Crack the egg into the stew
    1. Either scramble it in or cover the pot and let it poach whole

Serve while still bubbling with a bowl of steamed rice and your choice of banchan (반찬) or side dishes. I had some konjaban (콩자반) that I really wanted to dig into.

Enjoy! 😀