Tag Archives: easy

Simple Homemade Granola

Since we’ve covered lunch and dinner, I thought it would be only natural if we paid a little tribute to breakfast. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Hands down. There are so many delicious oatmeal and smoothie bowl recipes that I’m dying to share with you, but I realized that there’s one thing we need to do first. This staple is something we all know and love, and is best when piled on top of all of those other delicious recipes I just mentioned. I’m talking homemade granola.

A good granola recipe is something everyone should have, especially my gluten-free peeps out there. The best part? It’s easy, its fast, it lasts for weeks and the recipe is super flexible. This is an eye-ball-it kind of recipe, and as long as you’ve got the base ratio down, you can add however many mix-ins you desire.

Personally, I have a few granola recipes I like to make. However, the one we’re doing today its the easiest to do in a dorm kitchen. It’s protein-packed, and coconut oil-based. Really filling, healthy, and delicious.

Here’s what you need…


  • 4 Hand-Fulls Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Protein Powder (I used vanilla flavored to make it a little sweeter)

Nuts & Seeds:

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/8 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)


  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Cherries
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries


1. PREHEAT… the oven or confectioner’s oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. CHOP… all your dried fruits and nuts as indicated in the list above.


3. MELT… coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then mix all the base ingredients in a bowl until completely combined. All oats should be damp.

4. MIX… nuts and seeds into base mixture. Then spread the mixture on cookie sheet.


5. COOK… for 20 minutes on 325 degrees, stirring occasionally.

6. ADD… fruits to mixture once done cooking. This is important! If you add it before, the fruit gets really hard and dry. You could honestly chip a tooth.

FullSizeRender 2

7. If you like your granola sweet, drizzle a little honey, or maybe even some cinnamon on top. Let everything cool, OR eat it hot with some cool milk. Mmmm! 

8. Finally, use this on top of everything! Or eat it dry by the hand-full. It’s a great, filling snack or meal whenever you want.


Veggie “Hand Roll” with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Hello again everyone!

This week we’re going to move out of the realm of dinner and explore a lighter, and usually more rushed, meal: lunch! The goal is to show you all that lunch doesn’t need to be a rush job. Instead, it should be the mid-day break that you look forward to. So here’s your challenge: pick a day next week that you’re going to forgo to protein bar and on-the-go yogurt and make lunch in the morning. If you need some help deciding what to make, I can help!

Today I’m sharing with you Veggie Wrap “Hand Rolls” with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. This recipe is an obvious play on sushi. We’re going to put a ton of fresh, crunchy veggies and hummus in a crisp seaweed wrap. Our “soy sauce and wasabi” is going to be a deliciously sweet and savory honey mustard. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so good.

Here’s what you’re going to need to…

Wrap/Hand Roll

1 Raw Nori Seaweed Sheet

1 Red Bell Pepper

2 Carrots

2 Leaves of Kale

A heavy dollop of your favorite hummus


Dipping Sauce/Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Dijion Mustard

1 tsp. Honey


FIRST… Wash your veggies well. Julienne the pepper and carrots (cut them into long, thing strips as seen below.) Cut the tough, center core out of the kale. Then, just rip the kale into bite-sized chunks.

When all is said and done, your cutting board should look like this…


TO MAKE THE SAUCE…Put your teaspoon of both dijon mustard and honey into a small bowl. Mix it up. (How easy is that?!) You can use another kind of mustard if you have no other choice, but I strongly encourage the dijon. The difference in flavor is really noticeable.  The dijon has a kick that plays off the honey brilliantly. It’s borderline magic.


NEXT… Toast your seaweed. You can do this several different ways. If you have a convection oven, that’s the easiest. Pop the sheet in there and toast it for about 30 seconds, or until it turns green and is flexible to the touch. The change from toasted to burnt happens really quickly, so keep your eye on it. Other ways you can do this is holding the seaweed in tongs over an open flame or in a dry pan on your stove top.

TO ASSEMBLE… Do this quickly while the seaweed is still malleable. First spread a generous heap of hummus into the middle of the wrap on the diagonal (because thats the direction you’re going to roll it.) Then, add your cut vegetables. You can put as many as you feel comfortable with. I like to really load it up. If you have extra, just make another wrap, or dip it in more hummus!

Roll it all up on the diagonal, using your fingers to scrunch in the veggies and keep the roll tight. Channel your inner Chipotle worker. Then, slice it down the middle and you’re ready to eat!


Happy lunching everyone! Let me know how this works for you in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!


Sweet Tooth Recipes: Oreo Truffles

I think it’s safe to say that chocolate and cookies always pair well together. In fact, it may not even be worth eating cookies without chocolate in the mix. But cream cheese too? I was hesitant when I heard that these Oreo truffles combined cheese with chocolate – however, I was very pleasantly surprised by the result. This combo cheesecake/cookie is a deliciously rich dessert that is easy to make and great to share with friends.

This is one of those desserts that’s just better made at home…and I’m not sure of any bakery in the city that makes them quite like this. If you are yearning for a chocolate dessert, but don’t have a ton of kitchen skills then try out this simple Oreo truffle recipe.



1 Box of Oreo Cookies

1 8oz package of Cream Cheese

1 package of Semisweet Chocolate Chips

2 tbsp. of Butter



1. In a food processor, or let’s be honest, in a plastic bag using your hands or a rolling pin, crush the Oreos until they form crumbs.

2. Pour crushed Oreos in a bowl and add the Cream Cheese. Using a spoon or fork, combine the cheese and Oreos until they form a dough-like solid texture.

3. Form the Oreo mixture into the small balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm.


4. In a separate bowl, combine butter and chocolate chips. Heat in microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.

5. Take Oreo balls out of refrigerator. Dip each Oreo ball into the melted chocolate and place back onto parchment paper. Place in freezer for 1 hour.

6. If you wish, you can decorate the Oreo truffles with Oreo crumbs, white chocolate drizzle or anything else your creative mind can think up.

Here’s to the chocohalics. Eat & Enjoy.


Time to change your mind about Brussels Sprouts

From the blog, The Neurotic Kitchen, http://www.neurotickitchen.com/2012/10/restaurant-inspiration-ilili-brussels.html

Brussels sprouts. My mother never really cooked them when I was a kid. The first time I heard of them, I also heard that they tasted like rotten socks. And so I avoided at all cost for the majority of my life until I had them as a mezze at Ilili, a modern Lebanese restaurant in Flatiron. They were bitter, salty, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. Recently, I’ve decided to try my hand at making them. I looked up the recipe online and made them for myself and I was so surprised at how easy they were to make. There really aren’t any measurements involved, and so I’m not going to give quantities in this recipe.

All you need are brussels sprouts, a good quality fig preserve, yoghurt, and fresh, finely chopped mint.

First, blanche the vegetables by cooking them in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

Then, on high heat, shallow fry the sprouts in vegetable oil until they become very golden brown and crispy.

Next, make a mint-yoghurt by adding the amount of mint that you’d like to the yoghurt. Mix equal parts fig preserve and water, and heat them in the microwave until you get a nice smooth mixture.

Finally, assemble your dish by layering the mint-yoghurt, and fig jam over the fried sprouts. Optional but delicious toppings are fresh grapes, cut in half, and toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped. This is a really easy recipe to make, and I hope that it changes your mind about brussels sprouts the same way it did for me!

Image taken from the blog, Marisa's Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/
Image taken from the blog, Marisa’s Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/


Cooking While You Sleep

Everyone knows that mornings can be a huge issue. You wake up too late, you have to do homework before class, you don’t know what you want for breakfast. For me, it’s generally oatmeal to the rescue. By generally I mean very, very often. Oatmeal is one of those things that keeps you going for the whole day, because it’s full of energy and fiber. Overnight oats are the kind of oats that sound really fancy and impress people because they have the word ‘overnight’ in them and so people assume that they’re the fancy version of instant oatmeal. Luckily, they’re a thousand times better but almost as easy to make. Actually, a lot of the work happens while you’re asleep, so it almost makes no sense not to make oatmeal this way. I used to be really intimidated by them and stuck to the ten minute kind until I figured out how to make them, and then it was like a whole new world of oats had come alive. Breakfast got better, so life got better.

peach topped oats

The magic rule here is the ratio: 1 to 1 oats to liquid – whether that liquid be water or milk (almond, soy, dairy, pick your poison). I usually use water, and use a little bit less liquid because I like my oats really thick, but the consistency is up to you. Put it in a bowl, or a container that you can put in the fridge, and add toppings. Toppings make just about any meal better, and that holds true for oats. Add a few pinches of cinnamon, a small spoonful of maple syrup, a drop or two of vanilla extract, or a spoonful of jam, depending on how flavor-y you want your oats. Then add chia or ground flax seeds, coconut flakes or something of the dried fruit variety – cranberries, raisins, mango or dried banana. I tend to like fresh fruit on top, added at the last minute, so I go with a combination of cinnamon, vanilla extract because vanilla makes everything better and chia seeds. Another favorite is raspberry jam and coconut flakes, which is seemingly not good but is actually very good.

So you have all of it in a bowl. Cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge while you sleep. Everything absorbs and melds together. Wake up, cut up some fruit or throw in some granola, and you’re good to go. Easiest homemade oatmeal ever. And it’s actually good. I like peaches on top, because they give the entire thing a fresh summery feel, but stewed blueberries or pomegranate seeds are other options that can work really well for winter. The fact that you can just put it all in a mason jar the night before and grab n go in the morning is just the flax on top of the whole situation.

SoCal Cooking: Chickpea Picadillo

In the middle of a semester, these things called midterms that screw up students’ sleep cycles, challenge the efficiency of their work habits, and worst of all, distort their eating habits. I believe the best way to combat this stress-induced state of malnourishment (or sometimes gluttony) is to make a lot of really good food, and I mean a lot. And yes, this recipe is just that. 

Picadillo itself is a Latin American and Filipino dish, usually composed of potatoes and beef with tomato sauce as the base. Picadillo is served atop something like rice or plantains. It is essentially a spicy stew with diced vegetables. The Filipino variation, the one I made, is not as thick as a stew, but a bit more soup-like, and usually eaten atop rice. The best thing about this dish is that it serves up to  6-8 people just from 40 minutes of cooking, and, most importantly, it’s versatile! Especially during the weeks of midterms, versatility and brevity are the foundations of every college student’s meal. If the midterm stress is making you feel like you can’t accomplish as much as you want or that you’re not doing as great as you want, cook this dish. You’ll get it done, do it right, and feel good.  

Chickpea Picadillo


  1. 1 large white onion, diced
  2. 2 Green chili peppers, diced
  3. 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
  4. 1 1/2 cup of corn
  5. 1 14oz can of chickpeas 
  6. 5 large carrots, chopped
  7. 3 green onions, chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic
  9. 2 cups white rice
  10. 1 can tomato sauce
  11. 2 cups water
  12. 2 tablespoons of  black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon of cumin 
  14. 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes

1. Oil the pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Add the garlic, cook for just a minute on medium heat.
3. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the spices, stir well, continue cooking on medium high heat. 
6. Add the corn, carrots, chickpeas, green onions, and green chiles. Cook for 6-10 minutes.
7. Add potatoes, tomato sauce, and water
8. Cook, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

9. Spread over rice and serve!

Super Simple Trout

Pan Fried Trout with Spinach and Rice

I really enjoy fish in the winter but it can be so expensive that it is overwhelming. Cheap fish is generally also bad fish. Think tilapia. It’s gross. However, there are a few inexpensive fish including skate, cod and trout! Since trout is a mild fish it is best done simply with lemon and parsley as the major flavor profiles. Below is a super easy (hence the title) recipe for trout. I served it with some garlic brown rice and spinach sautéed with shallots. The best part about this meal aside from the yummy factor is that it reheats really well. I cooked three filets and had one for dinner then packed up the other two in a tupperware for lunch. Just microwave it covered for 45 seconds to 1 minute and then enjoy.

Super Simple Trout

  • trout filets de-boned but with the skin on
  • flour
  • parsley, chopped
  • lemon, sliced
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Season the trout with salt and pepper 
  2. Place pan on high heat. 
  3. Melt butter in pan, butter should just coat the bottom of the pan (~1/2 tbsp)
  4. Dip trout into flour covering both sides. Place in hot pan skin side down. Sprinkle top with parsley. 
  5. Cook until skin is browned, about 3 minutes. Trout should release easily from pan. If it sticks let it cook for 1 minute more. 
  6. Flip and cook with skin side up for about 1 minute. 
  7. Remove from pan. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon. 


Roasted Tomato Soup

Lately it has been soup weather. When I am frozen to the bone all I want is a big bowl of tomato soup. The thing is, I really don’t like canned soup. Campbell’s tomato smoothie in a can just doesn’t do it for me. Sadly, prime tomato season is early august to late september. We are far out of prime tomato season. This did not stop me from running to Whole Foods to buy a big bag of tomatoes. The recipe below is insanely yummy and there are a few quick tricks to make it more winter friendly.

  1. Collect amazing tomatoes in summer and do all of the steps below up until cream is added. Pour the mixture into strong plastic bags and freeze. When you want tomato soup in the dead of winter thaw it, warm it up, and add the cream.
  2. Drain whole canned tomatoes (I suggest San Marzano) of as much liquid as possible and proceed with the recipe.
I suggest serving this with a good piece of crusty bread with butter or a spread (peppadew pepper spread). 
Roasted Tomato Soup (Serves 6)
16 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut into 2 inch slices (or 3 cans of whole tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic, un-peeled
1/2 cup +2 tbsp  olive oil
Coarse Kosher Salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and lay tomatoes and garlic in baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.
  2. Roast tomatoes for 1 hour or until they are soft, caramelized, and the skin comes off easily.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them. 
  4. Peel tomatoes and transfer into pot/soup pan. Squeeze garlic from its skin, add it to the pan, and pour in any pulp or juices remaining. Place pan over medium heat and crush tomatoes against the side of the pan with the back of a metal spoon until there are only small chunks. If you like smoother soup use a immersion blender or food processor to smooth it out. 
  5. When the mixture is hot but not yet boiling slowly pour in the cream. Season to taste and serve. 
  6. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil, rosemary, and thyme in  a small saucepan over low heat until fragrant. Spoon over soup and serve immediately. 

Braving the Storm with Quiche Lorraine

Manon touches on a feeling that many of the students on campus have felt-a desire for something cozy and delicious as the winds blow and the rains fall outside.  If you’re ready to cook, Manon’s got an easy recipe that’s sure to help with those stir-crazy feelings.

There’s nothing better than getting cozy in bed and watching a movie on a stormy day, listening to the patter of the rain against the window and the whistle of the wind outside. Well, I guess that wasn’t quite the case during Hurricane Sandy, but it was pretty awesome to have two days off of school. I was super excited about not having to go to class, and had planned on catching up on all the work I had fallen behind on. But by 4 PM on Monday, most of that work was done and I was sick of hanging out in the dorm lounge I’d been cooped up in since 10 that morning. It was definitely great to not have to go to class, but I hadn’t thought of the fact that I’d be cloistered in that same building for such a long time. I guess I wouldn’t really have wanted to go outside anyway though…

Luckily, I had stocked up on food before the two-day quarantine period, so I had lots of ingredients with which to cook and occupy myself during the numerous study breaks I’d be needing throughout the day. So, I made a quiche in the morning since I had been craving one for such a long time and feared losing electricity by evening (which is when I would have made one under normal circumstances). And I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of having a bunch of raw eggs, milk, and cream for dinner when I could have made something delicious instead. So I didn’t risk taking the chance and was busy in the kitchen early in the morning. Continue reading Braving the Storm with Quiche Lorraine

Potato and Leek Gratin

As usual, Manon’s Thursday posts give us a reason to feel hungry and adventurous in the kitchen.  This week, she explores one of her favorite comfort dishes (with a surprise twist at the end), with flavors just right for that post-midterm self-loathing.

When it gets around to being midterm season, I seem to have less and less time to do anything, and with the impending winter season slowly creeping upon us, I am increasingly in the mood for warm, comfort food. So here’s the perfect dish: gratin. Traditionally, these are made with alternating layers of sliced potatoes and cream, topped with freshly grated Gruyère, and then thrown into the oven until the potatoes are cooked through and the cheese is golden and crispy. By replacing the potatoes with other ingredients, many variants are possible, such as cooked pasta, leeks, zucchini, and more. In fact, this is a great dish to make if you have a bunch of leftovers that you don’t really know what do to with. Just throw anything in, pour in some cream, add a pinch of ground nutmeg if appropriate, and grate some cheese on top. It always turns out delicious.

Well, most of the time… I’m used to having my mom or grand-ma’s deliciously rich and creamy gratin, and when they make theirs it always looks so easy. You just throw everything in the dish and then in the oven, and voilà! A beautiful dinner. I soon figured out that it’s not that simple, but this turned out to be the result of some oven temperature confusion. Here’s the full story:

A friend and I had decided to make dinner since the people she nannies for were going to be out of the house that night. I was so excited about the fact that I’d be able to cook in a fully equipped kitchen where I wouldn’t have to worry about the fire alarm going off due to a malfunctioning fan, and then having my whole dorm building evacuate on my account. This was such a perfect opportunity to make something I knew would be delicious. So the menu for the night featured chicken with caramelized onions and a white wine-reduction cream sauce with a potato gratin on the side. The chicken was great. The gratin…

Continue reading Potato and Leek Gratin