Pandan cake on my “free” day!

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A few months ago I saw a recipe by Alan of TravellingFoodies for a Pandan Chiffon cake and I knew I had to make it.  I had recently come across the pandan flavor in a cookie, but there the flavor was called screw-pine…and I loved it.  It’s taken me this long to finally make it!   Now if you’ve been reading along with me you will know that I recently started a new way of eating which does NOT include alot of cake. Fortunately I picked a way that allows one “free” day a week where you can eat ANYTHING you want. (Love it!)  The rest of the time you eat really “clean” with a balance of protien to carb to fat (40-40-20 if you really want to know….yawn…..boring).

The most important ingredients!

Now Alan uses fresh pandan leaves to start out with, but I don’t have easy access to that, so these little bottles will have to do.  You can check his site in the link above if you’d like to use that method which is probably better. So we start off by creaming together:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50g superfine sugar (caster sugar)

Cream until the yolks get pale and creamy.

Like this.

Then add:

  •  60 g of vegetable oil
  • 100 g coconut cream
  • 3 Tb pandan essence
  • 1T pandan paste
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine well and then add in 130 g cake flour and 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.

Now we make a meringue using:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 60g of superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk until stiff peaks are just obtained (I think I went too far).

Don’t beat to this stage.

Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the pandan mixture until well combined, then add in the rest of the meringue in two parts folding gently. Because I beat the merengue too much I had to fold more vigorously to make sure there were no clumps of egg white. You want to keep as much of the meringue texture and air as you can.

Pour into a tube pan, rap the pan against the counter to remove any trapped air bubbles and bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 40 mins.  Immediately invert the pan to cool.

Thanks Alan!  Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours but it tasted wonderful.

What else did I get to eat on my free day?  Well pancakes and burgers and mac and cheese!  Oh and chocolate of course!

Salmon with quinoa-grapefruit salad or….I can do this!

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Diet, Diet, Diet, hateful word.  However, this challenge I am doing is nothing like a traditional diet!  I’m not hungry and I get to eat up to 6 times a day!!!  In fact, it’s encouraged.  I have to admit some days I can only eat 5 times.  What in the world kind of diet is this you might ask (and I would too).  It’s from a book called Body for Life and it’s an exercise and eating program.  Yes exercise and you push yourself quite hard.  But I’m a bit of a masochist so I don’t really mind that part.  It’s the sweets part that’s harder for me.  Sweets are limited to one “free” day a week. But I can do this….  Anyway, I had a nice piece of salmon waiting for dinner and I had a grapefruit that I hadn’t eaten yet.  What could I make?

Salmon with quinoa-grapefruit salad of course!  Adapted from the Food network here

  • Peel of a grapefruit
  • sliced ginger (a piece as large as a thumb)
  • olive oil  (3-4 Tb)
  • 1 cup Quinoa

While your quinoa cooks, just like rice 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, bring to boil, cover and simmer until water is gone.  Oh, if you get your quinoa from a bulk food section like I do you will want to let it soak in cold water for at least 10 mins and then rinse until the water runs clean.  Otherwise it supposedly leaves a bitter taste.  I’ve never had that happen yet but I always soak and rinse.

Put the olive oil in a small pot and add the grapefruit peel, careful not to get the white pith part, and the sliced ginger.  Bring to just a simmer and turn off the heat.  Let it soak while you prepare everything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Separate the grapefruit into segments removing the membrane. You will need at least 3 Tb of juice so make sure that happens as you separate!

Put the Quinoa in a bowl and add chopped scallion (2-3) and chopped cilantro and salt & pepper to taste.

Combine:

  • 3 Tb grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tb rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave sweetener (the original recipe says 2 tsp honey)

Whisk together and slowly stream in the oil from the peel/ginger mixture to make a dressing.  I reserved some of the oil mixture to use on some asparagus and on the salmon.  Pour the dressing into the quinoa and mix well. You can add the grapefruit segments to it now, or if you’re like me and have a Jason who doesn’t like grapefruit all that much, add it to your own serving.

I took some asparagus, put it on a cookie sheet covered in foil and brushed some of the peel/ginger oil on it, sprinkled it with salt and put it on the bottom rack of a 400 F oven.  The other rack was 2 down from the top. While the asparagus cooked for about 5 minutes I put the salmon on a foil cookie sheet and poured the remaining oil on the salmon and sprinkled it with about 1 tsp of brown sugar and some salt and pepper.  After the 5 minutes was up, I left the asparagus in the bottom and put the salmon on the 2nd rack.  This cooked for about 10 mins.   Lovely.

It was really delicious. I’m getting the hang of this “clean” eating thing, I probably still don’t have it figured out yet.  But hey, I have one more meal to go tonight!  I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my silly dogs who really wanted, either my attention or a piece of fish!

Fish please.

 

Pumkin Pistachio Protein muffins and a new leaf.

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What is this?  What am I doing adding protein powder to a muffin?!  Is this sacrilege?  Well, yes and no I would say.  I’ve been entering the whole new world (for me) of clean eating.  What does this mean?  It means I’m on a diet….I hate and despise that word….I’m on a new way of life!  that sounds much better and less sacrificial. I’ve posted about having gained weight recently and I just can’t stand it anymore.  I’m in my 40s and I refuse to accept that this is just what happens when you get older.  I don’t believe it.  I’ve seen women my age who look fantastic and I want to join their ranks.  Vain? Ok, you can call me that but why not look as good as you can for as long as you can?  But what about baking?!  and my sweet tooth?  Well I’ve discovered that there are some recipes out there that will fulfill my needs and that I can still play around with.  I found a great blog by someone named Janetha , she has tons of recipes on her blog, mealsandmovesblog.com,  which have the combination of protein, carbs and fats that I’m trying to follow.  I adapted one of her muffin recipes to make the following:

Pumpkin Pistacio Protein muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I use a whey powder)
  • 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 Tb applesauce
  • 3 TB honey
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk the egg whites and add the wet ingredients to them.  Add the wet to the dry and just combine. Grease 12 muffin tins or use silicon. Bake for about 20-25 mins depending on your oven.

Pumpkin, Pistachio, Protein muffins!

How do they taste you might ask?  Well in the middle of a “clean” diet, they are not too bad!  Not super sweet but these were moist, and tasty and definitely hit that sweet spot so I will stay motivated.  I will keep posting on my progress for anyone who is interested.