It has been a busy week.  I managed to finish an exam, some school projects, and my day job.  Sometimes, I felt like I really didn’t even have time for lunch.  But as a fatty, I can’t skip lunch.  I need food.  LOL.  Going to the cafeteria would waste me 10 minutes going back and forth, and I may end up with burgers or fries which is not something I would like to have now since I’m trying to eat healthier.  I used to pack leftover for lunch if I was really busy and eat it at my desk. But I do have concerns because I don’t want my office to smell like food.  I like to keep the work environment neutral in smell.  So I started to make tuna fish sandwich instead.  I learned a trick from my friend for making tuna fish sandwich.  To prevent it from getting soggy, I toasted the bread lightly. This made the bread less absorbent.  I also learned to add some celery and onion with the tuna.  I used the 15-grain bread that gave some extra fiber to my meal.  I used light mayonnaise. It was yummy.  It was almost as good as Oliver’s super sandwich. LOL. Their tuna sandwich was so good.  It was soooooo thick stuffed with tons of tuna.  Mm… I missed that. I wish they have a store nearby.

Cut celery and onion
Cut celery and onion
Add tuna
Add tuna
Toast and let bread to cool down
Toast and let bread to cool down
Spread tuna mixture on the bread
Spread tuna mixture on the bread
Home made tuna fish sandwich
Home made tuna fish sandwich

Ingredients:

  • Bread, two pieces (whole wheat, or multi-grain would be healthier)
  • Light mayonnaise, 1.5 Tbsp
  • Canned tuna fish, 1 can (I used the solid tuna fish in water. I recommend that)
  • Celery, 1 stalk
  • Onion, chopped, about 1-2 Tbsp
  • Pepper, a dash

Steps:

  1. Set the toaster to the lightest setting.  Lightly toast the bread.  Set it aside to let it cool down.
  2. Cut celery into dices.  Put it in a bowl.
  3. Finely chopped onion.  Add this to the celery.
  4. Open a can of tuna.  Use the lid of the can to press down the tuna and squeeze out the water from the can.  The more water you get rid of, the better the sandwich would be because a soggy fish sandwich would be yucky.  Or you can use a colander to get rid of the water or whatever works for you.
  5. Add the tuna to the bowl.
  6. Add a dash of pepper and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise first to see if there is enough sauce to mix everything.  If you need more sauce, add the rest of ½ tablespoon.  Don’t add too much sauce because it will make the sandwich soggy, and it adds more calories. LOL.
  7. Mix all the ingredients well.
  8. Make sure the bread cools down before you add the tuna on it.
  9. Now you can wrap it up on a piece of aluminum foil or sandwich bag. And it is ready to go.

It was a great Friday yesterday. Nothing was urgent at work.  I didn’t screw up anything. LOL.  I made new friend, my cat is recovering, … a lot of things to celebrate.  I stopped by Trader Joe’s and I came across some interesting food.  They have frozen artichokes.  Artichokes are one of those weird looking things that don’t look too edible in my opinion.  It looks like a hybrid between a flower and a veggie.  It shapes like a flower, but green in color!  Very bizarre and intimidating.  A few years ago, my sister bought one artichoke and she wanted to experiment cooking it.  Artichokes are not Chinese vegetables.  We both had no clue.  We could have searched the web to find instructions but we didn’t.  Someone told her to steam it.  She peeled off the rough edges, then trimmed off the tips of each leave.  After steaming it, that thing looked worse. The green color turned brownish.  It was totally not appealing at all. But we had to eat our consequence, literally!  We each peeled off a leave.  I put it in my mouth.  The leave had so much unchewable fiber.  I just kind of sucked the juice a little bit, and discarded it.  It didn’t have much taste either.  I had a few leaves.  She had a few leaves. We tried this experiment, and it sucked.  We threw out the rest.  Guess what?  The next day her Brazilian friend told her that we threw out the most edible part called Artichoke Heart!!  WHAT???  I felt so stupid.  LOL… Now that I found out Trader Joe’s have this, I couldn’t help putting a bag in my basket.  I was debating if I should make it taste more like Chinese or not.  Then I remember I had seen some pasta dishes have artichokes in it. Bingo!  Italian!  Here comes my new experiment: Artichokes hearts with pasta sauce.  It was very yummy. It made a great side dish.  😀

 

Frozen artichoke hearts
Frozen artichoke hearts
Add artichoke, garlic and cooking wine
Add artichoke, garlic and cooking wine
Add pasta sauce to the artichokes
Add pasta sauce to the artichokes
Stir fried Artichoke Hearts
Stir fried Artichoke Hearts

 

Ingredients:

  • Artichoke hearts, 1 bag
  • Garlic, 1 clove (you can use more if you prefer)
  • Pasta sauce, 4 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp (I’m sure you can use any white wine)
  • Salt, a dash

 Steps:

  1. Finely chop garlic.  Put it aside.
  2. In a frying pan, spray cooking oil.  Use medium heat.  Put artichokes in the pan.  Let it cook for 2 mins.  Stir occasionally.  No need to defrost the artichokes ahead of time.
  3. Add garlic to the pan and cooking wine.  Stir fry it for couple of minutes until the artichokes look totally defrosted.
  4. Add pasta sauce.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until the sauce thickens and sticks to the artichokes.  Taste it. You can add more pasta sauce according to your liking.  Add a pinch of salt if needed. 
Sunny day
Sunny day

I woke up early.  I made an egg sandwich on whole wheat bread.  I played 18 holes of golf, I hit it well today.  I had a tuna fish sandwich on wheat for lunch.  It was a great day.  Recap for the last 7 days, I exercised 5 times at the gym and played 2 rounds of golf.  I felt great.  I was a couch potato the week before.  My childhood friend was crazy enough to join exercise classes at 9pm at night after her long hectic work days.  I was so inspired by her, and here I am working out 5 or 6 days a week, and watching out what I eat.  So far so good.  I am very proud of myself for the first week of my weight lost plan.  LOL.  My legs were so sore this morning since I exercised last night as well. But it was all good. Joy of pain.  I’m making Chili for dinner.  I love Chili.  You know why? Cos it’s meaty 🙂  Actually Chili is really a good meal by itself. It has meat, veggie, and beans.  I never knew how to make chili until my buddy showed me a cheating way of doing it.  He cheated with a can of ready-made chili and then added extra meat and whatever ingredients to it.  It was not bad at all.  So I modified this cheating version to use half beef and half turkey to cut down the fat.  One time, I brought some leftover Chili to work as lunch.  My coworker said it smelled good, and asked me how I made it.  Then he shaked his head and said “don’t do that!”.  He said it was much better just use chili powder.  Oh well, maybe I haven’t paid much attention at the grocery store and I haven’t come across any chili powder.  So for all of those Chili Police out there, don’t yell at me for not making the chili the proper way.  I’m going to keep making what I have been making till I learned the proper way someday.  For now, I still enjoy my cheating chili.  It is yummy.

Cook a pound of ground meat first
Cook a pound of ground meat first
Add diced tomato, a can of ready-made chili, and bean
Add diced tomato, a can of ready-made chili, and bean
Add onion and garlic. Let it simmer.
Add onion and garlic. Let it simmer.
Turkey Chili
Turkey Chili

 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Ground meat, 1 pound (I used half beef, half turkey, you can use ground chicken, or whatever you prefer)
  • Canned chili, 1 can (I used a can of 98% fat-free turkey chili with bean)
  • Canned diced tomato, 1 can
  • Bean, 1 can (I used a can of baked beans, you can use black bean, or whatever you prefer)
  • Onion, 1
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Ketchup, 4 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Grated cheese, 1 cup (Optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut the onion into dices.  Put it aside.
  2. Finely chop a clove of garlic.  Put it aside.
  3. In a big pot, cook ground meat.  Use high heat.  Stir it until it is fully cooked.  Add a tablespoon of cooking wine, and mix it well.
  4. Add a can of cooked chili to the pot.  Mix it well.
  5. Open a can of diced tomato.  Disgard the water.  Add the tomato to the pot.
  6. Open a can of bean.  Disgard excess water or oil.  Add the bean to the pot.
  7. Add chopped onion and garlic to the pot.  Mix it well.
  8. Add 4 tablespoon of ketchup to the pot.  Mix it well.
  9. Lower the heat to medium low.  Put a lid on (or a piece of aluminum foil on if you don’t have a lid).  Let it simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour.  Stir occassionally. 
  10. Taste it.  Add a pinch of salf or more ketchup if needed.
  11. Serve hot with grated cheese.

I’ve been stressed for the last few weeks on my job search and the health of my cat. I’m glad that at least the job search is over.  My cat is doing much better, but still I got a lot to follow up with the blood sucking vets.  Anyway, I really need something to make me feel better. I need comfort food.  Something like mom’’s Chinese Chicken, fried chicken, or meatloaf would do.  I know that would kill my diet.  But today is Saturday, I’m gonna cheat a little bit.  I promise I’ll do more Cardio X after this.  I never had meatloaf until I was in college.  My mom never made meatloaf as we couldn’t afford an oven back then. I told you, I grew up poor.  One day, I was at my classmate’s place, and she was making meatloaf for dinner.  I told her I never had meatloaf in my life.  She laughed.  She must have thought what planet I came from. LOL.  She said it was easy to make.  She put the ground beef in a container.  Put a bunch of ketchup and breadcrumbs and an egg in it.  And put more ketchup on the top and that was it.  Not too shabby.  I could not believe how easy it was.  I started to search for people’s meatloaf recipes, and modified them.  Finally, I come down to my own combination.

Meatloaf Mixture
Meatloaf Mixture
Super Easy Homemade Meatloaf
Super Easy Homemade Meatloaf

Note: You will need spray oil and two baking loaf pans.  One for the meatloaf.  Another one fills with water. I will explain later.

Ingredients (Serves 4-5):

  • Ground meat, 1-1.5 pound. I usually use 85% lean beef, but today I use 93% to cut down the fat.  Ya, trying to be healthier.  You can use half beef half turkey, that would be even healthier.
  • Onion, 1/2
  • Whole wheat English Muffin or regular Whole wheat bread, 1
  • Seasoned Breadcrumb, 1.5 cup
  • Large eggs, 2
  • Parsley (dried of fresh), chopped, 2 Tbsp
  • Italian seasoning, 1 tsp
  • Wostercher sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Parmesan/Romano cheese, 2 Tbsp
  • Ketchup, 3 Tbsp
  • Mustard, 2 Tbsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove

Steps:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, put the ground meat, mustard, wostercher sauce, cooking wine and ketchup.   Mix well.  Put it aside.
  2. Cut onion into small pieces.  Add to the bowl.
  3. Chop garlic. Add to the bowl.
  4. Cut bread into very fine cubes.  Add to the bowl.
  5. Add parsley, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, cheese, and eggs to the bowl.  Mix well.
  6. If it is too dry, add a couple tablespoon of water or milk.  Mix well.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  8. Prepare two loaf pans.  Spray one of them with non-stick cooking oil inside the edges of the pan.  Fill the other loaf pan with water about couple inches high. 
  9. Put the meat into the loaf pan that is sprayed with non-stick cooking oil.   Press the meat down. Then add a tablespoon of ketchup on top of the meat.  Use the back of the spoon to evenly spread it on top.  This will create a nice crisp surface after it is baked.
  10. When the oven is pre-heated, put the meat loaf and the other pan with water into the oven.  The water will create moisture in the oven and prevent the meatloaf from getting too dry.

Bake it for 50 mins.  Set your timer.

February 13, 2010

Cheesecake probably doesn’t belong here.  But today my classmate was talking about cheesecake and he said the one at school was good. I said no.  Then I told him that even though I just learned how to make cheesecake, mine was a lot better than that ;p  So now, I have no choice but to post the recipe.  

My first cheesecake was both a failure and success.  I followed Tyler Florence’s recipe exactly on every step.  He said the cheesecake should be jiggly after 45 mins in a 325 F oven.  I was wondering how jiggly was jiggly because mine was very jiggly!  Of course, since I had no experience in making any cheesecake, I wouldn’t know.  So I took it out of the oven, let it cool, then chill it in the refridgerator.  The next day when I cut a piece of it, it was like pudding, yucky!  So I dropped Tyler Florence a bad review!  Sorry, someone got to be honest!  Meanwhile, I read twenty or so reviews of his receipe, and I found out that people gave him 5 stars on the recipe after they set the oven temperature higher, the cooking time longer, skip some ingredients etc. I was like WTH???!!  Then people shouldn’t gave him a 5 stars on the recipe if they have to change his recipe so much.  Oh well… looking at my not so edible cheesecake, I decided to bake it again in the oven even though it has been chilled!  What do I got to lose, right?  After rebaking it for another hour, the texture was much richer.  Out of my surprise, it was actually delicious!  My coworker teased me that this was a Double-Baked Cheesecake. If you know the Chinese dish called “Double Cooked Pork”, you’ll get what I’m saying.  I Chinkinize the cheesecake!  LOL.

Anyway, I made this cheesecake 3 times now, they were very edible   Of course, I modified Tyler Florence’s recipe.

Cheesecake Mixture
Cheesecake Mixture

 

My Chinese Cheesecake
My Chinese Cheesecake

Ingredients (make a 9-inch cake):

Crust:

  • Graham crackers, 2 cup, finely ground
  • Melted butter, 3 Tbsp

Filling:

  • Cream cheese, 1 pound (= 2 blocks)
  • Large eggs, 3
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Sour cream, 1 pint
  • Lemon juice, 3 drops
  • vanilla extract, 2 drops

Steps:

  1. Note that all ingredients should be in room temperature before you make it.  Just leave them on the counter for an hour before you start cooking.
  2. Lightly coat an 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray oil.
  3. Mixed the grounded crackers and melted butter.  Lightly coat the bottom and half an inch of the side of the pan.  Press the crumbs down.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  5. When the oven reaches 350F, put the cake pan in the oven and bake it for 5 mins.  This will cook the crust a little bit and gives a nice crispy texture.  Take the cake pan out when the time is up.  Put it aside, let it cool down.
  6. In a larger mixing bowl, add all the cream cheese to the bowl. Use an electric mixer, use low speed and beat the cream cheese for 5 or 6 minutes until it becomes soft. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters.
  7. Add sugar a little bit at a time.  Continue to beat it slowly for a few more minutes or until it is combined and the mixture becomes creamy.  Periodically scrape down the side of the bowl adn the beaters to make sure it is well incorporated.
  8. Add an egg at a time. Continue to beat slowly until combined.
  9. Add sour cream, a couple drops of lemon juice, and a dash of vanilla extract.  Beat slowly until it is combined.  Scrape down the side of the mixture periodically.
  10. Set the cake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil, and fold up the sides around it.  Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan.  Pour the cake mixture in the cake pan. 
  11. Put the cake in a 350 F oven (it should be preheated before to reach the temperature).  Pour water into the roasting pan until the water is about an inch up the sides of the cake pan.  The foil will keep the water from seeping into the pan.  Bake it for 1 hour.  Turn off the oven.  Crack the oven door open, let it sit in the oven for another 20 minutes.  Take it out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for an hour.

Chill the cake in the refrigerator over night.