No bake protein bites

I’ve been working out regularly for the past 3+ years. I go through phases when I’m really active, going to the gym and doing physical activity ~3x/week paired with phases when I’m lazy and just bum around the house all day. Usually these phases go hand in hand with vacations and summer. Since summer is coming, I’m in my amped-up health fitness phase. I’m working out and eating right.

These protein or energy bites have been in the scene for a short while now but I never got around to trying them out until now. I used Gimme Some Oven‘s recipe because it’s easy enough to follow. I did not take time to grind up the flax seeds – they’re delicious whole and I enjoy the texture they give the bites.

  

I didn’t measure anything, just kind of eye-balled it and add more when deemed appropriate. This is an adaptation of Gimme Some Oven’s recipe and you can certainly make any changes to a “dump and mix” kind of recipe. The best thing about these bites, they’re delicious! Very filling too.

No Bake Protein Bites
recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.

Store in an air tight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Chocolate bundt cake 

I love all sorts of sweets. Most often, I lean towards chocolate goodness. There’s something about the silky, smooth, decadent chocolate cake that always hit the mark for me. I’m excited that bundt cake is making its way back to every kitchen’s recipe book again. Just a few years ago, bundt cakes were something from the 70s that moms made. Now with the popularity of Nothing Bundt Cakes dessert stores nationwide, it’s making quite the come back.

This cake is beyond perfect. It’s moist and airy, with just the right amount of richness. What brings this cake to the moon is the intensely smooth and rice icing. It calls for a good amount of black coffee and you can really taste it in the entire bundt cake. I’m in love with it. I look forward to every occasion when I can make this cake again!

Chocolate Bundt Cake
recipe from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Glaze:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled

Instructions:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.

To make the cake batter: Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will be very loose. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing: Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put them in a heatproof bowl with the butter and heat in the microwave. Whisk the melted butter into the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated. Sift in half of the powdered sugar. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick and shiny. Lastly, add the coffee and whisk to create a glossy glaze.

Pour the glaze over the bundt cake, covering it completely. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve.

Puerto Vallarta 

There was no time between school and spring break to let you know that I was leaving for Puerto Vallarta before I flew out. I ended school on Friday and flew out first thing Saturday morning. I barely had any time to pack! Good thing bathing suits are light.

The first two months of this year has been just insanely fast. That’s what happens when I had to keep my head down day and night to study I guess. I’m so extremely blessed to have a husband that understands the high demand of my nursing program. To maximize on the time off during spring break, we decided to treat ourselves to a relaxing beach vacation. You know how much I love those!

PV was amazing. It’s a short plane ride away from SoCal (only 2.5 hours). We share the same water and coast – the Pacific West Coast – so it actually reminded me so much of home. The water is warm and the people are incredibly friendly and nice. We made a handful of friends at the resort we were staying at, most of them were from the bitter cold states and Canada, escaping their harsh winter. I always felt a tinged of “my bad” when I told them where we were from haha.

I love Mexico. Everything about it – food, culture, hospitality, lifestyle, and people – it never disappoints. I’ve been to several Mexico cities from both coast and I gotta say Cancun is still the best. But PV definitely win in terms of the people. Oh, and the food. The food was spectacular this trip!

Eggs Benedict

I don’t do brunch enough. And for that, I am missing out. It’s a great weekend meal that goes hand in hand with mimosas and breezy California weather. Every time I go out to brunch, I see couples and groups of girlfriends at nearly all of the tables. Occasionally, there will be a family brunch, which is totally cute! What a lovely way to start the weekend by catching up with loved ones.

Then comes the hard choice: sweet or savory. No matter which route you go, very likely you’ll want the other one you didn’t pick. C’est la vie. Usually, I go with savory. Most likely some sort of eggs benedict with a side of potatoes. Every so often though, I get a sweet crepe or Belgium waffle and I am completely in heaven.

IMG_0655

With a little extra time on a past Saturday, I decided to make my first attempt at brunch at home! Timid and shy and scared am I to face the world of poached eggs. Let me tell you, nothing to worry about it. It is cake. Don’t get the fancy-shmancy brunch places scare you into thinking this is beyond your egg-cooking skills. You got this!

I found two of the best and easiest recipes for eggs benedict from Pioneer Woman that you’re gonna love. It’ll completely change your weekends.

Eggs Benedict
recipe from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
3 egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
salt and peper
Cayenne pepper
4 whole eggs
2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
4 slices Canadian bacon, warmed in a skillet
Dash of paprika

Directions
Add the egg yolks to a blender. Add in the lemon juice and blend for several seconds. With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Turn off the blender and add in a little salt and pepper and cayenne. Whip it again until combined. Set this aside for a minute.

Next, poach an egg by gently cracking an egg into simmering (no bubbles) water.

Leave the egg alone for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, and then remove it with a slotted spoon and carefully place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

To serve, place a buttered, toasted English muffin half on a plate. Top the English muffin with a warm slice of Canadian bacon. Place the warm poached egg on top. And then pour on some warm hollandaise. Sprinkle a little paprika on top.

Breakfast potatoes
recipe from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
12 russet potatoes
EVOO, for frying
Butter, for frying
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
Salt and black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.

Place the hot potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch pieces.

Heat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Next, put a tablespoon of canola oil in the skillet. Add in some butter and the onions and saute until they start to turn brown. Next, throw in the cooked diced potatoes and the peppers. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then stir them around, slightly pressing them in the skillet. Cook without stirring for 5 to 7 minutes. You want to make sure the pan is hot enough to crisp the potatoes. Add more butter to the pan as necessary for moisture.

After several minutes, use a spatula to flip the potatoes over and cook on the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes.

IMG_0656

Year of the Goat

Happy Chinese New Year!

IMG_0688

A little late on the holiday but this past Thursday was Chinese New Year! It’s a year of the goat/sheep/ram (the translation isn’t all that accurate from Chinese to English for this one). New year celebration for my culture is very similar to the American New Year. It’s a big party for NYE, followed by three consecutive days of food and family. I also get money – a symbol for prosperity and luck – in red envelopes from my mom. The Chinese New Year is focused around family. Big gatherings and bonding time over lots of delicious food.

It’s my favorite tradition and one I plan to keep for my own family.

Happy New Year!

Love day

IMG_0650

I don’t think of myself as a romantic. Then Valentine’s day comes, and my heart is so full with love. I like the red hearts and cheesy cards, and as you already know, adore the abundance of chocolate. But I think what gets me more and more over the years is seeing people in love. All my friends and family post on the social outlets their Valentine’s day engagements and everyone is so in love. Even my single friends are out celebrating and having a grand ol’ time on Single’s Awareness day.

IMG_0656

Each day is Valentine’s day and I don’t need February 14th every year to remind me of that. However, it’s nice to celebrate love and happiness. Sometimes we need that one day a year to remind us of the abundance of love God has shown us through the people in our lives.

IMG_0665

My husband and I keep it pretty low key every year on this love day. All the restaurants are completely crazy busy and expensive so we usually cook or order take-out. Since Valentine’s day was on a Saturday this year, I had time to make nice breakfast of eggs benedict. No Valentine’s day is complete without chocolate and a nice bottle of something. This year, we pulled all the stops and had chocolate bundt cake, strawberries, and champagne for dessert. Recipes all coming soon!

Sending you all lots of love xo