{Recipe: 1 Hour Pull-Apart Bread}

imageIf you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I’ve been on a chigiri pan roll over the past couple of months. ‘Chigiri pan’ means pull-apart bread in Japanese, and while there are plenty of specific chigiri pan recipes out there, they’re essentially two things: (1) soft and fluffy dinner rolls / pull-apart bread (sometimes with fillings); and (2) super kawaii(cute).


Given that I have two bread-nomming littles who share the same carb-lovin’ genes as their momma (I’m sure the 3rd will hop onto the bandwagon in no time), but with the added twist of time constraints (refer to aforementioned 3), and an egg and honey sensitivity thrown in there somewhere, I had to give my previously go-to 40 minute bread recipe a pass, but still needed something under an hour.

So if you’re in a rush, and have an egg allergy in the household, or just simply ran out of eggs, here’s a fuss-free and forgivable recipe to try out!


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Toddler Tuesdays: Sweet Potato Quinoa Tots


One of the items you’ll almost always see as a permanent fixture in my refrigerator is sweet potato. Idaho, Japanese, purple, white, yellow;- any kind of sweet potato is a winner in my kids’ books, or rather, on their plates. I’ve always looked for ways to make them more substantial as a meal or a snack. Besides the household favourite sweet potato hash and fries, I’ve tried sweet potato pancakes (major yums!), dinner rolls with sweet potato filling (pretty yum) and sweet potato muffins (just-about-there yum). But when you place one of my favourite superfoods alongside this nutrient powerhouse, consider my healthy curiosity piqued!

Crunchy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside with just the right amount of sweetness from the sweet potato, these tater tots, I mean sweet tater tots, or rather sweet tater quinoa tots, are quite once-you-pop-you-can’t-stop kind of yum. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce (good ol’ ketchup, or even some melted cheese sauce), and they’ll be irresistible to the little ones.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Tots
(makes alot, so bake what you need, and freeze the rest; adapted from here)

½ cup quinoa
1¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic minced)
dash of pepper
1 small sweet potato, boiled and mashed
1 loosely packed cup spinach, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 220C / 450F.
Bring the water to a boil in a pot. Add the quinoa, cover the pot and lower heat, allowing it to simmer, until all the water is absorbed.
Turn off the heat, and leave the pot covered for about 5 minutes. Once done, fluff the quinoa and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Take slightly more than a teaspoon sized amount of mixture and roll and shape with hands to form tots.
Place tots on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes or until browned and crispy outside.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Note: This makes a lot, so bake the amount you need, then freeze the rest of the tots unbaked. When you need them, just remove from the freezer, and add a few more minutes to the baking time.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies


You know those recipes you don’t even give a second glance because they sound almost oxymoronic;- one part of you is in utter disbelief of its claim, while the other more truthful side of you actually don’t want it to be true, because let’s face it,  sometimes we don’t want to mess with the classics, fats and calories notwithstanding. Like ‘skinny fried chicken’, or ‘guilt-free s’more blondies with Nutella filling’, for example. You almost expect them to taste like biting into a limp lacklustre meat, or slicing your way into a chocolate-coated piece of cardboard.

Hence my hesitation to call these ‘Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies’. And gasp, horror of horrors, they’re even vegan to boot! That’s right, no butter, no egg, no milk. And oh look, it’s even got wholewheat flour thrown in there to shake things up.

Crazy? Totally.

Delicious? Definitely.

Just like the classic triple c? Undoubtedly.

Thick, with crispy edges and a chewy center;- you can’t get any more perfect than that. And if my almost 4-year-old can make them all by herself in a cinch, so can you.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from here; makes 18-20 cookies)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F / 170C and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl cream together coconut oil and sugar. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until creamy.
In a separate bowl sift together all dry ingredients; flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Take tablespoon size portions and roll dough into balls. Place on baking sheet and gently flatten with the palm of your hand or the back of a spatula.
Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack. Serve immediately or keep stored in an air tight container out of the fridge.

Meatless Monday: Kimchi Fried Quinoa

kimchi fried quinoa

I love quinoa. I really do. Give me rice, brown rice, couscous, and I’ll still be hankering for that bowl of quinoa. But, the truth is I can never really finish a serving of quinoa pilaf on its own, unless it’s got my favourite squash-kale combination spelled all over it.

I’ve had it in salads, granola, and more recently in a faux-pizza crust, but no other fanciful flavour quite takes the cake for me. That was, until I realise that you don’t need fancy to enjoy good food. And that’s when this easy kimchi fried ‘rice’ came into the picture, and I wiped out the bowl as fast as it took to cook it.

And just between you and me, I’ve had this 3 times in 2 weeks. Obsessed much? Continue reading

{Recipe: 2-Ingredient Pizza Dough}

2-ingredient pizza dough

You guys should know by now that I’m all for quick and fuss-free recipes, be it in cooking or baking. While some of us may have the luxury of time to bake and crumb coat and frost and decorate a three-layered cake, wait for two to three rising times of a loaf of bread carefully and gently kneaded with love, or even slave away at the kitchen at what appears to be a five-course meal at a restaurant, there is then me.

The one who wants to be in and out of the kitchen as fast as I possibly can, often times wishing for Calvin’s transmogrifier and duplicator, while the mister tends to an active almost-3 year old whose voice I can hear from down the stairs, singing an irreverent tune as of a running commentary on what she is doing, and a crankily teething baby who really just wants a hug (or two, or like forever) and chooses to let the whole apartment, and the passersby walking outside and possibly across the road, know of his discontentment.

Guess what I’m trying to say is, make this. Keep this dough recipe in your repertoire, even if you’re not half as frazzled as me. Because we could all use a little shortcut in the kitchen at times. And by the time the pizza, or dessert pizza, or tortilla, or quesadilla (all variations made with the same versatile dough) comes out from the kitchen, you’ll almost feel like yelling, “Who’s ya momma!!”.

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Meatless Monday: Carrot Tofu Patties

eggless tofu burger patty

Since my first foray into tofu burgers, I’ve been playing around with a lot of recipes;- with breadcrumbs, without; with egg, without; with firm tofu, with silken tofu. And with that, comes several things I’ve picked up about tofu burger patties:-

1. Forget about the silken tofu. Save that for a chocolate mousse or a tofu brownie, and go firm tofu (or tau kwa) all the way.

2. It’s tempting, but try not to drop an egg into the mixture. That way, not only will you have a perfect meatless monday meal, you can safely serve it for vegan vednesdays as well. Okay, I totally made that up, but you get me.

3. Opt instead to pair tofu with vegetables like grated carrot and shredded zucchini, as well as black beans or pinto beans, to act as a natural binder, and added nutrients and flavour.

4. Season, season, season. Tofu’s pretty bland, which makes it a great vehicle for all sorts of flavours and spices waiting to burst on your palate.

5. Dry your tofu. The one I used here did not come in water, so it was perfect, but for regular versions, don’t skip the drying part, as tofu can contain a lot of moisture which will make your patties crumbly.

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Recipe: 4-Ingredient Healthy Wholewheat Banana Muffin (No Sugar, No Egg, No Oil)

wholewheat banana muffin

Ever since I began baking banana breads and muffins without any added sugar;- yes, not even unrefined sugar;-  I’ve never looked back. I’ve seen healthy recipes with added pure maple syrup, sucanat and honey, and all I can think of is;- one, they must have a sweet tooth; two, their bananas must not be spotty enough; and three, they must not have tried going the 100% banana route!

Seriously people, as daunting and drastic (and life-changing) as it may sound, slap that wrist, and drop that sweetener the next time you want to bake a banana bread or muffin. So what happens if it’s not as sweet as you like your quickbreads to be? Well that’s where your optional chocolate chips come in, for an easier transition. Or if it’s already baked, and you scream bloody murder “Thou liest, Ovenhaven! Thou liest!”, then make a healthy date syrup or chocolate glaze (add a lil cocoa powder to date syrup) to go with it.

There is nothing quite like embracing the natural sweetness of overripe bananas, lending a warm subtly caramelised flavour to their baked counterparts. And something as natural and basic as that definitely calls for a simple no-frills 4-ingredient recipe that is healthy, delicious and full of that yummy banana flavour! Continue reading