In This Issue...
Happy Chinese New Year! I achieved a milestone of only eating homemade meals for this week’s food diary. This week’s successful dishes include spinach cheddar waffles, a savoury vegan oatmeal, and homemade fries! Among the fails are an attempt at protein donuts and an avocado alfredo sauce.
★ My weekly Food Diaries are a way of tracking what I cook, buy, and eat every day. They provide insight into my eating preferences, allow me to analyze patterns in my spending, and help improve my cooking. And I always share my recipes! ★
Tonight I tried making Chocolate Covered Katie’s avocado alfredo sauce. Is it just me or does avocado develop a weird taste when it’s heated? I’m finding that I don’t like it in grilled cheese, or this alfredo thing. The flavour of the avocado overpowered the milk so much that it lost its alfredo identity completely. Also, since the only noodles I had at the moment were shiritaki, they really didn’t help the taste issue.
Once I added the noodles, everything clumped together in one hard-to-move blob. It didn’t look good, but I still had hopes for the taste.
Nope. All I could taste was the weird cooked avocado smell, which gets more terrible the longer you eat. I’m never making this dish again.
While the avocado sauce was cooking, I also prepared a pan of 12 poached eggs, using the oven method. I’ve never attempted poaching an egg the regular way, but it seems intimidating so I wanted to see if this method is successful.
Out of the oven, they look pretty good! Obviously, the shape is very… muffin cup like, and they have a slight silicon smell? taste? but hopefully that will go away once they’re removed from the molds. Overall, they seem to be cooked well! The only change I would make next time is taking them out of the oven a minute earlier, since as you can see with this yolk, it’s quite set already. I’m going to pack them into my work lunches and see how they taste.
Spinach Cheddar Waffles
I made a batch of spinach cheddar waffles last night, which I packed away for my lunch tomorrow, and man am I blown away by this recipe. I accidentally used double the amount of oil called for, most of which leaked out of my waffle maker as I was cooking, but they tasted amazing regardless. Perfectly crispy and rich.
I wasn’t expecting them to turn out quite this well! Even though I like spinach to begin with, I think a spinach-hater would enjoy these too. They honestly don’t taste healthy at all, LOL. They were irresistible when I was making them (I had to stop myself from eating too many), but also surprisingly good cold, at lunch today.
Avocado Macaroni Salad
Another avocado recipe since I need to use up my bag of five avos! This one calls for raw avocado (yay) as the sauce for a macaroni salad. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten a pasta salad so I’m actually really excited about this. It looks so colourful and healthy. I’ve packed it for my lunch all week. Will report on how it tastes tomorrow!
I think this is the first time in years that I’ve had to boil macaroni pasta… isn’t that weird? I forgot how much it foams in the pot, or how long it actually takes to become al dente. I’m terrified of overcooking pasta, so I took one out to taste so often that I probably ingested like five half-raw pieces lol.
Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
Another day, another overnight oats recipe… This one was quite good! Next time, I would chop the apples into smaller pieces to make them easier to scoop up, but no changes otherwise. It’s been really fun trying out all these overnight oats recipes (here’s another fun one with blackberries)! Oatmeal every day for breakfast may seem boring, but not when I’m switching it up every day.
Also, how cute does my lunch look today?! Two poached eggs (yep, keeping them in the silicon cups is a lot less messy) and the avocado macaroni salad I made yesterday.
After my last attempt, you’d think I would be traumatized from ever making savoury oats again. Think again!! I wasn’t giving up on the idea of oatmeal in a salty dish.
Oh She Glows is one of those websites I trust to put out consistently good recipes, so I had to give her “you’re so cheezy oats” a try. This is vegan, with the flavour supplied by nutritional yeast and a couple of spices, but I swear the cheese taste is so there. It’s warm, rich, full of flavour… utter comfort food. Since I was nervous of another failure, I made only one serving to try. But it turned out so well that I’ll have to make it again. Could be a good healthy substitute for mac ‘n’ cheese!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
OMG this recipe blew me away with how delicious it turned out. While absolutely not the healthiest recipe out there, these cupcakes were worth the calories. Bonus points, it was super easy too. I mixed everything together with a fork and it came together in no time.
There is a frosting that comes with the recipe, but after tasting the cupcakes, I thought they were good enough on their own that any extra sugar wasn’t necessary. Certainly if I were baking this for an event (which I might in the future because I honestly don’t know who wouldn’t enjoy these) I would decorate them, but since I’m eating them all by myself why bother making it look pretty? 😀
Takeout-Style Lentil Curry
Something about this curry, in those black meal prep containers… I can’t help thinking that this looks totally like something you’d get for takeaway at an Indian restaurant.
Best part though is this is only 55 cents a container! The recipe is for a slow cooker, so I just used the slow cooker function on my Instant Pot. I should heat it on Medium instead of Low next time, because the lentils and onion were still just a bit firm for my liking. (I think the Low setting on the Instant Pot is lower than what you’d find on a traditional slow cooker, like a Crock Pot, so it would take longer to cook.)
No pictures for today. I went to a family friend’s house for an early Chinese New Year’s dinner. We ate some really delicious food, but I felt it would be awkward to snap photos at the dinner table hehe.
Oil-Free Fries with Ranch Dip
Was feeling like junk food today, so I found this oil-free french fry recipe with an accompanying garlic ranch dip made from tofu.
I sprinkled the fries with a little of everything: paprika, chili powder, black pepper, salt, cumin… but I should’ve been more generous with the seasoning because I couldn’t taste it in the end. Still, it was definitely tasty and hit the spot for my carb craving for today.
The dip has a beautiful consistency, but tasted like there was a little something missing. Needs some fat, or needs some more salt, maybe? Also, it made soooo much dip! I used maybe a quarter to finish all the fries (dipping very generously) and there’s so much leftover I don’t know what to do with.
Greek Yogurt Bagels
There’s a lot of buzz about these Greek yogurt bagels from Skinnytaste… and I confirm they live up to the hype. Mine came out to 152 cal each, which is like half the calories of a store-bought bagel! I did make them a bit smaller, but still that’s quite a lot of calories saved without sacrificing any flavour. I made three of them plain and sprinkled one with dried onion flakes, which was my favourite.
At the same time the bagels were in the oven, I was mixing up another batter, this one for protein donuts. (Mainly I was just excited to try out my doughnut pan.) I don’t have such a glowing review for this recipe. Sure, you do save over half the calories of a regular doughnut (mine were 94 cal each), but the taste is also probably half as satisfying.
More importantly, guys, do you spell it “donut” or “doughnut?” My autocorrect is telling me it’s “doughnut” so I guess that’s I’ll be going with from now on. Is this one of those British vs American things?
Cinnamon Apples with Greek Yogurt
I had a tub of Greek yogurt that was closing in on expiry, and even though I use a good part of it for the bagels earlier, I had a bit leftover. I followed this recipe for making cinnamon apples (skipping the sugar, they were sweet enough already!), and tossed them in with the yogurt to make a little dessert.
Man, why haven’t I started cooking apples sooner?! For some reason, warm apples taste so much sweeter than when they’re raw? Honestly, next time I might just sprinkle some cinnamon on an apple or something and leave out the yogurt.