Saturday, October 29, 2011

Okonomiyaki Recipe

Due to my recent venture into a Japanese grocery in Midtown Manhattan, I was inspired to make my own okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake). This dish is savory, and not sweet as the usual American breakfast pancakes are. I based this recipe on this one, but made a few modifications of my own because

  1. I was lacking some ingredients like red pickled ginger, tempura flakes, seaweed powder and bonito flakes
  2. I'm vegetarian (most of the time)


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 egg (per batch, this makes about 4 batches)
  • Dole classic coleslaw mix
  • Canned corn (about 2 tbsp per batch)
  • 4-6 tbsp chopped green onion (I didn't have this but I would use it if I did)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup tenkasu (tempura flakes)  2 tbsp crushed French's fried onions (per batch)
  • A dash of powdered ginger
  • 12-18 strips of thinly sliced pork or beef
  • vegetable oil
  • For toppings:
  • ao-nori (dried seaweed powder)
  • okonomiyaki sauce (buy at Japanese grocery, for example Sunrise Mart)
  • mayonnaise (kewpie brand, buy at Japanese grocery)
  • katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) *optional
  • beni-shoga (pickled red ginger) *optional


  1. Put flour in a large bowl. Pour water/stock and mix to make batter. Rest the batter for about an hour in the refrigerator. 
  2. To make one sheet of okonimiyaki, take out about 1/2 cup of the batter in another bowl. 
  3. Mix about 1/4 bag of the coleslaw mix, about 1 Tbsp of chopped green onion, 2 tbsp corn, a dash of powdered ginger (depending on how ginger-y you want it) and about 2 tbsp of tempura flakes crushed fried onions in the batter. 
  4. Add an egg in the batter and stir. (*Tip: The batter needs to be mixed in for a bit with the coleslaw and egg so the consistency is less like putty)
  5. Heat an electric pan or skillet and oil lightly. Pour the batter in the pan and make a round shape. Cook for about 5 minutes. (*Tip: Check the cooking side at 2 1/2 mins to make sure it hasn't burned, flip if you think it's brown enough)
  6. Meanwhile, fry a couple slices of meat on the side and place the meat on top of the okonomiyaki. 
  7. Flip the okonomiyaki and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Flip the okonomiyaki again and spread okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise on top. Sprinkle aonori over the sauce. Sprinkle katsuobushi and beni-shoga if you would like.
I experimented a bit with sprinkling Worcestershire sauce on each side as I cooked one of the pancakes. I also used more oil with one, and less oil with one. Your cooking time will be less if you use more oil/heat and the pancake will be crispier. If you're not into crispy okonomiyaki (which isn't the standard), then use low to medium heat, and less oil. Either way, it tastes GREAT! Bon appetit! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegetarian Secrets for Quick, Everyday Meals

Amy's Mattar Paneer, and Mock Salmon
Since I started the whole vegetarian thing I've been asked the question "Isn't it difficult?" plenty of times, and many more questions regarding nutrition, especially "Where do you get your protein?" Well, the answer to the first question is, surprisingly, "not really". I find there's plenty of restaurants in New York city that cater to vegetarians, and there are a lot of possibilities for cooking. Now, it's not always an option to cook a whole meal from scratch, because I do work full-time. So I usually go halfway and just alter whatever quick meals I may have. My secrets (which may just be common sense to some people) for everyday quick meals are the following:
  1. Frozen Entrees (Amy's, Cedar Lane, Morningstar Farms, Tandoori Kitchen)
  2. Spices
  3. Alter, alter, alter until you're perfectly happy
Most frozen entrees will not be as good as freshly cooked meals. Therefore what I do is add some or all of these spices:

1. Garlic powder
2. Onion Powder
3. French's Fried Onions - This may sound terrible, but what I do is just sprinkle a tiny bit on top for the taste and texture
4. Fried Garlic (from Asian grocery store) - Same as above
5. Chili
6. Salt (in moderation)
7. Pepper

Some entrees will need even more adjustments, like I usually add some coriander, cumin, and garam masala to Indian food. Sometimes I sprinkle in some diced, fresh onions or green scallions.

As for the questions regarding nutrition, I try not to take any chances so I take Women's Centrum vitamins every day. For protein I eat a lot of legumes, such as chick peas or garbanzos, which have 15 grams of protein per cup, and I do eat dairy so cheese adds to my protein intake as well. Tofu and other soy products are also a good source. Morningstar Farms makes some great fake meat products that usually consist of vegetable protein and some starch. Their Maple Flavored "Sausage" Patty is one of my favorites. I also recently discovered a pretty great online store for vegetable mock meat called Vegecyber. Their products have saved my butt plenty of times when I'm in the mood for something "meaty". I had their mock salmon with the Amy's meal I had above. Some of my other favorites are their vege. lamb chunks, vege. BBQ ribs and vegan bacon slices. Believe it or not the bacon slices actually taste pretty close to bacon when fried to a crisp (I use Smart Balance cooking oil, to make it somewhat heart-healthy). I was a little concerned about the ingredients in the fake meat, so I looked them up and here's a sample:

Vegan Bacon - Non-GMO Textured Soybean Protein, Non-GMO Soybean Protein (Powder), Wheat Fiber, Wheat Protein Concentrate, White Pepper, Sea Salt, Brown Sugar, Soybean Bean Oil, Natural Vegetarian Seasoning, Monascus Powder.

Definitely not scary-sounding.

To summarize, basically the only reason I can be vegetarian is because I live in New York city, and have access to all these awesome products.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Vegetable Green Curry
Aside from my being lazy, one of the main reasons I haven't posted on this blog lately is that I seem to put a curse on any diet I write about in this blog. I start writing about it then immediately stop dieting. So I wanted to wait 'til I had stuck with one diet for awhile before posting about it.

I've been vegetarian for almost 2 months now. The most surprising thing about this isn't that I tried it (judging from the variety of diets I've been on I was sure to try this one at some point), it's that I actually DON'T MIND IT! This is crazy coming from someone who, in the back of her mind always thought vegetarians are weird. How can anyone live without meat? Turns out it's not as bad as I thought it was.

I haven't lost that much weight. I've lost about 2 lbs since I started, but you'll understand how amazing this weight loss is if you know how much I've been eating for the past two months. I started a new blog Not Bored NY, which basically has me going around New York checking out sights and stores and sampling as much food as I can. I've eaten dinner twice so many times I've lost count. Basically I eat whenever I feel like it, and my weight hasn't gone up at all. It's like I'm not even making an effort and I'm maintaining.

Now, I know the point of most diets isn't just to maintain, but this is already amazing in itself because I have NEVER found a way to maintain without having to count calories or workout like crazy. This is why I've never stayed at my target weight, because there will always be weeks when I just need to let go and eat whenever I want. I've found a simple rule that will allow me to maintain: no meat. Dieting doesn't have to take over my life for me to maintain anymore.

To actually get to my target weight I GUESS I'm just gonna have to workout once or twice a week and NOT eat dinner twice. Since October is coming, it's a good time to start eating sensibly. :)

Here's my first recipe post as a vegetarian. I used the Vegetable Green Curry recipe from, although I replaced the red peppers with frozen spinach because I hate bell peppers. I also added French's fried onions as a topping. This recipe is great over brown rice.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Can't I Have Coffee, Dr. Atkins? :(

I mentioned in my previous post that South Beach hasn't really been working for me. Despite that, I've been trying to cook mostly low carb since I bought those new cookbooks (they've been excellent so far). The food is delicious and my hubby seems happy that I'm cooking a lot more. This is really the reason why I haven't gone back to Jenny, which has been proven to work. I've mostly been maintaining though, and haven't really been taking dieting seriously.

I started reading up on Atkins this week, because I feel I need a more carb-controlled lifestyle as opposed to going on South Beach Phase 2 and bingeing on all the 'good carbs' I want. So far it seems reasonable, although I am still a little scared to have full-fat everything. But it has worked for a lot of people, so I'm willing to try it before I go back to paying a ridiculous amount of money for tiny portions of okay food. The only real problem I have with it is the part about giving up caffeine. Seriously. I can't. Sorry Dr. Atkins.

I've been pretty strict about the diet this week, although I've really only lost a pound so far. It seems like it's going to be one of those weeks. I'm not going to give up though. I'm going to start my real induction phase next week with the following menu:

Hopefully I don't get lazy and keep posting my results :).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

South Beach Blah

My husband told me a few weeks ago that he had a desire to start eating healthy because Rite Aid's blood pressure machine told him he was 'pre-hypertensive'. I immediately thought of South Beach, since the diet was originally created for people with heart ailments, so I started making weekly menus based on phase 1(for myself) and phase 2 (for my hubby). Phase 1 was very successful for me. I lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks. My husband started feeling better in general, so I continued cooking SB meals, weaning myself off of phase 1. Unfortunately, I've gained most of the 7 lbs back, so I guess maybe South Beach in its entirety really isn't a good fit for me. I'm starting to realize that maybe I have to count carbs as well. Overall, I think I might be over South Beach, because nothing but phase 1 works for me. And I'm not going to live life eating like that.

Just in time for me to start planning mostly low carb meals, my 3 new low carb cookbooks arrived today! These are going to be soo much more helpful (assuming  the recipes are actually decent without too many changes). The main reason I can't live off of phase 1 is because there are only so many recipes for it in the SB cookbooks. These 3 new cookbooks are packed with so many more side dishes and snacks! I can't wait to try them all. This isn't an actual review of the books, since I won't be cooking from them til next week. So watch out for that post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eat This, Not That - Louvre Chocolate Cake, Shepherd's Pie and Eggnog

Today I found out that my two Eat This, Not That books that were ordered for me by my hubby were supposedly delivered last week. They are not here. So we've been bugging USPS about it, and while being all stressed out I started looking up recipes and treats for the holidays. NOT A GOOD IDEA. I've been pretty good about my portions recently (lost 8 lbs so far) so I tried to figure out what I could do to curb the cravings I'm having for holiday yummies.

First is the Louvre chocolate cake, which I found out about when my sister showed me the link to their Pain Surprise, a French appetizer that we've been looking for in New York for sometime now. This cake was featured on Sex and the City I believe. It was the $70 cake that Miranda couldn't get herself to buy, and so bought a box of easy to make chocolate cake.

My take on it was to devour a 100-calorie pack of Hostess chocolate cupcakes. They're sweet, they're delicious, they're chocolate, and you know exactly when you should stop. They can be found at most grocery stores.

My second craving was for a Shepherd's Pie. I wanted to make one with turkey today because I had some leftover turkey and instant mashed potatoes and found this recipe: Unfortunately it's more than 500 calories per serving, and my hubby wasn't even that into the idea since he just made a huge batch of mac & cheese.

So I rummaged through the freezer and found the Smart Ones Slow Roasted Turkey Breast frozen entree. It has turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, for only 200 calories. I'm telling myself it'll be just as good, and I'm sticking with it.

My last craving was for eggnog. Most mixes are about 400-500 calories a cup. YUCK. So, unless you're planning on having eggnog as a meal, go with this recipe from hungry-girl, which is at 88 calories a cup.

Low-Calorie Eggnog


5 cups 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soymilk (or another light vanilla soymilk**)

1 small (4-serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Pudding mix, Vanilla

6 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda)

1 tsp. rum extract or imitation rum extract

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg


In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow it to thicken. Makes five 1-cup servings!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Can Eat Indian Food Without Feeling Guilty Now!!

My hubby was craving Indian food today and asked me if I wanted to order some for dinner. I groaned inwardly since I knew I would not be able to resist, and I ALWAYS end up bingeing and going into a food coma after. He suggested I get the small portion and just eat that. I thought about it a little and went even further. I researched the calorie content for basmati rice and lamb rogan josh, and portioned them with the help of my always helpful kitchen scale. Here are the numbers:

Basmati Rice, Cooked - 1 cup - 205 calories
Lamb Rogan Josh - 150 grams - 250 calories

That was a total of 455 calories, which was well under my calorie budget since I had a light breakfast and lunch.  For the first time ever, I ate Indian food at home without overeating and taking a nap 5 minutes after the meal. This is a huge step for me, since I mostly attribute my being overweight last year to too much naan and basmati rice. Small triumphs like this help keep me going :).

Speaking of triumphs, I finished the entire Jillian Michaels Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism workout for the first time ever the other night without stopping for more than 5 seconds. This is another big thing because I have NEVER finished this workout and I have been trying to for a long time. One review for it says:

"If there is one consensus about the Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD it is the difficulty of the full on workout. Some users have been completing gym workouts, running and intense cardio for long periods of time and still have difficulty completing the entire 40 minutes non-stop, without alterations."

I have to admit, I still do a few alterations such as "girly" push-ups, but I still feel great about finishing it. Hopefully I can continue to be as motivated as I am now.

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