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Tag: cooking

Smoothie Experimentation

Posted in Informative

Since I got my Ninja blender and started following the (never home)maker blog, I’ve been itching to make some smoothies. Last night and this morning I tried out some smoothie recipes inspired by (never home)maker and Lemon Drop.

For dinner and dessert last night, I created my own interpretation of (never home)maker’s Chocolate-Peanut Butter Green Smoothie.

I used the following ingredients:

1/2 cup Yarnell’s blueberry frozen yogurt
2 heaping handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon Nutella
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons Nesquick
1 cup almond milk

I threw all the ingredients into the blender pitcher for my Ninja, and blended it until smooth. It looked pretty disgusting, and I probably should have taken a picture. It was all green, brown and gloopy. However, it tasted delicious. It pretty much tasted like a peanut butter and chocolate shake. It was a little overly sugary for my taste; probably because I used Nesquick instead of cocoa, Nutella and peanut butter instead of almond butter, and frozen yogurt instead of fresh fruit. I couldn’t taste the spinach at all, in spite of feeling like I’d added a lot to the smoothie.

This morning, I (mostly) ran 3 miles, so I wanted something easy for breakfast after I came home and showered. I had a peach in my refrigerator, as well as more blueberry frozen yogurt and peach frozen yogurt. I wanted to avoid having more chocolate again, so I took my inspiration for this smoothie from Lemon Drop’s Blueberry Peach Smoothie.

I used the following ingredients:

1/4 cup Yarnell’s blueberry frozen yogurt
1/2 cup Yarnell’s peach frozen yogurt
1 cup almond milk
1 peach, pitted and peeled
1 heaping handful of spinach

I figured I couldn’t really taste the spinach in last night’s smoothie, so I’d see if it was just the nut butters covering up the flavor, or if it just integrated well into the smoothies. Granted, I used less spinach this morning compared to last night. Again, I put everything in my Ninja blender pitcher and blended until smooth. It turned out a sickly green color, but again lacked any flavor of spinach. Unsurprisingly, this smoothie mostly tasted like peaches; I could taste very little of the blueberries. It appears to be the frozen yogurt that is contributing pretty heavily to the sweetness as this smoothie was still sweet for my taste. I’ll probably price some fresh and frozen fruit next time I’m at the store to see what I want to pick up for future smoothies.

My takeaways from my experimentation so far:
-Adding spinach to smoothies doesn’t seem to affect the flavor one way or the other, so putting spinach in a smoothie is probably a good way to make it healthier (though it may make it look less appetizing).
-Using frozen yogurt makes smoothies too sweet for my taste; I will try to start using plain fruit instead, with perhaps some plain yogurt for thickness.
-Putting nut butters in smoothies makes them really rich, and quite delicious!

Food Night 14 July 2011

Posted in Informative

Last week our food night theme was pub food. I was able to take a few quick snapshots of most of the dishes.


I brought barbecue wings with homemade sauce.

I also brought some Morningstar imitation chicken nuggets for the vegetarians.

Max made curried chicken nachos (I was lucky enough to get to take some leftovers of this home).

Brandon made the fish half of fish & chips (I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of the fresh fries Marisa made).

Maggie S. made mushroom sliders with mustard.

Maggie L. made bacon chex mix (with both real bacon and fake bacon for the vegetarians). This is the chex  mix with the real bacon.

Aaron made pretzels with cheese and green onion.

I was unable to get pictures of the desserts, unfortunately.


Posted in Informative

Last weekend I made lumpia. Lumpia is a deep-fried Filipino spring roll. I got ideas from what my Lolo (my mom’s dad) taught me, as well as from a book my Auntie Tellie and Uncle Al got me called The Little Lumpia Book by Gene Gonzalez.

Sunday, I spent about 5 hours chopping vegetables. I decided to include onion, carrot, cabbage, potato, water chestnut, bamboo shoot, green bean, bean sprout, celery and garlic.

I made nearly 2 batches worth of lumpia (about 175 lumpia altogether).

I only used a little over half an onion for all 2 batches. I think I matchsticked 5 medium-sized carrots.

I used slightly less than a full head of lettuce, and 5 small potatoes (I used red because that’s what I had, but I could easily have used russet potatoes or even jicama).

I used 1 can of water chestnuts, and about half a can of bamboo shoots (I’m not the biggest fan of canned bamboo shoots).

I included around half a pound of thinly sliced green beans (about 1cm thick, in discs the width of the bean), but only 1 stalk of celery. I added generous amounts of minced garlic before cooking. For some horrible reason, I couldn’t find fresh bean sprouts at the store. I had a can of them, but was skeptical about how canned bean sprouts would work. I drained them, and let them air dry for about a day. Cooked in with everything else, they weren’t too bad. I’d definitely recommend fresh bean sprouts, though!

Since I was cooking to share with my food club friends, I made these lumpia vegetarian-friendly. With the first batch I used ground Quorn as the protein (6 oz. or half a bag). I stir fried with the vegetables about a tablespoon of sesame seed oil; and salt, pepper and soy sauce to taste until the vegetables were tender, but still crisp.

I cooked the second batch the same way, using chopped pre-cooked shrimp instead of Quorn.

I took Monday off work (finishing off my vacation hours before they expired on my 2 year anniversary with the company)! Marisa helped me wrap lumpia for 3 hours before they were ready for freezing and frying.

We bought frozen spring roll wrappers from a local Asian market. I thawed them by keeping them in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then setting them out on the counter in the morning.

Below are the steps we followed for filling and wrapping lumpia:

First, lay a single wrapper flat. Then fill with about 2 teaspoons of filling, spreading lengthwise.

Fold the bottom up about 1/3 of the way. Tuck some of the excess around the filling.

Fold in each side.

Roll up once, then apply adhesive (we used water mixed with cornstarch, but you can use egg, or even plain water) to the top edges of the wrapper.

Finish rolling up the wrapper and smooth the edges so it sticks closed.

The 2 of us wrapped 175 lumpia in around 3 hours.

We bagged 125 of them for freezing.

And fried the rest for food club.

I fried the lumpia in canola oil using my kawali (Filipino wok) over medium-high electric heat.

We served the lumpia with suka (white vinegar, a small amount of salt and pepper, and crushed or minced garlic).


Prep pictures taken with Vignette for Android on my Samsung Captivate. Wrapping and frying pictures taken with Marisa’s iPhone 3GS and cropped by me using Gimp.