Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quick and Easy Breakfast! - Rosemary Potatoes and Green Onion Scrambled Eggs for Two

I love breakfast. Like, LOVE breakfast. I will eat it any time, day or night, and I will always enjoy myself. The only problem is that making breakfast healthy sucks. I like my poached eggs and whole wheat toast with peanut butter. I like my Greek yogurt with berries and Kashi. But I also like my buttery, sugar-filled sticky buns and my three-cheese omelettes.

This morning, I decided to make a compromise with myself. I had a potato leftover from my faux-Thanksgiving extravaganza earlier this week, and Ethan and I bought our August groceries yesterday, so eggs are aplenty. I really enjoy good potatoes, so I recalled the way my dad always made his potatoes on early Saturday mornings and adapted it a little by adding dried rosemary. Mmm. If I had fresh rosemary, it would have been even more delicious! The scrambled eggs are basic and very simple, with a green onion, spices, and a little bit of extra sharp cheddar. I only allowed myself a teeeeeny bit of cheese today because I'm a cheese addict, which is far from healthy. Anyway, enjoy! I had a lovely time eating. :)

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

Quick and Easy Breakfast: Rosemary Potatoes and Green Onion Scrambled Eggs for Two

-1 large red potato
-3 eggs
-1 green onion
-2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
-1 tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
-3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
-2 tsp. black pepper
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tbsp. dried rosemary
-1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
-extra sharp cheddar to taste

1.       Dice the red potato into small cubes and place in a bowl with cold water. Let sit while you continue with other ingredients.
2.       Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork until scrambled. Add cayenne, 1 tsp. black pepper.
3.       Heat a saucepan and add the olive oil. When it’s nice and hot, drain the potato in the sink and add the cubes to the pan. Add 1 tsp. black pepper, salt, rosemary and garlic powder and mix well. Stir occasionally, but let the pieces get nice and golden brown for a delicious crunch!

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
 4.       When potatoes are mostly cooked, heat up another pan and add the butter. Give the eggs one last stir and add to the pan. Slice up the green onion and add to the eggs. Mix. As the eggs come together, add as much or as little cheddar as you like (I kept it minimal to feel more healthy!).

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

5.       Give the potatoes one last stir and use a spatula if they’re a little stuck to the pan. They should be nice and golden. Separate the potatoes onto two plates, then add scrambled eggs to both plates. A few fun things to garnish with are ketchup, sweet chili sauce, or sour cream.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


 Let me preface this blog post: I am NOT against recreational drug use. I believe that people have their own choices to make, even myself. This doesn’t mean that I’m 100% for everything, but I’m not the kind of person to sit and criticize others if “I don’t like it”. It’s like sitting by a smoker and purposefully (and rudely) coughing, or saying, “It smells awful over here!”, “Smoking kills!”, or “You’re ruining my air”. Some bull like that. Now let me begin my actual post.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

I have been watching a lot of “Breaking Bad” recently and I think it’s a brilliant show. Bryan Cranston as the main character Walter White is simply groundbreaking. A majority of the acting on that show is fantastic. The character of Jesse Pinkman is, in essence, my older brother. Habits, personality, drug of choice…though my brother was never a meth dealer (to my knowledge). Now, I’m also in the process of writing a musical that is largely based on my family life. I have taken many events from the last nine years of my life and crammed them into about six or seven months (the duration of the story). Watching “Breaking Bad” and Jesse has actually helped to inspire some of the writing I’ve done, since watching him is like rekindling memories of my brother’s past. That said, I’m dealing with a lot of drug-related stories right now.

But lately I’ve been watching somebody on Facebook. She’s a “friend”, but more or less somebody I taught a few years ago. Reading up on her about a month ago, I was horrified to see what her life had become…my boyfriend said, “Stop. You’re not her mom.” That hurt. That’s completely true, but it doesn’t mean that I wanted to care less. I couldn’t help it. So I left it alone for a little while. She popped up on my newsfeed again this morning, so I had to take another peek. This girl is 14 years old, I think, and she and her friends are talking about going to raves every weekend, taking ecstacy, posting pictures online of drugs they’re doing or various paraphernalia. I mean, I’m all for raves. But I’m also 21 and sometimes still have a hard time taking care of myself when I’m under the influence of something. Men (and women) can be pushy and persuasive, and if you’re drunk or what now, how capable are you of fending them off? If you want to, I guess. But I sure as hell know that intoxicated middle-schoolers should not be hanging around twenty-somethings. That’s just kind of disturbing. Yes, I know I’ve said I’m not against recreational drug use, but…at 14?

This morning, I reminded myself that my brother was around that age when he started getting into heavier drug use (from what I can recall), so why should this be any different? And true, why would it be?

I suppose I hope that these kids don’t end up following the same path my brother did because all the years’ worth of pain and suffering (that are probably still not over) aren’t worth it. It hurts me to see people so young trying to act so grown up. I mean, 16, I can say I’d be more likely to expect. But 14? I was 14 years old in 8th grade. That was so many years ago and so many things have happened since then…but I can’t imagine what someone so little could have possibly gone through to choose the life they did. My brother had a good childhood, but was never quite mentally stable, which lead to how he developed. Maybe this girl and her friends are like that. Maybe it’s attention-seeking. I’m not sure. They’re young teens in their rebellious, “I hate parents”, “I’m going to run away with a man” phase, which I get, but MAN. I still can’t wrap my brain around it.

Suffice it to say, it’s good writing material and it’s something to think about.

And hey, at least they can’t drive yet. Saves a few more lives, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garlic-Lemon Chicken

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

I decided to do something else Asian-inspired for dinner tonight. Like always. My parents, though not Asian, made a lot of Chinese food. Oh, I'm also Korean, in case you're wondering.

So I had originally planned on making good old lemon chicken, but thanks to my obsession with garlic, I decided to try that instead, and I'm definitely happy I did!

This recipe uses whole wheat flour breading because it's the only flour we have in the apartment, but it turned out wonderfully just the same. You can't really tell once the sauce is all over it, anyway. Regardless of the actual benefits, I felt healthier for it. The unhealthiest part of this whole meal is the oil you fry it in...but you really don't need too much, and you can very easily bake the chicken instead.

I hope you enjoy it! It's a recipe I love!

Mm. Lemons! Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

Garlic-Lemon Chicken
-2 ½ tbsp. corn starch
-1 c. whole wheat flour
-1 egg

For the Chicken:
-olive oil for shallow pan-frying
-1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into medium-small chunks
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the Sauce:
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
-juice of 1 lemon (make sure to keep a couple slices for garnish!)
-3/4 c. water
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tbsp. honey
-1 tbsp. brown sugar
-1 heaping tsp. fresh ginger, grated
-1/2 tbsp corn starch

-green onion for garnish

1.       Separate corn starch and egg into two different bowls (make sure the bowls are big enough to fit all your chicken!). If you have a large paper bag (Ziploc or big tupperware are also great), pour the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne in.
2.       Pour the chicken chunks in the corn starch bowl and mix around, making sure that you get every piece coated. There should be little to no corn starch remaining in the bowl. Next, pour the chicken into the egg bowl and coat well. Continue to make sure the pieces are separated. Lastly, pour the chicken into the flour-filled paper bag, close the bag up, and shake, shake, shake! Open up the bag and separate the pieces if they’re stuck, then close the bag and shake one more time.
3.       In a large saucepan, add the olive oil for frying. When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  When the bottoms have browned and crisped, flip the chicken (or do what I did and wait a couple minutes, stir everything around, and repeat).

Gotta love fried chicken. Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
4.       While chicken is cooking, heat up a medium-sized pot. Add olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and water. When it begins to warm up, add the honey, brown sugar, garlic and ginger.
5.       In a small cup, combine corn starch with a little bit of water. Stir with a fork until dissolved. Add to sauce and stir until thick.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
6.       Pour sauce over chicken and keep hot, stirring to coat every piece.
7.       Serve with white rice or plain noodles. Top with lemon and green onion slices for garnish.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

Happy Eating!

My Cooking Philosophy and My First Recipe Post

Being not only a student in college but an aspiring actor (ie. "starving artist") as well, food needs to be affordable, healthy, AND delicious. Though I have always valued leftovers, I find myself incredibly bored if I have to eat the same thing all week. Cooking has interested me from a young age-- I was too short for our kitchen counters and had to stand on a stool in the kitchen if I wanted help my dad make Saturday morning pancakes! My parents have been tremendous enforcers of balanced diets and good, home-cooked meals. Every evening we would sit down to a delicious array of foods that one or both would make, and we got such a wide variety of flavors. Some nights we'd have Mexican food, other nights Chinese, sometimes the usual American burgers or ribs, and always lots of rice and veggies. I have learned so much about cooking and found my love for it through my family (and having several summers of boredom in high school helped, too).

These days, college has taught me that I don't have all the ingredients I want and I also don't have the money for it (visiting home and opening the fridge/pantry is AWESOME), so how would I be able to eat nice things while being poor? Easy. Take different recipes (books, online, family recipes) and 1) use less expensive ingredients, 2) find shortcuts with frozen and canned items, 3) do everything in your power to make it healthy, and 4) make it your own! And I seriously mean "make it your own" by mixing it up with new flavors and new ideas. My parents and my boyfriend would tell you immediately that I RARELY follow recipe instructions. I read "1 tbsp" and I pour in what I figure it must be. Through this carefree and perhaps reckless cooking strategy, I have not only gotten more accurate at estimation but have learned how to flavor things myself without the help of uber-specific numbers. However, this has brought me to a whole new place with the start of my I have to start writing things down. And it's a big mess trying to put things into tablespoons and cups for me...but I'm doing it! And you should be happy for me. It'll help you if you ever want to try something out, too! That said, though, I will ALWAYS encourage you to try my recipes, then feel as free as a bird to tweak and adapt! I find that's the only way people ever really "learn to cook", anyway. :)

So be on the lookout for all sorts of recipes, all messed up by me (haha), and I can guarantee you that a majority of them will be completely affordable and very healthy! Here's a recipe to start!

Firstly, I had the wrong noodles. I know, I know, Asian girl with only Italian noodles in her possession...but when I make it again, I'm definitely getting the right noodles. Again, being lazy and poor means using what I have sometimes! Extra-firm tofu is great for this recipe because it will hold its shape after all the cooking and tossing. Firm will probably do all right as well, but I personally wouldn't venture into soft tofu unless you want it scrambled up with the rest of the ingredients. I also used canned green beans instead of fresh based on availability, but feel free to use fresh! I'm sure it's even better. Make sure that you rinse the beans well because most canned items have salt included--the rinsing gets some of that extra sodium out of there! Speaking of, don't expect the flavor from this Chinese-inspired dish to be purely from added salt! The soy sauce and peanut butter add a lot of salt on their own, but I made sure to keep the dish relatively sweet-tasting with the brown sugar. If you're a salt-lover, add away!

Cold Sesame-Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Ginger

-1 tsp salt
-3 cups fusilli noodles (or any other pasta—I’d personally recommend soba or thick rice noodles)
-1 carrot
-1/2 package extra-firm tofu
-1 can (14.5oz) green beans, drained and rinsed
-4 tbsp. sesame oil
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
-1/2 c. water
-3 tbsp. peanut butter (I used all-natural chunky style)
-1 tbsp. brown sugar
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 large green onions
-2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
-salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper to taste

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

1.       Bring salt and a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles, cook until al dente.
2.       Slice the green onions, cut the carrots into matchsticks, and cut tofu into ½ inch cubes.
3.       In a large saucepan, add 2 tbsp. sesame oil and the olive oil. Add tofu and fry for five minutes, stirring throughout. Add carrots and green beans and sauté until tender.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

4.       Drain the noodles and return them to their pot. Add the veggies and tofu and stir.

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

5.       To the used saucepan, add remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, and water (for even more flavor, combine half to a full chicken-flavored bouillon cube to the water to make a basic broth). When it begins to bubble, add peanut butter and stir constantly. I used the back of my spatula to squish the peanut butter around and melt it faster. When a nice, thick sauce begins to form, quickly add brown sugar, garlic, ¾ of the green onion and ginger. If you’d like a thinner sauce, add more water/broth and soy sauce (be careful, though, if you don’t want too much salt).
6.       Add the sauce to the noodle pot and mix well. Season with spices as you see fit. I love lots of cayenne and fresh-ground black pepper. Garnish with remaining green onion.

Tasted better than it looks! :O Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

Happy Cooking!

P.S. If you don't know already, I am a BIG fan of spicy foods. At almost any occasion, I will add copious amounts of garlic, hot peppers, black pepper, etc. to everything. If you don't like it, remember that you don't have to make it that way!

P.P.S. My camera sucks. Ehhhh. I'm going to borrow Ethan's next time and see if it's any better, but I'm apologizing now. I always look at pictures and get SO jealous...a beautiful image always makes the food look THAT much more don't judge if my food is ugly. One day I'll have the money to have an apartment/house with sunlight (our apartment has windows but faces another building...) and a fancy camera. Hee. :)