Homemade Flavored Water

Soda is bad for you, period.  Lots of sugar (mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup), coloring and artificial flavorings.  America has finally caught on! But if you don’t drink soda, what are you left with? Juice- this is fine once and while but contains a lot of carbs that can cause spikes in blood sugar, without the benefit of fiber.  Coffee-this is also fine in moderation but is a diuretic which can lead to dehydration.  Tea-this is good because of the antioxidants but you have to make sure you don’t add loads of sweetener.  Water-the essence of life! Water is the best choice but boring if you are accustomed to drinking all of the above.

Stores have been selling flavored water lately but some of them are not much better than soda in terms of their contents.  Here are some interesting ideas to make your own flavored water.  Cheap, healthy and refreshing!

I recently made my own water by adding fresh lychee and grapes. I hope you get to try it while lychees are still in season!


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Is it a dog…or is it bread?

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New Product- Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt

First it was the rise of froyo. Now people are crazy for greek yogurt! Ben & Jerry caught on and are now making a product to satisfy both cravings.

I saw a billboard on the freeway and decided I had to try this new creation.  It comes in Raspberry Fudge Chunk, Banana Peanut Butter, Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Vanilla Graham.  I got the first two, as seen above.

The verdict? It’s pretty good but nothing unbelievable. It is less dense than their traditional  ice cream and has a slight tang.  If you’re a peanut butter lover, the banana peanut butter will satisfy you. I liked this better than the raspberry chunk which tasted kind of syrupy to me.

How does the Greek measure up nutritionally to the traditional B&J’s? It has slightly fewer calories, less fat, less saturated fat and less cholesterol. It has a comparable amount of sugar but more calcium than the traditional ice cream.  I wouldn’t say that it’s “healthy” but a slightly healthier alternative.  Next time I see it on sale, I’m going to snag a carton of the Blueberry Vanilla Graham.

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Cinnabuns and Nursing School

If you haven’t already noticed, the frequency of my posts have been sparse.  Why? Because I’ve recently traded in my frying pan for a stethoscope. Yes yes, I have began nursing school. 

Therefore, my free time is very limited.  All that time I would use to search for recipes and experiment in the kitchen is now dedicated to “Fundamentals of Nursing”, a huge book with way too many words and not enough pictures.  Instead of kneading dough, I palpate patients’ abdomens for signs of distention.

I think it had been 3 weeks since I had tried a new recipe!  If I don’t cook for a long time, I go crazy.  Since I had a day off, I got the compulsion to make Cinnamon Rolls; something I have never done from scratch.   Even though the recipe said it would take 3 hours, I couldn’t stop myself.  Before everyone in my house was awake, I broke out the flour and started kneading.  The recipe I used came from allrecipes.com.  I changed it a bit because I don’t have a bread maker.


The Buns

1 cup of warm milk (heated in the microwave for 45 seconds)

2 eggs

1/3 cup of butter, melted

4.5 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 package dry active yeast (7 grams)

The Filling

1 cup brown sugar

2.5 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup melted butter

The Frosting 

6 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

3 cups of confectioner’s sugar


After you warm the milk, add 2 Tbsp of sugar and the package of yeast to the milk.  Let it stand for 10 minutes.  You should see bubbling (that means the yeast is working!) After 10 minutes, add the rest of the sugar, eggs and butter.  Whisk together.  Add the flour and salt to the mixture and stir until it forms a cohesive ball.  Dump  it out onto a floured cutting board and knead for 5 minutes until it looks like this (formed and elastic).   

Put it in a bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm area for 1 hr.

It should double in size.  There are chunks missing in the picture because my mom likes to eat raw dough…gross. After an hour, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.  Melt the butter in a separate bowl and set aside. Roll out half the dough on a floured cutting board. You want it to be rectangular in shape.  Use a pastry brush to brush the top with butter.  Generously sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar.

And then roll! Try to make the roll even and tight.  I sealed off the end so that they would look prettier. 

After you have a nice roll, cut it into equal segments (2 inches each) and place them onto a pan lined with parchment paper.  Repeat this process for the other half of the dough.  

Bake them in a preheated oven at 400 F for 15 minutes. 

Looks incredible right?  But wait…there’s one more thing…FROSTING! Combine all the frosting ingredients in a bowl using a hand mixer on medium speed until the frosting is creamy.  Spread it on the buns and they are perfect.  Time consuming, but perfect. 

These got eaten very quickly.  No one can resist the smell.  I put half of the raw buns in the frig so that we could bake them the next day.  Hmmm! My cooking compulsion has been satisfied.

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Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

All of my recent posts have been healthy…so now it’s time for some sinful sweets! One day I got a compulsion to make pineapple upside down cake.  My family ate it in celebration of the birth of my niece.  It was good but everyone said that it could have used some more of the gooey topping.  Therefore, when I tried again, I doubled the amount of gooey goodness (butter+sugar) and they came out AMAZING.  I also decided to bake them in cupcake pans so that they’d be perfect individual servings.  The pictures may look good but you really have to try the recipe to truly understand the bliss that these cakes produce in your guests or loved ones.


1 Box yellow cake mix

Necessary ingredients for the box cake mix (usually eggs, oil and water)

1 cup of Butter, melted

1.5 cups Brown sugar

1 15 oz can of Pineapple chunks in 100% juice (save the juice)

24+ Maraschino cherries, halved

1 cup raw walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat your oven to the temperature specified on the cake mix. Prepare the boxed yellow cake mix as directed.  Instead of using water, use the pineapple juice left over from the can.  It adds a subtle hint of pineapple to the cake.  After you’ve made the batter, get out your cupcake pans.  Half your cherries and put them in the bottom of the cupcake pans.  Half the pineapple chunks and arrange them around the cherries.  Then sprinkle the pecans/walnuts into the pan.  Melt the butter (30 seconds in the microwave) in a microwave proof bowl and then whisk in the brown sugar.  Spoon this mixture on top of the cherries/walnuts until it fills the cupcake pans about 1/3 full.  Then put the cake batter on top, filling to the brim.  Bake for the amount of time stated on the boxed mix.  Once the cakes are done, take them out of the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes.  Immediately turn the cupcake pans over to release the cakes! (Don’t wait longer than 5 minutes or they butter/sugar will solidify and stick to the pan!) It may be helpful to run a knife around the edges of the cupcake pan to make turning them out easier.  They are ready to enjoy! If you want to refrigerate the extras for later, just pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to heat them up and they’ll be nice and gooey.

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How to Eat a Cupcake

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Tabbouleh…or however you spell it

I love tabbouleh because it’s refreshing and super high in fiber. Traditionally tabbouleh is made from bulgar (wheat) but when I went to Trader Joe’s, I realized they don’t sell it! The closest thing I could find was whole wheat cous cous.  Good enough.


1 1/4 cups whole wheat cous cous

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 sprigs of mint, just leaves finely chopped

2 stems of parsley, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 firm, diced tomato

2 stalks of green onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt or to taste


Combine the cous cous with boiling water (don’t actually boil the cous cous!) Add the olive oil  and lemon juice and stir well.  Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff the cous cous with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and combine until everything is distributed evenly.  Sample it.  Feel free to add a bit more salt or lemon juice to balance out the flavors.

This is a great alternative to potatoes or white rice.  Bring it to a party because it tastes like a party 🙂 You won’t even realize that it’s so high in fiber because it’s slightly sour and zesty.


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