Tag Archives: Garlic

Love me some Tom Yum

I’m sick :( .

It started with Liz about three days ago. She said she felt a little under the weather and wasn’t as insanely happypeppyfabulous as she normally is. She kept to her bed a bit more than usual. Then, last evening, I started to develop a slight wheeze. I sounded like an old man trying to fight off consumption. I think Ive got the black lung, Pop. Then, early this morning, Anna’s boyfriend emerged from her bedroom and declared “Anna’s sick.” He wandered into the kitchen and stared blankly at a canister of Quaker rolled oats. “What do I put in oatmeal?” he asked. A non-instant newbie, I instructed him: Milk. Cinnamon. Raisins. Almonds. Almond butter. A pinch of salt.

As I prepared my own breakfast, I felt it. The body aches were sprouting from the center of my upper back and unraveling into my shoulders and limbs. I felt chilled and searing hot at the same time. And I couldn’t taste my belgian waffle. Pissed.

So, all I have done today is lay in my bed and study and waste time on the internet. I left the house once to go to Reproductive Nutrition and pick up some fish sauce from the local Asian market. It is the one ingredient that has evaded me for years. Damn that fish sauce. Of course it only comes in monstrously large bottles, because it is such a cooking staple for a significant portion of the world. I also picked up some lemongrass and thai chilis. I’ve got Tom Yum on my mind.

Thai food is not something I ever crave, unlike “New American” cuisine, Tex Mex, hippy food, and the occasional sushi and Chinese food. However, every time I do encounter Thai food, I love it. It is incredibly nourishing while still being full of flavor. The creamy coconut milk, spicy chilis, salty fish sauce, aromatic spices, and sweet rice come together in a symphony of deliciousness.

Tuesday, in my MCAT class, my friend Jacqui brought Tom Yum soup to class and taunted me with it for the following three hours. A drop of saliva literally fell onto my Ochem book. It was disgusting.

So, tonight I finally made my own Thai food and I would just like to say

it was superb.

And the perfect remedy for a sneezy, sickly college kid.

Traditional Thai Tom Yum Soup

Recipe: Makes 2 large servings

Prep time: 15 minutes *  Cook time: 30 minutes * Difficulty: Low

from Thaifood.com

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, lower 1/3 finely minced
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen at Asian stores)
  • 20 raw shrimp, shelled (about 40-50 g protein worth)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (I used 1 1/2)
  • 1-2 small red chilies, minced (I used 1)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Handful shiitake mushrooms (I used 2 crimini)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 can coconut milk (USE FULL FAT, YA HO!)
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • optional: additional vegetables (I used 2 baby bok choy and a handful of mung bean sprouts) additional chilies, chili sauce, brown sugar, or lime juice

Directions – 

  1. Pour the stock into a deep cooking pot and turn heat to medium high. Add lemongrass to the pot, including the upper part you didnt mince. Boil 5-6 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Add garlic, chili, lime leaves, and mushrooms to broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp, bell pepper, bok choy, and bean sprouts. Simmer 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp are pink.
  4. Turn down the heat to low and add 1/2 can of coconut mlk plus the fish sauce. Taste test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chili or fish sauce as desired. If too sour, add 1 tsp brown sugar. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add more coconut milk for a creamier soup (I added the whole can).
  5. 5. Serve in bowls with fresh cilantro (aka coriander) sprinkled on top. Enjoy!!

Seriously, just put on your big girl panties (or briefs?)  and go buy the “exotic” ingredients. This is a recipe worth repeating again and again. You can freeze the lime leaves and the fish sauce stays good…. forever.


Chilies * filled with capsaicin which can help fight inflammation. They have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood triglycerides, and thus can be considered heart healthy. The heat that you feel after eating chili peppers has to come from somewhere – that would be your metabolism! Also, a recent study showed that eating just a little chili pepper a day helped participants sleep better that night.

Garlic * packed with antioxidants that fight aging, cancer, and heart disease. Garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eliminate free radicals (which cause cellular damage). It is also used to treat asthma and certain unpleasant infections.

Shrimp * extremely high in protein and low in fat! Contains selenium, tryptophan, vitamin D (key for bone health), B12, iron (needed for a healthy thyroid), phosphorous, B3, and zinc. The fat that shrimp does contain is the healthy monounsaturated kind.

Bell peppers * an extremely potent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants. They also contain fiber, B6, folate, and vitamin K.

Coconut * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism.

I finally made a dinner recipe!

Props to me – I finally made a real dinner recipe. I blame procrastination. I have been studying for my Endocrinology midterm like a psychopath and have been desperately finding things to do to avoid starting my lab report. Sooo, I went to Trader Joes and picked up a few essentials and some cool new lemon pasta. And its not whole wheat. [Im actually proud of this…. reduction in whole wheat snobbery.] It inspired to me to make this dinner, which took about twenty minutes and was fabulously tastayyy.

Part of why I avoid dinner recipes is because the pictures turn out terrible. No natural light. :(

Chicken and Broccoli in a Lemon, Garlic Cream Sauce

Recipe: Serves 1

1 raw chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets

2 ounces (or 3/4 cup cooked) lemon pasta

For the cream sauce:

1/3 cup half half

3-4 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tbsp honey

dash lemon pepper

dash salt

Directions – Add the lemon juice and garlic to a pan on the stove on medium heat (mine was at 4.5). Add the chicken and broccoli florets. Once the chicken is half way cooked, reduce the heat a bit (mine was just below “4”) and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Let everything cook until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Don’t be alarmed if the half and half curdles. Once it thickens, it will look fine and taste delicious. A few minutes before the sauce looks done, boil the noodles until tender. Drain. Add the noodles to the chicken and cream sauce. Toss. Enjoy!

A creamy, savory garlic sauce with a punch of lemon and a tiny hint of sweetness. 


Garlic * packed with antioxidants that fight aging, cancer, and heart disease! Garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eliminate free radicals (which cause cellular damage). It is also used to treat asthma and yeast infections.

Lemon * a great source of vitamin C. Lemons are also said to help balance the bodies PH and put it into a more alkaline state.

Chicken * A lean source of protein, B vitamins, and the calming amino acid tryptophan!

Falafels with Labneh Sauce

The workout rocked! I am sore today which used to never happen! The boyfriend says that being sore isn’t a good thing and is merely muscle trauma, but I like it :). He is a big proponent of one set with a weight heavy enough to elicit total failure and inability to do another set. I am similar, but I like to do 2-3 sets with a weight that is heavy enough so that I fail BY 12 reps. Then, with each subsequent set I fail earlier and earlier. And by fail I mean I can not for the life of me lift the weight, no matter how ugly I make my face. As promised…

Weights Workout:

3 sets of biceps curls until failure (max of 12 per set). 15 pounds.

3 sets of  tricep drops or until failure (max of 12 per set). 25 pounds.  [This is where you hold the weight over your head and slowly lower it down to the back of your head and lift back up. I actually failed after 2 sets and couldn’t do a third.]

3 sets of shoulder raises until failure (max of 12 per set). 10 pounds. [Lift the weights up from your sides till you make a T with your arms.]

Repeat 3 times:

12 squats holding a 25 pound weight. Immediately follow with…

Stand on a balance bosu ball and hold a weighted medicine ball over your head. Hold for 20 seconds.

1 set of 20 squats holding weighted ball.

Repeat 3 times:

20 lunges to the side holding a weighted medicine ball (do 10 to one side and then 10 to the other). Immediately follow with…

25 bicycle abs. [I don’t work on abs unless its just to kill time and recover from something else.]

1 set of 50 leg/butt raises per leg. [This where you get on your hands and knees and lift your straightened leg up as high as you can and bring it back down, slowly.] [Do the first 30 with a full range of up and down motion and the last 20 up at the top with a smaller motion.]

1 set of 30 side kicks per leg. [This is where you lift your leg out to the side like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Kick out. HIYAH!]

3 sets of 20 airplanes. [This is where you lie down on your stomach and lift your upper body up as far up and back as you can. Simultaneously bring your arms straight out and back, like an airplane.]

Within 30 minutes, get at least 15-20 grams of pure, easy to utilize protein. I use All the Whey protein isolate in Cinnamon Bun flavor. Half a scoop of that, half a cup of milk, ice, blend, DONE!


I know that some people believe that this is not necessary and that you are fine with just your dietary protein, but I think this is really important. Unless your body is a total pro and can perfectly utilize every drop of protein you put into it, then if you want to build muscle, you need to supplement with a bit extra and at the right time. Within 30 minutes seems like a good, safe guess. This is just my personal view, some people do not need the extra protein, but I can tell that I do much better with it. Times when I tried other people’s style of eating less protein have lead me to muscle and weight loss and NOT in a good way.

While I sipped my smoothie, I prepared this amazing Lebanese style dinner. This was not difficult to make and tasted amazing. I felt like I was in the Middle East for a little while :).

There was actually 2x the amount of falafel and 3x the amount of labneh, but for aesthetic purposes I took a picture of it before plopping the rest on my plate.

Recipe: Serves 1

Ingredients list: 3/4 green onion, 4 mushrooms, 1 tbsp EEVO (or more if you want!), 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4+1/8 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg white, cilantro, cumin, parsley, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, salt, and optional mint

Place a pan on the stove and heat to medium low.

Dice 3/4 of a green onion (both the white and green parts) and a few small mushrooms into very small pieces. Add 1 tsp of EVOO, the onions, and the mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft.

Finely chop two cloves of garlic. Without draining first, blend 3/4 a cup of chickpeas and garlic  in the blender until smooth.

Scoop the mush into a bowl. Add the soft green onions and mushrooms. Chop up 1 tbsp worth of fresh cilantro (this is key!). Add the cilantro, 1/2 tsp parsley (dried or more if fresh), 1 egg white, 1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs, and several shakes of cumin. Stir.

Pour 1/8 cup whole wheat bread crumbs onto a plate. Shake to evenly distribute. Grab a handful of chickpea mix and toss back and forth in your hand to form a patty. Press the patty into the breadcrumbs. Repeat until the chickpea mixture is gone (this can make 2 large or 3 smallish patties). Use another 1/8 cup whole wheat to cover the tops of the patties. Lightly press the breadcrumbs into the patties so that they are completely covered.

Increase the heat on the stove to medium high and add 1 tsp of EEVO (or more if you wish). Lay the patties in the pan and let them cook. Don’t flip them until they are medium brown on the bottom and a bit firmer! When they are ready to be flipped, scoop them onto a plate and add 1 more tsp of EEVO to the pan. Then place them back in the pan and let the other side brown.

For the Labneh:

Mix 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt. Traditionally, labneh has mint in it. I didn’t have any, but if you do, chop some up and mix it in!

To serve, you can put the falafels and labneh into a pita stuffed with greens. Or, you can place them atop a salad. I used the labneh to cover my falafels and as a salad dressing. Arugula, tomatoes, and mushrooms went together quite well!


I don’t post calorie counts for my dishes mainly because I feel that counting calories detracts from one’s quality of life and I don’t want to encourage that. Our bodies do a really good job of monitoring our calorie intake. If you take in more than usual on one day, you will most likely feel less hungry on a subsequent day, and eat less. In the end, the body is eerily good at balancing energy input and output. However, this ability does begin to deteriorate the more and more overweight a person becomes. Excess fat (particularly on the stomach) becomes an organ that can cause the secretion hormones. These hormones can cause a person to feel hungry when they shouldn’t be or to not feel full when they should. So, I do think that for people who are trying to lose weight, keeping a general idea of your caloric intake (or counting, if that is what you feel you need to succeed) is a good idea. I am going to post the nutritional information for this meal because I want to show that one can make a “bready, fried dish” that is healthy and balanced! Also, there is 30 grams of protein in this dish and it is vegetarian ;).

Nutritional Info: For all of the falafel and labneh sauce (but not the salad or a pita)

Calories: 530

Total Fat: 16.8g

Sodium: 636 mg /  Potassium: 489 mg

Carbs: 71.2 g — Dietary fiber 12.3 g — Sugar 4.7 g!

Protein: 30 g!

Vitamins and percent daily values: B12 – 10%, B6 – 46%, C – 37%, D – 8%, Calcium – 20%, Copper – 22%, Folate – 32%, Iron – 19%, Manganese – 55%, Niacin – 9%, Pantothenic acid – 17%, Phosphorus – 33%, Riboflavin – 27%,  Selenium – 12%, Thiamin – 10%, Zinc – 14%

Black Bean Burgers: Two Ways!

I am super excited to share this recipe with you because it is so versatile. This recipe is for my favorite vegetarian black bean burgers. They can be used in place of a meat in a burger OR you can eat them on top of a salad! The salad patty is a little bit different; it is crusted in crispy whole wheat bread crumbs! That way, you can get some crunch and carbz in your salad :).

Also, if you didn’t take the poll from 2 posts ago, I would really appreciate your response! Last time Ill bring it up!

Recipe: Makes 4 patties

In a bowl, combine 2/3 of a 15 ounce can of black beans, 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, 2 tbsp finely chopped yellow onion, 1/3 cup diced mushrooms, 1 whole (small!) egg, 2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp lemon pepper, a pinch of basil, and a shake or two of salt.

Use a food processor or mixer to blend the mixture. I recommend not blending it very much, so that you can still see some chunks of black beans and mushroom.

To make a regular black bean burger:

Spray a pan with canola oil and place it on the stove on medium heat. Form your patty and plop it on to the pan. Lightly spray the top of the patty with canola oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until a bit firm and crispy.

To make 1 crispy black bean patty:

Measure out 1/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs. Pour about half on a small plate. Shake the plate to distribute. Grab a handful of black bean mixture and plop onto the breadcrumbs. Cover the top with the rest of the breadcrumbs. Press breadcrumbs all over/into the patty.

Spray a pan with canola oil and place on the stove on medium heat. Carefully place the patty in the pan and spray the top with canola oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until the breadcrumbs become darker brown.

Recommendation for a salad: I put avocado and tomato in my salad and made a dressing with sour cream mixed with mango tomato salsa. Yum!


Black beans * contain high amounts of sulfite oxidases which means that they combat the damage done to your body when you eat foods containing preservatives. They also are fiber super stars and have lots of iron and folate.

Mushrooms * a great source of niacin, potassium, and selenium!

Garlic * packed with antioxidants that fight aging, cancer, and heart disease! Garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eliminate free radicals (which cause cellular damage). It is also used to treat asthma and yeast infections.