Tag Archives: healthy

Kabocha Squash Stir Fry

In December, a really cool regional Thai restaurant called Foreign Correspondents closed after just over a year of business in Houston.

Kabocha Squash Stir Fry // The Pancake Princess

I had mixed feelings about the restaurant. It was one of those places you just want to like because of all the buzz–the interior was awesomely funky with colorful doodles on the wall and low wooden chairs, but the food seemed to be hit or miss. I went there twice: once on a doomed date where, even though he claimed he was “mostly vegetarian,” we ordered the khao soi (and I picked around the chicken to sample the duo of crispy and soupy noodles) and I ate an appropriate amount of food for a date which is to say far less than I would have otherwise consumed.

The second time was when my mom was in town and that was a glory-filled ordering of almost everything I wanted to try. The purple sticky rice was kind of meh and too sweet, the tofu curry was good, the spicy noodles were delicious, but what was really stunning–and what I ordered both times I visited–was the pumpkin stir fry.

Kabocha Squash Stir Fry // The Pancake Princess

Starchy hunks of pumpkin roasted and then sauteed until falling-apart soft and tangled in silky threads of scrambled egg, doused in a savory soy-based sauce. I kept dreaming about until finally a kabocha squash landed in my cart one day and I re-created the recipe the best I could. Guys, I JUST realized what a delicious trio oyster, fish and soy sauce are together. So much more depth than just soy sauce, my typical stir fry crutch. Aside from the roasting of the squash, this stir fry takes about 5 minutes to throw together and I HIGHLY recommend it!

PS. For my Houston readers, Artopia (a super fun party hosted by Houston Press featuring fashion, music, art and food) is this Saturday, 1/28 from 8-11pm! You can check out more about the event here (I went last year and had a blast), and enter for a chance to win a free pair of tickets on my instagram (giveaway ends Thursday at 10 a.m.)!

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Spinach Frozen Yogurt

Big news: Erik is requesting green smoothies.

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

Yes, that is my Midwestern, steak-loving, Honey-Bunches-of-Oats-traditionalist boyfriend I’m talking about. I’d like to think this is due to my mad blending skills, but some credit probably has to go to my new secret ingredient: chocolate protein powder (it’s amazing.)

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

Turns out, he’s happy I’m dipping into his supply because, as I was tickled to learn, he’s worried about my protein intake! As he probably should be. As I probably should be. The internet says I should be eating somewhere in the ballpark of 60-80 grams of protein a day. That…is not happening.

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

But I’m trying. Like, to the point where my impressive consumption of Greek yogurt was remarked upon the last time I exited Costco with three family-sized containers of Fage. Yes, it’s true. I’ve turned into a yogurt fiend. After detoxing dairy out of my diet, I’m curious to see what this does to my body but for now, I’m going with the 23-grams-of-protein-per-cup flow and kind of loving it.

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

This frozen yogurt is essentially my latest favorite green smoothie (spinach, banana, milk, protein powder) with yogurt instead of milk. I follow the exact same steps of making a smoothie (blending all the ingredients in a blender), and then I dump everything in a very cold ice cream maker for a few minutes. This is by far the easiest “ice cream” I’ve ever made, and definitely the first with vegetables.

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

I prefer this over banana-only frozen yogurt because you get more volume for fewer calories (plus who has 10 frozen bananas lying around?!), a hint of chocolate, and WAY more protein. Which I need.

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

Spinach Frozen Yogurt // The Pancake Princess

The result is something that looks like it should taste minty, but really just tastes like vanilla-y banana goodness with a hint of chocolate. The spinach is undetectable. If you hate bananas, you can leave the banana out. If you don’t have protein powder, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder (taste the blended mixture and if it’s not sweet enough, add additional sweetener. But my vanilla yogurt was pretty sweet.) I’d like to try using unsweetened Greek yogurt next, but for now, this is some incredibly, incredibly easy frozen yogurt that you deserve to consume right. Now.

Yeah...things got a little melty in Erik's hot little hands ;)

Yeah…things got a little melty in Erik’s hot little hands ;)

Boyfriend rating: 7
Erik’s comments: “The texture is halfway in between froyo and ice cream..the flavor wasn’t too intense which made it refreshing! The chocolate chips were a nice bonus. Overall..very good for a healthy alternative to ice cream/froyo!”

Spinach Frozen Yogurt

Yield: a lot of yogurt. Maybe 3.5 cups?

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (no chocolate chips)

Calories per serving: 72

Fat per serving: .3g

This cool, creamy treat is loaded with protein from vanilla Greek yogurt and fiber from spinach--essentially my favorite green smoothie turned into frozen yogurt!


  • 2 cups nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½-1 scoop chocolate protein powder (After careful research, EAS is Erik's brand of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)


In a blender or powerful food processor, blend together the yogurt, banana, spinach and protein powder until very smooth. I find it’s best to add the ingredients in the above order, otherwise the protein powder tends to get stuck on the sides of the blender.

Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze as directed*. Mine took between 10-15 minutes. Add the chocolate chips right before you remove the frozen yogurt and stir to distribute evenly. You can eat as is (mixture will be soft) or freeze for an hour or so to let it firm up a bit into a more scoop-able form. Enjoy your vegetable-packed treat!! Store in a freezer-safe container. It will freeze rock-hard, so let it thaw for 10-15 minutes before you want to eat it.

*If you don't have an ice cream maker, there are two alternative ways to make ice cream/frozen yogurt:

1) Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once completely frozen, blend the smoothie cubes until ice cream-like!

2) Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and stir with a spoon every half hour or so until it's at your desired texture (I'm guessing this would take about 2 hours to get an ice cream-like texture). Stirring the yogurt breaks up ice crystals so theoretically you don't end up with a frozen green block. But I've tried this before and my ice cream ended up pretty chunky and icy, not smooth and creamy. I suppose you could try to break up the large ice block and blend it...it's just a bit more work.


Inspired by here and here.


2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

Isn’t it fitting that while the rest of the blogosphere goes crazy over 2-ingredient pancakes, I’m sharing a recipe for 2-ingredient vegetable fritters?

2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

And by fitting, I mean not fitting at all. The world has been turned upside down, but probably for the best. Carbs = not my friend.

The Sweet Potato and the Egg.

In honor of my roommate who has been bravely forged into a healthy eating world of similar epic proportions to my detox, I’m pledging to post more easy, healthy dinner ideas. So instead of pancakes today, you get a nutrient-packed dinner. Isn’t this fun? (I see your face. I promise pancakes will be back soon.)

2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

But I have to admit, I’m a little in love with these. I’ve made them two nights in a row and considered including “hash browns” in the name because they taste naughtily like those oily, greasy potato chunks. However, based on my googling, it appears hash browns are technically fried potatoes. Since these include egg, they creep over into the fritter camp, although they’re neither battered nor deep-fried.

2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

Here’s the best part: you can throw these together in 20 minutes; the most time-consuming part is shredding them, and I did it over the sink on my cheap skate cheese grater while chatting on the phone. I highly recommend.

2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

Detox update: The last week of the detox involved incorporating two things associated with tough digestion: soy and eggs. While I didn’t notice any problems while I was strictly following the last week of the detox, guess what? I actually DO have a problem with soy.

I made a birthday cake for my friend last weekend—chocolate, layered with a tofu peanut butter mousse very similar to this, raspberry jam, and chocolate ganache (without heavy cream!). I noticed my stomach didn’t feel great after eating a slice and after picking on leftover mousse, I realized a pattern. Tofu = stomach pains. Total sadness! As a Chinese vegetarian, tofu-based dishes (plus some seafood) make up the bulk of my meals when my family goes to Asian restaurants.

Conclusion: I foresee more sweet potatoes in my future.

Question: does anyone else have problems with tofu?! Is this like totally weird? I feel as though since I’m Asian, this goes against nature!!

2-ingredient Sweet Potato Fritters

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 5 fritters

Serving Size: Entire batch

Calories per serving: 387

Fat per serving: 5.5g

These crispy, super simple, really healthy and tasty sweet potato fritters are great paired with sauteed greens.


  • 1 ¾ cups sweet potato, shredded (I used about half of a nearly 1-lb. specimen)
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for greasing the pan
  • optional seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, paprika, chili powder, basil, oregano, herbs de provence. I used ½ teaspoon garlic powder and dashes of smoked paprika and chili powder.


Shred 1 ¾ to 2 cups of sweet potato using a cheese grater or by processing in a food processor (I used the regular blade on my food processor and it worked fine). Start preheating a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the egg to the sweet potato and whisk until combined. Add seasonings to taste (just a dash of each).

Lightly grease the pan by trickling a few drops of oil onto the pan and spreading them around with a spatula—you don’t need a lot. Using a spoon or a quarter cup measure, plop about ¼ cup of the sweet potato mixture into the pan at a time. Mixture will be very loose and may fall apart in the pan—that’s okay. Use your spatula to nudge all the sweet potato scraps into a neat pile and press down on the top with the back of the spatula to flatten. Let cook about 2-3 minutes before flipping. If the patty starts to fall apart when you try to flip it, cook it longer. The bottom should be sturdy enough to slide the spatula underneath. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, but don’t overcrowd the pan—I only cooked three at a time in my largest frying pan.

Serve with a side of sautéed spinach, steamed broccoli, quinoa, beans, salsa, etc.


I preferred the feathery, shredded texture of the potatoes grated on a cheese grater, but you can use a food processor if pressed for time. The formula for getting perfectly crispy fritters that stick together is to use a hot pan (not too hot or they'll scorch), add just a glistening of olive oil and a small amount of batter, and to wait until each fritter is cooked for long enough so that the egg sets before flipping.


60-cal Date Newton Bites

Sarah B. of My New Roots says every bite of her chocolate cherry cookies caused her to “run around [her] kitchen in tiny circles, like a short-circuiting robot on flavour overdrive.” That’s kind of how I feel about these. Except my version went more along the lines of shoving a sticky glob of delicious in my roommate’s face like a crazy, shouting “TRY THIS!”

Date Newton Bites

No oven. Five basic ingredients. Huge, intense flavor. These are amazing. They were a reward to myself because guess what! I did it! I lived through this past week without ingesting one speck of added refined sugar!*

It’s been weird. A week without banana bread, spoons of ice cream, halves torn from cookies straight from the oven. I made it a week, and I feel slightly cleaner. (I suppose it helps that I’ve also been trying to eat clean. We’re talking lentil, carrot and quinoa soup and quinoa cornbread galore.)

Date Newton Bites

The weird thing is that it wasn’t NEARLY as hard as I expected. I curbed a lot of my cravings with homemade Larabars and PB&J crackers, and I started eating oranges from my santa-sized sack after dinner instead of my normal dive into whatever container of sweets are lying around.

Raw Date Newtons

I found these while browsing through Rawified after oogling her miles-long list of homemade Larabar flavors. I just couldn’t squash my urge to bake cook make something, so I got out my food processor…

Date Newton Bites

…and five minutes later, was banging down my roommate’s door. These aren’t your traditional fig newtons (which, actually, both my roommate and I admitted we don’t even really like!)—they’re sticky with honey and chewy from ground oats, oozing with a gooey, vanilla-scented date paste. The “cookie” part is incredibly rich with oil-abundant almonds and flax seed and they’re just the best cookie I’ve made all year. But really.


* Well, except for Sunday, when Erik suddenly decided we should have date night and the quirky-chic Italian restaurant gave us free pizza in the bread basket and two plates of biscotti for dessert. Naturally, I ate six. Bite-sized! Biscotti aren’t even that sweet, amirite? And they were free, so like, it doesn’t even count.

And half a bite-sized biscotti last night. But I was up past 12, way past my week night bedtime, and I can’t be blamed for my bad decisions.

Tips: My food processor is kind of dinky and not super strong, so my date paste was on the chunky side. You can make it chunkier or smoother depending on your preference—as long as it’s spreadable.

Substitutions: I used dates instead of figs (hence the “date newton”) and liked the result a lot–feel free to use either. I used unsalted roasted almonds, but you could probably use salted almonds and omit the salt. I used instant oats and flax seed meal, but the original recipe called for raw rolled oats and flax seed. Either will work. If you want to add a dash of cinnamon to the dough, I think that would go over quite well.

Nutrition: Here’s the calorie breakdown (You can try this recipe calculator if you want stats on fat, carbs, protein, etc. but it can be inaccurate. All calorie calculations below were calculated using the nutrition facts on the labels.)

½ cup almonds = 320 calories
1 cup dates = 16 dates (Costco brand) =  about 320 calories
¼ oats = 75 calories
¼ cup flax = 120 calories
2 tablespoons honey = 130 calories

= 965, if my math’s not mistaken.

So one newton bite = ~60 calories. Put that in your newton and eat it!

Raw Date Newton Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 16 bite-sized newtons

Serving Size: 1 newton

Calories per serving: 60

Buttery, gooey, chewy date newtons that get their richness from nuts and dates. Luscious!


  • 1/2 cup almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup instant oats (rolled may also work)
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • a few tablespoons of almond milk
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Combine almonds, flax, oats and salt in a food processor and grind until blended. Add the honey and process until the mixture starts to clump. If mixture seems dry, add milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until the mixture sticks together to form a moldable mass. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place on a sheet of wax paper. Cover with another sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape approximately 1/4" thick. I cut the rectangle in half at this point and rolled half out thinner, about 4" by 6."

Combine the dates and vanilla; process until a spreadable paste emerges. Spread half the paste lengthwise along the rolled out dough. Fold one side of the dough over the date paste and press along the seam to seal. It's easiest if you handle the dough through the wax paper at this point. Slice into 8 bite-sized chunks. Repeat with other half of dough. Store newtons in an airtight container in the fridge.


Adapted from Rawified


Cherry Pie Larabars

This is the easiest recipe you will ever make. Five minutes flat. Get your almonds out.

Cherry Pie Larabars

Well, let’s back up one hot second. This all started with my New Year’s resolution. I didn’t make a New Years’ resolution this year until I was sitting in a chair at the dentist’s office. My dentist asked me if I had made a resolution and when I said no, I felt really lame. So I made a goal: to not eat refined sugar for a week.

That might sound a little stupid, but truth: I eat way too much sugar for my own good. And truth: I’ve been meaning to cut down on my sugar intake for a long time.* And truth: I’m hoping if I can make it one week, I can make it two. Or three. Or three months. (I hear that resets your tastebuds. So really, my goal fits into the larger picture of things.)

Cherry Pie Larabars

Cherry Pie Larabars

So my goal didn’t include cutting out ALL sugar completely and forever. I had my emergency parachute ready and waiting: Larabars and PB&Js (I’m obsessed with peanut butter in case you couldn’t tell).

I had my first Larabar while shopping for Christmas presents—I was wandering around REI trying to guess what size shoe my dad wears, and with the bad judgment of a famished person, snagged a $1.68 bar off of a rack of snack bars that I would never normally touch. It was Cherry Pie flavored, natch. So. Good.

Cherry Pie Larabars

Cherry Pie Larabars

All the hype about Larabars and how there’s only natural ingredients blah blah OMG. It’s so true. They’re so naturally sweet and delicious with a great chewy texture from the dates and crunch from the nuts and yum. A perfect natural kick to trump my obsessive sweet tooth (sweet teeth?). Eating these feel like doing something good for your body. And they’re so cheap to make at home if you buy your almonds and dates from somewhere like Costco! Economical health = I like.

Now get your cherries and dates out and let’s get Larabar-eating!

Cherry Pie Larabars


*What does that mean for the blog? It means I’ll be shifting my focus to more whole foods and natural sweeteners. This year, I may not post about pancakes EVERY Friday, but you can bet Pancake Fridays will still be a thing.

More variations: These are so easy, and there are so many recipes out there for Larabar knockoffs that I hesitated about posting these, but I figured might as well spread the love. The more people eating these delicious things, the better!

For more flavor ideas, including but not limited to carrot cake, chocolate chip cookie dough and lemon bar, Maggie @ Rawified has the most complete collection of Larabar flavor ideas I’ve seen. It’s completely awesome. I want to be her friend.

Nutrition: I calculated these to be about 165 calories per bar.

1/2 cup pitted dates (small ones from Costco) = about 9 dates = ~180 calories
1/2 cup almonds = 320 calories
1/2 cup dried cherries = 160 calories

660 calories/4 = 165 yummy calories. They’re small, but the flavor is intense. And with all the dried fruit and nuts? Totally filling.

Cherry Pie Larabars
Inspired by Rawified

Yield: 4 bars

1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 – 1 tablespoon warm water

In a food processor, process the dates and almonds until finely ground (I used the “grind” button on my machine). Add the cherries and process until the mixture is in uniform chunks, about the size of…oh, I don’t know. Small gravel? If the mixture seems too dry to easily stick together, add warm water 1/4 tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. Err on the side of adding less water, because you can’t take it back!

To make nice square bars, I squished the mixture into a rough square with my  hands, wrapped it in wax paper, then used a cutting board to press the top flat. I used a random assortment of flat-edged items in my kitchen to press the sides flat.

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