Saturday, June 15, 2013

Scallion Buns - Hua Juan

It's time for my once-a-year update!

Anyways, I experimented with making low carb scallion rolls (hua juan) today and they turned out so AMAZING that I could not resist posting!!

I used the Carbquik yeast bread recipe here as my dough and it worked out great!
yummy scallion buns: 1 baked, 2 steamed, 3 uncooked
The two buns towards the upper right corner are steamed, they are next to one baked bun, and 3 were not yet cooked. It's hard to tell from the photo but the buns puffed up nicely post-steaming. I made 8 buns total- the two other baked ones were still cooling in the pan.


3c Carbquik
2T Sugar
1pkg Yeast (I used instant)
1c warm water

3 large green onions, chopped (can use more or less, I used a lot because I love them!)
1T sesame oil (I was out of sesame so used olive oil and it still tasted great)
1t salt

1. Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.
2. Add yeast mixture to Carbquik and combine to form a stiff dough.
3. Knead with dough hook on low for 7 minutes.
4. Divide dough into 8 even pieces.
5. Roll each piece of dough out with a pin until it is long and flat. Brush the dough with a thin layer of oil, then rub with salt and sprinkle with green onions. I find it works best to press the scallions into the dough lightly with a rolling pin again afterwards so they don't fall off when you shape the rolls.
6. Cut each of the rolled out pieces of dough into strips, layer the strips, and twist. Bring the ends of each piece together to form a circle. Better directions on how to do this available here.
7. Steam the rolls for 20 minutes, or brush with egg wash and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

I am so happy to find that it is possible to have low carb steamed breads! I will be experimenting a lot with using Carbquik in all of my favorite recipes... from dumplings to red bean buns and even okonomiyaki (ps. any japanese folk out there who want to translate this?)! I also tried this mushipan recipe using Carbquik today and it turned out good, although I had some rising issues that could have been due to my own baking powder/soda substitution.

Anyone know of any good sites/blogs that use Carbquik for Asian-style foods (Chinese/Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese/etc.)? Any language is fine, I will figure out how to translate! ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Failure of a Focaccia

I had whole wheat flour... I was bored... I made focaccia.

I later discovered that focaccia made with only whole wheat flour is extremely dense.

Hit-someone-on-the-head-with-it-to-knock-them-out kind of dense.

Not seriously.

Anyway, I tried to make a focaccia loaf using proofed yeast, whole wheat flour, rosemary, olive oil, and garlic. The taste turned out okay, but it was pretty dry and dense. I have a bowl of dough for Five Minute Artisan Bread hanging out in the fridge right now, building up a bit of the more sour taste that I enjoy. Hopefully that will turn out better!

I've been on a bit of a bread-baking spree recently, so I also made the Low Carb Sandwich Thins from Foodie Fiasco. Coconut flour is a great light flour substitute!! I can't wait to try it in other dishes it is so delicious. I plan on making one of my sandwich thins into a tasty grilled cheese to bring for lunch tomorrow :)

My pre-sliced babies
My whole house smells like garlic... so amazing...

Happy Blogging!

VitaPizza Party!

VitaPizza Review!

Now that VitaPizzas are being shipped nationwide, I picked one up to try. A whole mini pizza for only 190 calories? How could I resist?

A frozen VitaPizza ready to cook
The directions are simple, just take off the plastic and bake or microwave for a certain period of time. I chose to bake it, as microwaving pizza tends to make it soggy. Next time I will pop one in the microwave and see how well it crisps up.

So I threw my pizza in the oven and waited... waited... waited... (for ten minutes)

And here's the result!
A freshly cooked VitaPizza
All for me! So how was it?

The serving size was huge. I got to eat this entire pizza (about the size of a Pizza Hut personal pizza) for just 190 calories. This was the cheese & tomato flavor, which had chunks of tomato mixed in. To be honest, it tasted like frozen pizza. The crust was dense and reminded me of a pita, and the tomato sauce was a little bland, unlike the slightly sweet pizza sauce I am used to. However, for the calorie count and the convenience, I think this is a great choice! Spice it up by adding a little garlic powder, pepper, or oregano prior to baking and it would become a masterpiece.

Have you tried the VitaPizza? How did you like it?

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hodu Gwaja (호두 과자) Experiments!

I was craving a healthy Hodu Gwaja, so I whipped together a batch of homemade red bean paste and... bought a cake pop machine =.=;; (impulse buy or smart investment? We have yet to see ;D)

I tried two different versions, one using a bread-like recipe I found online, and the other using a batter similar to waffle mix, which is what I do when making Taiyaki. The bread-like recipe required the dough to rise, so this ended up being a two day endeavor.

Waffle-batter version of my hodu gwaja

Red Bean Paste:

I use a slimmed down version of Maangchi's Red Bean Paste here. The recipe calls for 1 cup of red beans to 4 cups of water. I halved this because I don't use red bean frequently enough to have a lot left over in the fridge, and I hate waste.

Recipe- Lower Calorie Red Bean Paste:

1/2 cup red bean
3 cups water
1/4-1/3 cup truvia baking blend
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Bring red beans and water to boil in a covered pot. Lower heat to medium and let boil for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes, lower to low heat and let simmer for about 1 hour, until soft. (It takes longer if the beans are not fresh, make sure to test a bean by chewing or squashing it to see if it is cooked through.)

 Once beans are soft and easy to crush, drain the water and return the beans to the pot.

Add truvia, vanilla, and salt to the beans. Mix together ingredients, using a blender to create a chalky paste-like consistency.

Cook bean paste over low heat for 5-10 minutes.

That's it! I like to make my own red bean paste because the commercial ones have an insane amount of sugar and calories. Truvia baking mix contains a blend of sugar and sweetener so that it acts like sugar when used in cooking, but with 75% fewer calories than sugar. I haven't tried with a granulated sweetener but it would probably work just as well.

If you don't plan to use all of your bean paste for this recipe, scoop out the amount you want to use and mix in a few crushed walnuts.

Waffle Batter vs. Bread mix:

I disliked the way that the breadlike hodu gwaja came out. The outsides were hard, and the inner layer just tasted like a very heavy, thick bread. I used whole wheat flour, which apparently doesn't bake well by itself. Thankfully the waffle batter version turned out great!

For my waffle batter, I used 1/4 cup of gluten free baking mix, about 1/3 tbsp of egg substitute, and 1 tsp of applesauce. I also added a little sweetener to the batter. Gluten free baking mix isn't really necessary, it was just what I had on hand at the time.

Once your batter and your red bean paste are both assembled, scoop the batter and bean paste into your mold. Fill the mold halfway with batter, then add a small amount (less than 1 tsp) of red bean paste, and another spoon of batter to cover the paste. I used my new cake pop maker, so I just shut the lid and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes. I'm not sure how it would work out in the oven, but please let me know if you try! Based on waffle recipes I've looked at, I would say baking at 350 for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes would do the trick, but that's subject to some experimentation.

Happy cooking!

Broccoli Tofu Leftovers

Sometime during the last week I noticed that my opened package of tofu was about to go bad, and I have been wanting to eat this for a while, so I used up my leftover tofu and some frozen broccoli to make this dish. When I lived in a dormitory in Korea it was often served for breakfast, and I loved it so much that I would pile it onto my plate and ignore any of the other dishes served. It's such an easy and versatile dish, I had no problem making it. The ingredients?

Tofu (I used extra firm)
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds

That's it!

I used about a half of a package of tofu with a full bag of frozen broccoli. First I cooked the broccoli according to the instructions on the bag, and mashed the tofu into a crumbly consistency while the broccoli was cooking. After that I just mixed the two together with about 2 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of sesame oil, about 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more to taste), and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. I added a little garlic powder also because I love garlic :)

This dish turned out great! It was so simple and healthy and I was really pleased with the result. Unfortunately I split it into multiple servings and the tofu went bad before I got to finish it :( Still, it's a great way to make a healthy meal with just leftover tofu and broccoli.

If you make it, let me know how it goes!

Happy cooking!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Handmade Dumplings

This isn't really a recipe post, more of a recipe review. Take a look at the world's ugliest handmade dumplings. They're gluten free!

I used the pork dumpling filling from Tiny Urban Kitchen here:

And the gluten free dumpling skins from Viet World Kitchen here:

Boiling Dumplings
It took me hours to make the dumpling skins... I made 1/3 of the recipe, but the dough was very sticky and it was difficult to roll out. The dough kept sticking to the rolling pin despite using loads of flour to dust the pin and the surface. Does anybody know a solution for that? 

For the filler, I estimated the portions of the ingredients based upon how much I was planning to make, and used Morningstar Farms Soy Crumbles instead of the pork. Unfortunately the soy crumbles taste kind of beefy, so I think I would change the filling next time. 

The dumplings were good! The skins were very chewy though, I definitely prefer the normal dumpling skins made with regular flour.

For reference, I made the dumpling skins gluten free to avoid the wheat, but I think in the future I would risk feeling sick from the wheat. I have some leftover filling, so I will probably use premade skins for the rest of the filling and compare it to what I got with the homemade.

I really like the dumplings with thick skins... but most of the frozen ones have thin skins! Someday I hope to make the perfect dumpling... keep tuned for another try!

Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

I got a vitamix! I got a vitamix! A Vitamix 3600.... but it hasn't arrived yet.

Instead, I used my Magic Bullet to make this tasty healthy milkshake today. With banana, Arctic Zero ice cream, and real cocoa, it is a healthy and filling treat.



1/3 Banana, frozen (~35 cal)
2 scoops Arctic Zero chocolate ice cream (~50-75 cal)
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk of choice (I used Silk Almond Milk ~30 cal)
1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened (~5 cal)
4-5 ice cubes
sweetener to taste
fat free whipped cream for topping (~5 cal)


1. Add everything except whipped cream into the blender and blend until smooth, using the 1/2 cup milk to start and adding more as needed.
2. Top with whipped cream and serve.

Pre- whipped cream shake

Easy right? The banana makes it extra thick and creamy without using as much ice cream as in the typical shake, but it's a small enough portion that the banana flavor doesn't really come through. If you like banana, use a full banana in the recipe. Make sure that it is a bit overripe (brown bananas are the best) to get the sweetness.

If you end up making this, please let me know how it turned out!

Did you know the average milkshake has between 300 and 2000 calories? I'm happy with my healthy chocolate milkshake!