Archive for healthy

Veggie Tortilla Quiche

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch with tags , , , on October 31, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

This is probably one of my top favorite breakfasts.  It is super delicious and healthy.  The hardest part is waiting for it to bake, which is why the leftovers are even better!

Veggie Tortilla Quiche Ingredients (Bake at 375 for 30 minutes)

  • 3-4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 handfulls mushrooms, cut
  • 1/2 bunch spinach, washed and cut
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 small can artichokes
  • 2 roasted red pepper slices (jar)
  • 1/3 c. feta cheese
  • 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk or yogurt


  1. Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and spinach for about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place tortillas on a greased pie plate. Top with sauteed veggies.
  3. Top with artichokes and sliced roasted red peppers
  4. Add feta cheese and half of mozzarella cheese
  5. Beat eggs and milk. Season with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Add to veggies.
  6. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Chupa Chups waiting for her breakfast…


Foodbuzz 24×24 Kids Table Event: Jasmin’s “A Whole New World” Birthday Bash

Posted in Appetizers, Dessert, Party with tags , , , on October 5, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Last week I was picked to be part of this month’s 24×24 event…which means that this birthday party was sponsored by Foodbuzz, in an effort to raise awareness for Save the Children on behalf of Frigidaire. They were generous enough to give me $250 to put this party together for my little niece’s 3rd birthday party. I had a great time planning all the meals, and the party was a great success. A special thanks to foodbuzz, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my Mom who was the party planner, coordinator, and chef who put everything together, my sister “sou chef” Kari who slaved away in the kitchen, my Grandma Dalila who was there helping in every way that she could, and my brother Benny and sister in law Norma who were in charge of decorations. Also, a special thanks to our talented photographer, Xavier Gutierrez, who took many wonderful photos of this special day.

And we couldn’t have had a birthday party without the beautiful birthday girl, Jasmin. Happy birthday my  little sweetie pie! I hope you had a magical birthday party. I love you!

This was a “Princess” themed party, where Jasmin came dressed as “Princess Jasmine” from the disney movie Aladdin...and she looked so cute! We decided to have Middle Eastern inspired food that was not only healthy but fun for the kids to enjoy.  Some of the kid’s favorites were the fruit kebabs and peanut butter and banana hummus sandwiches. The kids enjoyed helping grill their own chicken kebabs and they built their own wraps with their choice of veggies and tzatziki sauce. They also enjoyed making their own orange cream soda with orange juice, club soda, and vanilla ice cream. The kids had a lot of fun and greatly enjoyed trying new food and learning about different cultures, and the parents enjoyed trying new food as well. Great party, great company, and tasty food. Thank you to everyone who was able to come enjoy this very special day.



Watermelon, strawberry and lime agua fresca with bubbly club soda

Healthy Orange Cream Soda


For the Kids: Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Hummus Sandwiches

For the Parents: spicy roasted red pepper hummus with feta and chips

Fruit kebabs

Mini pizza “pogaca” bites with marinara dipping sauce

Main Course

Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Arabian Fattoush Salad

Lime Rice


Pistachio Crumble Cookies

Lollipop Sugar Cookies with Marshmallow Fondant Swirl

Princess Jasmine Birthday Cake


Healthy Orange Cream Soda and Watermelon Strawberry Agua Fresca

Forget the sugary store-bought soda. We served a watermelon and strawberry agua fresca with a bit of lime and club soda. It’s healthy, refreshing, and its got a little bit of the soda fizz kids like so much.

As a dessert drink, we had a “build your own Orange Cream Soda”. Very simple: kids would fill their cups with orange juice, club soda, and top it off with a scoop of low-fat  ice cream. Fun, easy and a healthier alternative kids are sure to love!


Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Hummus Sandwiches

I cannot believe how well my invention turned out!  This is a peanut butter hummus (no, there is no garlic!) sweetened with honey, sprinkled with cinnamon, and served in a pita sandwich with bananas.  SUPER nutritious, and SUPER tasty! The sprinkles on top make it that much more appealing to the little ones. This snack is not only great for parties, but for regular after-school snacks as well. Parents, you will thank me for this one, cause your kids are gonna start to like eating healthy…without knowing it!

Click here for the recipe.


Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Feta Hummus and Chips

A great appetizer everyone will surely love. And extremely easy to make at home! The addition of roasted red pepper, cayenne, and feta make this a fantastically unique hummus like you’ve never had before…and it’s extremely addicting too!

Click here for the recipe


Fruit Kebabs

A great hit with the kids! Not only does it look extremely appetizing, but it’s a great “on the go” snack for kids.  They would simply pick up a fruit skewer and run off to play with the other kids.


Pogaca Pizza Bites

Remember the Turkish Pogacas I made a few months ago? Well, I decided to revisit that and make little pizza balls stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni paired with a marinara dipping sauce. Could anything else be more appealing to kids?


Grilled Chicken Kebabs


Yes, another convenient “on the go” meals for the kids to enjoy. Instead of having the kids take time to sit down, cut their chicken and eat it, they simply went over to the grill and asked my dad for a chicken skewer. Even though they were meant to be chicken kebab pita sandwiches, the kids were perfectly content with picking up a kebab and running off to play while they ate their juicy marinated grilled chicken.  There was no begging kids to eat. They did it all by themselves!

The chicken was marinated with a mixture of plain yogurt, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight for some delicious and juicy chicken!


Arabian Fattoush Salad

We served this as a side salad and as a topping for the chicken kabob sandwiches. This tangy, yummy and healthy salad is super easy to prepare, and best of all, the kids ate  it because there were onion chunks in there.

Click here for the recipe.


Lime  Rice

This was no ordinary rice. This rice had a bit of butter, roasted garlic, lime zest, and was cooked in lime juice and chicken stock, resulting in a fragrant and full of flavor rice. Even though it had “green stufff” (parsley), the kids nonetheless enjoyed it.


Pistachio Crumble Cookies

It’s no kids party without the sweets.  We made little pistachio “mexican wedding” cookies and added sprinkles on top. A great dessert for kids and adults alike. My sister Kari made about 100 of these, but it was not nearly enough!

Click here for the recipe.


Lollipop Sugar Cookies with Marshmallow Fondant Swirl

These lollipop sugar cookies were really fun, but I wouldn’t recommend making them. The fondant swirl was a bit labor intensive..and much too sweet.  I ended up making only 3 fondant swirl cookies, and the rest were regular sugar cookie lollipops with a pink sugar glaze.  Much easier and tastier too. But, I would recommend these as a project where the kids can make their own. As long as the fondant is already made (which is really not all that hard), the kids will have fun molding and shaping their own swirl cookie.

Click here for the recipe.


Princess Jasmine Birthday Cake

Because we didn’t have enough time to make and decorate a cake, we outsourced the job to a local bakery.  And as for the decorations, no one had Princess Jasmine cake decorations so we used a Jasmine Barbie doll…so clever!

Kids Peanut Butter Hummus

Posted in Appetizers with tags , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Pita Sandwiches with Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Hummus

I cannot believe how well my invention turned out!  This is a peanut butter hummus (no, there is no garlic!) sweetened with honey, sprinkled with cinnamon, and served in a pita sandwich with bananas.  SUPER nutritious, and SUPER tasty! The sprinkles on top make it that much more appealing to the little ones. This snack is not only great for parties, but for regular after-school snacks as well. Parents, you will thank me for this one, cause your kids are gonna start to like eating healthy…without knowing it!

Peanut Butter Hummus Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1/4-1/3 c. honey
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Pumpkin spice, to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A little bit of either orange juice or milk, but just enough to allow it to blend. (About 2-3 tbsp)

Tip: If your child is picky about the chunky consistency, you can make the hummus smoother by removing the skins off the garbanzo beans.  Simply roll each bean between your fingers and it will slide right off.

Blend above ingredients. Cut out star-shapped pitas and fill with peanut butter hummus and slices of bananas. Top with pita star. Add cooking spray to top of pita and add sprinkles.

Spicy Red Hot Fish Street Tacos

Posted in Mexican, Seafood with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I was inspired to make little street tacos after accidentally coming across the best Taqueria in Seattle.  Their tacos are 99 cents and they have veggie tacos, which is extremely rare in mexican restaurants.  They also have all the other legit mex tacos like lengua/tounge (my dad’s fave), tripa/intestines (my sis fave), cabeza/head, and other gross and unnecessary “delicacies”.  Best of all, they have draft beer for $1!! I had a meal and a beer for $3! Craziness! Mark and I have already been there twice this week. We are in love…with TACOS!!

Anyways, I digress.  Although those veggie tacos were good, my favorite tacos are the ones with fish.  Sometimes it’s hard finding fish tacos that you absolutely love, so I find it’s best to make them myself.  And these fish tacos, my friends, is exactly what I wanted. And if it wasn’t for fear of mercury poisoning I would eat these every day…seriously! The cod fish was marinated in a spicy chile de arbol salsa and grilled with onions and garlic.  The little corn tortillas were hand made and rolled out by Mark, and the salsa was…well, it was near perfect.  (Second to Chipotle’s hot salsa, which I’m still trying to recreate, but this one comes pretty darn close!) If any of you know how to make that salsa or think they know how to make it, please please let me know!

Enjoy these awesome tacos, and serve them with a Corona or Pacifico for the perfect meal.

Chile De Arbol Red Hot Salsa

Chile De Arbol Red Hot Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes, seeds and juice removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 20-30 dry chiles de arbol, cooked and drained (semi-seded)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • zest of 1 lime


  1. Place chiles in boiling water and cook until they are plump and soft.
  2. Drain chiles and pat dry with towel
  3. Depending on your spicy level, either remove some of the seeds or keep them.  I removed the seeds in about 1/3 of the chiles by squeezing out the seeds after they were cooked
  4. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.


Spicy Grilled “Wild Caught Cod”

Grilled Cod Fish Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 lb cod fish, marinated in Chile de Arbol Salsa (at least 1 hour)

Directions: In lightly oiled pan, saute onions and garlic.  Add marinated fish and a bit more salt on med heat. Cook thoroughly, about 7 minutes.


Spicy Red Hot Fish Street Tacos

Street Taco Ingredients:

  • Fresh Corn Tortillas
  • Grilled fish
  • Cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Chile de Arbol Red Hot Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Lime wedge

Dilme (Eggplant with Lentils) with Roti Mariam (Fried Flatbread)

Posted in Breads, Turkish with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I loved this eggplant and lentil recipe! It is such a unique way to cook lentils, and it was extremely easy too!  I got this recipe from This dish was made by Zerrin’s mom and I am so happy I made it. Best of all, I don’t have to post the recipe (my least favorite thing about blogging).  So click on the links below to check them out.

To accompany this dish I also made a fried flatbread I came across while blog-surfing. I assigned the task to Mark and he did a great job. It was delicious!

I also made a quick greek salad with a lime & olive oil dressing. Light, quick and easy.

  • Dilme (Eggplant with Lentils) by Give Recipe
  • Roti Mariam (Flatbread) by Treat & Trick

Dilme (Eggplant with Lentils)

Click here for Dilme recipe.

Note: I changed a few things noted below

  1. I only used 4 large japanese eggplants, cut in half.
  2. To the tomato and lentils mix I added red chili peppers for heat and chopped cilantro instead of dry basil.
  3. Once the eggplants are stuffed and assembled in pan (single layer), instead of adding water to simmer I added 1/2 c. vegetable broth and 1/2 c. dry white wine (can also add red wine). I also added the juice of 1/2 lime.
  4. I added the leftover lentil mix to the pan to cook along with the eggplant.
  5. Yogurt: I used greek yogurt and added garlic, salt and lime zest.


Greek Salad


  • Romain lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Red onion or red cabbage
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Dressing: olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper


Roti Mariam (Fried Flatbread)

Click here for Flatbread recipe

Note: I added the egg.


Eggplant with Lentils, Greek Salad and Fried Flatbread

Superfood Avocado Smoothies

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, Drinks with tags , , , , on August 15, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

My stash of avocados has now been depleted. My mission this day is to find cheap avocados once again and stock up, or they will truly be missed.

I have always been curious as to what sweet avocado desserts or drinks taste like, and yes, they are out there! I used to work in a Mexican ice cream parlor when I was 15 and they had an avocado flavored popsicle, which was surprisingly popular. I always judged the people who ordered it and thought to my self “you gross bastard, why would you eat an avocado popsicle?!?” But I was a naive closed-minded teenager who knew nothing of the world, so don’t judge me.

It was in China where I tried my first avocado smoothie…by accident. China really forced us to be more courageous with what we ate, since most of the time we didn’t know what we were ordering.  If a restaurant had pictures, we would point at what looked appetizing, although we found many times pictures can be deceiving. If there were no pictures on the menu, most of the time we would say “xie xie” and walk out.  One morning Mark and I woke up really early to get some alone time and we strolled the streets of Shanghai.  For breakfast, we stopped by a “bubble tea” stand with pictures. However, the pictures were on the other side of the stand preventing me to go right up to the picture and point at it. I wanted a coconut smoothie and played charades with a girl hoping she would guess exactly what I wanted. She seemed very confused, but after a minute she said “ah” and nodded her head like she finally understood.  But I didn’t receive a white smoothie.  I forced an awkward smile and took my green drink reluctantly, but never did I think it was avocado. The taste was different at first, just because I was expecting it to be kiwi or cantaloupe.  But with every taste it got better. Half way though I realized it was avocado, but by then I didn’t care. It was too good.

I’m pretty sure that bubble tea in China was made using avocado, condensed milk, coconut milk and tapioca pearls. I got the idea to make this drink when I saw big green tapioca pearls at the asian grocery store–I almost screamed with happiness!  Then as I was walking around I saw the big bubble tea straws. It was a sign from the gods that I was meant to make this drink.

For almost an entire week I made avocado smoothies for lunch. And every time I had one of these I didn’t feel hungry for the longest time. Avocados are considered a “superfood”. Superfoods are packed with high phytonutrient content that may confer health benefits as a result. They may help reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and can even put you in a better mood. They are rich in antioxidants, and essential vitamins, and can even help you have better skin!  Yes, avocado also have a good amount of fat, but it’s the good kind of fat so there is no need to worry as long as you don’t go overboard. Other “superfoods” include kiwi, berries like blueberries and raspberries, green tea, and many others.

My favorite smoothies below were the kiwi and the raspberry.  I found that the more fruit you add the less you can taste the avocado–which might be good or bad depending on your taste.  I also think psychologically, changing the color (by adding something like raspberries) completely takes the avocado taste out, which might be good to keep in mind with picky eaters like kids…or Mark.





  • 2 tbsp avocado
  • 3 frozen coconut milk ice cubes (or
  • 1/4 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp green tea, cooled
  • 2-4 basil leaves
  • Sweetness (agave nectar, honey, sugar, or condensed milk)
  • Green tea tapioca pearls (use the big pearls, found in asian markets)

Directions: Blend together. Adjust ingredients to you own liking.

Tapioca Pearls Directions: follow instructions for quick 5 minute tapioca. When ready, place in simple syrup for 5 minutes for sweetness. (Simple syrup: boil water and add equal parts of sugar until syrupy).




  • Avocado
  • Frozen mango
  • plain yogurt
  • frozen coconut milk ice-cubes
  • White cranberry juice
  • Agave nectar




  • Avocado
  • Frozen Mango
  • Frozen raspberries
  • plain yogurt
  • Coconut milk ice-cubes
  • White cranberry juce
  • Agave Nectar




  • Avocado
  • Kiwi
  • White cranberry juice
  • plain yogurt
  • coconut milk ice cubes
  • Agave nectar

Atole Oatmeal Pudding with Summer Berries

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

An awesome breakfast in 5 minutes. The secret ingredient in this oatmeal is nut flavored cornstarch. (Atole maizena de nuez). The Atole thickens and flavors the oatmeal creating a pudding-like dessert.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, berries and nuts for a breakfast that is both delicious and nutritious.


  • Milk
  • Quick oats
  • Corn starch (Maizena Nuez Flavor)
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Walnuts & silvered almonds
  • Apricot
  • Mixed berries


  1. Heat milk in saucepan. When hot, add oats.
  2. When oats are soft, combine 2 tbsp cold milk with 1 tsp corn starch for every 1/2 cups of oats.
  3. Reduce heat and add vanilla and brown sugar.
  4. When oatmeal is thick, remove from heat and let thicken for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Serve with fruit, nuts, and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top.