Healthy Eating : The "no cut" Salad

The past week was hectic, I had a ton of homework, so much that I didn't even get to enjoy the good weather. Hopefully the Mother Nature stays in a good mood over the long weekend. After spending half of my weekend coding without much success, I still have to burn some midnight oil to get it out of the way before the long weekend (yes, all roads lead to the long weekend!).

In an attempt not to spend any unnecessary time in front of the computer, I am going to be sharing a super quick and easy recipe with you today, its so easy that you don't even need to use a knife! (hence the name)

I had this salad at the Orlando Airport in Florida on the way back from my Harry Potter vacation. Once home, I had to replicate it, and its been a favorite every time I have served it so far.

This salad pairs well with pizza and pasta. With summer coming up, its also a perfect side to take along to all those BBQs and picnics coming up! Hope you get to give it a try soon!

"No Cut" Salad

Mixed Salad Greens
cherry tomatoes
kalamata olives, strained
canned mandarins, strained
feta cheese, crumbled
Dressing of choice
1. Cover the bottom of a wide serving dish with the salad greens.
2. Layer the remaining ingredients on the greens, ending with the feta cheese.
3. Drizzle with a dressing of choice.


The Simple Sponge Cake

With the amount of homework that I have due in the next week, I'm moving back into a cave. But before going I thought that I would leave you with something that I made years ago (so there are no "in process" pictures) because I haven't had much time to bake/cook in the past few days. This recipe is simple to make and easy to decorate, so you don't have to spend to much time in doors and can keep enjoying the sun while still having something home made for brunch on Mothers Day.

Also, this recipe was requested by one of my oldest friends, so here you go Nolwazi (Yes, after hours of thinking I have come to a conclusion that you are the oldest of my friends with whom I am still in touch!)! As I mentioned I made this cake years ago , it was for my farewell party that my closest friends organized for me (I know, weird I made my own cake) when I was leaving Swaziland (a small country in the corner of Africa. Its so small that everybody knows everybody). Its the place that I still call home :)

Over the past three years, all of us have grown up, but fortunately we have not grown apart. We might not see each other everyday, we don't even talk all the time, but I choose to believe that we are still just as close :) We have survived college, graduated and gotten jobs, some married, some engaged and started new chapters in our life, but all thanks to technology we are still in touch. :)

Okay, okay...enough reminiscing, getting to the point, the cake I made is called 'hot milk sponge cake'. This is one of the simplest sponge cake as it has no special needs, and contains a ridiculously small amount of butter, which means no guilt in going for the second piece! The name comes from the fact that the milk is boiled and not added straight out of the fridge.

I filled in between the layers and covered it graciously with whipped cream. I choose to slice up marshmallows and use m n m's (smarties in Africa) to decorate the cake once frosted. I do not have a bag of marshmallows on hand, but I'll come up with a tutorial on how to make the flowers soon. I find this a relatively easy cake to make, and once you cover the icing with decorations, any imperfections are hidden, so if you don't have a steady hand like yours truly, then no problem!

These pictures are from a more recent cake, I used cream cheese frosting instead of whipped cream. Personal opinion whipped cream tastes better, but my husband is a bigger fan of cream cheese icing :)

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
Adapted from New Cook Book, Better Homes & Gardens

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup Whipping cream
Couple of tablespoons of sifted powdered (icing) sugar, to taste

Extra tools
coconut flakes
m n m's

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and grease a 9 inch round pan.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.
3. Beat eggs until they are a pale yellow. Slowly add in sugar, while beating.
4. Once all the sugar has been added, beat in high for 2-3 mins, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
5. Slowly add in the flour mixture, while beating on low, once completely incorporated. Set aside.
6. In a small microwave safe bowl, place milk and butter. Cover and heat in microwave for about 45 seconds, up to a minute depending on the microwave.
7. Pour heated milk and butter in to the flour mixture and beat until well mixed.
8. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes depending on your oven or until toothpick comes out clean.

1. Place a bowl (best to use a stainless steel or glass) in the freezer before you start baking, this way you can make the frosting while the cake is baking.
2. Pour in whipping cream into bowl. Make sure that you use whipping cream straight from the fridge.
3. Beat the whipping cream on high for about 5-7 mins (time may increase depending on your mixer).
4. Check to see if the stiffened cream now forms peaks that remaining standing, if so fold in the powder sugar or continue beating at 1 min intervals.
5. Cover with cling wrap, until cake has cooled.

1. Once the cake has cooled, cover it with the whipping cream, it doesn't have to be perfect, as most of it will be cover with either the marshmallow flowers or coconut flakes.
2. Once the cake is covered in frosting, take handfuls of coconut flakes and holding the dish the cake is on at an angle, sprinkle onto the sides, this will cover up all the kinks in the icing :)
3. Lastly, cut the marshmallows across the length into circle to use as petals and the m n m's as centers. Each flower will be about 5-6 petals, depending on the size of your marshmallows. Spread them around on the top. As many or as little as you wish :)

Note: for the cake in the pictures I made 2 9 inch cakes to layer and whip at least 1 cup of whipping cream.


Meal Time: Easy Peasy Thai Noodles

I'm trying something different this week and going with a "cooking" recipe. Just to make sure that you all don't think that I serve cupcakes with a side of brownies for dinner. I have been a fan of Thai food since my vacation in Thailand a couple of years ago. Thailand has the biggest selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, you could literally spend your whole trip just eating! And if you haven't heard of their tradition of craving fruit,  I suggest you google it, cause you will be amazed! I can't wait to get a chance to go back there again.

After getting married, I was glad to find out that my husband was just a big a fan of Thai food as I was. We are having a great time trying out all the Thai places around the city (if you are ever in a Thai restaurant, try their dessert, Mango Sweet Rice).

Now, one can't eat out ALL the time, so I decided to start trying to recreate some of our favorite dishes with a bit of help from Trader Joe's (they have a great collections of ready made sauces to get you started). Then I decided to venture out and try to make my own sauce from scratch and I think that I was successful, cause I am ready to share this recipe with you :)

The chicken can be swapped out for tofu making this dish vegetarian, unfortunately I have not tried to make it without peanut butter, but I will post more recipe with out peanut butter for those of you who might have allergies. Serve with a salad on the side and you have yourself a meal.

This is a real simple recipe, so go ahead, give it a try and wow someone!

Easy Peasy Thai Noodles
adapted from Taste of Home


2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter (no salt, no sugar added)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3-5 Tbsp sriracha sauce (adjust according to personal tolerance)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

4 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti
2 x 12 oz frozen mixed vegetable packs, thawed to room temperature
2-3 boneless chicken thighs, chopped into cubes
(substitute with cubes of fried tofu to make it vegetarian)
couple of Tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
small bunch of green onions

Yield: 4-6 servings

1. In a small bowl combine all ingrediants for the sauce, whisk together and set aside.

2. Bring water to boil in a deep pot. Boil pasta until al dente. Set aside.
3. Heat up oil in wok or round bottom fry pan on high heat.
4. Turn stove down to medium heat and add in chicken along with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to fry until chicken is brown, about 7-10 mins.

5. Once chicken is almost done, add in vegetables, stir to mix well.
6. When vegetables are half done, about 5-7 mins depending on the vegetables in the mix, pour in sauce. Mix well to coat vegetables and meat with the sauce.

7. When the sauce, vegetables and meat are well mixed, add in pasta and continue stirring to make sure that everything is well coated with the sauce and mixed well.
8. Reduce the stove heat to low and simmer for 3-5 mins before removing from stove. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.

9.  Serve warm with a side salad.

Note: If omitting chicken, then stir fry vegetables directly. If adding in tofu, just add it in at end along with the pasta.


The Quickest, Easiest Cake...EVER

I'm back from the cave, exams are over and I get to finally enjoy the sunshine! While taking a break I tried out this super duper simple recipe. So have you never baked before? Lazy to clean up after baking? Don't bake cause you will end up eating it all? If you have answered yes to one of these questions, this is the perfect cake to get you baking!

Remember those multiple choice choices back in high school with the 'all of the above" option, well this cake has is just that, it has it all! Seriously!

QUICK: It literally take 5 mins to put the cake in the oven, you're done before the oven preheats.
EASY: Clean up is a breeze, all you need is your measuring spoons/cups, a bowl and whisk. 
SIMPLE: No fancy ingredients, so no grocery run for those random items that don't sit in your pantry year round.
HEALTHY: Using low fat yogurt, and having no butter, cuts the calories :)

As a bonus, if your not a fan of frosting, just dust this cake with a bit of powdered sugar and you are set to go!

Now, time to give credit to where it is due, THANK YOU, Semonti for sharing this recipe with me. It has very quickly become my go to recipe when I am short on time. And I plan on coming back to it over the summer with all the fresh fruits at the grocery store!

Enough chit chat, here's the recipe.

Yogurt Cake
Adopted from : Martha Stewart
Softened butter, to grease the pan
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp zested lemon rind
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh fruit of choice and powdered sugar, for decorating

Yield: 1 8 inch round cake


1. Preheat oven to 350*F and grease cake pan.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar into a mixing bowl.
3. Add in all remaining ingredients, and beat with a whisk until everything is well mixed.

4. Using a spatula scrap the bowl and pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 20-25 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool on a cooling rack before decorating.

1. Once the cake is cool and right before serving, dust it with sugar and decorate with sliced fruits.

See, I told you it was easy!