Monday, May 27, 2013

A juicing experience: Ruby Red Juice

Military Life:  Did you know all military members have to pass a annual/semi annual physical fitness test every year (PT test as we like to call it).  If you dont you could potentially be kicked out of the military for not staying physically fit. The military puts a lot of emphases on being "fit to fight" you wont do yourself or any of your battle buddies any good if you are huffing and puffing in your 50 lbs Kevlar gear in the desert under hostile conditions, trust me that gear is heavy I know.  Now we're all not constantly deployed or in hostile conditions, but you still need to stay fit incase you have to be deployed, not to mention its just healthier and better for you if you are constantly striving to be or stay fit.  Plus talk about a good motivator to get your butt in the gym, (at least for me it is) its either workout and stay in shape or basically get fired!  In the last few years as I start to creep up into my late 20's, dare I say close to 30 :/  I have found it harder and harder to keep those pesky pounds off, I was not fortunate enough to be blessed with the skinny gene, I have always had to make sure that I not only eat healthy but I have to add daily exercise into my routine or poof I swear in 3 months I can put on 10 lbs.  

Because of my constant need and my own personal desire to stay healthy and fit, I have been trying to incorporate more vitamins into my diet.  My kryptonite is a multivitamin, this girl cannot talk adult sized multivitamin without getting sick, seriously it will come right back up (sorry not trying to gross you out), I've tried taking Flintstone vitamins but I'm the worst at remembering to take it and even when I do they still make me somewhat nauseas. Recently I came across an article about juicing and how juicing your veggies and fruits deliver their vitamins and nutrients straight into your blood stream because your stomach doesn't need to break down or digest any of the fibers from the produce.  Well, I received a juicer a couple of months ago for a birthday present from my hubby, and he was smart and didn't buy a super expensive one, he got me something mid price and would get the job done and I could not be happier with my juicer.

 I love taking random fruits and veggies from the fridge and juicing them to see what delicious concoctions I can create, not only do I enjoy taking my vitamins in juice form but its quite filling and I sometimes will drink a big glass of juice as a meal replacement.  You'll also find out quickly which combinations dont work while juicing,  like celery ...Yuck, seriously I'm not kidding freakin gross! I dont know what it is but I thought I would like cerely, I cook with it, I like to eat it raw but I found that I do not like it juiced at all, it literally runis any juice if I add a stalk of celery in it, its just so over powering and bitter? not sure how else to explain it, but celery will probably never end up in a juice of mine ever again, especially not after having to choke down a juice I made recently with celery in it, because I refused to toss it down the drain, especially when most fruits and veggies are pretty pricy here in Japan. Other than hating on celery I really enjoy beets, they have a distinct taste but not in a bad way, and juicing beets produces the most gorgeous ruby color. This particular juice is very beety, if its too overwhelming try adding grapefruit. 

This picture does not represent the amount
I put into the juice, just the produce I used,
 I used almost half of what you
see here for my juice (not shown is lemon)

Ruby Red
Recipe by Oishii Treats

Yields:  8 oz


1/2 (2" in diameter) Beet, peeled and sliced small enough to fit in your juicer
1/2  (5 inch long) Sweet Potato, sliced
1 small carrot or 5-6 baby carrots
1 small apple, sliced and remove seeds
1 inch sized piece of ginger
2 think slices of a lemon, cut off the peel


-Add all ingredients into your juicer, once juiced, stir all together and enjoy.

This is a rough estimate of the nutrition and vitamins of this particular juice from using Juice Recipes Juice Builder
Calories: 108  Potassium: 497 mg  Vitamin A: 52.5%  Vitamin C: 15.96%  Calcium: 3.55% Iron: 10.56%

Note: If the juice is too beety try adding some grapefruit for a more sweet and sour flavor.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Military Life:  Okay, so I'm swimming in oatmeal right now, I have about 3 giant containers of oatmeal currently in my pantry and there is no possible way me and my husband can finish it all before their expiration date.  Now I didn't go to the store and purposely buy an over abundance of oatmeal on my own, I acquired most of it from friends PCSing (Permanent change of Station).  We like our acronyms in the military.

In the military we normally move about every 3 to 4 years. You'll stay at one base for a period of time until you receive orders for another base somewhere around the world.  So usually your neighbors and friends around you are constantly moving in or moving out and that means people have to get rid of persihbles they cannot pack with them, because honestly you wont see your house hold goods for about 2 months while moving to another base. 

One of my neighbors just packed her goods for Germany (I'm jealous!) and had a ton of left over baking goods and donated them to me.  So now its up to me to put all this oatmeal to good use and why not make something that is nostalgic to childhood and bake some delicious chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. I love my cookies with tons of oatmeal and raisins in every bite, some people are raisin haters, but not I, please give me a cookie loaded with sweet raisins. 

 I made these cookies with a limited amount of sugar (no white sugar either) tons of raisins and added some cinnamon and ginger. These cookies baked up nice and plump with the raisins giving the cookie some added sweetness, these go perfect with a giant glass of milk. More oatmeal goodies to come, can't wait to share another oatmeal cookie version with you soon, a little hint theres going to be coconut : )

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Recipe from Oishii Treats

Yields: 30-34 cookies


2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons), at room temp
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rasins


- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger and set aside.
- In a electric mixer beat your butter and brown sugar together until fluffy, scraping the side of the bowl when needed, about 3 minutes. Add in your eggs one at a time until fully incorporated and then your vanilla extract.
- On low speed slowly add in your dry ingredients, scrapping down the side of the bowl to get all the flour combined, once done switch to medium/high speed and mix the dough until all ingredients are combined.  Add in the raisins and mix for 30 seconds.
- Using a spoon roll about a 1inch ball of dough and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand, place the on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from one another, I could fit about 9 on my cookie sheet.

- Bake for 13-14 minutes, remove from oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for 4 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baklava Cupcakes

Lately I could not stop thinking about Baklava, for over a week all I could think about was the delicious layers of nuts and honey between crisp phyllo dough and contemplated if I was going to make a traditional Baklava or go crazy and create a cupcake that is reminiscent of Baklava.

I choose to go crazy! I spent over a week trying to come up with a baklava cupcake recipe,  my main reason to make it as a cupcake was to avoid using phyllo dough, that stuff frustrates the crap out of me. I swear I rip or tear about half the phyllo dough just trying to painstakingly separate it from each other, I honestly get so mad that I just want to wad up every piece I tear and throw it across the room.  So by making baklava into a cupcake I can avoid that annoying phyllo dough, and that is what I would like to share with you today a Baklava Cupcake, same great taste of Baklava without the frustrating phyllo dough. (no offense to phyllo dough your great and all but very high maintenance)

These cupcakes turned out incredible soft, thanks to the cake flour, I also added some of the honey syrup and nuts to the batter to create more texture.  Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled a hole was made in the middle of each cake and filled with the nut and honey mixture and then topped with a honey buttercream. 

Now I know There are a few components to this recipe it could seem overwhelming but its really easy and whats nice about this recipe is you can make the sweet honey syrup a day or two ahead as well as the toasted nuts until you are ready to make the cupcake, plus there will be extra nuts and honey left over to use for any evil plans you might have for them. i.e. use as a topping on ice cream, stir the honey into tea, dip apples in the honey and nuts, so many uses!

Baklava Cupcakes
Oishii Treat Original

Yields: 15-18 Cupcakes

Sweet Honey Syrup (This can be made ahead of time)

1 cup grade A honey
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 inch strip of a lemon peel


- In a medium pot on medium high heat, combined all your ingreiendts together and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissovled and the mixture starts to boil.
-  Once the mixture starts to boil reduce the heat to medium and cook until the syrup has slightly thicken, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove the sryup from the heat and discard the peel and cinnamon sticks and pour it into a glass container and place in the fridge to cool or the freezer depending on how much time you have.

Nut mixture (This can me made ahead of time)

1 cup chopped hazlenuts
1 cup chopped almonds


- In a large skillet or frying pan toast your chopped nuts for 10 minutes or until brown. Make sure to stir the pan frequently to prevent the nuts from burning.
- Pour the nuts into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped, set aside.

Honey Nut Cupcake


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temp
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts


- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper lineres
- In a small bowl combine your flour, salt and baking soda together and whisk until blended, set aside
- In a electric mixure beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes on medium high scraping the sides of the bowl, beat your vanilla and eggs one at a time until fully combined
- Mix in your honey and beat for 30 seconds
- Alternatly add your flour and milk into the batter sarting with your dry ingrednitents until completely combined
- Hand mix in your nuts and fill your cupcakes 3/4 full and bake for 17-18 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean, cool on a wire rack
- Once cooled make a hole in the middle of your cupcake with either a small melon baller or special cupcake hole puncher

Sweet Honey Nut Mixture (for the filling)

1/2 cup finely chopped nut mixture
2 1/2 tablespoons sweet honey syrup


- In a small bowl combined the finely chopped nuts and sryup together to make thick nutty paste and take about 1 teaspoon of the mixture and fill in each hole of your cupcake.

Honey Buttercream
Adapted from Cupcake Project

1/2 cup butter, at room temp
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup sweet honey syrup
1/4 cup sour cream


- Beat the butter in a electric mixer on high for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy
- Add the powdered sugar to the butter slowly until full incorporated
- Add in the honey and sour cream and beat for another 3-5 minutes
- If the frosting is a little soft, set it in the fridge for 10 minutes and pipe onto cupcakes

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