Clean Eating: What does it mean??

I’m sure many of you out there keep hearing this catch phrase Clean Eating.  On the surface and at face value it seems pretty straight forward, logical and powerful.  “I’m going to eat CLEAN.” eat-real-food-300x294

But… if you’re like me… you hear these catch phrases and you ask… “OK, what does it really mean?”  My initial though on the phrase is that it means you eat fresh veggies, lean proteins and low Glycemic Index carbohydrates.  You try to stay away from “processed foods” and keep it as healthy and fresh as possible.

But what is processed and what isn’t?  Ketchup? Is that processed?  How about mustard?  Can one be clean eating and the other not? How about those great burritos from Chipotle; they seem to be made fresh. Protein bars? Those don’t come from a plant, tree or animal, they’re technically processed and packaged.  Or how about the All-You-Can-Eat Sushi in town?? They make it fresh right when you order, and it’s fish.  What about soy sauce?  Because let’s be honest… this Chinese girl LOVES her soy sauce, but technically it’s not “naturally occurring”, soy sauce is the byproduct of soy beans being processed… so does that make it not OK?

So much confusion!  So many questions!  It was time to do some research…

After pulling from a couple sources, here and here, this is my conclusion.

  1. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle
  2. Avoid processed and refined foods
  3. Consume food in its most natural state; eat whole foods
  4. Let the food label guide you (Long list of ingredients you’ve never heard of? Pass.)

Gosh? Only four points?  Must mean it’s easy to do… maybe, maybe not.  Since clean eating is a lifestyle it’s an ongoing process and something you must keep at if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’d like to think that many of the recipes I’ve shared on my blog in the past would be considered clean eating.  See… Roasted Broccoli, Siracha Kale Chips, Taboule Salad and many more.RoastBroc2SirachaChip1BulgurWheat1

This blog post is intentionally left open ended; I don’t want to force my own opinion down your potentially clean eating throat.  Maybe do your own research and get back to me.  I’d love to hear your comments below.  So tell me… what does clean eating mean to you?

Hot White Chick

It brings me much shame and embarrassment to admit that I read the trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey.  These books were downright horrible.  I loathed them.  I kept hoping and wishing they’d get better… that maybe the plot was going somewhere.  But no.  It continued to be horrible.  I’m the type of person that if I start a book, I must finish it.  Somehow I pushed myself through all three of these books and then felt like I had wasted precious time in my life that could have been better spent elsewhere.  Usually, when I’m this angry at a book when I finish it, I literally chuck it across the room in disgust.  Unfortunately, I was reading them on my friend’s Kindle so I couldn’t exert my anger on the device.

Fast forward a few months, and that same friend introduces me to this book: 50 Shades of Chicken.  It is HILARIOUS!! I highly recommend it to anyone who also felt their time and effort of reading 50 Shades of Grey was stripped away from them.  This book redeems some of the time lost reading the original trilogy because you would only understand the humor if you had suffered through the writing in the original three

The idea of this book is that Shifty Blades, the Chef, is going to make Chicken for dinner.  “No Chicken… I don’t MAKE dinner…. I cook. HARD.”  And there is a little blurb before each recipe that’s written so similarly to the original books in style that it’s hilarious.

To give you a sample of what you might find in this book, I’ve written my own 50 Shades of Chicken recipe complete with cooking innuendo.  A side note: I’ve talked before in previous blogs, Chicken Avocado Salad, about how poaching chicken is a great way to cook lean and keep it from drying out.  Here’s that process.

I’m suddenly awakened by a tight, firm grip around my breasts. “Where are we going?” I ask sleepily.  “I’ve got something special planned for you Miss Hen…” Shifty teases.  My skin is warming underneath his grip…he’s so devious sometimes. Two can play that game.  “What could possibly be more special than making dinner with me like you did last night?”  I retort.  “Today, I’m going to turn you into a Hot White Chick.”  I feel my skin flush with anger.  Turn me into a hot white chick? I’m not some art project.  My inner goddess is winding up to smack that smirk off his face with her wing. 

Shifty eases me into the hot boiling water.  The heat is so intense all around me, it’s suffocating.  I’ve sunk to the bottom of the pot, then I start feelingevery morsel of my being come alive.   The swirling water has my head spinning… I’ve lost track of time.  Suddenly, I’m floating at the top of the pot.  I catch my reflection in a nearby blade… OH MY!!!  I’m so white and lean and piping hot!!!  My inner goddess is striking poses left and right.  Stay calm.  Shifty eases me out of the pot to rest on a nearby cutting board.  I see the desire and hunger in his eyes.  Yes, he wants me. His HOT WHITE CHICK. I stretch out on the cutting board flexing my taut body….

I’m fully self-aware at how horrible of an attempt that was at fowl mockery.  You want the real thing… read the

Chicken (pieces, whole chicken, whatever your preference may be)

Method: Bring large pot of liquid (broth, water, wine…anything) to a boil.  Ease in chicken (thighs, breasts, whole chicken).  Turn temperature down to low, just enough to where the liquid is slightly swirling.  Typically, once the chicken floats, it is cooked.

Cooking times may vary based on frozen or fresh and size of pieces.

Who is excited for the 50 Shades of Grey movie? HMMMM?? Not me.  However, maybe it will prompt me to make a chicken video blog in the future.


Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

It’s a gloomy day today in NYC, so I’m taking advantage of being inside by writing up this yummy recipe for baby bok choy with cashews.  This is a really simple, healthy recipe that’s great as a side dish.

Bok Choy is essentially a Chinese cabbage.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but I tend to gravitate towards buying the baby bok choy.  Like most leafy greens, you want to make sure you do a very good job washing this prior to cooking it.  The layers of leaves make for good hiding spots for bugs and dirt.BokChoy1

When preparing this dish, I usually break the outer leaves off and wash each individually (I know; tedious) and then leave the center as a piece of it’s own.  Depending on the time of year, the baby bok choy can even vary in side.  If your outer leaves seem too big and inconsistent with the cooking size you’re going for, just chop them into large pieces (that’s what I did in this recipe).

I love how quick this dish comes together.  After prepping the ingredients, cook time takes no time at all.  I hope you enjoy this…. If you master this side dish, you’re only a pot of white rice with steamed Chinese Sausage and Pork Wontons away from what my family considers traditional Chinese dinner.

10 Baby Bok Choy
2 garlic cloves chopped
3-4 green onions chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ C cashews chopped

Directions:  In a large pan (or wok) heat on med to med-high heat.  Add canola oil; allow to warm then add green onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.


Next, add in the cashews, and cook for another minute.  Add cleaned baby bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil; stir then cover with lid.  Covering the pan will help the bok choy wilt and steam.  Keep a close eye on and it make sure to stir it a few times.




Once bok choy has achieved desired doneness (I like it wilted, but with a crunch when you bite it; not mushy) remove from heat.  Top with reserved chopped cashews and serve.


Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

Pork Wontons

I’ve been on quite the heath food blogging kick lately, and I think it’s time I that take it back a notch and prove I am still human and that I love fried food.  I try to stay away from deep fried food at home as much as possible, but there are just some foods that are better cooked using this method than any other.  For these pork wontons, I’m sure you could brush them slightly with oil and bake them, but I’ve never personally tried it that way.wontons3

The wontons I make are unlike most wontons you’ll find in restaurants.  First difference, I hand make them and they’re not a product conveniently purchased nearly cooked and just to be thrown in the deep fryer for a few seconds like you’d find at most restaurants.  Second, I fold mine differently than the traditional wonton.  I’m not sure if there is a perfect way to fold a wonton, but this is how my grandpa did it, so that’s how I do it.

I have strayed from the family recipe before and used ground chicken because someone I knew couldn’t eat pork, and they turned out just as good.  When I substituted the chicken I used a little bit of Panko breadcrumbs to help the wonton mixture retain moisture.  I liked it so much, that I’ve now incorporated that into my pork wontons as well.  It’s not a necessity in this recipe, but I think it makes them a little fluffier and not so dense in the middle.

1 package round wonton wrappers (or gyoza wrappers)
½ lb ground pork
¼ c green onion (chopped fine)
1 can water chestnuts (chopped fine)
1 egg (beaten)
¼ c breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
Water or a 2nd beaten egg for sealing wontons

Directions:  Preheat frying oil at 375 degrees in fryer.  In a bowl, combine green onion, water chestnuts, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil.  Mix together.  Then add the pork and fold in.  *I like to get all my flavors together, then add the meat, if you mix the meat too long it can sometimes get tough.  Once meat mixture is combined you can assemble the wontons.  Place a small spoon full in the center of the wrapper and then seal the wonton by coating the edge with water or beaten egg.  Press the edges of the wonton together well, do not allow air into the wonton.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s smart to have a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper and plastic wrap on reserve to cover the made wontons.  If they dry out too much they can crack which then makes a mess when you deep fry.


After you’ve assembled all the wontons, fry them just prior to serving.  In the fryer be sure to fry both sides, and when they are golden brown you know they’re fully cooked.




Enjoy!  If someone has baked wontons, please share your experience with me because I’d like to know how they turn out.  Also, the Green Onion Condiment I made goes EXCELLENT with these wontons.

Have a great week!


Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.



Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Avocado Chicken Salad

It seems like spring just flew by us and Reno decided it was summer over the course of two days.  You gotta love that summer time heat.  To me it means backyard BBQs, going to the lake and spending lots of time in the sunshine (don’t forget the SPF).

Can you believe half of 2013 has already passed us by??  Have you been diligent in keeping up with that New Year’s resolution to be bikini ready by the time summer arrives?  Mentally – I wanted to.  Physically- well that’s another story…  Since I haven’t really had the time to work out, I just try to remember to eat as healthy as I can, and control that portion size.

One of my first posts for Like Write on Rice was Arepas de Venezuela.  The reason I bring this up is because the Avocado Chicken Salad is derived from a common filling Venezuelans like to stuff their arepas with.  La Renia Pepiada is often what this filling is called (in case you ever find yourself in a Venezuelan restaurant).  I’ve altered the recipe just slightly to make it healthier. AvocadoChicken2

One last tid-bit I’d like to express with you is my distaste of canned chicken.  Sure – it’s easy and convenient.  For me, I just can’t seem to get myself to like it.  So, in this recipe feel free to substitute canned chicken.  I like poaching my own chicken and shredding it.  It tastes fresher to me.

To poach chicken (breasts, tenders or any chicken part really) bring a pot of water to boiling.  You can season the chicken ahead of time if you wish, but I usually poach is plain if I’m adding it to another dish.  When the water is boiling throw in your chicken (frozen or fresh).  Turn the heat down to where it no longer comes to a rolling boil.  You want the water to slightly swirl, but absolutely not boiling.  Let the chicken sit in there until it is cooked through.  Time varies based on size and fresh or frozen.

3 Chicken Tenders (poached, shredded)
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion (like relish)
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/3-1/4 C plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp lime juice
½ an avocado (cubed)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Combine chicken, onion, cilantro, lime juice, Greek yogurt.  Add avocado last and fold in.  Serve and enjoy!


Another nice substitute/addition to make to this salad is celery.  You can replace the onion with celery if you don’t like onions.  Or add it in as an additional source of crunchiness.

What do you think?  Will you be making this for lunch, dinner or a snack this week?

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like grilling vegetables (see Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers and Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon and Bleu Cheese).  I think I’m drawn to doing this because roasting and grilling gives veggies another dimension of flavor you can’t achieve in other cooking methods.  It also is a low fat way to give your veggie more flavors.  With very little seasoning (if any at all) you can transform a bland vegetable into a vegetable with slightly more flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of eating artichokes.  I know some people have never even picked one up at the grocery store because they wouldn’t know how to go about cooking it or eating it.   Hopefully if you’re an artichoke virgin, this blog post helps alleviate some of those fears about artichokes.

First things first – prepping the artichoke:


Each leaf on the artichoke has a little thorn at the tip of it, which makes them undesirable to handle.  Before steaming the artichoke, these spiky tips should be removed.  I use a serrated knife to cut off the tops of the artichokes.  I recommend a serrated knife as opposed to a regular knife because the leaves are rather tough when raw, and the serration help cut through the leaves easier.  I also trim up the stem at this point.  My only motivation behind it is so that it fits in the pot easier when I steam them.  Next, you should use a pair a scissors to remove the remaining spiky tips around the rest of the artichoke.

Once that is completed, place them in a pot with some water and steam them anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  The artichoke is ready when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.


Grilling the artichokes:
I started doing this about a year ago, and now that I’ve tried it, it’s my preferred method of cooking.  The ‘chokes are ready after being steamed, but I like taking it one step further and grilling them.

To do this, cut the ‘chokes in half and remove the heart.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and make sure the flat surface of the ‘choke is covered (the part that will be touching the grill).  Put them on a grill with medium to medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes.  This part is to your own preference on how grilled/charred you like them.

Artichoke3 Artichoke5

Traditionally, artichokes are served with some sort of dipping sauce.  Usually it’s a mayonnaise or aioli of some sort, or melted butter.  I wanted to change it up and make a healthier dipping sauce with flavors that compliment the artichoke well.

Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce:
Plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dill
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients above to desired consistency.  The lemon juice is meant to add flavor as well as thin the yogurt a bit so it’s not so thick and easier to dip into.



There you have it, I hope you enjoy.  What other veggies do you like grilling?

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