Make these Delicious Spring Rolls from Scratch

Make your own Spring Rolls, follow this simple recipe for a healthy snack| itsaLisa.com

My father and I were craving some fresh and healthy food, and since we are a fan of shrimp and Vietnamese cuisine, spring rolls were the obvious choice! I used this recipe on foodnetwork.com because it looked simple and easy, it was:

Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

You can click the link above for details – I don’t want to plagiarise. However, I will share some secrets I learned while making them! Read this guide before you get started:

these are the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little spring rolls | itsaLisa.com

  • Buying ingredients at your local H-mart or asian market will save you money. I wish I’d known this secret years ago, but it’s true… groceries are cheaper at the foreign grocer! If your town has one, I highly recommend stopping in.

An Easy Way to Make Spring Rolls | itsaLisa.com

  • Only soak 2 rice papers at a time in a plate of water. Soak them as you go: when you take one out put a new one in. This will give you enough time to make a spring roll while the new rice paper softens.

spring roll filling, lettuce carrots, and bean noodle | itsaLisa.com

  • Here is a mistake we made… The directions insisted we combine all the vegetables with the cooked bean thread noodles. – First off, we probably should have “finely shredded” the veggies a little better, and by better I mean we should have actually done it. – Second, the noodles just didn’t combine with the veggies well. One was raw and dry, the other sticky and lumpy, so I don’t know why that’s a good idea? – Anyways,  keep them separate and just grab a small portion of both to place inside the roll. A “good portion” will fit between your thumb and two fingers, no more than that or the roll won’t close.

Use this techniqe when rolling your spring roll to make it prettier | itsaLisa.com

  • To make your spring roll look prettier, roll it like this:
    • First place the filling at the bottom of the wrap, give it one roll.
    • Then lay out the mint leaves, cilantro, and shrimp
    • Wrap the sides in and roll it all the way up.

The best sauce you will ever taste - Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce | easy recipe on itsaLisa.com

  • This is the best peanut sauce you will ever taste! (Photo is of the ingredients before they were mixed together.) We had to use chunky peanut butter because that’s all we had, so it looked kiiiiiindof lumpy. But the taste was AMAZING. Luckily I had leftovers and I ate it with everything until, sadly, I ran out.  So my tip to you would be to make extra Thai Peanut Sauce and put it on everything. Examples include: apples, celery, PIZZA (seriously, try it), chips, sweet potato fries, spring rolls (duh), …

Homemade Spring Rolls | easy healthy recipe on itsaLisa.com

  • Lastly, here’s a serving suggestion. Aren’t they pretty!?

My Dad and I had a good time making them, it was worth the effort. He doesn’t think so, but he thinks all cooking should take 10 minutes or less. That’s how fast it’s done at the restaurant right? (WRONG). Whatever Dad, thanks for your help, I guess. (He secretly loved it).

Good luck on your own folks, I hope this helped! Once again, here’s the recipe from the Food Network. Please leave your thoughts in the comments… do YOU think it was worth it?

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Satisfy Your Cravings with this All-Natural Skinny Chocolate Smoothie Recipe (150 Calories)

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe, 150 calories! | itsaLisa.com

Want a satisfying treat that can fill you up without maxing out your daily caloric intake? This guilt-free smoothie is guaranteed to hit the spot. Just blend the following ingredients, pour into a glass, and enjoy the creamy chocolatey goodness…

Skinny Chocolate Banana Smoothie Recipe:

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup ice

The sweetness of the banana offsets the bitterness of the cocoa powder, and the creaminess of the almond milk all whipped up makes the drink as enjoyable as any ordinary dairy-infused drink. For 1/3 the calories of a typical smoothie, and no added preservatives, this chocolate smoothie makes a perfect trade in for a snack that is worth having any hour of the day.

Check out more Healthy Smoothie Recipes here in my Smoothie Column

I input the ingredients to Livestrong’s calorie tracker so you can see how they add up: Calorie Counter: chocolate banana smoothie for only 150 calories on from My Plate / Livestrong | itsaLisa.com

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Grilling is Easy

Labor day just passed, but I’m still going to wear white.

I’m also still going to use my grill! SCREW THE RULES!!

I’ve been grilling all summer, on and off. It’s so easy, and it brings people together. You could say the same about cooking anything – anywhere. But since the grill is outside, makes everything smell amazing, and reminds people of happy times, I am going to continue endorsing grilling as my favorite method of cooking.

Here is an assortment of instagram photos I have taken while grilling this summer.

The beauty of grilling is the ability to be as creative or plain as you want – and (as long as it isn’t too burned) it tastes great!

some of my favorite things to grill include:

  • onions
  • corn (husk or no husk)
  • pineapple
  • peaches
  • meat (duh.)

My only additional advice is: Salt and pepper goes a long way, and serve anything with a cold beer. Cheers!

For more cooking fun and daily creative updates you can follow me on… . . .

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Healthy Mac!

easy mac1

Everyone LOVES mac n cheese.

Problem: mac n cheese is NOT healthy.

Solution: MAKE mac n cheese healthy.

How? Substitute the empty calories with nutritional ones and add veggies! As with any comfort food, the healthy alternative is just as easy the original. The most significant change is being aware of the ingredients you choose.

Ingredients: A box of WHOLE WHEAT* macaroni shells, 1/2 cup MOZZARELLA*, 2 broccoli trees, a cup of cherry tomatoes, 1/2lb ground TURKEY*

*the most nutritional option for each of their food groups

To make: Fill a pot with water and set to boil. Start cooking turkey in skillet. Add pasta to pot, follow instructions on box. Add broccoli and cherry tomatoes to skillet. Stir. When pasta is done make sure the turkey is cooked through and combine all ingredients . Toss in cheese. Stir. Add your favorite hot sauce if desired.

healthy mac healthy mac1

Call me a nerd, but I plugged in the nutritional facts to Livestrong.com’s My Plate so you can truly see the impact of this healthy dish versus its not-so-comforting-anymore alternative. (I included meat in both dishes, we need our protein!)

KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE: Serving Size 1 cup cooked

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 9.29.27 PM

MY HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE: Serving Size: 1 cup cooked.Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 9.29.34 PM

It is easy to observe the 100 calories difference, but beyond that you also consume less fat, way less sodium, less carbs, more fiber, more protein, and less sugar. The protein you consume is lean and full of energy from meat and the fiber comes from the whole wheat. Kraft’s Mac calls for cream, packaged and processed cheese powder, and empty carbs from the basic noodles.

You can also go gluten free, vegan, etc. I’m not hear to preach about animal rights or argue the evolution of how our internal organs digest food. I’m just stating a very basic way to take one dish and make it healthier. You can substitute whatever ingredients to meet your needs according to dietary restrictions and choices. But always choose healthy! A comfort food doesn’t have to set you back. A comfort food can be healthy and just as satisfying.

For more healthy recipes follow my FOOD COLUMN

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Kickin’ Kale Smoothie

kale smoothie

Don’t let the humble green deceive you. This kale smoothie is packed with a punch!

Start with your typical kale smoothie ingredients:

  • Raw Kale, torn off stem
  • Coconut Milk or Almond Milk, unsweetened
  • Banana
  • Ice

And then add your secret metabolism boosters. Hint: SPICE RACK!

  • ground Cinnamon
  • ground Cayenne Pepper
  • fresh Ginger

Don’t be shy. Add a tablespoon of the Cinnamon, and several more dashes of the cayenne and a a few thin slices of ginger (ground ginger works too).

Blend.

Pour into a glass, sip, and wait for the kick!

You are now fueled for a kick ass day. 

The cinnamon and other intense spices boost your metabolism, find out why here. Go ahead and experiment with other spices in your cupboard too … you might find the cumin and curry are not just for Asian dishes! Try it and see. There’s a world of flavor out there. If you’re anything like me then you will soon find it hard to live a life without spice!

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DIY: A REAL Fruit Bowl

Fruit Bowl
  1. Cut melon in half,
  2. Scoop out seeds
  3. Fill melon with Fruit and Greek Yogurt
  4. Grab spoon
  5. Enjoy!!!!

How did yours turn out? I’d love to know!

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Baking for Dummies: How to make a Healthy Fruit Crumble

Readers be warned, this recipe is music to the ears of anyone who doesn’t bake, and nails on a chalkboard to anyone who does.

Fruit Crumble

How did I make this fruit crumble? By dumping all the ingredients together and putting it in the oven!! No measuring, just guessing and eyeballing.

This recipe was inspired by all the ripe fruit in my kitchen. My family was away on vacation this weekend and I had a lot of leftover fruit because they weren’t around to help me eat it. I needed to whip something up before the fruit went bad and ended up in my trashcan, so I made this crumble to surprise them with an afternoon snack upon their return home.

Peach Crumble RecipeWhat you need: Handfuls, pinches, and guesstimates of…

For Crumble: flour, egg, oats, brown sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, chopped nuts

For Fruit: peaches, pineapple, (or any other fruit in your kitchen that will go bad soon), cinnamon, nutmeg, salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine crumble ingredients into bowl.  Oats is the dominant ingredient here, Combine oats with other dry ingredients.  Think “healthy” -do not add too much sugar.  Or try using agave or stevia as a substitute.  Combine the coconut milk, egg, and butter.  Pour in and mix with fork. Use enough to make the ingredients stick together -not soupy. Set aside.

Combine the fruit ingredients into a bowl.  I like a lot of cinnamon flavoring so I doused mine in it, add a pinch of salt and some nutmeg.  Once they were coated I plopped them into a good-sized baking pan, topped them with the crumble, sprinkled more chopped nuts on top, and put them in the oven for 40 minutes.

Out popped a warm dish of juicy fruit and crusty topping!  …like pie but easier 🙂 And for following all of my instructions meticulously, I award all of you 5 gold stars!  Hooray for cooking!  Serving suggestion:  serve in fancy looking bowl with greek yogurt (or vanilla ice cream).

Fruit Crumble

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Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 1.34.25 PMScreen shot 2013-06-26 at 1.33.55 PM