Classic “Cheesecake” Parfait Recipe

Recipes

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been quite a while since my last post. Summer’s been flying by so quickly I can’t seem to catch it.  With the blink of an eye, school is just over 3 weeks away now…

On a side note, I’ve just finished my internship at a sensory science research center in Singapore called MMR. It’s been really eye-opening, especially about opening my eyes to the realities of working… let me just say it’s not as cool as it seems. But I’ll save that for another post!

Thankfully, summer has also given me time to try out many new recipes of my own and also experiment in the kitchen. And with the immense sweet tooth that I have, it’s not a surprise that I’ve been trying to find ways to put just a slightly healthier spin on the delectable, indulgent, and almost sinful desserts.

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All the ingredients for the filling!

One of my all time favorite desserts of all-time is a classic cheesecake. Creamy, cheesy, smooth, with an equally delicious and crunchy base makes for the best experience. Ughhhh, thinking about this right now is making me drool.

 

The one downside is, though, that cheesecake is possibly on the other side of the spectrum in terms of how good it is for you. Loads of sugar, cheese, milk, butter, cream — yeah, let’s just say too much of it is not that good for you. That’s why I wanted to try my hand at putting a healthier spin on it (and also easier to make!)

 

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Toasted Oats 🙂

For the base, I knew I needed something that was both crumbly and crunchy but also tasty and also slightly buttery. That’s why I decided to use granola and crush it up to get that cookie like consistency, and adding some melted coconut oil helped it stay moist and delicious.

Next, came the hardest part, the filling. How are you supposed to maintain the creamy and smooth texture, cheesy yet sweet flavor, without all the loaded fats? Tofu came to mind. Tofu is basically a soybean-based thing that comes in different textures. Silken tofu, which is normally used in soups, is very creamy and delicious (in my opinion). The texture is also quite similar to that of a very delicate cheesecake. Though the tofu taste is not that strong, I had to use something to mask the soybean taste. I knew that greek yoghurt and instant vanilla pudding mix tastes really close to cheesecake. Paired together, this filling results in a light, fluffy, “cheesecake” mixture.

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“Cheesecake” Filling

To add a touch of color and flavor (and to keep this classic!), I made a strawberry jam-like topping. It’s really simple (I literally threw a few frozen strawberries in a pan and reduced it with some cornstarch and natural sweetener) it really adds to the flavor and makes the dessert come full circle.

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Look at the color…..

I’ll admit that this is not exactly like cheesecake (nothing beats the real thing), but it is a great alternative when you are craving something sweet. It also makes for really cute and easy desserts for bringing to dinner/lunch parties or gatherings!

 

Layered 'Cheesecake' Parfait

  • Servings: 6 cheesecake trifles/pots
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Print

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Ingredients

Filling

  • 100g silken tofu
  • ¾ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 2 heaped teaspoon instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Base

  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Strawberry Topping

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple/agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tofu, Greek yoghurt, instant pudding mix, and vanilla extract. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in fridge to chill.
  3. Next, combine the ¾ cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons honey, and dash of cinnamon in a bowl. Mix it so that the honey in equally distributed around the rolled oats. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until oats are toasted.
  4. Meanwhile, place 1 cup frozen strawberries in a pan over medium heat, and use spatula to break it up (until it is a bit jam like). Stir in the maple/agave syrup, 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like it to be. Add in the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it up. Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce is slightly thick and “jam” like.
  5. Take it off the heat, then mix in the chia seeds, and let it cool.
  6. Once you have taken your oats out of the oven, pulse the oats in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the toasted oats and spread thoroughly. Bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes at 165 degrees (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until toasted.
  7. Once everything is cool and you are ready to serve (and eat!), start layering. You can do this however you like, but I like to start with a base of the granola “cookie” crumbs, filling, then more crumbs, then more filling, then add the strawberries on the top.
  8. Eat immediately! This doesn’t taste exactly like the decadent cheesecake, but it comes very close when you want something sweet, silky, and creamy, and helps quell those cravings from time to time. It’s also really cute for serving at a dinner party/gathering.

Nutritional Info:

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Hope you enjoy!

Life/Running Updates  + My 10 Minute Core Routine

Life, running

How are you guys doing? Sadly, I’m feeling sick today, so decided to not go to work. I feel like these past few weeks have been super busy and I haven’t really had much time to rest, so I guess today is much-needed. My plan is to literally sit at home all day, sleep, eat, and do whatever I want 🙂 I decided that I wanted to take this extra time to update you guys on my life + give you a glimpse of my core routine (if you want to skip all the blabber, go to the end of the post for the core routine)

So I’ve actually been doing an internship for the past few weeks now at a sensory science research center. It’s kind of complicated to explain what I actually do, but it’s basically a field related to food science and involves researching people’s sensory evaluation of food/products and combining that with consumer needs to create the best food/products. It’s actually quite intriguing, but when you do multiple trials over and over again about the same product, it gets a bit tedious. Even more, I have to commute over an hour every morning at 7:30 to the other side of Singapore to get to where I work. I know that’s nothing to a lot of people, but for me, who is fortunate enough to live in the central part of SG and have my parents drive me/take a taxi everywhere, that 1 hour public commute is something I had to get used to. On the flip side, it’s really opened my eyes up to the realities of a normal life that I will eventually have to lead and also the realities of working. To be honest, compared to working, I’m starting to appreciate school a lot more (I never thought I would ever say that)!

Running wise, I’ve been quite happy with my progress. Getting injured during track season really has made me a lot cautious towards my approach to running/training. I’ve been doing a lot more easy miles and making sure I feel 100% recovered before I attempt any other tempo/faster paced workout. For example, I’ve normally been doing 1-2 tempo workouts and 1 longer run each week, with the other days all consisting of easy running/rest. Being able to tune in with my body has kept me completely injury-free so far (crossing my fingers), and I’m feeling really good with my progress!

If you guys would like a more comprehensive overview of my summer XC base training, drop a comment/like below!

I’ve also found that a really crucial part of keeping myself injury-free and in shape so far has been doing supplemental training like prehab exercises, strength-training, and core. I’ve tried to commit to doing my core routine at least every other day, and I’m happy to say I’ve been doing quite well so far! Core is always sometime that I tend to miss out because I’m just lazy to do it after my workout, but by establishing a set 10-minute core routine, it’s been helping me stick to doing the exercises. There are billions of core exercises out there, but I’ve just compiled a few of my own favorites to create my own core routine. You guys can follow my routine or mix and match your own favorite exercises to create your own!

My 10 Minute Core Routine

1. Front Plank

Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Position your forearms on the floor with your elbows aligned with your shoulder and your arms bent at 90 degrees. Engage your core while keeping your back straight from head to toe, with your head in a neutral position (looking down). Hold this for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. If you can’t do this yet, try 30 second intervals with 10 seconds in between, then build up as you progress!

2. Side Planks

Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Then, engage your core while bringing up your hips until you body is in a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for 1 min 15 seconds, making sure your hips don’t drop. Switch sides.

3. Bicycle

Lie face up with your hands cupped behind your head. Tuck in your abs while raising your shoulder blades off the floor and knees to your chest. Alternate your legs and shoulders, rotating your left shoulder to your right knee and right shoulder to your left knee as you extend the other leg in the air. Repeat this motion in a controlled manner for 50 seconds.

4. Double Leg Drop

Start by lying on your back, with your legs extended overhead (straight above your hips) and your arms along the side of your body. Then, tigthen your core as you lower both legs as far as you can, making sure your lower back doesn’t lift up (if it does, stop and lift your legs up from there). Then, slowly lift your legs up again to the start position and repeat for 50 seconds.

5. Dead Bug

Start by lying on your back, with your hands extended directly above you (towards ceiling). Then, bring your feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees. Extend one leg out, straightening the knee and hip to bring the leg to hover just above the ground, while your opposite arms extends out. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back pressed to the floor. Then, return to starting position, and repeat on alternate sides for 50 seconds.

6. Crunches (Advanced)

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your legs crossed. Place your arms on the back on your head. As you crunch up, lift your upper back towards your knees, then lower. Repeat for 50 seconds.

Done! Hope you all enjoyed this ab workout. Peace out!

Healthy Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

Recipes

This pancake recipe is so easy, healthy and fluffy (what more could you want?) I’ve made pancakes many times and this recipe never fails to make the best traditional pancakes. It’s so good, you won’t even notice it’s healthy!

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My ideal Saturday morning consists of waking up late, watching some TV or Youtube Videos in bed, then getting up to prepare a BOMB breakfast! Unfortunately during the school year, that doesn’t really happen, especially being busy with so many activities, classes, and mounds of school work. Thankfully, summer break means no more of all of that, and my ideal Saturday morning could actually become reality!

For me, breakfast is the most important and arguably the BEST meal of the day. Firstly, breakfast foods are the best foods (you can have sweet, savory, or anything in between!) and it also keeps me fueled for the rest of the day. I don’t know about you, but without a good, hearty breakfast, my brain and body won’t function correctly for the rest of the day.

That’s why I LOVE having pancakes for breakfast, especially on the weekends! Not only are they super fluffy and delicious, they are also customizable to any preference, and not to mention gives me an excuse to eat more sweet stuff 🙂

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Pancakes in the pan!

I’ve made different variations of pancakes many times but had failed to nail the perfect traditional buttermilk pancake. After looking through hundreds of different recipes online, I decided to take some of the best tips and tricks and make my own variation. They turned out perfect~~

For me, the best pancakes are golden-brown, fluffy, subtly sweet, crispy on the edges, tender in the middle – being stackable is also a plus! I realised that baking powder and baking soda could really add to the fluffiness of the pancake. In addition, I also decided to make my own buttermilk (using milk + vinegar) to get that perfect traditional buttermilk flavor, and it worked perfectly!!

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Making my own ‘buttermilk’!

 

I also saw a tip online that mentioned adding applesauce to the pancake batter, which has no sugar but adds sweetness, and it didn’t fail. I also decided to add in 1-2 tablespoons of agave syrup to get additional sweetness to shine through (I have a big sweet tooth!) These pancakes were just right in sweetness and left my sugar cravings satisfied!

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One important part of ‘healthifying’ these pancakes was to substitute regular flour with whole wheat flour. Because whole wheat flour is a lot denser and heavier than normal flour, I was afraid that completely replacing all the flour would change the texture and taste a lot. I resorted to half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, which was the perfect compromise – the pancakes retained the fluffy texture while having the extra benefits of wholegrain!

 

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These pancakes were just TOO GOOD, and let’s just say I was quite proud of myself 🙂 My entire family loved it too! It was the perfect way to spend a lazy (and much-needed) Saturday morning.

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Yes, that’s ice cream AND caramel syrup in the background 🙂

 

Tips:

  • The pancake batter will be quite thick, but don’t worry – it’s the key to producing fluffy pancakes!
  • You can use this pancake recipe as a base and add any toppings/flavor variations you want! Let your imagination run wild : )
  • For the buttermilk, try to use actual milk (not plant-based milk, it won’t react to create the reaction needed to thicken the milk – it’s chemistry ), and try to use 2% fat or above, as it will retain more of the traditional buttermilk flavor
  • If the pancake batter is too thick, spoon it into the pan and spread it out using a spoon or spatula to the desire shape.
  • Use a half-half combination of white + whole wheat flour or 100% white whole wheat flour (100% whole wheat flour will possibly be too dense!)

 

Hope you guys enjoy!

 

Healthy Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

  • Servings: 15 regular sized pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup and a dash of milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar/lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Directions

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon powder in a bowl and whisk until incorporated
  2. Put white vinegar in the milk, and wait for 5 minutes
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, agave syrup, and whisk together
  4. Slowly whisk in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Batter should be quite thick, but if too thick (doesn’t fall off the spoon), add a bit more milk/water
  5. Heat a pan, wait until hot, then spray with non-stick cooking spray
  6. Make pancakes! Spoon the batter into the pan, using a spatula to spread it out (if it’s too hard). When bubbles start to form, flip the pancakes.
  7. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! I love my pancakes drenched in maple syrup, with some fresh strawberries, and maybe a scoop of ice cream too 🙂

Nutritional Info:

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Chocolate Protein Fluff Recipe!

Recipes

Delicious, nutritious, filling, and the best breakfast/snack/dessert to beat the heat!

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How was your week? Hope that it was sweet and not too stressful. I’ve just started my summer break a few days ago, and these few days have not been productive at allll – mostly spent in bed almost the entire day binge watching Youtube Videos, going out occasionally for some good food or a short run.

Feeling kind of guilty for being so unproductive, but also a much needed break from school!

Been also trying to start experimenting with more food in the kitchen and developing some new and original recipes for you guys! Being in the kitchen feels like a second home to me, I feel so comfortable and content 🙂

One of the first simple recipes that I feel that is good enough to share with you guys (a milestone achievement, if I may say,) is this Chocolate Protein Fluff! It’s packed with the ideal amount of protein and carbs for the perfect post-run or post-workout snack. So delicious, creamy, and soo ideal for this HOT summer heat!

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This protein fluff is made with:

Ripe Bananas (frozen)

Some type of liquid (water, milk etc. – I used hazelnut milk, my current fav)

Ice

Protein Powder (I used Quest Chocolate Milkshake flavour – bought on Redmart!)

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That’s all! Literally takes 4 ingredients and less than 5 minutes to make. All you need is a food processor/powerful blender. For me, they’re a great post gym snack, coming in at around 130 calories per serving.

If you end up baking this, tag me on instagram @a.runners.fuel ; I would LOVE to see your creations!

Peace out!

Chocolate Protein Fluff

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

1/2 a large banana (frozen)

a dash of hazelnut milk, or any milk/liquid of your preference

~10 ice cubes

1/2 scoop Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder (or any of your own choice!)

Directions

  1. Blend the ice cubes in food processor until fine consistency
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend, adding milk as needed. You may need to scrape off the sides a few times and reblend, just be patient!
  3. Decorate! I topped mine with frozen strawberries, bananas, and chia seeds.

Nutritional Info:

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Purpose.

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Me eating a fake piece of bread. I thought it was real. It’s not.

So, this won’t be an ‘intro to me!’ post, you can find that under the ‘about me’ section of this blog.

Rather, I wanted to talk about my purpose. Why did I suddenly decide to start this blog, and what do I want you (and me) to get out of it?

Well, it’s simple.

Around 4 years ago, when I was around 7th grade, I decided that I was suddenly too fat and wanted to lose weight. Badly. I had been quite a chubby kid basically all my life (I absolutely ADORED food), but I didn’t really care what others thought of it. That was until I got to middle school.

Suddenly, the social pressures and expectations hit me hard. I remember the last straw was when I came in last in the mandatory timed kilometer for the 4th time in a row in my ENTIRE PE Block ( I think I ran a 6:45?) I was super embarrassed. No one probably cared, but to me, it was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

From then on, I vowed to myself that I would become healthy and fit and pretty. I was already quite an active kid (surprisingly), participating in sports from soccer to swimming, but from then on, I started to add running into my daily regimen. Almost every day, I would go to the gym and run on the treadmill. At first, I ran painfully slow (I think 7km per hour??) for 10 minutes, and I would be completely out of breath. Slowly but surely, though, I managed to build that up to 15, 20, 30, then even 40 minutes at a 10km per hour pace after less than 6 months.

While all this was happening, I also started to restrict what I ate. At first, it was just cutting down on simple things, like trying to stop ordering soft drinks when I went out, or reducing my full bowl of rice to 1/2.

I guess you could call by ‘diet’ successful, at least momentarily. Exercising more intensely + eating less did show its results – I got fitter, I ran faster, I felt prettier. And I was ecstatic. But, the more I progressed, the more intense I got. I upped my cardio and restricting my eating, up to the point where it was clearly getting unhealthy. Eating and exercising were constantly in my head, and I couldn’t shake it off. It almost became an obsession, and this was started to affect my mood and my health.

Thankfully, with the help of my family and God grace, I realised that what I had intended to become ‘healthy’ was actually becoming very unhealthy and consuming my life. When this realisation hit me, I knew I needed to change my mindset. As a growing teenager and now quite a serious runner, I had to properly fuel my body and my mind. I slowly started to not restrict my eating, instead focusing on eating “whole foods” most of the time but also allowing myself to eat intuitively – which means cake + ice cream + cookies + fries (more than) a times a week 🙂

By eating more wholesome foods and also being mindful of my exercise, I was able to become stronger and healthier in mind and in body. Though as a high school varsity runner I sometimes still have thoughts to restrict my diet (which is needed sometimes), I try to find a balance between health and happiness.

That’s why I started my food instagram (@a.runners.fuel) a few months ago, to share some delicious yet nutritious meals and hopefully inspire people to eat healthy on their own too. But I found that instagram was a bit restricting (let’s just say it’s very based on looks), and I wanted to create something alongside it that is more authentic, real, and where I can write a lot more 🙂   I wanted to start a food blog, to share my passion about food, running and fitness to students and student-athletes worldwide through nourishing recipes for the body and the soul. To give my advice and tips for people trying to find that delicate balance between food and health. To write about my life, my experiences as a student and a student-athlete. To share a bit of my life with you.

Hopefully, you all will be willingly to share a bit of your time with me.

Peace out and God bless!

Christina