Candied Parsnips and Carrots

One of my sister, Angela’s, recipes. Perfect for Holiday meals like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. This is a hit whenever I make it for any gathering.

***Pics will be available on a later date.  I don’t have any close up pics of it. ***

Serves 8-10 (Daniel really loves this so he tends to go for seconds and thirds)

1 ½ pounds carrots, match stick cut
2 pounds parsnips, match stick cut
½ cup packed brown sugar (maple syrup can be used instead)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons water (this will prevent them from drying out)
½ salt
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Clean and peel parsnip and carrots. Cut them into match stick shape roughly 2 inches long and ½ inch wide. Place these in a casserole dish (we use a 9 x 13). Mix in the brown sugar, butter, water, and salt (cinnamon too if you choose to add it).

Place in oven. This next part will depend on how “well done” you want them to be. I like to have mine to be roasted enough to where there’s still a crunch when I bite it but it’s cooked all the way (roughly 20-30 mins). If you want them tender and softer, then keep them in a bit longer, checking for the doness that you desire. During it’s baking time, take it out to stir them so every piece is evenly cooked. I do this at least once. If the water starts drying out add a bit more warm water to the dish. Place back in oven to finish cooking.

“Por-KU” Buns (Hum Bao)

First in the Dim Sum for PKUers series is Por-KU Buns! Hum bao is one of my favorite items to get whenever I go do Dim Sum. Seeing the steam waft over the soft cloud puffs filled with deliciousness is food happiness for me! So of course I NEEDED to make a PKU version of it. This is a two part recipe. The first is marinading your “meat” (veggies), preferably overnight and the second consists of the assembling and cooking.

Note: The phe amounts will vary depending on what you use for the filling. I only had one can of green jackfruit so I added shiitake mushrooms. These are a bit higher than white mushrooms, which can be subbed to decrease the phe amount. Cabbage can also be added. Once I get all the phe amounts calculated, I’ll update these posts with that info.

Makes 8 large buns

Filling Ingredients:
For the marinading part:
1 can Green Jackfruit (10 oz/280g) or fresh, skinned and seeded
1½ tsp light brewed soy sauce
1 ½ tsp dark brewed soy sauce
1 ½ tbsp caster (powdered) sugar
1 ½ tsp Five Spice powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp crushed garlic or garlic powder
1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
3 or 4 drops red food coloring (optional)

In an oven safe pan shallow enough for marinating, toss in and mix everything but the jackfruit. If using canned (don’t forget to remove any seeds that may still be in there!), place the wedge pieces in the pan in a single layer and coat both sides. If using fresh, either cut it into slices (like the wedges) or rolled it whole to coat (kinda like a jackfruit version of a pork loin, yes the marinade can be used to make roast “pork loin” if using the whole jackfruit). Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight (preferred), turning the jackfruit occasionally.


Marinading jackfruit wedges.

Place oven rack on the second highest level in oven. Preheat oven to 300° F. Put the pan in and roast for 12 mins, flip pieces over and roast for 5 mins more. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. There should be marinade left in the pan (save this for the filling!).



Okay next part of the filling ingredients:
1 pan Roasted jackfruit
4-5  dry shiitake mushrooms (2 inches across) soaked in warm water to soften
left over marinade and a bit of water
2 spring onions (for garnish in bun)

Once the jackfruit has cooled, take it out of the marinade and chop it up to  ¼ inch cube pieces. When the mushrooms are soft and squishy, drain and chop them up to the same size as well. In a pot, heat up the jackfruit, mushrooms, marinade. If the marinade thickened up from the roasting, add a small amount of water to wet it. Stir to mix ingredients together. Remove from heat once everything is cooked.

Bun Ingredients:
4 cups Taste Connections Multi Mix
2 tbsp Baking powder
2/3 cup water (may need a tbsp or more if dough is too dry)

2″ x 2″ parchment paper squares or cabbage leaves for steaming

Bamboo or metal steamer baskets and a pot large enough to house them
In a bowl, mix together the above ingredients. The dough consistency should be similar to the dough for the low pro samosas. Add more water or mix as needed to get a pliable dough.

Separate the dough evenly into 8 parts. On a flat dusted surface, roll out into 4″ circles (about ¼” to ½” thick). This can also be done without the rolling pin by flattening out the dough between your hands. Place about one tbsp of filling on the center of the circle. Add some cut spring onions on top and  use your fingers to pinch close the tops. If using parchment paper squares, slap one square on each bottom. If not, just line your steamer basket with cabbage leaves. The steamed leaves aren’t required, but they add a nice flavor to the buns. Place your buns into the steamer baskets, making sure there’s enough room between each one (these puff up a bit when steamed).


Raw buns waiting for the steamer.

Time to get the steamer ready. I used a stock pot tall and wide enough to house my steamers. Add a layer of water to the pot (no higher than the bottom steam basket). Bring water to boil. Set stove temp to low (on my stove it’s #2) and carefully stack your steamer baskets.If you have tongs with a good grip, use them to gently lower the baskets in. Place the steamer lid and the pot lid on. The low pro mix takes longer than regular flour to fully steam. It will need to steam for about 10-15 mins, until  bread is spongy on the inside and has a slick slightly harden surface . If the bread is still doughy or gummy, steam it longer.


These guys needed to be steamed some more.

After they are ready, turn off your heat and let it sit for a bit. Carefully take your baskets out from the steam pot. Your bao is ready to serve! If dippy sauces are desired, they can be dipped in red pepper oil. If your phe tolerance is higher, mix in some soy sauce to the pepper oil. Personally, I think they are great on their own!

For reheating leftovers, they can be re-steamed for a short while in the baskets in the pot or  wrapped in a wet paper towel in the microwave for 1 to2  mins. FYI that paper towel will be HOT, remove carefully!

Now enjoy your puffy cloud of deliciousness!


Hum Bao says, “Resistance is futile!”





General Tso’s Cauliflower

One of the down sides of dining out with PKU is that some menus are limited. At most places my husband is stuck with salad and fries. If he’s lucky, the sides menu will have a bunch of stuff he can do. On the vegetarian menu for any given Chinese restaurant and take out, Daniel is limited to either Mixed Vegetables, Bok Choy, Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Oyster Sauce or Eggplant in Garlic Sauce. All of these are great, but I can see why he gets tired of the same old thing when you want to have something different. Going out for Dim Sum is next to impossible (I’ll post my PKU friendly Dim Sum recipes later). I’ve seen veggie versions of General Tso but they tend to either be made with egg whites in the batter (makes the batter extra crispy) and with tofu as a replacement for chicken. Both ingredients are still too high in phes for PKUers.


mmmm Crispy and oh so DELICIOUS!

Tip: Given the structure of the low-pro batter and to preserve the crispy texture, I highly advise making the sauce first before you fry the battered cauliflower florets. Fry only the amount you need to serve. You can always fry more when you are ready for seconds or even for lunch the next day. The left overs are still great, but the florets loose their crispiness once the sauce is soaked in and sitting in your fridge overnight.

2 tsp oil
1 tbsp dark brew soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 red chilies add more of for an extra spicy dish
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
4 tsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, smashed and minced
1 tsp szechaun pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsp water (to thicken the sauce)
Green onions chopped for garnish (optional)

Use a wok if you have one or a high rimmed pan or a pot. Set your heat to low-med and add in your oil. Once your wok/pan/pot is warmed up, add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, chilies, sesame oil, rice vinegar and Shaoxing wine. As this gets going, toss in your garlic and ginger and szechaun pepper. Stir to mix everything in. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and allow the sauce to thicken up. Turn off heat and set aside.

Now it’s time to work on the batter!

Batter and Bits:
1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets, the white stock can be chopped up and added too
3/4  cup corn starch (rough estimate, add more depending on size of cauliflower)
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
Ener-G Egg replacer and water for one egg amount.
pinch of salt and white pepper
4 tsp water or enough water to make the batter lightly coat florets but not too thick.
oil for deep frying

In a bowl, mix together your dry and wet ingredients. The batter needs a medium consistency. Too thin and it will slop off when you toss it in the sauce. Too thick and it will be globby. I like to dip my cauliflower bits one at a time as I fry them so they stay evenly coated. Using your frying method of choice (in a pan or deep fryer), fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on a paper toweled plate.

Heat the wok with the sauce back up to low med and toss these babies in! Stir and get them coated all over. Add in the green onions for garnish (optional) and serve with low protein rice. Enjoy!


Fresh out of the wok and soon to be in my tummy! (We ran out of green onions)


Mixed Fruit Cobbler (Low Protein version)

Spring and warm weather is just around the corner here in North Carolina!

Unfortunately I did not start my week off on the right foot. On Monday morning, I slipped and fell down the stairs, hitting my head and busting my tailbone. My head feels fine but my tailbone, not so much. Pretty much spent the last couple of days either laying down or standing up since sitting, bending and squatting hurts A LOT. I figured if that I can only stand or lay down, I might as well make something in the kitchen!


Fruit filling before I plopped the biscuit dough on top.

Tip: For a regular version, sub in all purpose flour and milk for the baking mix and Coffeemate. Shortening can also be used instead of butter.





1 large package (1lb) strawberries sliced
1 large package (24oz) blueberries
3 kiwi fruit peeled and chopped (they were getting ripe so I decided to add them)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice

Biscuit dough:
4 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
1 cup Cambrooke Baking mix
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Coffeemate creamer, regular flavor

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a sauce pan, mix the 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch. Stir in the fruit and lemon juice. Keep stirring as the mixture heats up. Once it starts to thicken up and boil, remove from the stove top and pour the mixture into your square baking dish.

Cut the butter into the baking mix. Add in the salt, baking powder and 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir in milk and knead the dough. Plop the dough on top on the warm fruit mixture. I like to shape mine into biscuits and place them side by side.

Bake for  25-30 mins until the the crust is golden brown. Great warm or cold, serve with whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!


Ready to eat!

Low Protein Samosas (version 1.0)


Perfect for fall and any other time of the year!

Samosas are one of the things my husband tends to request a lot and as soon as I make them, they are gone in a flash!

It is a versatile snack and any food can be used for the filling.  This one is stuffed with pumpkin and cauliflower; a twist on on the dish Aloo Gobi (Potato and cauliflower). For the pastry, I used a low protein baking mix from Taste Connections. Their Multi Mix is great for rotis (Indian breads), tortillas, gyoza,  and other rolled flat wraps and pastries.

Tip: Low pro baking mixes are finer than regular wheat flour. Thus making it very delicate when manipulating it in dough form. Rolling pin and silpat can be used. An easy alternative is a tortilla press used with wax paper (makes peeling off the pastry easier).


Filling Ingredients (Makes one large pot full):
1 pie pumpkin, peeled and cubed in small pieces
1 cauliflower head chopped into 3/4in pieces
1 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2- 1 tsp paprika or red pepper powder (optional depending on how hot you want it)
1 green chili pepper chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1 tbsp oil for cooking

In a large pot, heat up your oil on medium. Toss in the chopped onions and cook for a couple of minutes to get them semi-translucent.  If you are adding in the chili pepper, toss that in now. Next add your spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and red pepper (depending on how hot you want it add the red pepper powderor for a milder taste that’s still peppery, use paprika). Next add your garlic ( this tends to burn very easily so I like adding it last to minimize burning). At this point the onions and the oil have taken on an orangey burnt umber color.

Now it is time to add the cauliflower and pumpkin into the pot. Stir with your utensil to get it all mixed in. Add in fresh coriander and give the mixture a stir. Close the pot with a lid and let it cook for  7-10 mins or until tender.

While our filling is cooling, lets work on the pastry!

Pastry Ingredients (Makes ~6 samosa wrappers. Double the recipe for more):
1 cup Taste Connections Multi Mix
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cardamon powder
1/4 tsp paprika/or hot pepper powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste

Mix all dry ingredients first. Add enough water to make dough. You’ll want a nice stiff pliable dough. Too much water will make it too sticky to work with and too little will make it fall apart. Divide dough out into desired amount (this will roughly make 6 balls depending on how big or small you make them).

Roll out the dough ball to get a nice flat pastry 5 in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. If you have a tortilla press, this works as well to get it nice and flat. Work on making each samosa one at a time to prevent the dough from drying out.

 Add about one tsp full of filling to the center of the pastry (too much filling will cause it too bust open, but eye-ball it so each samosa has enough filling in it).

Starting at one end fold the pastry in half to close it together and press the seams 3/4 of the way down. Fold over the flap at the bottom and press it into the dough. After the seams are pressed together, stand it up on the folded side. Carefully curve the tips towards each other. Make a point at the top of the samosa and press the edges into a new seam. Viola! You now have a pyramid shaped samosa this these below!



They are so PRETTY!


These can be baked, pan fried or deep fried. Be careful with frying! Oil likes to pop!

For Baking: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a flat pan with oil and lay out the pretty samosas that you made. Bake for around 15 to 20 mins until pastry has a faint light brown hue.

For Pan Frying: pour about half and inch of oil into your frying pan and heat the oil on high to get it nice and hot. When pan and oil are heated, carefully add in samosas. Fry on each side to get them crispy and golden brown. Remove from pan and let them drain on paper towel lined plate.

For Deep Frying: Similar to pan frying but with more oil. Pour in enough oil to cover the samosa. I use a small pot dedicated for frying so I am not using a lot of oil. Fry until they are crispy and golden brown and drain them on a paper towel lined plate.

Now for the best part! Eating them. Samosas are great by themselves but they can be served with dippy sauces. Chutneys like mint, coriander and garlic are great and so is Tamarind sauce. Ketchup works too. My husband loves using it. The flavored ones like Maggi brand’s sweet and hot sauce or masala chili is also great on a samosa.


A PKU Family


March Dan and Michelle 004

My husband, Daniel, has Phenylketonuria also known as PKU. It is a rare inherited genetic disorder where the amino acid phenylalanine (also called PHE) cannot be broken down. This causes a build up of phenylalanine which is bad since too much of it can cause brain damage, behavioral problems, and developmental delays. If diagnosed early (babies are tested before they go home from the hospital – remember the heel prick test?) , a person with PKU can live a normal life by maintaining a low protein/low phe diet and drinking a specially made formula. My husband has been on the diet all of his life. Being strictly on diet he is now one of many PKU adults that have shown what PKUers can do!  He has a PhD in Physics and minor in mathematics.

In order for a baby to have PKU, he/she has to get both PKU genes from their parents, even if one or both parents don’t have it. With two gene carrier parents the chances are 1 in 4 that their offspring will have PKU. My husband is the only one in his family that has it.

As I said before, Daniel has been on diet all of his life and thus is faithful to eating low. He doesn’t crave foods that would be dangerous to him. A low protein diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and specially made low protein pastas and bakery items. No meats, dairy, nuts, beans or grains.

PKU does have its challenges. Date nights usually consist of looking at menus before we go out to see if a place we want to go to has food for him or we go to the old standbys that we know he can do (Sweet Tomatoes/Soup Plantation is great for PKUers). It also helps having restaurants that are able to do custom food orders for those with dietary restrictions. At home, we do a lot of made from-scratch cooking and baking. I came from a family that LOVES food and cooking so this comes in handy especially when a lot of PKU foods requires basic knowledge of the kitchen. Part of my blogging is going to be on PKU friendly recipes, including adapting recipes for the PKU diet.