Monday, July 14, 2008

Carrot, Apple, and Pecan Multigrain Muffins

I found the original recipe for these fiber-rich muffins on the back of a Hodgson Mill's Multigrain Hot Cereal box. These muffins are moist, not too dense, and rich in texture with the perfect amount of sweetness. They make a great whole grain addition to breakfast, or as a nutritious snack. 

1 cup Hodgson Mill's Multigrain Hot Cereal
1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 "flax eggs" **
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

**Flax eggs: 2 tbsp flax seeds, ground, and mixed with 6 tbsp water. Set aside and allow to thicken before adding to other ingredients. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix dry ingredients.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
Fill muffin pans to the top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutrition Information per muffin:
205 kcal
10 g fat
3 g fiber
11 g sugar
4 g protein

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Filling
Adpated from Cooking Light

1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all=purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup lowfat buttermilk

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For the cookies, cream sugar and butter until well blended. Add vanilla and egg, beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the wet ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Make sure to have an even number of cookies and to leave a few inches between the cookies because they spread! Bake for 10 minutes, cool on pan for 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

For the filling, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Continue blending until the filling is fluffy. Gently stir in mini chocolate chips.

To make the sandwiches, spread about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese filling onto the bottom side of a cooled cookie, top with a second cookie. Repeat procedure with the remaining cookies and filling.

Depending on the size of your cookies, this recipe will make 10 to 16 sandwich cookies. My cookies were pretty big so I only had 10. Be prepared for these to disappear fast!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Quinoa Bean Pilaf

Makes 4 -5 servings

1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed in cold water)
2 cups water
1/2 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/3 yellow squash, diced
1/3 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cooked beans (I used pinto)
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette* (recipe follows)

In a medium saucepan, add quinoa, water, bell peppers, and squash. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). Once cooked, transfer to another bowl, add cucumber, tomato, and beans. Toss together with lemon herb vinaigrette. 

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

2 lemons, freshly squeezed
1-2 garlics, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp Herbs de Provence
salt & pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until well combined. 

Italian Dressing

This is the dressing we always have on hand at my house. It's a classic Italian dressing, bursting with fresh flavor. 

Balsamic Italian, Regular Italian

Italian Dressing
1/4 cup vinegar 
3 tablespoons water
Italian Spices*
1/2 cup olive oil

In a container with a tight lid, mix vinegar, water, and spices together. Shake vigorously until well blended. Add oil and shake again until well blended. 

-We keep our dressing in the pantry, but you can refrigerate it if you wish. 
- Use whatever vinegar you have on hand. I love using balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
-You have a few different options for the Italian spices. You can use a prepared Italian spice blend, make your own using your favorite herbs and spices, or Good Seasons makes a good, all natural Italian dressing mix. 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vanilla Almond Coconut Granola

A yummy low fat, lower cal version of store bought granola. Feel free to experiment with add-ins and different flavorings.

  • 2 cups thick cut rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar, or honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil, or any other vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a sauce pan, heat agave nectar until it starts to thin.
Quickly add oil, sugar, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Stir in oats, almonds, and coconut until well combined.
Spread mixture on a large baking sheet in a thin layer.
Bake f0r 20-25 minutes, stirring mixture every 5 minutes to insure even cooking.

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Serving Size: 1/4 cup, about 115 calories.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fig Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette

A vinaigrette is generally one part vinegar to 3 parts oil and flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. They are simple to make and a great alternative to store bought dressings that often contains added sugars and preservatives. 

Fig Infused White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is slightly sweet, light dressing that does wonders on a plain salad. For a lighter dressing, I use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil. I usually make a big batch to have on hand for the whole week. 

2/3 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a small bowl, or dressing container, combine white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Since there are no emulsifiers in this dressing, you will need to shake it prior to each use. 

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

This is very quick meal to throw together during the week night. 

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Filling
Makes about 4 servings, 2 tacos per person

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans
  • 8 corn tortillas

Peel and cut sweet potato into cubes. 
Microwave in a bowl for about 5 minutes to speed up the cooking process. 
In a skillet, sauté garlic in olive oil for a minute. 
Add the par-cooked sweet potatoes and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
Once the potatoes are crusty, add the black beans and cook until everything is heated through.

In a separate skillet, warm up the corn tortillas. (I like my corn tortillas to be crispy, but still foldable).
To assemble: top the tortillas with the potato/bean mixture and salsa. 
And viola! Sweet potato and black bean tacos.