Tag Archives: Angel Food

A Few of My Favorite Things…

Apple Oat BranI just got back from the gym, and decided to write a quick post about a few of my favorite eats from today. I’m enjoying plenty of leftovers, so today’s kitchen time was minimal. I did start the day off with a little bit of cooking, as usual. I’d never eaten oat bran for breakfast until recently, and I’m so happy to have learned about it from some of my awesome fellow bloggers. Now, I can’t get enough of the stuff! This morning’s bowl had a chopped up granny smith apple, some pumpkin pie spice, honey and chopped cinnamon almonds. I love getting a serving of fruit in at the beginning of the day, and this is the perfect way to use up an apple that’s a little bit past its prime.

My oat bran breakfast held me over until lunch, as always! It really sticks with me better than a lot of other breakfast options. Lunch was leftover Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup along with some of last night’s Dillicious Golden Beet and Red Onion Salad. I had considered having the salad in a pita, but, when I grabbed a pita from the bag this morning, I realized that they had gotten sort of dried out. I guess they are destined to become bread crumbs. I decided to just have some Wasa light rye crisps along with my soup and salad, and I was so happy with the combo! The crunch of the crisps along with the smooth texture of the beets made for a great combination. I have one bowl of soup and a bit of salad left, and I’m planning for tomorrow’s lunch to be a repeat performance of today’s!

Wasa and Salad

I ended the day with a new little treat that I found recently at Whole Foods. I love granola, but hate the dent it often makes in my daily points. I came across this Galaxy Granola in the Vanilla Almond Munch flavor the other day, and I’m so glad that I did! I can have half a serving, 1/4 cup, for only one point. Plus, it has big chunks of almonds and a lovely vanilla flavor. As a bonus, the bag is cute! A 1/2 cup serving has 165 calories, 2 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber. It has 6 grams of protein as well. I think those are pretty awesome stats! I also bought some of Galaxy Granola’s little snack sized bags of granola type nuggets with hemp and flaxseeds, called Meteorbites (clever), but I ate them before I thought to snap a photo. They were really good too, and I’m going to have to pick up some more the next time I’m at Whole Foods. If you should happen to find this at your local store, I’d encourage you to give it a try. It’s pretty basic so you could easily mix all sorts of things with it to tailor it to your taste. 

Galaxy GranolaI added a few 60% Cacao bittersweet Ghirardelli chips, and happily nibbled away after my time in the gym. Yum! This is a keeper!!

Granola and Chips

When I get home tomorrow night, my weekly box of produce should be waiting at the door. Since I shared part of my “big batch” with my friends at our little Sunday lunch, I may need to make something tomorrow evening. We’ll see. For now, I’m headed to bed. I’m still having trouble falling asleep. It seems like the older I get the more I notice when the time changes. I’m going to brew up some chamomile, fluff up my pillows and hope for the best. Do you have a bedtime ritual or can you fall asleep at the drop of a hat? I have trouble sleeping on airplanes, in cars and on buses, which makes long distance travel a bit of a bear, but I usually fall asleep pretty easily in my own comfy bed after a cup of tea and a little bit of reading. I’m hoping that will be the case tonight! 

Before I go, CONTESTS!! There have been so many great giveaways lately! Tonight I have two that I want to mention:

Check out Heather’s blog for news of an amazing and coconuttylicious giveaway. This is seriously a mother lode of coconut goodness!

Missy is also having an awesome and granolariffic giveaway. You can find those details here.

Catch y’all later!! G’night! :-)

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Filed under diet, Food, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

All Set For You!I had such an awesome day today full of great weather, amazing friends and… fabulous soup! A couple of very good friends came over for a laid back lunch. I haven’t seen either of them in a while, and we had some serious catching up to do! It was great spending some time with them, and it reminds me that I should have people over more often. It’s so much fun to cook for someone other than just myself!

Today’s Menu

Garden Salad topped with Smoked Paprika Hummus, Lemon Juice and Greek Yogurt Dressing with Toasted Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds

Toasted Bran Bread with Assorted Jams

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

Fresh Pineapple

Bittersweet Chocolate Oat Bran Cookies

Lunch is Ready!

This was a very simple lunch, but it was perfect for catching up with old friends. The soup recipe I came up with turned out so well, and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers in my lunches this week! After making bread last weekend, I froze half of it and was happy that it toasted up so nicely under the broiler today. The smoked paprika hummus is a new flavor to me, and the dressing had a bit of a Thousand Island taste to it. I think I might add a bit of sweet pickle relish the next time. That was the only flavor missing from the Thousand Island experience, and it might just be a good “special sauce” for a Boca burger. 

This soup recipe came about because I had some cauliflower and wanted to make a soup. The end result tastes more like the beans than the cauliflower, but I’m not complaining! It was rich and creamy and satisfying while costing a mere 2 points for a huge bowl. Plus, it is vegetarian friendly, which was perfect since one friend is a long time vegetarian. I’m already thinking about making more, and I know it is going to be a staple recipe next winter! Here’s my recipe:

Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup

Ingredients:

nonstick cooking spray

1 medium sized head of cauliflower, broken into florets

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium sized carrot, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

4 cups of broth (chicken or veggie)

2 cups of water

juice of half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

1 19 ounce can of Cannellini Beans with the liquid (I used the Progresso brand in calculating points)

1 cup of 1% lowfat cottage cheese

Salt to taste

Fresh dill for garnish 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet and spray the cauliflower with cooking spray. Roast in the 475 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat on medium high. When the pot is hot, add the onions, garlic and carrot. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped dill and saute for an additional minute. Add the broth, cauliflower, water, lemon juice and beans (with the bean liquid) to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 20 minutes. 

Puree the soup in small batches in a blender or food processor incorporating half of the cottage cheese in the first batch and the other half in the second. Continue processing the soup until it has all been pureed. Return the processed soup to the pot, stir well and heat through (about a minute). Add salt to taste. I added 3/4 tsp., but the broth I used was reduced sodium. The bean juice adds some salt too, so I’d just give it a little taste and adjust it to your liking. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh dill if desired.

This makes 6 unofficial 2 point servings or 8 unofficial 1 point servings.

Soup's On!I was so pleased with this soup. The carrot gives it a little sweetness and color. Roasting the cauliflower beforehand adds some nice caramel bits as well. The beans and cottage cheese work together to make the soup creamy and give it a punch of protein, and the lemon and dill give it a few bright notes. I honestly have to say that this may be my favorite of the soup recipes I’ve concocted this winter. I’m so happy to know that I’ll be having some more tomorrow! 

After lunch, I headed downtown to a very cool bowling alley, Lucky Strike, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I got to catch up with a few more friends while I was there, and it was just nice to be out and about on a very springlike day. If my friend is reading this, Happy Birthday to you!! I got there a bit late, so I didn’t actually bowl, but I had a great time watching everyone else and just hanging out. After the bowling, I headed home for my Sunday night cardio session followed by strength training with my trainer.

It was a full but fun day. Now, I’m going to try to get on track with the changes to the clock, so I’m headed to bed with a cup of tea and Pasta Queen’s book. I finished Dietgirl’s book, and I loved it so much. I think when I weighed over 300 pounds, I sometimes felt like I was the only girl in the world suffering through the experience. It’s so nice to read the words of someone who has walked in the same sensible and comfortable shoes as me, and who has endured so many of the same things. It’s also nice because her story has a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a happy ending!! As a bonus, Shauna has a stellar sense of humor, and I think we’d be fast friends. I highly recommend it!

Tonight’s workout was pretty great. I just find that I have so much more energy when the weather is favorable. I’m like a bear when it is cold. I’d rather just stay in my cave and hibernate! So, my question to you is this: What is your favorite thing about spring?

I wish you all sweet dreams in the wake of the time change! G’night… hopefully…! :-)

 

 

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Filed under Baking, Bread, Cookies, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Colorful Swiss Chard and Four Sweet Angels

Colorful Swiss Chard

I can’t believe that the weekend is already half over! I’ve had a good one so far, but it has been a bit busy. As a result, I spent plenty of time cooking yesterday, but I have yet to tell you what I made. To make up for my tardiness, I have two really great recipes to share today. Then… I need to get busy making my “big batch” food for this week! I also need to remind you that today is the last day to submit your entries for this week’s BSI. If you haven’t checked out all of the awesome black bean recipes that have been submitted so far, you can do that by scrolling to the bottom of the post at this link. I’m very excited about all of the great dishes!

A friend of mine came over for dinner and a movie last night. This friend is usually pretty game to try out my healthy fare, and last night was no exception. I had some beautiful Swiss chard from last week’s Merry Produce Wednesday box, and I wanted to build a dish around that. I love goat cheese or blue cheese along with chard. There is something about the combination of the slightly tangy cheese with the earthy flavor of the chard that I just really love. I also love how pretty the chard is. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, there are bright flashes of color amidst the green. It almost seems like something out of Dr. Seuss! It is really good for you, and very delicious in addition to being beautiful. Perfect! Here’s the recipe for the dish that we enjoyed last night. It was an easy one, and one that can be done in little more than the time it takes to boil the pasta!

Just Sweet Enough Swiss Chard Pasta Toss

Just Sweet Enough Swiss Chard Pasta Toss

Ingredients:

2 ounces of uncooked rotini (I used Barilla Plus in calculating points)

Water and salt (for boiling the pasta)

Nonstick Cooking Spray

1 Link of Hot Lean Italian Turkey Sausage

1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

2/3 pound of Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced and leafy parts chopped 

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

3 Tbsp. soft type goat cheese

Directions:

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, immediately drain it and set it aside. 

While the pasta is cooking, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place it over medium high heat. Brown the turkey sausage in the skillet, chopping it into small bits as it cooks. When the sausage is browned, add the chickpeas to the skillet and cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the sausage and chickpeas from the skillet.

Spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray again, and place it on the stove at medium high heat. You could use olive oil, of course, but I was trying to save a point or two. I find that nonstick cooking spray works just fine. Add the Swiss chard to the skillet in batches until it all fits, stirring frequently. Add the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Allow the chard to wilt down and become tender. This will probably take four or five minutes, but you will know it is ready when it looks wilted, and has shrunk quite a bit in size.

When the chard is nicely wilted, add the sausage and garbanzo beans back to the skillet along with pasta and give it  stir. Heat through for about one minute.

Divide the mixture into two serving bowls, top each with half of the goat cheese, then sprinkle half of the pine nuts on top of each bowl. Enjoy!!

This makes 2 servings at 7 unofficial WW points each.

Lovely ChardI was very happy with this dish. There are so many flavors and textures at play, and I think they work together quite well. I also think that it is a good example of a dish where I used higher points value ingredients more sparingly (the pasta, sausage and pine nuts), and mixed them in with some lower points items (the chard, chickpeas and goat cheese) in a way that let me enjoy some of my favorite flavors, while having a filling dinner at the same time. I also think you can’t go wrong with toasted garbanzo beans, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese. Yum!

Dinner was really good, but I was most excited about dessert! Not surprising, right? After last week’s pavlovas, I was itching to make another favorite that involves nice fluffy egg whites– angel food cake. As usual, I was concerned about finding myself with an entire cake sitting on the cabinet that needed to be eaten, frozen or given away. I really don’t worry that I’m going to eat the whole cake myself. I’m careful with my daily points, and that isn’t much of a problem for me. I just hate getting to “Angel Food Cake: Day 12″ and having some really old cake that I hate to waste, but that isn’t really worth eating.

I decided to see if I could make a very small batch of angel food cake batter and bake them up cupcake style. I’m SO happy! I looked at a few different recipes on-line to get an idea of the basic cake ingredients, did some math, and tweaked things a bit. I ended up making a batch of nice fluffy angel food cupcakes, and my recipe just makes four!! I’m happy to report that, after last night’s dinner and movie watching, there were no survivors.

You might think it seems like a lot of trouble to go to for four cupcakes. You could certainly double, triple or quadruple the recipe if that’s the case. I find that my daily eating can’t keep up with my love of cooking so I don’t mind making small batches like this if it means that I get to avoid “Angel Food Cake: Day 12″ and enjoy some quality time with my Kitchen-aid. I think fresh baked goods are the best! So, without further adieu, I give you:

Sweet Angel

Just Sweet Enough Angels with Strawberries on Top

Ingredients For the Cupcakes:

1/4 cup cake flour

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

3 egg whites at room temperature

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/4 of a vanilla bean

3 Tbsp. sugar

Ingredients for the Glaze:

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. butter, melted

4 strawberries, cleaned and chopped

Directions for the Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place four paper cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet and set aside.

2.  Sift the cake flour and powdered sugar together into a bowl and set aside.

3. Beat the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and the seeds scraped from the inside of the vanilla bean at high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

4. At the soft peak stage, continue beating the egg white mixture while adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until the mixture becomes firm and glossy.

5. Sift about half of the flour mixture over the egg whites and gently fold the flour in using a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour. Of course, it is important to be gentle in order to keep as much air as possible in the egg whites. 

6. This was the really fun part! Scoop the mixture into the four cupcake cups, and continue piling the batter on until it has been fairly evenly divided them. They are going to be very tall, and you may feel as though you are operating the soft serve machine at Dairy Queen. Trust me on this one.

7. Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 20-23 minutes or until the cakes are golden on top and spring back when pressed lightly with your finger. 

8. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack. 

Directions for the glaze:

Place the chopped strawberries in a small bowl and use a fork to mash them well. Then, sift the powdered sugar on to the berries, add the melted butter and stir it well. Divide the glaze among the four cooled cupcakes and allow it to set for 5-10 minutes. 

This makes 4 cupcakes at 3 unofficial Weight Watcher points each. 

Here are a few photos from the process. This is a picture of the batter piled up on top of the cupcake cups. It may look precarious, but it will work out just fine! It did make me hungry for soft serve. I love the little black flecks of vanilla bean!! So sweet!

Before the baking:

Soft Serve?

After…
After

Here are some before and after berry photos from the glaze making:

Beautiful Berries

Berry MashedOne more…

Glazed OverI thinned my glaze with a little orange juice this time, and it got a bit too thin. I think that it would have been fine without any extra liquid, so I’m not recommending that you add any. I just thought I should explain in case you find yourself with a thicker glaze than what you see in the photos. That’s a good thing if you do! 

I’m so excited about the cupcakes, and I’m already thinking of all sorts of variations that I can make in the future. Yum! There were just enough sweet little angels to satisfy my sweet tooth and my love of baking without leaving me with endless leftovers!! Yay!!

Before I go, I have a few contests to tell you about, including the one I’m hosting to celebrate my 50th post. If you are interested in entering to win some yummy snacks previously featured in my Friday weigh-in/snack posts, please go to the this link and follow the directions. Good luck!!

In addition, you should check out all of these great contests:

Jessica is giving away a very cute Kath Eat’s (KERF) t-shirt at Johnstone’s Vin Blanc

Lindsay is giving away some very awesome prizes (but you only have until 6 p.m. today to enter) at For the Love of Oats

Michelle is giving away Barney Butter (which I’ve been dying to try… don’t enter… I want to win!) at Lucky Taste Buds

and

Katie is giving away a whole BOX of Jocolat bars at Chocolate-Covered Katie

I’m going to get busy on this week’s “big batch” now, and I hope to tell you about it tomorrow. I think that carrots are going to be my featured ingredient, but we’ll see. Have a lovely Sunday!!

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Filed under Baking, BSI, Cooking Light, diet, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers