Tag Archives: Recipes for One

New Tricks

Scones!

Hi, Sweeties! This week has been so busy. I’m so glad the weekend is almost here! I’ve had basically the same thing for breakfast and lunch day after day, but I’m not complaining! Luckily, I’ve had a new breakfast up my sleeve (or… actually… in the freezer), and it has been getting me off to a good start in the mornings. What is your ideal breakfast for a busy day?

I’ve always loved the overly sugary and often frosted scones for sale at local coffee shops, but I’ve learned that they make a better dessert than meal. The hit of sugar gives me energy for a little while, but they aren’t very good when it comes to staying power. If I have one for breakfast, I’ll be hungry again in no time. I saw a scone recipe in a Prevention newsletter a few weeks ago that looked as if it might be a bit different. Whole wheat flour, a wealth of nuts, no sweetener aside from what is found in the protein rich vanilla yogurt, and a smattering of dried fruit makes for a delicious, but not too sweet, breakfast treat!!

Eight Meals in a Pan

The link to the original recipe can be found here.

I changed it a bit by using:

  • Regular whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour for a nuttier and chewier texture
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of canola oil instead of 2 Tbsp.
  • Lemon zest in place of orange zest 
  • Dried cherries instead of dried cranberries (b/c that was what I had in the pantry)

I like to have one of these scones with a big pile of fruit and my morning coffee.

BrekkieThe scones are yummy, and, thanks to the healthy fats and protein, they keep me full until lunch time!! I will be making these again, and, undoubtedly, experimenting with variations. I had a few fresh ones, but I froze most of the batch. I had my first scone from the freezer this morning. I zapped it for about 20 seconds, and that was long enough to thaw it out and warm it up just a bit. Tasty– and quicker than my bowl of oats!

I’m so sad that the summer peaches are almost gone. If the farmer I spoke with at the farmer’s market last week was right, I may not have any more of these little gems until next season:

Peachy KeenI’ve been stocking up each Saturday, and then using the paper bag trick to ripen a few at a time. I was spoiled by the peaches from Swihart Orchard, near my hometown, as a kid, and I never find peaches at the grocery store that are worthy of my spoiled taste buds. The peaches from the farmer’s market have been amazing, and I’m going to miss them so much!  🙂

Speaking of the farmer’s market, I happened to catch this fuzzy little guy frolicking among the blooms on Saturday:

BuzzzzzzzzzzI love blogging because I always seem to have my camera when I need it! 🙂

In other news, I tried a “new to me” product this week, and I’m a big fan! I’m sure many of you already keep these in your freezer, but, for those of you just starting to explore the realm of frozen veggie burgers, I thought I’d tell you about these:

Spicy!I always keep a variety of soy and veggie burgers in my freezer. While I like most of them just fine, there are only a few that I really get very excited about. These spicy black bean burgers are on that list! I had them crumbled on top of my lunchtime salads this week with lettuce, tomatoes, fresh corn, reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, fat free Greek yogurt and salsa.

EnsaladaYUM! Seriously, I even love the way these burgers smell while they are cooking. The only problem is the fact that I’ve eaten them all. I need to buy more!!

The other fun thing I’ve had this week is the result of a little griddler experiment. I was cooking a pork tenderloin on the griddler, and I wondered what would happen if I tossed some thinly sliced potato on with the pork.

Griddler Me ThisI’ve never tried to grill potatoes, and I wasn’t sure what would happen. I love making fries in the oven, but sometimes I just hate the time it takes to heat the oven to temperature. I would also hate to heat the whole oven to cook one little potato. If this worked… oh my! I’d have a whole new quick method for making something fry like! My fingers were crossed!!!

I sprayed the thin potato slices on both sides with cooking spray, and then sprinkled them with a little bit of salt. The end result:

YES!! Griddler Fries!Yes!!! We have griddler fries!! They were crispy on the outside, and nicely cooked in the center. A few of the thinner pieces got super crispy and tasted like potato chips. I’m so happy I tried this, and I’ll be making more… and more… and more… of them in the future! They went well with my sauteed swiss chard and pork tenderloin. Don’t be fooled by the photo, however. I did decide to have some ketchup with my fries. What could be better?

What’s your favorite way to eat a potato?

P.S. Mara is having an insanely awesome and cheesy giveaway. You should definitely check it out!!

Christina is also having a celebratory giveaway (Congrats, Christina!!) and you should check it out too!!

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Filed under Baking, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Nuts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Success Story

Making My ‘Scape

I finally made my ‘scape…. my garlic scape concoction! Hi!! I hope you had a great fourth of July!! My weekend has been quite busy, but I’ve had lots of fun. Here’s a recap!

Friday:

Having a Friday off is such a lovely thing. I got up, had a leisurely work out, and then I finally got around to mixing up a batch of garlic scape bean dip. You might recall that I bought some garlic scapes at the farmer’s market a long time ago, and I promised to share my favorite recipe. The original recipe was published in the New York Times last year, and the recipe can be found here. I’ve lightened it up a bit by using only 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and I don’t think it’s missing a thing! The Times also had a very interesting article, that I really enjoyed. You can check it out here if you’d like to read more about scapes.ScapesScapes are the stems that grow out of the top of a garlic bulb, and they are the part of the garlic that would flower if left intact. They have a very strong garlic flavor, and can be used much as you would use garlic. The tips of my scapes had gotten a bit dried out from all of the time spent languishing in the crisper, but otherwise, they were good to go. 

I removed the dried out parts, and then chopped up 1/3 a cup of scapes. Those went into the food processor with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper. The scapes have a pretty serious heat on their own, so it doesn’t take a lot of black pepper to spice it up. I also added the juice of a lemon. I whirred it around in the food processor until the scapes were pretty finely chopped.

BlitzThen, I added a can of great northern beans that I had drained and rinsed. I didn’t have cannellinis in the pantry, and I knew that these white beans would work just fine. Hooray for the pantry!!

BeansI continued to puree the mixture. When it was pretty well blitzed, I drizzled in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with the processor still running and continued to puree until it was smooth.

Mmmm....I love this stuff and eat it as I would eat hummus! The scent of garlic really hits you when you take off the lid. Scapes are amazing!! If you can’t find scapes, you could make a similar mixture with a few cloves of garlic in place of the scapes. 

I put some scape dip into a La Tortilla Factory wrap (I was so excited to finally try these!!), along with some sliced cucumbers and Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar, and voila! I had  a tasty wrap to take to a little pre-National’s game tailgate. 

It's A Wrap!

I was wearing a new dress, and you can see part of it in the photo. It loved it because it had a lot of crazy colors, but… it might look like a tablecloth. 🙂 

I also made a batch of butterscotch blondies (sitting in the chair in the above photo), using a recipe from an old Cooking Light cookbook, “Low-Fat Ways to Cook Family Favorites,” and took some to share with my friends. Sadly, the recipe isn’t on-line and it isn’t my own, so the best I can do is tell you about the cookbook. It’s a good one, by the way!

Butterscotch BrowniesThe Nat’s lost to the Braves, but the game was still fun. The racing President’s are always a highlight.

Poor Teddy!Poor Teddy Roosevelt never gets a break. At least he keeps trying! Way to be a role model, Teddy!

Saturday:

Saturday morning, I went for a walk with my friend, Mrs. W, and then she and I went to the farmer’s market. I loaded up on berries this week, as well as cherries, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some chive cheese. Yum.

After our walk and our visit to the market, we lunched on leftover gratin, garlic scape and white bean dip, farmer’s market cucumbers and tomatoes, and some Berry Cherry “Ice Cream.” It was a tasty lunch. I love having leftovers that I feel good about serving to a good friend. She happens to be a vegetarian too, so it was awesome that I had my vegetarian gratin to share. Yum!

Last night, I had another friend, MG, over for dinner. I “griddlered” a farmer’s market pork tenderloin, basted in a bit of barbecue sauce, along with some zucchini and yellow squash. I made some oven fries– both sweet and regular potatoes, and boiled up a couple of ears of corn.

Happy Fourth!It was a healthy dinner, but I think it had a fourth of July feel to it. Oh, Griddler. I love you! Did you eat something festive on the fourth?? I forgot to get watermelon, and I was bummed about it!

For dessert we had more blondies and more Cherry Berry “Ice Cream.” Then, we headed up to the roof of my building to watch the fireworks on the National Mall. There is a clear view of the mall and the monuments from our rooftop, and it’s fun to see all of the smaller displays along the banks of the Potomac as well. I wanted to show you my view, but I never figured out how to take a good photo. This should give you some idea:

Boom!!Directly below the fireballs, you can kind of make out the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building if you try. We have a great view, just not an awesome photographer. Ahem. 

While MG was over, I also made an overly gooey batch of brownies to repay him for watering my plants while I was in Alaska. I do have my kitchen flops, from time to time, and I shouldn’t have tried to do a minor tweak to a previously untested recipe! Silly junior mints. The brownies tasted good, but a spoon might not be a bad choice of utensil. 😦 Sorry, MG. I say– microwave them and top with with ice cream. Yes. I’d eat that for sure!

Sunday:

I woke up with a serious hankering for French toast. I haven’t had it in ages! I mixed 1/4 cup of eggbeaters, 1 1/2 T. of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, 1/4 tsp. of sugar and 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract together. I soaked two slices of multi-grain bread in the eggbeater mixture, and then I cooked the slices in a nonstick skillet coated with butter flavored cooking spray. I had some lovely raspberries that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday as my side dish, and there was a little bit of maple syrup on the top. I love that I could taste the vanilla in the egg mixture. I didn’t completely drench it in syrup, the way I would have back in the old days, and I like that it stayed a bit crisp as a result. It really hit the spot!

French ToastAfter my special breakfast, I decided to take Coby out for a ride on the Custis Trail. Get ready for a quick switch from French toast to feet. I thought I’d warn you. There was no good segue that I could think of for this one! 

Along the way, I did something rather ungraceful while turning abruptly onto a little wooden bridge on the trail. Yes. My toenail is purple. Coby is fine, and the rest of me escaped unscathed, but I’m just not sure what this purple toe is going to do. I guess we will wait and see. I strongly suspect the toenail will not be with me much longer. Ewww, right? I hope I didn’t gross you out too much. At least I didn’t post a photo. I thought about it. 🙂

Ok, back to food…

I wanted to use the rest of my garlic scapes as well as two eggplants I bought at the farmer’s market so I decided to make a quick stew for dinner. I had to improvise a bit to avoid taking my purple toe to the store, so I used things from the pantry. Here’s what I came up with:

Din Din“Not Going to the Store” Garlic Scape, Eggplant and Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

cooking spray

1/2 medium sized onion, chopped

1/4 cup of garlic scapes, chopped

2 medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1/3 cup dried red lentils

1 1/2 cups of water

Salt to Taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided skillet. Add the cinnamon, chili powder and cumin, and heat the spices, while stirring, for thirty seconds. They should become fragrant. Add the onions, garlic scapes and a few sprays of cooking spray. Cook over medium high heat for seven minutes, or until the onions start to soften.

Add the eggplant to the pan, along with 3/4 tsp. of salt, stirring well to incorporate the onions, and let the mixture cook down for eight minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the can of tomatoes, the lentils and the water. Stir well. 

Increase the heat as needed to bring mixture to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, testing to be sure the lentils are tender. If the lentils need longer, make sure that there is still some liquid in the pan, adding a splash more water if necessary, and let it simmer a bit more. Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Give it a nibble and add extra salt, if needed, to suit your tastebuds.

Red lentils are key in this dish when it comes to using dried lentils. They cook the fastest of all of the lentils, and they will get tender in the time it takes for your veggies to nicely stew. If you wanted to substitute any other lentils, I would recommend cooking them first. If you decide to do that, I would reduce the water in the stew to 3/4 a cup.

Makes approximately 6 one cup servings

FinThis stew made a yummy dinner atop a bowl of rice, and my apartment smells amazing!! I’ve used the rest of the scapes, and my eggplants have been saved from a few more days in the crisper drawer. Hooray!

I worked out with my trainer this evening, despite the purple toe, and I think I may need to put some ice on it now. The pain wasn’t bad during class, but now it is not feeling so happy. I’m off to find an ice pack.

Thanks for making it to the end of this very long post. I had a lot to tell you about!

I hope you have a great week!! Ciao for now, y’all. 🙂

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Filed under Cooking Light, D.C., Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Wacky Taco Wednesday

Hi! Well, we are one day closer to the weekend, and I’m so ready. I had a great time in Williamsburg last weekend, but I still haven’t gotten caught up on my usual weekend tasks. I guess I get more done during my weekends than I realized!

It was raining when I got up this morning, and I was happy to have this sunshine on a plate in the fridge:

Brekkie

I had my usual breakfast cookie with a big pile of berries. On the side, I had coconut tea with a mix of sugar free chocolate and almond syrups, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, and skim milk. The shiny bullet to the side is the thermos I took to work containing more of the same. I love getting to work in the morning with a big thermos of tea ready to hit my mug. I love anything with coconut, and this tea is one of my faves!

Remember the Green and Black’s bar I’ve been eating for weeks now? During the day, I reduced the last pieces to this:

All GoneNo worries! The Easter bunny gave me a tasty bar (involving coconut, no less), and it is next on the list of chocolatey treats. I can’t wait to try it tomorrow! 

The morning sped by, and it was lunchtime before I knew it. I finished off something else today: my succotash! It was good, but I’m glad to have it out of the fridge. I put the rest of the succotash and the leftover chicken from last night’s dinner in a little bowl with some Country Bob’s sauce this morning, so all I had to do was pop it in the micro for a little zap and then dump it into my big bowl with some spinach and some smoked mozzarella. Instant salad!

LunchI should have snapped a photo before I shook it all up because all of the good stuff is in the bottom of the bowl. It was yummy, and pretty filling too! After that, I tried a strawberry Chobani along with my usual side of Zoe’s granola:

Miss Zoe ChobaniJust to recap my Chobani experiences, I tried the peach and thought the goo was too sweet and goopy. I tried the honey, and I thought it was really good. I appreciated the fact that the honey was already mixed in, and there was no gloppy goo to stir in. The strawberry… well… I’m not a fan of the strawberry goo either. It wasn’t bad, but I think I’d prefer my strawberry Greek yogurt to be sweetened with some strawberry jam and fresh berries. There would be less goo and more flavor. Still, this will do in a pinch.

I wanted something else after this, but I couldn’t figure out what it was that I was craving. I hate when this happens. As I see it, there are several options. I could distract myself and hope that the craving would pass. I could eat a bunch of things hoping to land on the “right” food to feel satisfied, which is NOT a very good approach from a caloric standpoint. I could also eat something filling in the hopes that I will feel full enough to stop craving anything else. That’s what I decided to do today. I went searching through my desk drawer stash, and decided on a bowl of midday oatmeal with some peanut butter.

Midday OatmealI had a bowl of Quaker weight control banana bread oatmeal with Bee’s Knees peanut butter. I sometimes find that a bowl of oats like this will take care of a craving for baked goods, while providing a bit of extra positive nutrition. It definitely filled me up, but I figured out that chocolate was the thing I really wanted around the time I reached the bottom of the bowl. Luckily, I had a Hershey’s miniature Krackel in the desk drawer.

KrackeliciousDone. Whew! I was finally satisfied. Needless to say, I didn’t get hungry for quite some time. I also had a pretty busy afternoon, which kept me too occupied to snack. When I did decide to have a bite of something, I decided to go a little crazy with my usual peanut butter and vanilla wafer snacks.

Pruneston NapkintonMeet Mr. Pruneston Napkinton. I’ve been in a goofy mood all day. What can I say?! 🙂 I stuck a bite sized prune on the top of each little PB topped wafer, and it gave it a PB&J flavor. Yummy! They looked like eyeballs to me, so I decided to play with my food a little bit.  Getting creative with what’s in the desk drawer can be fun and tasty too. If you don’t keep a stash at work, I’d highly recommend it. It takes some of the pressure off when planning out snacks for the day if I know that there are plenty of healthy choices close at hand!

When I got home, I decided to whip up something new for dinner using pantry items as well as a couple of peppers and some cilantro I picked up at the Fresh Market on my way out of the ‘burg on Sunday with a different dish in mind. I also had some black beans, the chipotle cheddar I bought at the farmer’s market a couple of Saturdays ago and some Pepito’s corn tortillas in the fridge. This is so easy, it almost doesn’t merit writing out the recipe, but it was really good so I decided to just go ahead and tell you what was in it. It could obviously be varied in lots of ways, but this could be a quick and easy start for a worknight taco meal. 

Quick and Tasty

Worknight Black Bean Tacos

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup any color bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 6″ corn tortillas

4 ounces grated sharp cheddar, chipotle cheddar or pepperjack cheese

salsa

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic for three minutes. Add the bell pepper, cumin and chili powder and saute for three minutes more. Add the cilantro and the beans, and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until beans are heated through.

Divide the bean mixture and cheese among the tortillas. Top with salsa and enjoy!

This makes 4 servings

TacoliciousThese were pleasantly spicy, and the creamy texture of the beans with the melty smoothness of the cheese made for a cozy and filling dish. All I can say is yum. I’m also happy because I have leftovers. 🙂 I’m already thinking that I’d like the bean mixture in an omelette or on a naan pizza if I get bored with the tacos. I love versatile things like this! The beans could be a side dish too, for that matter. 

So, of course, dessert came after dinner. YAY!! I had a piece of chocolate banana snack cake from the freezer alongside some LaLoo’s Strawberry Darling goat’s milk ice cream. The real cake and ice cream action made me one happy girl! 

BlissI just got back from the gym (617 calories burned this evening), and I had a camera shy Chex Turtle bar. I think I’m out of those now. They were really good. I might need more!! I may have another little nibble of something, but I’m basically done for the day. It’s time for me to make my evening tea and get myself to bed so that I’ll be nicely rested for Thursday. 

I really enjoyed my tacos this evening, and I realized that I’ve never made black bean tacos. There are so many taco varieties. What do you like in your taco??

Ciao for now, bloggies, and have a very happy Thursday! Only two more posts to go before post #100 and my giveaway announcement. I’m excited. I can’t wait!! See you all tomorrow!

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Filed under Beans, Cake, cooking, diet, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Friday Weigh-in Stats and This Week’s Favorite Snack

It all started last week with a mix of Trader Joe’s fruity fiber cereal and some pumpkin seeds…

Desk Mix

This week, it picked up steam with a mix of Kashi Honey Sunshine and more pumpkin seeds….

Desk MixThis week’s favorite snack is something I like to call “desk mix.” I love trail mix. I love the mix of crunchy and chewy with sweet and salty. I love nibbling it a piece at a time, but I don’t love the amount of fat and calories some trail mixes contain. If I were on a trail getting some exercise, it might be completely appropriate. Sitting at my desk, however, doesn’t really merit such a hearty snack. As a way to avoid overdoing it on trail mix or getting sucked into the 100 empty calorie pack rut, while still getting a sweet and salty nibbly mix, I started tossing a little baggie of “desk mix” into my lunch bag in the mornings. I’m hooked.

Both of the cereals in the mixes above are 1 point per serving cereals. I add 1/2 a serving of pumpkin seeds, which adds up to a 1.5 point snack. Most 100 calorie packs come in around 2 points on weight watchers, and it seems that most of them offer little in the way of nutrition (although there are a few exceptions, of course). My desk mix has some whole grains, fiber and pumpkin seed goodness, and only takes a few seconds to toss into a baggie in the morning. The Trader Joe’s cereal is great because it has some dried fruit and nuts. The Kashi is awesome because… it reminds me of Cap’n Crunch for grown-ups! I plan to experiment with more mixes like this in the future. If I look a bit like a toddler with my baggie full of cereal– so be it. I think desk mix rocks!!

So– you’ve seen the snacks, now for the stats:

Points Stats

Daily Points Target: 22

Weekly Points Remaining: 0/35

Activity Points Remaining: 21.5/28.5

That’s about normal. I had an additional 21.5 points that I could have eaten, but I chose not too.

Workout Schedule

Friday: off

Saturday: 35 minutes of a cardio and core class with my trainer followed by 35 minutes of running outside in the lovely weather

Sunday: 45 minutes of strength training,35 minutes of cardio combo, 5 minutes of stretching

Monday: off

Tuesday:  45 minutes of strength training, 35 minutes cardio combo, 5 minutes of stretching

Wednesday:  65 minutes of cardio combo (elliptical, running and walking with incline on the treadmill, jump rope intervals and stairmaster) with 10 minutes of core exercise and stretching

Thursday: 60 minutes of kickboxing

I’m happy with my workouts this week. I didn’t quite make it to 30 activity points, but I think it will be easier when warmer weather arrives for good. I’m much more likely to take extra unnecessary walks when I’m not “battling the elements.” The Saturday class was a make up class that my trainer offered in place of a canceled class. It involved a core exercise, followed by a one minute cardio interval, followed by another core exercise… lather, rinse and repeat for 30 minutes. It kicked my butt, but in a good way. I’m glad that I got to do something different on Saturday. The running outside was a bonus!

I feel good about my eating this week too. I ate well, did a better job of listening to what I really wanted rather than spending my points just because I had them, and I really enjoyed my food. What more could I ask for??

I had a good week! How was it reflected on the scale? Well, as I said last night, I had a good idea of how today was going to go. I seem to have been in an upward fluctuation all week long. I’m not sure what the scale is doing, but I don’t care. I’ll tell you why in a minute. My official number this week is 159.6… with a 2.6 pound gain. Why don’t I care? I don’t care because I put on a pair of pants from last summer, when my weight was only a couple of pounds more than what it is now, and they were too big. They were big enough, in fact, that I spent the day a little bit nervous. Unbuttoning was not necessary. I’ve concluded that there is an inches game going on, and, given that I typically wear pants and not my scale out in public, I’m happy with that. Muscle tone? I’ll take it!

I’m also just trying to relax and not stress about it. If you are checking out my blog expecting to see pounds drop like flies, your expectations aren’t the same as mine. I’m just happy trying to lose a few more, while enjoying where I am now and working on my eating skills. I’m trying to develop the mindset where the scale takes a backseat. Goodness knows, the things I can do now that I wasn’t able to do 180 pounds ago are much more rewarding than seeing a certain number between my feet. I know that logically, now I just need to adjust my attitude to match it. I’m working on it, and I know I’ll get there.

I’ll leave you this evening with a photo of my dinner. It was a quick and good one, and I think it deserves a mention!

Avocado Frittata

I sauteed some mushrooms (they are hiding underneath) in my small skillet and then topped it with some egg beaters. After the egg beaters started to set up, I topped it with some avocado, some Cabot 75% light cheddar and a little parmesan. I popped it under the broiler to brown, reheated the last of my roasted broccoli and got out my favorite chipotle salsa. This frittata was inspired by Heather’s awesome avocado eggs. Oh how I love blogspiration!! I also love frittatas. I think they are like little protein pizzas, and I treat them that way with my random choices of toppings. 

Well, I’m off to a club for a friend’s birthday. I think I may be getting too old for the club scene. I’m probably going to spend the next hour trying to figure out what to wear. At least I can eliminate the previously mentioned pants!! 

Question of the night: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever put in/on your eggs?

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!! 🙂

 

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Filed under diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

My Saturday Cookie Experiment

 

Chocolate Chip Oat Bran Cookies

Happy weekend! I’m so excited that the weather is warm. I have the door to my balcony open as I’m typing, and it is so nice to air things out a bit. I started my day off with a bonus class with my trainer that involved 30 minutes of cardio and core intervals. I was pretty pooped after the class, but it was too nice not to get outside so I followed it up with a 30 minute run. I crushed over 700 calories today, got some fresh air and had a good time doing it!!

To celebrate my great workout and replenish a few of those tiny little calories, I decided to make a batch of cookies. I’ve been sort of obsessed with oat bran lately, and, of course, I wanted to see if I could incorporate it into a cookie. There was a recipe for an oat bran raisin cookie on the side of my oat bran box, but I wanted chocolate chips! I also wanted about one fourth of the number of cookies that the recipe would make, as usual, so I pared the recipe down and made a few other changes based on my goal of making a dozen one point cookies. It may seem weird to start with a points goal and work backwards when creating a recipe, but it works pretty well for me most of the time. 

The cookies that I made are good. I will say that they are pretty small, and have a definite oat bran nuttiness to them. Having said that, I enjoyed the two that I ate. I got that nice baked goods experience but with a little more fiber and a little less fat. Plus, did I mention… there was chocolate! I liked these enough to go ahead and post the recipe ( I wouldn’t want to steer you wrong…), but stay tuned! I’m going to be trying some variations on this theme. I’ll keep you updated. For now, this is my recipe:

Chocolate Cutie

Bittersweet Chocolate Oat Bran Cookies

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. butter

3 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed

1 Tbsp. egg beaters

2 Tbsp. skim milk

1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

60 grams of oat bran (this is about 1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 Tbsp.)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pinch of salt

25 grams of Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips (about 27 chips)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butter and brown sugar in the mixer at medium speed. Add the egg beaters, milk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. 

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, oat bran, baking powder and salt) in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix well. The dough will be stiff and somewhat dry. 

Incorporate the chocolate chips. Divide the dough into 12 portions and place on a baking sheet. 

Bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven, and press the tops of each cookie down with the back of a fork. This will flatten the cookies while spreading the chocolate around on top. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for an additional five minutes. Cool the finished cookies on a wire rack.

This makes 12 unofficial 1 point cookies.

The dough was definitely more stiff and dry than most cookie batters I’ve made, but it was sticky enough.

BatterThe balls of dough looked like this on the way into the oven:

Ready for the Oven The finished product:

Done!

As I mentioned, this was a bit of an experiment. I wasn’t planning to flatten the cookies out halfway through, but they weren’t spreading out much so I decided to go for it. I didn’t realize that the added bonus would be the way the chocolate spread around on the top. This seems perfect to me since there aren’t a ton of chocolate chips in these cookies. This made a little bit of chocolate go a longer way, and I think the cookies look prettier with their chocolatey tops. 

Rack 'em up!

I’m having a couple of friends over for lunch tomorrow, and I’m happy that they are the kind of friends who won’t turn up their noses at my healthy cookies! After that, I have a bowling birthday party to attend followed by another workout with my trainer. Tomorrow has potential to be a very busy day. Today has been pretty lazy, aside from my workout, so that seems like a pretty good balance. I like to have some time to myself on the weekends, but, of course, I like to have some time with my friends too!

I’m planning to make a yummy vegetarian friendly soup for my friends, and I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. I’m concocting the recipe in my head right this second. Have a great Saturday night, and a great Sunday too. 🙂

Oh, and the lovely Abbie is having an amazing giveaway to celebrate her new site at Foods That Fit. Definitely check it out!! This is an awesome giveaway, and I always love to read what Abbie has to say.

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

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkle

I had a nice surprise yesterday in the mail! When a resident receives a package, a little tags is hung in that resident’s mailbox door as a signal to go and see the concierge to pick up the delivery. I’m usually expecting something in particular when one of those appears in my mailbox. Yesterday, I noticed the shiny little tag and started trying to remember: Had I ordered a new stockpile of  Vitamuffins? Did I place an order with Sephora for lip products that taste like s’mores? Was Amazon supposed to be sending me… anything? The answer was no. A bit excited, I went to the desk to see what was waiting for me, and I found a birthday/Valentine’s day package sent by my aunt.

Inside the box, I found some fun things for the kitchen as well as some adorable little sachet boxes. At the bottom of the box, there was a cookbook: Light Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas. A new cookbook! Well well well… something to play with over a long weekend! I also think it might be the most fragrant cookbook I’ve ever owned thanks to its journey alongside the sachets.

My aunt bought this cookbook some time ago and decided it needed a new home. I’m usually happy to take in stray cookbooks, and I find that even some of the weirder ones on my shelf have provided inspiration. Before introducing this cookbook to the rest of the “pack” (I think cookbooks travel in packs…), I decided to look through it. As I was flipping through the book, I started getting in the mood to bake. More specifically, it put me in the mood to bake molasses cookies.

Molasses Crinkle

My papaw had quite a sweet tooth (but never a weight problem…), and my memaw was in the habit of making something sweet for him to enjoy at the end of a meal. Lemon ice box pie, fresh coconut cake, pecan pie, molasses or peanut butter cookies… there was almost always something awesome for dessert. If, for some reason, there weren’t any homemade treats available, my papaw kept an emergency jar of vanilla wafers on the cabinet. That jar now sits on my cabinet and usually has low point cookies or biscotti in it. Hmm… is having a sweet tooth hereditary? Anyway, molasses cookies made a frequent appearance, and I always loved them. I loved the melt-in-your-mouth texture… and I loved sneaking them out of the cookie jar when no one was looking.

Molasses, (or “sawghum” as my papaw called it) is one of those foods that I seem to forget about unless I’m on the hunt for a cookie or making gingerbread. I used to love mixing up a big puddle of butter and molasses and using it as a dip for rolls or biscuits. That type of eating isn’t an everyday occurrence anymore, but I could definitely put molasses in my oatmeal without derailing any weight loss efforts. For that matter, I should use it as a sweetener more often given that, unlike sugar, it has actual nutrients (including calcium!!) in it. I’m making a note to try that tomorrow! When I came across a molasses cookie recipe in this “new to me” cookbook, I decided to make some. Of course, I couldn’t help but tweak the recipe. Here’s my version:

Molasses Crinkles

Recipe adapted from Light Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas copyright 1989

Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg white

2 Tbsp. molasses

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. sugar

Directions:

Cream butter and brown sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg white, beating until smooth. Stir in molasses.

Combine flours and next five ingredients in a medium sized bowl; add to butter mixture and beat well. Cover dough and chill at least 8 hours.

Divide the dough into 13 portions (I weighed the dough in grams, divided by 13, and then used my scale to get them all the same size.) Roll each portion into a ball and dip the tops of the balls in the 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar. Place balls of dough 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with a Silpat. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes. The tops will crack or “crinkle.” Cool on wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Makes 13 unofficial 2 point cookies (why 13? Read more below… Trust me…)

Since the cookbook is from 1989, back before margarine and its trans-fats were characterized as unhealthy, it called for margarine. For my money, baking with butter is almost always better anyway as far as results go, plus, you aren’t eating any weird chemicals or things that can’t be pronounced using less than four syllables. I immediately started out by changing the margarine to butter. I haven’t bought margarine in years. I wasn’t going to start now!

Butter and Sugar... Always A Good Start

When measuring the molasses, I sprayed my measuring spoons with a little cooking spray first. The molasses should then slide right out of the spoon with no problem!

Mixing in the Molasses

I thought that the spicy dry ingredients were so pretty! I changed the original recipe to include some whole wheat flour because I like the nutty and chewy texture it lends to cookies. It also helps the nutrition profile a little bit. As a bonus, it adds another color to this mound of dry ingredients:

Spicy Dry Ingredients

As you can see, this makes a very small amount of dough. Small is what I’m all about! This was perfect!!! I put it in a smaller bowl before I stuck it in the fridge to chill.

Little Bit of Batter

In addition to changing the margarine to butter and working in some whole wheat flour, I changed the number of servings. That is, in my opinion, the most exciting change I made to this recipe!! If you flip through a big all purpose cookbook, like the old school Betty Crocker cookbook, you will probably find that most recipes make between 4 and 12 servings. Some might make slightly more, and others might make slightly less. Generally, each recipe makes a pretty reasonable number of servings– UNTIL you get to the cookie section. I know that, in part, it can be hard to break recipes for baked goods down into smaller quantities. Still, I don’t need 8 dozen cookies unless I have a party to attend or some hungry colleagues at work. What I really wanted was to be able to make a dozen cookies. Period.

I got pretty close. I cut the recipe in the cookbook in half to begin with. Then, I plugged my ingredients into the magic gadget on the WW site. I’ve been enjoying some 2 point Kashi cookies this week, and I know that I don’t mind spending 2 points on a cookie– especially if I savor it with a big cup of tea. That makes it last longer. I decided to see how many 2 point cookies I could make, and the answer was 13. This is known as a “baker’s dozen,” and that’s just fine with me! As I mentioned above, I weighed my batch of dough, divided by 13 and then used the scale to measure out the proper amount for each ball of dough which got rolled up and coated with sugar.

Ready to BakeWeighing my dough on the scale may seem like a bit much, but I don’t know of an easier way to get all of my cookies to be the same size (and, consequently, to get an accurate points count per cookie). Plus, I watch too much “Unwrapped” on the food channel, and I often see them use a scale for things like this. Who says that television is a waste of time?!

The Whole Shebang

My final opinion on these cookies is that they are good, but not as large as I would have liked. They are pretty close in size to the Kashi cookies, but slightly smaller. That’s my only complaint. I’m so excited to have figured out how to make such a tiny batch! The next time I’m in the mood to bake, but not in the mood to pawn cookies off on people, I’ll be making these. I like the texture and the flavor, although I might actually add an extra pinch of each of the spices next time, and I really enjoyed the one I tried with a cup of Sweet Thai Delight tea from Yogi Tea. That is one of my absolute favorite teas ever!! It has a bit of exotic spice and a hint of coconut that went well with this cookie. When I grow up, I think I’d like to specialize in cookie and tea pairings (similar to wine and food pairings.)  That seems like it would be a pretty sweet gig!

Teatime

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

Just Sweet Enough “Baked” Apple for One

Cute Little Granny

This evening I made one of my favorite quick fruit desserts, and I thought I’d share it with you. I try to post recipes that use “real” food as much as possible. I don’t avoid artificial sweeteners, and I have some sugar free Torani syrup in my coffee mug each morning. That being said, I do try not to overdo the fake sweets. I’m sure that I could come up with lower point value desserts if I was more willing to use lots of Splenda, but I look for a bit of balance. This recipe uses a little bit of brown sugar and some sugar free syrup so it is a good example of that compromise. 

I also want you to know that I will try not to use too many obscure or harder to find ingredients in the recipes I post on my site. I grew up in a rural part of Arkansas, and I am very aware of how spoiled I am now that I live in a metropolitan area with lots of grocery stores to choose from. There is no Whole Foods in my hometown. There is also no Trader Joe’s anywhere in the close vicinity. When I lived at home, I once ordered arborio rice in the mail. I mention this because I took some Torani syrup home with me this year when I went to visit my family over the holidays, and my mother is now looking for an economical way to replenish the stock. On-line ordering is obviously an option, but it is frustrating when the shipping charges are as much or more than the charges for the product itself. I guess this is all my way of apologizing if you have trouble finding this ingredient where you live. I feel certain that you could substitute some splenda and possibly some fresh lemon juice, but I will admit that I haven’t tried it. If you do, please let me know.

Baked apples are such a cozy food, and I played around with the recipe until I figured out how to make one for only 1 point. According to my calculations, either a small or medium sized apple will still result in a 1 point dessert. As for the rest of the ingredients, aside from the syrup, you will likely already find them living happily in your pantry. Adding cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to oatmeal and little desserts like this one is a good way to use up the spices you might have bought during the holidays. They do get stale eventually, so I like to try to use up what I have an buy fresh ones fairly often. Without further adieu, here’s my recipe:

Just Sweet Enough “Baked” Apple for One

Ingredients:

1 small or medium sized apple (I used a granny smith today, but I’ve made it with galas, fujis, macintoshes, braeburns… I think any kind will work)

1 tsp oats

1 tsp brown or Turbinado sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 tiny pinch of salt

6 spritzes of spray butter

4 tsp sugar free Torani syrup (vanilla, almond, coconut, almond roca, brown sugar cinnamon, white chocolate… any of these would work)

Directions:

Remove the apple core with an apple corer or a melon baller, leaving the very bottom of the apple intact. This helps to keep all of the filling inside and allows it to cook up properly. Just remember not to eat the bottom stem part when you are enjoying your apple.  Put the apple in a small microwave safe bowl. Layer the ingredients inside the apple in this order: Oats, salt, sugar, spice, spray butter, syrup. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave for 4 minutes. Allow to stand for one minute before removing the plastic wrap.

Carefully remove the plastic wrap and allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. You may need to stir the filling around a bit with your fork depending on the juiciness of your apple. Eat it as is or with a serving of fat free Cool Whip on top. If you have the points, some light vanilla ice cream would be great with it as well.

Unofficial ww points: 1

Confession: I accidentally removed the bottom of the apple so don’t be misled by this photo. Perhaps I will make another apple this evening and replace the picture. Mine turned out ok, but leaving the bottom intact keeps the wet ingredients from running out the bottom and makes the filling cook much more nicely.

Cored AppleMy kitchen isn’t huge so I try to avoid extraneous kitchen gadgets. I don’t have an apple corer, but my melon baller works just fine for that task so I don’t need one!

Filling

Ready to Eat

Of course, you could always throw in a few dried cherries, raisins, nuts or other things like that, and just add the points. As with everything I make, this is my basic plan. I can always check my points situation for the day and decide whether I can “afford” any embellishments. If you try it and add something fun, I’d love to hear about it!


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