Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not So Bad For You, But Super Tasty, Vegan Brownies

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I went through a phase a couple months ago where I was making these vegan brownies from the Peas and Thank You cookbook just about every single day.  Yes, they were that good, and yes, they are low-fat enough where I could make them a lot.  I hadn't made them in a while, so I decided to make them tonight :)

Now let me set your expectations.  These are not going to be super ooey gooey brownies.  If you find a recipe that produces that kind of brownie with no oil or sugar, please let me know.  These brownies are going to be kind of fluffly, but there are a couple tricks I use to make sure they are super moist, uber chocolatey, a still pretty fudgy.

The original recipe calls for sugar, but I can't really have sugar, so I use agave nectar.  I have also been amazed by how far sugar free chocolate has come.  I didn't use sugar free chocolate in this recipe because my nephew ate my last bar, but using sugar free chocolate would also be super good and would decrease the calories by a good amount as well.

So here is the recipe:

3/4 c. whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. unsweetened applesauce (I recommend making your own, it is very easy.)
3/8 c. agave nectar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (or sugar free chocolate chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together (except chocolate chips).  Add in all of the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.  Add in the chocolate chips and stir until well incorporated.

Pour the ingredients into the baking dish and back for 18-20 mins until the edges start to pull away from the pan.

Now here is the trick to keeping the brownies moist.  Pull the brownies out of the oven and onto a cooling rack.  Cover brownies with aluminum foil, this traps in the moisture as they cool down.  Let the brownies cool to room temperature then slice into 2x4 inch brownies.

You can substitute 1 c. of mashed bananas for the applesauce to make banana brownies which are also very tasty.

Quick Tip: If they make it to the next day, I heat my brownie in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt the chocolate chips before devouring :)

So yeah, they get a c- score on nutrition. But they are a dessert :) and 3.1 grams of dietary fiber is not too shabby. Especially since you can't even tell that they are made from whole wheat flour. These are the nutrition facts for using regular chocolate. I wonder what they would look like with the sugar-free chocolate. hmmmmm......

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Five Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup

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Tonight I was faced with the question every person dreads.  What should I make tonight for dinner?  At least I dread it because asking myself this question means that I didn't plan a meal and now I have to come up with one on the fly using stuff I already have in the kitchen.  So in my search for inspiration, I came across some butternut squash that had been sitting in the fridge for a while and needed to be used.  "Liiiiightbulb", I said to myself.  I remembered that I had read some research on PCOS and found that reducing meat consumption is a good thing.  So yeah! Go me for listening!

I have never made butternut squash soup before and I was too lazy to look for a recipe online, so I decided to wing it.  Here is what I got:

1 large yellow onion, large dice
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T. olive oil
64 ounces of butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
8 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

Heat a large pot on medium-high, add the olive oil and onions and cook until onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until you can smell it.

Next, add in the butternut squash and vegetable stock and allow to simmer until squash is tender.

Now comes the fun part.  You can puree the soup in a couple of ways.  You could blend is in a blender, or run it through a food processor, orrrrrr you can bust out the fancy immersion blender your husband bought you for Christmas.  I chose to bust out my new immersion blender because I hate dirtying stuff if I don't need to aaaand I wanted to show my husband how much I loved his gift.

Using the immersion blender also allows me to puree the soup in the pot and then salt and pepper to taste.  If I were to use a blender or food processor, I would have to season each batch separately.  Not fun.

The result is a naturally creamy, nutrient packed soup that is only 73 calories per serving.  Whhhhhaaaat!?!  Yes that's right, only 73 calories.  And in each bowl, you get 100% of the vitamin C you need in a day.  Plus loads of other beneficial nutrients.  You can check them all out here.  And did I mention that it tastes awesome and is basically the easiest soup in the world to make.  You seriously can't go wrong here. Pin It

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Avocado Chicken A.K.A Party In My Mouth Sandwich

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Martha Stewart puts out a killer food magazine.  The best part is that she includes the calorie count for all the recipes in said magazine.  So I was reading through this month's issue and came across a recipe for an avocado chicken sandwich.  This is nothing like her recipe, but I did feel inspired to make my own version and it tasted a-mazing.  I made it again for my brother-in-law and he agreed.  So now I am going to share this awesomeness with the world:

1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed
2 T. greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper
1 chicken breast cooked and shredded
1 green onion, sliced thin using only the white and light-green part
1 stalk of celery, small dice
alfalfa sprouts
4 slices multi-grain bread toasted

Take half of the avocado and smash it up in a small bowl, add the greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix all together.

Take the other half of the avocado and cut it into cubes then add to bowl of mixture.  Add in the chicken, green onion, celery.  Mix everything together and spoon on top of bread slices.  Add the alfalfa sprouts on top to make open-faced sandwiches.  Makes four good sized servings at about 261 calories each and goes really well with vegetable soup :)

Spinach Omelet, You Say?

Lately, I have been getting a little sick of my typical breakfast food items.  Sometimes oatmeal just doesn't cut it for me.  So I had eggs and spinach in my refrigerator and I said to myself, "Self, you should tots (pronounced "totes" as in totally) make a spinach omelet for breakfast!"  So I did:

1 egg plus 2 egg whites beaten
1 big handful of fresh spinach
2 T. red onion, small dice
1/4 c. greek yogurt
salt and pepper

1 heat resistant rubber spatula

Heat a 6-inch non-stick pan on medium-high heat.  Spray in some cooking spray and sauté onion until translucent.  Rinse the spinach and place it in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 30 seconds, take it out of the microwave, and allow to cool.  Once the spinach is cool, squeeze out all the water.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and add eggs.  Using the tip of the spatula, pull in the sides of the omelet slightly and and tip the pan so that the runny part of the egg fills in the gap made by the spatula.  Work your This will make your omelet fluffy and will also help to cook faster.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the omelet is no longer runny on top, add the spinach and flip in half.  Cook on each side until the inside of the omelet is fully cooked.  About a minute before cooking is complete, spread the yogurt on top of the omelet to warm up a little bit.

And that's it.  Super tasty omelet action and only 170 calories, yes!!!!!