Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Originally posted here on March 31, 2011 as "This Isn't a Food Blog"

This morning, I dropped the kids off at my in-laws for their weekly visit. The kids LOVE this visit. When I say "Let's go to Uita and Grandpa's!", immediately, they both start "talking". Maya says "shoes! shoes!" and Bobby walks to the coat closet. I take out shoes and coats and they vie for who gets to sit in my lap first to get ready. Today was no different. I shoe and coat them, and get them in the car, promising that if they keep their shoes on, they can walk from the car to my in-laws' house. This is for Bobby more than Maya, since she keeps her shoes on. We get there and, of course, both kids have shoes on and I have to make good on my promise. Did I mention it had drizzled and everything was wet?

I get Bobby out first and have perfected the art of keeping him inbetween the car and I while I get Maya out. And then they are both down, one on each hand. And we are, the three of us, walking down the walk to the front door. It was a surreal moment and, I confess, I almost cried. I mean, really, when they were born almost 19 months ago, so very early, this was something I had a hard time imagining. And now, they are walking, dragging me by the hand, a second away of saying "Mom, let go- I'm too big to hold your hand."

When I left, I had planned to do my run first (instead of after cleaning). I have my first (of four) childbirth education classes tonight (for my coursework) and have things to get ready. I didnt want to feel hampered. In order to get everything done, I actually stripped beds on Monday, dusted bedrooms on Tuesday, and made sure to scrub counters last night. I didnt love fitting the extra into already busy days, but I would have loved not being able to run or get my stuff together for tonight even less. So, I drove to a park I ran through in the beginning of my running, a year ago... A path that was SO hard. And, it wasnt so hard today. Funny how that works...

I did a 5 mile (at a 5mph pace). And, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I've fallen into an elevated category of runners.... I peed on myself. I know. I cant believe I'm actually typing that. But it happened. At first, it was this little "oops!" and then, I'm like "DAMMIT! I actually have peed a little bit!" But, I channeled Sarah who would have said something (I'm sure) like "Hey, it's raining and you've already peed... Finish your run." So I did. Wet pants and all. I know... I'm embarrassed... But it's true. You cant make stuff like this up. Of course, getting in the car, I sat on my (waterproof) running jacket... just in case my body had more surprises in store (which it didnt).

After my shower and lunch, I cleaned a little, but my heart wasnt into it. (Maybe the whole peed-on-self thing, I dont know...) I wanted to bake. But I wanted it to be sort of healthy... Like peanut butter cookies! Wait... Peter doesnt like peanut butter cookies... So, a lightbulb moment. What about chocolate hazelnut cookies! You know... chocolate hazelnut... Nutella... Mmmm... I looked around at several different recipes online and finally found one that I could easily modify.

These bad boys come in at only 50 calories a pop. And they are 50 deliciously worth it calories. You only put a little bit of "dough" but it expands to become a large, thin cookie. SO.GOOD. Seriously.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
4oz snack cup (111g) unsweetened applesauce

1/2c splenda

1/2c brown sugar

1 egg

1/2c Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)

1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp baking soda

1/2tsp vanilla

1/2c plus 1/8c all purpose flour

1/4c plus 1/8c whole wheat flour

Mix all the ingredients together. Using a tablespoon, spoon out egg shaped dollops onto a cookie sheet sprayed with no-cal spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 9 minutes.

I know it is hard, but let them cool for 1 minute before devouring them. Really... They are worth it. They are thinner cookies and are a pain to get off the cookie sheet, but it doesnt matter. They are out of this world!! Really... They are that good. (36 cookies/50c each)

(want a modification? for the flour, do 1/3c each of regular AP, whole wheat, and hazelnut and omit the vanilla. ups to calories for 52c per cookie (36 cookies). Totally delicious!!)

Peter's going to be happy when he gets home. In answer to his "are there snacks???" question (because, he's obviously starving away and I never, ever send him to work with lunch AND snacks...), I can say "Actually, there are... But you wouldnt like them." And, while I smile, he'll grab the cookie tin from my hand and rip into them and say... "DELICIOUS!!!" or some variation thereof... At least, he'd better say something like that!

But, it isnt a food blog... I swear... Just a blog by someone who loves food... L.O.V.E.S. it...

(And, in happy news, I've broken the 180 barrier... This morning, the scale read 179.5! Only 9.5 pounds until my goal of Peter's weight!!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Asparagus and Cheese Souffle

Originally posted here on March 27, 2011 as "Leftovers"

I hate leftovers. Like, really, really hate them. It probably comes from the whole "waste not, want not" mentality that my mom had of food... If we had it, then we ate it. And, when there isnt a lot of money to waste, that is what you do. I didnt realize it so much then (I just hated the idea of eating the same thing over- with a few exceptions), but I do now. With one income, two kids who have decided they should eat like teenagers now, and a husband who enjoys his meals, we need to eat what we have. Sarah usually raids the fridge right before I'm about to toss stuff, so at least too much food doesnt go to waste, LOL. But still...It happens, and I realize that I need to find a solution and not just toss food that could have been eaten.

Some things, of course, cant have a new life. But it is amazing all the things that can!

Last night, we had a lovely family dinner with Peter's parents, Sarah, and us, and I made peppercorn marinated pork tenderloin, olive oil & garlic couscous, salad, snowflake potato rolls, and asparagus. With the exception of the salad, there were leftovers of everything. Rather than let that food go to waste, though, today has been a day of makeovers!

This morning started with my delicious spin on an old Vegetarian Times recipe (my version follows at the end of this post): asparagus & cheese soufflé . Quite a happy breakfast! It did mean that we didnt make the 9:30 Mass and did the 10am one at our local parish instead, but it was well worth it (especially since the homily was awesome). For lunch, I made a pork & asparagus salad with raspberry vinaigrette. You wouldnt know it was only 250 calories; it was extremely filling. Simply tossed some sliced pork and diced asparagus over a bed of baby greens that had been sprinkled with julienned carrots and a few tomato wedges. Drizzled some vinaigrette and voilà!

Of course, couscous... What to do with that couscous... I decided to use it to make a spin on tabouli. I tossed in some diced or julienned veggies (including the remaining asparagus), diced up the remaining few ounces of pork, added some of the delicious sundried tomato and seasoned feta I get at Whole Foods, and then mixed it with a tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice. It's delicious. I cant wait to serve it (alongside no less, the corned beef & cabbage and soda bread I'm making for a potluck at our house tonight).

If every leftover dinner could be turned into the next day's delicious makeover meals, I'd be sold! I guess I should really just think about it... Today could be every day... Maybe...


asparagus & cheese soufflé

3/4c unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 large egg yolks (room temp)
4 large egg whites (room temp)
1/2tsp cream of tartar
1/2c grated swiss cheese (I actually use houlihan from Hendricks Raw Dairy)
1/4c grated parmesan cheese
2c of asparagus, steamed and diced

Preheat oven to 375. Place rack on lowest level. With no-cal "butter" spray, spray 2 8oz ramekins and place on the baking sheet.

To make the Bechamel sauce, warm the milk in one saucepan and then, in a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour (wooden spoon) until smooth and then whisk in the warm milk. Dont brown or scorch. Warm until the sauce begins to thicken (3-5 minutes), stirring often. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.

To make the Souffle, beat the 4 egg whites and cream of tarter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until they began to make forms that hold their shape. Do not overbeat.

Combine the cheese in a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir in a quarter of the beaten whites into the Bechamel. Pour the Bechamel into the center of the whites and fold together. With each fold, alternate and sprinkle in a handful of cheese and a handful of asparagus. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the two dishes. Put the baking sheet on the bottom rack.

Bake 20-25 minutes (23 minutes is perfect in my oven). They will be puffy and lightly browned. Do not overcook; the centers should be moist and slightly runny. Serve hot.

Makes 2 servings: 365 calories each serving

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Originally posted here on March 19, 2011 as "Deliciousness on My Table"

It's funny that, when this evening started, I had no idea what to make for dinner. But we just ate some sheer deliciousness... Completely... D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. It took me about 25 minutes to prepare and, although it wasn't all homemade (the rice was ricearoni and the veggies were green giant), the meal (with wine!) weighed in at 600 calories and was pretty darn worth it...

So... What did we have?

RiceARoni Nature's Way Parmesan & Romano Cheese (made with 1tsp olive oil (instead of 1tbsp) and 1/2c of unsweetened almond milk (instead of whole milk))
Green Giant Broccoli & Carrots lightly seasoned with garlic & herbs (dry fried on the stovetop since we dont have- nor want- a microwave)
Buffalo Sirloin Steak (broiled and, if you like, served with A1; made medium-rare)
Spicy Garlic Shrimp (this one will be making it to the food blog for a Tasty Tuesday in April, but it is below for your convenience!)

Really... So freaking good. If you want it without the wine (I had about 2oz) that knocks your calories to 550c for a filling, nutritious meal! Enjoy!!

Spicy Garlic Shrimp
(this recipe will serve as a main dish; make less, as I did, if you want it as a secondary entree)

12 jumbo shrimp (raw, deveined, and peeled)
2tbsp olive oil
1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1/2tsp red pepper flakes
2tsp garlic & herb seasoning (McCormick)
1tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp chopped parsley
Over medium-high heat, heat the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and shrimp until the shrimp begin to pink. Sprinkle over the seasoning (and pepper, if you'd like). Stir constantly and coat the shrimp well. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and continue to cook until the shrimp is done. (The entire meal takes about 4 minutes to prepare.) Calories: 285/svg (150g) (makes 2 svgs)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Originally posted here on March 18, 2011 as "A Perfect StP...Almost"

Corned Beef & Cabbage
Put your piece of corned beef (weight/size depends on you) in the bottom of your empty crock pot. Cut up a small onion into large pieces and toss those on top. Core a small cabbage and chunk it (like your onion, a little bigger is fine); toss it in. Cube 6-8 small Irish/white potatoes, skin on; toss those in. Dice 6 or so (peeled) carrots; toss those in. By now, your crock pot is pretty full. Pour on a bottle of Guinness, followed by 8-16 ounces of water (just enough so you can see it under everything but DO NOT cover the food!!!!). Cook on high for 4 hours, then on low/warm (my CP goes to warm immediately after) until you are ready to serve. I serve the veggies and then cut the meat and serve that, drizzled with the Guinness au jus, with my soda bread (recipe here), of course! So, enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Originally posted here on March 17, 2011 as "Happy St. Patrick's Day 2011"

Irish Soda Bread

Turn your oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together:

1 2/3c all purpose flour

2tbsp sugar

1tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

1/2tsp salt

Then add:

1 cup dried currants

In a measuring cup, mix together

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 large egg

Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients, stirring until combined. Make a bread ball and place it on a well greased baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top of the bread. Bake for 40 minutes, or until done. Serve with Irish (or my favorite- Icelandic!) butter.

My loaf from this morning, 3/17/11