Monday, December 26, 2011

Recipes. Recipes. Recipes.

Pin It Although I've been slacking on my posts for awhile, I have not been slacking on cooking/baking.  I decided to create a post with just a few of my favorite recipes that I've recently adapted and recreated.  Let me know your thoughts as always!

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
Adapted from Dashingdish.com
Ingredients:
24 oz. package Green Giant frozen broccoli in cheese sauce
1 package Frozen broccoli (about 5 cups)
1 cup Onion, chopped
3 cups Chicken broth (I made mine with Watkin's Chicken Soup and Gravy Base)
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1 packet Splenda (or sweetener of choice or you can leave it out)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium-low heat for 45 mintes or so until broccoli is soft.
2. Pour most or all (depending on how chunky you like your soup) into a food processor or blender and puree.  *Be careful when blending hot foods.  Do not put the cover on all the way or you will find yourself with an exploding blender.  You need to allow room for the steam to escape.
3. Add the pureed broccoli soup back into the pot.
4. Serve with a piece of fresh homemade bread.
Makes about 7 servings.
(Note: I didn't measure the exact yield on this recipe, but I think it is about 7 servings around a cup each)

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 77
Total Fat: 1.3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 525 mg
Potassium: 335.9 mg
Total Carbs: 12.2 g
     Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
     Sugars: 5 g
Protein: 3.4 g
Vitamin A: 1.7%
Vitamin C: 81%
Calcium: 5.4% (Good for cold and flu season!)
Iron: 2%

QUIONA STIR FRY
Ingredients:
1/2 cup Quiona, uncooked
1 1/4 cup Water
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Frozen stir fry vegetables
1 cup Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Cayanne pepper (or 1 tsp or so Frank's Hot Sauce)
1 Egg
8 oz Chicken breast, cooked and cubed
4 tbsp Soy sauce

Directions:
1. In a medium pot add together the quinoa, water, and salt.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer while the quiona absorbs all the water, about 15 minutes.
3. Cook the onion and vegetables in a skiller until tender.
4. Mix in the garlic and cayanne pepper.
5. Add quinoa and egg stiring constantly to distribute evenly until egg is cooked.
6.  Stir in the soy sauce and mix well.
7.  Add in the cubed chicken breast.
Makes 3 servings.  (This could probably feed 4 people, but I like to eat A LOT so it was only 4 servings for me...haha)

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 278
Total Fat: 5.3 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.3 g
     Mono. Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 123.3 mg
Sodium: 901.5 mg
Potassium: 238.5 mg
Total Carbs: 31.9 g
     Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
     Sugars: 6.4 g
Protein: 23.7 g
Vitamin A: 9.3%
Vitamin C: 20.1%
Calcium: 8.7%
Iron: 9.4 %

BAKED APPLE PIE OATMEAL
Adapted from Guiltykitchen.com
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Old fashion rolled oats
1/3 cup Buckwheat or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Brown sugar (Could probably be subed with honey or agave; just be sure to reduce the amount of liquid a little)
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk (Let 1/2 cup skim milk and about a tsp of lemon juice sit for a few minutes)
3 tbsp Unsweetened applesauce
2 Eggs, beaten
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Apples, sliced and diced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven 350 F.
2. Mix oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, spice, and salt in a large boat until well combined.
3. In another bowl, combine water, buttermilk, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Stir in apples.
5. Grease a 9x9 baking dish and pour in batter.
6. Bake 45-60 minutes until slightly golden and mostly set up in the middle.
7. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
8. Serve with dream whip or cool whip if desired.
Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
*Does not include whipped topping
Calories: 233
Total Fat: 3.3 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.6 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.5 g
     Mono. Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 67.1 mg
Sodium: 44 mgm
Potassium: 255.6 mg
Total Carbs: 46.2 g
     Dietary Fiber: 4.9 g
     Sugars: 25.3 g (Yes, this is high I know.  It can be easily reduced however by substituting honey or agave or even by simply reducing the amount of sugar.)
Protein: 6.5 g
Vitamin A: 4.9%
Vitamin C: 7.3%
Calcium: 6.6 %
Iron: 11.7%

Myth proven!

Pin It Have you ever heard of the sayings "You are what you eat" or "If you eat too many carrots, you'll turn orange"?  I used to never believe those silly sayings until I actually became what I ate and turned orange...
Yep.  That's right I became a carrot.  An orange carrot.  It was my mom who noticed first while we were in the car on the way to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving.  I didn't believe her at first until I compared my hands to my sisters.  I was definitely orange.  After she noticed, my mom started quizing me on what I had been eating.  I had just made soma big batch of squash stew, I love carrots as a snack between class, and I love having a little squash with brown sugar and cinnamon for a bed snack (I'm weird I know).   It's hard to cook for just one person, so I had been eating my squash stew 1-2 times a day for a good week or so.  I guess you could say I over did it on the beta-carotene a little bit, hence why I turned orange.  I did some researching and learned that overdosing can cause hypercarotenaemia. “Hypercarotenaemia is the consequence of high serum carotenoid levels, which are deposited in the stratum corneum and give a yellowish coloration to the skin. It can be distinguished from jaundice by the absence of colouring of the conjunctivae [whites of eyes and surrounding mucus membranes] as well as orange discolouration of the palms and soles.” Source Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France. annabel-maruani@wanadoo.fr  It  lasts for a few months and is recommeneded to limit the amount of beta-carotene in one's diet for awhile.  It's hard than I thought it would be!  Carrots, bell peppers, pumpkin, and squash are some of my favorite foods/snacks...all which have high levels of beta-carotene in them.  Well enough about me and onto the recipe.  I am going to share my squash stew recipe with you today, but you have to promise me not to over do it. Haha!

SQUASH STEW
Ingredients:
4 cups Butternut squash, peeled and cubbed
4 packets Herb Ox instant chicken broth & seasoning sodium free
6 cups Water
1 lb Venision chops
1 1/2  cups Onion, chopped
Olive oil cooking spray
3 medium Garlic cloves
Italian seasoning
1 can Diced italian style tomatos
1 cup dry red lentils
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Steam half of the squash in the microwave in a covered dish with a little water for 8 minutes or until slightly tender.   Remove from dish and set aside.
2. Steam the other half of the squash for 12 minutes or until very tender.  Mash with a fork and set aside.
3. Wisk together chicken broth packets and water in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
4. Add thawed venison to the broth and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. Pull venison out to cool and remove broth from heat.
6. In a skillet cook onion with a little olive oil cooking spray over medium heat until the onions are tender and starting to brown.
7. Mince the garlic and add to the onions along with some italian seasoning to your liking. Cook mixture another minute or so.
8. Add the tomatos and the mashed squash to the broth and  bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat.
9. Add in the onion mixture and the red lentils and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy.  Use lentil cooking directions to help with cooking time.
10.  In the meantime shred the venison with your fingers or a fork.
11. Add the remaining squash and venison to the stew and cook until heated thoroughly.
12. Season to taste.
Makes about 11 cups.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 171
Total Fat: 1.4 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 46.1 mg
Sodium: 158.2 mg
Potassium: 302 mg
Total Carbs: 21.9 mg
     Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
     Sugars: 4.8 g
Protein: 18.5 g
Vitamin A: 169.5% (This right here explains why I turned orange.  169.5% of my daily vitamin A (beta-carotene) in just one serving of this!  That means I was getting between 300-400% of my daily value multiple days in a row...whoops!)
Vitamin C: 28.4%
Calcium: 5.7%
Iron: 9.5%


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Onion obsession...

Pin It As weird as it may sound, I have an obsession with onions.  I LOVE them.  I don't know how this obsession got started, but ever since coming to school this year...  I just can't stop eating them. Lots of them.  Most people just add a little onion to the dish they are making, but not me.  I usually end up eating a whole onion in one sitting all by myself.  Yum.  That's ok though because onions have so many nutritional benefits!  Here are a few according to WHFoods.com:
1. Outstanding source of flavonoid polyphenols and quercetin
2. The sulfur compounds in onion may work in an anti-clotting capacity and help prevent the unwanted clumping together of blood platelets
3. May also lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and improve cell membrane function in red blood cells
4. Can help increase our bone density
5. Lowers risk of cancers including colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, cancers of the mouth, and ovarian cancer
6. Can aid in connective tissue formation  because of their high sulfur content
7. Can act as an anti-inflammatory

Another great thing about onions is that is can be thrown into almost any dish!  They are great in eggs, pasta, casseroles, sandwiches, soups, and so much more.  Today I chose to cook up some chicken and serve it on top of a spinach, onion, tomato, and cheese sauce.  DELISH. 


CHICKEN OVER A SPINACH AND ONION BED
(I wasn't sure what I should title this...)

Ingredients:
4 oz. Chicken breast
Seasoning salt
1/2 - 1 cup Chopped onion
1 cup Spinach
1/2 cup Light smart traditional Prego spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Fat free cottage cheese

Directions:
1. Cook onions in a medium pan with a little cooking spray over medium heat until the onions are tender and translucent.
2. Move onions to a small pot and combine with spinach and spaghetti sauce.
3. In the empty onion pan, cook chicken breast and season with a little seasoning salt.
4. Once the spinach is wilted in the pot stir in cottage cheese and cook until slightly melted. 
5. Serve chicken over the bed of sauce.

Makes 1 large serving.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 271
Total Fat: 3.5 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 60 mg
Sodium: 829.7 mg
Potassium: 472.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.6 g
     Dietary Fiber: 6.9 g
     Sugars: 17.3 g
Protein: 34.4 g
Vitamin A: 66.3%
Vitamin C: 36%
Calcium: 14%
Iron: 14.5%

Monday, November 21, 2011

THANKSgiving!

Pin It With fall here and winter approaching, my semester here at school is quickly coming to a close with winter break just around the corner.  I decided today I wanted to make a little something for my roommates to show them all how thankful I am for them in the spirit of Thanksgiving this Thursday.  Now I must admit this recipe is not 100% healthy (stop rolling you eyes Miss McMullin...haha), but I did my best to make at least half of it healthy.  The best part of the recipe I am about to share with you is how cute these cookies are.  These little acorns are the perfect gifts for the people in my house with all the squirrel issues, jokes, stories, and laughs we've been having lately.  It's been quite the adventure here this semester let me tell you... even better let me show you!
We love target!
Ashley tried on the squirrel doggie costume. Haha!
So cute!
Those dang squirrels ate our pumpkin!
And made a HUGE mess doing it...
Haha got cha now!
Oh and I can't forget to share our favorite squirrel video...
And now for what you've all been waiting for...

ACORN COOKIES

Ingredients:
3 Stevia packets (or other sweetener)
4 sheets Lowfat cinnamon graham crackers, finely crushed
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Old fashion oats
1/2 cup Unsweetened natural applesauce
1 tbsp Semi-sweet chocolate chips
21 Hersey's kisses (I used the pumpkin spice version)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Mix together the stevia, graham crackers, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oats.
3. Stir in the applesauce until well combine, but do not over stir. 
4. Drop cookies onto cookie sheet (about 1-2 tsp of dough per cookie).
5. Lightly press a chocolate chip on top of each cookie for the stem.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes.
7. Let cookies cool completely or put in the fridge for a few minutes.
8. In the mean time, heat a small bowl of water in the microwave.
9. Unwrap each kiss and just barely dip the flat bottom into the hot water before adhering it to the bottom of the cookie making the acorn.
10.  Place in fridge again to secure kiss to cookie and harden chocolate again.

Makes 21 acorns.



Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 71
Total Fat: 1.8 g
     Sat. Fat: 1 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.6 mg
Sodium: 90.7 mg
Potassium: 5.5 mg
Total Carbs: 12.6 g
     Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
     Sugars: 4.2 g
Protein: 1.3 g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 4.1%
Iron: 2.6%



Monday, October 31, 2011

My First Deer!

Pin It        Growing up, I've always been around hunting and guns.  My dad taught my sister and I how to target and trap shoot and we both went through hunters safety as soon as we turned 12, but I'd never really had the urge to go out and actually shoot a deer until this fall.  My opportunity came a few weekends ago when I got to spend the weekend with my dad deer hunting.

It was the best weekend I've had in a long time and to top it all off... I shot my first doe!

       It was quite the experience let me tell you: learning to gut, skin, and package my doe, trying bear steak and limburger cheese for the first time, and even getting initiated into the "Killers Club."  The best part of all?  Free (sort of), local, and sustainable protein to fill my freezer with.  I love venison!  It is so easy, lean, and versatile.
       My choice last night: Eggplant Casserole.  My inspiration for this came from a recipe for eggplant lasagna my mom had recently sent me.  Like usual, I started with a recipe and ended up adapting it so much that the end result turns out to be something totally different, hence the name change to Eggplant Casserole.  In any case, my creation turned out delicious!  I couldn't help, but to have two servings in one sitting.  Haha whoops.  As delicious as it was however, there is always room for improvement, so let me know of any changes or adaptations you use.

EGGPLANT CASSEROLE


Ingredients
1 Medium eggplant
1 lb. Ground venison (I didn't have ground, so I just used small cut cubed venison)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
10 oz. Frozen spinach
1 1/2 cup Tomato sauce (I used Light Smart Prego spaghetti sauce)
1/2 cup Low fat ricotta
1/2 cup Fat free cottage cheese
1 Large egg


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Wash and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.
3. Place slices on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side.
4. Once the eggplant is done turn the oven down to 375 F.
5. While eggplant is baking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
6. Brown the venison, onion, and garlic in the oil for roughly 5 minutes.
7. Add in the pepper, mushrooms, spinach, and seasoning and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
8. Stir in the tomato sauce.
9. In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, cottage cheese, and egg.
10. In a greased 9x13 inch glass casserole dish, spread half of the venison mixture on the bottom.
11. Layer half of the eggplant slices on top, followed by half of the cheese mixture.
12. Repeat each layer using up the remaining ingredients.
13. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
14. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown the top.
15. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Note:  Next time I make this recipe I will up the amount of cheese and tomato sauce a little.


Nutrition Facts
** Check out all that protein, vitamin A and vitamin C!!**
Calories: 195
Total Fat: 5.9 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.7 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.3 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.6 g
Cholesterol: 95.8 mg
Sodium: 376.3 mg
Potassium: 71.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.8 g
     Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
     Sugars: 5.7 g
Protein: 23.6 g
Vitamin A: 25.8%
Vitamin C: 31.8%
Calcium: 8.1%
Iron: 4.6%

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Favorite College Student Lunch

Pin It Living on a budget and eating healthy is not as hard as most people think.  You don't have to buy everything "organic" to be healthy.  All it takes is a little education and some deal searching. :)  I'm always looking for what fruits and vegetables are in season because they tend to be the cheapest.  Talking to your local produce guy/gal is also helpful.  The other day while at the grocery store I wound up having a good conversation with the old produce guy about new fun ways to enjoy salads.  He also pointed out to me that the collard, mustard, and turnip greens were on sale for $0.67.  $0.67! It doesn't get much better than that! Haha.  One of my favorite meals to quickly whip up is a veggie egg scramble.  It takes almost no time at all and its super easy.  Plus, you can customize to to your own tastebuds and nutritional needs very easily.  Lately, I have been really into onions and salsa.  Yum.  Sorry everyone, but no picture here... to be honest the end result does not look very appetizing.  Not to worry though it definitely makes up for its looks in taste!

VEGGIE EGG SCRAMBLE
Ingredients
2 eggs
1/8 -1/4 cup Lowfat cottage cheese
Onion
Peppers
Lentils
Spinach
Mushrooms
Brocolli
Salsa
The possibilities are endless!

Directions
1. Chop up the vegetables of your choosing (whatever size you like best).
2. Spray or add a little olive oil to a pan.
3. Cook veggies over medium heat until tender.
4. In a small bowl onthe side beat the eggs and cottage cheese together.
5. Once the veggies are done pour them into the bowl with the egg.
6. Respray the pan with cooking spray and then pour the egg mixture into the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. 
7. Occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, cook until the eggs are no longer runny.
8. Pour egg scramble into a bowl and top with salsa.
9. Dig in!

Nutrition Fats:
(Made with 2 large eggs, 1/8 cup lowfat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 cup frozen spinach, and 1/4 cup salsa)
Calories: 242
Total Fat: 8.6 g
     Sat. Fat: 2.3 g
Cholesterol: 342.5 mg
Sodium: 830.5 mg (This is pretty high due to my obsession with salsa...)
Potassium: 417.8 mg
Total Carbs: 15.8 g
     Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
     Sugars: 9.5 g
Protein: 18 g
Vitamin A: 75%
Vitamin C: 12%
Calcium: 16%
Iron: 13%

One of my Favorite Fall Foods: Pumpkin!

Pin It I know I know I have really been slacking on keeping up my blog, but we all know how busy life gets sometimes and yes I know how lame of an excuse that it... But here I am again!  Today I am going to share with you a super easy fall recipe that all your friends will love.  According to one of my roommates these are the second best thing I have ever made for her. Haha.  Feel free to experiment with these a little and let me know how it turns out! I am always looking for ways to improve my recipes. :)


PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BARS
Inspired By: ChocolateCoveredKatie


Ingredients
1/2 cup White whole wheat flour
3 tbsp Brown sugar
2 packets Stevia (Or any other sweetener of your choice)
1/2 tbsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1/2 cup Pumpkin
2 tbsp Milk
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Vanilla

FROSTING

3 oz Fat free cream cheese
1 tbsp Lite syrup
1/2 packet Stevia

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the frosting ingredients. 
4. Grease a 9x9 pan and pour batter in. 
5. Bake for 20 minutes  or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely and in the mean time mix together all the frosting ingredients.
7. Spread the frosting over the top and enjoy!
Makes 16 bars.

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 53
Total Fat: 2 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.3 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.2 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 14.4 mg
Sodium: 76.3 mg
Potassium: 24.2 mg
Total Carb: 4.5 g
     Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
     Sugars: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.8 g
Vitamin A: 7%
Vitamin C: 0.3%
Calcium: 4.6%
Iron: 2%

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Get Chillay!

Pin It In case you haven't noticed yet...FALL IS HERE!  Fall is my abosolute favorite season.  I love everything about it...other than it means that winter is just around the corner.  Pumpkin pie, fresh apples, the smell of burning leaves, the crunch of the brightly colored leaves underneath your feet,  the crisp cool air, Halloween, football games, nature hikes, Thanksgiving, and of course CHILI.  Yum. I hated having to miss out on warm homemade chili last year living in the dorms. The stuff in the cafeteria just does not count. Tonight I found out that my dad was making homemade stew at home and it made me really jealous.  Those were some of my favorite Sunday nights at home.  Homemade stew for dinner, fire crackling in the fireplace, The Kitty blanket spread out on the floor infront of the TV, and popcorn for dessert.  Those were the days. <3  So with a little inspiration from my dad I decided to conjour up my own warm fall dinner.  This required me to get a little creative, however, because  I didn't have much in my pantry to work with, but I was up for the challenge.   I tried to make this recipe as healthy as I could, but of course everything is always better when it's totally from scratch. I could have made my own spaghetti sauce and cooked my own beans, but when time is short and your wallet is tight (like most college students) other things will just have to make due.  I think this recipe turned out surprisingly well.  I was a little hesitant about making chili without garlic cloves or tomatos.  The garlic powder and spaghetti sauce worked just fine though to create a simple and quick chili recipe.

Quick and Easy Chili


Note: I have to admit this picture does not do this chili justice.  Trust me it tastes way better than it looks!
Ingredients
1/2 tbsp Olive oil
1 lb Venison cubed
Dash seasoning salt
2/3 (1 lb. 8 oz.) jar Prego veggie smart spaghetti sauce (other varieties should work too)
15 oz can No salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can Reduced sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped Red onion
1 tbsp Garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp Chili powder

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over high heat.
2. After about 4-5 minutes, add the venison to the pan and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
3. Cook until medium rare (or to your own liking). Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In a large pot, dump together the spaghetti sauce, beans, onion, garlic powder, and chili powder.
5. Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally.
6. Once heated thouroughly, mix in the venison cubes and reduce heat to medium-low.
7. Let it continue to simmer for a few more minutes stirring occasionally.
8. Remove from heat and enjoy!
Makes about 6 cups/servings.

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 315
Total Fat: 6 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.9g
     Poly. Fat: 0.4 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 58.7 mg
Sodium: 719.3 mg (This could easily be reduced by making your own sauce and emitting canned ingredients)
Potassium: 783.4 mg
Total Carbs: 35 g
     Dietary Fiber: 9.4 g
     Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 31.8 g (!!!)
Vitamin A: 27.8%
Vitamin C: 4.6%
Calcium: 8.2%
Iron: 32.3%

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apple Crisp? No... ZUCCHINI Crisp!

Pin It Bright and early last Saturday morning I made a trip to the Farmer's Market and bought myself a huge yellow zucchini.  Lately, I've had the itch to do something with zucchini.  You can use it in such a wide variety of dishes!  Plus its good for you!  And on top of being good for your body, buying locally grown zucchini is good for the environment.  Buying fresh, local fruits and vegetables is a lot easier on the environment than buying produce that has to travel over 500 miles before it reaches your kitchen.  One should really take this into consideration, the next time you go to the grocery store.  Sure produce at the Farmer's Market may cost a little more, but in the long run it is worth saving the environment around you and supporting your community's farmers.  In my mind you have one of two choices.  1. Pay a little more now for locally grown fruits and vegetables. Or 2. Pay later to try and restore the destroyed environment.  If we get more people to start supporting local Farmer's Markets now, prices will be able to eventually decline a little and we can could really make a difference in the quality of our surrounding environment.  Double whammy!
Some people may wonder what's in it for them? Why should they have to pay more of their hard earned money to protect the environment? Well I'll tell you!  The list could go on and on, but here are two biggies: cleaner, more breathable air and a longer, healthier life.  Sounds like a good deal to me!  We need more fresh fruits and veggies in our diets.  Too many Americans do not get enough of them in their diets and we have seen the effects... not pretty. 
Alright enought venting and back to the Zucchini Crisp.  I love experimenting in the kitchen and using surprise ingredients.   I decided to use zucchinis instead of apples in my dish this time and it turned out GREAT.  I was so surprised at how it turned out.  Other than the zucchini seeds I was too lazy to take out, the crisp looked and tasted just like any other apple crisp.  Yum!  I highly recommend this recipe.  My crisp topping does, however, need a little work yet.  I'm not a huge fan of butter, so of course I didn't have any to use in the topping.  This would have given it a better texture, but hey it still taste good. :)

Zucchini Crisp

Ingredients
6 cups Zucchini
3/4 cup Lemon juice
1 cup Water 
1/4 cup Honey
6 packets Stevia
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Cornstarch   

TOPPING
2/3 cup Oats (Old-Fashion or Quick; I used quick just because it was the only kind I had)
1/3 cup White whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Honey
1 tsp Cinnamon  
Pinch salt
1 tbsp brown sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Peel and slice zucchini into apple size slices.
3. In a large pot add zucchini, lemon juice, and water.
4. Bring pot to a medium boil and cook until zucchini is tender, but not mushy.
5. While zucchini is cooking mix up the topping in a small bowl.
6. Drain most, but not all of the liquid from the pot.
7. Add the honey, stevia, cinnamon, and cornstarch to the zucchini and mix well.
8. Pour zucchini into a greased 9x9 baking dish.
9. Sprinkle topping on top.
10. Bake 25-30 minutes.
Makes 9 servings

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 124
Total Fat: 0.6 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 3.9 mg
Potassium: 360 mg
Total Carbs: 29.5 g
     Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
     Sugars: 16.7 g
Protein: 2.2 g
Vitamin A: 26.9%
Vitamin C: 17.4%
Calcium: 2.6%
Iron: 6.6%

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mistakes. errors, failures, and flops.

Pin It A few days ago while I was procrastinating and not studying for my eight chapter chemistry test (typical me), I decided to do some experimenting with garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas).  I have been emailing my uncle back and forth about somethings and he suggested that I try and cook my own beans instead of simply opening up a can.  At first I thought he was crazy...there was no way I'd find time to sit around and let the beans first soak in water and then wait another 1-2 hours for them to cook.  Not too long after he suggest it though, I found myself taking on the challenge and cooking up some garbanzo beans.  Soaking and cooking your own beans is for one cheaper than buying canned beans and two a lot healthier because you get rid of all the added salt.  After cooking my beans, I decided to make one of my favorite dips/spreads: hummus.  I love dipping vegetables in hummus and spreading it on my sandwiches, so I thought I'd give a hand at trying to make my own.  Of course though as I was looking through a few different hummus recipes, I realized I didn't have any of the right ingredients.  So what did I do? Make up my own recipes. 
Some of them turned out good.  Some still need modifications.  Some not so good.  Everyone has probably experienced a flop while cooking at some point in their life. Let me tell you...I've had plenty, but thats one of the many reasons I love cooking so much. I love the thrill of taking that first bite to find out if it was a flop or not. What is even more interesting to me is to see people's reactions to my cooking concoctions. I once tried making a Spinch Greek Pizza for a couple of my friends. It turned out disgusting if you ask me, but everytime the story comes up one of my friends claims that she actually liked it. I'm not even sure if she was just saying this to be nice...I think she actually liked it? Haha. It all just goes to show that everybody has different tastes buds, likes, and dislikes.
Knowing that here are the recipes I created.... make and modify them at your own risk. :) Let me know your trials and errors in making your own hummus!

Note: I had to get creative with my ingredient choices because I didn't have much to work with in my pantry.  Oh the life of a college kid. Haha.

Garlic Hummus
Ingredients
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp garlic powder (you may want to increase this)

Mexican Hummus
Ingredients
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup salsa (you may want to increase this and decrease the milk)
1/3 tsp chili powder

Cookie Dough Hummus
Ingredients
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp water
Couple drops butter extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stevia packet
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder (for cookie flavor)

PBJ Hummus
Ingredients
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp water
1/2 packet stevia
1 tbsp natural peanut butter (next time I would add more)
2 tbsp plum jam

Directions For All
1. Place everything in blender/food processor/magic bullet/ninja.
2. Puree till smooth.
3. Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts
(per tbsp)
Garlic Hummus
Calories: 20
Total Fat: 0.3 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 4.8 mg
Potassium: 44.9 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
     Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
     Sugars: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.2 g
Vitamin A: 0.4%
Vitamin C: 0.3%
Calcium: 1.5%
Iron: 1.7%

Mexican Hummus
Calories: 17
Total Fat: 0 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Sodium: 56.3 mg
Potassium: 61.2 mg
Total Carbs: 3.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 1.1 g
Vitamin A: 1.2%
Vitamin C: 0.6%
Calcium: 1.4%
Iron: 1.6%

Cookie Dough Hummus
Calories: 20
Total Fat: 0.3 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 18.6 mg
Potassium: 43.7 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Sugars: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.2 g
Vitamin A: 0.4%
Vitamin C: 0.4%
Calcium: 2.6%
Iron: 1.9%

PBJ Hummus
Calories: 36
Total Fat: 1 g
Sat. Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Sodium: 10.1 mg
Potassium: 34.3 mg
Total Carbs: 5.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugars: 3.1 g
Protein: 1.3 g
Vitamin A: 0.3%
Vitamin C: 0.2%
Calcium: 1.2%
Iron: 1.4%

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peanutty Deliciousness and Jelly

Pin It I don't know if I have shared this with you all yet, but.....I am obsessed with peanut butter.  The love the stuff almost as much as I love baking and giraffes and that's saying something.  If you asked me what the best thing about going to college is, I would say being able to have my very own peanut butter jar. Seriously! So good! 
Here's a picture of me and my roommates one late night when we were supposed to be studying... Instead we found ourselves goofing around and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar.  MMMM. 

Notice that we each have a different kind of peanut butter.  Sorry guys, but your peanut butter is not up to my health standards...  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the back of your PB jar?  It's scary.



JIF
Roasted Peanuts and Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono- And Diglycerides, Salt.
SKIPPY
Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed, Cottonseed And Soybean), Salt.

Look at all that Hydrogenated oil!  I don't know about you, but I dont want any of that junk in my body.  Gross.  Knowing that, some of you may have thought you were being healthier by choosing Reduced Fat Jif or Skippy...wrong.  The ingredient list on the reduced fat PB jar looks more like my chemistry homework if you ask me. "Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Copper Sulfate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, And Folic Acid."  I do enough chemistry homework as it is; I don't need to be adding it to my diet.

REDUCED FAT JIF
Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Soy Protein, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Salt, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed, Cottonseed, and Soybean), Folic Acid, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Alphatocopheryl, Acetate, Copper Sulfate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Magnesium, Oxide, And Zinc Oxide
REDUCED FAT SKIPPY
Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Soy Protein, Salt, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Cottonseed, Soybean And Rapeseed), Mono And Diglycerides, Palm Oil, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Copper Sulfate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, And Folic Acid

Now as for the "Natural" Jif or Skippy...not so good either.  If peanut butter were to be truely all natural, the only thing on the ingredient list would be peanuts and maybe a little salt. There is no need for more sugar, palm oil, or even molasses.  American's get enough of that in their diet as it is.

 NO STIR "NATURAL" JIF
Made From Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Salt, Molasses.
NO STIR "NATURAL" SKIPPY
Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, And Salt

Here's the good stuff:
(Note: Smucker's is not the only truely natural brand of peanut butter there are many out there.  Smucker's is just the one I like the best.)

SMUCKER'S NATURAL
Peanuts, Contains 1% Or Less Of Salt.

I really enjoy Naturally More Peanut Butter too, although not completely pure and natural, the added ingredients are pretty healthy.  The only ingredient it could probably do without is the cane sugar...but hey "what cha gunna do?" :P

NATURALLY MORE
Roasted Peanuts, Wheat Germ, Flax Seed, Cane Sugar, Egg Whites, Honey, Flaxseed Oil.

Alright enough ranting about peanut butter and back to my baking adventure of the weekend.  My roommate invited a few girls over for a taco dinner, so I decided to bake the dessert.  PBJ Bars!  America's favorite sandwich made into dessert.  Yum.  After doing a little recipe searching, combining, recreating, and improvising, I came up with nutritious-n-delicious PBJ bars.


P.S. Even my pickiest of picky friend liked these...and let me tell you thats saying something.  These are yummy!

PBJ Bars

Ingredients
1 can Chickpeas
1/4 cup Honey
3 tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1/4 cup Dry roasted peanuts (I'm going to omit these the next time I made them)
1/4 cup Natural Peanut butter
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
Sprinkle of Salt
1/4 cup Plum jam


 Directions
1. Preheat oven 350 F.
2. Puree the chickpeas with the honey.  You may need to add a little water to get it to blend in your food processor or blender.
3. In another bowl mix together the brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. 
4. Add the chickpeas to the bowl and blend well. 
5. Stir in the peanut butter, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
6. Pour into a greased 8x8 square baking dish. 
7. Drop blobs of jam on top of the batter and swirl with a knife.
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden and a knife comes out clean when poked in the middle.
Makes 16 bars. 


Nutrition Facts
Calories: 99
Total Fat: 3.5 g
     Sat. Fat: 0.5 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.7 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 152.3 mg
Potassium: 65.6 mg
Total Carbs: 14.8 g
     DIetary Fiber: 1.7 g
     Sugars: 9.7 g
Protein: 2.9 g
Vitamin A: 0.4%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 2.1%
Iron: 2.5%



Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm an Addict.

Pin It The first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem and tonight I finally relized that I definitely have a problem.  I...am addicted to baking.  Seriously.  My friends and family probably think I'm crazy, but I just can't stop! Tonight I had to make an emergency run to HyVee to pick up a few ingredients, so I could continue my obsession.  What crazy creation is on the agenda tonight you ask?  Strawberry Cottage Cheesecake. Delicious! ...And of course nutritious!

Side Note: Sorry to disappoint you all, but there are no beans of any sort in my cake tonight.  Surprising I know...I just figured my friends could use a break from beans in their diet...if you catch my drift.  Not everybody's system can handle all those beans.  Haha.  Only kidding. :P

After I mixed it all together and popped it in the oven I was feeling pretty confident about my lastest masterpiece.  An hour later however.... not so much.  I open the oven to see if it was done and it looked great! Slightly golden on top, a little cracked, and the most phenomenal smell in the world filled the kitchen.  I put on some hot pads and reached in to grab it and to my horror watched the entire cake slosh all around.  It was completely runny.  I decided to let it bake a little longer, but to my dismay nothing changed.  Giving up hope I just took it out and set it on the counter hoping and praying that it would set up overnight in the fridge.  I ran to the fridge in the morning to check it out. SUCCESS!  Looked just like the vicious full fat cheesecake you might find at cheesecake factory...ok maybe not quite that good. :P But the taste was amazing! Mission complete.

Strawberry Cottage Cheesecake
Ingredients
1 cup Lowfat/fatfree cottage cheese
1/3 cup Skim milk
6 oz Light vanilla yogurt (or whatever flavor you want)
1/4 cup Unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Thawed strawberries
1/4 cup Sugar (or equivalent sweetener)
1 Graham cracker crust (I suggest making your own... I kind of cheated here :S)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.  Blend up the cottage cheese along with the milk until completely smooth.  You don't want chunky cheesecake trust me.
3. Add in the yogurt and applesauce. Blend well again.
4. Pour blender contents into a medium bowl.
5. Blend together the strawberries and sugar.
6. Mix the strawberries with the cheese mixture and pour into pie crust.
7. Bake for 60 minutes so the top looks cracked.  It will still seem really runny when you take it out, but after it cools and is refrigerated a few hours it will set up.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition
Calories: 167
Total Fat: 5.4 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.3 g
Cholesterol: 4.3 mg
Sodium: 227 mg
Potassium: 104.4 mg
Total Carbs: 26 g
     Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
     Sugars: 14.4 g
Protein: 5.6 g
Vitamin A: 3.8%
Vitamin C: 5.7%
Calcium: 5.9%
Iron: 2.3%


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Craving Anyone?

Pin It
Ever since I've moved back to Winona I've had this huge craving for chocolate and of course being the poor college student that I am I have nothing but chocolate chips.  Not going to cut it. What is a girl to do??  
After a little brainstorming and little experimenting I came up with a nutritious-n-delicious recipe that any college student could afford. Double Chocolate Protein Pancakes. Yum.
My first baking adventure in my new house was a success!  I even got to use my new giraffe pan and giraffe whisk.  Thanks Mom! :P I will definitely be making these pancakes again.

Double Chocolate Protein Pancakes
Ingredients
2/3 cup Quick oats
1/2 tsp Baking soda
Dash of salt
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp Agave nectar (or honey/any other sweetener of your choice)
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2/3 cup Milk
2/3 cup cooked lentils
Semi-sweet chocolate chips


 Directions
1. Grind the oats in a blender/food processor/ninja (this is the name my roommates gave my Wal-mart brand magic bullet).
2. Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and blend well.
3. Heat a pan over medium heat.
4. Spray pan with cooking spray and pour in 1/3 cup batter and sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top.
5. Flip when sides begin to look dry and all the bubbles have popped.
6. Remove when cooked all the way through.
7. Serve with natural peanut butter and enjoy!
Makes 5 medium pancakes.

Nutrition
Calories: 154
Total Fat: 3.5 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 152.4 mg
Potassium: 181.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.2 g
     Dietary Fiber: 4 g
     Sugars: 13 g
Protein: 6 g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium: 6.5%
Iron: 11.8%


Monday, August 22, 2011

Nutritious VS Vicious

Pin It Hey all :) I know it's been awhile since I've been on to blog my baking adventures, but this week has been pretty crazy.  I am finally back in Winona and all moved in...the only problem is no internet...  It really makes me appreciate having any sort of internet at all no matter how frustrating it can be sometimes.  Thankfully, however, last night a couple of my roommates found out that we can connect to one of our neighbor's internet in our house because they didn't put a password on it. Score!
Alright so back to the baking... before I left for school one of my best friends and I had our last baking party of the summer.  Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies. Yum.
How can it get any better than that? I know! NUTRITIOUS Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies. But of course my friend Alyse can't stand the thought of eating cookies with beans in them, so we had to make a separate batch of cookies for her.  I like to call them VICIOUS Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies.  I did however win by at least using whole wheat pastry flour instead of the nasty white and nasty all purpose flour. :) 

Both of the batches turned out great and I am proud to say the NUTRITIOUS cookies we liked just as much as the VICIOUS cookies.

NUTRITIOUS CHOCOLATE CHIP PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
Ingredients
1 can Garbanzo beans (150z)
1 Egg
3 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Brown sugar
1/3 cup Natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Process beans in the food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Add the egg, honey, peanut butter, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Blend until smooth.
4. Add chocolate chips and pulse until slightly broken and mixed throughout the batter.
5. Bake 15-20 minutes.



...I hate to even put the VICIOUS cookie recipe up here, but for those of you who are as picky as Alyse and refuse to eat cookies with beans in them here you go.  (Note: I made Alyse try my cookies and she surprised herself by actually liking them. :P)

VICIOUS Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Courtesy of Nestlé Kitchens

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups White whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup Packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/4 cup Natural creamy peanut butter (We used regular Jif)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts (Omitted)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In another bowl stir together butter, and both sugars.
4. Add peanut butter; mix.
5. Add egg and vanilla; mix.
6. Slowly stir in the dry mixture.
7. Once everything is well combined stir in chocolate chips.
8. Drop cookies onto a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
9. Bake 8-10 minutes until slightly golden.


NUTRITIOUS Nutrition Facts                                    VICIOUS Nutrition Facts
Calories: 74                                                                  Calories: 152
Total Fat: 3.5 g                                                            Total Fat: 7.8 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.3 g                                                              Sat. Fat: 4.1 g
Cholesterol: 8.6 mg                                                     Cholesterol: 21.9 mg
Sodium: 100.4 mg                                                       Sodium: 84.2 mg
Potassium: 35 mg                                                        Potassium: 50.4 mg
Total Carbs: 8.8 g                                                        Total Carbs: 14.7 g
     Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g                                                     Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
     Sugar: 5.1 g                                                                Sugar: 12.1 g
Protein: 1.8 g                                                              Protein: 2 g
Vitamin A: 0.2%                                                         Vitamin A: 3%
Vitamin C: 0%                                                            Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 1%                                                               Calcium: 1.2%
Iron: 2.7%                                                                  Iron: 3.2%
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