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!
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

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

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

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

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
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
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
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
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.

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

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
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.

Made From Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Salt, Molasses.
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.)

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

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

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

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%

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...