Spick And Span

Posted on December 31, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

That’s the most ridiculous phrase, if you ask me. Does anyone actually know what it means? I feel like I could do some funky research with my linguistics background but–meh–it’s a holiday and I’d rather be lazy 🙂 Anyway, that’s what we’re doing right now: Making everything “spick and span” for our guests soon to arrive. That’s as opposed to last night when I was throwing pillows everywhere, emptying salt containers on the counter, and rustling the leaves from out Christmas tree just for fun. JK! But I was in a mood to try something new.

Dark Chocolate Q.Bel Wafer Rolls In Raspberry Chobani

Correction: I tried 2 new things. To get some more probiotics in my day, I gave the raspberry Chobani a try. Yum! I am soooo excited for this flavor to hit shelves. I would grab the pomegranate one soley because it reminded me of raspberry. However, I’m majorly depressed sugar beats out raspberry on the ingredient list 😦 That’s not the case on any other Chobani fruit flavors, so I can’t help but wonder why here?

The other thing I tried was Q.bel‘s dark chocolate wafer roll. Again, yum! But then again, what dark chocolate isn’t? I liked how this was more sweet than bitter, but only because of the wafer part. In my mind, I was hoping for more of a hard chocolate coating but a soft, flowing syrupy center(I can dream, can’t I?). That wasn’t really the case, but it was still good. After that I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed early. My mind, however, had other plans.

Vegan Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I really think they’re lying on the ingredients or the nutritional info here because these are simply too good. Is cinnamon roll envy a viable reason to spark an investigation against a company? I think so, and I’m not above that. To make it more “night time appropriate”, I slathered on some healthy nut butter and picked out all the raisins.

Leftover Raisins

Definitely didn’t need that sugar before going to bed. I’m actually not a big raisin fan at all(hence leaving them out of my cinnamon roll recipe). That is unless we’re talking about Rum Raisin Gelato, in which case all bets are off 🙂 I thought I was waking up earlier this morning after listening to a few songs on the radio and shutting my alarm off but as it turned out I woke up at 7:40, again. Oh well, I’ll save that change for the new year. Eventually I got around to drinking more coffee than I’d care to mention and making a breakfast.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Pumpkin Cream Cheese And Walnut Butter, Fat Free Greek Yogurt With Banana Pineapple Rum Jam

My last breakfast of 2009, to be exact(I really hate always thinking about that “last” thing). I didn’t have any pumpkin yesterday so clearly that erupted into my bowl of oatmeal. I love the pumpkin cream cheese/walnut butter combo because the cream cheese has speckles of walnuts in it. I was soooo happy to have something other than 2% yogurt after 2 weeks. Even “plain” as a flavor can get old. Fast. Afterwards I got spick and span myself in the shower and started the party plating.

Pad Thai Hummus And Sunny Hummus

My two hummuses I made yesterday. I’m predicting the Pad Thai Hummus to go over really well with this crowd. I also baked, of course.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter And Chocolate Brownies

Since one of the people coming is perhaps the biggest chocolate fan I know I decided to make gluten free chocolate mint brownies. This time, however, I made the chocolate and peanut butter by swapping out vanilla extract for mint and using 2 tablespoons chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons peanut butter chips. The peanut butter chips weren’t gluten-free certified but none of the ingredients should have gluten. And since it’s not a genuine health concern of anybody, I figured it’d be fine. I decided I was hungry for lunch at 12 and ended up spending 45 minutes making a meal. I think that’s a new record for me. Oh well, it was worth it!

Pad Thai Hummus With Green Pepper, Brussels With Steak Sauce And Tempeh Bacon

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I caved on the hummus a little early because I’m not much of a snacker at parties and like to just eat things in meals. Now I can recommend it and have had my full 🙂 I was looking for a more smoky flavor with the brussels than the steak sauce has so I added a strip of pan-heated tempeh bacon and plenty of salt. Really, though, the pudding was entirely what I wanted; and it was sooo good! I pureed 3oz avocado with 2 tablespoons cocoa in my food processor. After that I used a fork to add 3 tablespoons coconut milk kefir, stevia, and vanilla powder. The result could not have been more perfect. All it is(besides delicious) is fat and fiber. And look how nicely the day is turning out!

Snow

I was dreaming of a white Christmas New Years and it looks like we’re getting one! I can’t bellieve it. I also can’t believe that a) my mom hasn’t been stressed out by company being here in a few hours and started yelling yet and b) that the decade is now almost over. After listening to the DJ’s on the radio reminisce and think back myself, I think this decade was best for two things: American Idol and Survivor. I hardly ever voted for American Idol these days, but who can deny that it has given us so many great artists? Besides that, Survivor is just my favorite show on television, and I imagine the same for others since it’s going into its 20th season. It totally built the world of reality television. What will you remember the decade for?

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I Don’t Do Semi-Homemade, Sandra Lee

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t do “semi”; I go full throttle or cop-out entirely.

Acorn Squash With Baked Beans And Brussels

Have I ever made baked beans from scratch? No. Do I have any plans to? Not at all. I’m fine with these organic ones from Whole Foods. I threw together this lunch and then literally threw it in the car to get to finishing things. Good thing I’m not the driver 🙂 First we stopped off at the natural food store near me where I bought this foodie find with Christmas money.

Almond Amaretto Herbal Coffee

This isn’t really “coffee”(or “cawfee” because I’m a New Englander). It’s actually dried carob, figs, almond, and other natural ingredients for an herbal drink very similar to coffee. I was a little disappointed when I forgot to add coffee to my x-mas list because I’m such an addict, but in hindsight that was probably a good call because I don’t know how anyone in my family would have found this. I can’t wait to see if it really tastes like amaretto 😉

After the natural store, we went to get the last items on the lsit for New Years from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods–mainly the meat which we didn’t want sitting in our fridge. I’m so excited because my favorite candy bar protein bar is $1 off the entire month! Expect a lot of those for green snacking 😉 I was parched by the time we finished Whole Foods so I broke out a new soda I found on sale to try.

Steaz Orange Green Tea

I wasn’t aware that there was another stevia sweetened beverage on the market, but these in 4-packs were 3/$8 so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m sure it had caffeine even though it doesn’t say, but that was OK with e at the tie. I liked the flavor; it was a little subtle but I think tea is all about subtlety so I can understand not over-sweetening it. While I was at Whole Foods I also made another purchase with my Christmas money.

Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Like I said, i don’t do semi. I’ve made my cinnamon rolls, and now I’m buying these cinnamon rolls 🙂 I still don’t know how they can make these with just whole wheat flour, flour, water, grape juice, canola oil, yeast, salt, and cinnamon! Soo good. After we unpacked, I got working on cooking projects 4 and 5.

Thai Peanut Hummus

When it comes to having company, I never phone it in; I do homemade. In this case, I was making hummus for our guests tomorrow. The first one was my own concoction, with 1 can of chickpeas(drained), 2 tablespoons The Heat Is On, 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and lime juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons crushed peanuts stirred in in the end.

Sunny Tomato Hummus

The second one was a recipe from The Broccoli Hut. Apparently, food processors have no problems with nuts, but sundried tomatoes are touch cookies veggies. From the itty bits I snacked on from the scoopula, I can tell I loved the first recipe and didn’t care too much for the tomato flavor. After nibbling through these, I decided to eat something real.

Oatmeal With An Egg And The Heat Is On Peanut Butter

I guess this is “homemade”? Hard to get much simpler. I figured while the peanut butter was out I’d use it and have a spicy afternoon snack. The albumen(or egg whites if you aren’t feeling pretentious) were cooked to the perfect runniness. But after this was done I quickly got working on dinner(my thing for the 3rd night in a row).

Al Fresco Buffalo Style Sausage

I went store bought on the main protein. Actually, this was part of the large array of flavors Karen from Al Fresco sent to me a while ago. As a family, we used to always get greasy pizza and buffalo chicken wings on Tuesday nights(real healthy, right? ;-)) so this flavor was right up our alley. I did, however, do something homemade.

Killer Cornbread

Like I mentioned this morning, I had a killer craving for cornbread(say that 5 times fast). After looking at some recipes, I combined them to make my own and hoped it would come out all right.

Killer Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetener
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, sift together the first 5 ingredients(unless using a liquid sweetener like honey or agave in which case just the first 4). Beat in the egg, milk, and any liquid sweetener if using. Add in the greek yogurt and butter and mix until blended. Move into an 8×8 baking pan and bake until browning on the outside(about 20 minutes).

Green Beans With Hot Sauce, Killer Cornbread With Cream Cheese, Buffalo Style Chicken Sausage

The cornbread was, in a word, killer. It came out perfectly grainy. I definitely had an extra 1/2 a square, and as a family we polished off 7 of the 12 servings. I think that recipe is a keeper! I also really loved this flavor sausage. It was super spicy and didn’t need a hit of hot sauce at all. Watching Paula Dean definitely had me craving cream cheese, which topped the fresh-out-of-the-oven cornbread perfectly.

Where has the day gone? What about the year?! It’s too much to think about. Instead I think I’ll figure out what foodiness is for dessert once all this darn cornbread digests.

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2 Recipes And 1 Oopsies

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Recipe | Tags: , , , , , |

So, a few hours out of the oven the vitatops which didn’t hit the freezer immediately have developed a weird pigmentation on the top. Oopsie-daisy? Hmm… still, they might taste good. Until further observation, I’ll just leave you with my gluten free mint chocolate brownies and healthy happy pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, unsalted, drained
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 3 ounces greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon mint extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free chocolate chip(Trader Joe’s recommended)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Puree the black beans until they are completely deconstructed(this can also be done with a potato masher if need be). In a bowl, whisk together the butter, softened, eggs, greek yogurt, cocoa powder, sugar, and mint extract. Add in the black bean puree and chocolate chips and fold until all is incorporated. Prepare an 8×8 brownie pan and pour the batter into it. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is fully set.

This recipe is extremely adaptable; you can swap out mint for vanilla extract to have a more neutral flavor. Adding 1/3 cup chopped nuts would also be a great addition. The texture comes out more like a fudgy brownie than a cakey one.

Healthy Happy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan, organic butter spread
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablesoons turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons apple butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a sauce pan, bring milk and butter spread to a slight simmer until the butter is melted. Move this off the stove. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, egg, sugar, and salt. Add the yeast and milk mixture and stir. Slowly add in the flour, 1/2 a cup at a time until entirely incorporated. Cover with a damp cloth and place somewhere warm to double in size.

Once doubled, dump the dough onto a surface and knead slightly. Add flour here but only if it is absolutely neccesary(the dough should be sticky but able to be handled). Stretch the dough out into a square with 1/4 inch thickness. Smear on the apple butter and generously sprinkle on cinnamon. Roll into a log with as many rotations as you can achieve. Cut into 8 rolls and place in a lined baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the rolls have risen, place in the oven for 18-20 minutes and take out while still slightly soft.

This recipe is far from perfect, so as I make more I’ll be updating it. That being said, it’s the only one that’s worked for me so far in terms of precise measurements and instructions. They’re very low fat on their own so I enjoy smearing peanut butter, organic vegan butter, or whatever fat I might be craving at the time. I also like it because it’s very versatile. For softer, flakier rolls, use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour. For a richer filling, omit the apple butter and instead do a brown sugar butter filling by melting 1/4 vegan butter spread and brushing it on, sprinkling on top 1/3 cup turbinado sugar.

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Vets, Bacon, And Hazelnuts

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I am in serious need of lazy-time after today. What I told you this morning was that we were bringing Montana to the vet. What I left out was that before then I was madly rushing to get some whole wheat pumpkin cinnamon roll dough rising.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Dough

If you remember, I tried this once before and it all wound up in the trash; I hate dealing with yeast dough but I loooove how it tastes. Overall I hate any batter that’s sticky or requires unprecise amounts such as “flour until just together”. Why did I decide to go for these anyway? Who knows. But once the dough was done we hopped in the car for Montana’s check-up. He was shaking like a leaf waiting in the room and my dad said his breath smelled bad so I thought it was only rational to give him this.

Newman's Own Organic Cinnamon Mints

I like them and he does apparently, too. Not sure how his breath was after that but the vet wasn’t complaining. Things seemed exactly the same with him so we were out pretty quick and on to more errands. Because his vet is near a bigger, much larger Whole Foods. I thought I’d check if they had the chocolate bar I’ve been so desperately seeking since Christmas.

Mo's Bacon Milk Chocolate Bar

Success! It was 1 of 4 flavors they carried. Now I need to get creative of how to use it 🙂 After that it was my job to run into Market Basket to get vegetables. Like I’ve mentioned, we’re having company on New Years Eve and making them dinner, and Market Basket has the cheapest vegetables going. That store, however, is always full and a menace to work a shopping cart through. I think I bumped in to 2 people? Their fault. I ended up grabbing everything on the list and some fish for dinner. On the way home I was treated to a coffee.

McDonalds' Coffee

I’ll take it 😉 When we got home it felt like I had 10 things suddenly on my plate: work more with the cinnamon rolls, make lunch, put away groceries. To make things more confusing, my grandmother had randomly drove over. 3 people in our kitchen is too much when 2 of them are just standing around. I started making up a meal, trying to feed a craving for fried chicken.

Pecan Crusted Cornish Hen, Stuffing, Broccoli

I heated up leftover cornish hen over the stove and then patted it with homemade pecan butter and whole foods whole wheat bread crumbs for some crunch. It really was nothing like fried chicken but it definitely fed a general “fat” craving. I also heated up the last of the leftover Thanksgiving stuffing and charred some broccoli on the stove. While I was munching on this, I squared the dough for the rolls and slathered it with apple butter and cinnamon. The recipe was supposed to make 12 but after cutting up half of the log into 6 I cut the other half into 4 because they looked a little dainty. Then they rose for 30 minutes and baked for 23.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I’m really impressed that I made it to the final product(let’s just say I was not as optimistic this morning when I started them). They felt a little tough. I think it’s either that they’re whole wheat, sat out for too long, or baked for too long. I’m definitely not complaining, though, and I’ll write-up my version of the recipe within a few days. They’re very low fat because of the apple butter replacing the usual brown sugar butter filling, which is perfect for me because I prefer to spread peanut butter or whatever it may be over the top.

French Toast Hazelnut Butter

After that baking project, I moved on to my 3rd(of 6). This one involved the “mystery” nuts you all correctly IDed as hazelnuts(I knew you guys would figure me out ;-)). What you didn’t guess was the flavor. Surprisingly, I wasn’t aiming for an all-natural Nutella; I already have Rapunzel’s organic version so I’m fine with that one for now. I decided to make “french toast hazelnut butter” by blending 8oz hazelnuts with 2 tablespoons maple butter, 1 1/3 tablespoons vanilla infused sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. This came out awesome from the little bit I nibbled on squeezing it into the jar. Hazelnuts, however, are not nearly as good blenders as peanuts to anyone looking to recreate this.

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