Thursday, January 14, 2016

Crunchy Cayenne-Cardamom Chickpeas

I recently found Biena chickpea snacks. These were a godsend because I need crunchy goodness in my life, but popcorn seems to make me quite ill now. But, like all grocery goods, I was convinced I could do it better at home.

It reminded me of an Alton Brown recipe for leblebi. Unfortunately, his recipe was loaded with poor comments fro people who it didn't turn out so well for and so much spam I couldn't find other people's notes. So I looked at several other versions and finally decided to just wing it.

3/4 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

  1. Soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, on the counter. You can try a quick soak method, just google it, but I didn't. However, the most common complaint with the dried chick peas was that they weren't properly re-hydrated and came out like little stones. So, basically, if they haven't nearly double in size, don't cook them yet. I hear you can do this with cans too, but canned things are canned with other stuff and dried are better.
  2. Drain and dry the chickpeas.  
  3. Toss in a bowl with oil and salt. 
  4. Heat oven to 350F.
  5. Place parchment on small cookie sheet, and scoop chickpeas out. Don't pour out oil.  Get rid of most of what's left, but leave a smidge to help with coating.
  6. While they cook, combine sugar and spices and set aside.
  7. Arrange so they're not touching as much as you can. Bake 30+ minutes, until golden and crunchy.
  8. Throw back into bowl and sprinkle with half of the spice and sugar mix. Toss, and then add in the rest and toss.
  9. Eat warm for crunchy.  Does not store crunchy.  They get chewy.  However, I found that if you toss them in your toaster oven (assuming you have one) and toast on medium they get crunchy again! They're OK chewy, which is what happens if you don't retoat them, but I prefer the toasted. Also, store in paper bags, not baggies or tupperware.

1/4 a cup is approx. 120 calories/ 3 servings

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Radish Skillet

Growing up, I always thought I hated radishes.  It turns out I just hate raw radishes.  Cooked, they make an awesome substitute for potatoes in skillets.  Creamy, with a bit of tang to them still, and a bit sweet.

Added bonus: it's pretty. A wonderful way to start a cold day.

7 oz. radish, chopped
1 stem green onion
3 slices reduced sodium, reduced fat bacon
1 egg
Pepper to taste
  1. In your large saute pan, fry up your bacon.  I use Wegman's center cut, which is a lower sodium, lower fat bacon. Drain off half of the grease, but leave the rest for cooking. Remove bacon to drain.
  2. Add radishes to fat and dry until starts to brown up nice.
  3. Move to one side, and fry your egg on the other however you like them.  I generally go for sunny side up with this skillet.  I like the ooey gooey yolk mixed in.
  4. Once egg is nearly done, tear up bacon and add back in to reheat.
  5. Serve garnished with green onion.

Approximately 280 calories.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Low-Cal Noodle Bowls

Low-cal noodles you say?  Oh yes my friend!

The secret ingredient is Kelp Noodles.  Reasonably priced for what they are, and about 6 calories a serving of 4 oz.  I generally use 2-3 oz. because there's that much in an ounce! All your other soup goodies tend to be lower calorie anyway.

Now, to reduce calories and add flavor, I make all of my own stocks. If you don't you should seriously consider it.  This is also a great way to use up the last of that leftover meat.

The golden ratio seems to be:

1/2 cup stock (begin with)
1 -2 oz. meat (begin with)
1-3 oz. chosen veggies (add in when appropriate)
3 oz. kelp noodles (add in last)

This makes a perfect bowl.

Calories vary depending on ingredients.

Spicy Chicken Spinach 
1 oz. chicken breast meat, pre-cooked and shredded
1/2 cup turkey stock
1 oz. spinach
3 oz. kelp noodles
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
A bit of green onion for garnish

  1. Combine chicken, stock, and about half of the  red pepper flakes in small saucepan.  
  2. Bring to boil.  
  3. Add in spinach and noodled and mix until spinach wilts.  
  4. Strain broth into bowl first, then the rest.  
  5. Garnish with remaining pepper flakes and green onion. 
  6. Serve immediately.

88 calories

Yogurt Tortillas

I am constantly trying to find a bread substitute I love.  I did the flour and water tortillas, but they lacked the chew one likes and they dry out super super fast.  After making some Yogurt Dough and being in loooove with it, I thought about how similar it was to the tortilla recipe, sooooo.

I decided to just give it a go.  And it's excellent. In fact, I like them much more than the store bought variety.  A nice chew, stores well, and I've eaten them with tacos, egg salad, and even peanut butter and jelly.

This is for the smaller, taco sized rounds.  You'd follow the same directions for bigger, just dividing the dough less.

1/2 cups plain, fat free, Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour, and more for kneading and rolling.
  1. Mix yogurt and flour together until it forms a dough.  
  2. Toss out on floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic.  
  3. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
  4. Flatten ball with palm,  and use flour generously to roll out thin.  Super thin.  Don't worry, it's going to puff up a bit in the pan.
  5. Heat your pan on medium high. Once hot, cook tortillas in one at a time,-no greasing!.  When they bubble on the first side, they should be ready to flip.  You want golden/brown but not black spots. When they puff up on the other side they should be done.
  6. Remove to a plate that has a damp towel or paper towel on it which can be wrapped over.  Just damp, slightly.  Almost completely wrung out. 
  7. Or remove to a round Gladware container.  I've found containers work better than baggies, and Gladware's round one works perfectly.
  8. Store for a week.  If you still have some left over, I recommend making chips

40 calories a tortilla/ 8 tortillas

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Roasted Papaya Breakfast Boats

Whenever someone tells me they were absolutely starving on their diet, I know they weren't making good decisions about where their calories were coming from. Take for example this papaya.

It's about 375 calories. That's nearly a pound of papaya there my friends. You will not be hungry afterward. Added bonus, it's full of goodies your body needs to digest food well and lose weight.

1/2 large papaya, seeds removed
1/4 cup plain, fat free Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp. orange blossom honey
1/4 cup Kashi GoLean Crisp with Cinnamon Clusters

  1. Place papaya on baking sheet in your toaster oven or regular.  Set for 325F.  
  2. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until juicy inside and warm through.  Will turn darker in skin and flesh.
  3. Remove.
  4. Mix 1/4 cup Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp. honey.  
  5. Smooth inside of papaya's seedless divot. 
  6. Top with cereal and remainder of honey.

I cook both halves and store the other in the fridge for a day ror two.  I can just reheat it in my oven and stuff it with something new.

So about those choices.

Use Kashi instead of that "healthy" granola.  Most healthy granola is loaded with calories and fat.  It doesn't always taste as nice either.  Kashi is still pretty healthy, and has that cruch you seek without the horrific amounts of calories.

Sweeten your own yogurt and go Greek.  Greek has the probiotics we crave, and added protein, so you'll feel fuller for longer. If you sweeten it yourself, whether with honey, jams, fruit, etc., you'll have more control over added calories and make better health choices.

Honey instead of sugar, when appropriate-for the taste.  Despite what people will tell you, honey and granulated white sugar are pretty much equally as bad for you.  They honey does have trace minerals and vitamins that the sugar lacks IF it is unpasteurized, which it generally isn't, but it's the same kind of sugar in almost the same amounts-glucose and fructose.  Honey is also slightly higher in calories. Even the darker, unmediated sugars are still about the same health wise. And agave is the worst for you. In a recipe like this, I'm using it for the taste rather than the sweetness.

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