Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Savory Rosemary-Beet Quick Bread

My goal this week is to finally kill the last of 2015's farm share freezer veggies.  So, I decided to try another beet bread, but this time savory.

This earthy, dense loaf is one of my new favorite sides.  Toast it, slather it with butter and serve it with anything you like a darker bread with.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) salted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pureed beets
1 Tbsp. rosemary
Kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease your bread loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine beet puree, melted butter, and rosemary.
  3. Once thoroughly stirred in, add eggs and beat in.
  4. Add in powder and stir until combined.
  5. Finally stir in the flour and muffin-mix.  This means mix until everything is just combined, but no more.
  6. Use a spatula to get everything into your bread pan, and smooth it out.
  7. Sprinkle with a bit more rosemary, and about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
  8. Bake 40-minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool 30 minutes before turning out on rack to finish cooling.
Makes one loaf of about 10 slices at 135 calories a slice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Garlicky Bok Choi Stir Fry

CSA season is back in full gear and I have enough greens to feed a small army...but I live alone. Soooo I'm already on my way to sick of salad.  Time to tap into all of that time staring at Taiwanese vendors as they cooked.

This week I got a whole head of big boy bok choy, rather than the wee shanghai ones I usually buy for beef noodles and such.  So, I took off a few stalks to roast later, and chopped the rest up for my favorite go-to dish-Stir Fry.  With cauliflower "rice."

This is a dieting trick that may actually work on children, so if you haven't tried it yet, you really should. I use the frozen cauliflower-it seems to work best. The best part, this can be made to suit any dietary requirement.

12 oz. bok choy
12 oz. cauliflower florets, frozen
6 oz. shrimp, raw or precooked (precooked beef or chicken, or tempeh work just as nicely)
2 Tbsp. Hoison sauce
2 Tbsp. garlic
1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce, lite
  1. Chop your bok choy up.  You want it small enough that you could eat it in a salad.  Stalks too.
  2. Microwave cauliflower for 5-7 minutes, until it's soft, but not fully cooked.
  3. Adding a handful at a time, toss cauliflower into blender or food processor, and pulse until ricey.  Then dump and do the next handful.  You don't want to end up with a puree!
  4. Toss bok choy, cauliflower rice, Hoison, garlic, and 1 Tbsp. soy into your wok, and bring to medium heat.
  5. Stir often to combine, as the bok choy wilts.  Add soy and sriracha to taste.
  6. When leaves are almost fully wilted, add in meat or tempeh. Raw shrimp will take about 3-5 minutes to turn pink and curl.  Pre-cooked meats can be pulled from the heat as soon as they're heated through.
420 calories for full batch. 

Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side...or one really hungry lady who forgot to eat before heading to the office.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Skinny Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Mmmm....June is strawberry season.  Strawberry Fest was last weekend, and this week I got a pint of very ripe strawberries in my CSA bag.  I ate a few, but realized they would likely go bad before I could finish them off, so I decided to play with one of my recipes and see what happens.

But, I also need balance, because I went on a road trip this week and ate horridly, so I need a low-cal dessert.

No problem. This super moist cake fits the bill.

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 rounded cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk drink (or 2% milk)
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 pint strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Add a bit of melted butter to your round cake pan, and roll around until coated thoroughly.  Not all of the butter, just what you need.
  3. Sprinkle the pan with 1/2 of the brown sugar, evenly.
  4. Slice and layer strawberries.  I used just shy of a pint, but depending on your strawberry it might be more or less, so I recommend slicing as you go. You don't want to see the sugar through them, so a second scant layer might be necessary.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.
  7. Add wet into dry, and give it the ol' muffin mix.  Mix until just combined.
  8. I know, it's not a lot of batter. You'll want to use your spatula to scoop and smooth as you go to ensure full coverage.  It's OK if you can see the strawberries a bit.
  9. Bake 15-30 min, until golden.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Run a knife around the edge, and flip out onto serving plate.
  12. You can serve immediately, or allow to cool. I recommend ice cream or your whipped topping of preference.
Makes 8 slices at 140 calories a slice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Red Velvet Surprise Brownies

Surprise, don't tell anyone what one of the ingredients is, or they won't try them and that would be a mistake.  Or do, so you can sit at the table in front of small children and eat every. single. one without argument.


Yup, beets.

No, you can't tell.


I must have looked at at least two dozen recipes, none of which seemed to have much in common but the flippin' ingredients themselves.  So, I took the best of everyone, and made my own.  Like I generally do.

1 cup beet puree*
1/2 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 heaping cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with foil, and butter it up good.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together beet puree, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and butter until well-combined.
  4. Add in cocoa powder and beat until combined.
  5. Add in flour and beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips, scraping down sides.
  7. Pour into pan.
  8. Bake for about 30 min, until toothpick comes out clean. Baking time will vary depending on the water content of your puree.
  9. Cool and frost.
For Fudgie Frosting:
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
2 Tbsp. salted butter
2-3 Tbsp. so delicious coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  1. In a cereal bowl, combine melted butter, 2 Tbsp. milk, and vanilla.  
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and sugar.  
  3. Slowly stir in milk & butter mixture.  
  4. Add another Tbsp. of coconut milk if it gets too thick to stir.
  5. Frost & Refrigerate
*To puree beets, simply cut the ends off, poke them full of holes with a fork, and microwave on each side for 5 minutes at a time until soft to touch.  Generally 10-15 min.  Then dice them small. Toss a bit in a blender at a time, and use a bit of water as needed until a nice, thick puree forms, but doesn't make the blender stick.  Measure out, and freeze leftovers.

Makes 16 frosted brownies at 257 calories a piece.
Makes 16 un-frosted brownies at 208 calories a piece

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm obsessed with beans right now.  There are all of these recipes out there for different bean based cookies and brownies, and I recently bought a whole book just on beans.  I snagged this recipe from For the Family and made some wee changes.

This makes a nice, chewy peanut butter cookie, but it is less sweet than traditional cookies.  You can always add more sugar, but I like to keep the calories down.

1 cups dry lentils
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Lakanto
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  1. Cook lentils in water.  Drain well.
  2. Toss them in the blender and puree.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Measure out 1 1/2 cups puree. You will likely have leftover. Just freeze it for another day, or use the leftover to make a bean dip with olive oil and garlic.
  5. Throw 1 1/2 cups puree, and all other ingredients into a medium bowl and beat together on low.
  6. Drop batter on un-greased cookie sheet.  The cookies won't spread much, but you will smoosh them down later, so leave enough room and consider how big you want them.  I made 13.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes.  Then smoosh down to about 1/4-1/2 an inch thick with a  fork.
  8. Bake until lightly golden. About 15 minutes more, give or take.
13 good sized cookies at 150 calories a cookie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Papaya Cherry Popsicles

I love papaya, but locally it's hard to find the smaller ones, and I live all alone so I'm constantly trying to find ways to use it up before it goes bad without getting sick of it.

Last summer I learned that it makes an awesome popsicle base.  Probably my favorite. And it requires little to no sugar, depending on your flavor choice.

1/2 a large papaya, just the meat, about 2 cups in chunks
2 cups cherries
Honey or sweetener to taste
  1. Toss fruit into your blender and work your way up to a good liquefy.  Add a bit of water if you need to, but only if you need to! 
  2. Add sweetener to taste.  Remember, it will generally be a bit sweeter once it freezes, so do it a little less sweet than you like.  Just a smidge.  I used 1/4 cup of orange blossom honey in this batch because my cherries were sooooo bitter.
  3. Add a dash of salt if needed. Recommended for more bitter fruits.
  4. Pour into molds and freeze overnight.
Makes 6 large popsicles.  Calories vary by fruit used, but these ones were 80 a piece because of the honey.  Next time I'll use monk fruit. 

This is a base recipe, that can be tinkered with at will for other flavors.  I really like the 1:1 ratio for fruit. I basically keep a 32 oz. yogurt container in the freezer, fill it half way with papaya, and half way with fruit, and once it's full it hits the blender! Anything that doesn't fit in my mold goes into another container to be thawed for another batch later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam

I hate wasting food, but I just did not eat enough tomatoes this week, and they're starting to get soft.  So, I popped on line and read about 100 recipes for tomato jam.  None of them seemed perfect to me, mostly because of the additives, so I decided to wing it.

This recipe is a base recipe.  It's made in a way that you can start low on the spice, and decide which to include, and sub up or out. Cut down sugar, add in honey, etc.  You do need the sugar-it's what makes the jelly without pectin.

1 pound of tomatoes, I'm using Romas (it's ok if you go over a few oz.)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. molasses (you can cut this by using brown sugar)
2 Tbsp. apple vinegar cider, Bragg's
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Cut off the belly button of your tomatoes, and diced small.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine everything.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until reduced at least half.  When it's ready, if you stir from the side, it should pull away from the pot a bit.
  5. Store in a sterilized glass jar for up to 2 months in the fridge.
Makes a bit over 1 cup.

Makes 20 servings of 1 Tbsp. at 10 calories a serving.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Coffee Jellies for Iced Coffee

I love boba, but not the tea.  I like the slushies with the fruity boba.  I was wanting something chewy like the boba, but for my coffee and I decided to try my hand at the jellies one finds in everything in Asia.

It's not exactly the same, but I liked it.

1 pkg. knox gelatin
3/4 Cup hot coffee, brewed strong
1 1/2 Tbsp. Honey or Lakanto
Bread loaf pan
  1. Combine hot coffee and sweetener in bread loaf pan. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Slowly sprinkle knox in, stirring continuously.
  3. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Fill bottom of sink with hot water.
  6. Rest pan in water for no more than 1 minute.
  7. Flip out coffee jelly onto cutting board.  If it won't come out, gently run a butter knife around the edge and soak again.  Try prying up the edge, and if it comes up it may slip out with some careful prodding.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, slice into small strips and then cubes.
  9. Refrigerate for 2 more hours.
  10. Use 1/4 of cubes per iced coffee.
Orrrrrr, serve 1/4 with 2 Tbsp. cool whip mixed in as a tasty treat!
Makes 4 servings at 32 calories a serving.

Spiced Squash Muffins

I'm craving pumpkin bread in the worst way lately-maybe because it isn't in season. However, I have a bunch of puree frozen. But, it's a mix of butternut, delicata, and acorn squash-not pumpkin.

Luckily, I know the secret to a good pumpkin pie is the spice, not the actual pumpkin.

I snagged Once Upon A Chef's recipe because it had amazing reviews. And, of course, as always, I tinkered with it for my own tastes. And, I want to be able to share and freeze some, so I'm going with muffins instead of loaves.

The big change I made was upping spice, and cutting sugar by adding in Lakanto, a monk fruit and erythritol sweetener which can be substituted with exact measurements and no tinkering. These tender, yummy muffins are sure to hit the spot.

1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Lakanto or Monk Fruit in the Raw
1 egg
6 Tbsp. salted butter
8 oz. squash puree
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda, and spices.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg to butter and sugar and beat high until fluffy.
  5. Once fluffy, beat in puree. It's ok if it gets a bit grainy looking here.  Don't panic.
  6. On low speed, slowly add in flour until just combined.
  7. Depending on your puree, the flour amount may need to be upped.  Canned purees are pretty thick, and home purees can be a bit thinner.  When mixed, the batter should be shaggy, think shag carpet that hasn't been well taken care of for texture.  If it's still a bit soupy, add another 1/4 cup flour. and just quickly beat in, until right texture reached.
  8. Transfer batter into creased pan or muffin cups.
  9. Bake 30 min. until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 14 muffins, or one loaf. Adjust cooking time for loaf-will take longer.
125 calories a muffin

I do a dozen muffins and then put the rest in one of my ramekins for a big one.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fool Proof Cold Brew

Y'all know I had a fancier recipe last year with ice cubes and a simple syrup, but I have since perfected making my iced coffee cold brew in the easiest way possible.

1 cup coffee, light blend, ground
  1. 1/2 cup coffee in each jar. After the first batch, you can adjust coffee to your taste, but I said fool-proof. This is coffee to the first line on the Ball jar.
  2. Fill with filtered or tap water to bottom of neck, but don't fill neck.
  3. Put on plastic lid tightly.
  4. Shake for a minute.
  5. Put in fridge for 12 hours before serving.
  6. Pour through metal mesh coffee filter OR into Fresh Press, press, and pour.  I use the french press because I have a mini that is the perfect size.
  7. When you empty a jar, clean and make new batch.  Then you'll always have one batch ready and one brewing.
Recommend serving with reusable ice cubes or coffee ice cubes.

Flavored coffees don't always turn out as yummy as they are hot.  I recommend going with a plain coffee.  I use Archer Farms Kona.  You can add sugar free syrups or Coffee Mate, or a simple syrup for the non-calorie conscious for the flavoring afterward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Simple Spinach Quesadillas

When I'm nibbly but not truly hungry, I usually make quesadillas using my own tortillas.  They're filling and just heavy enough to shut my brain up, without loading on the calories. The trick is all in your cheese choice.  Using reduced fat or lower calorie shredded cheeses keeps you from overloading on the good stuff, while giving you enough of it to please you.

Added bonus, another way to use up those farm share greens!  Speaking of which, my CSA starts in 10 days, so prepare yourself for another edition of Farm Share Fixings!

1/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1 handful baby spinach leaves
1-2 tsp. minced garlic, to taste

  1. Place 2 tortillas on your griddle.  Oven off.
  2. Smear with garlic, and layer half the cheese on each.
  3. Arrange spinach leaves over.
  4. Sprinkle with other half of cheese.
  5. Top with the other 2 tortillas.
  6. Turn on the heat to medium-high and cook until cheese is melted enough you can safely flip.  Will be golden.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Serve alone, or with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.
Makes 2 servings, 150 calories each.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Apple Dessert Pizza

I've had a lot of dessert pizza's in my life, but I wanted to try something new this week, and I had a few apples laying around.  I kind of wanted apple pie, but I hate pie crust, so I decided to try my hand at a dessert pizza.

1 large apple, cored and sliced thin
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3-4 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold, cup up

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine crust ingredients.  Once a soft dough forms, turn out on a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until dough is easily handled.
  3. Spray pie pan with non-stick spray.  I use a coconut oil one.
  4. Pat out dough on floured surface until it will fit the pie pan.
  5. Bake 5 minutes.
  6. While pizza crust bakes first 5, combine all filling ingredients.  Bring to a low simmer, and cook until apples are soft and gooey.
  7. Remove pie crust when 5 minutes are up.
  8. Once apples are gooey, slather into crust, leaving edges clean, just like a pizza.
  9. In a medium bowl, combine topping sugar, flour, and cinnamon and whisk together.
  10. Using hands, cut butter into topping mixtures until a crumble forms.
  11. Spread crumble over apples.
  12. Bake until pizza crust is golden on bottom and sides. About 15 min.
  13. Allow to cool before serving.  There's a lot of molten sugar in there.
Make 8 slices, 280 calories a slice.