Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chickpea Butter

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but the pb has too many calories most days.  I've found ways to cut down on jelly calories, bread calories, but any reduced peanut butter is still super high in calories and fat.

I thought I'd give chickpeas a chance, and while it's not peanut butter, it is a "butter" I feel good about using.

I always recommend using dried beans, not canned.  They last longer, have more flavor, and less sodium.  But, if you use canned beans for this recipe, cut the salt and only add to taste.

8 oz. soaked, cooked, and rinsed chickpeas
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
3-4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2-1 Tbsp. sugar free vanilla syrup (Torani)
3-4 Tbsp. Lakanto*
  1. Combine chickpeas, half the oil, half the Lakanto, and half the water in your food processor and puree.
  2. Add in the rest of the oil when it starts to get too stiff, and then and only then the water.
  3. Add Lakanto and vanilla syrup beyond to taste.  I needed the full amount for me, but I like a sweeter peanut butter.
  4. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Extras can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes 15 servings of a heaping Tbsp. at 25 calories a serving.

Lakanto is the only fake sweetener I love.  But if you're not afraid of calories, you can sub it out 1 for 1 with brown or white sugar or even honey.  Same for the vanilla syrup.  I use these to cut calories and keep taste!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Elvis Yogurt Pops

I've been listening to Lizard People, a comedy podcast and catching up on the back logs, and this week I was listening to one on Elvis (which was seriously disturbing).  Anywhoo, it gave me a food craving for a banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich.

I know, it sounds gross.

It's delicious, and was his favorite sandwich.

But I'm feeling a little more bananas foster than breakfast, so I tossed together a few yogurt pops. Creamy, banana and yogurt pops really fulfill that need for ice cream and sweets, with quite a few less calories.

1 banana, brown
1/4 cup plain, fat free, Greek yogurt
1/2 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Drink
2 Tbsp. reduced fat Peanut Butter
1 tsp. sugar free caramel Torani syrup (optional)
  1. Blend everything together and pour into popsicle molds.
  2. Freeze for at least one day.
Makes 4 at 90 calories a pop.

Other nut butters substitute well.  I haven't tried it with the substitutes though.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lentil Potato Hash

Lentils are actually one of the most useful dried beans around.  They can be used to make soup, veggie burgers, and even peanut butter cookies. They can be cooked straight from dry, or soaked overnight.

My house is currently running low on meats because I'm trying to move away from buying so many processed meats, but I've been craving a good sausage hash.  So, I thought, why not give it a go with some of my pureed green lentils? I keep a few cups in the freezer for when I want to make cookies.

This is a great vegan dish, because if you don't tell them, they'll never know what you've done. They'll know it's not meat, but they won't be sure what it is besides delicious.  Play with spices to make it yours.  For example, I used my ghost pepper infused olive oil to spice it up and hickory salt.

1 cup cooked, semi-pureed lentils
10 oz. potato, diced
3 oz. onion, diced
1 oz. green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, black pepper, paprika, and dried parsley to taste.
Ketchup to taste (optional)
  1. Preheat your large saute pan on medium.
  2. Add oil, onion, bell pepper, and potatoes.  Give a good stir every now and then.
  3. When potatoes are nearly done, add in lentils and stir in.
  4. Cook until lentils are golden and potatoes are tender.  Add in spices when nearly done.
Makes 2 servings at 230 calories a serving.

How to puree lentils?  Cook in water until soft.  Then add to blender or food processor with a bit of the cooking water, until about 3/4ths smooth. It works better for cookies and meat subs if it's still a little chunky. Freeze in 1 cup servings for later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sweet & Spicy Eggplant Jerky

I'm about as fond of eggplant as I am of kale, so when I saw various recipes for eggplant bacon, I knew I had to try something along those lines. But I also knew I had to change them.  What I was seeing was not to my liking. I like bacon as bacon.

But maybe I could make a similar jerky-type.

Sweet & spicy with a crunch that turns into a chew. This would be an acceptable substitute for me if I wasn't going to fry bacon anyway. A great snack, and easy too adjust. Best part?

I finally found a way I'll eat eggplant.

11-12 oz. eggplant (the skinny kind)
2 Tbsp. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy
2 Tbsp. honey or maple
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
A pinch of salt
  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock baggie and mush together.
  2. Cut the stem off of the eggplant, and halve it.
  3. Slice each half of the eggplant into bacon sized strips. I used a mandolin in between 1/8 and 1/6 inch. Toss the pieces that are just skin.
  4. Toss eggplant into marinade and flip around until everything is coated well.  Do this every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes. Keep out on counter.
  5. I have a Presto dehydrator, which is the round, stackable kind. I put one of my fruit roll inserts on the bottom tray to catch any sogginess.
  6. Once the eggplant is nice, slimy, flimsy, and darkened-up lay out on trays and dehydrate. Save liquid marinade in bowl and pop it into the fridge.
  7. When nearly done, baste with remaining liquid on one sides, and then finish off until dried.
Try flavored olive oils and other herbs and spices. I used clover honey, ghost pepper infused olive oil, and a pinch of hickory salt.

Keep refrigerated. They're shelf stable enough to pack in a lunch, but not in a pantry.

Makes about 30 pieces at around 5-15 calories a piece, depending on your products. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cheddar Kale Pesto

I keep getting kale in my farm share.  Unfortunately, I loatheeeeeee the stuff.  Like most people loathe Twilight.  So, every week I'm trying to find some redeeming quality in the stuff.  I hate it's flavor, I hate it's texture, I hate the stringy leafy bits and the feel of the leaves on my hands. Yeah, it runs deep.

In desperation I decided to invoke the Rinn of Rinn past-the poor sucker who got stuck making pesto at Java Joe's all the time. I finally found a way to not only eat it, but enjoy it.

By mixing it with loads of fatty deliciousness.

I almost burned the motor out on my blender, and realized it's time to invest in a real food processor, but it's delicious on zoodles.  I used 1 Tbsp. to 6 oz. of zucchini from the same farm share in this pic (140 calories). Just tossed them together and heated them on the stove until warm and creamy. 

The flower is edible too. Nasturtium from my edible flower garden.

1 to 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. kale, raw
4 oz. Vermont Sharp Cheddar
1/4 lbs. unsalted pumpkin seeds (almonds will work as well)
4 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. Wash kale, remove woody stems, and chop up.
  2. Grate cheese.
  3. A bit at a time, combine everything in your food processor or blender until smooth, adding oil as needed to keep things moving.
  4. Store in sterile glass.  I recommend the Ball jam-type containers.
This recipe freezes really well, and seems to keep in the fridge for several weeks.

A serving is 1 Tbsp. 
Makes approximately 28 servings at 126 calories each.