Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Crunchy Chickpea Taco Bowl

I love crunchy chickpeas, and I generally make several batches of them in different flavors at a time. I also love taco, but I don't feel like making tortillas today, so when I made my snacks, I did a batch of my crunchy chickpeas in taco seasoning.

Hatchie matchie.

The chickpeas give you the satisfaction of that taco crunchy, and the flavors combine perfectly.

If you prepare the chickpeas when you do other things, they'll stay good in a paper bag for about 3 days.

Taco Chickpeas
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 tsp. olive oil
Taco seasoning of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas.  If using dry, you'll need about 1/2 a cup dry that has been soaked, rather than the full cup. Dry chickpeas.
  3. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with oil to coat.
  4. Lay out a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet, a pour on chickpeas.  Shake down into single layer. Set aside bowl for later.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, until golden and they start to get poppin'.
  6. Remove directly to your oily bowl and sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  7. Let dry and cool in an open container.
  8. Store in paper bags.
Taco Bowl
1 cup taco Chickpeas
1 roma tomato diced
6 jalapeno slices, diced
2 Tbsp. plain, fat free Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp. lower fat shredded Mexican or Taco cheese.
  1. If taco chickpeas come from storage, warm by toasting in your toaster oven while you slice up everything.
  2. Layer everything and eat up!
230 calories if made by directions but feel free to add all of your favorite taco fixings.  This is just what I had in the house.

For vegan option, swap out cheese and yogurt for substitutes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Baked Oatmeal

We're in a winter weather nasty advisory, and this morning, while it's raining, the feels like is below 30 and I'm chilly and cranky.  I hate the cold, and I always crave sweets and starch.  I wanted a big, lemon poppy seed muffin, but those are generally really loaded with sugar.  So, I decided to try making baked oatmeal with a similar flavor profile.

Not as sweet of course.

This oatmeal was delightful, with the bite of grapefruit smoothed out by the vanilla.  It's still very obviously made with grapefruit and has that slight bitterness, but I enjoyed it. By switching to real sugar you way be able to get a sweeter fare if that's your preference.

1 grapefruit
1/2 cup oats, quick or traditional
1 tsp. poppy seed
1/4 tsp. powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Lakonto monk fruit sweetener
1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut and segment grapefruit, removing fruit into medium bowl. Discard mesocarp, peel, and the skin between fruit segments.
  3. Combine grapefruit with everything but the oats and beat together with fork.  Then stir in oats and let sit a minute.
  4. Pour into small casserole dish, or 4 mini casserole dishes.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden.
334 calories for the whole.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2g2bt Blender Brownies

And yet, completely true.

I spent the day researching "text-speech," but not the way you might think.  Someone argued that millenials are ruining the English language with their lazy text chat, and I knowwwwww that Shakespeare even used acronyms and abbreviations and that they were really popular in the 1800s.  So I went out to dig up N S A 2 Miss K T J.   So, I might have them on the brain.

But these brownies really do seem to be too good to be true, but they are 100% bonafide.

I have a freezer full of pureed squash and beets, and a hankering for comfort food due to the cold. But I'm also back on track, and trying to lose these last 45 lbs until my goal.  I wanted a treat for my hard work putting a self-proclaimed "grammar police" in their place.

So, I decided to play with some flour-less recipes.

I must have read 80.

And none were quite what I wanted, so I combined and  changed them and figured I'd see what happens. Because, while I try not to waste food, as I said. I have a LOT of squash.

The results are dark, moist, delicious, rich and chocolatey brownies with no hint of vegetable. You're going to need a glass of milk to go with these bad boys.

1 cup pureed butternut squash (or pumpkin, or acorn will work)
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp. Lakonto Monkfruit Sweetener (or sugar)
1/2 heaping cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. molasses (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all ingredients but the chips and blend well.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips.  It will still be a little soupy.
  4. Divvy up in your cupcake pan, 12 lined cups OR grease an 8x8.
  5. Bake 30-35 min.
  6. Cool completely if you're cutting. 10 minutes if you're starving to death.
Makes 12 brownies at 70 calories a piece made by recipe, but only 90 calories if you use white sugar!

*Special Note: Lakonto contains erythritol, which is 0 calorie and 0 glycemic. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Peanut Butter "Fudge"

I am working on rebooting my weight loss.  Since I've started having health issues, I've put almost 10 lbs back on due to inactivity.  It turns out you can't hike and burn thousands of calories when walking across campus leaves you weepy.

But I also have a sweet tooth, and not having any sweets makes me a little mean, so I need to make some sweets that I can still feel good about.

Enter beans.  Beans are great for baking and cooking with to add a bit of nutrition and cut down on other things. I'm craving fudge, so I spent the day doing research and gave it a shot.

The first batch was mediocre.  In part because there was no where near enough sugar in the recipe. It called for honey or maple syrup, so I went with honey. I didn't want maple peanut butter.

But also because while pureeing the beans my blender caught fire.

Yup. Literally started to smoke.

I decided to finish it anyway, with some serious elbow grease and my hand mixer, and it was ok. Nothing to scream about, and for the fat content (even reduced, peanut butter is pretty high, and coconut oil is too). It needed to be better.

So I made some changes.  I subbed out half of the chickpeas in the recipe, and swapped the honey for real sugar.  Some people will tell you honey is more natural, less processed, yadda yadda. But unless you're going to the farmer's market, that isn't true. Also, various tests show that honey and table sure are equally bad for you, in different ways. Go ahead, take a minute to google it, and weight whether you think it's worth the effort and cost.

I don't.

With my changes to what seems the base recipe via 80 bajillion blogs, I not only got a creamy, delicious fudge with a bit of texture, but also something that's vegan, and slightly lower in calories than the first batch despite the added sugar.

1/2 cup dried white/navy beans
1/2 cup dried chickpeas
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (cannot sub-provides the base)
1 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 Tbsp. butter.
  1. Soak beans overnight
  2. Cook the beans until tender.
  3. In a bowl, heat coconut oil and peanut butter until melted.
  4. Combine beans, peanut butter, oil, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor and cream until smooth.
  5. Check for sweetness, and add additional sugar by tablespoon. The mixture should be a little doughy, and shouldn't stick to the sides.
  6. Grease your 8x8 or 9x9 pan lightly with butter.
  7. Pack in peanut butter mixture, and freeze for 5 hours.
  8. Remove and cut into 16 squares. At this point, I individually wrap the squares and leave all but the one I want right now in the freezer.
  9. Let the fudge warm up a little, and enjoy. All the flavor, half the guilt.

Makes 16 pieces at 157 calories a piece compared to the 350 cals of the same size in your average homemade fudge.
11% of your daily protein per piece
19% of your dietary fiber

Monday, January 2, 2017

Easy Peasy Gumdrops

Making homemade candy isn't always cheaper than buying the store bought, but in my case, it's a lot more fulfilling and safer.  because I'm allergic to one specific shade of red-Red Dye 40.  Which, you know, happens to be the one in most US candies currently.  A lot of companies are phasing it out, but until they do so I have to be a bit picky about my candy.

My friend is saddened by this natural food movement because it means more things are coming out Red Dye 40 free, which means she no longer gets to eat my reds and pinks (and purples and oranges and sometimes even blues).

This year I stumbled across a while bunch of gumdrop recipes, before settling on Betty Crocker's Homemade Gumdrop recipe, which seems to be the base for most not including actual Jello with flavors and such already in it (another unsafe food).

This yields a slightly softer gumdrop than store bought, and I don't plan to keep them more than 2 weeks.  Because why would you?

I've broken each into chunks to make it easier to see what goes with what. The Crocker recipe isn't as clear, and I head to read about 5 more before I had a really good idea of what I needed to do.

Gelatin Mixture
3 packets knox, unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

Simple Syrup
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar

Flavor and Color
1/8-1/2 tsp. flavor
6-10 drops food color
  1. Coat an 8x8 square with nonstick spray.  Rub in to apply evenly. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle knox over 1/2 cup cold, cold water.  Let stand and set aside.
  3. In small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and the sugar for a simple syrup.
  4. Bring simple syrup to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer for exactly 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Scrape gelatin mixture in a bit at a time, carefully so as not to splash self with boiled sugar.  Stir in in between.
  8. Once gelatin mixture dissolved, remove any white floaters you see.
  9. Add color.
  10. Add flavor 1/8 tsp. at a time.  Dip tip of clean spoon in to taste test until flavor strength achieved. If using candy flavoring, will take very little. Normal flavoring anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. generally. I use a bit more than average because unflavored gelatin can have a pretty strong flavor.
  11. Pour into 8x8, and refrigerate overnight (8+ hours).
  12. Cover your work space with granulated sugar.
  13. Use a butter knife to release the gel carefully. I work around the edges and then carefully peel up like removing a sticker, using the knife like I would a finger nail.
  14. Flip out on sugar surface.
  15. Will be a bit sticky, but use a chefs knife to cut into ropes about 1 index finger wide.
  16. Roll through sugar to coat cut sides as you go.
  17. After cut into ropes, fill a cereal bowl halfway with granulated sugar.
  18. Use kitchen shears to snip off pieces of gel into sugar.  Coat thoroughly.
  19. Place on rack to dry for 48 hours. They will develop a crunchy sugar coating.
  20. Store in airtight container.
You can use juice instead of water, just not mango, pineapple, kiwi, fig, ginger root, guava, or papaya unless canned AND pasteurized. Juice with those fruits in it will cause the gelatin to not set. They contain a protein gobbling enzyme. For more on that, I recommend THIS episode of Good Eats.