Yogurt & Oat Pancakes

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Sweet breakfasts can be so good. Berry-filled crepes, French toast, pastry tarts. All of which can be healthy. All of which I’ve posted on this blog.

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But what I dislike about sweet breakfasts (only slightly…) is that they aren’t the most filling. Normally, I have to add a little peanut butter for protein and lots of fruit for fiber.

This recipe, however, is a sweet but stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast. The Greek yogurt and the hearty oats that can be mixed in make it very filling, enough to power you through any morning.

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 t whole-wheat flourSAM_4851

1 T rolled or steel-cut oats

1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (sub for coconut or almond varieties if you like)

2 T water (more or less depending on how runny/ thin you like your cakes)

1 t stevia

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powderSAM_4841

splash of vanilla

Directions

Heat your griddle to med-low setting. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Allow to warm.

-In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Then slowly add in yogurt, then vanilla, and then water as you like. For thicker cakes, use less water. For a few more cakes that are thinner, add more water.

-Pour pancake batter on griddle to the size of pancake you like. They will probably spread a bit. At this point, if you’d like to add in other ingredients, such as berries or chocolate chips, you can drop them on top while the bottom side of the cakes cook.SAM_4849

-When the edges begin to firm up a bit and bubbles are popping up through the top side, the cakes should be solid enough to flip. Do so carefully. They should be golden brown on each side.

Topping Ideas?

Yes, I always have lots of these! For this recipe, I mixed 1 T all-natural peanut butter with 1 T yogurt and a dash of honey. Fresh apples were chopped and added, too. Berries and honey would also be delicious.SAM_4847

Enjoy!

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

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If you know me, you know Happy Fit Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. A successful young mom running her way to happiness and writing about it. What’s not to love.SAM_5001
Oh, and on Wednesdays, she shares her healthy little recipes. Oftentimes, they sound delicious, but I never get around to trying them.
But you know how much I love soup, especially soup I can freeze in mason jars and grab any time I need a quick lunch to take to work.
So I tried her Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup one Saturday sometime back. It was delicious. The recipe, which serves about six, follows…SAM_4991
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Red, Yellow Or Orange Pepper (or combination), diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 14.5 Oz Vegetable Broth
  • 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
  • SAM_49971/2 Cup Zucchini, diced (optional)
  • Additional optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add red onion and pepper. Cook till softened.
  3. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn and zucchini (if using).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with toppings, such as diced avocado, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream and cilantro.

Skinny Monkey Cookies

I made you a big breakfast cookie recipe this morning.

Why?

With all the healthful ingredients in this recipe, you don’t have to feel bad about eating the whole recipe. I mean, this is a low-calorie, nutritious recipe, so indulge yourself a bit! Make a batch of little cookies (8-10) or one or two giant cookies.

I have a feeling you’re going to like this one–even my picky little sister did–and I bet it will keep your sweet tooth satiated for the rest of the day.

Ingredients

1 banana, somewhat ripe

1/3 cup + 1 T rolled oats

1 T whole-wheat flour

1 T + 1 t cocoa powder

dash of cinnamon

scantest pinch of salt

1.5 heaping T applesauce

splash of vanilla

Optional: 1 T nut butter

Directions

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-In a small bowl, mash up banana. If the banana is still too ripe to mash easily, you can ripen it quickly by popping it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

-Once banana is well mashed, start working on dry ingredients in another, slightly larger bowl. Mix well. Then add in mashed banana, applesauce, vanilla, and nut butter. Again, mix all ingredients well, trying to make sure that most of the chunks of banana are no longer visible.

-Bake for about 9-10 minutes. Per usual, the longer you bake, the crispier they’ll be.

I think these taste so good super soft, but then again, I’m not a crispy-cookie kind of gal. You’ll just have to try it out and see for yourself!

Pizza Hummus Dip

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Having eaten more St. Louis-style Italian dishes than one can imagine, I know all too well that what makes a perfect Italian dish is a perfect blend of seasonings. I have my favorites. This recipe, modified from Drizzle and Drip’s version, is similar to the season blends I love, plus I add in a few twists.SAM_4910

I actually prepared this hummus for a Super Bowl Party in early February. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the somewhat chunky consistency of my hummus–the enriching aspects of being a graduate student also come with less enriching realities, like mediocre food processors–it was still a big hit at the party. Again, I blame a good blend of seasonings and one of my favorite all time flavors, simmered tomato.

Try it out! It’s especially good with lightly toasted pita triangles. And if you’re looking to make it even more similar to regular pizza, throw some cheese on top.SAM_4902

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T chopped onions
  • 2 T  tomato paste
  • 2t dried oregano
  • 1t  dried basil /or finely chopped fresh (I used fresh because I didn’t have dry)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tin of  chickpeas /garbanzo beans , drained and rinsed – (but save the liquid)
  • 2 T cup tahini
  • 1T fresh lemon juiceSAM_4907
  • optional: 1t  sea salt / kosher salt
  • optional: ground caraway seed

Directions

-In a small pan, add olive oil, onions, and the first two herbs. Simmer for a minute or so, then add in tomato paste. Simmer another minute.

-Add in chickpeas and garlic. Simmer 3-4 minutes so the flavors become more robust.

-Transfer to food processor. Start processing.

-If your food processor is awful like mine, gradually add in the chickpeas and paste. Alternate settings. Stir frequently and gradually start introducing the tahini, lemon juice, a little more olive oil if you like, salt, and caraway. (Caraway gives a nice pizza spice flavor, I think, but that may be a uniquely St. Louisan preference.)

-Continue to process until you reach a consistency you like. If the dip starts to look too dry, you can add in some of the chickpea juice or more olive oil to keep it moist. Sprinkle with some more Italian herbs and serve with your favorite veggies or pita triangles.

DIY VitaTop Muffins (and Cookies!)

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VitaTop muffins are oh so good, but hardly cheap. Why can’t we just make our own for less?SAM_4876

We can!

This recipe posted by Healthy is Always Better is pretty good, especially if you have a good food processor that can easily flour rolled oats. (I mention this because mine is not the best.) The more “floured-down” the oats, the better the dough.

Oh, and if you’re confused about the cookie-muffin tops pictured above, well, I made them small enough to double as cookies, which I then made into ice cream sammies (pictured at the bottom of this post). Mmm.Mmm.Mmm!SAM_4875

Makes 1 muffin or 2 medium-sized muffin tops.

Ingredients

2.3 T oats

.5 t or less of egg white

2 t unsweetened applesauce

pinch of vanilla

2 t vanilla yogurt (Greek may work as well)SAM_4866

tiny pinch of cream of tartar (or .33 t vinegar)

pinch of baking powder, baking soda, and salt

1.3 T hot water

1.5 t stevia

Optional: Chocolate chips

DirectionsSAM_4863

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a cupcake liner or lightly grease a muffin tin. Set aside.

-In a food processor, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips. Blend until dough is smooth and well mixed. Remove and mix in chips.

-Scoop dough into tin and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and place a few chocolate chips on top for aesthetics :).

-Place back in oven for another 2-3 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

-Cool muffins (or muffin tops, or muffin ice cream sammies!) and enjoy.

Key Lime Cake with Whipped Yogurt Frosting

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I’ve written about how I’m not crazy about cake mixes. They usually have hydrogenated oils, but sometimes I get lucky and find one that doesn’t.SAM_4933

Or if I’m really lucky, one that uses whole, unrefined sugars and flours. But that’s rare.

But people like those cake mixes so much! It’s hard to please a crowd with unrefined tastebuds.

So here’s a compromise I made for a very special someone’s birthday. He likes key lime pie, a lot. Now he likes key lime cake, too.

IngredientsSAM_4921

1 box of angel food cake

1 large lime or two small

1 container of key-lime-flavored yogurt

1/3 cup healthy whipped topping (try a soy type or Troo Whip)

DirectionsSAM_4931

-Prepare the angel food cake as directed, but add in some fresh lime zest and a little squeeze of juice at the end. The cake should still taste light and fluffy with just a hint of lime flavor, most of which comes from the topping

-Let cake cool, of course. But once it cools completely, you can begin making the whipped yogurt topping. It’s as simple as mixign the yogurt and whipped topping together, drizzling all over the cake, serving chilled, and if you like, sprinkling with fresh zest or coconut shreds.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

 

Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Clusters

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This past Valentine’s Day was spent making…SAM_4978

Wait for it! You’ll never guess what.

Making desserts, of course!

You know me too well by now. I recommend, however, getting to know this incredibly easy recipe for chocolate-covered pomegranate candies. Normally melting chocolate and waiting for it to harden is a cooking task I avoid. I don’t like the mess and the fast-moving pace of melted chocolate, but this one is so easy. It’s almost too good to be true. SAM_4989

Ingredients

1 cup pomegranate arils

6 oz. dark chocolate

Directions

Lay a dry paper towel across a ceramic plate (light-colored plastic ones may stain due to the dark color of the pomegranate juice). Spread arils across this and let them “dry off” for an hour or so.SAM_4987

Once they’re dry enough–and let them be as dry as possible because moisture causes chocolate to seize, leading to ugly candies, uglier messes–start working on the chocolate.

To prepare the chocolate, you can try a double-broiler technique. I’m always in a hurry, though, so what I did was break the chocolate into smaller pieces.

Microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir. Microwave another 15-20 seconds. You’ll know the chocolate is melted enough when there are a few chunks left that can be stirred out. This is a good consistency to achieve since chocolate that melts entirely in the microwave may start to burn.

Now you have to move fast! In the chocolate bowl, gently fold in arils until mostly covered. Take a spoon and begin scooping them out in clusters and transferring to a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet. When all the arils have been scooped out. I recommend transferring them to the freezer for about fifteen minutes.

I like them served chilled, but gnosh on this dripping-in-chocolate delicious fruit candy however you please.

 

Quick-Fix Angel Food Cake

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Do you every just want an easy dessert? A quick dessert? And ideally, a healthy dessert?

I can help.

I’ve introduced you to my Instant Brownie Trick.This one’s similar, but features angel food cake. I love angel food cake because it’s one of the few packaged cake mixes you can find in stores that isn’t made with hydrogenated oils. I tell people to avoid these modified fats at all costs. Yes, I would like this dessert trick so much better if it was less refined, too, but in moderation–and for the sake of being easy–I like it just fine.SAM_4956

So here’s how easy it is to make: Pick a safe, trans-fat free cake mix (make sure it says 0g Trans Fats AND no hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list), determine an appropriate portions size, divide and portion accordingly, prepare as directed, only reducing bake times and temperatures if necessary.

So for example, if a box of angel food cake gives 12 servings, determine how many ounces are in each serving by dividing the ounces written on the front of the package by 12. Use a measuring cup or spoon that lists ounces on side, if possible. Likewise, if the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of water, you would divide that by 12, too, making it so that you need only give 1 T of water instead of 12 (16 T = 1 cup).SAM_4958

Okay, to do this you obviously need some knowledge (or research skills) to figure out conversions. This could thwart the purpose of quick and easy baking, yes, but every good baker knows his or her conversion rates. I recommend learning them. It can only help, right? And if you like math, it’s kind of fun.

You can bake in the oven as directed, but I’d recommend dropping the baking temperature a few degrees and, of course, cut the baking time down by at least a third of the usual time. I actually made mine in the microwave, believe it or not. Just like my instant brownie, the finished product won’t be as moist as possible, but a minute and a half on high will make it as fast as possible, and it’ll still taste so sweet.

I topped mine with some fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of stevia. I’d love to hear other topping ideas though!

Mint-Chip Ice Cream

Turning green with envy?

Or green with disgust?

Hopefully, it’s the former. This pretty little green ice cream–pretty by my standards, at least–might turn some away in disgust, but true lovers of the mint-chocolate combo will crave.

And feel free to crave away, because your craving need not be accompanied by guilt. Why?

It’s made with bananas! And the green coloring doesn’t require food dye, although you’re welcome to use that if you like.

Makes one big serving of mint-chip ice cream

Ingredients

1 large, frozen banana, chopped into small rounds

1/4 cup frozen spinach (or food coloring)

2-3 drops peppermint extract

splash of vanilla

dash of stevia

1-2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a small blender, mix banana rounds, spinach, extract, vanilla, and stevia ’til smooth cream forms.

Remove from blender. Shape into ice cream if need be and top with chips.

If any of the banana melts down or gets too runny, simply freeze for a few minutes.

Would you have ever guessed those were bananas just by looking at them? I certainly wouldn’t.

Hope you think this recipe is as cool as I do… and find it as tasty, too!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Crock-Pot

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Remember my adorable Crock-Pot? The one with the damask pattern my mom surprised me with? I used it like crazy over winter break, and now I’m back at it again, Crock-Pottin’ away (my new favorite verb). SAM_4942

Lately, I’ve been using it a lot to create tasty soups. I’ve blogged about this before, lots actually, that I love making big portions of soup.

Yes, this sort of goes against my single-serving approach, but it’s the one kind of cuisine I (1) can’t get enough of, and (2) one that I actually like having as leftovers. Why go against my usual routine? Because soups freeze so well. They almost never taste like leftovers.

Here’s what I do: After making a big batch of soup, I portion the remaining soup out to mason jars and old glass salsa jars I’ve saved. I like to freeze in glass because it’s more sustainable, reheats well, and freezing glass doesn’t break down chemical compounds as plastic containers do. So anytime I need a quick lunch-on-the-go, I grab one from the freezer in the morning, let it thaw throughout the day (leading up to lunch), and then heat it right in the glass jar. It’s kind of fun eating soup from a little glass jar, but you can always pour it into a bowl if you don’t get a kick out of that like I do.SAM_4947

So to make this very easy Crock-Pot soup, here’s what you need and need to do:

Ingredients
4 cups water
2 cans cream of chicken (or mushroom or celery) soup
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (10 oz.)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or -10 oz. bag)
1 t garlic pepper seasoning
1.5 cups dried egg or rotini noodlesSAM_4952

Directions
-Turn the Crock-Pot on low if you have time to let it cook for 6-8 hours, high if you only have 3-4 hours.
-Stir in water, then condensed soup until well blended.
-Add in chicken, vegetables, and seasoning. Cover and cook.
-About 20-30 minutes before serving, add in the dry noodles. If you’re using the low setting, switch now to high. Serve once noodles are tender.