Celebrating healthier appetites for food, exercise, and life!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Apparently, I am a quasi-Vegetarian

I was looking over what I've eaten over the past seven days and realized that I've eaten meat only once. Huh. I know that meat has seemed less and less appealing to me lately, though I'm sure I'll never stop eating it all together. I have a bunch of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks checked out of the library, and have been perusing them for easy recipes that don't have a lot of servings or exotic ingredients. I'm pleasantly surprised by how many I've found, though it seems I would be eating a lot of beans and lentils if I don't want to eat fake meat. I'm okay with that. Tonight we're going out to a bbq place. Normally I'd want to get ribs or pulled bbq. I'm kind of leaning toward salad or salmon though. A nice, big salad sounds so good right now.

Anyway, I tried a new banana muffin recipe and we all liked it quite well. I fiddled with the original a bit, so here's my incarnation.

Banana Banana Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1/4 c butter
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
5 bananas, very ripe
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Place the peeled bananas in a large bowl and beat them well with an electric mixer. The riper the bananas and the more you beat them, the more tender your muffins will be. There will still be some lumps, however.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Add the butter, applesauce, and eggs to the banana and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir JUST until the batter is thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into greased muffin cups - mine just about filled the 12 cup pan

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack in the pan; then remove and cool completely.

Delicious with Barney Butter!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Made Up a Recipe!

If you knew me, you'd know that I enjoy cooking and baking immensely, but I ALWAYS have to follow a recipe. In fact, I obsessively check the recipe every other step in the recipe to make sure I'm doing everything okay. Since I've been reading food blogs, I've noticed that people seem to make up recipes with abandon, tossing all sorts of ingredients together and ending up with delicious sounding concoctions. I have little scribbled notes everywhere with things like mashed garbanzo bean sandwiches and almond dip directions on them. When I got ready for lunch last Friday, nothing really appealed to me, but I spotted some Kashi whole grain pilaf that I needed to use up, and started thinking about how good it would taste with some beans and sauteed veggies. So I totally made something up and it was delicious!

I sauteed some minced garlic, an onion, a green pepper, mushrooms, and some celery with a spritz of olive oil cooking spray while I cooked one package from the box of pilaf (I think it originally came with 3 or 4 little packets). To the veggies, I added a can of kidney beans that I'd drained and rinsed, as well as a jar of locally made salsa. I thought about making it a Mexican tasting dish with chili pepper and cumin, but saw a bottle of garam masala in the spice cupboard, and tossed some of that in instead, along with some turmeric, a bit of curry and black pepper. I stirred in the pilaf and YUM! It turned out to be quite delish. For some reason, I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but it looked tasty too. I ended up with about five servings that were quite filling.


My family LOVES pancakes. I've tried a lot of recipes for them, and found one that's FABULOUS. It isn't the healthiest, though, since it has melted butter and uses all white flour. I came across this recipe somewhere, and my family really liked it. The pancakes were tender and fluffy. I didn't take a picture of them because they looked like any other pancake you've ever had. My husband and 7-year-old don't like it, but I make a fruit syrup for waffles or pancakes that my 12-year-old and I love. Just combine 3 cups of frozen fruit (I usually use raspberries and blueberries) with 1/2 cup of real maple syrup and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Simmer until you like the texture - I like to let a lot of the berries break. It's great on waffles too - and I like to mix the leftovers into plain yogurt, either as a snack or with oatmeal to make overnight oats.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
makes 12 pancakes

3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
1 T canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Lightly spoon flours into dry measureing cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and egg white; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. There will be lumps and bumps.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet (I use an electric skillet at about 355 degrees); coat with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 c of batter for each pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

homemade salad dressing

I have always thought making homemade salad dressing was a big pain, and rarely do it. I still kind of think that, but this sounded so yummy, I tried it out. I liked it, though I had to add some extra orange juice to make it less of a dip and more of a dressing. It looks kind of...well, maybe we shouldn't think about it. It was pretty delish though. I think I'd add some more garlic when making it again.

Avocado Ctirus Dressing
makes about 2 cups - 11 cal per T

1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1/3 c orange juice
5 T lime juice
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper (I used 1/8 tsp)

Blend all in a blender til smooth. It will get thick in the fridge, but will thin out when warmed a bit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

enjoying muffins that won't give you muffin top

I baked these muffins for me, but - amazingly - my 12-year-old loved them. My husband ate one, but didn't comment on it, so I'm not sure if he liked it or not. Anyway, they were quite tasty, especially with some Barney Butter. I used raspberries.

Banana Berry Muffins
12 muffins - 111 calories each

1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas
1 c plain nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 T honey
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c wheat germ
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
Stir the bananas, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and honey together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir in the wheat germ. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined. Gently fold in the berries.

Spoon the batter into a 12-cup muffin tin that has been oiled (or use papers). About 1/2 c of batter fits into each cup - the cups will be full to the brim. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees, til a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegetarian Lentil Chili

I've been feeding my family a lot of vegetarian meals lately. It's definitely a challenge, since they don't enjoy a wide variety of vegetables. They do seem to enjoy most dishes with lentils, so I tried this vegetarian chili - and it was a hit! They ate it with shredded cheese on it, and scooped it up with tortilla chips. I added Sriracha hot sauce and extra chili powder  to mine. I think it would be good with Ro-tel or salsa instead of the tomatoes, and if I had lots of time, I'd have used fresh veggies and garlic. It was nice to use the convenient canned and frozen stuff on a working weeknight.

Vegetarian Lentil Chili
6 servings, about 1.5 c each - about 325 cal each
4 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz pkg frozen chopped green peppers
1 12-oz pkg frozen chopped onions
2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/4 c chili powder
2 T garlic powder
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
In an 8-qt Dutch oven combine undrained tomatoes, rinsed and drained beans, 3 cups of water, green peppers, onions, dry lentils, chili powder, and garlic powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1/8 tsp black pepper; heat through.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I never tried eggplant in my life until about 6 months ago. I tried roasting it and thought it was pretty good, but haven't made it much since then. I found a recipe somewhere for an eggplant spread that sounded tasty and whipped it up, though I changed it a bit. I'm not sure it looks all that appetizing in this photo, but it was quite tasty when scooped up with Kashi crackers!

Eggplant Spread
made about 2 1/2 cups

1 medium eggplant (about a pound)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 c chopped onions
1 tsp ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh chile (I used a Poblano, which probably wasn't the best choice since it took forever to get tender. Next time I'd try either an Anaheim (mild but more tender) or habanero (hot!))
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
~1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
big squeeze of Sriracha hot sauce

Prick the eggplant a few times with a fork, put it on a baking sheet, and roast at 425 degrees until soft, about 30 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool

While the eggplant roasts, heat the oil in a large skillet on med-high heat, add the cumin, onions, ginger, and garlic and let them sizzle for 10 seconds or so. Lower the heat to med-low and cook until onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 12 min. I added a little water as I went because it was starting to stick. Add the chile, tomatoes, and salt, and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and their juice has mostly evaporated, about 15 min

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh, coarsely chop it, and add it to the skillet. Stir in the cilantro and cook for about 5 min, until everything is heated through. Give it a whirl in the food processor and serve it warm or cold.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Applesauce Bread

I made this bread and my family gobbled it down in one day! I think I got one piece and wow, was it delicious. It tasted like cake. I haven't yet experimented to see how it would turn out with partly whole wheat flour. I think it would probably be good with any fruit puree, or with nuts added (or chocolate chips!).

Peanut Butter Applesauce Bread

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the sugar, peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until smooth. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Add the prepared flour mixture and stir just until moist and there are no traces of flour visible. It may be a bit grainy.

Spoon into a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 min, then turn loaf out nto rack and cool til room temp, about an hour. Store at room temp for 4 days or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Feeling Great Every Day

I read a reference to this article on another blog and I really like the tone of it. Well, the beginning of it. I'm not going to start eating more raw foods - I like my food cooked! But the part about making today the best day of your life -- I like that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lentils During Lent

My picky family likes lentil soup and lentil chili, so I tried just plain old baked lentils. Only my 7-year-old tasted them, but she loved them over rice. They were pretty darn good, I must say.

Honey Baked Lentils
1/2 lb green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 T soy sauce
1/4 c chopped onions
1/2 c water
2 1/2 T honey
In a saucepan, combine 2 1/2 c water, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat, simmering for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine dry mustard, ginger, soy sauce, onions, and 1/2 c water. Add to lentils, and pour honey on top.

Cover and bake 45 min. or so. Serve over rice.