Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fake Out Brownies

After mentioning these sneaky brownies elsewhere, I was asked to post the recipe. And I'm glad to do it. This recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld's book 'Deceptively Delicious.' I can't tell you how much I love this cookbook, and how much inspiration for veggie hiding it has given me.

One thing about these brownies...let them cool before you eat them. The spinach flavor doesn't totally go away till they're cool.


Nonstick cooking spray

3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
( I used chocolate chips)
1/2 cup carrot puree (After peeling and trimming the ends, steam for 10-12 minutes and then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup spinach puree (Steam for 30 to seconds, then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
(I used butter)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large egg whites
3/4 cup oat flour, or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame (or do it in the microwave, just watch it closely). In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

133 calories per brownie, 3 grams fiber

Friday, April 9, 2010

Make These Now, Thank (or Slap) Me Later : Cherry Almond Oat Bars

I'm supposed to be dieting.

But I keep making cookies. It's a problem, truly. My only saving grace is training for a half marathon. I can justify a cookie now and then.

The problem with these? I can eat them all day. Okay, who am I fooling...I can eat any kind of cookie all day. There is a reason my nickname is Cookie Monster.

I absolutely LOVE these cookies. Not only because they are delicious - they are also simple to knock together.

And? They remind me of the cherry crisp we used to get on our lunch trays in grade school. In a good way.

Cherry Almond Oat Bars

Makes: 16 bars

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cold egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cherry preserves (I like Bonne Maman - you could probably use canned cherry pie filling too. Or substitute your favorite preserves.)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 inch baking pan with foil (hint: form the foil around the outside of the pan then drop it into the inside of the pan).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and use your clean hands to mix the dough until coarse crumbs appear. Beat egg and almond extract in a small bowl, then drizzle over dough mixture. Knead with your fingertips till clumpy.

Place 2/3 of the dough into the foil lined pan and press into the bottom to create an even layer. Spread the preserves atop the dough. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the preserves.

Bake until the edges are slightly golden - 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely, then turn them out of the pan. Remove the foil and cut into squares (use a pizza cutter - so easy!).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Five Layer Mexican Dip

This week I'm hosting over at Craving Ellie in My Belly - and I chose Ellie Krieger's Five Layer Mexican dip (link to original recipe here). Just a side note, I'm not sure how this is FIVE layers...I counted three. Maybe four, if cheese is a layer. Anyhow...

I wanted to make something snack-y, because the biggest snack day all year is coming up - SUPER BOWL!

Did you know the Super Bowl is the highest chip consumption day of the year? True story. So, it makes sense to make something healthy to dip those chips into. I mean, I love onion dip as much as the next person, but my love handles tell another story...

So, how does this stack up to other dips? I loved it! I tried to feed it to the G-Rex, but being two years old, it was a little spicy for his palate.

And, it's very pretty. I love pretty food. I threw a little extra cilantro on top to make it pop. Sorry to all the cilantro haters out there (p.s. what is WRONG with you?).

I made very few modifications to the original recipe. I left out the jalapeno (Thank God. I had no idea how HOT chipotles in adobo are. Holy heat, Batman).

I did find the dip to be a little watery after being in the fridge for a while - SO - either serve it immediately, or omit the extra water the black bean portion of the dip calls for. And drain the black beans really, REALLY well. I'd probably even pat them down on a paper towel.

Without further ado, I bring you:

Five Layer Mexican Dip (courtesy of Ellie Krieger and


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo

4 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn kernels (10-ounce box frozen corn)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 ripe avocados
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar

How to:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.

Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor with the black beans, chipotle pepper, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin and salt. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.

In a small bowl mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice. In a medium bowl toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeno, if using. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass baking or serving dish. Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese. Serve with baked chips.

Per Serving:

Calories 140; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 0.7 g) ; Protein 5g; Carb 16 g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 245 mg

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Green Curry Chicken Soup

This soup - well, it's awesome. Warm and exotic - and did I mention low calorie? YES. It's a win - win, baby.

If you want the recipe, I've posted it over here today... you should totally go check it out!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Super Secret Family Recipe...Shhhh. Brun Kager

For many years my husband has waxed poetic about these cookies his mom makes.

I asked for the recipe several times, and always got the 'oh yeah, I'll have to write it down...' But the recipe never materialized.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with her and she HAD THE RECIPE! I grabbed a pen and a receipt out of my purse and scrawled the recipe down. It was pretty cryptic. So, I had to make a few batches before I got them right. Or, as my husband says, ALMOST like his mom's. Ha. Ha ha.

I think they're pretty darn good. A great cookie with a cup of coffee or tea.

By the way, I've found many other recipes for Brun Kager online, none like this one. Most I've found are more like a spice cookie. So imagine all the failed attempts I had before I got the actual recipe from my MIL. Gah.

Brun Kager (Brown Cookie)


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 Tbs Lyles Golden Syrup (would be by the Karo Syrup, if the store has it. I found mine at Cost Plus World Market)
2 cups plus 2 Tbs flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (usually located next to the vanilla extract - not all stores have it)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup.

Sift flour baking soda and vanilla powder together. Add to wet ingredients. Mix well. This dough is SUPER DRY. Think biscuit dough.

Once the dough is combined, form into four equal balls. Roll each ball out into a hot dog-esque shape, about 3/4 - 1" in diameter (the recipe I was given said wieners - I am totally five years old - I laughed every time I looked at it). This is what it will look like:

I'm showing an example because this is where I was hung up. For some reason I thought I had to cut them into little disks from the wiener. WIENER.

No. The wieners go into the oven WHOLE.

Bake for 15 minutes. The dough will spread out. Cut on the diagonal while still warm. Let cool a bit, and devour.

I would post a photo of the finished cookies, but I forgot to take a shot before they were all gone. What can I say? We're cookie monsters.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Got Apples?

This post is dedicated to Jenny, who is going to kill me if I don't post something on this here blog. Which, yes, has been dreadfully neglected! I will work on that! I promise! I honestly haven't been cooking much these days unless you count Instant Breakfast shakes, grilled cheese and Ensure - but now that I am no longer a caregiver, I get to cook the stuff I like again (the person I was caring for has completed cancer treatment and is back at her home).

That said, I AM watching what I eat, so I'm not making this right now. Why? Because it is so good I could sit and eat the entire pan with a spoon.

Oh yeah, I love the name of this dish too. I'm not sure where this recipe is from (I got it from a luncheon), but I would wager either a garden club or church cookbook.

Apple Impromptu

4 cups sliced apples
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange apple slices in a 9-inch greased pan or pie plate. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. While apples are baking, cream together ¾ cup sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Stir in flour and baking powder. When apples have baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven and spread topping mixture over all. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can garnish with whipped cream, if you like.

Makes six respectable servings or one embarrssing/comfort eating sized serving.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grilled Thai Beef Salad

Of all the Ellie Krieger recipes I've tried so far, this one is HANDS DOWN my favorite. Dare I say it? The perfect summer meal.

I modified the recipe a bit (as usual) - I added more veggies, used scallions instead of shallots, put a little sesame oil and rice vinegar in the marinade/dressing, and threw some rice noodles in to give it a bit more heft so it would be more of an entree type dish.

The original recipe is here.

And this is what I did:

Thai Beef Salad (adapted from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger)

1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste
1/2 head green leaf lettuce (about 6 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
1 cup rice noodles

Make it:

Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag. Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.

Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Let rest until room temperature then slice thinly against the grain.

Soak rice noodles in boiling water till softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water to halt cooking and bring noodle temperature down.

Combine lettuce, scallions, red pepper, carrots, rice noodles, cilantro, basil and beef in a salad bowl, reserving a few scallions for garnish. Add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with reserved sliced shallots.

A few notes:
- As always, USE FRESH GINGER. Store what you don't use in the freezer in an airtight container.
- Next time I make this, I may go a little lighter on the basil. It was a little overpowering for my taste.
- Cucumber would be lovely in this salad.