Archive for April, 2008

What You’ve Been Dreaming Of

April 27, 2008

Oh wow. Check out the chocolate on these babies. I had some light sour cream left over from the Cranberry-Cardamom muffins and decided to do some experimenting with that recipe as my base. The result was fat-free (not counting the pb and chocolate chip extras), super moist, chocolately beyond belief, and absolutely delicious!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 banana, mashed, plus enough light sour cream to make 1 cup between both ingredients
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
natural peanut butter
dark chocolate chips

(1) Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, all of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
(2) In another bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in the 1 cup of banana/light sour cream mixture, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in wet. Stir until combined.
(3) Fill well-greased muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Pour a little under a teaspoon of peanut butter on top of each cupcake, and swirl into batter to create a marbled look. Top with a few chocolate chips. Bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. You should get about 12 cupcakes.

My review: These were honestly so good. Since I based them off of a muffin recipe, I was going to call them muffins, but these taste wayyy too decadent to be called anything less than cupcakes. I was so impressed with the rich chocolate flavour and the moist, dense texture. The peanut butter and chocolate chip topping are totally optional, but they added a great extra note. I don’t count calories, but in case you’re wondering, each cupcake has around 150 calories- of course, it also depends on how generous you are with toppings :0). I highly recommend these, and would even use this recipe to make a birthday cake. I doubt anyone would guess it was fat-free!

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Return of the Forgotten Spice

April 24, 2008

My post title sounds like a bad movie sequel- in reality this is a tale about my spice cabinet (which really isn’t much of an improvement in terms of my lameness, haha). Anyway, I have a fairly extensive spice cabinet. I like to buy in bulk and then label pretty glass jars for my spices, (and here I go down the lame trail again), but I’m proud of my collection πŸ™‚ Seeing as there are so many little jars crowding my pantry, sometimes spices get lost. Such was the case with cardamom. I’ve only ever used it a couple of times when making Chai, so I had pretty much forgotten I even had it until I stumbled upon a recipe for Cranberry-Cardamom muffins. Of course I tinkered with it extensively, so here is my version:

Cranberry-Cardamom Muffins

1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
generous 1/4 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup applesauce
generous 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
almond slivers
coarse sugar

(1) Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour, all of the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Stir to combine, then add in cranberries and mix.
(2) In another bowl, lightly beat eggs and then add in sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined.
(3) Fill well-greased muffin pan 3/4 of the way full with batter. Top with almond slivers and coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until a tooothpick inserted into muffin top comes out dry. Makes 12 muffins.

My review: These were quite good! Not my favourite muffin ever, but definitely different- I’ve never tasted cardamom in baked goods before and it lends quite a nice, spicy note. Even after healthifying and defatting, they rose up tall and cakey with a great taste and texture. If you wanted to make them a little richer, sub in some white flour for the whole wheat, use full-fat sour cream and butter instead of applesauce. I had some minor problems with sticking to the muffin pan, so I recommend letting these babies cool for a few minutes before you begin the extraction process (I had to say that, sounds so geeky and technical and more like tooth pulling than muffin removal). Do NOT leave out the almond slivers and sugar topping- they make the top so crunchy and sweet, definitely the best part! I think I’d even add some cinnamon into the topping, just to throw another complimentary flavour in the mix. Fresh cranberries made these muffins a little tart, so if you prefer a sweeter taste I think I’d use dried cranberries soaked in some orange juice for plumpness as a substitute. And I know this one is tough, but I really encourage you not to judge them based on how they taste fresh out of the oven- a couple of hours were needed for the flavours to really develop. All in all, a great breakfast muffin. I found them to be filling and delicious both with a little butter and even with peanut butter (but then again, what isn’t good with peanut butter?!?)
Last exam tomorrow!!!! Have a great day everyone, and thanks for all of the good luck wishes for this last test πŸ™‚

…And Brownies For Lunch!!!

April 22, 2008

I’ve been living under a rock. I had my first Larabar today, and it actually blew my mind. This thing is a brownie. Seriously. It was so good, I might go out and buy an entire box of this flavour. I don’t know why I waited so long to try one, since I love (love!!!!!) dates and nuts make everything better.

I have one more exam left and then I am done my degree!!!! All this studying has been brutal, I managed to squeeze in time for a run today and I had to find a way to stretch my bum- it was sore from all the sitting studying I’ve been doing! I have been sooo busy, it will be nice to have some free time to run and read and COOK of course. I’ve been living vicariously through everyone else’s blogged-about dinners as mine have been less than stellar lately.

At least my last exam is in my favourite class- International Trade and Finance. I might just be in love with my prof. He brings in his kids’ lego to teach us economic models.

Cookies for Breakfast!?

April 20, 2008

Kelly T. is a genius. I woke up wanting oatmeal, but I was too hot for both oatmeal and coffee, and I certainly wasn’t saying no to the coffee. Then I remembered the oatmeal recipe on Kelly’s blog- she basically mixes up a bowl of oatmeal, then bakes it cookie-style to make hand-held portable oats. I cut the recipe in half, because I only had 1 cup of oats left. I didn’t really measure, I just threw 1 cup of oats into a big bowl with half of a banana, a big spoonful of peanut butter, and another spoonful of honey. Mashed all that up, then I added in some raisins and poured a little boiling water over it all. I was afraid that my batter was too runny, but my cookies held together great! Kelly says she bakes hers for 30 minutes but I got a little impatient after 13 so I took them out then. They tasted just like a bowl of oatmeal πŸ™‚ I think next time I’ll use a little more PB to get a stronger flavour, but otherwise these were perfect.

Trying it Out

April 19, 2008

I’m not sure yet if this will be a regular occurrence, however I did take pictures of everything I ate today and so I’m deciding to post it just to get a feel for it πŸ™‚

Breakfast was a baked oatmeal square that I made a few weeks ago and froze. I stuck it in the fridge overnight to thaw out, then this morning threw it in the microwave for 30 seconds then under the broiler to crisp it up. I think I liked the texture better after these were frozen, it was so dense and filling πŸ™‚ I used Kath’s recipe, which is right here. I topped my baked oatmeal with peanut butter and honey, and of course I had a cup (ok tankard, my cup is massive) of coffee.


I remembered Miss Chocolate Covered’s challenge to try a new food so while in the grocery store today I grabbed a small carton of soy yogurt to try. I love yogurt, so I wasn’t sure how the soy kind would compare. Well…I loved it!!! It was awesome!!! It had more sugar than I would like to have in a yogurt, but for the sweetened kind I think I prefer soy over milk. I had my peach soy yogurt with a mango and a banana, and then an hour later I went back to the kitch for a piece of toast with pb & j. So good πŸ™‚


For dinner I made vcon’s black bean burgers. These are so freaking good, I make them twice a month, and I’m not one to repeat recipes all that often. I topped it with some laughing cow cheese and had a salad with toasted almond slivers, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar.


I also made a black bean burger sandwich for my boyfriend- he loves these things πŸ™‚ He’s so healthy, what a good boy hahaha.

I had a snack in there too, some licorice while studying with a friend- but all that did was remind me that I don’t like candy. I’m a chocolate girl, definitely πŸ™‚ Have a great night everyone!!

The Perfect Poached Egg

April 17, 2008

This might sound a little weird. Don’t be scared. Just trust me, you can make a perfect poached egg with the 4 things pictured right here:


Fill a large pot with a generous amount of water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer after that. Tear off a big square of plastic wrap and line a cup with it. You can spray it with a little cooking spray if you think it might stick, but I haven’t had such problems yet.


Crack the egg into the well


Gather up the plastic wrap around the egg, and tie the bundle with another piece of plastic wrap (or just make a knot in this one if there’s enough room)


Toss the egg into the simmering water. Cover the pot and set the timer for 4 minutes for a set white and runny yolk (I’m not sure how long you’d go to get a done yolk, you’d have to experiment).

When your 4 minutes are up, take your little egg bundle out of the water and set it on some paper towel. Unwrap gently so you don’t break the yolk! Using a spoon to scoop the egg up is the easier way to transfer it to a plate.

And there you have it, the perfect poached egg!
I might be back later tonight with some baking…we’ll see. I’m half done exams and my next one isn’t until Tuesday, so I have a little bit of time off. I hope the weather is as gorgeous for you as it is for me right now- 23C in Montreal!!! (73F maybe? warm!!!)
Oh and the Canadians are playing Boston tonight in what is sure to be an awesome game…. GO HABS!!!!!!!!!

Coconoats!

April 16, 2008

Breakfast today was so much fun! The picture totally does not do these oats justice, they were delicious πŸ™‚

Coconoats

2/3 cup water
pinch of salt
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp honey
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small banana, mashed
2 tbsp dried blueberries

(1) In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Add salt and oats, simmer until oats are cooked.
(2) Stir in honey, coconut milk, lemon extract, cinnamon, and the mashed banana. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thick (roughly 10 minutes).
(3) Mix in dried blueberries and serve. Makes one bowlful.
I thought up so many ways to top these! Toasted almond slivers, shredded coconut, lemon curd, lemon glaze made with icing sugar and fresh lemon juice- but unfortunately I didn’t have any of these on hand. So I just mixed together some plain yogurt and a little maple syrup and poured that on top.
I have sooo much studying to do today. I wrote my Chemistry of Food final exam last night (loved that class) and I have Literature of the Romantic Period tomorrow. Really excited to be done with the Romantics though, I am definitely not a fan. The exam is part identification and (I find, at least) that all the poetry from this time period sounds the same! And they all write odes to each other and whatnot…Ok, enough with my complaining, time to get some work done. Hope everyone else has a great day :0)

To Make Your Kitchens Feel Good About Themselves

April 16, 2008

This is how big my kitchen is:

I have textbooks with a larger surface area than that countertop. Needless to say, cooking anything that requires a lot of chopping and prep work is all too often an exercise in organizational creativity. Oh well, only two more weeks left in this apartment!

Breakfast du Jour

April 15, 2008

Tomorrow, I am going to teach myself how to upload photos, but for tonight I’m just going to post the recipe for my new favourite breakfast (Edit: photos are added!). I was inspired by the lovely Chocolate Covered Vegan’s recipe for a rice pudding that uses oatmeal instead of rice. Intrigued, I dove into my massive bag of oats and came up with this sweet and filling concoction. Seriously, one bowl of these voluminous oats can keep me satisfied for 5 hours! Now that’s a breakfast one can love! The dominant taste in this oatmeal will be banana- I like pumpkin but not when it’s too prominent. I use it mostly to give a wonderful golden orange color and also to add some more nutrients.

Pumpkin-Banana Oatmeal Pudding

1 cup water
pinch of salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
scant 1/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk of your choice
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 banana, mashed

(1) In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add salt and oats and simmer until oats are cooked.
(2) Stir pumpkin into oats until well combined. Then toss in milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until pudding has started to thicken, about 20 minutes.
(3) Mix in the mashed banana. Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and top with raisins and additional brown sugar, if desired. Or eat it with a big scoop of peanut butter like I do πŸ™‚ Makes one generous portion.

PS- I’m going to be really excited if the link to CCV’s blog actually works. Yes, I’m easily impressed.

Noodles for a Cold

April 14, 2008

I have been studying alllll day, so I decided to reward myself with a little free time and do a post πŸ™‚ I am so excited to be starting this blog, however I’m pretty technically challenged- as in your 80-year old grandparents probably know more about computers than I do. So this will be interesting, to say the least. Anyway, on to food. This recipe was something I came up with a few weeks ago when I was so stuffed up and sick that I could not taste ANYTHING. Not even peanut butter. A tragedy, I know. Desperate to clear my sinuses and breathe through my nose again, I ransacked my spice cupboard and threw together this tasty little number. It was deliciously spicy, and definitely helped wake up my tastebuds.

Spicy Soba Noodle & Veggie Stir Fry

4-5 oz buckwheat soba noodles
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Β½ tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp water
ΒΌ tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/8 to ΒΌ tsp red pepper flakes
1 Β½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 tbsp oyster sauce, divided
2 large Brussels sprouts, cut into ribbons
Β½ cup shredded carrots
1 tbsp hoisin sauce

(1) In a small bowl, combine sesame oil and rice vinegar. Set aside.
(2) Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
(3) In a large saucepan or wok, combine shallot, garlic, ginger, and water. Cook until shallot starts to soften.
(4) Stir in sesame seeds, red pepper flakes (start with 1/8 tsp and then add more to taste), frozen mixed vegetables and one tablespoon of the oyster sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Add Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots and hoisin sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in drained soba noodles. Add in the other tablespoon oyster sauce, and the sesame oil rice vinegar mixture. Make sure noodles and vegetables are coated with the sauce, then serve. Makes 2 servings, or enough to feed one very stuffed up and cranky person.