Healthy Cookie Experiment

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Do you ever bake cookies and it is supposed to make 4 dozen, and then by the time the cookies actually get formed into balls and put in the oven there are only 2 dozen because you ate that much dough?  What? No one can relate to me?  Well, remorse inevitably follows.  But not anymore, my friends!  A while ago I wrote about substituting Great Northern Beans for butter in cookie recipes and wham-0!  A fraction of the fat (Plus extra fiber!).  I love to try stuff like that and I think I get so excited about it that my emotions take over my taste buds.  My dear ol hubby  has to bring me down to earth sometimes and say, “yeah, that’s pretty disgusting.”  But NOT THIS TRICK.  Turns out he likes it.  I’ve been doing it for a while.

Tonight I put it to the test.  I made 2 batches of cookies, one with butter, and one with beans.  Then I had these two lovely test subjects taste the dough to see if they could tell which was which.  They both passed the dough phase correctly, BUT one of them guessed the bean cookies were the REAL cookies!  Imagine that!  I swear they are tasty.  You cannot tell a difference. All the ingredients are the same; just substitute up to 3/4 cup of butter for beans.  You can’t do a full substitution because it changes the texture too much.  But 3/4 is okay.

Here’s the two doughs.

REAL  

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BEANS

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Before Baked:  Real cookies on the right and bean cookies on the left.

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After baked:  Real cookies on the right and bean cookies on the left.

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My two wonderful test subjects in action.

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Give it a try.  Fight those holiday pounds by bringing some healthy cookies to your next Christmas party. 🙂

You can find the recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies here.

 

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Vegetarian Chili

Here’s the story folks:  Beans are cheap.  And I have a lot of them.  PLUS I knew I was coaching The Wild One’s Soccer game until late so I needed a good crockpot recipe.  And BAM!  Dinner was born.  I whipped up some sweet cornbread this morning so it was ready to go and then I threw the rest in the crockpot. If you need a whole foods dinner in a hurry that is easy and yummy, this is a good one:

Vegetarian Chile (original recipe from Vegetarian.About.Com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans (I used beans from scratch…probably about 2 cups worth)
  • 1 15 ounce can corn kernels
  • 2 16 ounce cans tomatoes, cut up (I used them fresh from the garden…about 6 small ones)
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Preparation:

Sautee the onion, green pepper and celery in a small amount of oil until translucent. Add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer on low 6-8 hours.
BINGO.  Easy as pie.

From Scratch: Homemade Tortillas

The other night I made my favorite rice and bean dish and realized I didn’t have any tortillas to put them in.  I made some quick homemade chips to solve that problem (post coming soon).  The next night we had to finish eating the ginormous batch of rice and beans, so I decided to whip up some tortillas.  It was actually pretty simple.  They are not nearly as pretty as the website I got the recipe from, but not bad for a first attempt.

Homemade Tortillas (original recipe from Tasty Kitchen)

  • 3 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ⅓ cups Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Hot Water

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder with a whisk. Add the canola oil and mix with your fingers until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add 1 cup of hot water and mix until a ball is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes. .

Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll out one at a time on a floured surface. Brush off excess flour. Cook on a hot, ungreased griddle over medium-high heat. Turn the tortilla when brown blisters form on the first side. Stack the tortillas and serve warm.

There you have it!

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Kidney Bean Burgers

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We had a delicious meal – I am excited to share it.  Who says meatless dinners can’t be fun and delicious?  This was a hit for the whole fam.

Kidney Bean Burgers (original recipe from Whole Food Mommies)

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups canned kidney beans, low or no salt
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup minced red or green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS ketchup, low or no salt
  • 1 TBS stoned ground mustard (optional)
  • 1 TBS wheat germ or oats
  • ½ tsp chili powder

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop the sunflower seeds in a food processor or hand chopper.  Mash the beans with a potato masher or food processor and mix with sunflower seed meal.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and form into six patties.  Lightly oil baking sheet with a little olive oil.  Place patties on the pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool, about 10 minutes, until you can pick up each patty and compress it firmly in your hands to re-form the burger.
Turn patties over and bake another 10 minutes.
Serve on top of whole wheat bun or Romaine lettuce and add your desired toppings.
Consensus:

We all loved it and gobbled it up!  Give it a try!

A quick last minute dinner: Taco Salad made with 100% Whole Foods

Do you ever have those nights when you plan to make something for dinner, and you open the cupboards and realize that you didn’t buy half of the ingredients you needed from the grocery store earlier in the week?  This happens to me like once a week.  HA!  Now that we are in New York there is no such thing as a quick run to the grocery store, so I decided to improvise and it turned out so great!

I was originally going to make Mexican Tostadas Topped With Poached Egg (Recipe here).  I didn’t have: onion, avocado, olives, sour cream, salsa, and green onions.  HAHAHA.  This recipe calls for a beef mixture, but I planned on making it vegetarian anyway, so I just used the same recipe and doubled the beans while omitting the beef.

Here it is.

Black Bean Mixture (originally from For the Love of Cooking).

  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 15 oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

Mix it all together and let the flavors seep into each other.

I then put together toppings for a big taco salad: corn, tomatoes, a bit of cheese, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and corn chips.  I also  made some cooked carrots and squash.  My bestie told me about a cool way to make squash too – just add seasonings to it in a skillet (I only knew of steaming or roasting).  This time I added some Montreal Chicken Seasoning.  yum.

The kids went wild for this dinner.  They didn’t eat lettuce, but they honestly ate all of the rest, including the vegetables.  I was shocked.  The Wild One usually doesn’t care for beans, so I was very happy.  Nice to know there is this time saving last minute meal available, and all with stuff we had in the cupboard and fridge.

My New Favorite Dinner

This is seriously delicious!  It made a huge old batch and none of us minded eating it 3 days in a row.  I knew I was full but my fork was on auto pilot.  That’s okay because it’s good for you too.

This picture doesn’t do it justice…imagine fresh tomatoes, avocados, and sour cream on top.  YUM.

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad (original recipe from Enlightened Homemaker)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cooked brown rice, cooled slightly
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 cups beans of choice, either home cooked or canned
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen white corn, cooked
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • avocados, peppers, chicken, etc.

**Mix all together and toss with dressing:

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. sucanat or brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. expeller pressed grape seed oil
  • 6-8 pickled jalapeno pepper rounds from jar or fresh jalapeno
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. salt

Combine all ingredients and put in a blender until smooth.
Toss over rice and bean salad mixture and add more salt and pepper as desired.  May also kick it up a bit with extra chili powder or chipotle seasoning. Serve on whole grain tortilla with a little melted cheese if desired or on a toasted corn tortilla or lettuce greens.

We also dipped chips in it to spice up the leftovers.  Give it a try.  This is my new favorite dinner!

Chocolate Chip Cookies: You Will Love Me For This

I don’t feel bad about making chocolate chip cookies, because it doesn’t happen often, and they are much healthier than store bought cookies.  I always try to add oatmeal (because I love it anyway) and that makes it even better!

Soooo…here’s a little secret that my awesome sister-in-law taught me.  Did you know that you can replace the butter with White Northern Beans?  It’s true!  One time she made them for me and I even tried the dough, imagining it to taste like beans.  But it DIDN’T!  I ate a bunch of it.  She usually just replaces half the butter so as to leave a little bit of flavor in the cookie.  Just measure out the beans, then mash them up with a fork in a bowl until they are nice and smooth.  I tried it myself tonight.

It’s always a bit of a gamble when it comes to me making cookies.  For some reason I always screw it up.  I either burn them or they melt flat with big pokey chocolate chips sticking out of them.  About 1 out of 4 batches comes out right.  You don’t believe me?  Here is the proof from last Christmas (cookies 1 cm thick):

Luckily, tonight I had some success!

Here’s my most favorite recipe ever from my roomie Brittany aka my second mother.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Beans instead of Butter)

Original Recipe by John Hofman

  • 1 Cup Butter (so 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup beans)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbs Water
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Sifted Flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 – 2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Nuts

Cook 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.  Or 3 if you are like me and eat a lot of dough. 🙂

Apparently you can also substitute the eggs with a big Tablespoon of pumpkin, but it leaves a slight pumpkiny taste.  I have yet to try this, but it sounds yummy!