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.

 

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Crockpot Applesauce

My friend has an apple tree and she asked me to come over and pick some apples.  I was thinking there might be a couple on there, but the tree was seriously drooping and there were hundreds of apples on the ground.  “I’ve given up,” she said.   “Please just take as much as you can.”  So I went a little overboard and now we are all pretty sick of apples! 🙂  But I made lots of yummy things – apple crisp, apple pancakes, and tried some applesauce!  I am not a huge applesauce fan, but my kids are, and really the crockpot does all the work.

Crockpot Applesauce (original recipe from skinnytaste.com)

  • 8 medium apples (Use a combination of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.)
  • 1 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 tsp light brown sugar (unpacked) – or agave

Peel, core, and slice the apples.

Place them in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and brown sugar.

Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours. Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce.

Remove cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.


Makes 3 cups.

 

Granola Mom turns the big 3-0!!

I have always felt like a birthday should be a celebration of the baby AND the mom who gave the baby a birthday!  I recently had a birthday, so here’s a shout out to my mom – Thanks for growing me and getting me here safely!  Happy Birth-day to YOU too!  Here’s the secret – I turned the big 3-0 and it was hands down the best birthday I have had in my most recent memories.  The Mr. made it very special for me.  I think he might have been worried that I would have a massive meltdown over my age, but I didn’t!  30 and flirty!  I’m totally embracing it!

I spent the day shopping, getting basically a whole new wardrobe (this helped with the whole not-having-a-meltdown thing cause now I don’t feel frumpy), doing some yoga, and ending it with a nice dinner at Sundance with my sweet stuff.  Oh, and of course cake and ice cream back at home (insert mouth drool here).

In honor of PGM’s Birthday, I reposted my favorite birthday cake (yes I ate some on my birthday and might have had a bite for breakfast the next day too!) for my guest post at Grainmillwagon.com.  This is a pretty awesome blog about the wheat grinder I use (more on that later).

 

What’s For Snack Time Wednesday: Plum Jam (3 ingredients and sugar free!)

So…turns out jam making is a chore!  Woah Nellie, I am wiped out!  But, it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it.  I just made one batch in case it turned out awful.  But it didn’t!  It was just time consuming.  3+ hours of cooking on the stove, and my friend said to me, “I bet you could make it in the crockpot.”  Genius.  Has anyone ever tried that?  My biggest surprise about the whole thing was how much it cooked down.  I used 24 plums, and it filled a big pot.  By the time it was done, it probably made about 1 cup of jam (see that jar back there?).  I’m learning all kinds of lessons here.

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Plum Jam (original recipe found here)

  • 3-4 lb. ripe, Italian plums
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Wash the plums and cut them into small pieces (1/2 inch or so), removing the stone as you do it. Place them in a heavy pan and pour a little water in the bottom, no more that a half a cup.

Bring the plums to a boil, stirring often so that they don’t burn on the bottom. Add the cinnamon stick and the cloves.

Boil gently for 3 or more hours, stirring often.

Place the cooked plums in a ricer or sieve and stir to remove the skins and spices. Bring the jam/butter back to a boil until it has reduced as far as you want it and is very thick. Ladle the butter into clean, boiled, preserving jars or into freezer bags. Freeze or can, as you wish.

I just put mine in a jar and plan on eating it throughout the week.

Consensus:

Me:  It’s bitter since it doesn’t have any sugar, but it’s pretty good!

The Mr.:  Says it is TART, not bitter (excuse me).

The Uncle:  Says it reminds him of Christmas

The kiddos:  Ate it like it was normal jam.

What’s For Snacktime Wednesday: Whole Wheat Banana Bread – No Sugar!

Hello folks,

We are back from New York City!  It was a very long day of frantic cleaning/packing and then a long red-eye flight across the country, but the kids were champs and were so excited to see their toys that we had a big party at 2 am.  It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, and it’s about to get crazier!  We are heading to a wedding tomorrow, so more time on the road!  In the meantime, here’s a delicious snack I’ve been making with all my quickly ripening bananas.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread (Original Recipe from 100 days of Real Food)

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil (or applesauce)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake large loaf for 40 – 50 minutes or until it comes clean with a toothpick.

Happy Snacking!  Back from sunny San Diego next week!

Homemade Ice Cream…Hold the Ice and the Cream

I love me some ice cream on a hot summers day (and on a cold winter’s day…okay, basically any day).  It’s been so hot and humid here that my bananas get ripe in 24 hours.  Then we have to hurry and eat the whole bunch before they go bad.  Earlier this week I had to put 4 in the freezer, and tonight decided to try something I have heard a lot about…homemade ice cream from frozen bananas.  I found several recipes from thekitchn.com and decided to try Dark Chocolate Banana Ice Cream.  I was surprised it turned out so sweet when it has no sweetener in it.  It wasn’t as good as the real thing, but curbed my craving a bit.

Here it is:

Dark Chocolate Banana Ice Cream (originally from thekitchn.com)

  • 1 1/2 peeled medium bananas, sliced into coins and frozen until solid
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend bananas in food processor until they are the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Blend in cocoa powder, cream, and vanilla. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze until solid.

I didn’t have a food processor, so I used a blender.  It had a few banana chunks, but it did the job pretty well.  I also used whole milk since I didn’t have any cream, so it was really more of a milkshake than ice cream.

Consensus:

Me: I give it a 6.5 out of 10

The Mr.:  “Not bad”

The Wild One and Tornado:  Gobbled it up and asked for more.  They couldn’t even tell a difference!

Tomorrow I am trying another flavor.  Stay tuned!

From Scratch: Chocolate Oreo Cake

Warning:  This is not a healthy recipe, but it IS better than a cake mix from a box that has 1,000 ingredients.  At least you will be able to pronounce and recognize all the ingredients in this recipe, and it will taste better too.

The Mr. celebrated another birthday this week.  Time is sure flying by us.  We still feel like kids, but it’s catching up to us that w0w- we are almost middle aged now!  He requested I make this cake, which has been my go-to cake for many years.  We haven’t had it since I was pregnant with Cooper so I was excited to eat some!

 Chocolate Oreo Cake (original recipe from Mommy I’m Hungry)

For cake:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 10-15 oreos twisted to separate cookies and reveal cream center
  • 15 oreos, chopped directly in half through cookie

For icing:

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2/3 c. Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For filling:

  • 1/3 c. whipping cream
  • 2 tsp powdered sugar
  • small dash vanilla extract
  • 1/8 c. oreo cookie crumbs, made from reserved oreo sides

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round baking pans, lining with parchment. -On one layer of cake, place cookie halves that have been separated into the bottom of one pan, cream side up.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  5. Pour batter very carefully into prepared pans.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and place onto wire racks.
  8. Remove parchment and cool completely.

-Meanwhile, make frosting:

  1. Stir melted butter into cocoa.
  2. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
  3. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. -Stir in vanilla. (About 2 cups frosting.)

-Meanwhile, make filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.
  2. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (or gallon sized ziploc bag).
  4. When cake is completely cooled, make icing dam around the top edge of the layer of cake that has oreos baked into it.
  5. Fill icing dam with a layer of cream filling.
  6. Place other cake layer on top, and frost with chocolate frosting.
  7. Place oreo halves around bottom edge and top of cake.
  8. Serve or store in refrigerator.

Consensus:

The Mr:  Ate 2 slices and said, “This cake is seriously so good.”

Me:  1 slice and I savored every bite.

The Wild One:  Gobbled it up and asked for more.  Denied.

Tornado:  Ate it quickly and then rubbed some in his hair.  Awesome.

We are all filled with this yummy chocolate goodness and will dream about it tonight!