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.

 

Shaved Fennel Salad

Hey hey,

For years I have seen people on cooking shows make fennel salads and it all looks so fun and different, but I had never done it before.  UNTIL NOW.  I was surprised at the taste – it’s a little bit sweet, but still yummy.  It definitely added a unique flavor.  Kinda fun to try and I want to do it again with a different dressing.

Oh and don’t mind the photos- I went a little overboard with the feta cheese. 🙂

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Shaved Fennel Salad (original recipe from 101cookbooks.com)

  • 1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
  • 2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
  • Honey, if needed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (I used almonds)
  • 1/3 cup  feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and pour most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.

Serves 4 to 6.

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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.

 

Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

Do you ever get in a green smoothie rut?  Smoothies are the main way I get my kiddos to eat green vegetables, especially leafy greens, but sometimes it gets a little monotonous to use the same ingredients every time. I looked up some recipes from Green Smoothie Girl and wanted to try one new smoothie a week.  The first one I tried is called Broccoli Blitz.  It’s from her book, “Green Smoothies Diet” book found here.  I was a little hesitant because you know broccoli’s reputation with the digestive system…haha.  BUT it actually turned out to be pretty tasty.  Tornado sees me drinking these and then begs for mine (mostly because I think he likes the cup I have with a straw and it’s fun to drink out of).  But he DRAINS it every time.  This time was no different.  It makes a huge batch, and I just kept the remainder in the fridge until the next day and we all divided it among ourselves.  Even cool Aunt Zoe got in on the action.  Everyone liked it – you can’t even really taste the broccoli.  Without further adieu  here is the recipe:

Broccoli Blitz Smoothie

  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw agave
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups berries

Combine water, agave and broccoli and blend until smooth.  I did not have agave, but you can use sugar, or a little bit of sugar.  Next add spinach until it reaches the 6 cup line (about 2 cups of spinach), and blend.  Then add oranges, pineapple, bananas, and berries.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles – Get Your Kiddos to Eat More Veggies!

I don’t know any mom who can get her child to eat any vegetable any time.  Some are better at it than others, and mine do alright, but they still revolt when things look weird (or just because they want to).  Not too long ago, I tried a recipe that had julienned zucchini in it.  After peeling the zucchini I honestly couldn’t see it amongst all the spaghetti noodles.  I wanted to try it with the kids and see what happened.

Have you ever seen one of these before?

It’s called a Julienne Peeler.  I borrowed it from my neighbor and let me just say, it saves A TON of time in julienne-ing veggies.  It is just like a regular peeler, except it has these little teeth in it that slices things into thin strips. 

 

Piece of cake!

So I took about 4 zucchini and peeled and sliced them (I only peeled them because I wanted to disguise them from the kids).

Here’s what it looks like all sliced up.

 

 

I just cooked pasta like normal and threw the zucchini in for the last 3 minutes or so.  It softens up pretty fast.

The sad news is that I thought I had spaghetti in the pantry and I didn’t!  I had to use different pasta so it didn’t end up being as disguised as I would have liked, but the kids still ate it!  Woop Woop!!

 

Here’s another pic with spaghetti noodles so you can get the idea (from The World According to Egg Face).

It’s pretty tasty, and you really can’t tell you are eating zucchini. 🙂

Happy Disguising!

 

Zucchini and Asaparagus with Lime and Cotija (what a mouthful)

I have really been loving this website lately… I sometimes get in a food rut and I need some new flavors to switch it up.  I had a couple of zucchini and some leftover asparagus in my fridge so I wanted to find an exciting way to eat them.  Voila!  For the Love delivers again.  This was such a fun and easy thing to make, and everyone ate it- no leftovers!  Plus let’s face it – vegetable leftovers are blah the next day.  Here’s the recipe.

zucchini (and Asparagus, or any vegetable really) with Lime and Cotija Cheese (original recipe from For the Love of Cooking)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 zuchinni, cut into spears
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lime
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Zest of one lime
  • Cotija cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the zucchini into spears then place into a shallow bowl. Drizzle the top with the lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Toss to coat evenly.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat then coat with cooking spray. Place the zucchini into the grill pan and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes or until it has nice grill marks all over and the zucchini is tender. Place the zucchini on a serving plate then sprinkle the top with lime zest and grated cotija cheese.

Consensus:

Tornado ate some and ate the cheese off the rest.  The Wild One refused at first but agreed to take one bite.  No worries, I ate his leftovers.  The Mr. and I ate the rest and ohhh boy was it delicious!

Grilled Veggie and Smoked Fontina Pizza

First of all, a quick shout out to all my friends and family in New York.  Luckily they are all safe.  Have you seen the footage of Hurricane Sandy?  Here’s the World Trade Center site.  I was just there a few months ago!

My heart goes out to everyone there!

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I love finding and trying new flavor combinations.  This new one did not disappoint.  It’s a veggie pizza without sauce!  I was a little skeptical but it ended up being yummy and fun.  The boys of course took off ALL the vegetables, but I figure if I make this enough times they are bound to at least eat a tomato or two.

Here’s the recipe.

Grilled Veggie and Smoked Fontina Pizza (original recipe from For the Love of Cooking)

  • 2 baby bell pepper, or 1 large bell pepper sliced
  • 10 spears of asparagus, ends removed and sliced in half
  • 1 zucchini, cut diagonally into coins
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 4 tsp of olive oil (divided)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 batch of pizza dough (I made two)
  • Smoked fontina cheese, shredded
  • Handful of grape tomatoes
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Preheat the grill to high heat (I just used a regular frying pan). Drizzle the bell pepper, zucchini, red onion, and asparagus spears with a little olive oil then season with a bit of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; mix until evenly coated. Place on the grill rack; grill 8 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, place the dough onto the baking sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of the dough then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place into the oven and cook for 5 minutes.

 

Remove the veggies from the grill. Remove the dough from the oven.

Sprinkle with cheese then place the veggies on top along with a handful of grape tomatoes.  Season again with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and crushed red pepper, to taste, if desired.

Place into the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Slice and serve. Enjoy.