Archive for January, 2012

January 29, 2012

chili-chocolate-bean cookies

I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I bake a dessert with beans… and it comes out amazing. I mean I already showed you my success with the beet-bean brownies and the deep dish cookie pie, but somehow the concept never fails to fascinate me. Beans?! Not only are they what I often consume for protein in my meals—being low in fat and super high in fiber—but they can be used to replace a majority of the flour and butter in baked goods! I think what gets me most, though, is that they’re not simply a healthy substitution; beans make things like cookies and brownies so incredibly rich and fudgey and moist. I may never bake without beans again!

….I just won’t tell people this until after they taste my goodies :]

These rich chocolate cookies remind me of these double chocolate fudge cookies my mom used to make from a mix when we were kids. Everyone looved them, especially straight from the oven, all warm and full of gooey chocolate chunks. These bring me back to that same eye-rolling indulgent taste of fudgey bliss, but with a grown-up twist of spicy chiles, cinnamon, tart dried cherries… and of course our healthy little secret ;]

I also gave each cookie a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt, which really brings out the richness and leaves you craving more sweet after each bite.

chili-chocolate-bean cookies, from My New Roots

  • 1 ½ cups black beans, or one 15 oz. can
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, honey or agave
  • 2 eggs or 6 T egg whites
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
January 27, 2012

stir fried quinoa with chicken + veggies

Mm mmm…I almost never order Chinese takeout, but some days I just get that craving for chicken and rice drenched in salty, sweet n’ sticky “brown sauce,” or so they call it. So flavorful, so full of MSG. Oh so unfortunate.

The top reason I’d say I cook for myself is so I know exactly what goes into my food. No MSG hiding in this kitchen. Fortunately it’s very simple to make your own Chinese-style fried rice,  and after I saw this variation made with couscous I thought why not use my favorite (and super nutritious) grain: quinoa!

Rather than keeping the numerous ingredients to make Asian-style sauces and marinades, I recently found a store-bought version that I love and is versatile enough to be used for any purpose! Salad dressing, marinade, veggie dip, sauce for rice—pretty much anything you want to have that delicious soy-sesame-garlic-ginger flavor. The brand is called Soy Vay, and I buy either the Veri Veri teriyaki or Island Teriyaki. Both consist of soy sauce, sugar, pineapple juice (in the Island Teriyaki), sesame seeds, fresh garlic + ginger, dried onion, and soy + sesame oils. Basically what I would put in my own marinade if I made it. No preservatives or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Awesome.

The teriyaki works perfectly as a marinade for the chicken in this dish, as well as a drizzled topping for some extra flavor and moisture.

stir fried quinoa with chicken + veggies, inspired by this

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with salt + pepper
  • 1-2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (preferably leftovers)
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2/3 cup broccoli slaw (this is an estimate – use however much you want)
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 t minced fresh ginger
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • teriyaki sauce, for marinating and serving

Chop chicken breasts into small pieces and marinate in teriyaki sauce for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add beaten eggs and stir with a spatula until scrambled, fluffy and cooked through. Remove to a small plate.

Add 1 T sesame oil to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and add chicken. Let cook for a couple minutes and turn over several times until almost cooked through. Add ginger, scallion whites and broccoli to skillet, sautéing until slightly softened and fragrant. Add broccoli slaw and cooked quinoa, 2 T soy sauce and sauté until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in scrambled eggs, top with scallion greens and serve drizzled with more teriyaki or soy sauce.

Enjoy! -mich

January 18, 2012

curried sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes

Two years ago on Christmas morning, my sister Tara threw together these “pancakes,” which were more like a sweet and zesty stir-fry-hash-mixture of shredded carrot, apple, sweet potato, egg, curry powder, cinnamon and cumin. They didn’t quite stay bound in cake form as planned, but I could care less as I shoved forkfuls in my mouth and declared I would eat this every day of the year.

Unfortunately my hatred of shredding vegetables by hand kept me from making this 6+ times per week, but the few times I did reminded me that this combination is just deliciously worth it. The Indian flavors of curry, cumin and garam masala add savory heat to the sweet apple, potato and carrot. This time around I added a bit of chickpea flour to bind the batter together enough to form solid pancakes on the griddle. ‘Twas a success, but I must say the mixture is just as tasty in stir-fried-hash form. The key to this dish, I repeat the KEY to breakfast bliss, is serving your cakes with a dollop of sweet chili sauce, perhaps a squirt of sriracha mixed in.

Curried sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes, inspired by Tara, recipe by me

  • 3 cups shredded sweet potatoes, carrots + apples, in any ratio you prefer. I do about 1 cup carrot, 1 ½ sweet potato and ½ apple
  • 1 or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup egg whites, or 1 egg
  • 1 T milk (I use vanilla soy)
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (any flour will do)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • ½ t garam masala, or cinnamon
  • 1 t sea salt
  • sweet chili sauce + sriracha to serve

Peel and coarsely grate sweet potato, carrot and apple until you have 3 cups, in any ratio you prefer. Set aside in a colander or bowl on some paper towels to drain.

Combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt in medium bowl and whisk to combine. Mix in egg whites and milk. Squeeze excess juice from potato-apple-carrot mixture (I recommend saving the juice because it’s a sweet and nutritious combination!) and add mixture to bowl with the flour-egg mixture. Add scallions and stir to combine. Batter should be moist but not runny. If too stiff, add a tablespoon or so of milk until consistency is right.

Spray a nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high. Drop heaping spoonfuls or 1/8 cup of pancake mixture in skillet and flatten with back of spatula. Cook each side about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce and sriracha. You may store unused batter in a container in the fridge for several days to use whenever you please!

*Alternatively, leave out flour and stir fry as a breakfast hash.

Pancakes (above) versus a big pile of potato-apple-carrot hash (below). A perfect breakfast or brunch!

Enjoy! -mich

This recipe is shared at My Meatless Mondays, & Fresh Bites Fridays

January 12, 2012

healthy decadence

I showed you the magic of beets and beans in brownies, and now I give you a decadent deep dish cookie pie….. made with chickpeas!

The use of beans in desserts is becoming more common to me so I was not too skeptical about this recipe. And the beans proved themselves once again. Mom and I made this one night while watching the Biggest Loser (nothing like eating a decadent dessert while watching people lose weight… but hey, at least this pie is somewhat healthy!) and I think her more skeptical taste buds were impressed as well.

We made half the recipe since there were only two of us, and put it in a smaller round pan (about 8-inch). Remember this is a pie rather than a crisp cookie, so it may seem gooey and under-baked – just let it be :] Then let it sit for 10 minutes after baking, seriously testing your willpower while wafts of sweet cookie aroma float past your nose. I know it’s hard. But then you can dish it up with vanilla ice cream and indulge in this dense, moist, half-baked fudgey cookie. Guiltlessly, of course!

healthy deep dish cookie pie, adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie

this is the halved recipe that we made in an 8-inch round pan. Our pie was not too deep-dish as you can see in the photo, so use a smaller pan if you wish. If you want more servings, double these measurements and use a 10-inch round cake pan or springform pan, as called for in the original recipe.

* this is also gluten free if you use gluten free oats, and vegan if you use dairy-free chocolate!

  • 1 can chickpeas or white beans (drained and rinsed well)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned or quick oats
  • 2 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ T canola oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar **we used slightly less than ½ cup brown sugar, and ¼ cup erythritol [a natural calorie-free granulated sweetener] but I found it to be very sweet, so next time I’ll use ½ or 2/3 cup sweetener.
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate (we used Scharffen Berger 70%) or chocolate chips

Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a food processor. Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled or parchment-lined round pan. Cook at 350F for 20-30 minutes, or until edges are crispy and golden. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Best served warm with cool and creamy vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy! -mich

This post is linked to Allergy Free Wednesdays

January 9, 2012

simple savory Moroccan soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes – it’s light but filling, vegetarian, and made with a unique combination of spices that fill the air with warmth. Cinnamon and cayenne give it a spicy heat, and my favorite part—the raisins—turn into plump little grapes bursting with an unexpected sweetness.

Oh yeah, it’s SO simple to make and healthy too!

Moroccan soup with quinoa + chickpeas, adapted from Women’s Health

Serves 4 or 5

  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) no salt- added diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced into half circles
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 artichoke hearts, cut in half (frozen or packed in water and drained) *I left these out
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (including green tops)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 1/2 t basil
  • 1/2 t oregano

Bring stock plus 1 cup water to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, add remaining ingredients, and simmer uncovered about 10-15 minutes, or until quinoa is just tender (don’t overcook as it will expand as the soup sits). Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

As with many soups, it will thicken up over time, and I find it to be especially flavorful after sitting overnight.

January 4, 2012

A holiday recap

The winter holidays at our house always revolve around food, whether we want them to or not. It’s always been a time to indulge – a time to make the Christmas cookies everyone’s waited for all year, a time for big healthy breakfasts and hearty, planned-out dinners. And as much as we all complain about the constant eating and having too much stuffed into the refrigerator, we all look forward to the lazy days of whipping up our favorite traditional recipes and new ones we’re eager to try.

This year we surpassed our typical homemade deliciousness with all kinds of handmade gifts. I don’t know what it was, maybe the our obsession with pinterest over the past year and all the inspiring ideas it presents. So we brought on the creativity and went wild with homemade gifts – or I did at least!

Tara worked on her laser-cut jewelry (which she has been selling lots of!), and made some adorable wooden painted wall hangers for air plants, which unfortunately I don’t have a photo of. Melissa and I spent a few days straight making t-shirt scarves inspired from pinterest, and she also made some adorable holiday-themed cake pops! I took on a hanging-plant-in-a-canning-jar project, created a bread baking book from scratch for my sister Tara (with many tasty sounding bread recipes I’ve collected around the blog world), made a couple photo calendars for family, and baked cookies and nuts and granola to package up all festively for gifts. Jamie made some beautiful (and so easy!) etched wine and drinking glasses, and Jeremy gave my parents some of his homemade “honey badger hard cider” and beautiful handmade maple wood cutting boards for several of us. Whew. That’s a lot of handmade goods, lots of time, and lots of love. It may be our most crafty Christmas yet!

January 2, 2012

coconut curry pepita granola

This stuff is the ultimate sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy combination, the kind of snack that leaves you crazy addicted after one bite. So, sorry in advance if you eat the whole batch in one day… I warned you!

The ingredients complement each other perfectly: spicy curry and cinnamon, sweet maple syrup, a good dose of sea salt and toasty coconut, all caramelized around the crunchy roasted pepitas and rice puffs.

Also it’s gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and so delicious that you won’t even notice.

I tried three different batches, playing with the ingredients each time until I tasted that perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy. The original recipe was more of a pepita brittle rather than granola, with lots of the gooey stuff and fewer seeds. I’m sure that is delicious but I wanted a more snack-acceptable treat, so I added some oats and rice puffs to make it granola-y.

This is perfect for jarring up and gift-giving, as I did for Christmas, or just leaving in a bowl on the counter for whenever you need a zesty bite to wake your taste buds. Just beware, one bite will turn in to seven… or 25.

coconut curry pepita granola, adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup oats (use gluten-free oats if desired)
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 t Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 T sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or not—it’s up to you)

*for a lower sugar version you can replace 1/4 cup of the maple syrup with unsweetened applesauce (I haven’t tried this but it should be fine), and use unsweetened coconut.

Heat oven to 350º F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure pepitas, rice puffs and oats into a large bowl and set aside. Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.

Pour maple mixture over pepitas and rice puffs, stirring to mix. Spread coated granola evenly over the surface of the parchment-lined cookie sheets in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and stir shredded coconut into mixture, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are toasty and granola is golden. Keep a close eye on it this time as the seeds and coconut can burn quickly. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheet on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Some areas will be very toasty and crisp, while other areas will be gooey and caramel-like :] When cooled, break granola into chunks. Serve when warm and delicious or store in an air-tight container and eat within 2 weeks (..as if it will take that long)!

^ this was my first batch, which was close to the original recipe with mostly pepitas and I added a few almonds.

mid-baking, adding the coconut.

Enjoy!

-mich

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