Friday, June 29, 2012

You got your chocolate in my peanut butter... my take on not-Larabars

I have been known to go overboard buying Larabars when Kroger has them on sale. But when they aren't on sale? Not happening. I love them, but man, they can get expensive. I have enough expensive habits, thank you very much. Do you have any idea how much pretty batik fabric is per yard?  So, I figured, lots of people have made homemade versions of Larabars, why not me, too.

I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, so I mixed up a batch of fudgie bites this morning with my Magic Bullet. Gotta tell you, blended dates are super sticky. Since less is sometimes more, I made mine bite sized instead of bar sized. Your choice. This came out to 16 pieces, at 1 WW +point each. The whole batch was 15 points total.

PB2 Chocolate Bites

1/2 cup (tightly packed 1/2 cup) of chopped dates
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 T PB2
1 t vanilla
1 T dark unsweetened cocoa powder

Put the dates in the Magic Bullet or food processor and blend until it's a rough paste. It can be a little lumpy. Add in the peanuts and blend until it's a coarse paste. I then added in the PB2 and cocoa powder and the vanilla, processed until mixed. Then I turned the paste out into a bowl and mixed until everything was blended together. When mixture is blended well, put on to a piece of waxed paper and flatten into a square. I then folded over the waxed paper and rolled it flatter, so that the thickness was even. Refrigerate for at least an hour, unwrap, and cut into your desired shapes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kenlie's challenge - week three

This week, Kenlie challenged us to make a soup or stew. I wish I could get The Aussie to eat stew, but he's got this "thing" about stew. I think it's the same "thing" he has about casseroles. Oh well.  Soup is something I like.  I thought I had a picture of the finished product for the amazing veggie "pho" that I made, but apparently not. I did take a picture of the ingredients I was using. (I added the flank steak to one bowl just to try it.) I made it with chicken broth, sliced radish, bell pepper, scallion, hot pepper (they scare me), cilantro, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, and brown rice maifun noodles. It was so delicious. The fresh ginger gives it some serious bite and aroma. I can imagine having this when I have a cold. Not that I want a cold, mind you. *knock on wood* 

I did manage to get a picture of the other soup that I made this week. It's a curried carrot and sweet potato soup. So easy. Just heat up a carton of chicken broth (see above picture), add in 6 peeled and chopped carrots, a peeled and chopped sweet potato, some garlic powder and curry powder. Cook until the veggies are soft, then either blend or use an immersion blender. I've made variations of this soup so many times, my immersion blender is stained orange! 

I've also been doing a lot of grilling this week. I grilled trout the other night, steak, veggies. All good, especially when it's over 100 degrees out. Tonight I'll be trying Shannon's agavae lime marinated chicken. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last picture for Kenlie's challenge

Once again, not the best picture, but here it is. I marinated the turkey tenderloins in soy, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. You seriously can't go wrong with that combination. I didn't grill these, but cooked them on the stove, browning them on all sides and then I reduced the heat and covered them. I was going to have TJ's harvest grain blend as a side, but I didn't cook it long enough and the baby garbanzo beans were still crunchy. Yuck. So, the last of my cucumber salad had to sit in for dinner.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cook At Home Challenge - week 2 update

It's been fun trying new recipes this week as part of Kenlie's Cook At Home Challenge. This week I've made the following:

Grilled chicken and black bean quesadilla, made with reduced fat pepperjack cheese and reduced fat sour cream


Pork satay with cucumber salad and spicy peanut dipping sauce made with PB2 - awesome! (Please note that the husband got breaded pork cutlet and green beans because it was Doggy-Father's Day and that's what he wanted! He did try mine, though, and liked it.)

This is the potato torte with romesco sauce from one of the Weight Watchers cookbooks. Eh. It was a waste of the last of my smoked paprika. The cooking time on this recipe were outrageously off and it took forever for the egg beaters to set and cook. I had to cut it in half and flip over so that it was fully cooked. It did not look anything like the book picture, either. On the good side, the potatoes, herbs and tomatoes were all home grown.

I don't have pictures (well I do, but my non-phone camera has grown legs and walked away) of the awesome mixed berry dutch baby that I made on Saturday morning or the grilled salmon that I cooked last night. The dutch baby is from the Weight Watchers Power Foods cookbook and is so good.

Tonight I'm planning on grilling turkey tenderloins that I have marinating in soy, ginger and garlic marinade.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I like big bling, and I cannot lie...

Behold, the fruits of my labor. AKA the finisher's medal from Sunday's Wounded Warrior Half Marathon. Oh, yeah. And the four shiny new 5k charms I earned at Weight Watchers for having finished the half marathon. Not bad for a birthday, huh!

Week 2...

We've officially finished week 1 of Kenlie's Cook At Home Challenge. I really like coming up with healthy things to eat, and if The Aussie will at least try it, all the better! This past week I've had everything from morning glory muffins filled with fruit and vegetables, to grilled chicken and corn, to a dessert made with tofu. Now I just have to remember to take more pictures of what I'm cooking, even if I don't plan on posting the recipes.This coming week should be a good one. I already have a few ideas!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trust me. Go buy some silken tofu...

Never thought I'd be saying those words, but you really should go buy some silken tofu (the kind in the box). And while you're at it, buy a bar of good chocolate, and some POM or orange juice.  I'm hoping you already have agave nectar and cinnamon at home in your pantry. You see, you'll need them to make this.  Dairy-free chocolate "mousse." This stuff is super easy to make and so good. It totally makes up for the tofu "cheesecake" my older sister brought home from the hippie bakery she worked at in the 70s. As usual, I didn't totally follow the recipe. I added a half teaspoon of cinnamon, because I love the combination of dark chocolate and cinnamon. (If I had orange extract, I would have added a tiny bit of that, too!) I melted chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, and I blended the tofu and juice in my Magic Bullet. Said Magic Bullet was too small to mix everything, so I spooned the tofu in to the bowl of melted chocolate and mixed everything there. I have to tell you, the waiting-to-cool part of this recipe is the hardest. I dare you to keep your face out of the refrigerator and your spoon out of that stuff... if you can, you're a better person than me. ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summertime... and the grilling is easy

It's been a busy weekend, with a lot of eating out (mostly healthy!), running around (literally - I did my 3rd half marathon on Sunday) and resting. Last night the weather held out and I grilled Mexican style chicken and corn on the cob. Delicious! (please note: my chicken is the one without the skin - The Aussie loves his with, but I was being healthy)

Mexican Style Chicken

4 chicken thighs (with or without skin) or pieces of your choice
1 t coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1 t cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
1 T orange juice concentrate
1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
2 T agave syrup
1 T fresh thyme
3 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t True Lime

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Place chicken pieces in a sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Close bag and smoosh the marinade all over the chicken. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

I grilled this, using the indirect heat method. Cook for about an hour, or until chicken near bone is no longer pink and the temperature is at least 180 degrees. I am sure this would be fantastic baked, too!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon Playlist

Because nothing says Happy Birthday like race bling, I'm doing the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon on Sunday. Well bling, and the fact that it's a great organization that The Aussie and I believe in. Even though I really hate don't like running outside when it's hot out, I am doing this race. Even if it means I'm walking for half of it. My reasoning is that if the service people who are helped by this organization can deal with their injuries and trauma, I can suck it up and run/walk 13.1 miles in their honor.

I spent much of my lunch hour tweaking my alternate playlist. Alternate, because I would like to do as much of this to the Run To Cadence with the Navy Seals. I want a back up in case I start to lose my sanity by the 3rd time through for this set and start to think I actually am running with a bunch of hot guys in Navy uniforms. Hence, an alternate playlist with LOTS of music. Hopefully I won't hear anywhere near to all of these songs. Ginger, from twitter, was interested in what I came up with, so in no particular order, here it is! (Gee, can you half tell I'm a Gemini? These songs are all over the place.)

I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police
Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Gos
Rio - Duran Duran
Shake Ya Tailfeather - Nellie
Pleasure Little Treasure - Depeche Mode
Fake It - Seether
Time Of Our Lives - Paul Van Dyk
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
Vertigo - U2
Don't Change - INXS
Dance With Me Tonight - The Wonders
Right Round - Flo Rida
Straight Lines - Silverchair
Uprising - Muse
Major Tom - Shiny Toy Guns
Run - Snow Patrol
I Like It - Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz
Tainted Love - Soft Cell
Times Like These - Foo Fighters
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
Favourite Shirts - Haircut 100
Closer To The Edge - 30 Seconds To Mars
Hold On Loosely - 38 Special
Gloria - U2
Give Me Everything - Pitbull
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Solar Midnight - Lupe Fiasco
These Days - Foo Fighters
Love Plus One - Haircut 100
I Will Follow - U2
Space Age Love Song - A Flock Of Seagulls
Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Back In Time - Pitbull
Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters
Litany (Life Goes On) - Guadalcanal Diary
Fantastic Day - Haircut 100
Linus And Lucy - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Howlin' For You - Black Keys
Hold Tight London - Chemical Brothers
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
Good Vibrations - The Beachboys
International Love - Pitbull
Rompe - Daddy Yankee

What's the story, morning glory?

Muffins. Yum. What's not to love about muffins. I was inspired by a tweet to make these by Josie after she raved about a muffin she had with carrot, coconut and dates. Hmm. Sounds like morning glory muffins to me! And glorious, they are. At 7 WW points +, they aren't freebies, but they are jam packed with healthy stuff. You can reduce the points by substituting apple sauce for the oil.

Morning Glory Muffins (makes 14)

3/4 cup chopped dates
2 cups white wheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup Egg Beaters
1/3 cup canola oil
2 t vanilla
3/4 cup POM pomegranate juice

Preheat the oven to 375 and spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray. (I made 12 but there was leftover batter, which I kept in the fridge).

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the grated carrots, apple, coconut flakes, walnuts and flax seed.  In a large bowl, beat together the Egg Beaters, oil, vanilla and juice. Stir in the flour and carrot mixtures, stirring until they are well combined. Finally, stir in the chopped dates.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Who doesn't love a challenge?

Kenlie at All The Weigh is having a "cook at home" challenge, along with Calphalon, that I'm excited for. So many people eat out these days, and we all know that restaurant food, while tasty, is not the healtiest thing for you. It isn't the chef's job to make sure you eat something healthy, it's his or her's job to make sure you eat something that tastes good. It is totally possible to eat something healthy that also tastes really good. Case in point, I'm eating Mediterranean seafood soup that I pulled out of the freezer. Make a huge batch, freeze leftovers for later. Cook once, eat twice. It's a win-win for healthy eating.

So step up to the stove, and join me, won't you? Take back your dinner.