Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fudgy Brownies

I have been searching and scouring the internet for a decent brownie recipe. Sure, I found the ones that were doused in butter and melted chocolate, then topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting. But, did I really want to consume something that could count for at least one meal..or worse..the whole pan?!

I had to find an alternative.

Craving chocolate ooey gooeyness, I discovered this recipe that is courtesy of Jillian Michaels.

I know, I know, how could this muscular goddess have produced a recipe worthy of my blog? Well, she has succeeded. After reading many reviews of this brownie, I had to try it. I did make a few adjustments, but most of the recipe is her own. These brownies are decadent and a calorie bargain. If you portion them out correctly, they are only 85 calories each! Ca-ching!

Fudge Brownies
Adapted from: Jillian Michaels, Master Your Metabolism Cookbook
Olive oil spray for pan
2/3 C. Honey
1/3 C. Cocoa Powder
1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. Unsweetened Applesauce
2 tbs. olive oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
t tbs. prepared coffee or espresso
1/4 c. chopped chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x8 in. pan with cooking spray.

Place honey in a measuring cup and microwave until bubbly, about one minute. Mix in cocoa powder and set aside to cool. 

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. set aside.

In a large bowl combine cooled honey, applesauce, egg, oil, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Combine the wet with the dry, taking care not to over mix. 

Bake until edges look dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting into 16 even squares. Will keep room temperature for up to 3 days, or longer in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Zucchini Carrot Quick-bread

I feel bad calling this a "bread."

It is so good it has to be considered a cake..I mean how can it not be considered a cake? Moist? Yes. Great texture? Yes. Frosting? Nope..okay it's a bread..that tastes like cake.

The thing that makes this "bread" so redeeming is the fact that it is made with all natural ingredients including two different vegetables (!) But you would never know they were in dad sure didn't. 

I walked downstairs this morning and discovered there was only a quarter of the bread left. Hmmm..who consumed most of the confection? I had one slice. My dad claims he had one slice. My mom..

..culprit determined. 

ANYWAYS, this bread is delicious. Perfect as a dessert, breakfast, or an afternoon snack. Plus the lengthy list of natural ingredients makes it good for you!


Zucchini Carrot Bread
Adapted from: Whole Foods


Natural cooking spray 
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
1 egg white
1/3 cup expeller pressed canola oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 
2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbs. Honey
2 Tbs. Agave
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 medium grated zucchini
1 medium grated carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
raisins and almonds, for garnish
honey diluted with water, for garnish


Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with natural cooking spray and set aside. 

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg white, oil, applesauce, yogurt, sugar, honey, agave, carrot, zucchini, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and fold until well combined, be careful not to over-mix. Fold almonds last then transfer batter to prepared pan. Top with almonds, raisins, and brush with diluted honey and water. Bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. 

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes then remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Avocado and Greek Yogurt

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Avocado and Greek Yogurt

This chili was inspired by our tough economy. Our family has been hit so we have been trying to turn ordinary ingredients and leftovers into great dishes. I hope you enjoy it!  

I submitted this recipe to the today show recipe contest..hope I win!! Cross your fingers!

1 lb ground chicken, or 4 leftover chicken breasts shredded 
2, 15 oz. can black beans 
2, 15 oz. cans kidney beans 
2, 15 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes, pureed 
1/2 a jar marinara sauce 
1/4 c. raisins, pureed with adobo 
1/2 a can chipotle in adobo, pureed 2 tbs. tomato paste 
2 stalks celery, chopped 2 carrot sticks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbs. chili powder
1-2 tsp. cayenne (or less if cooking time is mellows!) 
2 tsp. cumin 
2 tsp. paprika 
1 tsp. oregano 

First start by pureeing all of the ingredients in a food processor to get the mise en place ready. The tomatoes, chipotles, and raisins. Set aside. If using raw ground meat, brown the meat in a large dutch oven and then re move to set aside to drain off any extra fat. If using leftover meat, this step can be skipped.

Chop all of your vegetables up and add to a large dutch oven and saute over medium heat in the same dutch oven. Once they have softened and gotten some color (about 10 minutes) add in the tomato paste, chipotles, raisins, garlic, and chili powder. Cook for another two minutes. Add in about 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the dutch oven slightly before you add any of the extra ingredients. 

Add in the remaining ingredients: tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, spices, marinara sauce, and meat.

Bring to a boil and lower heat and simmer for at least 2 hours, if not longer. Enjoy topped with jack cheese, avocado, and greek yogurt. A side of cornbread never hurt either. Cooks note: the first time I made this chili, I simmered it for about 2 1/2 hours, and the second time I made it, I made it in the morning and it sat on the stove all day. The flavor was very developed and decadent.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Orleans Style Gumbo

I submitted this recipe to a recipe contest.

I lost. Damn. It is David Venable's loss. If he were just in my kitchen and smelled the lovely aroma that was cascading from dutch oven on the stove he would have been sold! Well we had leftover chicken (again) a few nights ago so I decided to try my hand at making gumbo. Now, I have never been to New Orleans before, but I did quite a bit of research before I created this dish.

The result was a thick, stew-like consistency that had the wonderful flavors of creole and cajun seasoning. It includes both chicken and shrimp, both of which are added in in the last 5 minutes of cooking to ensure they are not overcooked.

New Orleans Style Gumbo
Yield: 6-8 Servings
2 celery stalks
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 lb okra
2 tbs butter
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. flour
1 quart low sodium vegetable broth plus 2 cups
1 lb. frozen or fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb cooked and cubed, chicken (I used white meat)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Start with the roux..this is the most important part! Melt the butter and oil in a pan together and mix in the flour. Cook out the flour as if you were making a béchamel sauce, but keep cooking the flour and fat together on medium low heat. Take care in not burning the roux. Once you achieve a peanut butter color, it is time to add all the vegetables except the okra.
(Hint: in order to keep the okra from being slimy, wash it and freeze it for 30 minutes prior to cutting. When you go to cut the okra, you will be slime free.)
Add in all of the chopped vegetables and spices to the roux. I used the kitchen king pro to chop up the onion, celery, bell peppers, garlic, and celery. Cook the vegetables in the roux for about 10 minutes until they have softened significantly and become translucent. The roux will be very thick when the vegetables are added, so in order to keep moisture in the vegetables, add stock when it starts getting a little too thick and keep working the vegetables until they soften up.
Once the vegetables have become translucent, add in the rest of the broth and the tomato sauce. Cook for at least 45 minutes on a simmer for all of the flavors to meld together.
While the gumbo simmers, chip the okra into rounds. The gumbo should be checked on a few times while it simmers. Before the okra is added, check the seasonings and adjust accordingly. Add the okra and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Finally, add in the chicken and shrimp. Since the the chicken is already cooked and cubed, it only needs to warm through. Shrimp only takes about 5 minutes to poach so it is important not to overcook it. Once the shrimp are done, remove the gumbo from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Enjoy with a big scoop of rice scooped right on top and a side of cornbread! Yum! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The "Best" Blueberry Muffins

Muffins have been a little difficult for me.

Well, lets face it. The first batch turned out gummy. (Damn that applesauce)

The second batch burned. (Pumpkin can die)

The third worked (corn muffins). I decided I must conquer my fear with sweet muffins and try to find a recipe that is fabulous.

And trust me it is.

I am usually not a fan of muffins, frankly I deemed them a waste of calories. But, these have made me a convert, top is crunchy from the lemony topping and the inside is moist and light. These are defeinitly not your Mama's muffin. They are so much more.

"Best" Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 1/2 C. All purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. Fresh or frozen blueberries
1 C. plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
4 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 C. Vegetable oil
1/2 C. Milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 C. Fat free yogurt (I used goat yogurt and it gave them a great tang)
12 Tsp. blueberry jam (For top)
2 Large Eggs

For the topping:
1/4 C. granulated sugar
The zest of one lemon (I used a meyer)
12 tsp. Blueberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and make sure the rack you are using is positioned in the middle of the oven.
2.. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and table salt in a medium sized bowl.
3. Combine the milk and yogurt together and whisk until there are visible lumps.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are combined. Add in the milk/yogurt mixture, oil, melted butter, and blueberries.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the sifted dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula. Be careful when you do this and take care not to over mix the batter.( I still had a few lumps of dry flour when I spooned them out. Again, DO NOT OVER MIX. You will get a tough muffin and these turn out wonderfully light.)
6. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cups 2/3 c. full. 
7. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam into the center of each muffin. Using a toothpick or chopstick, cover the jam with a bit of the batter, but it does not have to be completely submerged. 
8. Sprinkle with the sugar topping.
9. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Lower the heat to 375 and bake 5-7 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
10. Devour.

For the sugar topping: Combine lemon zest and sugar with a fork so it is a crumbly consistency. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chocolate Date Almond Balls

Over the holiday season, I spent many an hour in the kitchen baking cookies, pie, truffles, and all other kinds of decadent delights.

My jeans feel a bit more snug these days.

I knew I had to make a change. But, I had already accustomed myself to eating delicious chocolate truffles everyday and mounds of peanut butter fudge.

In a way to curb my cravings for chocolate, I came across a recipe that looked like it couldn't possibly work. I mean..dates? Almonds? Cocoa Powder? Tasting like a truffle?! I had to see if the rumors are true.

And they are..they are.

Make these. Now. You are five minutes away from chocolaty heaven.

Chocolate Date Almond Balls

1/2 C. Dates (I used a combination of medjool and California)
1/2 C. Raw Almonds (Or walnuts)
2 1/2 Tbs. Cocoa powder
Drizzle of Agave or Honey

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and give it a whirl! That's it! The mixture should come together in a ball..should it not, add a few more dates and some more agave or honey. Roll into balls and store in the refrigerator. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Healthy Corn Muffins

Did you know that cornbread refers to any number of quick-breads and/or muffins that use cornmeal as one of the ingredients? That is, according to Wikipedia. I think this is an outrage. Cornbread has a distinct texture that is perfect for adding savory accompaniments. There are many different ways one can create a cornbread: in a cast iron, baked in a loaf, or (as I have done) in a delightful little muffin.

These muffins are not only delicious, but they are also healthy.

Some people don't believe that food can be delicious and healthy..amateurs.

They have a delightful crunchy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. I surprised myself in the creation of this muffin; after searching online for several hours, I could not discover one that was something to my liking. I didn't want to use butter or a cup of oil. I didn't think it was worth it to be in some cornbread when it could be in something like a cupcake.

So, I created a recipe that was to my liking. I was nervous recipe testing..if it turns out crappy, how would I change it? How many dishes would I have to do? How much yelling would I have to endure for a failed attempt?

Thank God they worked.

Corn Muffins
Yield: 9-12 Muffins

1 1/2 Cups stone ground cornmeal*
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 scant c. almond milk (or any other milk)
1/4 C. Honey
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbs. unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Egg Whites (or 1/2 C. Egg beaters)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together. Whisk To combine. Add in wet ingredients and stir to combine, but do not over mix. 
3. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into greased muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven until tops are browned, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake about 10 minutes more.
4. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5. Enjoy with butter, jam, chili..the possibilities are endless!

*Note: I used Bob's red mill stone ground cornmeal, make sure whatever cornmeal you use in coarsely ground so you get that lovely crunch of the corn in the muffin. 

Until Next time...


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Homemade Tator Tots

When you hear the word tator tot, what do you think of? Elementary school? Napoleon Dynamite? Sonic? I think of greasy deliciousness that can now be made on bajillion times better if you do it yourself. Screw you or-ida! I win.

I came across this recipe and immediately thought that the time and effort was not worth it.

However, I was in possession of some of the best popchips ever (parmesan and garlic...drool) and had to either consume the entire confection before my Dad did, or use them to make these tots. So I chose the latter.

Having some left over baked russet potatoes was key in this recipe, I don't know if I would be so keen on peeling the potatoes, boiling them, mashing them, cooling them..ect ect ect. So, I am sure this recipe could be created in advance by boiling and mashing the potatoes and then leaving them in the fridge.

Potato Chip Encrusted Tator Tots
Adapted from Pennies on a Platter

2 Lbs. Russet or Baking Potatoes
1Tbs. Flour
1 Tbs. Whole Wheat Flour
1 bag popchips, crushed
2 egg whites
1/4-1/3 C. milk (I used almond milk)
Nonstick spray

1. Peel potatoes, cut into cubes, and boil until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and mash them with about 1/4 cup of milk. It is important to remember you still want the potatoes to be slightly lumpy and not smooth because they are going into the oven. In order to achieve the right consistency, I added about a teaspoon of whole wheat flour and a teaspoon of egg white to the potatoes. 
2. Preheat the oven to 400. Form the potatoes into "nugget" shape by using a small spoon. Depending on how big you want your tots, but I wouldn't say more than two tablespoons worth, otherwise the chips will burn.
3. Once all of the potatoes have been formed, dust them with flour and then dip them in the egg wash. The last station is the pop chips. Line the finished ones on parchment paper while you finish the rest.
4. Bake in a 400 degree oven on a GREASED sheet of foil until slightly brown, then take out the tots, and flip them to the other side. When you return them to the oven, lower the temperature to 375. Continue to bake until golden brown and delish. 

I wish I had some now..these are amazing, the flavor, the crunch, the fact that I created them myself. 

Let me know what you think!

Til next time..


Monday, January 3, 2011


So I totally meant to upload these pictures and this recipe last night but I watched reruns of Jersey Shore fell asleep on the couch. This recipe is something I experienced at an Indian food restaurant here in the OC and I knew I had to find a recipe to replicate it. It took a few tweaking to get it just right, but I am pretty sure I have the right measurements to a T.

Now, I am not at all means an expert at all on Indian foods. But I am an expert on good food. This is good food.

 Does that not look delicious? I wish I had some now. With some naan. mmmmmmm

So to begin this extensive simple process of creating this indian dish, get your mise en place ready. Don't you just love that phrase? I know I do..sounds so cheffy.

And we have: broth, fat free yogurt, cilantro, tomato, garlic, ginger, onion, jalepeno, olive oil, salt, pepper, tumeric, cumin seed, curry powder, and eggplant. You may be thinking right now..what is that sad little thing in the bowl next to the chicken broth? Well, my friends, that is what happens to an eggplant when you roast it for about an hour. Look how sad it gets...don't worry it will become delicous.
(Measurments and exact recipe will be listed at the end of this entry. )

Begin by drizzling few teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet and add the cumin, curry powder, and tumeric.
lovely isn't she?

Next, add the onion and jalepeno and cook until they have softened..about 10-15 minutes.
After they have softened significantly, you are ready to add the ginger and garlic together. They are really supposed to be a paste, but I can't be bothered by extra steps.

The tomatoes are the next thing into the pool and they should be cooked until they begin to relieve a good deal of their juices..about 10 minutes.

Now you may be asking yourself..what is THAT? I looks disgusting. When I first did this recipe..I was disgusted. It is the eggplant. Peeled in a bowl so you can collect all of its juicy goodness. That goes into the mix next. Along with cilantro..
If you are one of those people who hate cilantro (WHY?!) Then use parsley. I am not judging you.

At this point, the flavors need to meld together for at least 20 minutes. After that, add the yogurt and start mashing! Then let simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest. Then enjoy. Yumm. Curry :)

Bharta Recipe
Adapted from Allrecipes

3 Medium Eggplant
3 Large Tomatoes
1 1/4 Cup Yellow Onion
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup broth..if needed
2 Tbs. garlic
2 Tbs. Ginger
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup non fat yogurt ( I usually use greek, but sometimes goat)

1. Start by roasting the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place eggplant on a sheet tray and roast for one hour, flipping halfway through. 
2. While the eggplant is roasting, prepare the other ingredients: Chop the onion and jalapeno and set them together, as they are the first things to go into the pot. Chop the tomato, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Set aside
3. You will know the eggplant is ready when it begins collapsing in on itself. Remove from oven and allow to rest in a large bowl to collect any juices that come out.
4. While the eggplant is cooling, begin by adding the olive oil to the pot and sautéing the cumin seed, turmeric, and curry powder until they become fragrant.
5. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until they become softened and translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
6. Once the onions become soft, add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to give off some of their juices. About 10 minutes.*
7. While the vegetables are cooking, peel the eggplant, taking care to collect any juices that come out of the vegetable. Mash slightly or cut with a knife and fork.
8. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the eggplant, and cilantro. Cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
9. Add the yogurt and cook and additional 5 minutes.
10. Using a potato masher, mash all of the ingredients together until you achieve a chunky texture. 
10. Remove from the head and allow to rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
11. ENJOY over basmati rice, or with some naan. 

*If your tomatoes are not giving off as much juice as you'd like, you can add an additional 1/4 c. of broth to achieve desired consistency. 

Until next time...


Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Post

Hello new friends! After months of reading online blogs about cooking and fitness, I have decided to document my recipe successes and failures within the kitchen. Having a brand new kitchen to work in that doesn't belong to me seems like the perfect spot to do it in..(thanks mom and dad!) So stay tuned for all of the wonders I will be cooking up..I have some wonderful recipes on hand and am looking forward to sharing them with all of you!

I have had many failures successes with baking and cooking in the past. Although, the stovetop and my mother would argue that they are failures..well, do their opinions really matter? I didn't think so. The floor covered in flour can go suck an egg as well.

Stay tuned for tonight..I am making homemade tator tots and bharta! (Ps..if you don't know what bharta is FABULOUS. Look it up asap now. Deliciousness. Why are you still here?

Until then..I leave you with a picture of a recent success of mine..homemade challah bread. mmmmmmmmmm