Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Friendly Cereal Bars

Baby Charlie really likes to eat, and I really like to feed him things that are good for him, free of sodium and sugars and preservatives that I can't even pronounce.  The ingredients on some manufactured "healthy" baby treats make me shudder.  I turned to the internet to get some ideas for making my own.  That's where I discovered Lou's awesome site.  She's got some amazing healthy, baby-friendly recipes.  First I tried following her recipe for these cereal bars to the letter, but for whatever reason, it just didn't work for me.  I couldn't get the dough to be an actual workable dough for the life of me, and I certainly couldn't get it to roll out.  I have no idea what I did wrong, or why it didn't work out, but I didn't let it discourage me, and I did what I always do.  I used her great recipe as my base, made some adjustments, and tried again.

I finally achieved success, and so far we've had apple, banana, and yellow squash cereal bars.  The baby thinks these are the best thing ever, and I'm pretty happy with them myself.  He gets his yummy snack without all that added stuff that I don't want him to have, and I get peace of mind from knowing that he's starting off his life eating well.

Hmmmm what's this?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Coconut Curried Sweet Potato Lentil Stew with Quinoa and Kale

Whew.  That's a long name for something that was pure improvisation.  This stew was born from a case of the blues.  It's gray and rainy and cold and altogether nasty outside, precisely the weather I really hate.  I have a chest cold, and the cough is driving me crazy.  I'm chronically sleep deprived and completely exhausted.  I went and worked out, but it was a gargantuan effort, and it made me feel worse instead of better.  Everything was just crappy, and I needed comfort.  It was also lunch time, so comfort food sprang from the meager ingredients I have in my kitchen.  It's also got three super foods, but that happened completely by accident.  I was just using things I thought would be good together.  I suppose it says something at least slightly positive about my eating habits that I even had three super foods hanging out in my kitchen!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Pizza

Pizza for breakfast.  This sounds like a winning idea to me!  When I saw Chocolate Covered Katie's Breakfast Pizzert, I knew I was going to have to try it out ASAP.  Because I'm me, however, I can't just let a recipe be.  I had to tweak it to suit my needs and tastes.  These days I do my best to use oat flour instead of any other, or at least a combination.  I'm all about the lactogenic foods!  With the exception of the chocolate chips, this is quite healthy, as well.  It's no added fat, refined sugar free, and made with oat flour and fruit.

You could probably make this into a healthy dessert actually, but you'd have to sweeten it up a bit.  It would be really good with maple syrup, I think.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thai Peanut Salad with Marinated Tempeh

Let me just say, right up front, that there's NOTHING authentically Thai about this salad at all.  I just gave it this name, because I marinated the tempeh in the sauce from my Sesame Peanut Noodles.  However, authentic or not, it was mighty tasty and very filling.  It made for a great post workout lunch, because I was starving!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rebellion of the Rice Cooker

Last night I thought that I would like to have a healthy rice pudding for breakfast this morning.  However, rice and I are not friends.  I have NEVER been able to cook rice.  I can't even make Minute Rice turn out right.  I spent a year in a Caribbean third world country where all we ever ate was rice, and I STILL can't cook it.

A friend of mine gave me a rice cooker.  It's just a simple one, no programming or options.  You just put in the rice, the water, and hit the cook button.  That's hard to mess up, right?  I've even managed to make decent enough rice in it a couple of times, though mostly I use it to cook millet.

Well, since I can't make rice on the stove, I figured I probably couldn't make rice pudding there either, so I decided to put it all in the rice cooker.  I wasn't making real rice pudding anyway.  I just wanted to cook up some brown rice with a lot of liquid so it got a thick pudding like consistency.  Last night before bed I put one cup of brown rice and two cups of soy milk into the rice cooker.  I thought that soaking the rice would help break it down and make it thick and sticky when it was all cooked.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dessert Hummus

I've been (morbidly) intrigued with the whole dessert hummus thing ever since it took the food blog world by storm.  If you Google "dessert hummus" you get dozens of different recipes and variations.  As near as I can tell, it originated with the very talented Evan at The Wannabe Chef.  I used his recipe as a base, and tweaked it a bit to suit my own tastes.

I was incredibly skeptical about this.  While I love hummus, I didn't really believe it could be made into a decent dessert.  It's an appetizer; it's a great snack; it's a fantastic sandwich spread, but beans for dessert just doesn't even sound that appetizing.  I couldn't imagine it being good.  I was SO WRONG.  This stuff rocks my socks.  I actually used my finger to get every last bit out of the food processor.

Usually desserts aren't the healthiest things in the world, but sometimes you can find a dessert that is at least not bad for you.  This is not only not bad for you, it's actually GOOD for you!  Chickpeas are low fat, low cholesterol, high fiber, high protein, and an excellent source of folate and zinc.  They may also assist in lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream.  Natural peanut butter is low in cholesterol and is a good source of niacin and manganese.  It's a good source of protein and is full of mono and poly-unsaturated fats, or the good fats that help lower cholesterol and have heart-protective benefits, and here's an entire article about the health benefits of pure maple syrup.  So yay!  An actual healthy dessert.  I'm so excited.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I make it a practice to NOT drink my calories, unless the drink is an actual meal, like a smoothie for breakfast. I generally require my liquid calories to provide me with a pretty big amount of nutrition in order to make drinking calories worth it in the first place.  Note that I said generally.  From time to time I'll have a cocktail or a glass of wine, and every now and then, I get hit by a stray, random, and really rather strange craving.  I swear I have more cravings now than I ever did when I was pregnant!  Anyway, yesterday was one of those times.

I woke up really wanting some horchata.  My ex-mother-in-law used to make a mean horchata, and they sell a decent enough version at a local Mexican hole in the wall restaurant.  Since I don't have access to the ex-MIL, and I'm pretty sure Allende isn't open at 6:30 in the morning, I decided to see if I could make it myself, so I turned to Doctor Google for help.  I found a plethora of recipes, and the grand majority of them included milk as a main ingredient.  In my experience authentic horchata is an agua fresca, and milk totally defeats the purpose of drinking it in the first place, so I did what I always do.  I pieced together several different recipes and made my own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Nachos

There are recipes for apple nachos all over the internet.  I love apples, and I love them even more now that it's Honeycrisp season, so apple nachos seemed to be just the ticket, but so many of the recipes are soooo unhealthy. I mean come on! Marshmallows? An entire stick of butter? Caramel sauce? Commercial chocolate syrup? Do you have any idea what's even in that sticky, sweet, processed chocolate stuff? I'll give you a hint: high fructose corn syrup is the number one ingredient in the grand majority of them. This is a snack that has such potential to be healthy, so I decided to health it up. I had mine for dinner last night! This recipe is for a single serving, so feel free to up it and make more. Had I done that, I would have eaten the whole thing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wheat Berries of Joy!

I've got a deep and abiding love for wheat berries.  It's strange actually since I have a just as deep and abiding loathing for wheat bread and wheat crackers.  However, I love wheat pasta way more than regular white pasta.  As usual I digress, but there's a glimpse into one of my interesting and adorable quirks.  What was I talking about?  Ah yes, wheat berries.

Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels that contain all three parts of the grain:  the germ, bran, and endosperm. Only the hull has been removed. Because of this, wheat berries retain all of the grain's vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Wheat berries, like all whole grains, have tons of health benefits. Whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  Eating whole grains instead of refined/processed grains can help with weight control, as well.  The best part though, is that wheat berries are yummy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Peanut Butter

My nut butters are usually very simple, one ingredient kinda things.  Generally I use just nuts, either dry roasted or raw, no added salt or sugar or oil of any kind.  It's absolutely amazing this way.  You get the taste of the actual nut without all of the added sodium and fat and calories that really do nothing to enhance the flavor anyway.

Every now and then, though, I like a treat just as much as the next person.  While surfing the web one dreary morning, I came across an ad for Naturally Nutty Honey Roasted Cinnamon Peanut Butter.  It set off an almost immediate craving.  I've never seen Naturally Nutty brand around here in the stores, and ordering it from their website wouldn't have fulfilled my sudden need for instant gratification.  Then there was the whole issue of the fact that I'm ummmm frugal, and I wasn't about to pay five bucks (plus shipping!) for a mere eight ounces of peanut butter.  Hmmmm, a little light bulb went off in my head.  "I'll bet I can make this." I checked my cabinets and was thrilled to discover that I had all the ingredients needed to make this new yummy concoction that I now absolutely had to have!  It was easy as pie, too.  Though I don't know who made up that expression, because I think pie is all kinds of hard.  I've never made a pie crust in my life that was worth eating.  But as usual, I digress, so back to the goodness that is this peanut butter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Low Fat Summer Squash Bread

Continuing with my "What the heck do I do with all these summer squash?" theme, I decided to try and bake it into some quick bread.  Zucchini bread is amazing, so why not use summer squash instead, right?  It turned out pretty darned good too, especially for a low fat version.  This is not vegan, as I used Egg Beaters, but with a few tweaks it could easily be veganized.

Really Low Fat Summer Squash Bread


  • 1 cup summer squash, seeded and shredded
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1.  Preheat oven to 350°.

2.  Grease loaf pan.

3.  Mix together dry ingredients.  If you have to, use your hands to break up any lumps.  It needs to be completely incorporated.

It should look like sand.

4.  Add wet ingredients.  It will seem like there's not enough, but just keep mixing and mixing, and it will eventually make a dough.

5.  Pour into loaf pan.

6.  Bake for 55 minutes.

This made a hearty dense loaf, and it was really good.  In retrospect, however, I could have pureed the squash and used squash puree and a flax egg to make it vegan.  It would have also made it a bit lighter.  Next time...


Grain and Veggie Salad with Tangy Tofu Dressing

I've actually got three posts lined up to make!  I'm just having a hard time finding the time to actually make them. Baby happily takes up a lot of my time.  However, now he's sleeping peacefully in his wrap on my chest, and I have a few minutes to blog.

Last week, Drew brought home something like six dozen yellow squash from work.  Someone's garden had an explosion.  Now, I love squash, but I usually buy them about two at a time, and I had no idea what to do with all that squash.  I chopped it up and put it into omelets.  I diced it and ate it in wraps with hummus.  I steamed it and ate it salted for a snack.  Then, in my sleep deprived, brain-dead state, I completely ran out of ideas. So...

I turned to the lovely world of the internet and Googled "What the hell do I do with all this summer squash?" (yes seriously), and I found about eight gazillion recipes.  However, I'm so damned picky that I only liked about three of them.  I found a recipe for Millet and Veggie salad over at Melomeals that I thought I would like a lot after I tweaked it to my satisfaction.  You guys know me, after all of my "tweaking", it wasn't really even remotely the same.  However, the inspiration definitely was not my own; that came from Melody's amazing blog.

Like many of my posts, this is more of a guideline than it is a recipe.  There are so many possible variations to make it suit your own tastes (for example:  I used enough garlic to bring down all of Salem's Lot!).  The possibilities are endless.  The thing that brings it all together and really makes the whole dish is the dressing. The really amazing thing about this is that even the kiddo liked it.  He ate more of it than I did, I think.  This surprises the heck out of me considering it had lots of vegetables in it.  And grain.  And health.  Go figure!

Yeah, it's not terribly aesthetically pleasing, I know, but it sure does taste good, and it's SO healthy!

Grain and Veggie Salad with Tangy Tofu Dressing


  • 1/2 cup dry grain of choice.  Like Melody, I used Millet, because I had it and I LOVE it.  Next time I think I'll use quinoa.  You could use pretty much any grain that tickles your fancy.  You could also probably use whole wheat cous cous or even small legumes, like lentils.
  • 1 small to medium summer squash, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup shelled edamame
  • 4 spears asparagus, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pureed tofu
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 3 TBS sesame tahini
  • 1TBS lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 TBS good brown mustard
  • liberal shake nutmeg
  • liberal shake (or three, if you're like me!) dried dill


1.  Cook grain of choice according to package directions.

I toasted mine first.  
Try not to notice that my burner needs cleaning!

2.  Saute desired veggies, or you can use the dry fry method.  That's what I did, saving the calories from the oil to use in the dressing instead!

3.  Let grain and veggies cool to room temperature.

4.  While you're waiting for everything to cool off a bit, you can go ahead and multi-task

Yeah.  In fact I do love to show him off!


1.  Puree tofu to very smooth, almost liquid state.

2.  Add all other ingredients and whisk whisk whisk until very well mixed and frothy.

The Whole Shebang

1.  Mix cooled grain and veggies.

2.  Pour half of dressing over grain and vegetable mixture and mix well.

4.  Let chill for several hours, ideally over night.  The longer it melds the better it tastes.

5.  When ready to serve, drizzle more dressing over the top and salt and pepper to taste.


Now, what the heck do I do with the rest of these?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Single Ingredient Soft Serve

This recipe is ALL OVER the internet and has been for quite some time.  I've been wanting to try it, but things like a complicated pregnancy and then a newborn kept me from having the opportunity.  The newborn isn't quite so new anymore, and he's getting pretty good at amusing himself for a few minutes, especially if I put him in the kitchen with me, so I decided that I should try this out for breakfast this morning.

All you have to have is a frozen banana or two and a food processor.  I was amazed that a couple of frozen bananas whipped up into such a smooth, sweet, and creamy treat.  I was pretty excited.  Don't get TOO excited though, because while this does have the creamy consistency of soft serve, it doesn't exactly taste like soft serve.  This is good for me actually, because I don't particularly like soft serve, but my love for bananas has been pretty well established by now.

Single Ingredient Soft Serve


  • 3 frozen bananas.  You want them to be pretty ripe, but not so ripe that they're all brown.

1.  Place frozen bananas in bowl of food processor fitted with an S blade.

2.  Process until correct consistency, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.

How long this takes will depend on your food processor and on your personal definition of proper consistency.

There you go.  That's it.  Easy peasy, healthy, low calorie, low fat ice cream.  It is fantastic just the way it is, but you can add stuff, as well.  Of course that makes it no longer one ingredient, but still with a base this healthy you can splurge just a tiny bit too.  I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a very liberal shake of cinnamon to mine.  It would be good with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter or with some fresh mint or even mint extract.  If you are the chocolaty type, you could add a bit of cocoa powder or chocolate chips. Then of course are the combinations...chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mint, etc. etc.  I think this would be good with some dried fruit as well.  You could go tropical and add a bit of shredded coconut and some pineapple, or you could go tart and add cherries and apricots.  I'd soak the fruit for a few hours first though. The possibilities are endless, and the base is only about 80 calories per serving and chock full of potassium! Also, you can totally eat ice cream for breakfast!  Doesn't get much better than that!


Monday, July 11, 2011

No Sugar Added Protein Energy ... Rounds

I can't call these "bars", since I baked them in a muffin tin, in order to cut out a few steps, and I can't call them "bites" since they are much bigger than just a bite, and I can't call them "muffins", because even though I did bake them in a muffin tin, they are not.  Muffins, that is.  So rounds it is.

I was at the doctor today, and I asked her when postpartum hair loss is supposed to stop.  Her vague-ish answer was, "Six weeks.  Sometimes 12.  Maybe later. Eventually.  Don't worry; you have a lot; you won't be bald."  Captain Subtext translates that into, "Normally, somewhere between six and 12 weeks, but this doesn't apply to you.  Nothing applies to you since you are the hugest medical anomaly I've ever seen." Anyway, she also told me that adding more protein to my diet would help, so I set out to invent something that packs a huge protein punch in a small, quick to grab, easy to eat package. It wouldn't hurt if it gave me a boost of energy, as well, and an even bigger plus would be if it would help boost milk supply.  I don't ask for much, do I?

Anyway, I came up with these ... rounds, which were initially supposed to be bars.  The nuts, nut butter, seeds, and quinoa have a crapton of protein.  Yes, crapton is indeed a scientific measurement.  Look it up. The bananas and the wheat germ are both chock full of potassium, and aside from giving quick energy, potassium is amazingly good for you.

You can customize this recipe a bazillion different ways, according to your taste.  You can use whatever nuts you would like, alone or in combination.  I used almonds, walnuts, and pecans.  You can vary your dried fruit (and if you haven't already, read about why you should dehydrate it yourself).  I used cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and dates.  I almost went tropical and used pineapple, banana, and mango, as I had all of those on hand as well.  Next time...  You can also choose whatever nut or seed butter you most prefer.  I used unsweetened natural almond butter.  Usually I make my own, but I just didn't have time this time.  I did, however, use MaraNatha brand, and their only ingredient is raw almonds.  Even many of the natural nut butters add some oil, so I'm pretty fond of MaraNatha.  I considered using Sunbutter or Tahini.  You can also use the seed of your choice.  I used sunflower, because that's what I had, but pumpkin or sesame would work just as well.

So now I've got nuts and nut butter and quinoa for protein, tons of potassium for energy and other good things, fruit for a burst of natural sweetness, and oats for a lactation boost.  Now, these are not low fat. Nuts are quite caloric and have a high fat content.  However, those fats are the good fats.  They help lower bad cholesterol.  They have lots of protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.  Eating an ounce of nuts a day can help lower your risk of heart disease.  So while these aren't necessarily low fat, they are quite good for you.

Because there is no added sugar, these aren't sweet and cakey like muffins.  They also aren't sweet and salty and crunchy like granola bars.  If you're looking for sweet, then you need to move on.  They are dense and gooey and pack a hell of a nutritional punch.

Protein Energy Rounds

  • 1/2 cup nut or seed butter
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup whole nuts
  • 1 1/2 cup dried fruits
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind!)
  • 2 TBSP wheat germ
  • 1/8 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Liberal pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cups seeds

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Coarsely chop nuts and dried fruit in food processor.  Be careful and pay attention, because you don't want to make it a gooey paste.  You just want it chopped up into big pieces, like so:

3.  Mix nut butter and bananas until thick and paste like.

4.  Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

5.  Spoon into a lightly sprayed muffin tin.  And by lightly sprayed, I mean spray the hell out of it, or they'll stick!

6.  Bake for 15 minutes.

7.  These must be stored in the refrigerator.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I'm slowly trying to get back into the swing of things.  The baby is four months old now, and it would be nice to have dinner again every once in awhile.  While he is able to amuse himself for longer stretches than before, he's still only four months old, and those stretches aren't all that long, so quick and easy is the name of the game here.

Drew recently requested some baked macaroni and cheese.  I had no idea how to go about this, because the only macaroni I've ever made in my life came out of a box, and when I gave up Shit That Is Bad For Me (TM), I pretty much stopped eating that.  So I just sort of made this up as I went along, using what we had in the house.  It's certainly not vegan.  It's also not my usual low fat, healthy fare, but it is better than the packaged processed stuff, and I'm nursing.  I can get away with the extra calories right now, because I've seen first hand what not getting enough calories does to my milk supply!

Laura's Make It Up As You Go Along Baked Macaroni and Cheese


  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 eggs or equivalent amount of Egg Beaters
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • Generous pinch salt
  • Scant shake cayenne pepper
  • Shake ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups grated cheese of choice - I used Swiss, Colby Jack, and Mozzarella.  I suppose most normal people would use sharp cheddar and American, but I'm not normal.  I also don't like cheddar, and we didn't have American.
  • Something crunchy for the top - I used crushed Corn Flakes.  Crushed crackers of some sort or Panko would work really well too.

1.  Preheat oven to 425.

2.  Bring large pot of salted water to boil.

3.  Add macaroni and cook two minutes less than package directions.  Drain and set aside.

4.  If you didn't buy pre-shredded cheese, grate your cheese in whatever manner you       use to grate cheese.  Personally I'm lazy, so I use the food processor.  I'd still be  shredding cheese if I had to do it with a manual grater!

5.  In a large bowl whisk eggs and evaporated milk together until foamy.

6.  Add a generous pinch of salt, the cayenne, and the nutmeg and whisk well.

7.  Stir in the grated cheeses, and mix well.

8.  Add the macaroni and stir well to coat.

9.  Pour into a sprayed casserole or baking dish, and gently smooth the top to make an even layer.

10.  Crush up your crunchy stuff and completely cover the top.

11.  Bake 15 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

12.  Let rest for ten minutes before serving.

13.  Lastly, if you have one of these, put him in the kitchen and let him help!

My hope is that he'll develop healthy habits early on and not have to struggle like I did.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...