Thursday, January 20, 2011

The two most important meals of the day

Hey guys! Once again I must play catch up; because I didn’t have time for blogging the past couple days and I have a lot to share!
A couple breakfasts I have enjoyed lately-
 Pumpkin oatmeal with apple butter and molasses mixed in, topped with mini chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and chocolate toffee creamer (doesn't taste like chocolate at all). Mmmm, this is what winter is all about!!
egg-before cooking (with hot sauce & pepper)
With center cut bacon and whole grain english muffin!
All together now-
yum yum yum yum yum yummm
This is a whole grain bagel, one side topped with low fat cream cheese + jalapeno jelly, and the other side topped with Laughing Cow French Onion cheese.
Guys, if you haven't tried the jalapeno jelly/cream cheese combo, you MUST. I basically can't eat bagels any other way (i.e if there isn't jalapeno jelly in the house, I won't eat a bagel!)
We were out of crunchy peanut butter, so I tried mimicking crunchy pb by making a serving of PB2 (powdered peanut butter) and then mixing in some brown rice crisps. I then topped the slathered English muffins with a smear of chocolate hazelnut spread. Sadly, the crisps turned into uncrisps so it didn't work out as well as I would have liked. Still good, though!
And lastly...
One serving.
Blueberry coffee cake!
I used this recipe from whole foods but modified it a touch (as always).

Blueberry Coffee Cake
Serves 8
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Brummel & Brown Butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup white sugar (use 2 tablespoons if using blueberry yogurt instead of plain)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or blueberry yogurt***
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed and drained blueberries, divided
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (I used a 10 inch spring form pan) with cooking spray; set aside. Put 2 tablespoons of the whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and cardamom in a medium bowl and mix together with a fork or your fingers until well combined and mixture is in large clumps; set streusel aside.

Put remaining whole wheat pastry flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, vanilla and eggs then pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle reserved streusel over the top. Scatter remaining 1 cup blueberries over the streusel then top with almonds and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of cake and transfer to a plate. Cut into slices and serve.

Per serving: 201 calories, 5g total fat, .9 g saturated fat, 36g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 16g sugar), 7.5g protein

***If you are using one container of blueberry yogurt (such as Chobani) then put the yogurt into a measuring cup and add water until it measures one cup. 

Okay, so it's not the prettiest coffee cake I've ever seen, but it sure was tasty! When I made this, I didn't toast the almonds because I thought they would toast in oven. They actually didn't so the almonds were a little bland. I also used a container of blueberry Chobani greek yogurt instead of plain, so that's why the cake is so odd colored! I think next time I make this, I will nix the streusel topping (which kind of sank into the cake) and top the cake with 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon curd instead (and toast the almonds). You know how much I love lemon curd and blueberries. :D
My dad was a real fan of this, and you gotta love the nutritional facts! All that for a whole eighth of the cake!!
Gotta love spring form much easier to get the cake out!
Dinners I've had lately?
Well, we had my dad's famous black bean soup-
Served along some homemade bread (more on that in a second!)
The soup has black beans (duh), assorted soup-prone veggies, hot Italian sausage, and a bunch of spices. My dad cooks dried beans in a pressure cooker with a bunch of water and a ham bone that imparts a lot of flavor. All the meat that was left on the ham bone, along with the bean water (and beans) are then put in with all the other stuff. We had the leftovers of this soup tonight for dinner and it only gets better as it sits!

We actually had this dinner a really long time ago..last Friday! I told you, I'm playing major catch-up.
This salmon recipe was based off of this recipe from All Recipes. The recipe is a honey and mustard mixture that is spread on the salmon and then topped with bread crumbs and pecans. The pecans toast up in the oven and add great crunch.
I pretty much followed the recipe, except I used whole wheat bread crumbs, dried parsley, and a whole lot more salmon for the proportion of topping. Oh and I never use the full amount of butter (and use Brummel & Brown) This is pretty much the only salmon recipe I can make because my mom hates salmon and this is the only one she can tolerate. Hey, at least that means that this is a good enough recipe that even a salmon hater loves it! 
I served the salmon with roasted broccoli seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon zest along with fruited red rice that had dried cherries, crystallized ginger, carrots, onion, along with other things.
Classic fish meal!

Another meal we had lately was spinach ravioli stuffed with a spinach cheese mixture-
With asparagus.
I made a lemon sauce for the pasta and veggies that consisted off milk, chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pepper. I used a roux of a little butter and flour to thicken it. The lemon flavor worked really well with the spinach and the asparagus!

And last night we tried something new...Quinoa pasta!
My mom isn't a fan of whole wheat pasta, so we're constantly trying to find a middle ground in debating which pasta to get. She constantly brings up that "if I have to suffer through eating the whole wheat pasta, then you can suffer through eating (blank)" I then roll my eyes and we move on. But really, its more of a win-win for me since I love virtually any food or dish! No suffrage on my part :P (and yes I realize I just said no right to vote)

So I saw quinoa pasta at the grocery store and finally decided to give it a try. I've always seen it, just never gotten it. We had the pasta in a tomato-meat sauce (the "ground" meat you see was actually a failed attempt of meatballs I made many months ago and put in the freezer). The verdict? We all love quinoa pasta! It has a much milder taste, which my parents enjoy, and still is a whole grain pasta, which strikes high points with me! I wonder why the first ingredient is corn flour and then quinoa flour, though. Why can't it all be quinoa flour?
NOW I'll fill ya in on the bread we had with the black bean soup.
I had the hankering for making more bread but this time I wanted to make a bread that had more flavors than the typical whole wheat. I made a herbed cottage cheese bread. This bread had cottage cheese (duh), parsley, dill, onion and honey as it's flavoring agents. The good thing I like about the process of making this bread dough was that it took a lot less time than it took for my other breads. The first rising only took 40 minutes, the second rising 25 minutes, and the third 15! Compare that to a total of 6 hours of my french bread. Here's the dough before slashing-
After slashing and egg wash-
After a good bake!
Wow! This bread was so beautiful and had such amazing flavors going on! I love the fact that it was whole wheat too. I got this bread's recipe from my Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, so it's another one I can't share.
The reason why it rose so much faster than the other breads was because it had the addition of an egg and a cup of cottage cheese, which lightened the loaf. My mom, who hates dill, even thought it was really good! And of course my dad loved it, but I think he just about adores every bread I make.

Well I still have more things to recap, but at least I'm getting a little more caught up!
Have a good Friday, y'all!

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