Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three Recipes You Need to Make NOW!

I was at Sprouts the other day and along with getting my essential-to-life dark chocolate honey comb, I got a new-to-me ingredient. Oh, and I also got milk chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels that were on clearance for $3.99 a pound! OH MY GOD SO GOOD! The chocolate layer is like over a centimeter thick!! Think Reeses PB cups but with the addition of salty, crunchy pretzel.

I digress. Anyway, I got an ingredient that I have seen all over the blog-world but have yet to try out myself. I got nutritional yeast! I had the impression that nutritional yeast was some super expensive item that I would never find, but lo-and-behold there was a box of the stuff that probably contains 2 or 3 cups for only a bit over 2 dollars!
Nutritional Yeast. source
It's basically deactivated yeast that is packed with amino acids, vitamin B12, fiber, and protein. Each two tablespoon serving is 50 calories and has 4 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and has 130% of your daily requirement for vitamin B12! Holy health-bomb!

After an apprehensive taste test, I was impressed. It tasted just like how people have described it, and definitely had a cheesy, slightly salty taste to it.

So what did I make? "Cheese" sauce, of course!
I made a half batch of the cheese sauce recipe from No Meat Athlete to go along with dinner and I loved it. It did get rather thick on me , though, so remember not to cook it too long! My parents were impartial/didn't like it for some reason... I honestly don't know why. I can't wait to use this sauce in an egg sandwich, in a bean burrito, on enchiladas, or with a veggie burger! So many possibilities :D

I'm excited about trying out nutritional yeast in other applications as well...sprinkled on veggies, mixed into popcorn, on top of pasta, etc.  
Any other ideas or great recipes y'all have? I also want to try it in baking! ("cheesy" biscuits, anyone?)

Second thing you must make NOW is bean blondies. If you've been living under a rock for the past, oh, couple months then you may have not heard of Katie's garbanzo bean blondies. They have taken the blog world by storm and are pretty much magical, to say the least. I already made her cookie pie ,which was inspired by the blondies, so I knew I had to try out the original, and it's about time!
I left the kitchen after I put them in the oven and when I returned the timer had gone off but I didn't hear it! I had no idea how long I over baked them, but was hoping I didn't have a dry brick on my hands....

Luckily, not the case!
That's the good thing about bean based desserts...They never seem to overbake or dry out, no matter how hard you try (: 
Yeah, I went a little crazy with the pictures; wouldn't you?
Topped with a little frozen yogurt ice cream, naturally.
Had a second piece, naturally. (:

Now after having both the cookie pie and the blondies, I can't decide which one I like better. Both fudgy, but the cookie pie is more cookie dough-esque while the blondies are more dense and fudgy with an underlying peanut butter flavor. I'm leaning slightly more towards the cookie pie (because I lurve cookie dough) but honestly both are delicious and nutritious! Can't beat that!

Third recipe that you need to make NOW? Carrot Raisin Muffins by Kayla!
Little Miss Healthify did a fabulous job healthifying these muffins to utter amazingness. 100% whole grain, no sugar (sweetened with agave), and no added fat!

Now that sounds all good in theory but the real test is how great the taste and texture is (because a healthy muffin is no fun when it tastes like cardboard, right?) and oh my these hit the nail right on the head!

When checking her recipe, I realized I only had 2 eggs while hers calls for 3. Then, I realized that her recipe perfectly divides by 3! No crazy fractions anywhere, and I love myself a good small batch of anything.

So, I made four. Four huge, delicious muffins.
When I think of a carrot muffin, I think of a dense muffins that may taste delicious but is way too gummy and dense. Even with the addition of oat flour, these muffins were honestly like cupcakes! How did you do it, Kayla?!

And they rose like a dream!
And that amazing orange hue? These muffins do NOT skimp on the carrot. I shredded them fine since it was a muffin and therefore bakes in less time than a cake or loaf would. This gives the carrot the opportunity to soften.

And I wasn't joking about the size...
Oh, and I know you're dying to see the inside, so here you go-
Topped with cream cheese, oh yes.

As you can see, I'm quite enthused by these muffins, and you need to make them NOW. Make a small batch just for you and a friend for breakfast, or triple the batch and whip up a cream cheese frosting and you got cupcakes for a crowd. How perfect!

I did a few things differently (like soaking the raisins first!) so I'll repost the recipe below.

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Carrot Raisin Muffins
Adapted from Little Miss Healthify
Makes 4 large Muffins or 5 normal sized muffins

1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a couple dashes of salt
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or alternative)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (or other dried fruit, or nuts)
2/3 cup finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 4 or 5 muffin cups with non-stick spray ( I don't advise using paper cups).

Put raisins in a measuring cup and cover with water, microwave for 45 seconds, let stand.

Whisk together the egg, milk, the extracts, and agave in a small bowl. In another mixing bowl combine ground oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet, stirring gently, careful not to over mix.

Drain the raisins and rinse with clean water. Lay on a towel and lightly pat them dry. Fold shredded carrot and the raisins into the batter, only until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among cups (if making 4, the cups will be completely full) and bake for 22-26 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Soaking the raisins really help since I'm not a huge raisin lover. They plump up and loose their bitter coating. Other alternatives would be to used chopped dates, craisins, or even chopped crystallized ginger! Feel free to add up to 1/4 cup chopped toasted nuts such as pecans or walnuts.

These muffins are so light and absolutely lovely. They don't sit in your stomach like a brick like some other whole grain muffins. I let my parents have the other two muffins I didn't eat and they both loved them! Thanks Kayla; what a great recipe!

So there you have it, three recipes you NEED to make. Yes, it IS a necessity. :D

<3 Carlyn

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