Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Do You Do When....

Hey everyone! It's been a busy couple of days for me. In a little over a week I will be on my way over to Fayetteville to move into my dorm. It's crazy to think that I will be on my own!

In preparation, I got my hair cut and colored and man is it short! I can't wait to post a picture once I actually get around to taking one :P

I thought I'd dedicate this post to creative ways to use up that "What should I do with this?" food item. I'm always one of those people that will go out of their way to find some way to use up the odds and ends in the pantry and fridge. I'm definitely not the one to open a can of coconut milk and then throw away the remainder I don't end up using. Here are just a few delicious examples of food items I've been trying to use up lately.

For example, what do you do when you have extra lemon cream cheese frosting from the lemon cake you made a while ago? Well, I froze some of it. Cream cheese frosting is a great candidate for freezing because it thaws perfectly. Just leave it in the fridge overnight and whip it up a bit right before frosting.

But before I put the leftovers in the fridge, I had the idea to make up another batch of Kayla's carrot muffins 'cept this time I would call them "cupcakes" :P They're whole grain and low fat yet can totally pass for a decadent cupcake. Love it!
I made a double batch (which originally makes 4 big muffins) and got 12 mini muffins and 9 regular sized muffins! Err...cupcakes...
Instead of raisins, I used half crystallized ginger (chopped fine) and half chopped dates. Loved that combo! The dates are sooo gooey and the ginger adds a nice kick to each bite :D
In addition to the frosting, I also topped each cupcake with toasted walnuts and shredded coconut. :D

I made a few in silicone cups and it made them look like they had cute little liners on them; almost too cute to eat!
You saw that coming, right? :D

Anyway, these "cupcakes" were just as delicious as they were the first time I made them but even more so. The ginger/date combo is a winner and the not-so-sweet lemony cream cheese frosting worked out perfectly!

But, I had another pressing issue in the refrigerator. My mom had bought a big bag of juicy, ripe peaches at the farmers market and then days later my dad brought home a bag of ripe peaches back from a "free for all" box of peaches at work. Hmmm. 

Of course I grilled a few, that's a given. But I also had to think of something else. First I thought jalapeno peach jelly or maybe some sort of cobbler. Then my mind traveled to coffee cake and I remember that the walnut tourlouche cake I made a few months ago (that everyone loved) had a peach variation. Perfect!

And so he was born...
Think simple spice cake, saturated with peach juices and maple syrup. An upside down cake of the peach variety, if you will. 
Last time I made the original version, I made it for dessert. This time I wanted to "healthify" it to make it breakfast worthy. Since it was already low fat, this only meant that I switched out the all purpose flour to whole wheat pastry flour. The cake is pretty sweet, so I only added half as much maple syrup to the topping. The juices from the ripe peaches (kept the peel on for fiber & nutrients!) make up for the lost moisture.
Besides the addition of sliced peaches, the amount of walnuts in the topping are significantly reduced from 1 1/4 cups to 1/2 cup. 

I had my slice with a dollop of Greek yogurt and mmm mm MMM!
The cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in the cake combined with the walnuts, maple syrup, and sweet peaches make for a delicious combination. It reminded me of Christmas morning (even though, we have never had anything like this on Christmas morning so I have no idea why.)

I gotta say, I think it's better than the original walnut tourlouche! And man, this cake tastes and looks decadent but its really quite healthy! It has healthy fats from the walnuts, gets some of its sweetness from natural sugars, completely whole grain, and gets a protein punch from the Greek yogurt and the nuts. This guy is golden!  Here's the link for the recipe (the peach variation is written to the side). Anything's better with peaches, right?

Okay, so I got peaches covered, but what do you do when you make horribly dry brownies that don't even taste good drowned in ice cream?!

I tried making a brownie recipe a few days ago, but wanted to make it just a bit more low fat. A lot of the time, I have success with making things lower in fat but I should learn that with brownies, I should just keep them as they are.

I could never throw them away but most definitely did not want to eat them. The flavor was good but they were SO dense and dry!

What did I do? Turn them into brownie truffles!
 I crumbled the leftover brownies and added just enough plain Greek yogurt so that they would come together into a ball (basically same process as if you were making cake balls). I added yogurt instead of frosting because, this way, they wouldn't get too sweet. I decided to have some fun and rolled a few in cocoa powder, others in cocoa nibs, and the rest I dipped in a mixture of dark chocolate and peanut butter.
The balls with crushed pretzel M&M's on top have a pretzel M&M stuffed inside!
These were fudgy, perfectly sweet, and honestly tasted like a truffle with a little extra kick of flavor. Plus, these are probably much lower in fat than the tradition truffle which is typically made with just heavy cream and chocolate. I would mess up brownies just to make these again!
Alright, so the M&M looks a bit gross in this picture but trust me, the sweet and salty combo with the contrast of smooth chocolate and crunchy pretzel was amazing. 

Want the recipe? Simply take this (most likely) delicious recipe for brownies by The Wannabe Chef and sub 2 tablespoons of applesauce for two tablespoons of the oil. Use 1/2 whole wheat flour and add 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee granules and you're one your way to the perfect candidate for these brownie truffles! Bake time will be 6 minutes less than the original brownies. (AKA: do NOT use these modifications of you want delicious brownies because you'll be left with dry, almost inedible ones that only have good flavor)

All jokes aside, these really were amazing. You can have fun with what you coat them with like use white chocolate or even roll them in crushed toffee.  The one thing I would change next time is add a sprinkle of kosher salt to the tops because the sweet/salty combo I got from the ones with the pretzel M&M's on them was just too good. I might even mix some crushed pretzels into the truffle mixture!

Have you ever thrown away a failure? I always find something to do with it! I hate to waste:P

<3 Carlyn

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