Friday, February 24, 2012

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

      Did you know that if you whiz up a can of black beans,add a few more ingredients you get the fudgiest brownies in the whole wide world? These are crazy good and noone will ever notice that there are in fact black beans in the recipe.

I've seen various recipes all over the blog and decided to go with this one because it makes an 8x8 inch pan of pure chocolate heaven. They are so moist and we all agreed that we preferred these over regular brownies with flour. You could add in chopped nuts if you like and the only change I made was to leave out the peppermint extract and add in ground cinnamon along with the vanilla extract. I know of one other person who subbed the white sugar for honey and still said they came out super fudgy and perfect. So if you are worried about sugar, give it a shot with honey!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

1-15 oz can Black Beans,drained and rinsed thoroughly
3 Large Eggs
3 TBS Vegetable Oil
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder(I used Dutch Cocoa)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
Pinch Salt
1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips,divided

Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease an 8x8 inch pan with nonstick spray;set aside.

Place the black beans into a bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy ( mine wouldn't get creamy until I added in the eggs). Add eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder and salt and process until smooth. Add 1/4 cups mini chips and pulse a few times until chips are incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula and sprinkle remaining mini chips over the top. Bake 30-35 mins or until edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and toothpick inserted comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack before slicing into 2-inch squares.

** A 2-inch square has 120 calories**

Yield: 16 squares
Source: Meal Makeover's Mom Kitchen 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Skinny" Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

            I love chili. I love beef chili and now I love chicken chili. I love it even more because I can have a larger portion without feeling guilty about it. I'm not all about weenie portions..those suck. I need to feel like I actually ate food instead of sucking in more air to feel full ( I actually knew of someone who did that). 

In my quest to find healthier recipes I was excited to try this one after my friends were raving about it on facebook. I made it and we loved it. If you add in rice,cheese and sour cream you need to add those into the calorie calculation. I used plain yogurt,no rice and a small amount of grated cheese. I wanted to save room for dessert. Come back tomorrow for that recipe  :)

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

1 Onion,Chopped
1-16 oz can Black Beans ( I drained and rinsed mine)
1-16 oz can Kidney Beans ( I drained and rinsed)
1-8 oz can Tomato Sauce
10 oz package Frozen Corn Kernels
2-14 oz cans Diced tomatoes with Chilies
1 packet Taco Seasoning
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 TBSP Chili Powder
24 oz (3-4) Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Chili Peppers,chopped;optional
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro;optional

Combine beans,onion,chili peppers,corn,tomato sauce,cumin,chili powder and taco seasoning in slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover with lid. Cook on low 10 hours or high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving,remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Serve with cilantro. You can serve it with cheese,cooked rice and sour cream for additional calories.
1-1/4 cups= 203.7 calories

Yield: 10 servings
Source: Skinnytaste

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sloppy Joe's with Kidney Beans


         There is nothing worse than being down for the count from a simple cold..but that was me last week! It was a mild one but it held on for dear life. Thankfully I only get sick maybe once or twice a year now so I can't complain to much :)

Sloppy Joe's are always an easy standby meal. I don't make it that often because my husband and I aren't fans of tomato based recipes. However once and awhile the boys will have those..  "Remember when we had that back home" moments and I will hunt down what they are craving. We already have THIS recipe that we love but I didn't have everything I needed so I went with this one. It wasn't bad but we still prefer the more tangy taste when it comes to sloppy joe's. I did love the addition of kindey beans and will add it to our favorite recipe from now on.

Sloppy Joe's with Kidney Beans

1 TBS Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Finely chopped Yellow Onion
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced Bell Pepper
1 lb. Ground Beef,ground chicken,turkey or soy crumbles
1 can (16-ounce) Red Kidney Beans,drained and rinsed
2 TBS Tomato Paste
1 cup Tomato Sauce
2 TBS Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp packed Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Hamburger Buns,split

In a large skillet over medium-high heat,place the oil in the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook,stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the meat and cook until no longer browned, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the beans,tomato paste,tomato sauce,cider vinegar,cinnamon, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and simmer,stirring frequently, until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes.

Serve on toasted buns with or without cheese.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Source: Simply Suppers


Monday, February 13, 2012

"Lighter"Honey Mustard Chicken

        I have a tv in my bedroom now and it's become my biggest time suck. I get everything done in the morning and then climb into bed and smile. I can't remember the lastime I spent the majority of my day snuggled up under the covers while catching up on all of my favorite shows and movies. It's been ages..and it's become a dangerous pastime. I love it. So very very much.

I am going to be starting an intensive language class very soon that will require my attention 5 days a week for 6 months or longer. So I figure I deserve these last few peaceful moments of "me"time. Soon I will be blogging about my class and my crazy biking adventures through town. I will be baking to save my sanity and praying it doesn't take longer than 6 months to pass the test. The lastime I needed to learn a language was in middle school. I hope I still have what it takes!

My family loves honey mustard chicken..but I wasn't to happy about the calorie content in alot of the recipes. I spotted this one and decided to give it a try. It was a winner..the wonderful honey mustard taste but without all the guilt!

"Lighter"Honey Mustard Chicken

4 Bonless skinless Chicken Breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/2 tsp. Salt,divided
1/4 tsp. Pepper,divided
2 TBS Reduced-fat Butter
4 tsp. Honey Mustard
1 TBS Milk
1/2 tsp. Dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
1/2 cup Reduced-fat Sour Cream

Rub chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper(use more if you prefer). In a large skillet over medium heat,cook chicken in butter for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, reduce the heat to low. Combine the mustard,milk,basil,parsley,and remaining salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through. Remove from heat;stir in sour cream. Serve with chicken.

**1 Chicken breast with 2 tablespoons gravy equals 262 calories**

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Lighter"Lemon- Blueberry Oat Muffins

          Recently our local store had a sale on fresh blueberries and we decided to take advantage of that. I'm constantly amazed how expensive it can be to get the fruits and vegetables you need in your daily life. My husband and I have made a conscious effort to include more fresh fruit choices in the house at all times. In theory it's a wonderful idea. However when you have a food budget to stick to and notice how everything seems to be slowly creeping up in hurts. I'm happy to say though that we are making good on that promise and have been enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables :)

I decided to use some of the blueberries in a lighter muffin recipe. I eat one of these in the morning with a small container of low fat yogurt for a delicious low calorie breakfast that doesn't skimp on taste. The muffins have a wonderful lemon flavor. I didn't have any fresh lemons so I subbed in a half teaspoon of lemon extract and will continue to do that. It gave it the perfect hint of lemon that goes so well with blueberries.

Lemon-Bluberry Oat Muffins

1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1 cup Fat Free Milk
2 TBS Butter,melted
1 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel..I used 1/2 tsp. Lemon Extract
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries


1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
2 TBS Brown Sugar
1 TBS Butter,softened

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with either liners or nonstick spray;set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats,flour,sugar,baking powder and salt. In another bowl,whisk together the egg,egg white,milk,melted butter,lemon peel and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Combine topping ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
1 Muffin equals 166 calories.

** If using frozen blueberries do not thaw before adding to batter. You can also sprinkle them with a small amount of flour to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins**

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook 


Monday, February 6, 2012

Flour Free and Sugar Free Muffins

        Last week I decided to take a giant leap of faith and bake muffins that contained no flour or sugar. I was scared. It's crazy to sit here and type that but I was really scared to give this a try. Why? I guess because I'm a creature of habit and sometimes I find it hard to think outside of the box and can't possibly imagine anything tasting good without atleast sugar.

Boy was I wrong! So here is the low down on these muffins. There is no flour..instead you use ground up oats and that magically resemble flour once you whiz the poo out of them in a food processor. To replace the sugar you use seriously ripened banana's and cranberries. I'm not going to takes a minute or so to get use to these. Your tastebuds know right away that something is missing..and that would be the sugar. However what you do taste is oats and banana's..which I loved. I didn't like these muffins when I tried one warm. Infact I didn't love them until the next morning. I think the 24 hour resting period really worked for these and allowed the flavors to really come together. The texture is not the same as if you used a bunch of flour and sugar but I can't say enough positive things about these. My whole family loved these and my youngest wanted these for his snack instead of his usual chocolate granola bar. That says it all.

I can see myself playing around with this recipe. I think next time I will add in some sort of spice,swap the cranberries out for maybe blueberries,possibly adding in some honey instead of the lemon juice, the possibilites are endless. You need to keep the mashed banana's in there since they are the binder to it all. If you are looking for a guilt free treat to have and one that you can feel good about giving to your family, then this is it.!

Cranberry Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

3 cups Oat Flour (finely ground Oats)
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
2 cups Very Ripe Bananas ( 4 bananas)
3/8 cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 cups Yogurt..I used plain
1 TBS Poppyseeds
2 cups Dried Cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin;set aside.

In a medium bowl,whisk together the oat flour,baking powder,baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a bowl of a stand mixer, rapidly beat eggs for 1-2 minutes. Add bananas,lemon juice, and vanilla and beat well for one minute, making sure that no large chunks of bananas remain.

With mixer on low speed, Add 1 cup of yogurt to the liquid mixture, followed by half of the dry ingredient mixture. Add remaining yogurt and dry mixture and beat just until combined. Fold in poppy seeds and cranberries by hand.

Pour batter into 12 greased muffins cups. Cups will be very full,almost to the point of overflowing (it's ok!) Bake for 25-30 or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

** I filled my cups to the top and still came away with 15 muffins. I was to nervous about filling all the way to the top**

Yield: 12-15 Muffins
Source:Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday's In My City...

        The temps went down to 7 degrees this week, or roughtly -14 or -15 celcius. Now it gets cold back in Oregon..but this was different.

    The Dutch winters are bitter. The cold settles into your bones and no matter how many blankets you put on or how much coffee or tea you drink. It's never enough.

        Dutch winters are also beatiful. In my area we didn't get snow. We still had the beautiful sun and the birds that were trying to warm themselves up as best as they could. I put out extra food for them and hoped that they would get through this coming week ok. The cold temps are here to stay! I wish you all a wonderful and warm week ahead. Please head over to Unknown Mami and check out what everyone else is up to this week.

Unknown Mami


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Makeover Coconut Cookies

       One of my many goals for the new year was to open myself up to trying all different forms of cooking and baking. I've been using alot of new ingredients in my cooking,cutting out certain things and trying lighter versions of our favorites.

Being a foodie I am totally open to non fat,low fat,gluten free and anything else that looks and tastes good. When it comes to making these foods at home, it's been a total hit and miss for us. My family has been really supportive of my trials and errors when it comes to using new ingredients and as long as I don't make it to weird, they will continue to come to the dinner table with a smile on their face.

These cookies are a lighter version of an original that called for almost 2 cups of butter and frosted cornflakes. These guys are still delicious and at 69 calories per cookie, you can still enjoy something sweet without feeling to guilty.

Makeover Coconut Cookies

1/4 cup Butter,softened
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
3 Egg Whites
3 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Coconut Extract
1-3/4 cup All-purpose Flour
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 cups Cornflakes

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray;set aside.

In a bowl,combine the flour,baking powder and salt;set aside. In a large bowl, combine the butter,oil and sugars. Beat in egg,egg whites and extracts. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix until combined. Gently stir in cornflakes with a wooden spoon.

Drop by tablespoons full 2 inches apart onto prepared sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield:3-1/2-4 Dozen 
Source: Taste of Home Baking Cookbook