Saturday, March 31, 2012

30-Calorie No-Bake Chocolate Truffles


Yep, that's right. 30 calories plus one gram of protein in each of these no-bake chocolate truffles. Bet you're thinking: Can she get any more hyphens in the title?

So that means three truffles have less than 100 calories (90 to be exact) and a whopping 3 grams of protein?




Yep, again.

I had some quinoa flakes in the pantry smirking at me every time I pulled out the jar of whole quinoa. I must have bought them with a recipe in mind, but seriously, if I don't write things down, ideas buzz in one ear and float unnoticed right out of the other. So they've just been sitting there. Pouting.

Source
Until I remembered reading somewhere that quinoa flakes take the place of oats quite well in recipes and that they add a mean protein punch. Since I am all about protein these days, these truffles were no-brainers. I've been popping them as a mid-morning snack (because they are portable -- woo-hoo!) or as a treat at night.

I also used a new product I just picked up called Better'n Peanut Butter. I read about it on a few different blogs and I wanted to try it. Why you ask? Why in the world would I want to replace peanut butter? I wanted to try and find a natural substitute because regular natural peanut butter has 200 calories in two measly tablespoons. And that's just not helping my rear-end. When I tried it on a spoon (as some in my family would eat peanut butter), I scrunched up my face and said, "Ew."

I was expecting Better'n Peanut Butter to taste just like peanut butter except have half the calories. I know. I must have been delirious. So I had this jar of stuff and I was so mad I bought it. Then I began seeing articles touting its application in recipes versus eating it on its own. It lends the same sort of thing peanut butter does to let's say a granola bar, but without the fat and calories. So I added it here. You can of course, sub it with regular peanut butter, but I'm guessing the calorie count per truffle may spike.

These little protein truffles are very chocolaty and thick and dense, but they are not the type of truffle to spark a craving; they are just sweet enough to help squash a craving. The best part is they won't undue what you've tried to do all day. You get what I'm saying, right?

30-Calorie Chocolate Truffles






Makes 13 Truffles

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil (not melted)
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup ground chia seeds (I use a coffee grinder)
1 cup quinoa flakes
1/3 cup Better'n Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For coating:

2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, combine the coconut sugar through the almond milk.


Stir to melt. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix vigorously to combine.


Wet your fingers slightly and carefully roll a tablespoon worth of dough in your hands. Drop onto the prepared baking sheet.


Place in the refrigerator for a few hours. Combine coating ingredients (I whizzed them together first in my coffee grinder) in a small bowl. Roll each truffle in the coating.


Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Fudgy (without making you pudgy), dense and oh so good -- for you too.

Nutrition Information Per Truffle: Calories 30; Total Fat 1g; Total Carb 5g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 4g; Protein 1g


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beef Quinoa Stew and Muno's Monocle


I decided to make stew because it was 44 degrees yesterday and after having eight consecutive days of 80+ temperatures, 44 degrees (as a high) is downright depressing.

Muno's monocle, however, is the antithesis of depressing:


There has been a resurgence of Nick Jr. in our household and this morning we watched the Yo Gabba Gabba "Differences" episode where the motley group of characters is learning that even though someone might look different from you, it doesn't mean they are weird or strange. And then Muno waltzed onto the screen wearing this monocle and it struck me so funny. Just look at it. It's one BIG monacle.

It took everything in my power to stifle my laughter. It did manage to slightly lift my spirits.

I was going to just make beef stew, but having just spring cleaned the pantry, I remembered that I had a bunch of quinoa that probably should get used.  I threw it in and voila: Quinoa Beef Stew.  Yum.




The quinoa soaked up just enough of the broth to make this very stew-like and the protein punch from the combined beef and grain, is an added bonus. I added some chopped kale to the top for a little more earthiness.

Beef Quinoa Stew







Makes about 8 1-1/2 Cup Servings


Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
4 cups beef broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Dash ground cloves
Flour, for dusting (I used Bob's GF AP)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.

After cutting your meat into pieces, lightly sprinkle the meat with flour.


Add the meat to the dutch oven and brown.


Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, onions, salt, paprika and ground cloves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.


Remove bay leaves and add the carrots. Cook for 30 minutes.


Add the quinoa and cook for an additional 10 minutes.


While the quinoa cooks, mix together about 1/2 cup of hot broth from the pot and cornstarch or arrowroot until smooth.


Add more broth and mix. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the slurry to the stew and mix.


Serve hot!


This, like most stews, seems to develop an even deeper flavor the next day!





Nutrition Information Per 1 1/2 Cup Serving: Calories 388; Total Fat 20g; Total Carb 22g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 3g; Protein 29g

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Coconut Cookies with Strawberry Smear


Happy St. Joseph's Day! Are you wearing red? We are!

Here are the top 3 reasons St. Joseph's Day means so much to us:
  • When we were young and in school, we loved questioning those who asked why we weren't wearing green on St. Patrick's Day why they weren't wearing red on St. Joseph's Day. (We felt like we had the upper hand.)
    • While I love being 100% American, my nationality boasts both Italian and Polish heritage. When do you ever get to celebrate a holiday that embraces both halves of you?
      • St. Joseph's Day is Father's Day in Italy and they celebrate with zeppole. Who doesn't love fried dough? (Although fried dough doesn't really love me or my thighs that much.)
      To commemorate this special day, I created my version of zeppole -- a soft and moist, Coconut Cookie with Strawberry Smear -- the strawberry smear symbolizes St. Joseph's Day and it's round to signify a donut. 



      It's packed with goodness and nothing you can't pronounce or don't know where it came from, which in my book makes for a very good cookie. It's a breeze to pull together, literally taking minutes and you've got yourself a pretty healthy and tasty snack.

      Coconut Cookies with Strawberry Smear






      Makes 9 Cookies

      Ingredients:

      1/8 teaspoon salt
      1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
      1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 egg
      1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour
      Unsweetened shredded coconut for dusting

      Directions:

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

      Meanwhile, whisk the salt,  coconut palm sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract together. 


      Add the egg and whisk well. Add the coconut flour and mix together with a spatula for two minutes. Drop 1 1/2-inch balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Pull out of the oven and quickly stick your thumb in the middle of each ball to make a small indentation.


      Put them back in the oven for 6 more minutes or until the edges turn brown and golden. Take them out and sprinkle with the unsweetened coconut.


      Allow to cool on a wire rack and then top with the Strawberry Smear.

      Strawberry Smear






      Ingredients:

      1 cup of whole strawberries (about 4 or 5)
      1 teaspoon lemon juice
      1 teaspoon honey

      Directions:

      Chop the strawberries, put them in a sauce pan and set over medium heat. Add the honey and the lemon juice and stir.


      Allow to cook for a few minutes, mashing slightly with a fork until it starts to thicken.


      Continue to cook until most of the water disappears and it reduces about in half.


      Transfer to a container and refrigerate overnight. Dollop onto the coconut cookies with a spoon.


      I store these in the refrigerator to keep the strawberry smear fresh.  Happy St. Joseph's Day!





      Nutrition Information Per One Cookie: Calories 102; Total Fat 7; Total Carb 10g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 6g; Protein 1g

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