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Healthy Yogurt Pancakes

This is a riff on a great, versatile recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The Mister and I used to make this on weekend mornings when we wanted something quick and yummy.

Now that we have a baby, one who loves pancakes, I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make it healthier. The original recipe calls for 7 tablespoons of flour. I’ve swapped out three of the tablespoons for rye flour and three for barley. I think buckwheat would be a good substitute as well. Instead of the sour cream, I’ve used Greek yogurt. I absolutely love the original sour cream version, but yogurt is good too.

Crappy picture taken while holding a baby

The result is a thin, dense, and moist pancake. I make a batch (often doubling the recipe) and freeze them so I can quickly reheat them in the morning for a hungry baby.

Original recipe: Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes

My sweet husband gave me a waffle maker for Christmas (possibly after a few months of me whining about how much I wanted one). He was convinced that I wouldn’t use it very much, and he had a point. Waffle makers are often limited to breakfast.

Until now.

I present you with chili con carne over cornmeal waffles. I used Elise’s chili con carne recipe (delicious of course) and Paula Deen’s cornmeal waffle recipe. I wouldn’t mind doing more research on cornmeal waffles to find something better, but the combination was delicious. Hearty and spicy – the perfect winter dinner. We topped them with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Now I just need to find the perfect breakfast waffle…

Homemade Gnocchi

I’m not the “make your own pasta” type. I love fresh pasta. I think the taste of fresh pasta is leagues better than the various dried shapes you get in the store. That being said, I’m afraid of making fresh pasta. It seems like such a chore and so many things could go wrong.

After reading Heidi’s post on How to Make Gnocchi Like an Italian Grandmother, I decided to take the plunge.

I followed the recipe except for two places: I baked the potatoes and I didn’t make the fork grooves (because I’m laaazy). I read that baking the potato could make the gnocchi lighter and fluffier, and they certainly turned out that way. Depending on your belief on how gnocchi should be, I would bake the potatoes for really fluffy gnocchi and I would boil them for a firmer gnocchi. Personally, I liked how light the gnocchi were. There was no carb coma when I cleaned my plate. A good thing.

It was a super easy pasta recipe, and I would definitely make it again. As for the phenomenal, three ingredient sauce you see draped over the gnocchi, that deserves its own post.

Oh. My. God.

Don’t ask questions.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make sure you have some peanut butter. About a cup. Chunky or smooth – doesn’t matter.

Fry up about 6-7 pieces of bacon until crisp, then dice it up.

Mix 1/2 cup of white and a 1/2 cup of brown sugar with the peanut butter until combined. Add an egg and a teaspoon of baking soda. Fold in the bacon.

No questions. Just do it.

Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. (I put parchment paper down first, but that’s just me.) Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern in the cookie. Or don’t. It’s not important right now.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool on baking sheet.

Then enjoy the most delicious, hot affair between peanut butter and bacon ever imagined.

And this wonderful recipe? I got it here: Joy the Baker. Go there. Check out her blog. You’ll thank me. And her!

Blackberry Yogurt Tart

This is another recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I’ll just tell you now that I’m obsessed with her recipes and will be using them frequently.

I saw this yogurt tart and thought that it would make a healthy-ish dessert. “Ish” is important here as the crust uses a healthy amount of butter. There is an option to use olive oil, which I may try next time. The butter crust was very good, though very rich.

Other modifications I made were to swap the natural cane sugar with regular sugar, omit the sesame oil (didn’t have any),  and use pureed blackberries instead of ginger.

The crust was rich and crunchy and the yogurt filling was still nicely tart. The maple syrup added sweetness without becoming too sweet, and the blackberries made it a nice purplish color. I think this recipe can swing easily from sweet to savory, depending on your cravings.

Barley Risotto

As it’s a new year, Cauli and I are trying to eat better. It’s so easy to wind up with a frozen meal on a hectic weeknight. Or worse, ordering pizza or picking up Taco Bell (our guilty pleasure).

One of the best healthy blogs out there is Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. She uses whole grains, fresh vegetables, and lots of flavor. What I like best is that she doesn’t focus on being low fat; rather, she attempts to use fresh ingredients for a tasty and healthy meal.

Her seaweed risotto is a healthy take on a traditional risotto. In my version, I omitted the seaweed, used toasted almond slivers and creme fraiche instead of walnuts and mascarpone, and kale instead of spinach.

We were both very happy with the result. The barley was a little chewy and the Parmesan and creme fraiche gave it a light creaminess. I especially loved how the lemon zest brightened up the dish. The recipe makes quite a bit (and the barley is very filling), so there are plenty of leftovers.

Mixed  Berry BarI love lemon bars. Now that warm weather is here, it seemed like a good time to make a batch. I’ve posted about regular lemon bars, as well as lime bars, on this blog. These great recipes come from the always delicious Baking Bites blog. Recently, I came across yet another great incarnation of the lemon bar: strawberry lemonade bars. I followed the recipe exactly, except in two places – one I feel is an important change, and one not so much.

The not-so-important change is that I substituted the strawberry puree for a mixed berry puree. This is a great recipe to experiment with. Love raspberries? Use a raspberry-only puree. More of a blackberry person? Use blackberries instead. Whichever summer fruit seems right. (Papaya or mango would also be an exciting substitution.)

The important change: I used an 8×8 pan instead of the suggested 9×13. The 8×8 pan allows for a good sized bar with a thick crust and a good amount of fruit to bite into. As with my experience with the pumpkin pie bars, I think the 9×13 just doesn’t allow for a well-formed bar.

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