Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegetable Mind Games - Garbanzo Beans

 I don't like beans... and it's only been in the last few months that I had any interest in learning to like them.
That said, I've been reading a lot lately about Garbanzos. I like hummus, and I had this amazing appetizer at an Indian restaurant that used them. Maybe this can be my gateway bean.

When I stumbled across a recipe for Roasted Garbanzos I knew I had to try it. The first batch was so good and so easy that I got Monkey involved for the second round. (She agreed to try the first batch after I called them Bean Chips, and has been asking for them ever since.)

Bean Chips
2 cans garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and other seasonings to flavor the beans
Preheat the oven to 400. Drain both cans in a strainer and rinse well until the water is no longer cloudy. Now dry the beans. We chose to rub them with paper towels until they were dry.

There is debate over whether or not you need to remove the skins. We tried both and found no difference in taste or texture. Plus removing the skins could easily waste hours of my life that I'd rather spend thumb wrestling or drooling over food blogs.

Once the beans are dry, drizzle olive oil over them and toss around till they're all coated. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the beans are crunchy. I like to stir half way to make sure the guys on the edge of the pan don’t burn. Season after you remove them from the oven.

We've tried spicy bean chips and garlic, but Monkey's favorite is just plain old season salt.
Have you made bean chips before, and if so what's your favorite flavor?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dill Pickle Popcorn

For days I've been craving them...Dill....Pickle....Chips.
I love everything about those chips...except they aren't very good for me.
So I compromised with Dill Pickle Popcorn:

Dill Pickle Seasoning
3 tbsp dried dill
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
4 tbsp salt
Combine and pulse in the food processor (I used the Magic Bullet) until it is super fine. Use to season anything you want to taste pickle-icious!

Dill Pickle Popcorn
Spritzing vinegar over the air-popped popcorn first will help the seasoning stick and give it that wonderful tangy taste. Mixing with vinegar and pouring over the popcorn is a very bad idea! You end up with mega-seasoned landmines dispersed in the bowl. If you like landmines (or want to teach your kids to stay out of your bowl) have fun but personally I like consistency.  The best way to achieve that is with a mist. Pampered Chef makes a great spritzer that I use regularly with olive oil. If that's not an option, a spray bottle (like the type used to wet hair) can be used instead.
If you only want a hint of pickle, use a mist of olive oil instead.

Dill Pickle Dip
Mix with Plain Greek Yogurt for an incredible dip that is great with pretzels or veggies.
Why use Greek Yogurt? Because, it has all the benefits of a high-quality protein without the fat. Yup, you heard me right. You could count this as your protein! When comparing labels I found that the 8oz container of Greek yogurt had 3 grams more protein than a turkey dog! It also has fewer carbs than regular yogurt.
It's been a favorite snack of mine lately. The best flavor comes when it is allowed to sit overnight, so mix this up before bed and you'll be set for work the next day.
(Here is a great article about the nutritional benefits of Greek Yogurt, if you want to learn more.)

Burger Topping
I haven't tried this yet, but I have a hunch that the Dill Pickle Dip from above will be a great way to omit the cheese and add pickle flavor to a burger. I did try it on a turkey dog with a little ketchup and it was yummy! The creamy texture... the delicous could it be bad on a burger?

What would you put this seasoning on?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

California Sushi Roll Salad

Once again I've waited until the last minute to prepare for a potluck style meeting. 
You would think I'd have learned by now. Anyway, the theme again was Salads, and you know my rules:
1) I can't repeat a recipe with the same group unless it's been requested.
2) I won't do any of that deli counter stuff because I don't really know what's in it or how it was made.
3) It needs to feel original.
4) It has to be something worth sharing.

Now I'm not sure how this recipe developed...maybe desperation or that near-constant craving for sushi, but it was loved and has been added to the favorite list.

The main reason this worked as a last minute option was because I had about 4 cups of leftover brown rice from the night before. If you don't have rice ready, do not attempt to whip this up in a hurry. Save it till you have leftover rice on hand. The husband and I were able to chop and mix this together in about 20 minutes with help from some Iron Chef inspired music.

Sushi Roll Salad
 4 cups cooked brown rice
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 unusually large cucumber (or the equivalent), chopped
1 avocado, chopped
3 carrots, thinly sliced ( I cheated and used store bought sliced carrots, 3 handfuls)
8 oz imitation crab meat, chopped
Mix the salt, sugar and rice wine vinegar until it is dissolved. I like to speed it along in the microwave. Pour vinegar solution over rice, and stir until all rice has been covered. Layer 2 cups of the prepared rice in a clear bowl. Follow with shredded carrots, remaining rice, cucumber, imitation crab meat and top with avocado.

Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon wasabi (or more if you like it crazy)
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Blend all in a Magic Bullet (or similar device) until well combined. You could do this by hand but you open yourself up to extreme bites of wasabi or ginger. After it was well combined, I poured it into a leftover small mouth bottle. 

Spicy Sushi Sauce (aka Dynamite Sauce)
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons Siracha hot sauce
Stir together...warn those that will eat it about the heat.

The sauces were easy and there is a bunch leftover for other meals. Really, the whole thing was ridiculously easy, and I'm looking forward to all the variations that can be done with this.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Ya know what isn't fair? Having your favorite foods taken away, and others eating it in front of you. Well, in my opinion, there is no better payback then to make them jealous. I know it isn't the mature approach... but I don't care.
Hehehe, I did good too...this hypo-friendly potato salad was waaaaaay better than the store bought stuff the husband found. In fact, it left me wondering why I hadn't made my own potato salad in the past. *shrug*  From here on out this is the only potato salad I want.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons Italian dressing
1.5 tablespoons spicy mustard
2 tablespoons fat free mayo
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tablespoon relish
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 tablespoons onion, diced
Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Toss with the Italian dressing. Place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until they are soft. Remove from oven and let cool. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together. Add in the cooled sweet potatoes. If you are patient you can let it chill, but I devoured half of mine on the spot. It was delicious and I do not  regret my eagerness.

This isn't something I will eat every day because the 2 serving portion costs about 290 calories according to my calculations. That said, it was completely delicious and removed any lingering jealousy of the classic white potato salad. And let's be honest here, I'm sure making this probably saved me from binge eating a tub of store bought potato salad in my car over lunch. Don't judge... we've all had those zombie like cravings.

Anyway, have you made any food out of jealousy? What was it and did it satisfy the craving?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sugar-Free Whole-Wheat Chocolate Eclair Dessert

 One of the things I love most about my friends is their love of food. We had a wonderful girls night this weekend and it was highlighted with food. An amazing strawberry, candied almond salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette sat alongside whole wheat pasta with spinach artichoke sauce and sauted mushrooms. (I'll be dreaming about that salad until i recreate it for lunch later this week.)
But my favorite part of the night was making and devouring the dessert.

This was inspired by my mom's Eclair Dessert that is literally demanded at holiday functions.
Seriously, I think the family would make her sit outside with the snowmen if she forgot it.
Anyway, hers was nearly sugar free and phenomenal, but I am competitive, so I took it a few steps further.
Sugar-Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Eclair Dessert
1 cup water, boiling
My favorite way to eat it is with a dusting of cocoa powder.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
4 eggs
8 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
1 package Cheesecake flavored instant sugar-free pudding
1 package White Chocolate flavored instant sugar-free pudding
3 cups milk
8 ounces sugar-free whipped topping
Cocoa powder or sugar free chocolate syrup
Also delicious with sugar-free caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 400. Stir water, butter and flour together. Add eggs one at a time, stir until blended, but don't over mix. Pour into a 9x13 glass pan and bake for 30 minutes. Crust will be bumpy. Prick any massive bumps with a fork. Let cool.

Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it is smooth. I know it sounds silly, but it's a texture thing, and it really helps make it velvety. Add pudding mixes, one packet at a time. Slowly add the milk, one cup at a time, making sure to mix out any lumps. Pour over the cooled crust. Top with thawed whipped topping. Cut into 15 pieces to help with that self control and portion thing
Dust with cocoa powder or drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving. Carmel syrup is also very good.

If you are able to resist the temptation to eat the whole pan, a single serving will cost you a measly 155 calories. I'm not sure my doctor would endorse this, but uhhh... milk, carb.... I'm thinking this could be a great breakfast when topped with a little banana. Yeah? Hmmm... might be pushing it, so I'll stick with the "girls need dessert to live" excuse.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hot or Cold Ginger Shrimp Salad

I never thought that I would become as obsessed with food as I have lately. Everywhere I look I am inspired and the collection of recipes waiting to be made is piling up quickly. Seriously, getting through the grocery store with me right now is impossible because I want to look at everything.
Next to the natural foods store, one of the greatest sources of inspiration recently has come from the blogging community. The shear genius that is out there in Blogland blows my mind.
I've said it before, but my goal in posting and sharing recipes on this blog is to help those with reactive hypoglycemia find healthier meals. Obviously I want the masses to like them as well, but that's just because I'm a people pleaser.
 Anyway, you HAVE try this blog inspired dish....OMG...yum!

Ginger Shrimp Salad
Inspired by Shrimp & Noodles Bowls over at One Perfect Bite.
8 ounces soba noodles, cooked
1 pound cooked small shrimp
1 bag coleslaw mix
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup reduced-fat sesame ginger salad dressing
Marinate shrimp in dressing overnight. Mix everything together, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Now for some learning...
Soba noodles are made from buckwheat. Soba contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in wheat. Soba contains a type of polysaccharide that is easily digested. Soba noodles also contain antioxidants and essential nutrients including choline, thiamine and riboflavin. Buckwheat contains no gluten. 
There are many types of soba noodles to choose from including:
Ni-hachi Soba: made of 2 parts of wheat and 8 of buckwheat
Juuwari Soba: the most expensive variety made entirely of buckwheat 
Sarashina Soba: thin, light-colored, made with refined buckwheat 
Inaka Soba: thick soba made with whole buckwheat

The husband also discovered that pan frying a scoop of this salad in a little oil is AMAZING! It was a brilliant move and 2 brag points have been awarded.
I truthfully can't decide if I like the hot or cold version better.
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