Chick’n-y Green Beans and Carrots

I made this dish for my family, and it went over well with myself and my kids. So I made it for my omnivorous, Standard American Diet extended family, and they loved it! Even my 1-year-old nephew gobbled it up.

First I took the ends off of about 10 oz fresh green beans (local farmer’s market!) and broke into bite size pieces. Then I sliced about 6 oz organic carrots (I buy them from Walmart for less than $1 a pound and slice them into coins or sticks for dipping). I throw that into a frying pan over high heat with about and inch of water and mixed in about a tablespoon Better than Bouillon, imitation chicken style. Once the water boils down, I remove from heat and sprinkle on garlic powder and Chipotle Chili Power (more like hot Ground Red Pepper than Chili Powder; the right kind is important!). The Chipotle Chili Powder gives a very spicy, smoky flavor and is pretty hot, so go easy on it.

PB&J wrap

Once upon a time, I went to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. We didn’t have my favorite low-calorie bread, but we did have my favorite low-calorie tortillas. I compared labels, and realized the tortilla was a better option than the bread. I still made my kids the sandwiches, and instead of making mine “quesadilla-style”, I decided to be adventurous and throw some baby spinach in there, then eat it like a wrap. Adding fruit bulks it up, too, and it travels well–I like to wrap it in foil and keep it in the fridge at work until I’m ready to eat. I think my favorite way to go is plenty of almond butter (just almonds or almonds + coconut oil), blueberries, strawberry preserves, and baby spinach. For low-calorie, try using PB2 and skipping the fruit spread. All ingredients can easily be substituted, so play around with it!

1 tortilla

2-3 tablespoons nut butter

1-2 tablespoons fruit spread (optional)

handful/about an ounce or two berries or chopped fruit such as grapes, oranges, pear, nectarine, kiwi, etc.

20-30 grams fresh spinach or kale

Spread nut butter on tortilla, then fruit spread. Add greens and fruit. Wrap it up. Eat!

Ok, so it’s not technically PB if you use almond butter. And if I use fruit spread, it’s 100% fruit preserves, not jelly. So more like a ABF&G (almond butter, fruit, and greens) wrap…but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Let me know in the comments if you make this, and what you used!

Chocolate Sweet Potato dip

I’ve always thought sweet potatoes were a little too sweet for a savory lunch or dinner dish, but I don’t hear about many sweet potato-based desserts. So I decided to experiment and lean on this potato’s natural sweetness–and I came up with chocolate (of course) dip! Good as a snack or dessert, or might as well eat it for breakfast!

Rinse sweet potatoes (you can roast more than one at a time, then keep in the fridge for a few days), pierce a few times, and wrap in foil (otherwise it’ll start leaking syrupy goodness onto the bottom of your oven!). Place in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes (maybe a little longer if you don’t preheat first), until very soft. Eat the skin (it’ll be syrupy from the potato), then mash with about a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder per medium sized potato (I like Hershey’s Special Dark).

Sometimes I add a pinch of salt or some pure vanilla extract. I bet you could add chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder for more of a dessert experience–it really doesn’t need added sweetner, though. Alternatively, just do coconut oil with the cocoa powder (I haven’t tried this yet), for a smoother, richer texture. I have enjoyed dipping raw carrots, raw zucchini, apple slices (granny smith is good). I’d like to try pretzels, bread, chips (I might need to add milk to the dip to thin it out).

Cinnamon Banana FroYo (no machine needed)

I did use a single serve blender, but you could easily just mash the banana. Combine plain (not fat free or greek) yogurt*, ripe banana (brown and yellow on the outside and soft), and cinnamon. I made popsicles and poured the rest into ice cube trays. Then about 5 hours before serving, I placed ice cubes in a bowl (I didn’t cover) and placed in the fridge, then just mashed with a spoon before eating.

*This was conventional dairy yogurt because I get it for free on WIC. I don’t like bananas, yogurt, or the idea of eating animal products, so I didn’t even taste this. But all 4 kids loved it!

I am happy to get measurements next time I make this–I believe it was 1:1 banana:yogurt, plus about 2 teaspoons of cinnamon per cup.

Chocolate Applesauce

I crave chocolate regularly. I could probably eat it with every meal and not get sick of it. I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet, but I have no desire to reduce chocolate nor the accompanying antioxidants, fiber, or iron. Sometimes I go with stevia, but I really like fruit, too!

I’ve found that unsweetened applesauce is plenty sweet. Even if I want it chocolate flavored! Before I paid much attention to labels and calorie counts, I would sometimes make a “sundae” featuring applesauce and Milky Way hot fudge-type topping. These days, I always have plain cocoa powder on hand (my favorite is Hershey’s Special Dark), and I add in about a tablespoon per cup of applesauce. If I really want to indulge, I might throw in some peanut butter, too. If I can wait, sometimes I’ll throw it in the freezer for up to an hour so it gets a bit of a slush-y texture. I’ve also successfully added blueberries to chocolate applesauce for some extra flavor, texture, and vitamins.

What do you like in applesauce? Cinnamon? Strawberries? Nuts?

Pumpkin pie frosting-topped oatmeal cups

My kids get bored with bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. I get bored with cooking it. So sometimes I’ll use Chocolate Covered Katie‘s recipe for baked oatmeal, and make a huge batch for the freezer. To make it a little more fun for the kids, I decided to top it with “frosting” (inspired by Katie’s whipped cream trick) and sprinkles!

image

I am not a food photographer 😉

 

I mixed:

210g pure pumpkin

15g powdered sugar

5 drops english toffee flavor liquid stevia

several drops pure vanilla extract

~1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

6g cornstarch

in a bowl. I wasn’t ready to use it yet, so I put a lid on in and kept in in the fridge a few days. When I was ready to serve, I heated the oatmeal cups in a microwave until just barely warm and completely thawed, and piped the pumpkin through a frosting bag with a star tip. Then I topped with some mini chocolate chips–Ghiradelli is delicious, vegan, and available at my local Walmart.

I enjoyed them, especially when I sprinkled some dark cocoa powder onto it. Catboy disliked the difference in temperature (warm muffin and cold frosting), but delivered slightly positive reviews otherwise and said “yes” to me making it again. Hunny Bunny asked for seconds and wanted to eat lots of chocolate chips. I got the stamp of approval from the 2 little ones as well. I’ll be making this again!

Dark Chocolate Triticale Chia porridge

I have oatmeal most mornings for breakfast. I usually add Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (1 T) and sweetener, like hazelnut or caramel Torani sugar-free syrup. I don’t care for the texture of oatmeal so I usually add plenty of water and cook til the oats fall apart.

Today I went with rolled triticale instead of oats. I cooked them the same way, just boiled in water. I did add a tablespoon of chia seeds and did not cook as long as I would for oats, and I really liked the texture–kind of chewy. I’m not sure whether that was due to the chia or the triticale. I added hazelnut syrup and cocoa like usual, plus a tiny pinch of salt.

Both the triticale and chia seeds have plenty of fiber, protein, and some iron. This would also be good with some fruit mixed in–a very ripe banana instead of sweetener, slightly mashed raspberries, or blueberries (frozen would be great to cool it down; fresh has a great texture).