Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hungry Teenagers

The bootcamp I attend has a summer camp for kids. Its 3 1-week sessions. The teenaged counselors are paid peanuts to come help with the camp, which provides lots of scholarships for the campers. They make no money, and even lose money every year, but they do it for the kids.

The director is one of my trainers and he asked for volunteers to cook for the kids each Monday and Tuesday. They are staying at the home of the head bootcamp trainer and her mother, and have presumably been eating cold cuts or PB&J for the rest of the week, as I know the head trainer does not cook.

I volunteered for 2 Mondays and a Sunday. Last Monday, I made Baked Ziti, inspired by a recipe by Knottie Rosie109, green salad, and these lovely Lemon Cupcakes decorated with lemon Jelly Bellies.

This week, I decided to make French Dip Sandwiches, Sweet Potato French Fries, chocolate Cake Mix Cookies with white chocolate chips, and Lemon Meltaways.

I have an issue with actually cooking the 2 rump roasts, as I have a small crock pot and can only cook one roast at a time. I guess I'll cook one this afternoon and one overnight and just combine and heat them before I bring them to the kids. I'm also afraid that they will have non-toasted bread and non-melted cheese, but I'm sure they will still be grateful.

Now off to cut up 14 lbs of sweet potatoes. Wish me luck!!

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Repost from this recipe on Reportedly yields 30 cookies, but I guess I made them small because I got about 45

3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

1- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; beat in lemon juice.

2- Combine the flour and cornstarch; gradually add to the creamed mixture.

3-Shape into two 8-in. rolls; wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

4-Unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. 

5-Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Remove to wire racks to cool.

6- For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Frost cooled cookies.

Cake Mix Cookies

I don't know about you, but random cake mixes are a pantry staple in my house. If you are in a bind for cookies (surprise! there's a bakesale at school tomorrow, mom), Cake Mix cookies are a life saver.Makes about 2 dozen, depending on how big you make them and how much batter you eat.

1 boxed cake mix (whatever flavor you want or have on hand)
1 stick of butter, softened but not melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of chips (chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint, butterscotch, etc) or nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until moistened thoroughly. Portion by spoonful on a  ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cook for at least 5 minutes on the pan before attempting to remove them to a cooling rack. They will be very soft and will fall apart if they are too hot. If it makes you feel better, you can cool them completely on the cookie sheet.

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

Adapted from user lonwolf32

Reportedly yields 9 servings:

4 pounds rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle of Guiness
9 slices of provolone
9 French rolls

Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, garlic, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.

Remove the meat from the slow cooker, slice diagonally, and place back in the sauce. Leave this in the slow cooker up to 1 additional hour on low.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), Split French rolls, and top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted. Place beef in roll and use au jus for dipping.

Baked Ziti

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Knottie Rosie109. I initially tripled it to feed 20 people (with leftovers). This one makes 8 generous servings.

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta (or ziti)
24 oz container of fat free ricotta cheese
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large jar Prego spaghetti sauce
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, diced or pressed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

1- Preheat oven to 400.

2- Brown the ground beef with the garlic and drain. Cook the pasta in boiling, well salted water until al-dente (approx 8 minutes). Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water.

3- Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add in the ricotta, salt, 3/4 the mozzarella and 1/2 the spaghetti sauce.

4- Add the hamburger and pasta and mix well.

5- Place the whole mixture in a greased lasagna or 9x13 pan. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and mozzarella, and the entire amount of Parmesan.

6- At this point, you can either refrigerate for cooking the next day, or bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. If you refrigerate, increase the cooking time by 15 minutes to account for the initial temperature difference. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cupcakes that love you back!

I love sweets. It is an addiction, for sure. I have always loved candies and cakes, but alas, they do not love me back. In the past year, I have discovered the secret to low fat baking, and NO, it is not applesauce.

Applesauce contains too much water and really doesn't give the creaminess or tenderness you get baking with oil and butter. I can always tell when something was made with applesauce.

My secret weapon: Fat Free Greek Yogurt! 
It can be subbed in most baking recipes for oil (1:1) and egg yolks (1 tbsp per yolk). It adds calcium and protein and totally replaces the fat in the oil and egg yolks. It is amazing, and the texture is fluffy and moist.

I used this secret when I made 300+ cakeballs for Christmas, and it was on point. I didn't feel so guilty tasting my handiwork when I was done, although I should have stopped at just 1 : /

I am making cupcakes for some hungry teenagers tomorrow night, so this is my recipe:
1 Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
1 c water
1/2 c + 3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt
3 large egg whites

I always mix the wet ingredients together with the mixer first, to add some volume to the egg whites. Then I add the cake mix and just mix and bake according to the box directions.

When frosted generously with Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting from the dry mix, each cupcake is only 120 calories, 1.5g fat, 24g carbs, 10.3g sugars, and 2.3g protein.

We'll see how the kids like them tomorrow!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Smoothie Throwdown

Last night I was challenged to a Smoothie Throwdown by one of my bootcamp trainers. I am assuming he was joking, because no one can beat this one as a post workout meal.

Super Duper Strawberry Smoothie:
1 cup HEB Mootopia Milk (Skim)
3 heaping tbsp MLO Super High Protein Powder
2 tbsp Alive Whole Food Energizer Liquid Vitamin
2/3 cup frozen blueberries (unsweetened, I freeze my own to be sure)
6 medium strawberries, frozen (also unsweetened, frozen by me)
1 tsp granulated stevia (natural sweetener, no calories)

Whiz it all up in the Ninja, and enjoy. I don't know any premixed smoothie on the market that can beat this one: no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, a bazillion vitamins and minerals.. and it tastes good! Look at the nutrition on this bad boy:

Calories 295.2
Total Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 5.0 mg
Sodium 401.5 mg
Potassium 284.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Sugars 23.7 g
Protein 39.1 g

Vitamin A 247.3 %
Vitamin B-12 3,368.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2,538.9 %
Vitamin C 1,790.7 %
Vitamin D 125.0 %
Vitamin E 707.3 %
Calcium 86.6 %
Copper 139.7 %
Folate 119.7 %
Iron 57.4 %
Magnesium 43.0 %
Manganese 273.9 %
Niacin 662.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 1,288.3 %
Phosphorus 32.4 %
Riboflavin 1,511.6 %
Selenium 131.5 %
Thiamin 1,706.0 %
Zinc 136.3 %

So bring your blender, Brandon.. its on!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mmmm... Soda!

In an effort to stay away from artificial sweetners and excess sugar, I haven't had a soda, diet or otherwise in about 5 months. I feel great, but I just really miss burping sometimes. Last night I experimented with creating my own Sprite-like drink, with no sugar or artificial sweetners. I have now perfected it, and I think it is pretty darn awesome.

I started with a 20oz water bottle, and squeezed half a lemon and half a lime into the bottom. I then mixed in 1.5 tsp of granulated Stevia, which is a NATURAL calorie free sweetner, made from the extract of a leaf. I added regular old plain club soda to fill the bottle, and voila! Yummy Soda!!

Zevia makes a lemon lime soda sweetened with Stevia, but it costs upwards of $1/can, and doesn't taste as good or as fresh as mine. I am so happy I can make my own version, fairly cheaply, without all the calories OR artificial stuff.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Supercharged Breakfast

Some of you who know me personally know that I go to bootcamp every morning before work. When I get home, I don't have any time to eat, even though I should eat right after I work out. For 2 weeks now I have been making protein smoothies for breakfast, so I can sip on them on my way to work. Normally, I want to chew something, and my hunger is not satisfied with drinks. However, I've perfected a smoothie that is so thick its is almost like ice cream. Its thick enough that it actually satisfies my need to chew.

In our new Ninja blender (thanks to R's father), I whoosh together the following:
1 cup milk
3 heaping tbsp MLO Super Protein Powder
2 tbsp Alive Whole Food Energizer Liquid
6 peach slices, frozen
3/4 cup blue berries, frozen

The nutritional info on this is freakishly awesome:
 310 cal, 1.4g fat, 372 mg sodium, 733mg potassium, 42.5 g carbs, 5.5 g fiber, 32 g protein and at least 100% if not more, of all of the RDA listed vitamins and minerals.

My frugal tip: Buy peaches and blueberries in season and freeze them yourself. Peel and slice the peaches, and wash and dry the blueberries on a paper towel. Lay each in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Take them out, store them in an airtight container or bag in the freezer, and you'll always have frozen fruit on hand. The same method works for most berries and fruits that I know of. I haven't tried bananas frozen in slices yet, but I might this week. We'll see!

P.S. Those vitamins kick major butt. I haven't had caffeine in months, and I am WIRED by the time I get to work, just off of the vitamins in that smoothie. Amazing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Omnivore Hundred

I copied this from Wife on a Budget, who got it from Very Good Taste:

Here are the directions:

Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
SarahPLiz's Omnivore Hundred

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (Alligator)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Well, its been a while

Our schedule got all messed up with an impromptu trip to Florida a couple weekends ago to visit R's family. We got to go snorkeling, but I didn't get to plan a menu or even go grocery shopping on the weekend. Also, work has been getting really hectic. I think this is going to change my plan, as during the week we really don't eat from a recipe. I really don't see a grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli as a recipe. My new goal is to post 2 recipes that I will be making that week, and I'll try to remember to take pictures and edit the recipes with the pictures after I make them.

This week I'll be using a tried and true Italian Beef recipe, which can be served with rice or on a crusty roll with some provolone for a kick-but sandwich. The original recipe calls for a 3-4 lb chuck roast, but I don't think that will even fit in my crock pot, so we'll go for half that recipe. I don't want to have to throw it out because we didn't eat it all. I have made this recipe before, but was reminded of its yumminess by a friend this weekend. Now I am all excited about it.

I will also be trying a Creamy Taco Mac, made with ground chicken and leftover salsa. This recipe is supposed to end up like Hamburger Helper, without the red meat (we'll have plenty of that) and preservatives. I am adapting it for our personal tastes from this recipe on the Delish blog, which is a new recipe source for me.

Creamy Taco Mac

makes 4 servings, 441 calories and 46 grams of protein each. Adapted from Delish blog.

1 lbs extra lean ground chicken breast

8 oz quinoa pasta +1 cup pasta water
1.5 cup fresh or canned salsa (we prefer Ana's)
2 Tbsp mild taco seasoning
3 oz fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
salt & pepper
1/3 cup cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.

Over medium heat, brown ground chicken until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning and salsa. Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese and sour cream. Give it a good stir until cheeses are melty and incorporated. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, as desired. Top off with cheddar cheese for extra cheesy goodness.

Easy Italian Beef

This recipe is SO easy, and relatively healthy for low-carb people. Chock full-o-protein. Makes 8 servings with approximately 350 calories and 33 grams of protein in each serving.

1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb chuck roast, trimmed
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 3/4 cup beef broth, low sodium
3 tbsp Itailan seasoning
1/2 of a 16 oz jar of pepperoncini peppers, with juice

cut slits in the beef with a knife, just big enough to insert the garlic. In a heavy skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the roast and sear on all sides, including the ends, for 4-5 minutes per side.

Dutch Oven cooking:
Preheat oven to 275. After earing beef, remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients.Cover dutch oven and bake for 5-6 hours, until the meat is falling apart.

Crock pot recipe:
Remove the roast from the skillet and add it to the crockpot. Add the beef broth to the hot skillet and use it to deglaze the pan. Scrape up all the good yummy burnt bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the broth to the crockpot, along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the meat is falling apart.

Remove the meat from the pot, shred it with a fork, and then return it to the pot with all the juices.

Serving suggestions: On rice, with juice as gravy, or on a crusty piece of baguette with cheese, to make a sandwich. I have also used it in tortillas for a twist on tacos, and it can be added to pasta for a quick leftovers meal.