Holy granola, Batman!

21 Sep

I made this just for you. I’ll leave it here….

Dried Fruit & Coconut Granola Bars

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Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced, raw almonds

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 tbsp honey (I used imitation honey, to reduce the calories & sugar intake)

2 tbsp light brown sugar (I used Splenda brown-sugar blend)

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dried, diced apricots

1/2 cup dried, low-sugar cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the oatmeal, coconut and almonds together and put on a cookie sheet. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mix is toasty brown. Remove from heat and throw in a large mixing bowl. Add the wheat germ.

Lower the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees.

On the stove, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into the bowl with the oat mix and blend together. Add the dried fruits and mix again. Pour the granola into a parchment-paper lined baking dish (8×12). Make sure it’s packed in tightly.

Bake for 25 minutes. Pull the mix out and use a spatula to press the mix down firmly together. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool for 2 – 3 hours before you cut into bars.

Makes 12 bars.

Calories: 244

Super-productive day!!!!!

20 Sep

The bad thing about moving to a new city: you don’t really know many people. The good thing: WAYYYYYYYYYY more time to experiment in the kitchen.

So today I took a stab at potato soup. Creamy, delicious, hearty potato soup. But, because I’m me, I also had to make it less fattening and with lower calories. And because that’s too easy, I also decided I was going to combine my favoritest thing in the world with this potato soup: creamy mushroom soup.

Dare to be bold, people. Dare. To. Be. Bold.

I think this might be the best recipe I’ve posted. And I’m not just saying that to make myself feel better for staying in on a Saturday night to create it!

Creamy Potato and Mushroom Soup

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Ingredients:

3 thick slices of bacon, diced

1 whole onion, diced

1 cup mushrooms, diced

5 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced (small pieces!)

4 cups low sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

3 tbsp gluten-free flour (well, any flour will do, honestly)

1 can fat-free, evaporated milk

1 cup low-fat shredded cheese

Notes: (1) As per usual, I’ve avoided the use of celery and carrots. If you really REALLY want them then add: 3 large carrots, diced and 3 thick celery stalks, diced. (2) Logistically, this dish is a bit difficult to manage… if you leave diced potatoes out, they’ll turn brown and icky. I suggest starting by peeling and dicing your potatoes, then leaving them in a bowl of water (fully immersed). When ready to put the potatoes in, drain the water!

Cook the bacon in your ginormous soup pot on medium-high heat (3-5 minutes). Take the bacon out of the pot and set aside. Pour out the majority of the grease, but leave just a small amount there to cook your veggies in. Speaking of veggies, throw the onions and mushrooms in (and celery and carrots if you insist, crazy person). Cook for 2 minutes, until the mushrooms are slightly soft and the onions are somewhat translucent. Add in the PO-TAY-TOES, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the potatoes get softish. Add the chicken broth, bring the pot to a boil, and then cook for another 10 minutes.

Whisk the milk and flour together. Add to the soup and let cook for 5 minutes. Take 1/2 – 2/3rds of the soup OUT OF THE POT (OMFG – HFG is CRAY CRAY –> trust me, people). Throw it in your super-duper blender until it is smooth and creamy. Add back into the giant soup pot. Also add the cheese and bacon. Let cook until the mix bubbles.

Remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and garnish with more cheese and bacon, if you desire (I’ll give you a hint – you definitely desire this).

Batch makes approximately 11 cups.

Nutrition info (per cup): 142 calories; carbs 21g, sodium 285 mg; fat 2 g (ONLY!); protein 9g.

So my oven did a thing…

16 Sep

I found this AMAZEBALLS recipe for a butternut squash casserole this afternoon. Yes, I was specifically looking up butternut squash recipes, because I threw several bags of the precut ones from Trader Joe’s in my basket over the weekend. Yes, I am a sucker and often make impulse purchases. Moving on.

So I get home and get all excited and ready to throw this sucker in the oven and………. my oven decides to start smoking. There’s nothing in it, it’s perfectly clean, yet it set off my fire alarm (*three times*) anyways. There goes the casserole.

*WRONG*

I had my heart set on casserole, dagnabbit! So casserole I was going to make! <It’s called improvising, and it’s quite risky>

Below is the REAL recipe and method for cooking it. I’ll footnote my ghetto version for those of you who like to be entertained.

Butternut Squash Casserole

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Ingredients

1/2 cup onions, diced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Cooking spray, as needed

1 lb butternut squash, peeled & diced into tiny cubes

2 oz fat free Greek yogurt

2 egg whites, beaten

1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided in two

1 tbsp Parmagiano-Reggiano

1 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

2 thick-cut pieces of bacon, diced

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Saute your onions and garlic in cooking spray until soft, approx 5 minutes. Add your diced up squash (and more cooking spray, as needed). Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Put the Greek yogurt, egg whites, half your shredded cheese, and the Parmagiano-Reggiano into the pan and stir it all up. Put the mix into a small, greased baking dish. Add the rest of your shredded cheese and the grated parmesan cheese. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

When you have about 5 minutes to go, cook the bacon on the stove over medium-high heat. When the casserole is done, sprinkle the bacon on top. Serve.

This makes two large servings or three small ones.

Calories: 430 (2 servings); 287 (3 servings)

*****

HFG’s crazy version:

Instead of putting this dish in the oven, I stuck it in the microwave for 3 minutes. And since I was microwaving, I swapped out the egg whites for a splash of skim milk (I really don’t trust microwaves to cook things like eggs or chicken correctly). If you’re in a hurry, this version works. But it’s less of a casserole and more of a pile of cheesy veggies.

❤ HFG

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