Archive | May, 2014

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled… POPPERS!

21 May

I regularly frequent websites that allow me to waste time in the most enjoyable manner possible. While doing so (most likely during class, ‘cuz I’d rather be entertained by the internet than listen to the world’s DULLEST LECTURE about corporate bankruptcy), I came across this little gem:

http://imgur.com/gallery/4R74u

What I liked about these so-called “food hacks” was their bright, shiny potential. Potential to be HFG-ized, of course. 😀

I decided to take a stab at the cheese-stuffed peppers. Mostly, in an attempt to discover a fun way to make jalapeño poppers that don’t come frozen in a box (i.e. stuffed full of gross chemicals). These are, by no means, low calorie. But if you want to clean them up, see instructions at the end. 😀

Pepper Poppers

poppers 2

 

3 mini peppers (any kind: sweet, jalapeño, serrano, etc), gutted

2 oz pepper jack cheese, diced

1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour, seasoned w/cayenne pepper and garlic salt

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 egg, beaten

Stuff your gutted out peppers with your cheese. Dunk ’em in the beaten egg. Slather them in the flour mix. Throw them on a pan that is heated to medium and has coconut oil in it. Cook until the batter is golden and the cheese is melty. Take out of pan. Shovel poppers into your mouth. Drink something cold to combat the inevitable pain of shoving hot poppers (temperature and spice level) into your mouth too quickly.

Repeat process. 😀

Calories: ~400 (depending on how much batter you end up using to coat your poppers)

Notes for lower-calorie consumers:

Use 1 oz cheese and fill the rest of your peppers with something low cal but works well with the match (like sautéed mushrooms)

OR use 2 oz of low-fat cottage or cream cheese that you’ve spiced up with jalapeño or other delicious spices

AND/OR pan sear your poppers w/Pam (may require multiple coats).

 

Summer lovin’

17 May

Ok, so I’m putting a hold on the fudge (as I mentioned in the last post), and I’ve moved onto deliciouslynell‘s challenge: gluten-free cake that’s NOT boring (ok ok, she said “not traditional chocolate or vanilla” and I just took a little creative licensing w/the words).

I went with strawberry lemonade, since I’m feeling summery. That’s neither traditional NOR boring. 😀

Y’all may not know this about me, but I love cupcakes. So I ended up taking a bit of creative licensing on the challenge too, by making cupcakes instead of a full-on cake. BUT! The batter’s the same, the cook time and cookware just differ. I’ll pretend like I have any idea how to convert this to cake-stuff later on in the post. 😀

If you like the recipe, thank deliciouslynell for inspiring it!!! And go check out her blog. After you read mine, of course. 😉

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (GLUTEN + SUGAR FREE!)

cupcake

Strawberry-Lemonade Jam Filling:

2.5 cups chopped up strawberries

1/2+ cup lemon juice (depends on your tartness preferences, I went closer to 3/4 cup)

3/4 cup stevia

3 tsp xantham gum OR 3 TBSP cornstarch – your preference. I went XG, but it does alter the flavor a bit more than cornstarch would.

Chop up your strawberries and then send ’em thru your blender until they’re liquified. Strain into a pot with a metal strainer (this process is a B!TCH, so be patient… use a spoon and have towels handy if you tend to be a mess of a chef like me). Add the lemon juice and stevia and boil over medium heat. Once it starts to get just a tad bubbly, add your xantham gum and whisk briskly to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Once the mix gets a jelly-like texture, it’s done (took maybe 2ish minutes for me). Remove from heat immediately! Cool for at least 2 hours. For funsies, I chopped up some fresh strawberries and mixed in with the jam for texture/fresh flavor.

Frosting:

Your call. I used a sugar-free cream cheese frosting. You may want to go buttercream or even eat your cupcakes w/just the jam. If you want to try the one pictured, though, just take 1 package neufchâtel cheese (lower fat than cream cheese), 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup stevia, and 1-2 tsp vanilla and mix the crap out of them with a hand mixer. Add food coloring if you’re ridiculous like me and enjoy that kind of thing. 😀

Cupcakes/Cake Batter:

3 cups gluten-free flour of your choice. I used this blend: 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup rice flour, 2 cups all-purpose (all of them Bob’s Red Mill brand). If you decide to use coconut flour, follow along carefully b/c you’ll need more liquid than normal. DO NOT USE more than 1/2 cup coconut flour, though, or it’ll throw off the recipe entirely.

1 tsp xantham gum (ONLY IF YOU USE THE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: 1/2 tsp XG per 1 cup flour used)

1.75 cups sweetener of choice (only 1 cup if you use stevia, to keep the batter moist)

1.5 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup softened, unsalted butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (add an additional 1/4 cup if using coconut flour)

8 egg whites

1.25 cups milk (make it 1.75 if using coconut flour) – use any milk you want. I tried unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which gave my cupcakes a heavy, nutty flavor. If you want it lighter, regular milk, coconut milk, or vanilla soy milk might be best. If I were trying this again, I’d probably go the soy/coconut milk route.

1.5 – 2 tsp vanilla (if you use any form of alternate milk that’s vanilla flavored, go with 1.5 tsp)

1 tbsp lemon zest

2+ tbsp lemon juice (this is where it get’s hard, you’ll have to add based on how your batter tastes – and the type of flour you use will matter since some overpower the flavor more than others)

People have  LOT of opinions on the best way to compile a cake batter. Some think you should beat the egg whites separately and fold into the batter (i.e. proper chefs). Others (myself included) are a little less picky and just throw everything into a bowl and mix the crap out of it all at once. Your call. But the goal is to eventually get all of the above cake ingredients mixed into a batter that’s been beaten AT LEAST 3 minutes (I went up to 5 to get as much air into the batter as possible, to keep my precious cupcakes moist). Taste the batter (FLASHBACK to your childhood!) and make sure the flavors are balanced in a pleasant way. You want a light lemony flavor.

For Cupcakes:

Put cupcake wrappers (wtf are these called? Do they have real names? I have no idea…) into your cupcake tin, and using a spoon, fill each spot 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the batter (if it’s clean, it’s done). Cool.

When completely cooled, use the base of a wooden spoon to punch a hole halfway thru your cupcakes. Fill this hole with your delicious strawberry-lemonade jam. Then frost your cupcake with whatever frosting you’ve landed on. Garnish with lemon zest, extra jam, and strawberries!

Note: batter makes approx. 24 cupcakes.

Health Stuff: 225 calories per cupcake, 20g carbs, 19g fat (all that butter!), 4g protein, 226mg sodium, and 8g sugars (the good kind!) – these calories assume you’ve used my frosting, btw. Remove 90 cals, 3g carbs, 6g fat, 30mg sodium, and 2g sugar) then add whatever per-serving amount is relevant for yours. Or just stop caring about calories since these are about as healthy as it gets for cupcakes. Unless you go with fake butter, but there’s really no solid argument out there that those are better than the real deal anyways. 😀

For Cake (ish):

Grease 2 cake tins (8″ rounds or squares, metal is better but glass ok) and pour in the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 25 minutes (probably more, I dunno). Test w/a toothpick.

When completely cooled, remove from cake tins. Take the bottom layer of your cake and slather the strawberry lemonade jam all over the top of it. Add your top layer and frost the mofo up w/your choice of frosting. Garnish with lemon zest, more jam and strawberries!

Health Stuff: No idea. But if you make your cake 24 servings, then the cupcake amounts above will apply! Yay for that.

 

The sucky thing about sugar-free baking…

13 May

Ok, I’m still working on the fudge problem. I am DETERMINED to make a decent sugar-free fudge, but have failed (twice) thus far. Even upgrading to fancy pants chocolate and using my trusty maple syrup have failed me!!!! *sobs*

Having a little chat with my friend Google taught me a few things, though. Apparently, sugar does more for your food than just sweeten it. The “sugar alcohols” counterbalance some of the harsher flavors of the other ingredients (*ahem*bitterness*ahem*) and help w/texture in a way that any derivative just can’t, as all they do is add sweetness. So, in order to do sugar-free fudge correctly, I need to get my hands on these “sugar alcohols” (e.g. erythritol, maltitol).

*SIGH*

Being stubborn is expensive. I don’t recommend it.

I’ll get back to you on how this works once my erythritol comes in. Be forewarned, though, if any of you are trying to achieve the perfect fudge (or other chocolatey dessert) with just basic stevia or splenda!

❤ HFG

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