Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Frustration

I have been having some issues with Blogger.  Two days ago, I wrote an entire post before finding out that Blogger was down and it didn't save anything.   That was annoying.

Yesterday, I went back to Blogger, only to find out that it was down again!  And it remained down all last night and all this morning.  So, I am done.

I have migrated my blog to wordpress.  I'm sorry for the confusion, but I think that wordpress will by much more stable and will ultimately be a better platform for me.

You can find my blog here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healthy Carrot Cake?!?!?

I am ultimately a creature of habit.  Once I find something that I like, I tend to stick with it.  That's why I go through about a jar of peanut butter every two weeks and probably bought about 10 boxes of Whole Foods Peanut Butter Pows this year.  Hmm, I just reread that sentence, and I think that it says a little bit more about my own personal addictions than I intended it to...

Anyway, once I find something I like, I will usually just use/eat/wear it until I can't anymore.  This is exactly the fate that befell my favorite flip-flops a few weeks ago.  The strap simply broke.  So, what did I do?  If you answered wait until you got home and then begged your mom to help you find the same kind of flippys again, you would be correct.
Please ignore my gross feet.
Another thing that is quickly becoming a habit is my newfound favorite snack food, microwave protein muffins!  I found the original recipe for these on SmoothieGirlEatsToo.  And I have been making them in various different ways almost every day!  They have a ton of protein, are really filling, and they satisfy my almost insatiable sweet tooth.  Today, I made one that was carrot cake themed!

Microwave Carrot Cake Protein Muffin
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp crushed pineapple
1/2 cup eggbeaters all whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp splenda (or 1 packet)
2 tbsp shredded carrots
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp Philadelphia whipped cream cheese

Take a soup or cereal bowl and coat the inside with nonstick cooking spray.  In the bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and splenda until combined.  Add the crushed pineapple, egg whites, shredded carrots and chopped walnuts and mix.  Place in the microwave and cook for approximately 3 minutes (may take a little less or a little more time depending on your microwave).  The muffin is done when the sides pull away from the bowl and the center is firm but rebounds when you touch it.  Invert the bowl over a paper plate and run a knife around the edges until the muffin releases from the bowl.  Top with cream cheese and eat!

I may have also drizzled a bit of honey over the top.  I have a serious sugar problem.  It tastes like carrot cake and it's good for you.  Since the lovely Ida was so impressed with the nutrition info on the last recipe I posted, I thought I would add it to this one too!
Nutrition without toppings
You can also experiment with different flavors by getting rid of the carrots and walnuts and switching the pineapple for yogurt, applesauce, or mashed banana (I may have another awesome idea planned for another blog post, but you'll just have to wait for it).    

So, what do you all think?  Any ideas for variations?  Am I a crazy person?  Do you like my toenail polish (purple polish and green flippys, best combo ever!)?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cashew Butter Pasta Primavera

Well, I was all over the place today.  I was running around doing errands all day with my mom and sister.  We dropped off some old clothes at the Salvation Army, sold some old books to Half-Price Books, went to the gym, and got some shoes for the sister.  So, when it was time for dinner, I realized that I was absolutely starvin' Marvin.  We had a ton of fresh veggies from Hy Vee to use up, so I decided to make a veggie pasta primavera!

I saw a dish called Straw and Hay Pasta at Founding Farmers last time I was there.  It had asparagus, long noodles, and peas.  I thought it looked awesome, but it had bacon in it and probably a ton of heavy cream, so I didn't get it.  But, I thought that I could recreate it, leaner, meaner, and with a couple of twists, at home.  So, that is what I did.

Cashew Butter Pasta Primavera  
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp Tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz spaghetti
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup asparagus (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
Black pepper

Put 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the cashews and toast for three minutes, stirring often.  Allow the cashews to cool and transfer them to a food processor.  Puree until smooth, adding about 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp Tahini.  The consistency should be a little thinner than peanut butter.  Add lemon and crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Cashew butter/pasta sauce
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it.  Add asparagus and cook for two minutes, then add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes, add the peas and cook for another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of the cooking liquid.

Mix three tablespoons of the cashew butter into the pasta and add the blanched vegetables.  Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick.  Toss pasta until evenly covered with sauce.

It makes a ton and is pretty healthful too!  The cashew butter gives it an almost creamy texture, so you don't even miss the heavy cream.  Pretty good stuff.
So, what do you guys think?  Any good ideas for variations?  Gonna try it soon?  Am I a crazy person?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So...It's Been Awhile

I will admit, I fell behind a bit on blogging.  My last days in D.C. were pretty hectic with finals, moving out of the dorms and moving into my summer accommodations.  It was kinda bittersweet.  I was so glad to be going home for awhile to see my family and not have to deal with school, but I hated that I had to say goodbye to so many people.  Since I will be in Brussels next semester, there are some people that I won't see until spring of next year!  That said, I couldn't help but feel relieved that I have an entire month to laze around before I start my internship.

Of course, the first order of business when I got home was to reacquaint myself with the pantry!  Living in the dorms with only the amount of food that can fit in a mini-fridge means that whenever I come home I am amazed by the cornucopia of noms in the pantry.  You better believe I nom'ed on some greek yogurt and fresh fruit and veggies as soon as I got home.

After I ate my fill of wonderful, full-sized fridge food, I turned my attention to Mother's Day!  Now, for those of you that don't know me, I have pancakes for breakfast on Sunday, Mother's Day is also on Sunday.  So, what did I do to show my appreciation for my wonderful mother on this special day?  I made her special Mother's Day pancakes from scratch!

I adapted the recipe for these pancakes from the Chobani website, which makes my favorite Greek yogurt and added some awesome toppings for a brilliant, healthy, breakfast.  And since I  was blessed with the infinitely amusing gift of a Williams Sonoma pancake pen this Christmas, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make them heart shaped!

 Chobani Lemon Pancakes with Cherry Jam

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup eggbeaters
  • 1 1/2 cup (2, 6oz Containers) Lemon 0% Chobani Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • cherry jam
  • powdered sugar
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate container, mix eggbeaters, almond milk, and 2 containers of lemon Chobani.  Whisk together wet and dry ingredients.  Heat skillet to medium heat and add cooking spray.  Scoop 1/4 cup of pancake batter into pan and flip when bubbles form in the batter and pancake is golden brown. Serve with cherry jam and powdered sugar.
I think that she enjoyed them, and since this recipe made just about a million small heart-shaped pancakes, so did my sisters, my dad, and I.  In fact, my dad told me that he wasn't sure how they would turn out but he thought they were pretty good with the yogurt.  Of course, this was on his third trip to the counter for pancakes...

I am going to try and post more frequently now that I am not writing finals and moving, so look for more posts coming soon!