Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have a new favorite cookie. I apologize to you and you and you.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
from Martha Stewart's Cookies
makes 2 dozen
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz good quality milk or semi-sweet chocolate, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter (I used EB vegan buttery sticks and it worked fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I used semi-sweet chocolate because I wanted more of a dark chocolate cookie...and I couldn't have been more right on that choice. :)

Preheat oven to 325F. Chop 4 oz chocolate coarsely and place in the top of a double boiler (or bowl rested above boiling water) with the butter. Stir until melted. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 

Transfer chocolate to a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined.

Slowly add in flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. The consistency should be between brownie batter and cookie dough.

Chop remaining 4 oz chocolate into 1/4 inch chunks. Fold into batter.

This batter is much easier to scoop with a cookie scoop because it's really sticky...and pretty hard to roll into balls. And if you don't have sil-pats, definitely use parchment paper! You will need it later.

Bake until cookies are flat and surface begins to crack, about 15 minutes. Almost immediately, carefully transfer sil-pat or parchment paper to a cooling rack. Cookies are very, very soft right now but they need to stop baking so this is a must. Just be careful! :)

Nutritional information (per cookie): 158 calories, 7g fat (3.5g sat), 23.5g carbs (1.4g fiber), 2g protein

My oh my, these babies are DELICIOUS. I wasn't lying about having a new favorite cookie. I'm craving them as I type. They're really soft when they first come out but they harden a bit and become heavenly chewy.

Happy HUMP DAY everyone!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lentil Enchiladas

Last week was supposed to be the week of Peas...but then I tried a recipea that didn't turn out so well. And while this may sound like I'm too blinded by Mama Pea's greatness to criticize, I honestly don't think it was the recipe's fault.

I tried to make Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Ganache. Heaven, right?! BUT, I doubled the recipe and used a much larger pan, which in hindsight was a bad idea with a vegan blondie. I should have used two smaller pans to keep the consistency the same. Or just left them in the oven A LOT longer The flavor was spot on but the texture was completely gooey and under cooked. Then, I tried to make the frosting ridiculously fast. Silken tofu into hot, melted chocolate = no bueno. Not to mention I'd never used silken tofu before...does it need to be pressed or drained? I was confused.

However, it was only fitting that a recipea fail be followed with such an EPIC recipea win.

Lentil Enchiladas
from Peas and Thank You, the book
makes 6 flour enchiladas, 8 corn enchiladas

  • 1 can (30 oz) green enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tb. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tb. nutritional yeast
  • Mexican blend cheese and sliced olives, optional, for topping

The nutritional yeast isn't pictured because it was a last minute addition. I honestly don't think it made any flavor difference but I always aim to throw it in when I can because it is the only vegetarian source of B12. 

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring 1/3 can of enchilada sauce and water to boil. Add lentils, onion, and jalepeno. Cook over medium-low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. 

Stir in chopped cilantro and set aside. 

Warm tortillas by placing them in a damp paper towel and microwaving for 30 seconds. This makes them more pliable and easier to fill.

Pour 1/3 enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Divide lentil mixture into tortillas and fold. Place enchiladas in dish seam down and top with remaining sauce, cheese and olives, if wanted Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve with salsa and sour cream. 

Nutritional information (per enchilada, with flour tortillas): 329 calories, 7.7g fat (2g sat), 51g carbs (7g fiber), 9g protein

Nutritional information (per enchilada, with corn tortillas): 200 calories, 4.2g fat (1.7g sat), 32g carbs (5.3g fiber), 9 g protein

These. were. the bomb. For real. The lentils had such a creamy texture that it was like eating cheese enchiladas, with a ton more nutritional value! Lentils are ridiculously high in protein, fiber, folate and are a good source of iron. I loved how easy these were to put together, too. I kept trying to make sure I got all the ingredients because it didn't seem like much but simplicity is better in this recipe.

You have no idea how excited I am for leftovers. :)

Except for the fact that the microwave blew yesterday. So heating leftovers will be interesting...yes, I know it can be done in the oven but then I have to heat the apartment and it takes like 20 minutes. It's hard to wait for these babies. ;)

What's your favorite meal for leftovers?
Mine is definitely lasagna. No idea why, but second-day lasagna can easily beat first-day lasagna!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FTW Wednesday

One of my favorite bloggers is Running off the Reese's. Don't know her? Go stalk her. You'll thank me.

Every Wednesday, she does a tirade called WTF Wednesday. Like everything on her blog, it's hilarious. A freakin ab workout.

But for some reason, I'm in a really good mood today (don't question the mood gods) and wanted to do something different. So I reversed it: FTW Wednesday.

I'm so freakin clever. (Not really but still.)

I haven't bitten my nails in over a week and a half. No one is as impressed with this nail growth as I am but whatever people. I've been biting my nails since I was two. 9 days is ahmazing. Small victories.

I have lost 17 lbs over the last 4 months. I'm only 2 lbs away from my original goal weight that I made 3 years ago. Two freakin pounds. How glorious does that sound?!

It was just like this. Except not really. (source)
After sitting in traffic for an hour and a half last night, I still went running and lifted weights. Rockstar motivation. No idea where it came from.

What's your FTW? Tell me something fabulous!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tofu Scramble Burritos

It's the week of PEAS! Luckily, though, none of the recipes actually have peas in them. I tried my first recipe from Peas and Thank You last night and loved it. Super easy, super delicious, and super healthy. Mama Pea knows her stuff.

Tofu Scramble Burritos
serves 2
adapted from Peas and Thank You
  • 1/2 block (16 oz) firm tofu (drained, pressed, and crumbled)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp lime juice (or lemon)
  • 1 Tb. soy sauce
  • 1 Tb. nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tsp diced onion
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 whole wheat tortillas

This was adapted because I accidentally grabbed a lime instead of a lemon, didn't halve the seasonings, and threw a can of black beans in at the last minute. I'm sure the scrambles are excellent just the way she wrote them, but I loved the way mine turned out too!

Crumble tofu into a bowl and mix with all seasonings (garlic powder through nutritional yeast). Let sit 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add chopped veggies (mushrooms through onion). Cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add tofu and cook until lightly browned and warmed, about 3-4 minutes.

Add black beans and cook until warm, about 1-2 minutes. Throw on a tortilla, top with salsa and serve!

Nutritional information (for 1/2): 463 calories, 11g fat (1.5g sat), 69g carbs (20.5g fiber), 33g protein

HOLY MOLY. One of the most filling meals I've ever had. And how could it not be? 20g fiber and over 30g protein...and still under 500 calories? Seriously. Who says vegetarians can't get enough protein?! :)

UPDATE: I have successfully added 2 cups fresh spinach with the chopped veggies and it's delicious!

The apartment is sloowly coming together. I made sure to get the kitchen together pretty quick so I could cook but everywhere else doesn't have as much motivation for me. ;)

No Bake Cookies

If you have never been subject to No Bake Cookies, I apologize in advance. These are easy to make, delicious, and so freakin addictive. Dieters, beware.

No Bake Cookies
makes 10-12 cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (I've used both cow and soy and both tasted the has less calories, though)
  • 2 heaping Tb. cocoa powder*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I like chunky because of the addition of nuts but creamy works well too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

*Use a good quality cocoa powder. How do you know if it's good quality? It just tastes more like real chocolate when baked and it doesn't loose it's flavor while baking. There's a very popular brand out there that I used to use until I tried other brands and tasted the difference. I don't know why, because the ingredients are the same them but it just tastes better. Trader Joe's brand has an excellent variety with great flavor and is inexpensive. Score!

MEASURE OUT ALL INGREDIENTS PRIOR TO STARTING. This recipe moves fast and doesn't take long so there isn't much time to dawdle with measuring. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. 

Cut butter into small pieces and place in a large saucepan with sugar, milk, cocoa powder, and salt. 

Bring ingredients to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. 

Add in vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter is melted completely. Add in oats and combine.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let sit in the fridge for about an hour before enjoying. 

Nutritional information (per cookie): 200 calories, 8.5g fat (3.5g sat), 30g carbs (2.2g fiber), 4g protein
(This was calculated using soy milk and with a yield of 11 cookies)

These are not "health" cookies. But then again, when I want a cookie, I want a cookie. I don't want something made with mashed black beans instead of oil. Not to mention that homemade treats made with wholesome ingredients, however unhealthy they may be, are still healthier than any treat out of the vending machine. And taste better too. So next time you're tempted to go grab a nutrition-depleted (seriously, that's how they last so long!) twinkie from the vending machine, hold off 'til you get home. Then, if you're still craving something (even though, most of the time I forget...), make a batch of something without chemicals or artificial ingredients and enjoy it

I know that most people completely abstain from treats while trying to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle. But I truly believe that treats, when made with wholesome ingredients, are a part of a healthier lifestyle. And I never cut anything out unless I plan to cut it out for the rest of my life. Bread, pasta or cookies? Puhlease. I will reach my goal weight while eating these things so that I don't gain the weight back when these things are added back into my diet. 

I think the main problem that most people have with this concept is the phrase "in moderation". I HATE THIS PHRASE. Seriously. It grinds my bones. Does it make sense when used correctly? Yes. But most of the time it isn't used correctly. People think moderation is only one piece of cake a day instead of two. Four sodas a day instead of seven. For something to be an indulgence, it has to be done/eaten/experienced less often than not.

So, what do you think about the phrase "in moderation"? 

Do you cut out anything when trying to lose weight?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Clean out the Fridge" Bowls

Moving sucks.

Everything is in boxes, food choices are limited, eating utensils are paper and plastic, "routine" is nonexistent, to do lists are never-ending, and I'm constantly tired.  But in an effort to clean out the vegetables in my fridge and keep dinner in one pan, I discovered an easy, delicious meal. I may just have to do this on purpose next time.

"Clean out the Fridge" Bowls
serves 2
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 large zucchini squash
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 2 links veggie sausage (I used TJ's Sausageless Italian Sausage)
  • 1 Tb. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
  • Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425F. Roast potatoes using 1.5 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

Chop zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. Slice sausage into bite size pieces.

Toss veggies and sausage with remaining 1.5 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

About 20 minutes into roasting the potatoes, add the veggies and sausage into the mix. Roast for an additional 20 minutes and serve.

Nutritional information (for 1/2): 418 calories, 14.5g fat (2g sat), 55g carbs (8.5g fiber), 22.5g protein

You would not believe how much food that is, either. Those are not the tiny little paper bowls. It's a very satisfying, filling, and refueling meal. Perfect for moving or any other hectic time!

It's been a while since I've updated y'all on my weight loss progress...

That's in just over two months, folks. BALLER. I updated the About Me page to include the first half of this year and there, I highly attribute my current weight loss success to weight lifting. And I cannot rave enough. I started small (about 25 lbs) and just keep adding weight and reps as I get stronger. Here is my current workout, just so you can get an idea of how simple it is.

This is a new approach to weight lifting for me since I've long been victim to the high reps, low weights jabber that women get to avoid "building muscle". I can honestly say that that never worked for me. I always had flab, never looked toned and never really felt stronger. While I have gained noticeable muscle, it doesn't look bad at all! Muscle looks different on women than it does men so those who are scared to pick weights in fear that they'll look like Arnold, have no fear!

Another thing I have noticed from changing the way I lift is that the weight is finally coming off in the right places. Even as I lost weight before, I never felt that it was actually making me look better, not just smaller.

In other news, Mama Pea showed up on my doorstep last night right as I was heading out for a run. Sadly, not the real-life woman, but in book form...which is still pretty cool!

I was a little excited. Since the move, I haven't had much time to completely absorb the book but I did thumb through it to find a margarita smoothie, jambalaya, and blackberry cinnamon rolls. OH. MY. PEAS. (buyitnow)

How do you feel about moving?
I would like to find just. one. person. who enjoys it. I know that's impossible. 

Do you lift weights or have a weight routine?
Tell me, tell me! I want to steal your ideas. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peas and Thank You Doughballs

I am in full MOVING swing this week. I've packed 3/4 of the stuff into boxes. And I've had to open boxes a million times to find my shampoo, can opener, pizza pan, and other various essentials. Needless to say, the food in my kitchen has not been phenomenal lately. Or even photographed. But a couple weeks ago, I finally took my shot at some doughballs from one of my favorite blogs. And in honor of the book being released today (EEK!), I thought I'd share these lovelies.

Snickerdoodle Doughballs
from Peas and Thank You
makes about 24 doughballs
  • 3/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1-3 tsp soymilk
  • Cinnamon and sugar to coat

*Organic sugar is important to note because it isn't as sweet as regular sugar.

Blend together margarine, sugars, salt, vanilla, flours, and cream of tartar. It may seem like it won't come together at first but just be patient.

The final dough will be crumbly but can form balls. Add milk as needed but be sure not to add too much. I added 2 tsp and that's what made my balls flatter than Mama Pea's.

Still beyond tasty, though. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

Nutritional information (per doughball): 103 calories, 6g fat, 12g carbs, 1g protein

Freakin yum. The balls are nice and doughy and taste even more fabulous when cooled. Which, trust me, is almost impossible to let them do.

I am so. beyond. excited. for this to be on my doorstep tonight or tomorrow. I pre-ordered it in MARCH. Because I'm a stalker. BUY IT NOW.

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