Browsing Tag

healthy

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Healthy Chocolate-Tofu Pudding (gluten-free and vegan)

May 2, 2013

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Friends, I have great news for you. You can enjoy a huge chocolate pudding parfait for a little more than 100 calories per serving. Sound like a dream? I had to do a double take myself when I finally discovered a dessert that was vegan, gluten-free and had no added sugar.

For those of you who don’t like tofu, or hate the idea of eating tofu in sweet form, I can promise you that you won’t know the tofu is in this dish. The key to getting creamy pudding-like texture without the tofu taste is to find silken firm tofu, which is different than regular firm tofu. The silken variety has a milder taste and blends more seamlessly into this dish. I made the mistake of using regular firm tofu the first time around and just barely managed to swallow each bite.

I have found silken firm tofu in the non refrigerated section of my local Trader Joe’s, but have seen it in other stores as well.

So, while this might not take the place of a cookie when you are truly craving something decadent, it will totally hit the spot on a regular weeknight when you are looking for a dessert that is tasty but totally healthy. And packed with protein, too!

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Chocolate-Tofu Pudding Parfaits with Raspberries
Makes 2 servings
1 block silken firm tofu
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk (can use cow’s milk if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 packets stevia (can use sugar if desired)
Frozen thawed raspberries or fresh raspberries

Directions
Combine all the ingredients except the raspberries in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down the edges as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat. To serve, layer the pudding with the raspberries.

Happy cooking!
Madison

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Almond Meal Everything Cookies

March 3, 2013

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I think it’s safe to say that breakfast cookies, however you want to define them, have become a thing over the past couple years. Go into any grocery store or gas station and chances are you can get your hands on a cookie that’s billed as being an acceptable form of breakfast. I like cookies and I love breakfast, but I’ve never really been a fan of breakfast cookies mainly because they are usually not all that more healthy than a regular cookie. Sure, they might have some oatmeal or granola thrown into the batter, but adding oatmeal to dessert does not a breakfast make.

Also: granola bars. Most of them fall into the same category as breakfast cookies. Billed as healthy, nutritious snacks but usually just filled with scary ingredients. Case in point? I was studying the label of a granola bar the other day only to notice that the second ingredient was sugar and the third was corn syrup. Yum?

These cookies are my answer to breakfast cookies and granola bars all at once. Inspired by this almond flour cookie recipe from The Minimalist Baker, these cookies are completely grain-free, low in sugar and packed with protein from the almond flour, sesame seeds and almond butter. But don’t let the healthy ingredients fool you. They are also completely delicious.

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A few recipe notes:
-When making the cookies, the dough may feel a little soft, oily or struggle to hold together. Don’t be alarmed since this is totally normal. That’s where the refrigeration of the dough before baking comes into play.
-The cookies do not spread out since they are of the slice and bake variety.
-Cooling the cookies completely on the baking sheet and then allowing them to cool completely on a wire rack before eating is important. The cookies will be crumbly if you don’t follow this step.
-These cookies store well in a zip top bag or storage container and stay chewy for a couple days following baking. I would imagine that they would freeze well, too, but I haven’t tried it.

Happy Baking!
Madison

Almond Meal Everything Cookies
Makes 8 to 12 cookies
Ingredients
*1 1/4 cups almond meal
*1/4 cup sesame seeds
*1/4 cup unsweetened flake coconut (can use sweetened if you can’t find unsweetened)
*1/4 cup chocolate chips
*3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1 tablespoon chia seeds
*3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Heaping tablespoon almond butter

Instructions
*Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, sesame seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, flax, brown sugar and chia. Stir to combine.
*In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, vanilla extract and almond butter until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
*Roll dough into a log about 8 inches long (dough will be slightly hard to keep together) and wrap the log in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
*Cut refrigerated dough into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. This is important that you allow them to cool completely or they will be crumbly when you try to eat them. Store cookies in a plastic container.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Everyday Lunch: Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salad

September 5, 2012

Since we’re enjoying that time in the season where the last of summer produce co-exists with the beginning of fall favorites, I’ve been trying to enjoy both while I can! We still have a container filled with fresh tomatoes from my mother in law’s garden (so much more flavorful than anything you could buy at the store) and I’ve been stocking up on the ripe, creamy avocados that don’t cost a fortune right now.

My favorite part about the days I work from home is that I can take a little time to prepare a lunch for myself. Instead of cramming whatever I can find in the fridge into my lunch container and running out the door in a rush, I have a fridge full of options at my disposal. Usually, I take the opportunity to prepare myself a giant salad packed full of whatever is on hand in our fridge.

This salad is ultra-simple and doesn’t really deserve a recipe. But it’s also incredibly delicious and is worth mentioning in case you’re looking for a little lunchtime (or dinnertime) inspiration.

Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salad
Ingredients (serves 1)
*1 heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped
*1/2 medium avocado, peeled and chopped
*3 to 4 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
*1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*1 tablespoon poppy seed dressing
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar
*2 tablespoons hummus (served on the side, optional)

Instructions
*Toss the ingredients for the salad together. Serve with hummus and toast, if desired.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Breakfast Bran Muffins

September 3, 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I can’t believe that summer has come and gone already. Where in the world did the time go? I feel, like everyone else, that I was just looking forward to summer and kicking things off with Memorial Day weekend, and now we’re getting all things fall underway. Is the rumor about Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks true, too? If so, I’m going to need the weather to cool down so I can get one in my hand asap.

Joe and I initially planned on heading to Chicago to visit his family for the weekend, but we promised ourselves that this fall we would not book ourselves silly every weekend. So in the name of relaxation and schedule management, we decided to opt for a little low-key time at home instead. Of course, we couldn’t sit still for long, so we did manage to play multiple games of tennis, run errands in Des Moines, squeeze in a couple great workouts and watch way too many hours of football on Saturday afternoon.

Also on my list was doing a little baking. It’s been a while since I really spent time in the kitchen baking for fun, and having a whole afternoon to play around in the kitchen felt like the ultimate luxury. A friend of mine and E&C reader, Rachel, passed along a couple recipes to me that she thought I would enjoy, and I’m seriously SO happy to have now discovered this amazing muffin recipe. Growing up, the bakery in our town delivered the best bran muffins to the local grocery store. For a while, I got addicted to eating a giant, gooey bran muffin for breakfast. Looking back, I’m sure the “oooey, gooey” part of those muffins made them rather unhealthy, but ever since then, I’ve had a thing for bran muffins.

It’s been years since I’ve had a bran muffin, and I can’t remember the last time I baked one at home, so when I got my hands on this recipe, I knew I had to fit it into the weekend baking lineup. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and created two slightly different versions. The first version, Breakfast Bran Muffins with Carrots, uses half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose and vegetable oil and contains 2/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of grated carrots. The second version, Breakfast Bran Muffins with Banana, is slightly healthier and lower in calories. It uses 100% whole wheat flour, mashed banana, coconut oil, 1/3 cup brown sugar and a little bit of Stevia for added sweetness. The texture in both recipes is fantastic, and I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the muffin that uses all-purpose flour and the one that contains 100% whole wheat.

And my husband, the ultimate taste tester when it comes to the “Average Joe” set of taste buds? He loved them! In fact, he ate two the minute they came out of the oven and said he could easily eat more for breakfast or a snack as he works during the day. I made a few batches of each recipe and plan to store them in the freezer for breakfasts or snacks throughout the weeks to come.

Version #1: Breakfast Bran Muffins with Carrots
Adapted slightly from AllRecipes.com
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups wheat bran
*1 1/4 cups buttermilk
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
*1 large egg
*2/3 cup brown sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup finely grated carrots
*1/2 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran and buttermilk. Let stand for a couple minutes. Add in the oil, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and carrots and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon batter into the greased muffin cups. This should make 12 muffins and cups should be filled about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information (per 1 muffin): 168 cal., 7 g fat, 16 mg chol., 41 mg sodium, 30 g carb., 4 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Version #2: Banana Bran Muffins
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups wheat bran
*1 1/4 cups buttermilk
*1/3 cup coconut oil
*1 large egg
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*2 packets Stevia
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 large ripe banana, mashed
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
*Same as above.

Nutritional Information (per 1 muffin): 151 cal., 7 g fat, 16 mg chol., 36 mg sodium, 236 mg potassium, 23 g carb., 5 g fiber, 4 g protein

Happy Baking!
Madison

Everyday Lunch: Quinoa Salad with Broccoli

April 20, 2012

Last week when I posted this salad that I take to lunch each week, lots of you responded saying you wanted to see more lunch ideas on Espresso and Cream. Sometimes my lunches are just a random assortment of whatever is left in the fridge, but other times I take a few extra minutes to prep something more reminiscent of a meal.

One of my favorite strategies for lunchtime success is to prepare a large batch of whole grains at the beginning of the week to go in lunches in the days to come. Quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta are my personal favorites because they’re so easy.

 Here’s a look at what I ate this week! It was filling, veggie-packed and healthy. Though if I made it next time, I would suggest crumbling a bit of feta cheese atop the salad before serving, since feta makes almost anything better.

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli
Ingredients
*1/2 cup cooked quinoa
*1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
*2/3 cup steamed broccoli florets
*2 tablespoons Ken’s Steak House Light Caesar Dressing
*Salt and ground black pepper
*2 slices whole wheat toast (optional but highly recommended)

Instructions
*Toss the quinoa, lettuce and broccoli together in a travel storage container. Just before serving, toss with the dressing and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Serve with the toast. Enjoy!

Madison

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