Monday, January 31, 2011

Shroom Pasta - Recipe Challenge Week 2

Week 2 of my recipe challenge brings us to the most recent Rachel Ray magazine.  The difference from last week?  Well, there don't seem to be any "light" recipes here.  In fact, doing my shopping for the week, I ended up with six different cheeses and some ricotta.  I better step up the workouts this week for sure!

Our first stop this week is pasta in a mushroom sauce.  Very, very good.  And the kids were clueless as to the mushrooms and ate it up.  My son had seconds!

2 cups veggie stock (or chicken)
handful dried mushrooms
1 lb pappardelle pasta
3 tbsp butter
3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 small bunch kale
4 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 marsala wine
1 cup light cream
grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Place stock and dried mushrooms in a saucepan and bring to a low boil.  Lower heat and reconstitute.  Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and chop.

Bring pasta pot of water to boil.  Add salt.  Cook pasta to al dente (Note: since I could not find whole wheat pappardelle, I used only 1/2 lb of that and 1/2 pound of whole wheat rotini).  Drain, reserving some cooking water.

Heat butter in large skillet.  Add cremini mushrooms and bay leaf.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.  Add kale, shallots and garlic.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Cook for another 7 minutes then stir in the wine (Note: I could not find marsala at my store, do I just used a random red).  Add reconstituted mushrooms and all but 1/4 cup of mushroom stock.  Stir in the cream and cook to reduce and thicken.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding reserved pasta water if sauce is too thick.  Top with grated cheese.

It doesn't look like much as since I used light cream instead of heavy, and cut down the butter, my sauce is thinner than depicted in the mag, but there is a lot of flavor in that thin sauce.  I would do this one again!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recipe Challenge Week 1 Thoughts

Well, the week is done.  Seven recipes from Martha Stewart Everyday in one week.  All in all, we ate pretty good this week.  I love that everything was "light" as well.  I felt like perhaps we even dropped a pound or two.  Seriously.  Which is always a good thing.

One thing I can say about doing this challenge is that it forced me to pre-plan the week's dinners.  I made my shopping list off of the recipes I planned to make and that was all I purchased at the store besides our usual staples.  Despite having a few very long work days in the mix, I was able to knock out dinner each night.  And, all week we had leftovers for lunches and to get us through the weekend.  It was a very nice feeling.

We are looking forward to next week which will be Rachel Ray magazine.  Sadly, I didn't see any low calorie, "healthy" looking recipes in there, so I better get my butt back into working out quick.

The highlights of this week were the pot stickers and chicken chili.  Both were absolutely delicious and I couldn't believe I made them and that they were light meals.  One failure out of the week wasn't too bad as I honestly expected more than that.

I hope you guys enjoyed the recipes this week or were inspired to dust off one of the books or magazines you've been meaning to get to.  I'll see you tomorrow with our first fattening delight from Rachel Ray!  Ta now.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food Porn!!

Derailing the blog from the Recipe Challenge just a tad to share a cute article on Etsy about food porn and thought others might enjoy.

The Fundamentals of Food Porn

I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of food pornography.  Yum!

I Made Pot Stickers!! - Recipe Challenge Week 1

What a way to end the first week of my self-imposed challenge.  Home-made pot stickers.  Yum, yum, yum!  Next to the chili, this was the week's best recipe.

I will say though, what a pain in the butt!  I have a new found respect for those poor guys holed up in the prep areas of dumpling restaurants hand stuffing and sealing these little buggers.  Lots o' work!  But these tasted remarkable so perhaps they will appear in my kitchen again on a day when I have loads of extra prep time.  Maybe.

So, my last Martha Stewart recipe for this week, shrimp pot stickers.

Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
5 tbsp white vinegar
4 tsp (or more) Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Pot stickers:
2 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium carrot, diced
1 large egg white
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined & tails removed
36 wonton wrappers
cooking spray

In medium bowl, whisk soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, sugar, ginger and sesame oil.  Set aside.

In food processor, process scallions, carrot, egg white and half the shrimp until a paste forms.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Roughly chop remaining shrimp and combine with paste.  Stir in 3 tbsp dipping sauce.

Place a scant tbsp shrimp mixture in center of one wonton wrapper.  With a wet finger, moisten edges, then fold over filling and press to seal.  Place on a dish covered with toweling while you prep remaining wontons.

Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  In batches, cook dumplings until browned on both sides.  About 1 to 2 minutes per side.  Add 1/2 cup water to skillet, cover, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove cover and continue cooking until almost all water has evaporated.  Transfer to plate.  Wipe skillet clean and start over with remaining stickers.  Serve with dipping sauce.
I had never worked with wonton wrappers before, and filling and sealing each one at a time was time consuming.  I did get better towards the end though, and amazingly, none of them opened during cooking.  Best of all, these are so incredibly good.  The sauce intensified in the fridge too, so my lunch leftovers were extra delish.

What is the most time-consuming recipe you make that you just can't live without?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Frittata - Recipe Challenge Week 1

I know this first "challenge" week consisted of some very less than challenging recipes, but I'm going to give myself props for sticking with it anyway as I had three 12 hour workdays thrown in as well.  And with only one real flop during the whole week, that ain't too shabby either.

This meal was probably the easiest so far and very tasty.  I always love a good egg dinner but we don't do it too often.  This potato and leek frittata was great.  The addition of ricotta, which I've never done before, really added something to the texture.  Didn't hurt that I used some wonderful farm fresh eggs either.  Hello fluffy goodness!

Potato & Leek Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek (white & light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cups cooked cubed potato
9 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 425.  In ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add leek and potato, season with salt & pepper and cook until leek is translucent. About 5 minutes.

Add eggs and ricotta, season with salt & pepper and stir to combine.  Cook until edges are set.  About 2 minutes.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top is just set.  About 10-15 minutes.  Slide frittata to dish and cut into 6 to 8 wedges.

Since this was dinner, I served with some Alexia garlic bread (yeah, the frozen kind, I was lazy after doing so much cooking this week) and a spinach salad.  It was enjoyed by all - the frittata, not the salad, that's got "green stuff".
Don't you just love breakfast for dinner?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken Chili & Focaccia - Recipe Challenge Week 1

After last night's flop, I was extremely pleased that this meal worked out so well.  To be honest, it was beyond fabulous.  The focaccia rocked and the chili was delicious.  Together, well, it was heaven.  And since I bought the large beer, there was extra leftover to drink!  Winner winner, chicken dinner.  hee hee hee

First up, the bread.

3 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
2 pounds whole wheat pizza dough
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 425.  Coat 11x17 baking sheet with 2 tbsp oil.  Place dough on sheet and stretch to fit.  Drizzle edges with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Cover with plastic and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet.  Add onions and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are tender and golden brown.  About 12 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook for about a minute.

Remove plastic from dough and poke dimples all over it with fingertips.  Top with romano cheese, onions and red pepper flakes.  Bake until golden brown on edges, about 30 minutes.  Cut into 20 pieces and serve warm or at room temp.
The chili.

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb chicken thighs, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 bottle lager or chicken broth
28 ounces peeled tomatoes, pureed
15.5 ounces pinto beans, rinsed & drained
salt & pepper

In large heavy pot, heat 1 tsp oil.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  About 8 minutes. Transfer meat to bowl and drain off juices.

Add 1 tsp oil to pot.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, oregano and chili.  Cook about 1 minute.  Add beer and cook, scraping up browned bits until liquid thickens.  About 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken, beans and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes or longer. Season with salt & pepper.  I topped our chili with a little shredded cheddar and served the kids in mugs.  They thought that was very fun.

Perfect in this ridiculously cold NJ weather.
This was very good and will be my new go-to chili recipe.  I had it for two lunches during the week as well and another dinner.  Each day it tasted better than the one prior.

So please, grab a brewsky and give this a try ASAP, K?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flippin' Flop Eggplant Relish - Recipe Challenge Week 1

Our first flop of the week o' Martha.  This "relish" just didn't do it for me served with pasta.  Perhaps it would've been better as a dip or something.  The relish itself tasted pretty good although I did kind of mess up the roasting step - burned some of the tomatoes to the pan and first undercooked the eggplant and then overcooked it.  We just couldn't win here.

But, I think doing it again, the right way, and serving it in a different manner would be pretty good.  To be honest though, I have no intentions of trying.

Here's how the recipe reads in the event you want to give it a try:

Eggplant-Tomato Relish over Pasta

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant
1/2 small red onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb cooked penne
shredded cheese to top

Heat oven to 450.  On rimmed baking sheet (not too large) stir together the tomatoes, garlic, cumin and olive oil.  Put the whole eggplant on top and roast for about 30-40 minutes or until eggplant is tender when pierced.  Let cool.

Transfer eggplant to cutting board, halve and scrape out flesh, discarding as many seeds as possible (this was quite difficult for me).  Roughly chop flesh and place in bowl.  Peel and chop garlic and add to bowl.  Add onion and seaon with salt and pepper.  Mix together.

For this dish, stir into cooked whole wheat pasta and top with shredded cheese.  Recipe called for feta but I only had mozzarella on hand.
Challenge details here.
So, this was not a big hit and since I know Martha can do no wrong in the kitchen, I'm chalking it up to something I did wrong.  Probably with roasting and disecting that damn eggplant.  Later in the week I added a cup of jarred arabiatta sauce to the leftovers and reheated.  Was much better that day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chocolate Cheese??!! - Recipe Challenge Week 1

That's what my son said when he saw me putting ricotta and cocoa powder into the food processor for the night's dessert.  He was positively horrified but still had to stick his finger in it and have a taste, BEFORE I added the sugar and eggs.  Did not go over well.  Thankfully though, the end result was FAB-U-LOUS!

Recipe number two from our week of Food Everyday by Martha Stewart is Ricotta Chocolate Mousse (challenge info can be found HERE).  Rich, delicious and very satisfying as a dessert.  If you try nothing else I ever blog about, please give this one a go!  Not to mention, it's light - a low on calories and fat chocolate mousse dessert!  Yes please.  And, it's quite easy.

2 cups part skim ricotta
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
coarse salt

Pulse ricotta and cocoa in food processor until completely smooth.  Transfer to large bowl.

Place egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt in a heatproof mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisking consistently for about 3 minutes.  Mixture should be warmed.  Remove from heat and beat using an electric mixer until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Note: my mix never peaked but it may be because I used an organic sugar.

Gently fold egg mixture into ricotta mixture until combined.  Divide among 6 serving cups and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Lightly dust with cocoa powder before serving if desired.
Num Yummy!  Felt like a rich sinful dessert but only has 166 calories and 4g of saturated fat.  This was loved even by the kids (although I did tell my son not to tell his sister it contained cheese).

Nutritional info as per Miss Martha:
Calories - 166
Sat fat - 4g
Protein - 11g
Carbs - 18g
Fiber - 1g

Monday, January 24, 2011

A "Smooth" Morning with Martha - Recipe Challenge Week 1

So clever I am, no?  :)

This is the very first post in my month-long recipe challenge (more about that HERE).  As you can see, we are starting out easy.  Today you get a smoothie and tomorrow you may get a super easy dessert but you'll have to wait and see.  After that, it's on to the main dishes!  Best thing - this whole week will consist of "light" recipes for those of us still trying to shed those holiday pounds and eat cleaner.

Anyway, the first recipes I tried from Food Everyday (Martha Stewart's little recipe mag) were smoothies.  Perfect for a Sunday morning!  The two we made were the Almond Date and Pom-Berry Banana.  Both recipes are meant to yield two smoothies.

Almond Date Smoothie
3 tbsp almond butter
4 pitted dates, chopped
1 cup low fat yogurt
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup ice

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Pom-Berry Banana Smoothie
1 peeled orange, quartered
1 cup frozen berries
1 ripe banana
1 cup pomegranate juice

Blend all ingredients in blender.
Cheers!  So good, we even broke out the Simon Pearce for breakfast.

My son downed the Pom-Berry immediately.  My husband and I shared the Almond Date (he also polished off what was left of the berry).  It was a bit gritty from the almond butter. The Almond was not as refreshing as the other, but still very good.  These were filling as a breakfast too - and I usually can't do a "drink" as a meal.

Nutritional info as per magazine:
Calories - 197
Fat - 0g
Protein - 2g
Carbs - 50g
Fiber - 4g

Almond Date
Calories - 373 (clearly, a meal)
Sat Fat - 2g
Protein - 11g
Carbs - 53g
Fiber - 3g

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hot Deal - $20 at Amazon for $10

Hey there.  I figure this is a good deal so I'm posting here as well as on my lifestyle blog.

Living Social is offering $20 Amazon gift codes for $10. Codes will be emailed tomorrow and valid as of tomorrow. I have used this site for other offers and it is legit. In fact, I purchased mine already (got a few camera accessories I've been eyeing).

So, if you've got a cookbook or spatula,etc. on that Amazon wish list, check out Living Social first and then purchase tomorrow for $10 off! Yay!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quick Note - Recipe Challenge

Just a quick update on the recipe challenge I posted last week.  I am three days into Food Everyday by Martha Stewart and it's been so fun!  Next week I will start posting this weeks recipes and outcomes.  We are pleased so far.

Next week I'll be using Rachel Ray mag - I figure we should start out with the easy and familiar stuff first.

I have a few dishes from last week that I'm hoping to get on here over the next few days.  We've been eating pretty darn good around here!  Hope everyone else is too.  Enjoy the week!

And before I forget, this is the "light" issue, so indulging this week is allowed and the recipes fit right in with our re-attempt at a healthier lifestyle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Turkey & Rice Noodle Lettuce Wraps

Attempting to get back in the swing of healthier eating, I was delighted to see this recipe over at The Cilantropist.  Great name, right?  Her blog is chock full of beautiful food photos and wonderfully tasty recipes.  These "Larbs" were the answer to my "what should I do with this ground turkey" dilemma last week.  They were a hit.  My husband said "I think I could eat these everyday."  Wow.  Really quick and easy to make too, not to mention no silverware to wash!  I hope you give them a try.

Quick note - the original recipe called for butter lettuce leaves.  Two grocery stores and there were none to be found, so it was curly lettuce for us.  Next time I see butter lettuce though, I grabbing a head and some more ground turkey!

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 of a medium-sized red onion
Juice from 3 limes
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup roughly chopped mint
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
Lettuce leaves for serving
Rice noodles
Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick skillet to brown turkey, cooking completely.  Season with salt & pepper. Drain off excess fat and set aside to cool.

Slice the onion very thin (I used my beloved mandolin) and place in a medium bowl with the lime juice. Toss to cover the onion slices completely with the juice, as this will help to neutralize the bite of the raw onions. Then add the cilantro, mint, red pepper flakes, garlic, soy sauce, and cooled turkey and toss well to combine. Put mixture in the fridge to marinate for at least one hour or overnight. Who doesn't love a do-ahead recipe?
To serve, cook a small amount of rice noodles according to package instructions and cool to room temperature. Put some noodles on top of the lettuce leaves and top with turkey mixture. Wrap it up and enjoy dining with your hands.  Yum!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day = Pancakes on a Weekday

When I saw these pancakes just yesterday over at Baking Serendipity, I immediately printed them out thinking we'd have them one lazy Sunday.

Well, another 9 inches of snow on the ground, no school for the kids and a very late arrival at the office for me meant we could have homemade pancakes on a Wednesday!  I love that many of Sarah's recipes are made with whole wheat flour too so be sure to check out her entire blog.  Just makes them a little less of a guilty pleasure.

Sarah's Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter and stir in brown sugar in small bowl.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined. Add eggs, milk and vanilla.  Mix well. Gently stir in brown sugar and butter making sure to blend completely.  The batter will now be very airy and light (well, mine was anyway). Spoon batter onto greased griddle or large skillet, cooking well on both sides.  I love how these rose up high.  
My daughter, who has been complaining about everything I make lately tasting "too healthy" loved these.  Finally!!
The downside.  Snuggling on the couch with the kids, watching the weather on GMA and eating these fluffy pancakes made me just want to go back to bed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Challenge on the Horizon - Are You In?

There have to be others out there like me.  You know, the ones who pick up cooking magazines at the checkout counter fully intending to make something from it but never do.  The ones who have stacks and stacks of cookbooks at home, looking through them a few times but never making more than a handful of the recipes.

Well, the above describes me to a T so I have given myself a new 30 day challenge.  What is it you ask?  Well, each week I am going to choose a cookbook or magazine and prepare a meal (or drink or dessert) from it every day for a week.  Then I will move on to another and then another.  My family will be enjoying an entire month of something NEW every day.

Here are the deets - I cook Tuesdays through Saturdays (Sunday and Monday that task belongs to the husband although he may participate too).  My plan is to post the week's recipes on the blog the week after they were prepared.  I figure this whole thing will be challenging enough without having the pressure of blogging the results within 24 hours!  So, next Tuesday (January 18th) I will begin my week of recipes out of the most recent Martha Stewart Everyday Magazine.  If memory serves me, this is the "light" issue (perfect).  That week of recipes will show on the blog throughout the week of January 23rd.

Some other mags and books I have in mind are my Chicago Street Food cookbook that I won on Pam's wonderful blog long, long ago, Food Network Magazine, Nigella Lawson's books, Bon Appetit (this one has always frightened me as I really never felt "fancy enough" to purchase it), etc.  Honestly, I have enough "material" to continue this challenge for a year or more.  But let's see how we fare after 30 days before extending it, ok?  :)

If anyone wants to join me or has done something similar in the past, I'd love to hear about it.

For now, wish me luck!  Ima gonna need it.

What Comes After P90X?

Perhaps it's fairly obvious by now that I'm a Jillian Michaels groupie.  Ever since her 30 Day Shred, I must purchase every DVD she comes out with.  Although, and I know I haven't come through on my promise of a review yet, the 6 Week Six-Pack didn't really do it for me.  But this one, Jillian Michaels-Ripped in 30, seems promising so I pre-ordered.  It will release in March, just about the time I finish this round of P90X (hopefully).  If nothing else, it should break up the monotony of my workouts.  My attention span seems to hover around two weeks to 30 days when it comes to exercise routines.

Amazon describes it as follows:
Features 4 levels of workouts over a four week period. Each level incorporates Jillians' best-selling 3-2-1 interval system: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. The 3-2-1 system is repeated three times in each workout and is designed to get you ripped in 30-days.

Begin with week 1 and when ready, progress to the next week. Each week will get progressively more difficult, however each workout offers modified moves ideal for both beginners to those more advanced students.

Four 24-Minute Workouts

Any other Jillian Michaels fanatics out there?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Photography - Fav Food Photos

If you follow my other blog, you know that I'm making a huge effort this year to improve my photography skills.  This post is my "starting point" of sorts for taking food pictures with my DSLR.  Hoping to spend more time styling and photographing the recipes I present here and that my new skills will be put to good use.

So, here's the best of 2010 in food - the photos I thought looked the most appetizing.
And my personal favorite (not sure why, probably just because it was so incredibly delicious)
Link to my other fav photos Here.  Hoping to get inspired and improve greatly from there.  :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year - New Workout

Now that we are back on the fitness bandwagon (kinda), I was happy to give one of my new DVDs a trial run. I was pleasantly surprised by Jackie Warner's Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs. Finally some new ab moves! After doing one round of P90X (meaning Ab Ripper 3x a week for 3 months) and constantly trying to start another, I was very much in need of something new. This fit the bill.

The DVD consists of two 15-minute ab workouts - one consisting of floor exercises and one of standing ab work. They can be done separately or back to back. I chose back to back. I was sweating when we were done and by the next morning, I could feel it. In my opinion, the floor work was a bit more "Xtreme" than the standing one, but equally effective I'm sure.

Jackie's DVD has 19 reviews on Amazon and they are all 5 stars. Below is a little video preview that I found on YouTube. I am not affiliated with the website referenced in the video.

There's a lot more to the workout than what you see here. Give it a try if you are looking to switch things up a bit. I will be subbing this in for Ab Ripper during this round of P90X from time to time.

Loved it so much that I'm also putting it on my other blog HERE.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Caramel Pecan Banana Bread

In addition to Ina Garten's lovely granola bars, I gave out one of these loaves this past holiday as a gift.  It is beyond delicious and I always love a dessert that's easy to make!

Recipe comes from Baking Serendipity.  Sorry for the crappy photo, it is soooo much better than it appears.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup fat free yogurt
1 1/2 cups ripe, mashed banana (about 3)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup toasted pecans,chopped
1 cup caramel pieces, chopped
Preheat oven to 350.  Chop pecans and toast in oven for 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

Cream your butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yogurt, vanilla and mashed banana. Add flours, baking soda and salt.  Mix well and fold in toasted pecans and caramel bits.

Bake for one hour or to desired doneness.  Eat it warm, eat it cold, top with a little powdered sugar, OMG, it's just good!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Southern Banana Cake (a/k/a Hummingbird Cake)

As a self-proclaimed cake-a-holic, I am always looking out for lightened versions of any and all desserts I can find.  This Hummingbird Cake comes from Southern Living's website.  This is the "lightened" version as they put it.  I thought it tasted pretty damn good too (won't even look at the un-lightened recipe).  This is also only my third timing making icing which is not at all diet friendly in my opinion.  It worked though!!

The original recipe called for 3 cake pans for a 3 layer cake but I only own two (for now).  Also, I subbed out 1.5 cups of the all purpose flour with whole wheat and cut out 1/2 a cup of the sugar from the cake mix.

Vegetable cooking spray
1.5 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups mashed banana (about 5 to 6)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese (unsoftened)
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon light butter (unsoftened)
6 cups powdered sugar (eeeekk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coat 2 round cakepans with cooking spray; sprinkle flour evenly into pans, shaking to coat.

Combine remaining 3 cups flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together eggs, applesauce, and oil; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in mashed banana, vanilla extract, and pineapple. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Beat cream cheese and butter at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed just until smooth. Stir in vanilla.  Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Nutritional Information (approximate as I made some substitutions)
Calories:407 (21% from fat)
Fat:9.5g (sat 2.9g,mono 3.2g,poly 2.1g)

If you enlarge that last pic, you can just see how moist this cake is.  Gotta love that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

NYE Snackies - Love to Trader Joes

Happy 2011 Everybody!

Just sharing my kids' favorite thing about the Eve - snackie dinner!  This year we ran to Trader Joes and picked up all the frozen appys and goodies we could find - trying to be somewhat mindful of ingredients and such.

We had:
Fresh tri-color tomatoes oven burst and spread on toasted french bread.  Cilantro chicken dumplings.  Large head of garlic to for roasting and spreading.  Seasoned salmon fillets.  Tri-color hummus and garlic cheese with chips and pretzels.  Parmesan pigs in a blanket.  Mini pizza bagels.  And of course, Swedish donuts with caramel dipping sauce.  Yup, we made pigs of ourselves and enjoyed every minute of it!  Then I went to bed at 10.  :)
Anyone else have any NYE traditions?  Have you ever been to and do you like Trader Joes?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best of 2010

Sorry for the crazy formatting of this post.  No idea what's up.  But anyway...

Just thought I'd join the crowd and list my most popular posts of 2010 despite the fact that my blog has only been live since June.  :)  Thank you all so much for reading, following and commenting.  Since I never thought anyone other than my mom would read this (in fact, she doesn't), it means that much more to me.

Here are my top five most visited food posts.  Oddly enough, my most popular posts all involved P90X, but I don't feel the need to revisit those now.

And my top five personal favorites are, in no particular order:

Thanks again for reading!