Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 1...Again. A Workout Post

Where oh where have the workout posts been?  Well, I'll tell ya.  Nobody's been working out.  I keep starting and stopping.  Most recently I made it through one week of P90X followed by two random workouts the following week.  And I've been eating pretty poorly.  So, since my jeans were quite tight in the waist the other day, I decided to get back on track with a new program that will hopefully keep my attention.  The problem before?  Dedicating an hour + to workouts.  I just can't do it.

The decision was made to go back to the month 1 Insanity workouts.  Most of them are under 40 minutes.  Perfect.  I will do those 5 to 6 mornings a week subbing in some other DVDs here and there for review purposes, and hopefully 3 nights a week I will do some P90X or other strength workouts.

Just to make sure I keep up with it, I am posting my sad Day 1 photos.  These were taken immediately prior to starting my first Insanity workout on Saturday morning so please excuse the lack of makeup.

The part I'm most anxious to see leave?  The damn muffin top.  Oh how I hate you!
Now I know these aren't the worst before photos in the world, but having been in shape and somewhat fit my entire life, I'm disappointed with my body.  I'm not complaining and calling myself fat, nor am I striving to look like a supermodel, but I don't feel this body truly represents who I am.

More pictures in 30 days.  Hopefully we'll be well on our way to amping up the sad booty, getting rid of the spare tire, and bringing back the muscles!  Expect more healthier recipes too.

Am I the only one who's fallen off the wagon this winter?  What are you doing to get back in shape?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Almond Cake with Orange Glaze & Spiked Cream

Perhaps I should change my blog name to Chez Betty's Extremely Totally Fabulous Super Fancy Cooking?  Another Bon Appetit recipe here.
Ok, so I'm kidding about the fancy part.  Just glad that I finally picked up a copy of Bon Appetit and started cooking from it.  We haven't had any fails yet, and the recipes are not as involved as I thought.  Although I've heard that they have toned it down in recent years.

As the dessert to follow the yummy blood orange scallops previously posted, I made BA's almond cake.  Their recipe calls for a 8 inch, two layer cake with boysenberry jam filling.  First, I couldn't find boysenberry jam anywhere.  Second, I'm trying to cut back on the icings and such (and I'm lazy), so I made a 9 inch, one layer cake.  The result was still fabulous!  Oh yeah, and I chose to spike the cream on my own - it was one of those days.

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp almond paste
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
mandarin orange jam, to top
powdered sugar, to top

Whipped cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tbsp coconut rum

Heat oven to 350.  Butter 9 inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment, butter parchment.

Blend sugar and almond paste in food processor until finely ground.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.

In separate bowl, beat almond paste mixture, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated.  Fold in dry ingredients and transfer to pan.

Bake cake for 30 minutes without opening oven. Rotate pan and continue baking until top is golden and cake is firm, about 8-10 minutes more.  Cool in pan on cake rack for 10 minutes.  Invert cake and remove pan.  Let cool completely.

Once cool, spread a layer of mandarin orange jam over top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve with whipped cream.

For cream, whip all ingredients until peaks form.
A little taste of sunshine for a dreary day!  And this tastes even better the next day when left out at room temperature.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do You Gastrique?

Oh, you don't.  Well, I do.  Yeah yeah, I'm super dooper fancy in the kitchen now.  Got my copy of Bon Appetit and well, as we all know, that makes you nearly a professional!

Ok, just kidding.  I was proud of myself though.  Do I know what a gastrique is technically?  No.  But I do know that I heated some sugar and then added vinegar and it got hard (and I got scared) and then it got soft again and I added the other stuff and let it reduce (for a heck of a lot longer than indicated in the recipe) and then it tasted really good.  So that is my definition of gastrique.  For now...

Bon Appetit's Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique.  C'mon, you know that sounds damn good!

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 cup fresh blood orange juice (from about 6 oranges)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

Scallops and brussels sprouts:
2 blood oranges, peeled, separated into segments
1/4 cup each (lightly packed) fresh parsley leaves, fresh mint leaves, and fresh tarragon leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
8 ounces brussels sprouts, leaves removed from core, core discarded
20 large sea scallops, side muscles removed

Note: My supermarkets did not have fresh tarragon, so I added 1/2 tsp of dried.
Place sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Stir until sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Gradually add vinegar (mixture will harden). Stir until caramel melts, about 1 minute. Add orange juice; boil until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add broth; boil until gastrique coats spoon and is reduced to generous 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.

Mix orange segments, parsley, mint, and tarragon in medium bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss to coat. Season salad with coarse salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts and toss until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer brussels sprouts to bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to same skillet. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to skillet and cook until browned and just opaque in center, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Arrange scallops and brussels sprouts on plates. Drizzle gastrique over scallops. Garnish with salad.
Positively delicious!  This was an adult's only night, but I do think my guys would've eaten the scallops and maybe a sprout or two since I broke them down into leaves.  Neither of us are into brussel sprouts, but breaking them down this way and cooking the living daylights out of them made them much easier to get down.  My husband even went back for seconds!

Any first timer "fancy" cooking success stories out there?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipe Challenge Final Thoughts & Favs

Well, well, well, it's done.  This post is a little late though as I was recovered from the meat coma I've been in since finishing up Street Food Chicago.  Yup, meat every single day.  And I was bringing leftovers for lunch too!  LOL

Anyway, this was a lot of fun.  I loved being prepared each week with my shopping list and bookmarked recipe pages.  Despite having to prepare something each night, it was actually easier.  No thought involved.  This is the one aspect of the challenge that I'm going to continue with each week.  Less money at the grocery store on things we may end up tossing and having to use much less of my brain each evening when meal time rolls around is awesome.

Although there were really only a few recipes I truly disliked over the past month, here are a few of my favs.  I hope you enjoyed all the recipes over the past four weeks and will dust off those magazines and cookbooks on your shelves, open 'em up and give something new a try!

Martha's chili and focaccia
Martha's shrimp pot stickers (probably the one I'm most proud of and the most time consuming)
Coconut pancakes with citrus salsa from Bon Appetit
Rachel Ray's Sausage & Pepper Pizza
Chicago Street Food's Chicken Shawarma
Which week was my favorite?  They were all fun for different reasons.  I will tell you that my body felt the best during the Martha Stewart week.  Probably due to the "light" recipes?  And Bon Appetit was fun because it was new and always so scary for me.  Chicago week was great because it was all kid friendly (at least for my fairly picky kiddos anyway).  Rachel comes in last.  :(  Sorry Rachel, it was just a bit boring now that I'm a fancy cooker lady.  LOL

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chicken Shawarma - RC Week 4

Who doesn't love an easy and wonderfully tasty recipe!!  Doesn't hurt when it's healthy too.  I will say, I never tasted anything like this combo of flavors before.  We will do this again.

4 medium chicken breasts, thin
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup non fat yogurt
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
pinch sea salt, pepper, tabasco

1 cup non fat yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic puree
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp all spice

In mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients, add chicken and marinate overnight.

Combine all dressing ingredients and refridgerate overnight.  Yup, a make ahead meal.  Woohoo!

Heat grill or grill pan over high heat.  Spray with nonstick spray.  Place chicken on grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Cut cooked pieces into long strips and serve with warm pita, tahini sauce and tomato.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings - RC Week 4

Why does white flour have to taste so good??  Yup, we've permitted a bag of the white stuff back in the house for this challenge.  And wow, the dumplings here were delicious.  White flour + butter + stewy chicken = yummy.

4 tbsp olive oil
4 to 5 lb chicken, quartered
1/2 cup flour

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
6 tbsp flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (I omitted this because as we all know, celery is gross)
1 leek, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 1/4 tsp Polish spice (no idea what this is so I used herbs de provence)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup white wine
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
dash of siracha

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp parsley, minced
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup braising liquid from chicken

heat oil in saucepan.  Dredge chicken in flour and saute in oil for 5 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from pot.  Remove excess grease from pot and add butter and flour.  Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.  Now add garlic, onion, carrots, celery (if you must), leek, mushrooms, spice and bay leaf.  Cook for about 2 mintues

Add remaining sauce ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Add chicken.  Reduce heat and simmer with pot slightly covered for 1 hour.  After 45 minutes, remove 3/4 cup of cooking liquid and reserve for dumplings.

After 1 hour, remove lid, turn heat way down.  Place dumplings on top of stewing chicken, cover completely and let cook for another 25 minutes.

In mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and parsley.  Cut butter into flour mixture.  Add reserved braising liquid and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Turn out the dough on floured work surface and pat into a 6x6 inch road.  Cut dough into 1 inch squares, roll into a round and place in stew.  Or you can skip all the rolling and just make dough balls which is what I did.  Me and rolling dough just don't work.

Serve piping hot.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chi Town Chili - RC Week 4

Another week, another chili.  Happy to say this one was very, very good.  Different from Martha's a few weeks ago which was nice (although I'm still claiming Martha's as my fav for now).

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
Dash sea salt & red pepper flakes
4 cups beef stock
1 cup tomato puree

2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/3 cup warm water
15 ounces beans, rinsed & drained

In non-stick saucepot, heat oil and brown your beef.  Drain the meat then return to pot.  Add all remaining ingredients (but not the thickener ones).  Bring to boil then reduce to slow simmer for 45 minutes.  Mix the flour and cornmeal with warm water until it forms a smooth paste.  Add to the pot and stir to combine.  Add beans and let chili cook for another 15 mintues.  Serve.

I used some whole wheat egg noodles as a base so I wouldn't get strange looks from the kids when I passed them a bowl of wet meat.
Garnish thief!
You know it's good chili when you eat it all even though the dog probably licked a bit of it when he stole the cilantro.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fried Pork is Never Bad - RC Week 4

Even better - it was hubby's night to cook.  He did a pretty bang up job here.

4 boneless pork cutlets
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
oil for frying

Heat oven to 400.  Flatten pork cutlets with mallet and dredge in flour.  Beat eggs in separate bowl and set aside.  Combine the remaining ingredients into another bowl and mix.  Heat oil in skillet and when hot, dip flour coated cutlets into the egg, then into breadcrumbs.  Gently saute for 2 to 3 minutes per side until crisp and golden.  Place skillet in oven for 10 minutes.  Serve with gravy if desired.

My husband whipped up this mushroom gravy to use with this dish.  I have no idea what he used other than mushrooms.
Go ahead, take a bite.  You know you want to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Banana Cream Pie - RC Week 4

Oh yeah, you know this dessert immediately followed the deep dish pizza.  Thankfully, I was scheduled to re-start P90X the next day - if I could move.

I have to admit here, I've been way off my game in the cooking department.  Actually, in every department.  Mid-winter-is-this-ever-going-to-end depression has taken over.  I'm making mindless mistakes and just generally not caring when I do.  So, this pie contains mistakes.  Thankfully, it was still extremely delicious.  We'll call it an extra protein banana pie (I'll explain later).  Oh yeah, and there is rum in the whipped cream topping!  Hello!

Chicago's Banana Cream Pie - I halved the recipe since there was no way we NEEDED two banana cream pies in the house.  To make two pies, just double the ingredients.

Graham cracker pie crust
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 large banana, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rum

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in heave saucepan.  Stir to mix.  Add milk, egg yolks and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  After it comes to a boil, continue to cook for 1 minute and then remove from heat.  Should be thickened at this point.

Sprinkle banana slices with lemon juice and toss to combine.  Place 1/2 of the custard mixture into the pie shell, top with banana slices and repeat this process.  Please filled shells in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, whisk topping ingredients until stiff peaks form.  Spread on pie. Or pipe into beautiful decorations - which I cannot do.  Then eat and try to stop at just one slice.  Good luck!
So where did I screw this one up?  Well, with the recipe directly in front of me, I read two egg yolks but proceeded to drop in only the whites and toss the yolks.  After discovering my mistake, I went ahead and added two egg yolks as well.  Perhaps it changed the texture a bit, but otherwise, it was still delicious!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza - RC Week 4

Awww, say it ain't so.  Last week of my self-imposed recipe challenge.  If we make it through this week with five recipes, it will be a success.  Gee, maybe I can stick with things?

This week will require some tweaking here and there as I am using Street Food Chicagoas my guide and let me tell ya, there's a whole lotta calories going on in Chicago.  Whew!  But wow, yummy stuff in this book.  Had trouble narrowing it down to just five, so we may have six this week as well.  My thanks goes out to Pam for hosting the giveaway where I won this fabulous cookbook!  I'm so happy to finally use it.

First this week, and you probably knew I'd have to do it, pizza.  Chicago style deep dish pizza.  Believe it or not, I have never had the pleasure.  Although I did eat at a Pizzeria Uno once or twice in my life.  :)

This recipe required a trip to Chef Central to pick up a deep dish pan which I've been wanting anyway (for super big cakes) so it wasn't too much of an inconvenience.  And if you are ever in New Jersey, I highly recommend a visit to Chef Central.  It's the most awesomest cooking store ever!

Ok, on to the pizza.  I took a dough short cut and made some slight modifications which will be noted below.

2 lbs whole wheat pizza dough
1 lb chicken sausage, casings removed
1 lb part skim mozzarella
1 cup sauce
1/3 cup pecorino romano, grated

Heat oven to 475.  Brush deep dish pan with olive oil to coat evenly.  Spread dough and crimp 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the sides.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.  Prick the bottom of dough with a fork about every 1/2 inch and back on bottom rack for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle more olive oil over dough.  Cover with mozzarella cheese, then tomato pulp.  Sprinkle with romano cheese and top with quarter sized pieces of sausage meat.  Bake on lower rack for 45-50 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
* Modifications
Recipe calls for a white flour dough and has a corresponding recipe in the book.
Recipe called for 1/2 lb. pork sausage but I'm saving my pork fat allowance for another recipe this week and wanted more sausage on the pie.
Recipe calls for a tomato pulp but I used my usual homemade version.  I highly suggest doing the pulp though because my sauce gave off a bit too much liquid.  The book's sauce indicates draining the tomatoes and two different stages during prep.
A hot (and yummy) mess

I think this would be a great meal to make for your sweetie this Valentine's Day.  Nothing says love like sauce and cheese dripping down your chin.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

RC Week 3 Thoughts

Ah, Bon Appetit.  For most of my adult life you have taunted me from the magazine rack.  Telling me I was in no way sophisticated enough for you, that I wasn't a good enough cook or baker.  I just knew you were full of expensive, out of my budget ingredients which would be used to prepare rich, complicated dishes that my simple palette just couldn't appreciate and involving fancy culinary techniques that I definitely did not possess.

But alas, I was wrong.  This week I grabbed the Bon Appetit by the horns and dove right in.  Six recipes (well, two were drinks, but ya know we gotta start somewhere) done!  All were delicious!  All were cooked by lil ole me!  So ok, I did spend more on ingredients this week, but not as bad as I thought.  $30 for those fabulous pork loins and $30 for those buttery delicious steaks were very well worth every penny.  The ingredients weren't that hard to find (although the miso took a few minutes).  And you weren't overly fattening or rich!!  Even better, no fancy techniques (although cutting the top off a coconut without making a huge coconut mess is apparently an acquired skill) or unrecognizable terms.

And now the week of BA is done and I'm a little sad that I won't have the chance to get back to you for a few weeks.  But this is just a see ya later because you will now appear in my measly little mailbox every month for the next year.  Soon enough we will again be snuggled up on the couch flagging "must do" pages and compiling a shopping list for the week.  Until then, it's been fun.  XOXO

Do I dare now pick up a copy of Gourmet??!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Energy Shake - RC Week 3

Goodness knows I could use some energy these days.  Thankfully, Bon Appetit comes to the rescue with this frothy little green concoction.  Green drinks have NEVER appealed to me.  Perhaps it's my aversion to veggies and most things green. I always feel it's going to taste like cut grass or something - and I'm pretty sure some of them do.  But, since this one contains some of my fav, I figured we'd give it a try.  And I didn't like it.  It smelled "green" and the kale bits grossed me out.  My husband however drank both servings this made (minus my sip).

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 banana, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely chopped kale leaves
1/2 kiwi, peeled
2 pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped

Combine orange juice, banana, chopped kale, kiwi, and chopped dates in blender. Puree until smooth, stopping and scraping down sides of blender as needed. Divide between two glasses and serve.  I guess this would be a pretty healthy breakfast.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Calamari & Pasta - RC Week 3

Words cannot describe how much this dish does NOT fit in with my whole attempt at healthy eating, but it looked and sounded so good in the magazine that I just HAD to try it.  So glad I did.  What a fun and tasty recipe that was also surprisingly easy.  And hey, did you know how cheap squid is?  I had no idea.  $7.50 a pound at Whole Foods!  I bet it's like $3 at Shoprite then.  LOL

Here's the wonderful Amalfi Calamari Pasta recipe from Bon Appetit (Warning - one serving clocks in at just over 600 delicious calories):

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound cleaned squid (bodies only), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings
2 cups olive oil
1 cup canola oil
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Lemon wedges

Line rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Whisk flour, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, baking powder, and cayenne pepper in medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, toss squid rings in flour mixture to coat, then place rings in single layer on sheet of foil.

Pour both oils into large skillet; lean deep-fry thermometer on side of skillet, submerging bulb in oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°F to 360°F. Working in several batches, add squid rings to hot oil and cook until light golden and crisp around edges, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer squid to paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add butter and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and toss to coat pasta. Add 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid and toss. Mix in 1/3 cup parsley. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, adding more lemon juice and pasta cooking liquid, if desired.

Transfer pasta to large bowl; top with calamari. Sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.  I also added just a small bit of freshly grated Parm to the calamari.
Never would've thought to put fried calamari over pasta.  It worked well.  I love the butter lemon sauce that coats the pasta.  Very refreshing flavors here.

Oh, and if you are lucky enough to have leftovers (we had a bit), don't worry about the calamari getting soggy. I tossed what was left with a few cups of arabiatta (too lazy to check my spelling on that one)sauce and reheated.  This was about two days later and OMG, so wonderfully delicious.  Gotta love when the leftovers taste better than (or just as good as) the original!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Miso Glazed Pork - RC Week 3

Yet another first this week.  Miso.  I knew there was such a thing as Miso soup, but that's really all I knew.  From the What's New at the Market section of Bon Appetit, here's a Miso Apricot Glazed Pork Loin.  Mmm, pork!

I doubled up on the garlic because, well, you can never have too much garlic.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
5 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/4 cup red miso
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar (I used white wine)
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pork tenderloins
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with oil spray. Combine preserves, miso, vinegar, orange peel, and garlic in small pot over medium heat. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, tucking thin end under to ensure even cooking. Brush with 2 tablespoons apricot glaze; roast 12 to 15 minutes. Turn pork over with tongs and brush with 3 more tablespoons glaze. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, 8 to 10 minutes longer.  Mine actually took an additional 15 but I know my husband would've been happy with this less well done.

Add chicken broth to remaining apricot glaze. Bring to simmer and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice pork crosswise into 1/2- to 3/4- inch-thick slices and arrange on platter. Spoon sauce over and serve.
Now, this was a delicious dish.  I love me some pork loin.  For me, a little salt, pepper and garlic is all a good loin needs.  The fact that the miso glaze was quite a powerful flavor made me miss the goodness that is just simple pork loin.  So while I enjoyed it today, I don't think it will make another appearance in my kitchen.

The kids?  Well, I had to cut off the sauce covered edges to get them to eat it.  Oh well, it was fun.  And I have quite a bit of miso left to play with.  Recipe suggestions?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegan Coconut Pancakes & Tropical Salsa - RC Week 3

Having heard great things about Mr. Mark Bittman and his fabulous healthy eats, I was so happy to see one of his pancake recipes in this month's Bon Appetit.  In addition, the fact that they are made with whole wheat flour made them a must try.  The tropical salsa here is the true star of the show.  It was a fabulous breakfast!

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 13 1/2-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk (about 1 2/3 cups)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
Tropical Fruit Salad (recipe to follow)
Additional pure maple syrup
Chopped natural unsalted pistachios (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Whisk first 6 ingredients and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Whisk coconut milk, 11/4 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and vanilla in medium bowl. Whisk coconut milk mixture into dry ingredients until batter is pourable.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat; brush with vegetable oil. Working in batches, add batter by 1/4 cupfuls. Working quickly and using back of spoon, spread each pancake to about 4-inch round. Cook until small bubbles appear on surface and bottoms of pancakes are golden, reducing heat if browning too quickly, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over; cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Keep warm in oven.

Place 2 to 3 pancakes on each plate. Top with Tropical Fruit Salad, maple syrup, and chopped pistachios.

For Tropical Salsa, mix the following ingredients up to 2 hours ahead of breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or snack...)

1 cup diced peeled pitted mango
1 cup diced peeled cored pineapple
1 cup diced peeled banana
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

The result?  Holy yumminess!!  And enough batter leftover for several more fabulous mornings with less work.
And my husband got to christen one of his Christmas gifts.  Oh yeah, I totally wanted this and bought it for him since Christmas was a good excuse to make the purchase.  :-D
3 days later with nanners and nuts.  Still stinkin' yummy:
I gotta say, I feel so sophisticated in my eating this week.  Bon Appetit subscription ordered.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Year Later - Where's My Workouts??

This week marks one year since I started attempting to get fit once again.  A year ago this week I was busting my rear five days a week with Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred.  I then added in Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones and Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.  Got bored with that after a month or so and moved on to Workout: One-On-One Training with Jackie and Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training, Jackie Warner DVDS (all of which I highly recommend).

I finally rounding out this past summer with P90X Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program and then my husband and I almost completed Insanity: The Ultimate Cardio Workout and Fitness DVD Program

Well, that all ended a few months ago and I've tried about five times to do another round of P90X.  Never seemed to get passed that first week.  This winter is just kicking my behind and I have zero motivation.  But, given the fact that it's been a year and right now I don't feel much more in shape than I did when I started last year, I'm back on the horse.  Today is day 3 of P90X...again.

So hopefully I will be able to post some more workout updates and reviews to help us (and by us, I mean me) shake off the last of the holiday weight gain and that stinky winter "coat", and get back into kick ass shape.  And really, have you seen what I've been eating lately???!!  Goodness, I need some way to work that off too!

Thanks to all my fitness followers for sticking with me through this little dry spell.  Here's to tight abs, strong legs and a lifted booty in the near future!

Note: The above links are Amazon affiliate links.  They are just easier than adding the links on my own.  My blog does not generate any income.