Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strawberry Ginger Peach Popsicles

When I was a kid no full fat desserts were ever in our house. It was always reduced fat Oreos, Fig Newtons, Snackwells Devil Food Cake. The low-fat craze latched onto my parents and it held on hard. Hey it was the 90's I can't really blame them.

This low-fat mania extended into the frozen dessert selections. We never had real ice cream, always frozen yogurt or rainbow sherbet. My brother and I also ate our fair share of Fudge Pops and Flinstones Push Ups, which by the way should never be consumed once you're past the age of 12. A few years ago I tried one and nearly spit it across the room. This is what I would get absolutely giddy about during the summer??

Oh child sized taste buds, so much you had yet to learn.

By the way, I know I talked about said Push Ups before, but I figured it needed repeating. 

Another familiar face in our freezer were Popsicles, specifically the orange, cherry and grape combo pack. My brother and I would always fight over the cherry, then the orange and finally we'd begrudgingly finish off the grape. Honestly, does anyone like grape flavored anything?

Oh wait that's right...I do.

While I hold a certain soft spot for those popsicles they are basically sugar water on a stick. Not so great for the body and definitely not future dietitian approved. It's time to class it up with fresh fruit, a mess of ginger and kiss of vanilla.

I happened to have strawberries and peaches on hand, but this recipe could be tweaked according to availability. Also if you aren't a huge ginger fan you might be a little terrified by how much I used. I am a self professed ginger fanatic and there is no such thing as too much ginger.

Actually that's totally false aka thanks Cleveland restaurant that served me ginger soup so ridiculously spicy I couldn't eat more than 3 spoon fulls. Double thanks for not noticing.

But don't fret, these popsicles are definitely not ginger dynamite sticks. Don't get me wrong there is a slap, but its like getting hit in the face by a toddler. Just enough to really notice. And the vanilla might sound a little strange but it gives the popsicles a unique flavor I guarantee you won't find anywhere else.

So with summer upon us, forget that familiar yellow box and try your hand at making your own popsicles. There's nothing to it, especially now that I finally have a freezer that keeps food frozen.

What a concept!

Strawberry Ginger Peach Popsicles 
HTIC Original

1 container of strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup frozen peaches
3/4 cup sugar 
2" knob ginger, finely grated
1/2 t. vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the strawberries and peaches begin to break down and the mixture is syrupy.
3. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture so it is most uniform with a small amount of peach and strawberry chunks remaining.
4. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours, but preferably over night.
5. Use hot water to loosen the popsicles from their molds. Find a hot day and enjoy!
Per Popsicle (8) Calories: 97 Carbs: 24 Fat: 0 Protein: 0 

What I'm Listening to Today
Sophia: Nerina Pallot
The Twist: A.A. Bondy
The Devil's Tears: Angus and Julia Stone

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Roasted Artichoke White Bean Dip + Quesadilla

When I was a kid I used to love going to the zoo. Here in Cincinnati we have quite the zoo complete with lions, tigers and bears oh my (sorry I couldn't resist). My favorite animals when I was younger were the white tigers and giraffes.

But there was one animal that absolutely scared the bejesus out of me. It was hardly bigger than my fist but whenever we got close to its tank I would squeeze my eyes shut so tight it made my head hurt. If I accidentally caught sight of these disgusting winged creatures my stomach would do ten back flips and I'd be guaranteed nightmares for a month.

I'm talking about vampire bats and these little critters spawned a life long fear of bats that has created fond memories such as me screaming bloody murder as bats "dive bombed" me in a swimming pool, almost crying at the sight of a Flying Fox Bat at the Columbus Zoo and having mini strokes any time I sit outside during the summer at night.

It's not a good situation.

Over the years my bat fear has gotten much better, but every time I visit the zoo I still refuse to look at those vampire bats. Gross.

But today I was actually thinking bats and I have more in common than I thought. Some bats are frugivores, meaning their diet is predominantly fruit. My diet includes fruit by the handful. Some days it's fairly absurd how much I eat.

Am I part bat?


On a totally unrelated note (or maybe the above story was the random bit) my co-worker told me I need to expand the appetizer section of my blog. So this weekend I made some white bean dip with roasted artichokes. Nothing fancy, just a solid dish you can feel comfortable bringing to family gatherings or your next party. I tried it with crackers and pita chips and both were super tasty. I would recommend serving it with something salty or adding a little course sea salt before serving. It rounds out the dip nicely.

If you're like me and don't have many parties coming up, you can also stuff some of this dip into a quesadilla along with red pepper, spinach, basil and mozzarella. It makes for a super quick dinner that will silence a rumbling tummy.

Do you think bats like quesadillas? What about bean dip? Questions I'm sure that run through your mind every day.

Roasted Artichoke White Bean Dip 
HTIC Original

6 fresh artichoke hearts
1 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz. can white beans
2 T. garlic scapes or 2 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup vegetable broth 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Toss hearts with oil and salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until browned.
2. In a food processor add artichoke hearts. Pulse until a rough paste begins to form. Add white beans and enough vegetable broth until a thick paste forms.
3. Add garlic scapes, basil and grated Parmesan. Add more vegetable broth if mixture becomes too thick.
4. Serve with crackers or pita chips and enjoy!
Per Serving (8) Calories: 82 Carbs: 13 Fat: 2 Protein: 5

Roasted Artichoke White Bean Dip Quesadilla 
HTIC Original

1 tortilla
1/4 cup + 1 T. Roasted Artichoke White Bean Dip
4-5 red pepper slices
2 T. chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper

1. Coat large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
2. Add tortilla and spread half with bean dip. Layer red pepper slices, basil, spinach leaves and cheese over top the dip. Fold over other half of tortilla.
3. Cook on both sides for 3-5 minutes or until browned and cheese has melted.
4. Use a pizza cutter to cut into pieces and enjoy!
Per Quesadilla Calories: 277, Carbs: 29, Fat: 10, Protein: 19

Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait with Banana, Kiwi, Strawberry, Wheat Germ, Sunflower Seeds and Biscoff Cookie Crumbs (whew!) Toast with Scrambled Egg and Coffee
Lunch: Curry Spiced Lentil and Rhubarb Soup, Cherries, Iced Green Tea
Post Run Fuel: Diluted Grape G2
Snack: PB&J Sandwich
Dinner: Roasted Artichoke White Bean Dip Quesadilla, Peas and Orange La Croix
Dessert: Cookie Butter Swirl Brownie with Frozen Greek Yogurt
 *Not pictured: apple the size of my head, Chocolate Chip Brownie LARABAR

What I'm Listening to Today
Walking: The Dodos
Treat Me Right: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Runaway: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Curry Spiced Lentil and Rhubarb Soup

Staring in August, I will be completing a dietetic internship where I will earn the back breaking salary of $400 per month.

I know you're super jealous. I'll be rolling in the Benjamins.

I'll basically be flat broke which when you have a food blog (that you don't get paid for) and do four posts a week...

Well it doesn't exactly add up.

So in preparation for next year I'm thinking of recipe categories that yield large quantities for a small price.

Soup is the ultimate high yield meal. Give yourself an hour and you'll have enough lunches/dinners to last yourself a week. Whenever I make soup I put the left overs in individual sized portions and stick them in the freezer.

Can you say easy peasy?

I guess it doesn't hurt either that I absolutely love soup. It's probably my favorite food to make. My friends were joking I should open a soup cart and honestly that doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Any takers?

If you're looking for a unique and zesty soup than look no further. I've taken my favorite spring crop, rhubarb and put it outside of its comfort zone. No cakes, crumbles or strawberries in sight. Instead take a whole lot of Indian spice and red lentils and you have the template for eye poppingly good soup.

If you're faint of heart when it comes to spice you might want to take a few steps back. This soup is by no means a spice bomb, but it does put up a bit of a fight on the tongue. You have ginger, jalapeno, cayenne pepper and Vindaloo curry powder to thank for that.

Not only is this soup easy to make, great left over and super tasty, it is a nutritional powerhouse. Lentils are a great source of folate, fiber and protein for vegetarians and carnivores alike. I've managed to sneak in not one but FOUR different vegetables. Say hello to your hosts onion, rhubarb, Swiss chard and peas.

They make quite the team don't you think?

So if you have any other low budget meal ideas to share with me, PLEASE send them my way. I really don't want to have to eat rice and beans every meal!

Curry Spiced Lentil and Rhubarb Soup 
HTIC Original

1 onion, diced
1" knob ginger, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. rhubarb, chopped
1/2 t. five spice powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. garam masala
1 t. Vindaloo curry powder
1/2 t. cumin
1 bay leaf 
Pinch of salt and pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils 
3 Swiss chard leaves + stems, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
Cilantro and garlic scapes for serving (optional) 

1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Add ginger, jalapeno and rhubarb. Stir to combine.
2. Add rhubarb and a splash of vegetable broth to keep vegetables from sticking to bottom of pot. Add all spices through salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
3. Add vegetable broth and stir briefly. Bring mixture to boil and add lentils. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.
4. Uncover and add Swiss chard and peas. Cook 2-3 minutes or until chard has wilted and peas are heated through. Top with cilantro and garlic scapes if you like. Also sprinkle on more salt if you like. Either way, enjoy!
Per Serving (8) Calories: 74 Carbs: 11 Fat: 2 Protein: 3

What I'm Listening to Today
That's What's Up: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
Terrible Town: Olin and the Moon
Tyrone: My Morning Jacket

Monday, May 28, 2012

RPM: Beurek with Cilantro-Cheese Filling

Anything with four types of cheese is a very good thing.

Especially when bread is involved.

And oh, garlic scapes too.

If you ever happen upon Sunday's at Moosewood Restaurant you should snatch it up because it will expose you to dishes you have never head of.

Like Beurek for example. Show of hands, anyone heard of it?

::cricket, cricket::

Beurek or Börek is an Armenian pastry that's typically made of phyllo dough and stuffed with cheese, vegetables or meats. Moosewood's version of course is sans meat and instead is all about the cheese.

Say hello to Muenster. You're looking mighty nice this evening sir.

Also instead of phyllo, Moosewood includes a super simple dough recipe that your infant son could roll out. More often than not I find homemade dough to be stiff and crusty, but this was nice and super stretchy.

After a bake in the oven these pastries are packed with nice salty flavor perfectly complimented by the garlic scapes. Its like garlic bread reinvented. And of course cilantro is always a welcome addition to the party.

Even if you swear you don't like cream cheese (even though you like cheesecake and jalapeno poppers ::cough cough:: you know who you are) I promise you will have no problem throwing back a few of these. They would be absolutely perfect with some marinara sauce or a nice tapenade.

So the next time someone offers you a beurek (because I know it happens to you ALL THE TIME!) don't hesitate. Fist pump for meeting your daily cheese quota. Life's about celebrating those small victories.

Beurek with Cilantro-Cheese Filling 
Adapted Just a Bit from Sunday's at Moosewood Restaurant

1 envelope of yeast
1 t. honey
3/4 cup warm water
Pinch of salt
2 T. melted butter
2 cups AP flour (can substitute half for whole wheat if you like)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup feta cheese
2 eggs
2 T. chopped garlic scapes (or 3 cloves garlic)
3/4 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)

1. Combine yeast, honey and water in a small bowel. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is foamy.
2. Pour mixture into larger bowl and add butter, salt and flour. Mix with a spoon until a loose ball has formed. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead until an elastic ball forms.
3. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise for about an hour or until dough has doubled. Cover with a damp towel.
4. While dough rises combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Set in fridge while dough continues to rise.
5. After the first rise, divide the dough into 8 dough balls. Set on a floured surface and allow to rise for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375.
7. Roll out each dough ball large enough so about 1/3 cup of cheese filling will fit on half the surface. After placing the cheese filling on the dough, fold the other side of the dough over and press closed using a fork or fingers.
8. Repeat the process until all pastries are formed. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly brown.
9. The recipe recommends serving hot, but I thought it tasted just as good at room temperature and cold. Either way, enjoy!
Per Beurek (8) Calories: 370, Carbs: 25,  Fat: 21,  Protein: 17 

What I'm Listening to Today
Slow Pony Home: The Weepies
Custom Made: Rogue Audio
Re-Offender: Travis

SuMonday Stuff

1. It has been hotter than the bottom of a frying pan around here lately and I hate it! This air conditioner is one of two we have to cool the entire apartment. I'm pretty sure its from 1960 and it sounds like a helicopter landing pad in the middle of our living room. It's real swell.

2. Do any of you have cats that sit outside your door in the morning starting at 6 am and meow CONSTANTLY until you let them in? I've tried ignoring Rudy for hours (I'm not kidding) and it doesn't stop. I would like the chance to sleep in once and a while. Any suggestions?

4. I think it's ridiculously hilarious to read TV show message boards. It's absurd how upset people get at the show and each other! I mean seriously, a petition to bring Lexi Grey back? Come on people!

5. 20% off sales at Half Price Books=not so great for my bank account, but the best thing ever for me.

6. Whenever I go to a coffee place I get irrationally upset when I order an ice coffee drink without whipped cream and they give me the dome shaped lid instead of the flat lid. That's the whole reason I don't order whipped cream! I want the flat lid.

7. As a side note, I'm totally beyond repair strange.

8.  Favorite finds of the week. (A B C D)

9. Sorry for the late post! I worked all day yesterday and then went to a Memorial Day Cook Out/Family Get Together. By the time I got home I was totally pooped! Check back in later today for my RPM. It's sure to be super tasty!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cookie Butter Swirl Brownies

So you're all going to hate me.

But secretly love me.

Trying to fit into that wedding dress or swim suit? Have big fitness goals or been trying to watch your sugar intake?

Well forget all that nonsense because I'm here to introduce you to absolute dessert insanity.

I'm sure you've all heard of TJ's Cookie Butter, right? If you haven't stop reading right now, go grab a jar and a spoon. Eat the whole jar a few spoonfuls, then come back.

I'll wait, don't worry.

Okay, back? Good. So Cookie Butter. It's absurd how good this stuff is. I went on an all out Cookie Butter binge a few months ago but once my jar ran out I never picked up another one.

Seriously, what on earth is wrong with me??

When Jen came to visit this weekend she brought Mud Bars from Great Harvest that were ridiculously tasty. For some reason as soon as I tried one Cookie Butter lept into my brain and as they say the rest is history.

These little beauties are dangerous. Like eat half the pan without blinking dangerous. I think I've finally found a brownie recipe that is so slap yourself in the face easy yet tastes like divine chocolate nirvana. This is a one pot deal people, no baking powder or soda. Nothing fancy at. all.

Just chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and butter. A whole lot of butter. Thanks Deb. You are a genius. 

Now I could have just taken these epic brownies, swirled a whole bunch of Cookie Butter through them and called it a day. But um, hello have you met me? Do I like to make things simple? Or do I like taking things that extra step. That extra step that takes more time but is soooooo worth it.

Cookie Butter is made out of biscoff cookies, which are a simple biscuit type cookie spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice etc. I think they're pretty popular over in Europe but here I guess we're pretty partial to our Oreos and Chips Ahoy. The latter so not okay. The former I can fully support.

Anyways, I thought it would be a splendid idea to make some homemade biscoff cookies, smash them up and sprinkle them over the brownie batter then smother them with Cookie Butter.

I know, I know. I'm an absolute genius. See I told you you were going to hate, but secretly love me.

The homemade biscoff cookies are not absolutely necessary if you're pressed for time. If you can find packaged biscoff cookies that would work too. But if you have an extra half an hour, those little crumbs really take this dessert from wow to a sugar masterpiece that you won't be able to get out of your head.

Kind of like this song. Or this.

This is probably the last thing a future dietitian should be promoting, but gosh darn it I ran six miles today and I deserve a brownie!

I think you deserve one too. Don't you agree?

Cookie Butter Swirl Brownies 
Concept HTIC Original; Brownies from Smitten Kitchen, Biscoff Cookies adapted from Cupcake Project

Biscoff Cookies 
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. five spice powder
1/2 t. ginger
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
1/8 t. baking soda
1/8 t. baking powder
Pinch salt 
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2 In a medium bowl combine all ingredients through salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
4. Add dry mixture to creamed mixture in three additions. Using your hands work the dough into a ball.
5. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Add ball to sheet and flatten into large thin disk using your hands. Bake cookie for 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Set on wire rack to cool.
6. To make crumbs break cookie into pieces and place in plastic bag. Using a rolling pin crush cookies until crumb consistency. 

Cookie Butter Swirl Brownies
1 stick butter, cut in pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut in pieces
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 t. vanilla
2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 jar Trader Joe's Cookie Butter, warmed in microwave for 40 seconds
2 T. chocolate chips
1 cup Biscoff Cookie crumbs 

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Over medium low heat melt butter and chocolate. Stir frequently with a whisk. Remove from heat as soon as all butter and chocolate have melted.
3. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs slowly, making sure to whisk after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and flour until just combined.
4. Grease a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Pour half the brownie batter into the pan and spread until even. Top with 1/2 cup cookie crumbs and 1/2 of Cookie Butter.
5. Top with remaining brownie batter, cookie crumbs and cookie butter. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top.
6. Bake brownies for 30-32 minutes or until center has set. Allow to fully cool (1-2 hours...I know I'm so cruel!!) before eating to guarantee the best experience. Pour a tall glass of cold (soy, almond) milk and enjoy!
I'm not even thinking about posting the nutrition facts for these, because what would be the fun in that? If you're still interested, let me know. I can e-mail the info to you :D 

What I'm Listening to Today
Ripe: Givers
Austere: The Joy Formidable
Kick Drum Heart: The Avett Brothers