Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was growing up, there was always a health-consciousness in our family. That doesn't mean we always ate healthy (hot dogs were my favorite food!) but the idea of eating healthy was always there. We would go to health food stores, we took vitamins, and my dad exercised a lot. When I was 20, I came home from college and announced that I was becoming a vegetarian. My dad had just found out he had high cholesterol so he thought it was a great idea.

Since then, I've researched all different kinds of diets and have tried out several different healthier options. Right now I'm on a whole grain kick. I figure if I can take the white flour out of our desserts, then we can still have them without me feeling so guilty, right?

Last night, Kay and I made these cookies out of the King Arthur Flour cookbook and we were thrilled with the results. Most of the recipes I've come across substitute part of the white flour with whole wheat but this used all whole wheat. We are big "lick the bowl" kind of people when it comes to desserts and I knew when this dough passed the raw taste test that the cookies were going to be a success!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 oz margarine

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp espresso powder (you can omit if you don't have any)

1/8 tsp baking powder

1 3/4 oz light corn syrup

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 egg

4 1/2 oz whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Stir in the brown sugar. Heat until it is starting to bubble. Remove from heat and transfer it to a large bowl and allow to cool about 5 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla, baking soda, espresso powder, baking powder, corn syrup, and vinegar. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the flour and then the chips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

3 dozen cookies.

Kay: These tasted just like regular chocolate chip cookies. I told my mom, "I hope some of these are left on Wednesday so I can take them when I go ice skating with my school." We had to tell my dad not to eat all of them!

Mom (Dana): I loved these. I didn't expect them to be so good but I actually think these might be my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bunches of recipes

Last week I realized that my poor bloglines was overflowing with recipes that I had saved but never made. We went through and picked several to make during the week. I had planned to only post the ones that were good but it turned out they were all good so here is a recap of all of them. I'm going to post links to the original posts instead of retyping all the recipes since we made very few changes.

First was Monkey Bread from Dine and Dish. I picked this to make first to really get Kay in the mood of new recipes and it worked! Who could resist a pile of cinnamon rolls!

As you can see, we had a few issues with ours. It did not come out of the pan very well and the very center was still a little raw. We ate it anyway! It was really good. I think we might try spreading them out on a cookie sheet next time instead of using the bundt pan.

Kay: The outside of this was kind of hard and the middle wasn't cooked but the parts that were cooked right tasted really good. I want to make this again but I want to cook them separately on a cookie sheet.

Next we made this cucumber salad from Absolutely Green. The blog is in French but if you scroll to the end of the post, the recipe is translated into English.

I took this to my parent's house for a get together. We all went to the pumpkin patch but our buffet looked more like it was meant for 4th of July. It was 90 degrees that day! Kay didn't try this (there was a ton of food) but I heard good things from other people about it. I liked it but I expected the coconut milk flavor to come through a little more.

Then I made a broccoli and chickpea pasta dish from Words to Eat By. The date of this blog post will give you an idea of why my bloglines is so full! I didn't take a picture of this because it looked very similar to several other broccoli and pasta dishes that I've already posted. It didn't taste the same though. After two bites, Kay looked at me and said "this is really good!". We all really liked this and it was a nice change from all our other broccoli recipes.

Kay: This was my favorite recipe of the week. I don't like chickpeas much but the broccoli tasted really good.

The next day, we had a meal made up of several side dishes, two of which were new. First was gingered carrots which was from two different blogs, Vanessa Cuisine (which is in French) and La Tartine Gourmande (in English). They were slightly different and so I took ideas from both of them.

Kay isn't a big fan of carrots but she did eat some of them. We eat roasted carrots often with just salt, pepper, and olive oil. This was a nice change.

Kay: I don't like carrots!

That same night, we had Indian spiced cauliflower and potatoes from Smitten Kitchen.

I really liked this and it was a great excuse for using the new pan my mom bought me! One warning though. This does not smell so great when warmed up and I got several complaints at work the next day. Oops!

Kay: The cauliflower and the potatoes were ok but I don't think I like the spices that are on these.

Now for my favorite out of all the recipes this week. Carrot Spice Muffins from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.

I have some kind of crazy metabolism that keeps me hungry and eating pretty much all day long. I thought this would be a nice healthy snack that I could eat at work between breakfast and lunch. These were way better than I ever dreamed! Days later they were still really moist. Plus they are so healthy I didn't even feel guilty drizzling some glaze on them! I didn't have agave nectar and so I substituted honey instead.

Kay: I liked the glaze but I don't like carrots, even in muffins.

And now for the final recipe of the week, apple and chocolate tart from La Popotte de Manue. I'm always a little nervous when I have to translate recipes from French just because the ingredients may not translate so well. This one worked fine though so I guess I got it pretty close!

Here is my translation of this recipe.

Combine one egg and 2 tablespoons of milk (I used vanilla almond milk) in a stand mixer at high speed until well combined and light. Reduce the spead to low and add 250 grams of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix well. Add 50 grams of melted butter and mix on high until it forms a ball (mine never did so I formed it into a ball with my hands once it was well mixed). Cover the bowl and let sit 30 minutes.

Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. Spread the pastry dough on the bottom of the pan (I pressed it down with damp hands). Chop 100 grams of chocolate (we used chocolate chips). Spread half the chocolate over the pastry. Quarter and core 3 apples and then slice them. Arrange the slices standing up around the edges of the pan and then circling in until the entire top of the pastry is covered. Mix the remaining chocolate with 2 tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle over the top of the apples.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Manue suggests topping it with apricot presserves but we didn't.

It was really nice to have apples with something other than cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus, in my opinion, chocolate make everything taste better!

Kay: I don't know what is up with the apples I always eat lately but they always taste too sour when they are cooked. I liked this more than the apple crisp my mom makes though because it had chocolate on it.

All of these recipes have now been printed and added to my permanent recipe file and so now my bloglines is at least a little lighter!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Apple Crisp Without the Apple

During the Fall, I fix apple crisp several times a week. Bill and I love it, as do my parents so if you see apples in the house, you can be pretty sure an apple crisp will materialize within 24 hours!

It seems unfair, though, to fix a dessert over and over that Kay doesn't like. She really likes the topping but we won't let her eat that and leave the apples so she usually chooses to go without. So I decided to try to make a granola bar that tasted like the topping to the apple crisp.

These were enjoyed by everyone and came pretty close to the flavor I was looking for.

Granola bars

2 2/3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup dry milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Heat the oil, honey, syrup and vanilla in a pan (or in the microwave) until heated through. Add to the dry ingredients. Press the mixture into a parchment paper lined 9 x 13 pan (it didn't reach all the way to the edges). It should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely and then cut into rectangles.

This gave me about 25 bars. The edges were too tough and so I cut those off (and then proceeded to eat them anyway!).

Kay: These were good. They had a lot of cinnamon which I like. It was a little chewy though so they made my tooth hurt a little but I still liked them.

Mom (Dana): We like granola bars in general and these were easy enough to make that I'm going to try to do this instead of buying so many of the boxed ones. I'm sure these are also more healthy than most at the store!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Spinach and Corn Quesadilla

Sorry for the bad picture but I was a little too hungry to mess around with the camera! Tonight was a soccer practice which is always crazy. Now that it gets darker sooner, Kay has to leave for practice at 4:30 so we have a very small window for dinner. In my rushing around today I burnt our dinner. Great! I ended up throwing together French toast which we shoved down our throats before running out the door.

During practice I was looking through a cookbook that my friend loaned me. I wasn't very happy with the book overall but one of the recipes gave me the idea for these quesadillas. They were a perfect healthy snack for after practice.

Spinach and Corn Quesadilla

1/4 cup sliced onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup corn
6 oz baby spinach, sliced
1/2 cup cheese (any kind)
flour tortillas

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, corn, and half the can of pinto beans. Cook for about 3 minutes until heated through. Add the spinach and cook an additional 3 minutes until slightly wilted.

Mash the remaining pinto beans.

Heat another skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet. Spread some of the mashed pinto beans on the tortilla. Top with some of the vegetable mixture and then enough cheese to hold it together. Place another tortilla on top.

Cook until the cheese begins to melt and the bottom tortilla is lightly browned. Flip it and continue cooking on the other side until heated through. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter and then top with salsa.

Depending on how full you make them, this will make 2-3 quesadillas.

Kay: These tasted ok but they have onions in them which I don't like. Next time I want mine made without the onions.

Mom (Dana): The amounts in this recipe are based on the leftover corn and spinach that I had in the fridge. For dinner, it should be doubled. As far as the cheese goes, monterey jack is probably the best choice. We had a little wedge of Havarti, though, and that worked fine.

I tried to make the onions nice and sweet so Kay wouldn't notice. It didn't work! Next time I'll probably do the onions in a separate pan so she can have hers without. Spoiled!