Monday, November 29, 2010

Mushroom Egg Bake

I'm back from spending Thanksgiving week with my in-laws in Oklahoma. We had a wonderful time; the boys couldn't get enough of Grandma and Papa (and the toys- oh- the toys!). It's always such a timely getaway for us: just as winter and snow start to appear in Minnesota, we escape to the warm and sunshine of the south.

We ate a lot of great food while we were there too. I had the pleasure of cooking during some of my stay (not near as much cooking as I would have liked though). One morning I whipped up this egg dish, my go-to, no fail, easy peasy recipe that satisfies even the toddler palate. Whatever is left (if any) can be saved for a quick protein snack later in the day.

Let's park just for a minute and talk about eggs. During the warmer months, I am fortunate enough to buy my eggs from a coworker whose sister raises chickens. I know that these chickens are happy, free roaming birds just by the bright yellow yokes of the eggs they lay. And holy cow, are they ever good! Since the chickens are not laying eggs in the quantity they do in the summer months, I have been forced to buy my eggs from the grocery store, which are not nearly as tasty (and have pitifully pale yokes). But nonetheless, they are still eggs which are powerhouses of nutrition: full of protein, folate, iron, zinc (and more) and a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized in the morning (or anytime; sometimes we eat this egg dish for dinner). I do highly recommend though that if you are not raising chickens yourself (or get them from a coworker or neighbor who does), you should buy high-quality, free range, organic eggs if possible. Not only does it matter in taste (which it really does), but it matters greatly in nutritional content (remember my blog post about Food, Inc.? If you haven't seen it already, do!)

Mushroom Egg Bake

6 eggs
2 tablespoons water, milk, or cream
6 button mushrooms
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon italian seasonings
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie pan with butter or coconut oil.

Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Chop mushrooms and dice onions and garlic cloves. Add veggies to bowl with eggs. Add in seasonings and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared pie pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until eggs are set (should be firm to the touch). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serves 4-6 people.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Bean Cupcakes

Black bean cupcakes. Yes, it is true. These cupcakes are made out of black beans, can you believe it? Well, my guess is you probably won't believe it till you try it, then you'll be so surprised in the most delightful way. Kinda like watching Gwyneth Paltrow sing at the Country Music Awards.

Speaking of, do I have any country music fans out there? I mean, I'm just curious, was it not so... odd... seeing Gwyneth on stage, guitar in hand, belting out a twang with Vince Gill? As much as I love her, it just seems like she didn't belong there, at least on stage performing. (Don't get me wrong, she did sound great.) It seems like the county music industry will let anyone in who wants to try their musical hand at a two step these days. (Ok seriously, who let Kid Rock drown us with his scratchy vocal chords that night?!) Do you know what I'm saying? Gone are the days of real country singers, who actually wear a cowboy hat and not a baseball cap! (Another one of my country music pet peeves.) Gimme some George, Dolly, Johnny, these are the real country stars. Ya'll hearin' this?

Enough about my country music woes, what you really want to know is how to make these scrumptious, high fiber cupcakes with the hidden ingredient that will know your socks off...

Black Bean Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup Xylosweet
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender, puree black beans, eggs, and vanilla until completely smooth (a minute or two). In a medium bowl, mix Xylosweet, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add in black bean puree. Stir with a whisk until all ingredients are completely combined.

Pour into muffin tins coated with coconut oil (or paper or silicone liners), filling about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Frost with your favorite frosting (try cream cheese frosting!).

Makes 11-12 cupcakes.

This recipe is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

As promised in my last post, my cream cheese frosting recipe. So addicting, you'll be using it to frost all your cupcakes and cakes from now on. True to its name, it's creamy, slightly sweet, and just the right amount of tang to give your taste buds a whirl. I made a carrot cake for my mom's birthday last week and used this as my frosting of choice (such a classic combination). But it would also be fabulous for pumpkin cupcakes, a spread for gluten free bread, or even chocolate cake (pictured here are my black bean chocolate cupcakes. Yes, you read that right, cupcakes made from black beans! That recipe will probably show up as my next post so stay tuned...)

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered Xylosweet (process granulated Xylosweet in a Vitamix dry blade blender or other high powered blender for about one minute to make it powdered)
1/4 cup almond or other milk

Use room temperature cream cheese and butter, or if taken from the refrigerator, warm them up in a microwave for 30 seconds.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 1-2 minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix to incorporate. Then slowly add powdered Xylosweet about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing with each addition. Add milk and mix to thin the frosting to a spreadable consistency (use more or less milk depending on thickness preference).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I've been on a baking craze lately, just baking baking baking my heart out. It's definitely spurred on by the season: cooler temps, early nights, the need for warmth from my oven. Can you believe we got a bucketload of snow yesterday in Minnesota? I don't know why I'm surprised, it is Minnesota after all, the same state that has been known to have blizzards on Halloween. The snow is pretty, but I'm just not ready for it yet (mentally ready that is). Because the earlier we get snow, the longer our (already long) winters seem to be...

But enough about snow and disappointment, on to some fabulous cupcakes that will lift your spirits and put you right into that thankful Thanksgiving mode... pumpkin cupcakes! These are so fabulous not only because they taste so yummy, but also because they are chock full of healthy ingredients: coconut oil, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, almond and coconut flours... And like all of my baking recipes, these babies are sugar free, gluten free, high protein, high fiber and low carb. In other words, they are the kind of cupcakes you could eat for breakfast- guilt free. Hey that's a great idea, these would be a fun way to celebrate your Thanksgiving morning!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup pumpkin (or butternut squash) puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses

Dry ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves (or 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add coconut oil, agave, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and molasses. Continue whisking until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe to follow).

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Banana Bread

I am on bananas overload at my house. I had a few this morning that were on the verge of too much ripe-ness for my liking, and they were screaming banana bread... so I dug out an old recipe that was written on a sticky note from April of this year and figured if it was good enough that I kept it, it must go up on the blog...

I followed my original recipe verbatim (which that in itself is a near miracle, I usually always change something about a recipe the second time I make it), to see if the results matched that of my first attempt, of which I wrote a note on the bottom of my recipe, "The best banana bread ever! Rivals even the best wheat flour banana bread out there!" (Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to be a bit dramatic?)

And the results at attempt #2? Well, I wouldn't change a thing and my note, right on! I might add to it though, that my recipe is gluten free, refined sugar free, low glycemic, low carb, high protein, high fiber, and high delicious-ness!!! A must-bake for your upcoming holiday gathering. (And trust me, no one will ever know it's so darn healthy!)

Banana Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup almond milk or other milk
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Xylosweet
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with coconut oil.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add to a medium size bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, almond milk, and bananas. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour through cinnamon. Stir to incorporate.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix again with electric mixer until fully combined. Add chopped walnuts and stir one final time.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest on a wire rack for 30-60 minutes to cool.

Slice and serve.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts

Hubby missed the boat tonight. He decided to have a "man date" and go to the hockey game with his friend verses stay come home and have this mighty fine dinner with his fam. I guess I can't entirely blame him; do you know how much it costs to go to a NHL game these days? (A lot!) And he got a free ticket with a really good seat... see why I can't blame him?

Nonetheless, the boys and I decided to make a scrumptious dinner with meat, even if Daddy wasn't around (usually my meals without hubby are vegetarian for some reason). I had some chicken breasts dethawed in the fridge and I thought I'd try my hand at a pan fry.

Now this is big news- the "fry" thing. You have to know my history to fully understand why. I'll give you a synopsis. Back before I was married, I didn't know how to cook anything, but say a box of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese (and is that really cooking anyway?). When I started dating my then boyfriend (now husband), he really wanted me to learn to make his grandma's fried chicken. Now, I love a challenge, but come on, fried chicken? Why on earth would a bachelorette need to know how to fry a chicken? I was enamored at the challenge, and I attempted to take it head on... He wants fried chicken? Well, I'll give him fried chicken! I said determinately to myself.

So I bought a whole cut up chicken the next time I went to the grocery store, came home, and put it in my fridge, right next to the carton of milk, pack of bagels, and six pack of Diet Coke (I can't believe I'm admitting that I went through a disgusting Diet Coke phase). And all week long when I would reach into my fridge to grab one of those aforementioned bachelorette foodie staples, I would see the chicken, staring at me, taunting me, freaking me out... "I can't fry a chicken!" I cried hysterically after a week went by and that chicken didn't move from the shelf in my fridge. The thought of frying it up in my tiny kitchen, with lots of grease splattering all over the place, and loads of yucky fat sticking to it's flesh had me completely paralyzed... perplexed, and just plain old grossed out. So I threw the chicken out.

It took me months to get over that. But one day, I gussied up enough mental fortitude to buy yet another chicken. This time I thought, I'll just oven fry it... maybe my boyfriend won't know the difference...  So that's what I did. And it turned out... sort of... and my boyfriend, well, he knew, but bless his heart, he told me it was great anyway.

Suffice to say, I just don't fry things because it grosses me out. But tonight I took that fear head on once again, and, in a much healthier way, fried up these chicken wonders that will have your fingers lick'n good.

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
3/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon garlic granuals
1 tablespoon paprika
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse chicken, pat dry, and slice chicken breasts in half width wise, so as to butterfly the breasts (you want the chicken thin so it crisps up better).

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Get out two bowls big enough to hold one piece of chicken at a time. In one bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a fork. In the other bowl, combine almond flour through salt and pepper and stir together.

Dip the chicken in the egg, then lay in the flour mixture to coat. Flip and coat the other side in flour. Place chicken piece in the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

Brown chicken in skillet for about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet and finish baking chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes until cooked through.