Category Archives: garlic

Up and at’em! (+ 5-Hour Energy Confession)

The drive in last night was long and sleepy. It was quite the week, even if only 4 days. There was a full week and then some crammed into Monday through Thursday and I found myself having trouble staying away one hour into my 5 1/2-hour drive back to Chicago. Of course, Mr. Prevention’s suggestion was 5-Hour Energy.

Well, friends, desperate times call for desperate measures. I stopped at some scary gas station in Indiana and picked up a 5-Hour Energy (pomegranate flavor…which was tolerable, by the way). I’ll tell you, the stuff really did the trick. It PAINS me to admit that, but it really did. I still don’t advocate for he MEGADOSE of B-vitamins (or 8333% the daily value of anything!), but my sleepiness was to the point I was going to have to pull over and grab a hotel room if something didn’t wake me up. And 6 hours later, I conked out the second I hit the pillow and slept through the night a full 8 hours. Hmmm?

I had told my parents last night that I wanted to sleep in. What a joke. I was up well before anyone else. I can attribute some of that to being on EST in a CST zone, but this is just another sign that I’m getting old(er). A sign I am totally okay with, so long as I get my 8 hours of beauty rest! 😀

When I got into town last night, my mom showed me a few recipes she had printed off that Taste of Home had sent this week. Of course, I had saved the very same recipes to try. Great minds think alike 😀 Sign up for Taste of Home email recipes if you haven’t already — they have healthy options, quick options, budget-friendly…it’s great!

Plans today include visiting family & friends, working out, and going out to eat at the restaurant my little brother works at 🙂

I won’t leave you guys recipe-less, however. I made this recipe before teaching on Monday night. It took all of 15 minutes and was absolutely wonderful. I turned my co-worker onto one of my favorite blogs, My Bizzy Kitchen, and she raved about this soup. So of course, I had to make it, too. Tomato soup takes me back to the days of living in my sorority house: everyone was always at lunch when tomato soup and grilled cheese were on the menu! 😉

Simple Tomato Soup slightly adapted from My Bizzy Kitchen

2-28 oz canned no-salt added tomatoes (one can diced, one can fire roasted)
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Italian parsley, freshly chopped
1 serving Hot Sauce, Tabasco
1 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

Gently heat the olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, taking care not to brown the garlic.

Stir in the canned tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

Remove from stove, let cool slightly. Using a (stick) blender puree soup. Add in cream. Serves 4 (2 cups each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 196 calories; 10 g. fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 130 mg. sodium; 18.5 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 5 g. protein

Result: This was delicious! Don’t freak out about the heavy cream…a little bit goes a long way! I used no-salt added tomatoes to knock the sodium content down and the recipe didn’t need any salt added…the cream, garlic, and oil season it beautifully. The portion is BIG and pairs so well with some homemade bread. The soup reheated great for lunches, and can be stretched to 6 servings or more as a side dish. Enjoy!

I think it’s time to get out of bed and get some coffee. I heard my mom pitter-patter down the stairs not too long ago. 😉

Question: Do you like tomato soup? Do you pair it with grilled cheese?

TGIF!!

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Filed under age, caffeine, coffee, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, low-carb, recipe, sleep, sodium, travel, vegetarian, vitamins

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo

Happy Saturday! I am still in my PJ’s, just as I had wished! I don’t know that I’ll make it until 6pm or later – I want to get in some lesson planning and a good workout before the day is done 😉

This meal started out in a humorous way.

Mr P: What’s for dinner?
Me: Spaghetti squash alfredo.
Mr. P: What is spaghetti squash?
Me: Spaghetti squash is spaghetti squash.
Mr. P: Well what is it then, spaghetti or squash?
Me: Both! Squash that looks like spaghetti.
Mr. P: Okay, whatever.

Clearly even those who are married to dietitians are not always well-versed on the varieties of fruits and vegetables out there. And it’s not like I haven’t made spaghetti squash before…Mr. P just probably took a pass at the dinner table! His loss!

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 small large spaghetti squash
1/2 2 Tbsp 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 4 small shallots, minced
1 4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 2 cups milk (I used organic 1%)
1 4 oz (2 Tbsp 1/2 cup) neufchatel 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Slice squash in half length-wise. Scrape out seeds and place cut-side down in a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook 1 hour.  Once cooked, use a fork to pull the stringy, spaghetti-like squash from the skin. Place into a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the flour and whisk it into the butter for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is well-combined and foamy.

Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the neufchatel and Parmesan cheeses until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top spaghetti squash with alfredo sauce. Yield: 4 servings (approx. 1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash with 4 ounces shrimp and 3/4 cup sauce).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 409 calories; 20.3 g. fat; 213 mg. cholesterol; 720 mg. sodium; 30 g. carbohydrate; 3.3 g. fiber; 32.3 g. protein

Result: I really liked this! Even if you’re not into spaghetti squash, the sauce is well worth making for a traditional pasta. Mr. Prevention said it was very light, and liked the sauce and shrimp — he’s not spaghetti squash’s #1 fan. Be sure to add a bit of salt and pepper to the sauce — it really does need it. Enjoy a lighter shrimp alfredo!

Question: Have you ever had spaghetti squash? Do you like it?

Happy weekend, folks! Off to the coffee shop to lesson plan!

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Filed under butter, carb-controlled, coffee, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, recipe, reduced-calorie, salad, teaching, Uncategorized

Dinner Bucket List

Happy Hump Day!

Thank you so much for your votes of confidence in my new teaching adventure. I’m pumped for class #2 tonight. Yesterday as I was sitting at a local university’s cafe preparing my lesson plan, iPod blasting tunes, skim latte in reach — I had flash backs to being a student myself. Can I just say that I miss it? A lot. Those were the days…

My new schedule has me utilizing every free second of the day. I worked out yesterday morning (40 minutes on the elliptical) so that I could lesson plan after work. And because Lily is spoiled ROTTEN demanding, I went straight to the cafe rather than even TRYING to be productive at home. Rattling off a blog post is enough “neglect” to send the dog into a complete meltdown…I shudder to think what a lesson plan would lead to.

After my lesson planning and latte, I made a quick dinner before running off to Weight Watchers. I will write a full, in-depth review of the new POINTS Plus program after I become acquainted with it. I was less than impressed with the leader, but the members were very fun to talk with and get to know. But more on this next week — Monday or Tuesday, promise!

On to dinner.

Last night’s dinner was on my Bucket List of meals to make. Am I the only one with a Bucket List that revolves 100% around cooking? Don’t answer that, actually. I’ve seen lasagna roll-ups on lots of blogs, in cookbooks, on the internet…everywhere! They are just one of those meals that you can’t wait to dig into. Picture perfect, even. And just…ingenious. Says the girl who loves “cute” food. Without further adieu, lasagna roll-ups!

Lasagna Roll-Ups adapted from Homemade by Holman

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 pound lean ground turkey (93/7 or leaner)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat.  When it reaches a boil,  add a pinch of salt, and drop in the noodles.  Stir occasionally and cook to just al dente.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add turkey and brown.  When almost cooked through, add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add 1/2 the basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add ricotta, Parmesan and remaining basil and oregano and stir together.  Spray pan lightly with cooking spray.  Add enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  To assemble, on a drained noodle, add a spoonful of ricotta mixture.  Top with a spoonful of meat sauce and roll up.  Place seam side down in pan.  Continue until you’ve used all the noodles.  Top each with a little more meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake approximately 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 4 (2 roll-ups per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 387 calories; 14.5 g. fat; 119 mg. cholesterol; 579 mg. sodium; 38.3 g. carbohydrate; 8 g. fiber; 7.5 g. sugar; 30.3 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention loved this dish, and so did I. He says, “It was really good…I ate like all of it.” Which, he did eat 2 servings worth, but that’s pretty much on par for Mr. P and his appetite. The roll-ups were less labor-intensive than I would’ve imagined. The dinner came together in about 35 minutes and then baked for 20 minutes, which I find very reasonable. The roll-ups, conveniently, can be made ahead of time and heated later. I love that the calorie content is low and there’s lots of fiber and protein — very filling, and it pairs perfectly with a light tossed salad. Enjoy! 😀

A quick lesson in ricotta. There is low-fat and part-skim ricotta. Low-fat is 60 calories/serving while part-skim is 80 calories/serving. I am ashamed to admit that I have never paid close enough attention to the fact that both of these lower-fat options exist. Alas,  paying attention saved me some calories and saturated fat this time and in the future!

Question: What’s on your “dinner bucket list”?

Don’t forget to enter my LARABAR Giveaway! TEN winners!!!

Be well, Eat well.

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Filed under coffee, dinner, exercise, fiber, garlic, Giveaway, grocery store, healthy cooking, herbs, recipe, reduced-calorie, saturated fat, teaching, Weight Watchers

Back at’em

Whew! Christmas Drive-By 2010 (Columbus to Chicago to Champaign and back in 3 1/2 days) has come to a close, and I start back to work as of this morning. At least I can say that my brief time away was well-spent with family and friends, and decompressing from the stress that was last week. I am feeling energized and ready to take on a crazy, but fulfilling schedule. I have even toyed around with the idea of moving my workouts to the morning as to allow a bit more flexibility in the evening, and to keep up with regular workouts while teaching 2 nights a week…we will see. The added bonus to morning workouts is my hair and its stubborn cow’s lick do appreciate  a morning wash and blow-dry, but that hasn’t motivated my morning sweat sessions as of yet. 😉 Stay tuned.

So after getting nailed by a state trooper going 73 mph in a 55, my trip picked up from there. Santa, family, and friends were all too generous. Guess I’ve been on my best behavior in 2010. I’d say so 🙂

Mr. P and I pulled in the drive-way right around 6:30pm last night. We unloaded and extremely packed car (packed in like sardines, I tell you!) and a very tired Lily Monster. I started on dinner right away — I needed balance, green, and something relatively quick.

I loved the lunch I had at Northstar Cafe with Gina. I’ve been wanting it ever since! It was called the Buddah Bowl and was described like so:

Pan seared organic tofu or chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies.

Yum, right? I went with the tofu and it was fabulous.

However, I am a tofu novice. I know that I love a slightly crunchy tofu with a soft center, and I’ve been told “sauteing” in oil is the best/only way to get that texture. Wrong! Baking worked beautifully in this dish that I re-created at home.

Tofu Buddah Bowl Re-Make inspired by Northstar Cafe and Eats Well with Others (sauce)

1 cup brown rice, dry
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
6 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin, 4″ long pieces
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475° F.

Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to directions.

Meanwhile, cube tofu. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×13 dish with non-stick spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish. Spray tofu with non-stick spray. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating tofu every 10 minutes.

In a food processor, mix together nut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, and water. Set aside.

With 5 minutes left to cook on the rice and tofu, steam vegetables in a steamer bag, or place into a large dish and cover. Microwave for 4-4 1/2 minutes or until cooked al dente.

When rice is cooked, stir in half of the nut sauce. Plate rice and top with tofu and veggies. Drizzle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of nut sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 565 calories; 25 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 642 mg. sodium; 52.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 16 g. sugar; 24.8 g. protein

Result: This was VERY close to the Northstar Cafe version – delicious! Mr. P really liked it, too. The portion is generous and very high in fiber with a great balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As much as I love baked tofu, this dish would be just as good with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef…it’s very versatile. You can add more veggies to bulk it up, too! Enjoy!

I am working today and tonight have orientation for new adjunct instructors until nearly my bedtime!! It’s going to be a long one, but the week looks up from here! 😀

Question: What are your NYE plans?

Be well,

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Filed under dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, stress, travel, vegan, vegetarian, work

Beer Cheese Soup (Lightened Up)

Thanks for the accountability, folks. I pounded out a quick 5K before pouring a glass of Pinot Grigio last night. It was just one of those weeks, and the only thing getting me through Thursday and Friday was the thought of a happy hour drink come Friday. It’s the little things in life.

Mr. Prevention and I did a whole lot of NOTHING last night other than catching up with the DVR, and it was glorious. We were planning to go out to eat, but Mr. P has had some really early hours this week (hello, 4:30am…ew), and staying it just seemed like the right things to do 🙂 Of course, Mr. Prevention insisted on leftover pizza for dinner and I would have nothing of it. I had my mind set on bigger, better, and cheesier things. 😉

I had never heard of Beer Cheese Soup until a week ago. And since then, it’s all I’ve wanted. Beer? Please. Always. Cheese? Please. Always. I know I’m not alone here. Well, I wanted the soup, not the calories and fat. So, I remedied that and the result was glooorious.

I don’t know about you, but when my love for nutrition and great-tasting food can come together, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Of course this soup isn’t the most nutritious thing ever, but it sure as heck is way lower in calories and fat than the original version or a dinner out, so there! I justify my guiltless indulgence in this most decadent soup!

Beer Cheese Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

4 Tbsp butter Smart Balance Light
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled & chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used Great Lakes Pale Ale)
2 cups 2% milk
12 oz 75% reduced-fat Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz American Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tsp cornstarch
Table salt & ground black pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and carrots until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Toss shredded cheeses and cornstarch in large bowl until well combined. Puree soup in blender in 2 batches until completely smooth, return to saucepan, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cheese mixture, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information: 344 calories; 16 g. fat; 43 mg. cholesteorl; 652 mg. sodium; 19.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber; 6.2 g. sugar; 28.2 g. protein

Result: Oh la la, this is AMAZING! 75% reduced fat, what? Doesn’t matter. Delicious, and way less guilt involved. Enjoy!

Question: What’s one word you always spell wrong?

I have trouble with “occasion” (don’t know why..) and “Hanukkah” — I always spell that wrong.

Happy weekend! Gift wrapping, hair cut, workout, Illinois basketball, and date night are on my calendar! 😀

Be well,

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Filed under beer, dining out, dinner, exercise, garlic, pizza, recipe, reduced-calorie, saturated fat, vegetarian, wine, work

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Happy Thursday!

Gina and I had a blast yesterday — we shopped for Christmas gifts, went to Trader Joe’s, and ate lunch at an organic, vegan/vegetarian-focused restaurant called Northstar Cafe. It was excellent — I had a brown rice, vegetable, and tofu bowl with a tangy peanut sauce…yum! It’s always fun to meet with Gina because we have so much in common between being dietitians and bloggers. Our conversations are endless about work, nutrition, blogs, and everything in between..it’s fun! Thanks, Gina! 😀

After a day of play, it’s hard to get back to work mid-week. Maybe a goofy Lily picture will make your Thursday a bit happier…it did mine!

Speaking of my Lily, I stopped by to check out a new doggy daycare that’s really close to our house. It’s ADORABLE! The dogs have little houses (think tree house-sized) and they have toddler beds with bedding, pillows and all. Each little house is decorated in its own theme, and the dogs have a “living room” where there’s a TV and couches for them to lay on. Lily has a date to go play next Thursday…I know she’ll have a blast 🙂 The things we do for our pets, right?

Ohio has been bitter cold and there is no end in sight. All I want is soup — warm, comforting soup. Mmmm for the BRRR!!

Please note I took about 983 photos of this soup and they were all terrible. It is not pretty, but it is GOOD!

Spicy Black Bean Soup as seen on The Novice Chef, adapted from Little Miss Foodie Two Shoes & Epicurious.com

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 2 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 (15-ounces) cans black beans, 1 drained and rinsed, 1 with liquid
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
4 green onions, chopped, for garnish

Directions:

Heat oil in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, then sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeño with chili powder, cumin, and oregano until onion is beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, stock/broth, and bay leaf and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Transfer about 1 cup soup to a blender and purée (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt if desired. Add green onion for garnish. Yields 4 entree-sized servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 244 calories; 4.1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 495 mg. sodium; 39.7 g. carbohydrate; 13.8 g. fiber; 2 g. sugar; 14 g. protein

Result: This soup was fabulous — if you love black beans, that is! I loved the spicy kick and am glad I opted to rev up the recipe with an additional jalapeno pepper. It was spicy, but not unbearable for those who aren’t into super spicy. It was also a dinner that can be prepped ahead of time and come together in 20 minutes or less. Even if you don’t prep ahead of time, you’re looking at 25-30 minutes — definitely reasonable, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch! I love the fiber content of the soup — 14 grams per serving!! It’s also low in calories and fat, and the sodium content is skimmed down by draining and rinsing 1 of the cans of beans and using low-sodium broth/stock. The recipe can also be made vegan and vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of chicken. Enjoy!

Trivia Question: What percentage cocoa solids must chocolate contain to be legally called chocolate?

a. 99%
b. 50%
c. 35%
Keep warm and eat your fiber!

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Filed under blog, dietitians, dining out, dinner, fiber, friends, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, sodium, vegan, vegetarian, work

Fleur de Sel Caramels with Vanilla Bean + Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing

Thank you for all the congrats on the new gig! I really appreciate all of the support 😀 Muah! I had so much trouble sleeping last night and the night before — so many racing thoughts of excitement, the unknown, how my schedule will work out, etc. I love the various opportunities working several part-time jobs brings, but sometimes it feels like I’m juggling too many balls in the air…leading me to the realization that I need become more organized! Yep, definitely need to be more organized.

I tested out the new elliptical last night and let it kick my butt for 40 minutes. My legs were a bit jittery walking up from the basement — I’m all about resistance, not speed. Great workout! I’m glad Mr. Prevention didn’t follow through on his threat to hide the power cord so that I had something to open on Christmas. 😉

Today’s post includes 2 pretty simple recipes. I know, hard to believe with a post title like that one, but hear me out. I’ll start with dinner, then the dessert. 😉

 

Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing slightly adapted Eats Well With Others and Living in the Kitchen With Puppies

1/2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup water
hot sauce to taste
1/2 lb thin rice noodles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 box extra-firm tofu, pressed and sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
lime wedges (optional)

Directions:

Combine ginger, garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and water in a food processor and process until completely blended and smooth.  Adjust consistency by adding more water or cashew butter (thinner v. thicker, respectively).  Taste and add your favorite hot sauce, if desired.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing.

Set a pot of water to boil for the noodles.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat one tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu strips and saute until lightly brown, turning 2-3 minutes.  Add the red bell pepper and zucchini to the pan.  Saute for about 7 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to desired degree of doneness.

When the water is boiling, add the rice noodles to it and cook for 2 minutes.  Strain.  In a large bowl, combine the noodles, veggies, cashew dressing, scallions and basil.  Mix well.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with a lime wedge and squeeze over the pasta before eating, if desired. Serves 5.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 521 calories; 22.2 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 722 mg. sodium; 65.4 g. carbohydrate; 5.6 g. fiber; 14.4 g. protein

Result: We both loved this! Joanne’s recipes are always amazing! Besides, she had my attention at “8 cloves of garlic” – that’s my kind of recipe! And we were in dire need of a vegetarian, healthy meal! I worked at a create-your-own stir fry grill back in college and this took me back to those days. YUM! The cashew dressing was amazing and I think it could be used in various different ways. Mr. P tolerated the tofu while I loved it. Sometimes tofu needs the right seasoning/flavor, and this dressing is it! If you’re not a tofu fan, try this recipe with tofu and see what you think. I imagine you’ll be a convert. Of course, any other protein can be substituted for tofu for meat lovers out there! Enjoy!

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Fleur de Sel Caramels with Vanilla Bean from Confections of A Foodie Bride, and originally Gourmet 2004

1 cup heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped out
1 1/4 tsp fleur de se (sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
candy thermometer (handy, but optional)

Directions:

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly butter parchment.

Bring cream, butter, vanilla, vanilla beans, pods, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a golden caramel. *It will come to a serious boil for 10-15 minutes before turning caramel colored. Be sure the liquid is a brown caramel before removing, especially if you are not using a candy thermometer.

Remove pods and carefully stir cream mixture into the caramel (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248 on thermometer. Pour into baking pan and cool 30 minutes. Sprinkle another pinch or two of fleur de sel over the top of the caramel for a nice salty crunch and let sit until completely cooled. Cut into 1-inch pieces (I buttered a pizza cutter), and then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close. Yield: 80 caramels

Nutrition Information (per caramel): 33 calories; 1.7 g. fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 38 mg. sodium; 4.4 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 0 g. protein

Result: I love caramels, and these really are simple. Just be patient waiting for your liquid to turn a caramel color, and then be sure to let it go another 30-60 seconds to ensure it reaches a high enough temperature. These are deeelicious, though, and I love that they’re 33 calories each! Sure, they’re not big, but they take the edge off my evening sweets craving with very little caloric damage! Enjoy!

Question: When you make/eat stir fry, do you prefer noodles or rice?

Happy hump day!

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Filed under dessert, dinner, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, physical activity, protein, recipe, sodium, vegetarian, work