[almost] Fat Free Chocolate Blueberry Cake

Ok, I’m evil, I know it. My first semester teaching started last week and I’ve been SWAMPED ever since. So far: it’s ok. I think I’m pretty good at it, but starting out has been a little emotionally taxing. On top of that, I started my Masters program yesterday, so I’m stretched thin. It’ll all work out, though. Somehow, some way, it always does.

And with that, on to cooking!!

This recipe comes from Susan at fatfreevegan.com, and she’s usually spot-on when it comes to low-fat vegan cooking. It sounds tasteless, I know, but some of the stuff she’s come up with has been awesome. My dad’s birthday was this past week and (since he’s basically against-his-will vegan), I wanted him to have a nice cake that he’d like since he loves chocolate.

The verdict: It’s ok. I followed the recipe to a T even though I saw it was a bit thick after I’d mixed in all the ingredients. It came out a little cornbread-ey and dry, so next time, I’m going to add 1/4-1/2 a cup of applesauce. I mean, you can’t go wrong with AS. AMIRIGHT?

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (white whole wheat preferred)
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground chia seeds or flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup date syrup, maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
1 cup blueberries (for serving)
additional syrup or agave nectar to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chia (or flax) and salt. In blender, combine water, 1/2 cup blueberries, and balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth. Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add the syrup and the blueberry mixture. Stir until completely mixed.  Pour into an oiled 9-inch round cake pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before inverting onto serving platter.

Serve with blueberries on top, drizzled with additional syrup or agave. (I used agave.)

Upsides: It’s pretty, it’s definitely chocolatey, and according to Susan, its: 144 calories per serving and 1.2 grams of total fat.

Downside: It’s a bit dry.

Hope ya’ll have a great week!

– The Kitschy Kitchen

Baked Salmon Packets with Lemon and Rosemary

I’m horrible, horrible, horrible. I know. I promised this like, four days ago, and I’m just now delivering! I swear it’s for a good reason. As of last Tuesday, I am now officially my old Alma Mater’s English III teacher! I’ve been busy with lesson plans and writing a syllabus as well as decorating:

So without further ado, may I present to you: Baked Salmon Packets with Lemon and Rosemary. I’ve made this before and loved it, so I thought I’d pass it on to you!

Here is what you’ll need:

Ingredients

4 (4-ounce) fillets of fish (cod, halibut, salmon, snapper, sea bass, etc.)
1 1/2 cups sliced summer squash
2 cups small broccoli florets
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary or basil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

Clearly, you can see that most of the items I used were not fresh. It should go without saying that fresh ingredients are best (and the end result was wonderful the time I made this with fresh food), but the thing is – I’m a real person with real every-day issues, time AND money constraints, and a 4 year old. So I used what was in my kitchen.

First, slice your squash, dice your shallots, and cut your broccoli. It really depends on how big you like your veggies and how much space you give yourself in your packet. I like my squash sliced then cut in half. Do it how you want.

Next, cut a 12X12 piece of parchment paper (or tin foil), fold it in half, and line up some of your squash on the right side of the half-mark line. On top of that, put a serving of broccoli. Drizzle some olive oil on top of the veggies, add a pinch of the garlic, and salt and pepper the whole thing.

Add your slice of fish (I used Salmon) then squeeze some lemond juice over it, add the shallots, and salt and pepper the top. You’re supposed to put a sprig of fresh herb in there with it all, but when I pulled mine out of the fridge, it’d already gone bad.😦 So I just sprinkled a bit of dried rosemary in there.

From here, you just fold up the sides to make a small packet.

Pop it in your oven at 400 for 20 minutes and you’ve got a steamy, healthy dinner waiting for you:

 

If you’re lucky like me, you have a friend who will send you treats from far-off places that can be your side dish.

 

A million different kinds of delicious.

– The Kitschy Kitchen

Crockpot Applesauce Chicken

Oh wow. Could I have had a more busy Saturday? Methinks not. I was woken up by someone-is-probably-dead knocking on my bedroom window at 7am. Heart beating in my throat, I answer the door to find out practice (I’m a cheerleading choreographer on the side) was moved to 7am. Ugh. So practice until eleven and then a few hours out at Stuart’s Lake completely wiped me out. Knowing this was going to happen, I prepared for dinner by throwing ingredients I already had in my cabinets into a crockpot this morning.

Right. So – Crockpot Applesauce Chicken. All in all, I’d say it was pretty good. It’s definitely different than what I’m used to. I know a good few of you aren’t local fans, so for your education, you should know us Louisianians are all about flavor – mainly saltiness and heat. This crockpot chicken brought a fair amount of heat, but no salt. I mean, yeah. It’s healthier without salt, but it’s also got a flavor profile you wouldn’t expect. As for the kid factor – Emma really liked it. What’s not to like? Two of her favorite things – applesauce and chicken. Win!

Also, let me apologize beforehand about the pictures. Almost none came out in focus, but whatever.

What you’ll need:

 

–4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs (I ended up only using 3 breasts, since I was only feeding three people)
–1 1/2 cups of applesauce (I used unsweetened. I mean, cut sugar when you can, you know?)
–1 T dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
–1 T apple cider vinegar
–1/4 tsp cinnamon
–1/2 tsp black pepper
–2 cloves garlic, minced
–1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Basically what you’re going to do is throw the chicken and diced onions into the crockpot first. If you use dried onions, mix them in with the applesauce. Also, you should probably forget the correct way to chop onions like I did so you can cry buckets of unnecessary tears while cooking. Makes it seem like you worked harder than you actually did. :]

 

After you’re done crying, pour all the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Pour this entire wackadoo concoction over the chicken breasts and onions, and you’ve got yourself an easy-peasy supper in about 6 hours (on low) or 3-4 hours (on high). I took the long route, since I was going to be gone all day.

This is what it looked like pre-seven-hour-simmer.

After it was done, I enlisted my four year in helping me snap some green beans and I cooked them like I cook my asparagus – saute’d (am I spelling that right?) in a little EVOO and garlic, finished off with sesame seeds and a dose of grinded kosher salt.

I’d say it was a pretty good dinner. I had some fruit in the house I wanted to use before it went bad, so I made a Strawberry, Apple, and Peach Crumble.

Not the healthiest thing, but it melted my face off, it was so good.

Anyway, I hope everyone had/has a great weekend. I’m hoping to hear good news on two teaching positions on Monday and Tuesday, so ya’ll wish me luck. :]

– The Kitschy Kitchen

 

PS – I found this picture of Lou from 2007 on the memory card I had to use today. Makes me all sad. Little Tiny’s getting so big.😦

Black Bean Brownies

Ok. So you’re for sure going to think I’m crazy on this, but that healthy, chocolatey SECRET I told you about???

Wait for it…

Wait for iiittt……

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

Yes, kiddies. I made black bean brownies last night and let me TELL you – ok, yeah, they need a little work. First off, let me say that I tasted zero percent of the beans. Truth. It mainly tasted like a chocolate-banana treat. So no, it didn’t taste like a brownie, but it did taste like a treat. My main issue was consistency. They’re not really supposed to come out the same as a brownie, but really more like fudge-blocks. They’re a good bit more dense than regular brownies, but I’m positive that, with a little change to the recipe, they’d be really good. Next time, I’m going to add a little more cocoa, a little less banana, and a little more oatmeal. All in all – I say try this recipe but with my modifications. It’s pretty good AND it’s not nearly as horrible for you as regular brownies.

 

(Also, I forgot to take the “This is what you’ll need” pic. I was a little excited, ok??)

 

I'm a real cook, not a professional, therefore all I had was two cheap processors!

Ingredients: 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

2 whole bananas

⅓ cup agave nectar (for those of you needing less sugar-per-serving, I’m pretty sure you can use honey)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup raw sugar (optional)

¼ cup instant oats

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease anf 8×8″ pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approx 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

 

– The Kitschy Kitchen

Miso-Glazed Catfish and Bok Choy

Do you ever see ingredients at the supermarket that, while you have no idea how to cook with it, you just want to take home and turn into a masterpiece? (Or maybe just something edible?) Okyeahthatsme.

So I find a pretty simple recipe for Miso Glazed Catfish with Bok Choy and I’m game. I LOVE miso soup, so I thought surely I’d like it in a glazed form. Unfortunately, the most difficult part for me was FINDING the miso paste. I’m at least two hours from a Whole Foods Market (it’s a good thing, too, or else I’d spend entire paychecks there), so there aren’t many options in central La. We don’t even have a Farmer’s Market! So I go to Kroger thinking they might have the miso paste.

What? No miso paste? Ok.

I go to the Bangkok Market, which is basically just a tiny closet attached to the side of the Bangkok Restaurant. I cannot find this stuff TO SAVE MY LIFE. The woman there tells me, and I’m not even joking, “You can’t find? It’s ok. I look with my eyes!” So, after looking diligently with her eyes, she concluded that they didn’t carry miso paste either.

Solution? Get the closest possible thing, right?

Oh. So. Very. Very. Wrong.

I ended up getting fermented soy paste which, I know, sounds awful. I’m pretty adventurous, culinarily (yes I know it’s not a word, I have an English degree!) speaking. I have no problems trying new food. So I take this 16oz hulk-sized jar of fermented soy paste home along with my catfish and bok choy.

The results were pretty disastrous, but only on the taste front (which is pretty damned important). It came out looking like glazed fish, and I learned that bok choy smells kind of nutty and tastes a lot like lettuce. So yeah. Lesson learned – unless you really really really know what replacement you’re using, try to stick to the recipe! Or at least ask the person who looks with their eyes what the hell it is you’re buying.

Here’s the recipe for those who want to try it using miso paste. I’m absolutely positive this would be delicious if the recipe is followed correctly. If any of you try it with the right ingredients, let me know and I’ll update the blog. 

PS – Please don’t mind my shoddy cookware! I’ve got pro knives, now I’m just biding my time until I can afford pro pots and pans!

What you’ll need:

 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
1 teaspoon sugar
4 (5- to 6-ounce) catfish fillets
8 baby bok choy, halved or 1 large head bok choy, trimmed and separated into leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the oil, miso, sugar and 1 tablespoon warm water to make a glaze. Brush catfish all over with some of the glaze. Heat ½ tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange two fillets in the skillet and cook, brushing with more glaze and pan juices and flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and keep warm. Wipe skillet clean then repeat process with 1/2 tablespoon more oil and remaining fillets. Reduce heat to medium; add bok choy to skillet and brush all over with remaining glaze. Add 1/4 cup water to skillet, cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until just wilted and bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Arrange bok choy alongside catfish and serve.

See? It didn't look very scary while it was cooking.

 

 

 – The Kitschy Kitchen

 

P.P.S. – I’m pretty excited about the next recipe. I won’t give it away completely, but let’s just say it’s a healthy CHOCOLATE snack. (And I will pretty much do anything for chocolate, so if it turns out tasting delicious – you have to believe me. I will not lead you astray!)

Spicy Shrimp Bucatini – aka – Bangarang

I’d been wanting to try this recipe for a while, but kept finding reasons to put it off. I basically had everything I needed except the shrimp, so I finally said screw it and took the plunge. My main reason for not wanting to cook it is because it’s just me and my 4 year old firecracker at home and this recipe makes ALOT. Lucky me, my brother came over to question my cooking skills (he knows my past!!) and ate a fair share of the pasta.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of olive oil (I used a little over 1/4)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced (I used a tablespoon of already-minced garlic)
  • 2 whole 14.5 Ounce Cans Diced (or Whole) Tomatoes (I used a can of chili-ready tomatoes and a can with green chiles)
  • ½ cups White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1-2 pounds Jumbo Or Large Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined (I used 1 pound of frozen shrimp)
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 1 pound Linguine, Uncooked (I was fortunate to have a friend send me Bucatini from Italy, so I used it instead.)
  • Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • It’s all pretty simple. Put your oil and garlic in a pan for a few minutes. Next, dump the tomatoes and wine in along with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir well and let simmer for about ten minutes.

    In another pot, get your water ready and boil for 1/2 the amount of time the package calls for.

    After you set your noodles on to boil, throw your shrimp in the sauce. Meanwhile, get some foil together and make a pouch to throw this all into. It sounds wacky, and it kind of is, but it’s totally worth it. Since I suck at origami and other folding-type scenarios, I used a pan with high edges and formed the pouch in it since I KNEW the sauce would leak out. (Which it did.)

    Anyway, once the linguini is half-cooked, drain it and throw it in the pan with the sauce and shrimp. Toss the mixture around well, then toss it in the foil pouch. Throw the minced parsley on top. At this point, it should look like this:

    Mix the parsley in well and fold this whole contraption up, throw in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and bide your time because spaghetti heaven awaits!

    End result: Orgasmic.

    But really guys, don’t forget the best part about this recipe: drinking the white wine you don’t use!

     

    -The Kitschy Kitchen

    Not your mama’s pizza…

    A little birdie (Ok, Billie, over at BillieSueLou’s Blog) told me to use salsa instead of pizza sauce for pizza. Much healthier AND, not surprisingly, delicious! Seriously! It’s like a mexican song in your mouth…. orwhathaveyou…. anyway, here you go:

     

    Step 1: Despite knowing this should probably be step 4 or something, throw shrimp into a pan with Tony’s Seasoning and simmer until they’re cooked. Set them aside to get cold and soggy until you’re ready to use them. :]

    Step 2: Chop half a jalapeno, a few mushrooms, and some garlic then throw it all in a pan to smother, or whatever the correct terminology would be, until your house smells awesome.

    Step 3: Put salsa on 3/4 of your crust and pizza sauce on the 1/4 your child will refuse to eat anyway, despite your attempts to make that part “normal” and then bribe her, as she will say, “I can’t like it. Buy a good pizza, please.”

    Step 4: Add the stuff you smothered to your 3/4 of the pizza and pepperoni to the 1/4 your child will, again, refuse to eat and pretend to gag on while you watch.

    Step 5: Finish adding all remaining toppings. This is what your pizza should look like pre-oven.

    Step 6: Take pizza out and proceed to burn your mouth on the hot-ass, amazing pizza you have just brought forth into this world. Also, begin process of bribery.

    Special notes:

    I almost always opt for low-fat cheese because I’m one of those few, freaky people who likes low-fat cheese over full-fat. Honestly, there isn’t really that big of a difference. If the other ingredients are good, then low-fat cheese isn’t going to change anything except your fat and calorie intake. (Awesome!)

    Another special note is the crust. You have a few choices here. You can either make your own regular crust (that’s another post for another day), make a whole wheat crust (delicious! And another post.), cauliflower crust (embarassingly good… and another post), or you can take the easy and healthy-route by stopping by Walmart and buying a Mama Mia whole wheat, thin crust. That’s the crust pictured in the recipe. It’s about 100 calories per slice (as opposed to the 180-210 for a regular slice) and it’s crunchy! Take my word on it – Mama Mia is the way to go when you’re crunched on time.

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