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Monday
May252015

Roasted Edamame and Peas

Roasting is such a delicious way to create a high protein, high fiber snack from legumes. I recently roasted chickpeas for the first time and was hooked. So now I'm experimenting with other types. This time I tried edamame (young soybeans) and peas, because I had both in the freezer. I didn't cook them before making the recipe below, just defrosted by rinsing under warm water and letting sit for a few minutes. I'd forgotten how satisfying edamame taste! Completely unadorned, they are already rich and buttery.

As a change I used my toaster oven instead of regular oven to save some electricity, because it was a hot day and I was only making a smaller portion. They came out great! As you can see from the nutritionals below, this super delicious snack is packed with protein and fiber and is quite filling. Definitely better than the dried packaged versions at the store that are loaded with sodium. As with most savory snacks, I have trouble eating controlled portions so I purposely prepared only 2 cups of legumes. They were so filling that 1 cup was plenty.

Roasted Edamame and Peas (makes two 1-cup servings)

Ingredients

1 cup frozen edamame

1 cup frozen peas

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Onion and garlic powder (as much as you like)

Parmesan cheese, grated*

Directions

  1. Rinse edamame and peas under warm water and let drain in a colander for a few minutes to defrost. Press out any extra water with paper towels to get them as dry as possible.
  2. Move beans to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with onion and garlic powder. Mix with hands or a spoon to evenly incorporate oil and spices.
  3. Spread beans onto a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
  4. Bake at 425 F for 30-45 minutes, until desired tenderness (the longer you bake, the drier and crunchier they become). 

*For a vegan option, check out this easy recipe for vegan Parmesan cheese made from cashews and nutritional yeast.

Nutrition information per 1 cup (made with 1 tablespoon oil): 250 calories, 20 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat, 140 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber

Wednesday
May202015

Still Working on My Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I've been fascinated with the cauliflower craze: mashed, rice, pizza crusts. I've pinned all the recipes but as usual I'm late in the game, so I just recently tried a cauliflower crust from The Lucky Penny Blog for "The BEST Cauliflower Crust Pizza." She does a great job demonstrating each step with photos. I followed her directions exactly and took the time to squeeze and wring out a half cup of water from the cauliflower to ensure a firmer crust.

A head of cauliflower is placed in a food processor to make "rice." Then it is microwaved and squeezed of excess water. Cheeses, spices and an egg are mixed in with the cauliflower until a dough forms that you can shape into a crust.

The crust is pre-baked at 450 F for 10 minutes until the edges brown.

After pre-baking the crust, I added marinara sauce, baby spinach, Trader Joe's Reduced-Fat Mozzarella (which melts beautifully and tastes fantastic!), and Lightlife Pepperoni Style Veggie Protein Slices.

I was excited when I pulled the pizza from the oven. It looked delicious! My first bite was a mixed reaction though. The flavors sang pizza but the crust was ...chewy, soggy. It did hold together fine but it tasted like pizza toppings on an overcooked omelet. I tried the recipe a few more times adding ingredients that might solidify the crust, such as ground flaxseed and then a little flour. These did help. But I still need more tries to get the right ratios. Next time I'm even thinking of adding some toasted quinoa.

This is a low-carbohydrate high-protein recipe that is great for people with diabetes or if you just want a less heavy pizza. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable full of fiber and cancer-fighting plant chemicals, so an excellent nutrition powerhouse. But the crust just doesn't taste quite right...yet!

Have you mastered a cauliflower pizza crust? Please let me know your ingredients! I am eager to try ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Monday
May112015

McDonald's-Flavor Inspired Baked Tofu

After the McDonald's Open Door Tour (see previous post), we were given a parting gift of spices and a recipe to make a marinade similar to the one used in their new Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich. I wondered if I could try a vegetarian version, say using baked tofu. If you've never made this kind of tofu, you must try! It is pressed, which causes a chewier "meatier" texture than regular tofu. Supermarkets now sell flavored baked tofu, but they're often high in sodium. Here is my version with McDonald's marinade recipe (I omitted the suggested 1 1/2 tbsp salt because I thought the spices and honey added enough flavor). 

Baked McDonald's-Flavored Tofu

  1. Place a block of firm tofu in a colander. Cover with a paper towel and place 1-2 soup or bean cans on top of tofu. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow water to drain out.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the marinade in a bowl: Add 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp honey, 6 tbsp lemon juice and half cup water. Mix well until incorporated.
  3. Chop pressed tofu into cubes or larger blocks (as shown below) and place in a bowl covered with marinade. Refrigerate and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Place marinated tofu on a baking sheet covered with foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. If you prefer a drier, chewier texture, bake longer for 45 minutes.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.

It was incredibly flavorful and delicious, and I enjoyed eating the tofu warm added to a rice dish or cold right out of the refrigerator as a snack. You can also eat it as a sandwich as pictured belowa vegetarian version of McDonald's Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich!