Friday, February 27, 2009

Sugar and Sass

Wow, I guess this is what happens when you only post twice a week! I just remembered (after stumbling on the photo again in my Flickr stream) that I had made these cut-out cookies a couple weeks back! Essentially, they are a lightly cinnamon-spiced sugar cookie dough that I chilled, rolled out and cut into circles before using tiny fondant cutters to stamp holes in the middle of each (I have no idea why we own them - nobody here has done any fondant work that I know of!). I stuck a couple Red Hot cinnamon hearts (on sale for dirt cheap, probably becuase nobody likes them... haha) into each hole, thinking that like the candy corn that caused such travesty on V-Day itself they would melt into a window-pane like appearance.

But, sigh, I was wrong again!

Turns out that the hearts would have been perfect to stick into cookies - they don't melt except for a tiny bit of congealing, and they definitely don't do the "glass-like" look that other candy does in the oven. However, the little bit of goo they did generate was enough to stick them together and to the "walls" of the cut-out hole, so in a sense it worked... just not how I thought it would!

I said that nobody really likes the cinnamon hearts - while I know there are those out there that would prove me wrong, my mom, dad and Andrew all groaned when they heard what I had created. I don't like them either, mind you, and I don't really know why I bought the bag of candies apart from the fact they were cheap. However, the gluttons wonderful people at her office seemed to like them well enough... they disappeared at the same rate as the other goodies that appear there!

Devil - Spice Cookies
Makes about 12
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp tapioca starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
hot cinnamon candy hearts as needed
  1. Stir together the tapioca starch, cinnamon, flour, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Gently but thoroughly blend in the dry ingredients.
  4. Wrap in cling film and chill 4-8 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Roll dough out on floured surface and cut into circles, then cut holes in each circle.
  7. Place cookies 1 inch apart on lined cookie sheets, and fill holes with the cinnamon candy.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely on sheets.

And I know, I know... I haven't posted the breakfasty goodness I promised last time... once I get it typed up it's all yours, I promise!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Well, if I Wasn't Vegetarian Before...

I would definitely be now.

Okay, in all honesty I did have a post for you guys today, but I made the mistake of leaving the Food Network on while starting up the ol' "computator". Not usually a problem, but you see Gordon Ramsay's The F Word was on, and... well...

Sorry if you see this while eating! Guess I have something to give up for Lent (not that I've eaten meat in years!)

The next post (I won't say tomorrow, since you know how erratic I've been lately!) will be something a tad more in tune with the happy breakfasty-ness of today's Pancake Day... I promise!

By the way, if you haven't seen it already, do go take a look at VeggieGirl's most recent Blog Episode (#5). A more honest, open video cannot be found these days - thanks for speaking out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rants Can Be Productive!

Ah, the world of assumptions. The story of my (recent) life - if I'm not being pegged with one eating disorder or another, it's some other emotional distress. Well, for one, I'm a nutrition student, I do case studies on people who spend years and lifetimes battling the evils of EDs, I've seen the photos of emaciated teenaged girls (and boys too...) hooked up to machines that keep them physically alive even though their spirit died long ago. I easily eat twice as much food as anybody in my family (except perhaps my stepbrother, but he's got the "teen boy" metabolism going for him). And I almost lost a friend to anorexia. Tell me, why would any medical professional - especially my family doctor who has known me going on 6 years - assume my (admittedly abnormal, and unexplained) thinness was all in my head? Not to mention I write a food blog! Sigh, so it's off to another round of the psych wards for moi, with an upped script for assorted vitamin and mineral supplements, antidepressants and sleeping pills under my belt. At this rate I'll be ingesting more pills than food by the time my birthday rolls around!

Okay, sigh... end rant.

So anyways, coming home from the doc's office I was pretty strung out - I felt the need to both punch the crap out of something and be comforted by the smell of something baking. I also had a recipe that had been floating around in the back of my mind since I discovered it over a year ago, actually, I found it twice! It was a recipe for a Guyanese sweet bread with a bright-pink coconut, cinnamon and fruit filling called Salara, and can apparently be described as having a "unique half bread, half cake sumptuous taste". I did change up the original recipe quite a bit just to be, well, me, but I think it worked well, even if it's not "traditional". All I really know is that it's gorgeous to look at, and a pain to clean up if you get the filling on any light-coloured surface. Yes, it's full of food colouring. No, it isn't natural (though you could make it that way if need be, or leave out the colour entirely... it's more fun with the pink though). But it is good - and by the lack of leftovers from the office, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought that.

So a happy, tropical-smelling ending to a rocky-started day! I've submitted this to this week's YeastSpotting over at WildYeast too, spreading the love!

Sarah's Salara (Coconut - Rosewater Spiral Bread)
Makes 12 "scroll-like" buns or 20 bread slices
1 1/2 cups finely grated, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates, soaked in hot water and drained
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp red food colouring
1 tbsp dry active yeast
¼ cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup warm coconut milk
1 tbsp rose water
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tbsp melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand to proof 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together flours, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add coconut milk, rose water, coconut extract, butter and egg to the yeast mixture and blend well.
  5. Begin adding flour mixture and beat to a dough consistency.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 7-8 minutes, until smooth.
  7. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let stand 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
  8. Punch down, turn out and knead lightly.
  9. Roll into a rectangle and smooth the filling onto the surface, leaving 1" of space around the edges.
  10. Roll up, pinch the seam, (slice if making buns) and place (seam side down) in lightly greased loaf pans or on a tray (for free-form).
  11. Cover and let rise again about 1 hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 375F.
  13. Bake the loaves 40 minutes (or buns 20-30 minutes), cool completely on a rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 153.7
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 13.7 mg
Sodium: 13.9 mg
Total Carbs: 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Not?

Well, it seems that I have successfully completed phase 1 of "Entry to Hell" - AKA second semester. The first major wave of assignments has passed, taking with it the overbearing amounts of stress my friends and I have been under, and giving me a little bit more "fun time" to bake away in the kitchen and play with my latest Bulk Barn goodies! Well, until I can kick the cat off my newest assignment mountain so I can start on that!
Today's "special" was inspired by Andrew's love for honey-roasted soy nuts and my (seemingly never-ending) supply of both chocolate hemp powder and TVP. I figured that hey, if oatmeal worked in muffins, and TVP has pretty much the same consistency, why not just make the switch? It ups the protein, the satiety level and general healthfulness of the muffin, tastes just as plain as the rolled oats do, and still keeps the fat level to a minimum. Plus, it's cheap - so even if they didn't turn out what did I really have to lose?
Well, it turns out that I didn't have to lose anything with these! They came out of the oven beautifully risen, studded full of peanutty-looking, glazed morsels and smelling deliciously of nutty chocolate (and yes, another good application of the otherwise nasty HempShake! Baking solves all, don'tcha know?). Not to mention they don't look at all like they contain - as mother dearest puts it - grey cardboard shreds. Nope, the TVP dissolves away into the liquids, leaving a tasty (though admittedly heavy and dense) morning treat. I divided the goods up amongst the huddled masses - my Dad et al on one hand, Andrew on the other, and the remnants from the batch probably winding up in the stomach of one particular co-worker of my mom's (who we swear is stalking her - or has cookie-radar built into his glasses!).
So here's to the end of one trial, the beginning of another, and changing things up in the kitchen - just because!
Silly Soy Muffins
Makes 15
1 cup TVP granules
1 1/2 cups 1% milk, warmed
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate hempshake powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 oz honey-roasted soy nuts (or peanuts, if you like)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F, grease or line 15 muffin cups.
  2. Place TVP into a bowl, cover with warm milk and oil and let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in egg and brown sugar, set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, hempshake mix and salt.
  5. Stir into the wet ingredients until just moistened.
  6. Fold in the soy nuts.
  7. Divide between the muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. Cool on wire racks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 207.0
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 15.4 mg
Sodium: 48.3 mg
Total Carbs: 24.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g
Protein: 10.2 g

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good in Theory

Well, I tried at least.

I'm bad when it comes to giving gifts. Iam, if nothing else, two things: a) cheap (being a broke student does that to you) and b) totally uninspired without actually going to the mall for hours on end (which I never have... don't know about you!) and browsing until something catches my eye. I'm also a really bad romantic, which means that on Valentine's Day I'm pretty much screwed unfortunate. I can bake though, and I have at least a general idea of the kind of things Andrew likes... and how poorly could a batch of homemade anything go over, even without a card or anything else gifty-wise (I told you I suck at the whole romance thing)?

I knew Andrew would be showing up at my doorstep yesterday not only with sushi (that man is an absolute god, people... you have no idea how much love I have for sushi) but more than likely with some sweet, romantic gesture like he has every V-Day we spent together (not to mention random surprises year round!). Being pretty much locked to my computer for the past week in order to finish a presentation assignment that's due Thursday (and yet I'm still not done), I hadn't really put too much thought into the social part of the weekend until yesterday morning when I realized that I had nothing for this sappy holiday. Nada, nil, zippo. But, as luck would have it, I spent some time in my Pilates class casting my mind around for inspiration (mental calmness be damned!) and thought about the good old standby of cookies. Show me a man who doesn't like cookies? And dark chocolate cookies with red bits of candy in them... candy corn to be precise... well, that conjured up pretty images of polka-dotted discs just waiting to be set upon by a particular sugar-loving fiend.

This is what I got:

A verifiable Valentine's Day cookie massacre of sorts played out on the cookie sheet. Um, yeah - apparently candy corn (the mostly sugar things they are) melts in a hot oven, and doesn't really re-form all that much. When you take into account that there was 4 1/4 oz of the stuff in the dough (plus 2 tbsp of mini chocolate chips because I couldn't stop myself), bad things happen. Namely, sheets of sticky liquid sugar goo all over the cookie sheets (which thank God I lined with SilPat - that product is gold, people! Not to mention yet another gift from Andrew) in a creepily blood-red shade, and huge craters all throughout otherwise perfectly-baked cookies. Let's just say I was not thrilled with my incompetence!

However, when Andrew came by and saw them, he dove right in to the just-cooled ones on the racks and declared them incredibly tasty. I had chosen to fold the pliable sugary sheets back onto the tops of the baked cookies like a little package just because it was easier than trying to cut around all the rounds, so in the end they didn't look bad - just not good.

But hey, if looks were all that mattered, there would be precious few Valentine's Day celebrants out there!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oooh-y, Goo-ey!

We were supposed to have another bake sale for the CAFP today, to help reimburse the group of members who got to go to the annual lah-di-dah gala on February 2. However, a mass of bad planning by the "fundraising coordinators" (apparently they're my "superiors... ahem) led to it being cancelled, but not before I had baked off my contribution! I was inspired from this post on Serious Eats, but I had to pay homage to the good old Canadian butter tart flavours by throwing in a layer of raisins under the caramel goo, and topping them with plain oats instead of leftover cookie dough. At any rate, these are gooey, very chewy and over the top delicious. I didn't let them go to waste, either... mom took them in to feed to masses!

The parchment is really a good idea with this recipe, I guess greased foil would work but you need to take the bars out of the pan to cut them.

Caramel-Raisin Cookie Bars
Makes 20
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%), divided
1 tsp vanilla
350g sugar cookie mix (I weighed mine because I buy in bulk, it's 100g less than 1 package of Betty Crocker)
2 tsp cornstarch
35 vanilla caramel candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup dark raisins
2 tbsp rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a 9" square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter until fluffy. Add 1/4 cup milk and vanilla, beating smooth.
  3. Mix together the cookie mix and cornstarch.
  4. Stir in the cookie mix gently until incorporated. Dough will be very soft (more than you're used to with the mixes).
  5. Spread / press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake 15 minutes and set aside.
  7. Reduce oven to 350F.
  8. In a saucepan, heat remaining milk.
  9. Add caramels and cook until caramels are melted and smooth.
  10. Sprinkle raisins over the baked cookie base.
  11. Pour the caramel evenly over the raisins.
  12. Sprinkle with rolled oats.
  13. Place back into the oven and bake 15 minutes longer.
  14. Cool completely before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 182.4
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Sodium: 108.7 mg
Total Carbs: 31.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 1.8 g

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Perfect Un-Foodie Schwag

I love the goodies the postman brings me! Most recently, I had New Media Relations representative Charlie Kondek ship me a whole slew of stuff from the Loblaw sub-brand label No Name. If you live in Canada, you'll know the brand by the vibrant yellow labels and low price. No Name products are available at all the Loblaw-owned outlets: Atlantic Superstore, Dominion (Newfoundland & Labrador), Extra Foods, Fortinos, Loblaws Ontario, Loblaws Quebec, Maxi, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer and Zehrs.

Funnily enough, in this time of "organic" this and "locavore" that, and amidst the "anti-packaging" tirades, I find myself becoming less and less of a "brand" foodie. When it comes to most items in my daily regime, in fact, you are more likely to find items in my pantry that are either purchased en masse from Bulk Barn or encased in the bright yellow packaging of the No Name label. Now I can see all you organics fans out there rolling your eyes and/or cringing at the thought of store label ingredients in the cupboard, but I have to say that more often than not these days the cheap brand on the shelf is exactly the same (and in some cases, better) than the elitist labels.

A case in point is a major element in my diet since becoming vegetarian - canned beans. In all honesty, at first I did shell out (and made Andrew pay half at the time we were living together... sorry hon!) for Unico and Primo, as well as the occasional Eden indulgence. I know that $1.30 may not seem like a lot of cash (and really, compared to meat it isn't) but when it's every day x 7 days a week, and you have no income (more like all outcome... being a university student and all), the 99¢, same sized can is a lot more appealing to the wallet. A couple cans in the cart later I was sold - not only were the No Name beans a better texture, there was more of them (i.e. less "filler" liquid) and less salt. There is now (no word of a lie) a whole shelf in our pantry lined with assorted cans of beans. *Note: I know it's cheaper to cook your own, but really - I am much too lazy for that. I barely make my own soup anymore*. Almost all my "pre-bagged" (i.e. not Bulk Barn) herbs and spices are No Name label too - why not, for the same product, and cheaper? Until I started using so much of it that it was more economical (and convenient) to buy 20kg bags of it from Costco, I also used their brand of flour, and I still prefer their cocoa powder to Hershey's.

So, what was in that package sent to me, you may wonder... well, in one of those handy foil "keep cool" baggies (stuck inside a handy re-useable shopping tote!) was a brilliant assortment:
  • Ground coffee
  • Meat lasagna
  • Frozen blueberry waffles
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Frozen honey-garlic chicken wings
If you know what my diet's like these days, you're probably wondering what I would do with most of this stuff... everything but the applesauce is a no-no to this ol' body of mine! Well, I did what any good person with excess food would - I gave it away! Mind you, I did ask for opinions in exchange, but I'm still waiting on everything but the waffles. The verdict on those, by the way, is that "[t]hey're like Eggos, so good, for frozen waffles. Good with maple syrup". The applesauce is the kind I always buy - and I'm glad they sent me the unsweetened kind too since I find any sweetened applesauce TOO sweet (not to mention leftovers are great in baking!). If you want to jazz up the applesauce - any applesauce - stir in a couple spoonfuls of raspberry jam. Heaven!

Of course, there are a few things that I don't buy "store brands" of, even when I have the option. All the canned tomatoes I buy are brand name - not top of the line brands, but the No Name tomatoes are a wee bit water-logged and metallic tasting for my preference. No Name dry pasta also bites the proverbial dust with us since it goes too mushy too fast, and the low-fat yogurt is too soupy and "sweetened" tasting. Pretty much everything else of theirs is A-OK with us, though. The label actually stopped producing lemon juice (and I go through a litre a week in my tea alone!) a few months back - can you believe it? Now I'm stuck shelling out $2.50 for the ReaLemon stuff (or more for the actual fruit - and there's only so much lemon zest I can use/freeze!). Boo!

Anyways, mucho thanks to Loblaw and Mr. Kondek for the goodies... I for one am enjoying the applesauce with breakfast and everyone else is loving the rest of the schwag!

P.S. This just in! Febreze has partnered with Canadian House & Home to produce a set of tips for freshening the home. You can see those tips here and enter a contest to win a trip to Toronto and a home decor shopping spree:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Quick, Before They See Me!

I'm taking advantage of my obviously worsening ADD symptoms (that seem to have emerged as the school year progresses) to write this note, even though I still have a rediculous amount of reports to finish this week. I can say, however, that thank God my Purchasing presentation assignment is over. That was sheer Hell - no thanks to having to deal with a partner in that venture! Really, is it too much to ask that, after you slave away to put together a detailed report and conclusion, that your partner actually read your material and use it in the simple PowerPoint they create?? Or at least know a little bit about the actual topic when you stand up in front of the class so that we don't look like idiots?? I mean, come on... I know that you may not like public speaking, but that doesn't change reality. Professional life demands it - cope already!

Deep breath, Sarah... in, out... whew. Okay.

Haha... okay, apparently that "breath" I took was actually a 15 minute lapse where I wandered around my house, brushed my teeth, re-pinned my hair and changed into my PJs... I did mention that I swear I have ADD, right?

I think that's probably why I like to bake bread so much... I can throw together the dough in about 15 minutes with my mixer, then cover it up and get all nice and distracted for an hour or so before the handy buzz-timer calls me back. I could actually kill for a timer like this one, maybe then I'd actually get more stuff done in a day!

5 minutes later... Aaand, I'm back again. Sigh. So yes, bread. More specifically, bagels again. I've gotten into the habit of doing a weekly batch for my mom to take to work - she's almost always open to the flavour combinations I come up with, and as a bonus it gives me an outlet for my overabundance of creatinve energy. Funny, thing, that creative energy. It never seems to translate into actual energy! Ah well.

So this week's baking tally actually consisted of three types of bagels, simply because I had a tad bit of extra time on my hands (read: I was avoiding homework!) and a whack of languishing ingredients in my cupboard. Two dozen of the chewy rings were on the fruity side of the spectrum and found their way into my mom's lunchbox. The remaining ten were all for Andrew, though - I know what he likes in terms of bready-ness (or at least I like to think I know what he likes!) so today when we went to see the OHL game I got him tickets for this past Christmas I gave him a bag of Cheddar - Jalapeno bagels. Whenever we went to the Great Canadian Bagel out in Ottawa, that was the type he'd favour, with either Zesty Cheddar or Jalapeno cream cheese spread on it. Me - well, I preferred the good old plain-jane sourdough bagels, but Zesty Cheddar cream cheese all the way!

So, take a look at these first bagels - do they look poppy-seeded? That's what my mom thought too, but those crunchies are way better than poppy seeds! I broke out the chia seed to top these babies, which I thought would be a perfectly nutty compliment to the dough's flavour - banana! The bread part is subtly sweet and fruity, not really "banana bready" but you know that's the fruit inside. My mom topped these with honey all week... but I would bet my bottom dollar that peanut butter (or, to keep with this week's events - Nutella!) would be equaly awesome! I got the maltose at my local Asian grocery, use honey or leave it out if you can't find it or don't want to buy another ingredient!

Banana - Crunch Bagels
Makes 12
2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp gluten flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 pkg instant yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 medium bananas, chopped
1 tbsp maltose (optional, for boiling water)
1/4 cup chia seeds (for topping)
  1. Combine flour, whole wheat flour, oats, gluten flour, salt, flaxseed, sugar, nutmeg and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. With the mixer running on low, add half the water.
  3. Add banana chunks, then remaining water.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and knead with the mixer 6-7 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  6. Turn dough onto a greased countertop and divide into 12 balls. Let rest 5 minutes.
  7. Shape each ball into a ring and place onto greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheets, 6 rings to a sheet.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour, until doubled.
  9. Preheat oven to 375F.
  10. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the maltose.
  11. Boil bagels, two at a time, for thirty seconds each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place back on (re)greased sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with chia seeds.
  13. Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 206.5
Total Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 36.5 mg
Total Carbs: 41.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.7 g
Protein: 7.3 g

I got the cheese powder for these at the local Bulk Barn - it's about the same amount as is in one of the "Mac n' Cheese" box mixes.

Cheddar - Jalapeno Bagels
Makes 10
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 cup warmed 1% milk
3 tbsp jalapeno pepper slices
3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp gluten flour
1/4 cup "macaroni and cheese" style cheddar cheese powder (I get mine at bulk barn)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey (for boiling)
  1. Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large bowl (preferably in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook).
  2. Add the syrup and yeast and let stand 10 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Combine the milk and jalapeno slices and add to above mixture.
  4. Whisk together flours, gluten, cheese powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. With the mixer running, begin adding the dry ingredients to the wet mixture about 1/4 cup at a time.
  6. Knead with the mixer 5-7 minutes. Finished dough will be very stiff.
  7. Place into a greased bowl, turn to grease the top and cover. Allow to rise 2 hours.
  8. Deflate the dough, divide into 10 pieces and allow to rest another 5 minutes.
  9. Shape each dough portion into a ring shape and place on greased or parchment-lined sheets. Cover and let rise 40 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375F and bring a large pot of water to a boil and add syrup.
  11. Place the risen bagels, two at a time, into the boiling water mixture and cook 30 seconds each side.
  12. Drain well and place back on greased or lined sheets.
  13. Bake bagels 30 minutes, until crusty, and cool on wire racks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 219.7
Total Fat: 3.2 g
Cholesterol: 3.7 mg
Sodium: 110.8 mg
Total Carbs: 40.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 8.5 g

If you're wondering about these last bagels - they're Strawberry-Kiwi flavoured. I used pureed strawberries (previously frozen from this past summer) and dried kiwi pieces, with some pureed tofu for body, but I didn't measure any of the additions (not to mention the whole flour / liquid ratio is way off - the dough was incredibly sticky) so I can't tell you what I actually did! I'm going to work on this one, though... they did bake rather nicely and had a great flavour!
I'm passing along these bagels to YeastSpotting over at WildYeast - seems to be my new "go-to" event these days!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Products, Peanuts, and Protein

Oh, the things I do to avoid the stress of homework these days! I've been hiding out in the kitchen (as always!) surrounded by various, peanut butter and carb-laden objects (that I'm forcing onto others in order to live vicariously through them!), and I'm finding every excuse I can to not deal with the impending doom this semester has brought upon us. It's a lot of work this time - not particularly hard work, but a lot of it! Anywho, enough whining for one post. Onto yumminess...

Now I more than anyone am surprised that I picked up yet another "high-protein" gimmicky item recently - you'd think I'd have learned, right? Well, I did - a bar this time by Chocolite in peanut butter + chocolate flavour. Come on, you really can't go wrong with that combo, right? I had it for "first" breakky yesterday before my insane, 1-hour 8:30AM class and was beyond pleasantly surprised... I was freaking thrilled! Chewy, not too sweet, nutty and definitely not "protein-bar" tasting (like Powerbars are...ick). I have a "triple-chocolate fudge" one too to try out. They're gluten free and low fat too (bonus: I CAN EAT THEM!). Definitely handy snackage food.

Okay, unpaid rave over. I promise! I'll share the No Name schwag I got the other day later on.

With all the peanut-butter shenanigans going on these days, I bet you're surprised to see it not once, but thrice in one post! Well, I figure that nobody in our house has keeled over yet, and they've been eating the stuff for the past, oh, two years (can you believe they're recalling it from that long ago? Really... if your PB is that old, you have bigger worries). Anyways, it's not green, it's not walking around on it's own, and in the case of the next two things I've got going on here, it's getting stuck into a 350 degree inferno for a while... I'm thinking we're probably good here.

The first thing I made with my non-diseased peanut butter (which, btw, is on sale at Bulk Barns near me at any rate... yay for recall prices! Yes, I'm a cheap student. So sure me.) was actually an attempt for me to use up the aforementioned icky protein powder I bought. Hey, I figured if you throw enough fat and sugar at anything it can taste good. Isn't that how they market McDonalds? I chucked in some leftover candy from Christmas cookies too... I figured it was probably beginning to lose it's sugary charm.

Turns out I was right about the whole fat/sugar magic idea - the cookies disappeared like wildfire (I didn't even get to save one for my dad!) and I even got lunch out of the deal from a grateful employee of my mom's, who ate 5 of them as his only sustinance the day they went into the office because he forgot his lunch and didn't want to order in. Note: I DON'T advocate doing that... these are cookies, y'all, not health food.

Hempy Peanut Butter Discs
Makes 18
This used Nutiva Hempshake Chocolate, I'm sure any chocolate protein drink mix would be fine too.
2.5 oz flour
2.2 oz whole wheat flour
1 oz chocolate protein powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 oz shortening
5 oz smooth peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup mini M&Ms

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line cookie sheets with parchment or SilPat (do not grease).
  2. Whisk together flours, protein powder and baking soda, set aside.
  3. Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugar.
  4. Beat in honey, vanilla and egg.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients until just moistened.
  6. Fold in M&Ms.
  7. Shape into balls, place on prepared sheets and flatten with a fork.
  8. Bake 10 minutes, cool completely on sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 174.1
Total Fat: 9.6 g
Cholesterol: 12.2 mg
Sodium: 58.0 mg
Total Carbs: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 4.6 g

These next cookies also use the hemp powder, along with a healthy dose of tofu, with a blend of peanut butter and (the kicker) Nutella spread. The ingredients look all high-and-mighty health wise, but these are still a seriously indulgent, rich dessert. AND, it's just in time for World Nutella Day, being hosted again by Ms Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso (it's the 5th of February this year - that's only TWO DAYS AWAY!! I'm early in submitting, but God knows if I'll be near a computer on Thursday, so I'd better do it now!). Embrace the Nutella love, guys! Don't have a clue what I'm talking about? Look at last year - Part I and Part II - for info!

Two - Nut Butter Cookies
Makes 24 HUGE cookies
5 oz lite silken tofu
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 oz flour
4.5 oz whole wheat flour
2 oz chocolate - flavoured hemp protein powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz shortening
5 oz smooth peanut butter
5 oz Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease or line baking sheets, set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine tofu, syrup and vanilla. Puree until smooth and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together flours, hemp powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter, Nutella and sugar.
  5. Add tofu mixture and beat well.
  6. Mix in flour mixture until just combined.
  7. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared sheets, flatten with fingertips or a floured fork.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes and cool completely on sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 229.2
Total Fat: 12.0 g
Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Sodium: 50.9 mg
Total Carbs: 27.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 5.6 g