Tag Archives: recipes

They can’t all be winners

Have you ever been waiting at say, the doctor’s office or hair salon, and suddenly find yourself wanting to commit a crime?  Me – all the time.  Not by causing a scene of destruction because I’ve been waiting for over 10 minutes so WHAT IS THE HOLD UP??  kind of crime.  No, I mean stealing; as in, ‘Ooh, the recipe in this magazine must come home with me for I will try it and it will be the best thing I’ve ever created’.  Okay, it’s not the crime of the century but who hasn’t secretly wanted to deface a magazine in a waiting room, hmm???

However, I am a grown-up now and therefore a responsible part of this society.  I set a good example for the rest of the world and don’t give in to such urges anymore.  But three years ago – well, let’s just say I was at a bad place in my life.  I gave in to the seductive temptation of a recipe from a certain celebrity who shall remain nameless, though I don’t think it would hurt to give you a hint because we’re friends – (okay, you broke meit’s Tiffani-Amber Thiessen)

This girl still looked amazing, even though her Saved by the Bell years were long behind her.  And according to Tiffani, her Cinnamon Oatcakes would make me smile because of the oats’ B-Vitamin trigger production of serotonin AND keep me feeling full for a super long time.  You can see why I caved and gave in to the temptation, right?  Happy and Full?  Sold!

In my defense, the magazine was older than the hills and had already been ripped apart in so many sections, I seriously doubted if anyone would ever have known it was there in the first place.  At least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night. 

I did the dirty deed and quietly ripped out the bottom left side of the magazine, making sure to cough with each tear of the paper so no one would notice (does that even work?) and tucked the tattered edged recipe with Tiffani’s smiling face into my purse. 

And then forgot all about it. 

For a really, really long time. 

In fact, I came across it just the other day and thought, ‘oh, yeah…..’ and knew that I had to try it for Craig since he was on vacation. Really, I should be saying that I tried it ‘on’ Craig.  I would have eaten it myself, but I’m used to eating things that normal people wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole, so I figured he’d be a better judge.  Here is the famous recipe that I broke the law to get: 

Cinnamon Oatcakes

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

Mix first three ingredients together in a bowl.  Then create 4 individual oat ‘patties’ and place them onto a skillet lightly dusted with cooking spray.  Cook for 10 minutes, turning once.  Transfer to a plate and top with applesauce and strawberries.  Serves 2

Total calories per serving:  454 calories, 7 grams of fat, 75 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein. 

Here is how mine turned out, minus the strawberries because we didn’t have any.  I did however, add cinnamon to the top of the applesauce. 

 

IMG_0399

You wouldn’t think that 4 egg whites would be enough to keep a bunch of rolled oats together, but oddly enough, they did – in fact, they stuck like glue.  I placed Craig’s serving in front of him and watched as he bit into his first piece all the while eyeing me oddly before finally asking, ‘Why aren’t you having any?’  Silly Craig.  He already knew the answer to that.  “Because,” I said.  “I don’t trust myself to contribute an unbiased, objective opinion when all I can think about is the need to tweak that recipe with brown sugar, raisins and flour and turn the whole thing into one big giant oatmeal cookie.” 

Satisfied with that answer, he dug in, as I ate a bowl of regular oatmeal and some Fage yogurt with granola.  Half way through breakfast I could tell something wasn’t quite right.  He left the table and headed into the kitchen, bringing back a single serve of applesauce and plopped it onto the remaining oatcakes.  I was going to ask how it was but since he kept eating, I thought it was best to just keep my mouth shut.

When breakfast was over and we stacked our dishes, I couldn’t resist any longer.  “So……how were they?” I asked. 

“You can tell your readers that they were a little dry,” he said with a raspy voice while reaching for more coffee. “I’m sure they’ll keep me full for a while, but they have a dry, chewy texture to them that I just couldn’t get past.” 

“Then why did you finish them?”  I asked.  He replied with the same answer he always gives when I try out recipes that scream Epic Fail“If I didn’t make it, I have no right to complain about it.  They weren’t inedible, just not……good, that’s all.” He was right.  I snuck in a few bites while he was rooting around the cupboards and they were rubbery. Aside from the applesauce they were practically tasteless.

If you’ve tried this recipe or are one of those few miraculous folks that can make the best food out of a nearly empty kitchen, I welcome you to try and liven up this recipe without adding too many calories and let me know if there is a way to improve upon them.  If not, it’s back to oatmeal in a bowl; not that there’s anything wrong with that. 

xo,

~Ellen

Health Benefits of Spices and Herbs

When I was little, my mother made a point of having meat and potatoes on the table almost every night. My father came home from 16 hour work days quite frequently and wanted something for dinner that would stick to his ribs.  Usually, my parents would end up buying half a cow from a local butcher and we’d have meat coming out of our ears for months. 

Imagine how hard it was for my mother to fix new and exciting things for dinner when always using the same ingredients, not to mention getting creative with leftovers.  She did have a few secret weapons, though. She could make leftovers taste like a completely different, freshly prepared meal with the right spice or herb thrown in for good measure. 

 

Now that I am an adult and readily do my own cooking I try to keep my dishes as low in fat as possible.  However, removing fat from my recipes often removes the flavor as well.  Over the last few months I’ve really started to appreciate spices and herbs when I cook.   Not only are they a great stand-in for flavor in many recipes, but they have some pretty impressive health benefits as well! 

Cinnamon:  fantastic on oatmeal, sprinkled on a baked sweet potato or my personal favorite: on top of vanilla ice cream.  I was completely unaware until recently however, that  consuming as little as one-half teaspoon of Cinnamon each day may reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by as much as 20%.  It’s also used to treat nausea. There are as many antioxidants in one teaspoon of Cinnamon as in 1/2 cup of blueberries! (source)

Garlic:  Have you ever roasted garlic bulbs in the oven?  The flavor is milder than raw garlic and when you pull them out you can spread the pulp onto toasted bread – so good.  Click here to see how easily it’s done.  Garlic has also been shown to destroy cancer cells and disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. (source)

Basil: A great addition to mild tasting vegetables. Basil adds great flavor to egg dishes, cheese dishes, Italian and Thai cooking (remember to add Basil last for maximum flavor).  During the summer I use balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, a pinch of sugar and fresh Basil, then pour over diced tomatoes. Let the mixture marinade overnight and spoon them onto toasted Ciabatta bread. Total heaven.  Basil is a great source of Vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium. (source)

Turmeric: Fantastic in egg dishes and vegetable dip.  If you like Indian food, this is a great addition to homemade curry.  Turmeric has so many health benefits, I could easily devote an entire post to it.  It reduces inflammation and may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, is a great source of iron, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium and may help prevent plaque buildup in arteries.  You can read more about the benefits of Turmeric here.

Ginger:  Great in teas, breads and sodas.  You can easily find it by the root in most grocery stores these days.  Health professionals commonly recommend Ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, and cancer chemotherapy. It is also used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset (source).

As you can see, I’ve just barely scratched the surface.  I plan on keeping a list of spices/herbs and their health benefits in my personal recipe book.  If you found this post helpful and would like to see it as part of a series, let me know and I’ll post updates here as I add to my own list.

What is your favorite spice and/or herb to use in the kitchen? 

In Search of…..Sunday: Nutmeg Notebook

Before I begin my scheduled Sunday post, I want to truly thank each and every one of you who posted a comment in Friday’s ‘feedback beg-fest’.  I received so many insightful, kind, constructive remarks from you all.  I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful group of followers in the short time I’ve been online.  I plan to rework some of my posts and add more personal photos so that you can get to know me a little bit better.  Thanks again for coming through with all of your support.  OK…on to today’s topic:

 

I’ve got to tell you, I follow some pretty fantastic blogs.  The group of people that I have the honor to read about day after day is like connecting with family.  Todays highlight of the week was decided in part because fellow blogger Tim (catch his highly entertaining blog here.) mentioned to me that cooking isn’t his forte, or in his own words: I totally suck in the kitchen.  Well then, today’s blog is for Tim and anyone else who is struggling in the kitchen:  Nutmeg Notebook is operated by Tami and she posts about some phenomenal dishes that include photos to flip over. 

What I love about Tami and her blog is that she makes dishes that I can easily make.  Nothing looks too intimidating; too complicated.  And everything looks absolutely delicious.  I’ve tried some of her recipes and know that whatever goes up on that blog is going to be worth fixing. 

Go to yesterday’s post and you’ll see the making of a killer-looking beef stew, crock-pot style.  Over to the right of her page you’ll find categories for loads of great things to bake and cook.  When she’s able, Tami breaks down the nutritional information for us too, which is so helpful. 

Tami also discusses ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, most recently posting about ways to get us all through the holidays.  Pop on over and visit Tami.  Your tummy will be glad you did.

See you tomorrow.  I had a major breakthrough this weekend regarding my comfort challenge on Thursday.  Can’t wait to share it with you!