Life is uncertain . . . dessert first!
I know I've read a bunch in the blogosphere over the past few years about "sugar addiction" -- what are your thoughts? I like to believe that I have a much healthier relationship with sugar these days than in years past, but honestly, I don't see myself ever giving up sugar in its entirety. Treats are just too special a part of my life, and I love to bake! For example . . .
John's Valentine's Day present, which he actually finished off before Valentine's Day. (Whoops. Next time, I'll know better! Bake closer to the actual holiday.) Husband has a weakness for chocolate and peanut butter, and I thought these cookies would be the perfect way to use up some of the Hershey's Kisses that Santa left for me in my Christmas stocking. (Confession: I really don't much care for chocolate, especially milk chocolate! Weird, I know.) Natural peanut butter gave these cookies a rich, crumbly, sandy texture that was . . . incredible. At 117 calories each, these still fit nicely into my healthy eating plan!
Since the peanut butter-chocolate kiss cookies didn't last that long, I baked another batch of cookies this weekend . . .
I'm typically not a huge fan of "light" desserts -- I feel like flavor and texture are often sacrificed, and I'd rather eat less of the "real" thing. However, I tried swapping in a half-cup applesauce for half a cup of butter in my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, (I did leave one stick of butter in tact,) because I believe oatmeal cookies are best when soft and slightly cakey. HUGE success. I also used all whole-wheat pastry flour instead of AP, which I believed also paired well with the applesauce -- whole-grain treats can get a little dry and "wheaty," in my opinion, but the extra moisture from the applesauce is a big help. At only 86 calories apiece, they certainly don't taste "light" or lacking in anything!
And now, more 400-calorie meals we've enjoyed this past week:
Cream of Wild Rice Soup:
A Minnesota classic, which we served at our wedding just under a year ago, vegetized by doubling the mushrooms and adding a little cubed seitan instead of chicken. (Does anyone besides me find too much seitan to be overpowering?) The result is a nutritious, warm, comforting, and filling supper, perfect for a bitter cold evening. (Of which we've had many this winter! Sigh.)
Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with 2 oz refried beans, 1/2 oz cheese, 4 oz shredded Yukon gold potato (hashbrowned-up using a little olive oil cooking spray in a cast-iron skillet,) one egg over-easy, home-canned salsa, and a little sour cream ... perfect for a weekend brunch or a speedy weeknight supper!
Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas:
Ok, so, one "light" food I REALLY don't believe in is reduced-fat cheese. I mean, c'mon . . . cheese is fat! What the heck is reduced-fat cheese anyway? I slightly adapted this recipe, choosing to use 6 oz full-fat Monterey Jack instead of the 8 oz reduced-fat cheese called for. This meal is relatively quick to prepare, given you're making your own homemade enchilada sauce, and even more delicious leftover. (Somebody at work is always curious about what I have for lunch!)
Polenta and Roasted Veggies:
I threw this together one evening last week when John was working late, and boy, did he miss out! (He was able to enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day.) I decided to roast the veggies instead of pan-sauteeing, which freed up my attention to whip up the polenta. Although the blue cheese does lend the polenta an unusual, slightly grayish color, this was one heck of a flavorful, colorful, healthy meal!
I find that most of the calories in stir-fry actually come from the rice . . . bummer. Keeping my rice portion down to a 1/2 cup left room on my plate for loads of broccoli and tofu! I had been wanting to try this recipe for "Chipotle-Orange Broccoli & Tofu" for some time. It was . . . just okay. The tofu and broccoli were delicious, but the sauce was nothing special. Bummer! I think my biggest complaint was that the citrus flavor wasn't at all present! You'd think that something with "orange" in the recipe title would be citrusy . . . notsomuch.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
Like artichoke dip? You will LOVE these. Seriously, make them tonight!
I typically cut my quiche into six slices; eight slices makes for more sensible portions for me these days. (If you still want to enjoy a heartier portion while keeping an eye on your calorie intake, I'd recommend a crustless version -- pastry is kind of a calorie-bomb, unfortunately.) This meal was a cinch to prepare, thanks to a homemade pie crust stashed away in the freezer and some pre-roasted sweet potatoes. John loves quiche 'cause he loves eggs, and will take care of these leftovers before I can blink an eye most weeks.
Off to make a pizza! :)