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lightened

Prevention RD’s Lightened-Up Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

There are a few bloggers I’ve been following since the near beginning of my own blogging path. Prevention RD is one of them.

I’ve watched Nicole’s photography grow into art, her fan following progress, and her pouty dog Lily grow cuter by the minute. Her site has always been fun to follow, and a countless source of inspiration for my own recipe development.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Prevention RD turn into a published cookbook author. I can’t describe this as anything other than awesome. I love, love, love seeing fellow food bloggers use their site as a platform to kill it in arenas outside of the blogging world. Congrats girl!

Apple Crisp

Nicole’s style is what I consider comparable to Cooking Light mag.  Many of her recipes involve transforming traditional dishes into lighter and healthier versions, including classic comfort foods too. Sometimes she crafts these recipes herself, like those within her cookbook. Other times she gathers and adapts them from other blogger’s sites. Regardless, Nicole has a knack for choosing recipes that lend themselves well to a wide audience.

I remember when Nicole went through a baked doughnut phase. I don’t even like doughnuts, but I admit she nearly convinced me to go out and purchase a doughnut pan. I mean, wouldn’t you be curious to try ones with a Blueberry Lemon Glaze? Or a Whole Wheat Banana Doughnut with a Banana Chocolate Glaze? Perhaps that’s why I don’t like doughnuts. Because few places sell any variations similar to those.

Anyway, I was thrilled to receive Nicole’s cookbook, and to see her jump into print. There’s nothing like flipping through hands-on pages filled with food photo after food photo.

Currently I’m eyeing her version of Baked Falafel, but the first recipe I decided to whip up was her Lightened-Up Apple Crisp. In my own book, apple crisp is an indispensable part of fall. You simply can’t let the season pass without baking a batch. Or two. Or three. To do so would be a near atrocity.

I didn’t want to waste much time. A week into fall, apple crisp was coming from my oven. This leaves a few months left to continue making more. Thanks for the season’s first recipe, Nicole!

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Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Word is that rosemary can boost your memory, according to a recent study presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate. It’s being speculated that the eucalyptol compound within the herb has an affect on the brain and our memory systems. I’ll take it. A little freshening up never hurt my brain, especially when it results in a bonus for my tastebuds too.

Regardless of its potential magical powers, I’ve always loved the natural fragrance of rosemary. In honesty, I don’t utilize it enough. I think this is largely because rosemary’s most often paired with meats. But of course it goes well with vegetarian cuisine too, crispy potatoes especially.

I absolutely adore this simple combination, and as mentioned in previous posts, can never get enough of roasted garlic. I contributed this dish for a family dinner the other week. As straightforward as it is, it surprisingly got a round of comments from the table. I was worried it’d be masked by all the other seemingly elaborate dishes on the table. There’s something about potatoes, however, that nearly always bring high fives.

Healthier, and much more elegant, than a deep-fried french fry, this is a classic side suited for numerous occasions. I always opt for a red-skinned potato for the touch of color they add to the bowl, but feel free to experiment with other varieties.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna is a sea of layers that melt so beautifully well together. As the Italians know best, tomatoes, pasta, herbs and cheese are four components destined to swim as a team in the culinary world.

Though, injure one of those teammates, and you’re in for a disappointing loss. Poor sauce = terrible lasagna. The wrong combination of cheeses = bland, not addicting results. Lack of herbs = an aggravating feeling that something is missing.

In order for lasagna to triumph, all of its key players need to be at the top of their game.  Lasagna can take some effort to assemble, so you better pick your team wisely or it may not be worth your labor. (I’m still working to come up with a vegan version to take home a gold. This roasted veggie version comes pretty close, but I’m still not sure the tofu ricotta quite takes the cheese – especially if you’ve been exposed to top of the line, traditional versions. Although, I must say the caramelized layers of veggies are undoubtedly memorable.)

If you’re not quite ready to full-on delve into the world of lasagna-making – a commitment to truly master – then I suggest starting with this soup. I’ll admit, given a competitive situation, it wouldn’t beat my favorite lasagna. But when it’s significantly easier to assemble, and so much lighter and healthier, who cares. As Prevention RD states, this is one pot meal that comes together within 40 minutes. Easy. The dollop of cheese that goes with it truly makes the whole dish, so make sure to include that extra  (but simple) step.

If there’s no time to prep the team needed of a lasagna worth making, or you simply want a pasta dish that won’t weigh you down, go give this a try. It’s a simpler, easier version of one my favorite oceans of flavor, a little bit of cheese included.

Click here for recipe…

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

choc_mousse1

Whip up something loving for not just your sweetheart, but for all living beings by making this V-Day a Vegan-Day. The following dark chocolate mousse is so ridiculously delicious, there’s no way you’ll miss the dairy that loads most chocolate desserts.

And for all the fellas out there looking for a way to whew their special valentine, well then this one’s for you. If for some reason you’ve been off living on Mars for the past how many years of your life, let me fill you in— Chocolate is one of the many keys to a woman’s heart. (This secretly hold true for a lot of guys out there too, but they just don’t like to get all giddy and show it.) So get your butt in the kitchen and surprise your lovely lady with this easy-to-make dessert. No need to trudge off to the store and spend money on something pre-made. We all know homemade is more special and often tends to taste better too. Even if you’re prone to kitchen disasters, no worries. Put on your chef’s hat anyways. You really can’t go too wrong with dark chocolate, and besides, the recipe literally has just three quick steps: Melt, blend, refrigerate. If you can’t pull that off, well, no judging, but you should really treat yourself to a few cooking lessons. But seriously, this dessert is a piece of cake…or should I say, an easy-breezy, silky, smooth spoonful of mousse.

Add some vegan whipped cream and a handful of fruit, and you’re looking at one sexy after-dinner dessert. If nothing else, you”ll at least win your lover’s taste buds with this one.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

(Serves 5)

-1 package Nasoya Creations Silken Style Dark Chocolate Tofu
-2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/3 cup espresso coffee or strongly-brewed coffee
-1 Tbsp. maple syrup?-Vegan whipped cream
-Fruit, handful of your choice (Bananas, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, etc.)
-Shaved chocolate, optional

Melt the chocolate and coffee in a double boiler, or create your own by placing a small metal bowl atop a pan of simmering water. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat, and place in food processor along with tofu and maple syrup. Process until smooth.

Place in bowl or divide among 5 ramekins and refrigerator for at least two hours. Flavor improves upon refrigeration and consistency becomes denser. However, if you want a lighter mousse, feel free to skip the refrigeration step. Serve with sliced fruit and a dollop of whipped cream. Shave chocolate on top, if desired.