March 19, 2013 12:27 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Here's another great article from Popsugar on how to cut back on butter when you're baking. Not to brag, actually yes I'm bragging, but I got a lot of compliments on my reduced fat oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. I was so relieved that they actually turned out OK, and I'm so glad everyone enjoyed them! Who would have thought that just adding milk in lieu of butter would have been a success. Besides milk, here are some other ways to replace butter.
- Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes, applesauce can also be used as butter alternative, and works best in cake-like recipes (like this Vegan Banana Apple Chunk Bread). Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. If you don't mind a denser, more moist bread, replace all the butter with applesauce to cut even more calories and fat.
- Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies); use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer, chewier baked good, and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy.
- Earth Balance: Replace all of the butter with Earth Balance to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. Using Smart Balance rather than Earth Balance will also save some calories, but note that Original Smart Balance contains whey, so it's not vegan.
- Canola oil: In certain recipes, replacing butter with oil works well, especially if the recipe calls for melted butter. Fiddle with your favorite recipes to figure out when canola works instead of butter; when baking chocolate chip cookies, I've had success substituting half a cup of canola oil for half a cup of unsalted butter. Although slightly higher in calories, canola is much lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in your cookie recipes with half the amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You'll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in baking recipes.
- Prune purée: Often used to help little ones stay regular, prune purée also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for, replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune puree (unless you have time to make your own; just purée prunes in the food processor). This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.
(Inspired by Popsugar)
March 12, 2013 12:51 pm · Posted by Lauren G
One of my friends has been requesting oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies for a while, so here they are. Unfortunately, I only had one stick of butter (the recipe asks for two) and was too lazy to go to the grocery store. Since I only used half the butter, I get to call these reduced fat, right? With a little experimentation, I decided on skim milk to add the needed moisture from the missing stick of butter. They turned out great! They don't spread as much as the cookie normally would, but they're still soft and moist on the inside. And, because it's oatmeal and half the butter, they're basically healthy...
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
- 1 cup chopped nuts, if desired
- Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Add milk in slowly until you reach the desired consistency. (You might not use all of it).
- Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
- Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
February 26, 2013 12:24 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Saturday was National Banana Bread! I'm not usually one for banana bread, but my mom has been raving about this recipe she got from a woman at her bank. Surprise surprise, I didn't have enough bananas for the recipe (6), and I was too lazy to go to the store, so I ended up making a recipe from Food Network that only called for 3.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners...the recipe actually makes 17 muffins.
Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.
Fill each cup about 2/3 and bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
(Inspired by Food Network)
February 21, 2013 12:35 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Did I mention on Tuesday that I bought these Brussels sprouts from Costco? Yup, I had a bunch leftover, so what else could I make? I was out of bacon, but I did have some leftover prime rib that I figured would work just as well. I remembered seeing Brussels sprout hash on the menu at Huckleberry in Santa Monica, one of my favorite brunch spots, so I decided to give it a try. Plus, I had some breakfast potatoes in the freezer.
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts
- 2 ounces thick-sliced bacon or pancetta (or leftover prime rib)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 large eggs
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- Thinly slice Brussels sprouts. Set aside.
- In a medium to large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon or pancetta until crisp. Remove from pan. (I trimmed the fat from my leftover prime rib and let it melt in the pan)
- To the bacon grease add potatoes and cook until heated through. (I added my leftover prime rib just to warm it up). Remove from pan.
- Add oil to the pan as needed and cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding in the Brussels sprouts.
- Stir in the chicken broth. Sauté for 5 minutes until sprouts are tender. Add the bacon back in, and stir to combine and cook until sprouts start to brown on the edges, another 3-5 minutes.
- Create a slight well in the center of the pan. Add the butter if desired. Crack the eggs directly in the center and cook until the eggs are cooked through as desired. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
(Inspired by food for my family)
February 19, 2013 12:59 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Yum I love Brussels sprouts! And I think we've established that everyone loves bacon. Maybe that's why one of the most classic ways to cook Brussels sprouts is with bacon! These Brussels sprouts are perfectly soft and the bacon adds great flavor.
- 5 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, small spouts left whole, larger spouts halved
- Salt and pepper, to your taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Brown bacon in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
- Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add Brussels spouts to bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth.
- Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook 10 minutes, until tender.
- Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and top with cooked bacon bits.
(Inspired by Food Network)
February 5, 2013 12:24 pm · Posted by Lauren G
The Super Bowl was on Sunday, and while I'm not super in to football, I can definitely get in to the snacks. My contribution to the party? Candied bacon. I saw this recipe a while ago and I've been dying to try it. Plus, bacon just screams football watching, doesn't it? Simple enough, this is basically just bacon covered with brown sugar and thrown in the oven. I didn't even follow the recipe. It tastes like sin in the best possible way. Sweet and savory and oozing with bacon-y goodness (aka grease). I'm definitely going for a run tomorrow...but it was so worth it. Here are pictures of a test batch where I only made five pieces, but it'd be just as easy to make a larger batch.
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder (I just used black pepper)
- 20 slices of thick-cut bacon (1 1/2 pounds)
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
- In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the chile powder.
- Press bacon strips in to the sugar mixture.
- Arrange the bacon strips on the foil and sprinkle any sugar leftover onto the bacon.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and almost crisp. Transfer the bacon to a rack set over a sheet of foil to cool completely; serve.
(Inspired by Food & Wine)
January 31, 2013 12:10 pm · Posted by Lauren G
I bought this huge bottle of honey at Costco. Honey rarely goes bad and they've actually found edible honey in Egyptian tombs, so why not buy honey in bulk from Costco? It won't go bad because honey is pretty much just sugar with a little bit of water. The low moisture content keeps bacteria from growing, but it also causes the honey to crystallize. That thick and cloudy honey is perfectly safe to eat, but how do you get it out of the bottle? There's honey dripping down the sides of my bottle in the picture because I had it sitting upside down to get honey for my morning tea, but most of it is still in a big hunk on the bottom. Well, don't worry, it's actually really easy to fix. Just put the container of honey in a few inches of water and heat it slowly on the stove. Just be careful, because muliple heating and cooling sessions can cause the honey to lose color and aroma, and after a while, you'll want to throw it away. To stave off crystallization in the future, it's best to keep your honey at around 70 degrees.
(Inspired by scienceline and Heavenly Homemakers)
January 29, 2013 12:28 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Pancakes just scream my name on Sunday morning, and last Sunday was no different. The best thing about pancakes is that you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. Sure, some pancake recipes call for buttermilk like in this recipe for cinnamon banana pancakes or even yogurt for these fluffy blueberry pancakes, but never fear, this recipe for good old fashioned pancakes only calls for kitchen staples. I did add some chocolate chips though because, well, do I really need a reason?
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups milk
- Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Whisk in melted butter, egg, and milk until combined. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour batter into the hot skillet, about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the sides and center of each pancake. Flip and cook until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.
(Inspired by allrecipes)
January 15, 2013 12:33 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Pancakes just scream my name on a Sunday morning, and last Sunday was no different. I have a box of Hungry Jack Pancake mix, and let's just say I won't buy it ever again. Everything tastes better made from scratch anyway, right? Besides, pancakes are extremely easy to make and only need ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. I also had chocolate chips in my pantry so I threw some (a lot) in because, well, do I really need a reason? You can also try berries, or nuts in your pancakes like in this other recipe for fluffy blueberry pancakes.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
(Inspired by allrecipes)
January 3, 2013 12:23 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Being home for the holidays means lots of eating. It also means BBQ! Since there are plenty of people around, my mom decided to roast a whole pork shoulder so we could make pulled pork sandwiches. I missed some pictures of the process, but I wanted to share this anyway. It's a little time consuming but it was still absolutely delicious!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder
- 16 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture all over the pork shoulder (not skin).
Wipe skin clean, then rub with remaining teaspoon kosher salt (to help it crisp).
Put pork, skin side up, in a flameproof roasting pan, and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Cover pork with parchment paper and then tightly with foil and roast 2 1/2 hours.
Discard foil and parchment, then add 1/2 cup water to pan and roast, uncovered, adding more water when liquid in pan evaporates (check about every half hour), until skin is browned and crisp and meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours more.
Transfer to a cutting board or platter, reserving juices in pan, and let stand 30 minutes.
Using two forks, shred pork finely.
Meanwhile, pour pan juices through a sieve into a fat separator or bowl and discard fat.
Heat 1/2 cup of pan juices, 1/2 cup of water, and 16 oz. of bbq sauce in a small sauce pan until warm.
Combine pulled pork with bbq sauce and enjoy!
(Inspired by Epicurious)