Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate Banana Oat Flour Crepes

Happy Friday!

Last night, as I was packing my lunch for work today, I was thinking of what to make for breakfast. I was debating whether to make overnight oatmeal since I go to the gym every Friday morning before work, which reduces my prep/cooking time. But overnight oatmeal seemed a bit blah after making the super yummy breakfast casserole and chocolate french toast casserole. So, I googled some recipes that can be prepared the night before and cooked in the morning. I'm definitely loving this whole preparing a dish ahead of time thing. It makes cooking so much easier,convenient, and fun especially during the week when time is limited due to work and other obligations.
But back to breakfast. After a few minutes of browsing online, I came across crepe recipes and discovered that the batter can sit overnight. If anything, letting the batter sit overnight improves the taste of the crepe because it allows the flour to absorb the water. But if you are in a time crunch, 1 hour is fine or you can use the batter right away.
Now that I had made a decision on what to make for breakfast, it was time to get creative with it. It's a given that chocolate would be added to the mix but I wanted to incorporate other ingredients as well. In the end, I came up with this deliciousness.

Chocolate Banana Oat Flour Crepes

1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Toppings:

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Banana, sliced

Grind oats in a blender or magic bullet until it turns into powder form. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for a few seconds just to mix everything together. If using a magic bullet, cover it with a lid and place it in the fridge. If using a blender, either transfer it into a container or leave it in the blender. In the morning, turn on the stove to medium heat. Oil or butter pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time. Swirl the pan around to create a thin and circular shape. The crepe should look like a really skinny pancake. When the crepe starts to bubble and the bottom browns, flip over, and continue cooking until the other side browns as well. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. Coat a layer of chocolate hazelnut spread over the crepe and top with sliced bananas and other toppings of your choice.
Bubbling and browning.

Flip!
Topped with chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas, and chocolate sprinkles.

Topped with chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas, and shredded coconut.

Topped with chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas, and cookie cream crunch


Serve crepes open-faced or wrapped. Feel free to make prettier shaped crepe. I was rushing the cooking and picture taking process. My stomach was growling! 


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip French Toast Casserole

Casserole Take 2!


I think yesterday's casserole was so good that I have not been able to get it off my mind. All day yesterday I was thinking of what other delicious casseroles I can make since I currently have tons of bread and eggs in my fridge. I was originally going to make a simple french toast casserole but then at the last minute I decided I would sex it up with some chocolate. Best decision ever!

Here's the breakdown:

1 slice of bread
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp chocolate chips

(Optional) Toppings:

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Spread
Sprinkles
Maple Syrup
Jam

Serving Size: 1


Coat an oven safe bowl with butter or cooking spray. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, cinnamon, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Carefully mix together until a frothy consistency is reached. (Warning! This may get a bit messy. I did this over the sink for easy cleanup.) Either chop or tear the bread into chunks and place on the bottom of the oven safe bowl. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread chunks. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 375*. Remove the bowl from the fridge and uncover the plastic wrap. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the casserole is firm in the center. If it jiggles like Jello, continue to let it bake for a few more minutes. When the casserole is ready, add any desired toppings and serve immediately.


Before
After
My toppings of choice. Yum!



Breakfast is served!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Simple Breakfast Casserole


Last night as I was pondering what to make for breakfast, I noticed that we have lots of stale bread (eww), eggs, and veggies that have been sitting comfortable in the fridge for god knows how long and are now reaching life support status. I immediately packed a life boat sized salad for my lunch, which took care most of the veggies. But I still needed to tackle the bread, eggs, and other veggies. I put my Winnie the Pooh thinking cap on and after a few minutes I realized that I had the ingredients for a breakfast casserole.  In general, casseroles aren’t often made or eaten in my house because we’re Chinese and usually stick to Chinese food. But I recently watched Paula Dean and her friend make one on her show and it looked amaze-balls. So, here is my attempt at making a breakfast casserole, which I thought was just as amaze-balls without the Paula Deen butta and heavy cream.

Simple Breakfast Casserole


Ingredients:
 
1 Slice of bread
4 Baby bell peppers
1 oz Mozzarella, shredded
1 Egg
1/2 Cup milk
Cinnamon**
Salt
Pepper

**Salt/Pepper/Cinnamon to taste

Serving Size: 1

Directions:
Butter or spray cooking oil on the sides and bottom of an oven safe bowl. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and beat until it reaches a frothy consistency.  Slice the bread into 1” chunks or tear into pieces, chop baby bell peppers into bite sized pieces, and either grate mozzarella or use pre-grated mozzarella sold at the market. (I personally feel that pre-grated cheese doesn’t taste as good but it will work if you are in a hurry or if that’s all you have at home.)  Place the bread on the bottom of an oven safe bowl and top with the baby bell peppers and mozzarella. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the entire bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Casserole after being in the fridge overnight
 In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 30 minutes. Feel free to take a shower, do your makeup, or embrace your inner couch potato during this time. When the oven timer finally rings, remove from oven and dig in. 

Straight from the oven. Hooray!

Chomp! Chomp!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Oatmeal


I have reached a very sad conclusion that I cannot drink coffee and tea by the buckets anymore. I think getting older is affecting my body’s ability to handle caffeine. This horrid thought crept up on me when it took me an ungodly amount of time to fall asleep, kept waking up throughout the night, and finally gave up at 5 am. The only good thing about this incident is that it allowed me to spend some more time in the kitchen. I was thinking about making some more cupcakes but I came across another sad realization - my moo milk had turned sour on me!! I debated about heading to the market but decided that no one should have to see what I look like that early in the morning. So, I decided that I would try to make another fun and creative oatmeal concoction. However, this time I nay-ed my old-fashioned oats and yay-ed my Irish oats aka steel cut oats. I bought what feels like a Costco sized container of Irish oats last month because it’s supposedly the least processed of all the oats. While this is fine and dandy, it takes at least 30 minutes to cook! At the time of my purchase I was in la-la land because I pretended that the longer cook time didn’t bother me. That it was worth the minimal processing and the increased health benefits. Well, needless to say, I have only cooked them once since buying it because it cooks at snail speed. But since I was up 1.5 hours earlier than my alarm clock and without moo milk, I decided to give Irish oats another try along with some chocolate and pureed pumpkin. 

Chocolate Pumpkin Oatmeal

 


1/4 C Irish oats
1/2 C Water
1/2 C Soy milk
1/4 C Pureed pumpkin
1.5 Tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp Pumpkin pie spice mix
1 Tsp Brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Pour water and milk into a small pot. When it reaches to a boil, add the Irish oats and give it a quick stir. Let it cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the desired consistency has been reached.  Finish with toppings of your choice or eat plain =)



I topped my oats with a blob of TJ’s pumpkin butter and strawberry jam.
Visually unappealing but derishous. True story. =)


Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes

Last week, my friend requested for me to bake cupcakes for his birthday. However, he had one rule - he wanted healthy cupcakes. He is a super health fanatic by working out allll the time, counting calories and all that jazz. So much so that he won't even take a break for his birthday. I've never attempted to make any sort of healthy cupcakes because well it's kind of against my cupcake religion. I'm willing to make healthy versions of muffins and scones but usually I go all out for cupcakes, cakes, and brownies. But it's his birthday not mine so I granted his wish.
Whenever I need a healthier version of a dish, I usually check out Gina's Skinny Taste because she specializes in making low fat versions of fattening recipes that everyone loves. So, I scoured her dessert section and found a chocolate cupcake recipe. Score! However, I did make some changes. Instead of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, I used Devil's Food mix. Also, instead of pureed pumpkin, I used unsweetened apple sauce. And finally, I baked the cupcakes for 18 minutes instead of the suggested 25-28 minutes. For legal purposes, please go to her website for the recipe - Super Moist Low Fat Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze.

Batter mixed, scooped into cupcake liners, and all ready for the oven.

Straight out of the oven. It doesn't look the prettiest but that's when the glaze comes in. =)

I ran out of regular sized cupcake liners. Mini cupcakes to the rescue!

Cupcakes all glazed up and ready for delivery to the birthday boy!


I made sure to taste test one of the cupcakes before hand delivering them to my friend and they were really good. I was surprised at how moist the cupcakes were considering I didn't add any eggs or oil. If you told me that there were unsweetened applesauce and sugar free/fat free chocolate pudding mix, I would say you were pulling my leg. These were seriously good healthy cupcakes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Frog In My Throat


I’ve been fighting a cold for almost the last week. I thought I had it under control but it looks like the cold is not going down without a fight. Yesterday, I woke up with a frog in my throat and it quickly progressed into a fever, headache, and the chills. I’ve been drinking tea and eating soup like crazy and at times I feel better but then it comes back with a vengeance.
This morning, I still went to the gym and did my usual workout of running and kickboxing in hopes of sweating out the cold. I did feel better afterwards but that turned out to be very short-lived because I felt icky not too long after. I did some research about what to eat when you’re sick and some websites mentioned that it’s best to eat oatmeal and whole grains. Usually I have no problem with eating oatmeal but this morning I just could not stomach it. My throat feels super itchy and it hurts to swallow. So, instead I opted to make a room temperature smoothie that was very liquidy. 


1 C kefir (for the protein)
1 C red bean soup (for the protein, fiber, and antioxidants)
3 large strawberries, chopped (for the antioxidants and vitamin c)
2 tbsp raw old fashioned oats (for the cold)
1 tbsp honey (for the throat)




I let the kefir, red bean soup, and strawberries sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes until it was closer to room temperature. Combined in my handy dandy Magic Bullet and blended away!!! 

I am so glad I chose to make a smoothie because it was perfectly cool for my throat.


 Also, since some website that I found claim that antioxidants help fight a cold, I felt justified in buying this bar of chocolate yesterday. It has whole grains in it too which supposedly combats colds as well. 

  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cashew Brownie Oatmeal

My experimentation with chocolate and breakfast continued this morning. I woke up a bit earlier than usual so I decided to make another variation of baked oatmeal. I wasn’t sure where to start but I knew I was definitely in the mood for something with chocolate, which isn’t exactly a shocker given my extreme love for anything chocolate. =)
After perusing my pantry, I pulled out old-fashioned oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, chia seeds, and roasted/salted cashews. From the fridge, I grabbed milk and cashew peanut butter. The result? Cashew Brownie Oatmeal, which I thought was a pretty good version of its dessert counterpart.

Cashew Brownie Oatmeal

1/3 C Old-fashioned oats
1/4 C Roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
2/3 C Milk
2 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 tsp Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp Brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Toppings:
1 tsp Roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Cashew butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all of the dry ingredients into an oven-safe bowl. Pour in the milk and thoroughly mix with the dry ingredients.  Set timer for 12 minutes. When done, spread cashew butter on top and sprinkle the chopped cashews. 


I really liked this baked oatmeal. It was moist and the texture was nice and chewy. The roasted/salted cashews and cashew butter also gave this dish a sweet and salty flavor to it, which I was a pleasant surprise. But in hindsight, I guess I should have foreseen that? Either way, it was pretty yummy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Return of the Great Pumpkin

I recently defrosted some more of my homemade pumpkin puree, which was the featured star in this morning’s breakfast. 

The Great Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Mixed the night before:
-          1/4 C old-fashioned oats
-          1/2 C kefir
-          1 tsp  chia seeds
-          1/2 tsp ground flax
-          Dash of pumpkin spice powder
-          (forgot to add banana!!)

In the morning:
-          Spoonful of Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter
-          Spoonful of TJ’s Pumpkin Butter (best pumpkin butter ever!!!)
-          Sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut




Served with a side of yesterday’s batch of coconut chocolate chip oatmeal scone with a spread of Seggiano smooth dark chocolate hazelnut


And pumpkin spice coffee

I absolutely <3 pumpkin and will be super bummed when I officially run out. There is just something about its natural sweet flavor that appeals to my taste buds. That and every time I eat pumpkin, I think of Linus from the Peanuts and how he always gives up trick-or-treating in hopes of meeting the Great Pumpkin. His dedication to the Great Pumpkin never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones

I think I went a bit overboard with the chocolate raspberry coffee yesterday because I had a very difficult time sleeping last night. It took me around 1.5 hours to fall asleep and then I kept on tossing and turning from 2:30 – 5:00 am when I finally gave up on any hope of being able to sleep. In times like these, I usually pitter patter to the kitchen and bake. So, off to the kitchen I went.
I have recently been working on a scone recipe and have been making a few tweaks here and there to healthify it without making it taste like cardboard. I absolutely love scones but the ones sold at cafes and restaurants are more like full-fat than low-fat. This is a bit devastating for me because that means I can’t have them as much as I’d like to. So, I decided that I would try to make a healthy, low-fat scone that would allow me to eat it on a regular basis without expanding my waist line. I knew from the start that this would be a difficult task because the fatty ingredients are what make pastries and desserts so tasty. On top of that, there is the stigma that healthy pastries are not worth eating because they often turn out disgusting. However, these obstacles fueled my desire to find a way to eat a tasty scone without all the guilt. After a few revisions, I think I have managed to come up with a healthy and cardboard-less scone recipe. They are a bit denser than a normal scone due to the lack of white flour, but nevertheless, I am quite satisfied with the results.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones
Ingredients
·         3/4 C whole wheat flour
·         3/4 C oat flour*
·         3/4 C rolled oats
·         1/4 C white sugar
·         3 tbsp ground chia seeds**
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar
·         6 Tbsp coconut butter, cold temperature
·         2 large eggs, room temperature
·         2 tsp vanilla bean paste
·         1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, room temperature
·         3/4 C chocolate chips

* If you don’t have oat flour, just blend raw oats in a food processor or magic bullet until it reaches a flour texture
** If you don’t have ground chia seeds, just blend whole chia seeds in a magic bullet or coffee grinder until the seeds turn into a powder form.  

Before
After



















Directions
·         Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
·         In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla bean paste, and low fat buttermilk. Set aside 2 tablespoons for brushing the tops of each scone.
·         In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
·         Cut coconut butter into chunks and add into the dry ingredients. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients until a course, grainy texture is formed. Add wet ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.
·         Transfer dough onto a chopping board or smooth surface that has been generously covered with flour. Mold the dough into a circular shape and 1 inch in height.
·         Coat a 2 in round cookie cutter with flour to cut dough into individual scones. Shape the remaining dough into a circular form and continue cutting with the cookie cutter.
·         Brush the top of each scone with the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut.
·         Lay scones on a cookie sheet and leave a 2 inch space between each scone.
·         Bake for about 15 minutes until the scones reach a golden brown color.  Serve fresh out of the oven.



Top with jam, butter, or a spread of your choice if desired. =)