Coconut Walnut Raisin Biscotti

11 Nov

Biscotticover

My last post was over two months ago. I’m sorry to say that I’ve neglected my blog but I’m back, in part because of blogger remorse but mostly because I miss the process of  creating, documenting and sharing. I like belonging to an online community and  keeping up with my hobbies helps me achieve life – work balance. So here I am  finally putting this post together.

A few days ago I used my Vitamix to make homemade coconut milk for the first time which turned out really well, after sifting the milk I had about 1 cup of shredded coconut left. Not wanting to throw anything out I decided to make coconut biscottis. I suppose there are tons of  creative ways to use coconut or almonds after making homemade milks  but I’m just starting to explore them.  If you have a good recipe please leave a comment below. I’m collecting recipes as I will be making a new batch of milk next week. Back to the biscottis, they turned out great and were the perfect treat with our afternoon caffee latte.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (you can substitute with vanilla)
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Yields -12 biscottis  Weight Watchers PP+ 3.5 per biscotti. 41 PP+ for the recipe

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 

2. I like to use my KitchenAid mixer but you can also make this recipe by hand.  In the mixer’s bowl combine flour, coconut, baking powder, salt, sugar, raisins, walnuts and mix – speed two until all ingredients are well combined, usually 30 seconds.

3. In a separate bowl combine the butter, coconut /vanilla extract and egg – briefly whisk together until egg yolk has mixed.Biscotti1

4. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix for  2 minutes  on speed two. Turn off your machine and gather your dough, you will know if it is ready if dough stays together. If it feels too dry add 1 tablespoon of water and mix for 30 seconds.

5. Shape the dough into a long  loaf about 10 cm wide and 2 cm high.  If you want to make mini biscottis or larger ones shape your loaf accordingly. I must say that with previous biscotti recipes I’ve had to flour my hand to shape the dough because the consistency is sticky, this is not the case with this recipe; however if your  dough feels sticky use a bit of flour on your hands. Biscotti2

6. Transfer your loaf to a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (middle rack). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Slice the loaf diagonally- 1/2 inch wide slices. Assemble on your baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes on each side, depending on how soft you prefer them.

7. Allow biscottis to cool completely before storing.

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Nutty Quinoa Salad

4 Sep

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Lots of good news made this week a nutty one. I received a job offer and I’ll be starting a new full time job next Monday. Before crazy Monday rolls around I have Saturday to look forward to. My friend Ashley is getting married and I’m so excited; my dancing shoes and I are ready for a good time.

All this to say that I haven’t been documenting many of the meals I’ve made but I still wanted to post! So I bring to you this delicious quinoa salad. I like to make it with the vegetables listed below but you can try it with celery, shredded carrots and even substitute cilantro for parsley. Make a little extra for lunch, quinoa will keep you satisfied and full all afternoon.

Salad

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Dressing – Makes ½ cup of dressing

  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger root, finely grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Serves: 6

Weight Watchers Point Plus: 3 P+ per serving and 18 P+ for the recipe

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Directions:

  1. combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan, simmer over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Allow quinoa to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl combine red pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, and cilantro.
  3. In another bowl whisk peanut butter, lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger root and cayenne pepper (optional).
  4. Mix together the vegetables, quinoa and dressing, cover and refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes so the flavours can blend together.

Source: modified from Company’s Coming Healthy Choices

 

Spicy Corn Cakes with Refried Beans

29 Aug

corncapesnet

At our home we are big fans of Mexican flavours like beans and cilantro so when I saw this recipe in one of the William-Sonoma cookbooks I knew I would make it. I made minor changes to lighten up the recipe and used refried beans instead of black beans because they were in my pantry. I strongly suggest you use fresh salsa or make your own but please don’t use the artificial tasting salsa in the Mexican food aisle. You will know you are using the tasty salsa because it must be refrigerated.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons light unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk, low fat 1%
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • cooking spray/ oil mister
  • 1 cups canned refried beans
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup sour cream, fat free
  • ½ cup fresh salsa, like Garden Fresh Gourment – Wild Mild Salsa or President’s Choice Fresh Salsa

Serves: 4

Weight Watchers Point: 7Point+ for ¼ of corn cakes, ¼ cup refried beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 tablespoon sour cream and cilantro.

Directions

  1. In a bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, 1 tsp. chili powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk and egg until well combined. Mix the liquid ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients until just blended, leaving small lumps. Fold in the corn.  IMG_0785
  2. With an oil mister spray a large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the batter, 1/4 cup at a time. I like to use a silicone ring to give shape to the corn cakes. Cook the corn cake until they are brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  You will need to spray the pan in between batches to keep cakes from sticking.   IMG_0786
  3. When you are ready to serve warm the refried beans in the microwave. Divide the corncakes among 4 plates, 2-3 cakes per portion depending the size of your cakes. Top corn cakes with ¼ cup of refried beans, 2 tablespoons of salsa, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and garnish with cilantro!

Source:  Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Vegetarian cookbook

Turkish Fried Eggplant

25 Aug

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The awesome thing about Toronto’s food scene is that you can find (almost) anything from all corners of the world. I say ‘almost’ because I have yet to find pizza that compares to pizza in Naples, but that is another post. I discovered Sofra Grill Express a Mediterranean/ Turkish restaurant offering what I consider to be the best shawarma in Toronto! This place is not fancy but everything is made fresh and the portions are generous. If you get an opportunity to visit check it out, you won’t be disappointed with anything on the menu.

I am in love with their salads, dips and side dishes and their fried eggplant is incredible. After my last visit to Sofra Grill I decided I had to learn to make the fried eggplant, or at least attempt it. I’m happy to report that this recipe is pretty close so here it is for you to try.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pound eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large tomato, blanched and diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for cooking)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for soaking the eggplant)

Serves: 4

Weight Watchers Point Plus: P+ 5 per serving 3/4 cup

Directions:

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Wash and cut your eggplant into 1 inch cubes and allow to rest in the salt water for 45 minutes. This step reduces the amount of oil the eggplant absorbs when you fry it.
  2. Drain eggplant, dry using a kitchen towel.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil and fry eggplant until all sides are lightly brown. You might need to do this step in two batches. If this is the case use 1 tablespoon of oil for each batch. Remove the eggplant and drain on a paper towel.20130825-190317.jpg
  4. In a medium sauce-pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat sauté onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Reduce  temperature to low, add diced tomato, tomato paste, sugar, salt and water cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. 20130825-190402.jpg
  5. Add fried eggplant to the tomato mixture stir gently and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes based on your texture preference.

You can serve this dish as an appetizer (mezze) or a side dish, warm or at room temperature.

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

21 Aug

icesandnet

Last Saturday we were invited for dinner to our friend Yasmeen’s house. My boyfriend and I love visiting this family, for us it is always such a treat and such a feast. I offered to bring something but I had no idea what I was going to make until I received my Weight Watchers monthly pass in the mail. The monthly pass includes one or two recipes and this month it featured these peanut butter ice cream sandwiches.

I made two types of sandwiches by swapping cookies. For a less sugary treat I used the graham crackers, but for the ultimate indulgence I picked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I included the Weight Watcher point plus value for both, because we deserve options!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz or 57g low fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups light whipped topping
  • 24 cookies of your choice, graham crackers or peanut butter chocolate chip cookies work well

Serves: 12 mini sandwiches

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 1 Graham Sandwich 4.5 P+ / 1 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sandwich 7 P+

  • 2P+              1/12 of cream mixture or 1½ tablespoons
  • 2.5 P+          2 graham crackers
  • 5P+              2  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions:

icecreamsand1

  1. Using a mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until the mixture is smooth. Add whipped topping until you combine all ingredients.
  2. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons the mixture on top of your chosen cookie; place a second cookie on top. Repeat until you are done mixture.
  3. Place cookies on a baking or a plastic container cover with plastic wrap or lid and place in the freezer for at least 40 minutes. It tastes like real ice-cream when frozen.

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I froze the extra sandwiches but I wouldn’t be able to tell you how long they keep for because after two days they were all gone.

Source: Weight Watchers

 

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

10 Aug


DSC00554The beef mixture used in this recipe is the same as my Chilean corn pie. Pino as it is traditionally called in Chile, is also known as picadillo in other parts of Latin America. Each country has played with the recipe and made it a national dish.  Today picadillo is served on rice, tortillas or used to stuff potatoes and empanadas.

Regardless of the name this beef mixture is delicious and versatile. For this dish I paired the Pino with rice and stuffed green peppers. I must admit I prefer the sweetness of red peppers but will occasionally use green peppers just for a change.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large pepper (any colour you prefer)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 spray cooking spray
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pealed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¼  cup raisins
  • 40g kalamata black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 ¼ brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (more if desired)
  • 1 ¼ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

Yields: 4

Weight Watchers Point Plus: 7 for one pepper     

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray large frying pan with cooking spray, over medium- high heat cook the beef, stirring often to break up chunks until the beef if no longer pink, abut 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the beef to a bowl but allow remaining liquid to stay in the pan.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the paprika, cumin, salt and ¼ cup of water, stir and cook for one more minute.
  4. Add the raisins, olives, beef and rice. Mix all ingredients, adjust salt to taste and allow the mixture to cool 5 minutes before stuffing your peppers.
  5. Wash your peppers and cut the tops off; discard membranes and seeds but keep the tops.
  6. Stuff peppers with beef and rice mixture, place peppers in a deep baking dish, pour broth in the baking dish, this will prevent the peppers from burning and add extra moisture.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes depending on how soft you like your stuffed peppers.DSC00553
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