Back to College & Bean & Beer Chili

Wow, so this was my first week of classes. I’m a college student (again)! So far, I’m really enjoying my classes, especially the two that aren’t online. I go to school two days a week, and the two classes I have are taught by the same teacher. My teacher used to be Powerlifter, coached Powerlifters and Navy SEALS. He is really passionate about the field, and really knows his stuff. I really like that about him, the fact that he teaches with passion just gets me more and more into the whole field of Exercise, Nutrition, and even Bio Chemistry. I’m sure I will learn a lot from him during this semester. I take two more classes online, Biology and Health & Wellness, which are also pretty interesting so far.

I’m now juggling work and school, which takes up most of my time. I’m still trying to fit my workouts in, but school must be my top priority for now.

However, I’ve been wanting to share a recipe with you. I made Thug Kitchen’s Bean and Beer Chili and OMG! This was so freakin’ delicious! If you don’t know Thug Kitchen, check them out. The recipes are amazing, and the guys over there are hilarious! This would also be a great meat-free alternative for you Superbowl Party ;)

i’m in love with lentils

Like most vegetables, I couldn’t stand them as a kid. Now I’m in love with them. I’m in love with lentil soup!

Lentils. So delicious, packed with nutrition’s, so good for you. They are not just packed with protein, as you might now, but provide also 358mcg Folate per cup (that’s 90% DV!). Folate helps to produce new cells ad is essential to iron production in the body. It is also essential for the healthy development of the fetus in early pregnancy. It is recommended for all women in the child-bearing age to increase their folate intake, even if they aren’t planning on becoming pregnant. Lentils also contain magnesium. No wonder “Health” Magazine put Lentils on their list of “The World’s Healthiest Foods”.

One cup of lentils contains about 230 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. It provides 17 grams of Protein, and about 16 grams of complex fibers which will hep you stay full longer.

And although lentil soup might seem like a nice comfort food on a chilly fall night, I love it year round. The lemon I use in the soup gives it a nice kick and summer feel, plus I serve it with a nice, fresh salad to make it a delicious, healthy, good-for-you meal!

Lentil Soup With Lemon

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS Tomato Paste
  • 1 TSP Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 TSP Chili Powder (or to taste)
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth (or Chicken Broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups Lentils (I mostly use green lentils, but you can also use red lentils)
  • 1 large Carrot, diced
  • 2 TBS lemon juice (or to taste)
  • fresh, chopped cilantro
Directions:
  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and about half of the garlic, and cook until the onion has turned golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Cook and stir 2 minutes more until the spices are fragrant.
  2. Stir in the vegetable broth, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Put the remaining garlic into a blender (chop if the cloves are still whole), and add about half of the soup, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Do not puree all of the soup, leave some of it a little chunky.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then season to taste with salt.

Yes, It’s Vegan!

One of the first foods I had when I came to the Unites States was Tacos. And I feel in love with them right there and then. Tacos are oh-so-delicious, and there are tons of recipes with tips out there on how to make them a bit healthier.

I came across this amazing vegan(!) Black Bean Taco Recipe, and this is the only way I’m making Tacos since. Although I have to add, since neither I or the hubs are vegan, we do add dairy toppings to them. I also always make fresh guacamole to go with them (I’m totally in love with avocados). They are so good, I have to share the recipe with you.

 

Black Bean Tacos with Corn Salsa

 (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Cooking Spray

2 cloves garlic

2 1/2 cups canned black beans (rinsed & drained)

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 TBSP chili powder

1/2 TSP Cumin (optional)

1 TSP salt (divided)

1/2 TSP freshly ground black pepper (divided)

8 small corn tortillas

1 cup corn (thawed if frozen)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green chile, diced

2 scallions, chopped

juice of two limes

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add the beans, oats, cornmeal, chili pepper, cumin,  3/4 TSP salt, and 1/4 TSP pepper. Process until mixture is combined, stopping to scrape down the sites a couple of times (about 1 minute).

Crumble bean mixture onto the prepared baking sheet (do not stick your hands in the blender, use a spoon ;)), and coat lightly with some cooking spray. Then bake the bean mixture until it’s firm and crisp on the bottom, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Use a spoon to break up pieces of bean mixture, turn it, and coat again lightly with the cooking spray. Bake until the bean mixture is crisp all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Warm the tortillas in the oven for about 5 minutes.

To make the corn salsa combine the corn, chopped red bell pepper, diced chile, chopped scallions, and remaining salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice, and add fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Info for the recipe as is above:

321 calories per serving (2 tacos), 3g fat, 60g carbs, 13g fiber, 14g Protein

My taco topped with guacamole, fat-free sour cream, and some cheddar cheese.

Vegan Black Bean Taco with Corn Salsa and Guacamole

guiltless cinnamon buns anyone?

I’ve been craving Cinnamon Buns for weeks but really didn’t want to go with the canned stuff, so I’ve been looking all through the internet (ok, Pinterest) to find a recipe. Unfortunately most of the recipes I came along got rejected after a screen over the ingredients: too much sugar, too much butter, not very nutritional. Some of you might have a similar reaction to my husband’s “It’s cinnamon buns you’re looking for, what did you expect?” Well, I expected to find some healthy alternative and so I started googling  “whole wheat cinnamon buns”. I came across this recipe, adapted it slightly and started the happy baking.

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What can I tell you? They are de-li-cious!! And made with whole wheat flour, skim milk, and just a little bit of butter they come to only 265 calories! Doesn’t this make them sound so much more delicious? I promise you, once they come out of you’re oven you won’t be able to stop eating them till they are gone. I have to say the recipe might look overwhelming at a first glance, but it is so worth it. It isn’t even that complicated once you get it started, I promise. It was my first attempt on cinnamon buns and they turned out fantastic. I’m pretty sure when I was able to master them, you can too.

So here is the recipe as found here, with my adaption in (bold)

Yields about 14 rolls
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Total time: 3 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

Rolls:

  •  1 cup fat free milk, warmed (100 – 110 degrees F) (I used 2% since that’s all I had)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (2 TBS butter + 2 1/2 TBS unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon (I didn’t have white sugar, so I used sugar in the raw + brown sugar)
  • 1 package active dry, quick rising yeast
  • 2 3/4 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 organic egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (can use regular cinnamon if you want) (Cinnamon)

Icing:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons light cream (2% milk)
  • About 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions :

  1. Mix milk, yeast, butter (2 tablespoons) (I used the applesauce in the dough) and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit about 5 minutes, or until mixture is frothy. Stir in egg, remaining sugar and 1 cup flour and mix. Let sit another 10 minutes.
  2. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time and salt until mixture resembles a sticky dough (you may not use all the flour).  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 – 6 minutes, or until dough is elastic. If still sticky, knead in remaining flour. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and cover it. Let rise in a warm place (at least 85 degrees F) until doubled in size, may take up to 1 hour.
  3. Once dough has risen, punch it down, re-cover and let rise an additional 35 – 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again. Punch down again and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 9 x 18 rectangle. Gently brush remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle the melted butter with brown sugar/pumpkin pie spice mixture. Then carefully roll up one end to the other, pressing the sides down with your fingers.
  5. Using a sharp, un-serrated knife, cut the dough vertically into 14 pieces. Place pieces cut side down in 2 greased baking dishes (I used a 9 x 18 and an 8 x 8 circle), cover and let rise another 35 – 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 18 – 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans and let chill on a wire cooling rack.
  7. While rolls cool, prepare frosting by whisking butter and cream together. Add in vanilla. Then gradually add powdered sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, until mixture is a little thick but still runny.  Drizzle roll with frosting (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) while still warm and serve.

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Before starting the recipe, I turned my oven to about 150F (lowest), turned it off 10-15 minutes later and then used the warm oven to rise my dough in. It worked beautifully and cut the rising time in half!

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Since it’s only the hubby and I, I froze one pan of the cinnamon rolls after I let them rise again in the oven for about 10 minutes and only baked four to eat immediately. Boy how I wished I would have baked more right away, they turned out so delicious, we ate them at once and wished we had more! I took out another four the same night, let those defrost in the fridge overnight and made them in the morning. They we’re still pretty amazing but not as great as the fresh ones. So my tip for you: Go for it and bake them all :)!

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