Low Fat Diva Blog

Low Fat Lifestyle Recipes & Lowfat Cooking Tips

What I Learned For January In The Test Kitchen January 30, 2012

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 10:25 pm
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Can you believe that in just a couple of days we will already be into the second month of 2012.  For some reason it just feels strange to me this year.  The time has just flown by and I’m wondering what happened to November and December.  I guess because where I live Mother Nature is playing some tricks on us and we are just now getting winter!  Heaven help us in April 🙂

I talked and shared a great deal this month on pasta.  To me it’s a comfort type food that is also inexpensive to feed a family and right now when times are tight for everyone, pasta provides a good bang for your buck.  Even though the month of January is about over I find that I have not even made a dent in some of the recipes that  I have for different pastas.

One of the cool things I think I re-learned about pasta is the saving of the water!  It is a great natural thickener for your sauces and  gives a good flavor to them.  You don’t have to worry about being out of a certain item to thicken your sauce which is a plus in so many ways.

I always knew what the word al dente’ meant but could not get my husband on board with the idea of preparing most pasta that way.  He was brought up with  mushy pasta (you know the type where you really don’t need teeth to eat) so I guess he thought one should not have to chew their pasta.  But as the month went on and I tried different recipes out he started to either like the pasta prepared al dente or stopped complaining 🙂

Something that was thrown into the mix this month was a Food Challenge that my friend thought we should try.  The premise of the challenge was we could not go to the store to purchase any food items, we had to use what we already had.  My children have told me  that I could live out of my freezers/pantry for months and they are probably correct.  I’m going into week 3 (actually 4 since I went to the store) and things are going great!  Sure I have run out of milk (we don’t have any children at home) and I am making my own bread a couple of times a week.  The coffee is still holding out and the creamer is long gone but for the most part we are eating wonderful (check out my face book page, I put pictures up lowfatdiva).  I make complete meals (we may be sick of green veggies in a few more weeks) and it’s really been a learning experience.

The other night my friend Dawn was over to our house for dinner and she asked how things were going with the Food Challenge. I told her pretty good and thought I could easily make it another few weeks.  She then decided to drop a bomb about how this challenge was supposed to work.  I guess everyone is supposed to try it for the month of February and you can go to the store for staples (milk, eggs, bread, )  Come on what fun would that be for a challenge.  We both laughed but my husband who was also sitting at the table  just choked on his food a bit.

I decided to stay with the challenge at hand and see how long I could do it and I encourage you to try the food challenge for yourself.  It’s a great way to learn to use what you have and not run to the store so much.  I have saved a great deal on groceries and it’s been quite fun so far.  Sure I miss fresh vegetables but the food challenge has helped me  to use up what I have in the freezer/pantry.   If you are up for it, the month of February is when some people are going to try it:)  Let me know if you try it, I would love to hear about your experiences.  You can email me ramona@lowfatdivablog.com or you can comment here.    Enjoy!

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Chocolate Porter Beer Bread January 29, 2012

Filed under: Bread & Muffins — lowfatdiva @ 4:11 pm
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Chocolate Porter Beer Bread

Follow the large loaf recipe you have for your bread machine which should require 3 cups of flour.  For the liquid portion of the recipe, use ½ cup of warm water and ½ cup of warm flat Porter or Stout beer.  When you add the flour (Better for Bread Flour – not self rising) add 2 3/4 cups of flour and ¼ cup of baking cocoa.  Use brown sugar instead of white sugar.  Follow the rest of the directions as the recipe book suggests.  I set my machine for the dough method and remove it after it has risen for the first time.  About 10 minutes  before the end of the cycle I add some chocolate chips (just a few).  I then knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured surface and form it into a loaf, place it in a loaf pan sprayed with Pam Butter Spray, let rise again for about 15 minutes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven.  Remove from the oven, rest on rack and then remove.  You can also form the dough into a round loaf if you prefer or cut the dough in half for 2 round loaves and place them onto a baking sheet to raise and bake as directed above.

 

Glutten Free Breakfast Bread

Filed under: Bread & Muffins — lowfatdiva @ 4:08 pm
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Breakfast Bread

2-2 1/2 cups “flour blend”   ( This blend is made from 6 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups potato starch (not flour!) and 1 cup tapioca starch.  Store remainder in airtight container and save for future baking)

1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup neutral oil (canola)
1 tbs honey or agava
1 egg

1 cup warmed milk (approx 100 degrees)
1/2 cup dried fruit/raisins

Grease an 8″ bread loaf pan with Pam spray.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (don’t use dough hook) mix all the dry ingredients till combined. Mix on low speed and add yeast. Mix again.

Add oil, honey/agave and egg. Mix until incorporated.

With mixer on low, pour steady stream of warm milk. Beat at half speed for 6 minutes. Add in fruit and mix just till combined. Put into loaf pan and use greased fingers to slightly smooth out dough (it will be very sticky and gooey). Cover and put in warm place for 30 minutes or till nearly double in height.
Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes. Bread will be a very light golden brown.  Cool, slice and store in freezer.  Take out a slice as needed.

NOTE:  if you omit the fruit you can use this as white sandwich bread.

 

There Really Is Time For Homemade Bread!

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 4:05 pm

You are probably asking yourself, “What planet is this woman on?  Time for homemade bread when I’m already a fulltime mom, have a full time job, am a wife and caregiver for others…um NO”.  I know we live in a world of instant breakfast, remote car starters, movies on demand and microwave meals but I’m here to tell you there is still time to make bread – Can you say Bread Machine?

My first bread machine was given to me about 10 years ago by my mom.  Sure, I used it a lot at first but then it was relinquished to the basement to sit with all the other kitchen appliances that didn’t get used on a regular basis (if it’s not used daily it does not get to “live” in the kitchen – sound familiar?). Before Christmas we were invited to a gathering with an auction.  To make a long story short I purchased a gallon of a home brew beer, thinking it would be great to share at the holidays.  Boy was I wrong, it tasted dreadful and I was stuck with a GALLON of this stuff.  Not wanting to waste the beer I went to the test kitchen trying to find something I might be able to make out of it.  While staring in my pantry I noticed I was out of bread….first light bulb!  I went down to the basement, found my bread machine and put it to work.  It did take a few tries but I came up with bread worthy of sharing and people were asking for whole loaves not just a slice!  My husband saw me using the bread machine and in his astuteness said “oh look we get to have homemade bread again”! Well, that is when the second light bulb went off and I thought yea, this thing sits on a shelf in the basement when it could be helping me make all types of delicious homemade bread!  Most bread machines allow you to make and bake the bread right in the machine (you can also set the machine to make/bake while you are at work) or you can do what I like to do.  I make the dough and then I remove it from the machine, knead the dough, form it into a loaf, let rise and then bake in the oven.  Yes, it’s a bit of extra work but it’s also fun!  This month Plumb’s Market offers coupons for bread as well as gluten-free flour.  Although you can’t make gluten-free bread in most of the older bread machines (like mine), I know there are some of the newer ones that have a setting for it.

I swear by my bread machine and this recipe that I’m sharing with you is just scrumptious…..what-you don’t have a bread machine?  Christmas has passed, bills are coming in from all the shopping that you did and you can’t purchase one right now?  No worries, you can register to WIN the bread machine by sending me your name and how to contact you to ramona@lowfatdivablog.com.

Check out the recipes for Chocolate Porter Beer Bread (all alcohol is baked away) and the other is for a wonderful Gluten-Free Breakfast Bread in the Bread & Muffin Tab                            Enjoy!

 

Skinny Fries January 27, 2012

I wanted to make some fries last night and decided to try a  couple of recipes that I found on Pinterest  Actually it’s two different recipes.  One I liked but had issues with the recipe because I ran out of stuff but the other one worked better and had a lot more flavor.  I’m not sure if any of you have tried Pinterest yet but it’s a great gathering spot to find recipes, books, house ideas, crafts, etc.  I have found it to be very addicting!  The recipes can be found on my “board” and by the people who I follow.  Enjoy!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

 

Skinny Fries Version #1 (posted by the family kitchen on Pinterst)

4 Russet potatoes

2 1/2 Tlb. egg beaters

1 1/2 Tlb. flour

2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Peel potatoes and cut into french fry size.  Cook for exactly 3 minutes in the boiling water.  Remove from water and place in colander to drain and cool a bit.  Spray a baking sheet generously  with Pam olive oil.  Mix all of the rest of the spices and egg  together in a shallow pan.  Add potatoes and toss to coat.  Arrange in a single layer that does not touch onto your baking sheet.  Spray the potatoes with olive oil.  Bake 450 degrees for 18-24 min.  Turn half way through and spray again with olive oil.

 

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Skinny Fry Version # 2  (posted by Zoom Yummy on Pinterset)

8 medium potatoes

2 egg whites

1 1/4 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/4 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 1/4 tsp. salt ( I used sea salt)

Peel, slice and cut potatoes into french fry pieces.  Dry your fries off before proceeding with the next step.

In a large bowl beat egg whites lightly.  Sin a small bowl combine all the spices.  Toss the potatoes into the egg whites and toss to coat all of them.  Sprinkle the spices onto the potatoes and toss around gently to coat.  Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed well with Pam Olive Oil.  Bake in oven 430 degrees for 40 min. or until tender.  Be sure to turn the fries every 5-7 minutes.  I also sprinkled more spices on the fries as they cooked (about 2 times ) and I also sprayed my fries with Pam during the baking so they didn’t dry out.

 

End Of Week 2 For Food Challenge

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 12:59 pm
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If you follow me on Face Book you may have already read my latest news regarding my Food Challenge.  If not here is a brief synopsis, I invited a friend over for Chinese (yes, only using what I had in my house) and I even made homemade egg rolls!  Well, my friend decided to drop a bomb on me regarding the challenge.  She told me the “challenge” for most people was to start in February (not sure who came up with that date – ok I stopped listening) and the challenge was for people to use what they have in the house, however, they could purchase staples like bread or milk!  I think she may have said more but I was already thinking about this news and how or if it would change things for my challenge!

I turned to my friend and said “what fun would that be if you could go out for staples? I think I will stick with the challenge at hand”!  At that point we laughed but when I looked over at my husband……he was not laughing 🙂  I reminded him so far he has been eating very well and we were going to be just fine.  I actually think we could make it for about 6 weeks before I need to go to the store and besides I reminded him, I have enough marshmallows in my pantry that could sustain a small country!

Have you started the food challenge?  If you are interested or would like to participate in the one my friend told me about that starts in February, let me know how things are going.  Would love to hear how you are doing, recipes you have come up with and how long you have lasted or think you will!

 

 

Pesto Spinach Fettuccine With Chicken And Peas January 24, 2012

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 5:30 pm
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What do you do when you find some green noodles in your freezer and are not sure what they are?  Why make fettuccine with pesto, chicken and peas!

If you have been reading the blogs lately you know  that I have been doing a “food challenge” with my friend.  The premise of the challenge is you must use what you have and not go to the store.  The one who holds out the longest before going to the store wins a delightful 4 course meal prepared by the looser of the challenge…..My mouth is already watering because I just know I can hold out the longest!!!

I found a small bag of green noodles in my freezer, yes, I knew were not moldy if that is what you were thinking and wanted to make something with them.  I found a bit more regular fettuccine noodles in the pantry and decided to whip up something.  I still had a package of pesto in the pantry so I felt I was part way there.  Found some chicken breasts in freezer and the only vegetables I have left are green beans and peas so it was definitely going to be a green dish!

I sliced up the chicken breast, seasoned them with some garlic and stir fried them in a small pan.  I boiled my noodles, keeping 1 cup of the pasta water to make my dried pesto with and added my frozen peas the last 3 minutes of cooking.  Whisked my pesto mix with the pasta water, added my noodles, tossed to mix, added my chicken slices and peas.  Hello goodness!  Ok, it was a bit of a green dinner but the taste was superb!

I found a single ciabatta roll, cut it in half, sprayed with olive oil and garlic.  Dinner was ready!  Only comment that was received from my husband was “are you still doing that food thing” ?  When I told him yes, he looked surprised and said the frig seemed full.   I told my husband to hunker down because I thought we could go at least another 4 weeks with the challenge.  At that comment I definitely got the deer in the headlight look!!

Enjoy my simple, quick but very delicious meal.  For questions/comments email me  ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

 

 
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