Healthy Lunch Obsession

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– wasa light rye crackers (broken up)
– laughing cow light original  cheese spread
– cut up mini cucumber

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Dulce de Leche Fondue Recipe

since I can have one treat on Saturdays during lent, I’ve decided to make dessert. I have a fondue pot, but I’ve only ever done chocolate, cheese, and broths in it. I’m excited to finally try a caramel-type fondue. I found this recipe in a slow-cooker recipe book, but it went much, much faster in an actual fondue pot. below is my altered version of the Pillsbury recipe.

DULCE DE LECHE FONDUE

Ingredients:
– 1 13.4 oz. can dulce de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk)
– 1 T rum
– 1 T milk

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients over a low-heat setting on the fondue pot, until smooth.
2. Eat while warm, but careful not to burn it. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Notes:
– good dippers: green/red apple, chips, rice crispy treats, angel food cake, pound cake, brownie bites, cookies, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, etc.

Greek Yogurt Souffle Recipe

key lime Greek yogurt souffle

you’ve probably seen me posting souffles lately. well, I’ve been making them pretty regularly, in an attempt to perfect a recipe. it was a while back that I discovered this recipe on Pinterest and I pinned it and there it sat for some time. I’m not sure what made me want to try it, but about two weeks ago, I gave it a shot for the first time. at that time, I followed the original recipe (find it here on Jules Food…) exactly. but the more I made it, I started to deviate slightly. below is the version that I ended on and I think I am happiest with. it’s a nice little treat that looks way more impressive than it is difficult. it’s quite easy, in fact. a good first souffle if you’re just starting off. and hey, it’s almost sugar-free (except the sugar lining and what sugar already exists in the yogurt) and on top of that, there’s the added bonus of a bit of protein. not to bad for a dessert.

HEALTHY GREEK YOGURT SOUFFLE RECIPE

Ingredients:
– 1 c Greek yogurt (about 2 1-serving containers)
– 3 T all-purpose flour
– 1/8 t salt
– 1/2 t pure vanilla extract (optional)
– 3 eggs (room temperature is preferred)
– 1/8 t cream of tartar
– 1/4 c Splenda
– granulated sugar
– 1/2 T butter (cold)

Directions:
1. Move the rack in your oven to the lowest height. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Prepare 6 medium or 8 small ramekins by buttering the inside walls and bottom with real butter. Add a spoonful of real sugar to each ramekin and roll the dishes around so the sugar coats all of the butter-covered surfaces. Empty excess sugar back into your sugar container or the trash. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet, for ease of use, so that they do not touch one another.
3. Separate the three eggs, being careful not to get any yolk in the whites.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Greek yogurt, flour, vanilla (optional), salt, and egg yolks. Mix on medium speed until well-combined.
5. In another bowl for the stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Mix with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
6. Add Splenda to egg white mixture. Mix on high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. In two to three parts, fold the egg white mixture into the yogurt mixture, taking care to keep as much of the air contained as possible. Continue until just combined.
8. Disperse souffle batter amongst the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven to peek during baking.
9. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and serve hot. The ramekins will be too hot to handle, but the souffle will be at a edible temperature within the few minutes it will take to move the ramekins to plates for serving. Wait any longer and the souffles will fall considerably.

Notes:
– I like to use Dannon’s Light & Fit Greek yogurt.
– If using flavored yogurt (not vanilla or plain), opt for the pure vanilla extract. It isn’t really needed if you’re using a flavored yogurt.
– The stronger the flavor of yogurt, the stronger the taste of the souffle (the souffle will be less strong than the yogurt). Flavors like coconut are not very strong, however flavors like lime are.
– I liked Dannon’s Light & Fit Greek yogurt: Banana Cream Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Raspberry best.
– Extra souffles should be refridgerated. The will fall considerably, of course, but the cold texture is similar to an airy cheesecake and is still desirable, just in a different way.

Homemade Frosted Animal Cookies

Happy Birthday to my Mom today! whose favorite cookies include frosted animal cookies! but really, who doesn’t love frosted animal cookies? but they’re soooo bad for you! I mean, really, look at the package next time you’re in the grocery store contemplating whether or not you should pick up a bag (or six). but it’s not so terrible for you when you know what ingredients are inside after you’ve homemade them yourself (which is not to say that these are healthy – they are not. they simply have less preservatives and chemicals). this recipe is a bit of a pain because it’s tedious and time-consuming, but if you have a partner, like I did (thanks, mom!), it goes a little faster! I’m telling, you though, SO WORTH IT!

FROSTED ANIMAL COOKIES
(original recipe here from Christylacy’s blog “It’s Nummy Num“)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (I used cake flour)
1/4 T baking powder
3/4 t fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 T skim milk
1/2 T pure vanilla bean paste
2 containers of white chocolate fruit coating (or melt-able discs)
pink gel food coloring
rainbow nonpareils

Directions:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together on low-speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla bean paste.
2. In another bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
3. On low speed, add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in two to three parts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Mix until just incorporated (this is essentially shortbread and you can over-mix it).
4. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Refrigerate overnight.
5. Prepare two to three cookie sheets with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
6. Roll-out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 3/16-inch thick. Cut out several small shapes and immediately move to the prepared cookie sheets. The dough will warm to room temperature quickly and the small shapes will become difficult to move. If this happens, refrigerate dough for 15 minute to a half an hour, or until workable once more.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the sizes of your shapes, the bake time will be a little longer or shorter. I didn’t have small cutters the first time I attempted this recipe and cut 1-inch squares instead. this took about 13 minutes for the edges to become golden.
8. Allow cookies to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once the cookies have cooled, the coating process can begin.
9. Melt white chocolate according to bag or container directions. Color half of the white chocolate pink with gel food coloring, using a little at a time until the signature pink is reached.
10. Working quickly, dip the cooled cookies into either white or pink chocolate, doing your best to cover the entire cookie (I left a corner un-coated because it was easier). The idea is to have half of the cookies coated white and half coated pink. Move coated cookies back onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
11. Every few cookies, sprinkle with colored nonpareils. If you wait too long, the white chocolate will harden and the sprinkles will bounce off and resist sticking.
12. Once the white chocolate has completely hardened (about 30 minutes), cookies will be ready to be removed from parchment paper.

Notes:
I found that I liked the way these cookies tasted better the next day (after they’d sat overnight). they also tasted better if I ate them refrigerated. so, I took to storing them in a gladware container on the bottom shelf of my fridge. they lasted about a week and a half this way. though I don’t know if they will last longer than that – we ate them too quickly! this recipe made about 80 1-inch by 1-inch cookies and can be easily doubled. I plan to try different colors and shapes as the year progresses :]