Archive | February, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake-Pops

14 Feb

Today is Valentine’s Day, and Steve and I have absolutely nothing planned. There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that we were never all that into Valentine’s Day. Who needs the crowds at the restaurants and prix-fixe menus? I mean, it’s not like we won’t do anything – he’s cooking dinner and I made these cake pops for dessert. Obviously, these are in no way healthy. I can’t even spin it in any way whatsoever. But as I’ve mentioned before, i think balance is an important aspect of life. If you exercise regularly, and eat healthy, whole foods most of the time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself now and then. And most of the people that feel guilty and give themselves grief about having that piece of pizza or cake, are the ones that shouldn’t because they take such good care of their bodies. Being a crazed health freak isn’t healthy either! So after work tomorrow, relax with the one you love (or by yourself), and enjoy one of these outrageous Oreo cheesecake pops. The banana soft serve and wheat berry pudding will be there tomorrow!

Oreo Cheesecake-Pops – inspired by Brown Eyed Baker’s oreo truffles
Yield: about 16 pops
Ingredients:
1 package Oreos
1 8 oz. Block of cream cheese, at room temp
1 bag of good chocolate chips (1 used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 semisweet melted together)

Put the entire package of Oreos in the food processor and process until they are crumbs (you will have to do this in batches if your fp is smaller, like mine). Take 3 cups of the Oreo mixture and place in a large mixing bowl with the cream cheese. Using a hand mixer, mix the cookie crumbs and cream cheese until fully blended. Take some of the mixture in your hand and roll into a ball the size of a golf ball. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat until mixture it gone. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Before taking out of fridge, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 10-15 seconds until completely melted. Stick your lollipop stick in the top of your balls and one at a time, dip into the melted chocolate. Twist the stick back and forth over the bowl to ensure all of the excess chocolate comes off. Gently dip the pop into the topping of your choice, if you wish (i used crushed nuts). Place stick into the styrofoam. Repeat until they are all dipped and place back in the fridge for another 45 minutes before eating.

*store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge

Creamy, chocolatey, goodness. I went to Michael’s over the weekend and picked up a 30 pack of these cake/lollipop sticks for $3.99. The piece of styrofoam was $3.99 too, and I’ll be able to use it multiple times.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

8 Feb

I learned a very valuable lesson late last August, that I will forever carry with me.  After a few particular hardships I endured while trying to find canned pumpkin at the end of summer (when I get bitten by the every-recipe-must-include-pumpkin bug), I realized that once November hits I need to stock up for the following year.  Canned pumpkin has a long shelf life, so I now have a cabinet dedicated to pumpkin.  No more weird looks from super market employees or awkward showdowns with the elderly for me!  This came in especially handy earlier this week when I got a crazy craving for pumpkin mac and cheese.  I call it a crazy craving because I’ve never actually had pumpkin mac and cheese before.  Anyway, after some very minimal research and additions/changes, this is what I threw together.  Don’t be intimidated, the sauce cooks up even faster than the pasta.  In fact, I almost overcooked the pasta while staring into the pumpkin sauce’s slow, bubbling, lava-like movement.  Quite hypnotizing after a long day!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pasta of your choice (preferably rotini or shells)
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I used low-fat)
  •  1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp goat cheese (or other soft cheese)
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to directions on the box.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the EVOO in a large skillet.  Add the milk and flour and whisk really well so the flour doesn’t clump up.  One by one, add the remaining ingredients to the sauce, stirring often.  Drain the pasta, and pour desired amount of pumpkin sauce over.  Mix and serve immediately.

Perfection.  The next time you want pumpkin, give it a try – even if you’re short on time!  I’ve already had it twice this week.  Long live canned pumpkin!

Vegan Chili

4 Feb

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  Being that I don’t eat poultry and don’t really care for pork unless it’s slow cooked and pulled, it’s really important to incorporate lots of meat free meals into my week so I am not eating red meat all the time.  That’s why I was more than happy to fulfill the request of finding and perfecting a recipe for vegan chili.  Of course the search began and ended at my go-to, one stop shop for all things vegan; Oh She Glows.  I added and changed a few things, but overall her recipe was amazing.  Dare I say that I enjoyed it more than regular Chili?

Vegan Chili – adapted from Oh She Glows

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 tsp EVOO

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 can mushrooms, drained

1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with the juice

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn

3 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp oregano

salt, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional, but adds more protein and omega’s)

* I wanted to add some chopped up eggplant, but the one I bought 3 days ago was getting fuzzy already (thanks Stop and Shop)

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with the EVOO.  Cook onions, garlic, carrots, and peppers for about 5 minutes.  Add everything else, stir real well, cover, and let simmer for 30-35 minutes.  That’s it!

Perfect for meat eaters, non meat eaters, and people with high blood pressure like *somebody* I know who is reading this!  Steve quickly un-veganized this by adding shredded cheddar to his bowl, but considering he is a full on carnivore and asked still asked for seconds, I’m considering this a major win..