Category Archives: relatively healthy

Carrot Cake TO GO: Version 2.0

Before we get to cooking, I need to get something off my chest. I have been watching this season of American Idol. *shame* And I like it. *double shame* And it’s making me like Jennifer Lopez. *weird* Whew. I’m glad we shared that moment. Now I can be my true, embarrassing self.

On to more important things. This past weekend I auditioned for Recipe To Riches with my Carrot Cake TO GO bars. I didn’t make the cut. Cray, I know. Tear. Sob. Whatever. But that means that I can share my perfected recipe with all of YOU!

You may remember a similar recipe that I made this past summer. Back then it was a portable trail mix with lots of carrot-y goodness packed inside. But I thought that the folks at PC might be looking for something a little more universal, so after about 15 versions, I ended up with this recipe. It’s basically a fusion between a granola bar and carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, filling, and satisfies my sweet-tooth craving (which can be ferocious at times). It is also moderately health, so you don’t have to go run 5 k after eating a bar. Although if you do “run” they would be a perfect take along. Do people bring snacks on runs? I’m not all that familiar with “exercise”.

This recipe makes about 24 bars, depending on how large you’d like them. You’ll need:

  • 6 cups large rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 9 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisins
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 150 grams white chocolate discs

In a small pot over medium heat combine your oil and 6 tbsp honey and heat until gently boiling. Pour over the oats in a bowl, and toss until evenly coated. Spread oats onto a large parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Your oats should be golden brown.

Spread your carrot across 3 large parchment lined baking sheets, and bake at 300 for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. This will steam some of the extra moisture out of your carrots so your bars hold together.

Let both of those ingredients cool, while you soak your raisins in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.

In a LARGE bowl toss together your granola, carrot, raisins (drained), sugar, oat flour, flax, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together your remaining honey, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and toss until everything is throughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and press your bar mixture into it to a height of about 1.75 cm. If your sheet is too large, you can just create an edge with your fingers instead of spreading the mixture all the way to the rim of the tray. If your tray is too small, you can bake the rest of your mixture in a small cake pan. Try to keep the height uniform across the bars.

Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes until the bars are firm with a bit of give to them. Let them cool completely before cutting them up. I like to use a bench cutter for this (It makes me feel manly. Why I want to feel manly, I do not know.), but you can use a kitchen knife if you don’t have one.

When you’ve cut your bars, put your chocolate in a zipper seal bag (If you are afraid of plastic leaching into your food, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler. I’m a rebel) and melt it in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Squeedge the chocolate around before adding more time. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, because there is no going back.

Snip a small bit from the corner of your baggie and drizzle chocolate back and forth on a diagonal across the bars. You don’t need much, the bars are pretty sweet on their own. You can even skip this step if you want.

Now since I have made so many versions of this recipe, I have a few tips for you. If you want to cut back on the processed sugar, you can sub your corn syrup for pureed dates. This will make the bars a little firmer (and in my opinion less delicious), but it is lower cal. You can also add more flax, and less oat flour if you like, but again, the bars will taste slightly different. Have fun experimenting, and happy baking!

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Filed under cake, pop culture, relatively healthy, squares

Citrus Almond Meringues

Holiday feasting can get to be a bit much by the time December 25th rolls around, so sometimes it’s nice to keep dessert a little lighter. These meringues incorporate seasonal citrus flavours, and make the perfect airy end to a heavy meal. Meringues are inexpensive, easy, and super low calorie. You might say they’re the new “super food”. This recipe  makes 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • peel from 1 large grapefruit and 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (equal to about 4 lg eggs, but I buy them in the carton)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup super fine sugar

Peel your fruit with a vegetable peeler so that you get just peel without the pith. Finely chop the peel, or pulse it in a food processor until you have tiny pieces. Scatter the chopped peel on a parchment lined baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees.

On low heat, toast your almonds in a small sauce pan tossing them frequently. Finding the perfect balance between deliciously toasted nuts and burnt garbage can be a challenge, so watch them carefully. When your almonds are slightly brown, and a nutty flavour is wafting from the pan, take them off the heat and put them in a bowl to cool. Don’t leave them in the pan or they will continue to cook (and will probably burn).

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. In a metal mixing bowl, combine your egg whites and cream of tartar and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add your vanilla, and whip on high, adding the sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue to whip until very stiff peaks form.

When your meringue is stiff, slowly fold in your dried citrus peel (reserve 1 tbsp) and 1/2 cup of your toasted almonds. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and drop 1/4 cup spoonfuls of your meringue mixture onto it. You can create oval shapes by filling a large spoon with meringue and scraping it off with another spoon, or just drop haphazard dollops. The great thing about meringue is that it will hold its shape perfectly without expanding, so you can be creative. Check out these Meringuebows for inspiration.

Sprinkle the rest of your toasted almonds and citrus peel on top and bake your meringues in the middle rack of the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can vary the time depending on how crunchy or chewy you’d like them.

Feel free to indulge in 2 or 3 (or 10) of these without feeling guilty. They’re basically air, right? I mean, you’re probably burning calories just chewing them. I’ll be sharing another meringue recipe this week, so keep your eyes peeled. Happy baking!

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Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours, relatively healthy

Pantry Raid: Mediterranean Stew

After a rough day, I was craving something warm and comforting tonight, but my fridge was looking a little bare. With the ingredients I had on hand, I came up with this deliciously flavourful Mediterranean stew. No word of a lie, this is probably my favourite recipe that I’ve ever created. I’ve been meaning to come up with a recipe for my carb-free friends Lori and Cathy for a while, so ladies, this ones for you! Sorry the photo is such crap, I was in a hurry to eat my delicious stew!

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 canned artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 can (540mL) President’s Choice Blue Menu Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste

If your chicken isn’t cooked yet, go ahead and start with that. Season them with a little salt and pepper. They’ll be ready by the time you need to add them to the stew.

In a medium sized pot, heat your olive oil on high heat. Finely chop your shallots, and add them, your garlic, and your cherry tomatoes to the hot oil. Reducing the heat only slightly, toss in your herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until your tomatoes are seared and beginning to deflate.

If you are persnickety, now would be a good time to remove the skins from your tomatoes. I just left mine in there.

Add your olives and artichokes into the pot, along with your canned soup. Use whatever brand you like, as long as it is good quality, and not creamy. Look for something that contains little other than roasted veggies.

Cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces and throw it into the mix. Add your grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and let the stew simmer over medium heat until it thickens up a bit and the flavours develop (at least 15 minutes).

For a quick meal, serve this alongside a slice of crusty bread, or over a bowl of noodles. It will make enough for 2 large servings plain, or 4 over pasta. It is so delicious that I may have to shop for these ingredients intentionally from now on.

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Filed under relatively healthy, savory, super simple

Food Crush: PC Cran/Raz Greek Yogurt

I go through phases where I become so completely obsessed with a food that I eat it to death. Right now, I am majorly crushing on: President’s Choice Cranberry & Raspberry Fruit on the Bottom 2% Greek Yogurt

I have been on a greek yogurt kick for the past few months, but this stuff totally kicks it up a notch. It’s indulgently rich and creamy, and the fruit bottom topping adds the perfect amount of sweet to  the tart yogurt. It’s also less expensive than a lot of other greek yogurts, so bonus there.

It is particularly delicious with a little bit of warm fruit compote on top. Just take some ripe fruit, chop it into little bits, and simmer it on the stove with a few spoonfuls of sugar. When it thickens up a bit, let it cool and spoon a few mouthfuls over your yogurt. The contrast between hot and cold is unbelievable.

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Filed under new flavours, relatively healthy