Salmon burgers with sriracha aioli

So I followed this recipe with a few modifications.

First of all, I had some issues with the aioli, mainly because I realized last minute that the mayo I had in my fridge was both: a) not a light version and b) past its expiration date. I decided to make it more of a plain Greek yogurt aioli than a mayo aioli, but I did use 1 tbsp of the mayo (I decided to play it risky with the expiration) to get a bit of that tangy flavor in there.

Anyway, the sriracha aioli (yum):

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Also, I decided to make it more of a salmon burger/sandwich, with one sandwich as one serving, rather than sliders, so just double the ingredients on each and a slightly bigger bun, and I used these things:

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I split up the salmon into slices of the size recommended in the menu, but I prefer to grill within foil to make things easier/less messy and keep things a bit more moist. I did them for about 4-5 minutes on each side, which I normally do when doing full fillets, and I think it got slightly over cooked, but still good (the cooked version doesn’t look pretty, but tastes good!):

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Sandwich prep:

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And finally, nutritional info (which is a bit less than what’s listed on the site, I think mainly due to me using the one 100 cal bun rather than two 90 cal buns):

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Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!

So after making the pumpkin cheesecake cookie sandwich thingies, I had a lot of pumpkin, and some cream cheese, leftover. So I’ve been doing quite a few pumpkin recipes this week, and expect there will be more to come soon, because I’ve still got a fair amount of pumpkin left! (It was a big can)

Pumpkin cheesecake ramekins

First off, to use up the ~4oz left of cream cheese, I made individual-serving pumpkin cheesecake ramekins (I googled for single serving recipes, and found this one that’s technically three servings, but individually baked and portioned, so close enough).

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly (of course using my leftover Philadelphia 1/3 less fat, while the recipe gives a few cheese substitute options), using a real egg (not flax), and I used Lyle’s golden syrup (3 tsps) as my sweetener. I made this very late at night because I was suddenly inspired right before bed that I would want to have this as a snack at work the next day, and so I think I was pretty tired and made a few clumsy goofs (like I poured the vanilla way too fast, and it overflowed the teaspoon and went into the mix; I was able to absorb some up with a paper towel without affecting the rest of the mix but not totally sure how much vanilla wound up in the mix), but overall it worked out well. My other clumsy moments only involved spills on my counter and floor, not in the recipe. The trickiest part was balancing the tray with the water, especially once it was hot. Anyway, photos of progress and results below (batter in bowl, batter in ramekins on water tray before baking, ramekins after baking, and once half eaten):

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And nutritional info:

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Pumpkin french toast

Next up, pumpkin french toast. Now – a confesssion: I’d never actually made french toast at all before this! I was fairly embarrassed about that because I’ve made a lot of pancakes in my day and french toast is the other very common similar breakfast dish that everyone makes, but for some reason I went many many years under the mistaken belief that I didn’t like french toast! I think it was one of those things where the first time I tried it, it wasn’t very well made, and I just wrote it off from that point, and only a year or so ago tried some really, really good french toast and realized the error of my ways.

So anyway, pumpkin french toast is a pretty indulgent twist on french toast for my first try, and while I think I still ought to try a real, full egg version, I ended up finding this slightly lighter recipe using egg whites only. And I tried it two ways: in the pan, and as a baked french toast casserole thing, more based on this method, though sticking with the ingredients from the first recipe.

So when I did it in the pan, it was a bit more of an impulsive decision, and I was working with fresh bread, whereas I planned for the baked version a bit more in advance and let the bread get a bit stale first, though I still just used plain old sliced whole wheat bread for both (Pepperidge Farm) rather than any lovely fancy baguette or challah. And I only used two slices rather than the 3 suggested in the first recipe.

Anyway, here’s the progress/results for each version:

The mix:

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The prep for the pan version:

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The baked casserole ramekin version, before and after baking:

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I topped the pan version with just a bit of powdered sugar, and when I made the baked version I remembered I have this maple caramel sauce, so I used that as the topping. I liked the baked version a little better, and I think that wasn’t just because of the sauce.

Nutritional info (for both versions, because of using the same ingredients in spite of different cooking and presentation method:

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Pumpkin muffins

Next up, pumpkin muffins. This was another easy, quick blender recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie, and the only things I changed slightly were: 1) using Lyle’s golden syrup instead of maple or honey (and using table sugar for the dry sweetener), 2) using Speculoos Cookie Butter instead of almond butter, and 3) COMPLETELY UNINTENTIONALLY doubling the oats, just because I was doing it by weight on a food scale and misread my label’s grams for 1/2 cup as grams for 1/4 cup.

I used cookie butter because I’m not a fan of almond butter, and while I thought about peanut butter, I actually have had this jar of cookie butter in my pantry for ages that I never get around to eating although it is very good. I think it made the recipe somewhat chocolatey. I think it made it sweeter as well, and I had planned on reducing the sugar accordingly, but forgot entirely about that plan until I got to that point on the ingredient list, after already adding the sugar. And the oats mishap was obviously my biggest faux pas and I’m sure totally changed the consistency of the muffins, so I may have to try again for real to see if they come out more fudgy as described. But they’re not bad as normal muffins, just have somewhat less of the “flourless” texture this is going for (still pretty fudgy in the middle, but quite dry on top).

Photos of the mix and the final muffins:

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This made 10 (probably would have been 9 without my doubling the oats), and the calories are up a bit due to that mistake, but the cookie butter is actually quite similar to the calorie content of almond butter (though probably not as nutritionally dense), and the resulting nutritional info is:

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Pumpkin based oatmeal

And lastly (for now), pumpkin baked oatmeal, also from CCK. This is another that’s simple and straight forward so I didn’t make any significant changes – I used Lyle’s golden syrup instead of maple or stevia. And I again topped it with a bit of maple caramel syrup. This was yummy and satisfying, although about double the calorie content estimated on that site – I think due to my choice of sweetener.

Progress and results pics:

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And nutritional info:

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Pumpkin oatmeal cookie sandwiches with cinnamon cream cheese icing filling

Whew, that title’s a mouthful!

OK so this was inspired by this recipe for “oatmeal pumpkin creme pies” except I read it a while before actually planning to make it, at the same time I was looking at a lot of pumpkiny type recipes, and then when I went back to it, I was like “wait, weren’t the cookies themselves pumpkin? Am I confusing this with another recipe I read?” but I couldn’t find what I had been thinking of so I ended up just separately looking up recipes for pumpkin oatmeal cookies and cream cheese icing filling. So I ended up using the cookies from this recipe (but not the glaze) and the icing from this recipe (but not the cupcakes) and doing a mishmash.

Also, I only made half the recipe for each. Which was fine, except I always find it a little tricky to use half an egg when halving a recipe that calls for just one egg. Oh well. Here’s the step by step process and results:

The cookies:

Dry ingredients:

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Wet ingredients, at various stages of evolution (butter and sugar blended, then incorporating egg/vanilla, half of the dry ingredients and pumpkin, then all dry ingredients and pumpkin):

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Balls of dough laid out raw, then at the 12 minute mark(for the second time in, I only did another 10 minutes instead of another 12):

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I thought I took a photo of them once done before icing, but apparently not. You can use your imagination.

The icing, at the cream cheese/butter phase and once done:

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And here’s the icing process:

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And the completed, wonderful cookie sandwich!

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Now, these are a calorie bomb if eaten as a full sandwich, but not quite so bad if just eaten as a half sandwich (one cookie with icing). Which was how I intended to take them as a serving for myself (after serving friends the full sandwich of unhealthiness), but once I had one iced cookie, whoops, I accidentally inhaled another one. C’est la vie. I don’t do this every week. It was for a friend’s birthday.

So here is the nutrition info, which is separated by each cookie and one serving of icing (shows as 32 servings because I just copied over the info from the recipe pages, without adjusting for half, but still the same for each individual one:

The cookie:

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And the icing (using 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese):

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And, as I said, I ate one half-sandwich then another, but haven’t actually attempted eating it as a sandwich yet. As pretty and appetizing as it looks, the icing is fairly soft and gooey, so I’m imagining it will be a messy and challenging process, but worth it!

Chicken black bean soup (in the crock pot)

After a week’s vacation it seems like forever since I’ve done this! But anyway, back to normal, and hopefully healthier, eating (generally).

So although it’s still pretty hot outside, I saw this recipe and just got in the mood for some hot soup. With a few variations: first of all, I only made half of the recipe. Secondly, there is some interesting commentary/debate in the post and comments in the recipe link on whether or not onions work in the crockpot. The original post says no, but some commenters say they’ve never had an issue. I’ve never had an issue either, and I decided to go with onions on this one, and had that replace the scallions, but I still used some onion powder. So, I don’t know what the issue with onions is supposed to be, like if their flavor just doesn’t come through and I negated that experiment by also using the onion powder, but I’ve done crock pot dishes with onions sans onion powder before and also not had an issue, so, I don’t know. It tasted fine to me. Also, I would normally saute onions a bit before throwing them in the crockpot, but this time I was lazy and threw them in raw (though at the start of the process, not at the end as is called for if using scallions). I was also very lazy and threw the chicken in frozen rather than thawing first, which I have never, ever done before, but that also turned out fine. Finally, I skipped the extra green chilies, and the avocado/lime/sour cream. Very glad I skipped the extra chilies, because – I don’t know if it was the red chili powder or the chilies in the tomato can, but this turned out pretty spicy anyway!

Anyway, besides all those little adjustments, I followed the recipe relatively closely. There’s not much to adjust in the method when it comes to throwing everything in a crock pot. I really liked the element of pureeing half the beans at the start, to have that as part of the broth – nice consistency and flavor. Anyway, here’s my step by step process and results:

Black beans and chicken broth, pureed in the food processor:

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My chopped red peppers (about 140g):

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Everything in the crock pot, including onions (about 130g):

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Chicken removed and shredded, then back in the crock pot, with added cilantro (I also had to add a fair amount of salt when I taste tested at this stage:

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And my final, single bowl serving:

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If split into 4 even servings (keeping in mind I only made half the recipes, and the proportions of veg/chicken I used), the nutrition per serving is:

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It was relatively filling as is, but I also ate it with some toast, as I normally do with soup when eaten as a meal.

Tilapia tacos

So I had some tortillas left over from making chicken black bean burritos, so was looking for another tortilla-type recipe, and I made these cilantro lime tilapia tacos. I followed the recipe relatively closely, with a few exceptions.

Firstly, I only used one jalapeño, because I can find the spiciness a bit much sometimes, and I removed the seeds (also, handling just that one left the skin on my hands burning for the rest of the evening, which hasn’t happened to me before, but I’m going to be more careful with jalapeños in future!).

Also, my supermarket didn’t have any fresh cilantro so I used Gourmet Garden cilantro paste, which doesn’t sound nice but works out fine. But, I only used it in the cooking process and not as an extra garnish. I also used from-the-bottle lime juice for cooking, and no lime wedge garnish or avocado. And I knew I had tomatoes in the fridge so didn’t bother to buy any, but it ended up that I had less than the recipe called for, so I was a little skimpy on that as well.

Lastly, the recipe says to add the onions, then the fish, then the tomatoes and stuff, and my eyes somehow skipped over the “add the fish” part which I didn’t realize until it said “start to break up the fish in the pan” and I was like “wait, when did the fish go in the pan?” So I laid the fish on top of the tomatoes and stuff, which I think made things slightly more difficult for me, and I ended up slicing it up a bit once already in the pan, to help move it around and get it cooking easier, but I think the end result was the same as it would have been if I’d been more organized.

So here are my recipe-in-progress pictures, with the vegetables in the pan, the fish added/sliced, and everything once the fish was all flaked up and mixed in:

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And because I also had red cabbage left over from the chicken black bean tacos, I threw some of that in too (I had planned to do the same sort of slaw as that recipe but then decided – meh!), so below, in the pan and then in the tortilla before wrapping:

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Apart from my goof with the order of adding the fish, this is a quick, easy recipe that took only about 20 minutes total.

And I actually only had 3 tortillas left, and this makes 4 servings. I could buy more tortillas but then you end up in an endless cycle of having to find recipes for tortillas, or having to throw them away. So for one of the leftover servings I had the “brilliant” idea of using even more of the red cabbage leftover (a head gives you so much!) in the style of a “lettuce wrap” but of course, the raw red cabbage is much stiffer and I’m useless at ripping off a single leaf without breaking it to bits (I’m actually not great with real lettuce wraps, either, but this was a whole new level of fail), so I did more like “red cabbage scoops” which worked out better than it sounds.

Here’s my nutritional info for 4 equal servings as I made it, keeping in mind I used less than called for in terms of peppers/tomatoes, and no avocado, but threw in the red cabbage:

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I think given what my version cut out from the original recipe, my servings are probably considerably smaller than the recipe calls for, but it leaves me more room for dessert, so! (I should add that I generate all of these nutritional-facts things by inputting my ingredients in the recipe builder on myfitnesspal.com)

And again, I used my 70 calorie tortilla thingies, and when I did the “cabbage scoops” instead, that adds just another 30-ish calories.

Single serving interpretation of banoffee pie

So I recently made banoffee pie, and had some ingredients leftover (as mentioned in that post, I didn’t use the entire can of caramel) so decided to try out a slightly simpler, smaller version!

I crushed up half a graham cracker into a small ramekin (not bothering with a proper crust with butter, so saving some fats and calories there). This was just by hand rather than in the food processor, because I didn’t care about even chunks:

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I mashed in some banana (I’m sure this would have been better with fresh, but I tend to freeze bananas when they’re going overripe faster than I can eat them, to throw in smoothies, and I only had a frozen one on hand, so I let it thaw and then it was a bit gross/mushy, but oh well):

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Added in a bit of the caramel (45g), and I still have some leftover so I can do this again! I was thinking I maybe should have tried reversing the caramel and banana, so the caramel would be mashed with the graham and the banana spread on top, so I definitely need to try it again just to test that out:

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And with cream added. This was the most labor intensive part of the process, because I did have to whip the cream again, but that’s still no more than a few minutes. I used 1/4 cup + 1/4 tsp vanilla, and only used half of what I ended up with (but it’s hard to use a hand blender on any less than 1/4 cup):

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And here’s a cut out view once partially eaten:

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Yum! Not quite as amazing or the same consistency as the real deal (definitely softer/more puddingy without the solid crust base), but a very nice close substitute, for a single serving with less than 5 mins effort.

Update: I did do it again, with the caramel mashed into the graham, and the banana layered on top of that – and I still used frozen banana but this time just sliced it up frozen rather than thawing first, and overall the consistency was better.

And nutritional info (with half a graham cracker, 50g banana, 45g caramel, and half the 1/4 cup whip:

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Happiness is a square of rocky road

Rocky road is something I only discovered recently, and let me tell you, this is a crowd pleaser! I brought it into the office and people went nuts over it. This is something that is super duper quick and easy to make, and everyone loves it, so I recommend this if you need to bring desserty/snacky things to a potluck! It is also super unhealthy and a calorie bomb, so definitely something I would rather share than end up eating all myself.

I used this recipe but every recipe for rocky road I’ve seen uses the same basic formula. The first time I made this, I added walnut pieces, but someone at work was allergic to walnuts so this time I made it without so she could try it. I didn’t add any other optional add ins. I was also thanked for not adding nuts by people who claim to not like nuts but I swear the walnut pieces last time were so small that they weren’t even noticed as walnuts, just added a bit of extra texture.

So I used the Digestives that already have dark chocolate on them, not necessarily for the added chocolate boost, but because it was available in the 200g box whereas the plain Digestives were only available in the larger boxes, and I didn’t want leftovers (the added chocolate boost is just a bonus!). Here they are crushed up in a bag:

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And here’s what (approximately) 100g of marshmallows looks like:

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And here’s my chocolate, butter and syrup melting on the stove, early on and nearly done (this process is only about 5 minutes, on quite low heat):

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With the Digestives and marshmallows added (you can only see the marshmallows, but the biscuits are in there!), and spread in the pan with paper lining:

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After two hours or so in the fridge, with a dusting of powdered sugar, cut into 16 relatively-even squares, and ready to serve!

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And gone in minutes of laying them out for grabs!

Here are the (terrible) nutrition facts for 16 even squares:

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When I made them with the walnuts, they were more like 300 cals.