Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

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Each time a new year rolls around people make resolutions to lose weight. I’ve done this before, and last year actually had some real success. The secret to losing weight isn’t that difficult, more calories out than in. You don’t have to make huge dramatic changes to your lifestyle. Just get off the couch and do something that is going to elevate your heart rate, and eat less. For many of us that just means eating smaller portions. Also, don’t swear off any food. Eating several slices of pizza everyday isn’t good for you, if you have a slice on a Friday night it won’t derail your weight loss hopes. Sometimes you need to give into your cravings, in a controlled manner of course. For example, if you crave something salty, have some popcorn instead of a whole bag of potato chips.  If you crave something sweet, have one of these delicious cookies.

When I first tasted these cookies I was impressed with myself. You can taste the cranberries and the oats. You also can taste the orange, ginger and a hint of vanilla. All the ingredients stand out and work so well together. These cookies are sweet and delicious, and with only 92 calories per cookie, you won’t have to spend hours in the gym burning off those calories.  If you are concerned about those calories, my friend Jessie has 20 great ways to burn them off.

*If you are not concerned about calorie content, I would recommend adding some white chocolate chips to the dough. I haven’t tried it yet, but when I first took a bite I thought white chocolate chips would be really good in this cookie.

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OATMEAL CRANBERRY COOKIES
Yield: 18 cookies

1 1/4 c oats
3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
6 T smart balance, softened
2 egg whites
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange peel grated
1/2 T squeezed orange juice
3/4 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a separate bowl mix together oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger, set aside. In your mixer cream together Smart Balance and brown sugar until mixed uniformly. Add egg whites,  honey, vanilla, orange peel and orange juice. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Take your bowl off the mixer and stir in the dried cranberries by hand. Drop about 1 1/2 T of cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies look golden and crispy at the edges. ENJOY!

The Best Blueberry Muffins

I picked up a pint of blueberry muffins at the Farmer’s Market last week; last night I turned them into the most delicious blueberry muffins. These are the best blueberry muffins I’ve ever had; and as a bonus they are low in calories! Truly a delicious breakfast (or snack) without the guilt. Each muffin contains 169 calories, so don’t feel bad about reaching for seconds. I found the original recipe on Cooking Light’s website, but due to the availability of ingredients in the pantry I needed to adapt it to fit my needs. Below is my adaptation. ENJOY!

THE BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
Yield: 16 large muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin
160 calories (45 from fat)

1 2/3 c quick-cooking oats
2/3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c AP flour
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 c fat-free sour cream
1/2 c skim milk
1/4 c canola oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 c fresh blueberries
2 T granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place oats in a food processor; pulse until oats resemble coarse meal. Place in a large bowl, add flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats in bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.

Combine sour cream and skim milk, stir to thin out sour cream. Add oil add eggs; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in lemon juice. Gently fold in blueberries until just combined.

Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle batter with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.

Remove from pans immediately. Place on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*If using frozen berries, toss with 2 T flour to coat.

Beer and Lime Marinated Chicken Fajitas

Tonight’s dinner was these delicious marinated chicken fajitas. To be honest I did not measure my ingredients for my marinade, this allows you to season according to your flavor preferences. A quick stir-fry for the meat and veggies allows these fajitas to be done in a matter of minutes. I served my fajitas without a tortilla (to save some calories), black beans and yellow rice. It was a very filling meal with less than 245 calories! As a bonus, this entire meal comes together in less than 30 minutes.

BEER AND LIME MARINATED CHICKEN FAJITAS
123 calories per serving (Serves 4)

1 whole chicken boneless skinless chicken breast
cumin
seasoning salt
coriander
onion powder
garlic powder
lime juice
1/2 bottled beer

1 T vegetable oil, divided
1 medium size orange pepper
1/2 medium red onion

Trim chicken breasts of any fat and slice thinly. Put into a dish to marinate. Add seasonings, lime juice and beer. Stir. Allow to marinade 15 minutes. Thinly slice onion and pepper, set aside.

Heat wok over high heat. Add 1/2 T oil to wok, stir-fry onion and pepper for 5 minutes. Remove to separate dish. Add 1/2 T oil to wok, stir-fry chicken for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. Add onions and peppers to chicken and combine for 1-2 minutes. Serve as you wish. ENJOY!

Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles

Lately I have been on a whole wheat flour kick. I have been incorporating this delicious grain into many of my baking adventures. My palate has really matured over the years. I remember when I was little my mom almost always bought whole wheat bread; eating would make me gag. I was totally a cottage white bread little girl. My mother-in-law made me a sandwich on Sara Lee’s Whole Wheat Bread with Honey. This changed my perception on wheat bread, and now it is the only sandwich bread I buy.

Haven’t eaten wheat bread in awhile? Why don’t you start simple and have whole wheat pancakes or waffles. Wheat is an excellent source of fiber and iron. These waffles are delicious, in fact, my two year old ate an entire four square waffle herself. The entire time she was eating it she kept saying “Yummy momma, mmmm.” I don’t think I will ever miss waffles made with white flour. I am a changed waffle eater.

Top your waffle with sugar free syrup (extremely low in calories) and you have yourself a low calorie and filling breakfast.

HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT WAFFLES
from RecipeZaar

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
4 c buttermilk
pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon

Whisk together dry ingredients; combine oil and eggs in a measuring cup, add to dry mixture. Pour buttermilk in and whisk till all clumps and lumps are gone. pour 1/2 Cup of batter onto a hot waffle iron (for a 7 inches round), or 1 1/2 cups or ballet on a square iron (8″ by 8″ makes 4″ squares).

Oh the Pesto-bilities!

Open-faced Mediterranean Tuna Rice Cake sandwich. WOW what a mouthful–at least it is a delicious one. I currently have an open jar of Classico -Traditional Basil Pesto sitting in my fridge. I opened it the other night to use some in my Pesto Couscous.

Last night for supper I wanted a high protein, low calorie meal. Immediately I thought of tuna, tuna is a lean protein packed with omega-3 fatty acid (which is great for breastfeeding moms). Alex doesn’t care for tuna; actually he doesn’t like it at all, so I knew this tuna sandwich would be all mine. I was going to make my traditional tuna salad which consists of canned tuna and a little mayonnaise, but when I opened the fridge last night I saw the jar of pesto sitting there staring at me. I’ve never had tuna and pesto together but thought it sounded not too bad. Well I was right, it was better than not too bad, it was frickin’ awesome.

I served my tuna on Quaker White Cheddar Rice Cakes. This makes a nice low calorie snack or meal. I tried to take some pictures of this deliciousness, but the pictures did not do justice to the amazing flavor or this sandwich.

Check out my recipe for Pesto Meatballs if you need any other ideas for integrating pesto into your meals.

OPEN-FACED MEDITERRANEAN TUNA RICE CAKE SANDWICHES
1 can lite chuck tuna packed in water, drained
2 T Classico Basil Pesto
1/2 T lite Mayo
2 Quaker White Cheddar Rice Cakes

Combine tuna, pesto and mayo. Divide between two rice cakes. Eat as an open-faced sandwich. Eat both yourself or share with a friend. Enjoy!

Calories for one open-faced sandwich: 186.5

The Culinary Review

Last night I stumbled upon this awesome website, thank you for the Google Reader recommendations. This website offers recipes. Each recipe includes the price breakdown per ingredient, per serving and the sum of the entire recipe. It also does a nutritional breakdown of the recipe for each ingredient, each serving and for the recipe as a whole. I foresee this website being a great resource. Whether you are on a tight food budget, or just want to eat healthier, this is a must see website.

Other perks of the website include cooking help. There are many topics included from how to cook a roux to how to infuse vodka. There are many other helpful topics that you may enjoy. Check it out soon!

Biggest Loser Blueberry Pancakes

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? I’ve heard this statement countless times, and I know it to be true; but I still found myself skipping breakfast. Not any more. I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Starting the day with a healthy meal helps curb my cravings for non nutritious food throughout the day.

My sister is a super fan of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She recently purchased The Biggest Loser Cookbook. Check out Amazon, they have tons of Biggest Loser goods. My sister sent me a recipe for better for you blueberry cakes. I omitted the blueberries because I did not have any on hand, the pancakes were still delicious and very filling. I made my pancakes into two 1/4 c cakes instead of four 1/8 c cakes. Two scrambled eggs, half an orange and a glass of V8 juice made a delicious breakfast with less than 350 calories.

BIGGEST LOSER BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

1/2 c reduced fat buttermilk
1/2 c whole grain oat flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! 0 calorie spray
1/2 c fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

Makes 2 (4 pancake) servings

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, flour, egg white, baking soda, vanilla and salt. Whisk just until blended. Stir in the blueberries. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until it is hot enough for a spritz of water to sizzle on it. Briefly remove the pan from the heat to mist lightly with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! spray. Return the pan to the heat. Pour the batter in 1/8 cup dollops onto the skillet to form 4 pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the tops and the bottoms are golden brown. Flip. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 pancakes total.

Serve immediately with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray and syrup if desired (syrup is additional calories.. I used sugar free low calorie syrup.. just 35 calories per 1/4 cup which is plenty!)

If you only want to make 1 serving at the time, the batter will keep in your refrigerator for up to 3 days

Per serving: 140 calories, 8 g protein, 20g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (less than 1 g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 687 mg sodium