Monday, April 29, 2013

More Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers from The Lean Green Bean

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Burgers with Cranberries on a blog I like to read called The Lean Green Bean. I have used lots of Lindsay's recipes over the past several months and have never been disappointed.  You may recall her Tuna Quinoa Cakes.

This one is marvelous!  It is a combination of some of my very favorite gluten-free ingredients and is basically a very tasty veggie burger... but with a real flavor twist in the cranberries.

We actually first tried these burgers some time ago.

I had The Captain mix up the ingredients and form the burgers...

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And then we baked them for 20 minutes before turning them over...

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 and popping them back into the oven to cook for 10 minutes more.  They get crsipy on the edges and I love that crunch!

We decided that one each would make a great dinner... I had mine on a bed of mixed Spring greens and sliced cherry tomatoes, topped with feta cheese....

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and The Captain chose to have his real burger style on a whole wheat roll with mustard and processed cheese.

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I enjoyed another one, cold from the fridge, for lunch the next day, also on a green salad and it was just as good.

Check out the recipe and instructions at The Lean Green Bean, and please be sure to tell Linday I sent you!  I bet you already have the ingredients on hand, just as I did, and can make these right away for yourself and your family, too.

Here is the Nutritional Information for the burgers:

Per serving of one burger.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 176; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 32g; Fat 2g; Fibre 7g.

Have you made veggie burgers? 

Do you have a link to a favorite veggie burger recipe you would like to share?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Low Carb Microwave Flax Pizza Crust... not ONLY for My Gluten Free and Paleo Friends

I really like pizza…. well who doesn’t?

But since I have given up grains and dairy, I haven’t had it very often.

I have made pizza with cauliflower crust, and it is pretty darn good, but somewhat cumbersome and time consuming to put together.  And when The Captain puts one of his favorite store-bought frozen pizzas into the oven for dinner, the whole point of it is that it is tasty and QUICK… so I have been looking…

And after doing some experimenting with flax, which has become my go-to non grain, I have come up with something really easy and really good.  I make this crust in the microwave oven in a couple of minutes, then pile on my chosen toppings and put it into the oven for 7 or 8 minutes. 


Low Carb Microwave Pizza Crust
Makes 1 serving
  • 5 Tbs egg white
  • 3 Tbs milled flax
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs (optional)
  1. Whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl and add the other ingredients.
  2. Mix well and pour into 9 inch microwave safe dish. 
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  5. Remove the crust from the microwave oven and loosen from the dish by running a spatula underneath the edges.
  6. Place the crust on a baking sheet and cover with your choice of toppings.
  7. Put in the preheated oven and bake for 7 or 8 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven; slice and serve.

Per serving, crust only.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 204; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 9g; Fat 11g; Fibre 5g.

UPDATE for Smart Points followers:
Per serving, crust only.
Weight Watchers SP = 5.
Calories 204
Protein 14g
Carbohydrate 9g
Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 1g
Sugar 0g
Fibre 5g

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I have made this a few times now with lots of different toppings, but I usually start with a smear of tomato paste, and then a sprinkle of Italian herbs including oregano and basil. I like mushrooms, sliced very thinly, white onions, red peppers and spinach

I have also made Hawaiin Pizza with ham and pineapple chunks, and on others  I have used pepperoni.  Leftover roasted veggies also make a great pizza topping!

If you eat cheese go ahead and add a bit… makes the taste more like a pizzeria pizza.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausages

This is one of those little, simple, food ideas that I just get so excited about sometimes!  I have never been a fan of pork sausages…. you know those little ones, about 3 or 4 inches long and about 3/4 inch wide?  I am not sure if it is because I don’t care for the spices in them or if they are just too greasy… even when very well done – even crunchy.

But The Captain does love pork sausages and I feel a little bad sometimes not buying them for him so last night I decided that I would try making my own for breakfast today. 

I took a package of ground pork from the freezer and left it in the fridge overnight to thaw and when I weighed it was 545 grams -  19.2  ounces so I decided I would make 5 round patties from it…. each one weighing 109 g or about 3.8 ounces.
I gave some thought to my choice of seasonings… selecting a few things that I knew from experience would enhance the pork… I opted for paprika, sage, salt, black pepper, and garlic, of course!

I simply put all the ingredients together in a bowl, and mixed them well with my hands and formed my patties… cooked them in a non-stick pan with no added oils and they were ready in about 15 minutes.

They smelled so good while cooking… garlic don’t ya know!  and they were delicious.

No artificial colorings or preservatives; no grains or other binders.  Just ground meat, garlic and spices.
Now I know the nutritional information is going to make my Weight Watchers buddies gasp a bit…. but if you like you could eat just half of one, or even make them smaller to begin with. 

I really just want to share the idea, and the ingredients and method with you. You can easily adjust the seasonings and servings to the amount of meat you have. Maybe next time I will make them smaller and shape them like traditional sausage links... but this is how I made them up this morning.

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Pork Breakfast Sausages
Makes 5 servings of 1 sausage
  • 545 g ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Mix all the ingredients together with you your hands in a large bowl.
  2. Shape into 5 patties and place in a non-stick skillet over MEDIUM heat.
  3. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes then flip and cook another 5 minutes, till cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and serve.
Per serving of 1 patty.
Weight Watchers P+ = 10.
Calories 314; Protein 19g; Carbohydrate 2g; Fat 31g; Fibre 0g.

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All ingredients in bowl, ready to mix with freshly washed hands!

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Place in pan over MEDIUM heat to cook.

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You can see the fat in the pan that comes from the ground pork so there is not need to add oil to the pan for cooking.

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They will be nicely browned when done.

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The Captain had his with rye toast, an egg, and some grapefruit.

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No toast for me!

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I put my egg on top of the sausage instead of toast.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cauliflower Rice

There has been a lot of buzz already about this ‘Paleo rice’ made with cauliflower…  I don’t know who came up with the idea so I don’t know who to credit.  But it is brilliant! 

And from a Weight Watcher’s perspective, it is one of those easy versatile ideas, that we should all have at the ready and pull out to use over and over and over.

I first discovered this ‘Cauliflower Rice’ when I was on my Whole30 Paleo journey, in January of this year.  And I was blown away by the taste and the great texture, and wondered why I had never discovered it before!

I know that not everyone is a fan of the flavor of cauliflower, but I can honestly attest to the fact, that, prepared this way, it is very mild, and takes on the taste of the other foods that you eat with it.  If any of you have had 'Faux Mashed Potatoes’ or ‘Popcorn’ made with cauliflower,  you will know how what I mean.

And this dish is so versatile… you can prepared it Asian-style with some onions, garlic, slivered peppers, and enjoy it as fried rice, adding some eggs, or sliced port, or turkey or chicken for protein.  If you are eating Paleo or soy-free you can use Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce… if gluten-free you can  use a Tamari sauce… or if you don’t have any food restrictions, use good old soy sauce.

Or you can make it plain... If I am making up a large batch, and not sure how I will use the leftovers, I don’t add the sauce… then it is more like a plain rice that can be used with chilis, stews, curries, and so on.  You can add other veggies like mushrooms, or zukes or carrots, or none at all and just cook the cauliflower.

The amount you have will depends on the size of the head of cauliflower. If it yields more than you need, and you are going to have leftovers, you can either store the raw, riced cauliflower in the fridge and cook it another day, or you can go ahead and cook it all, and then store the cooked leftovers in the fridge for a few days. Then you can heat the cooked leftovers in the mike if you like, to put together a quick meal.

The Captain really likes Cabbage Roll Casserole, from a recipe given to us by an old friend years ago. Yesterday I made one, leaving out the rice. At dinner time, I cooked rice for The Captain to have with his, and I quickly heated up some leftover plain Cauliflower Rice to have with mine.

It is is simple. It is tasty. It is low calorie and low fat.. and cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie that is very good for us, nutritionally.

Jan 11 Cauliflower Paleo Rice 008

Cauliflower Rice
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil for frying (optional)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce, Tamari or Coconut Aminos (optional)
  1. Remove the outer leaves from a head of cauliflower and discard them.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and pat it dry.
  3. Cut or break it into large chunks.  Discard the tough centre core.
  4. Place the cauliflower pieces into your food processor and process on low speed until it is chopped roughly into large rice-sized bits. Discard or reprocess any large chunks that might be left.
  5. If you are using coconut oil, place it in large skillet over MEDIUM heat, otherwise lightly coat skillet with non-stick spray.
  6. Add cauliflower and other veggies and stir-fry till cooked through. This  may take 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, if using, part way through cooking and stir into the veggie mixture.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.
Per serving, with coconut oil.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 99; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 4g; Fibre 6g.

From a WW perspective, the only thing we are counting here, is the oil, so if you don’t use it, you are looking at a zero points plus dish.

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Place the cauliflower chunks in the food processor.

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Stop the processing occasionally to make sure that the pieces don’t get too small.

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Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet and add the veggies.

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Stir frequently as it all cooks.

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The rice, cooked and plated..

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and with sliced, baked chicken breast added.

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Here served with shrimp and coconut sauce.

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Here served with stir-fried chicken and veggies.

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And another serving of chicken with veggies.

Have you tried this yet?

What is your favorite way to eat cauliflower?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Avocado and Egg Boats with Kate’s Flax Toast

I am so excited about both of these ideas, and although I cannot take credit for either of them, I am eager to share them with you.  This morning I put them together for such a fun and different breakfast… fully satisfying, quite colorful, and absolutely nutritious and delicious.

You can not ask for more than that… although I know you will want more of this!  And I am especially delighted that The Captain loved it and asked that I make it again soon.

Let me tell you first about the baked avocado and egg… I saw a picture of this dish earlier this morning when I read spunkysuzi’s latest blog post.  I had a perfectly ripe avocado on the counter, and I knew instantly that this would be a fun way to use it.  And so simple.  Basically all you do is scoop the seed out of the avocado and crack and egg into it and bake it till the egg is cooked. 

I had never thought to eat a cooked avocado before and it is truly wonderful!  I didn’t have a recipe to follow, just the picture for inspiration so I made a recipe up and I will share it with you.

And my toast?

This is such a great idea, especially if you are looking for something grain free or gluten free. It is a mixture of milled flax, nutritional yeast, egg whites and baking powder.  It is cooked for a couple of minutes in the microwave oven, and then toasted.  This idea was originally given to me by my friend Kate, and we have gone back and forth playing with the recipe between the 2 of us and now that we have it down, I want to share it with you, with Kate’s approval, of course.

Baked Avocado with Egg
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 2 tsp bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Wash the avocado and then cut it in half.
  3. Scoop the seed out and discard it. (Or better yet, plant it!)
  4. Place the 2 pieces of avocado in a baking dish, cut side up.
  5. If the cavity is not large enough to hold an egg, scoop a bit of the flesh out and put it in a small dish to bake alongside.  Do this for each half of the avocado.
  6. Crack a fresh egg into each half, and put any excess egg white into the dish with the avocado flesh.
  7. Sprinkle a few pieces of cooked and crumbled bacon on top, if you are using.
  8. Place the avocados and the additional dish into the oven and bake till the eggs are done to your liking.  I baked ours for 15 minutes and the eggs were still quite runny so adjust your time accordingly.
  9. Remove from the oven and place each half on a plate. Serve with toast for spreading. Serve the additional avocado and egg white alongside.
Per serving, with 1 tsp bacon bits
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 149; Protein6 g; Carbohydrate 4g; Fat 13g; Fibre 3g

Kate’s Flax Toast
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 Tbs milled flax seeds
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes (nooch)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  1. Put the egg whites in a small bowl and whisk with a fork till they get a bit frothy.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and stir.
  3. Pour the mixture into a microwave cooking dish that has been lightly coated with a non-stick spray…. the dish could be anywhere from 7 to 9 inches in diameter.
  4. Mike on HIGH for 2-1/2 minutes.
  5. Remove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  6. Gently run a spatula around the edges of the cooked mixture to lift it out of the pan.
  7. Cut it in half and place the pieces in a toaster.
  8. Toast lightly for a minute or 2… watch it closely as it is thin and will burn easily.
  9. Remove to serving plate.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 72; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 3g; Fat 4g; Fibre 2g
(I will save the other half and probably snack on it later, slathered with Almond Butter and mashed banana.)

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Wash the avocado and then cut it in half.

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I like to use a spoon to scoop the seed out.

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Place the avocado pieces and extra avocado/egg whites into a baking dish and cook till the eggs are done to your liking.  You can sprinkle with bacon bits before or after baking.

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You could take the time to spread the mixture into a nice circle before cooking if you want.

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After it has cooked and cooled, use a spatula to remove it from the dish.

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I like runny eggs….

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My plate with Kate’s Flax Toast.

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The Captain’s plate with rye toast.

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The baked avocado and egg mixture spreads quite nicely.

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That is some of the excess baked avocado and egg white on my toast.

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And runny egg added… Mmmmm.

Have you ever tried these avocado and egg ‘boats’?

Have you eaten cooked avocado before?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guilt-Free Chips

Do you ever crave a salty, crunchy snack?

Do you love potato chips but feel guilty about eating them?

Here are some ways you can still get that crunchy, crispy chip texture, and salty flavor, without the guilt!

I have been asked several times over the past few weeks about the different veggie chips that I make and talk about so I decided to share them with you.  I cannot take credit for all of these ideas though so I am going to post links to the original recipes and instructions…. I just really want to share the ideas with you here.

The very easiest are these Eggplant Chips. I like to slice them just under 1/4 inch thick and then bake them.  Spritz them with a bit of olive oil and salt before baking.  They are really easy and very good!  The dark spots on the baked chips are where I sliced them a bit thin but they are still tasty, they just don’t LOOK as good.  I know there is a pesto dip recipe there too, which I plan to try after my cilantro grows a bit more!

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I make Sweet Potato Chips the same way.  I don’t have a mandolin slicer, so I get The Captain to use his more-developed-than-mine patience muscle to slice through the thick sweet potatoes.  The key is get thin and uniform-in-thickness slices. 

If you can manage to leave them alone till they cool somewhat, they are even tastier.  Sometimes I have them with ketchup…Mmmmmm.

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Gabby’s Carrot Chips are honestly somewhat fiddly, and they don’t yield a lot, but they are really tasty so if you have some time and patience, give them a try.  The addition of the cinnamon works!

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Oh, and I almost forgot…. Kale Chips are so easy and so tasty, too.  Just wash and sry the kale leaves, spritz with a bit of EVOO and salt  or nooch, and bake them for 15 minutes. I like them with a bit of homemade ketchup too!

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About a year and half ago, I picked up a little microwave crisper for veggies, and did a post about it.   It makes truly awesome veggie chips so if you have access to one of these inexpensive little devices, you can make your chips in a couple of minutes in the mike and completely fat free, if that appeals to you.  It is especially great for potatoes and sweet potatoes but I also made zuke chips with it and they turned out really well.

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I know that Kierston, who writes CaNdyFiT, also has a microwave crisper… a different one than I have and every time I walk by the display in the store, I think I should have one!  As a matter of fact, last year she did a review/giveaway about the time I first started reading her blog. 

There are a couple of other good looking chip recipes out there that I want to try… Gina’s Butternut Squash Chips look wonderful… and I have heard that beet chips are lovely too.

These veggie chips make good snacks and side dishes… and they are gluten-free, paleo, vegan, Whole30 friendly… use healthy oils, have tons of vitamins and antioxidants and are truly delicious.

What more could you want?

Oh, and for those of you who do eat white potatoes, of course we know those make splendid chips, too!

Do you make your own chips?  What veggie is your favorite?