A Cooking Whirlwind

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This past weekend I was overcome with the desire to cook.
What brought this on?
One of the things I want to learn to do before Jacob and I start to have children is cook. I started cooking after we got married, following basic recipes. Some were good, some I will never be making again. Now, I not only want to learn how to cook, but learn how to cook healthy, nutrient rich foods. I want to be able to make the best food possible for my family (when we decide to start one, in the future), and a wide variety of foods at that.
I have been a fan of Bethenny Frankel for a while, and cooked quite a few of the recipes that she features on her website. Everything always turns out absolutely delicious. She uses natural ingredients, and makes substitutes for the unhealthy ingredients often found in classic dishes. The most important thing is everything is always FULL OF FLAVOR yet good for you. So last week I decided to order her book "The Skinny Girl Dish." It arrived in the mail Friday, and I instantly became inspired. Not only was it full of awesome recipes, but it also explained how to whip up easy, healthy meals on a regular basis. AND she explained the formula she uses for giving desserts a healthy makeover.
So this weekend I started cooking. Since I received her book in the mail I have made 10 of her recipes, and each one turned out AMAZING. I asked my husband what his favorite thing has been since my cooking frenzy began, and he couldn't decide on just one.
Here's a look at our delicious Saturday:
Whole Grain French Toast 
4 Egg Whites
1 Tsp Real Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Real Maple Syrup
4 Slices Whole-Grain Bread
Strawberries for Topping (My hubs wanted powdered sugar, but I went with just a tad of real maple syrup)
These were so satisfying that 1 filled me up, and I felt great after.

Hearty Salad (I have to admit, this salad didn't follow a particular recipe in the book, I was just inspired and started throwing together what I had in the kitchen)
Baby Spinach Leaves
Shredded Carrot
Crushed Turkey Bacon
Chicken
Slivered Almonds
Feta Cheese
Egg White
Dressing: Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice from 1/2 Lemon

Roast Chicken 
1 Roast Chicken, 3lbs
Salt and Pepper
1 Yellow Onion, Cut in Half
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Stalk of Celery 
1/2 Lemon
2 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
2 Sprigs Fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Melted Butter
I also made mashed sweet potatoes (AMAZING) and almond green beans to go with the roasted chicken. Probably one of the best meals I've ever made. 

And of course you cannot forget dessert:
Moist Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze
1 1/4 Cups Oat Flour (I used Whole Wheat Flour)
1 Cup Raw Sugar
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Tsp Real Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 
Peanut Butter Glaze:
1/2 Cup Raw Sugar 
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Soy Milk (I used Skim)
2 Tbsp Creamy 100% Natural Peanut Butter (There should be NO added sugar)
2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 
2 Tsp Real Vanilla Extract
This cake was so moist and rich in flavor, I was completely blown away.
There were many more delicious recipes I cooked throughout the rest of the weekend, and I found myself feeling really good and satisfied after each one of them. NEVER overly stuffed.
So I took what I had learned and began making my own healthy recipes. I came up with a yummy recipe for banana nut muffins the other day that I will share soon.
My husband and I didn't each a lot processed food before, but there is always room for improvement. I have recently made tweaks, such as switching to 100% natural peanut butter (some peanut butter claims to be natural, but you have to read the ingredients), switching to whole wheat flour instead of white, and switching from packaged oatmeal to steel cut oats. 

I know I haven't been blogging a lot, and I'm hoping to step it up a bit for the rest of this month. Things are getting busy though, and it looks like we will be moving out of our place by the end of this month! More details on our Italy move coming soon :)

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