Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Now Eat This!

This week I started out my first step into an attempt to really change my eating habits.  Like many people, I tend to eat little to nothing during my work day, which then finds me ravenous by the time I get home.  At that point, I'd love to do nothing more than eat a big bowl of pasta and then call it a night.  I've always been health conscious and tried to big up the veg, eat lean protein, and stay away from too much fast food.  It's still hard though, and I think like many people, I want to shed some weight and still feel well-rounded and satisfied in my eating.

I can't say that everything I did took a lot of cooking, but I did make some amazing food.  Monday night I whipped up some mouth-watering chicken curry stir fry over buckwheat udon noodles.  Talk about delicious!  It made for some nice lunch leftovers for work.  I also discovered my new favorite appetite busting, low calorie fix:  Wasa crackers, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, and turkey.  This came in under 200 calories and left me full for hours afterwards.  As you can see from my pictures below, I also added some asparagus to give it color and because I happen to love them!



Now to the trial and error recipe of the weekend.  I tried Rocco Dispirito's Low-Cal Brownies that are made with black beans.  First off, I think he has modified the recipe since he published the book, because everywhere you look online, the recipe has changed to include chocolate syrup and a little sour cream.  He might have been responding to people's review of them, since they are pretty weird.  I'm not really a fan, but I suppose you can't complain when you know off hundreds of calories off of a previously favorite sweet treat.  The texture is very strange.  In some ways this is a pasty fudge (that you have to refrigerate), with nice chocolate flavor, but none of the mouth feel that you're used to with a brownie or fudge.  I think that in the future I'll splurge on the real thing, but just balance out my other calories to compensate. 


If you'd like to give them a try, the recipe is below.  

Rocco's Low-Cal Brownies

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • ¾ cup egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie sugar-free chocolate syrup, such as Walden Farms
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream, such as Breakstone's
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 24 packets (84 g) Truvia or 8 tablespoons granulated Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  • Cooking Directions: 
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

    Combine the beans, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and egg substitute in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
    Add the chocolate syrup, sour cream, butter, Truvia, and vanilla. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.

    Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with soft batter clinging to it.

    Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then cut into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

    ***Let me admit that I actually changed a few things.  In the place of the egg substitute, I used three whole eggs. Also, I used 3/4 cup of Agave (as listed in his cookbook) instead of Splenda or Stevia.

    Like I said, they were pretty odd.  You would never find me in a position where I wouldn't be able to stop eating them, which I suppose is a real benefit of this recipe.  I don't know that I'll be drastically changing the recipes on each of my favorite dishes.  I think I'll stick to eating less of the fattening foods and eating more of the good stuff, like fruits and vegetables. 

    *For more weekend cooking, go to Beth Fish Reads.  You'll find all sorts of great food-related posts and recipes!  

    15 comments:

    1. Well, the brownies LOOK really good, like fudge. I always find it's easier to just lesson the amount I indulge in then trying to find something that's low calorie or low carb that I can eat tons of. It usually isn't very good. I'd rather eat something REALLY good once in awhile.

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      1. Yes, I agree. I wasn't thrilled w/ the brownies & threw them out. LOL.

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    2. Hmm, black beans in brownies, huh. I love your low cal snack, I'm going to use that. And Laughing Cow cheese is a favorite of mine too.

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      1. Laughing Cow has saved my life! :)

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    3. The fudge/brownies DO look really good. But it does not sound like they taste that great, so I will probably skip it. I really commend you on trying to Eat better during and after work. It is not easy.

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      1. Yes, eating better all day AND after work is a better choice. I'm still working on it.

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    4. The brownies definitely have eye appeal, and that would make it extra disappointing when you don't have the mouth feel. I'd rather have a really sinful treat once a month than a meh one every day.

      The cheese, crackers, turkey and asparagus looks like a great snack.

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      Replies
      1. Yes, I have to work on the treat once in awhile bit. That's the trick now.

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    5. LOL Now there's a backhanded compliment for you--the real benefit was that it was easy not to eat them! ;)

      My acid reflux has been acting up this week, so I've basically been living off of yoghurt, bread, and rice. Fuuuuuuuun.

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      1. I hope you're feeling better! Seriously, it's the job. Right? :(

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      2. It started when the job started, so... probably. :(

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    6. Your low calorie snack looks delicious and nutritious. We love asparagus here, too. Yum.

      Those "brownies" do look good... but I'm with you and would rather eat the real thing with serious portion control.

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      1. The snack is yummy, but like you said, the brownies are a pass & I'll just splurge every once in awhile instead!

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    7. Very creative! My recipes are from an Anne of Green Gables cookbook

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