Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mad Scientist Cookies

Have you ever woken up ready to completely recreate a recipe? I mean a recreation so severe, so PROFOUND that you'd have to be absolutely inescapably mad to try it?

I found a lovely recipe for banana cookies quite some time ago. I'm afraid I don't even remember where I got the original from but it's been years since I first baked them. And to be honest the first time I tried them, while they were GOOD they weren't necessarily GREAT. They were more "good, but could be better." They needed a little something, but I'd never really gotten around to experimenting with them. This morning however, knowing that we needed to stay healthy after yesterday's "junk food" I woke up craving cookies. Naturally. So there was really only one thing to do... redefine cookies as they're known.

This cookie began with an absolutely mad concept. I wanted a cookie with no sugar, no flour, and no eggs. No kidding. From there I just went a little crazy. My son stood behind me shaking his head as I tossed things into the mixing-bowl, laughing at the number of baking "rules" I was breaking. After giving them PLENTY of room for spreading-out on the cookie sheets, I tossed them into the oven, crossed my fingers, and prayed that I wouldn't be spending the afternoon cleaning the oven.

What came out was a moist, perfectly round little ball of utter bliss. These are SO moist, SO rich, and so DELICIOUS! I had to be a little mad to create them, but YOU would be mad not to try them. They're seriously that good. Even better, they're good FOR you! Just look at those ingredients. Healthy, awesome, perfectly acceptable for breakfast... Mad Scientist Cookies!

You'll need:
1/2 cup fresh dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax
3 large bananas
2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup carob-chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Take the dates, sunflower seeds & flax, and run through the food processor until everything is ground together. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas, then add in the ground date-nut mixture. Slowly mix in the oats, and then the remaining ingredients. Roll into 2-Tablespoon size balls, and place on unprepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes... they'll still be soft, but that's okay they're done. This makes ABOUT two dozen wonderful, delicious, absolutely MAD cookies. Go ahead, try them... I dare you.

Psst... for anyone interested, I just calculated the nutritional content for these babies. For TWO 2Tbsp cookies, you will get about:
341 calories
16.85g fat
8.9g saturated fat
4.1g polyunsaturated fat
2.g monounsaturated fat
491mg potassium
61g carbohydrates
8g fiber
10g sugar
9g protein

1% Vitamin A
16% Vitamin B6
5% Vitamin C
11% Vitamin E
8% Calcium
25% Copper
11% Folate
14% Iron
30% Magnesium
97% Manganese
6% Niacin
8% Pantothenic Acid
27% Phosphorous
6% Riboflavin
10% Selenium
29% Thiamin
18% Zinc

31.2mg Phytosterols
1633mg Omega-3
2490mg Omega-6

WOW! To quote my kids, "I think I'm gonna have to make these... a whole bunch more times!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teenage Lunch Review

This review is for my son... who despite my best efforts to keep him a sweet little boy who only eats all-natural unprocessed foods, has become a famished teenager - with a teenage appetite for all types of convenience foods.

When he saw that Hamburger Helper now has Gluten-Free varieties, he BEGGED me to pick up a few boxes. My husband, who somehow managed to grow up eating this boxed "stuff" nearly every day of his youth, stood beside me gleefully loading the grocery cart with box after box as I stood by horrified. How on EARTH could this be healthy? But sometimes it's easier to let starving teens & nostalgic husbands have their way than to refuse something just because I can't see the nutritional benefit. So the Hamburger Helper came home with us. Many, MANY boxes came home with us.

Now the funny thing is that my guys almost NEVER eat ground-beef... and they like ground turkey even less. I know it's been at least a couple years since we've bought anything at all resembling hamburger, so I was truly curious to see what the guys would come up with to mix into this. Boy was I surprised.

Todays lunch was prepared by my son, who is ever so proud to have created a "healthy version" of this particular boxed monstrosity. One box of Hamburger Helper mixed with two cups of frozen broccoli-mix AND two cups of shelled edamame turned what could have been a dietary nightmare into something that even I have to admit... wasn't bad! Oh I'm sure I have enough sodium floating around in my veins to raise my blood pressure at least a zillion points, but all in all it wasn't the nightmare it could have been. And that fake-cheese? Well in a guilty I-shouldn't-be-enjoying-this-because-it-must-be-awful-for-me sort of way, it was actually kind of tasty!

Tomorrow's lunch will be raw. Pure, raw, cholesterol & box-free raw foods. But for today, at least the boy gets to pretend he's "normal" ...whatever that may mean.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oddly Balanced

I am working right now, on jump-starting my weight loss efforts. Which means that for the next month or so I will actually be tracking calories & key nutritional information. I don't do this often, but since it's been a year since I last tracked my meals it's definitely time to see how I'm doing. My next few food-blogs will include nutritional information as I work on brushing up on balancing diet-friendly meals.

One thing I learned years ago was that foods don't need to make sense together, to be perfect companions. Todays lunch is an example of foods that balance each other. I have half a red grapefruit, two tablespoons of raw honey, and two full-fat Babybel minis with my giant cup of Irish Breakfast tea. (The kids have additional calories, this is Mama's weight-loss lunch.) While it may look like a random selection, it's actually quite balanced. More than that, it TASTES great together! The honey gives me carbs & sugar for energy, the cheese has fat & proteins for that "fullness" sensation, and the grapefruit rounds it out with plenty of fresh flavor as well as my vitamins A, C & a little fiber. This isn't an everyday lunch, but when I'm craving a nice soft rich cheese which would otherwise be too rich for my tummy AND too high-calorie to justify, this is an excellent way to balance a rare treat.

Edit: After counting up my calories for the entire day, I came up short in protein & overall carbohydrates. To complete my day, I added a full cup of fresh soybeans to lunch. My nutritional totals for the day look like this:

Calories: 1410 (goal: 1400-1700)
Fat: 55g (goal: 38-66g)
Carbohydrates: 208g (goal: 191-276g)
Protein: 57g (goal: 60-149)
Calcium: 127g (goal: 100-150g)

Not bad for a first-day tracking!