Chocolate Chickpea Cake

So I’ve been a chocolate freak for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I’m sure that if I ate as much chocolate as I wanted, I would be double my weight.  So while stumbling around Pinterest, I found a gluten free chocolate cake recipe that I just HAD to try.  So I present to you, my version of Chocolate Chickpea Cake.  This recipe is basically sugar free as well, since I used Stevia instead of sugar.  I didn’t substitute anything for the powdered sugar on top, however it was just a dusting, so I have put this in the category of “healthy eats”.  Yes, yes, it has chocolate chips, but we ALL need some chocolate from time to time.  So, here we go!IMG_5040

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10-18 packets of Stevia.  I used 10, because I didn’t want the cake to be too sweet.  Next time I’ll probably use 12-14, just to see.
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

To begin, preheat your oven to 350.

Step 1: Start by melting down your chips in a double boiler if you have one.  If you don’t have one (I don’t) two small pots, one slightly larger than the other, will do.  Add 1-2 inches to the larger of the 2 pots, and bring it to a slow, rolling boil.  Add the 1 1/2 cup of chips to the smaller of the 2 pots, and allow the chips to melt, stirring every so often, until the mixture is smooth.

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Step Two(ish)- While you’re waiting, for your water to boil, add your chickpeas and eggs to a large blender.  Add your sugar/Stevia as well, and blend together.

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Step Three:  By this time, the chocolate should be melted.  Spoon the mixture together, making sure to add your baking powder and vanilla to the mix.  Blend again!

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Step Three and a Half:  I had leftover chocolate chips, so I threw those in the mix too!

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Step Four:  Grease a 9 inch round baking pan.  I forgot to tell you to set your oven to 350.  You should go back in time and do that.  I’ll go back now and add it to the beginning.  Ok done.  Pour the mixture into the round baking pan, tapping the edges until evenly distributed through the pan.

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Step Five:  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  I added a second round pan with water to the bottom racks, in hopes that it would help prevent my cake from cracking.

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Step Six:  Remove the cake from the oven, running a butter knife along the edges to help pop it out later.  FYI, I just leave mine in the pan, because it ALWAYS cracks.  Dust with powdered sugar when cooled.  Slice, and serve!

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As a side note, my cake still cracked.  I’m working on figuring out how to prevent that.  Until then, happy snacking!

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Steps Without The Pictures

Step 1: Start by melting down your chips in a double boiler if you have one.  If you don’t have one (I don’t) two small pots, one slightly larger than the other, will do.  Add 1-2 inches to the larger of the 2 pots, and bring it to a slow, rolling boil.  Add the 1 1/2 cup of chips to the smaller of the 2 pots, and allow the chips to melt, stirring every so often, until the mixture is smooth.

Step Two(ish)- While you’re waiting, for your water to boil, add your chickpeas and eggs to a large blender.  Add your sugar/Stevia as well, and blend together.

Step Three:  By this time, the chocolate should be melted.  Spoon the mixture together, making sure to add your baking powder and vanilla to the mix.  Blend again!

Step Three and a Half:  I had leftover chocolate chips, so I threw those in the mix too!

Step Four:  Grease a 9 inch round baking pan.  I forgot to tell you to set your oven to 350.  You should go back in time and do that.  I’ll go back now and add it to the beginning.  Ok done.  Pour the mixture into the round baking pan, tapping the edges until evenly distributed through the pan.

Step Five:  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  I added a second round pan with water to the bottom racks, in hopes that it would help prevent my cake from cracking.

Step Six:  Remove the cake from the oven, running a butter knife along the edges to help pop it out later.  FYI, I just leave mine in the pan, because it ALWAYS cracks.  Dust with powdered sugar when cooled.  Slice, and serve!

As a side note, my cake still cracked.  I’m working on figuring out how to prevent that.  Until then, happy snacking!

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Spaghetti Squash With Tomato and Basil Turkey Balls, Stuffed With Fresh Mozzarella

So BL and I are trying to embark on healthy eating.  To date, the diets I’ve tried include (but are not limited to):

  • Weight Watchers…It works for me, but god it’s a pain in the ass
  • South Beach Diet…NO THANK YOU
  • Whole30…Lasted 5 days before I almost killed someone
  • Cabbage Soup…Nope Nope Nope
  • Atkins…Gotta love that bacon

And there are probably more that I’m forgetting.  BL refuses to give up cheese and I’m hell-bent on keeping my chocolate (and I’m partial to the cheese as well) so we have just been trying to keep in clean, simple and healthy.  So I bring you tonight’s meal:

*forewarning, this is not an easy, 1 step recipe.  It took me time to craft and create, so if you’re looking for a quickie, this may not be right for you.  I tend to make large batches of the vodka sauce, and freeze it for later use.

Spaghetti Squash With Tomato and Basil Turkey Balls, Stuffed With Fresh Mozzarella

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What You’ll Need:

For the “spaghetti”

  • 1-2 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • Olive Oil

For the Balls (Make 8 Balls)

  • 1lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil, diced to taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella, cubed into eight 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

For The Sauce

  • 3-5 Shallots
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon mixed with hot water and fresh basil
  • 1 32oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pint light cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 sprig scallions
  • Fresh Parsley

So now that you’ve assembled all of your ingredients, let’s get started.  Begin by setting your oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the squash in half long way, and scrape and clean the seeds.  Generously brush the squash with the olive oil, and place cut side down on a covered cooking sheet.  I prefer my Silpat Silicone Baking Mat but you can also use tin foil to cover the cooking sheet.  Set in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.

Now let’s work on the sauce.  I prefer a chunkier sauce, so I have a tendency to slice in thick chunks.  By all means, if you want a less chunk sauce, tiny dicing!  First, add a few turns of olive oil to a large pot.  Add diced shallots and crushed garlic and cook over medium-high heat until shallots are tender.  Turn heat to high and add vodka, turning slowly around the pan.  Continue to cook at high heat for 45-60 seconds, then turn back to medium, keeping pan at a simmer.  Next, slowly add mixture of basil leaves, warm water and chicken bullion.  Keeping the mixture at a medium simmer, cook for 5 minutes.  Next, add your can of tomatoes.  *Of note, you can play around with the tomatoes that you prefer.  I have come to like a can of crushed tomatoes, because I feel it gives the sauce a velvet quality. 

Salt and pepper your sauce mixture, add fresh basil, parsley and scallions and turn heat to low and simmer.  Set your sauce to the back burner and let’s get to the cream sauce part.  I will tell you, you can skip this step if you don’t want to make a roux.  Personally, I find that the roux accentuates the creamy flavor, in addition to ensuring that the sauce isn’t runny.  But if you’re not comfortable making a roux, or you’re crunched for time, simply add the light cream to the sauce mixture and skip the next paragraph.

To make your roux, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium sized sauce pan and turn to low-medium heat.  Slowly sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into the mixture and whisk together for 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Don’t let it burn, and ta da! you have a roux!  If you’re looking for more instruction than that, check out this video, which I think provides good instruction.  Turn your heat up to medium, and slowly whisk in the light cream.  Continue to heat the cream/roux while whisking, until it becomes thick.  Don’t overcook, or the mixture will start to break.  Whisk the mixture into the completed sauce, and simmer on low.

By this time, your squash should be ready to flip!  Flip the squash to cut side up, and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

Now, on to the Balls.  In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, 1 egg, saltine crackers, garlic, basil and tomatoes.  You can use a spoon, but it you grew up in my mom’s kitchen, you take off your rings, wash your hands, and start smooshing.  Knead until well mixed.  Taking a small amount of the mixture, roll into a ball, using your thumb to make an indent in the center.  Ball should be no more than 2 inches in diameter, and you should use about 1/2 the mixture to make the first batch.  Add a cheese cube to the center of each ball, and cover it with the remaining turkey mixture, ensuring cheese is well encased, and forming a round ball.

The ball process is time consuming, so by now, your squash should be done, so pull it out, testing to make sure that it is cooked through.  Set it aside to cool, and place your TurkBalls on the sheet pan, and into the oven at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

Now that you can breathe, give your sauce a stir, making sure it isn’t too thick.  If it is shut it off until the balls are done.  Once your squash cools, take a fork and rake it back and forth across the flesh, creating long strands.  Throw them in a bowl, and toss in a few scoops of sauce.  If you want to get crafty, you can toss the “spaghetti” into the scooped squash, but I wasn’t feeling that fancy tonight.

Your balls should be just about done, so pull them out, and combine your dish to your choosing, sprinkle some parm, and you’re done!  Enjoy your healthy amazing dinner!

Furf’s Speedy Chicken

This is one of BL’s favorite dinners, and I made it tonight, so I figured I would post it.  I must admit that it is one of my LEAST favorite things to make because it involves 3 pans and a lot of dishes. But it’s one of his favorites so I usually give in.

I should mention that I’m not so great with measuring.  Especially here where I like to play with flavors.  This is one of those recipes that you can really make your own.  So let’s dig in.

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 Large Onion
  • Chicken, cubed
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Fresh Spinach, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Spices
  • Wraps

How to do it:

Let’s get the chicken marinading.  You can use any kind of chicken you want.  I prefer boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I use two of the thin sliced kind since they cook quicker.  Put chopped chicken into glass bowl and toss with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Add garlic and onion powder.  I also use Red Steak Seasoning from my local grocery store.  Toss until well coated.  Add apple cider vinegar until all chicken is covered.  Set aside.

Now let’s get your onions started.  Chop them up and add them to a small pot.  Drizzle with olive oil and add brown sugar and toss until they’re all coated.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.

As for cooking the chicken.  I am IN LOVE with the griddle.  It works for everything, plus I don’t count it as a dish to wash!  So pour your chicken along with all the good stuff onto the cooking surface.  I would suggest using a large pan with good width if you aren’t using a griddle.  If you ARE, I like to tent the chicken with a piece of tin foil.  It helps keep all the flavors in and cooks it evenly.  Here’s what mine looks like

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While your chicken is cooking, make sure you stir your onions.  Now wash and chop your spinach and grate your cheese.  As far as cheddar goes, the stinker the better when it comes to the wraps.  I usually get an extra sharp Vermont Cheddar.

When your chicken is done and cooked to your liking, set it aside and scrap the bottom of the griddle/pan until it is clear of remaining spices and allow it to cool slightly.

Lay out your wraps and add cheese, onions, spinach and chicken.  The large burrito wraps usually work best as I have a tendency to over-stuff.  Roll ’em up and toss them back on the griddle to make sure the cheese is melted and the spinach is cooked.  If you have a press go ahead and thrown it on top.  Cook until the outside is nice and brown.

And as BL says, “So good, you don’t even need condiments!”.

I would love to hear any variations on this!  Like I said, this recipe is a great jumping off point for experimenting.

Fall Mash Up

I’m not really sure what to call this recipe because most of the time I don’t really follow one.  I had all of this stuff banging around my kitchen and BL requested sweet potatoes with our steak.  But I was bored of mashed sweet potatoes, and lately I haven’t had good luck with making them the cripsy way BL likes them, so I started inventing.

To begin, you will need

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.  I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes but you can do it with a knife
  • 2 large acorn squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 + cloves of garlic (I put them in the garlic press)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pkg frozen kale (you can use fresh!)

Assemble your chopped ingredients and heat olive oil in a large pot.

Add your sweet potatoes…

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and your onions…

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and your acorn squash

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and soon it will look a GIANT mess

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and it’s VERY orange.  Cover it up and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until potatoes begin to mass.  While you’re stirring and waiting, heat up your kale.  I used frozen kale that I found in the freezer, but you can use fresh as well.  In a microwave safe dish, add kale and 2 table spoons of water.  Heat for 4 minutes, stir and heat for another 4.  Set aside.

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Add your minced up garlic and salt and pepper to the cooking mix..  Cook on low for another 2-3 minutes.  Add kale, and stir.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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I pushed into molds to make mashed up volcanoes!  Please enjoy.

Just the stuff; The recipe without all those pictures:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.  I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes but you can do it with a knife
  • 2 large acorn squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 + cloves of garlic (I put them in the garlic press)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pkg frozen kale (you can use fresh!)

Assemble your chopped ingredients and heat olive oil in a large pot.

Add your sweet potatoes, onions and squash.

Heat your frozen kale with 2 tablespoons of water for 4 minutes, stir, and cook for another 4 minutes.  Set aside.

Add your minced up garlic and salt and pepper to the cooking mix..  Cook on low for another 2-3 minutes.  Add kale, and stir.  Extra salt and pepper to taste