Un-Red Velvet Cake

If you take a moment to peruse our Recipes page, I think you’ll quickly figure out what our favorite type of food to make is.  Yep, you guessed it, dessert.  Now, when I arranged our recipe page and discovered this, I thought I would try to focus more on the other categories of food to make it more even.  Well, symmetry is just going to have to wait, because I have been trying to make this recipe for what seems like forever.  I’ve attempted red velvet pancakes, red velvet brownies, and red velvet cake, but have not succeeded.

So why have I been trying so hard to succeed in making a Skinnyfat version of this Southern delicacy?  Well, let’s just say that I have a special spot in my heart for this cake.

Yes, I had red velvet cake for my wedding.  It was the most delicious, moist, melt-in-your mouth slice of heaven I have ever had.  Maybe part of it was the how special the day was, but my memory of that cake has been difficult to get out of my head.

I have finally succumbed to the idea that I may never achieve the brilliant red color naturally, ergo I give you  my very own un-red velvet cake.

The best part of this cake is that it has no artificial coloring or white flour and it has beets in it!  Have your dessert and prevent cancer too.  How much better can it get?

Un-Red Velvet Cake

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping cup fresh beets, peeled and chopped (about 2 small beets or 1 large beet)
  • 1 cup raw sugar (or healthier sugar alternative)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (canned coconut milk with guar gum)
  • 2 organic eggs (or 2 flax eggs)
  • 1/4 cup butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (use whatever cooking vinegar you have, I used pomegranate vinegar)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Sift your flour and mix your dry ingredients, except for the sugar, together.

Peel and chop the fresh beets.

Then blend the beets, sugar, and the rest of the wet ingredients until smooth.

Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones, stirring constantly.

Take a picture, because this will be the last time the mixture will be such a pretty color.

Pour batter into an oiled cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.

Once you remove it from the oven, be sure to let it cool completely before taking it out of the cake pan.  I wasn’t that patient and it fell apart a little bit.

Even though this cake is obviously not red, it is a velvety, delicious, treat.  You can top it with this cheesecake batter for added perfection.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

I’m really hoping you’re not tired of soup yet. And even if you are, I’m confident that one spoonful of this stuff would change your mind. Roasting the vegetables is what makes the flavor really special, so don’t you dare throw raw tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and expect delicious results. Forty minutes of roasting is totally worth your time…promise!

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

7 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
4 – 5 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup unsweetened Silk creamer (or regular cream)
1 – 2 T freshly chopped basil

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop tomatoes and onions into 1-inch slices and arrange evenly on a lined baking sheet (the first time, I made the mistake of not lining my pan and spent 20 minutes scrubbing crusted tomato juice. Parchment paper is your friend and makes for easy clean up!). Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top.

2. Cut the bottom off an entire head of garlic. This is sometimes tricky, and unfortunately I have no tips on how to make this easier! Thankfully, you just wrap the whole head in foil and stick in any cloves that may have fallen off. Drizzle olive oil on the raw, exposed ends of the garlic.

Wrap foil over the top of the garlic (it should be completely wrapped up, meaning there should be only foil and no visible garlic).

3. Roast tomatoes, onions, and garlic for about 30 – 40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly the edges become slightly crispy. Keep an eye on everything because they will sometimes cook at different rates. The garlic will generally take the longest – it should be completely soft and the color very dull and ugly.

4. Bring stock to a boil in large pot and then turn down to simmer. In a separate pot, gently boil the potatoes until soft.

5. After it’s cooled, squeeze the now soft garlic cloves into the blender with the tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. The blender should be a bit less than three-quarters full of veggies. Ladle out some of your simmering stock into the blender to cover the veggies and blend until smooth. Pour the smooth mixture back in with the rest of the stock. Repeat the blending process again until all the tomatoes, onion, and potatoes are smooth.

6. Bring soup back to a simmer and add cream, basil, and salt, if necessary. Bring to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Enjoy!

I served this with Olive Oil Focaccia cut into breadsticks. Absolutely scrumptious!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Coconut Curry with Seitan

I haven’t always been a fan of curry. Until recently, my thoughts on curry were “this is tolerable” at best and “I’ve gotta spit this out or barf” at worst. I don’t know what in heaven’s name possessed me to make my own batch of curry, but I think it was the combination of happening upon a recipe that called for a full can of coconut milk (which I’m completely obsessed with) and the fact that Elesha left curry powder at my house randomly (which I have conveniently forgotten to remind her of since May). Besides that, I’d never experimented with Indian food and thought it was time to expand my horizons.

I made this recipe for the first time about six months ago and fell in l-o-v-e. Coconut milk tends to do that to me. What really puts this curry over the top is the long list of vegetables and herbs; it’s a vitamin jackpot! Did I mention the cilantro? Lots of it. YES. Add garlic, basil, and ginger and it’s one giant blast of flavor after another!

So much freshness goin’ on.

Coconut Curry with Seitan
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil (or olive)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 T finely minced ginger
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lb seitan (or meat of choice), cut into strips
1 cup white wine
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 t salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 t curry powder
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

Note: If you’re a seitan newbie, you can follow this recipe for a very soft texture, or use my current favorite seitan recipe, which is kneaded to create a wonderful meaty texture (that’s the secret: kneading activates the gluten!). I plan on posting the updated seitan recipe in the future. Also, don’t hesitate to use another meat substitute, chicken, fish, or whatever type of meat suits your fancy. Whatever it is, it will be smothered in curry in the end and entirely unrecognizable!

Instructions:

1. Sautee garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, peppers, and bay leaf in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the white wine and coconut milk and cook for 5 more minutes. While this is cooking, get your seitan or meat ready. Cut into thin strips and grill in a separate pan until thoroughly cooked and browned.

3. Add the cilantro, basil, salt, cayenne, curry powder, and chives and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool. Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Return to pan and heat just until hot.

4. Add seitan or meat of choice to the curry and mix well. Serve immediately over rice or with other great Indian fare! Don’t forget to sprinkle extra cilantro on top. Extra cilantro, always. Another dash of cayenne wouldn’t hurt, either.

If you prefer, you can leave the curry chunky rather than blending it at the end. That’s actually how I made it the first time and served it over salmon and potatoes. I love it both ways! The blended version is thick and more traditional with a deep curry flavor, while the chunky version is rather thin and light and retains some of the individual vegetable flavors.

I suggest serving immediately after adding the seitan. I let it sit for a while so it would absorb some of the flavor, but after just a few minutes it had absorbed almost all of the curry! Look out, seitan is a sponge. Nevertheless, it was delicious!

Whether you’ve never tried Indian food or have loved it all your life, put this curry on your “to-make” list! You won’t regret it!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Spicy Chipotle Vegetable Soup

This will officially be my first soup recipe to post to Skinnyfat.  Why it’s taken me so long to get to it, I have no clue.  Soup is the most popular supper item at my house.  My husband absolutely loves it when I make soup.  This soup recipe he has officially declared “the bomb.com”.   I find him cute sometimes. 

Spicy Chipotle Vegetable Soup

  • 4 cups (or 1 – 32 oz. carton) vegetable stock
  • 2 cups assorted fresh vegetables, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1 – 5 oz. can organic chicken breast (optional)

The vegetables you choose to use are entirely your choice.  I like to mix it up. 

This round I used cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, spinach red potatoes, and zucchini, always zucchini.

And have I ever expressed to you my undying love for chipotle? 

If you have homemade vegetable stock, please go for it.  Made from scratch will always beat the stuff from the store.  If you are not feeling quite ambitious enough for that, that’s okay.  I used Swanson’s organic vegetable broth and the soup still turned out delish!

Combine all your ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring often.

Now it’s time to enjoy!  The husband and I like to have our soup with grilled cheese sandwiches on hearty whole grain bread with Gouda cheese. Yum!

Be sure to check out our new recipe makeover page to help us decide what recipes to make next.  We love to hear from you so leave us a comment or two!

Happy weekend all!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Avocado Paninis with Basil Mayo on Whole Wheat Focaccia

We eat a lot of sandwiches ’round here.

They’re quick and easy, perfect for those nights when we’re too ravenous to take the time to cook. They’re also super healthy if you use lots of veggies and a great whole grain bread. Yesterday, I got the hankering for a hearty, whole wheat bread and found a wonderful recipe that I hope you’ll try. Homemade bread makes the absolute best sandwiches! A panini maker doesn’t hurt, either. My gem of a sister-in-law got me a mini George Foreman for Christmas and I’ve been making great use of it.

If you’re not into baking your own bread (it’s quite a process!), I’ve put the sandwich recipe first so you can try it out with your favorite store-bought bread. It’s a delicious combination of flavors!

Avocado Panini with Basil Mayo

Basil Mayo:
Combine 2 T mayo or substitute (I love Vegenaise, a great vegan option, or olive oil mayo) with 1 T fresh basil, chopped tiny, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Sandwich:
Bread (duh)
Avocado, sliced or mashed
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh baby spinach
Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

Spread the mayo on bread, pile on the sandwich fixings, grill, and enjoy! Simple and delicious.

The next half of this post is dedicated to those of you who, like me, are willing to wait 14 hours for a fresh loaf of bread.

Yes, I said 14 hours.

Fear not, brave soul! There isn’t a whole lot of actual work involved in making this bread, just a whole lot of waiting. You know how yeast works, right? You’ve gotta be patient with it. In this case, extremely patient, because we’re making a poolish, which is a pre-fermented dough that needs to sit for 12 hours. But you don’t have to do anything – touch it, move it, stir it, nothing. Just let it sit there. You can sit, too, if you want. Take a nap, even. It’s easiest to whip up the poolish before you go to bed and it will be ready in the morning. You can even extend the time the poolish sits to almost 20 hours if necessary.

Let’s go!

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Focaccia
Recipe (barely adapted) by Food Network

Poolish:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
3/4 cup water
Pinch active dry yeast

Whisk all your poolish ingredients together in a medium bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours, or longer if refrigerating. When it’s ready, prepare the rest of your dough.

Dough:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
2 1/4 t active dry yeast
2 t fine salt
1 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk the dry ingredients (flours, flax meal, yeast, and salt) in a large bowl. Stir in the poolish, water, and olive oil to form a loose, sticky dough. Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes (I know, more waiting). The original recipe actually calls for two additional 30-minute rising periods, but I was too impatient and skipped them. The bread turned out wonderful, but feel free to stick to the original recipe and let it rise longer if you like.

Preheat the oven to 425 and spray your pans with olive oil. Divide your dough into the two pans – I used a springform pan and a square nonstick casserole dish! You can use whatever baking pans you have; it doesn’t have to look beautiful. The loaves should look like discs (unless using a square pan, obviously 🙂 ), about 2 -3 inches deep.

Topping:
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Dried herbs, optional (I used thyme)

Combine the olive oil, garlic, and herbs and spread evenly over the two loaves. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown, remove from pans and let cool. Perfect for avocado paninis!

My favorite thing about this bread is the glorious olive-oil and garlic-flavored crust. Extra virgin olive oil is where it’s at, people. It tastes divine. I put it on nearly everything I eat. Not dessert…but yeah, everything else. 

This sandwich would be good cold, but if you crispify it (trust me, that’s a word) you end up with an olive oil crunch layer that almost makes you forget about the taste explosion that is basil mayo.

On a side note, Elesha and I have decided to post every Saturday and Wednesday, respectively, so y’all will have a better idea of when to be on the lookout for new recipes. Also, be sure to check out our updated Recipe page and the Skinnyfat Recipe Makeover page. We’re so thankful for all of you and we look forward to sharing more food adventures with you this year, so keep reading!

But first, make a sandwich.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Coconut Chai Cupcakes

I love chai.  I love cupcakes.  I love coconut.

Sometimes I just have to combine things I love (i.e. cheesecake and hot chocolate, spinach and mint chocolate chip) and sometimes you just have to trust me on it. 

Coconut Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (just blend rolled oats into powder – easy peasy!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup concentrated chai tea (1 cup hot water, 4 tea bags)
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 and then mix all of your dry ingredients together. 

You will, of course, need to have chai.

Steep your four chai tea bags in hot water for about 2-3 minutes.

It should be a nice dark brown when it’s done.

Now you can add the chai and the rest of your liquid ingredients into your dry mixture.

Line your muffin tin with liners and pour your batter.  I like to put my batter into my liquid measuring cup so it’s easier to pour.

Place your cupcakes in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Then you can remove, brush with agave nectar or maples syrup, and top with more shredded coconut, then bake for about 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and enjoy!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Crunchy Pecan Granola

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. I’ve definitely got a bad case of the after-Christmas blues, especially after taking down my tree today. Well, technically I just moved it, fully lit and decorated, out of the living room and into the second bathroom that we never EVER use. Why spend hours taking a tree apart and putting it back together? When Christmas rolls around again, decorating will be a cinch! I think it’s a brilliant plan. Plus, if ever I’m in a bad mood I can simply draw up a hot bath in the old bathroom, plug in the tree, and listen to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. It’ll be Christmas all year round in there!

Has everyone made their resolutions? I have quite a few, so I’ll just share a couple of them. More than anything, I want to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and be more committed to nutrition and daily exercise. Some others: Learn to drive stick. Develop lots of new recipes. Learn how to use my camera. Practice calligraphy. Learn to sew. Figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Blog more. Buy a bicycle. Oh yes, and stop hanging every darn thing on the refrigerator! It’s getting ridiculous.

Oh, and lastly, eat more waffles. My mom got me a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas, so look out; I’ve already named 2012 ‘The Year of the Waffle’. We’ve had them for breakfast twice already this year and it’s only January 2. I would hate for the world to end and have the regret of not eating enough waffles. I promise to post my recipe once I perfect it. Yesterday’s waffles weren’t so great, but today’s….mmm boy! They’re whole wheat, vegan, and use soy milk curdled with apple cider vinegar! Doesn’t that sound tasty? 😉

Now, about this granola: it’s without a doubt the best granola I’ve ever tasted. I gave it to some friends for Christmas and they all loved it, too. My husband says we could sell the stuff. I got the recipe from one of my dearest friends, who got it from her sister, who adapted it from a recipe she found…somewhere. The only trouble I see with it is that some of the ingredients, namely the coconut oil, pecans, and coconut palm sugar, are rather expensive and may not be something you have on hand or want to splurge on. While I do suggest sticking to the recipe if possible (because it’s perfection), you can make substitutions if necessary: other nuts of your choice for the pecans, butter, a butter alternative, or canola oil for the coconut oil, and a darker sweetener (such as brown sugar or sucanat) for the coconut palm sugar. Also note that the wheat germ can be omitted if you don’t have any, and oat bran is easily made by blending rolled oats into a coarse flour in a coffee grinder or food processor.

Crunchy Pecan Granola

Ingredients:
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional, I love them!)
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup molasses, honey, or agave

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together.

 2. Whisk the oil and molasses together and add to the oat mixture. Mix well.

3. Divide the oat mixture onto two baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring all the way down to the bottom of the pan every 10 minutes or so. Bake longer if you prefer darker, crunchier granola. Let cool and serve.

Granola is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast (besides waffles). I especially love it with Greek yogurt and chopped fruit for a delicious and healthy breakfast parfait. If eating healthy is one of your resolutions this year, make sure to eat breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day!

I topped this parfait with banana, shredded coconut, and homemade blackberry sauce. What tasty additions do you put on your parfait?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

%d bloggers like this: