Archive | March, 2012

Easy Tres Leches Cake

26 Mar


Our friend had planned to have a running Sunday brunch at her house this spring (something about the Sundays between Lent and Easter maybe? I don’t really get the whole giving up something for Lent thing anyway),  but ended up cancelling this weekend (unfortunately after the cake was already done!)… So Rafe and I have a delicious tres leches cake to distribute to happy neighbors and the like.


  • 1 c flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c sugar (I used 3/4 c reg sugar and a few pinches of Splenda sugar blend)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) (you can use non-fat if you want)
  • 2/3 c canned evaporated milk
  • 1/2 c canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dark or spiced rum
  • 1 c sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • dash of vanilla


  • Preheat to 325. Spray bottom of 13×9 glass baking dish with Pam.
  • Whisk flour in a small bowl.
  • Separate eggs. Beat yolks in a large bowl with electric mixer, adding sugar, for ~5 min, until pale yellow.
  • Place whites in another large bowl and beat for 1-2 min, until medium peaks form.
  • Stir about a third of whites into yolk mixture and fold in, gently. Then fold in remaining whites. Sprinkle flour on top of egg mixture and gently fold it (don’t overmix on this part).
  • Pour batter into baking dish and bake until golden and the edges pull away from sides of pan (25-30 min).
  • While this is baking, whisk the three milks and rum together in a large bowl. Remove cake from oven and cool on wire rack. Poke holes all over cake using toothpick, and allow to cool for 15 min. Pour milk mixture all over the cake, evenly, and let sit for ~50 min. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Toast coconut– put coconut in a large frying pan on medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until light brown and delicious-smelling. Remove from heat and put coconut into small bowl so it doesn’t continue to cook in the pan.
  • Whip cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a large bowl with electric beater until peaks form.
  • To serve: slice cake, adorn with dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle toasted coconut flake on top.

Crispy Zucchini Fries

25 Mar


Sunday morning… Beautiful sunshine and hot yoga to start the day, then picked up some zucchinis to whip up some delicious zucchini fries… Heading out to the pool in 1 second!


  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c mix of corn meal and bread crumbs
  • dash of salt to taste


  • Preheat to 425. Spray a baking sheet with Pam.
  • Trim zucchini, and cut into halves, and then cut lengthwise into strips.
  • Whisk the egg in a bowl. Mix the corn meal, brad crumbs, and salt together in another bowl. Coat each zucchini strip in egg, then cover with crumbs and lay onto baking sheet.
  • Bake for ~12 minutes or until crispy and slightly golden brown. Rotate baking sheet about halfway through. Serve with ketchup or tomato sauce. Mmmmm.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

20 Mar

OK, so sue me. This recipe is from a little while ago. I’ve been busy! Basically, I love cauliflower and its ability to transform to suit any texture and flavor bent.



  • one big head of cauliflower, cut into bitty pieces (about an inch in length, but whatever you prefer)
  • 1 lb pasta, any shape
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 c non-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1 1/4 c grated cheese (any kind)
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs


  • Blanch the cauliflower (toss the little pieces into a pot of already boiling salted water. pull out after ~3-4 min with a strainer). Use the same water to cook the pasta according to directions, pulling it out a little al dente.
  • Sautee the onion with olive oil in a large, deep pan until glassy. Add the nutmeg and spices. Once all mingled, add in chicken stock, whisk. Add in skim milk, whisk.
  • Combine the corn starch and cold water together, and then add to fry pan mixture, whisking (almost frantically). This will thicken up the mixture. Finally, add 1 c of the cheese and turn heat to med or med-low to allow cheese to melt without burning.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Toss cauliflower and pasta together in a large glass dish. Pour the sauce over all of it. Use remaining cheese to garnish on top– same with breadcrumbs (this will give it a tasty crust). Bake for ~10 min, and then amp up to broiler for 2 min to crisp up. Serve hot!


Zucchini Chocolate Brownies

18 Mar


It was a beautifully sunny day yesterday– high 70s and mostly blue skies. We had a few friends over to have some beer by the pool, and I whipped up a quick tray of zucchini brownies to accompany us there. These are ridiculously healthy, and pretty darned delicious. They don’t, however, taste like old school brownies. They are far more moist and have a cardamom edge. This recipe has been adapted from here.

These brownies were a total success and the secret that I’d like to keep from Rafe is that they have NO butter or oil of any kind, but are moist and delicious.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c regular sugar plus 1/4 c splenda blend sugar (or you could use a full 1 c of regular sugar)
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 medium/large zucchinis
  • 1 c chocolate chips (any mix of white, regular, and dark chips that you want)


  • Preheat to 350. Pam a square baking pan (or use the slightly larger rectangular one for thinner brownies).
  • Whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, sugar, applesauce) in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, spices, salt). Then add the dry slowly to the wet ingredients, mixing until combined.
  • Grate zucchinis on a box grater– or use a microplane grater if you want it really tiny. Fold the zucchini into the mixture. Finally add the choco chips.
  • Pour into baking pan and bake for ~40 minutes, or until knife comes out clean from the center.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

17 Mar


Saturday morning, and the sun has been streaming into our bedroom. I absolutely love the fact that spring in Houston is sort of what summer is in, say, the Northeast. Today’s high will be around 80, and already it’s got to be 73ish. Slept in until 8ish, then started rooting around the kitchen for breakfast. We still have some carrots in the fridge, so I decided to make essentially a pancake version of the carrot cake cookies I made the other day.

I ate mine with butter and honey drizzled on top, which was very close to heaven.


  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 c milk (I used 2% but skim should work fine too)
  • 1 tbsp canola
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c finely grated carrot (I used the microplane to get it tiny, since I prefer carrot when you can’t really tell it’s carrot!)
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c raisins


  • Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl (flour, baking powder, spices, salt).
  • Whisk together wet ingredients in separate large bowl (brown sugar, yogurt, milk, canola, vanilla, eggs). Slowly mix the dry into the wet ingredients. Once combined, fold in the carrot, zest, walnuts, and raisins. Add a splash more milk if the mixture is too thick (should be slightly thicker than regular pancake batter).
  • Cook on pancake skillet like regular pancakes, but keep them relatively thin on the skillet (if too “tall” you’ll have trouble flipping them, like I did)…
  • Serve immediately with little pads of butter and drizzle of honey on top!

Carrot Cake Cookies

16 Mar


Made these last Sunday to take to work as snacks all week long… This photo is from my mid-afternoon snack yesterday on the 41st floor. Tasty little morsels, I tell ya. While I really dislike raw carrots, there is something delicious and quite amazing about cooked/baked carrots. I adapted this from a good old Martha Stewart recipe— her’s called for a frosting filling, which I chose to do without. The little carrot cake cupcakes don’t need it!


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted in the microwave
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp splenda sugar blend (or 1/4 c regular sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c regular flour
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c old-fashioned oats (don’t use quick oats!)
  • 3/4 c. finely grated, peeled carrots (about 3 or 4)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c raisins


  • Preheat at 350 degrees.
  • Whisk butter, sugars, and egg together (or use electric beater) in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients (flour, ginger, salt).
  • Add dry into wet ingredients until combined. Then mix in oats, carrot, and raisins.
  • Drop onto parchment or silpat sheets onto baking sheets. I like to make the cookies big (2 tbsp of dough each); you might want to make them smaller. Bake for ~15 min or until crisp.

Coffee-Infused Chocolate Cake

11 Mar


Yesterday, a ridiculously rainy day, just spitting rain. I was busy doing taxes (ugh). One of those days. But while Rafe was out climbing, I whipped up a chocolate bundt cake. I finished a tin of cocoa in the making of it!

(Adapted from here, but I made it healthier… added fat-free yogurt and milk)


  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c splenda sugar blend (or 2/3 c regular sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 c warm coffee
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1/3 c milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 c fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  • Preheat at 350. Grease bundt pan with PAM and dust with cocoa powder.
  • Whisk flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt together in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk/stir until combined. The batter will be very thick!
  • Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for ~35 min or until a knife comes out clean from the center. Cool on cooling rack and then invert cake.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream or just pour a little heavy cream onto it…

Pizza Night! (Broccoli vs Red Med)

10 Mar
A Thursday night special… Pizza night!

Whipped up the dough from this recipe in the bread maker, but wanted to do something slightly different from the typical pizza varieties (zucchini and/or pear & gorgonzola).
Broccoli was a tasty addition! And we had leftovers for lunch on Friday also…
Broccoli Pizza Toppings
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched (drop into boiling water for ~3 minutes, and then into an ice bath)
  • Red sauce, salt, and pepper for the base
  • 1/2 c mozzarella and monterey jack sprinkled on top

Red Med(iterranean) Pizza Toppings

  • Red sauce, salt, and pepper for the base
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper (smallish pieces)
  • sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 c mozzarella

Bake both pizzas at 425 for ~10 min.


Banana Chocolate Soft Serve

9 Mar


Sometimes you really just want ice cream. But sometimes you don’t really feel up to slurping down heavy cream. Life is full of tough choices!

At last Saturday’s 5K, I finished with a 7:01 pace, even with tying my shoe halfway through. I’d really like to break through the 7-min pace threshold in the next one, so I’m trying to slim down a few lbs, so that at least I’ll be a smidge lighter. It may mean making some more tough decisions…

So, the other night, instead of regular ice cream, I made fake banana ice cream (adapted from this), and it was truly glorious. And no sugar needed at all! Definitely will be repeated. 3 ingredients and 4 minutes later, and ta-da! Dessert for me and Rafe.


  • 2 frozen bananas (we usually stick them in the freezer once they are super-ripe)
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp almond milk


  • Chop the peeled frozen bananas into a few smaller pieces (don’t throw them in whole).
  • Throw everything into a food processor. Process the heck out of it for a few minutes, or until smooth and creamy– soft serve consistency. [I had to use a spatula to get the stuff off the sides, and get the frozen banana chunks back into the right spots in the processor so they could be processed better…]



Healthy Enchilada Lasagna

8 Mar


I actually managed to get home before 7pm last night! [As an aside, I guess getting home by 7pm isn’t a huge accomplishment when you get to work at 6:15am.] I wanted to surprise Rafe and actually have dinner ready before he got home, which basically never happens these days.

Enchilada lasagna is just about the easiest thing you can make. Most of the ingredients come out of a can, and those that don’t are super duper easy to prep as well. This recipe made both one large rectangular and one regular square glass pan’s worth. With the lean turkey, you’ve got lean protein and with the beans, it’s just darned good for you. And it makes for great leftovers.

If you want, you can skimp on the cheese, and add more yogurt after the fact instead.


  • 20 oz ground turkey (I used the 93/7 lean kind)
  • 1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small can of green enchilada sauce
  • dash of Sriracha or hot sauce if you’re game
  • corn tortillas– probably about 12
  • 1/2 to 3/4 c grated cheese (cheddar and/or jack)
  • toppings: non-fat Greek yogurt, sliced green onions, and cilantro


  • Pan fry turkey in a non-stick fry pan (or regular fry pan with a spritz of Pam) until cooked through and brown. Break up the big chunks as you cook it.
  • Throw everything into a large bowl– tomatoes, beans, olives, zucchini, carrots, and cooked (and drained) turkey. Salt, pepper, and Sriracha as needed.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375. Start with a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the glass dish. Next lay down a layer of corn tortillas (cut them to make sure each part of the glass dish has some coverage). Then put a layer of the bean/meat mixture on, covering evenly. Pour a bit of enchilada sauce on top, and then start the next layer of corn tortillas. Continue like this (tortilla, meat, sauce, and so on).
  • Once you reach the top, put on one last layer of tortilla and cover with enchilada sauce and cheese.
  • Bake for ~15 min, or until the top is melty. Then broil for ~3 min or until top is crispy as well.
  • Top with toppings– Greek yogurt, green onions, and cilantro.