Category Archives: Comfort Foods

Cheesy Poofs

“I love cheesy poofs,  you love cheesy poofs, if we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be LAME.” the immortal words of Cartman.

Alright, so these aren’t quite the fabled South Park junk food but they are so very nummy. The beauty of these is that you can use any cheese you have on hand to make it suit your taste. My favourite version of these is a toss up between the smoked gouda or my goat cheese ones. The goat cheese is my healthiest version so I will go with that one today. The perfect snack for entertaining guests, as part of an afternoon tea platter, or just because you want them. Remember, you can’t share them with kitty…they are YOUR cheesy poofs.

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  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or buttermilk
  • 4 tbl butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces low fat goat cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground mace
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
  • freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan combine the milk, water, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a smooth dough forms. Once it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute.100_2914
  4. Add one of the eggs, beat in until the dough is smooth again. Repeat with the second egg.
  5. Stir in the cheese, pepper, salt and mace until smooth.
  6. Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or in my case a freezer bag that I cut a corner off of). Pipe the dough into desired shape on the parchment covered pans. I go with little round cushions.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden brown. Serve warm.100_2918

Makes 40 cheesy poofs. Each poof contains 22 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 0 gram fibre, .6 gram protein. Why not have a few? Then pat yourself on the back for making a choux pastry. You top chef, you.

Hardcore Hobbit: Mushroom “Stew”

Hobbits and mushrooms are like a glass and milk! they just go together. It has been fun juggling ideas to make this recipe come to life. So much pondering. Finally I had a tasty, filling idea come to me, I bounced it off my husband and he added an idea that made it even better. In the game mushroom stew is made with just mushrooms and coney stock. Well, I don’t keep coney stock on hand so I went with chicken. Still, it needed something to make it exciting. That’s when my husband suggested “what about a blend of different types of mushrooms.” So simple and so brilliant. The end result smelt so delicious when cooking it was maddening…and tasting it warmed us to the core. A definite win.

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  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 1 cup lobster mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbl rice bran oil (or other suitable cooking oil)
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the poultry seasoning, then add the quinoa. Stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and wine to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

It may not technically be a stew but I figured the mushrooms were being stewed as much as I would go for. Serves 4. Each serving contains 255 calories, 6.6 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fibre, and 7.5 grams protein. Experiment with your own mushroom blends, that is a big part of the fun with this dish. Great as a side or as your main.

General Tso Chicken

This past week or so I have definitely been on a meat, sauce, and sticky rice as comfort food kick. So good, so easy, and so filling! So easy to stick in veggies of choice with dishes like these. The more veggies you stick in the more you can have. The more you can win at eating healthy really. Anytime I think about dishes like these I’m always reminded of what my uncle said to my one day as we considered having leftover Chinese food for breakfast one day. “Hey, 1.3 billion people can’t be wrong.” So true, so tasty. I have said “so” a lot in an intro for General Tso chicken haven’t I? This particular dish is a north American invention, it did not really come from china granted it claims its inspiration from there. Just like so many other dishes we tend to order. Did you know the typical serving from a restaurant tends to include 1,300 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat? Yeah. Let’s see if we can do better than that.

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  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 5 tbl white wine
  • 2 tbl cornstarch
  • 1 tbl oyster sauce
  • 2 tbl water
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tbl honey
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbl grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (or carrots, or broccoli, any of these or all are tasty additions)
  1. Add 2 tbl of white wine and oyster sauce to 1 tbl cornstarch. Add chicken, toss to coat and set aside to marinate.
  2. Combine the remaining white wine, water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sriracha sauce, and cornstarch in another bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat pan over medium high heat. Don’t be shy, the heat helps the chicken stay moist with a quick sear. When pan is heated add the coconut oil and swirl.
  4. Add the chicken mixture to the pan. Stir-fry until browned and cooked through.
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and shallots. Stir-fry until fragrant.
  6. Add celery (or veggie mix of choice), stir fry until slightly tender but still crisp.
  7. Stir in the sauce set aside earlier. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

Makes four servings. Each serving contains 158 calories, 3.1 grams fat, 10.4 grams carbs, .5 gram fibre, and 16.9 grams protein. Delicious over steamed rice. Yup, this is definitely a win for north american style chinese food. A guilty pleasure and comfort food without the sad weight in the next week.

Brown Rice Dessert Roll

To make dessert time easy and on track I like to make my desserts ahead of time and freeze them for the week. It makes me less likely to omnom the whole tray justifying to myself that they might go bad if I don’t. Really, who hasn’t used this excuse one time or another? After the holidays I had some leftover marshmallows, can’t let those go to waste. What does one do with marshmallows? Make rice cereal treats of course! We can’t make the same old treats around here though. After spending a bit of time fantasizing about a sushi dinner I was looking forward to I realized just what had to happen. Numminess followed.

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  • 4 tbl light butter or margarine
  • 16 marshmallows
  • 4 cups brown puffed rice cereal
  • 4 tbl light peanut butter
  • 2 tsp reduced sugar jam (I used my hardcore hobbit blackberry jam)
  • 1 tbl honey
  1. Melt margarine/butter using either a microwave (10 second bursts) or in a pot on an element.
  2. Add marshmallows, stir and melt in micro (10 second bursts) or on the element.
  3. Remove from heat and add brown rice cereal. Add the treat mixture to a greased baking sheet. Press down and into edges to create a flat rectangle. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. It should still be pliable if you list the edges but not too tacky to the touch.
  4. Combine peanut butter, jam and honey in a bowl.
  5. Turn out the cool rice mixture onto a plastic mat or plastic wrap.
  6. Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the rice treat.workingwithjam 004
  7. Roll, using the plastic to help you keep it all together, like a sushi roll.workingwithjam 005
  8. Put the roll into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Makes 16 “dessert sushi” each one contains 155 calories, 4 grams fat, 25 grams carbs, 1 gram fibre, 2 grams protein. You can keep these in the freezer and take them out to eat immediately. A fun twist on a classic that you can customize with any filling you feel like. My husband suggests the chocolate and almond butter.

Hardcore Hobbit: Bread and Jam

I thought long and hard about this one. After all, the game makes this one just a little too easy. A ball of dough and some blackberry jam. I need a challenge! So, I made a bread specifically to match with the jam. As it says hobbits LOVE nothing better than bread and jam. I have to make it the best I can! Afterall, what says “I’m serious about bread and jam.” more than making your own bread to showcase your homemade jam? A flavour that I love to pair with blackberries is lime. I know, you would think it’s all tart enough but, I love a lot of zing in my tasty treats sometimes. Especially for something that is so perfect to serve at tea time. I could see this doing just as well with orange instead of lime though if you are looking for a milder flavour. Want to see what I did? Behold, the yogurt lime bun with blackberry jam.

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  • 1 1/2 cup of flour, divided (1 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup probiotic fat free plain balkan style yogurt (I’m sure greek would work fine too)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • juice of two lime wedges
  • Hardcore Hobbit blackberry jam
  1. Combine 1 cup of flour and the yogurt in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar. Loosely cover with a damp towel and set aside in a warm place for 3 hours to proof.
  2. Add the remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder and lime juice.
  3. Lightly roll out the dough on a floured surface. Don’t push out all that air we proofed for!
  4. Using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out 16 shapes and place on a sprayed baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for a few minutes, serve warm with a 1/2 tsp of blackberry jam.

Makes 16 buns or biscuits. Each one contains 51 calories, 0.1 gram fat, 9.6. grams carbs, 0.3 gram fibre, 2.7 grams protein. Add the nutritional values for your jam and you have one pretty guilt free tasty tea time treat. Wow, a quadruple T. Win.

Easy Eggs Benny

Hollandaise sauce can be pretty hard to get just right. Traditionally made. I am fond of a shortcut that I use though. For those special treat brunches when only an egg benny will do. Now, the simple parts I’m sure you can figure out on your own, toast an english muffin (multigrain is best!), pan fry a piece of canadian bacon, and poach an egg to medium. Layer them up and then top with this delicious sauce…proclaim yourself the god or goddess of brunch and enjoy.Keep in mind this is a totally bastardized version of making hollandaise but, num.

  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • juice from two lemon wedges, more if you like a really tart hollandaise
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a microwave safe dish melt the butter in the microwave until it boils slightly. About 30 seconds maximum, watch the butter for the right moment.
  2. Crack an egg into a blender. Add a tsp of the melted butter to the egg and blend.
  3. Add the rest of the melted butter, the lemon juice, and seasonings. Blend until thickened and slightly frothy.
  4. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Each serving of sauce contains 69 calories, 7 grams fat, .3 gram carbs, no fibre, 1.6 grams protein.

Spiced Irish Beef

Can you believe it? We are still waiting to move into that house we were supposed to get at the end of May. Crazy. Now we are stuck in our old place waiting for a closing date. So, no hobbit videos until we get this all sorted out, especially since my list of hobbit recipes and their notes are already packed. For now how about some tasty beef? This one is traditionally served around the holidays in winter but it sure is tasty with a side of colcannon or on a nice summer salad. Warm or cold it is delicious! I think I may be fondest of it as a cold cut though. Ready for some tasty?

  • 4 lbs eye of round or sirloin (your choice really)
  • 12 cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp ground juniper berries
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbl ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbl brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup guiness beer or water
  1. Combine the spices and sugar.
  2. Rub into the meat and cover. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. This is best left to marinate for a couple of days, traditionally it is done for a week. Overnight is good too. Turn the meat and cover every 12 hours if possible. Should end up looking like this:
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove from marinade. Place in a baking dish as close to the size of your cut of meat as possible. Cover with the water or beer. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or allow to cool, either way slice thinly.

Makes 8 hearty servings. Each serving contains (if you used water) 305 calories, 8.8 grams fat, 2 grams carbs, no fibre, 51.7 grams protein. Great for a dinner before or after hiking. Have some of this waiting in your fridge already made and sliced for your salad and you are set! Or for a special treat, colcannon! I suggest slicing thinner than I have in the picture for a salad topper.

Colcannon

While not a hardcore hobbit recipe this is definitely one every hobbit should know. Oh it is so nummy! I’m a bit funny about cabbage sometimes, it’s one of those veggies that I keep forgetting I actually like. I will wrinkle my nose at it but then I remember all those dishes it plays a role in that I love…okonomiyaki, that tasty katsu dog at Japadog, cabbage rolls, moshu, the list goes on. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that colcannon would join that list of favourites once I sat down and had it. Fact is, it is just a creamy cloud of tasty on a plate. Let’s get to this healthier version of it!

  • 2 medium potatoes, I used red and did not peel, I like the colour, cubed
  • 1 cup green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 2 tbl light butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  1. Place the potatoes, cabbage and some salt in a pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and return to the pot, add the milk, butter, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mash until desired texture achieved.
  4. Serve with green onion sprinkled on top.

Serves 2 generous portions. Each serving contains 275 calories, 6.4 grams fat, 47.9 grams carbs, 5.7 grams fibre, 9.8 grams protein. Great special occasion dish, although I’m thinking adding a bit of sliced ham to this would make an amazing main dish. Yum!

Almond Cupcakes with Orange Glaze

How about a tasty somewhat naughty festive treat? I was making cupcakes for a potluck that my yoga teacher training group decided to put on. I made these vegan friendly and oh my, they were tasty! The recipe below is the healthier way I would make them but I will include the recipe variation to make them vegan friendly too. They were originally going to be gluten free and vegan friendly but that challenge is going to be saved for another day. These were so tasty even my meatatarien husband has been enjoying them. For those who are curious I’m an omnomnomivore. Food is tasty.

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tbl low fat cooking margarine
  • 1 1/2 cup splenda
  • 10 tbl egg substitute (like egg beaters)
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened original
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbl orange zest, grated fine
  • Juice of 1 orange (usually about 2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cup icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl cream together the margarine, egg, almond extract and splenda.
  3. In another bowl combine the baking powder and flour. (yes, sometimes I’m lazy and skip this step too…it’s o.k.)
  4. Slowly alternate between adding the flour and the almond milk while beating the creamed mixture on low. Continue until all combined.
  5. Spoon batter into cup pan and bake for 20 minutes. You can tell they are done when they spring back when you touch them and are golden.
  6. While the cupcakes bake, combine the zest and icing sugar in a bowl.
  7. Slowly add the orange juice to the sugar mixture while beating on low. Once it is all combined at the desired consistency (you do not have to use all of the juice) beat for 2 minutes on high. Chill the glaze for 1 hour.
  8. Glaze the cupcakes when they have cooled.

Makes 16 cupcakes, each cupcake with glaze contains approximately 176 calories, 2.4 grams fat, 39 grams carbs, .9 gram fiber, and 2.2 grams protein.

To make this vegan friendly I used powdered egg substitute ( a local brand from the health store), vegan butter (earth balance buttery spread), and brown sugar instead of splenda. The nutritional info for this version is much higher of course. To make the cupcakes you just add the extra step before you cream of adding the required amount of water to the powdered egg substitute and stir. Other than that it is straight forward and the baking time is the same.

Hardcore Hobbit: Roast Beef

As LOTRO says, “nothing can beat this savory pot roast”. So delicious! I don’t make roast very often because of the expense of buying one, what I keep forgetting though is each time I buy one it makes a few meals, not just one. With that consideration it’s actually a bargain when you pick one up on sale and oh so tasty. In the game roast beef is made with salt, cauliflower, and marinated beef (beef, green onion, salt). I highly recommend doing a roast in the crockpot, I find I get the most tender meat this way with very little fuss. I also always cook my roast from frozen, again omg tender! It will also make it’s own gravy this way. My mouth is watering just thinking about this roast again. Time to get to pictures and recipes before I raid the fridge.

  • 1 roast of choice, frozen
  • 2 tbl cornstarch
  • 2 pouches beef low salt oxo
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 4 tbl white wine
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 cup cauliflower
  • 2 tbl margarine
  • 1 tsp steak spice
  • green onion, sliced
  1. Place the roast in a crockpot, top and surrounding with the next nine ingredients on the list.
  2. Cover and cook for 6 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
  3. Before serving, boil a pot of water. Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes or less. Drain. Add the margarine and steak spice. Mash. Season to taste.
  4. Serve and top with gravy from the crockpot and green onions.

There are so many variables in this recipe, cut of meat, size of cut, etc. So sadly I cannot give nutritional values for this one. The picture above is from my husband’s plate, it is a surly dwarf portion for sure. A hobbit trying to watch their figure should probably aim for a portion that looks more like this:and go easy on the gravy…I know…it’s hard. So nummy!