Blackberry Cobbler (Egg-free)

Imagine yourself in the position I was in on Monday afternoon.

I am in Farmboy, a store somewhat akin to U.S. Whole Foods, standing in front of the discount-food rack (one of my favourite shopping spots) where they put the fruits and vegetables that didn’t sell on the weekend. Items have been repackaged into larger quantities.

I spot two large containers of blackberries.  This is amazing because berries rarely make it onto this rack. Each package is $2.49 and, it later turns out, holds 4 cups of berries.

I study them closely and darned if those berries didn’t look really fresh. No furry spots, no discolouration.

What would you have done? Me…well, I can’t resist the bargain, even though I know I’m going to have to use those berries up very quickly.

One of my strategies was to slightly re-cobble my very low-cal cobbler recipe and double it from 8 to 16 pieces. We’ve been eating the cobbler since Tuesday, and these are the last two pieces. Delicious!

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Chocolate-Orange Bean Bake

This bean bake has…

  • A light chocolate flavour.
  • A hint of orange.
  • A cake-like texture.

 

It’s delicious, and I’ve been eating it for breakfast.

Even the spouse, who is not fond of chocolate (how is that possible?), likes this bean bake—although he did say that it would probably be better if it were topped with whipped cream.

Well, what wouldn’t??!!

Is it not a truth well known to all dieters that everything we can eat would taste much more exciting if it were fried, blended, mixed, chopped, or topped with the foods we can’t eat?

And I told him so in no uncertain terms, thank you very much!

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Pumpkin “Pie” Bean Bake

This bean bake looks like pumpkin pie filling. It tastes like pumpkin pie filling. It has the creamy texture of pumpkin pie filling.

Add a pie crust, and I’ll bet most people wouldn’t guess that this dish was made with beans instead of dairy.

In fact, it tasted so much like pumpkin pie filling that I thought it needed something extra—after all, it’s different, right? So I added a healthy dollop of coffee liqueur (like Kahlua). And, upon re-tasting the batter, I had the distinct sensation the the spices were blending better. But maybe it’s just my love of coffee liqueur? At any rate, adding a liqueur is optional.

As you can see in the photo, the bean bake has lost some of its smooth, brown edging. This occurred when I removed the circular outer part of the springform pan, and some of the edging came off with it. Lesson learned—remove said pan part right after baking. Do not wait until the dish has been refrigerated overnight.

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The Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Dieter’s Fabulous Bean Bake!

Bean bakes are the best thing to come my way, foodwise, as a gluten-free, dairy-free dieter. Seriously. They’re delicious and, most amazingly, doesn’t have a hint of beans.

Interior: Banana-Coconut Bean Cake

Taste is important but it isn’t the best part of the story. A bean bake has a cake-like texture because it rises as it cooks. The result is that the bean bake tricks my body. I feel as if I’m eating carbs—thus satisfying my carb cravings—when what I’m actually eating is primarily protein, very nutritious, and filling, despite being low in calories.

Now, that’s fabulous!

And there’s more:

  • Bean bakes are versatile. First, they can be sweet (with a fruit) or savoury (with a vegetable), depending on what’s in your kitchen. Secondly, whether sweet or savoury, you can eat a slice at breakfast or as a snack, a side dish at lunch or dinner or, in the case of a sweet bean bake, a dessert.
  • Bean bakes are extremely easy to make. You put all the ingredients in a food processor, mix, and then bake.
  • Bean bakes are inexpensive. Two cups of white navy beans, three eggs, one cup of fruit or vegetable, maybe one-half cup of cheese, some spices—compare the price of that with eight servings of meat.
  • Bean bakes get along with my digestive tract. In addition to diagnosing gluten-sensitivity, my doctor told me I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). While many foods/dishes can upset me—for example, a daily intake of too many flour-baked products (no matter how gluten-free). Bean bakes, on the other hand, leave the irritable beast slumbering away.
  • Bean bakes and the spouse are happy together. I consider my husband as the acid test of anything I make, particularly in this case because he’s far fussier eater than I am. My guarantee: if he likes bean bakes, other people will too.

To accommodate this new recipe and its numerous variations, I have created a new blog, The Bean Bake Blog.

And keep in mind…

1) White navy beans top the charts for fiber. For more information about these beans, check out:

2) Taste tip: Bean cakes are more flavourful the day after cooking. Also, savoury bean bakes taste best warm; sweet bean bakes taste best cold.

3) Calorie calculation: Cauliflower Bean Bake with Cheese, Dill, and Olive

Total calories:

  • Entire bean bake: 1,010
  • Per 1/8 serving: 126.25

Stir-Fried Pork Tenderloin with Eggplant and Apple

Who among us doesn’t need a fast and easy supper dish in our repertoire?  I’ve been making this stir-fry for a long time, and part of its attraction is that I don’t have to peel a thing!  Just chop and cook.

The flavour is mild which gives you the scope to spice it up with a hoisin or hot sauce.  And you can use however much pork, eggplant, apple, or onion you please.  This particular recipe makes 2 meals for my husband and myself, but then we don’t eat a lot of meat.

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Carob-Covered Pomegranate Seeds

Today the stars aligned!  Truly.  First, this dessert is a delicious and richly satisfying mixture of sweet and tart.  Secondly, the recipe is gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free.  And, thirdly, I made it—just by chance—on  “National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day” (according to Foodimentary who keeps track of these things).  Yep, the moon was definitely in the seventh house.

Alas, however, it isn’t calorie-free, but we can’t have everything, can we?  On the other hand, it isn’t so rich that my diet “pocketbook” can’t afford a serving.  So now I too can eat something wonderfully sweet during the holidays and not feel deprived as everyone else guzzles down egg nog and hogs down cheesecake.  So there, world!

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Sweet and Savoury Roasted Beets

A confession: I’ve always liked beets but rarely cooked them—partly because they’re messy and partly because the spouse is not enamoured.  “Well,” I say, “Too bad for him.” 

I’ve decided to make beets part of my “DIY Roasted Vegetables” diet strategy, namely, to always have cooked veggies available for snacks and general noshing.  

The result was this easy-to-make, very colourful, and deliciously sweet dish with a tang of savoury, thanks to some sharp cheese. Continue reading

Dieter’s Spiced Cranberry Relish

We Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on October 10 so our family had its groaning board yesterday, replete with turkey, stuffing, and all the usual wonderful and calorie-rich accompaniments.

In the past, I used to throw caution to the winds and dolloped lots of cranberry sauce (canned) on my turkey even though I knew it was chock-full of sugar.  This year, I decided to make my own cranberry sauce and spend those calories elsewhere—on pumpkin pie, for example, and some stuffing.  And this was a good thing for two reasons.

First of all, this relish was a much superior product to the canned variety: the cranberry flavour enhanced by spicy undertones of orange and spices.  And secondly, I needed to save those extra calories because one daughter brought home-made coconut macaroons, which were to die for.

And, honestly?  My diet did die a little…a smidgeon, really, dear god of weight loss.  But then, such is the fate of diets when Thanksgiving rolls around.

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Plum and Red Cabbage Slaw

The plum season cometh to an end; the cabbage season arriveth.  What better time to marry the two foods together in a delicious, tart, and crunchy coleslaw? 

In keeping with the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that when I tried this recipe first, I decided to make it a cooked, rather than raw, dish.  I really liked it, but then I’ll eat just about any vegetable dish.  The spouse was not amused.  So I decided to try it this way.  I still really like, but now the spouse informs me than he’s not really that enamoured of red cabbage.

Interesting how you forget things about the other person when you’re in a really long relationship, isn’t it?  I think I had this bit of knowledge at the back of my mind—the place where I keep unwanted information. 

No problem, I’m going to eat the whole thing.

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Cucumber Blueberry Mint Salad

This salad is “an end-of-summer delight”—a combination of savoury cucumber (now in season) and sweet blueberries (still on the shelves) whose flavours only work together when they are textured with the fresh tang of mint. 

I know this because I made it without mint earlier in the summer, and the spouse who had never seen the original recipe said, “This would benefit from some mint, don’t you think?”

Anyway, I say “end of summer” because the temperature reached 30° C (86° F) today, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like the second week of September.  We used to get a first frost in early September but those days seem to be long past.

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