It’s summer, it’s hot, and we all need a healthy treat to snack on. I rarely crave fried food or heavy desserts in the summer, and baking becomes less appealing when I’d rather be outside enjoying the nice weather. These quick bites of chocolate and peanut butter solve all my issues! I’ve made these healthy treats so many times over the years. I store them in my freezer and grab one (or two) whenever I’m suddenly starving but dinner is 2 hours away. You know those peanut butter balls called Buckeyes that are made with tons of butter and powdered sugar? These taste even better than those and are so much healthier!
Food Science is this awesome little mix of biology, chemistry and physics. I enjoy learning the reasons why the things we make react the way they do. Putting a name to what you’re seeing is so satisfying. Here’s some of my favorite examples:
*Putting sugar on berries pulls the water out of the fruit, because sugar is hydrophilic. This means it loves water so much it’ll take some from the berries!
*Denaturing proteins can change a food entirely. I always think of eggs, because once you’ve cooked them (denatured their proteins) you can never return them to their natural state. Denaturing means you’re changing the structure of the protein at a molecular level. Adding rennet to milk to make cheese is another way of denaturing proteins.
*Fats are confusing. Some saturated fats are bad, some are good, but we do know that trans fats are bad for us. So what IS a trans fat? It comes down to the actual molecule and the direction that the hydrogen atoms are facing. When the two hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond it’s called a cis, and when they’re on the opposite sides it’s called a trans. This affects the shapes of the molecules, and thus affects the stability of the fat. Trans fatty acids can last forever, which is why they were used in so many snack foods (like Twinkies) before we realized that our bodies do not like them.
Finally, a coconut cupcake that worked. One that doesn’t have that weird, subtle coconut flavor that makes me go “meh.” This isn’t overwhelming, but it is COCONUT and delicious. Like coconut cream pie!
I have made 4 different recipes for food/treats in the last few days, and they all failed. I even spent 5 hours working on a bread that ended up doughy in the middle. It was all so very, very frustrating, so I gave up on Pinterest recipes and went to the library. I loaded up on cookbooks and food magazines, plus a few health-related ones. I ended up finding an indulgent dessert recipe in my health magazine that I had to try, and it turned out perfectly! Sometimes you have to go back to the basics. Continue reading “Coconut Cupcakes”
So you’re ready to go to Hawaii, and you’ve managed to decide on an island, even- Maui. It’s nicknamed “The Valley Island”, and it has everything you need for a tropical getaway. You just have to know where to find it all.
Now that I’ve been able to explore Maui three times, I can tell you what an outsider has learned about this slice of paradise. Budgets of any kind can afford an amazing Hawaiian adventure on this gorgeous island. I’ve been there 3 times, and I’ve loved every minute I’ve been able to spend there.
Continue reading “See It All: A Guide to Exploring Maui, Hawaii”
I usually make enough food every night for leftovers the next day, but I only had 1 sweet potato and we have tons of food in the fridge, so this is what we ended up with! The creamy avocado dip was perfect with the crispy sweet potato fries, and the chicken ended up soft and nicely seasoned. After I completely failed at falafels, Michael had a grill night in which he made amazing mahi and sweet corn, and I repeated my Perfect Pizza recipe, this was a great meal to share- you get four recipes to make up for my failure at posting one a day! Continue reading “Sweet Potato Fries, BBQ Cheddar Chicken, & Avocado Dipping Sauce”
I love muffins. Obviously, judging by all my recipes (favorite one is still the blueberry muffins, although these cherry ones are a close second!) Some people get inspired by great restaurant meals and try to recreate the same thing at home. I don’t try to compare to those talented chefs. Instead, I get inspired when I try a baked good at a restaurant and coffee shop and am disappointed by the flavor or texture. Continue reading “Cherry Chocolate Pecan Muffins”
One food that we started increasing in our diet to fight heart disease was avocado. It’s filled with healthy fats and adds a creamy element to meals. We used to make guacamole once Michael realized how delicious homemade guacamole is versus those weird runny ones at restaurants. Seriously, not sure why they kill avocados at restaurants and dilute them with…something inedible. Once we ate some amazing guacamole in California, we tried recreating it about 30 times- so delicious. Continue reading “Avocado Bacon Chickpea Salad”