Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cumin Bean Cakes

Dipping.  It seems to be the quintessential catalyst for toddler food consumption.  You don't want to eat your  ______ ?  How about some ketchup with it?  Here you go persnickety toddler! Eat up!

And since I have now established the attractiveness of dipping things to children, let's move onto dip worthy food.  I find that cakes (as in pancakes) of some sort usually tolerate and accentuate the dipping experience.

That being said, I will introduce you to the recipe of today.  Cumin Beans Cakes.  These are a take on a recipe that I found and altered in "Toddler Menus" by Penny Preston.
Toddler Menus: A Mix-and-Match Guide to Healthy Eating

I have used a couple of her recipes, and have shared reviews of them on this blog.  So, you may be familiar with that image.  I took her already healthy recipe and amped it up a bit.  I will explain my alterations.
First off, I halved the recipe.  This is a precaution I like to take when trying a new recipe that can be halved.  You can always make more if it is a well received dish, but you cannot go back in time and waste less if no one will touch it (including yourself).  For those of you who are shy about trying new recipes in the fear of wasting time and ingredients, this can temper the blow and help you take that plunge into exploration with food.
Regardless of how the dish turns out, you will learn something so your time is never wasted.  Keep telling yourself that when you are begging your kid to swallow that chipmunk cheek of stored and resisted food.
Cumin Beans Cakes

1 c. corn kernels.  I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's Organic Super Sweet Frozen Corn.
1 c. black beans, drained and rinsed.  To save time I used canned. (Originally, red kidney beans)
2 Tbsp. of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
Spices to taste: Black Pepper, Cumin, Onion Powder and Salt.  I used about two pinches of each.  I used a Red Chili infused Sea Salt.
Salsa, cilantro and Nonfat sour cream.

1.  Mix your beans and corn together in a bowl.
2.  Stir in flour, wheat germ and beaten eggs, and spices.
3.  Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet.  I used spray oil.
4.  Put about a tablespoon of batter in skillet.  Flip after a couple of minutes and brown the other side.
5.  Mix up some minced or pureed cilantro with sour cream, and serve it with the cakes and some salsa.

My take on this recipe?  Well... I had to change it a lot to make it work for me.  I added another egg to the halved recipe b/c the original one batter wasn't binding well enough to make a usable and realistic patty.  I used black beans because I like them more than Kidney beans.  I also used the specific spices I did because I am not a big fan of bland food, and the original recipe only used pepper.  I also added the wheat germ, and changed the flour from all purpose to whole wheat pastry, to add more nutrients.
As for the sour cream, to compensate for the fat free-ness I took a frozen cube of pureed cilantro from this summer and thawed it, and then mixed it into the sour cream.  It added freshness that compensated for any heaviness the pastry flour and oil from frying added to the dish.
I LOVED eating my version these little cakes.  And any extras you make can be frozen, pulled out, and heated up later for easy feeding of the family.

This entire recipe yields 12 points and I would say about 4 servings.  So, each serving is about 3 points.  You get vegetables, protein and whole grains in this one item.

Wheat germ: The germ at the center of the wheat seed is a concentrated source of nutrients. Two tablespoons provide a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Sprinkle over cereals, yogurt and salads. Or use it in muffins, cookies and pancakes. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/49475.php

Black Beans:  There is a plenitude of information on these little guys.  From fiber and protein to antioxidants, these beans pack quite a nutrition filled punch. Here is a great website if you are interested.

Corn: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Ravioli

I am a member of Costco, and so somewhere in my head I thought that meant that I could never join another megalomart superdooper shopping warehouse club store.  I attribute that irrational thought to an excessively frugal woman I once knew who balked at the idea.  Somehow that little ditty of misinformation lodged itself in my brain.

That being said, I received an invitation to visit BJs Warehouse Club.  Even though I think the name of that place was not thought out well enough, I took a trip to the store and checked it out.  While perusing the goods I found a new cookbook to buy and bring home to my excessive collection.  So I joined the club, and now I am welcome at two different mega-buy-a-lot-o-shit stores! Gasp!

The cookbook that I bought is titled "Double Delicious".  It is the younger sibling of Jessica Seinfeld's first cookbook titled "Deceptively Delicious".  I have mentioned that book a few times on here, as all of you loyal and attentive readers know....yeah.  Anyway, here is a link to the book if you want more info on it.

Double Delicious!: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives

The first recipe that I decided to work on was for pumpkin ravioli.  'Tis the season, right?  While making these ravioli I kept thinking to myself.  "These better be good or I am going to do my first negative review of a recipe on my blog and BLAST IT, simply because of the tedious work this recipe requires."  *See photo of my counter below.

However, the minute I took my first bite all that labor was forgotten.  It was like giving birth to a tiny little pumpkin pocket of ravioli love and forgetting all about the hours of work.

So... my assessment of this recipe?  MY HELL, YUM!

My assessment of this book?  BUY IT!

Not only are the recipes easy and interesting, but Jessica Seinfeld included the nutrition information.  I went through and calculated all the points for the recipes so I know what I am getting myself into when I start to slobber and lust over a page of cherry jubilees brownies.  Ahhh.... YUM!  That will be coming to the blog soon, by the way.

So, for this recipe one serving is six ravioli, and you end up with about 6 servings.  Each serving equals 7 weight watchers points and is about 352 calories if you follow Mrs. Seinfeld's recipe to the T.  I, however, am not capable of doing this.  I made mine a little less calorific by taking away one ingredient and lessening another.  You'll see as you check out the recipe.

Pumpkin Ravioli

Ingredients: (my changes are noted below the bold typed original items)

1 (15-0unce) can low-sodium white beans, such as navy, rinsed and drained.
I used about 7 ounces of pureed garbanzo beans instead, because that is what I had and garbanzo are a little higher in calories than navy beans.
1/2 c. canned 100% pumpkin (not the pie mix) 
I put in 1 full cup to make up for bulk of the beans I didn't add.  Pumpkin is lower in calories than both garbanzo and navy beans.
1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
It is rumored that somewhere in the universe there is nonfat ricotta.  I have yet to discover this animal.
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
3/4 tsp. garlic powder  
1 large egg
72 wonton wrappers, about 1 1/2 (12 ounce) packages 
I only used about 60 of them to make 30.  Froze half the ravioli uncooked, and put the rest of the filling in rolled whole-wheat tortillas that I baked, and then froze for later consumption.
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. jarred marinara, warmed up.
I didn't use the marinara to save myself some calories.  Instead, I used fake butter spray, sea salt and ground pepper for flavor. 


1. Fill stockpot with water.

2. In small bowl, beat egg with about a tablespoon of water.

3. Set wonton wrappers on a clean counter.  Put about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each one.  
I have also seen online where someone used less filling and just folded the wrapper in half to form a triangle.  

4. Turn burner to high to boil your water in the pot sitting on the stove already.

5. Brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with egg wash.

6. Put another wonton wrapper on top and make sure that the two are sealed around the filling.

7. Use the bottom of a can, or a stainless steel measuring cup, to make the ravioli circular if you want.

8. Sprinkle them with cornstarch.

9. Put them in the boiling water to cook.  When they float they are done and need to be fished out gently with a slotted spoon or a skimmer.
Calphalon Stainless Skimmer 
I do not have a skimmer, yet.  I will get one today to remedy my feelings of inadequacy after having to use a slotted spoon, the indignity. 

10. Put ravioli on a plate with marinara, or put them on a plate and spray with that lovely toxic low calorie spray butter crap (selling you on that one aren't I?) and sprinkle with pepper and salt.

11.  Eat, YUM!

Nutrition Facts:

The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron and Manganese.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.


Garbanzo Beans:
The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Manganese.

The bad: This food is high in Sodium. *if taken from a can
Part-skim Ricotta:
The good: This food is a good source of Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein.

The bad: This food is high in Saturated Fat.

Interesting post on Parkay