Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the category “Oil-free”

Watermelon and Kale Salad Topped with Oil-free Cilantro and Lime Dressing

Watermelon salad 2

It seems I have lost the ability to bake. In the past five hours I’ve attempted to make vegan cornbread and blueberry scones, as well as chocolate chip scones. Yet, all I’m left with is a terrible mess (three times over) and a trash can full of baked goodies that were actually supposed to taste good.

I made watermelon gazpacho for dinner tonight. I thought that cornbread would be a great starch to pair it with (little did I know how it would turn out). I subbed white unbleached flour for white spelt flour and while the corn muffins rose, they did not taste delicious (or even edible really). I’m blaming that cooking catastrophe on the spelt flour, which I’d used once before for baking biscuits and I was left with that same horrible flavor (maybe it had spoiled?).

The second and third baking mishaps were a mystery to me. I made the same scone recipe I’d made a thousand times before (or maybe at least a handful of times), but the “scones” (if you’re nice enough to call them that) came out perfectly flat. They looked like puffed up cookies. They’d spread so far the edges started to cook together to form one massive mama scone that looked reminiscent of Swiss cheese. As there were lots of holes in areas that didn’t manage to touch. I thought maybe the first batch was ruined by the frozen blueberries, but the second batch came out the same way. They were practically brown on the outside and yet they were flat and overly soft on the inside. The taste was not overly appealing either.

I even told myself to stop after that first batch of scones. I knew they’d turned out terrible and that wasting double the ingredients was bad enough, but I guess the third time is a charm (really it was for me and my garbage baked goods). I’m sensing you can feel my frustration here. I was really hoping for some scones tonight.

At this point, I’ve officially given up on trying to make yummy treats for tonight. I’ve surrendered to my possessed oven. I’m assuming it’s the only reason for all of the unsightly baked goods that have come out of it tonight. It’s also hot, 10 pm, and I’m beginning to get tired eyes. For tonight, the oven wins, but I will surely make another batch of my famous scones at some point.

I do apologize that none of this post actually had to do with the watermelon and kale salad recipe which you will find below. It was delicious and did not end up in the garbage, as everything else has tonight.

Watermelon & Kale Salad:

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

7-8 leaves of kale, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sungold tomatoes, quartered

1 cup of watermelon, diced (and seeds removed)

1/2 cup of cucumber, diced

1/2 a jalapeno, diced finely

1/2 of an avocado, diced (or the remainder not used in the dressing recipe)

cilantro lime dressing (recipe below)

Method:

After washing the kale, dry it and then give it a rough chop. Add it to the serving bowl. Sprinkle the quartered sungold tomatoes on top of the kale. Then mix the cucumber and watermelon together and add that to the salad as well. To finish the salad, sprinkle the jalapeno pieces on top, drizzle on the cilantro lime dressing, and finally top with diced avocado pieces.

Oil-free Cilantro Lime Dressing:

*Makes enough dressing for two salads

Ingredients:

1 lime, juiced

1/3 of an avocado, diced

1 tsp of dried cilantro or 1 tbsp of fresh diced cilantro (fresh would be best)

1/2 a jalapeno, diced

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2-3 tbsp of cold water

Method: 

Add all of the ingredients (starting with 2 tbsp of water) to a small food processor and blend on high until the dressing is smooth and creamy. If the dressing is still too thick, add another tablespoon of water to the food processor and blend again. Add it to the top of the kale salad and enjoy immediately.

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An Oil-free Blueberry Peach Cobbler-like Granola

Blueberry Peach Granola 1

I’ll admit it. I make granola fresh almost every morning for breakfast. Maybe it sounds crazy that I spend time in my kitchen actually making my breakfast each morning instead of pouring it from a box or reaching for it from a paper bag that has that has that famous orange and pink lettering and says Dunkin’ Donuts on it, but now that I’ve started making these homemade breakfasts, I just can’t stop. Don’t get me wrong in the past I coveted box cereal, going through phases of favoring certain brands and eating it every morning without missing a day. I’ve also enjoyed many of Dunkin’s bagels.

Simply put, this granola is healthier and tastier than any breakfast I’ve gotten out of a box or bag and much cheaper too! When I have to go back to work come August, I probably will have to deal with the idea of not making my own breakfast each morning, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make a big batch on Sunday for week mornings (though I would probably leave the peaches and blueberries out until the day of serving – so the granola doesn’t get mushy).

*In case you missed my last post on oil free banana walnut granola, you can find it here! It is fairly similar to this one in terms of the ingredients used.

Blueberry Peach Granola 2

Oil-free blueberry peach granola: 

*Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 of a banana

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 – 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp of maple syrup

1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes

1 small to medium peach, halved and then sliced

1/2 cup of blueberries, washed and patted dry

*optional: a dash of nutmeg to coat the blueberries and peaches

1/4 cup of pecans

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then cut the banana in half and add it to a mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork or potato masher. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir well.

2- Add the rolled oats and the coconut flakes. Mix all of those ingredients together. Then, slice the peach and toss it in the nutmeg with the blueberries (if you choose to use the nutmeg – I personally enjoyed it, but not everyone is a big nutmeg fan). Add the fruit to the granola bowl. Stir once more before spreading the granola onto a baking sheet.

3- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the granola begins to turn golden brown (or longer if you like it extra crisp). Top with pecans (if desired). Serve immediately or let it cool a bit and it will crisp up even more. Some serving suggestions would be to add cacao nibs, ground flax seed, or another type of chopped nuts before serving with the milk of your choice. Enjoy!

Oil-Free Banana Walnut Granola

Banana Walnut Granola

Lately, I haven’t been one to eat conventional boxed cereal. I’ve been leaning towards alternative breakfast ideas like breakfast quesadillas with peanut butter and bananas, green smoothies, stove-top oatmeal, and homemade granola (my personal favorite, aside from pancakes that is).

I love the crunchiness of granola, as well as its sweet flavor, but I find that most store bought granolas are full of sugar and have many grams of fat. I sought out to make granola without using any oil. Instead of using oil to bind the mixture, I used mashed banana, which gave the breakfast cereal a lightly sweet flavor. Luckily, it was a success. I made it everyday this week  for breakfast. I fully expect to make it tomorrow morning too. It tastes like banana bread topped with toasted walnuts.

Oil-Free Banana Walnut Granola: 

*Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 banana

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp of maple syrup

1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp of walnuts chopped (plus more for after baking)

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then cut the banana in half and add one half to a mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork or potato masher. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir well.

2- Add the rolled oats, the coconut, and the chopped walnuts. Mix all of those ingredients together. Then, slice up the other half of the banana and add it to the bowl. Stir once more before spreading the granola onto a baking sheet.

3- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the granola begins to turn golden brown. Top with extra walnuts (if desired). Serve immediately or let it cool a bit and it will crisp up even more. Some serving suggestions would be to add cacao nibs, ground flax seeds, or raisins before serving with the milk of your choice. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Crackers that have Multiple Personality Disorder

peanut butter crackers 1

They looks delicious because they are. How can you go wrong when you combine the flavors of peanut butter and chocolate? You can’t, unless you’re allergic to peanut butter.

Is it a cracker or is it a cookie? Who knows? I sure don’t. This cracker recipe has taken on multiple identities. On its own, it is undeniably a cracker, yet when topped with peanut butter, it reminds me of the Nutter Butters I used to eat as a child. As you can see, I didn’t just stop there with topping the crackers with peanut butter. I turned this healthy snack into a full on dessert-vehicle. Soon all the ideas of toppings that popped into my head, found their way into my eager fingertips and soon into my mouth.

These crackers are lightly sweet with the flavor of peanut butter. They are oil-free and fairly healthy, until you start experimenting with all of the unhealthy topping possibilities, as I did. I’ll just chalk it up to doing good old fashioned research. I mean, what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t test ALL of the suggested topping ideas I listed? I think it would be terribly irresponsible of me. Read on for a tasty cracker recipe.  I mean, how many opportunities will you get to make gluten-free crackers with a personality disorder? You should take this opportunity. Really, you won’t be disappointed (especially since they are very simple and take almost no time to make).

peanut butter crackers 2

My Nutter Butter imitation creation.

 

Gluten-free peanut butter crackers: 

Inspired by Angela’s easy and gluten-free cracker recipe found on Oh She Glows

*Makes about crackers

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup of brown rice flour

3/4 cup of almond meal

2 tbsp of ground flax seed

1/2 tsp of sea salt

1 tbsp of agave nectar (for more of a cookie like flavor add 2 tbsp of agave)

1/4 cup of water

1/2 cup of salt-free peanut butter (I used freshly ground peanut butter) *taste the batter before baking and add more peanut butter if desired

peanut butter crackers 3

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients. Then add all of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula. Make sure the mixture is well combined and form into a ball using your hands.

2- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the dough ball onto the parchment. Press it down firmly. Using a rolling pin or your hands continue pressing down or rolling out the batter. Roll until it is the desired thickness (as the dough won’t rise when it’s in the oven).

3- Slice into 1.5 by 1 inch strips using a pizza wheel or knife. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Watch them at about the 12 minute mark and take them out when the edges begin to brown.

4- Gently separate the crackers and let them cool for 15-25 minutes. The cooler the are, the crispier they will be when you eat them. Eat alone or top with the toppings of your choice. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 days.

Suggested Toppings:

  • Melted chocolate
  • Melted chocolate and strawberries
  • Peanut butter mixed with a tad bit of agave nectar for sweetness, which creates a cookie reminiscent of Nutter Butters
  • Banana slices
  • Hazelnut spread

Get crazy with the toppings or don’t, either way these crackers are tasty and versatile.

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