I love pastry! I love the buttery taste, the flaky texture, and the rich smell of it while it’s cooking in the oven. Unfortunately, I hate all the calories (and so do my hips).
I’ve tried a few “lower calorie” versions found on the internet, but I don’t like any of them. Vegetable fillers sound like a good idea, but you lose the taste & texture of real pastry, and low calorie butter substitutes are evil and should be avoided like the chemical loaded fake food plague they are.
So what’s a pastry lover on a diet to do? I’ve found only one solution – eat the pastry, just less of it. Instead of making an entire pie with both top and bottom crust, make single serving mini pies in ramekins, and put pastry cut-outs on the top only. This looks beautiful, avoids trying to serve a piece of pie without a bottom, looks like you did a lot of work (you actually did less – shhhh), and puts the small bit of pastry that you do eat right under your nose where you can see and smell it.
This is the recipe I used for mini beef & mushroom pies (to be posted on Thursday). As it’s a savoury pie, I didn’t add sugar but if you’re using it for sweet pies, add a tsp or two of sugar in step 1.
Tips & Tricks:
Extra pastry freezes well. To thaw, bring it out of the freezer the night before – don’t use the microwave.
Use a fine grater (cheese shredder) to cut the butter into the flour.
Very cold butter works best. If you have the time, pre-measure and freeze it.
Butter gives you a nice buttery flavour, but shortening or lard give the best flaky texture. Margarine never works well. A mix of half butter / half shortening gives both flavour & texture, but you can decide what you want to use.
I have a confession: I’m a snack-a-holic. I’m constantly looking for new tasty (and healthy) things to munch on and recently I’ve discovered fruit chips. They’re crispy, slightly sweet and completely customizable. For example, if you don’t have maple syrup, try agave or honey? Maybe a sprinkling of vanilla powder or cardamom?
I used a dehydrator to make these, but an oven on the lowest setting will work just as well. To keep things hassle free in the oven, use a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper. Continue reading “Maple Glazed Pear Chips”→
I made this as a salad topping for this week – they were delicious! The salad had mixed greens, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, diced avocado and about 1/3 a cup of these roast carrots. Toss with a dressing of sesame oil and balsamic vinegar, and the whole thing was very filling.
There’s one tiny trick to roasting glazed carrots. You want the carrots to be fully roasted, but you don’t want the maple syrup to burn. The solution is to roast the carrots without the syrup, and then add it for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Easy!
Like any health conscious person, I try to eat a lot of vegetables. Unfortunately, there are only so many carrot sticks I can eat before I swear I’m going to turn into a rabbit. To keep the rabbit syndrome at bay, I like to make healthy dips.
This week, I made hummus with red lentils and lots of garlic. It’s super easy to make and you can portion it out and keep in the fridge for quick grab & go lunch sides. 1/2 cup of dry red lentils makes a little more than 1 cup cooked, so one serving of this recipe is about 1/4 cup – plenty for all your cucumber and carrot stick needs. 😉 Continue reading “Red Lentil Hummus”→
I had to call these “Banana Bread” chips, because calling them just “banana chips” would be doing them a disservice. I’ve had store-bought banana chips before and they were…ok, so I was totally amazed when I tried these and they tasted exactly like homemade banana bread with lemon glaze.
These are easy to make, there’s no sugar required and they vanish with shocking speed. 😀 I meant to bring some to work to get other people’s opinions… but they just didn’t last that long. Apologies to my co-workers – you guys missed out. 😉
I used a dehydrator to make these, but an oven on the lowest setting will work just as well. To keep things hassle free in the oven, use a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper.
A while ago I had “high tea” with a friend and her mother. (Hi N!) If you’ve never had high tea, I highly recommend it, it’s a great way to sample new foods and teas. One of the foods I instantly fell in love with was the red lentil and apricot soup. It sounds like a weird combination, but OMG it was delicious.
Sooo, I had to figure out how to make it. After much research and testing, I’ve come up with the recipe below. If you’d prefer a vegetarian version, feel free to use vegetable broth and omit the sausage. Both ways taste great. 🙂
Extras freeze well and can be reheated in a slow cooker on low. Goes well with a bread roll.
I’ve been eating these for breakfast for a week and OMG what a treat. They freeze well and warm up in the microwave easily – perfect for work. My co-workers are jealous when they smell them… 😉
This is a sweet variation of the Quick Biscuits I posted last week. I wanted something easy for breakfast that tasted like it was off the diet radar.
The easy part is that they’re quick to make and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. The “yum” part is the honey and cardamom – they’re a nice hint of sweet and spice without being overwhelming.
The secret to the diet part is plain non-fat Greek yogurt; the extra thick yogurt cooks like soft cream cheese without all the extra calories. The other diet secret is that this uses biscuit dough instead of puff pastry. Trust me though, no one will notice. 😉