29 November 2013

Easy Slow-cooked Butternut Squash with Lentils and Shallots (GF)

This is so easy and delicious -- it's pretty, too -- check out the photo.  The hardest part is chopping up the butternut squash.  I've posted variations of this before, but figured a slow-cooked version was due its turn!

Add to your slow cooker:  1 chopped butternut squash (aim for bits that are no bigger than 1" in any length -- no need to peel -- the peel will soften after cooking and is perfectly edible), quartered shallots (or onions cut into wedges), 1 cup dried green, brown, or French (Puy) lentils (not split lentils, though), 2 cups of water, a few garlic cloves (or 1-2 cloves of minced garlic), a generous glug of olive oil, red chili pepper flakes, sage, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and salt.  You can also add a tin of chopped tomatoes to make it like more like a stew/a bit more saucey.

If you don't like lentils, you can just skip them and then skip the 2 cups of water, as well.  And you can skip the olive oil, too, if you want it fat-free, just add 2-3 tbsp of water if you're not doing the lentils.

This should take about 4 hours on low, 2 hours on high.  I like to stir everything up once or twice part way through slow-cooking and maybe add a little kettle water if things are looking a bit dry. 

I like it served on a bed of brown rice, but quinoa, millet, buckwheat, bulghar wheat, and such will all do just fine, as well.

09 November 2013

Pear Carob Cake (Fat-Free)

My husband came home with a bunch of pears the other day because they are in season right now.  And by in season, I actually mean really cheap

So, here is a cake recipe.  It's fat-free, delicious, and actually kind of tastes a bit like banana bread, even though there's no banana in it.  If you don't have carob powder, you can use cocoa powder and if you don't have pears to puree, you can use applesauce.  I cored and stemmed some pears and then pureed them, peels and all, with my immersion blender, but you could use a blender or food processor.

The whole cake is approx 1920 calories, and if you cut it into 8 slices, they are about 240 calories each and they are pretty generously-sized.  (The slices pictured are 1/16th of the cake each.)
  • 2 c flour (plain, whole wheat, spelt, or granary will all do)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 c carob powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • a few drops of orange extract (optional)
  • 1-1/2 c pear puree 
  • 1/2 to 1 c sugar
Preheat your oven to 300°F/150°C.  That's not a typo.  This cake bakes low and slow.

Sift the dry ingredients (other than the sugar) together.  Stir in the pear puree and extracts if using.  The batter will be a bit stiff and thick because of the corn starch.  Don't worry.  If you like sweet cake, go ahead and add the full cup of sugar, but if you are like me and don't like to use too much, stir in a little at a time, tasting the batter to see if it's sweet enough. 

Pour the batter into a nonstick or greased (yes, I know that means the recipe isn't totally fat-free) and floured cake pan or a bundt cake pan and even a small loaf tin should do. 

Bake at 300°F/150°C for about 50 minutes.  Mine rose like crazy in the middle.  Pop it out of the baking tin and let it cool for a bit on a cooling rack or something before slicing.

If anybody has any ideas on how to sub out that sugar and replace it with something else, leave a comment.  Heck, leave a comment anyway!  :D