Another 105°F day. Today is supposed to be the last of it and I hear Saturday's high is forecast to be 80°F so ahhhh a light at the end of the tunnel.
Breakfast: Started my day with a yummy protein shake. One of my favorites Chocolate Covered Cherry. I sipped it on the patio then picked a bunch of tomatoes and soaked the plants down. They still holding up and producing a ton despite the gnarly heat. It's been a really really good year. Glad I gave the plants an early drink because it was already 101°F by 11:30 AM.
Shelly's Chocolate Covered Cherry Protein Shake
1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (or Regular Milk)
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Vanilla)
1/4 cup Frozen or Fresh Cherries
3 or 4 cubes of Ice
Whiz in blender till smooth. Top with a squirt No Sugar Added Homemade Whipped Cream and drizzle of SF Chocolate Sauce, optional.
Lunch: I ran some errands and when I got home I took some of those fresh picked tomatoes and made this yummy salad for lunch...
Shelly's Cannelini Tuna Caprese Salad
1 can Tuna Fillets, packed in Olive Oil, drained (I use Roland Ventresca Tuna Fillets)
1 can (15 oz) Cannelini Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups Homegrown, Just Picked Tomatoes
1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella, chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
dash of Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
A few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon of any Fruity Vinegar (Champagne, Orange, Lemon)
Mix all ingredients together till well combined.
Late in the afternoon the clouds rolled in and we had some drama... thunder, lightning strikes... fires. Apparently a few bolts hit nearby. It got pretty smoky in the neighborhood but the firefighters got it out pretty quickly and the few sprinkles I'm sure helped douse the flames too. You'd think the bit of rain would have helped but it just made things more sultry. What I did to heat up the house didn't help either...
Those of you that read the blog on a regular basis know I work on-call for a caterer. I spent most of my 20's in school. I have a few degrees from those years, Political Science and Child & Family Studies both of which are not in the greatest demand. I planned to go to law school (Child Advocacy) but $$ and desire ran out. So to pay the bills and because cooking is my true love... I work with a pal who does corporate (some occasion & special events) catering. Yesterday she and I were talking and she wanted me to develop a No Sugar Added Cookie to include in a "Lighter Option" lunch box. I have a few cookies I've done in the past but none that I would consider worthy of being "sold" until now. So yeah despite the triple digit temps I started baking experiments and came up with a delicious chewy oatmeal cookie I feel is worthy.
I was in the health food store the other day and I picked up a bag of Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute (a sugar alcohol, found in a lot of SF products gum, candy, etc) I wanted to mess with it. This gave me the opportunity. Now word of warning sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect (Xylitol is actually has the least effect of all sugar alcohols) but just so you know if you were to eat a tray of cookies you'd spend some quality time getting to know your bathroom. I enjoyed 2 with no ill effects. Xylitol is safe for humans but can be fatal for dogs. So keep stuff made from it like packs of SF gum out of your fur babies reach. I'm sure I'll get the Q about subbing Splenda... I haven't tried it. This is what I had on hand.
So here's my no sugar added, no oil or butter, no white flour chewy oatmeal cookie... all those NO's should equal no taste but these really rock! Super yummy.
Shelly's Chewy Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup Oatmeal
1/2 cup Spelt Flour
1/4 cup Almond Meal (aka Almond Flour) (Trader Joe's, health food stores, online or make your own)
1/4 cup Protein Powder (Vanilla or Cookies & Cream)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Xylitol (granulated sugar substitute)
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Cottage Cheese, small curd
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
1/4 cup Chopped Nuts (I used Pecans. Raisins or dried Cranberries could sub or SF chocolate chunks)
Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 non stick baking sheets with Pam cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together till well combined.
Drop the heaping teaspoonfuls, 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake cookies 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 25. Here's how to find out the nutritional value of this or any recipe.
Dinner: Once the smoke and clouds cleared I filled my super cool bento box with yummy stuff including a couple of my cookie experiments and ate outside. I had to escape my hot house.
Pink Box (top left): Shelly's Chewy Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
Green Box (top right): Shelly's Healthier Baba Ganoush
Blue Box (bottom left): Yellow Bell Pepper strips, Baby Carrots, sliced Cucumbers for dipping
Orange Box (bottom right): Ham and Cheese Roll-ups
Shelly's Healthier Baba Ganoush
3 oz. Greek Yogurt (I use Plain 2%)
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 cup Roasted Eggplant (roasted & chilled)
1/4 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (oregano, black pepper, garlic, sage blend)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
Whiz all ingredients in a mini food processor till desired consistency.
This is to die for, put your face in the bowl and lick it clean good. Here are some more civilized ways to eat it... spread on cucumber slices, with dippers like bell peppers, carrots, spread in celery, stuffed in cherry tomatoes, spread on cold cuts and rolled up but don't be surprised if you just find yourself eating it off the spoon.
Snacks: Oodles of Iced Coffee and Iced Tea Lattes and the last of my Kyoho Grapes.