Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mascapone Panna Cotta

I am addicted to Pinterest.

Yes I said it but it is true LOL.

In my searches I have come across Panna Cotta. Never heard of it so I pinned a couple recipes and decided to give it a go over the weekend.

For this recipe I used - you guessed it Natvia - had to use my new pack that I received in the mail. LOL.

It actually is quite nice and I will certainly be making again if I want something quick to make. 

Panna Cotta with Mascapone
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 Tbs water - for gelatin
250ml of cream
25g sugar (if using Natvia - 15g or 1 TBS)
1/3 cup Mascapone cheese

Mix gelatin and water together and set aside.
In a pot heat and cream and sugar together and mix well until sugar is dissolved and cream is heated. Add gelatin and remove from heat. Let cream mix cool until warm (can't be hot) and mix mascapone in to cream mix until well combined. Put in to moulds, cups - whatever you are using and put in fridge for at least 5 hours. Gelatin should set the mix.

I made 5 really small serves of this so the whole family could try but you could do just two larger servings. 
Top with fresh fruit.

I am a regular

.....contributor to the Natvia Sweeter Life Club

If you have been wondering why I have been using so much Natvia lately this is why. I was stoked when I was asked and when I accepted I was sent this fabulous pack to continue to use this great sugar substitute which has a fraction of the calories. I must say that this product - unlike Splenda - taste almost exactly like real sugar. For me I always use less than what the recipes call for because it tastes so much sweeter. 

Yes I let my hubby take a photo of me which I hate but here it is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Zucchini Muffins

One of my favourite meals and one of my son Lachlan's is Zucchini slice. We always have a problem though. We end up with a little bit left over that ends up getting thrown away and frankly I hate waste - especially with something I like so much. So..............I decided to make the same recipe but make them in to Muffins instead of baking in a slice tray. 

These taste really yummy - just like slice but individual serves. Best bit - you can freeze them and eat another time. My favourite thing to do.

Zucchini Muffins 
1 large zucchini, grated
1 onion, chopped
6 rashers bacon, diced
5 eggs
1 cup grated tasty cheese
salt and pepper for taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup self raising flour

Combine all ingredients except eggs and flour. Lightly beat the eggs, add to the mixture with the flour. Bake at 180 degrees C for 25-30mins or until brown on top. If making it in to a slice cook for 30 - 40 mins until brown on top. 

I baked these in a greased muffin tray but they stuck so my advise is to use muffin papers to line. Don't know they they will stick to that either. Up to you but be warned LOL. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Low Fat Pumpkin Scones

Here in Australia we don't particularly go nuts over Pumpkin. I don't eat it or at least not unless it is roasted in the oven until now. 

I have been seeing lots and lots and lots of recipes on the net from the US that contain Pumpkin. Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin Cheesecake. Pumpkin Brownies. You name it and you can find it somewhere. Why....??? I asked that question to all my US friends and the only responses I got were from my Aussie friends. Pumpkin is naturally sweet and is great in all these things. Think Apples. So I thought I would buy half a Butternut Pumpkin (the yanks call it Butternut Squash I believe) and cook it up. Cooked, mashed and ready to go. 

What to make with it....???

I did a search for Pumpkin Scones. My hubby mentioned liking them a little while ago so thought I would give a go and I found a low fat recipe at Food.com. I, however, did not use sugar - I used Natvia. Yep my new favourite sugar. 
Low Fat Pumpkin Scones (adjusted from Food.com)
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup Natvia (original called for 1/2 cup of sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter - salt reduced if you can
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 50ml milk
  • canola cooking spray

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  • Cream butter and sugar together (I did with a wooden spoon).
  • In a large bowl place all ingredients and mix all ingredients with wooden spoon until just mixed. 
  • Depending on the wetness of the mixture, you may need to add a little more milk.
  • Lightly grease muffin tray with spray oil and spoon in mixture. 
  • Bake for 10-15mins or until tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched.

I actually kneaded my dough a little just coz it wouldn't mix properly with the spoon. I 'cut' it with the wooden spoon so I had 12 little lumps of dough. 

These tasted divine. I am in love. Seriously the first and won't be the last time I cook these scones. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Low Cal Sugar Free Mint Delight

In my travels on Pinterest I came across Whipped Coconut Cream. Never heard of it. So I looked at it and instantly pinned it. How cool....!!!! I like the thought of a lower cal cream and it is so easy to make. 

I have also been thinking about mint - a lot....!!!! So wanted to do something with mint for this mini dessert. Why do I say mini - coz I was only able to make two full mini desserts. These cups are small. Really small. You can only get about 3-4 Tbs in to them so you have to be careful what and how much you put in so you get all the yummy layers - of course depending on what you do. 

First you start with you Coconut Milk. No not a can of Coconut Cream - MILK. Why...??? Coconut milk develops a 'cream' on top when not shaken....SOOOOOOO.......what you have to do is - refridgerate overnight. I used this brand but must stay next time I will try a different brand as it did not yield as much cream as I would have liked. 

 After leaving in the fridge overnight - in my case a week (coz I couldn't figure out what to use it with) - you open the lid carefully and scoop out the cream on top.
 Sorry about lack of photos on this one but I whipped my cream with some Natvia (sweetener). So yummy. Think I used about 1 tablespoon as I didn't want it too sweet. Add some green colouring and peppermint essence (which I got from my local supermarket) and whip until to your tastes. I kept adding more and more essence coz I wanted to get a very minty flavour. This dessert has Jello-O Chocolate Fat Free & Sugar Free Pudding (from the US) so to substitute this you just need to use Weight Watcher Chocolate Mousse as it makes enough to fill two little cups. 

I love the Coconut cream but you would have to adjust to the different flavour to normal whipping cream. Totally yummy. Give it a go. No guilt mini dessert. 

Low Cal Sugar Free Mint Delight
1 pkt of WW instant Chocolate Mousse
125ml skim milk

1 x 400ml can of Coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
Peppermint essence
1 -2 Tbs Natvia
Green food colouring

2 mini dessert cups

Whip the Mousse per the packet instructions. Put in cups and refridgerate until coconut cream is ready. 

Open can of coconut milk and scoop the cream from top. Be careful - if you shake the can it will mix the cream with the oily milk and you will have to wait for it to resettle.

Whip the coconut milk with 1 Tbs of Natvia (depends on your sweetness level- I stuck with the 1 but it is not overly sweet). Add a few drops of food colour and about 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint essence. I think I added about 15 drops so probably a little over 1/2 teaspoons.

Mix well and put on top of chocolate mousse. Refridgerate for a couple of hours. 

I ate both of these in one go. Were so yummy that I couldn't help myself. Good thing they are low cal. Enjoy. Great little dessert or you could think big and do this for maybe Christmas as a minty treat. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Individual Peanut Butter Dessert two versions

In addition to cheesecake I love Peanut Butter anything - my favourite in Peanut Butter cookies as well as Malaysian Creamy Satay (packet mix) that calls for peanut butter. Alas though I have been indulging too much and have put on a bit of weight so I am now on a quest to lower the sugar or even get rid of sugar all together in my recipes/baking/cooking. 

So I found a recipe that is fully indulgent but really is too naughty as it has lots and lots of sugar - so when I made the first version with all the sugar that the universe contains (yes I am exaggerating - at half recipe) I found that the sugar high and resulting headache was too much to bear. So I had to change the recipe. Yep I changed it and you will see below the major differences.

Sugar Loaded Version
Individual Peanut Butter Dessert (naughty version half recipe)
6 Digestive biscuits - blitzed in food processor
4-5 Tbs butter melted

1/2 cup whipping cream
125g Cream cheese (half block)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup icing sugar 
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix biscuits and butter together and place in to 4 -6 individual glasses/cups and put in fridge to chill.

Whip cream until nice and thick. On medium speed beat the Cream cheese and Peanut Butter together until nice and smooth. Reduce speed and gradually add the icing sugar. Add condensed milk and vanilla and mix well. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling and then fold the rest until just mixed. 

Put in fridge for a couple of house until set.
I whipped some more cream and put on top with some salted peanuts. 

Now you can see why I had the sugar overload.

I discovered Natvia a little while ago when I bought a book called "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson. It is a great substitute to real sugar and has nearly next to no calories in it which makes this a much better version of the dessert. 

Lower Cal Natvia Individual Peanut Butter Desserts
Lower Cal Natvia Individual Peanut Butter Desserts
5 Oreo Cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
125g Light Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup light Peanut butter
1/2 cup light cream
150ml Greek Style Yoghurt
3 teaspoons Natvia
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
25ml water (to dissolve gelatin)

Recipe Method:
Place Oreo cookies in food processor until crumbs. Mix with melted butter and put a small amount in to six individual dessert bowls/cups. Place in the fridge to chill.

Whip 1 teaspoon of Natvia with cream just until slightly thick. You will find it does not whip properly like full fat cream.

Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together until well combined. Add yoghurt, gelatin and 1 teaspoon Natvia. Mix well. Add the cream and fold in to mixture. Doesn’t have to be perfect. If not sweet enough for your liking, add another teaspoon of the Natvia.

Scoop out the mix in to the cups and refridgerate for a couple of hours.

Tips and Tricks:
If you want a fuller mix use full fat cream and fold in at the end when you add the light cream.

If you want even sweeter – just add more and more Natvia until to your liking.

To lower the calories don’t use the oreos – just place in the cups by itself.

Feeling naughty – Whip up some full fat cream with a teaspoon of Natvia for a more indulgent dessert.
These also taste awesome with salted peanuts.

This recipe actually tastes better the day after as it has the 'saltiness' of the peanut butter in it.

This recipe will be posted to The Sweeter Life Club soon so if you are looking for good recipes in Australia (or even overseas) take a look at the 'sweet' recipes they have to offer. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Strawberry 'Cheesecake'

In my search for a lower calories dessert I stumbled across the Weight Watchers Strawberry Mousse which has 125 calories for the whole packet - but it is very small and is only two serves. I love my cheese cake so did a search online to try and find a recipe that uses it. Nope none.

So it got me thinking about what I can do. A Strawberry cheesecake that has the WW Mousse and cream cheese to make it like a cheesecake. I followed the directions on the packet for the Mousse. Beat the Cream cheese until it was nice and smooth. Folded in the strawberry mousse. 

Done. Hmmm not quite. It actually tasted just like cream cheese and not strawberry. So I got out my strawberry Jam and added one tablespoon at a time and mixed it up. In total I added 5 tablespoons and it tastes so nice. For a lower calorie alternative you could use Weight Watchers Strawberry jam and it would be 81cals instead of the 160 for normal jam. 

 One thing I will point out is that it definately needs gelatin. It is sloppy. I actually remedied mine by putting it in the freezer overnight and then thawing it out again in the fridge. It was set but of course having gelatin in it would work better. Enjoy. 
I used Digestive biscuits for the base and about 4-5 tablespoons of unsalted butter but you could probably reduce the calories down even lower using something like a pretzel base. 

Strawberry Cheesecake - lower Calorie
6 digestive biscuits
4-5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Weight Watchers Strawberry flavoured Mousse
125 ml skim milk
250g reduced fat cream cheese - I used the 50% less fat one from Safeway.
5 tablespoons of strawberry jam
Gelatin - follow the instructions on packet for about 400ml of liquid. 

Put biscuits in food processor until they are fine crumbs. Mix the melted butter and crumbs together and put in to the base of you pie dish. Put in fridge to chill.

Mix the milk and mousse mix together until nice and thick. Beat the cream cheese until nice and smooth and fold the mousse in to it. With the mixer beat all ingredients with the jam. Add in the gelatin and mix well. 

Cover with plastic wrap (it will dry out if you don't) and put in the fridge for a couple of hours at least. 

If you don't want to use the gelatin, do what I did and put in the freezer. 

225 calories in each serve if you cut in to 12 slices - if you can bring that up to 16 slices it drops it to 150 cals per serve. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Choc Chip Muffins

Last Christmas Ashley received a cookbook with Chef's hat and apron from my sister Bev and her hubby. The recipe book is called Great Recipes Kids can Cook. We have not made anything with the recipes as of yet and my little miss got it out this morning and pointed out the Apple Muffin recipe that she wanted to make. 

Okay - well yep we can do that. Unfortunately - no apples in the house (at least after her brothers had one each in their lunch box for school). I don't like cooked fruit - especially apples. I remember when growing up my mum would cook apple pies all the time and I always missed out coz I didn't like it. Don't know why. I just can't stomach cooked fruit.

Anyway so this morning we made the Muffins with mini choc chips. They are a new product here in Australia - yes we are deprived but we finally have them and I think they have to be the perfect size for muffins and especially cookies so the next batch of choc chip cookies will be made with them too. 

 So on to the making. Ashley wanted to be very involved so here she is mixing. 

 And now putting in to the muffin tray.

Finished muffins. They taste so yummy. They taste like scones.
I made sure I had mine while hot and put butter on it. Yummy. Yummy
Yummy. LOL. 

Choc Chip Muffins (kid friendly)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
125g butter, melted
2 cups of plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 bag of Nestle Mini Choc Baking chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray.

Beat (mix) eggs, milk, and sugar together in a bowl.
Add the butter and mix well.
Sift flour and baking powder then add to the bowl.
Gently fold the flour in to the wet ingredients.
Stir through the chocolate chips - being sure not to over mix.
Place dessertspoons - approx 2 - of mixture in to muffin tray and bake for 12-15 mins. Cool. 

If you eat these warm - try a little butter on them - it melts and tastes so yummy.