Things like this are the reason I had to join Weight Watchers:

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars, thank you, Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I was going to be good and wait until after dinner before having a sample, but we took a drive out West after running to the store (the bambino fell asleep in the backseat), and once we got home, I was a bit peckish. I had planned to wait until dinner before eating again, since I also made these this morning:

Everyday Food’s Yogurt Waffles (also from the April 2010 issue). Filling, crispy & delicious. And the bambino had fun helping to make them.

Yogurt Waffles

Ingredients:

3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1/2 C rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C packed light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar because I had just enough left for the 1/4 C)
3 Tbsp melted, unsalted butter (I used salted, since, again, that’s what I had)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 C plain, low-fat yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm’s Low-Fat French Vanilla, since I didn’t want to give up my Chobani for this)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250°F. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and yogurt until smooth. Stir egg mixture into dry mixture, and mix well to combine. Let batter rest for 15 minutes (it should be rather puffy & airy when the 15 minutes is up).

Heat a waffle iron according to directions & either brush with more melted butter, or spray with cooking spray of your choice. Pour 1/2 C of batter onto iron and close. Cook until waffle is golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (I checked mine after 5 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

I dunno what’s with me and oats these days, but between having steel-cut oats or yogurt with granola for breakfast, The Pioneer Woman’s BBQ Meatballs, the waffles and the chocolate-peanut butter bars, I’ve eaten a lot of oats in the past week or two. Which is a good thing. The extra fiber never hurts. And oats are so versatile. I’d have to track the recipe down, but I was thinking last night about making an oats & buttermilk snacking cake. I forget where I got the recipe, and I don’t think I’ve made it since we bought our house 2 years ago. The last time I recall making it was in our apartment. But it too is delicious, and I’ve got plenty of oats to use up!

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I had a request from my friend Abby that I make the Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies WITH the chili powder sometime in the very near future. She’s about halfway through her pregnancy, so I don’t know how that will go over with her boy-bug, but for my 3rd trimester, the bambino & I craved hot sauce. I ate a LOT of buffalo chicken those last 3 months. I also had a request from Auntie Em that I actually post the recipe, so here it is:

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies (from Everyday Food, April 2010)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process cocoa)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used Organic Valley Salted Sweet Cream butter because that’s all I had)
1 3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F, with racks in upper & lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer*, beat butter & 1 1/2 C sugar until light & fluffy (about 2 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture & beat to combine.

*(I do believe that when the recipe calls for an electric mixer, they’re thinking of a heavy-duty stand mixer, rather than a hand mixer. I used my trusty Cuisinart hand mixer, and was seriously afraid that halfway through adding in the flour mixture, I’d burn the motor out. Being unable to afford the Kitchen Aid that I’ve decided I now need, the next time I make these, I’ll do the mixing by hand. My arms could do with some strengthening anyway.)

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 C sugar, cinnamon & chili powder (unless you wuss out like I did). Using heaping tablespoons, roll the dough into balls, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar-chili powder mixture.  Place 2-3 inches apart on baking sheets (mine didn’t spread out as much as I was expecting, so 2 inches apart is probably fine), and bake until the centers of the cookies are set & starting to crack–About 10 minutes. Rotate the sheets after 5 minutes. Let cookies cool for a couple minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks.

I will say that these are not diet-friendly cookies–6 WW points per 2 cookies, so eat at your own risk! A friend (also doing Weight Watchers) made the point that had I added the chili powder, these would’ve become the type of cookies that one savors, rather than shoves in one’s face, and therefore would be an acceptable indulgence. I do believe she is correct.

When I was a kid, I always thought the “Pease” in “Pease Porridge Hot” was little-kid-speak for “Please.” Kind of like the bambino’s “Pwease.” It wasn’t until I was older that I learned it really refers to mashed peas. Blech.

I have a weigh-in today, and I’m not exactly looking forward to it, not just because I think I’m slowly creeping upwards on the scale instead of down…It’s a cold, crappy, dreary, rainy day here on the prairie, and since I ended up sleeping on the couch (thank you, recurring insomnia), I’m exhausted and slightly grumpy (although that I blame on my SAD, as I was much more chipper last week when it was sunny). I was just going to do yogurt & granola again for breakfast, but decided the oatmeal would be a little more comforting, and the strawberries would give me some much-needed vitamin C. Plus, I bought steel-cut oats over the weekend, and I’ve been geekily excited about eating them. I have regular rolled oats, but steel-cut oats turn out much creamier. I had to chuckle about the different packaging, though. I picked up Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal, mainly because it was on sale. Other than price and the obvious differences in organic vs. conventional, I fail to see any real difference between the Scottish oatmeal, and regular steel-cut oats. The Scottish oatmeal does have fun plaid packaging, and I am a sucker for anything plaid.

It cracks me up a little that this cup of yogurt, and the quarter-cup of granola I added to it are a 5-Points breakfast. I was going to have my oatmeal & strawberries (which are only 4 Points), but I wasn’t sure exactly when I might get around to eating said yogurt, and since I paid $2.50 for it, I’m sure as heck NOT throwing it out. I will say that the Oikos is growing on me, and I like the strawberry version better than I liked the vanilla I had the other day. For one, the tartness of the strawberries mask the tartness of the yogurt (which is one reason I stayed away from yogurt for many many years). For another, it seemed a lot thicker and creamier than the vanilla. One of my coworkers & I were discussing Greek yogurt yesterday, and I happened to bump into her at the store last night–They’d restocked on Chobani, so she’d picked some up. Had I not bought a bunch of Oikos already, I’d’ve picked some up for myself! It’s hard not to like a yogurt company that sends you a birthday card!