I have a confession to make: On a weekend night I have been known to consume an entire dinner of, oh, say, roasted salmon in lemon beurre blanc with fingerling potatoes and baby beets, then after spending a few hours with friends, turning right around and eating another meal from the drive-thru on my way home. All right, so maybe this wasn't some randomized example...maybe it actually happened last Saturday. Maybe it happens a couple of Saturdays a month. And maybe a Friday or two thrown in for good measure. Point is, though I prefaced this as a “confession”, in reality I go out of my way not to feel guilty about such things. Guilt is a useless emotion fraught with the peril of obsessing over that which cannot be changed.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah – instead of getting down at the mouth about what a horrible person I am, wrecking my arteries with clarified butter and (oh, so delicious) deep fat fried fast food, I try behave myself for a couple of days. I developed the recipes below for when I'm in a mood to purify...they are sinfully delicious but entirely virtuous. That way, I can enter a new weekend feeling light and free and clean and ready for action. Yet again.
Homemade Granola Bars
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup Rice Krispies (or other crispy rice cereal)
1/2 cup raisins*
1/2 cup chopped almonds*
Directions: Line an 8” square or 8 x 11” baking dish with wax paper – enough to hang slightly over the sides. Spray paper with non-stick spray.
Combine butter, sugar, honey and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Meanwhile, combine oats and remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Working quickly, turn out oat mixture onto prepared sheet, spray hands with non-stick spray and press firmly into the pan. Fold excess waxed paper back over the edges of the rectangle and press, to help form even sides and uniform thickness. Cool in refrigerator 1 – 2 hours before cutting into bars.
* Replace with any combination of nuts, dried fruit or chips that floats your boat.
Reduced Fat Whole Wheat Brownies
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 oz. low-fat or non-fat vanilla flavored yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8-inch square pan with parchment or foil and spray with non-stick spray. Combine butter, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and eggs in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well-combined. Add cocoa powder and pulse until combined. (a mixing bowl and electric mixer can also be used)
Combine flours, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add cocoa mixture and stir gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes.