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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Meatless Monday: Blueberries!

Some of you might remember that we participated in Heather’s Meatless Monday link-up last summer.  We loved participating, but we sort of fell off the band wagon after a while.  Well, she’s started up round two, and we’ve decided to join in again!  This time around she’s running things a little differently.  Heather has it operating it on a two-week cycle- the first week we create a recipe, the second week we re-make someone else’s recipe!  That’s good for us because it gives us a one-week grace period to get our act together and make a recipe 🙂

So by now you’ve probably noticed that we’re starting with the letter B.  That’s because we’re really awesome and we already missed the first week… oops. :S

But we’re ready this time and we’d like to start off by thanking Heather for making the theme for this week blueberries- conveniently right when blueberries went on sale at the grocery store 🙂 Such good timing!

Now let’s talk about blueberries…

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But really, what is there to say?  They’re like little blue gems bursting with flavour with every bite!  And would you just look at that colour?  A hue like that just screams of the cancer-fighting antioxidant power contained in every berry!

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It’s no secret that we love blueberries, and we’ve made our fair share of recipes that feature them as a main ingredient!  We’ve made pancakes, crepes, overnight oats parfaits, jam, muffins, french toast, and even a rice pilaf, and that’s just to name a few 🙂

But if you remember about a million years ago we made these blue velvet pancakes.  Well, just the other day we received a request from Kellie to make a pancake-in-a-jar version! Of course, we could never pass up the opportunity to make one of our all-time favourite breakfasts! And what perfect timing, just in time for Heather’s Meatless Monday!

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So here you go, Kellie, as per request! 🙂

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Of course, a blue velvet cake  pancake would not be right without icing!  So if you have no dietary restrictions (the icing is not vegan) we highly recommend that you include it!

DSCN5622 It’s tastes like cream cheese frosting, but there’s no cream cheese! Sneaky, sneaky…

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So we hope you all give this recipe a try- but if having blueberry-filled chocolate cake with “cream cheese” frosting for breakfast isn’t your thing… well you must be crazy 😉

But before we give you the recipe, we want to remind you to head on over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies and check out all the other great recipes everyone else has come up with!

Blue Velvet Pancake in a Jar

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 5 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 c. frozen blueberries + 1/3 c. for each jar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (or almond butter would work here, too)
2/3 c. Milk or non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
Fresh blueberries for topping

For the Icing:

1 tsp coconut butter, melted
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp plain yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and whisk together with a wire whisk.  In a microwave-safe dish, microwave the blueberries until they are no longer frozen and mash with a fork until there are very few whole berries left.  Add the butter or margarine, milk and extracts to the blueberries and mix well.  Add the blueberry mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined
Place 1/3 c. of blueberries in the bottom of each jar.  Divide the batter evenly among the two jars and microwave for 5 minutes, or until the batter is firm.  Top with blueberries and frosting.

For the Frosting:

Combine all the ingredients in a small dish and serve on top of your pancake-in-a-jar.

~twosaucysisters

Do you like blueberries?  What is your favourite way to eat them?

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Simple Sunday: Noodle Dilemma

Is it just us, but are we the only ones who no matter what we do, we can never seem to cook the right amount of pasta? It’s not the short noodles (go ahead, have your laugh) that are the problem- you know, the penne, rigatoni, farfalle- they’re easy because all you have to do is measure the amount you want.  But stuff like spaghetti, fettuccine, vermicelli- they don’t make measuring cups for those!

Inevitably we always end up cooking more than we need, and are left with an awkward amount left over that’s not quite enough for a serving- so what are we to do?  Save it, cook more and have pasta again the next night?  While that seems logical, what would most likely end up happening is we’d end up cooking too much again, and then we’d just have to eat pasta every night for the rest of our lives! Ok, that may be a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

But necessity is the mother invention, and we have come up with a solution to our pasta dilemma!

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You know those crispy noodles that you always get when you get a salad at Wendy’s?  Well these are kind of like them, only healthier!

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And, if you don’t count salt and pepper (because they don’t really count, do they?) than these only have two ingredients!  Gotta love that, right?

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So what do you do with this bowl of crispy, crunchy noodles? Well, as we mentioned already, they make fantastic salad-toppers!

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But that’s not all they’re good for!  In fact, you might just find yourself reaching for these when you’ve got the munchies- they’re surprisingly addictive!  And they keep well, too- we’ve had ours in the pantry for about a week and-a-half now and they’re just as crispy as if they were fresh out of the oven!

Hey, you never know- you might end up liking these so much that you cook extra pasta on purpose! 😉

Noodle Crisps

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10-20 min

Ingredients:

Leftover [whole wheat] pasta noodles (however much you have)
Olive Oil- 1 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
Salt- 1/8 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
pepper- to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Toss the cooked and chilled pasta noodles in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy (some of them may be quite dark).  If they are not crispy enough, continue baking them for 5 minutes at a time or until they are done.

Eat as a snack, use as a crunchy salad-topper, or come up with your own fun uses for them!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you have leftover pasta noodles?

Breakfast + Dinner = Lunch

One of our favourite foods is pizza, and when we get a  craving for it, just having pizza once won’t satisfy it! The problem is, we make a pizza, have the leftovers the next day, but then what? We are all out of pizza and have no time to make more, so we have to get creative! Often this just means things like pita pizzas or pizza bagels, but sometimes we get a little more extravagant.

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This time, more extravagant meant a pizza-crepe!

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It’s a breakfast-favourite meets dinner-favourite to make quite the delicious lunch!

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Not that you couldn’t have it for dinner, too! Or breakfast, if pizza for breakfast is your thing.

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Another bonus is that these crepes are way faster and easier to make than a pizza (if you’re making your own crust), and they’re also much healthier than most traditional pizzas, especially if you were planning on ordering-in!

And they’re just kind of fun, so why not? Go ahead – wrap yourself up in pizza. 😉

Pizza Crepes

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 10min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For the crepe:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp ground flax
1/8th tsp salt
black pepper
4 egg whites
2/3 – 3/4 c. vegetable stock

For the filling:

Your favourite pizza toppings (in ours are sauteed mushrooms, spinach and peppers, fresh tomatoes and olives)
Your favourite pizza sauce
Cheese of choice

Directions:

Mix the flour and seasonings thoroughly with a wire whisk. Add the egg whites. Slowly add the stock while stirring to avoid clumps. The batter should be a thin, drippy consistency.
Pre-heat a large, greased non-stick skillet over medium heat. Divide the batter in half and pour half onto the pan, swirling the batter around the cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 min, until the edges begin to curl. Flip and cook for another 2-3min. Repeat with remaining batter.
Meanwhile, in a smaller pan, saute your vegetables until they are soft.
Spread pizza sauce down the centre of your crepe. Top with pizza toppings and fold. Top with more pizza sauce, additional toppings and cheese.
Broil for 2-3 min until the cheese has melted.

~twosaucysisters

How do you conquer a craving when you can’t have exactly what you are craving?

Lessons in Curry

A couple of months back, Linsday from Pinch of Yum posted about her favourite lentil recipes, which were all curry (or curry-esque) recipes. We love curry and lentils, so we thought that we would give one of her recipes a try. The problem is, we couldn’t decide which of the 6 recipes we wanted to make, so naturally, we made them all!

Every Monday for 6 weeks we made one of her lentil recipes when we got home from practice, a day we dubbed to be “Curry Monday”. Of course, eventually we had made them all, so what were we to do?

Make our own curry, obviously!

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We’ve made curry plenty of times before, and they we always good, but we found that there was something missing… they didn’t send us to our foodie happy place, nothing so special that we would write down the recipe so we could make it again. Until now!

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So what was it that we did differently? Well, there were a  few things, each that made a big difference:

1. Curry Paste – we currently have a jar of yellow (though it looks red to us!) curry paste, and we’re telling you this stuff is curry-making magic! It may seem expensive, but all you need is a small amount to really take your curry to a new level.

2. We added less spices. I know it seems weird – less spices to a curry dish? But they are supposed to be super-duper spice-filled! We know, that’s what we thought too, but the thing is, curry spices are very strong, and so if you add too many, you just end up with a slightly bitter bowl of curry. Yuck!

3. Added the spices sooner. In the past, we’ve always added the spices much later in the cooking process for fear of the spices losing their flavour. However, while that may be the case with more delicate herbs, not so much with these spices! This time, we added them right off the bat when we were cooking the onions. Cooking or “toasting” your curry spices doesn’t cook off flavour, but more the bitter compounds and flavours that these spices have in their raw state.

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This particular curry also has a special ingredient, one we don’t normally have in the fridge but just happened to be on sale this week.

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Mangoes! 🙂

We don’t know if it’s mango season somewhere, but if it is,  we are very glad it is.

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A full-flavoured, sweet potato and lentil curry with hints of sweetness from the chunks of mango: Dinner time done right!

Sweet Potato and Mango Lentil Curry

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 30min
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 c. green lentils
1 c. water

1 c. sweet potato, cubed

1/2 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil
1/2 c. white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. bell peppers, chopped
1/2 28oz can of No Salt Added diced tomatoes
1/2 mango, chopped
1 c. spinach
1/3 c. coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp EACH curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg
1/2 tbsp yellow curry paste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put lentils and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25min.
Cook sweet potato in the microwave until soft, about 5 min.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add onions, garam masala, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg and curry paste, and cook until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and peppers and cook for another 2-3min. Stir in tomatoes, mango, cooked sweet potato and spinach  and cook for another 2-3min, until spinach has wilted.
Turn off the heat and stir in coconut milk and cooked lentils and mix until fully combined.
Add salt and pepper and serve over rice of your choice.

~twosaucysisters

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks for when they make curry?

Challenges, Triumphs and Beef

Hey 2SS readers!

So today’s post is going to be a bit different, because we are sharing with you the blog post that volunteered to write for our Food Product Development class. We explain the class and the major assignment in the post, so we won’t say too much about it. The post will also be appearing on Canada Beef’s blog, so whether you read it here or there, be sure to check it out! 🙂

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Challenges, Triumphs, and Beef

In University, it isn’t very often that students get the opportunity to take the information they learn in class and apply it to a real-world situation while still in their undergrad. This term, however, that is exactly what we got to do as students in Professor Gladys Ylimaki’s Product Development class at Brescia University.

With the class being a relatively new addition to the course offerings as part of the Foods and Nutrition program, none of us really had a clear idea of what exactly we were signing up for when we enrolled in the class.  In fact, we didn’t even know that we were going to be working with Canada Beef until the first day of classes!  You can imagine our excitement when we discovered that we would be partnering with such a well-known and reputable organization. Most of us, having little experience with product and recipe development, were also a little nervous- you could call it fear of the unknown- but anxious to get started.  Little did we know the exciting roller-coaster ride we were about to get on!

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Samples ready to be tasted!

In a nut shell, our job was to create recipes that matched already-existing photos given to us by Canada Beef that didn’t have recipes to go with them.  There were 14 photos in total, each one showcasing a different cut of beef.  Not only did we have to come up with a recipe to match the photo, but we also had to provide a couple variations of our recipe, changing up the sides or using different flavour combinations to show the versatility of each cut.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  That’s what we thought, too, until we got started! First we had a lot of learning to do.  We had to understand who our target market was and identify their wants and needs.  Then we had to research current food trends to find out what is up and coming in the marketplace and food industry.  Next we had to learn about the actual process of developing a product, in our case a recipe, such as brainstorming, how to properly test (and re-test!) a product, and how to conduct a proper sensory evaluation.

Phew!  Tired yet? And we haven’t even gotten into the kitchen!

Sampling a recipe

Sampling a recipe

After all of this pre-development work, you can be sure that we were all very excited to finally get

into the kitchen to start cooking!  This stage, the actual creation of our recipes, was the most fun and yet by far the most challenging aspect of the project.  It was also the most rewarding!

Like we said, there were many challenges that presented themselves during this part of the project. Save for a few individuals, most of us had not had extensive experience in the kitchen, and more specifically, the majority had a limited knowledge of beef.  Being that beef is a much more complex product than say chicken or fish, there was a much steeper learning curve at the start. Understanding our cut of beef and how to prepare it in a way that brings out its best qualities was

Samples ready to be tested

Samples ready to be tested

our first hurdle. Some beef needs to be marinated, some doesn’t. Certain cuts can be cooked in five minutes, while others take hours. Once we had determined what our specific cut required, it was time to get experimenting! But we couldn’t just throw on a chef’s hat and start playing around with ingredients. We had to make sure that our recipes followed the guidelines that Canada Beef had set out for us. The recipes had to be healthy, cost-effective, easy to prepare and most importantly – delicious! This had an impact on what we could and couldn’t use in our recipes. We couldn’t go across town to that obscureS ethnic foods market to pick up a vegetable that no one has ever heard of before, nor could be spend $20 buying some expensive spice. Of course, we also had to steer clear of ingredients that contained copious amounts of fat, sugar and salt. Not so simple anymore, is it? We wanted our recipes to be healthy, but still taste good, be simple, yet still interesting, all the while still matching the picture, too!

Un-stuffed cabbage rolls hot out of the oven

Un-stuffed cabbage rolls hot out of the oven

 The actual testing of our recipes was difficult as well. We had to test one method or ingredient, and if that didn’t achieve our desired outcome, try another. Once we found what worked, we had to test it again to make sure that we could consistently produce the same product. Then of course we had to cross test our recipes and have others in the class sample them to make sure they tasted good.

Cooking up a storm

Cooking up a storm

 “The biggest difficulty we encountered was ensuring that our brown rice was fully cooked.  It took several cooking attempts to realize that we needed to use a rice that would cook fast and absorb the right amount of liquid.” – Kirstie and Jileesa, Un-stuffed Cabbage Rolls

As you can see, the process of developing a recipe is long, tedious, and requires a great amount of trial and error. But no matter how frustrating it sometimes was, we really enjoyed the whole experience. Not only did we learn a lot about cooking with all the different cuts of beef, but this project opened our eyes to its amazing versatility and removed much of the negative stigma that surrounds it. Before this class, many of us thought that beef was less healthy and more expensive than other protein sources, not to mention much more finicky and difficult to work with. Thanks to Canada Beef and this project, we now know that beef can be just as healthy as any other form of protein, can fit into a budget, and is much easier to use than most people think! This project also taught us a lot about recipe development and sensory evaluation, knowledge that we can take with us into our future careers.

Having some fun in the Kitchen

This was a great experience from start to finish. We really liked developing – and of course tasting – the recipes, and being behind the     scenes of recipe development was very exciting.

“[Creating] a new take on a classic recipe made us re-discover the food all over again!”- Meatloaf

Smiling in lab

While most assignments that are given in University have very strict guidelines and rules to follow, this project was much more open-ended, with plenty of room for creativity, which was a refreshing change for all of us. It provided us with a unique, real-life experience that doesn’t come around too often during your undergraduate degree. Best of all, this project has become a source of pride for all of us. The recipes that we created are our own, something that brings us much more satisfaction than just a good grade. They are something we can share with everyone and anyone, and give us the opportunity to also share even just a bit of our new-found knowledge.

One thing is for certain, if there’s anything we learned from this experience, it’s that:

We love Canadian Beef

Pancake in a Jar Round 6 & 7

That’s right, you read the title correctly. Today we are bringing you TWO pancake in a jar recipes!

Oh, Danny, where would we be if we hadn’t stumbled across your deliciously awesome idea?

Strawberries have been on sale at No Frills a lot lately (3 for $5!!) , so naturally we had a lot of different breakfast ideas swirling around on our heads, particularly pancake in a jar recipes. We were bouncing back and forth between a chocolate pancake with strawberries on the bottom, or a regular pancake with strawberries on the bottom and chocolate sauce. Being as indecisive as we are, instead of choosing we made both! 🙂

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Strawberry Chocolate Brownie

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Strawberry Pancake with Chocolate Sauce

    First, let’s talk about the first one: The Brownie.

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We’re calling it that because it actually tasted like a brownie! We were both blown away by it’s deliciousness, it easily makes it into the ‘favourite’ category!

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Because really, who doesn’t want a brownie for breakfast? Crazy people, that’s who!

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After all this talk about the Brownie-pancake in a jar, don’t forget about the second one! Not to be outshone, it turned out to be equally as delicious!

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While slightly more traditional, it was super fluffly, full of awesome strawberry flavour, and smothered in chocolate sauce.

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You really can’t go wrong with something smother in chocolate sauce! 🙂

So here you have it: two pancake in a jar recipes! (Though you won’t have to wait long for pancake in a jar 8.0, either! 😉 )

Strawberry Brownie Pancake in a Jar

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Prep time: 5min
Cook time: 5min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp coffee granules (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp almond butter
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chopped strawberries

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
Divide chopped strawberries in the bottom of two medium sized mason jars. Divide batter between the two jars and put on top of strawberries.
Cook for 5 minutes in the microwave, until firm to the touch.
Top with yogurt and additional strawberry if desired.

Chocolate Strawberry Pancake in a Jar

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Prep: 5min
Cook: 5min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 c. butter milk (or 1 cup milk of choice + 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice, allow to curdle)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter extract (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp almond butter
3/4 c. strawberries, chopped

For the Chocolate Sauce:

2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
water

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix in wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
Divide chopped strawberries evenly between two medium sized mason jars. Divide the batter evenly between the two jars and put on top of the strawberries.
Microwave for 5min, or until firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder, vanilla and maple syrup. Add water a little bit at a time, until you’ve reached desired thickness.
Pour the chocolate sauce over the cooked pancake and serve!

~twosaucysisters

Guest Post: Jason from Blog Carnival

Hey everyone! 

So a little while back, Jason from Blog Carnival emailed us offering to write a guest post for us! He had a lot of really good ideas for this post, but finally settled on something that we LOVE to do here at Two Saucy Sisters – Easy Substitutions that Don’t Cut Out Flavour!

As we’ve said on the blog before, simply swapping out one ingredient for another  can take a once unhealthy dish and make it a health superstar! Of course, when it comes down to it, if it doesn’t taste good it doesn’t matter how good-for-you it is, you won’t want to eat it! So, without further ado, here’s Jason with some simple substitutions that keep your dish tasting awesome! 🙂

When I am cooking and baking I tend to get a little crazy with my substitutions. I have to admit
that I am not the most well prepared cook. I tend to find out that I am out of an essential part of
my recipe halfway through the mixing process. Oh no! Beyond that I have also been trying to
cook healthier meals with less fat because a member of my family has some health issues. If you
are like me, then here are some helpful substitutions that you can use when you are in a jam or
just when you want to cut calories:

1. Vanilla for sugar – I don’t know how I go through sugar so fast, but it seems like I
need to pick up a new bag every time I go to the store. When I was baking the other day
I found myself lacking in the sugar department. Instead of freaking out I just used less
sugar and added more vanilla flavoring. Adding just a teaspoon of vanilla can help you
to cut out almost half of the sugar called for in a recipe. Now, I am not advocating this in
very delicate dishes, but for your average dessert you can make the switch with no cutting
down on flavor.

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2. Apple sauce for butter or eggs – Butter cannot be substituted for all the way, but you
can cut out half. If a recipe calls for two sticks of butter try adding one stick and a half
of a cup of apple sauce. While you do need some butter for the recipe to be successful in
most desserts, you can easily cut it down with applesauce. Just don’t try this in a white
or yellow cake because the apple flavor will come through! You can also substitute apple
sauce for eggs, but again I would go for half and half. A quarter cup of applesauce makes
up for one large egg.

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3. Neufatchel cheese for cream cheese – Think of this as light cream cheese. It has less fat
but tastes exactly the same. Super easy and it can be found in almost any grocery store
right next to the cream cheese. I use it on my bagels and never miss the extra fat.

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4. Low fat cottage cheese for ricotta – Although cottage cheese tends to be a little thinner
than ricotta you can still use it in many recipes. You can thicken it up with a bit of flour
or corn starch if you would like, but I find that the thinness doesn’t bother me. Using low
fat cottage cheese can save you a lot of calories with no effort or loss of taste! If you want
you can add cinnamon, lemon, or other flavors to spice it up a bit.

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5. Olive oil for butter – I love making recipes with phyllo dough. Spanakopita is my
absolute favorite dish. However I did not like using all that butter to make the layers nice
and crispy. That is when I discovered you can use olive oil instead. Just a few drops can
cover a whole sheet. Be careful to use only good quality extra virgin oil or it will give it
a slight olive flavor. If you do not have that available you can also do a half and half mix
for the best flavor to fat ratio. Olive oil lets the phyllo get nice and toasty and makes your
dishes look beautiful!

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These are just a few of the ways that you can use healthy and tasty substitutes without having to
go out of your way or change the flavor of your dish. There are many more out there, so the next

time you are looking to cut calories or just missing an ingredient take a minute to see if there is a
healthy and easy alternative!

Author Bio: Jason Miner plays a vital role for http://www.blogcarnival.com. He is an expert in writing
topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this
an even better place for bloggers.

Thanks so much Jason! What a great post, we certainly learned a thing or two! 🙂 Make sure you all head over to Blog Carnival and check it out – it’s pretty cool!

And to anyone else who thinks they want to write for us, shoot us an email at twosaucysistas@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you! 🙂

~twosaucysisters