Blueberry and Raspberry Compote

This is an easy way to use fresh berries that are just past their prime. I have found that, although berries are a little pricey, berries are a great snack to keep in my fridge- I mentioned this in my Anthropologie Farmers Market Basket post back in April. Whenever I need something a little sweet, I just open the fridge and grab a handful for ZERO points!

I bought some blueberries and raspberries a few days ago but haven’t been eating them as quickly as usual. So, this morning, I decided I would make a quick compote to put on top of the last two Van’s Waffle I had in the freezer!

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Ingredients

1 cup of berries

1 tsp of agave nectar

1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Directions

Heat a small frying pan over low to moderate heat

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Add all the berries to the warm pan and smash them gently as they being to heat up (using the back of a fork or potato masher will work well)

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Cook for 4-5 minutes. Continue to break down the berries with your fork or masher. Once most of the berries have burst (this should be right around the 5 minute mark), add in the agave nectar and balsamic and stir to combine

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Increase the heat slightly (to a moderate heat) and stir often for 8-10 minutes

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Continue to stir until the sauce has reduced by half (above: before being reduced; below: after being reduced by 1/2)

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All done! Remove from heat and serve immediately over waffles, pancakes or even vanilla ice cream! Reserve any unused compote in a small Ball jar or tupperware and use within 2-3 days.

WW Points: 3 points for the whole “recipe”

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Van’s Waffles

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Whenever I’m in a cooking rut, I tend to move towards more prepared and frozen food (and often processed) because it is just easier sometimes. I, obviously, love to cook and very rarely do I look at it as a chore, but these past few weeks have been hard! With frozen meals you don’t have to think about what you’re going to cook and it doesn’t seem like a chore at all. Just pop it in the microwave, toaster oven, etc and a few minutes later you have a meal!

That said, if I do buy frozen food, I try to buy low-sodium, when possible, and to buy the products with the shortest (and most easily understood) ingredients list. I thought I’d share one of my freezer staples for when I am feeling uninspired, tired and really hungry first thing in the morning- Van’s Waffles!

I first tried Van’s Waffles about two years ago. I have been trying different varieties (there are 17) but mostly sticking to the “lite” or gluten free options. I have the lite waffles (pictured above) in my freezer right now and, although, they aren’t my favorite, they are only 2 points per waffle! My absolute favorite are the gluten free, blueberry waffles. They are 3 points a waffle but they are exponentially better in my opinion- you wouldn’t think that they were gluten free!

If you’re like me and need some help in the mornings on occasion, give Van’s a try. Now off to the store to get ingredients to make some (WW friendly) Mac n’ Cheese!

WW Pancakes

I have been enjoying my kale and pineapple smoothie for most breakfasts recently but today I wanted something different. Instead of waking up to my room flooded with sunlight (yay for east-facing windows), I woke up to the sound of rain falling and I, like most people, love to indulge in comfort food when the weather is less than stellar. All I wanted was a big, fluffy pancake.

I have made healthier versions of pancakes before but I have never been able to get the points value low enough to really justify removing most, if not all, of the fat. Today I set out to make a 2 point pancake! I made a few key changes to get the points value down while trying not sacrifice the flavor or fluffiness.

First, I cut out the milk. I think I have mentioned that I try to keep an eye on the amount of dairy I consume so I don’t even keep it in the fridge. Instead, I had almond milk on hand so I gave it a try. Baking is science and fluffiness depends purely on the amount of carbon dioxide that is released in the batter. This is why buttermilk is popular in pancakes. Not only does it give the pancakes a great flavor, it has a higher acid content than regular milk (and definitely almond milk) so it has the ability to release more carbon dioxide.

Second, in order to make up for the absence of an acidic liquid in the batter, I used baking powder instead of baking soda, which is also a popular ingredient in fluffy pancakes. I did this because baking powder has a higher acid content than baking soda.

Lastly, I added seltzer water to amp up the carbon dioxide even more (and cut out some more calories/points). You have to be careful with all this though- you don’t want to mess with this too much because too much acid will increase the gluten development and create a tough and chewier pancake. In order to get the fluffiness without the chewiness, I refrigerated the batter for about 15 minutes (you can leave it up to over night if you want to) to slow the gluten development before cooking.

The pancakes turned out better than I could have imagined! I will probably continue to tweak this recipe until it’s absolutely perfect but, for now, it’s amazingly delicious. The best part? You could eat this ENTIRE batch and it’s only 14 points! I went with 3 pancakes and a tbsp of maple syrup for a decadent 7 point breakfast!

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Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

1 large egg

1/2 unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup of seltzer water or club soda

1 tsp vanilla

cooking spray

Directions

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the mixed wet ingredients and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix

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Put the mixed batter in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (you can leave it in there over night if you’d like)

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly spray oil to coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your fruit if you wish

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When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

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Yields 7 pancakes

WW Points: 2 points per pancake

Kale and Pineapple Breakfast Smoothie

I haven’t been great lately. My weight has been creeping up since I started this blog. I have found myself venturing out and trying a lot of new, not-so-healthy restaurants and hot spots. I figured the best way to get myself back on track was to find a way to start my day by getting a few helpings of fruit and veggies right off the bat.

I spent some time searching for a breakfast smoothie that sounded good to me. I love the basic strawberry/banana combo but I wanted to step it up a notch and find a way to get some green veggies in there as well. Enter: Kale/Pineapple Smoothie. This smoothie incorporates kale, pineapple, banana and almond milk. I will say, the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that it used almond milk. I have cut out most dairy from my diet in the past 6 or so month for no other reason than I feel better when I consume less dairy and it’s an easy way to cut out points (I think twice before having cheese, a latte, ice cream, etc). So almond milk was a big plus. The recipe makes two servings so either cut it in half or share it with a significant other or roommate.

Kale and Pineapple Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla unsweetened)

1 dense cup of chopped kale

1/2 of diced pineapple

1 banana

1/2 cup pineapple juice

Directions

Put in a blend and blend until smooth.

WW Points: 4 per serving (8 for the whole recipe)

This post is also a great opportunity to talk about building recipes on WW. At first glance it appeared as if this smoothie would virtually be zero points because the only components with points values are the almond milk and pineapple juice. It’s important, though,  that you utilize the “Recipe Builder” tab to enter ANY recipe you might log because this recipe actually has a significant number of points when considering why goes into it. This is because WW calculates the points by taking the TOTAL fat, carbs, fiber and protein in a recipe to get the points value instead of just adding the individual point values together. Using the recipe builder will help you stay on track and be 100% honest and true to the points system. In the end, it will only benefit you!