Thursday, February 26, 2009

Debbie, I Shrunk the Brownies!

While strolling through Target yesterday, I happened upon these 100 calorie Little Debbie Triple Fudge Brownies.  Although I have a notorious sweet tooth, I have been trying to eat better so I can lose weight.  That being said, sometimes you just need some chocolate!  I had already tried the 100 calorie Little Debby Nutty Bars, and was pleasantly surprised.  They are just like the normal Nutty Bars, except they don't come packaged in pairs.  Duh, it's portion control.  I get it.  

In order to make their brownie fit into the 100 calorie parameter, Little Debbie used magic ala Rick Moranis to achieve this feat.  I give you the 100 calorie Little Debbie Triple Fudge Brownie :
Are you seeing this magic?  It's smaller than a pack of matches!  I feel embarrassed to say I had expected more.  This is barely a two-bite brownie.  When I ate mine, I begrudgingly took four slow and deliberate bites, annoyed that I was wasting 100 calories on this.  
The taste?  Yummy, chocolate-y... as good as you can expect from Little Debbie.  The thing here is that Little Debbie hasn't actually changed any of its ingredients or methods of baking in order to make these treats healthier.  They're using a shrink-ray... and I totally fell for it.  

Their regular brownie (the one with walnuts), is portioned at 61 g (280 calories).  They sell a box of 12 (six 2-packs) for $1.19, which works out to be about 10 cents a brownie.  
The 100 calorie brownie is portioned at less than 22 g.  A box of 12 sells for $1.79, or 15 cents a brownie.  That's a 50% price hike for 1/3 of the product!

It is worth noting that Little Debbie is NOT the only company doing this.  Some dude named Gary Stibel claims credit for inventing the 100 calorie snack pack, allowing companies like Frito-Lay to charge 70 cents for 1 ounce of Cheetos.  1 ounce of Cheetos is like 4 or 5 Cheetos!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pasta Maker!

Who doesn't love pasta? Oh wait, I have a friend, Meagan, who hates pasta. Besides her, who doesn't love pasta? NO ONE!

I love my new KitchenAid and I LOVE my pasta maker.

Here's a recipe for a basic egg noodle pasta (courtesy of KitchenAid). This recipe is for use with a KitchenAid stand mixer with pasta attachment.

Yield: 1 lb dough (we cut this in half)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoon water
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Break eggs into measuring cup and add the water. Make sure the total liquid is exactly 3/4 cup (add more water if needed).

Place the flour in the bowl and attach flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and gradually add eggs and water. Mix for 30 seconds. Stop mixer, remove flat beater and attach dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 2 minutes.
Hand knead the dough for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cover with a dry towel and let rest 15 minutes.

Then you just drop little balls of dough into the extruder and turn your mixer onto full speed. It takes a while for the pasta to start coming out, and you might have to use the little plunger thingie, but eventually it starts coming FAST. I think we broke our pasta off at about 9 inches by just turning the mixer off for a moment and gently pulling away from the pasta plate. I think we used Pasta plate 1 for thinner ("angel hair") style noodles.

To Cook:
In 6 quarts boiling water, add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Gradually add the pasta and cook at a slow boil until pasta is al dente. The pasta will float while it's cooking so make sure to stir it occasionally. Drain in a collander. Enjoy! There are many varieties of pasta you can try when you have a pasta maker/extruder, but I wanted to start out basic!

Ignore the Franks Hot Sauce (old habits die hard) ----->
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