Good for You


It’s National Doughnut Day!!  Woo hoo!!  To celebrate, I made these healthy apple cinnamon mini donuts.  They are whole wheat and sugar free (unless you glaze them).

Ingredients

1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs plus 1/2 cup Pyure organic stevia blend
2 tbs butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup organic unfiltered apple juice
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
coconut oil for greasing the doughnut pan

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the mini doughnut pan by greasing it with coconut oil.

Combine the diced apple with cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the stevia in a small bowl, stirring to coat all the apple pieces, and set it aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup of stevia, baking powder, nutmeg, and ginger (a fork works best). Add the apple juice, egg, and melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined.  Fold in the apple mixture.  You’ll have a thick, slightly sticky batter.

Mini donut before (2)

Fill the mini doughnut pan with the batter.  Bake the doughnuts for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.

How They Turned Out

Yummy and guilt free!  They aren’t super sweet like the usual doughnut, but are still very tasty. You can serve them warm, or wait a bit and glaze them (in which case they aren’t sugar free anymore).

Mini donut after (2)

 

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Getting old is not for sissy. Thankfully, I’m no sissy even when it means learning to avoid foods that cause inflammation, like refined carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar — sweet, sweet sugar — is apparently bad for my knees.

So began the adventure to transform my lovely, yummy way of eating into something that is kinder to my joints. I’d already given up artificial sweetener, and substituting Stevia seems to be  acceptable to my tongue. Giving up wheat and corn is less acceptable, but doable. Until you’ve had your 26th scrambled egg muffin for breakfast and you would do almost anything for a waffle.

So this morning, I decided to give coconut flour a try.  I bought it a while ago but just didn’t believe it would be good for baking. Turns out it works.

Ingredients

4 mashed ripe bananas
3 cage free brown eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup organic, no sugar added peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin (12) with paper liners. Use 2 if the liners are thin — these are oily muffins.

Combine the mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, and melted (and cooled) butter. Then, mix in the peanut butter until it’s all thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir until it’s all blended, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the muffin batter into the muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.

How They Turned Out

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These muffins are not homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing, but they’re good enough with coffee on the way out the door. Just 9g of sugar (compared to the usual muffin’s 30+ grams of sugar), so they won’t anger my knees.

My favorite munchkin is growing at supersonic speed, so getting plenty of protein and nutrients into him is even more important than ever.  It can be tricky though, as he can have a picky palate. This weekend’s concoction has whole wheat and oats, bananas, yogurt, and a little brown sugar — to balance the pint of maple syrup he was sure to pour on them.

Ingredients

3 large organic bananas, mashed
2 eggs
6 ounces Greek or Australian yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin top pan with a little vegetable oil.

Combine the bananas, eggs, yogurt, sugar, and canola oil together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the muffin top pan. It is a thick batter, so use a spoon to spread it in the pan.

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Bake for ten minutes or until a tester comes away clean.  Serve hot with a little butter and maple syrup.

How They Turned Out:

They didn’t fool the munchkin, who determined quickly they weren’t pancakes. But with enough syrup they did the trick.

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Baking is love. Especially for introverts who want to show that they care, but don’t necessarily want to have a long conversation about it. These healthy treats are perfect for sharing: whole wheat muffins that get their moist texture from the bananas and their sweetness from the blueberries.

Ingredients

3 organic bananas, mashed
2 cups organic blueberries
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar (I recommend Zulka Morena Sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
10 ounces plain greek yogurt (2 containers)
3 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-2 teaspoons ground ginger

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your muffin tin with paper liners, or use those groovy paper baking pans like I did.

Combine the bananas, sugars, eggs, and oil together in a bowl. Do not add the blueberries — those come at the end.

In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sprinkle the ground ginger over the top, adding as much or as little as you like.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Combine with a rubber spatula as best you can.  Then add the yogurt and continue to stir until thoroughly mixed.  You will have a dense, sticky batter. This is why you don’t stir the blueberries in — they would just mash up and turn everything purple.

Fill the muffin tins/baking pans 3/4 full, adding blueberries as you spoon the batter into the tin/pans.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.

How They Turned Out

These are dense but not dry. Not super sweet, so the banana and blueberry flavors come through nicely. The ginger is very subtle, nicely complementing the berries. Best served warm, with cold milk.

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My favorite five year old is growing like a weed and needs all the building blocks to achieve great heights. While he has a broad taste for healthful foods (avocado, kale, hummus, etc.), it’s not easy to get him to eat more than a few bites at a time.  So we all try to pack as many nutrients as possible into what we know he’ll eat.  Pancakes! are one of those tried and true meals.

This recipe swaps out buttermilk for greek yogurt to add more protein (like I typically do in my sweet treats). One ounce of greek yogurt can have 2-3 grams of protein, where buttermilk has just one. That’s more fuel for the munchkin’s muscle-making! You can up the healthfulness by using whole wheat flour (I just didn’t have any).

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
3/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted

How I Made Them:

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, using a fork to sift everything together.  Put 3/4 cup of greek yogurt in a glass measuring cup, topping with enough milk to hit the 1 1/2 cup line (I think this is about 3/4 cup).  Whisk the yogurt and milk together until combined, then add it to the flour mixture. Add the egg and melted butter, and whisk together to make the batter.  Remember that you want a slightly lumpy batter.

Use a nonstick skillet or griddle (so you don’t need more butter) over medium to medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the surface, making sure your pancakes don’t touch as they cook.  When the bubbles start to appear, flip your pancake and cook for about 1 minute. If you aren’t getting a lovely golden pancake, you might add a little butter to the pan.

Pancake

You can add berries or chocolate chips as you cook the pancakes, topping the pancake before you flip it.

Choc Chip Pancake

Keep your pancakes warm in the oven (set on warm) while you cook them, so they all go to the table hot.

How They Turned Out:

The munchkin ate FOUR of these little beauties for dinner.  SUCCESS!

This recipe makes about 8 small pancakes.  Double the recipe for a family of four.

 

This is a super-quick supper that is fancy enough for a dinner party.

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen tortellini
1 lb of fresh asparagus
1 lb of fresh snow peas
3 tbs of Greek feta vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

How I Made It:

Wash and pat dry the peas and asparagus.  Snap the ends off and de-string the pea pods.  Reserve 3 stalks of asparagus, cutting the remainder into pieces (tops, then three sections — I don’t keep the tough thick bases).  Create asparagus ribbons with the reserved asparagus stalks, using a vegetable peeler.  Set the ribbons aside and squeeze a little lemon juice over them.

Cook the tortellini according the instructions.  Use a big pot and at least 2 cups more water than called for, so that you can blanch the vegetables for 3 minutes in the same pot as the pasta.  I also add a little olive oil in the pot to prevent the pasta from sticking. When it’s all done, strain the pasta and vegetables in a colander (do not rinse).

In a large glass serving bowl (so you can see all the lovely green veggies), toss the hot pasta and vegetables with the dressing, then sprinkle half the parmesan on top.  Toss again, then top with the rest of the cheese.  Garnish with the asparagus ribbons and serve.

How It Turned Out:

The bright taste of fresh peas and asparagus pairs nicely with the creamy tortellini. I made this as the main dish for a dinner party, but it would also be a lovely side dish for grilled or poached salmon or a lemon chicken entrée.

Easy Peasy Pasta

Makes 4 servings.

It’s been a month since I fell and broke my ankle, a month since I planned a dinner party, a month since I cooked anything more exciting than a lean cuisine.  It’s been a very long month.

So I invited my best friend and her family over for Sunday Supper and set out to find something wonderful that I could prepare sitting down or balanced on my knee walker, something that didn’t involve the scary hot stovetop. A little perusal of Pinterest resulted in inspiration from Table for Two‘s crock pot broccoli and beef recipe.  I adjusted it to serve eight, reducing the soy sauce (too much sodium) and adding more vegetables.

Ingredients:

2 cups Swanson beef broth
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 and 2/3 tbs of Gourmet Garden organic garlic minced garlic paste
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 lbs of beef flank steak, sliced across the grain
4 tbs cornstarch
4 cups fresh organic broccoli florets
2 cups of organic baby carrots, sliced lengthways
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

How I Made It:

Whisk the beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic together in the crock pot.  Add the sliced beef and ensure that all the pieces are covered in the cooking liquid.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

With a half hour to go, add the cornstarch by whisking it into a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and then return it to the crock pot.  Add the broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms and continue cooking for 30 minutes.  You want the veggies cooked by still firm.  Serve over brown rice.

How It Turned Out:

Pretty tasty, this is definitely a recipe I’ll make again.

Beef and Broccoli

Makes 8 servings.
7 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving.

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