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What do you make for your fabulous vegan friend for dinner?  These easy peasy stuffed squashes.

Ingredients

2 medium or 3 small acorn squashes, halved
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup diced onion
2 cups organic kale, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
zest and juice of one orange
2 packages microwaveable Ancient Grains quinoa with chickpeas

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil.  Brush the squash halves with olive oil and place face down. Roast for 30 minutes.

While the squash roasts, saute the garlic and onion in olive oil in a large skillet. Add the kale and cook until just wilted. Cook the quinoa in the microwave, then add it to the pan. Stir in the cranberries, orange juice and zest.

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After the 30 minutes, take the squash from the oven. Use tongs to turn them over. Brush the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fill the cavities with the quinoa stuffing.  Put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

How They Turned Out

So, so yummy. I don’t even like squash and I scraped my clean.

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While most of the country is enjoying the last days of summer, fall has blown into Southeast Alaska with buckets of rain and wind. After a damp afternoon, what you need is something comforting with a bit of spice.

Ingredients

3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
4 large brown eggs
3/4 tbs vanilla
1 29oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 block of cream cheese
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbs orange zest
maple syrup to taste

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 10 mini-loaf pans by rubbing them with coconut oil, or line 12 jumbo muffin tins with double liners.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a standing mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing them each in before adding the next. Mix in the pumpkin in large spoonsful (don’t just dump it in).  It will look mottled but that’s okay.  Add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer down to a low speed and add the dry mixture in small batches.  Combine the ingredients until you have a thick smooth batter.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pans/muffin tins. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean.  Let the loaves/muffins cool completely.

Combine the cream cheese, milk, and orange zest in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches so it doesn’t POOF and make a mess.  Add a little maple syrup for flavor. This is icing, not frosting so it will go on soft and a little drippy, but stays where you put it.

How They Turned Out

The perfect falltime treat, great for breakfast or dessert. They turned out moist with a good crumb. The maple orange icing is a lovely combination with the spicy pumpkin cake.

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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.

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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).

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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.

The Beau and I have been going in different directions for weeks, so I wanted to make a special Sunday Supper. Whenever I want to make something lovely, I drift toward the incomparable Julia Child and her beef bourguignon, or at least my version of it.

Tonight’s take on the classic French beef stew uses a rioja rather than a burgundy, and has more of an au jus than a stew-y sauce.

Ingredients

5 slices thick cut, uncured bacon, cut into large pieces
4 beef tenderloins, cut into large pieces
1 cup beef stock
1 cup Rioja (Spanish red wine)
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb frozen pearl onions
1 lb fresh carrots, peeled, cut long-ways
2 cups crimini mushrooms, cleaned, sliced

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How I Made It

Cook the bacon in a non-stick skillet. Transfer the bacon to the slow cooker/crock pot with a slotted spoon. Brown the tenderloin pieces in the bacon fat, and then transfer them with a slotted spoon to the crock pot. Add the frozen pearl onions on top.

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Add the wine to the skillet and scrape the brown bits up with a spoon or spatula.  When it starts to bubble and all the bits have been incorporated, add the beef broth.  Then add the garlic, tomato paste, and thyme and stir to combine. Let it cook on medium-high heat for a minute or two before pouring the sauce into the slow cooker.

Cover and let the concoction cook on low heat for 8 hours.  Add the mushrooms at 4 hours, and the carrots an hour or two before the end (depending on how crisp you want them).

Serve over mashed potatoes. If you need more veggies, green beans are a perfect side.

How It Turned Out

The Beau made all sorts of happy sounds at the table, and was quick to take a big bowl of leftovers for his lunch tomorrow.  I think I might like it better than the original, not just because it’s easier but because the sauce is a bit lighter.

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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The Stupendous Six Year (my favorite munchkin) is a fan of Minions. And bananas. And cake. Mostly he’s a fan of cake. So for Family Night Dinner, I made a banana bundt cake for dessert.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbs maple cinnamon toast sprinkle
5 oz plain greek yogurt

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bundt pan with baking spray or butter with a bit of flour.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together.  While that goes, sift together — in a separate bowl — the flour, baking powder, salt, and toast sprinkle.

When the butter and sugars are combined, add the bananas and continue to mix on medium speed. After that’s combined, add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each.  Add the vanilla.

Slow the mixer to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. After that is mostly combined, spoon 1/3 of the yogurt in. Continue alternating the flour and yogurt until everything is in the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and finish mixing the batter. It will be thick.

Transfer the batter to the bundt pan, spreading evenly in the pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool before turning it out of the pan.  Serve with whipped cream or a little vanilla icing.

How It Turned Out

A dense, moist cake with super banana flavor. The pile of homemade whipped cream was a lovely complement.

 

Banana Cake (2)

Banana Cake 2 (2)

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