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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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.

IMG_1522 (3)

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.

 

My best friend’s husband hates chocolate.

Oh the humanity!

He is redeemed by his love of carrot cake, which I recently learned is in fact not a vegetable side dish but instead a high calorie dessert. Who knew an inch of cream cheese frosting wasn’t slimming?

So, I endeavored this morning to create a healthier carrot cake alternative. I came up with a carrot bread muffin with a sweet glaze.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups grated organic carrots
2 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon plus a little pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Truvia or stevia
2 large eggs
1 cup low fat Greek vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 cup orange juice (no pulp)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying the cups with baking spray or lining them with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl and set it aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and Truvia/stevia together. I actually used a little less than 1/2 cup of the Truvia, because I wanted a spicier muffin rather than a sweet one.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between each. Add the dry ingredients in four batches, alternating with the yogurt.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape the sides, and then fold in the carrots.  The batter is more of a dough than a batter (very thick and sticky).

For the Oven

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full (even if you fill them mostly full, they won’t run over when they bake) and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean.

When they muffins are completely cool, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the orange juice and confectioner’s sugar, and then add the ginger to taste.  Place the muffins on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over each muffin.

How They Turned Out:

Despite the clean cake tester, the middles were a bit more moist than I like. Otherwise, they were exactly what I was going for: carrot bread. It’s not carrot cake by any stretch, but it’s flavorful and much sweeter to the waistline than the old-fashioned version.

Carrot Muffins

My dearest friend is from the Keystone State, so she periodically holds “Pennsylvania Parties” to assuage her nostalgia for home.  If you’ve ever lived in PA, or surveyed the state’s famous Pennsylvania Dutch foods, you know that there isn’t much that could be considered “healthy.”  I mean, the state meat is SCRAPPLE!  Uggh!

So my contribution to the party menu tonight is pretzels.  I found this incredibly easy recipe for soft pretzels from Cooking Light, and added a little flair.  Some are plain with sea salt, but then some are topped with parmesan and garlic and others with cinnamon and sugar.

And the best part is they have only about 2g fat and 150 calories each.

Soft Pretzels

 

My fabulous assistant’s birthday is this weekend, so I made him a cake.  He asked for something healthy, and since carrot cake is already on its way to being a vegetable, that’s what I made.  This version is based on a Cooking Light recipe, with a few tweaks.  I subbed out the buttermilk in the cake, added extra carrot and some organic cranberries, and used a little vanilla glaze instead of the cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Bundt Cake 2

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups organic pre-shredded carrots (in the produce section)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large organic vegetarian-fed eggs
1 container fat free vanilla Activia yogurt (a risk, but it was what I had and it worked)
1 cup dried organic cranberries
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbs (plus a little) 1% milk
1 tbs vanilla

How I  Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with Baker’s Secret or Pam with Flour.  I use a paper towel to spread the spray evenly in the grooves of the pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the shredded carrots to the flour mixure and combine thoroughly.  You’ll begin to wonder about this recipe at this point, because you’re used to the wet, mushy, grated carrot going into the batter and adding moisture.  It looks weird and “rustic,” but it turns out great. Set that bowl aside.

In the Kitchen-Aid mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars (white and brown) together. When that is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry mixture in batches.  Mine blended just fine even before the yogurt, but you can alternate with spoonsful of yogurt if you want.  However you do it, add the yogurt and blend until just combined.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the dried cranberries last.

The cake batter will be thick.  With the spatula, transfer it to the bundt pan and be sure that it fills the pan evenly.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until it is a golden brown on top and the cake tester comes out clean but for a few crumbs.  Let it cool in the bundt pan on a wire rack for about twenty minutes.  Loosen the sides and center by sliding a knife around the perimeter of the pan.  Flip the pan over, give it a light thump, and let it sit on the rack.  The cake will gently come free in a few minutes.

When the cake is cool, make a glaze by whisking the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and milk together to get the consistency you want — not too thick, not too runny.  You might need a smidge more than 2 tablespoons of milk.  Also, 1 tablespoon of vanilla makes a VERY VANILLA glaze that is caramelized in color.  If you want a less intense or whiter glaze, use less vanilla and more milk.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake with a spoon.  Cover the cake until you are ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

I made this the night before to take into work today, and we didn’t eat it until late afternoon.  Not only did it remain moist (but not smooshy), it smelled and tasted lovely.

Makes 12 normal portions, or 16 skinny ones.

Finally, inspiration has struck and I am motivated to actually make more than salad and cheese sandwiches. Today, for brunch, I whipped up some relatively low fat french toast to fuel my best friend’s afternoon hacking through the brush and undergrowth in his yard.

Ingredients:

1 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup organic skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 thick slices of honey oat bread
(Silverbow Bakery in Juneau makes wonderful bread)
2 tbs weight watchers reduced fat whipped cream cheese
1 tbs butter (unsalted)
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

How I made it:

Wash the fresh berries, or rinse the frozen berries, and set aside. If using frozen berries, leave them to thaw in a colander over a bowl.

Whisk the egg beaters, milk and vanilla together. Pour into a pie plate or other shallow dish.

Using a sharp knife, cut into each thick slice of bread to make a pocket. Be careful not to slice clean through on any side but the one you started with. Gently fill each pocket with 1 tbs of whipped cream cheese.

Melt 1 tbs butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. While that’s heating, place the bread in the egg mixture, coating both sides thoroughly. You can leave it sitting in the mixture 30 seconds or so, to make sure it absorbs enough to create a nice crust.

When the butter is melted, carefully put each piece of bread in the skillet. Let it cook until it just starts to brown, then carefully turn each piece with a spatula (I use a fork , too, to make sure I don’t have a flipping disaster). When the second side is browned and crispy, flip it again and cook the first side until completely done.

Plate the french toast and spoon 1/2 cup of berries over the top. You can garnish with whipped cream, a little maple syrup, or confectioner’s sugar.

How it turned out:

Rich and wonderful, despite being on the lighter side. I used frozen berries, because fresh berries have peaked here. The just thawed berries were a great contrast to the warm french toast and slightly gooey middle.

 

Makes 2 servings (or one if you’re super hungry).