Posts tagged ‘cinnamon’

November 11, 2012

mom’s apple cake, healthified

This is my mom’s old fashioned apple cake. Sans the 2 ¼ cups of sugar. She made it earlier this season and we gobbled it up, oh yes… but no one can feel good about ingesting that much refined sugar. So I decided to do something about it.

In my version, winter squash puree replaces the shortening to keep it moist, sugar is reduced to just 1/3 cup, accompanied by erythritol—a natural (calorie-free) sweetener—and vanilla protein powder, whole wheat flour replaces the white, and an egg yolk is omitted to reduce cholesterol. *check my notes at the bottom for simple vegan substitutions.

It’s basically a balanced meal in itself. Squash = fiber and vitamins; Apples = more fiber and vitamins; Whole wheat flour = whole grains, more fiber; Eggs + milk + protein powder + nuts = PROTEIN! And that’s my excuse for eating a big ol’ slice for dinner ;)  Try it, I dare you.

^Check out that original recipe….. got enough sugar?!

Autumn Apple Cake

  • ½ cup pumpkin or winter squash puree
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup erythritol*
  • 1 t nectresse*
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 egg + 3T egg whites, or 7 T egg whites
  • 1 cup buttermilk (make your own by adding 1T vinegar to a cup measure, and fill the rest with milk)
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder – mine is sweetened with stevia
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 4 cups apples, peeled & chopped fine
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September 19, 2012

So long sweet peach…

I’ll miss your fuzzy, sunset-hued skin. Your cheery presence in my morning bowl of muesli and yogurt. And eating you like candy.

Sweet, juicy candy, made from pure sunshine.

No matter what grocery store tries to fool me mid-January, I know no look-alike can compare to your genuine summer sunshine-ripened perfection. But that only makes you sweeter come July, when I take my first blissful bite. I’ll soon be longing for that day, I’m sure.

Before I say goodbye for now, though, let’s look at some of the tasty moments we shared this summer…..

A typical breakfast.. (homemade muesli recipe coming soon)

Golden peach soup with crab ‘ceviche’ – from Cooking Light

This was delicious, but too sweet to eat as a whole meal in my opinion. It would work better as a cute appetizer / hors d’oeuvre served in mini cups.

A breakfast or dessert-worthy Yogurt Peach Tart – from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

This one’s definitely a keeper. So simple to put together, and every ingredient is 100% nutritious! no shame eating a big slice of this for breakfast :)

Peaches & ginger cheesecake – shared on the blog recently…

And last but perhaps best, my spicy peach lassi – recipe below.

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January 29, 2012

chili-chocolate-bean cookies

I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I bake a dessert with beans… and it comes out amazing. I mean I already showed you my success with the beet-bean brownies and the deep dish cookie pie, but somehow the concept never fails to fascinate me. Beans?! Not only are they what I often consume for protein in my meals—being low in fat and super high in fiber—but they can be used to replace a majority of the flour and butter in baked goods! I think what gets me most, though, is that they’re not simply a healthy substitution; beans make things like cookies and brownies so incredibly rich and fudgey and moist. I may never bake without beans again!

….I just won’t tell people this until after they taste my goodies :]

These rich chocolate cookies remind me of these double chocolate fudge cookies my mom used to make from a mix when we were kids. Everyone looved them, especially straight from the oven, all warm and full of gooey chocolate chunks. These bring me back to that same eye-rolling indulgent taste of fudgey bliss, but with a grown-up twist of spicy chiles, cinnamon, tart dried cherries… and of course our healthy little secret ;]

I also gave each cookie a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt, which really brings out the richness and leaves you craving more sweet after each bite.

chili-chocolate-bean cookies, from My New Roots

  • 1 ½ cups black beans, or one 15 oz. can
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, honey or agave
  • 2 eggs or 6 T egg whites
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
January 18, 2012

curried sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes

Two years ago on Christmas morning, my sister Tara threw together these “pancakes,” which were more like a sweet and zesty stir-fry-hash-mixture of shredded carrot, apple, sweet potato, egg, curry powder, cinnamon and cumin. They didn’t quite stay bound in cake form as planned, but I could care less as I shoved forkfuls in my mouth and declared I would eat this every day of the year.

Unfortunately my hatred of shredding vegetables by hand kept me from making this 6+ times per week, but the few times I did reminded me that this combination is just deliciously worth it. The Indian flavors of curry, cumin and garam masala add savory heat to the sweet apple, potato and carrot. This time around I added a bit of chickpea flour to bind the batter together enough to form solid pancakes on the griddle. ‘Twas a success, but I must say the mixture is just as tasty in stir-fried-hash form. The key to this dish, I repeat the KEY to breakfast bliss, is serving your cakes with a dollop of sweet chili sauce, perhaps a squirt of sriracha mixed in.

Curried sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes, inspired by Tara, recipe by me

  • 3 cups shredded sweet potatoes, carrots + apples, in any ratio you prefer. I do about 1 cup carrot, 1 ½ sweet potato and ½ apple
  • 1 or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup egg whites, or 1 egg
  • 1 T milk (I use vanilla soy)
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (any flour will do)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • ½ t garam masala, or cinnamon
  • 1 t sea salt
  • sweet chili sauce + sriracha to serve

Peel and coarsely grate sweet potato, carrot and apple until you have 3 cups, in any ratio you prefer. Set aside in a colander or bowl on some paper towels to drain.

Combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt in medium bowl and whisk to combine. Mix in egg whites and milk. Squeeze excess juice from potato-apple-carrot mixture (I recommend saving the juice because it’s a sweet and nutritious combination!) and add mixture to bowl with the flour-egg mixture. Add scallions and stir to combine. Batter should be moist but not runny. If too stiff, add a tablespoon or so of milk until consistency is right.

Spray a nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high. Drop heaping spoonfuls or 1/8 cup of pancake mixture in skillet and flatten with back of spatula. Cook each side about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce and sriracha. You may store unused batter in a container in the fridge for several days to use whenever you please!

*Alternatively, leave out flour and stir fry as a breakfast hash.

Pancakes (above) versus a big pile of potato-apple-carrot hash (below). A perfect breakfast or brunch!

Enjoy! –mich

This recipe is shared at My Meatless Mondays, & Fresh Bites Fridays

January 9, 2012

simple savory Moroccan soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes – it’s light but filling, vegetarian, and made with a unique combination of spices that fill the air with warmth. Cinnamon and cayenne give it a spicy heat, and my favorite part—the raisins—turn into plump little grapes bursting with an unexpected sweetness.

Oh yeah, it’s SO simple to make and healthy too!

Moroccan soup with quinoa + chickpeas, adapted from Women’s Health

Serves 4 or 5

  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) no salt- added diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced into half circles
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 artichoke hearts, cut in half (frozen or packed in water and drained) *I left these out
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (including green tops)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 1/2 t basil
  • 1/2 t oregano

Bring stock plus 1 cup water to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, add remaining ingredients, and simmer uncovered about 10-15 minutes, or until quinoa is just tender (don’t overcook as it will expand as the soup sits). Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

As with many soups, it will thicken up over time, and I find it to be especially flavorful after sitting overnight.

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January 2, 2012

coconut curry pepita granola

This stuff is the ultimate sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy combination, the kind of snack that leaves you crazy addicted after one bite. So, sorry in advance if you eat the whole batch in one day… I warned you!

The ingredients complement each other perfectly: spicy curry and cinnamon, sweet maple syrup, a good dose of sea salt and toasty coconut, all caramelized around the crunchy roasted pepitas and rice puffs.

Also it’s gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and so delicious that you won’t even notice.

I tried three different batches, playing with the ingredients each time until I tasted that perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy. The original recipe was more of a pepita brittle rather than granola, with lots of the gooey stuff and fewer seeds. I’m sure that is delicious but I wanted a more snack-acceptable treat, so I added some oats and rice puffs to make it granola-y.

This is perfect for jarring up and gift-giving, as I did for Christmas, or just leaving in a bowl on the counter for whenever you need a zesty bite to wake your taste buds. Just beware, one bite will turn in to seven… or 25.

coconut curry pepita granola, adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup oats (use gluten-free oats if desired)
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 t Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 T sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or not—it’s up to you)

*for a lower sugar version you can replace 1/4 cup of the maple syrup with unsweetened applesauce (I haven’t tried this but it should be fine), and use unsweetened coconut.

Heat oven to 350º F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure pepitas, rice puffs and oats into a large bowl and set aside. Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.

Pour maple mixture over pepitas and rice puffs, stirring to mix. Spread coated granola evenly over the surface of the parchment-lined cookie sheets in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and stir shredded coconut into mixture, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are toasty and granola is golden. Keep a close eye on it this time as the seeds and coconut can burn quickly. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheet on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Some areas will be very toasty and crisp, while other areas will be gooey and caramel-like :] When cooled, break granola into chunks. Serve when warm and delicious or store in an air-tight container and eat within 2 weeks (..as if it will take that long)!

^ this was my first batch, which was close to the original recipe with mostly pepitas and I added a few almonds.

mid-baking, adding the coconut.

Enjoy!

-mich

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December 24, 2011

December: the month of cookies

Where it lacks in warmth and sunshine, it makes up in sweetness. Sweetness of the plethora of sugar and butter and chocolate in the kitchen, soon whisked and stirred and baked into treats of all flavors, from caramel to cinnamon, butterscotch to coconut, lemon and raspberry, maple, almond, and peppermint—let’s just say we have it all covered in this kitchen.

Am I cookied out?

Never!

What a silly question.

December is cookie month, and it only gets richer each year. This year I added to mom’s classic collection with  a couple of my less-guilty recipes: raspberry-chocolate thumbprints and sugar plums, along with a few indulgent ones: dark chocolate cherry pistachio bark and cinnamon roll cookies.

Mom’s classics [and definitely not guilt-free ;] include peanut butter balls, mint squares, pinwheels, three-pepper spice cookies, seven-layer bars, lemon Christmas trees, toffee-almond triangles, cappuccino caramels, and extra-guilty saltine toffee :]

The cinnamon rolls were my favorite to make because they’re so pretty and nothing is more comforting than the smell of hot cinnamon buns in the oven. I had come up with the idea of creating a cinnamon roll in cookie form after last Christmas, and have since seen my idea come to life on a couple of different blogs! I decided to test the recipe of Baker’s Royale, mainly because the pictures were so mouth-watering. And the cookies turned out just so. They taste exactly like cinnamon rolls—I would argue even better. And because I refuse to follow any recipe exactly, I traded white flour for whole wheat, used Earth Balance instead of butter, egg white instead of yolk, and a bit less brown sugar for the inside swirl. So at least I could feel a little better about the ingredients, and they still came out crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with that buttery-cinnamony-sugary swirled middle. Bliss in Christmas-cookie form.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies, from Baker’s Royale

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 T whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 t cinnamon, plus 1 T for divided use
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ cup Earth Balance (or butter), softened, plus 3 T for divided use
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, plus ½ cup for divided use
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 T of light corn syrup
  • 1 t vanilla

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoon of milk
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Place ½ cup butter, granulated sugar and ¼ cup of brown sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light in color. Add in egg white, applesauce, light corn syrup and vanilla and beat to combine. Turn off mixer.
Using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon, fold in flour mixture until just combined.  Dough may have some flour streaking. Do not over mix. Divide dough in half and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place remaining 1 T of cinnamon and ½ cup of brown sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Now divide cinnamon and brown sugar mixture in two; one for each portion of halved dough. Set aside.
Remove one wrapped dough. Dough will sticky so place it between two large pieces of wax paper and roll out dough to 1/4inch thickness. Using a pastry brush spread 1 1/2 tablespoon of softened butter on dough. Then sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top and gently press it into dough (I didn’t use the entire cinnamon-sugar mixture). Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Place roll seam side down on plastic wrap and cover tightly. Repeat this once more with reamining dough and 11/2 tablespoon of butter, along with remaining cinnamon and brown sugar mixture. Place both rolled doughs back in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
Remove chilled roll and cut into ½ inch slices. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
To make glaze: Sift powdered sugar and add in 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until drizzling consistency is achieved.
Drizzle tops of cooled cookies with glaze and let stand at room temperature until glaze dries completely. Store cookies in an airtight container or freeze to keep longer.
To offset (albeit hardly) these days of munching our way through plates of cookies, we’ve been “training” for a Christmas Eve 10k my sister Tara organized with neighbors and friends and family on a beautiful hilly country road, the same run/walk route we did on Thanksgiving but a bit longer to make it a 10k. The sun finally came out from the clouds for the morning and we had about 30 people and 10+ dogs come out for a wonderful run/walk and breakfast party afterwards. It was great! And no surprise that the winners were two brothers, one of which just did a 50-miler. We gave them a basket with some of the sweet treats and chocolate we had around the house, still barely making a dent in our sugar supply. But hey, with all this running we’ve been doing we need the sugar, right?
Sure….
the dogs sure are into it!
and here come the winners!

So it’s Christmas Eve, the sun is still out (maybe the first time in about a week), the family is all here, and we have more than enough cookies to satisfy Santa tonight.

Happy Holidays!

-mich

This post is linked to: Sweets for a Saturday

September 26, 2011

Birthday cake pops!

It’s still 85 degrees here in Charleston and I’m craving fall. I just want to put on a cozy sweater and bake some pumpkin bread! So I kind of did anyway… :]

Mom’s birthday was the first day of fall this year and one of her favorite things is maple syrup.. quite fitting. After much debating about what would be easiest to send in the mail I settled on cake pops—little truffles of cake and frosting all smooshed together and dipped in glaze. YUM. I figured they were much more mail-friendly than cupcakes. And birthday cookies are just boring… Soo cake pops it was!

I wanted to incorporate as many warm and autumn-y flavors of possible, and I may have gone a little overboard :] The end result was a sweet potato-spice cake, which I baked, crumbled and mixed with maple-cream cheese frosting, formed into balls and dipped in cinnamon-maple glaze, and finally topped with some crushed pecans. I feel like I’m explaining my masterpiece on Cupcake Wars or something!

*I used this recipe for sweet potato cake, this for the maple cream cheese frosting, and this for the cinnamon-maple glaze.

‘Twas very long and intricate process, but the end result was fantastic, plus I got to enjoy tasting each element on its own. I managed to snap some photos before sending them off, because they were too cute and oozing with mapley goodness to let go undocumented.

So happy birthday mama, I hope the weather at home is more appropriate for these little sweet treats than it is here!

My original attempt to make "pops" failed because the glaze was too runny and wouldn't harden on top. Oh well, my truffles are cuter :]

My original attempt to make “pops” failed because the glaze was too runny and wouldn’t harden on top. Oh well, my truffles are cuter :]

mich