Tag Archives: refined sugar free

Spiced (and Sugar Free) Banana Nut Muffins

SpicedBananaNutGood day, everyone! I hope you are having a nice week. I have been busy at work, including enjoying a fun project – estimating the economic impact due to the arrival of the royal baby. Analysts expect that this economic impact in the U.K. will be higher than those measured due to the royal wedding or the Queen’s diamond jubilee events because there are no public holidays scheduled, which closed financial markets and establishments, and reduced retail spending. It is estimated that the U.K. should see about a $400 million bump to the economy this summer. The largest boosts will be in industries related to food and drink as well as memorabilia. I know I did my part to stimulate the U.S. economy by buying refreshments for a Royal Baby (Sugar Free) Cupcake Party at my office this week!

In case you are inclined to host your own Royal Baby Tea in the near future – Newman’s Own sells a delicious Royal Tea in a variety of flavors. Scones are delicious and a good idea to include at a Tea – I have recipes online for Millet Raisin, Pear and Oat, and Banana Berry. Muffins can also be a nice addition to a party, and below is a recipe for Spiced Banana Walnut Muffins that I adapted from a July 2009 issue of Oprah Magazine. I substituted the sugar with maple syrup, added brown rice flour in order to reduce the gluten content, and removed the butter by adding canola oil. The result is a light and moist muffin with a unique combination of flavors. For additional spice, add another 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
3 very ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well; set aside.

Put flours, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put maple syrup and oil into a second large bowl and mix until well combined. Add bananas, applesauce, zest, vanilla, and eggs to the syrup-oil mixture, and mix again until combined. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in three parts, stirring well after each addition; fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared tins; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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An Abundance of Vegetables and an Afternoon Makes a Rustic Tart

spinach-bokchoy-collardsHappy Summer everyone! The days are long and the temperatures are heating up. Speaking of summer, have you participated in my latest two-click poll? I am interested in your opinions regarding your favorite summertime foods. I plan to create a new recipe based on the food that receives the most votes, so thank you for your participation! Just click this link or visit my home page.

My CSA farm share continues to surprise me. Last week my box was filled with an assortment of green leafy vegetables including bok choy (pictured in the front), collard greens (on the right), and spinach (on the left). The bok choy, also referred to as Chinese Cabbage, has thick, white, edible stems. Collard greens, like bok choy, are part of the cabbage family, with wide, green stems that resemble pretty fans. Native to central and southwestern Asia, spinach is an edible flowering plant in the amaranth family with leaves that are smaller than the others already mentioned. They are all delicious but I prefer to eat them cooked because they have a sweeter flavor and are easier to chew and digest. Since I had an abundance of leafy greens, I decided to try a vegetable tart. I was inspired by Leah Eskin’s recipe for Chard Tart that I found in a newspaper. I had never made a tart before, and I must warn you, the recipe is a bit more involved then one of my typical recipes. There are a number of steps and the total process takes awhile because you have to allow for chilling time (for your crust, as well as yourself).

veggietartThe recipe calls for rolling out the pastry dough, which I would rephrase to “pound with fists until the dough kind of resembles a lopsided circle.” However, the shape of your dough only lends itself to the rustic nature of this tart. The flavor is delicious, and the crust was quite crispy. I liked the comfortable look of the tart, which can be eaten as a vegetable alongside a main entree, or as the main highlight of a meal.

veggietartsliceThe tart can be easily frozen, although SensitiveHusband and I had no trouble polishing this off within a few days. If you find yourself with an afternoon without a set schedule and an abundance of green vegetables, give this recipe a try.

Rustic Green Vegetable Tart

Ingredients:
–2 bunches (about 1 ½ pounds) leafy green vegetables (such as swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens or bok choy)
–2 tablespoons olive oil
–kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
–1 clove garlic, finely chopped
–1 egg yolk
–2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
–2 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil or thyme)
–Pastry (recipe below)

Shred: Fold each washed leafy vegetable in half along its center rib. Trim away ribs. Roll up leaves and slice thinly crosswise.

Wilt: Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Toss in green vegetables. Cook, stirring, until wilted and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in egg, cheese and herbs.

Roll: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry to a 12-inch circle. Roll around the pin and unroll onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. (Alternatively, pound pastry with fists on a lightly floured work surface until pastry resembles an oddly-shaped circle. Transfer very carefully onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.)

Fill:
Spread vegetables onto pastry in an 8-inch circle. Fold edges of pastry up and over, forming a casual tart.

Bake: Slide pan into a 400-degree oven, and bake until pastry turns golden, about 35 minutes. Serves 8.

Pastry: Mix well: 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon fine salt and a few grinds of pepper. Drop in 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into slices. Cut butter into flour mixture with two forks until lumps range in size from cornflakes to crumbs. Drizzle in up to 5 tablespoons cold water, folding with a flexible spatula or fork, until pastry comes together. Pat into a thick disk or ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least 1 hour.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Good day everyone! We are in the middle of our second week of our community-supported agriculture (CSA) program with a local farm. Each week, we pick up one box (a half share) of fresh produce. At this point in the season, our box has been bursting with greens including spinach, lettuce, kale, and collard greens. It’s exciting to discover what is in the box each week and a fun challenge to use all of the fresh ingredients in interesting ways. The CSA program works well for a farm because there is a consistent demand for the produce, and the program also benefits a household because the prices are lower than what is seen at the grocery store. If you are willing to try a variety of vegetables, a CSA is a fun and economical option.

This week we received two vegetables that we do not eat that often but are such a treat when we do: kohlrabi and beets. I roasted kohlrabi during the week with olive oil and asiago cheese…click here for my simple recipe. Roasted beets are also delicious as an accompaniment to a meal; however, they can also be turned into a sweet and healthy dessert!

chocolate beet cakeI found this recipe from The Simple Lens for Chocolate Beet Cake for Two. I immediately liked the recipe because it did not use any refined sugars and was vegan, which appeals to a number of my friends. I swapped lemon juice for vinegar to keep the acidity level the same. In addition, the yield is two small cakes, which is a nice option for a household that does not want a large amount of cake sitting in the kitchen, tempting people to eat it. This dessert is rich and satisfying and very chocolatey, without being heavy. The beets lend a subtle sweetness to the taste and a soft raspberry hue to the cake. Try this for a fun treat with some fresh beets. You will enjoy it!

Ingredients
For Cake:
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup beet puree (1-2 medium-sized beets)

For Chocolate Ganache:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons (unsweetened almond) milk
4 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preparation:
1. Prep beet puree: cook beet(s), let cool, process into puree in food processor.
2. Sift together dry ingredients (salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, cocoa.)
3. Combine wet ingredients (lemon juice, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, water, beet puree).
4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
5. Divide mixture between 2 well-greased ramekins.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (or until skewer pulls back clean). Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from ramekin. (Or just eat right out of it!)
7. Prep ganache: bring milk just to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and syrup.Continue stirring until chips are fully melted.
8. Plate up: Pour delicious, melty ganache over beet cake and serve. Makes 2 (ramekin-sized) cakes.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.