Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apple "Coffee" Cake

If you know me (very well), you would know that I don't much care for breakfast.  I also believe that muffins et al. shouldn't taste like cupcakes sans frosting...  This apple cake is the perfect balance and is my definition of the perfect breakfast baked good: it's moist and wholesome.  More importantly, it's tasty (aka. sweet, but not too sweet)!  I blame the crumb topping ;)

  • 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 c. wheat flour
  • 1/2 wheat germ
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1.5 t. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 6 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. rice milk
  • 1/3 c. apple sauce
  • 1 green apple, chopped
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 4 T. flour
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  1. Combine flours, wheat germ, salt and baking powder in bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Combine egg with 6 T. brown sugar, whisk in rice milk and apple sauce.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet until just mixed.  Fold in chopped apples.
  4. Spread batter into the bottom of a prepared square baking dish.
  5. Combine 1 c. brown sugar, 4 T. flour, and melted butter to make the crumb topping.
  6. Crumble topping over the batter; bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until fork comes out clean.
I don't know about you, but my family eats our coffee cake with yogurt on top.  Apparently that's how they ate it in France, and my dad was kind enough to introduce us to the yumminess.  If you haven't tried it, you really should!  And maybe next week I'll have a yogurt recipe for you, too.  But this is probably the only cake recipe you'll get from me (I'm more of a pie person).  *B

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Meal Plan: 5/23 - 5/30

    I was just about to forgo posting a meal plan, but then thought the better of it...  Thank you blog for motivating me to stay scheduled ;)

    Mexican Monday: Southwest chicken burritos w/ quinoa & avocado chunks
    Oriental Tuesday: Fancy Ramen (yes, again)
    Twisted Wednesday: apple coffee cake & homemade yogurt
    Authentic Thursday: Cucina salad
    TGIFriday: grilled cheese sammies w/ tomato soup
    Super Saturday: DATE NIGHT
    Special Sunday: something w/ fennel...

    Upcoming recipe: Apple coffee cake.  It's wholesome and delicious, yesss!  *B

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Super (Green) Smoothie

    This green drink is the husband's favorite, and I don't blame him!  It's sweet and satisfying, and full of green goodness :)


    • 1 c. rice milk
    • 4 oz. vanilla yogurt
    • 1 T. natural peanut butter
    • 2 handfuls of spinach, frozen
    • 1 frozen banana
    1. Place ingredients in order as listed in a blender.  Blend on high until super smooth.  If you don't have frozen bananas or spinach, then throw in a couple of ice cubes.  Serve cold.
    PS - the kids love it, too.  *B

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Meal Plan: 5/16 - 5/22

    So, we've been participating in Bountiful Baskets for about a month (?) now... And I've got to tell you, I'm a fan!  It's not necessarily ideal, but it works for us.  Ideally, I would have a garden and grow my own produce.  I would love to try supporting our local CSA, but it's just too much money right now.  We only get a basket every other week.  And for the most part, I've been pretty pleased with our baskets.  Our produce consumption has gone through the roof!  I couldn't be more thrilled :)  Admittedly, our family probably eats more veggies than most families.  But I would only buy what I needed.  Now it's more of a forced variety, and that's a good thing!  Now we eat things like pineapple and fresh corn, things I love but wouldn't normally buy.  And it's been nice to have the extra fruit on hand for snacks, etc.  Also, it's been fun planning my meals around our groceries vs. the other way around.  You know me, I like the challenge ;)

    Mexican Monday: turkey tacos
    Oriental Tuesday: veggie chow mein
    Twisted Wednesday: banana pecan pancakes w/ buttermilk syrup
    Authentic Thursday: spinach & cheese ravioli/tortellini
    TGIFriday: English muffin pizzas
    Super Saturday: DATE NIGHT
    Special Sunday: chicken pot pie w/ salad

    Upcoming recipe: green super smoothie.  You're gonna love it!  *B

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Overnight Caramel Apple French Toast

    You will never have tastier french toast than this...  You're welcome.  Perhaps I should be apologizing?  Oh well ;)


    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • ½ c. butter
    • 2 large tart apples, sliced
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 c. milk (psst - rice milk works great, too)
    • 1 t. vanilla
    • 9 slices French bread
    1. In small saucepan, cook brown sugar and butter until thick about 5-7 minutes.
    2. Pour into ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan.  Arrange apples on top.
    3. In mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilla.
    4. Dip bread slices into the egg mixture and place over apples.
    5. Cover and refrigerate over night.
    6. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
    And there you have it!  I'll have you know that it is even great eaten cold (after it's been baked, of course).  Enjoy (you can simultaneously bless/curse my name afterwards)!  *B

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    why be dairy free

    There are several reasons you might want to cut back on your dairy.  Maybe you're a nursing mother whose baby has a sensitive tummy.  Maybe you have an irritable child with dark under-eye circles.  Maybe you suffer from a consistent stuffy nose.  Maybe you just don't like the taste of milk...  Whatever your reason for avoiding dairy, just know you're not alone.  And please know that your life isn't over ;)

    I can't even tell you the last time I bought a gallon of milk.  I noticed the stomach aches, the headaches, the coughing, the sneezing, etc.  My body was trying to tell me something.  So finally, I listened.  Yeah, I've tried Lactaid.  It doesn't work, for me.  So I simply stopped buying milk.  We use rice milk instead.  I prefer its mild taste and use it for just about everything (but pudding).  There's also almond milk, hemp milk, and soymilk.  Just FYI, I do not condone the regular use of soymilk...  I worry about the quality of soybeans used and I'm concerned with the estrogenic side effects.  But, that's just my personal opinion.  That's not to say I don't enjoy the occasional soy steamer from Starbucks, though!

    If you want any more of my opinion, keep reading.  Just know that it is just that, my opinion.  In my opinion, milk sold in your general grocery store holds little to no nutrition, especially skim milk.  In my opinion, the only contribution milk has is its fat content.  But when that is removed, it's just a source of sugar.  I know what you're thinking... What about the protein?  The calcium?!  Here's the thing: commercially prepared/offered milk has been stripped of all its natural nutrition.  It goes through a rigorous process of decontamination.  Those nutrients were boiled to death.  Later, they were added back in.  And don't even get me started on homogonization.  What I'm saying is that since most of your commercially prepared foods are also enriched with calcium (including rice milk), you're not necessarily missing much by skipping milk.  Calcium is also found in several fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.  Basically, if you eat a well-balanced diet you not only get calcium, but you also get other vital nutrients, and fiber.  The same thing can be said for protein.

    Rant over :)  My entire family is dairy sensitive.  So we I watch what we eat.  I'm the mean mom who only lets my kid have chocolate milk once a week.  However, we do buy yogurt and cheese.  When eaten in small amounts, it doesn't seem to bother us as much.  I think it might have something to do with the (beneficial) bacteria that makes it easier on our tummies...  But I still try to limit our consumption of dairy to once a day.  If we're having pizza for dinner, then I don't serve yogurt for breakfast.  If I could get my hands on some raw, whole milk, I would gladly use it.  But I can't, so I don't.  If you're concerned with losing weight, cut the cheese (sorry, I couldn't help myself).  And the milk.  And eat yogurt sparingly.  Regardless, eat lots of OTHER foods.  Drink lots of water.  And if you're desperate for your morning cereal, remember that you have choices!  Experiment.  Give it a fair trial.  Then listen to your body.  How do you feel?  Better?  Then you have your answer.  *B

    Monday, May 09, 2011

    Meal Plan: 5/9 - 5/15

    Mexican Monday: quesadillas & green drink
    Oriental Tuesday: Fancy Ramen
    Twisted Wednesday: lemon blueberry pancakes w/ buttermilk syrup & scrambled eggs
    Authentic Thursday: Tortilla Tilapia w/ fancy broccoli & quinoa
    Super Saturday: cousins night out
    Special Sunday: to be determined

    Upcoming recipe: Caramel Apple French Toast.  It's amazzzing!  And not necessarily healthy...  *B

    Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Strawberry Smoothies

    Mmm, strawberries.  No matter how they're made, or what they're in, I love them.  Especially au naturel.  Did you know that strawberries help thin the blood?  True story.  After a long Winter of meat and starches (foods your body craves/needs in the cold), strawberries really do make the perfect Spring treat and help you get ready for those long (hot) Summer months...  And here in the AZ, we're ready for smoothies!  This sweet and sneaky smoothie not only has fruit, but also has veggies in it.  Which makes it perfect ;)

    • 1 c. apple juice
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 celery stalk
    • 1 frozen banana
    • handful of frozen strawberries
    1. Place ingredients in order as listed in a blender.  Blend on high until super smooth.  If you don't have frozen bananas or strawberries, then throw in a couple of ice cubes.  Serve cold.
    I usually end up watering this down, after I've poured it into the kids' cups.  It thins out the smoothie into more of a crafty juice...  So add as much or as little water as you'd like!  Or leave it thick and icy.  Either way, it's yummy AND healthy.  The kids love it, naturally.  *B

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    substitute your eggs, vegan style

    If you know me personally (or read this here blog regularly), you'll know I'm always up for a culinary challenge!  Yesterday I made some muffins sans eggs.  I've always wanted to, and I didn't have any eggs.  Perfect timing ;)

    The muffins turned out pretty dang good, if I say so myself!  Now, I don't think I will ever go vegan (or completely vegetarian).  I'm what you might call a flexitarian... And a self proclaimed subsitution queen.  I am ALL about subbing fruit/veggie/bean purees in lieu of oil or butter.  Why not take it a step further and sub out your eggs in favor of chia seeds or flax seed?  Don't get me wrong, I love eggs.  In moderation.  But think of all the great health benefits chia and flax seeds have to offer!  Both are full of awesome fats, protein and fiber.  It just makes those healthy baked good even better (aka. nutrient dense).

    • 1 T. chia seeds OR flax seeds
    • 3 T. water
    1. Throw water and chia seeds into blender and blend until smooth.  Allow to sit for a few minutes until a gel forms.
    2. If using flax seeds, grind in a coffee grinder and combine with water.  Allow to sit and gel up.
    3. Add gel in place of 1 egg.  Double recipe to yield the equivalent of two eggs, etc.
    And depending on what you're baking, you can use white/black chia seeds.  For example, black chia seeds would work just fine in chocolate brownies.  But if you're making cookies you might want to try something a little less conspicuous, like white chia seeds or flax seeds instead.  This works great for muffins, and I know people who have made cookies and cakes with much success, too.  I would not even attempt to try it for quiche or scrambled eggs, though.  Just in case the thought crossed your mind...  *B

    Monday, May 02, 2011

    Meal Plan: 5/2 - 5/8

     Mexican Monday: taco soup w/ quinoa
    Oriental Tuesday: peanut satay w/ noodles
    Twisted Wednesday: pancakes w/ strawberries & cream
    Authentic Thursday: walnut pasta w/ chicken sausage
    TGIFriday: tomato soup w/ grilled cheese sammies
    Super Saturday: DATE NIGHT
    Special Sunday: to be determined

    Upcoming recipe: also to be determined!  I have a few...  *B