Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins


I just finished baking breakfast for the coming week. The grocery store doesn't provide bran/whole wheat baked goods that taste as good as homemade.

Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins

Mix Dry Ingredients
1 2/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 C oatmeal
2 T oat bran
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C Splenda (Next time I'm going to try 1/2 c, I think the clementines made these sweeter.)

Mix Wet Ingredients
6 T butter (melted)
1/4 C applesauce
1 1/2 t almond extract
1 egg
2/3 C buttermilk (2/3 C milk + 4 t white vinegar)
Zest of 3 clementines
Juice of 3 clementines (1/3 C)

Extras
1/2 C slivered almonds
1 C dried cranberries
1/2 C white chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold until just combined then stir in almonds, cranberries and white chocolate chips. Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.

Updated Note: This recipe was inspired/edited from the recipe I found on the bag of whole wheat pastry flour from Bob's Red Mill: Cranberry Orange Almond Bread. I tried to edit the recipe to provide a lower glycemic index, but I think the clementine juice, cranberries and white chocolate chips might have undone my efforts of adding fiber, and replacing the sugar with Splenda. These turned out good, just not as healthy as the Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins.

Have a nice week!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (low GI)


I recently met with a couple of cracker-jack dietitians and among other things we discussed foods that have a low Glycemic Index. While snacking on edamame was discussed, chocolate chip cookies were not--I've been researching how to make a healthier chocolate chip cookie. From what I can tell, being new to low GI cooking, these chewy, rich oatmeal cookies seem to fit the bill (Splenda vs sugar, butter, whole wheat, oat bran, brown rice, oats, walnuts and even chocolate) and they're pretty filling. I made the first tray with no nuts and my daughter commented that the combo of ingredients still made it seem like the cookie had nuts. Everybody who tried the cookies liked them.


Brown Butter & Toasted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (low GI)
1 C butter (browned)
1 C Splenda brown sugar
1/2 C Splenda white sugar (could probably go to 1/4 C)
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 C brown rice (cooked)
1/2 t salt (kosher)
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 C High Fiber Oat Bran Hot Cereal (dry)
1 - 1 and 1/2 C toasted oatmeal (I toasted the oatmeal in a dry pan)
2 C whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Keep an extra 1/4 C flour handy in case the dough is too soft)
1 C walnuts (chopped and optional)
1 pkg Guttiard milk chocolate chips (11 oz)

Here's how to put them together:
Put the brown rice on to cook (if you don't have leftovers, this takes about 45 minutes). Work on browning the butter. When the butter has browned I put it in the fridge until I was ready to make the dough--the butter will probably still be liquid and that worked out okay. Then toast the oats. In one bowl cream the butter, and the Splenda brown sugar, and Splenda white sugar, the vanilla, eggs and salt. Next add the brown rice and stir to combine. In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, baking powder, oat bran, rolled oats and the whole wheat pastry flour. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine. Last of all stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Use a cookie dough scoop to scoop out the dough and place on the cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Note: 3/24 - The brown rice will get crunchier within 24-hours. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to stay in it's cooked state even when the cookies are stored in a plastic bag. This said the cookie stays moist and the rice creates an interesting crunch.


The Research: Here are a few of the sites I used to research while pulling this recipe together. Thanks to all of these bakers for sharing what they're doing! It really helped me figure out how to combine all of these ingredients! I wasn't sure what the brown rice would do having never baked with it, but Dining with Alice was successfully baking with wild rice. Half Baked Harvest convinced me I could use more vanilla (they use 4 t!), while PJ Hamel and Joy the Baker got serious by browning the butter for their cookies. The great how to on browning butter from Serious Eats was super helpful and  the All Recipes how-to on Perfect Cookies explained why baking powder would make the cookies puffy. I've linked the articles on toasting the oats, browning the butter and low GI and chocolate above.
Source for this recipe and mashup of ingredients? Suzanne Nikolaisen

Take care! I hope you enjoy the cookies if you bake them!

Suzanne

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins



I signed up for a 5k today. A walk/run in May (Goldilocks) as recommended by my doctor and have been researching recipes that provide more along the lines of the Low Glycemic Index.

My research led me to a popular recipe on AllRecipes: No Sugar Added Blueberry Banana Wheat Muffin, which had lots of good reviews. So I decided to give it a try, taking some of the recommendations from the reviewers and doing my own thing adding walnuts, almonds (and almond extract), chia seeds and some brown sugar Splenda. Full on sugar and syrup seem to make me sick at the moment so I'm trying out some alternatives.

The Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins turned out really good. The sweetness is light, but just enough. They're at their best fresh out of the oven, still warm with some butter (shown above). Since there's no salt in the recipe the taste of the butter pops. They've been a great make-ahead breakfast.



Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Wet Ingredients
1 C mashed bananas
1 egg
2/3 C water
1/4 C Splenda Brown Sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 C whole wheat flour
2 T chia seeds
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder 
1 C walnuts (chopped)
1/4 C sliced almonds

1 1/2 C frozen nlueberries

Topping
1 T Brown Sugar Splenda
1/8 C sliced almonds

Mix the wet ingredients, then the dry in separate bowls then stir to combine. Don't over stir, then add in the nuts and blueberries. Spray Pam into the muffin pan and spoon batter out into 12 muffins (silicone muffin pan works well). Mix the topping and sprinkle over the muffins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. These are for high-altitude. If you are at a lower altitude use less flour. Toothpick test to make sure they're done.

Take care,

Suzanne

Original/Inspiration Recipe Source: AllRecipes: No Sugar Added Blueberry Banana Wheat Muffins

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

White Hot Chocolate (To Go)


Ready to head to work with a sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg.
Fluffy, coffee-house drinks may be very tempting on cold days in January. They're quick, easy, but also expensive and to be 100% honest, not as good as homemade. You can make white hot chocolate in my opinion that's even better at home. Dare I suggest--it can be a "skinny" version too. Morning's before work can often be rushed, but slowing down to make a white hot chocolate to go is a nice way to start the morning that you can take with you.

Whisk continuously to prevent the milk from burning onto the bottom of the pan.
On a winter morning putting milk to heat on the stove, combining fresh ground nutmeg and cinnamon  with Guittard white chocolate chips is comforting and worth the few minutes it takes. The chocolate melts almost instantly while you whisk the ingredients into a special white hot chocolate. The magic happens when the milk reaches a low boil--all of the ingredients fall into place.

My humble opinion? The chocolate matters. These are Guittard white chocolate chips.
The spices make this milky hot chocolate a touch cozier. They're not overpowering, and you don't really notice them, but I think it would be noticeable if they were missing. That "something" that's needed. You know? I took a travel mug of this white hot chocolate to work with me yesterday and it made my morning a little warmer. Outside it was dumping buckets of winter rain, that later turned to snow.

White Hot Chocolate for Travel Mug
1 or 2% Milk
1/2 C water
Pinch Nutmeg (fresh grated)
Pinch Cinnamon
1/2 t Vanilla
1/8 C White Chocolate chips
3 Splenda packets

Cool Whip Lite (Optional)
Sprinkle of nutmeg (Optional)

Fill travel mug just under 2/3rd's full of milk. Add water to bring liquid to about an inch below the container top then pour into a small pan. Add spices, vanilla, white chocolate chips and Splenda while whisking continuously, bringing to a low boil to combine. Pour white hot chocolate back into the travel mug and top with Cool Whip Lite and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Recipe inspired but a little different than: How to Make Vanilla Milk and Homemade White Hot Chocolate and reviewing several other white hot chocolate recipes that were similar to these too on Pinterest.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie

Long ago and across town, there used to be a crêperie that made crepes to order. One option was peanut butter and blueberries. So very good! This morning I put said ingredients (not the crepes) in the blender and created a smoothie--instantly transported by taste back to the trendy little neighborhood crêperie and good memories of visiting the shop with my family.

After I poured a serving of the Peanut Butter & Blueberry smoothie into a travel mug to take to-go, I poured a taste and it was indeed a splendid concoction for a blueberry and peanut butter fan like myself. If you like this combo, I bet you'll like this too. :) 

Then I poured the last bit for my dachshund. He's a huge smoothie fan and this one was no exception. He's now content and taking his first morning nap.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie
1/2 C Blueberries (frozen)
1 Chobani Blueberry yogurt
1 T Blueberry jam
2 T Peanut butter
1 banana
1 C ice
1/3 C milk
1/2 C water
2 packets of Splenda

Put the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, serve immediately. 

Source: Suzanne Nikolaisen

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