Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oven Who? [of cherries and summer bliss]

 Above is a sample of pure morning bliss: fresh veggies and fruits juice - carrots, green kale, apples, lemon, spinach (all organic).

Below is a different story! [well, not that different]

"What the little prince did not dare confess was that he was sorry most of all to leave this planet, because it was blest every day with 1440 sunsets!" Sunsets for the Little Prince, cherries for me!

Little Prince thinks that "one sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes". But I would add: "except for the cherries, Little Prince, except for the cherries" 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Peach Clafouti

If it wasn't for the peach prep time, I'd say this is the quickest recipe ever - don't even need to look for the electric mixer (oh, cleaning time...): a bowl and a fork and voila! [The peach prep part can also be taken care of by a huge pot of make-ahead peach (apricot, etc) compote. Refreshing yumminess! (Organic, sugar free) canned peaches will do too! Other fruits though - berries, cherries, etc don't even need to go through the prep-ahead]

[If using canned peaches: use 4 halves and cut each half in 4 slices.]

If using fresh peaches: Bring a sauce pan water to boil and add 2 peaches cut in halves. Boil for ~ 4-5 minutes and drain. When peaches are cool enough to touch, remove the skin and cut each half in 4. 

Arrange the peach pieces on the bottom of a buttered quiche/pie pan (I used a 9in round quiche pan, but I think a 10in one would be ideal). Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F. 

In a large bowl, whisk (a fork will do!):
- 3 whole eggs

Add the following, mixing well  after each addition:
- 1 cup sour cream (I used Organic Meadows, 14% MF)
-  1/3 cup honey
-  pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.

Pour  batter over the peaches (peach slices might need some rearranging after this step). Bake the clafouti until edges are brown and centre is set, ~ 35 minutes (a knife inserted in centre should come out clean). Cool completely before cutting. (**nutrition info at the very bottom)

 I wish I could say it serves 4-6, but it magically disappeared with the help of just 2 people: DH and DS.  If I were to ask Anita (coz oooooh, she knooows), I'd probably find out that "a summer full of various clafoutis is waiting ahead". (second) best part is that it's so easy to make (and apparently to eat), it's almost unreal.

And just because: it's June, so here are the roses!

Nutritional info for 1 of 6 servings: Calories: 202, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4.2g, Trans fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 126 mg, Sodium: 61mg, Total Carb: 29.4g, Dietary Fiber: 1.6g, Sugars: 10.2g, Protein: 5.4g
Vitamin A: 16%, Vitamin C: 2%, Calcium: 7%, Iron: 3%
(calculated on MyFoodDiary)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lemon & Mint Blondies

This was actually Victoria Day long weekend baking - recipe has been waiting for a week to make it as a blog post. My mind is everywhere-and-anywhere-landing-nowhere - organizing my thoughts and going through mental and actual to-do lists seems like a sprint up Everest mountain and back [in other words, impossible!]. 

I'm blaming the fresh mint on the On the Move Organics ordering form - caught my eye and just couldn't resist; and since the lovely condo association removed [just like this] all the mint plants that were lining half of one side of my house, I'm loving mint even more [hehe, if that's even possible!]. 

Paired the lovely mint with cute happy lemons, and voila!

Now, the specifics:  16 squares; preheat oven at 350 F.

In a large bowl, mix together:
- 3 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (or vegetable oil)
- 1/3 cup agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract

- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 tbsp peppermint leaves, chopped

Now it's time for:
- 1 cup ricotta cheese

Mix until smooth. Add:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Transfer batter into a 10- in square baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for ~ 45 min (toothpick test).

Serve warm or chilled, with a side of summer & color.


[Back by popular demand] Nutritional info per 1 of 16 squares:  Calories: 137, Total Fat: 8.9g, Saturated Fat: 5.3g (significantly lower if vegetable oil is ued), Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 26 mg, Total Carb: 11.3g, Dietary Fiber: 0.9g, Sugars: 0.3g, Proteins: 4g
Vitamin A: 6%, Vitamin C: 3%, Calcium: 4%, Iron: 3%

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marble Cake Loaf (paired with brownies)

I don't know what set me in such a mood for marble cake... I ended up craving it - mostly visually, to be honest. And the smell of freshly baked something - anything.

It was at the annual MS Walk when the cravings started - might've been the cold [I think any date they'd choose for the walk, even late July or mid August, we'd end up with cold, drizzle, etc - I bet it's the luck of the Walk :)) ]

As I was saying, it must've been the cold, the walk itself (which was awesome, and so was the company!), the snacks they served at the checkpoints, as well as before the walk and after... I can't exactly say what was that triggered the marble cake mania, but it was for real!

So Monday evening, after getting back for work: baking time! Fortunately, it's super easy to make, and doesn't need attention while baking, so this makes  it double the treat.

Recipe yields one loaf. Preheat the oven at 325 F.

In a large bowl, add the following, mixing well after each addition:

- 2 large whole eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt 
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
-  pure vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 cup whole wheat flour premixed with 2 tsp baking powder

Spoon half the batter into a separate bowl and add
- 1/3 cup unsweetened (sugar free) chocolate, melted

Layer the 2 batters (white and chocolate) alternately into a parchment paper lined loaf pan. Spoon even layers of each batter on top of each other, starting and ending with the white batter. Place the leaf pan carefully in the oven and bake for ~50-55 minutes (until the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean)

Oh, the ends are the best, were the first to disappear - here's the proof:

The loaf screamed for some company, so brownies 'magically' [not really, I baked them too] appeared, here they are ready to leave home, long day ahead:

(no walnuts though, just plain brownies this time)

Here we are, DS and I, after the MS Walk (this year Earth Day and MS Walk were on the same day!) - have I ever mentioned carnations are my favorite flowers?

And this morning, Tuesday, April 24th, we woke up to this:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Honey 3-Bite* (Whole Wheat)

* A loaf pan would do just fine, it's just that last time I went to HomeSense I found these super cute paper bakeware and I was dying to give them a try!

I guess it was just about time: what spells baking better than the evening of last day of March break - which happened to be a sunny one - after a super long walk in the park (with Kid and Dog, of course). And again, a super quick recipe, wouldn't want to spend to much of this gorgeous day in the kitchen!

Festive enough for a back-to-school-snack, yummy enough to not really care about the looks :)

I had 12 paper bakeware pieces and used them all (recipe would yield enough for a regular sized loaf pan).

Preheat oven at 350F.

In a large bowl, add the following, mixing well after each addition:

- 2 whole eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup honey (I used organic unpasteurized Acacia honey)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style or Greek)
- pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Mix until all ingredients just combined, do not overmix. I divided the batter among the 12 paper bakeware pieces, if using a loaf pan, line with parchment paper.

Optional: thinly cut apple slices for decor (or raisins, chocolate chips, etc)

Bake for ~25-30 min for smaller sized pans, or 45-50 min for regular sized loaf pan.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zucchini Muffins (whole wheat)

Savory muffins - fluffy and tasty, and perfect on the go (spark the lunches at work with a bit of the je ne sais quoi that they're usually lacking).

Again, super easy recipe [especially when there's a kid around to grate the zucchini ;)], quick and easy as (almost) always.

Preheat oven at 350F.
Line a 12 muffin tray with cupcake wrappers.

In a large bowl, mix together:

- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (such as Greek or Balkan)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 
- salt (to taste)
- condiments (to taste: I've used paprika, cayenne pepper, and a dash of garlic powder)
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ~1 1/5 cup grated zucchini (~ 1 medium zucchini)

Mix all the ingredients until just combined, divide the batter into the lined muffin cups and bake for ~ 55-60 minutes (toothpick test!).

Muffins taste even better on the second day - since all the flavors had all time in the world [well, not really, just overnight :)) ] to blend and mix together.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Strawberry Squares

Not the best picture in the world (see bellow, waaaay bellow), not the prettiest, best looking squares in the world, but! (here comes the good "but") among the best tasting baked goods in the world. Just trust me!

Fairly easy to make, even though involves a two-step process. Just kidding, 'two step process' sounds too high tech for a Sunday [yes, these have been made on a Sunday morning, the morning of February the 12th, to be precise, and only maze-like to-do lists and to-not-do lists prevent this posting to see the .... light (?) ]

Now on to the recipe:

Preheat the oven at 350 F.

In a large bowl, mix together:
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened, organic chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Pour the batter into a parchment lined 10 in square baking pan. Bake for ~ 10 minutes, until set.

In the meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix well with an electrical mixer:
- 1 cup sour cream (or heavy cream)
- 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 whole egg
- 1/4 cup agave syrup (or honey  for a slightly lighter color of this top layer)
- 1 cup strawberries (pieces, fresh or from frozen)

When the 10 minutes are up, remove the baking pan containing the bottom layer from the oven and carefully pour the strawberry layer onto the brownie.

Bake for another ~ 40-45 minutes, until the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and the top layer is set.

Cool completely before cutting into squares. The squares will probably look like this, but they're awfully tasty!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

I'll start by stating the top five reasons I prefer baked oatmeal over the 'regular' oatmeal:
1. The smell of freshly baked 'something' that invades the house
2. It looks and feels like a 'real food' (can even be cut into pieces!) as opposed to the mushy look and feel of the 'regular' oatmeal
3. The kid not only that he'd eat it, but loves it! Can't say the same about the mushy stuff.
4. It's easily transportable - can be cut into squares or bars and taken to work/school as a mid-morning/afternoon snack
5. The flavors are nicely blended and have the luxury to take their time and develop nicely during baking as opposed to just adding fruits and vanilla to the stove top cooked oatmeal.

Top (and only) reason I don't make baked oatmeal that often:
- The baking itself take ~45 min., as opposed to ~10-15 min. of cooking the oatmeal over the stove to - not ideal on a work day morning. 

I used a 10x10 square baking pan, and my recipe yields about 4 to 6 breakfast servings or ~ 12 snack-sized bars.

Preheat the oven at 350F.

In a large bowl, combine together:
- 1 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style)
- 1/4 cup honey**
- 1 whole egg
- pure vanilla extract

After all ingredients combined, add:
- 2 cups rolled oats (not the instant oats)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries (or your fruit(s) of choice)

Pour the mixture into a parchment paper lined 10x10 square baking pan and bake for ~ 45 minutes (until top and sides are golden and all the liquid has absorbed).
Enjoy it warm or cold!

**I used honey for this everyday type of recipe (especially since I've made it two days in a row), as opposed to agave syrup which is not considered suitable (a lot of debating going on) for daily use - but great for occasional use (although it's so tempting to use it often  because of its really low IG).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate cheesecake for breakfast? Need you ask? Just bring it to me! [just kidding, 95% of the times, my breakfasts consists of plain yogurt (Balkan style) with flaxseed (seeds, not oil) and berries - strawberries today to be precise].

But this cheesecake turned out fantastic! Irresistible!
The recipe is not complicated either, and makes enough for extra helpings (although...). It all started because the tub of ricotta gave me the look each and every time I'd open the fridge door. I've been brainstorming on how to get rid of it for the past few days, until the creativity stroke me last night. Turned out well!

Recipe goes like this:

Preheat oven at 350F.

For the crust:

Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour it over a mixture of:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup agave syrup

Using the back of a tablespoon, press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-in round cake pan (lined with parchment paper and buttered - don't forget to butter the sides as well!)

For the filling:
- 1 tub ricotta cheese (475g)
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1 large egg
- pure vanilla extract
Mix the above in a large bowl until just combined. 

Add and stir in the mixture:
- 1 & 1/4 cup (unsweetened, organic) chocolate chips - melted

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust and bake for ~ 1 hour, until the sides start to pull away from the pan. Let cool completely before cutting ( ideally, refrigerate before cutting - but it's completely understandable if you can't find the patience to wait that long). 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Double-chocolate Walnut Brownie

This blog post was supposed to be about whoopie pies, but due to the unexpected disappearance of the butter milk, brownies came to the rescue today, 39 days (1 month and 8 days) after the National Brownie Day.

Yes, National Brownie Day exists, it is celebrated on December 8th of every year, and was "introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the twentieth century" (source). 

(On a side note, today - January the 15th - is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day in the States.)

 Back to the brownies. My double-chocolate walnut brownies. Recipe makes ~16 squares (10 in square baking pan).

Preheat oven at 350F. 

In a large bowl, over the stove top melt together:
- 1/3 cup (unsweetened, organic) chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup butter

When melted completely, add and mix well:
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Fold into the mixture:
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
-  1/2 chopped walnuts

Pour the batter and spread evenly into a 10-in parchment paper lined baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until brownie begins to pull away from the edges of the pan). 
Cool completely before cutting. Oh well... I personally never follow this rule when I bake with chocolate chips - purely decadent, the melted chocolate chips trapped inside the hot brownie...mmmm.... Anyway, back to reality, cut in 16 pieces and enjoy as is, or topped with melted chocolate (which would make it triple-chocolate walnut brownie), shredded coconut, chocolate ganache, and so on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Orange Ginger Loaf

 I go through a phase right now, when all my teas are anything-ginger, so it was about time the ginger went out of the cup and into the baking pan.
And since oranges are among the top 3 fruits I absolutely love, it was about time for them to hop in as well.

This is another super easy recipe, just mix the ingredients together, pour into parchment paper lined pan and bake. Nothing more!

Preheat the oven at 325 F.

In a medium bowl, add together and mix well after each addition:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup agave syrup
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp grated orange rind
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (~juice from 1 orange)
- 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder.

Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined loaf pan and bake ~ 1 hour. 

Yes, it's that easy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies (whole wheat)

One of the easiest recipes of all times and the classic perfect little treat for the Sunday night before going back to school after the Christmas break.

Recipe takes less then 10 minutes to make. Another ~10 to bake. And you end up with 20 yummy cookies.

Preheat oven at 375 F.

In a large bowl, mix together:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1 whole egg
- pure vanilla extract

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

and mix well. Do not overmix.

Fold in 1 cup (organic, unsweetened) chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon (I used the ice cream scoop) onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for ~9-10 minutes until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer on wire racks to cool completely.

Just a peek:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Banana Bread (whole wheat)

It's never been a secret - everybody knows I love rain. No, I don't love rain, I adore rain. But I've been craving snow lately - and this hasn't been a secret either.

It's been raining all day on Sunday - good ol' November rain - quietly raining, gloomy dark day, and all it was needed for this to become snow: a little bit of cold!
No such luck, so it was about time to put my new baking pan to work: the new baking pan in the shape of a happily smiling snow man, with a round jolly belly.

Quick to make - unfortunately not as quick to blog.

Preheat oven at 350F.

In a large bowl, add the following, mixing well after each addition:

- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup raw pure honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 ripe large bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

Pour batter into a parchment lined loaf pan (9x5 pan) - I used my snowman pan which I've buttered.
Bake for ~ 45-55 min., until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan, then transfer onto a wire rack.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Upside Down Cranberry Cake & I'm Back

Yes, I know I've been MIA and behind with posting, but this is gonna change. Starting now!
So I'm back, with the upside down cranberry cake recipe that has been eagerly waiting to come out since the Canadian Thanksgiving. 
Fairly easy to make.
Preheat oven at 350 F.
Butter and line a 9 in (23 cm) round cake pan.

For the topping:

In a pot, over the stove top, mix together:
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- cinnamon
- pure vanilla extract

Stir over medium heat until all the butter has dissolved and continue cooking for ~ 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the batter:

In a large bowl, mix together:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl whisk together:
- 1 & 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Do not over mix.
Pour the cranberry topping mixture into the prepared cake pan. Make sure cranberries are evenly arranged on the bottom of the pan.
Pour the batter into the cake pan, over the cranberry mixture, smoothing the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from oven and let stand for ~ 10 min. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes

Thanksgiving Sunday off to a deliciously good start - cinnamon pumpkin pancakes. Served with a choice of raw honey or Agave syrup. 

Super easy recipe, yields ~14-15 pancakes and goes like this:

In a large bowl, mix together:

- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style)
- 1 & 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
- 5 tbsp agave syrup
-  2 whole eggs
- cinnamon
- 1 & 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder (magic powder)

Do not overmix!

Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Pour ~ 1/4cup of the batter into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles start to form and the bottom is golden brown. Flip over to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
Repeat with the remaining batter.

Will be closely followed by pumpkin cranberry upside down cake!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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