Tag Archives: healthy dessert

Apple Oatmeal Kugel


Over the long and sometimes warm and sometimes very cold weekend I spent a lot of time behind my stove.  I really like to cook over the weekends and sometimes you (I) cook too much.  I also really don’t like to throw things away that taste great, and well, eating the leftovers to get rid of it all doesn’t really do anyone any good.

So, as necessity is the mother of all inventions, a new recipe was born.  It’s not exactly seasonal (apples really makes me think of the fall) but it is definitely comforting.
Apple Oatmeal Kugel*
Ingredients
2 cups cooked oatmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 – 2 apples chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 egg
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1/2 tbsp almond butter (negotiable*)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Juice from a 1/4 lemon
1/8 cup of slivered almonds

Step 1: Breakfast.  If you’re like me, when you woke up you thought about making something fun with low cholesterol oatmeal, but you have to have breakfast first.  So, you made an abundant amount of oatmeal. By the way cooking oatmeal is always a 2 (water) to 1 (oatmeal) ratio.  In this case I wanted a less watery version, so I went 3 cups of water, 2 cups of oatmeal, Mark and I both had a small bowl of oatmeal with toppings and about 2 cups of cooked oatmeal remained.  Don’t throw out the leftover cooked oatmeal!

Step 2: Oatmeal Toppings.  While the water is boiling and the oatmeal is cooking, chop up your favorite kind of apple (mine is Honey Crisp – they are out of this world good).  Add the apples and raisins to a pan on medium heat with a smidge of butter (like a 1/4 of 1/4 tbsp).  Let the apples and raisins begin to soften and add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and continue to stir so that the fruit is completely covered.  For your breakfast take 1/8 cup of apples and raisins and reserve the rest for later.
Step 2: Dry Ingredients: After you finish your breakfast return to the pot where the oatmeal has now cooled.  Add the whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Combine all of these ingredients.  If the oatmeal is overly sticky – mine was – slowly add 1/8 cup of water at a time until it has a smoother consistency.

Step 3: Wet ingredients.  I included 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter in the oatmeal.  It added a warmer hint of color, but didn’t change the flavor – this is totally up to you to include.  For a nutty flavor I’d recommend at least a tablespoon.  Add the egg and the brown sugar and continue to incorporate.

Step 4: Back to the apples.  The apples and raisin have cooled and should a soft golden color.  Bring the pan back to a medium-low heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Cook the apples until the juice is absorbed.
Step 5: Bring it all together.  Combine the apples and raisins into the oatmeal and then spread the entire mix into a 9×9 baking dish.  If so desired, and I am sure it is desired, sprinkle on additional cinnamon, turbinado (raw) sugar, and some almonds.  Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.  
Here is the warning: your kitchen will have the warm, sweet smell of cinnamon, vanilla and apples.  You’ll know how relatively healthy this little snack is and will have a hard time just eating one bite, but that’s okay, because really (not just relatively) this is a pretty healthy way to go.

*So, I am calling this a kugel, because the flavor and consistency most closely reminds me of my Nannys’ (grandmas‘ – they both make it) noodle pudding.  There are no noodles, so noodle pudding is the wrong name, and kugel kind of sounds funny, but it’s pretty much what it is.  The other thing it is, is sweet, but not too sweet, healthy, but not boring, simple but not bland and probably something that will pop up on a holiday table of mine in seasons to come.

Tastes like Home


Shortly after I graduated college my mom compiled a binder filled with recipes that were the sort of things you would always love to eat at a mom’s house and should always know how to make; apple pie, quiche, perfect salad dressing, cakes for holidays, and banana bread.

Banana bread feels like home.  It is warm, it’s comforting, it’s not so bad for you that you can’t eat it all day long – which I ultimately did.   After a whirlwind week of doctors appointments and hospital stays, more on that at another time, I just wanted to be back in our home.  All I could think to do was clean, do laundry and bake.  I’ll spare you the pictures of me sweeping and folding towels.

I took my  mom’s already really terrific banana bread recipe and upped the ante in the “good for you” category, without losing points in the “good tasting” category.


Healthy and Fluffy Banana Bread
Ingredients:
1 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, or regular white sugar
1 apple sauce snack cup (4 oz.)
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
4 mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup of fat free Greek Yogurt
Bake at 350 for 1 hour

As a tip the banana shown above are not the ones I used. For a really good banana bread you want the bananas that look really bad: covered in spots, mushy and overly ripe.  If you want to fastforward the ripening process you can keep the bananas in the freezer, and then take them out about an hour before baking time to defrost, like so.

First melt the butter and let it cool and then add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and apple sauce. When you mix it up it will look like nothing very exciting.  Don’t lose hope.

Then add in those super ripe, but full of flavor bananas and the yogurt.  I know, now it just looks like banana baby food.  Believe in the banana bread!  I promise!


Time to add the dry ingredients.  A bunch of scoopfuls.


Here’s a secret, whenever I make a bread or cake I pour a little extra batter in some muffin tins also.  Maybe this is to taste test to make sure the recipe worked, but maybe it’s also to have a great treat in less time then in takes to bake a whole cake, you be the judge.


After an hour in the oven, always test with a toothpick, your banana bread should be done.  Let it cool, if you can, before removing it from the pan.  If the temptation is too great, that’s what those little muffins were for!   I loved this banana bread, it would be great with nuts or chocolate chips added in or smeared with some peanut butter or cream cheese.  But in this case, it tasted like home and that is all I was craving.

The New Banana Split


I like cookies, brownies, cakes (in slices and in cups) but sometimes, I want to take a break from the butter and sugar, and eggs and go a little bit more natural.  By natural, I don’t mean baking with agave or honey, which I have done, or using whole wheat flour, which I do more and more, I mean just eating fruit.

This summer we have reaped the benefits of living within walking distance to a farmers’ market and enjoying peaches, blueberries, strawberries and melon by the bowlful.  But, this dish, this changed it all.  Let me introduce you to banana ice cream, which I found on The Kitchn, made with just bananas.
 
The bananas that are currently sitting on your counter top that are getting more and more freckles each day?  That is your only ingredient. Depending on the desired serving size, I have found 2 bananas enough for 3 people – but it’s just banana so there’s no downside in eating a lot!


Cut the bananas up into 1/2 inch slices and throw them in the freezer for at least 2 – hours.  I recently froze mine for 24 hours, and that was fine too.  The more frozen the better.


After they bananas slices are thoroughly frozen dump them all into your blender/food processor and go.  At first the bananas will look gravelly, and hard, and chunky, and not at all ice creamy -although my sister did point out that it resembled Dippin’ Dots, everyone’s local mall’s version of the ice cream of the future. 

No matter… Press on, keep grinding, and occasionally pausing to scrape down the sides with a spoon.  In a matter of moments, seriously 3-4 minutes tops, the banana gravel becomes beautiful whipped banana ice cream.

Now you can eat it right now in a bowl (or out of the mixer) if you want, and it is amazing.  Or you can add additional flavors.  Some favorites in my house right now are a teaspoon of chunky peanut butter, honey, or cinnamon, but why not some coconut flakes (if you like that, I don’t), or some cocoa powder, or chocolate syrup?

So far this hasn’t lasted past dessert, because we eat it all so quickly – but I would eat it for breakfast, or serve it with warm waffles/pancakes/french toast.  I need a brunch party, stat!

Plum and Peach Crumble


When I woke up this morning (late) it was as though I was back in Florida for a hurricane!  At 7:30 the sky was dark, the trees were blowing and lightning was striking all around the house, and I wish I had this for breakfast…

 

A week or so ago I had lots of peaches from the farmer’s market, and a LOT of plums from Costco and they were just shouting out to me, “mix us with the good stuff!” and so I did. 
Plum and Peach Crumble:
Ingredients:
5 peaches, peeled
6 plums, peeled
1/2 tsp of corn starch
1 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp of white sugar (I grabbed the flour bag by mistake in the picture)
3/4 cup plain oatmeal
5 tbsps of butter
A sprinkle of slivered almonds
A dash of cinnamon

First bring a saucepan to boil and dip the plums and peaches in the hot water for about 20 seconds and then plunge them into their ice cold water bowl.

Then peel the skins right off.  See the white flecks on the plum?  That’s a vegetable wax that was applied to the fruit – removing the skin means no weird white spots.  You can do this with your fingers, but do it gently, especially with the softer fruits.

Then cut the fruit into large chunks.  This is really based on preference but I like to have big fruit bites.  Because I am really into cinnamon I sprinkled a bit on, but you could easily skip it.  This is also when I pore in the corn starch, which magically (not really, this is what it is supposed to do) firms up the juices from the fruits to make a more solid crumble/pie/tart.
In a separate bowl I mixed by hand the sugars, the whole wheat flour, oatmeal and butter.  The butter adds just the right amount of moisture, so a still fairly light crumble topping.  If you’re looking for a more traditional, or more solid crumble I’d add more flour and an egg.  But since I was going for a lighter dessert, I kept it simple and poured it over the fruit in the pie pan.


Then I baked it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the top was nice and browned and the juices were bubbly.  Tip: if you want it to be browner, but not burnt take another tablespoon of butter and break up small chunks for on top. 
 The toughest part was waiting for it to cool…  So we waited, and waited, and then stopped waiting.  
This was delicious warm, and would have been great on top of vanilla ice cream, or with whipped cream but then I guess that whole healthy dessert concept would be out the window.  I would also serve it room temperature at a brunch, or having it for breakfast with some Greek yogurt.

Fruit this summer has been delicious on their own, but sometimes it’s fun, if you’re going to spend time washing and slicing to throw them into a pie pan too!