Holiday Pumpkin Pie the Recipe Redux – November, 2016: Trimming the Table
Nothing says holidays more than a pumpkin pie on the dessert table. While it’s a tasty end to a meal, most recipes call for it to be loaded with sugar.
Here we sweetened things up with dates and orange juice instead of brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk. You will love the flavor of the dates with the pumpkin, so you and your holiday guests won’t miss all the missing sugar one bit!
We also took out the dairy and replaced it with coconut milk. If you use a gluten-free crust, then this recipe is free of 7 of the 8 major allergens (hard to omit egg in a custard). This may prove helpful when feeding guests with allergies at your holiday dinner.
Use water to soak the dates for a more traditional pumpkin pie. Use orange juice to add a little extra burst of flavor. Either way is delish!
1 cup Dates, pitted
1/4 cup Orange juice or Water
1/2 cup Coconut milk, lite
1 can Pumpkin, 15 ounces
2 large Eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons Molasses
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons Cinnamon, ground
3/4 teaspoon Ginger spice, ground
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1/4 teaspoon Allspice, ground
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 pie crust, gluten-free, par-baked
To a medium bowl add the dates and orange juice (or water). Let dates soak 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add dates, soaking liquid and coconut milk to a blender and blend on high until date mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.
To a large bowl add the blended dates with the pumpkin, eggs, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Stir until fully combined.
Pour pumpkin batter into pie shell. Bake until pie is set and bounces back to touch, about 45-55 minutes. Remove from oven.
Serve warm or allow to completely cool before serving.
Quick-Fix Chocolate Almond Cake
Recipe Redux, March, 2016: 7 or less ingredient recipe
Some days, you just really need that quick-fix of chocolate, but you don’t want all that extra sugar. This Quick-Fix Chocolate Almond Cake recipe is sure to please, and even when you are in a real hurry. It takes only 6 ingredients to prepare, and cooks in less than 2 minutes in your microwave. Since it makes only 2 servings, you are not stuck wondering what to do a bunch of leftover cake pieces once your craving has been satiated. Sweetened with ripe banana and apple sauce, and not with processed sugar, you will feel good about what you are eating too.
You could make this whole recipe in one mug (all the rage these days). The up side to mugging it is you can mix and “bake” all in the same container. The down side to that method is that you will be tempted to eat it all yourself! (remember this recipe feeds two people).
Instead, I recommend using 2 silicone muffin cups for cooking. This way each serving size is obvious. Do lightly spray cups with olive oil before adding the batter so the cakes remove easily after baking.
The riper the banana, the sweeter the cake. I recommend using a banana that is very ripe for this recipe. Also, make sure to serve this cake alongside fresh fruit like berries. The tartness of raspberries pairs especially nicely with the chocolate.
To make your own easy sauce: add 1 cup fresh berries to a blender with a little squeeze of fresh lime juice and a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup.
Quick-Fix Chocolate Almond Cake
1/4 cup Almond flour
2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
1 medium Banana, ripe, mashed
3 tablespoons Apple sauce
2 teaspoons Coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, add the almond flour and cocoa powder and stir to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Lightly spray to silicone muffin cups with olive oil. Divide batter between the two cups. Microwave cakes together for 1 minute and 45 seconds on high heat. Allow cakes to rest 1-2 minutes before gently removing them from cups.
Serve with fresh berries, mint and/or berry sauce.
Chia Cheesecake Pudding with Maple and Berries
Recipe Redux – January, 2016: New Year, New Ingredients
With every new year comes new resolutions. One of the more popular choices is to eat healthier. A great addition to most any diet are healthier fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
There are several foods that are great sources of omega-3s, including salmon, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, chia seeds, sardines, fish oils, walnuts and even certain spices like basil, clove and oregano. While there are many recipes out there using salmon or walnuts, many other good omega-3 fatty acid sources are often less utilized.
I decided for this post to make a recipe using Salba, or more commonly known as Chia seeds. Not only are they loaded with Omega-3, these
nutrition powerhouses also contain antioxidants, calcium, fiber and protein.
Chia seeds are perfect for thickening, as they can hold as much as 10 times their weight in water! Use them to make quick-jams, or for puddings like this recipe. However, do use caution if eating Chia seeds without soaking first, as the dry seeds may cause choking issues for some if they get caught in the throat and then swell.
When storing, keep Chia seeds in the refrigerator or freezer, so to help better preserve the omega-3 fatty acids.
I topped this pudding with colorful blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Other berries and/or fruits could be just as tasty, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand.
You can serve this pudding for either dessert or breakfast. Either way, your family is sure to enjoy it.
1 cup Cottage cheese, low-fat
1/2 cup Milk, low-fat or non-fat
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain, non-fat
1/3 cup Chia seeds
4 tablespoons Maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups Berries, assorted, fresh, rinsed
To a blender add the milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, chia seeds, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend ingredients together for about 30-40 seconds.
Drop a small scoop of the berries into each bottom of four serving glasses. Scoop one quarter of the prepared pudding into to each glass. Cover each dessert with plastic wrap and refrigerate the puddings for at least two hours or overnight. Top the puddings with the remaining berries and serve cold.
Some days we simply want nothing more than to satisfy our sweet tooth. These Walnut Date Candies are a delicious, and healthier, solution to those occasions. The dates provide a such a great amount of sweetness that it really does feel like you are eating a sugary candy. The flavors from the walnuts and coconut compliment the fruit nicely too. And as long as you have a refrigerator, these candies are easy to both prepare and store.
I find that when I use fresh Medjool dates in this recipe I usually need to use a little less of the soak water during the food processing than when I use other varieties. Also, the older the dates, the drier they will become and the more soak water you will need to utilize during the food processing. Remember you are aiming for a pasty, not crumbly, consistency from the processed dates.
This recipe is fun to make with kids, especially when rolling and shaping the candies in the wax paper. For this post I shaped the candies into squares, but creating round, cylinder shapes works well too.
Do make sure to coat the outside of the candies with the coconut instead of mixing the coconut into the candies. As dates can be sticky, the shredded coconut on the outside makes these healthy treats easier to hold with your fingers.
I like wrap the candy pieces into individual portion sizes with plastic wrap for freezer storage. That way I can quickly grab a single serving out of the freezer when I need it and go. Serve the candies for breakfast, with boxed lunches, or anytime you crave a sweet treat.
2 cups Dates, fresh
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Coconut, shredded
Add dates and water to a medium bowl. Soak the dates in the water for an hour.
Add dates and about 1/2 the remaining soak water into a food processor. Process the dates until they are a smooth paste, adding additional soak water if needed to get the fruit to the right consistency.
Add the walnuts to dates and process until walnuts are finely chopped.
Scoop 1/2 of the walnut date mix onto a 14-16 inch long piece of wax paper. Gently roll the wax paper around the mix and massage the paper to smooth, lengthen and shape the candy roll. Once at desired length and shape, gently peel back the wax paper. Sprinkle 1/2 of the coconut all over the outside of the candy roll. Carefully slice the roll evenly into 8 pieces, then roll candy back up in the wax paper, place into a large ziplock bag and freeze for at least 2-3 hours to set candy. Repeat with remaining 1/2 of walnut date mix.
Candies are ready for eating once they are set (hard). Candies can be served frozen or thawed. After candies are set, they can also be individually wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for future use.
Pear Chocolate Chip Pie with Almond Buckwheat Crust
Recipe Redux – June, 2015: Pie Love
Break out your sweet tooth, because it’s about to get indulged… and without all the saturated fat that usually also comes along with pie-eating.
Here, fresh dates, olive oil and almonds take the place of the butter and lard usually stuffed into a pie crust. So your heart will be as happy as your taste buds. This crust recipe also calls buckwheat flour. Now, don’t let the name fool you – buckwheat does sound like it has wheat, but they are not even related. It is gluten-free, whole grain goodness (OK, technically buckwheat’s a seed, but it’s so nutrient dense and versatile I keep it in the grain category for posterity), and it’s totally delicious, especially when combined with pear. Use any leftover buckwheat flour to make crepes.
Normally I reserve pears for tarts and apples for pies. I won’t make that mistake again! This pear pie was so devine; to call eating it “love” is absolutely appropriate. I used d’Anjou pears, but other varieties could work too.
To lightly toast the sliced almonds, pour almonds into a medium fry pan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing almonds often. Cool before using.
Do note that several ingredients will be used in both the pie filling and crust.
Tip #1: Before you fold the chocolate into the pears, do make sure to cool the filling well enough so that the chips keep their shape and don’t melt away on you. The separate tastes of the little chocolate bits on your tongue, along with the luscious pear, plus the dark, decadent almond crust- wow, total mouth party!
Tip #2: Use 1 or 2 pears that are real ripe; the rest firm. The ripe ones will break down extra during the pan cooking process and give you a thick, delicious syrup. Don’t use too many really ripe pears or you will only have syrup! If you do make it super syrupy, use extra arrowroot to thicken it up. Likewise, if you use all under-ripe pears and get little syrup with cooking, then cut your arrowroot by half.
Got to have nothing but love for a slice of pie that’s healthy enough to call Breakfast food.
1/2 cup Dates, pitted, quartered
1/4 cup Water, to be divided
1 cup Almonds, sliced, blanched, lightly toasted
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Buckwheat flour, to be divided
1/4 teaspoon Salt, to be divided
2 tablespoons Olive oil, to be divided
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, fresh grated
3 pounds Pears, fresh, rinsed
2 tablespoons Arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Chocolate chips*
In a small bowl add the dates and water. Let dates soak 15 minutes. Do not throw away soak water!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Into a food processor add the soaked dates, almond slices, 1/2 cup of the buckwheat and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. As you pulse-mix the ingredients together, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons worth of the reserved date soak water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix until you have a moist, nut-speckled thick “paste”. Press the crust into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie pan, making sure to evenly distribute. Set shell aside.
In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/8 tablespoon of the salt and the remaining date soak water and stir to combine. Peel and core pears, then slice to about 1/8-inch thick, tossing the pear slices into the sugar syrup as you go to keep the fruit from browning.
In a large pan add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pears and cook while stirring, about 5-7 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove from heat; into the pears stir in the remaining tablespoon of buckwheat flour.
In a small bowl, add the arrowroot. Add a few tablespoons of pear syrup to the arrowroot and stir until the arrowroot is fully dissolved and there are no lumps or clumps. Pour the arrowroot mixture to the cooked pear slices and stir well to combine and thicken.
Allow the pear slices to cool down. Fold the chocolate chips into the pear slices then pour filling into pie crust.
Bake for an hour. Cool pie on a bake rack. Before it has cooled, gently run a butter knife between the crust and the pie pan edge once (helps keep crust from sticking as it cools). Once cooled, slice into pie wedges and serve.
*Allergy note: Double check that your chocolate chips are dairy-free and gluten free before using, if needed.
Winter has not been gentle or kind this year to those of us in the Northeast. Freezing temperatures, several feet of snowfall, and blistery winds makes everyone want to hide indoors in front of an open fire. No drink is better suited for fairing snowstorms than a hot cup of cocoa. But relying on processed brands often means having a cup filled with more sugar than chocolate.
Making your own cocoa from scratch is rather easy. If you can bring liquid to a boil and stir, then you will easily master this recipe in no time. And some of my favorite matches with chocolate are included here: hazelnut, vanilla, cayenne and cinnamon. One sip and they are sure to become your favorites too.
To ensure your chocolatey drink is loaded with healthy antioxidants, choose a cocoa powder that is non-alkalinized, as the alkaline process destroys the antioxidants in chocolate (hint: dutch cocoa is processed with alkaline).
This recipe calls for hazelnut milk, which in my humble opinion is the tastiest nut milk around. Many groceries and health food stores carry it, but if you can’t find hazelnut you could substitute almond milk, but you won’t have as rich and creamy a cocoa as you can get with using the hazelnut milk. One caveat: all hazelnut milks I have found available on the market have phosphate additives added. If you have renal issues or need to watch your phosphate intake, substitute the hazelnut milk with an alternative milk not containing phosphate additives. If anyone reading knows of a brand of hazelnut milk without phosphate additives, please do share with us in the commentary section below!
The recipe is for one, but can be easily doubled or tripled.