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.
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.
Fruity Guacomole Recipe Redux – April, 2015: What hiding in the cupboard?
This post is especially exciting for me, as it marks my very first written as an official, card-carrying Registered Dietitian Nutritionist! That’s right, after many years of school and internships and late nights studying, I finally sat for my RD exam for the first time last week and, as as luck would have it, I passed. Very excited to be a part of this great group of nutrition specialists.
For this month’s Recipe Redux challenge I decided to really “fruit it up”, as my cupboard contained a can of pineapple, fresh apples, and some really ripe avocados all ready for the using.
This guac is great served with baked corn chips or veggie sticks, or you can serve it alongside grilled fish or chicken. Other fruits could work well in it too, like mango, peaches or apricots. You can also use a variety of apples. Add scallions for extra bite. Tip: Make sure to add the spoonful of lime on top before refrigerating so to keep your guacamole from turning brown.
This recipe makes a big batch, so do be sure to share with friends and family!
Happy Healthy Eating!
– Chef Michelle Moreau, RDN
3 large Avocados, ripe, peeled seeded
1/4 teaspoon Cumin, ground
1/8 teaspoon Sea salt
pinch Black pepper, fresh ground
2 medium Limes, juiced
1 large Jalapeno, minced (use seeds too for extra spice if desired)
1 medium Apple, Granny Smith, peeled, cored, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup Pineapple, diced
2 tablespoons Cilantro leaves, fresh, minced
2 tablespoons Basil leaves, fresh, minced
1/4 cup Pomegranate seeds
Into a large mixing bowl add the avocados, cumin, salt and pepper. Also add all but a spoonful of the lime juice. Mash the avocado with a fork until creamy. Add the jalapeno, apple, pineapple, cilantro and basil to bowl and stir to mix well. Place in a serving bowl and drizzle the reserved spoonful of lime juice over the top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and refrigerate 3-4 hours. Serve chilled.
So, this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to come face to face with a “spooky spice” – create a dish with a spice that seemed scary to use. A scary spice? What spooked me most about this project was to NOT find a spice that I felt fear from working with (I did want to compete in this challenge after all!) Being a certifiable spice-aholic, often I am found concocting different spice blends, and utilizing even the most obscure spices to me seems exciting, not scary.
Could no spice fit this challenge? To decide for sure, I opened my cabinet and, one by one, began thinking up dishes each spice could play a starring role in. Soon visions of cinnamon-stick skewered chicken k-bobs, cubes of pink-peppercorn-crusted venison, and filets of cumin-dusted whitefish were dancing in my head. So many meaty thoughts had me soon feeling in need of a detox so, with turmeric up next, it soon found star status in an anti-inflammatory raw veggie smoothie.
Down the rows I went, grabbing bottles and daydreaming dishes, yet not once did my spine sense a shiver. And just when I thought no spice would suffice, I grabbed…
Well, well, well… here’s one that made me stop and think… actually I do use allspice often- in fact, just last month it appeared in my Autumn Pie Spice Blend for my Oven-Dried Apple Chips recipe. But it always played a small, supporting role, never the star spice. As I thought to myself, “yikes, what the heck DO you make with allspice?” I realized, I had found me a winner!
Eventually I decided on scones for allspice’s first crack at kitchen stardom. With such rich earthiness I felt it would pair great with fall fruits and veggies. Cranberries, orange, pumpkin and apple were chosen, and all played well with our featured seasoning. The buckwheat, amaranth and potato flours complemented nicely too. (If you can’t find amaranth flour, you could substitute with millet or sorghum flours, but trust me it’s worth the search to find it!)
When trying this recipe out in your own kitchen, if using unsweetened cranberries I recommend sweetening them yourself: place the dried cranberries in a small bowl, then add enough orange juice to cover berries and soak them for a few hours in the refrigerator before preparing the scones. Drain the orange juice from the cranberries before using them in this recipe. If left unsweetened, they may make the scones too tart.
The turbinado sugar on top gives a nice bonus crunch and touch of sweet. If you do not have Turbinado, you could sub with regular or brown sugar instead, but larger granules do look, and taste, the best.
Of course, most important to remember when preparing these scones: the cinnamon is optional. 😉
1/2 cup Buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup Potato starch
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoons Allspice, ground
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Brown sugar
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 cup Apple sauce, unsweetened
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Pumpkin, mashed
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup Cranberries, dried, fruit-sweetened
1/2 tablespoon Turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix together the buckwheat, amaranth and potato starch flours, baking powder, Xanthan gum, allspice, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil and apple sauce until light. Add egg and beet smooth. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in orange zest.
Add flour mix to liquids and stir until everything is moistened. Fold in cranberries.
Scoop mixture into lightly greased muffin or scone pans. Don’t try to smooth out the batter perfectly in the pan because the more uneven and lumpy it is, the more tasty, crunchier parts you will have to your baked scones. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched in the middle. About twenty minutes into baking (5 minutes before baking is done), sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on top of each scone.
Set scones on rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Sometimes it’s simply easier drink a meal than to eat it.
Blenderizing your fruits and veggies has the added benefit of making many of the nutrients easier for your body to digest and absorb. Maximize your next salad’s nutrition potential by tossing it in your high powered blender!
This Thai Basil Smoothie is a great example of a blended salad, and is sure to satisfy your savory tooth. Add extra chili to make it extra spicy (but do taste-test first as Thai chilis are HOT!) To make it less spicy, include less of the chili seeds. If you can’t get Thai basil or Thai chilies, then substitute with regular basil or slices of Serano peppers.
The addition of olive oil is important because its fat helps with absorption of the produce’s fat-soluable vitamins. If you don’t want to use olive oil then substitute with a wedge of healthy avocado instead.
18 medium Grape tomatoes
3/4 cup Baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup Cilantro leaves
1 small Scallion, cut into thirds
1 small Thai chili pepper, fresh,stem removed
1/4 medium Red bell pepper, seeded, sliced
1 tablespoon Lime juice
1 cup Water
1 pinch Sea salt
1 teaspoon Olive oil, extra virgin
Toss all ingredients except olive oil into a high-powered blender. Blend ingredients at medium power for about 15 seconds, then turn speed to high and run machine until everything is blended together smoothly. Turn speed back down to medium and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blending. Serve in a tall, chilled glass.