A few days ago, I saw a recipe for a quinoa pie crust. I immediately decided I wanted to try it. Then, while shopping the farmer’s market today, I saw the most beautiful fresh black berries. I knew I had a few blueberries at home that needed using and I knew I had my pie filling. When I got home, I was sadly not in the mood for pie. But, berries make fantastic cobbler and that is exactly what I wanted. Not an normal cobbler though, something a little healthier. I scoured Pinterest and got some ideas, but nothing just right. A little of this and a little of that later, this cobbler was born and boy am I glad I did. You will be too.
Start by placing your berries in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of tapioca starch and stir in a tablespoon of honey.
Then mix up your topping. The combination of coconut flour, tapioca starch, quinoa, flax meal and sunflower seeds gives this topping a light texture and a delightful nutty flavor. Using coconut sugar helps keep the glycemic index down.
Spread the topping gently over the berries. Bake the whole thing at 350* for 30-35 minutes. The top will get wonderfully brown and sightly cracked and the filling will bubble up around the edges.
And, if that’s not enough guilt-free indulgence for you, top it with a scoop of ‘ice cream’ made from frozen bananas. I promise you won’t regret it (unless, of course, you’re allergic to bananas, then go ahead and skip it).
3 cups fresh or frozen berries
1 Tablespoon tapioca starch
1 Tablespoon honey (if desired)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons flax meal
2 Tablespoons sunflower seed kernals (I used salted, if yours aren’t, add a pinch of salt)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut sugar (can reduce this if you choose)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil for dairy free)
Preheat oven to 350*.
Stir together berries, 1 Tablespoon tapioca starch and honey. Place in baking dish.
Stir together coconut flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, quinoa, flax meal, sunflower seeds, baking powder, cinnamon and coconut sugar. Beat together almond milk and egg. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter.
Gently spread topping evenly over the top of the berries. Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes.
I always looked forward to the few times each year when my mom would break out the ice cream maker. There is something so delicious about home made ice cream. She usually made vanilla, but would occasionally branch out and make strawberry or peach. I never remember her making chocolate ice cream though. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her eat chocolate ice cream. Maybe, like me, she doesn’t really like it – unless it’s a Frosty at Wendy’s. I’m all about one of those. Especially if I’ve got some French fries to dip in it. My friends though, they’re a different story. Several of them really like my home made vanilla, but they are always pestering me to make chocolate ice cream. I have resisted because I just don’t like it. Then, it happened. I got asked to make dessert for a friend’s birthday. A friend who LOVES chocolate ice cream. I decided it was time. I thought about it and read about it. I knew I didn’t want to get all the chocolate flavor from cocoa powder. I know that is why I don’t really like most chocolate ice cream. So, a little time and experimentation later, this recipe was born. I knew I had it just right when my husband tasted it and said “that tastes just like a Wendy’s frosty”. I was so involved in getting things just right that I only got one picture and it is not of the finished product. It is important to the process though, so there’s that. I promise it is creamy and chocolaty and delicious.
As a note, this is not a custard and it does contain raw eggs. If you aren’t comfortable with that, I understand. I can’t tell you with confidence how to adapt this recipe to a cooked custard recipe because I’ve just never done that.
Start by heating a pint of heavy cream. Don’t boil it, but heat it to almost boiling. Then add a cup of milk chocolate chips and stir until all the chocolate is melted. Set that mixture aside and let it cool.
In your mixer bowl, stir together sugar and cocoa powder. Then, add eggs. Use the whisk attachment to beat together eggs, sugar and cocoa until it is thick, lighter in color, and the volume has increased. It should fall off the whisk in streams and not be reincorporated into the mix immediately.
At this point, mix in the half and half and vanilla. Then stir in the cream and chocolate mixture. Pour this into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 quart half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat heavy cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and set aside to cool.
In a mixer bowl, stir together sugar and cocoa powder. Add eggs and whip until thickened, lightened in color and increased in volume. Add half and half and vanilla. Then stir in whipped cream/chocolate mixture.
Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
What I’m about to say to you will come as no surprise to my friends and family. I LOVE pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice latte (ok, so that last one isn’t really pumpkin, but I like it all the same). I’m always excited when fall comes around because suddenly it is ok to over-indulge in my pumpkin love. No one thinks I’m crazy for putting pumpkin in almost anything. My big weakness is a certain pumpkin pie ice cream confection from a nationally recognized member of dairy royalty. And the fact that it only comes out once a year just kills me. Plus, the calorie and sugar counts kill my waistline. That is why I developed these pumpkin pops. They satisfy that pumpkin dessert craving without destroying the health benefits of pumpkin by adding a bunch of cream and sugar.
I didn’t take pictures of the process, but it isn’t that hard. I throw all the ingredients in a blender and whiz it up until it is completely smooth. Since all of the ingredients are smooth to start with, this doesn’t take long. Then, I pour it into my popsicle molds. If you don’t have a popsicle mold (you really should get one) you can always use paper cups and popsicle sticks or and ice cube tray and toothpicks or just freeze it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon (though you’ll have to let this last one stand at room temperature for a bit to soften some). These take a while to freeze, so I’d make them early in the day or even the night before. Run a little warm water over the outside of your mold to help the pops release and enjoy all the flavor with almost none of the guilt. (Oh, and those missing pops, those are the ones I gave to my boys. If they see these, they won’t leave me alone until they have one).
1 can pumpkin puree
1 5.3 ounce container vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons real maple syrup.
Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until mixed well and completely smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze at least 4 hours.
Sometimes you just need something simple. And, adding a simple home-made element can transform even the most mundane dessert. My husband loves chocolate pudding pie. For me, it’s kinda eh. If I’m going to spend all that time cooking and cooling a custard, I’d much rather have banana pudding or coconut cream pie. So, a compromise. I par-bake a store bought graham cracker crust and whip up some instant chocolate pudding. Then, I top it with home-made whipped cream. The result is a simple dessert that is far superior than the ones topped with frozen whipped topping and almost as simple. We took this pie to a church potluck a couple of weeks ago and it was gone before I even made it to the dessert table (and there was plenty of competition). This whipped cream subs nicely into any dessert calling for frozen whipped topping, just remember that it isn’t as stable. After 3 or 4 days in the fridge it will start to loose it’s whip. You can extend that a little by using powdered sugar as opposed to granulated, but I don’t like the mouth feel quite as much when I make that substitution.
First, chill your mixing bowl and whisk. Everything comes together faster if the cream and tools are super cold. I just toss mine in the freezer for about 5 minutes or so. Then, pour the cold cream into the cold bowl and set your mixer on medium to medium high speed. You don’t want it too high just yet or you’ll cover your kitchen in liquid cream. Not fun, trust me. When the cream starts to thicken and little bubbles show up, add the sugar and vanilla and kick up the speed. It took about 2 minutes for my mixer to get it to this point.
Continue whipping on high speed until stiff peaks form. I like my cream nice and stiff. Some people will stop at soft peaks and that’s fine, just realize your whipped cream will fall flat even more quickly. However, be careful to not whip too long. If you do, the solids and liquids will separate and you’ll have some delicious sweetened butter. I stop just when the cream starts to lose its shine.
Use anywhere you’d normally use whipped topping. This is only mildly sweet. If you like your whipped cream sweeter, by all means, add some more sugar.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chill a mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Pour cream into chilled bowl and whip at medium speed until frothy but not set (about 2 minutes).
Sprinkle in granulated sugar and vanilla. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until cream is set and just starts to lose its gloss. Cream should hold its shape when you lift the whisk.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I had a recipe for beignets. I didn’t. Truth is, I’ve only had beignets once that I remember. My mom (or aunt, I’m honestly not sure) had a beignet mix. We made them. They were not good. Seriously, we threw fried dough in the trash because no one would eat it. So, I spent the last few weeks doing some research online and talking with friends who live in beignet country. I had a pretty good idea of what a good result would look like and I decided to try it. This is not a completely original recipe. I simply used the traditional recipe I found at least a dozen different places and swapped out melted butter for the shortening – because butter is always better.
I took the finished product to my Sunday School class (also known as my baking guinea pigs – and they’re ok with that). I took a butter batch and a shortening batch and the preferences were split right down the middle. I will say that I preferred the butter fresh out of the oil (hence why I’m sharing that one), but the longer they sat, the tougher they got. The texture using shortening is definitely better if you plan on making these ahead (but really, why wouldn’t you eat a doughnut fresh out of the fryer?).
Start by mixing the water, sugar and yeast and letting it proof for 5-10 minutes. Then add eggs, salt, evaporated milk and part of the flour. Everything I read was insistent that a well hydrated dough was key to great beignets, so I let this sponge rest for 30 minutes before I did anything else. Then, I switched from my paddle attachment to my dough hook and added my melted butter and enough flour to get a dough that felt sticky but didn’t actually stick to my fingers (a lot like the dough for my cinnamon rolls). DO NOT knead this dough. You’re not looking to create a lot of gluten strings (and therefore chew) with this dough.
Cover this and let it set in the fridge overnight. Yup, overnight. Nope, you can’t shortcut it. Seriously, to get a well hydrated dough, it needs to sit that long and rise slowly. In the morning, start your oil over medium low heat. Use a thermometer. If the oil temperature isn’t right, you’re going to end up with black outsides and raw insides or really greasy cooked dough.
While your oil is heating up, roll your beignet dough into a rectangle that is 1/4″ thick. Then, use a sharp knife to cut it into 2″ squares. They don’t have to be perfect, just similar.
Carefully drop dough squares into the hot oil 3-4 at a time. They’ll sink at first and then float to the top on their own. That’s ok. When you can tell one side is starting to brown, use two wooden sticks to help you flip them. You’re going to flip them a couple of times. If you let them get too brown on one side, they may not stay flipped. Please forgive this picture. My husband took it and the boys were kinda out of control when he did.
Remove finished beignets from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy (as soon as you can pick them up without burning your fingers).
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
6-7 cups flour
1/4 cup melted butter
oil for frying
Mix together water, sugar and yeast. Allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes.
Use the paddle attachment on your mixer to stir in eggs, salt and evaporated milk. Then stir in 3 cups flour just until mixed. Remove paddle attachment from mixer and allow sponge to sit for 30 minutes.
Use dough hook attachment to stir in melted butter. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When you are ready to fry beignets, heat 2″ of oil in a heavy saucepan to 375*.
While oil is heating, roll beignet dough to 1/4″ thick. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into approximately 2″ squares.
Carefully drop 3-4 squares into hot oil. Flip beignets several times during cooking. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and cooked through in the middle.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar while still warm.
I don’t do health food. I do food that tastes good, uses quality ingredients, and pleases and nurtures my family. A year ago, that food looked a lot different than it does today. My doctor and I got together and he was genuinely worried about my weight. I’ve lost around 50 pounds since then with his help and a combination of things. One of those was drastically cutting back the number of simple sugars and processed grains I ate. Which ruined my bowl of cereal and made dessert an actual ‘treat’ instead of a daily requirement. I struggled for a long time. I felt like I was being punished. I would literally break into hysterical sobs if my family mentioned they didn’t really like what I had cooked. Little by little, I started finding foods that satisfied me and still fit into the whole grain, lower glycemic index diet I was supposed to be eating. And, a LOT of them actually tasted good!
This is one of those that I discovered just a few weeks ago. One of the biggest changes for me was breakfast. I love a BIG bowl of cereal with ice cold milk. Cutting this from my eating hurt me in two ways – I no longer knew what to have for breakfast and my calcium intake tanked (I don’t like milk alone). After a long battle about not wanting to drink my calories, I tried a smoothie and was hooked. Then, my blender broke. It a moment of desperation, I mashed a banana with a fork, stirred in my yogurt, flax and almond milk and threw it in the fridge to get nice and cold. The next morning, I grabbed my glass and walked out the door to take my daughter to school. I took a long drink, not sure what to expect, and I was hooked. Who needs cereal when you can have dessert for breakfast for less than 300 calories. A quick dietary rundown for those who are interested: 247.5 calories, 23.75 from fat; 7g fat, 0g saturated fat; 479 mg Potassium; 31g carbs, 8.25 fiber, 14 sugar, 18g protein, 52% calcium. Seriously! And half those sugars are natural from the banana. Lately, I’ve taken to mixing this up and tossing it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Yup, that’s right. Ice cream for breakfast and I don’t have to feel bad about eating it. Here’s what it looks like scooped into my bowl (this is half of the recipe, so half the nutritional values I listed).
1/2 very ripe banana, mashed
1 – 5.3 ounce greek yogurt (I use Dannon Light and Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla)
3 Tablespoons flax meal
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Stir all ingredients together until completely mixed. To serve chilled, refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight. To serve frozen, freeze in a bowl or other container for 3 hours. Stir every hour to keep a soft consistency being sure to scrape sides of container.
I like the idea of cheesecake. Sweet, creamy, indulgent. Then I order it and it’s dense, thick and coats the inside of my mouth in a way that is very unpleasant to me. I pay $6 for the slice and I’m done by the third or fourth bite. A few years ago, I found the solution in Giada de Laurentiis’ cheesecake recipe. Mascarpone cheese and a little lemon lightened the flavor and texture and I was in heaven. That is, until the local grocery stores stopped carrying mascarpone cheese. And thus, this recipe was born. It’s light and fluffy but still rich and decadent. And, it is oh so forgiving. If you’re afraid of ruining a cheesecake by over baking, this is the recipe for you! I over baked my sample so badly it was cracked all the way across and almost all the way to the bottom of the filling. After cooling and refrigerating, it was just as soft, moist and delicious as ever. And, whatever you top it with will cover up any cracks you might have anyway.
Start by crushing up some graham crackers (or take some help from the store and just by the box of crumbs). Stir in some sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. I press my crumbs slightly up the sides, but that is completely my preference. I also use a glass to pack the crust in tight. Then bake until crust is set and lightly brown.
Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and mix it in.
If you haven’t already, be sure to wrap the outside of your springform pan with several layers of aluminum foil. This will keep water from seeping into your springform pan while the cheesecake bakes. Pour your cheese mixture over the pre-baked and cooled crust. Place pan into a roasting pan half-full of hot water and bake until almost set. Cake should jiggle just a bit when you shake the pan. Remove and cool for an hour before refrigerating.
Once the cake is chilled, top with fresh raspberries and brush with melted jelly – just to make it look pretty.
1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 Tablespoons melted butter
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 ½ cups fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoons raspberry or blackberry jelly, seedless
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350*
Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir until all crumbs are moist. Press into the bottom and about 1/4-1/2” up the sides of springform pan. Use the bottom of a glass to lightly pack the crust into shape. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Remove crust from oven and lower oven temperature to 325* Place a large roasting pan ½ full of water into the oven.
For the filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Add sugar and beat until smooth, scraping sides occasionally. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended and scraping down sides after each addition.
Pour the cheese mixture over the prepared crust. Carefully place springform pan into the hot roasting pan and water. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Start checking at 1 hour (cake may take up to 1 ½ hours).
Remove from oven and cool on counter for 1 hour. Refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).
Arrange raspberries in concentric circles on top of cold cheesecake. Microwave jam for 30 seconds, or until melted. Use a pastry brush to carefully brush raspberries with melted jam.
Store in refrigerator and serve cold.