Healthy Baking: Getting Ready

Since fall is officially here, I can feel the burning desire to BAKE! I love baking, love it. I like all the ingredients, I like the process, and I like the end results. One thing over the years that I have learned is that you can totally bake AND lose weight, its true. There are so many healthy options out there for even the most decadent baked good, have you ever read Chocolate Covered Katie?

Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

This winter is going to be a little harder for me, as I will be working in a cafe like atmosphere, that will be selling tons of baked goods. This just means I need to make sure I don’t feel deprived of these things at home. If I’m eating (in moderation) healthy baked goods at home, my desire to eat unhealthy ones at work will be much less (at least I’m hoping). In order to bake healthy treats though, you have to be prepared. A pantry stocked full of nutritious ingredients, and recipes ready to make! You also have to remember to portion them out, freeze leftovers, or giveaway anything that feels like something you couldn’t control yourself around.

Weight Watcher Pumpkin Cupcakes

So I figured in honor of the beginning of baking season, that I would make a shopping list, AND post some awesome websites, and recipes. (click photos for recipes)

WHAT YOU NEED TO BAKE HEALTHY:

  • Canned Pumpkin (Not canned pumpkin pie filling)
  • Canned Sweet Potato Puree
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Xylitol (look it up)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Oat Flour
  • Maple Syrup
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Agave
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Spelt Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • All Purpose Flour (I like Organic Non-Bleached)
  • Eggs
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Sugar
  • Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
  • Mashed Bananas
  • Rolled Oats
  • Quick Oats
  • Nut Butter
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Stevia
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Pitted Dates
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Canned Coconut Milk
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Chia Seed
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • Fat Free Pudding Mix
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Cloves
  • Honey
  • Nutmeg
  • Molasses
  • Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • FRUIT!
  • Lemon Juice
  • Pam
  • Cornstarch

Skinny Apple Cobbler

Lighter Apple Pie Turnover

Some great healthy baking websites:

-Chocolate Covered Katie

-The Healthy Chef

-Skinny Taste

-Averie Cooks

-Eat Yourself Skinny

-Eating Well

-The Gracious Pantry

Healthy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Skinny Sweet Potato Pie

Oatmeal Spelt Honey Scone

 

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Yellow Squash and Black Bean Skillet

This had so much flavor I was shocked that I could make something this good and easy! We happened to have all the ingredients too, love that. It’s also a pretty cheap meal if your on a budget, and it makes tons! It also can be easily altered to be vegetarian or even vegan. And its Gluten Free, which isn’t something we focus on, but I know its important to a lot of people.

I got the recipe by searching my love of loves www.foodgawker.com for Yellow Squash. The recipe came from a blog that is dedicated to Gluten free recipes, and I only edited it a little bit. The recipe is here.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can)
2 tomatoes, diced with juices saved (or 1 can)
1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/2″ chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Cup already ground Extra Lean Turkey (optional)
1 Box of Whole Grain Brown Rice Pilaf (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute onion in oil until tender, and then add garlic, jalapeno, and cumin and cook an additional minute. Stir in beans, tomatoes, squash, ground turkey and salt and pepper, cover with foil and let simmer until squash is very tender (about 20 min), stirring occasionally. Top with cheese. Meanwhile cook Rice Pilaf according to box directions. In a bowl put in rice and top with skillet mixture.   Serves 3-4.

NOTES:
I already had cooked the ground turkey a few days earlier so I just threw that in to use it up. I also had “Jalapeno Slices” from Sunflower Market Deli so I just used about a 1/3 of cup of those and diced them up. The Rice Pilaf was not in the original recipe, but I added it because we had a box on hand and it made it so there was enough for us to take some for lunch tomorrow.
Super easy and yummy. I will make this again for sure. Next up I have some recipes saved that I want to share with you. I feel lots of cooking will be done in the next few months! Yay!

Portobello Love

Apparently I am completely in love with Portobello Mushrooms, who knew? I had never had them, although I’ve heard many a times that they are delish as a burger replacement. This past weekend while the boys make steak, Jenny and I tried our hand at Portobello Burgers.

Holy grail were they amazing! For real I didn’t even kind of miss the meat! We used this recipe, although I’m pretty sure we did balsamic vinegar not red wine vinegar. We also made the mayo using that Olive Oil Mayo, so yummy! I would eat these all summer!

On the Grill

with fresh Mozzarella

Topped with Baby Spinach, Rosemary Mayo on a French Roll

I also made a little Strawberry Shortcake with home made whip cream. Lets just say Liam was a huge fan of the whip cream, rubbing his chest (baby sign language for please) ferociously after each bite…lol…too cute!

Vegan Apple Banana Mini Muffins

My friend Jenny made these for Liam to have in the morning for breakfast. She joked that she made mini ones to be baby size, but Liam just eats 4 or 5 of them. There still extra cute in mini form, I chose to make mini just to reduce my portion size.

About a week ago I broke down and bought Organic Unbleached Flour instead of my usual Whole Wheat Flour. As much as I LOVE WW Flour, it’s not the best for baking, and I really like to bake. When Jenny gave this recipe to me it wasnt Vegan. The recipe called for 2 eggs, which I substituted for 2 overly ripe bananas, works perfect! Also I switched the regular butter to Earth Balance Vegan Butter. Lastly it calls for chunky Applesauce, but I only had smooth, so I diced up a small apple and threw that in with it.

They turned out amazing! So moist and yummy! Perfect for breakfast and a mid day snack, they don’t need butter or anything. I will be making these often. Jenny freezes them and throws them in the microwave for breakfast, seems like a pretty good idea.

VEGAN APPLE BANANA MINI MUFFINS:

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Vegan Butter Melted

1.5 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

2 Very Ripe Bananas

2/3 C Brown Sugar

1 Cup Organic Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Small Apple

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Spray mini (or big) muffin pan with PAM

Melt Butter in large bowl

Add Bananas, Applesauce, Diced Apples and mix well

In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients.

Combine Dry ingredients with Apple mixture, stir well.

Fill muffin tray 3/4 full

Bake for 20 minutes.

These would also be good with some walnuts in them too!

In other fun news I will be ordering a Cherry Pitter and a Food Dehydrator tomorrow! I also got the latest issue of Clean Eating Magazine and it is FULL of amazing summer recipes I need to try, including Roasted Cherries that will be so much easier to make with my cherry pitter.

My food diet has been going amazingly well, I am down 4.5lbs since Monday morning! Crazy! I did however cheat tonight, a good friend of Mr. Gaunt’s is moving tomorrow to Arizona and wanted to take us out to dinner. I picked going to Merels one of our favorite restaurants, because I knew they had some good vegetarian options. I ended up getting a Veggie burger with a fruit cup side, plus a basket of yam chips and guac for the table. I limited myself to only a few chips and just half my burger, plus FOUR giant glasses of water to make me too full to keep eating. Still feeling a little guilty I made sure I went straight to the pool when we got home. Usually I swim 20 laps and then do another 1/2  hour of water aerobics. Tonight I stepped it up and did FORTY LAPS! Wowza! It felt amazing. I have now done 5 consecutive days of lap swimming, go me!

Veggies on the Barbie!

***BIG SIGH***

I’m exhausted! My 3 day weekend has been packed full of socializing, food, and swimming, and Im tired! I hardly did anything productive this weekend, which means this evening will include lots of laundry, dishes and food prep for the week. Until that starts though I have LOTS to blog about! There will probably be 3 posts today for your reading pleasure.

We spent most of the weekend with our friends Jenny and Justin and their 16 month old Liam (our adopted nephew) BBQing and just lounging. Saturday they had a bunch of people over to BBQ, and I brought stuff to make Veggie Kabobs! I love going to Jenny’s because she eats very similarly to us, and always has a chicken or turkey product to BBQ. This time she made the most AMAZING (wish I had a pic) lean chicken and spinach burgers! So good! They were packed full of yummy spinach and spices befor going on the grill. I totally meant to get the recipe, I’ll have her FB it to me.

On to the Kabobs, I went to Sunflower Market which is our local discount organic health food store and bought:

1 Yellow Squash

2 zucchini

1 white onion

1 red onion

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 box of mushrooms

ALL FOR $10! Damn vegetables or so cheap its ridiculous! Why anyone says eating healthy is expensive is beyond me (well unless you do major organic)

this made probably 20 skewers.

TIPS:

– Soak wooden skewer sticks in water so they don’t burn up on the grill

-Cut large-ish Hunks of the veggies, they skewer better

-Buy small whole mushrooms or cut large ones only in half not slices. They tend to break off the skewer

-Spray both sides of the Veggie Kabob with PAM before laying on the grill.

Other than that’s its super easy and quick! Just cook them until the edges get a little black and they are done! And super healthy! For leftovers you can de-skewer than and throw them in some whole wheat pasta for a light pasta veggie salad. We ate them 3 days in a row!

Vegan PB&J Muffins

My friend Jama posted these on her (private) blog, and they looked so good! I also had pretty much all the ingredients needed, so I whipped them in this evening. Jama is a Clean Vegan, which I am very interested in. She doesn’t eat fake things like Vegan Mayo, Seitan, Soy Burgers. Basically just naturally occurring foods. Soy in generall weirds me out, which is a big reason I still eat meat, I don’t want to do soy. I have recently thought about ditching cheese though, and trying to cut back on the meat…shhh…dont tell Mr. Gaunt.

I also feel like I’m going to remove eating out all but one day a week. Nothing good comes from a restaurant (including no blog posts from me…lol!) And produce season is coming, and I’m jumping back on the veggie/cooking bandwagon! Oh and the pool opens in TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh speaking of Pools, I have officially decided to rock a bathing suit with a skirt this summer. Ms. G gave me one, and it is totally dated and grandma-like, and I LOVE IT! It covers the thighs and accentuates the waist. I might even take a full body shot of it for yah…lol! Basically I decided that I love to swim, and I don’t give a shit if my suit is a littleold school looking, obviously people can see I’m still young, and Id rather have a flattering grandma suit than a not cute modern suit. So that is that!

Oh I was talking about muffins…lol. Yeah so I pretty much made it like the recipe said, except I didn’t have ground Flaxseed, only whole flaxseed, so I used that. Also I didn’t have any Bran, so I did a 1/4 cup of oats. Last and most important, I used Whole Wheat Flour instead of regular flour. This brought a whole new discussion that I will talk about at the end of this post. For now here is the original recipe:

2 C flour

1/4 C sugar

1/4 C ground flax seed

1/4 C bran

1 Tab baking powder

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

1/2 teas salt

1/3 C creamy peanut butter

3 Table spoon vegan margarine

1 C soy milk

1/4 C maple syrup

1 teas vanilla extract

1/4 C jam

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Mix first seven ingredients in a big bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, add vegan margarine and peanut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add soy milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until just mixed. Do not over stir.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Add a teas of jam to the top of each and bake in the oven for 2o minutes. YUM!!

Jama’s looked all light and fluffy and yummy, mine…well…not so much. I blame two things on this. 1. The altitude here SUCKS for baking, Jama lives in California.  2. The Whole Wheat Flour:

See I said a while ago that I planed on replacing everything with Whole Wheat Flour, because it is healthier for you. So far I havent had a big problem with, but I wouldn’t say it really works the same as All Purpose Flour. See WW flour is so much heartier. It gives things a totally nutty-hearty flavor, basically it TASTES like health food. Also it doesn’t rise as well (avoid using in things that need to be light and fluffy: Cakes, Pie Crusts, Pastries) and it definitely is darker in color. Personally I found a liking to it. I like that it taste more substantial and more nutritional. However Its not for everyone. Mr. Gaunt likes it ok, or at least he pretends to. I think I may actually buy some AP Flour for baking too though.

I would make these again though, they are more like a hearty breakfast muffin than like cake or a treat. I think they will be yummy with a banana in the morning, or some Earth Balance Spread on it. I would defiantly tell people to make these.