Breakfast breads are comforting but they can be unhealthy. Keep them healthy by adding whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruit. A Healthy Doughnut? Healthy doughnuts do exist. These baked ones are the way to go to reduce the fat and calories. Don’t be put off by the fact that some of the treats are made with whole wheat flour. It adds great flavor, not density. Try baking with different grains and you will be rewarded with some great tasting breads.
Apple Flavored Baked Doughnuts With Maple Glaze
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.
Beat together the oil, eggs, sugars, applesauce, apple butter, orange juice, vanilla, apple pie spice, salt and baking powder until smooth.
Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
Fill 10 of the wells of the doughnut pans to the rim; using a scant 1/3 cup of batter in each well.
If you have a little dough left add a little to each of the doughnuts.
Bake the doughnuts for 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
After about 5 minutes, remove the donuts from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
Allow the doughnuts to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze:
Mix together all of the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Place waxed paper under the racks holding the donuts.
Spread the doughnuts with glaze (or dip tops in the glaze); return to the rack until the glaze is set.
Pecan Banana Bread
Make 1 loaf. the recipe can be doubled to make 2 loaves.
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
4 medium-size very ripe bananas, mashed (2 cups)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable cooking spray
Place the pecans in a single layer in a jelly roll pan and bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
Combine brown sugar, melted butter, bananas and egg in a small bowl; add to the flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the pecans.
Pour mixture into a 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool on wire rack 2 hours or until completely cool.
Serve with cream cheese, if desired.
Barley flakes are similar to oats and one of the oldest whole grains. Although barley may not be as popular as other whole grains like oats, wheat, or even the current favorite, quinoa, that makes it one of the best whole grain choices. The technique used below for helping the bread retain its shape during rising, works very well. Serve with homemade jam for breakfast or use it to make a sandwich, especially turkey.
Makes 1 boule
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
½ cup barley flakes
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast (1 package)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 – 2¼ cups bread flour
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ, plus extra for the top of the bread
1/2 cup barley flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Olive oil for the dough
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, soak the barley flakes in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.
Put the olive oil, honey and baking soda into the bowl with the buttermilk and barley flakes ; stir well to combine.
Stir in 2 cups of bread flour, the yeast, salt, barley flour, wheat gluten, all-purpose flour and wheat germ.
With the paddle attachment mix the ingredients until they come together around the paddle. If the dough is very sticky, add the remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for five minutes, then let it rest for ten minutes.
Knead for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is supple and elastic. Drizzle the dough with a teaspoon of olive oil, roll the dough over to coat it entirely with oil.
Cover with a damp tea towel and allow it to rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.
Shape the dough into a flat ball to create a “boule”.
To keep it from spreading out as it rises, set the ball inside a 9 inch springform pan, on a piece of parchment, for the second rise.
Brush the shaped dough with some more olive oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is hot and the dough has completed its second rise, brush the dough with a bit more olive oil.
Remove the springform ring and slide a baking sheet under the parchment.
Slash the top of the loaf in diagonal cuts that are about ¼ inch deep and sprinkle the top with a little wheat germ.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped and registers 200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
Remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow the loaf to sit for at least an hour before slicing.
It may seem like “slim pickens”, when you look at what fruit is available in the winter in your market. With a second look, however, there are plenty of choices and they great choices for cooking or baking. Look for citrus fruit, apples, bananas, pears and dates. These are all good choices for salads, pancakes and muffins or to garnish main dish meats and fish.
Meyer Lemon Bread
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely shredded Meyer lemon peel
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a medium bowl stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, the baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of the flour mixture; set aside.
In another medium bowl or measuring cup combine the egg, milk, oil, lemon peel and the 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.
Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To make a glaze: Combine the glaze ingredients until smooth and spread over the cooled cake. Let harden before wrapping the ;oaf.
Turn this salad into a main course by adding cooked shrimp or chicken. I especially like shrimp in this salad.
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Grated zest of 1 orange,
1 bulb fennel, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk the shallots, raspberry vinegar, honey and salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil in while whisking. Add the orange zest. Set aside
Peel the fruit and cut into segments.
In a large bowl, cover the fennel and onion with ice water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to paper towels to dry thoroughly.
Transfer the fennel and onion to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Lift the fennel and onion from the dressing and transfer to a serving platter.
Arrange the citrus segments evenly over the fennel and onion. (If adding shrimp, arrange it on top of the salad.) Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Baked Apple Sauce
Applesauce can be flavored with maple syrup or cinnamon. You can also add cranberries to the cooking apples to make a cran-applesauce. It makes wonderful tasting pancakes and muffins and is a great side to roasted pork.
Makes 12 servings.
4 lbs. (about 10 medium) assorted apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Jonagold and Honey Crisp, peeled, cored, and quartered
1/3 cup fresh apple cider or apple juice
4 lemon slices, cut paper-thin
2 tablespoons honey, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place apples, cider or juice and lemon slices in a large heavy, ovenproof casserole with a cover and mix well.. If using honey add it in and toss again.
Bake apples, covered, for 60 to 75 minutes, until very soft and moist. Stir to combine. If it is too wet, bake applesauce, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer.
Cool to room temperature before serving; applesauce thickens as it cools. The applesauce keeps, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days or 6 months in the freezer.
Coconut Banana Pudding
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 dash salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1 banana, sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hot water
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the mashed banana.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the salt, eggs and coconut milk. Stir well and add to the banana in the saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; cook until thickened.
Remove from the heat; add vanilla and mix well. Pour into a storage bowl or 4 individual dessert dishes.
To make the honey bananas:
Melt the butter in a small skillet.
Arrange the banana slices in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly brown.
Whisk together the honey and 1 tablespoon of water.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the honey mixture over the bananas. Shake the pan to distribute.
Divide the bananas and syrup over the top of the pudding. Chill for several hours before serving.
Question of the day: Do we spell these skewers – kabobs or kebabs?
Answer: The USA uses kabob but the rest of the world uses kebab.
However, nothing says summer like grilling delicious kebabs. There’s no mistaking the aroma of fresh ingredients sizzling over a smoky grill. Best of all, whether you choose steak, chicken, pork, lamb or vegetables, kebabs are easy to prepare and cook.
The following tips for using skewers will help you with the kebab-making process.
- Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using them, so they won’t burn during cooking.
- If you prefer metal skewers, which have a long life, use square or twisted types, which will hold the food better than round ones.
- To keep food from slipping off during cooking and turning, use two parallel skewers rather than a single skewer.
- If you’re using a wooden skewer, as you thread the food move the pieces close together, with no space showing. If the skewer is metal, you can leave small spaces between the pieces.
- When using foods with different cooking times (such as shrimp and beef), don’t combine them on the same skewer. Instead, make skewers of just shrimp and just beef, start cooking the beef first and then the shrimp. Combine them on a serving platter.
Skewer recipes are also great for appetizers. You can cook an army’s worth of these space savers at once. Grill skewers over medium-high heat. The following appetizer recipes make four skewers each.
Artichoke + Crusty Bread: Skewer two 15-ounce cans artichoke hearts (drained and dried on paper towels) and 2 1/2 cups torn crusty bread. Generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.
Eggplant + Bell Pepper: Skewer 1 cubed eggplant and 1 cubed bell pepper. Generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Grill, turning, until tender and lightly charred, 8 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle with red-chili flakes.
Potato + Celery + Onion: Skewer 8 ounces boiled and halved small potatoes, 2 stalks celery (peeled and cut into chunks) and 1 red onion (cut into wedges). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Grill, turning, until tender and lightly charred, 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with minced fresh chives.
Tomato + Bocconcini: Skewer 1 1/2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Grill, turning, until bursting and charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 to 2 bocconcini to the skewer ends and grill, 30 seconds more. Sprinkle with fresh oregano.
Scallion + Mushroom: Skewer 5 ounces trimmed mixed mushrooms and 4 scallions (cut into 3-inch pieces). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until tender and lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes.
Pesto Shrimp Kebabs
4 (serving size: 2 skewers)
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 32 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 16 (1-inch) squares red bell pepper
- 16 (1-inch) squares yellow bell pepper
- 8 (8-inch) skewers
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Olive oil cooking spray
Combine pesto, lemon juice and shrimp; toss. Let stand 5 minutes.
Thread shrimp and red and yellow bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Spray the skewer ingredients with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with oil.
Grill 7 minutes, turning skewers occasionally for an even char.
Note: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before grilling.
Grilled Chicken Panzanella Kebabs
- 4 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 24 pearl onions, peeled
- 1 pound small zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
- 2 orange or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 10 ounces unsliced day-old hearty country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
In a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, oil, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and chopped herbs. Shake well to combine and set the marinade aside.
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat and oil the grates. Skewer the ingredients, pairing the chicken and onion together, the zucchini and pepper together and the tomatoes and bread together. Brush the kebabs with the reserved marinade.
Grill the chicken-and-onion skewers until the chicken is cooked through and onions are tender, turning often, about 10 minutes. Cook zucchini-and-pepper skewers until vegetables are tender, turning often, about 7 minutes. Cook tomato-and-bread skewers until bread is toasted and tomatoes soften, turning often, about 5 minutes.
Serve skewers at room temperature. Season with remaining salt.
Pineapple Pork Kebabs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for the grill
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pork tenderloin (1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
Heat grill to medium; lightly oil the grates.
In a small bowl, whisk honey, ginger and pineapple juice together; season with salt and pepper.
Alternately thread pork and bell peppers onto skewers; season with salt and pepper.
Grill, brushing occasionally with the honey mixture, until pork is cooked through and the peppers begin to char, 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve the kebabs with the remaining honey mixture and lime wedges.
Marinated Swordfish Kebabs
- One pound 1-inch-thick swordfish steaks, rinsed and patted dry, cut into 24 cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 8-ounce container plain nonfat Greek yogurt; 4 tablespoons reserved
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 8 metal skewers
- 8 red cherry tomatoes
- 4 yellow cherry tomatoes
- 4 scallions, halved, then sliced
Season the fish with salt and pepper.
Combine the yogurt and 1 tablespoon parsley in a shallow baking dish and add the fish, turning to coat. Marinate the fish for 15 minutes at room temperature or for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, combine the reserved yogurt, ¼ teaspoon salt and the remaining parsley in a small bowl and mix well.
Thread the skewers, alternating the fish, tomatoes and scallions.
Prepare a stove-top griddle or outdoor grill and oil the grates. Grill the kebabs 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the fish is cooked. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.
Grilled Fruit Kebabs with Chocolate Sauce
- Pineapple, cut into large cubes
- Strawberries, hulled
- Bananas, quartered
- 3/4 cup/180 mL semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk (2/3 cup/160 mL)
- 2/3 cup/160 mL sugar
- 1/4 cup/60 mL butter
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grates.
To prepare the sauce: Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add in the sugar and slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir for 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Thread pieces of fruit onto skewers. Place on the grill and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
To serve: Push contents from skewers onto dessert plates and serve with warm chocolate sauce.
“Quick bread” refers to any bread that uses leaveners, like baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast, and requires no kneading or rising time. Quick breads are always popular; blueberry muffins and zucchini bread in summer, pumpkin muffins in the fall or coffee cakes and banana bread, any time of the year! More versatile than most other baked goods, quick breads give you greater freedom to add ingredients (like nuts and dried fruit) and make healthy substitutions. To lower the fat, for example, you can substitute some of the oil with an equal amount of almost any fruit puree (applesauce, plum, pumpkin, bananas).
If you’re adding dried fruit, try soaking it first. This will moisten the fruit, make it tender and juicy and also preserve the bread’s moisture. To soak dried fruit, place it in a heatproof bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Let it soak about 15 minutes, then drain and add to the finished batter. For added flavor, soak fruit in hot apple or orange juice–or soak it overnight in rum or brandy. Don’t sprinkle dried fruit on top of quick breads before baking, as it will burn before the loaf is done.
The secret to moist, tender quick bread is in the mixing: use a gentle touch. Combine in a bowl the dry ingredients–flour, leavening, salt, and spices; sift them together or mix them thoroughly with a wire whisk. In another bowl, beat together the fat, sugar and eggs in the order the recipe advises. Stir any other ingredients (fruit puree, flavorings or extracts) into the wet ingredients. Only when each bowl of ingredients is mixed thoroughly should they be combined. When you are ready, pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and fold them together gently. Do this part by hand rather than with a mixer. Add nuts and fruits; stir just until incorporated. Over-mixing will cause “tunnels”–holes where the air bubbles escaped–and will make the bread tough.
Unless you’re using high-quality non stick metal or silicone baking pans, you should always grease the pans before you pour in the batter. The best thing to use for greasing the pan is shortening, because its melting point is higher than any other kind of fat, which helps maintain a “shield” between the pan and the batter while the bread is baking. A high-quality cooking spray–one that won’t bake on to your pans and discolor them–is also a fast, easy fix. Let the bread cool for at least twenty minutes before inverting the pan and removing the bread.
The crack on top of the bread happens when the loaf “sets” in the heat of the oven before the bread is finished rising. Don’t worry–it’s normal for quick breads. Drizzle the loaf with icing or dust with confectioners’ sugar to cover the crack.
The bread looks done on the outside but it’s still raw in the middle. This is one of the most common quick bread problems and it can be caused by a few different factors:
- The oven temperature could be too high. (Use an oven thermometer to check.)
- Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won’t burn before the middle has time to catch up.
- Another cause of a “raw center” could be using a different pan size than the recipe calls for. One of the advantages of baking quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves or large loaves. Each size, however, requires different baking times–and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it’s going to take to bake. If you’re using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.
Pear and White Cheddar Bread
Makes 16 servings.
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal or toasted wheat germ
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded pears
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup refrigerated egg substitute or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or two 7 x 3 1/2×2-inch loaf pans; set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine pears, sugar, eggs, oil, buttermilk, honey and vanilla. Add pear mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cheese. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (45 to 50 minutes for the smaller pans) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan.
Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.
Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Pear Quick Bread:
Prepare as directed, except stir 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon into the flour mixture and substitute 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces for the cheese.
Fig, Ginger, and Pear Quick Bread:
Prepare as directed, except stir 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel and 1 teaspoon ground ginger into the flour mixture and substitute 1/2 cup finely snipped dried figs for the cheese.
Blue Cheese, Pecan, and Pear Quick Bread:
Prepare as directed, except substitute 1/4 cup finely crumbled blue cheese and 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans for the white cheddar cheese.
Healthy Banana Bread
One 9 x 5-inch loaf (about 15 slices)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs or 1/2 cup refrigerated egg substitute
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 cup mashed bananas (2 very ripe bananas)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.
Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with pan spray, and line the bottom with parchment. Spray the parchment.
Sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick; five to eight minutes. Beat in the oil, the yogurt or buttermilk, bananas and vanilla.
At low-speed, beat in the flour in three separate additions. Fold in the nuts.
Pour into the loaf pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, until the bread is firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
This bread will keep for several days, but put it in the refrigerator after three days and the bread freezes well if wrapped air-tight.
Makes 1 loaf
- 3/4 cup dried apricots
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.
Soak apricots for 20 minutes in hot water to cover. Drain and chop apricots into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
Beat sugar, oil and egg together in a mixing bowl. Stir in water and orange juice. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined. Stir in walnuts and apricots.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Blueberry Oatmeal Bread
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, plus extra for the top of the bread.
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only a 9-inch loaf pan.
In large bowl, mix brown sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and eggs with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except blueberries; mix thoroughly. Fold in blueberries. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with additional oats if desired.
Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan with a thin spatula; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or refrigerate up to 10 days.
Whole Wheat Fruit-Nut Bread
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 6 ounce carton plain low-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 1-1/2-quart ovenproof casserole; set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Make a well in center of the flour mixture; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, applesauce, yogurt, brown sugar and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Fold in nuts and dried fruit. Spoon batter into the prepared casserole. Sprinkle with wheat germ.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
Cool in the casserole dish on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from the casserole. Cool completely on wire rack. If desired, wrap and store overnight before slicing (bread will be slightly moister the second day). Makes 12 servings
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day in 1984. “He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with ‘appropriate ceremonies and activities’.”
A 2012 survey revealed that vanilla is America’s most popular flavor, followed by chocolate and cookies ’n cream. In truth, though, ice cream flavors are virtually limitless. Specialty flavors can be found in supermarkets, as well as individual ice cream shops and many of them feature seasonal flavors. If you look hard enough, it’s even possible to find grown-up flavors like bourbon butter pecan, blue cheese pear and foie gras or sea urchin.
No one knows who invented ice cream, although Alexander the Great reportedly enjoyed a refreshing snack of snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. More than a millennium later, Marco Polo brought back from his travels a recipe for a frozen treat similar to modern sherbet. Historians believe that recipe eventually evolved into ice cream during the 16th century. “Cream ice” was served to European royalty, although it wasn’t until much later, when insulated ice houses were invented, that ice cream became widely available to the general public.
Types of Frozen Treats
- Frozen yogurt is yogurt that is frozen using a technique similar to soft serve. While lower in calories and fat than ice cream, not all frozen yogurt is made with live and active cultures the way that standard yogurt is. To make sure that a frozen yogurt contains “yogurt” and a significant amount of live and active cultures, look for the National Yogurt Association (NYA) Live & Active Cultures seal. Without that seal, frozen yogurt does not contain any probiotics.
- Gelato. Italian ice cream that doesn’t have as much air as traditional ice cream, so it has a much denser texture.
- Ice cream. This frozen treat is made from milk or cream, sugar and flavorings. The FDA requires that ice creams with solid additions (nuts, chocolate, fruit, etc.) contain at least 8 percent milk fat, while plain ice creams are required to have at least 10 percent milk fat. “French” ice cream is usually made with a cooked egg custard base.
- Ice milk is made with lower-fat milk, making it less creamy. However, it does contain fewer calories than ice cream.
- Italian ice (also called Granita) is a mix of juice (or other liquid like coffee), water and sugar, usually in a 4:1 ratio of liquid to sugar. The ices are stirred frequently during freezing to give it a flaky texture. These are almost always fat-free, contain minimal additives and are the lowest in calories of all frozen desserts.
- Sherbet has a fruit juice base but often contains some milk, egg whites or gelatin to thicken and enrich it. It’s a creamy version of sorbet (see below).
- Slow-churned (double churned) ice cream is made through low-temperature extrusion, to make light ice cream taste richer, creamier and more like the full-fat variety. Extrusion distributes the milk fat evenly throughout the product for added richness and texture without adding extra calories. By law, “light” ice cream must contain at least 50% less fat or 33% fewer calories than regular full-fat varieties.
- Soft-serve is a soft “ice cream” that contains double the amount of air as standard ice cream, which stretches the ingredients and creates a lighter texture. It’s lower in fat and calories, but it often contains fillers and additives.
- Sorbet, softer in consistency than a sherbet, is usually fruit and sugar that has been frozen. Its texture more “solid” and less flaky than Italian ice.
How healthy are these treats?
While ice cream does contain bone-building calcium, you’re better off getting calcium from other food sources, since ice cream contains about half the calcium as an equal serving of milk, which is lower in fat and calories. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re eating healthy by getting calcium from Haagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s—both of which can pack more fat per serving than a fast food hamburger!
Some ice creams, especially “light” varieties are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Using an artificial sweetener in place of some or all of the traditional sugar can reduce calories, but these sweeteners aren’t for everyone and may cause stomach upset when eaten in high quantities.
In general, regular (full-fat) ice cream contains about 140 calories and 6 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving. Besides the fat content, premium brands pack more ice cream into each serving because they contain less air—they are denser and harder to scoop than regular brands—meaning more calories, fat and sugar per serving. Low fat or “light” ice creams weigh in at about half the fat of premium brands but they still contain their fair share of calories, thanks to the extra sugar added to make them more palatable.
Toppings such as chocolate chips, candies and sprinkles send the calorie count even higher and don’t offer any nutritional benefits. Choose vitamin-packed fruit purée (not fruit “syrup”), fresh fruit or nuts, which contain healthy fat, protein and fiber. While chocolate does have some health benefits, most choices like chips and syrup are usually full of fillers with very little actual chocolate. If you want extra chocolate, use a vegetable peeler to shave dark chocolate over the top of your serving.
If animal-based products aren’t part of your diet or you can’t eat dairy, you can choose from a wide variety of non-dairy frozen desserts such as soy, coconut or rice “cream.” These desserts cut the saturated fat because they don’t contain milk or cream, but can derive around 50% of their calories from fat (usually by adding oil to the product for smoothness or “mouth feel”).
So what should you look for when you want to indulge in a creamy dessert but not go overboard? Check the nutrition label and choose a frozen dessert that meets these guidelines per 1/2 cup serving.
- 120 calories or less
- 4 g of total fat or less
- 3 g of saturated fat or less (sorbet, sherbet and low-fat ice cream usually fit the bill)
- 10 mg of cholesterol or less
- 15 g of sugar or less (this is equal to about 3 teaspoons of actual table sugar)
Remember to keep portions small. A pint of ice cream is not a single serving; it’s FOUR servings. If you eat an entire pint, you have to multiply the number of calories, fat grams, etc. listed on the label by four. Stick to portion sizes and always scoop your ice cream into a small bowl, instead of eating it directly from the container to prevent overeating. And use a teaspoon rather than a tablespoon to take smaller bites.
If you want total control over what goes into your ice cream, consider buying your own ice cream maker. Experiment with the recipes that come with the machine, adding your own fresh fruit to create a treat that tastes good and is good for you at the same time.
Ice cream is by no means a health food or a vital component of a healthy diet. But it is a simple pleasure in life most people wouldn’t want to give up. Here are a few frozen dessert recipes to indulge in without blowing up your diet.
Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt
Makes 1 quart
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large ripe bananas, cut into 1-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the bananas in a single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until caramelized, about 8 minutes. Off the heat, add the rum and swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar.
Place three-quarters of the bananas into a food processor and add 3 tablespoons of the milk. Puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a small bowl and freeze until chilled, 15 minutes. Chop the remaining bananas and freeze until chilled. Chill the remaining milk and yogurt.
In another bowl, whisk the cocoa with the granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk in the yogurt until smooth, then the banana puree.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions until nearly frozen. Mix in the chopped bananas and chocolate. Place the frozen yogurt into an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Watermelon Granita with Cardamom Syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, flesh cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the water with 3/4 cup of the sugar and stir over moderate heat until dissolved, 2 minutes.
In a blender, working in batches, puree the watermelon with the sugar syrup and lemon juice until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and freeze for 30 minutes. Using a fork, stir the granita; continue stirring every 30 minutes, until frozen and fluffy, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar with the cardamom seeds and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup and refrigerate.
Fluff the granita with a fork. Scoop into bowls, drizzle with the cardamom syrup and serve immediately.
Caramelized Pineapple Sundaes with Coconut
- One pineapple—peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sweetened wide shredded coconut strips or regular cut
- 2 1/2 pints fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt
- Mint sprigs, for garnish
Light a grill. Brush the pineapple rings with the vegetable oil. Grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until the pineapple is lightly charred and softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer the rings to a work surface and cut into bite-size pieces.
In a medium skillet, toast the coconut over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Scoop the yogurt into sundae glasses or bowls. Top with the grilled pineapple, sprinkle with the coconut, garnish with the mint sprigs and serve right away.
Easy Soft-Serve Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 pounds frozen strawberries, mangoes or blueberries
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
In a food processor, pulse the fruit with the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and a generous pinch of salt until the fruit is finely chopped.
Puree until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Serve soft or transfer to a metal baking pan, cover and freeze until just firm.
MAKE AHEAD: The soft-serve can be frozen for up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Sherbet Fruit Pops
- 10 5-ounce paper cups
- 3 peeled and chopped kiwi fruit
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 quart raspberry or tangerine sherbet
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 10 flat wooden craft sticks
Arrange cups on a baking pan.
In a small bowl combine kiwi fruit and sugar. Divide chopped kiwi fruit among the paper cups.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low-speed beat together sherbet and orange juice until combined. Spoon sherbet mixture over kiwi fruit filling cups.
Cover each cup with a square of foil. Use table knife to make small hole in center of each foil square. Slide wooden craft stick through each hole and into fruit mixture in the bottom of the cup.
Freeze at least 6 hours or overnight. To serve remove foil; carefully tear away cups. Serve immediately. Makes 10 pops
Note to my readers: I added a print friendly icon to the end of the share button row on the right. It follows the email icon but before the More box. When you click on the print friendly icon, a new window will open and you should be able to print the new page. Some of my readers said they had difficulty printing from my website with the regular print button on the left, so this is another option.
- 15 Dairy-Free Ice Creams to Enjoy This Summer (onegreenplanet.org)
- Frozen fruity goodness (metafilter.com)
- 7 Ways to Make Ice Cream Without Dairy (onegreenplanet.org)
- Double Chocolate Protein Frozen Yogurt (freshfitnhealthy.com)
Brunch is special. It’s almost always more of an occasion than a simple meal. Even if it’s just a midday meal with you and your partner, by its very nature, it’s a statement that we’re taking our time during this meal! What better way to celebrate Father’s Day, than to host a special brunch at home?
I think the main reason we don’t do this more often is because, in the midst of our busy lives, the planning can seem a little daunting. But after tending to a few things, a brunch get-together can actually be quite simple and seamless. Here are a few tips and recipes to help get you hosting this special meal:
Food is obviously something you want to think about for this get together. You can prepare a number of dishes, many with advance preparation, to suit a variety of tastes or you can choose one big dish along with a few little bites and nibbles that people can snack on while chatting. I always prepare a few different dishes, so I can please those family members with special diets, such as gluten-free or vegetarian. Mostly, I try to keep it healthy without losing all the great taste that many brunch recipes are known for. Fresh baked muffins and coffee cake are always a big hit. Don’t forget plenty of fresh fruit.
Not everyone drinks coffee, so it’s nice to have a few alternatives as well. A good herbal tea, fresh juice, like orange or grapefruit, or a fruity punch with a touch of champagne.
Father’s Day Brunch Menu
Glazed Fruit Medley
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 cups cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon
- 3 medium firm bananas, sliced
- 2 cups green grapes
- 2 cups halved fresh strawberries
In a small saucepan, mix the orange juice, sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a small bowl; cool slightly. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, combine the fruit in a large, attractive serving bowl. Drizzle with orange juice sauce; toss gently to coat. Yield: 10 servings.
Lemon Ricotta Muffins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine flour and cornmeal and the next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in the center. Combine ricotta and next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Place 12 muffin-cup liners in a muffin baking pan; coat with cooking spray. Divide batter among the muffin cups. Bake at 375°F for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the muffin pan. Remove muffins to a wire cooling rack.
Meat and Potato Hash
Roasting the potatoes separately gives them a crisp texture without the addition of extra fat. This recipe can be doubled.
- 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb cooked chicken breast, beef pot roast, corned beef or pork roast, cubed
- 8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Poached eggs, for serving over the hash
Heat the oven to 400°F. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper; bake until tender, browned and slightly crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until cooked, about 4 minutes. Add thyme, chili flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
Add the cooked meat or poultry of choice and the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are warmed through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley. Serve a poached egg on top of each serving, if you like.
Perfect Poached Eggs
To make perfect poached eggs, crack a chilled egg into a small bowl. Bring a deep pot of water to a simmer. Swirl the water in a circle with a wooden spoon, then tip the egg out of the bowl into the center of the swirling water. Cover, turn off the heat, and remove the egg with a large slotted spoon after 2 minutes for soft poached eggs.
Baked Vegetarian Zucchini Frittata
- 4 cups shredded zucchini (1 pound)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
- 1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced (1-1/4 cups)
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- Sliced pitted ripe olives
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10 inch round baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
Spread shredded zucchini on a large platter or shallow baking pan; sprinkle evenly with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes. Using paper towels, gently press excess moisture from the zucchini.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until the onion is tender. Remove from the heat.
In large bowl, combine eggs, Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper. Stir in shredded zucchini, cooked onion and mozzarella cheese. Pour into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.
Bake about 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the eggs are set. Arrange whole zucchini slices on top of the baked mixture and place the tomato slices on top of the zucchini.
Sprinkle with olives and additional Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more. Cut into small wedges.
Blueberry Coffee Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- Cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt, stirring with a whisk in a medium bowl.
Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla, egg and egg white; beat well.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; mix after each addition.
Gently fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the batter into a 9-inch round baking pan coated with cooking spray. Level the batter with a spatula and sprinkle the top evenly with the sliced almonds and then the coarse sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove the cake from the pan, if desired. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Pear Hazelnut Coffee Cake
- 1 medium pear
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Core and slice the pear; set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and the oil. Add milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, baking powder, lemon peel and nutmeg.
Add to the mixture in the mixer; beat until combined. Stir in oats.
Spoon into prepared pan. Arrange sliced pears over the batter. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
If made ahead, you can rewarm the cake in a 350 degree F before serving.
- Father’s Day Brunch – Spicy Sausage Gravy (hotlickssauces.wordpress.com)
- Raspberry Walnut Torte (skinnyfiberblog.wordpress.com)
- Cherry Cheesecake Tart with Toasted Almond Coconut Crumble Topping (goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com)
- Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake (cassieskitchennyc.com)
- Zucchini-Ricotta-Quinoa Muffins (artistskitchen.wordpress.com)
- Blueberry Millet Muffins (Gluten Free) (beardandbonnet.com)
- Orange and poppy seed muffins (lovennourish.wordpress.com)