Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: berries

Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes one 8-inch square cheesecake, to serve 12

Cheesecake Ingredients

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar substitute ( I use monk fruit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
Zest of 1 orange

Blueberry Topping
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (10 oz)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons low carb sugar substitute
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until set. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Cover. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled with the blueberry topping.

Directions for making the topping:
Put the blueberries, water, lemon juice, and sweetener into a small saucepan or pot and simmer over medium heat until the blueberries swell up and are cooked through. This will take a little longer for fresh blueberries. Add the cornstarch slurry and simmer until thickened. Cover and chill.

Banana Bread

Ingredients

1 banana
11/2 cups + 1 tablespoon almond flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup low carb sugar substitute
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts plus 15 walnut halves

.Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mash the banana with a fork.
Process the eggs together with the mashed banana and the melted butter with a hand
blender or hand mixer to a smooth dough.
Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl. Pour into the bowl with the egg and banana
mixture and stir well.
Add the chopped walnuts and fold into the batter.

Line an 8-inch bread/loaf pan with baking paper/parchment with the paper extending over the ends of the pan. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Pour in the bread dough into the pan and place the walnut halves in five rows across the top of the dough.
Bake the bread for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Check the bread after 30 minutes. If the top is brown, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the low-carb banana bread from burning.
Let the banana bread cool and then lift out with the aid of the parchment paper. Cool completely before slicing.


Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

Makes 6 muffins

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour (lightly scoop, don’t pack down)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Chopped walnuts and coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Spray a jumbo 6-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined. Add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and whisk.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with a spatula. Avoid over mixing. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top. Top with a sprinkle of walnuts and coarse sugar.

Bake at 425 F degrees for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F degrees and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean when placed into the center of the muffins.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool.

Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well for up to 3 months.

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns

Ingredients

Sticky Syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup large pecan halves

Dough
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup heavy cream

Cinnamon Filling
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Lightly grease a glass 9″ round cake pan or pie pan.

To make the syrup:

Melt the butter in the glass pan in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup.

Stir well and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the pecan halves over the syrup in a single layer.

To make the dough:

Stir together the flour and cream to make a smooth dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.

Gently roll the dough into a 12″ x 8″ rectangle.

To make the cinnamon filling:

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans in a small mixing bowl.

Spread the softened butter over the entire surface of the dough.

Roll the dough into a log. Position it so the seam is facing down.

Slice the log into 10 pieces, and place them in the prepared pan.

Bake the buns for about 20 minutes, until they’re bubbly and lightly browned on top.

Remove the buns from the oven, and immediately turn them out onto a serving plate.

Scrape any leftover syrup from the pan onto the buns.

To serve later, cool completely, then wrap well and store at room temperature for up to a couple of days.

Reheat in a 325-degree F oven. Freeze for longer storage.

Adapted from a King Arthur recipe.


Apple Flavored Baked Doughnuts With Maple Glaze

Makes 10

Doughnuts

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

Glaze

1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt

Directions

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.


 

I make freezer jams because they are easy to make, don’t need packaged pectin and last a long time in the freezer. The secret ingredient is lemon. Lemon has natural pectin in it, but it needs sugar to gel. I also use a natural sugar substitute because we try not to eat sugary foods and it works just fine in the jam.

Freezer Blueberry Jam

Ingredients

4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half, about 30 minutes. Using a potato masher crush the berries several times during the cooking process. Pour the jam into clean freezer jars. Cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the freezer. When ready to use a jar, place in the refrigerator overnight.

Strawberry Preserves

Preserves are cooked the same way jam is, however, the only difference is that the fruit in preserves is cut into chunks, whereas with jam, the fruit is crushed. The texture of preserves is not as stiff as jelly or jam. It is easy to spread and makes a great topping for ice cream or pancakes.

Ingredients

1 quart of strawberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 long strip of lemon zest

Directions

Fill 4-pint jars with boiling water and place the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you make the preserves.

Wash the strawberries and remove the leaves. Cut them in half and place the berries in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir occasionally until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes or a candy thermometer registers 220 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the heat. Empty pint jars and remove the lids from the water.

Fill the jars with the preserves and place the lids on the jars. Cool for a few hours at room temperature. Store the jars in the refrigerator for a few weeks or freeze them for future use.

Fig Jam

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 orange
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 whole thyme sprigs
2 pounds ripe fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

Directions

Remove the strips of rind from the lemon and the orange using a vegetable peeler, avoiding the white pith. Combine the rind strips and the remaining ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan or large Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium; and cook 50 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. (If testing with a candy thermometer, it should read 220°F.) Discard the thyme and citrus strips.

Pour into refrigerator or freezer storage jars. Store in the refrigerator for several months or the freezer for up to six months.

Blackberry Jam

For 2 1/2 pints

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe blackberries
2 cups sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Using a potato masher, crush the fruit until soupy. Measure this puree and note the quantity. Put the puree in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. The puree should be no more than 1 inch deep in the bottom of the pot. I placed half of the blackberry puree in a strainer to remove seeds before proceeding with the recipe. For every two cups of fruit puree, add to the pot one cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Bring the fruit-sugar mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. After it boils, continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until thickened.
Check the consistency by turning off the heat and putting a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled
When the jam is set, ladle it into clean half-pint jars or other air-tight containers. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Easy Homemade Peach Jam

4 cups

Ingredients

4 cups (1 kg) fresh peaches, pureed
2 cups (400 grams) white sugar or sugar substitute (I use Lakanto Monk Fruit)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Using a sharp knife, peel the peaches and remove the pits. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. You can do this in batches.
Pour the peach puree in a large and deep pot and add the sugar and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. Bring to a light boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes stirring very frequently. The jam will be ready when it reaches 221 °F/105 °C or when it’s thick enough when dropped onto a cold plate. Add the rest of the lemon juice, stir, and remove the pot from the heat.

Transfer the hot jam into pasteurized jars, making sure not to fill them all the way to the rim. Using thick gloves or a towel, secure the lids, invert the jars upside-down, and let them cool. Refrigerate or freeze.


Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room temperature butter, divided
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
Powdered sugar

Directions

Cream together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy in an electric mixer; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large measuring cup combine the cream and water; whisk together.

Add to the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the cream liquid. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Toss the blueberries in 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon lemon rind. Spoon the berry mixture over the batter.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour and the remaining teaspoon of lemon zest.r; cut in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the berries.

Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Blueberry Scones

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon. baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on the top

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and, using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut butter into the flour until the size of peas. Add fruit and toss to coat.
Make a well in the mixture and add the eggs and heavy cream. Mix with your hands until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and pat into an 8″ round. Cut into 8 triangles and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until lightly golden, 20 to 22 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the scones to a rack to cool completely.


Makes 12 Cakes

Ingredients

For the crust
1 cup finely ground pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute for baking
3 tablespoons butter melted

For the cheesecake
8 oz mascarpone cheese softened to room temperature
15 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute for baking
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the strawberry topping
1 cup sliced strawberries
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute for baking

For the blueberry topping
1 cup blueberries
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute for baking

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place paper cupcake liners into 12 muffin cups. In a small bowl, stir together the crust ingredients. Evenly divide the mixture among the 12 muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each. Press the crust mixture firmly into the bottom of each muffin cup. Set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the softened mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Using a muffin scoop fill the muffin cups to the top.

Bake for 40 minutes until the cakes are slightly puffed and the mixture looks set.

Allow the mini cakes to cool in the muffin tin completely. As they cool, a small indentation will form in the top of each little cake.

Place the pan with the cakes still in the pan in the refrigerator to chill.
Arrange the mini cakes on a serving platter. Fill the indentations on each little cake with the fruit topping. Fill half of the mini cakes with strawberry topping and the other half with the blueberry topping.

To make the fruit topping:
In one small saucepan place the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Pour into a storage container and chill.
Repeat the same process for the blueberry topping.


Blueberry Cobbler

For low carb or gluten-free use almond flour

Filling
4 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch or 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (to thicken)
3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Topping
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the blueberries, thickener, sugar, and lemon juice and mix well until the blueberries are coated.
Pour the blueberry mixture into a greased 9-inch pie pan.
Melt the butter in the microwave in a glass bowl. Stir in the almond flour, sugar, and lemon zest until a crumbly dough forms.
Using your hands, crumble the dough over the blueberries in pea-sized clumps.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Serve warm or cold.

Small-Batch Fresh Blueberry Jam

Two cups of berries will make a half cup of jam.

With this recipe, I was able to fill two pint-sized freezer jelly jars three-fourths of the way to the top. This recipe can be doubled but you will need a longer cooking time.

Ingredients
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half, about 30 minutes.

Using a potato masher crush the berries several times during the cooking process.

Pour the jam into clean freezer jars. Store the jam in the freezer.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 – 15 muffins depending on the size of your muffin pan.

Ingredients

Batter
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute for baking
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) fresh blueberries

Topping
2/3 cup packed brown sugar or brown sugar substitute for baking
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F and either butter a 12-15 muffin cup pan or use paper liners.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held or stand mixer, until light and fluffy and almost white in color.

Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed just until the batter is smooth. Fold in the berries by hand.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using 1/4-cup for each muffin.

To make the topping:

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center, comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.

 


Our blueberry bushes are producing lots of berries this month. I have used them in salads, pancakes, and desserts. Though I would share with you a few breakfast breads, I just made this week to use up some our bounty. There will also be plenty to freeze for the winter months.

Blueberry Bread

You can use any flavoring you like in this bread, It doesn’t have to be lemon.

12 servings

Ingredients

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 lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cup fresh blueberries

Topping
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×4-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 the center of flour mixture; set aside.
In another medium bowl combine the egg, milk, oil, lemon peel, and the 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Stir together the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon sugar. While the bread is still in the pan, brush lemon-sugar mixture over the top of the loaf. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before serving.

Blueberry Scones

Ingredients

Dough
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice
1/2 cup milk

Topping
2 teaspoons milk
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Work in the butter just until the mixture is uneven and crumbly;.
Stir in the blueberries.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and milk.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sprinkle some flour on the parchment.
Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment, and form into a circle about 3/4″ thick.
Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Using a knife or bench knife slice the circle into 8 wedges.
Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm.



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