Pcakes Strawberry Cupcakes

When I was pregnant with ‘Cupcakes’, I wanted all things strawberry; trifles, smoothies, cupcakes, frosting…..yum! For her first birthday it only made sense to create a strawberry cupcake, and I wanted it refined sugar free, 100% natural and delicious. I created these for her little party and have sense made them whenever the strawberry craving hits!

Pcakes Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Coconut Cream Frosting
Dessert
12
 
Ingredients
Wet
  • ⅓ cup dates
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup banana
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3 certified humane eggs
  • 1 tbl lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
Dry
  • 2½ cups flour (cake or pastry flour works better; lower protein= more tender crumb)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
Fold in
  • ½ cup chopped strawberries
Frosting
  • 1 can refrigerated fat full coconut milk (natural value organic brand worked for me- other brands have not) or refrigerated coconut cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbl maple syrup
  • few strawberries (frozen or fresh, chopped or pureed)
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Place bowl for frosting in fridge.
  2. Blend or food process wet ingredients.
  3. Pour into bowl and add dry ingredients. Mix/fold until combined.
  4. Add strawberries and fold gently until disbursed.
  5. Spoon into sprayed or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake about 15-20 minutes you want no jiggle, firm tops, slightly browned.Use fool proof toothpick test insert toothpick into center; if it comes out clean its done. ūüôā
  7. Let cool 5-10 min then remove from pan.
Frosting
  1. Let cupcakes cool completely. Best made within an hour of serving, but can be refrigerated. (it wont stay as light and whipped).
  2. Flip over thoroughly refrigerated can of coconut milk. Do not shake.
  3. Open and pour out coconut water, save for smoothie later.
  4. Scrape out coconut cream solid, put in a cold bowl.
  5. Use hand mixer to begin whipping.
  6. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Whip.
  7. Add strawberries, whip, taste, adjust with more maple syrup.
  8. Spread/dollop on cupcakes....serve!

 

Pumpkin Scones

Sorry folks I can’t seem to find the pictures…you know what a yummy scone looks like though, right? I’ll just have to make them again soon. Can you hear AJ lamenting?

 

Pumpkin Scones
Breakfast
12
 
Mmm Pumpkin Scones with spiced drizzle!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour (I used a mix of both)
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar or Zsweet or sweetener of choice
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¬ľ teaspoon cloves
  • ¬ľ teaspoon ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter (Earth Balance vegan)
  • ¬Ĺ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup almond milk
Drizzle
  • ½ cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • heavy sprinkle cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, ginger and cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Combine all dry ingredients. Add butter and use a fork to cut into the flour mixture. You want a crumbly texture like fine sand.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and milk. Fold into dry ingredients,make a dough ball.
  4. On lightly floured large cutting board, form ball into large rectangle. Cut into 3 pieces. Then cut these into 4 so you have 12 total triangular pieces.
  5. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned and interior done (test with toothpick).
  6. While they cool on a wire rack, mix together your glaze until smooth. When scones have cooled for at least 30 minutes, drizzle glaze over tops....

Key Lime Pie Tartlets

I made these for a get together with some friends and they were a huge hit.¬†I had AJ try the filling as I was making it because he is more of an authority on key lime pies than I, and he said “Mmmm, that’s really good, but I thought you were going to make something healthy to take?”. By my smile/smirk he construed he should then ask, “What’s in this?”. ¬†At the party, one friend ran over to her husband after trying a bite and said “Oh my gosh taste this, you won’t believe whats in it!” Another was thrilled he could eat his favorite dessert for¬†under 150 calories.
Try making this once, don’t be put-off by¬†unfamiliar ingredients. You’ll thank me, because you can have your pie and eat it too.

Low Fat Fudgy Chocolate Bread

This is taken from Bethenny Frankel’s recipe. The first time I stayed close to her original recipe but made it into a quick bread that my husband and I ate warm from the oven like a molten fudge cake; digging our spoons into before it made it to the cooling rack…YUM. No wonder this is a favorite of Marissa Hargitay’s (Law & Order SVU ; ). The second time I added some shredded zucchini (too much!) and it wasn’t quite as fudgy, but warm and dense and crumbly. My 3rd attempt (coming soon with pictues) I will add about 1/2 cup of zucchini and it should be almost perfect! I took out the oil, cut the sugar a little and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon sugar on top to intensify the flavor.

 

 

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Cherry Mulberry Cobbler

When mowing the backyard in late spring/early summer I often get thwacked in the face by certain low hanging tree branches with dark purple fruits. They appear to be the same berries that are hugely scattered in certain spots on the paved running path AJ and I like to use, emitting a vinegar smell and accompanied by sweat bees and flies. This year I finally researched what the berries were; Mulberries! They are dark purple and have a sweet/tart flavor similar to a blackberry with a citrus undertone.

 

 

 

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AJ’s Birthday Supper: Grilled Stuffed Poblano & Jalape√Īo peppers, Grilled Flank Steak & Red Onion Salad, Ciabatta Bread, Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Espresso Buttercream

For AJ’s 26th Birthday I surprised him with behind home-bench tickets to DC¬†United vs. AC Milan. (3-2 win!) For his birthday dinner I made Grilled Stuffed¬†Poblano &¬†Jalape√Īo peppers, Grilled Flank Steak & Red Onion Salad, Ciabatta Bread and a sumptuous, dark chocolate cake with a rich, fluffy coffee frosting sprinkled in slivers of dark chocolate and espresso beans;¬†Devil’s Food Cake with a Whipped Espresso Buttercream.

 

 

When life gives your dog a sour stomach…Make Lemon Cake

If you’ve never had the joy of owning a lab, let me explain their fondness for eating anything and everything they can get their grubby little paws on. My in-laws still proudly talk about their “grandpups” devouring an entire watermelon, rind and all. So it should come as no surprise that Sadie, our 9 year old black lab, ate what we could only assume was chicken scented styrofoam smuggled from the trash based on the “evidence”.

This isn’t our first rodeo with a sickly lab, so I went straight to the BRAT diet, cooking up chicken broth infused white rice. I knew something was very wrong when she didn’t want anything to do with it, so after a scary trip to the PetER, prayers, testing, an IV, prodding, 2 bottles of medication and 4 hours later… we were instructed to revert to Plan B; lowfat cottage cheese and rice + pills after fasting for 24 hrs. I asked the husband to stop at Wegman’s on his way home from work and pick up a large low-fat cottage cheese to remedy “the situation”. To his credit he doesn’t usually venture to the grocery on his own, and yes Wegman’s branding on their products looks similar…however, that doesn’t change the fact that Fat Free Sour Cream is NOT a valid substitute for cottage cheese.¬†So now I have a sick, hungry dog and a quart of¬†sour cream. Sadie groans at my feet.

I refuse to waste food, so when the husband accidentally gets me sour cream, I lovingly decide to create something with it. Luckily I also had 2 excuses to bake; a bakesale fundraiser for Rainbow Therapeutic Riding and my father-in-laws birthday visit.

Sous Chefs at the ready
Sour Cream Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 cup fat free sour cream

1/4 cup butter (or Earth Balance buttery stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar                                                      Cream in mixing bowl
1/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk                                                                 Add, mix well
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup flour (ground soft white wheat)
1 tsp. salt                                                                     Add, mix well
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/3-1/2 cup raisins
Use a cookie scoop to place about a dozen cookies on stainless steel cookie sheet. Bake about 14 minutes or until the edges and bottom begin to crisp. Cool on sheet 2 minutes, remove to cooling rack using metal spatula. (Yummy warm and cooled : )


Lemon Sour Cream Cake with Fluffy Whipped Buttercream

Because of the sour cream, this makes a somewhat dense and slightly chewy cake. If you prefer a lighter, less dense crumb, use 8 tablespoons of butter cut into 8 pieces, and beat into the mixture one piece at a time before adding the e
gg mixture.
*I¬†borrowed ideas and parts of recipes like the yellow cake recipe from “Baking Illustrated” by the Editors of Cook’s¬†Illustrated¬†and America’s Test Kitchen to create this.
Makes one 2 layer, 6″ cake: Serves 5-6
Frosting must be made about 6 hours ahead of time.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 mini 6″ pans (or you could try doubling the recipe and do two 8″ or 9″ pans).
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup fat free sour cream
zest of 2 lemons                                         Beat with a fork in a small bowl
1 tbl. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. local honey
3/4 cup + 2 tbls. cake flour
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder           Combine in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat
1/4 tsp. baking soda                                  at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.
1/3 tsp. salt
2 eggs
Stop the mixer and add the egg/sour cream mixture from the small bowl. Mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, 5-10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Beat until thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans; spread to the sides of the pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until tops of cake are light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.
After cooling on a rack for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, invert on a plate and flip back onto the rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Lemon Buttercream

4 egg whites1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
Combine in the bowl of a standing mixer; set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk constantly until the mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and is 120 degrees on a thermometer (about 2 minutes). (Just note 120 degrees is may not be hot enough to kill any bacteria in the eggs). Beat the whites at medium-high speed until barely warm, glossy and stickey, about 7 minutes.

1 1/2 sticks butter (Earth Balance buttery sticks) softened but still cool and cut into 6 pieces
Reduce speed to medium and beat in butter one piece at a time.

2 tbls. lemon juice
Beat in the lemon juice, scrape down the sides and bottom, beat again about a minute.

Now I know it looks like a big¬†curdled¬†mess, but please please trust me and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp. for up to 6 hours. We make this frosting a lot and for the first 4 times I thought there is no way THAT cottage cheese¬†curdled mess will whip into anything….but it always does : ).
When you are ready, set the bowl in your mixer and whip that stuff until it gets super fluffy and airy, about 5-10 minutes. I don’t think its possible to over whip it (some bakeries do it for up to 30 minutes!), so keep it going unt

il you achieve the consistency you want.

To assemble:
Put a dab of buttercream on the plate, put one layer of cake down, dollop a bunch of lucsious buttercream in the center and use a rubber spatula or frosting spreader to spread evenly and over the sides, add your other layer and repeat.

Last step (I promise it’s worth it, don’t stop now!)
On a cutting board, zest 2 more lemons and put about 2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar on top, use your knife to mush all together into a yummy, crusty lemon sugar.

Sprinkle this all over your cake….
See how it glistens?

And if it’s your father-in-laws birthday, stick a Romeo & Juliet right in the center, fire it up and TA-DA!

 

 

Sour Cream Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Dessert
 
Makes about 2½ dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fat free sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter (or Earth Balance buttery stick)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour (ground soft white wheat)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ⅓-1/2 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar in Bowl
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  4. Use a cookie scoop to place about a dozen cookies on stainless steel cookie sheet. Bake about 14 minutes or until the edges and bottom begin to crisp.
  5. Cool on sheet 2 minutes, remove to cooling rack using metal spatula. (Yummy warm and cooled : )