Behold! Banana Bread

For as much as I love to bake, there has been one item that never seems to turn out the way I want, and it’s name…. Banana Bread.

I’ve tried tons of recipes, with minor tweaks to fit my lifestyle, and they have all been less than par.

Can’t a girl just get herself some banana bread where she tastes more banana than refined sugar?!

I took a leap and tried a recipe a bit outside of my comfort zone, making my adjustments, and I’m never going back.

Banana Love Boat

Adapted from FatGirlTrappedInASkinnyBody
Serves 16
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar (or ¼ light brown sugar)
  • 4 egg whites16522258_10158176838340228_2136179329_o
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (unless using another flavor profile)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease, or non-stick cooking spray (I love Baker’s Joy), a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan* and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, Splenda and sugar. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition, and then the vanilla and almond extract.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, alternating with mashed banana and coconut milk.

Mix until just combined. Stir in the flaked coconut. Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 45min to 1 hour and 15 minutes, when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, depending on your oven, elevation, and type of pans used.

Let completely cool before slicing.

*OR 4 mini loaf pans (45min) OR bundt pan (45min) OR muffins (45min)

Nutrition (1/16): (does not include add-ins)

Calories: 129, Fat: 2.6g, Sat. Fat: 2.3g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 138.3mg, Carbs: 23.6g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 7.1g, Protein: 3g

The shredded coconut added this extra texture not typically found in banana bread (and I’m a texture girl). But I think its the coconut milk that really adds that extra umph of richness and flavor.

Since the first batch six months or so ago, I have continued to utilize this recipe to make tons of flavor profiles: peanut butter chocolate cinnamon chip, pumpkin spice butterscotch, Chinese 5 Spice, and even lavender. Yes, lavender! (You all know I need as much help in the “chill” department as I can get).

The photo above is a 50/50 bread of peanut butter chocolate cinnamon chip and pumpkin spice butterscotch, I omitted the original cinnamon in the recipe, above, and divided the batter in two.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cinnamon Chip20170205_152113

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter baking chips
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon baking chips
  • 1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Add the following to the above nutritional facts: Calories: 47, Fat: 2.1g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 14.1mg, Carbs: 6g, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugars: 5.3g, Protein: 0.8g

Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch20170205_151222

  • 1 1/5 Tbsp pumpkin spice baking morsels
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butterscotch baking morsels
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp toffee bits (also in the baking section)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Add the following to the above nutritional facts: Calories: 51, Fat: 2.5g, Sat. Fat: 1.7g, Cholesterol: 0.9mg, Sodium: 12.3mg, Carbs: 6.9g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 4.9g, Protein: 0g

Using a chopping knife, chop through the baking chips/morsels (they start to look more like shavings).* Add them, along with the spice, to their appropriate bowls. Fold them into the batter, pour it into the prepared pan and bake.

*I like this method because I get flavor in every bite rather than just those with a whole morsel in it.

**Keep in mind these measurements are for half of the batter. If you choose to make the entire banana bread one flavor profile, please double the measurements.**

More recently, I made Strawberry Banana Muffins, and, yes, they taste as good as they sound.

I am ahead of my assignments at the moment, so I want to take what time I can to check in with everyone. This blog has been such a staple in my recovery process. There is no way I am forgetting about it or you.

Look for follow-up posts with the recipes to make more of those flavor combos I mentioned above.

God Bless and thank you for always welcoming me back!

 

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Pumpkin, meet Butter Cake

Hello!

I’ve missed you all sooooooo much!

45 hr of work+ nursing school = when the heck do I get to blog?

I have finished up another semester of working towards my BSN, and am on Winter Break. Alleluia! But despite that equation of little sleep, a girls still gotta eat, right? So no worries, my blog family. I’m still a cooking machine!

Last year, I brought bourbon-spiked sweet potato casserole to the table. This year, I’m still keeping it orange.

There is a bakery I grew up on in Philly called Stock’s Bakery. The sticky buns, danishes, and donuts are massive. Every Easter, Grandmom gets pound cake for everyone.

But… on special occasions, we get butter cake. Not like Betty Crocker butter cake… BUTTER CAKE!

How in the world can I make this decedent, guilty pleasure? I’ve asked the universe since I was a wee one.

When I was younger, Stock’s would sell out of butter by noon. If we remembered, we would call and reserve it. It is nothing fancy to look at:

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All Photo Credit: Stock’s Bakery Facebook

 

Off-white, cracked surface, in a shallow metal tin, wrapped in wax paper. The End.

Then you cut into it, and as you remove your knife from the pan, you watch this gooey, creamy filling mask the metal of the cutlery. This thin square you have just cut is melt-in-your-mouth heaven!

Oh my goodness, I think I’m drooling on my keyboard.. Oops!

Then, last year, on one of my Cooking Channel binders, I saw Bobby Deen make a lighter version of his Mama’s Gooey Butter Cake. Game on, Bobby, game on. After reviewing his recipe, I cut it back a bit more using applesauce, liquid egg substitute, and a reduced fat cream cheese. (I can’t believe cream cheese is the secret!) But then October hit.

It’s Pumpkin Season!!!

Then November rolled around, and suddenly, it’s Thanksgiving! The family has been in a funk over the past year, and getting even funkier, but with my own apartment, now, and a dad and an uncle so close to me, it was my turn to have my very first thanksgiving!

On the Menu:

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NOT sharing

 

  • Rosemary and apricot glazed turkey breast
  • Bourbon-Spiked Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Roasted Thyme and Lemon Veggies
  • Cranberry sauce made from scratch
  • The last of the beloved Grandmom Thanksgiving Stuffing from the freezer
  • Turkey gravy
  • Spinach Roll (A Wilmington institution, Serpe’s Bakery, caught fire last year and had to close. They reopened and we had to get a slice of tomato pie. While there, Dad mentioned how difficult it must be to make their spinach and pepperoni rolls. I accepted the challenge. I think he knew I would, that sneaky old man!)

But it isn’t quite Turkey Day without…

Turkey… duh..

No, dessert!

With pumpkin on the brain, the warming scent of cinnamon air that fills the season, and a partial (very large) can of pumpkin in the fridge, the gears began-a-turning…

When I made Bobby’s cake, the “crust” was much thicker than Stock’s. Ok, let’s cut that back. Flavor was there, but… Ok, let’s “Fall” this thing up!

 Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

10-16 slices

The Cake

  • ½ package of carrot cake or spice cake- cake mix
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp lemon juicepump
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, maybe pumpkin

The Gooey

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin, NOT pie filling
  • ¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp light buttery spread (like Blue Bonnet light, or Country Crock light)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup powdered/confectioners sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all cake ingredients well. Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan or square pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat the filling ingredients, slowly incorporating the powdered sugar. Pour over the cake batter and smooth the surface.

Bake 30-35 minutes, and allow it to rest and cool.

 

Optional: Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Why? Just because.

Nutrition (1/16):

Calories: 100, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 2.2mg, Sodium: 192.6mg, Carbs: 19.8g, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugars: 12.8g, Protein: 3g

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It is a rich cake, so with a bit of whipped cream, 1/16 is quite guiltlessly satisfying. But be my guest to cut a bigger piece… You’ll want to! 

Daniel was invited to a co-worker’s house at his new base, for which I was very thankful. I think he was super excited, too, because he baked three pies to take with him! Yeah, he bakes! Crazy, right?!

So after some good company, yummy food, a glass of wine, and a slice of Fall heaven, it was time to relax.

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The following day, I was back in the kitchen! I baked ALL day! I may or may not have raided the discount rack at the farmers market and bought like 20lb of apples….

You’d think after baking 2 apple pies, 3 batches of cookies, and about 10lb of apples worth of applesauce, I’d be exhausted, right?

I could not pass up the invitation to catch up with my friends at Tim and Tori’s house! I went to high school with both of them, and now they are engaged! Timmy was my first crush in high school and Tori is one of my bridesmaids.

I walked into Timmy and Tori’s house to see a kitchen of my high school crushes! Some of them I haven’t seen since high school graduation! It was like we never parted! Hugs and laughs the whole night! It was absolutely fantastic and just what I needed to break away from the stress, monotony, and isolation of being a working student.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, surrounded by love and laughs!

When You Love a Foodie

If I do anything right, its Christmas. Even the pets get goodies!

Get it? Doggie Bags!

As a foodie, I am one of the easiest and hardest to shop for. Cutlery, funky new restaurant, appliances… Does she already have that? Does she need one of those? That’s HOW MUCH?!?!

Easy, but possible expensive…

But I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me more than I had wished!

Christmas Eve

So about how I woke at 1pm….

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He’s 21!

If you’ve had my baking, you’d know that brownies have never been my forte.  “Just use a box mix.” I did… “Oh.” Thats usually how that goes. But I did a little investigating and whipped up some banging brownies! And made an assortment for every taste preference: peppermint, salted caramel pretzel, turtle (caramel, coconut, and pecans), peanut butter, cheesecake, and M&M (for my little cuz, who just turned 21… hes getting so big!)

I even made a chocolate cream cheese icing… thats right, Chocolate. Cream Cheese.

So yeah, a cup of coffee, lots of brownies, and oh snap its 4pm! I hurried up, threw everything in the fridge, jumped in the shower, loaded my car, and in typical Christmas Eve fashion, I headed to Philly to see the family!

Grandmom was pretty darn sick earlier this and it took a decent toll on her

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Who said you could grow up?

energy, so rather than a family gathering at her house, Aunt Chrissy hosted. Some family happened to be standing outside when I pulled up and parked. Its dark out, but I see a man walking towards me… sneakers, basketball shorts, polo, a watch, swag…

OMG! Its my little cousin! When did this happen!?! What did high school do to you?! Where’s my little David?!? 

I just couldn’t stop. Its not like I don’t see him. I almost was tearing up at how grown him and his sister had gotten.

20151224_194630Before greeting the rest of the family, I b-lined right to my Grandmom, who despite not being up to host, did not stop her from being a drink in the hole. I love when she drinks! Its hysterical!

At least we stuck with the tradition of keilbasa and sauerkraut, roasted beef, and meatballs! And Aunt Cathy, the other foodie in the family, made these bacon wrapped stuffing bites that I literally could have eaten for the rest of my life!! Needless to say, recipe obtained. 20151224_201518

After catching up, I headed to the next Philly stop, Aunt Linda’s house, where I caught up with more family, and got to see this little elf:

This is Damian, my new little cousin, celebrating his first Christmas!

Although my Christmas Eve in Philly was much shorter than usual, and as much as my family may but heads, I love seeing them!

Next stop, Oxford. After another hour of driving, I arrived and my destination for the night, where we fell asleep watching movies on the couch. Ahh relaxing!

Christmas Day

20151225_135212After exchanging a few small gifts with my friend, I headed home to mom’s house.

I drove home, smiling ear to ear, anticipating a wonderful day ahead. Getting home was no treat as mom was NOT, I repeat, NOT in a good mood. So within 15 minutes of walking in the door, playing Santa and bringing out the gifts I had gotten her, I was in my bedroom crying on the phone to my dad. Yup, it went that well!

20151225_134107I literally wanted to crash for the rest of the day. No family dinner. No presents. Just sleep. Luckily dad talked me out of it, but not before I let that twisted disease talk me into a baby purge.

While attempting to recover and pull my head out of my ass, I carried any presents labeled for me into my room, sat down on the floor and celebrated Christmas by myself. I was aware of the convection oven my parents had gotten me, mostly because I ordered it, but when there was another large box next to it, never did I imagine it would be a Guy Fieri pots and pans set! In red! To match my microwave!

I run up to my moms room, mildly fearful of her disposition, and jumped on her to give her hugs and thanks for such a surprise!

I resumed gift opening, alone, to reveal a new coffee maker (the angry keurig is on its last legs) from my godmother. I sprang to my kitchen where the angry keurig lives, swiped it off the table, cleaned up the surrounding area and set up both the Hamilton Beach and the convection oven. I, then, found myself singing “Isn’t She Lovely” to my new appliances… I know, I’m not right in the head…

With mom still in her room, I quickly loaded my car like Santa loads his sleigh and zoomed over to pops house, around noon. Dad and I split our 20151225_130353pot of coffee, as usual, and began the gifting!

My parents have always kept the tradition of funny gift tags, and some years they really crack me up. Like the label on the whisk dad got me:

The best gift of all is the gift of song. As I’ve written countless times, my dad is the one who taught me to appreciate music. When I was little, he would sing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy,” to me as a lullaby, but making the appropriate changes of pronouns. I’ve always told my dad that when I got married, I wanted the Father-daughter dance to be the version he would sing to me. So he pulls out his phone and begins to play a recording of him singing “Beautiful Girl.” My day had been made. Oh, and this necklace set!

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After laughs, coffee, and a serenade, it was once again time to head out. We swung by my moms house where all the food I had prepared was, ans dad helped me load up. I assembled a tray of assorted brownies, and grabbed the crockpot filled with turkey meatballs and turkey sausage, and get this, sauce I made from my friend’s vegetable garden!

We arrived at my godfather’s house, where the men drank and the women cooked. Typical Italians. Mangia!

Dad was watching “Night at the Museum 3,” the night before and he 20151225_132543.jpgalmost pees himself because of this one line between Lancelot and Hugh Jackman. “Huge Ackman?! That doesn’t even sound like a real name!” (or something like that). So not only did Huge Ackman give me a gift, the gift of laughter carried over into dinner. The joke literally ran all through dinner, through dessert, through presents, and pictures, all the way until we left. My cousin RJ says to his brother, Kyle, “Come on, Huge Jackass.” Oh my goodness! I can’t even explain the reaction of a room full of Italians 3 bottles of wine deep…

Saturday

Its brunch time! So how in the world do I have a hang over from two glasses of wine?! Have no fear, the new coffee pot is here!

20151226_115531 (2)Excedrin, check!

Coffee, check!

New shirt, check!

Feeling cute, check!

I met up with dad, right before he had to head to work, at Penny’s house. Abundanza!!! Seafood, salad, cookies, and a million laughs!

In such a great mood, I ran a bunch of errands before attending 5 o’clock mass, and catching up with old friends.

Mass was followed by meeting up with dad at the D.A.P. and saying “Happy Holidays” to the fellas; then headed to a friend’s bar just in time for Drag Queen Bingo!

Even if Christmas day had a rough start, the holiday wrapper up quite nicely. Sunday, I utilized my new drill bit set to help me DIY a new counter top to display the new appliances. So its been a pretty productive weekend!

Fluff Brownies

serves 32 each tray/ 64 total

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 box Dark Fudge brownie mix
  • 2 15oz cans pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine all the ingredients well and transfer to two 9 by 13 baking dishes, sprayed well with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 40min.

Nutrition (1/64 of recipe):

Calories:70, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 76mg, Carbs: 12g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 1g

Variations:

  • Cheesecake: 8oz fat free cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (Swirl into batter)
  • Peppermint: 1 tsp peppermint extract into the batter, top with chocolate cream cheese icing and crushed sugar free peppermint
  • Salted Caramel Pretzel: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip and crushed salted pretzels
  • Turtle: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip, chopped pecans, and unsweetened coconut flakes

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Blend until smooth.

Happy Holidays from the Bundos!

 

Pin-tresting

Apples and cheese are a classic fondue pairing. So on Pintrest, it really doesn’t surprise me that there are so many apple-cheddar pies. Some put the cheese in the crust, others in the pie, and others on top. And it didn’t just stop at cheddar and pie. There was Brie, and gallettes, and hand pies, soups, and dips.

You all know my experimentality and how much I adore playing in the kitchen. Needless to say, Pintrest got my gears turning… Some food combos just taste odd together, like this grapefruit protein shake I made one time (not a good post, Pintrest)… But lets face it… bacon goes with EVERYTHING!

Apple-Cheddar-Bacon Pie

serves 8

  • 11 slices thin slice turkey bacon (2 slice for 35 calories)
  • 3 apples (enough to yield 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 in diameter), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely choppedWP_008337
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • salt and pepper, to top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-in pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and weave 8 slices of turkey bacon. Line the last three slices of bacon around the walls of the pie pan to create the crust. I found that making a little tear in the middle of those three slices helps keep the bacon from rolling down the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 min.

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In the meantime, core and thinly slice the apples. Then, cut your slices in half and measure 4 cups. Combine the apples, celery, and onion in a large skillet on medium heat with 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle with thyme, sage, garlic, Splendas, cinnamon, salt, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss the mixture. Whisk the cornstarch with cold water until dissolved and pour over apple mix. Recover with the lid until bacon crust finishes baking.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop 3/4 cup shredded cheddar. Set aside. Next, process the cereal until extremely fine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar to the processor, and blend until evenly distributed.

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Stir just the processed cheese into the apple mix, and transfer mix to the baked bacon, spreading the cheesy blend evenly over crust. Return to the 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the unsweetened applesauce to the processor of cheese and Fiber One crumbs and blend until a crumble is created. Get messy, and use your hands to crumble on top of the warm pie. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and return to the oven for a final 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, while you make the optional sauce.

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What really is the icing on the pie is this sweetened thyme yogurt sauce!

Thyme Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Blend and dollop!

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Rather than sticking with the sweet/tart, salty feel, I wanted something a little more savory. I was really impressed that the bacon crust stayed perfectly together when the pie was sliced. I was  even more impressed by the the afterthought of dressing up some yogurt. Thank goodness for that afterthought, too, because it tied all the sweet and savory flavors if the pie together.

Nutrition: (1/8 of pie and 1/2 Tbsp sauce)

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 391mg, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 10g

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I would imagine that this could also be served with an over-easy egg, where the yolk would act as the yogurt sauce.

I’ve sort of rediscovered my love for apples recently so you may see another apple pie riff sooner that you think.

Chocolate Angel

mass prodYes. I’ll admit it. I’m most definitely one of those Valentine’s Day cynics that think it was solely invented for the chocolate and greeting card companies. Actually, I feel about Valentine’s Day the way I feel about Christmas: once a day to be remembered, now corrupted and scewed by humans and selfishness. It’s technically the Feast Day of St. Valentine. Today, its a day that we tell everyone we love them, give candy, flowers, and cards, and overexert ourselves to impress someone else. Today is the day we persecute ourselves if we don’t have a date. But why just today? Shouldn’t we be telling those dear to us how much we love them everyday? Are we really any better or worse, with or without a date? Why just today? Shouldn’t we be performing random acts a kindness everyday, rather than picking one day a year to blow too much money on a dozen roses and a box of gourmet chocolates, that will die in a week and we know we will regret eating, anyway?

choc penis

With this lovey-dovey, Hallmark/Russel Stovers-centered week, coming to a close, I did begin to think about what I’d like to find in a partner. I guess you could call it my Match.com ideas:

I think a lot about the future. I know I’m 23. I’m young. I’m still a baby in this world, but my hopes and dreams are that far beyond my age. I want something real. A family man. An honest, hard worker. An animal and music lover, who appreciates black and white pictures and musicals. Who knows who Abbott and Costello, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, and the Rat Pack are. Someone who can dig The Twilight Zone. Someone who lets me cook for them. Someone who supports me, understands me, comforts me, and loves me despite how incredibly screwed up I am. Show me. Show me something real. That we are a team. That we can do anything, achieve anything. Be the people we want to be. Be successful, pay our bills, smile, laugh, cry, dance, sing, never go to be angry, go to Church, visit our families, and so, so much more…

Moving on and stepping off this soapbox, lets get to the goods… every channel I turn on is doing a million specials on chocolate. (Apparently, Valentine’s Day is the only day people consume chocolate.) So, in this chocolate theme, I give you a low calorie chocolate angel food cake and mixed berry compote. Sweet enough to get at those cravings but light enough to eat your feelings on V-Day and not feel guilty.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Mixed Berry Compote

based off Trisha Yearwood’s recipe.

serves 12

CakeWP_007684

  • 2/3 cup cake flour (measure after sifting)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Compote

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda (how sweet do you want it?)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 cup of Splenda. Set aside.

WP_007683Using an electric mixer, with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt until foamy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites and whip on high until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the remaining 3/4 cup Splenda, about 2 tablespoons at a time.

Using a spatula, gradually fold in the flour mix, about 1/4 cup at a time, into the peaked egg whites. Pour the batter into an ungreased 9-inch angel food cake pan and bake about 30 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour. While the cake os cooling, combine all compote ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, continually stirring, for 2-3 minutes. This makes about 1 1/4 cup of compote. Set aside to thicken and cool.

Once cooled, loosen the cake from the sides and center of the pan with a knife and remove cake from the pan. Sift the powdered sugar over the cooled cake. Slice into 12. Top each piece with 2 Tbsp of compote and dig into a light, yet decadent treat sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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The pairing of a slice and the compote comes to about 75 calories! I can dig that. In fact, I think I’ll dig in!

Clementine Bakery

If there isn’t a Flyer’s game on, you can pretty much guarantee that either FoodNetwork or Cooking Channel is on our TV. The other night, while watching Unique Sweets, one of the most mouth-watering-induced shows on television, a cake really caught my eye, and ironically, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. The episode featured a vegan bakery in New York called Clementine Bakery. Everything she bakes has fruit… but I never would have thought about baking grapefruit… Having just gotten two perfectly ripe grapefruit, I felt it was a sign to try my hand at her raspberry and grapefruit bread with glaze. I love the concept of baking with another citrus fruit, besides lemon!

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My first attempt was in a loaf, just as the bakery makes it. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the center to cook through, though that did not take away from the flavor.  I blanked on everything that the Clementine baker used besides grapefruit, raspberries,a glaze, oh, and that fact that its vegan. My goal was for it to resemble the density of pound cake… Come to think of it, I’ve never made a pound cake… Anyway… it turned into a loaf of beautiful colors an fresh tastes!

Raspberry Grapefruit Bread

makes 12

Batter:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 cup all purpose flourWP_005771
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda, granulated
  • 1/3 cup light buttery spread (like Brummel and Brown)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup grapefruit sections, about 1 large grapefruit, 1/4 cup juice reserved
  • 1 cup raspberries

Glaze:

  • 1 tsp confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda, granulated

Preheat oven to 375 to 400 F. Sift together flours, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and powder. Stir in the Splenda blends. In a separate bowl, blend the applesauce, buttery spread, vanilla, almond, and liquid eggs. Add the drained sectioned grapefruit and raspberries to the wet bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. (I added a tablespoon of the grapefruit juice to the batter just for a taste.) Transfer batter to a bread pan sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes.

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Combine the glaze ingredients and brush the top of the loaf. Rotate to pan 45 degrees and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes. Allow the loaf to cool before removing it from the pan to slice.

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If I would have had extra raspberries, I would have loved to make a raspberry glaze!

Serving Suggestion: After the loaf has cooled and been sliced, toast the slice. Dad and Barry both enjoyed it with a variety of toppings… peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, sugar-free jam, etc.

Nutrition (per slice):

Calories: 150, Fat: 2.1g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 212mg, Carbs: 27g, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugars: 7g, Protein: 4g

I was really impressed by Barry’s flavor palate. He told me how the different fruit flavors shown through more depending on the temperature of the bread. Way t use that palate, Barry!

On a side note:

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

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Everything is Better With Bacon

While mindless cruising the internet one night, Barry and I found a picture of a cinnamon roll with bacon in it… Yeah baby! I made these for breakfast the other day and served them with eggs to Barry and Dad. Dad, then took a baggie of them to work for a snack .

 

Sweet Bacon Rolls

makes 8WP_005831

  • 1 pkg Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 tsp granulated Splenda
  • 8 slices of Thin & Crispy Turkey Bacon (Butterball)

Preheat over to 350 F. Lay out a piece of plastic/saran wrap. Roll the crescent roll pieces out and pinch together the seems to create 1 large rectangle. Cover the dough with another piece of wrap and proceed to rollover it with a rolling pin or can, to make the dough seamless and to thin it out. Make sure you roll out the dough so a slice of bacon can perfectly lie across it. Remove the top plastic wrap.

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Combine the cinnamon, applesauce, and two Splenda blends. Brush the sweet paste over your rolled-out dough, to reach all the edges. Lay the bacon evenly spaced over the paste-covered dough. Begin to roll the dough up. I find the bottom layer of plastic wrap, really helps to evenly roll the dough. Slice the log into 8 pieces and arrange on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, and enjoy!

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Nutrition: (1 roll)

Calories: 123, Fat: 7.3g, Sat. Fat: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 7.1mg, Sodium: 310mg, Carbs: 12.3g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 4.1g, Protein: 2.5g

They were so buttery and tasty and went perfectly with eggs! I would most definitely suggest this for a bunch, a light on the go breakfast/snack, or to pair with eggs, like we did.

WP_005777There is just something so classic and addicting about the salty bacon and the sweetness from the applesauce and cinnamon.

We had one left that I left on the counter, before running a few errands. It mysteriously disappeared, but the wrapper magically appeared next to someone’s bed and a paw print was found at the scene of the crime…. Apparently Labs like these roll, too!

Two In One

I really could go on and on about my love of different fruits. Today is National Blueberry Pie Day so I wanted to do something with blueberries to celebrate. Ever since Barry and I started dating, my love of all things blueberries keeps growing. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of bananas, as you well remember Walnana!

You know when you but fruit, thinking it will be gone in no time, and suddenly realize “Oh darn! Its mushy”? Well, thats what was happening with the bowl of bananas on the counter. Almost completely black! Which, of course is perfect for baking!

Blueberry Banana Muffins!

make 16 cupcakes (12 muffins)

  • 1 cup mashed bananaWP_005748
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 to 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the bananas through Splenda. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon through oats. Fold in the blueberries and optional chia seeds. Divide amongst lined cupcake or muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the centers come out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for at least 10 minutes and dig in.

Nutrition (1/16 with 1/2Tbsp chia):

Calories: 74, Fat: 0.5g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 162mg, Carbs: 15.7g, Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 2.5g, Protein: 1.9g

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You will not regret the aromas that travel throughout your home! Heavenly!

For the sake of the blog, I cut each muffin in half, and experimented with toppings. So far, I can vouch for plain muffin, sweetened cream cheese (fat free cream cheese with a sprinkle of Splenda, smashed banana, and, of course, nut butter!

If I Only Had A Beer…

Barry and I have a a serious weakness for soft pretzels. In all honesty, anywhere, anytime describes our craving for the baked dough! Therefore, I set out to duplicate his favorite pretzel: Auntie Anne’s Jalapeno Pretzel.

Jalapeno Cheddar Pretzel

based off CCK’s recipe

makes 12WP_005723

  • 1 cup flax milk
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp or 1 packet yeast
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 2 Tbsp light butter spread
  • 1/2 cup pickle jalapeno slices, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulate garlic
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour, for dusting
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese, finely chopped
  • more chopped jalapeno slices, if desired

Heat the milk and white sugar in the microwave for about 1 minute. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and set aside. (After about 5 minutes, the yeast with foam and bubble.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and brown sugars. Cut in the butter spread. Combine with the yeast mixture, using your hands or stand mixer for around 5 minutes. (The dough will be tacky.)

Cover the large bowl of dough with a towel, and put in a warm place 70 minutes. (I microwave the bowl for 30-40 seconds and leave it in the microwave to rise). Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Proceed to spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. In a separate container, dissolve the baking soda in the warm water, and set aside.

Using your hands, mix in the chopped jalapeno and granulated garlic. Divide the risen, sticky dough into 12 even pieces (6 for larger pretzels). Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the remaining flour around the first piece of dough. Roll it out into a thin strip of dough and make into your pretzel shape. (The technique Auntie Anne’s uses is a lot harder than it looks). Dip your shaped pretzel into the baking soda, shake to dry, and place pretzels on the sprayed parchment. Repeat this with the remaining dough.

Evenly sprinkle the chopped cheddar, and additional jalapenos, if desired, over the pretzels and bake for about 22 minutes. Just keep an eye on them after about 18 minutes.

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Nutrition (1/12):

Calories: 119, Fat: 1.1g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 0.6mg, Sodium: 141.6mg, Carbs: 22g, Fiber: 1.8g, Sugar: 2.2g, Protein: 4.6g

Even if you make 6 large pretzels, this recipe saves you about hundred calories  and half the fat, from the Annie’s alternative!!

What a concept!

After making these, I met up with Barry and a few friends to celebrate a birthday. Upon arriving (I was late since I had work), Barry had a plate with about 3 bites of some cheesy, doughy thing on it. “I saved you the last bit of this…” What is it? It was a soft pretzel smothered in crab dip, monterey jack cheese, and green onions.

On the next batches of pretzels I have two goals:

  • Make my crab dip and smother my homemade jalapeno cheddar pretzel!
  • Work on perfecting a version of Auntie Anne’s Sweet Almond pretzel! That is truly my weakness when I’m at the mall! I can smell it 2o stores away!

A Blue Goat?

If you weren’t sure, I am a huge Triple D fan! Barry and I were watching one night and I was so intrigued when I saw one chef make a pie using goat cheese and blueberries… Does that even go together? Oh yeah, and there was basil in it, too!

minion

I know, right?

Anyway, I was super intrigued and immediately had to play with the concept. As I googled, I was lucky enough to find the recipe on foodnetwork.com! The owner of 3 Sister’s Cafe, on my “Too Visit and Eat” List, gave their recipe! Thanks, Moira Sommers, for the recipe and inspiration!

After review, I did my normal brainstorming and created my version: A calorie, fat, and sugar slashing torte-like pie that can be eaten as breakfast, brunch, or dessert. I warn you, though, its pretty damn delicious!

Basil and Blue Goat Torte

serves 12

Crust:

  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 2 sheets (8 crackers) cinnamon graham crackers, low fat
  • 3 Tbsp Splenda, granulated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemonWP_005579
  • 1/4 cup soft buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup Chavrie sweet basil goat cheese*
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp basil, fresh, finely chopped*
  • 5 cups blueberries

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup almonds, whole
  • 1/4 cup Splenda, granulated
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp, plus 1/2 tsp unsweetened applesauce

* If unable to find goat cheese with basil, simply use plain chavrie and add an extra tablespoon if chopped basil.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cereal, graham crackers, Splenda, cinnamon, and 1/2 the lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are a crumb consistency. Melt the butter spread. Add 2 Tbsp water to butter (add extra tablespoon of water, if needed), and pour butter mixture onto crumbs. Using your hands, combine the mixture and press onto a ceramic torte dish, that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Once the crust has been pressed, bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the goat cheese, yogurt, liquid egg substitute, Splenda brown sugar, salt, the remaining lemon zest, and flour. Once combined, fold in the basil and blueberries.Set aside until crust has baked. Once the crust has baked, transfer the blueberry cream into the crust. Side aside while making the topping.

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Place the whole almonds in the food processor and pulse until the almonds have crumbled, but not the point of utter pulverization. Combine the remaining streusel ingredients. Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping over the settled pie. Don’t be afraid to get your fingers dirty and evenly spread the topping. Return the pie to the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn the pie 180 degrees and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Allow the pie to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

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As I took my first bight, my mom couldn’t take her eyes off me. Words began to stumble out, as I continued to put more of this dish in my mouth. MMMMM, savory, tart, sweet, delicious, MMMM… “What is wrong with you?” Oh man! It’s just so good!

I was dazzled by its beauty! The way the yogurt and goat cheese firmed up marbled the pie through the blueberries! And the crust and the almond streusel that sandwiched that tart torte! Oh man! Just, wow!

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Nutrition: (per slice, 1/12 recipe)

Calories: 154, Fat: 5.7g, Sat. Fat: 1.4g, Cholesterol: 7.1mg, Sodium: 116g, Carbs: 23.4g, Fiber: 4.8g, Sugar: 11.5g, Protein: 4.5g

I hope you all enjoy as much I do!