Desserts


Hi, folks! I’ve been away for quite some time, mostly because the third trimester of pregnancy has sapped my energy and creativity in the kitchen. I apologize for the long silence, and most likely won’t be posting any new recipes until after the baby arrives.

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Me at 35 weeks.

I hadn’t realized how tiring pregnancy is, especially now at 37 weeks! My garden is full of weeds, I don’t want to cook, and grocery shopping isn’t so much fun, anymore. All my plans to prepare frozen meals and keep healthy snacks on hand have gone out the window–I just don’t care at this point, I just want to have the baby, already!

Last month we were invited to a neighbor’s for barbecue and wanted to bring something you’d normally see at Hawaii get-togethers. I asked my sister for her Mochi Cake recipe, thinking desserts are a good way to introduce new foods to people. I make a chocolate version for those of you that want to give it a try, and either recipe will yield a chewy, spongy mochi cake that’s a nice change of pace from sheet cakes or brownies.

I don’t think our neighbors have ever had anything like it before, and everyone seemed to enjoy both flavors of mochi cake. It’s gluten-free and, if you use coconut oil and water instead of milk, dairy-free, too!

I didn’t take pictures of the dessert itself, but here are pictures I got off the Internet of some of the specialty ingredients:

   

Mochiko (sweet rice flour, gluten-free), frozen shredded coconut, instant espresso powder.

Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 C frozen shredded coconut (DON’T use the dried stuff you find by the boxed cake mixes, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz. can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

Keep uneaten portions in an airtight counter for up to 2 days.

Double Chocolate Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (such as Megdaglia d’Oro)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup frozen shredded coconut, defrosted (DON’T use the dried stuff, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups (can find it at some supermarkets or Asian store)
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips OR pour batter into pan and sprinkle chips on top.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

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It’s week 21 of my pregnancy, and I’m starting to feel the weight of the baby right on my bladder, not to mention the occasional muscle spasms which indicate my body “practicing” for delivery, and what I’m guessing is to be some movement of our little brotchen:

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He’s looking nice and healthy…and yes, it’s a BOY!!!

Here’s proof of the gender:

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Butt shot with a clear view. :)

Food = Fatigue? I’ve been feeling really tired the past several days, and I wasn’t sure why. Sleep was okay, exercising was okay (when I wasn’t too tired) but I was still struggling to keep my eyes open after breakfast. I decided to change up what I was eating, starting with breakfast. No more peanut butter and toast, even with a cup of calcium-fortified soy moo. Maybe cutting out the wheat would help, at least for breakfast (including sprouted grain breads.)

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Clockwise from top: coconut biscuit, apple cinnamon raisin, and pumpkin muffin with almond sprinkles.

Grain, Grain, Go Away I came across several grain-free muffin recipes from wellnessmama.com the other day, and boy, are they GOOD! I made three versions already: apple cinnamon (with raisins), pumpkin, and also some coconut biscuits to serve with some buffalo chili we had last night. They all were delicious, and since they were grain free it was a great way to see if grains–including my sprouted wheat toast–may have contributed to my all-day fatigue.

The Results were Inspiring Well, I certainly didn’t feel like taking a nap after eating those delicious muffins, so maybe I’m on the right track. More protein than your average muffin, low in carbs, and they contains healthy fats. It’s wonderfully moist and tastes even better cold–and not many muffins can brag about that! So taken was I by wellnessmama’s muffins, I wanted to make a chocolate version. Following her cinnamon apple muffin recipe, I made a few modifications. The result: a light, sponge-like chocolate cake-muffin dotted with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s makes a delicious snack, or even a bonus to your already healthy breakfast. Now who’s ready for a grain-free muffin?

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Moist cakes with a slightly spongy texture and rich chocolate flavor.

Double Chocolate Muffins inspired by wellnessmama’s grain-free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten-free ones such as Enjoy Life, if you’re allergic)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients (not chocolate chips.) Push to the sides, making a well in the center. To the middle of the bowl, add eggs, apple sauce, agave syrup, vanilla, and coconut oil. Blend wet ingredients on medium-high speed for a few seconds, then incorporate dry ingredients by “grabbing” flour mixture from the sides with the beaters and blend until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips. (NOTE: batter may be liquidy, so to keep chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom, sprinkle on muffin tops after baking for 2 minutes–batter will firm up–then return to oven and bake for the remaining time.)

Using a 1/4 cup scoop, fill 12 muffin tins. Sprinkle top with extra chocolate chips, if you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a little bit of a moist crumb. Cool on a wire rack.

You can store these muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or tightly wrap in foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Be sure to visit www.wellnessmama.com for other delicious recipes as well as tips and ideas on making homemade cleaning products, beauty treatments, and other information on easier, healthier living.

ahhh...heavenly!

ahhh…heavenly!

A few days ago I got one of those warehouse-sized 4-flavor packs of cupcakes–and I had no problem putting them in my pregnant belly. There were coconut, red velvet, carrot and double-chocolate cakes, all deliciously moist, but topped with incredibly sugary frostings. Though they look almost too pretty to eat (almost) and I love variety packs of anything, making my own cakes give me the option of using more of the healthy ingredients and less of the not-so-healthy ones. I already have a delicious recipe for carrot apple ginger cake, so all I needed was a nice frosting to go with it.

Lemons to enhance and balance
I love using lemons in a lot of dishes, sweet or savory. Store bought cream cheese frosting is pretty sweet, so I used only a tablespoon of powdered sugar, left out the butter and relied on vanilla soy milk to add some flavor. The lemon juice rounded out that sugar and gave it a nice tarty sweetness. Adding lemon zest or orange zest made it fragrant and just about perfect!

My internet was down all day Tuesday, so what better time than to try this out? Enjoy!

Carrot apple ginger cake topped with creame cheese frosting and orange zest

Carrot apple ginger cake topped with creame cheese frosting and orange zest


Cream Cheese Frosting with Lemon or Orange Zest
You can also substitute goat cheese for the cream cheese.

Ingredients:
8oz block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened (about 20 min at room temp.)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla soy or almond milk
juice of 1 lemon, about 2-3 tablespoons
zest of 2 lemons or oranges, reserving 1 tablespoon

Directions:
In a small bowl, use a fork and mash cheese with powdered sugar. Stir in soy or almond milk and lemon juice, combine until smooth. If still lumpy, let sit for 5 minutes and stir again. Stir in lemon or orange zest. Spread frosting over cakes, top with reserved fresh lemon or orange zest.

At 17 weeks pregnant I’m trying to be more conscious of choosing foods that have more nutritional bang for your buck. Of course, not everything that goes down my gut is 100% good-for-you food (I like Burger King’s breakfast combo: bacon & egg muffin sammies with those golden hash brown coins…yummm!) but I do try and make the extra effort when it comes to home-prepped meals, particularly with breakfast.

Why Shimmy When You Can Shake?
During my second month of pregnancy I started eating tons of fruit high in Vitamin C (pineapple, oranges, strawberries, kiwi) and drinking lots of ice water, which I never really enjoyed (it had to be hot or room temp with lemon. For some reason, my stomach didn’t like plain/cold water.) Seeing how I needed more water and a lot of nutrients for the growing baby, I figured the best way would be to introduce shakes into my diet. They’re easy to prepare, you can make a big batch to last several days, and the flavors are delicious!

Natural (Ingredient) Selection
First off, I know dairy is not my friend. Milk bloats me up and makes me tired, so I use either soy or almond milk or both  (NOTE: almond milk has no protein, so consider adding a protein boost of some kind when making your breakfast shakes.)

Next, I like the versatility tofu. After doing the “How to Tofu” challenge in October, I learned quite a bit about this food, and learning that it contained plant estrogens that may help with hot flashes was what I needed to combat my night sweats. (waking up at 2 a.m. in a 55 degree bedroom drenched in sweat is no fun, because as soon as that cold air hits you–brrr!)

Of course, shakes have to be nice and thick. Lots of you may have enjoyed Overnight Oats where you soak your oatmeal in milk in the fridge overnight and eat it for breakfast the next morning. Adding a bit of oatmeal to your shake will do a nice job of thickening it up, especially if you let it sit for a day or two.

Finally, I needed some flavor. Chocolate? You bet! Orange? Of course! Berries? Fiber- and vitamin-rich, how can you go wrong? But don’t stop there, you got peanut butter, banana, peach, coconut, pineapple, vanilla, apple, passion fruit, pumpkin…just think of those delicious frozen yogurt flavors and you’ll come up with something creative and delicious!

The Results?
Thick, creamy, flavorful, and filled with lots of good stuff for you and your baby (if you got one in there!) These shakes are around 300 calories each and I try to make it so you get 10 grams of protein in per serving.

Basic Tofu Shake Mix
Incredibly easy!

1 box Mori-Nu Silken Lite Tofu
2 tablespoons light agave syrup
3 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oatmeal
12-16 oz light vanilla soy milk
4 oz coconut milk (or use more soy milk)

Directions: Add everything to a blender and mix on medium speed until combined. Use one of the flavor variations below or make your own. Refrigerate unused portion for up to 5 days.

Now this shake says, "Good morning!"

Now this shake says “Good morning!”

Orange Bang Protein Shake
Reminiscent of those whipped fruit drinks served at gas stations and Orange Julius’s everywhere!

Ingredients:
Half recipe of tofu shake mix (recipe above)
2-3 tablespoons frozen concentrated orange juice
½ scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vitacost Soy Protein Powder, vanilla flavor)
zest from 1 orange (eat the orange after zesting, it’s good for you!)
Crushed ice
additional water to thin

Directions: Mix everything in blender on medium speed until combined, adding additional water to thin, if necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Mixed Berry Shake
Fresh and fruity, but watch out for seeds if you’re using raspberries or blackberries!

Ingredients:
¾ cup frozen mixed berries
Half recipe of Tofu shake mix (recipe above)
additional water or vanilla almond or soy milk
additional agave syrup or stevia

Directions: Add frozen strawberries or mixed berries to blender FIRST and blend on medium speed until chopped finely, turning off motor and scraping down sides as necessary. Add tofu shake mix and blend until combined, thinning with water or almond or soy milk. Pour into glass and enjoy.

This shake gets its thickness from tofu and oatmeal!

Orange zest is perfect to brighten up the heavier chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Orange Protein Shake (my favorite!)
I love letting this sit in the fridge for a day or two because it gets extra thick

Ingredients:
Half recipe of tofu shake mix
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
Zest of 1 orange (eat the orange after zesting, it’s good for you!)
additional vanilla almond or soy milk
additional agave syrup or stevia

Directions: add tofu shake mix to blender and start on low speed. Open chute and add cocoa powder through zest. Add almond or soy milk to thin out and sweeten with additional agave syrup or stevia, if necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.

So what’s your favorite way to shake up your breakfast and snacks?

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Topped with fresh apples and tart lemon sauce that soaks into the not-too-sweet cake.

This is a modified version of an apple cake recipe from the book, Cook Right 4 Your Type, a book that teaches about eating according to your blood type. It’s filled with a lot of great recipes and lists of foods that you should eat or avoid according to your blood type (A, B, AB, or O). I’ve tried this diet a few years ago and it certainly has helped reduce my fatigue, get rid of the constant bloated feeling I always had (even after eating only half the food on my plate), and drop a few pounds without having to count calories.

This version of the Blood Type Diet’s apple cake has a blend of flours, the addition of yogurt, and brown sugar instead of white  in the batter. I made a few other tweaks to enhance the flavor and texture without making it too sweet. This cake would be a wonderful alternative to a breakfast muffin and is terrific with afternoon tea. The fresh apples and tart lemon flavor are perfect with a touch of cinnamon and tastes great while still piping hot from the oven.

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Invert the cake onto a plate and serve while still steaming.

Upside Down Apple Cake, serves 9
If you don’t have oat or buckwheat flour you can just use spelt or all-purpose flour

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided (make sure it’s nice and fragrant!)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt (like Chobani)
1/2 cup vanilla almond or soy milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a square 9″x9″ baking dish or round cake pan, melt butter in oven.

While butter is melting, combine dry flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Remove baking dish from oven, pour in 1/4 cup melted butter and leave the rest in dish. Combine with a wire whisk.

Make a well in center of dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients, fold with a spatula to combine, do not over mix.

Arrange sliced apples on bottom of buttered baking dish in overlapping pattern. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Drizzle lemon juice over apples.

Gently pour cake batter into pan, ensuring all apple slices are covered. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted halfway in center of cake comes out clean. Enjoy immediately.

I’ve been craving strawberries. And not just regular delicious strawberries, but the big, juicy ones you can find in the pies at Anna Miller’s next to Pearlridge Center on Oahu:

It’s a coffee shop restaurant with a good assortment of comfort foods like omelets, tuna melts, BLTs, roast beef, and are open 24 hours. They’ve also got a good selection of homemade pies, my favorites would be the Chocolate Haupia Pie and the Strawberry Pie.

Here’s a terrific recipe for strawberry pie from Brown Eyed Baker. She also provides a recipe for a delicious flaky crust, so if you don’t have a favorite crust recipe handy, this one will do the trick. The recipe calls for 3 pounds of strawberries, but the larger size containers at the supermarket came in 2 pounds so I just reduced the ingredients by 1/3. I used a 5 1/2″ springform pan the first time (which leaked strawberry syrup in the fridge, so be careful if you use a springform pan!) and the second time I used 4 small tart pans, which fit all but 2 large strawberries. I also ate some of the pie with plain nonfat Chobani yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder–good stuff! The protein powder made the Greek-style yogurt even more thick, it made for a deliciously healthy breakfast. :)

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Christmas breakfast: single-sized strawberry pie

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These mini pie pans are perfect for single-serve strawberry pies!

Be sure to get the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, it’ll be a great pick-me-up for the winter!

What are some of your winter cravings? Anything out-of-season, out-of-state, or even out of the country??

Here is a Dutch holiday cookie recipe that’s flavored with sugar and spice and everything nice! Some say this recipe is for kruidnoten (spice nuts), others know it better as pepernoten (pepper nuts). Whatever the history behind this is, all I know is that it tastes great!

Pepernoten_1

Pepernoten
Why wait for Sinterklaas? Make a batch to enjoy anytime!

50 g (1/4 cup) butter
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
2 tablespoon milk
150 g (1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground anise
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk and set aside. Add dry ingredients plus milk to butter and sugar and work into a dough, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Wrap dough tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle and lets the flavors develop.

 

Divide dough into 4-5 pieces. Work each piece into ropes (or snakes, if you prefer) about the thickness of your finger and cut off nugget-sized pieces.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet, bake at for 8-10 minutes or until darker and cracks form on the top. Cool on wire wrack before storing in airtight container. Makes about 160 pepernoten.

About 80 cookies can fit on one cookie sheet.

About 80 cookies can fit on one cookie sheet.

 

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