Apple_Cake_2

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.

Apple_Cake_1

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.

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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. :)

Strawberry_Pie_1

Strawberry_Pie_2

Christmas breakfast: single-sized strawberry pie

Strawberry_Pie_3

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??

On Wednesday I posted a picture of pannekoeken I made for dinner. Pannekoek is a Dutch pancake, kind of like a thick crepe and is served flat rather than rolled. It uses more milk and less eggs than crepes and can be topped with sweet or savory foods.

Pannekoek restaurant in The Netherlands.

My husband’s grandma, Hermine (or Omi), and her husband, Lodewijk. Omi ate the entire pannekoek, and drank all her milk!

I like making it for weekend breakfasts, which gives me some time to experiment with ingredients to see how to make the perfect pannekoek. This recipe below is simple and satisfying, and I think that’s what makes it perfect!

Weights and Measures. This is probably the only repeat recipe where I use a kitchen scale to measure the flour. This should be the ideal way to measure any dry ingredient in baking (which I don’t always do) but even with a simple recipe like this, it’s good to be consistent.

Hey, batter, batter! I can tell you that spelt flour, or a combination of spelt and all-purpose flour, does not make a good pannekoek. Neither does substituting soy or almond milk, but you can certainly get away with using 1% lowfat milk.  Also, be sure to not over mix the batter. By pouring the egg and milk mixture into the middle of the flour “well”, you can stir and grab flour from the sides (see photo below). If you feel the urge to give that batter a good beating, just stir with your opposite hand to slow it down. :)

Take five…or fifteen…or thirty. The recipes I come across doesn’t instruct you to let the batter rest, but one day while my husband was fixing the car (or lawn mower, or something mechanical), I let the batter rest for a good half hour until he was ready for breakfast. This waiting period allowed the flour to absorb the liquids, the gluten to develop, and air bubbles to escape to freedom. The result: tender-er pannekoeken!

There’s a pouring technique?  There is also a technique to pouring the batter into the pan that I like: instead of pouring a pool of batter and letting it spread out in all directions, I pour the batter in a spiral pattern. Does it make the pannekoek cook more evenly? I think so!

That’s about it for my way of making a simple comfort dish. Hope you give it a try!

Pannekoeken

Pannekoeken met Appel en Krenten (Dutch Pancakes with Apples and Currants)
2 servings, makes four 10-inch pannekoeken

150 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
300 mL 1% lowfat milk (2% and whole milk is fine, too)
2 large eggs, beaten, less 2 teaspoons
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (for cooking apples and oiling the pan)
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4″ thin (Fuji apples are good, as well as Comice pears)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2-1/3 cup currants or chopped raisins, divided
cinnamon
stroop (Dutch syrup), maple syrup, or amber agave syrup

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt with a whisk. Make well in center. Add egg to milk & combine. Pour into center of flour mixture, gradually mix wet ingredients into dry, do not over mix. Let batter sit for 15 minutes (you’ll see air bubbles forming on the surface.) Transfer the mixture back into your measuring cup, you should have two cups of batter. (Add more milk, if needed.)

Apples are caramelized with butter and brown sugar.

While batter rests, in a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When butter starts to bubble and begins to brown (about a minute) add sliced apples and cook for 3-5 minutes until the undersides begin to brown. Turn over pieces, sprinkle in brown sugar, 1/4 cup currants and another tablespoon butter, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes more or until tender and apples are nicely caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer to plate and scrape pan of any remaining sauce with rubber spatula. Set apples aside while you make pannekoeken.

These cook fast so add the currants as soon as the batter is poured.

In same pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and immediately sprinkle on about 1 teaspoon currants. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute or until underside of pannekoek begins to brown and top begins to firm up. Turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Top with 1/4 of cooked apples and currants, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and lightly drizzle with syrup of your choice. Transfer to plate and make second pannekoek. (NOTE: since these cook really fast, my husband and I ate the first two, then I finished making the other two and then we eat those.)

I hope you give this recipe a try for your weekend brunch. It’s a nice alternative to regular pancakes, and grown ups and kids will love ’em. Eet smakelijk!

Since the pan wasn’t hot enough when I made the first pannekoek the texture was “doughier” and more pliable. I filled it with apples and currants, rolled it and re-fried it. Still delicious!

Our theme for October’s Recipe Redux has to do with one of my favorite colors: orange! “Orange You Glad It’s Fall?” I certainly am!

Markets are plentiful with the colors of autumn including pumpkin, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and even golden beets. Not only are these produce bursting with fall flavors but they are also chocked full of carotenoid antioxidants.

No matter how they look, pumpkins are loaded with carotenoids!

What’s a car…carrot…caroten…that thing you said? ker-ROT-n-oids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. Fruits and veggies in red, orange, and yellow (hey, fall colors!) have various concentrations of this. Even leafy greens like kale and spinach contain the yellow carotenoid hidden beneath a healthy concentration of chlorophyll. Vitamin A helps protect your cells against damaging free radicals, improves your immune system…and you know the old saying about how carrots are good for your eyesight? Well with all that beta-carotene,  there just might be some truth to what mom used to say at dinner time!

After making the Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding for the “How to Tofu” challenge sponsored by the National Soyfoods Council, not only have I been eating a lot of tofu (and scrapping several failed recipes), I’ve been craving the delicious taste of pumpkin. So much so that I’d like to share two pumpkin recipes with you today!

Recipe 1: Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
I love baking with spelt flour. It’s more substantial than regular white flour but can still result in tender cakes with the addition of fats, such as coconut oil. Plus, if you’re sensitive to wheat products but not allergic, spelt flour is easier on your stomach. Here I’m using several coconut ingredients: coconut extract, coconut milk, coconut oil, and dried coconut. Am I coo coo for coconut? You bet!

I asked my husband what he thought of these and he said, “It tastes like windmill cookies (spekulaas)…in cake form!”

mini pumpkin coconut muffins

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
These tender muffins are filled with warm spices and delicate coconut flavor. 

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon allspice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic (or non-organic) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted (or cooking oil)
1/2 cup organic coconut milk, such as Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (or almond milk, soy moo or moo juice)
unsweetened coconut flakes

*alternatively, use 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients until well blended. Add to dry ingredients (mixture will be thick).

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular sized muffins, bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Makes  approximately 20 regular muffins, 40 mini muffins.


Recipe 2: Pumpkin Risotto:
After buying a few pumpkins at Frog Pond Produce Stand to decorate our front door I had pumpkins on my mind…again. I wanted a cozy, comforting pumpkin dish for dinner. What could be cozier than a creamy risotto?

Warm up a chilly evening with this creamy pumpkin risotto.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto, serves 2
Sage, nutmeg and allspice makes this dish warm and savory with a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

1/2 pie pumpkin, seeded (about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon dried sage, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an 8″x8″ pan, add 1/2″ water. Place pumpkin cut side down in pan, carefully score with a knife. Spray outside with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft. Let cool for a few minutes, drain any remaining water from baking dish. Peel off pumpkin skin (I actually like to eat it!) and mash the filling in the baking dish with a fork. Set aside.

After the roast.

Pumpkin is very tender, removing skin and mashing with fork will be a cinch.

In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook for 1 minute. Add sage and salt, cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add onions, cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

In the same frying pan over medium heat, add risotto and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed, adding 1/2 cup more each time but don’t let the pan dry out. Stir frequently and keep adding broth and cook for 20 minutes. Risotto should be chewy, almost done.

If you like, replace 1/2 cup of the broth with a wheat beer or white wine.

After 20 minutes add half of roasted pumpkin (about 1 cup) to risotto, stirring well. Add rest of pumpkin, remaining sage and salt, and red pepper flakes and nutmeg, stirring well for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and onions and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Add more salt to taste.

Serve on a bed of spinach or lightly steamed kale, topped with roasted pumpkin pieces. Enjoy!

Check out other nutritious fall favorites from fellow Recipe Redux members:


Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is continuing our “Summer Staples” theme, and with the abundance some of you home gardeners may have, one summer staple is a vegetable that can be eaten raw, baked, fried, sauteed, and juiced: zucchini! As mentioned in yesterday’s Flavor of the Week post, zucchini is not my favorite veggie, so I am coming up with ways to make this extremely nutritious veggie more appetizing.

This morning’s breakfast was an experiment with zucchini muffins. The last time I tried making a chocolate zucchini cake it was horrible and actually had a fishy taste! I don’t know what happened but I never want to make another chocolate zucchini cake for a long, long time. So I decided to make breakfast muffins…with the chocolate sprinkled on top! The texture of the muffin is light and spongy, it’s moist, and has enough sweetness from both the brown sugar and chopped dates sprinkled throughout. Having chocolate chips on the top rather than stirred in the batter makes the muffins look like they’re bursting with chips, and you can easily make some plain ones by leaving them off:

Zucchini muffins, with and without chocolate chips

My lunches have still been the same fruit salads with yogurt:

Recycled picture, but all my fruit salads look pretty much like this!

This dinner was from a couple weeks ago. It’s steamed rice, venison burger, and a fried egg, all smothered with homemade giblet gravy. For those of you not familiar with Hawaii cuisine, this is what’s called a loco moco:

Venison Loco Moco with veggies

You can add steamed veggies, mushrooms, onions and it’ll still be a loco moco. Just start it off with rice, a burger patty (veggie is ok!,) a fried egg, and gravy. If you have homemade gravy, it’s even better (quick gravy: heat up 2  tablespoons oil in a frying pan on medium heat, add equal amount of flour, stir for a few minutes until light brown. Slowly add 1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken or beef broth and stir quickly with wooden spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup white wine, simmer another couple minutes until desired thickness. Add salt to taste, serve.)

Here’s the recipe for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins. Shredded zucchini adds moisture and bulk and helps to cut down on the amount of oil used. Spelt flour gives it a more grainy texture and is good for people who have a wheat intolerance (note: spelt does contain gluten, so make adjustments if you are on a gluten-free diet.) I picked the zucchini this morning and started making the muffins about ten minutes later, can’t get fresher zucchini than that! :)

Wheat-free zucchini muffins, with or without chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Reserve any leftover liquid or shredded zucchini, there’s lots of vitamins and minerals!

1 large zucchini
1/2 cup pitted and chopped dates (about 10)
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (wheat flour or gluten-free flour blend OK)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon table salt)
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup oil (note: melt coconut oil, if using)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (note: Ghirardelli has gluten-free chocolate chips, Nestle does not)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or grease with nonstick spray, set aside.

Peel outer skin off zucchini, discard. Using small holes of a box grater, shred zucchini. Place in basket strainer over measuring cup or bowl, pressing gently with spatula do squeeze out more liquid. You should get 4-5 ounces of zucchini juice. Soak dates in zucchini water, leaving strainer over the bowl/measuring cup, set aside.

Drink this later, it’s good for you!

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center, add egg and egg white. Beat with a fork or wire whisk, add oil and beat until combined, stirring in flour a little at a time. Add 3/4 cups shredded zucchini (you will have some leftover, save it for a smoothie!) and stir to combine. Drain soaked dates and add to batter, stirring well to combine (reserve liquid for your next protein shake or smoothie.)

Pour about 1/4 cup batter into prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 15 minutes, cool for a few minutes before enjoying.

What’s your favorite home-grown veggie? How about your favorite farmer’s market find? I’d love to hear from you!

If ever there was a fruit that says picnics, barbecues, and summertime fun all in one word, then that would be our Flavor of the Week…watermelon!

Even kitties need some refreshment! Image source: http://aboutalex.blogspot.com

There’s nothing like chewing into a big, fat slice of this summertime treat, both hands holding a two-inch thick piece with juices running down your arms as you challenge your sister to see who can spit seeds the farthest across the driveway.

There’s nothing like a refreshing slice on a hot summer day, but if you care to enjoy this vitamin-rich fruit, try it in a smoothie for a light and refreshing breakfast or snack (if you like pineapple smoothies, here is last week’s post with a pretty pineapple lassi photo.)

Watermelon lassi with protein powder boost

Watermelon Lassi – Combine 6oz. Greek-style nonfat yogurt and 2 cups watermelon chunks in a blender. Boost: add 1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder. Makes 20 ounces of deliciousness with approximately 210 calories and zero fat.

For something more substantial, just add granola and a handful of blueberries:

Watermelon-Berry Breakfast Bowl – In a cereal bowl, add 6 oz nonfat yogurt, 1/2 cup chopped watermelon and 1/4 cup fresh blueberries. Garnish with a tablespoon more of yogurt and top with a sprinkle of granola and chopped mint.

In the following weeks you will see more posts of healthier meals and fewer baked goodies. I know, it makes me a little sad to not enjoy the comforts of homemade cakes and cookies for the time being, but I am trying out a new exercise and meal plan to get stronger, have more energy and cut out extra fat in my diet as much as possible. It will be a nice change, and a challenge for me physically as I try out new exercises, but that’s what makes it more fun!

Here’s an excerpt from the Ayurvedic cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal. In the chapter “Food as Medicine,” where they talk about the  Essential Ingredients for Health. It’s motivating and inspiring, and reminds us of our uniqueness:

Exercise Your Body and Mind. Physical activity keeps the inner motors of the body running with ease. Through exercising in accordance wit your underlying make-up, you have the ability to keep your body young and vibrant…in order to keep your mind clear and bright, also remember to exercise (your) inner talents and passions…if you regularly exercise your body and mind, you will help exorcise all imbalances and illness.”

Have a great week, everyone!

Don’t these oranges look delicious? (Image source: http://www.growcitrus.com)

Yes, it’s the old knock-knock joke that could go on and on until you decide to say ‘orange’! One of my favorites to tell, but not to listen to. ;)

It’s been a couple years since I bought oranges, much less ate them. When I started following the Blood Type Diet, there were some fruits that I was supposed to avoid: mango, cantaloupe, papaya, tomatoes, and oranges, for example. I did well on that diet, and some foods I could easily do without…like oranges.

But it wasn’t until last week when I made a batch of  raw Orange Cranberry Oatmeal scones* that I felt like I had to incorporate this fruit into my diet once again. It wasn’t the flavor of these scones that did it (which were awesome, btw) but the fragrant, vibrant, juicyness of the fruit when you slice it, and especially when you zest it. The navel oranges I got were the size of grapefruits, and were incredibly sweet and juicy. Each of these oranges would yield 8 ounces of fresh-squeezed juice, plus some nice bits of pulp that I like to chew on.

Long after eating the scones, the fresh orange taste was still stuck in my head and I needed more of an orange fix. I decided to modify my wheat-free carrot-apple-ginger cake into an orange date cake. This being the first orange cake I made, I think it was a success! After ten minutes in the oven, the kitchen already smelled phenomenal. The taste and aroma from the crazy amount of orange zest made this an incredibly fragrant cake (if our neighbors lived any closer, their noses would be pressing up against my windows!) It’s a moist cake, heavier than a regular wheat flour cake, and I felt that the coconut oil had a more neutral taste than vegetable oil. I used only 1 cup of sugar compared to 2 cups normally called for in a cake recipe, but you won’t miss it. The dates, orange juice and apples give it more than enough sweetness.

*from Judita Wignall’s Going Raw cookbook

This not-too sweet orange date cake is great for breakfast, at home or on the go.

Orange Date Cake
It’s important that you use fresh orange zest and fresh orange juice! 

7 medjool dates, pitted, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
6 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice, with pulp
zest from 2 extra-large navel oranges (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup peeled, cored, finely chopped apple
1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 jumbo navel oranges)
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
additional zest for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Soak the dates in orange juice for 15-2o minutes (you can also soak it overnight in the fridge)

In a large mixing bowl (I use my standing mixer bowl,) combine spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & brown sugar. Stir in shredded carrots and orange zest, breaking apart clumps with your fingers.

Make a well in the center of your flour mix. Add eggs and coconut oil, beating well then slowly incorporating flour. Stir in date and orange juice.

Use the following baking times, or bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean

bundt pan: 33-35 minutes
9″ cake pan: 33-35 minutes
paper-lined muffin tins: 18 minutes
mini bundt cake pan (cake pictured below): 25 minutes

Fresh oranges make all the difference.