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.

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.

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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??

On Tuesday I posted a recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Brownies and now here’s the chocolate chip version!

If you are tired of using rice flour in your brownies, try these out. The mixture of oat and buckwheat flour plus roasted pumpkin (or sweet potato, if you prefer) is the right combination to make a rich, dense, chocolaty brownie…like this one:

Chocolate chip brownies: moist, delicious, and gluten-free.


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Brownies,
makes 16 squares

Ingredients:

3/4 cup mashed roasted pumpkin, pumpkin puree, or mashed roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia D’Oro)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips (such as Ghiardelli) or pecans, or both

Directions:

Combine roasted pumpkin or sweet potato with chopped dates. Cover and refrigerate least 2 hours so dates can absorb moisture from the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8″x8″ pan with foil, allowing 2″ of overhang on sides. Coat with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine wet ingredients (pumpkin through vanilla). Set aside.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) with a whisk. Make a well in center and pour in wet ingredients. Mix until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips or pecans, patting lightly with fingers to set the chips into the batter. Bake for 25-27 minutes, center will still be moist when tested with a toothpick.

Cool for 10 minutes and cut into 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge or tightly wrap with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to a month. Enjoy!

To celebrate October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

It’s easy to find tofu at almost any grocery store these days, and not all brands will taste the same. But one thing that’s good about tofu is that it can easily take on the flavor of sauces and spices, making it a versatile ingredient for almost any dish you wish to make.

Today I’m going to share a pudding recipe that uses not one, but three healthy ingredients: tofu, pumpkin, and coconut. Here’s a little background information so you know this dessert not only tastes good, but is good for you, too!

A Little Tofu Goes a Long Way. A 4-ounce serving is a good source of calcium (40% of your daily needs), protein (9 grams along with that calcium), and iron (nearly 34% of your daily requirements taken care of). As a cancer-preventing food, tofu contains selenium, an important mineral necessary in helping to create your body’s own cancer-fighting antioxidants.

It’s the Great Pumpkin! Sure pumpkin pie is great, but did you know you can eat pumpkin raw, too? Reap the most of the nutritional benefits by using a vegetable peeler and slicing it thin. Enjoy it in a crunchy salad with a spicy Thai peanut sauce or use in place of cooked noodles with your favorite pasta sauce. It’s a great source of Vitamin A and other powerful anti-oxidants. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and even if you use the canned stuff or roast a whole gourd, cooked pumpkin will still be a good source of nutrition.

I’m Coo Coo for Coconut! Coconut is often thought to be a cholesterol-laden food that’s bad for your health. Although high in fat (about 50 calories per tablespoon), coconut cream and coconut oil contains saturated fats with a different composition from that of animal fats, which are difficult for your body to metabolize. The medium-chain fatty acids of coconut are metabolized much more easily and can also help your immune system by staving of viruses, plus its anti-carcinogenic properties help fight cancer. Be sure you use a VIRGIN coconut product, as these contain the healthy fats. Unhealthy coconut oil has been chemically treated and loaded with artificial hydrogenated oils.

Why tofu in pudding? Puddings are usually made with milk, sugar, eggs, and cooked until it’s nice and thick. Using tofu instead of milk is great for people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy (like me!) or would prefer to cook vegan-style. This recipe is not only dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free, but there is absolutely NO cooking involved! The boxed silken tofu blends easily, especially with the canned pumpkin. But instead of just making a holiday pumpkin pie-flavored pudding, I wanted something else to compliment the warm spices. Blending in coconut cream brought out a fresh, creamy flavor. Making a separate chocolate pudding made it more indulgent, and went perfectly with the warm pumpkin pie spices. Topping it with toasted coconut deepened the flavor and gave a nice crunch to the smooth, creamy texture.

The verdict: I gave my husband a big cup of chocolate and pumpkin-coconut pudding, waiting to see how he liked it. After a few spoonfuls and a “mm, good!” I asked him what he thought of it. He said it reminded him of a Christmas dessert (he’s originally from Germany, where they have lots of delicious spiced cookies around the holidays.) I told him it must be the pumpkin pie spice, and ginger, and Chinese five spice. I told him it was made of pumpkin and tofu, and he said “mm…s’good,” and ate the rest. Good enough for me!

Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding

Chocolate and Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding

This dessert takes less than ten minutes to prepare. Though it tastes good as soon as you’re done, give it a couple of hours in the fridge before you dish out this heart-healthy dessert to your guests.

Serves 6, appx. 3/4 cup serving each

Ingredients:

1 12.3 oz. box Mori-Nu Silken Lite Tofu, Firm
1 15 oz. can pumpkin pie filling (no sugar added)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light agave syrup
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice (optional)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut cream (Put a can of coconut milk in refrigerator for 1-2 days. Open, scoop out coconut cream from top of can. Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk is an EXCELLENT tasting brand!)
1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Toppings:

1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 ripe banana (optional)
gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, combine tofu and pumpkin pie filling on medium speed until well-blended, stopping and scraping down sides with spatula as needed. Add 1/3 cup agave syrup (reserve the 1 tablespoon for later),  spices, and coconut flour. Blend until well combined. If too thick, pour into a mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wire whisk for a minute or two until thoroughly combined.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING: Scoop half of mixture into a small mixing bowl. With a wire whisk, stir in cocoa powder and agave syrup, mixing well.
PUMPKIN COCONUT PUDDING: To the other half of mixture, add 1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut cream and beat with a whisk until incorporated. Add more if you want a stronger coconut flavor. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.

PREPARE TOPPINGS: Before serving, toast unsweetened flaked coconut in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring every so often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool. Thinly slice bananas, and have about 1/4 cup chocolate chips handy for decorating. Remove puddings from refrigerator.

Set out six serving dishes. Starting with chocolate or pumpkin-coconut pudding, layer pudding alternately with toppings, finishing with a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Have it your way: chocolate chips, bananas, toasted coconut–or all three!

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.



Happy Wednesday! Hope everyone is staying fit and healthy as we continue with “Fun, Food and Fitness” sponsored by the very fit Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Most of my meals could be considered on the healthy side, but there’s always room for improvement. I tried increasing my raw food consumption, but in effect I also increased calorie intake by eating too many nuts and soaked grain products! So right now I’m trying to figure out what are some good sources of lean (uncooked) protein. Well, yogurt has been working out so far, so I’m going to stick with that. Most other raw sources are high in fat, so if any one has suggestions, please let me know!

The other morning I was very, very tired, even though I slept earlier than usual (because  I was so tired!)  I didn’t do my morning exercise routine, but this morning I felt better so did my exercises, tried doing a hill run (puff, puff!) and came back to a watermelon lassi for breakfast:

Added 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder and juice from 1/4 lime (I like it tart.) A few raspberries made it look pretty.

Lunch was a big bowl of cold watermelon soup…with a twist! I am saving the recipe for Saturday’s Recipe Redux, but I can tell you it was just what I needed for that hot, humid day. I can wait to share the recipe, but I can’t wait to share a teeny portion of my lunch:

green stuff??

Come back on Saturday to view the recipe and the rest of the photo!

I let my husband try some of the watermelon soup as a starter for dinner. He couldn’t eat/drink the whole bowl, I think the flavors were too strong? Green? Piquant? As our main course I made panko-crusted tuna tofu patties: 2 cans water-packed tuna, 1/2 cup medium or firm tofu (more, if you like,) 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon Spike seasoning, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup shredded carrrots and a  dash of pepper. Squish tofu and tuna together with your hand, mixing well. Stir in rest of the ingredients. Divide into 8 balls, smash lightly to make patties (don’t make too flat, they’ll fall apart.) Coat in mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Coat with panko, crushed corn flakes or crushed corn chips. Fry in hot oil on medium heat until browned on both sides. Serve on buns, with rice, or on a salad:

You can see the big shreds of carrot in the mashed patty on the bottom and the delicious crispy panko coating on the top patty.

My friend Suzi asked me about watermelon sorbets, which I never made before (no ice cream machine.) I tried making one this morning, but since I didn’t add a lot of sugar, the texture just wasn’t the same. Xanthan gum helped to thicken it up and the vodka kept it from turning into a bowl-shaped block of ice, so rather than forcing it to become something else, I just ended up calling it a slushie.

It may look a bit underwhelming, but I urge you to try this recipe. The addition of cayenne and salt amplifies the lime and rounds out the sweet-sour-salty combination nicely. It’s not spicy and if you want to share with kids, simply omit the vodka.

Refreshing Watermelon Slushie
makes about 12 ounces 

1 1/2 cups mashed watermelon, about 2 cups chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lime (zest first then cut lime in half)
1 tablespoon natural sweetener such as honey or agave (I used the hollowed-out lime rind as my ‘measuring cup’)
1 tablespoon vodka (used the same ‘measuring cup’ as above)
dash of cayenne
incredibly tiny pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (helps thicken it up)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix on low speed until combined. Pour into a shallow bowl or dish and freeze for 1 hour. Stir, breaking up frozen chunks around the edges, and freeze for 2 hours more for slushy consistency.

The lime makes it refreshing, but cayenne and salt adds another dimension to this refreshing, low-sugar version of a classic summertime treat.

Going back to what I was talking about earlier in the post: what are some good sources of protein that are low in fat? How about veggie sources? How do you like to prepare them? I’m looking for more sources, so any suggestions would be most helpful!