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.


Is it August already?! Time flies when you’re having fun, especially for those of us who share yummy treats and awesome eats on What I Ate Wednesdays!

Last month was incredibly fun with Jenn’s theme of “Food, Fun and Fitness” and the momentum is carried over to August with “Summer Staples.” One summer staple I’ve been enjoying are big bowls of healthy fruit disguised as lunch salads. Combinations of fresh fruits, veggies, yogurt, and even some protein powder make a wonderful midday meal that is packed with vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, protein, and deliciousness! It’s a mish-mash of raw foods and gut-friendly yogurt, so it’s also great for digestion. Plus, it’s low in fat…reeealll low! ;)

On to breakfast!

Post-workout breakfast was peanut butter jelly toast, coffee and fruit (recycled picture here):

Lunch was a fruit & veggie salad bowl (It’s been my favorite for the past couple weeks now!) If you regularly have a good supply of fruits and veggies, you can come up with some crazy combinations that taste great!

A mish-mash of fruits, veggies, and marinated tofu & cucumber…delicious!

This has got to be the most delicious and healthy snack I’ve made in a long, long time: 6oz yogurt mixed with a spoonful of protein powder, dash of cinnamon (for sweetness and flavor,) and a heaping half cup of fresh fruits:

Make your own yogurt bowl with any combination of yogurt and fruits (no granola needed!)

Dinner was inspired by Paula Deen’s recipe for “Oven Fried Chicken.” I reduced the cheese and oil and added miso paste for flavor (and some salt.) Instead of water and additional oil, I used lemon juice. Serve it up with Lemony Basil Pesto and steamed brown rice (don’t forget the chopsticks!)

With brown rice and Lemony Pine Nut Pesto, this dinner is complete!

Basil Crusted Panko Chicken Strips – serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup panko or crushed corn flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 8-oz chicken breast, cut into 1/4″ think pieces
optional veggie sides: asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, or any veggie you like roasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix panko, cheese and basil. Divide in half, set aside. Mix olive oil, miso, and lemon juice. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat. Dip chicken pieces in half of the panko mixture, adding more from the reserve mix as needed. Place on silpat or cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, leaving some room for veggies, if using.

There was enough room to squeeze in the asparagus. Perfect dinner for two!

Using your hand, toss veggies in leftover miso paste, add 1-2 tablespoons panko mixture and tossing well to coat. Place on cookie sheet with chicken or on a new sheet if not enough room. (leftover panko mix can be used in your favorite burger, meat loaf or meat ball mixture. Store in fridge for up to 3 days.)

Bake for 10-12 minutes (3-5 minutes longer if your chicken is cut into thicker pieces.) Serve immediately with Lemony Pine Nut Pesto.

What are some of your favorite fruits of the summer? Got any great recipes for potlucks, picnics or family gatherings?

Happy Monday! Busy weekend again with more home improvements.  But before I start showing those pictures, I want to share a recipe featuring our Flavor of the Week: basil!

This is one of those herbs that’s supposed to be really easy to grow, but I’ve always had trouble growing them in pots. Either the soil was filled with bugs, slugs destroyed them, or it was just too hot for their roots. I used to always buy huge bunches for $2 in Chinatown and they had both Thai and sweet basil varieties. The Thai basil has darker, thicker leaves and a more “peppery” taste. I made pesto with both varieties, and couldn’t taste much of a difference.

Here is a quick n’ easy no-cook topping for your pasta that can be kept in the fridge for a few days. If you don’t have enough basil, cut it with some baby spinach (they’re milder than the grown-up kind!) Add some cream and warm up before adding cooked pasta, or serve over chicken. Any way you slice it, it’s delicious!


Add more or less basil, if you like (less here.) The lemony creaminess of the pine nuts can shine on its own.

Lemony Pine Nut Pesto
The lemon combines perfectly with pine nuts, but feel free to use pecans, walnuts or cashews. Inspired by Pine Nut Cream recipe from Going Raw by Judita Wignall.

3/4 cups raw soaked pine nuts or other raw soaked nuts
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, mashed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 cup baby spinach leaves, torn

Add nuts to a food processor or blender and pulse or blend on medium-low until pasty but coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, and oil. Blend for a few seconds until combined. Blend in basil and spinach, turning off machine and scraping down sides when necessary. Enjoy on pasta, as a veggie dip, or sandwich spread.

On to home renovations!

KITCHEN: I primed more of the kitchen, as well as the cat’s litter box:

Primed cabinets on the right and wall on the left. And there’s our new fridge!

The cabinet doors went from red to white on the cats’ litter box, Trixie was the first to try it out.

Put a new pattern on the display cabinet:

The original burlap looked dull against a white wall so I replaced it with some fun polka-dots!

Primed the formerly red plant stand and covered the glass top with the same fabric used in the cabinet.

YARD WORK:

The other morning Trixie and I noticed this beautiful purple hibiscus in the back yard:

Looks healthy, but I think it would like more sun.

I’ve seen tons of these plants in red, white, and yellow at Lowe’s but didn’t think anyone would buy one to plant outside…won’t the freezing temperatures kill it? Apparently not!

Purple hibiscus

There were some other trees crowding it out and blocking the sun so I asked my husband to clear the area around it. Now there’s plenty of sunlight to reach the hibiscus, and looking at the newly cleared space is giving me some outdoor ideas…

The whole area behind the hibiscus is now cleared. It would make a lovely sitting area.

I am not much of a flower-planting person but after seeing this hibiscus, I think I’d want to add more color to this part of the back yard…and maybe add an herb garden!

Welcome to What I Ate Wednesday, another presentation of everyday eats and tasty treats sponsored by the awesome Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Today I’ll be continuing with the “Flavor of the Week” presented to you in Monday’s post. I’ve been experimenting with several drinks and desserts using lemon sugar, and in addition to Monday’s Lemon Coconut Macaroons, I think a lot of you will enjoy reading about today’s featured recipe which can be the perfect finish to cool you off on a warm summer’s evening.

The past few days presented us with some great weather once again, so we were able to enjoy more super-casual outdoor dining. Breakfast was peanut butter and raspberry jam on sprouted grain toast, scrambled egg with Gouda cheese & onions, German bratwurst from Aldi (mini-sausages with a strong nutmeg taste, I didn’t like them at all!) and coffee w/stevia:

Lunch was a colorful salad with Gorgonzola cheese and some Tostitos chips leftover from the Frito-Lay Gluten-Free Challenge (please check it out, folks!) Now usually I like the tangy taste of chevre with my salads but today I wanted to try an Il Giardino Mountain Gorgonzola I picked up the other day from Sam’s Club (they have a good selection for great prices.) It’s a lot softer and sweeter than other blue cheeses, and not exactly what I was hoping for…but it was okay:

Colorful salad with dots of soft Gorgonzola: there, there….here, and there.

Snack time consisted of more (unphotographed) Tostitos chips and couple of these chewy indulgences. It’s got tons of peanuts and a deep rich caramel, much tastier than the stuff you’ll find in a candy bar:

Two of these are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth…well, maybe three.

On Sunday, my sister made some great barbecue chicken and panko crusted walleye her husband caught the day before. We ate it with potato salad, buttered salt potatoes, and I topped the fish with mayo and soy sauce. We had the leftovers for dinner the next day, and I added some diced pineapple, celery, lettuce, avocado and tomatoes.

Barbecue chicken and a mish-mash salad

Now, on to dessert! After making a couple batches of macaroons I wanted to try another coconut and lemon-infused dessert. I thought a cream pie would be great, something nice and cool to enjoy on a warm evening. I have a favorite chocolate banana cream pie recipe I make every Thanksgiving, so decided to change it up by giving it a light lemon taste in a luscious coconut cream pie. The result was surprisingly good.

The cookie-like crust is flecked with lemon zest and shredded coconut and tastes great on its own. It will stay nice and crisp even after a couple days in the refrigerator. The cream filling had just enough coconut milk to create a luxurious base for a smooth balance of coconut and lemon flavors. Topping it off is a whipped coconut cream sweetened with lemon sugar and sprinkled with lightly toasted coconut and lemon zest.

With the contrasting textures and flavors supporting each other so wonderfully, this dessert is definitely worth a try.

Lemon Coconut Cream Pie
Freeze the pie for an additional 30 minutes, it will taste just like frozen custard.

Gluten-Free Crust (based on “Tart Shell Crust” recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics):

1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix (2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
1/4 cup lemon sugar
1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2  tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
5 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Spray an 8″ round pie pan (or 8″x8″ square cake pan) with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and sprinkle in extract. Mix with a fork until well combined and clumpy. Sprinkle crust mix into pan then gently press evenly over the bottom, but not up the sides.

Bake in center of oven for about 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make filling.

Filling:

3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine cornstarch through soy milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat cream cheese until light (about 30 seconds). Add lemon juice and beat well  to incorporate. Add about 1/3 cup hot custard to cream cheese, and beat just until blended. Stir in remaining custard and blend well.

Pour into pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, pressing to surface of filling. Cool on counter for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Topping:

1-2  cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream or coconut cream
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1 teaspoon lemon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Refrigerate coconut milk overnight. Open can(s) and scoop out cream at the surface, reserving rest of milk for later use. With an electric mixer beat coconut milk, sugar and heavy cream or additional coconut cream at high speed until thickened. Spread over pie. Mix toasted coconut, lemon sugar and lemon zest and sprinkle on top before serving.

Not too sweet, not too heavy, but just right

Last week I posted a recipe for radler, a refreshing lemonade-beer concoction perfect for enjoying on a beautiful sunny barbecuey day. I was about to make more ginger lemonade and decided to zest them before I cut them in half. Normally I would use the juiced lemon halves when washing dishes (it helps cut grease, I “wipe” my soapy pans with them) but today, in addition to saving the halves for dishwashing duty, I zested six lemons and added a cup of sugar to make a wonderfully fragrant lemon sugar:

The oils from the lemon distribute throughout the sugar, so to help reduce any excess moisture I put it in a large frying pan and heated it on low for about 5 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. It will stay a bit clumpy because of the oils, so just let it cool down before storing it in an airtight jar and use within a few days.

You can use this sugar in any of your baked goods, tea, or wherever you want a bit of lemony sweetness. Here’s an easy recipe where lemon and coconut are combined to make a light, lemony macaroon. I adapted the recipe from one my sister gave me by replacing wheat flour with coconut flour and adding lemon juice. The macaroons came out nice and chewy with a light lemon flavor and lots of coconut throughout.

Gluten free, dairy free Coconut Lemon Macaroons

Coconut Lemon Macaroons (gluten-free)
Adapted from http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/First-Place-Coconut-Macaroons

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup lemon sugar
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla; mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.

 

Thanks for checking out my first “Flavor of the Week” post! Come back every Monday to see a new featured flavor at: https://thefoodery.wordpress.com/flavor-of-the-week/.

Creamy, tangy yogurt and fresh lemon juice make this bean dip delightfully different.

This recipe is featured in Justa’s weekly feature, Fantastic Foods Friday.

If you have never cooked your own beans, it is incredibly simple, and no more difficult than boiling a pot of noodles. Worried about the uncomfortable side effects? Someone once told me that to get rid of the gas, you just have to poke a tiny hole in each bean to let the gas out (lol!) But seriously, visit this website for some great info on beans and how to make them virtually gas-free.

I had a lot of cooked beans left over from making my black bean & turkey burgers last week. Extra cooked beans are great sprinkled on salads or tossed into a soup for lunch, and taste better than the conventional canned and salted versions. What to do with the extras…fiber for my morning smoothies? No way! Bean dip? Heck yeah!

The beans I had left over were a mixture of black and pinto. I like them both, and they looked pretty displayed in my clear oxo pop containers (which are excellent for storing flours & grains, btw.) But when you cook them, the pinto beans pick up a reddish tint from the black beans. Since the beans would end up in chili, turkey burgers, or mashed into a bean dip mix, I didn’t mind this at all.

The base of this recipe starts with a yogurt-tahini mixture, similar to the sauce for falafel, but much thicker. Use Greek-style yogurt, but if it’s not handy, drain regular yogurt in a paper towel-lined strainer for a few hours before using to get the same consistency. It’s great as a dip, as a spread for crackers or bread…I even topped my black bean burgers with the bean dip, and it was even more delicious!

Surprise your guests with a new twist on bean dip!

Black Bean and Yogurt Dip

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked, unsalted black beans (or pinto, or adzuki, or a combination)
1/3 cup tahini (to make your own: add 1 cup raw sunflower seeds to food processor, grind until texture is sandy. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup olive oil, process until it forms a smooth paste.)
1/2 cup Greek-style plain nonfat yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil
lemon zest
raw sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Soak minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil, set aside. Mash beans and tahini in large bowl with potato masher or pastry cutter until most of the beans are smashed to your liking. Add yogurt, lemon juice, kosher salt, and minced garlic with olive oil. Mix well. If too thick, add a teaspoon of water or lemon juice (if you like it lemony.) If too thin, add more tahini. Put mixture in a serving bowl. With a clean finger or chopstick, make a swirly pattern in the dip. Carefully drizzle olive oil into the pattern. Sprinkle with raw sunflower seeds and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serve these delectable lemon-scented morsels with some chamomile tea.

I love how the internet can provide us with so many delicious ways to eat healthy. Search for a key ingredient, cuisine, or phrase like, “gramma’s blackberry jam” and you’re bound to find the one that’s just right for you. You may even come across a food blog that has some great ideas on healthy eats that are just too irresistible to pass up (hint, hint!)

Actually, that’s how I felt when I read The Veggie Nook’s latest creation this morning. I thought this would be a great recipe to try out, especially since I love lemons! I was so glad I had these ingredients on hand and started hauling out my food processor just minutes after reading her blog. I made a few changes, such as substituting some of the hemp seeds with raw sunflower seeds, adding coconut flour, used 2 figs and reduced the agave syrup, and I also added the juice of 1/2 lemon to satisfy my “sour tooth.” They’re a delicious and incredibly healthy snack, and you can find the recipe right here. Thank you, Gabby, for sharing this wonderful, spring-welcoming recipe!