THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Healthy Peach Muffins August 27, 2009

It’s that time of year again where the fruit basket on the counter and the top shelf in my fridge is overrun with peaches.  Glorious, mouth-watering, chin dripping fresh Ontario Peaches.  Unfortunately, there are only so many I can eat in a day, and so I have had to find creative ways of using them all up.  Enter baking!  These are a healthy alternative to the usually fat-laden muffin realm, and if you’re feeling like you’re not in the peach zone, you could easily swap any berry of your choice here.  The fat here is replaced mostly with yogurt, so it’s a bit friendlier to your hips and tummy.  This batch was even 100% kid approved by my discerning neighbours, 8 and 5 respectively, and by my Grandpa, 89.  Now if that’s not an endorsement, I really don’t know what is.

.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (I used 1 cup rye flour, and 1 cup all purpose – but you could use rice or chickpea flour to make this Gluten-free)

1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (you could use full fat or even peach flavoured if you want)

1/4 cup 1% or skim milk

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or even almonds)

2 cups fresh peaches, cut into very small pieces (skin on)

.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F, and place paper baking cups in muffin pans (or lightly grease pans).

2) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

3) In a separate bowl, combine milk and yogurt; set aside.

4) Beat eggs and sugar at high speed for about 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy, then add melted butter and vanilla and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

5) Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture (start and finish with flour mixture), mixing only to completely combine, then stir in chopped nuts and peaches. DO NOT OVERMIX!

6) Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, and bake on centre rack for 25-30 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

7) Remove finished muffins from pans immediately, and cool on wire rack.

peach-muffin

 

Oh-so-oat-cookies! August 6, 2009

Why OH-SO?  Well, these little gems are OH-SO guilt-free, soy-free, easy to make, can be dairy-free, and if you use non-Quaker brand oats, they’re gluten-free too!  And they’re OH-SO tasty, believe it or not. Plus, they’ve got the added bonus of the bananas, so they’re super healthy and a great way to use up any over-ripened bananas you may have lying around.


Ingredients:
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted (you could also use CANOLA oil to make these dairy-free)
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats (NOT Quaker or other conventional brands, if you want gluten-free)
1/4 cup skim milk (use RICE or ALMOND milk to make these dairy-free)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp vanilla


Directions:

1) Heat oven to 350°F, then puree bananas completely, until they are runny and smooth.

2) Thoroughly mix ALL ingredients together in a bowl, ensuring oats are evenly moistened.

3) Let batter stand for about 5 minutes, then drop heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet.

4) Bake cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned (every oven is different so keep a watchful eye near the end).

5) Move cookies to a wire rack to cool.


NOTE – if you make these super-sized, they make terrific ice-cream sammys.  Just scoop vanilla icre-cream and squish between 2 cookies, and freeze for an hour before serving.  Smother with chocolate or caramel sauce for a real gooey mess if you want.  Tastes like summer!!!

oat

 

Peanut Butter Choco-Chip Squares

I live and breathe peanut butter!!  I swear, if I ever get a nut allergy I am doomed.  Every day for as long as I can remember, I’ve had nuts in some shape or another.  Nothing makes me instantly cheerful like a big spoonful of my fave PB (okay, maybe a glass of wine, but that’s another story).  These bars are not only delectable, they are packed with good-for-you ingredients that you most likely already have on hand.  If you are looking to cut back on some calories, you can use Splenda, but I prefer the real thing.  To make these dairy-free, sub in ALMOND or RICE milk and use dairy-free ‘chips’ as I’ve done.


Ingredients:

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy – your call)

1/3 cup regular brown sugar (or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend if you are calorie counting)

1 egg, beaten

½ cup skim milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life chips – which are dairy and soy free! Yay!)


Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat an 8″ x 8″ baking dish and lightly brush with oil (coat with cooking spray).

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, and gently stir with a fork.

3) In a separate mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, and egg and stir vigorously until creamy, then add milk and vanilla and stir until smooth.

4) Add the flour mixture to wet mixture, stirring until well combined, then mix in the chips.

5) Place dough into prepared baking dish and pat top lightly until smooth, then bake for about 15 min, or until slightly puffy and very lightly browned at the edges.

6) Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 min before cutting.

NOTE – you can add in oatmeal, raisins, coconut flakes, etc if you wish … totally up to you!pb