THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

APPLE PEAR CRUMBLE February 22, 2012

Good grief has it really been THAT long???  Well, I guess it has, and I’m confident with my excuse: new motherhood.  I welcomed the best thing EVER into my life last year and it’s been one hellova rollercoasster ride since.  Poopy diapers and tantrums aside, I still love love love to cook and bake.  So that’s that.

Here’s a great recipe for one of my autumnal faves … Apple Crumble.  This version is modified to be GLUTEN FREE that has a slightly almond twist and incorporates pears as well.  It’s a quick and elegant way to use up any apples or pears you just know will go if you don’t use them soon, and is super easy to prep.  Now that time is of the essence (crazy toddler running around), making food that is healthy AND ready F-A-S-T is more important than ever.

INGREDIENTS:

TOPPING

1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond flour (or oats)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (this is optional)
3 tbsp butter (at room temp)

FILLING

3 tbsp almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (this is optional)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds apples (about 4 medium sized)
1 1/2 pounds pears (about 4 medium sized)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or craisins or raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) Grease an 8″ or a 9″ square baking dish

2) Peel, core, and slice apples and pears.

FOR TOPPING:

* In a medium bowl, combine sliced almonds, flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger

* Add butter to mixture, and combine ingredients and butter until mixture resembles loose crumbs (best to use your fingers!)

FOR FILLING:

* In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, then add apples and pears, cranberries, lemon juice and almond extract.

* Mix fruit with the dry ingredients to coat, being careful not to break up the fruit (again – best to gently use your fingers!)

3) Transfer FILLING (fruit mixture) to the baking dish, and sprinkle TOPPING mixture evenly over top.

4) Bake at 375° F for approx 30-35 min or until topping is starting to turn golden brown, and fruit juices bubble.

5) Cool slightly before serving

NOTES:

– you can serve with whipped cream or ice cream

– can be served warm or cold

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Summery Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins February 26, 2010

It’s mid winter here and we’re being reminded that sunny days are still so far away.  All the snow and doom and gloom led me to fondly reminice about summer, about tasty strawberries and mouth watering rhubarb.  That’s when it hit me – I have both neatly frozen away in the freezer!  Locked in time at their peak by my loving mom-in-law who’s thumb must be greener than Martha’s.  Anyhoodle… after a visit to the monthly indoor farmers market (where I picked up some lovely locally made organic spelt flour) it all came together like cookies and cream.  Healthy?  YES!  Delicious?  YES!  Easy-peasy?  MAIS OUI!  100% Organic?  HELLS YES!  Get ‘er done folks!

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INGREDIENTS :

4 cups flour (I used 2 spelt and 2 whole wheat)

1 cup sugar

2 TBSP baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 cups milk (I used 1 cup 1%, and 1 cup almond milk)

2 eggs

2-3 cups frozen fruit, defrosted and diced (I used 2 cups rhubarb, and 3/4 cup strawberries)

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2) In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (but not the fruit).

3) Fold wet ingredients into dry, just combining.

4) Stir in fruit gently – do not overmix!

5) Pour batter into lined muffin trays and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

6) Allow to cool and ENJOY!!!

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NOTES:

– These freeze really well, if they last.  

– You can swap in any fruit you like really.  Try blueberries, raspberries, apples or even peaches.

– Best to use whole grain flour, but works well with bleached flour if you’re in a pinch, however you’ll loose out on the nutrition though.

– I made half the batter into mini loaves, so go nuts if you don’t have a nice muffin pan.

 

Homage to Aunt Marg!! Mac’n’cheese and Buttery Raisin Scones January 28, 2010

So growing up I was lucky enough to have all 4 grandparents PLUS an extra couple of great aunts that basically were like yet another pair grandparents (all lived within a 20 min radius).  Lucky – you think?? I was super close with my Aunt Marg, and spent many a weekend and vacation with her … and she’s mostly the reason I got into cooking and baking as a young kid.  She was an old fashioned chef with the tastiest classics under her belt.  I could always expect my favaourite meal of the year on my birthday – mac ‘n’ cheese and warm buttery scones.  Don’t ask.  So, when it came time for my brothers birthday a few weeks ago, I offered to make him a tasty meal in honour of our good old Aunt Marg (she passed quite suddenly 6 years ago), and he was like a little kid he beamed with glee.  What was the result?  One banging dinner the entire fam enjoyed… beyond delish and so reminiscent of dinners with Aunt Marg we were all taken back to over-heated apartments and the soft laugh she bellowed so often.  What’s your favourite childhood meal?

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MAC’N’CHEESE

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

¼ cup TBSP butter

2 ½ TBSP flour

2 cups shredded OLD cheddar cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk (I used 1%)

½ cup bread crumbs (I used multigrain)

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions, then rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

2. In a large stove-top & oven-friendly casserole pot (I use my big Le Crueset for this), melt butter over medium heat, and then sauté onion and garlic for 3-4 min until soft (not browned!), then stir in flour and combine.

3. In a separate small pot, bring milk to a steam (not boil!) then add milk slowly to onion/garlic/flour mixture, stirring constantly, and lightly simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cheeses and cayenne pepper to casserole pot, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, adding salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove from heat and add macaroni to casserole dish, and stir well, then sprinkle with bread crumbs to cover completely.

6. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, then place under broiler for a few minutes until top is slightly browned.

7.  Allow to cool for 5-10 min before serving, and serve HOT!

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BUTTERY RAISIN SCONES

I always wanted scones with my mac’n’cheese – I still love the combo for some reason.  So buttery and so comforting, these scones are juicy with raisins, and are a semi-sweet treat you can enjoy all on their own too.  I loved to wipe up all the leftover cheese in the bottom of my bowl with these.  Oh good grief – huge cravings now!

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (use regular white if you can)

2 TBSP baking powder

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup COLD butter (I then use a grater and grate the butter in for easier mixing)

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg white, lightly beaten OR 1 TBSP butter melted

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 425F, and mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

2) Grate in butter until mixture is like large crumbs, then stir in raisins and buttermilk.

3) Drop dough (using a ¼ cup measuring cup – or very large spoons) onto a greased baking sheet, brush tops with egg whites OR butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4) Remove from oven and serve immediately!

 

Blondie Bombshells December 16, 2009

Filed under: My bakery — healthyhag @ 8:38 pm
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It’s Christmastime and that means I morph into a bakeaholic.  My friends and family love me, but my thighs abhor me.  C’est la vie!  I can’t wait for this time of year – everyone seems a buzz with activity, regardless of denomination, and I love love love giving and making gifts.  The usual suspects will certainly make an appearance this year – my Peanut Butter Cookies, Beer bread, and Shortbread – but this year I am swapping out a few go-tos and premiering a few newbies.  With that, I present to you my version of a BLONDIE.  I am a blonde (bombshell???) myself this year, so it was bye-bye brownies and hello blondies!  This ooey-gooey-carmelly recipe couldn’t be easier: 7 ingredients people … but it does take a little patience … what delectable doesn’t????

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INGREDIENTS:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 TSBP baking powder

1⁄4 tsp. salt

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract

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DIRECTIONSl

1)      Preheat oven to 350F and line a square bake pan with parchment paper, then grease.

2)      Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3)      In a small-medium sized saucepan on medium heat, add butter and brown sugar and heat through until butter is completely melted and sugar has completely disappeared, stirring often – then continue heating for 1 more minute as the sauce bubbles but does not boil!  NOTE – ensure sauce does not come to a boil as you’ll burn it!  It just needs to form cute little bubbles.

4)      Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 min.

5)      To cooled sauce, add in egg and egg yoke and mix slowly to combine well, then add in vanilla and blend.

6)      Pour wet mixture into dry misture and combine thoroughly, but do NOT overmix (turn for about 20 folds).

7)      Pour batter into prepped baking pan, and bake for 25-35 minutes until done (watch out as it may burn easily!!)

8)      Allow to cool in bake pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then remove and continue cooling for another 15 minutes, then slice and serve!

Notes – these little morsels go amazingly well on their own, but for a decadent treat serve warmed with a side of vanilla ice-cream.  Heaven.  They keep well frozen if really well wrapped in plastic and tinfoil.

 

The Empire (Strikes) Biscuits October 23, 2009

Okay, so my peeps aren’t known for their dessert making skills, but if there is one thing sweet that the Brits do get right, it’s the Empire Biscuit.  It’s a far cry from all the entrails that end up in haggis – don’t even get me started on that – with buttery shortbreads sandwiched together with sweet jam and topped with a dab of white icing.  These remind me so much of Christmas and family, and are a perfect to treat to serve after dinner or with afternoon tea, or to wrap up as gifts for your favourite friends.  I can’t WAIT for December.

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INGREDIENTS:

Shortbread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (must be all-purpose – I’ve tried whole wheat and it’s not nice)

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp salt

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Icing

1 cup icing sugar (approx)

1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp

4 1/2 tsp milk

1/4 cup maraschino cherries, dried and cut into quarters (you could use candied ones too if you want)

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DIRECTIONS:

1)  Preheat oven to 350°F, and in a bowl combine flour, cornstarch and salt.

2)  Combine butter and sugar in a separate large bowl, cream together until smooth, then increasingly beat in flour mixture.

3)  Roll 1 tbsp dough at a time into a small ball, then flatten with your fingers until about 1/4″ thick, and place 1/2″ apart onto buttered or lined baking sheets.

4)  Bake cookies for 12 min, or until firm to the touch (watch out not to overcook or burn!).

5)  Remove from oven once done and cool on wire racks.

6)  Once completely cooled, spread 1/2 tsp jam on half the cookies, then top with remaining cookies.

7) For the glaze, beat together icing sugar, butter and milk in a small bowl, adding a little more icing sugar if necessary to make a spreadable paste.

8] Spread icing over cookies, then top each with a small piece of cherry.

9) IMPORTANT: Let sit for 30 minutes before serving, so the biscuits can set.

eb

 

Lemony Loaf February 13, 2008

A dense, quick and tasty loaf smothered in a lemony glaze. Yummers! You can make these into muffins as well. Freezes brilliantly! My all time favourite loaf/cake. Incredible.

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INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cups milk (I used rice milk)

Glaze:
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup white sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add butter and cream together.
4. Beat in sugar gradually until light and fluffy.
5. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.
6. Mix in the lemon zest and combine.
7. Stir milk gradually into the main mixture, and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
9. Mix lemon juice and sugar and spread over top of loaf immediately (you can poke holes all over the loaf if you want the glaze to seap inside)
10. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
11. Slice and serve.

Notes:
You can also make this into 3 mini loaves or a dozen medium sized muffins.

 

Brekkie + Snackie Bar January 30, 2008

Making homemade granola and granola-type bars is very easy, and gives you complete control over what goes into them. Thank god! This recipe is really really versatile and can accomodate numerous substitutions and proportions.

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INGREDIENTS:

Date Mixture:
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup water

Flax Mixture:
5 teaspoons freshly ground or store bought flax
1/2 cup warm water

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup flour (any wil do here; I used hemp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/3 cup chopped raw almonds
1/3 cup raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc)
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup diced dried fruits (apples, cherries, pineapples, mangoes, prunes, etc)

DIRECTIONS:
1) Lightly coat a 9″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray or oil and set aside.

2) Prepare Date Mixture:
– Add 1/2 cup water and diced dates to a small saucepan.
– Bring to a slow simmer and cook about 5 min, stirring occasionally, until dates are soft (mixture will be nice and thick).
– Allow to cool.

3) Prepare Flax Mixture:
– Combine 1/2 cup very warm water and 5 tsps freshly ground or store bought flax.
– Set aside for five minutes to thicken then stir.

4) Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

5) Add flax mixture to date puree, and stir well.

6) Pour wet into dry ingredients, and mix to combine.

7) Press mixture into prepared pan, and bake at 350F for approx 15 min.

8] Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, and serve!

Notes:
– These keep really well if stored properly.

Add ins:
– 1/3 cup coconut flakes
– 1 tbsp oat bran
– 1 tbsp protein powder