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

 

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!

 

Harvest Loaf January 17, 2010

 

I love loaves… add to that something savoury and nutritious?  I’m sold.  This little gem will impress your guests, be kind to your hips, and won’t break the bank.  Try subbing in your favourite squash or whatever you happen to have on hand.  Oh, and it’s totally dairy free so it’ll knock the socks off your dairy-freer pals.  You could even make this one vegan by using egg substitute for the 2 eggs.  Impressive, I know!!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup pureed squash (I used canned organic butternut, but you could use pumpkin or even sweet potatoes!)

1/3 cup canola oil (you could use almond or any other seed oil, but I’d avoid using Olive oil)

1/2 cup raisins

handful of pumpkin seeds

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350F, and grease loaf pans.

2) In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, squash and oil with a wooden spoon, until smooth.

4) Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix to combine, then stir in raisins.

5) Pour batter into loaf pans (I used 3 mini, but you could use 1 large), sprinkle with seeds, and bake at 350F for 40 min until browned and tester stick comes out dry.

6) Allow to cool for 10 min in pans, then remove and cool on a wire rack for another 5-10 min, and serve!

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NOTE – these can be frozen and allowed to defrost at room temp.  

 

Bestest Brownies November 28, 2009

Filed under: My bakery — healthyhag @ 4:40 am
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It’s been a long long week and after a round of gin and tonics (okay maybe more than 1 round), all I could think of to ease the “pain” was something sweet, chocolately and oooey gooey.  It’s hard for someone like me to just stroll on into a corner store and pick up a bar for a buck … almost 100% of the commercial brands of chocolate bars have soy lecithin in them so it’s a no go for me.  For me then, it’s always turn on oven, whip up a storm, bake, be patient, and hours later enjoy!.  With that … I give you one of the easiest craving satisfyers I know and love … the chocoholics brownie.  Hi, my name is Healthyhag and I am an addict.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into bits

150g rams (about 1/2 cup) dark chocolate, broken into bits

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

1) Heat the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over LOW heat until completely melted.

2) Let chocolate/butter mixture cool for 10 minutes, and then preheat oven to 350F.

3) Mix sugar, eggs and vanilla together until fluffy.

4) Add in flour and salt to bowl and combine then mix in cooled chocolate/butter mix and blend well.

5) Pour into 11 x 8 greased baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes (do NOT over bake!!!).

6) Cool brownies for at least 30 minutes, then cut into squares and enjoy!

 

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

 

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.

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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)

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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