Browsing articles tagged with " flax seed"

Strawberry Orange Yogurt Smoothie

Strawberry Orange SmoothieI think I have spring fever. Except that it’s not spring. Not even close. Last week it was…I swear. The signs of spring were impossible to miss. Little green daffodil shoots coming up on the side of my driveway, patches of grass poking their way through the melted snow and glorious sunlight streaming through my bedroom window at the happy hour of 7 am. Surely this meant spring was just around the corner. Wrong. So very wrong. Nearly three feet of snow dumped on us last weekend and more is expected to arrive tomorrow. So much for my early spring wish. I was determined not to let it get me down though. The first thing I did was go out and enjoy the fresh snow. Finally some white fluffy stuff to play in!
The second thing I did was make a smoothie with the most spring-like ingredient I could find…strawberries. So what if they had to be shipped all the way from Florida for me to enjoy them. Sometimes a girl has got to let herself indulge. In addition to strawberries and oranges from far away places I also added some ground flax meal to my spring fantasy smoothie. I pretty much always keep some of this stuff around because it’s an easy way to add fiber and healthy Omega-3 fats to your diet. I recently discovered that my favorite flour brand, King Arthur, makes a ground golden flax meal that is perfect for baking with and adding to smoothies.  I always use my immersion blender to make smoothies. For one because l I don’t own a regular blender, and two because it requires less clean up and who can argue with that! I like to make the smoothies one at a time in the plastic cup that came with my blender. It’s kind of a necessity because the immersion blender won’t quite fit all way down in the bottom of a tapered pint glass, and as a bonus the plastic cup has handy measuring marks on it. Strawberry Orange GoodnessStrawberry Orange Smoothie

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Key Lime Cupcakes

I decided to be rebellious this week. I made cupcakes…in January. Not just cupcakes in January, but cupcakes at the beginning of January- a mere 10 days from then date when most of us made resolutions to be healthy and eat more veggies. Why you ask? Why is she posting this delicious looking cupcake recipe when all I’ve had to eat for the last week is salad? The answer- because I am a firm believer that we all need a little sweet in our lives now and then…even on the 10th of January. Oh, and I also really like cupcakes. TAW73979
I tried to be nice about it though. This recipe has been given a complete health make over, and while not comparable to say a handful of carrot sticks or a bowl of kale soup, it’s far better for you than a twinkie or a bag of cheese puffs. Okay…so those were weird comparisons. What I am trying to say is that eating one of these cupcakes will not undo all the good you’ve done in the last 10 days of salad eating. TAW73877
Here’s what I did so these cupcakes could pass the January health test. First, I replaced all the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Have you ever used this stuff? It’s amazing. All the benefits of whole wheat with out the heavy, chewy texture. I also cut the sugar from 1 1/2 cups to 2/3 of a cup. It seems like a large amount to cut out and I was a bit skeptical, especially since the recipe includes both lime juice and lime zest. I was pleasantly surprised though. When I first bit into one I was greeted by a mild sweetness that was balanced perfectly by a tangy burst of lime. Now that’s my kind of healthy! The final modification in this cupcake makeover was to replace one egg with ground flax meal. TAW73903
I am a HUGE fan of ground flax meal. I love to sprinkle it on and in everything. It’s a really easy way to get in those omega 3 that everyone is always talking about, and it has a mild enough flavor that you can add it to most anything without even noticing. Normally I just add a couple tablespoons to whatever I am making but with something light and delicate like cupcakes I was afraid it might mess with the balance and make them too dry. So when I came across this bit of advice for using it as an egg substitute I knew I had the answer. It’s really simple. For each egg you are replacing mix one tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. I only replaced one of the eggs that the recipe called for but it worked so well that next time I will try replacing both. There you have it- a healthier cupcake that you can eat even in January. TAW73923
But wait! I almost forgot about the frosting. What can you do to make cream cheese frosting more healthy? Hmmm…ditch it for something that isn’t comprised solely of cream cheese, butter and sugar. Yeah, that’s probably the right answer but I couldn’t bear to give it up. So what did I do? I cut the amount in half. Half the amount of frosting for the same amount of cupcakes. A perfect solution if you ask me. It was still enough frosting to give each cupcake a nice coating but not so much that it was piled up and spilling over the edges.

My final bit of advice for making guilt-free cupcakes- share them. I love to share my baked goods not only because it makes people happy when you show up at their house with cookies and cupcakes, but because it also means less for me to eat! TAW84007-2

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Cranberry-Pear Mini Loaves

Cranberry-Pear Bread
This bread is amazing. In fact, this bread is so amazing that I guarantee two things will happen when you make it. First, you will consume an entire loaf… by yourself. Second, you will need to make another batch because you just consumed an entire loaf. My advice to you- make two batches from the start. Or better yet, make one batch of mini loaves to give away and one large loaf to devour nibble on yourself. Go ahead, it’s the holidays, you deserve it. TAW33525

All joking aside, eating a whole loaf of this bread really isn’t the end of the world. Why? Because it’s actually pretty healthy. The recipe is based on Cranberry-Nut Mini Loaves with Flax from Liv Life (remember the ones I dropped on the floor). It includes healthy ingredients such as ground flax seed and whole wheat flour. It also has a minimal amount of oil and very little sugar. While the original recipe was pretty tasty I’ve been inspired lately by recipes that combine cranberries and pears. When I saw a recipe for Pear Cranberry Walnut Bread from Tracy at Shutterbean I just knew I had to make something like it. In the end I made a sort of hybrid version of the two recipes, and if I do say so myself- it was delicious!

Cranberries and pears hanging out together

The cranberries get chopped

The pears get grated- messy, messy

Combine the dry ingredients. Fresh Nutmeg rules!

Wet ingredients in another bowl. Don’t forget the pear.

Wet and dry ingredients combine

Fold in the cranberries

Into the mini loaf pans and pop in the oven

Good enough to eat!Cranberry-Pear Bread

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