Carrot Cake

carrotcake

Today is my first-born’s 20th birthday! Sam is an exceptionally picky eater, which is a little frustrating because he wasn’t so fussy as a child. He used to eat many more vegetables than he ever would now, but he has always had an aversion to “wet” foods, as he would describe them. But one thing Sam has always loved is carrot cake. I found this healthier carrot cake recipe in a recent issue of Clean Eating magazine. After carefully reading through the ingredient list, I figured that this just might make it past Sam’s highly sensitive taste buds. He doesn’t always appreciate my attempts to make beloved recipes healthier, but I am hopeful that this one will be okay. Whether he likes it or not, I can tell already that I will love it! I will admit to licking the beaters after preparing the frosting, and it was delicious!

For the record, I substituted a gluten-free flour blend for the whole-wheat flour, because I do not have any wheat flour in the house at all. I also substituted sugar cane juice for the maple sugar, because I don’t have maple sugar either. Also, the recipe says to process the grated carrots in a food processor, but I skipped that step. Sam doesn’t seem to mind seeing the carrot in carrot cake. I don’t think those changes will make any major differences to taste or texture.

Opposites

caprese nobake

These two items are completely opposite in nature, and that is okay with me!

First the caprese salad, which I am currently quite taken by. It is so simple and quick to make and tastes wonderful. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt. Yum!

The second photo shows the ‘best ever chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars’ which I found at mommysavingmom.com. Again, this recipe is quick and simple and delicious. I left out the nuts, raisins or dried cranberries, more for my kids’ sakes than my own, although I would never add raisins anyway. I think dried cranberries would be very good in this though. I did not have quite enough peanut butter, so I used half peanut butter and half almond butter. I have a child who detests peanut butter, so I am waiting with bated breath to see if he will like these bars. Of course, he also is not a big chocolate-lover, so it might not really matter. And these bars are quite chocolaty! I think that I might use even more oats and coconut in the future to cut down on some of that chocolate goodness.

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

cupcake

This recipe comes from a site, The Healthy Chef, that I recently discovered via Facebook. Where various options were listed, I used avocado oil, 1% milk, and raw honey. The recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but I used a mini muffin pan (baked for only 20 minutes) and almost got 24.

Once the cupcakes were cool, I sampled one. I liked it. I think my kids might like them, although one is not a big chocolate fan and one is super picky. My daughter will like them, I’m sure. Mostly.

These cupcakes are not overly sweet on their own, but I can live with that. Even with the mini size, I found eating one to be quite satisfying. If the kids don’t like them, I can always throw them in the freezer and pull one out to enjoy from time to time.

Green Tea Pomegranate Lemonade

greentea

I found this recipe at the back of one of my Clean Eating cookbooks and instantly fell in love with it! This is the type of recipe that is easily adapted to suit personal tastes. In fact, I’ve already made some changes to make it perfect for me. While it isn’t free of calories, it is much lower than a non-diet commercial product. The only problem is that it does not last nearly long enough!

Put 7 green tea bags in a 2L pitcher. Add 7 cups of boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes. (Don’t remove the tea bags yet!)

Stir in the following:

1/4 cup raw honey (you can use up to 1 cup or you can use Sucanat instead of honey, although I find the finished product darker, which didn’t really affect the taste but I prefer the honey)

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

the juice of 4 lemons which works out to roughly 3/4 cup (you can use up to 1 cup or use less)

Chill for at least 30 minutes. Remove tea bags. Serve over ice.

Clean Eating Reboot

I’ll freely admit that I have not been doing a very good job of eating clean for quite a few months now. I can blame that on stress, busyness, major surgery, and a host of other things, but the truth is that those are merely excuses. All those excuses certainly play a role in my life, but they are simply things that happen in the course of life. They do not define me, and they certainly should not have any power over me. I have reached the point where I am thoroughly disgusted with my eating habits and ready to jump back on the clean eating wagon. I know it won’t be easy. This is the crazy, busy part of our year, so my organization and determination are often about as strong as paper-mache in the rain.

Since I am about to re-boot this lifestyle change, here are the basics of clean eating:

What to do:

  1. Eat more. Aim for six small meals a day.
  2. Eat breakfast every day.
  3. Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal.
  4. Eat two or three servings of healthy fats every day.
  5. Drink two to three litres of water each day.
  6. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  7. Proper portion sizes

What to avoid:

  1. All over-processed foods, especially white flour and sugar
  2. Chemically charged foods
  3. Foods containing preservatives
  4. Artificial sugars
  5. Artificial foods
  6. Saturated and trans fats
  7. Sugar-loaded beverages
  8. Alcohol
  9. Calorie-dense, low nutrition foods
  10. Super-sizing your meals

 

Banana Bread

bananabread

I haven’t made banana bread for a long time. My favourite recipe makes delicious banana bread, but it uses a lot of white sugar, white flour, and vegetable oil…ingredients that I rarely, if ever, use anymore. In fact, I do not even have white sugar in my house, and, while I have all sorts of flours (quinoa, brown rice, coconut, garbanzo bean, etc.), I do not have any wheat flour. But I had some very ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter…

So, I took my recipe, made some adaptations, and hoped that the end result would be palatable. I think it worked!

Here is the original recipe and the changes:

2 cups flour (I used a store-bought gluten-free flour mix)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup raw honey)

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted)

2 large eggs

3 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3 tbsp milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set it aside.

2. Beat the sugar and oil until light and fluffy. (It never really got fluffy using the honey and coconut oil.) Beat the eggs in one at a time. Add the bananas. Beat thoroughly.

3. Gently stir in flour mixture, stirring only enough to moisten the dry ingredients and blend them in. Gently stir in milk and vanilla. (You could add nuts or chocolate chips at this point, if desired. 3/4 cup) Pour batter into pan and bake for one hour. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan.

Quiche

While I often make frittata, I cannot recall ever making quiche, but I made one for dinner last night. (I forgot to take a picture-sorry!) I could not find a quiche recipe in my clean eating cookbooks, so I kind of cobbled together a couple of different recipes and made a ‘hope it works’ substitution to make something that would work for me and the ingredients I had on hand. This is likely not truly “clean”, but it would be lighter than a traditional recipe.

You need:

1 pie crust (I am horrible at making my own pie pastry, so I used a store-bought crust I had in the freezer.)

6-8 slices of bacon (I cut off most of the fat, then diced what was left before frying.)

1 cup grated Swiss cheese

4-5 green onion stalks, diced

4 large eggs

1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat, plain yogurt

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oven to 425F.

2. Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion onto pie pastry.

3. In a bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in milk, yogurt, salt and pepper. Pour into pie pastry.

4. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300F. Bake another 30-40 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

 

It must have been good, because there wasn’t any left after dinner!