Tie-Dyed Vanilla Cupcakes with French Vanilla Frosting

It was my birthday this past Monday (PS – thanks everyone for the Facebook b-day wishes!), and to celebrate with my Grade 1, 2 and 3 Home Ec classes I busted out what is now becoming more or less “tradition” – cupcake decorating! To simplify matters (mostly because I don’t have an oven, or much of a counter, at easy disposal) I bake the cupcakes at home and bring them “naked” to class with a bucket of “base frosting” (AKA vanilla buttercream) and some Ziploc “piping bags” of decorating frosting. I usually stick with vanilla-based flavours rather than chocolate, since enough of the kids are anti chocolate (horrors, I know) that it’s not worth fighting about it.

That doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with them, though! This year I busted out one of my childhood favourites, the “Tie-Dye Cupcake”, which quickly became the hit of the class. The basic recipe is simple – almost ridiculously so – and I easily veganized it by swapping the dairy milk out for a boxed coconut beverage. Not only did the coconut milk add a touch of extra rich, sweet flavour, but it kept the cakes incredibly moist and tender. A little whole wheat pastry flour and a whisper of nutmeg added a little complexity to the vanilla base and appealed to both grown ups and kids, even if they didn’t know it was there! Of course, the colours have no flavour, but they did make the whole lesson festive and way too much fun – especially when the kids ate theirs (topped with loads of coloured frosting too, of course) and compared their “tie dyed tongues”!

Going with the vanilla theme, I decided to make a rich, French vanilla frosting as my “base buttercream”. To the drop-dead simple icing sugar – shortening – “butter” mix, I added a scoop of vanilla custard powder and another touch of nutmeg which not only added great flavour but helped to stabilize the blend enough to spread without adding a bucket of sugar (I hate frosting that tastes of just powdered sugar!). That said, it is still very much a “keep refrigerated” item – the vegan butter softens faster than “regular” butter so if you want to keep things solid, cool is best! 

Tie-Dyed Vanilla Cupcakes with French Vanilla Frosting

Tie-Dyed Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 – This recipe doubles well but I don’t recommend expanding it further.
⅔ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not the canned kind) or unsweetened soy / almond milk
⅓ cup canola oil
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla
¾ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup vanilla sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
Food colouring (3+ colours)

  1. Preheat your oven for 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a big bowl, beat together the milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
  3. Whisk in the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt just until the batter just comes together.
  4. Split the batter from one large bowl into 3 smaller bowls.
  5. Add 4-5 drops of your chosen food colouring to each bowl and stir in until well blended.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of each colour batter into the cupcake liners, filling the cups ⅔ of the way full.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Wait until the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting.

N.B.: Depending on your preference, you can cut the sugar to 2/3 or even 1/2 cup – especially if using a large amount of frosting! Many of my kids (who made “frosting mountains” rivaling the one on the left here) told me the cupcakes were “too sweet”, however the adults (who are more modestly frosted ones) found the balance perfect, especially after chilling.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 143.7
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.4 mg
Total Carbs: 22.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.5 g

Tie-Dyed Vanilla Cupcakes with French Vanilla Frosting

French Vanilla Frosting
Makes ~ 3 ¾ cups, enough for 30 cupcakes
¼ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or vegan butter of your choice)
¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1 ½ cups icing sugar
pinch nutmeg
¼ cup vanilla custard powder or cook-and-serve vanilla pudding powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned)

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer until creamy.
  2. Chill 1 hour before using.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 59.8
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 13.4 mg
Total Carbs: 6.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

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Strawberry Papaya Jam: Toast Topper #67 #thereciperedux

There’s no getting around it – our family loves jam. Whether it’s peach, lime, persimmon or bluebarb, the plethora of Toast Topper I’ve posted (and the even greater number of general condiments) should indicate that we can’t leave a piece of bread (or waffle, or pancake…) undecorated – even filled ones like the Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah – untouched. No, we need a spread to crown our carbs, but by and large we find the standard jars from the store well… standard. You just don’t find flavours like the ones I mentioned at the local grocery store here, and the jams and jellies you do find are often packed with sugar or (in the case of the so-sugar-added ones) artificial sweeteners.

That said, jam doesn’t have to be like that – nor does it need to be a super-complex, multi-pot, 47-jar canning bonanza (though I have nothing against that!). Last post, I mentioned how you needed sugar to activate the pectin in standard recipes, but luckily today there are varieties of pectin requiring less (or no) sugar at all to work, as well as a couple other options like agar, gelatin and, what I partially relied on here, chia seeds. Back last June, I made No-Cook Berry Chia Jam using the incredible gelling properties of the seeds to great effect. This time, I used them as an accessory thickener – a fail-safe, if you will – since the fresh papaya in the jam can sometimes wreak havoc with the jamming process (thanks enzymes!). With the extra help, and natural sweetness from the tropical fruit, it turns out that cooking up a healthy and delicious Toast Topper with fresh fruit and coconut water is not only easy, but fast – and you won’t miss the refined sugar either – promise!

This Recipe Redux has out gang whipping up no-brainer dishes with “7 or fewer” ingredients in honour of tax season. As a lover of spice (and flour) medleys, it was tough, but yummy experimenting!

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Strawberry Papaya Jam
Makes ~2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings
7 oz chopped strawberries
7 oz chopped papaya
⅓ cup coconut water
½ tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
¼ cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
3 tbsp chia seeds

  1. In a pot, mash together the strawberries, papaya, coconut water, lime juice and pectin.
  2. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  3. Add the sugar and chia seeds and return mixture to a full rolling boil.
  4. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour into jars.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 28.4
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.8 mg
Total Carbs: 5.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Persimmon Ketchup

Have you ever had a persimmon? I’ve occasionally enjoyed, and certainly cooked with, the nutritious fruit, but always with a sweet persuasion. I personally enjoy the vanilla persimmons, so I guess that’s why the habit (and my perception of what “fruit” should be) evolved. I knew they were delicious fresh or dried, but when I was flipping through the LCBO magazine over the holidays I came across a new twist – persimmon ketchup!

Now, I’m not a huge ketchup eater anyways, but I do have a sister who “puts ketchup on her ketchup”, so to speak. I wanted to see if this version of the condiment, made with the persimmons and pumpkin puree, would taste of anything close to Heinz – or if it was the name given to the sauce consistency (like mushroom, beet/carrot or banana ketchup. After tasting it warm right from the pot, I definitely detected a hint of fruitiness, but once it cooled down and sat overnight in the fridge it became a relatively convincing (tomato) ketchup clone – the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, tangy and thick. While the colour will tip off anyone (unless you add dye to it), it’s delicious as is – not to mention gluten, egg, dairy, refined sugar and soy free!
 
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Persimmon Ketchup

Persimmon Ketchup
Makes ~3 cups, 48 (1 tbsp) servings
3 very soft ripe Hachiya persimmons, pureed
½ cup pumpkin puree (I roasted my own)
½ tbsp onion powder
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp celery seeds
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until it mounds on a spoon without dripping.
  3. Spoon into jars and let cool (it will thicken upon cooling).
  4. Refrigerate at least overnight, or for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze this up to 6 months

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 11.4
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 24.5 mg
Total Carbs: 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks #thereciperedux

With only a week to go until Rise Up And Shine II, I’ve been turning my attention towards making some healthy, hearty, “power foods” for both the volunteers and the participants. Of course, Nature’s Path has made things a lot easier for everyone to stay “on their path” by giving me an awesome selection of their cereals (the same ones you’ll get if you win my giveaway!). Granola bars are definitely one of the most obvious “healthy” snacks out there, but they’re usually made with raw oats, not to mention a boatload of sugar and fats. That’s the way the original recipe I chose to tweak was too – and while the sweetness factor is still on the “high” side, by weight my version still has less sugar, calories, sodium and fat than a storebought bar and is full of extra nutrition from the pumpkin, rice bran, natural peanut butter and (of course) the star of the show – a full box of Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola! To play off the “Thai” vibe I was getting from the coconut, peanut butter and pumpkin, I tossed in the leftover dried mango from my “Tablespoon” Trail Mix too. The more the merrier!
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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks

The “puck” shape of these treats makes them the ultimate portable breakfast, although it does take a little finessing to transform the moist, sticky batter from “gluey” to “chewy”. Being thicker than your standard “bar” means that in order to keep the texture consistent, it takes a “two part” baking system: first in the muffin tin until set, but still soft, then free-standing on a sheet tray until the bottoms and sides crisp up a little bit. You’ll never get “crunchy” granola bars, obviously – the lack of added oil and the abundance of pumpkin in these will see to that – but they have a toothsome quality and a definite ability to fill you up before or after a workout without giving you a major sugar hangover! I knew I had hit the jackpot when the photo I posted to Instagram got a like and a recipe request from the @naturespathorganic team – not to mention the craving from my coworkers! 


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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks
Makes 12
½ cup pure pumpkin puree (I roasted my own)
½ cup natural style creamy peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
¼ cup Muscovado sugar
¼ cup golden syrup or honey
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp liquid stevia
¼ cup unflavoured pea protein powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1 box (about 4 cups) Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola
½ cup large-flake rolled oats
1⁄3 cup stabilized rice bran
½ cup diced dried mango

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners
  2. In a bowl, beat together the pumpkin, peanut butter, sugar, syrups, stevia, protein powder and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the granola, oats, bran and mango, stirring until everything is well coated.
  4. Pack ¼ cupfuls into the liners, pressing in as well as you can with the back of a spoon or disher.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and press the tops of the pucks down firmly to compact.
  7. Cool 10 minutes in the tin, then move the pucks to a baking sheet.
  8. Bake 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely before eating or storing in the fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 2 months).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 278.3
Total Fat: 10.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 75.8 mg
Total Carbs: 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 7.8 g

"Tablespoon" Trail Mix (and a @naturespathorganic #OnMyPath Giveaway!)

It’s horrible how long it’s taken me to get back to writing – I don’t have much of an excuse other than laziness and a sprained wrist, but rest assured I’ve been blog-hopping as I doze my evenings away after work!

I’ve never been a “great” breakfast eater, even now that I start my days at 5:30AM. I don’t really get hungry until close to noon, but will enjoy a handful of dry, cold cereal on my way to work, especially if it’s chunky, crunchy and just barely sweet. “Cereal with milk” was never a part of my growing up, and I truly can’t get my head around the texture no matter what my friends and family say. While the “standard” cold cereals remain drowned in dairy around here, I think I may have found a brand to convert the die-hards: Nature’s Path.

BreakkieThis isn’t the first time I’ve written about my love for this organic, largely gluten free cereal brand, and for good reason. Ever since Nature’s Path cereal and granola entered my shopping cart a few years ago, I was hooked on the hearty whole grains, fruit and nuts in products like Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, and Summer Berries Granola. On the more decadent side, almost the whole Love Crunch® line soon fell into rotation as a topping for applesauce and yogurt at breakfast, “fake baked” (AKA microwaved) apple halves as a mid-afternoon snack or ice cream for dessert. Recently, my oatmeal-loving self has discovered their Gluten Free, Organic Homestyle Instant Oatmeal, which comes in a handy (if somewhat hefty, at 40g vs 28g) pre-portioned pack and  (unlike many other brands) doesn’t cause my skin to flare up like a bad sunburn after eating it. Finally, the kid in my still loves the sweet, cinnamon-toast crunch of Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch® Cereal, especially when I mix it with the “grown up”, plain Whole O’s™ for my on-the-road “faux-fast”.

With the Rise Up And Shine II Plan Canada Dance Fitness Fundraiser coming up (featuring my new role as a “Kiddie Korner” supervisor!), I’ve been playing around with various ingredients in the pantry to come up with an easy, filling, kid-friendly snack mix to serve (and have the kids take home as a “loot bag”). Since I needed to keep nuts out of the equation, and wanted to keep remaining allergens to a minimum, using Nature’s Path cereal was an easy choice – as was swapping in roasted chickpeas and soybeans for the traditional nuts. A mix of delicious dried fruit added chewy contrast and just a touch of chocolate bumped up the kid-pleasing power. Best of all, the recipe for one serving (as written here) is so simple it easily scales as you need it, and since all you need is a tablespoon there are precious few things to dirty along the way!

Make sure to stay tuned – more delicious and decadent treats with Nature’s Path cereals and granola are coming down the pipeline!

“Tablespoon” Trail Mix
Makes 1 serving
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted chickpeas
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted soy nuts
1 tbsp diced dried mangoes
1 tbsp diced dried apples
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dark chocolate covered raisins (I found these vegan ones at the health food store and used them)
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) dry cereal (I used a mix of Nature’s Path Whole O’s™ Cereal and Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch®)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag or bowl.
  2. Enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 276.1
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 1.3 mg
Sodium: 161.0 mg
Total Carbs: 52.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 7.4 g

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Now for the real treat… not one, but two, Nature’s Path #OnMyPath Giveaways!

Now that I’ve waxed poetic on the subject of these cereals, it would be totally unfair to keep it all to myself. Luckily, the super-awesome team at Nature’s Path have furnished quite the prize package for readers of this blog:

One winner will receive^:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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But wait, there’s more!

There’s also a grand prize for one lucky person out there*+:  

  • ORGANIC GRANOLA FOR A YEAR
  • A copy of DIY Vegan, by Nicole Axworthy & Lisa Pitman – a book I’m coveting that includes more than 100 ways to create an awesome plant-based pantry!
  • A copy of Un-Junk Your Diet by Desiree Nielsen, R.D. – how to shop, cook and eat to feel better forever (I have this and it’s a great read)
Does that sound awesome or what?

To enter the Grand Prize Draw:

Getting back on a healthy path? Running your first marathon? Trying a plant-based diet? We want to know!  

Tell us what’s on your path for 2016 by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using both hashtags: #OnMyPath and #GranolaForAYear. 

^ Prize will ship on or after March 1, 2016
+ Grand prize contest closes February 28, 2016
*This prize is open to all blogs participating and their audiences. There will be one grand prize total.

Nature’s Path provided me with free product, but did not solicit any opinions or promotion of their giveaway. They’re just good people!

Smoky Blender Salsa #SundaySupper

I’ve loved salsa almost as long as I’ve loved super-sour pickles. Regardless of the season or occasion, the combination of tomatoes, onions and spices matches the “party” atmosphere, and goes with any sort of “chip” (from traditional tortilla to pita, black bean and even thick-cut jalapeno-dusted potato). However, the dipping possibilities are more than that – I grew up on baby carrots, cucumber and celery sticks dunked in it as an afternoon snack, and today you’ll almost always be able to find me by the crudites with a smuggled jar of spicy, chunky, garlicky goodness instead of the go-to ranch or French onion dip on offer.

Smoky Blender SalsaMore than a dip, a good salsa has recipe building potential too. I’ve blended this rendition into a can of low-sodium black beans, black eyed peas or cooked lentils for an impromptu burrito filling, scooped it into chicken and rice soup, mixed it with Wild Pecan rice and roasted cauliflower for a quick dinner and even plopped a dollop into colcannon (weird, yes, but SO GOOD). To me, it’s definitely one of those perfect meal-makers, and with “big game” (and award show) watching season upon us why not take the opportunity to make your own “vintage” to keep on hand?

Obviously, making your own has nutritional advantages too – this recipe needs no preservatives or oil, has no sugar added and is made with wholesome, simple ingredients. Watching your salt intake? Use a no salt added variety of roasted canned tomatoes (or roast your own at home) and a dash of liquid smoke in place of the regular canned tomatoes and smoked salt. Fresh garlic and garlic scapes team up with the onions, chiles and tomatoes for some super flu-fighting and antioxidant goodness too! Since garlic scapes are super-short seasoned (unless you grow your own at home), when I whip this up in the winter, I use two extra garlic cloves instead. The flavour is a little more intense, but for me (and my immune system), there’s never enough garlic!

This week #SundaySupper is bringing you perfect recipes for watching the big game / awards shows as a group – if you can eat it on a paper plate balanced on your lap and/or find it on a buffet-style table at a potluck, it’s fair play! This week’s host is T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley – thanks T.R.!

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks

Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Smoky Blender Salsa
Makes ~3 cups, 12 (¼ cup) servings

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
2 garlic scapes
½ cup minced green onions or Egyptian onion bulbs
1 small yellow or red bell pepper
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp ancho chili powder
¼ tsp guajillo chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp smoked salt
½ tbsp lemon or lime juice

  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge up to 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.2
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 155.5 mg
Total Carbs: 3.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Gluten Free & Vegan Applesauce Cake

I’ve always had a soft spot for apple cakes, especially those peppered with warming, comfort-inducing spices. My mom is still my favourite apple-caker – thanks to her Jewish Apple Cake recipe that she gleaned from a childhood friend back when she lived in downtown Toronto – but I have to say I’m picking up a few pretty good treats as days go by! While there is definitely a time and a place for them, none of my favourite apple cakes (or actually, cakes in general) are your traditional sky-high, frosting-laden confections. Give me a crumb topping, or even just a sprinkling of raw sugar, and I’m happy!

For bake sale a few weeks ago, I decided to bring in a apple-spice loaf cake that everyone at school could enjoy – meaning it was allergy-free, low in sugar and – most importantly – absolutely delicious! I got the idea from Tia’s Kitchen, and by swapping in some stevia and maple syrup, nixing the nuts and packing in diced, home-dried apples instead created a moist, melt-in-your-mouth treat with just enough textural contrast to make you want more. After making it once, I wound up being asked to do a second one for a (staunchly non-GF) friend who fell in love with one of the “taster” muffins! Given the reputation that gluten-free baking still seems to have (and in a few cases – ahem, rice bread – deservedly so), I consider it high praise indeed!

The flour blend you use matters though – I strongly suggest making your own or buying a blend without a lot of legume flours, since these get far too heavy and gummy in a tender cake like this. Don’t skimp on the spices either – they really help the natural flavours of the flours and apples!

Gluten Free, Vegan Applesauce Cake

Gluten Free & Vegan Applesauce Cake
Makes one loaf, 10 slices
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup warm water
¾ cup chunky unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp liquid stevia
1 tbsp maple syrup (Grade B recommended)
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups “cup-for-cup” GF flour blend (I used my Artisanal Gluten Free Flour)
½ tsp guar gum (omit if your mix contains guar/xanthan already)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup diced dried apples

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×5” loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flaxseed, water, applesauce, sugar, stevia, syrup, oil and vanilla.
  3. Stir in half the flour, the guar gum, spices and salt until well combined.
  4. Add baking soda and baking powder to remaining flour, mixing well.
  5. Add the dried apples to the flour and toss.
  6. Add flour mixture to the batter, mixing well.
  7. Spread into the pan evenly, smoothing the top.
  8. Bake 35-40 minutes.
  9. Cool in the pan before cutting.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 172.6
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 11.8 mg
Total Carbs: 30.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Tart Lime Jam (Toast Topper #65)

Since I made my fair share of treats centred around my favourite desserts this holiday season, I felt it was only fair to make a couple things inspired by my friends and family’s cravings too. I’ve mentioned before that my mom is a huge fan of key lime anything, from pie to ice cream. One year while we were vacationing in Florida we came across a key lime jelly that was to die for – the perfect mixture of sweet and tart, completely reminiscent of the classic pie. We bought two jars, and upon getting home they both disappeared within a month – my favourite way to savour it was spread on a cream cheesed bagel – or if I was feeling decadent, using a graham cracker as the base instead. Mom added it to everything, but I seem to recall a large amount of Saturday morning pancakes and crepes with the spread in lieu of syrup! 

This whole jam experience was over 10 years ago, and neither of us ever forgot the flavour of that jam. For mom (and, lets face it, for me too), I made my own batch of lime jam – a lower-sugar formula to allow all the bright, tangy flavours of the citrus to shine through, and allow us to smear on just that little bit more on our toast in the morning. The whole thing set up perfectly with Pomona’s Pectin (my go-to for all my jammy Toast Toppers), and canned like a dream – I decided to part with a few jars at Christmas, but the rest is ours – ready and waiting for months of enjoying! 

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Tart Lime Jam

Tart Lime Jam
Makes ~ 5 1/2 cups, 88 (1 tbsp) servings
2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice with pulp
Lime zest of 4 limes
2 cups water (lime juice is too acidic to jell if you do not cut it with water)
1 tbsp calcium water (from Pomona’s Pectin)
2 tbsp light agave nectar or honey
⅔ cup Just Like Sugar (a 100% natural sweetener made with orange peel, chicory and calcium), or cup-for-cup stevia
1 ⅓ cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Pomona’s Pectin

  1. In a bowl, mix the Just Like Sugar and granulated sugar with pectin. Set aside.
  2. Combine lime juice, lime zest, water, calcium water and honey in a pot and mix well. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add pectin-sweetener mixture and stirring vigorously for 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  4. Process 10 minutes in a water bath

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 14.1
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.1 mg
Total Carbs: 4.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.0 g

"Date Square" Granola

Now that report cards are done and filed (two major computer glitches later!), I’ve been able to come back to the kitchen and blog and catch up on all my holiday must-do recipes! Like every year, the majority of my gift recipients will be getting boxes of assorted homemade goodies – from preserves and salsas to cookies, biscotti, chocolates and of course, granola!

This year, I found myself with an unbelievable amount of dried dates after cleaning out my pantry, and was immediately inspired to make a granola with the flavours of one of my favourite desserts – the date square. My grandma used to make buttery, oaty, coconutty date crumble bars filled with a thick, squidgy layer of orange infused fruit paste at least once a year, and the smell of the paste baking in this mixture of gluten free grains, coconut and almonds brought me back to my 8 year old self. Not satisfied with simply using pureed dates, I added a glug of date “molassses” (also called silan) for a little extra caramelly oomph. Coconut and almonds added just the right amount of extra “yum” and crunch, making it perfect for breakfast or dessert.

I decided to go the gluten free route with quinoa flakes, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and teff so that I could give away assorted jars of granola to everyone on my list – not to mention using all those pseudograins added a good dose of fibre and protein to the mix as well!

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“Date Square” Granola
Makes ~7 cups, 28 (1/4 cup) servings
½ cup date paste
¼ cup date molasses (AKA silan), brown rice syrup or honey
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp almond butter (I used Go Lo High Protein Almond Butter)
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups quinoa flakes
⅓ cup raw buckwheat groats
⅓ cup raw whole millet
2 tbsp whole teff
2 tbsp amaranth grain
2 tbsp psyllium husk fibre
⅓ cup long-shred coconut
¾ cup slivered almonds

  1. Heat the oven to 300F (or 275F convection, which I recommend) and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Combine all the “wet” ingredients and seasonings (date paste through salt) in a large pot and heat over medium-low, stirring, until coconut oil and almond butter are melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and add the remaining, “dry” ingredients, stirring well.
  4. spread evenly onto the baking sheet and bake 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until browned and lightly crisp.
  5. Turn off the oven and cool inside for 30 minutes, then scrape into a clean bowl and cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 84.6
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.3 mg
Total Carbs: 13.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 2.0 g

Simple High(er)-Fibre Baguettes #BreadBakers

Baguettes are definitely one of the most perfect “party” breads out there. Whether they’re toasted for crostini or bruschetta, sliced into ovals for smears of butter or pate, halved for “party subs” or simply left whole as an edible table centrepiece, the light inner crumb with its distinctive crust is versatile and almost universally accepted.

Homemade baguettes proofing for #sundaysupper !Of course, the traditional baguette is a white-flour-only soiree – a welcome note for some of my family who are staunch members of the “Wonder Bread club”, but unfortunately one of the least recommended foods for their diabetic or pre-diabetic diet plans. The problem is that while refined all purpose or bread flour brings a wonderful strength to the dough and helps with creating the open, slightly spongy interior or the loaves, it is essentially void of nutrition – namely fibre and B vitamins. Whole wheat flour, while delicious in its own right and much richer in nutrients, is also too dense and heavy for the ethereal nature of these French loaves.

My solution was to incorporate some of that nutrition – at the very least, the fibre component – back into the dough in a more subtle way. I started by swapping in a touch of white whole wheat flour for the bread flour – not all of it, which would weigh the dough down, but enough for a little boost. A scoop of psyllium husks and a few tablespoons of inulin powder added extra fibre power without too much extra heft – and if anything the slight texture of the psyllium added to the rustic nature of the handmade baguettes. Three risings helped develop a deeper flavour than standard white bread too – and next time, I might even try an overnight rest to see if I can tweak it a little more. Overall, a delicious, slightly more nutritious side for the holiday (or anyday) table!

Simple Higher-Fibre Baguettes

Let’s take a look at what my fellow bakers have baked for this month’s Family Feast Breads event:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers

Simple Higher-Fibre Baguettes

Simple High(er)-Fibre Baguettes
Makes 2 loaves, 24 slices
2 tsp instant yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¼ cup psyllium fibre husks
2 tbsp inulin powder (optional)
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornmeal

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, flours, psyllium, inulin and water.
  2. Mix just until a soft dough forms, then cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Add salt and knead with the dough hook for 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic but slightly sticky.
  4. Place dough in a large, greased bowl, cover and let rise for 40 minutes.
  5. Deflate dough, re-cover and let rise 40 minutes more.
  6. Deflate dough and divide in two.
  7. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 12” rope that is tapered at each end.
  8. Place ropes on a large baking sheet lined with parchment and sprinkled with cornmeal.
  9. Cover lightly with a tea towel and let rise 20 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450°F.
  11. With a sharp knife, slash the top of each loaf and immediately place in the oven.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned on the bottom and sounding hollow when tapped.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 69.8
Total Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 100.3 mg
Total Carbs: 14.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 2.3 g