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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes The Healthy Way

Healthy Strawberry Cupcakes
with Healthy "Buttercream" Frosting

Wonderful test trial results yesterday for a delicious healthy, high protein, low carb, no refined flour or sugar strawberry cupcake.  I worked on it all day with a few tweaks to my healthy no sugar buttercream frosting to go with it.  See the recipes below!

Being a cake decorator, I still hold the constant pull to make these healthy cupcakes with design and color while still staying true to the low sugar aspect.  So I have decided to practice decorating them with colorful liners and tiny PUSH MOLDS made especially for the smaller cuppies that fit so well in the Babycakes cupcake machine.  I am going to come out with my own line of decorative petite push molds soon that will fit perfectly with these tiny bites of delight! This will allow everyone to simply put a tiny bit of fondant or my healthy cream cheese recipe in a shallow mold and release for an easy breezy cupcake topper.   BUT first, I have to get the new cookbook up and running....just waiting for some last minute copy editing and it will be available soon. Get ready to nourish your body with intention and color!!  

Strawberry Cupcakes
adapted from Elana Amsterdam's "The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook"

2 large organic eggs
1/4 C grapeseed oil
1/2 C (minus 1 T) raw organic agave nectar
2 T Polaner All Fruit Spread, strawberry flavor
1 T pure vanilla extract or the inside of one vanilla bean
1T freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 drops of strawberry LorAnn candy flavoring
4 chopped fresh strawberries
2 1/2 C blanched almond flour
1/2 t baking soda

Combine all wet ingredients, except fresh strawberries, in a mixing bowl, mix gently with a hand mixer.  Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, mix into wet ingredients slowly to combine.  Fold in strawberry pieces.  Batter will be thick and easy to spoon into cupcake liners.  

For the tiny cuppie liners, perfect for the Babycakes Cupcake Machine, 1 T batter works perfectly.  I bake them in the machine for exactly 6 minutes.  For the oven, bake at 350 for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until slightly brown on top and test stick comes out dry.  For larger cupcake liners, 2 T batter and bake at 350 for approximately 18-20 minutes. 

Healthy "Buttercream" Frosting

1/2 C (1 stick) Spectrum  or Earth Balance all vegetable vegan shortening
1/2 C (1 stick) organic butter 
3/4 C of  organic raw agave nectar
1/4 - 1/2 C organic dry skim milk
2 packs dry Stevia
1/2 t meringue or egg white powder
1 T vanilla extract (or other)

Beat with hand mixer and chill for about  2 hrs to stiffen, add more dry milk if it needs a touch more stiffener.  

Spread or pipe through a piping bag.

I put in 10 drops of LorAnn strawberry oil flavoring and a t of lemon extract for this recipe. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Life Changing Matcha Tea

Matcha Tea

Matcha Tea, photo by Diff Sky

I had been hearing a lot about this "Matcha Tea" through the health circuit grapevine and really didn't think it was more than some other green tea.  Well I finally researched it, and was amazed at the power house of antioxidants and amazing health benefits it DID have!  It boasts over 1,000 times more anti cancer and anti aging benefits as even blueberries.  So I decided to check it out and pick some up.  I changed out my morning coffee for this amazing tea powder.  I purchased some flax milk (starting my day out with over 1,200 mg of omega fatty acids for good mood, lowering cholesterol, and increasing metabolism) then adding a cinnamon stick to the milk for reducing insulin resistance and a piece of fresh ginger to control the body's inflammation.  After it heated up to about 170 degrees, I added and stirred in a teaspoon of the Matcha tea powder.  WOW, within a day I could feel the affects of it's energy boost without the crash, it's emotional calming affect and the best of all, I was able to sleep through the night!  I hadn't done that in sixteen years!  I continued on this superfood morning routine for a week and honestly never felt better!  This wonderful website, Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea Powder explains some advantages:
Amongst its many benefits, matcha...
  • Is packed with antioxidantsincluding the powerful EGCg
  • Boosts metabolism and burns calories
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Calms and relaxes
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration
  • Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • Fights against viruses and bacteria
  • Is rich in fiber
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Does not raise insulin levels

Photo and recipe from Leaf Joy Blog
Here is a wonderful photo from Leaf Joy Blog showing how beautiful the color is when you bake with it.  I made orange ginger no flour no sugar cupcakes with a vegan butter green tea frosting this weekend and it was truly amazing.  The entire two dozen were gone before I could even get a picture of their glorious color and enticing design.  

Oh give it a try, add it to your  healthy smoothie, try the tea with some dark honey or a delicious almond or flax milk.   The evolution of our diet switching to powerhouse foods, herbs and teas can only add to our quality of life.  I'm hooked!  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lo Carb Gluten Free Bread for Breakfast

Perfect Lo Carb Gluten Free Breakfast Bread it and ADD to it.....

This amazing lo carb bread made from Omega rich ground almond meal and organic protein rich eggs and almond butter makes for a perfect breakfast bread, especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.  I had mine this week with smoked salmon and a pile of baby broccoli sprouts.  My new health mantra is "if you are gonna eat it, ADD to it!"  Make the most of everything you put in your mouth by adding super foods and mega  antioxidant rich items to it.  Before baking this, I threw in some chia seeds to help with metabolism, lower cholesterol and help control blood sugars.  I made the bread with extra organic healthy spices and dehydrated veggies for more really was a MEGA FOOD by the time I was done with it all.  

See the recipe I adapted from "Elana's Pantry"  HERE.

Health Tip: if you need to LOSE weight, do a morning workout before you eat, this way all the glucose stored in your blood, muscles and liver will be used up and you will go directly into "fat burning mode" of keto acidosis and you will actually kick start a much faster metabolism for the day.  Plus this gives you the most amazing endorphin rush and powerful high. This allows you to be less depressed and make better decisions on your eating for the day.  Foods rich in Omegas will also add to healthier moods and greater metabolism, not to mention a healthy heart!  IF you want to boost your metabolism even higher, do NOT eat many carbs for breakfast, but one rich in protein and veggie fibers.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Cookbook

Sneak Preview....

I'm compiling my healthy low carb and low sugar dessert recipes in an easy to use cookbook with beautiful pictures for inspiration. This will allow you to have healthier choices handy and ready for your events and the approaching holidays.  There's no need to go off track with indulgent unhealthy holiday gatherings anymore. 

You will be amazed at how wonderful these easy desserts taste while still packing in nutrients, high fiber and healthy heart oils all while avoiding processed ingredients, chemicals, artery clogging fats and insulin rising sugars!

Enjoy all the wonderful things you love in a dessert while giving your body ingredients it needs.  No compromise eating.....a mindful and intentional lifestyle!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Breakfast or Lunch Box Oat Cookies

Healthy Oat Cookies

Here's a wonderful breakfast or back to school lunch box cookie. This Oat Cookie is a recipe from Healthy Mama blog.  I love her wonderful recipes and healthy posts, check out her link and enjoy some of her wonderful inspiration!  I would not use the bananas listed on her recipe, but would substitute an egg for more protein, and maybe add some walnuts or dried fruit too!  

Summer is pretty much over, and it is back to school and back to our routines.  We had a wonderful summer vacation, eating contraband foods and snacks all the way through. :) But, now it is time for me to get back on track and start preparing for lunches , after school snacks and family dinners.  

I am going back to work as a dental hygienist in a few weeks, as well as going back to school and working on my BS degree.   All this new excitement brings on a new energy and renewed commitment to my yoga, healthy eating and exercise.  I am also compiling a cookbook and healthy tips book for family and friends due to come out this Christmas.  So, wish me luck and strength in all my new endeavors!

Monday, July 23, 2012

GREEK Yogurt Recipes

Recipes with Greek Yogurt

Triple Chocolate Chunk Yogurt Muffins
by Dashing Dish Blog.  Click HERE for recipe.

Normally, I don't eat much dairy but I do keep a few things in my diet that just are so amazing and helpful for getting low fat, low sugar and high protein foods.  I use Greek yogurt with agave as the sweetener for a substitute for cream cheese, mayo, sour cream etc.  I use a whey protein powder with stevia as the sweetener and I use an organic skim milk powder, both as thickeners. I use them in things like icing as a substitute for confectioner's sugar and a base for smoothies, etc. Here,  I share with you some recipes I have made this week with Greek yogurt.

Four Ingredient Greek Yogurt Pancakes 
by Everyday Belle Blog.  Click HERE for recipe.

Easy Yogurt Biscuits

1 1/4 cup flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/4 c Greek yogurt

Place dry ingredients in a bowl, combine well.  Make a well in the center and add cold Greek yogurt.  Mix flour into yogurt until a ball is formed.  Roll out on dusted surface to 1/2 in thick. Cut with cutter and place on cookie sheet for 10-12 min at 400 degrees oven or until top begins to brown.

I use Siggi's Icelandic Style of "Greek yogurt" because it is thick, natural and sweetened with agave, not sugar.  I have used vanilla and plain for the biscuit recipe.

Here I used Hodgson Mill Multi Purpose gluten free baking mix for the biscuit flour.  This was a combination of whole grain gluten free flours and gave the biscuits less of a southern fluffy biscuit feel and more of a roll consistency.  They were delicious, though different in texture.

NO Sugar High Protein Yogurt Cheesecake

For Filler: 
2- 6 0z containers of vanilla or lemon Greek yogurt (or Siggi's Icelandic no sugar, agave sweetened yogurt)
1/2 scoop stevia sweetened protein powder mix (see my brand pic below)
4 oz organic low fat cream cheese
1 tsp lemon juice if using vanilla yogurt
Mix all with a hand mixer until blended smooth

For Crust:
1/2 c All-Bran Cereal pulsed in a food processor until crumbly OR 1/2 c Super Flour Sprouted Grain
2 T organic butter
1 pack dry stevia
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice 
2-4 T liquid like almond milk,  coconut milk, or even water as needed to pulse into ball
Place all dry ingredients in food processor to make into fine crumbs, add cold pieces of the butter, blend in, slowly add liquid until ball begins to form.  Press into your 8" plate.  

After pressing in crust, pour filler over that.  Add any fruit or flavorings on top.  (I used boiled down blueberries with some agave nectar)  chill for about 20 min or more before serving. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Style A Successful Party On A Budget, Without Junk Food? YES!

Test Party Success!

The Fourth of July was my newest "test" party.  I am putting together a plan, a compilation of sorts, that include inexpensive party decoration staples from the dollar store or craft store, and a collection of HEALTHY party recipes so everyone can style an amazing successful party without all the sugar and is even KID approved!  Scroll down and enjoy some great recipe ideas and inspiration to add to your next event.  Make it special, make it healthy!

Many party blogs are showing wonderful backdrops for styling the party table areas.  I bought simple boards from the dollar store and wrapping paper (you could also use contact paper) to cover the boards with.  I stood it up on a simple small easel, also picked up at the dollar store.  You can decorate them with stickers, cut outs, ribbons or any creative thing! 

Use items already around your house to add decorations to for centerpieces or to add height to the food table.

I keep a box for each holiday with  simple decorations that can be reused or reset in different ways.  I keep ribbon, faux flowers and inexpensive seasonal items to pull from.

Here, I used a wonderful idea from "In My Own Style" blog where she tied the napkin and utensils to the paper plates by putting a simple hole punch in the plate and securing with ribbon.  This allowed everyone to fix their plates without carrying the extra items.

I made a low sugar "sugar" cookie by using organic unbleached flour and substituting organic unprocessed coconut crystals for sugar.  There was some sugar in the tiny fondant decoration, but I stopped covering the entire cookie and switched off to Martha Stewart push molds, sold at Michael's craft store to style the cookies without using a lot of sugary frostings.  They are so simple to use with just a tiny bit of fondant, anyone can do it!  Just secure it to the cookie with a tiny dab of agave nectar or honey. 

Guess where?  Yup, the Dollar Store...napkins, basket and cups.  The red cups were for Valentine's Day so I covered the heart with clip art and ribbon.

Paper goes a LONG way in trying to create theme and color.  Just google in free clipart and use hole punches to create little labels, signs or design. 

Here, I covered little glass vases from the dollar store with a half piece of paper secured with tape in the back. I use those vases for EVERYTHING!  Pick up about four of them.  The red ribbon was a post Christmas clearance item for .15!  The fireworks stars were at Michael's at 40% off.  They literally cost spare change! 

Confetti was a re-use from last year's saved whole punched stars.

Here is that tiny glass vase again!  My staple dollar store item!

One word: spray paint.  I use spray paint all the time.  I color and recolor a few simple buckets or stands over and over.  I get spray paint at Lowes for  .99.  This cute little red bucket was a yard sale find for a dime and stands in many a party to add color or hold a centerpiece. 

Paper lanterns are inexpensive, easy to store and can be used for many different themes to add color and a festive atmosphere. 

Let's talk about food!  So many gorgeous colored stylized parties are filled with nothing but sugar!  Colored candy filling vases and bowls, massive cupcakes, sweet treats and sugar filled everything.  You can bring in wonderful foods  for your color and theme that don't send your kids climbing the walls!  Here pretty organic fruit makes a pretty statement in colored containers.  I found these at Michael's also.  

Organic blue corn chips and organic carrots are paired with the most delicious sweet onion, creamy spinach and guacamole dip I have ever tasted.  Chips are full of fiber, low fat and the dip is packed with healthy oils, protein and veggies. 

Creamy Spinach/Sweet Onion Guacamole Dip
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium sweet onion like Vidalia or red
1 clove of garlic
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 avocado or already packaged organic guacamole
1 C plain GREEK yogurt
1 tsp grated lemon zest and 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Saute onions in oil on low- med heat until caramelized, add garlic to saute last minute of cooking, throw in frozen spinach to thaw.  Puree the avocado, Greek yogurt and lemon, then combine all and chill. 

Little healthy appetizers like vegan pepperoni, organic low fat cheese cut into cookie cutter shapes, olives and grape tomatoes placed in cupcake wrappers turned inside out to add color and theme without using candy or sugar and chemical laden products.  Little cucumber rounds hold a dab of low fat organic cream cheese with dill, chives and black pepper. 

My great chocolate cupcake recipe is definitely a party MUST with no sugar or flour!  It is high in protein and has healthy heart oils.  See the recipe HERE.  I changed up my frosting recipe this time and everyone raved over it.  A few real dedicated self proclaimed sugar loving guests were astonished and amazed at this cupcake.  The stack was gobbled up in minutes! 

Chocolate Frosting "Buttercream"

1 cup organic dark chocolate morsels
1/2 cup (one stick) vegan vegetable shortening like Earth Balance or Spectrum brands
1/4 cup organic raw agave nectar 
1 T pure vanilla extract
1/4 C organic dry skim milk
1/4 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Melt your chocolate over a low heat in a saucepan. Stir and cool for 10 min, blend in the shortening and begin to mix with hand mixer.  Add the remaining ingredients.  You can chill to harden or heat to soften.  I found it to pipe through a piping bag and star tip wonderfully! It was yummy!

My lemon cuppies made their showing!  This is also a no sugar no flour recipe that is good for you.  See the recipe HERE.  I also tried a new frosting that was fully kid approved!

Healthy Buttercream Frosting

1/2 C (1 stick) Spectrum  or Earth Balance all vegetable vegan shortening
1/2 C (1 stick) organic butter 
3/4 C of  organic raw agave nectar
1/4 - 1/2 C organic dry skim milk
2 packs dry Stevia
1/2 t meringue or egg white powder
1 T vanilla extract

Beat with hand mixer and chill for about  2 hrs to stiffen, add more dry milk if it needs a touch more stiffener.  Spread or pipe through a piping bag. 
You can add any flavor of extract.  I put in some raspberry oil flavoring and it was delicious. 

I did make hamburgers, BUT see my LINK for a hidden healthy trick! 

Fun photo booth back drops can be made with so many creative things.  We hung a flag, but think about curtains, cardboard or accessories like hats,  glasses, silly theme items or even picture frames to peek through. 

Don't invite junk food or heavy sugar laden food to your next party and try a few of my recipes!