Ok. So it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been on a no-processed-sugar kick lately. It’s true. I’ve also been on a whole wheat flour kick, although a bit more quietly. Does this mean I won’t be sharing sugar laden sweets on the blog anymore? Absolutely not. There’s no way I’m going to be trying to healthify a cupcake. Cupcakes are not meant to be made with whole wheat flour and maple syrup. You’d just end up with a weird muffin that was trying too hard. No, I will enjoy them for what they are – a very special treat. And when I do, I will most definitely be sharing them with you.
But, it is true that my family is cutting way back on our consumption of white flour and granulated sugar, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of these sugar-free/whole wheat recipes popping up on the blog. But only if they’re truly delicious. Because who can keep up with eating healthy if it’s a chore? Not me.
These Apple Oat Scones make a delicious and satisfying breakfast. A crisp exterior gives way to a soft and slightly chewy interior with bites of apple and cinnamon, all lightly sweetened with maple syrup. They’re hearty yet light. And, served with a cup of tea or coffee they make a for perfect fall breakfast.
Apple Oat Scones
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt (plain yogurt or sour cream will also work)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut up
- 2 medium-sized apples (not too tart), diced
- additional maple syrup, oats and cinnamon for topping
Whisk together yogurt, milk, vanilla and syrup in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
Combine flour, oats, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Toss in butter, quickly breaking it up with your fingers until the butter is approximately pea sized (or use a pastry cutter). Rub the mixture between your palms to flatten the butter into sheets.
Stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Stir in apples. Dump mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been lightly floured (mixture will be quite sticky). Pat into a 6×8 inch rectangle (wetting your fingers with water will help with this). Cut into 12, 2 inch squares. Separate the squares, spacing them out on the baking sheet. Brush scones with a bit of maple syrup, sprinkle on some oats and cinnamon to garnish. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Highly adapted from Martha Stewart.
I don”t know what”s with me this year but I”m especially obsessed with pumpkin. Hopefully you are too because it may take a little bit longer before it”s out of my system. I should probably back off soon though because I think the rest of my family may be needing a break. That being said, there were no complaints when I served up this Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake Mousse. I mean, who would complain about that?
This recipe is so smooth, luscious, creamy and decadent. But it has a secret. It”s light! (er) Greek yogurt replaces whipped cream and pure maple syrup replaces sugar. Yes, it uses full-fat cream cheese, because in my opinion “light” dairy just means it”s that much more processed, so I always opt for full-fat. But if light”s your thing, feel free to use that. ;)
This is perfect on its own but can be used in so many adaptations to make it even more special. For a little added crunch you could serve these with gingersnaps or a sprinkling of maple roasted pecans or some gingerbread granola. Serve it in one big bowl and let people scoop their own and choose their toppings, or prepare them how you want and serve them in individual dishes. You could even turn them into a parfait by layering them with gingerbread. Really, the sky”s the limit!
Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake Mousse
You can replace the spices for 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice if you wish.
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in maple syrup, scraping down sides of bowl to ensure even mixing. Beat in spices and pumpkin puree. Beat in yogurt. Pour into a large bowl or individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
Makes: 10-12 servings
This past weekend we celebrated one of my brother’s birthdays and I was in charge of making the ice cream. A lot of my family members are sensitive to milk so I wanted to experiment with a dairy-free version that everyone could enjoy. I’ve researched a lot online about dairy-free ice creams but have never found anything I felt really confident about, that even dairy-lovers would eat happily.
Finally I came across a recipe that was basically the same as my beloved vanilla ice cream but simply subbed coconut milk for the milk and cream. It made sense. Coconut milk is so thick and creamy, and made with a custard base, seemed to guarantee it creaminess. So, I whipped up a batch of Black Forest Ice Cream (thanks to freezing a couple batches of candied cherries this summer) and Classic Vanilla. I can’t believe it was so easy all along. It worked great.
People were so surprised when they found out the ice cream was dairy-free. Especially the chocolate, because you couldn’t taste the coconut milk at all. You could taste it slightly in the vanilla, but coconut and vanilla are definitely a yummy paring so there were no complaints. The consistency is slightly different than if you made it with full-fat milk and cream but it is still very creamy and far from being icy.
I’ll no longer be searching for specific dairy-free ice cream recipes and will instead just use my favourites and switch out the dairy with canned coconut milk. I found that two cans of regular sized coconut milk came to 3 cups, which was the perfect amount for both of the recipes above.
If you’ve got a dairy-free loved one in your life I encourage you to give this substitution a try. Nobody should have to miss out on the deliciousness of ice cream. And if you try it, let me know how it turns out for you!
*As far as I know, this won’t work as a substitute for recipes that call for sweetened condensed milk (like this no-churn ice cream) or recipes that call for cream that is whipped before folding in (such as with this semifreddo).
I went out on a limb last week with this recipe. We had some brie in the fridge and some beautiful red pears on the counter and I just couldn’t resist putting them together in a sandwich. I figured my hubby, whose not a fan of fruit in savoury applications, would not be too thrilled with lunch that day. But to my shock, when he tried it he said, “this would be even better with ham”. My mouth hit the floor. But, I went along with it and we slipped some ham into our sandwiches. He was right, that ham took the sandwiches from good to great.
Even if you’re normally not a person who likes fruit with meat or other savoury items, I encourage you to give this a try. Brie and pear are a fantastic paring, but add to that the smokiness of ham and the zip of mustard and you’ve got one perfectly rounded, killer sandwich. Proof that you should never give up trying new things, you just have to find the right combination.
Ham, Brie & Pear Panini
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- sliced ham (or Canadian bacon)
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Spread one side of each slice of bread with olive oil spread. Flip them over so they’re butter side down. Spread one slice with a thin layer of mustard. Top with slices of brie, pear, ham and a small handful of spinach; top with one more slice of brie (to help it stick together). Top with remaining piece of bread, butter side up. Place on preheated skillet and let cook until bread is browned and cheese starts to melt. Flip sandwich over carefully; once flipped press down firmly with the spatula to help everything stick together. Cook until both sides are browned and crisp, and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Alternately you can cook this in a Panini press or in a waffle iron.
I generally try to stay away from margarine as best I can, but butter is just so darn hard to spread straight from the fridge, that I always have a small tub in my fridge for spreading on toast or other such things. I’ve been using olive oil margarine for years – it’s supposed to be the healthy kind. I’ve known for a long time that it really can’t be that healthy because there’s still tons of additives in there and when I was finally brave enough to check the back, I found there were sixteen ingredients in that little tiny tub. Sixteen! This recipe has three. And, it works like a dream.
The final product is a little more set then the store-bought stuff but it spreads just as easily. If you take a taste with your finger it does have a strong olive oil flavour (which is kind of the point) but I don’t notice the olive oil flavour at all once it’s spread on toast. It’s perfect tossed with cooked veggies, spread on toast or sandwiches, used for grilled cheese, tossed with pasta – you name it!
Now that I’ve realized just how easy it is to make my own “margarine” at home, I’m not ever going back. Our eating habits are definitely not perfect, but one by one we’re making healthier changes and recipes like this, that take no effort with great results, make our end goal that much more achievable.
Olive Oil Butter Spread
- 1 cup softened (not melted) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Whip butter until loose. Slowly beat in olive oil, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until fully incorporated and smooth (mixture will be runny). Beat in salt. Pour into storage container and refrigerate until set.
Adapted form The Highlandview Pantry.