Cookies with Perks

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies postCookies with perks.

That’s dietitian-speak for a cookie that gives you great flavor AND lots of health benefits. So put those extra bags of cranberries to use that are in your freezer (leftover from Thanksgiving!) and whip up a batch of these easy cookies: Cranberry Orange Walnut Oatmeal Cookies.

Hot & Spicy Grammy Perks:
*Oats for soluble fiber to help promote healthy cholesterol levels and heart

*Cranberries for natural phytonutrients that help promote healthy urinary tract and ward off urinary tract infections. And even help with heart health and fight inflammation.

*Walnuts for plant-based omega-3 fatty acids for healthier heart.

*75% whole grain goodness from white whole wheat flour and oats; whole grains help provide satiety, offer many vitamins, minerals and fiber and helps promote healthy heart, blood pressure and digestive system.

Cooking with Grandkids:
*Young toddlers can help measure flour and sugar, whisk flour mixture and add ingredients to mixer, and even help turn mixer on and off and scrape sides of bowl. They can even click the cookie scoop and help get dough on cookie sheet – as long as they’re old enough to have a strong grip with the scoop.

Great opportunity to teach all young children oven safety, too.

Liam (2 1/2) and Elijah (5 1/2) making Papa Pancakes with Grammy Kim. Aug 2015

Liam (2 1/2) and Elijah (5 1/2)  baking with Grammy Kim.

Eli Grammy Aprons

                                                    Elijah & Grammy Kim in our favorite aprons.                                                           

 

 

Cranberry Orange Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: snack, dessert
Serves: 48-52 cookies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats (dry)
  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ⅔ cup each butterscotch and chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda and powder and salt. Set aside. In large bowl of electric mixer, combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until nearly blended. Mix in orange zest. Mix in oats. Add cranberries and both chips and mix again just until thoroughly blended. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 8-9 minutes for a chewier cookie (slightly browned) or 9-11 for a crispier cookie. Cool cookies on cookie sheet about 1-2 minutes before removing cookies to wire racks to completely cool. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 48-52 cookies.

 

Fall & Football Favorites

Touchdown! All these fall favorites – apples, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, chili, cornbread – score big time at your next celebration or tailgate party.

Intercept ho-hum tailgate sides with a batch of Maple Apple Baked Beans. Pass the apple and pear slices for my Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip. Huddle for more whole grains with my Skillet Cornbread. And tackle that bag of apples you bought by turning them into Homemade Chunky Applesauce.

Forward pass to my Recipe page for all four recipes and get in the game with great taste and good health for your tailgate party!
(Cornbread photo courtesy My Indiana Home magazine/Journal Communications)

 

Kim’s Whole Grain Skillet Cornbread
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10 pieces
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter or shortening for 10-inch cast iron skillet plus more for melting over top of cooked cornbread*
  • 2 cups whole grain stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk
  • ⅔ cup corn oil
Instructions
Heat oven to 425°F. Add butter to skillet and place in oven to completely melt. In a large bowl, whisk together corn meal, flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and corn oil. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until combined with a wooden spoon. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and spread cornbread batter evenly in skillet. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean or with just a smidgen of crumb. Immediately after removing from oven, rub top and edges with butter stick, melting it as you rub. Do this several times! Makes 8-10 pieces.

*A 10-inch skillet that is 10-inches across the bottom and 12-inches across the top rim.
Tips & Hints

  1. Find wholegrain cornmeal right near the other cornmeal and flour. Always store it in the fridge to keep it fresher.
  2. Corn oil is exactly the same calories and fat grams as other oils, and it works great for any baking, including corn bread, corn muffins and corn pudding.
  3. Lately I’ve been using full-fat buttermilk in my cornbread, but low-fat works well too.

Homemade Chunky Applesauce
Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce
 
Author:
Serves: 10 servings of ½ cup each
Ingredients
  • 4 ½ pounds apples (combination of any favorite cooking apples)
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice (such as Simply Apple)
  • 2 tablespoons to ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
Instructions
Peel, core and cut apples into 1-inch chunks. In a 4 to 5 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine apple chunks, apple juice, sugar, lemon and orange juices, zests, allspice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining desired cinnamon. Using a fork, wooden spoon or potato masher, mash apples slightly, leaving some chunks. Refrigerate in tightly covered container.

Tips & Hints

  1. Kim likes a less sweet applesauce, Jeff likes it sweeter! I use at least ⅓ cup brown sugar when I’m making a big batch for Jeff’s lunches.
  2. Use more or less spices and zests depending on how you like your applesauce.
  3. Best apples include Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh….just about anything other than red delicious.

food
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Apples & Pears
 
Author:
Serves: 11 servings of ¼-cup each
Ingredients
  • 1 package (8 oz.) ⅓-less fat cream cheese
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until blended. Enjoy immediately or chill one hour before serving. Serve with thickly sliced apples and pears.

Tips & Hints

  1. I normally make a double batch for parties or get-togethers. Use 2 cans (15 oz. each) rather than 1 big 29 oz. can.
  2. Use as much or little of the spices as you want!
  3. If you don’t have time to slice pears and apples, just use gingersnaps, vanilla wafers or graham crackers. Even shortbread cookies.

Maple Apple Baked Beans

Maple Apple Baked Beans

Maple Apple Baked Beans
 
Author:
Serves: 15 servings of ⅔ cup each
Ingredients
  • 5 cans (15 oz. each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2¼ cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apple (2 very large apples)
  • 1⅔ cups chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped, cooked bacon
  • 1½ cups hickory barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup stone ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes, or until bubbly and heated throughout.

Tips & Hints

  1. Kroger’s new Roasted Bacon that only takes 2-4 minutes is an absolute timesaver for this recipe! Just look for boxes of it in near the refrigerated bacon.
  2. Definitely use hickory barbecue sauce to compliment the maple syrup.
  3. Tarter apples, like Granny Smith, really help balance the sweet maple syrup.

 

Red Velvet, Green Apple & Hot Wings on Game Day

HotWingsHummus     food

MapleBeansLR1

Still haven’t figured out the line-up for your Super Day of Eating menu? Consider these crowd-pleasing ideas.

Dessert: Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing. Simple to make and so much easier to cut into bite-size portions than a huge Red Velvet Cake. You’ll still get rich red velvet flavor with irresistible cream cheese icing, though.

Appetizer: Hot Wings Hummus. Fast, easy and a fantastic substitute for the more calorie-and fat-laden but oh-so-delicious Hot Wings or Buffalo Wings Dip. Nutrient and protein-rich chickpeas are blended with antioxidant-rich spices and seasonings. Serve with fresh celery sticks – a winning way to get more vegetables on the plate!

Side Dish: Maple Apple Baked Beans. Oh sure, you could put out bowls of grapes, Cuties, kiwi, bananas and berries for everyone enjoy. But can you really imagine enjoying your Porter or Stout (my faves) along with fresh fruit? Probably not. Score big-time by adding apples to baked beans, maple syrup and barbecue sauce.

Touchdown: Crock pot on for Pulled Pork with a lean pork loin, skillet on the stove for Hot & Spicy Beef Burrito meat and some whole-wheat buns and corn tortillas….maybe a batch of my Zesty Black Bean & Corn Salsa for extra veggies ……and Touchdown! The perfect menu for blending and balancing great taste with good health. Even on this Super Sunday of Eating.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Brownies
1 cup butter
2 ounces bittersweet baking bar, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 (1 ounce) bottle red liquid food coloring
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Frosting
1 (8 ounces) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
Microwave butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl on high 1 ½ minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.
Whisk in sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition.
Add red food coloring, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk until thoroughly blended.
With a wooden spoon, gently stir in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Pour and spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan on wire rack before frosting.

While brownies cool, make frosting. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla. Frost cooled brownies and store in refrigerator.
Makes 36 small brownies. Recipe by Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

Spicy Three Pepper Hot Buffalo Wings Hummus
2 cans (15 to 16 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 1 cup chickpea liquid reserved
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
3 (or more!) tablespoons cayenne red pepper hot sauce
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
¼ cup tahini
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper

Place all ingredients in food processor. Add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons reserved chickpea liquid. Puree until smooth and creamy. Add additional chickpea liquid if you prefer a thinner hummus. Serve with celery sticks, waffle-style pretzels, pretzel crisps and/or whole-grain crackers.
Makes about 14 servings of ¼ cup each (3 ½ cups total hummus). Recipe by Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

Maple Apple Baked Beans
5 cans (15 oz. each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2¼ cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apple (2 very large apples)
1 2/3 cups chopped sweet onion
1 cup coarsely chopped, cooked bacon
1½ cups hickory barbecue sauce
1 cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes, or until bubbly and heated throughout.
Makes about 10 cups (15 servings of 2/3 cup each). Recipe by Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

 

Kid Friendly Treats & Desserts

I’m headed to the Indiana State Fair for the first of five cooking demonstrations. Today’s topic: The Dietitian Does Dessert and Kid-Friendly Treats. I’ll be showcasing four of my favorites. Several of these, like the clusters, trail mix and dip, are super easy and the kids can make themselves or help you. Get them involved….and they’ll be more inclined to enjoy these nutrient-rich treats!

Decadent Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

 1 bag (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

1½ cups dried fruit, chopped if necessary*

1 cup finely chopped nuts*
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment or wax paper; set aside. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over slightly simmering water.  (Create your own double-boiler by using a small saucepan or heat-proof bowl over a bigger saucepan that contains the simmering water.) Combine the dried fruits and nuts in a small bowl. Add to melted chocolate and stir to completely coat all ingredients. Using a measuring tablespoon, dip leveled clusters onto covered baking sheet about 1-inch apart. They will look uneven and shaggy. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until clusters are hardened and set. Store clusters in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature. The clusters taste most flavorful at room temperature, however.  Makes 30 to 36 clusters.

 *Cherry Walnut Version:
Dried Fruit:  1½ cup dried tart cherries     Nuts: 1 cup chopped walnuts

 *Date Fig Walnut Version:
Dried Fruit: ¾ cup chopped dried figs and ¾ cup chopped dates      Nuts: 1 cup chopped walnuts

 *Create your own version using any mixture of dried fruits and nuts: Cherries, cranberries and pecans. Dried apricots and almonds. Golden raisins and pistachios. Dates and cashews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Apples & Pears

 1 package (8 oz.) 1/3-less fat cream cheese

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin      

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

Apples, pears and Asian pears, cut into thick slices

 Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a food processor until thoroughly blended. Chill at least one hour before serving. Serve with slices of fresh pears, apples and Asian pears. Makes about 2 ¾ cups dip (11 servings of ¼-cup each)

   Hike Bike & Swim Trail Mix           

 2 cups plain, frosted or honey-nut O-shaped cereal

1 cup whole-grain goldfish crackers

1 cup honey-roasted peanuts

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

3/4 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in a tightly covered container or Ziploc bag.

Makes about 5 1/2 cups (or 22 servings of 1/4-cup each)

 

Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin & Date Bars  (100% whole grain) 

½ cup butter (1 stick), softened slightly

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 extra large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups white whole-wheat flour (prefer King Arthur brand)*                            

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked

2/3 cup raisins*

1 package (8 ounces) chopped dates

 

 

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 10x15x1-inch jelly roll baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter, oil and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt and mix thoroughly. Add oats, raisins and dates and mix until blended. Spread or pat batter in pan and bake 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Bars may appear slightly sticky in center with toothpick and they will appear a tad “puffed”. They’ll deflate once cooled. Be sure not to overcook, as bars harden slightly as they cool. Cool on wire rack; cut into bars and store in tightly covered container. Bars can be frozen. Simply wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and place all bars in zippered freezer bag.  Makes about 24 to 30 bars. 

*Toss raisins in small bowl with about a teaspoon of flour before adding to batter. This helps separate all the raisins. 

 Enjoy with a glass of 1% low fat milk for a calcium, vitamin D and protein boost.

Football Strategy for Winning Weeknight Meals

Game Plan: Create nutrient-rich – and tasty – family meals.

Defensive Strategy:  Tackle tasteless foods before they end up off-sides….and off the plate for Mom, Dad and the kids. From entrees and side-dishes, salads and desserts, nothing can be so low in fat or seasonings that it lacks the MVP of family meals: great flavor!

Offensive Strategy:  Half your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Increase/add nutrient-rich ingredients in every dish if possible, too. Serve whole grains and lean proteins like the six lean cuts of pork, twenty-nine lean cuts of beef, boneless skinless poultry or seafood. Focus on flavor first and foremost. 

Formation:  Front and center with plenty of fall apples. Apples are in-season right now, which means they’re very budget-friendly and taste best. Let apples shine in entrées, side dishes and even desserts.  All fresh apples add fiber, especially the cholesterol-lowering soluble type, plus lots of disease-fighting antioxidants. One antioxidant in particular, quercetin, is being studied extensively and may help reduce risk of some cancers and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. 

Touchdown to Victory:  A family-pleasing menu filled with great flavor AND good nutrition: Pork, Apples & Onion entrée, Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples side dish and Whole-Wheat Rolls.  Use a trans-fat free soft margarine like Country Crock with 70% less saturated fat and 30% fewer calories than butter to coat the potatoes and apples, then roast in the oven while the Pork Tenderloin, Apples and Onions on the stove-top burner!  Sauté the apples in margarine, too, instead of oil and save a few calories.   

Extra Points:  Score extra points with your family by serving a delicious homemade dessert – especially one filled with nutrient-rich ingredients. Try a simple Apple Crisp made with two whole grains: oats and whole-wheat flour. Or Pumpkin-Spiced Apple Crisp with pecans and dried apricots along with those two whole grains.  Or even Apple ‘N Peanut Butter Bread Pudding made with whole-grain bread! 

 

Spice-Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples 

¼ cup Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® Pumpkin Spice Spread

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch wedges

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® Pumpkin Spice Spread*with pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Toss apples with one tablespoon spread mixture in medium bowl; set aside. Toss potatoes with remaining spread mixture on baking sheet and arrange in single layer. Bake 10 minutes. Stir in apple mixture and bake, stirring once halfway through, an additional 25 minutes or until potatoes and apples are tender. Gently toss before serving. *Use regular Country Crock and mix with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have this variety of margarine available.  Makes 6 servings. Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 35 minutes 

Dessert recipes mentioned available at www.countrycrock.com. Nutrition information for this sweet potato/apple recipe there, too.

  

Skillet Pork Medallions with Sautéed Apples & Onions

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2½ pounds total)

2 to 4 tablespoons trans-fat free soft margarine, divided

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

2 large red apples (Jonagold or Honeycrisp), cored and sliced into wedges

½ to ¾ cup apple juice 

Mix salt, pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Rub over both tenderloins to completely coat, and then slice each tenderloin into eight medallions. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon margarine in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on both sides. Remove pork and set aside on a covered plate. Heat additional 1 to 2 tablespoons margarine in same skillet, then add onions, garlic and apples and sauté until just becoming tender. Add pork medallions along with apple juice, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook until pork reaches 145°F and apples and onions are tender. Let pork rest 3 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

(Recipe adapted from and photo courtesy of porkbeinspired.com)

Disclosure: I’m a culinary-nutrition consultant to Kroger Central Division, various restaurants, numerous public relations representing one or more foods/beverages included in this post and several agriculture organizations.

ABC’s of Treats, Sweets & Desserts – Creative Back to School Lunches Part 3

A = Attitude. What’s your attitude about sweets and treats as a Mom or Dad? I’m hoping it’s a healthy one, which in my opinion means never saying these foods are off-limits, “bad” or “junk.”  You realize and respect that some foods contain more nutrients than others, and some foods are meant to be enjoyed regardless of their nutrient value. So, you model this all-inclusive attitude as a parent, and by doing so, teach your kids how to have “healthy respect” for ALL foods.  Treats, sweets and desserts can be enjoyed and what matters is “how often” and “how much.” They ultimately need to be balanced within your overall eating plan. And just FYI: I enjoy a treat Every Day.

B = Balance.  You balance those sweet, treat and dessert calories in two ways. First, portion size. It’s reasonable to enjoy four chocolate chip cookies, but do you need to eat one DOZEN in a sitting? No, not if you’ve applied and practiced healthy attitude (see above if you need reminding!) because you’ve given yourself permission to eat anything. In moderation. In sensible portions. The second way to balance sweets, treats and desserts, especially in packed lunches, is by alternating those choices that are pure, unadulterated decadence (think Triple Chocolate Cake with sugar, butter, white flour, eggs = pure decadence) with those offering some “perks” or “nutrient benefits” with that decadence (think fruits and veggies in traditional desserts).

C = Coupon Fun. Create a paper coupon template “One Trade Allowed” on your computer, print it out once a week and place it front and center in your child’s lunch.  This gives her/him permission to trade a dessert, sweet or treat with someone else at their lunch table!

D = Desserts with Perks and Benefits include my recipes for Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin Date Bars, Blondies with Chips and Walnuts, Frosted Whole Grain Pumpkin Bars and even Cherry Chocolate Clusters. (Use the “Find one of Kim’s recipes” search bar on the right of my Blog). Or, if you just want to pick something up at the store, opt for oatmeal raisin cookies, pudding cups (calcium), trail mix with nuts, seeds, fruits and candy pieces, chocolate-covered raisins/dried fruit or chocolate-covered peanuts or almonds.

 

Happy, healthy eating in this New School Year!

Desserts for Dad: Indulgence + Perks

Treat Dad to a homemade dessert on his special day, like Blueberry Crisp, Strawberry Shortcake or Blondies with Double Chips & Walnuts. These desserts may be indulgent, but they also offer Dad a few healthy perks, too. Fiber-rich blueberries are filled with antioxidants to boost immunity, strawberries contain powerful antioxidants for brain and heart protection plus fight cancer, and the walnuts pack a punch of plant-based omega-3 fats for heart and brain benefits. All three desserts are made with whole-wheat white flour – a 100% whole-grain version that is milder in flavor and lighter in color than traditional whole wheat flour.

And remember to balance these dessert calories – grab Dad and head out for a long walk, run, hike or bike ride. Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, my father-in-law and my handsome husband!

Blueberry Crisp with Streusel Topping

 

Filling:

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (+ 1 teaspoon cornstarch)*

6 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Streusel:

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

¾ cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced

 

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and cornstarch until blended. Add blueberries and lemon juice; stir to thoroughly coat all berries. Pour blueberry mixture into 2-quart glass baking dish that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray.

 

In the same bowl, whisk together flour, oats, both brown and white sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix in diced butter with pastry cutter, fork or fingers until coarse crumbs form. Crumble evenly over blueberry filling.

 

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is browned and fruit is bubbly at edges. Cool on wire rack for 30 – 45 minutes if serving warm. Otherwise, cool completely, then cover and serve later.

 

Tips:
* I increased the cornstarch an extra teaspoon the second time I made this (instead of just the 2 TB because I thought it was too runny the first time.) I suppose it truly depends on how juicy you like your desserts.

*Since one pint of blueberries is two cups, you’ll need three containers. I always buy four containers, though, in case I have to pick out some of the berries when rinsing….those that aren’t quite ripe or too mushy. I just add a few nice ones from that 4th container.

*My favorite white whole-wheat flour is King Arthur brand.

*My 2-qt dish of choice is always my 8-inch glass square Pyrex. 

 

Blondies with Double Chips & Walnuts

 

 1 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups white whole wheat flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butterscotch chips, divided

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1½ cup chopped walnuts, divided

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk melted butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract. With a wooden spoon, stir in flours, baking soda and salt. Mix just until moistened; do not over mix.  Lightly stir in 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Spread mixture in prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup each butterscotch chips, chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake until top and sides are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set pan on wire rack to cool. Cut into 24 squares. Keep in tightly covered container.

 

Strawberries with Whole Grain Cinnamon Shortcakes

 

2 cups white whole wheat flour

¼ cup old-fashioned oats, dry

1/3 cup sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced

½ cup whole milk + extra for glazing

1 teaspoon orange juice

1 large egg

1 tablespoon raw sugar

½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

 

4 pounds strawberries (or more!)

¾ cup sugar

 

Prepare strawberries several hours in advance by slicing and mixing with sugar. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow juices to form.

 

When it’s time to make the shortcakes, heat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter with fork, fingers or pastry cutter until completely combined, crumbly and no pieces are larger than tiny peas.

 

Mix milk, egg and orange juice together in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir with fork just until combined, about 30 strokes. Form mixture into a ball in the bowl, then gather up all loose or shaggy flour pieces. Knead lightly about 10 times in bowl. Dough will be sticky.

 

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a ¾-inch thick circle. Brush with a small amount of milk. Mix raw sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon together in small bowl; sprinkle over circle.  Cut into 8 large wedges and place on large ungreased baking sheet.

 

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden browned. Cool on wire rack. When cooled, cut in half and top with strawberries and strawberry juice.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Favorites

 SmashedPotsLR2I’m not one to tamper with tradition too much when it comes to holiday foods. Stuffing still needs to be made with white bread/stuffing mix, mashed potatoes still need butter and maybe even cream cheese and sour cream, and pumpkin pie needs a pastry crust.
But with just a few minor tweaks, I’m able to keep all the traditional taste and save a few calories and fat grams. Simple substitutions. Great flavor.

Comparisons:
Stuffing: 75% less fat and 65 fewer calories

Smashed Potatoes: 50% less fat and 80 calories

Pumpkin Pie: 40% less fat and 50 calories

 Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Asian Pears and Apples: a fast, easy, tasty and Vitamin-A-packed way to add more fruits to your Thanksgiving offerings. One serving (about 1/4-cup) gives you over 100% of your Vitamin A for the day!

Happiest Thanksgiving to All!

 

Savory Stuffing

Makes 12 servings

1 package (14 – 16 oz.) herb seasoned stuffing mix

2 1/3 to 3 cups fat free, lower sodium chicken broth

¾ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 ½ cups each finely diced celery and onion

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.

Combine stuffing mix, 2 1/3 cups chicken broth, poultry seasoning and pepper in a large bowl.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, celery and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Add sautéed vegetables to stuffing mix; toss lightly to combine. (Add additional chicken broth for a moister stuffing if desired) Place stuffing in baking dish and bake about 30 to 35 minutes, or until completely hot throughout.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Asian Pears, Apples & Pears

 

1 package (8 oz.) Neufchatel 1/3-less fat cream cheese

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until blended. Chill one hour before serving. Serve with apple and pear slices.

Makes about 2 ¾ cups (11 servings of ¼-cup each)

 

Smashed Potatoes with Chives

 Makes 12 servings (1 cup each)

5 pounds red potatoes

½ to 1 cup reserved potato cooking water

1 package (8 oz.) reduced fat Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature

1 ¼ cups reduced fat light sour cream, room temperature

6 tablespoons light trans-free margarine

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash and cut potatoes into equal-size large chunks. (Depending on potato size, either halve or quarter potatoes.) Place potatoes in a large 7 quart stock pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently about 25 to 40 minutes or until tender. (Knife or fork inserted in chunks will have no resistance.) After reserving 2 cups potato cooking water, drain potatoes thoroughly. Add ½ cup potato cooking water and all other ingredients. Smash lightly with fork or potato masher, leaving some chunks. Add additional potato cooking water in ½-cup increments, to obtain desired smashed consistency. Serve immediately. Can be warmed in microwave.

 

Kim’s Favorite Light Pumpkin Pie

Makes 1 pie (about 8 slices)

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin

1 can (14 oz.) Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 pie crust (9”) unbaked, frozen deep dish, refrigerated or homemade

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients, mixing well. Pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pie before cutting. Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Bring on the Blueberries

Blueberry pancakes, blueberry cobbler, blueberry crisp, blueberry muffins, blueberry smoothie, blueberry scones……I could go on and on for great-tasting ways to use this “just coming into-season” power-packed fruit.  They not only give a flavor boost to anything you’re making, but a nutrient-rich boost as well. 

Just look at these blueberry benefits:
*Excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.  *Good source of fiber *Only 80 calories in one cup *One of the highest antioxidant foods

 To kick-off the Blueberry Season, I decided on a decadent desert. This crisp is not only easy to make, it’s over-flowing with berries and streusel. (I can’t stand desserts that are lacking in filling/fruit and/or the rich topping.) This oatmeal version is 100% whole grain, because it uses both oats and white whole-wheat flour. Check out a few of my tips at the end of the recipe.

And stay tuned, because this just the first of my blueberry baking episodes throughout the summer!

 

Blueberry Crisp

 Filling:

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

6 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 Streusel:

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

¾ cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced

 Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and cornstarch until blended. Add blueberries and lemon juice; stir to thoroughly coat all berries. Pour blueberry mixture into 2-quart glass baking dish. 

In the same bowl, whisk together flour, oats, both sugars and cinnamon. Mix in diced butter with pastry cutter or fingers until coarse crumbs form. Crumble evenly over blueberry filling. 

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until top is browned and fruit is bubbly at edges. Cool on wire rack for 30 – 45 minutes if serving warm. Otherwise, cool completely, then cover and serve later.

 Tips:

*Since one pint of blueberries is two cups, you’ll need three containers. I always buy four containers, though, in case I have to pick out some of the berries when rinsing….those that aren’t quite ripe or too mushy. I just add a few nice ones from that 4th container.

*My favorite white whole-wheat flour is King Arthur brand.

*I increased the cornstarch an extra teaspoon the second time I made this (instead of just the 2 TB because I thought it was too runny the first time.) I suppose it truly depends on how juicy you

*My 2-qt dish of choice is always the 8-inch glass square Pyrex that comes with a lid. Easy to store in Frig “IF” there are any leftovers!

Two-for-One Special: Oatmeal Raisin & Date Bars

Who doesn’t love a “Two-for-One?” A two-for-one dessert or treat is when you get to savor a satisfying, comforting sweet treat, like cookies, cake, pie, cobbler or candy AND reap the disease-fighting, immune-boosting benefits of nutrient-rich ingredients like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy products. I’d say that’s spending your Treat or Dessert Calories Wisely!

Oatmeal Raisin & Date Bars are one of my go-to choices for the fastest and easiest nutrient-rich treats.  Oats and white whole-wheat flour provide 100% whole-grain nutrients.  Raisins and dates combined create a sweet, antioxidant boost. (Look for pre-chopped dates in packages or containers right next to the raisins.)

Recently I tweaked this recipe to contain a little less saturated fat; it used to call for two sticks of butter. Switching one of those sticks with an equal amount of canola doesn’t reduce the total fat, but it does reduce the saturated fat content. My next tweak will be to reduce that oil amount even further; I have a sneaking suspicion the bars will still be moist and chewy. I’ll keep you posted!

Oh, and like many of my decadent desserts or treats, these bars can easily be mixed, baked, then cut into squares and frozen in big zippered bags. When it’s time for a snack or dessert, just grab one or two, microwave and enjoy!

Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin & Date Bars

½ cup butter (1 stick), slightly softened

½ cup canola oil

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 extra large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups white whole-wheat flour (prefer King Arthur brand)*

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats (uncooked)

2/3 cup raisins

1 package (8 ounces) chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 10x15x1-inch jelly roll baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter, oil and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt and mix thoroughly. Add oats, raisins and dates and mix until blended. Spread or pat batter in pan and bake 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Bars may appear slightly sticky in center with toothpick and they will appear a tad “puffed”. They’ll deflate once cooled. Be sure not to overcook, as bars harden slightly as they cool. Cool on wire rack; cut into bars and store in tightly covered container. Bars can be frozen. Simply wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and place all bars in zippered freezer bag.

Makes about 24 bars (4 x 6 cut) 

Enjoy with a glass of 1% low fat milk for a calcium, vitamin D and protein boost! 

*Use ¾ cup all-purpose and ¾ cup regular whole wheat flour if you can’t find the White Whole Wheat flour.