Pumpkin Bread

With the busyness of the holidays and the coldness of winter creeping in, this is the perfect time of year to bake some spicy pumpkin bread for a quick breakfast or snack. I created this recipe for my sister and brother in law. They loved the recipe that they were using but felt like it was too high in fat and calories, especially since they loved to make it so frequently throughout the fall and winter months. The recipe that I made for them has all the spices that they love without all the calories and fat. In fact, this recipe has about 14% less calories, 50% less fat, 100% less cholesterol and 46% more fiber than the original one. Save yourself some time this holiday season and bake a batch of this bread. It makes two loaves so you will have one less thing to worry about on busy days. And since you are saving yourself some calories and fat too, that leaves a little more room in your diet for those yummy holiday treats!

Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. olive oil, not extra virgin

1/4 c. unsweetened, natural applesauce

2 egg whites

2 tbsp. whole flaxseed (or 3 tbsp. milled flaxseed) + 1/2 c. water (click here for directions)

2/3 c. water

1 15oz. can of pumpkin (or about 1 3/4 pumpkin pulp)

 

Combine the flours, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

 

In a large mixing bowl, add the sugars, oil, applesauce, egg whites and flax seed mixture; mix well.

 Add the flour mixture and water, alternating, adding one then the other in three batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to mix in all the flour. Stir in the pumpkin until it is incorporated.

Pour the mixture in two greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 60 minutes. Let the bread rest in the pans for 10 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves (32 slices).

 Nutritional information per slice:

137 Calories

2 g. fat

0 g. saturated fat

0 mg. cholesterol

153 mg. sodium

30 g. carbohydrates

1 g. fiber

19 g. sugar

2 g. protein

How to Use Flaxseed as an Egg Replacement

Flaxseeds are a wonderful little seed that are filled with Omega-3 Fatty acids and fiber. I like to add them to my breakfast smoothie or use them as a fat or egg replacement when I bake, like I do in my flaxseed waffles. See the post about the waffles for some additional information about the benefits of adding flaxseed to your diet. Click here for that post. To reap the benefits of these little seeds, they must be ground up first, otherwise the whole seed will pass through you. To use flaxseed as an egg replacer, use the directions below.  

How to make the flaxseed and water mixture to replace an egg:

Grind up the whole flaxseed using a coffee grinder. Add the ground up or pre-milled flaxseed to a large mixing bowl or food processor. Add water and whip together until the mixture is slippery and frothy, and it resembles egg whites. To replace 1 egg, use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I don't know how you feel about Carrot Cake but I absolutely love it! My favorite elements of the cake are the spices in the cake and the cream cheese frosting on top. What I don't love about it, is how high it is in calories and fat. So after a little bit of tweaking, I came up with a version of carrot cake that is healthier and still just as delicious as the traditional recipe. I have made these for my extended family and no one even knew that I made these carrot cake cupcakes any differently than what they were used to. Although, they did remark about how moist and delicious the cupcakes were! To make my recipe healthier, I use half white flour and half whole wheat flour. That way the cupcakes have more fiber but since it is 50-50, the whole wheat isn't noticeable and the flavor is not compromised. Then instead of using the 4 eggs that the recipe typically calls for, I like to use  flaxseed to replace 2 of the eggs. By doing this, not only is the cholesterol reduced by half, but you gain the added nutritional value of flaxseed. Flaxseed is high in fiber and a great source for omega-3 fatty acids. The ground seeds can act as an egg and fat replacer in recipes. Here it is doing double duty by replacing some the eggs and oil called for in the traditional recipe. Another way to reduce the amount of oil needed is to use natural unsweetened applesauce. The applesauce is a great way to reduce the fat in the recipe and it adds moisture to the cake! As for the frosting, I like to use Neufchâtel cheese in place of cream cheese since it is naturally 33% lower in fat than cream cheese. And although butter is higher in fat, I still use it because I prefer to use whole, natural foods. I just choose to use less of it. The result is a moist and flavorful cake that has about 48% fewer calories, 80% less fat, 83% less saturated fat, 58% less cholesterol and 67% more fiber than a traditional carrot cake cupcake. I hope that you and your family enjoy these as much as mine does.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Dry ingredients:

1 c. all purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. white sugar

1 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

 

Wet ingredients:

2 tbsp. whole flaxseed, milled right before use + 6 tbsp. water

2 eggs

1/4 c. canola oil

1/2 c. natural applesauce (no sugar added, no artificial sweetener)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 lb. of shredded carrots

 

Cream cheese frosting:

4 oz. 1/3 less fat Neufchâtel Cheese, softened

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. powdered sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin pans with muffin paper and set aside. Set the cream cheese and butter on the counter to soften.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In large mixing bowl, mix together the flaxseed with water on high speed for about 1 minute. The texture of the mixture will resembles runny egg whites. Then add the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and carrots; mix on medium speed until it is completely combined. Then stir in the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined.

Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/4 c. measuring cup, scoop the mixture into the muffin pans. Try to divide the mixture evenly into all the muffin cups so that all of the cupcakes cook uniformly.

Bake for 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs on it. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack. Once they have cooled, make the frosting. To make the frosting, combine the cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend together on medium speed until smooth. Then reduce the speed to low and slowly stir in the powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy! Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Nutritional Information per cupcake:

176 Calories

3 g. fat

1 g. saturated fat

24 mg. cholesterol

238 mg. sodium

37 g. carbohydrates

1.5 g. fiber

27 g. sugar

2 g. protein

 

Apple Spice Muffins

I woke up hungry for muffins yesterday morning and I wanted to try to make something other than my old standby, blueberry muffins. Now, I absolutely love blueberry muffins but I really wanted to try something different. So I decided on trying my hand at making apple muffins. I had Braeburn apples already on hand so I decided you use them. Braeburn apples have a firm texture and are sweet with just a little bit of tartness. They are perfect for baking since their firmness enables them to stand up well to being baked. They are also delicious to eat just as is. But on this morning, they were destined to go into my muffins. I decided that I wanted my muffins to be really spicey too, because I thought that would play off nicely against the apples. I settled on adding nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves and of course, cinnamon. I also decided that I would add raisins and pecans to the muffins. I love raisins and apples together in my oatmeal so I knew that I had to have raisins in my apple muffins too. I chose to use part whole wheat flour and part all purpose flour. It's not enough whole wheat flour to overwhelm your taste buds but enough to add some more substance to the muffins. I wanted to cut down on the fat and cut out the cholesterol so I used some applesauce as a fat replacer and flaxseed and egg whites in place of whole eggs. I'm really happy with how the muffins turned out! The recipe makes a lot of muffins, 30 to be exact, so just store the extra ones in the freezer and you'll have plenty of Apple Spice Muffins for breakfast or snacks without having to make more! I like my muffins warm so I just split them open and reheat them in my toaster oven. Grab a muffin or two and a cup of yogurt and you've got a quick and delicious breakfast! Apple Spice Muffins

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

3 tbsp. whole flaxseed, grind up right before using plus 1/2 c. water

1 1/2 c. white sugar

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. canola oil

1/4 c. natural applesauce

2 egg whites

1 c. water

4 Braeburn apples, peeled and chopped (tossed with 4 tbsp. of the flour and spice mix)

1/2 c. pecans, chopped

1 c. raisins

Preheat the oven to 350°F and add muffin liners to a muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with all the spices and stir together with a fork to blend the spices together with the flour.

Wash, peel and chop 4 apples. Chop the apples to the size that you like or if you don't like chunks, try grating the apples instead. Then toss the apples with 4 tablespoons of the flour and spice mixture until the apples are coated with flour. Tossing fruit in a bit of flour helps prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, cake or whatever else you are baking.

Grind the flaxseed using a coffee grinder. Then add the milled flaxseed to 1/2 cup of water in a large mixing bowl. Mix on high speed for 1 minute until the flaxseed and water is mixed together until it looks like the consistency of egg whites. Next, to the mixture add the sugar, oil, applesauce and egg whites. Mix together until it is completely blended and the mixture is almost frothy.

Next, add 1/2 of the flour and spice mixture and mix just until combined. Then add 1/2 cup of water and mix until the liquid is mixed in. Then add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing just until combined, followed by the other 1/2 cup of water and mix until the liquid is mixed in.

Lastly, add the apples, pecans and raisins and stir with a spoon until the fruits and nuts are mixed evenly throughout the dough.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop out the muffin dough and place in the muffin tin, filling the cups until they are almost full.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 30 standard sized muffins.

Nutritional information per muffin:

188 Calories

4 g. fat

0 g. saturated fat

0 mg. cholesterol

169 mg. sodium

38 g. carbohydrates

2 g. fiber

26 g. sugar

2 g. protein

Flaxseed Waffles

These waffles were created when my infant son was diagnosed with food allergies. He was allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, beef, chicken and seafood. Since he was allergic to so many things, I had to get creative and create some recipes that he could handle . Three years later, his allergies are gone but these flaxseed waffles have continued to be a weekly staple in our house. My family likes to eat them with spreadable fruit or pure maple syrup. Pure maple syrup cost more than regular pancake/waffle syrup but you do not need to use as much because it is sweeter tasting. And the best reason to use maple syrup is that it does not contain any artificial ingredients. This waffle recipe is healthier and lighter than a traditional waffle recipe since it does not have the saturated fat from the butter or the cholesterol from the eggs. And these waffles have more flavor too! The nutty flaxseed, the sweet vanilla and the spicy cinnamon add to the depth of flavor of these waffles. It also has the added benefits of flaxseed. Flaxseed is a wonderful little seed that has been linked to preventing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It has three components that make it so healthy: Omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. Having flaxseed waffles for breakfast is a delicious way to start your day off!

Flaxseed Waffles

2 tbsp. whole flaxseed, milled up right before using (or you could use 3 tbsp. premilled flaxseed, I prefer to buy whole flaxseed and grind them myself right before I use it, that way none of the nutritional value of the flaxseed is lost. I use a coffee grinder to mill up my flaxseed.)

2 1/4 c. water, divided (3/4 c. and 1 1/2 c.)

1/2 canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. unbleached all purpose flour

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the flaxseed with 3/4 cup of water in a food processor. Blend together until the mixture resembles the consistency of egg whites, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the oil, the vanilla and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water. Blend for 1 minute so that the water and oil combine with the flaxseed mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse just to combine the ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and pulse a couple of seconds longer. You don’t want to overwork the batter once the flour has been added or else the waffles will be tough. Mix just long enough to combine all the ingredients together.

Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes while the waffle iron heats up. Once the waffle iron is heated, spray it with cooking spray and pour on some of the batter. Bake until the steaming slows, or approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Serve the waffles warm. You can keep the waffles warm while you make the whole batch by placing them in a oven set to the warm setting or about 180 degrees. Leftover waffles can easily be reheated in a toaster or toaster oven for breakfast another day. It depends on the size of your waffle maker but mine makes 10 4 inch by 5 inch rectangular waffles.

UPDATE: added the nutritional information for this recipe on 2/21/2011.

Per waffle:

200 Calories

12.5 g fat

1 g saturated fat

0 mg cholesterol

275 mg sodium

18 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

2 g sugar

3 g protein