Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Pumpkin Pie" Breakfast Cake

A lot of people adore oatmeal and enjoy having it for breakfast every morning. Of course, a lot of people put butter, brown sugar, and often fruit in their oatmeal. You can make anything taste great provided that you stir in enough goodies to augment it.

Personally, I'm not a fan of oatmeal for breakfast, except when it's folded into baked goods. This recipe yields a cake which tastes like pumpkin pie and offers it up in a tender, slightly crumbly, moist cake. It's a treat fresh and warm out of the oven, but I also individually wrap and freeze them for later consumption. They make a great breakfast or healthy snack.

"Pumpkin Pie" Breakfast Cake (sugar-free, whole-wheat, low-fat)
1 small egg
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned is okay)
1/2 cup Splenda granular
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 cups plain oatmeal (not instant)
3 tbsp. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. (175 degrees C.).
  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
  3. Whisk the egg, applesauce, milk, oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree, Splenda, salt, and all spices.
  4. Sprinkle the oatmeal over the liquid. 
  5. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder onto the oatmeal.
  6. Stir with a wooden spoon until well moistened.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan until it can be handled comfortably (about 30 minutes). Loosen the edges with a spatula and gently remove the cake.
  9. Cut into 6 pieces.
Nutrition calculations courtesy of the Sparkrecipes calculator:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lemon Yogurt Souffle

This recipe was adapted from one that I found on Eating Well, Living Thin, a wonderful blog full of healthy recipes which I strongly recommend to those who are trying to enjoy food but reduce calories. My alterations were based in part on my limitations while living in Tokyo, where Greek yogurt is hard to come by and expensive, and my personal taste preferences for more lemon and vanilla.

The original looks lighter and more cake-like than mine. Mine has a heavier yogurt component and ends up richer and moister. When it cools, it is like a cheesecake/spongecake hybrid. Also, it will fall rather rapidly after coming out of the oven, but that doesn't impact the enjoyable experience of eating them! Frankly, I like mine best after they have been refrigerated and are cold and find it a bit too "eggy" when just hot out of the oven.

Lemon Yogurt Souffle (sugar-free)
1/2 cup yogurt cheese
1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 medium eggs, separated
4 tbsp. granular Splenda
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch cream of tartar
  1. Lightly spray 4 small ramekins (3.5 in./9 cm. diameter) with cooking spray. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F./190 degrees C.
  3. Whisk the yogurt cheese, egg yolks, flour, 3 tbsp. Splenda (reserve 1 tbsp.), vanilla, juice and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
  4. Beat the egg whites at low speed until bubbles form. 
  5. Add the cream of tartar and 1 tbsp. Splenda to the egg whites and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the yogurt mixture.
  7. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 4 prepared ramekins.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Raspberry Orange Muffins

Raspberries are both hard to come by and expensive for those of us living in Tokyo. Normally, I wouldn't think of doing something as "frivolous" as putting them into a baked item, but one of the local discount green grocer had a freezer case chock-full-of 1.1 lb. (500 gram) bags of frozen raspberries. "Oh happy day!" Unfortunately, I've had the experience all too often of these types of treats coming and going in a heartbeat never to return. I have the extremely temporary freedom to experiment with raspberries in my cooking.

Raspberry Orange Muffins (sugar-free, whole wheat, low-fat):
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
finely grated zest of one medium orange
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Splenda granular
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup frozen raspberries
  1. Add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the applesauce, egg, milk, orange zest, oil, vanilla, salt, and Splenda together.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the liquid mixture and gently stir just until the flour is moistened. Allow this to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C.). Spray the bottoms of 6 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and stir until just mixed.
  6. Stir in the frozen raspberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the tins for at least 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, pat gently if they stick to the bottom. Place on a rack for cooling.
It's very important to allow them to cool for awhile since the high fruit content will make them fragile until they are close to room temperature.

These were light and very tasty, though the orange zest gives them just a hint of bitterness on the first bite. If you're particularly sensitive to such flavors, you may want to simply omit the zest.

They are best within a few hours of baking, but you can revive the texture to near-fresh status if you freeze the leftovers (as early as possible-freezing stale muffins won't fix their staleness), thaw, then wrap in foil and heat them for about 5 minutes in the toaster oven. This is how I usually have my muffins since it takes several days to eat a batch of six of them.

Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:

Why "Sweeteners"? (Mission Statement)

In early 2010, my husband had a blood test with some troubling results. At that point in time, I started to try and alter a variety of recipes in order to remove the sugar and lower the overall caloric values of the foods I prepared. Since he won't eat things which he doesn't enjoy, I've done a lot of experimenting to incorporate whole grains, remove sugar, and reduce fats without sacrificing texture and flavor. As one might imagine, this is no small feat.

Every recipe that appears on this site will have been tweaked to produce a tasty result. One of my pet peeves with recipes that are "guiltless" or altered to take out sugar and white flour is that beautiful pictures of foods are put up along with recipes, but when I try the recipes, the results fall short of the mark. This will not be a site with beautiful pictures and recipes that don't live up to them on the flavor front. If anything, the pictures won't do the food justice as I am a much better cook than I am a photographer! If you try a recipe and it doesn't work, please tell me about your process and I'll try to help you troubleshoot it.

In regards to ingredients, all of the recipes for baked goods or sweets will usually use Splenda, either granular or packets. I don't use the "baking blends" because they are partly composed of sugar. I know that many people use agave nectar or other types of "healthier" sweeteners, but these things are not an option for me. I live in Tokyo, and my choices are extremely limited as Japan is not the sugar-free paradise that many Western countries are. I ask anyone who decides to comment to please keep this in mind before issuing dire warnings about the dangers of Splenda and recommending that I turn to another type of sweetener.

Thank you for reading!