Thursday, September 25, 2014

Almond Butter Birthday Cake with Nutella Frosting

Almond Butter Birthday Cake
with Nutella Frosting
It's hard to believe that a little over a week ago my baby boy turned 10.  Since it was a school day and a busy one at that, with soccer practices in the evening, I figured I had better make a cake that was nutritious enough to have for breakfast (although on your birthday I think eating any kind of cake at whatever time is perfectly acceptable).  My son is not the biggest fan of chocolate (that gene must have skipped a generation) but he does love rich, dense desserts, and is particularly fond of almond flavoring.  So after a summer spent making numerous batches of high protein chocolate brownies with both peanut and almond butters, I decided to tweak the recipe a bit and substitute the cocoa powder with a little bit of organic whole wheat pastry flour, the dark chocolate with white chocolate, use all almond butter and add in some pure almond extract for flavor.  Like a lot of my baking experiments, I had no idea how it would turn out and hoped that it would not only taste good, but hold it's shape as a cake and cook evenly in two round cake pans.  And let me tell you, it came out even better than I could have expected.

Please be advised that this recipe is still a dessert, so of course it shouldn't be eaten everyday as part of a healthy diet, but as far as a cake goes, it is much better than average.  If cut into 12 or 16 slices, each piece will contain about 20g of mostly heart healthy fats, only about 15g of sugar, a couple of grams of fiber and about 10g of protein.  Not too shabby for a birthday cake, and since you make it yourself it doesn't have anything artificial or processed in it.  Of course I did ruin all that when I added in some colored sprinkles and frosted it with Nutella, but you only turn 10 once (double digits!), so I had to add a little something extra.  You could definitely make a regular buttercream frosting for this cake, but I love Nutella and sometimes getting something straight from a jar when you have a billion other things to do in a day is the best option.  I know my son loved this cake and we all enjoyed it (for breakfast) a couple of times last week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Indian Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Indian Slow Cooker Potato Soup

I have seen recipes all over social media recently for making potato soup in a crock pot.  One of those posts was the inspiration for making this meal as well, but of course I had to put my own twist on it and make it not only using more nutritious ingredients, but with a different set of basic flavors as well.  I am sure it would be delicious using butter, cream, cheddar cheese and bacon, and perhaps I will try something simpler another day,* but why be predictable when you can have an adventure in your kitchen instead?

All of the recipes I saw called for a can of condensed milk and it was that one ingredient, which I have yet to find an organic version for in my store, that made me want to try an alternative instead.  I also like to make recipes that are vegan for my followers who don't like to use any animal products, and although this recipe in its current form is not vegan, it certainly could be made that way by switching out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and using vegan versions of cheese, or omitting that condiment altogether.  Honestly, the rich Indian spices and flavorful, in season, organic potatoes are what make this soup so satisfying.  And like all crock pot meals, it takes only minutes to prepare, and the slow cooker does all the work for you.  You could certainly add a bit of turkey bacon on top afterwards, or some curried chicken even, but I love this soup with just a large helping of full fat plain Greek yogurt and a lot of fresh herbs.  And on a cool fall day like today, nothing tastes better.

* a potato soup recipe from last year: Baked Potato Soup

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chocolate No Bake Date Nut Bars

Chocolate No Bake Date Nut Bars
I wish I always had a pan of these in my fridge, but they are so good that they were gone the day after I made them.  So I guess I had better make them more often!  Using mostly raw, healthful ingredients, these chocolate bars are one of my favorite creations ever.  My kids think they are candy, yet I know they are full of nutritious raw nuts and dried fruit and are perfect before or after a good workout, a kids' soccer game or as a late night treat when you just need something sweet but don't want to over indulge.  I actually calculated out the nutrition information for these and was pleasantly surprised at how good the numbers are.  They are high in protein and fiber, low in calories, and although high in fat and sugar, it is the good kind of fat and all the sugar is naturally occurring from the dried dates.  You do need a high powered food processor to make this recipe, but other than that it is as simple as can be and ready to eat in less than an hour.  And they taste way better than any packaged product you could find in a store.