Cheese Danish and Cinnamon buns

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Makes 2 cheese danish rings, or as pictured one danish and one batch cinnamon buns.

Ingredients: Danish dough

  • 4-4.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk (I use whole but you can substitute 2% or skim)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (can use more or less to your taste)
  • 1.5 tbs dried yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

Filling for 1 danish (can use less cream cheese if preferred):

  • 2 x 8oz packages cream cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • rind of one lemon

Cinnamon bun filling abd construction:

  • sugar, cinnamon and raisins and nuts optional
  • melted butter

The amounts for the cinnamon buns are up to your taste.  If you are trying to keep the fat/calorie content down you may prefer to use less butter and cinnamon sugar.  Nuts and fruits will add more nutrition but also more calories.

Dough:

Add 4 cups flour, 1.5 tablespoons dried yeast, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt to a stand mixer.  Mix.  Add to the dry ingredients 1 egg, 1 cup milk warmed to hand hot and 1 stick melted butter.  Using dough hook mix until mixture forms a soft dough, continue to knead 5-10 mins.

I usually skip the next step but you can decide.  Technically dough should be put in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour – covered with a greased piece of cling wrap.  I usually jump right to making the danish and it comes out great, but the additional rise may add some lightness to your finished product.

Prepare cheese filling:  mix cream cheese with egg yolks, confectioners sugar and lemon peel until smooth.

Roll dough out into a long 30-40″ x 6-8″ wide strip.  Cut diagonally on both sides as shown below and spread cream cheese mixture down the center.  Fold strips over alternately to make braid.   If you are making cinnamon buns you will reserve half of the dough for those, and make only one danish ring.  Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or until dark golden brown.  Cool and ice with a mixture of confectioners sugar and lemon juice.IMG_2390 IMG_4140 IMG_6452 IMG_7803 IMG_4933 IMG_2161 IMG_4346

Cinnamon bun construction:

You are going to roll half of your dough out into a rectangle, brush with melted butter, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar and add nuts and fruit if you prefer.  Roll up from the small end of the rectangle and cut into rounds.  I made 9 buns.  Place in a brownie pan separated, and cover with greased cling wrap in a warm place until risen.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  If you like to ice, use a mixture of confectioners sugar and water.

Cheese danish when made as directed above, and cut into 14 slices are 258 Calories.  Cinnamon buns divided into 9 are the same (258 each)  if 1/2 cup sugar is used for filling, 1/4 cup butter and no fruit or nuts.  Icing lightly 1/2 cup confectioners sugar.

Raspberry Bars

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These delicious treats are perfect for family gatherings. They should be cut into small squares since they are not low calorie. An ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea (particularly if you are British like me!). With a shortbread base, a raspberry middle and a crumb topping it’s sure to be a hit.

2.5 cups flour
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar

Put the above in a food processor or stand mix and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Set aside 1.5 cups of your crumb mixture. Put the remainder in a 9×15 brownie pan and press into the bottom. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes. While that is cooking…. Mix together the following:

1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
1 cup raspberry preserve
1 tbs lemon juice

Then to the set aside 1.5 cups of crumb mixture, add 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup almonds and 2 tbs melted butter together with 2 tsp almond extract (optional). Mix.

Once the shortbread is out of the oven, spread the berry mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top evenly and then pop it back in the oven for 25 minutes. Cut into squares once it’s cooled slightly. Wait until it’s cold to remove from the pan. Enjoy!

If you cut it into 16 pieces, each piece will be 300 calories. If you cut them into 24 smaller pieces they are just 200 calories each. Eat a small piece and enjoy!

Sourdough Bread Recipe

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Step 1:  Make your starter

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In order to make sourdough, you first of all need to make a starter (see pictures above). For the starter you need a glass jar, and piece of cloth and an elastic band.  Into the jar you put about 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and stir vigorously.  From here you will cover with the cloth secured to the jar with an elastic band, and leave on the counter top.  Each day you will add about 1 tbs flour and 1 tbs water and stir vigorously.  Eventually after 5-7 days you should start to see bubbles on the top (see middle picture above).  Once this happens your starter is ready for use.  When my first starter was ready, I woke up in the morning to find it bubbled over the top of the jar and onto the counter top!  A sticky mess, but I was delighted it was suddenly so active and obviously ready to be used.

Step 2:  Make your proof

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In order to make your proof, you are going to take some of your starter (maybe half depending on how much you have) and put it in another jar or I use a pyrex jug for this step.  Add 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup water to the starter and stir vigorously.  Cover with a cloth and leave for 6-12 hours until it is bubbly – see picture.

 

 

 

Step 3:  Making the dough

Finally now yo5E1B057D-892C-4E3F-8E1A-0D972BBF98EDC3A4F7B2-621D-4107-A194-A5ACA28E3F7Bu are ready to make your dough.  Plan ahead because obviously this whole thing takes a minute!  Add to a stand mixer 4-4.5 cups flour, 2 cups of water, 1 tbs salt and all of your proof mixture.  The mixture should be on the wet side as you can always add flour but once it’s mixed it’s very difficult to add moisture.  Your dough needs to be very sticky forming super soft dough.  Once you have used the dough hook to knead it for 15-25 minutes, remove it from the mixer and put into a cast iron dutch oven – preferably just plain cast iron.  Cover in a greased piece of cling wrap and leave to rise for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Step 4:  Punch it down and re-rise, then bake

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Punch your dough down (it should have doubled), and re-shape.  Leave for a further hour or two until you see it has begun to rise again.  With a very sharp knife cut a cross in the top.  Put the lid of the dutch oven on, and bake in a preheated oven at 475 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce to 450 degrees and continue cooking with the lid on for 10 more minutes.  Remove the lid and bake 20-25 more minutes.  The bread will be dark brown and well risen.  The loaf pictured center and right was made with organic wheat flour with wheat germ.  The picture on the left below was made with my home ground wheat berry whole wheat flour together with the organic wheat flour, or it can be made with all whole wheat.

 

 

 

Enchilata Casserole

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Ingredients:

Home made Tortilla Recipe:

  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water

To make tortillas mix flour, baking powder and salt and then add the oil and water and mix into a soft dough.  Knead on the counter for a couple of minutes using some extra flour, then cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.  Heat a cast iron skillet for 5-10 minutes.  Divide dough into 4, and roll out to large think circle.  Put on skillet until you see bubbles – should be 30 seconds-1 minute a side.  Then place on cooling rack while you continue to cook the other three.  Set aside.

Filling:

  • 3 large cooked chicken breasts cubed or shredded
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 large onion sautéed in 2 tablespoons oil

Sauce:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons better than bullion chicken
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sour cream or heavy cream
  • Red chilli pepper flakes

To make the sauce heat the chicken broth with red chili flakes and bullion mixed in.  In another bowl mix 1/3 cup flour with cream or sour cream until smooth and gradually add chicken broth.  Once combined heat to thicken.

To assemble casserole place one tortilla in the bottom of the cast iron skillet, cover with shredded chicken, 1/3 of sautéed onion, 1/3 can of black beans, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Mexican cheese.  Drizzle a little sauce over the top.  Place second tortilla on the top and repeat the process twice more.  Top with remaining sauce (which should be quite a bit), and generously with shredded cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with sliced avocado and salsa.

 

 

 

Kombucha

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Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is packed with probiotics and great for your stomach.  It’s expensive to buy but easy to make at home.

To start you need to grow or acquire a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).  I have a few available if anyone is interested, or you can grow one by buying a bottle of Kombucha from the store and do the following:

 

 

 

  • Pour the raw kombucha and the cooled tea into a glass jar.
  • Cover the jar with a tight-weave dish towel or a paper coffee filter. …
  • Ferment the tea in a warm spot, 68-85ºF, out of direct sunlight, for about 7 days.

Once you have your SCOBY, you need a large glass jar and a few tea bags.  Brew a strong batch of tea and add about a cup of white sugar per quart jar of tea.  Once the tea has cooled, remove the tea bags and add your SCOBY with some of it’s juices.  Cover tightly with a cloth, and seal with an elastic band,  Leave in a warm dark place for about 2 weeks.  After 2 weeks  you can remove tea from jar separating SCOBY to use in the next batch, then flavor kombucha as you wish.  I use Trader Joe’s organic peach juice, but you can also use lemon juice and ginger or any number of other flavors.

Once you have flavored the batch, pour into glass bottles or jars and seal tightly.  Place your flavored kombucha jars or bottles on a window sill where it gets some sunlight, and let ferment for a second time for 3-5 days.  Be careful when you open your bottles or jars, as it will be fizzy.  I put mine in the fridge after a week on the window sill to ensure it does not explode when I open it!

Nut Roast

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  • 1 Cup chopped nuts of choice (how finely you grind them is up to you)
  • 1 Cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 Cup diced celery
  • 1 Cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 Large can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1-2 Cups marinara sauce of your choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-1 Cup cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté onion, celery and carrot with salt and pepper until tender.   Mix with the rest of the ingredients, and taste to be sure seasoning is to your liking.  Put into a loaf tin.  Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes and serve warm or cold with or without marinara sauce.

Squash Bisque with Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Squash Bisque

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  • 1 32 oz container of chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1-2 parsnips
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoons of ‘Better than Bullion’ chicken flavor
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 a small butternut squash
  • A little heavy cream to taste is optional

This soup can be easily modified to suit the vegetables you have available, you really can’t go wrong.  You can also adjust the seasoning to taste.

Put all the above ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Continue to boil until all vegetables are soft.  Using a hand held blender, puree all ingredients until smooth, adding heavy cream if you choose to.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  You can serve with a little grated Parmesan cheese melted into the soup, or just eat it plain.  This makes approximately 10 cups of soup or 5 large servings at about 100 calories a serving.  As you see above I like to make a large batch and store in mason jars in the fridge.  It makes a great lunch and if you work, you can bring a small mason jar of soup to work and put it in the microwave to heat.

  • Chicken broth – 40 calories
  • Carrots – 60 calories
  • Parsnips – 30 calories each
  • Sweet potato – 100 calories
  • 1 onion – 64 calories
  • Bullion – 80 calories
  • Butternut squash – 2 cups 120 calories
  • 1/4 Cup heavy cream (optional) – 205 calories

Calorie count: 500-700 Calories for the whole pot.

Bacon Cheddar biscuits

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  • 1/2 cup butter (or alternative fat)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (or chosen alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients just until blended.  Spoon onto a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes – it makes about a dozen.  Below is the calorie breakdown for you.  If you substitute lower calorie alternates you can look them up to get a more accurate calorie count.

 

  • 2 cups flour – 700 calories
  • Butter/fat – 800 per half cup
  • 1 cup cheddar – 455 calories
  • 1 cup milk – between 100 and 150 depending on the milk
  • 1 egg – 70 calories
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits – 216 calories

Total calories = 2400 – 12 biscuits at 200 calories each

 

Whole Wheat bagel

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  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1.5-2 cups hand hot water
  • Trader Jo’s ‘Everything but the bagel’ seed topping
  • Beaten egg or egg white

If you have a mixer then add the flour, yeast and salt to the bowl and mix.  Add water until a dough forms.  Use the dough hook or knead by hand until dough is smooth and stretchy.

I don’t usually rise the dough twice but you can leave the dough in the bowl, cover with greased cling wrap and let it double in size.  Punch the dough down and split into 10-12 equal balls.  Use your thumb to make a hole in the middle and shape bagels.  Place on a well floured board or baking sheet and cover with greased cling wrap.  Let rise until almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile boil a pot of water with a little honey and baking soda (optional)  Once pot is boiling reduce heat to a simmer, and slide one or two bagels into boiling water being careful not to break the rise.

Boil bagels for 1 minute on each side turning over carefully with a spatula.  Carefully lift out of the water shaking off excess water.  Put on greased baking sheet, brush with beaten egg, and top with ‘Everything but the bagel’ topping.  Alternately you can top with rock salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds or seed of your choice.  Bake in a pre heated 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

If you make 10 bagel, each bagel is approximately 120 calories.  If you make slightly larger bagels and only make 8 then they are 153 per bagel.  Smaller bagels have 34g carbs and 6.4g protein.  Larger have 43g carb and 8g protein.  This makes a great breakfast with almond butter and a banana sliced on top.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Pumpkin Apple Bread

57118397638__769F36A5-0CA8-4147-9768-CAB74697097EThis is truly a delicious bread that can be souped up to make a great dessert by the addition of whipped cream or if you are going lower fat, add a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt.  It’s simple, fairly low fat, and you can decide how much sugar to add depending on your taste and dietary concerns.  The walnuts and chocolate chips are optional and how many you put it is also fairly fluid.

You can also swap out your fruits depending on what you have available.  Canned pumpkin is hard to come by unless it’s Thanksgiving time, so you can use mashed banana as an alternate.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil – melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (can be substituted for banana or just extra apple sauce)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (I used my home made chunky but any will work)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar (you can use more or less depending on your preference, can also substitute with honey or agave although it may change the flavor slightly)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips. 1/2 cup walnuts  (can do all nuts or all chips, add more or less or not at all)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla (this is also optional for flavor)

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well combined.  Put into a well greased loaf pan (preferably a large one – mine is 6″x 10″ and 3″ deep which is larger than the average pan).  Alternately you can use an 8×8 baking pan.  In this case your baking time will be shorter by about 10-15 minutes.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes to 1 hour (mine took an hour in my large loaf pan).  In an 8×8 pan you might want to check it after 45 minutes with a toothpick.  If it comes out clean it’s done.  You can also lightly press on the top and if it’s done it should spring back.

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In case you are interested here is the calorie breakdown for you:  If you make the bread as directed above with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup choc chips and 1/2 cup walnuts, and you cut it into 12 equal pieces, each piece would be about 190 calories and that is a decent sized slice.  If you lower the sugar by half:  ie. add just 1/3 cup, and omit the choc chips and nuts it comes down to 121 calories a slice!  Add a dollop or real whipped cream brings your treat up by 50-100 calories depending on how much you add.

Enjoy!!!

Falafel

Falafel

57076032050__3B5225C3-F7AC-4243-90FC-CF861DC40E15 Falafels are originally an Egyptian food.  There are a variety of options for spices and cooking and I will offer both here.  I have never really been a big fan of falafel, but my kids love them and aside from the deep fried variety, they are a great source of protein if you are vegetarian and also are filling without being high in calories.  Of course once you deep fry them they become less healthy and need to be eaten in moderation.  I got an air fryer for Christmas and find they cook well in the air fryer, but are not as moist as the deep fried variety, so need to be

The trick to making them is to not use canned chickpeas.  Buy dried chickpeas and soak them overnight for the best results.  Spices used should be to your taste, and I have put below an optional cardamom addition, but we did find this flavor a bit overpowering so beware.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon corrianda
  • 1 teaspoon cumineaten with sauces of which there are a number that go very nicely
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves (optional)57076160319__BFF508EB-0662-4206-94A0-BE317A3FDAB1
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1-2 cloves garlic

Directions:  After soaking chickpeas overnight, add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture is finely ground but not paste like.   Chickpeas will still be in tiny pieces.  Make mixture into small balls and at this point they can be refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to cook them.

A fried falafel of about 3.5oz is about 330 calories.  A baked falafel has less than 100 calories but since it is quite dry does require the addition of sauces which will, of course, add calories.

Suggested accompaniments:  guacamole, Tahini sauce, hummus.  I had mine with cottage cheese which tasted good.  I read that hot sauce is a favorite for those who like a spicier falafel.

To cook them, either shallow fry, deep fry, bake or air fry.  I air fried my first batch at 375 for 20 minutes.