Healthier Apple Crisp

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Apple crisp is a fall favorite, and it can be a healthy one, too. I made this version low in fat by cutting over half of the butter and replacing it with applesauce. This particular recipe makes more of a granola topping, rather than the traditional buttery crust, but it is delicious.

The key to making this recipe good for heartburn is to use mostly red apples (which have a higher pH than green apples and thus are easier on the throat) and throw in one green apple for tartness. I used a mixture of red, green, and tan apples that a friend picked at the orchard and left at my house. I’m not sure where tan apples fall on the spectrum of acidity, but I come across them so rarely that I’m not going to worry about it.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 or 4 large Gala apples
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Core and thinly slice the apples, measuring them (about 10 cups) and placing them into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan.
  3. Mix the sugar, 1 tbsp flour, spices, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Stir to coat.
  4. Combine the oats, 1/4 cup flour, almonds, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, melted butter, applesauce, and salt, and use a fork to mix well. Use your fingers to sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apples. 2014-10-09 15.55.25
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Serves 8. Active time 25 minutes; total time 70 minutes. Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/healthier-apple-crisp-ii/

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Cucumber-Pear Smoothie

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When I received small pickling cucumbers in my Boston Organics produce delivery, I knew I wouldn’t be making any vinegar-soaked, acidic pickles. Cucumbers aren’t my favorite salad addition, either. But they add a surprising flavor to smoothies without being strong enough to overpower the sweetness of the fruit.

This is one of the more unusual smoothie combinations I’ve tried. Since pineapples and most berries are too low in pH for the low-acid diet, I have to get creative! The cinnamon and ginger were a nice touch here, and the unexpected flavor combo worked for me. Try adding a spoonful of almond butter if you’re looking for a more filling, protein-packed snack.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pickling cucumber (or 1/3 of a normal cucumber)
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the cucumber, and use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Roughly chop the cucumber flesh.
  2. Add the cucumber, pear, banana, and milk to a blender or mini-chop. Blend for about a minute until smooth.
  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to taste. Pulse to combine and serve.
Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.queenofquinoa.me/2012/06/cucumber-pear-smoothie/

Apricot-Banana Oatmeal Bites

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I wouldn’t call these cookies, but they satisfy a sweet tooth and come in cute little packages. The texture is crispy on the outside and oatmeal-like on the inside. This is the kind of snack I would serve to my all-female book club, but it probably wouldn’t fit in as well at a Superbowl party.

Be sure to use Turkish apricots if you’re worried about heartburn. If not, any dried fruit will work here. If you want the bites to be more gooey and less oatmeal-like, try reducing the oats to 1 cup. This recipe is very forgiving, so throw everything in the bowl and bake!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans and almonds)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and move the racks to the top and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the oats and nuts until finely chopped.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. IMG_5924
  4. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into your hand and roll it into a ball. Place it on the parchment paper and flatten slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough. IMG_5928
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Then switch the cookie sheets and bake for 13 to 15 more minutes, until the bites are golden brown and the air in the kitchen smells toasty.
  6. Move bites to a cooling rack. Once cooled, store in the fridge or freeze for later.

Makes 20 to 24 cookies. Active time 15 minutes; total time 45 minutes. Adapted from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/banana-oatmeal-snack-cookies

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bake

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Carrots for breakfast sounded weird to me, but I’ll try anything that is promised to taste like carrot cake. (The unparalleled carrot torte from Konditor Meister is a constant craving of mine.) These oatmeal bars are filling and sneak in a serving of vegetables. Topped with a dollop of vanilla yogurt (instead of a heavy layer of cream cheese frosting), they provide a balanced and tasty breakfast.

I like to make these bars on a Sunday night so I have a quick breakfast ready for the workdays all week. This oatmeal bake would also make a wonderful brunch; serve it with fruit salad. If you mix up the ingredients ahead of time, you can pop the dish in the oven when guests arrive and be free to laze about and enjoy your morning.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oats, gluten free if desired
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 12 oz nonfat vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the rolled oats, baking powder, spices, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl; then add grated carrots and raisins and stir to mix. IMG_5464
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk and vanilla, and mix well.
  4. Put the maple syrup, pecans, and almonds in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Spoon the oat mixture into the baking dish in an even layer, pressing down with a spatula. Then pour the egg mixture over the oats and sprinkle the nut mixture on top. IMG_5465
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, until the oatmeal is set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Cut 6 bars, and serve each one with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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Serves 6. Active time 10 minutes; total time 55 minutes. Adapted from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/baked-carrot-cake-oatmeal/

 

Sesame Bok Choy Salad

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This is my new favorite salad. Baby bok choy is a delightful vegetable: crunchy and slightly bitter, with both greens and a cabbage-like stalk. I’ve been using it instead of onion in some recipes, but now that I know how good it is raw, I’ll be experimenting with other flavors of dressing.

Baby bok choy is more perishable than cabbage, so I don’t recommend dressing this salad and leaving it in the fridge overnight. It will keep for a few hours, though, so it’s a good option for a party appetizer or potluck; just make a double batch. Add the dressing right before you serve it, and it will stay crunchy for several hours. If you want to save some for the next day, don’t add any dressing until then.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tsp honey, put in the microwave for 5 seconds
  • 1 1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • large pinch of onion powder
  • 5 heads baby bok choy, rinsed, dried, and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, stir the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, oils, ginger, and onion powder until it forms a uniform dressing. Microwave for a few seconds if the honey isn’t combining easily. IMG_5506
  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the bok choy and carrot. Add the cilantro and toss well to coat the salad in dressing. Top with the toasted almonds and serve.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course. Active and total time 15 minutes. Adapted from http://thecozyapron.com/cozy-cameo-pass-the-bok-choy-greens-and-my-skinny-jeans-please/