Pumpkinhead Cupcakes (The Leftovers Club)

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It’s rare that I make a dessert for The Low-Acid Kitchen that doesn’t try to mask whole-wheat flour, do without oil, or otherwise be very healthy. These cupcakes are a true dessert, though, and they’re a treat with their light texture and delicious spice blend. They’re naturally moist from the pumpkin puree, and the fat content isn’t problematic if you eat only one. This recipe also includes a secret ingredient: Shipyard Pumpkinhead, my favorite autumn ale.

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The key to keeping this dessert heartburn-friendly is to omit the frosting. Cream cheese frosting would be fantastic on these, but it’s not necessary. I topped each cupcake with shredded coconut instead of frosting, and the pop of sweetness and texture was the perfect finish. The part of the coconut that isn’t directly touching the cake gets browned and crispy and is divine!

I sent these cupcakes to Ginger of Stark Raving Delicious for The Leftovers Club. She made me a moist and well-spiced pumpkin loaf, and I wanted to reply with a seasonal treat. If you love to bake and want to receive goodies in the mail each month, consider joining Ginger and me in The Leftovers Club.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • a few dashes of cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and add paper liners to a standard cupcake tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, oil, vanilla, egg, pumpkin, and beer. Stir until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in several batches into the wet ingredients, and stir until all lumps have disappeared. 2014-11-02 19.21.55
  5. Fill each cupcake liner with a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Sprinkle each cake with coconut, and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

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Makes 12. Active time 10 minutes; total time 26 to 28 minutes. Adapted from http://shipyard.com/article/pumpkinhead-cupcakes

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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Pumpkin-Applesauce Muffins

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Looking for a good use for a little bit of canned pumpkin? This recipe uses only half a cup, and it’s combined with applesauce for sweetness. I tried several variations on this recipe, and this version had the best texture. Adding chopped apples never led to a good result, but use chunky applesauce if you’re looking for a bit of fruit in your muffins.

These are low in fat, and the sprinkle of pumpkin seeds makes them feel special. If you don’t have any seeds, though, chopped almonds would work just as well. Either crunchy topping will complement the spices and the soft, carby muffin goodness.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs lightly. Mix in the oil, pumpkin, applesauce, milk, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices until blended. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until incorporated.
  4. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the surface of each with pumpkin seeds, and press them gently into the surface of the batter with your fingers. 2014-10-15 18.24.05
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes 12. Active time 15 minutes; total time 35 minutes. Adapted from http://www.hannaford.com/recipe/Sunny-Double-Apple-Muffins/11102.uts#

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/

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/