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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Sweet Potato Oatmeal

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I was holding on to this recipe until I felt that true autumn feeling, and it finally happened today. As I drove around my new neighborhood and found a road that looked downright rural, leaves of many colors littered my windshield. It’s pumpkin spice season!

I often use sweet potato instead of pumpkin in baked goods because the potato leftovers are more versatile than the leftover canned pumpkin. Sweet potatoes take more time, though, since you need to microwave and peel them. The taste is similar, so use whichever item you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup oats, gluten-free if desired
  • 2/3 cup almond or soy milk
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato (if you don’t have any on hand, follow these directions to cook a small potato)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • sliced almonds (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potato and maple syrup and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes, watching the bowl carefully for overflow. IMG_5598
  3. Stir and serve topped with sliced almonds, as well as more cinnamon and maple syrup to taste.

Serves 1. Active and total time 6 minutes. Adapted from http://www.theoatmealartist.com/maple-sweet-potato-oatmeal/

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/

 

Golden Apple Granola (The Leftovers Club)

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Homemade granola is such a treat. As soon as I learned how to make apple chips, I wanted to incorporate them into my favorite quinoa granola recipe. I like to serve this sweet concoction over chopped pears and top it with a dollop of vanilla yogurt. It’s a balanced but fancy breakfast.

I sent this granola to Johanna of Notes From a Messy Kitchen for this month’s edition of The Leftovers Club. Great minds think alike; she sent me a scrumptious, walnut-filled carrot cake granola that I will definitely be making soon. If you like to bake and to receive mail, consider joining us next month in The Leftovers Club!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if desired)
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried apples, chopped

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together the oats, quinoa, almonds, brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
  3. In small bowl, combine the applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove from the oven and add the raisins. Stir well, breaking up the largest chunks of granola so they cook all the way through. IMG_5480
  5. Bake for 20 additional minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Stir in the dried apples. Cool completely and store the granola in an airtight container.

Makes about 5 cups. Active time 20 min; total time 50 min (plus time to make dried apples). Adapted from https://lowacidyum.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/ginger-granola-with-red-quinoa