I had some leftover canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving so I decided to try making these. I added some cranberries from the freezer for a real Thanksgiving taste sensation. They look pretty too with the red berries in the orange muffins.
They are lovely and very cake-like in texture. I made them dairy-free by using coconut oil but you could use melted butter instead. Each muffin contains 230 calories with 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre and 60% of your daily vitamin A needs. The recipe yields 17-18 muffins.
Recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare 18 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk 2.5 cups of GF all-purpose flour with 2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 1/8 tsp ground allspice and whisk again. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs with a 15 oz can of pumpkin, 1.5 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil or butter. Add to the dry mixture and stir until well-mixed. Add 1 cup of fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries and stir again. Divide into muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes.
These were very popular.
This jam is so amazing. I made 4 jars of it a couple of weeks ago and we are currently halfway through the third jar. I got the recipe from the same cookbook as the pumpkin apple butter. It’s easy to make and requires minimal special equipment since the quantities are small.
Recipe for Rhubarb Earl Grey Jam
In a large pot, place 8 cups (3 lbs) of chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of strong Earl Grey tea and 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the rhubarb is cooked and it’s a nice liquid mixture, add 1 package of pectin powder and cook until set. You’ll know it’s set by dipping a spoon in the liquid and holding it up. If the liquid pours off the spoon, it’s not ready. If it drips off slowly, it’s set.
You can either process this jam and can it or you can freeze it in freezer-safe jars.
This is the only jam I’ve made that they really like. Probably because it’s sweeter than my usual.
I got the original recipe for these from a new cookbook. It called for the white beans to be braised in olive oil on the stovetop. ”Ooh,” I thought, “That will be so delicious.” I soaked some beans overnight and then gave it a shot. Apparently my electric stovetop does not go down to low enough temperatures. The beans were hard and crunchy and essentially a complete disaster. I had to throw them out (and all the olive oil!).
I decided to try cooking them in water instead and then tossing them with the garlic and herb infused olive oil after cooking. They worked much better and were a delightful side dish to our steak and cruciferous veggie slaw.
Recipe for Braised White Beans with Rosemary
Soak 1 cup of dried white beans overnight or use the quick soak method of bringing 1 cup of dried beans and 6 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the stove and let them soak in the hot water for 2 hours.
To cook, bring the soaked beans and 6 cups of water to boil. Turn the heat down low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft. While the beans are cooking, pour 1/3 cup of olive oil into a small bowl. Add 1 clove of minced garlic along with 1 tsp of dried rosemary and another of thyme. Set the oil/herb mixture aside.
Once the beans are cooked, drain them and toss with the olive oil mixture. Serve.
The younger two did not care for these but the six year old loved them.
I have recently discovered fruit butters as a result of reading many, many cookbooks about canning. I tried an apple butter that was to die for and then came across a recipe for pumpkin apple butter in this cookbook. My recipe is different because I wanted to use some maple syrup for sweetness. Fruit butters can be tricky because they scorch so I used the slow cooker on low for 12 hours. No scorching and it was easy.
The end result was eaten on my hot cereal this morning. It was divine. A bit like having pumpkin pie for breakfast but with more nutrients. Unfortunately, you can’t can pumpkin apple butter because it’s not acidic enough so I froze it. I also love fruit butters with some vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Each serving (~1/4 cup) contains 40 calories, 1 g of fiber and 20% of your vitamin A needs for the day. Add some cooked buckwheat cereal to it and you’ve got a breakfast packed with good stuff.
Recipe for Pumpkin Apple Butter
Core 5 lbs of apples and place in a large pot with 4 cups of water and 1.5 cups maple syrup. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the apples are very soft and separating from the peels. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until the apples and peel are a smooth mixture.
Transfer the apple puree to a slow cooker along with a 15 oz can of pumpkin, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground allspice and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. Blend with the immersion blender again until everything is well-mixed. Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 12 hours. Stir when you can but it’s not crucial. Leave the lid slightly askew so the liquid can evaporate.
They tell me that they like regular applesauce better. I think this is a bit intense for them.
I made a ton of blackberry chia jam last summer and it was fantastic. They didn’t have any jam blackberries (read squished, cheaper blackberries) at the farmer’s market so I decided to try blueberry jam this year instead.
I used this recipe as my starting point but was using much, much bigger quantities as I’m trying to make enough jam for the entire year. We ran out in March or April this year. Her recipe is perfect for someone starting out though since it makes a small quantity. Her food photos are lovely to look at as well and helpful in determining the desired thickness of the jam.
I started canning last year so decided to process the whole batch this year. I am using the canning procedure (along with a few of the recipes) described in this book. For those of you who would like an online resource, the USDA provides a great, free PDF on the proper procedures to follow.
Each 15 ml serving of this jam provides 17 calories with 0.5 g of fiber. It’s not as sweet as commercial jam.
Recipe for Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam
In a very large pot, put 10 lbs of blueberries with 450 ml of maple syrup and 30 ml of vanilla extract. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of chia seeds and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and process as per proper home canning procedures. Store.
The two year old loves it on his toast in the morning. The older two tell me that they prefer the jam my mother makes. :)
Lately I go back and forth between being obsessed with canning and making food that’s good for school lunches. My oldest child starts grade 1 next week so it’s the first time I’ve had to think about packed lunches other than my own. Today I will write about muffins. Next week, I’ll try to post my blueberry vanilla jam recipe.
I’m a bit overwhelmed at the thought of coming up with delicious, nutritious school lunches five day per week without using nuts and that can be eaten quickly. This muffin fits the bill because it’s energy-dense and packed with vitamins and minerals. Each muffin contains 200 calories, 3 g of protein, 1 g of fiber and is a good source of vitamin A and potassium. The prunes were added because my kids love President’s Choice mixed dried fruit with the exception of the prunes. So there are always a large amount of prunes left over when everything else is finished. I decided to chop them really finely and add them to the muffins.
Recipe for Zucchini Carrot Muffins with Prunes
Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare 18 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of sugar, tsp baking soda, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp all-spice. Add 1.5 cups of grated zucchini and 1.5 cups of grated carrot and stir until everything is well-mixed.
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 eggs with 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup hemp milk or regular milk. Add to flour mixture along with 1 cup of finely chopped prunes and stir until everything is just mixed.
Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.
These were a big success.
These are based on my pumpkin spice muffins but I wanted to cut back the sugar and use up some half eaten apples that were sitting in my fridge. I used some of this applesauce that was stored in my freezer. If you make them with commercial applesauce, you might want to throw in a pinch of ginger.
They were lovely and tender. Definitely sweet enough even with the sugar cut in half from the original recipe. They’d be nice with some chopped nuts in them as well.
The recipe makes 18 muffins. Each muffin contains 190 calories with 1.5 g of fiber and a sprinkling of vitamins and minerals.
Recipe for Applesauce Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare 18 muffin cups.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups of applesauce with 1/2 cup of hemp milk (you can use regular milk if you don’t need to be dairy-free). Grate 1 large apple.
In a large bowl, whisk 2 cups of GF all-purpose flour with 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground all-spice. Set aside.
In an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup of coconut oil (or butter) until light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Alternate between adding the applesauce mixture and the flour mixture. Fold in the grated apple and divide between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
They loved these. They will definitely be added to the roster for school snacks and lunches.
I saw the original version of this in an old issue of Olive magazine at my parents’ house. It called for spelt but, as spelt isn’t gluten-free, I changed it to quinoa. I loved the salad but my husband said he would have preferred it to have queso fresco instead of the feta. I used fresh oregano but it would be lovely with some fresh mint. Soaking the onion in the red wine vinegar/lemon juice mixture really takes the sharpness out of it. I usually don’t like raw onion but it’s great with this method. You get the onion flavour without all the bad breath afterwards.
The recipe makes four servings. Each serving contains 310 calories with 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and tons of vitamins and minerals.
Recipe for Quinoa Avocado Salad
Slice 1/4 of a red onion very thinly. Squeeze half a lemon and pour over the onion in a shallow bowl. Add 2 tbs of red wine vinegar. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to soak the onion.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of quinoa and cook over low heat until fluffy. Place in large bowl to cool.
Once the quinoa is cool, add the onion with the lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Mix in 1 diced avocado and 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese. Pour 2 tbs of olive oil and some chopped fresh oregano on top and toss until everything is well-mixed. Serve.
They could not have been less interested in trying this.
I was flipping through a magazine at the doctor’s office the other day and flashed by a recipe for a Caesar salad with grilled Romaine lettuce. I didn’t have time to read the recipe but figured it would be pretty easy to put together. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have an abundance of lettuce growing in my garden and have been trying to come up with more imaginative ways to use it up.
This was really easy and delicious. I used 2 fairly small heads of Romaine for it but you could use one larger one from the grocery store and just divide it in half. The recipe makes 2 portions but the dressing recipe makes enough for a huge salad. We’ll use the remainder of the dressing for a traditional Caesar salad tomorrow.
Each serving contains 445 calories with 36 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. This is a great source of Vitamin A, the B Vitamins, iron and potassium.
Recipe for Deconstructed Caesar Salad with Grilled Romaine
Preheat the BBQ.
In a small bowl, pour 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add 2 cloves of crushed or minced garlic. If there is time, let it infuse for 30 minutes. Otherwise, add a pinch of sea salt, 1/4 tsp mustard powder, 2 tbs anchovy paste, 3 tbs red wine vinegar and 1/4 c lemon juice. Whisk and set aside.
Cook chicken thighs or breasts on the BBQ until juices run clear. I estimated 2 chicken thighs per serving but your mileage may vary. Set aside.
Grill Romaine lettuce for 1-2 minutes until wilted.
On plate, place 2 chicken thighs with 1 small head or half a large head of grilled Romaine and 1 slice of bread (GF for the celiacs in the crowd). My family had sourdough bread with this. Drizzle the chicken and lettuce with the prepared dressing and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
They love meals where everything is served separately and this was no exception. They had uncooked lettuce and preferred not to have the dressing.
We have an insane amount of lettuce growing in our garden right now. We are likely to eventually get sick of salad so my mother suggested we try making lettuce soup. I had never heard of it but thought it sounded really interesting. I figured I had nothing to lose except free lettuce.
It was actually really good. It was a great way to use up a couple of heads of romaine lettuce from the garden. I served it as an appetizer in shot glasses to my family and they all agreed that it was good. My cousin said it was “surprisingly flavourful for a soup made from lettuce”. Next on my list to make with the lettuce is a homemade deconstructed chicken Caesar salad with grilled Romaine.
The recipe makes four servings and each serving contains 85 calories with large amounts of beta-carotene, folate and potassium.
Recipe for Lettuce Soup
With a kitchen scale, weigh out 1 lb of lettuce. Chop, wash and spin dry.
In a large pot over low heat, add 1 tbs of olive oil. When it’s hot, add the lettuce and 1 clove of minced garlic. Stir frequently until the lettuce is wilted. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 tsp of dried oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and puree in a blender. Return to pan and add 1/2 cup of cream. Serve.
They loved this. I was really surprised but they were crazy about it. I thought it was possibly the novelty of the shot glasses but we had leftovers for lunch the next day and they liked it just as much. I will definitely make it again.