Showing posts with label low-fat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low-fat. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sweet treats: Apple Cake with ginger

Here is a lovely little sweet treat that isn't going to pack on the guilt - it is high in sugar, but skips the frosting or glaze and is low in fat. Even dietitians like an indulgence sometimes!

What kind of apple? Some apples do better in the oven than others. I remember the first time I heard the term "a good eating apple". What else are you supposed to do with apples, I wondered? This distinction dates back to when people participated in the production of their own food and grew many varieties of produce. With apples, they would grow some that would make good cider and apple sauce and some that stored well over the winter in their cellar. Some are best raw, "a good eating apple" and some are better cooked.

For baking, use apples that are firm and tart - I like Granny Smith, Winesap, Jonagolds and Gala. For best results, choose more than one variety and the mixture of flavors will be great. 

Apple Cake
  • 2 cups chopped apples (no need to peel)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray a 8 or 9 inch square pan and set aside.
  2. Mix chopped apples and sugar and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg well. Once apples are ready (there will be a lot more liquid - the sugar draws it out!), add all other ingredients to the egg bowl and mix. The batter will be very thick. 
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Ready for the oven!
Ready to eat! Yummy

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Fruit "Ice-Creams" more delicious treats

Strawberry-Banana "Ice-cream"

This is such a cool trick! Using frozen fruit and your food processor, we make a ice-cream-like treat that satisfies your sweet tooth without ruining your healthy eating plans!

Low-cal Sundae!
This is a follow up to the original recipe that used only banana; most taste testers loved it, but my dad thought it was too "banana-y", which isn't surprising as it was the only ingredient! For this version, I made two batches; one with half strawberries and half banana, one with banana flavored with cocoa powder and vanilla. I scooped both flavors in a cute dish and topped it like a sundae with sliced strawberries and mini chocolate chips. Delish!

Simply freeze fruit of choice; bananas work well, but so do strawberries, mangoes, peaches and more!

Place fruit in food processor (most blenders won't cut it for this recipe) and puree until smooth and creamy. Some fruits might need a splash of milk, but plain bananas will not. Add flavors if you wish, such as cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract or cinnamon.

Scoop into your dish and add toppings if you like, or enjoy plain!

Freeze fruit
Half-way there!

Creamy and delicious "ice-cream"; thick enough to scoop!

Do you have a food processor in your kitchen? They're such a great tool to have and last for years. This one is well rated on amazon and is Amazon Prime eligible.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Banana "ice-cream"...a low-calorie dessert that actually tastes super!

There are few things more delicious than excellent ice-cream. And with summer's heat, ice-cream is a tempting way to cool off. However, the high number of calories of even a reasonable portion might take you off track from your beach-bod journey. And the whole pint? Don't get me started! What to do?

I was introduced to this ice-cream substitute last summer from my lovely former roommate Kelly. Even though I am a dietitian, I have a huge sweet tooth. When she was telling me about this frozen banana mush as being something worth trying, I had a pretty high level of skepticism. I tried it though and am an official convert; it really is creamy and delicious! This is lovely dessert that tastes like ice-cream but has the calories of one banana. Magic? Pretty much!

What is in a name? In order for the food package to be labeled as ice-cream, it must contain a minimum of 10% milk fat. Fat gives the creamy mouth feel of good ice-cream, but it also bulks up the calories and saturated fat content. Soft serve treats are sometimes lower in fat and calories, but don't have enough fat to be labeled as ice-cream. Search for the work ice-cream on the menu boards and your cone will be melted before you see it; it isn't there!

Banana "ice-cream"

  • 1 frozen banana per person/serving
Optional ingredients and flavors
  • cocoa powder
  • melted chocolate chips
  • cinnamon powder
  • vanilla extract
  • peanut or almond butter

  1. Peel banana and place in plastic bag or reusable container. Freeze until solid (note: if you're trying to hurry things along, slice the banana. More surface area = faster freezing time).

These slices quickly freeze solid

  • Place frozen banana in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy; this will take a few minutes. Scoop down the sides of the bowl to make sure there aren't any lumps! 
Smooth and creamy "ice-cream"!

  • If you're interested in flavors, add 'em! If not, scoop some into your bowl and enjoy! 
  • Cocoa powder and cinnamon added...yum!
  • If you have left overs, scoop it into a container and store in the freezer. For best results, let the frozen "ice-cream" warm up for a few minutes before serving; this will help it be just as creamy.

Kelly has her own lovely blog called Off The Wall; I'd recommend you check it out! She has great recipes for you to try and love!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Recently I whipped up a batch of Rachel Ray's Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup. It is really simple to pull together and is super delicious.

I didn't deviate much from the original recipe, but I did make a swap to lower the fat content and used lower-sodium (ie salt) options where I could. 

Here is what I used;

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups canned or packaged low-sodium vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed (lowers sodium)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
  • Coarse salt
  • 20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish


  • Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste.
  • Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

The original recipe called for 1 cup of heavy cream, and while that version would be delicious, it would also be bad for the waist line! Instead of the cream, I used canned condensed milk; this lends a nice creamy texture, without all of the saturated fat. Another option I've used that works well is the fat-free half and half, found near the milk in the grocery store.

Nutrition note: while it is a good idea to lower saturated fat and trans-fats in recipes for our health, it isn't wise to avoid all fat. Fats play many important roles in our body and they also help with the absoprtion of other nutrients.

In this recipe, the pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, a fat soluble provitamin to Vitamin A. This means that our body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. However, our body doesn't have access to the beta-carotene unless it has been absorbed. For this reason, I left the olive oil in the soup instead of substituting vegetable spray.
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