Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

One of my favorite things about simple livin’ is seasonal menus. I don’t have to spend a lot of time planning what I will make because when the pears are ripe we will have things made from pears, when the tomatoes are ripe we will have wonderful tomato dishes etc. Well it’s rhubarb season at the moment and after making the traditional rhubarb dishes like rhubarb pie and rhubarb jam, and tucking some away in the freezer for a mid-winter rhubarb fix, I decided to do some experimenting. I started out with a traditional muffin recipe but…well, I just can’t help myself. I tweaked and substituted my way into a completely different recipe and these breakfast muffins are scrumptious as well as healthy.

 

Berry Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

 

Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup organic ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups organic brown sugar (or partially substitute some stevia to reduce calories)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil (melted but not hot)
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups organic kefir or buttermilk

Fold in

  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh organic rhubarb
  • 1 cup diced fresh organic berries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, vanilla and kefir or buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb, berries and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle top of each muffin with raw sugar.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pans before removing.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

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Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Well, I really need to buy a better camera (someday). My apologies for not offering any pictures with this blog post but I think we all know what Italian Salad Dressing looks like. In a previous blog post titled Magnificent Gluten Free Spaghetti Dinner – Magnifica Cena Spaghetti Senza Glutine I promised to post my homemade recipe for My Italian Salad Dressing Mix. We all know that an Italian dinner is never complete without garlic bread and a tasty salad. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

 

Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix

I use organic ingredients as I grow and dehydrate most of them myself, however if being organic is not of high importance to you regular off the shelf ingredients will do..  Keep this dry mix in an air tight container. Use to make Italian salad dressing as needed.

 

Ingredients:

Dry Mix

GRIND TO A FINE POWDER AND STORE IN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons oregano

2 tablespoons dried red bell pepper flakes (ground fine)

1 tablespoon dried Italian flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Stevia or sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sweet basil

1/4 dried thyme

1/4 celery salt

 

Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Nanna’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Preparation:

Combine Italian Salad Dressing ingredients in a pint jar with a lid or a salad dressing cruet and shake vigorously. Store in the fridge. Shake well before using!!!

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

Recently, after hearing about the health benefits of a gluten free diet my husband decided to try it for a week to see if it would improve how he felt. after a week of eliminating or nearly eliminating gluten from his diet he said most of his aches, pains and fatigue had been alleviated. He also, felt a little discouraged that it was so difficult to find tasty gluten free foods and was concerned about the expense.  Well, I took that as a challenge.  Healthy does not have to be expensive or difficult.  Simple foods should be simple to prepare and simple to obtain. So as I embark on Our Gluten Free or Near Gluten Free journey I will post my discoveries.

Discovery #1

Flavor does not have to be compromised!

 

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

From the Kitchen of Donna Yelle

(This is my new “go to” recipe if I have apples that are getting old and need to be used quickly)

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup applesause
  • dash lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar/stevia combination
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 tbsp butter (room temp)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9 × 9 baking dish.
  2. Put apples and applesauce in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Mix in granulated sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.
  3. Transfer to greased baking dish.
  4. Combine brown sugar, oat flour, oats, cinnamon and salt and stir. Add room temperature butter and cut with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle topping over the apples and bake until apples are soft and topping is golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.
  6. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. Is great with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert
Gluten Free Apple Crisp Dessert

Fudge Brownies: A Great Way to Eat Your Fruits, Veggies and More

Fudge Brownies: A Great Way to Eat Your Fruits, Veggies and More.

This is NOT your traditional Fudge Brownie but uniquely delicious and sinfully healthy!

Fudgy Brownies
Fudgy Brownies

I found this recipe for Chef Richards’s Rehabbed Brownies on the Everyday Health website and couldn’t believe how healthy they sounded which left me skeptical about taste and texture. I made the recipe as it was printed on the website and was taken aback that all me skepticism had been quashed. That got me thinking. Could they be improved upon or be made into variations. My favorite thing is to start with a base recipe and make several variations. Some of the variation I’ve come up with is Chocolaty Mint Brownies by omitting 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the nuts and adding a teaspoon of peppermint extract and adding ¼ cup of crushed candy canes and ¼ cup dark chocolate mini chocolate chops.

The key to making these brownies healthier is the reduction of traditional cooking oil and processed sugar. We will use a very ripe avocado (that’s right avocado) and ground flax meal to replace most of the oil and an over ripe banana, light agave nectar and stevia leaf as the source for most of the sweetness.

What a great way to get the kids to eat veggies, fruit, nuts, whole grains and omega3 fatty acids.

A great way to get your fruits and veggies
A great way to get your fruits and veggies

Fudgy Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8 x 8 inch square cake pan (I use a kitchen natural bristle paint brush for this). Cut (2) 8 inch wide strips of parchment paper. Place one strip of parchment in the greased cake pan leaving the ends overhang (you will use these to lift out the brownies from the pan when they have cooled). Grease the parchment and place the second 8 inch strip of parchment in the cake pan perpendicular to the first. Grease this one also. Make sure the parchment is smoothed securely to the cake pan.

Mix together:

1 very ripe avocado (pitted peeled and pureed)

1 large over ripe banana (peeled and pureed)

1 large organic egg (beaten)

¼ cup coconut oil

½ cup raw or granulated sugar

3 tablespoons of Stevia natural sweetener

¼ cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

3 tablespoons of ground flax meal

Blend well and add:

¾ cup dark baking cocoa

¼ cup organic unbleached all purpose flour

¼ cup stone ground whole wheat flour

Mix until lump free then fold in:

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Spread batter evenly in lined cake pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans.

Bake for 35 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in cake pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes. After cooling lift out of cake pan by lifting parchment overhangs. Cut into 2 inch squares. Serve. YUM!

Note: These brownies have a chocolaty banana flavor which is a is a combination I personally like but if you prefer a more chocolaty flavor I imagine replacing the banana with an additional avocado and ¼ cup additional stevia would probably work just as well.

Update: for those who prefer not to have the fruity flavor of the banana mixed with the cocoa use the following combination of ingredients.

Mix together:

2 very ripe avocados (pitted peeled and pureed)

¼ cup coconut oil

Blend until lump free and then add:

2 large organic eggs (beaten)

½ cup raw or granulated sugar

3/4 cup of Stevia natural zero calorie sweetener

¼ cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of ground flax meal

Blend well and add:

½ – ¾ cup dark baking cocoa (depending on how chocolaty you prefer) (I use 2/3 cup)

¼ cup organic all purpose flour

¼ cup stone ground whole wheat flour

Fold in:

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Spread batter evenly in lined cake pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in cake pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes. After cooling lift out of cake pan by lifting parchment overhangs. Cut into 2 inch squares. Serve. All feedback is welcomed!