Saturday, March 27, 2010

Almond-Oat-Fruit Nutrition Bar

This song keeps coming up in my head by Aretha Franklin
Without a word of warning
The blues walked in this morning
And circled round my lonely room
I didn't know why I had
That sad and lonely feeling
Till my baby called and said it's through
Yesterday I sang a love song
But today I sing the blues
That is a great song, yet sort of sad............ And it had nothing to do with my making energy bars. I just like the song…………..

After making that Gluten Free Banana Pound cake, I ate a bit more than I should have, so I am making something nutritious today.

Almond-Oat-Fruit Nutrition Bar
A crunchy, slightly tart nutrition bar
2 1/2 cup Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp Flaxseeds (used flax seed meal)
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 1/2 cup Unsweetened Whole-grain Puffed Cereal (used Arrowhead Mills Puffed Rice)
2/3 cup Cranberries, Sweetened with Apple Juice
1/3 cup cranberries, dried
1/2 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup blue agave nectar
1/4 cup SPLENDA Sweetener, Granulated
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
2. Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed meal; and sesame seeds on a large baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until everything is lightly toasted, stir after 5 minutes. Pour the oat mix in a large bowl. Add cereal and cranberries; toss to combine.

3. Combine almond butter, sugar, agave nectar, Splenda, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
4. Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon thoroughly and quickly. Spread into the prepared pan. Press the mixture down evenly over the pan using hands or wooden spoon  or hard spatula.   Refrigerate (30 minutes) or let cool until firm (1 hr) cut into 24 bars.

Servings: 24
Yield: 24 bars

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe (3 ounces).
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 156.95
Total Fat 7.37g
Saturated Fat 0.74g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 46.98mg
Potassium 97.06mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.26g
Fiber 2.25g
Sugar 6.31g
Protein 3.35g

I got the inspiration from Almond-Honey Power Bar in EatingWell: January/February 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gluten Free Carob Brownies - Reduced Carbs, Calories and Fat

Gluten Free Carob Brownies - Reduced Carbs, Calories and Fat

Carob is used as a substitute for cocoa or chocolate for people who are sensitive to chocolate. Carob, which is also known as locust bean gum, has more fiber and calcium but fewer calories than cocoa. Carob does not contain caffeine or any stimulants. Carob comes from the dried pods of the carob tree, whereas cocoa comes from the cacao tree.

Gluten Free Carob Brownies - Reduced Carbs, Calories and Fat
Dry ingredients
3/4 cup gluten free flour (1/4 cup each:brown rice, tapioca, sorghum)
1 tsp arrowroot starch
3 tbsp carob powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Wet ingredients
1 egg
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp Splenda brown Sugar Blend for Baking
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp hot water
Add Ins
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


Gather all of your ingredients

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray a 9-inch baking pan with oil spray. Set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. If the carob is lumpy, sift the mixture after shaking it.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients using a hand mixer .

 Fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula. Stir in the hot water until blended. Add the nuts, if desired.

4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.
5. Cool for 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar or leave plain. Cut into 16 bars. Store any leftovers in refrigerator, wrapped in cellophane.

Servings: 16
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/16 of a recipe (3.3 ounces).
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 79.34
Total Fat 2.49g
Saturated Fat 0.75g
Cholesterol 15.59mg
Sodium 51.77mg
Potassium 45.02mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.96g
Fiber 1.06g
Sugar 6.35g
Protein 1.43g

And yes, I still like chocolate

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Bean Brownies

 Black bean brownies are today’s brownie buzz. I responded to a question on today about making a black bean brownie with no flour using agave nectar. A Mixer had tried one that was best described as unsweetened and awful tasting.
I took on the challenge to try to make the brownie. Some of the question that arose are:
  • How does agave measure in sweetness to sugar?
  • Are all agave nectars the same in sweetness?
  • Is there really a fool proof measurement cup for cup to sugar?
  • Should a baked dessert use all agave nectar as the sweetener?
 I gathered my ingredients as follows:
  • Can of black beans
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Vanilla powder
  • Rum flavoring
  • Brown sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Butter
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Egg
I wasn’t sure if I would use all of the flavorings or the cornstarch, but wanted to have it handy.

 Black Bean Brownies (no flour)

1 egg
-----Puree in food processor-----
1 16 ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained) yields -- 1 1/2 cups
1 cup amber agave nectar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp rum flavoring
1/2 tsp baking soda
-----Melt together-----
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp ginger
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp Hershey's Special Dark Syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • Process black beans, agave, brown sugar, cornstarch, rum flavoring and baking soda, together in a food processor until pureed.

  • Melt the chocolate along with butter, ginger, Hershey’s Syrup, vanilla powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • Add the Chocolate mix to the food processer and pulse until blended. Add egg and pulse until blended. Stir in nuts.

  • Pour into a greased 9x9 cake pan.

  • Bake at 325 F for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick

  • Let cool completely before cutting.
Servings: 20
Some bakers recommend baking goods containing agave nectar at a lower temperature. Oven temperature was reduced to 325 F for this recipe.
One tablespoon of cornstarch was added to guarantee that the brownie would not be too brittle. It possibly could be omitted, if all agave nectar is not used.
I do not recommend using all agave nectar in a recipe. The taste does not match the ‘sugar’ taste most of us are familiar with.
To reduce calories, try 1/3 non-calorie sweetener, 1/3 granulated sugar and 1/4 agave nectar. This will be my next version of this brownie.
Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients)
Calories: 111
Total Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 13.6mg
Sodium: 68.2mg
Potassium: 77.4mg
Carbohydrates: 6.5g
Fiber: 1.8g
Sugar: 14.6g
Protein: 1.9g
My rating: Could be sweeter, 3 of 5 points  I have since modified my recommendation of this one.  After sitting overnight on the counter, the flavors melded a bit and it appeared sweeter.  I will make it again and double the cinnamon.
This is one of my usual black brownies modified to substitute one-half of sugar with agave nectar.
Black Bean Brownie with a Kick (agave)
One half of the sugar was replaced with amber agave nectar.
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed, drained (yields 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup amber agave nectar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; prepare a 9 x 9-inch pan with an oil spray like PAM.
  •  Rinse and drain beans until water runs clear. Blend beans, ginger and egg in food processor until smooth.
  • Melt chocolate, vanilla powder, cinnamon, cayenne,sugar, agave nectar and butter in a microwave safe bowl or pot on stove top until starting to melt. Remove from heat. Do not over heat. Stir until fully blended and smooth. Set aside.
  •  Pour bean puree into a large bowl. Fold in chocolate mix until blended, fold in flour until combined.
  • Stir in nuts. Pour mixture into pan. Bake 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into 20 bars.   forgot to stir in nuts, so sprinkled on top and pressed in
Servings: 20
  Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients) ---------------------------------------------- Calories: 160 Total Fat: 6.3g Cholesterol: 13.6mg Sodium: 51.7mg Potassium: 111.7mg Carbohydrates: 18.7g Fiber: 2.3g Sugar: 16.6g Protein: 2.7g
My rating: Cake like, light texture, the cayenne flavor comes thru and is not too overwhelming, 5 of 5 points

Monday, March 1, 2010

Apple Coffee Cake - gluten free

About 6 apples were sitting in the refrigerator bin waiting for me to do something with them. Originally, I bought them with the intent of eating fresh apples. Finally, I started looking at recipes trying to get an idea of what to do with them. A few days passed and still no light bulb. I peeled, cored, sliced and rinsed them with lemon juice. As I was about to return them to the refrigerator in their new state, a little voice said ‘why are you putting them back in the refrigerator?” “Didn’t you take them out to make something with them?”

Well, I decided to listen to that little voice, of course I chose not to answer it verbally, because I was afraid it may decide to become an alter ego and that is another topic for conversation.

 I put them in a pot with about a cup of sugar, another tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of cinnamon. They were on a low simmer, so I left the room and forgot that they were on the stove.

 About 2 hours later, I began to smell a nice cinnamon fragrance that made me hungry. I walked back into the kitchen and there was the forgotten pot of apples cooked into a golden brown color. I decided to taste them and they were delicious. Finally I decided that I would make some type of apple cake with them. I did not want the normal sweet apple cake, so I decided to use a bread type flour mix and add some sugar to it.  The final result was an Apple Coffee Cake.

Apple Coffee Cake - gluten free
3 cups cooked sweetened sliced apples or canned apple pie mix
  • 1-1/4 cups Gluten Free Pantry French Bread Mix
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.   Spray a 9 inch cake pan with oil spray.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  • Add in all remaining ingredients except milk, mix until combined, gradually add milk, mixing to combine.
  • The batter will look similar to dough batter.  You will need spatula and fork to spread it over the pan
  • Dollop about half of the batter into the pan. use a spatula to spread it out. Dollop the apples over the dough, spread out about evenly. dollop the remaining batter over the apple mix. Use a fork to spread it around leaving some open areas. Make sure the batter is not any thicker in any areas than others.
  • Sprinkle the Turbinado sugar evenly over the top
  • Bake for about 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Edges will be browned before top browns
  • Remove from oven. Serve while warm.
 Servings: 8

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (3.7 ounces).
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount per Serving
Calories 275.57
Total Fat 7.39g
Saturated Fat 2.52g
Cholesterol 33.15mg
Sodium 263.95mg
Potassium 66.17mg
Total Carbohydrates 49.92g 1
Fiber 0.15g
Sugar 28.13g
Protein 1.35g

 Gluten Free Pantry French Bread Mix contains white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, guar gum, granulated honey and salt. This mix is great for breakfast breads, so I often use it.