Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Microwave Lemon Cup Cakes for Two

Today, I decided to modify what normally I make as one small microwave cake into two cupcakes after seeing a post about baking two cupcakes in an oven.
The microwave is one handy appliance. 
Microwave ovens were used commercially a few years before becoming available to the general public.  They were first seen in large corporation’s break rooms or ‘canteens’.  They became available to the general public around 1967, yet the price was quite prohibitive for most households at that time.
The early ones were very heavy with low-wattage.  Now they are so sophisticated that any food item can be cooked in them.
They are programmed and programmable for cooking by weight and even defrosting food. They are more accurate than the first one I purchased in the mid-70s.
This cupcake was made using boxed cake mix.  I have about 3 boxes of gluten-free cake mix that I do not really like.  So I am using the cake mix to test out my recipes.
So here goes the first try, using this cake mix.
Microwave Cupcake - frosted B
Lemon Microwave Cup Cakes for Two
4 tbsp yellow cake mix
1 tsp meringue powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1 1/2 tsp oil
1 tbsp liquid egg white product
2 tsp fat-free half n half
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp lemon extract or lemon juice.
1/4 cup water, divided
2 tbsp purchased frosting, optional
1. Place cup cake papers in 2  7-ounce ramekins.  Spray the papers, if not using non-stick papers.
ramekins B
2. Mix all dry ingredients.   whisk oil, egg white, lemon zest, extract and half and half together, mix into dry ingredients. Add water as needed.  Batter will be thin.  Beat with a hand mixer at least 30 seconds.
Microwave Cupcake batter B
3. Spoon half of batter into each ramekin.   - I added a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut
Microwave Cupcake - coconut sprinkle B
Place each ramekin on far sides of the microwave turntable.   Cook on high for 70 seconds for an 1100 watt oven.
Microwave Cupcake - place in microwave b
4. The cupcake will puff up and jiggle a little. As soon as you see no movement, remove immediately from microwave.  This will determine the future time for your microwave.
5. Frost, if desired - each tablespoon of canned  frosting adds  an additional 30 calories
Microwave Cupcake - a bite out 3 B

Refrigerate any left-overs – covered
Microwave Cupcake save one for later B
Microwave Cupcake save one B
Servings: 2
Cooking Times
Cooking Time: 1 minute and 10 seconds  (70 seconds)
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per cup cake): 148 calories, 3.4g total fat, 2.5g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, <1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 26.9mg sodium, 25.9mg potassium, 27.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 27.6g net carbohydrates, 14.9g sugar, 2.3g protein, <1mg iron, 1.2mcg folate, <1mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, 0mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, 0mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.
Notes / Tips
Feel free to use egg, rather than egg white.  I prefer using liquid egg products over raw eggs.
Being that this cake mix is not the best on the market, is the reason for the additional flavoring and  meringue powder.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Science Project - Hot Cocoa Microwave Cake (Gluten Free Option)

The weather was so nice today; after a week of extremely high temperatures and storms.
First AM, I mixed up a loaf of bread and covered it to let it rise. Next, I remembered my green tomatoes, so I fried up those and enjoyed a few. I then baked my Italian Spiced Salmon and finally, it was science project time.
I was on a baking roll because the weather was so nice today. Last week, I only turned the oven on once and a burner maybe three times. I did not want to heat the house up, just in case we had a brown-out.
Remember those science projects that everyone had to do in school? Well, I don’t think any of those were as good as this one.
I bought some ‘premium quality’ hot cocoa that has sugar, so I do not drink it as much as I do with the sugar-free kind. So, hmm, I thought, let’s try making a cake with it…
Microwave ‘cakes’ or ‘brownies are so easy and quick to make. A quick small dessert can be made in 15 minutes. Since it is small, there is no temptation to go back for ‘seconds’ and ‘thirds’. Actually this cake could be cut into 4 servings as the pieces would be ‘brownie’ size.

Hot Cocoa Microwave Cake (Gluten Free Option)
Dry Ingredients
2 packets hot chocolate mix (use a premium brand)
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cocoa, optional
2 tsp oil
2 tbsp liquid egg white product
2 tbsp hot water
Topping (optional):
1 tbsp peanut butter chips


1. Whisk dry ingredients together, mix in egg and oil, mix in hot water.

2. Spray a 4 inch round glass flat dish with oil spray.
3. Scrape the batter into the dish
4. Top with your favorite chips if desired.

5. Microwave on high 80 to 85 seconds (that’s 1 minute, 20 seconds) depending on your microwave. Microwave used was 1100 watts.

6. Frost, if desired

Servings: 2

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 295 calories, 13.1g total fat, <1g monounsaturated fat, 3.2g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, 6.4g saturated fat, 2.5mg cholesterol, 295.8mg sodium, 65.7mg potassium, 41.6g carbohydrates, 5.6g fiber, 36.1g net carbohydrates, 22.1g sugar, 7.1g protein, <1mg iron, <1mcg folate, <1mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, 0mg vitamin b6, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, <1mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.

If you like coffee, add a pinch of instant coffee to the dry ingredients

I am a cocoa junkie, so I added an additional tsp of cocoa. Quinoa has a stronger flavor, making it suitable for chocolate.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Hot Day! Banana Strawberry Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits - Hits the Spot…..

It is just too hot to cook anything today, so why not just make ice cream?  I have been putting off making ice cream for quite some time, so decided to do it today.    

I pulled out my little Cuisinart Ice Cream / Sorbet maker and put the bucket in the freezer (it should have been in there over night).

I remember seeing a frozen concoction with pudding and pie filling mixed up with a few add-ins.  The only kind I had two boxes of was banana, so…….    I had frozen strawberries and blueberries.   Well, decided that strawberries would be the best one to combine with banana flavor.   Then it was nuts or chocolate chips.   Hmmm, decided on chocolate chips.  Then, I remembered the Scharffen Berger 82% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bars I received, so decided to use some of those instead.  

This is very simple.  It will not freeze as hard as regular ice cream, but is just as good.

Banana Strawberry Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Bits


Uses very simple ingredients 

2 pkgs   Fat Free Sugar Free Banana Instant Pudding & Pie Filling (4 serving size)
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 cup fat-free half and half
1 cup   2% milk

30 g Scharffen Berger 82% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bars (a bar is 5g - about 1/4 cup of mini chips)
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

1. Chill your ice cream bucket overnight.  Chill you mixing dish an hour before beginning to mix, if the weather is hot.
2. Chop your chocolate to the size of mini chips. Whisk together pudding mix and milk(s). Place the container (with the paddle in place) in the freezer for about an hour.

3. Remove the bucket from the freezer, place on base, cover and start the machine. Gradually add the chocolate and strawberries as the machine churns.

 Kind of hard to see the movement here

When all is mixed, return the base (with the paddle in place) to the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove and turn on for about 5 minutes. If it is frozen as much as you want; enjoy, otherwise, return to freezer.

Once you are satisfied with how it is frozen;   Serve it up!    

Of course, I sampled this before it had finished freezing!

Scrape down the bucket and wipe the top, if you wish to store any left-over in the freezer.

Store any left-overs in the bucket or scrape it into another container.

Servings: 6

These are the kind of numbers I like to see and enjoy it too!

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 115 calories, 4.2g total fat, <1g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 2.3g saturated fat, 5.3mg cholesterol, 548mg sodium, 198.4mg potassium, 17.2g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 15.9g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 5.7g sugar, 3.3g protein, <1mg iron, 6.7mcg folate, 7.8mg vitamin c, 17.5IU vitamin d, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, 0mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.
This frozen dessert will not freeze as hard as 'real' ice cream. I do not believe the pudding will set with soy milk. Use the milk of your choice, otherwise.

 You can also use evaporated milk.  I wanted to keep it lower calorie.  Feel free to use regular instant pudding and pie mix, whole or evaporated milk;  the numbers will be higher.
 Maybe next time, I will increase the  strawberries to 1 cup.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baking Snacks in a Race Against Time: Excessive Heat Warning!

Camping is probably not a good idea this week in Minnesota due to the excessive heat warnings and stormy weather.    The state parks were closed due to the State’s lack of a budget.   Hopefully, they will re-open soon.

But, if you want to prepare a few snacks to take along….. These two recipes will keep you satisfied.   The granola is more of a cereal rather than a snack.   No oil is added, so it’s great for either a cereal or as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.  The cookies are suitable for one watching the ‘waistline’….

I had less than a half cup of granola left, but with the excessive heat warning coming, decided to gets an early start today baking.

I made the granola posted here: Make Your Own Healthy Granola, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, based on King Arthur Flour’s recipe Crunchy Whole-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies and an Apricot Orange Scone.   I want to make the scone again, adding a little more sweetener.


The cookies were modified to reduce calories and fat, yet came out really good.


I received a gift of some Extra Dark Scharffen Berger chocolate.   I would just love to just eat it bit by bit, but will at least use a small amount of it to bake.


It has a taste complimentary to the mini-mini chocolate chips that King Arthur sells.  Yes, they are smaller than the normal grocery store ones.  So, I decided to chop and substitute some of the chocolate bars for the mini chips.


This is how I made them with substitutions and changes.  I make most of my gluten-free mixes, so, I used some of my self-rising blend.  I never add salt to my blends.


I think the original recipe has too much oil and chips.  You wouldn’t think so, but I had dumped half of the amount first and thought ‘this will be a chocolate chip and cookie recipe!”  Kinda like that cheese and macaroni commercial….


Actually, I forgot to add the vanilla extract, but they are still good.   I tend to add cinnamon in baked goods because some gluten-free flours have a bolder taste than white flour.  So the cinnamon helped out with the missing extract.




Crunchy Whole-Grain Chocolate Chip CookiesGluten free


1/4 cup apple sauce, unsweetened

1/2 cup vegetable buttery spread
1/2 cup sucralose (generic Splenda)
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup liquid egg white product
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups whole grain self-rising flour mix
1/2 cup Ghirardelli mini semisweet chocolate chips
6 grams Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate (each little bar is 1 g)



Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking soda and set aside.

Chop the chocolate to the size of the mini chips.

Preheat the oven to 350°F as you begin mixing the cookies.

In a large bowl, beat together the fat, sweeteners, applesauce and vanilla until fluffy.  Beat in the vinegar and egg. Stir in the flour.


Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped chocolate.



Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto the prepared baking sheets. Use a fork or spatula to shape and spread it out a bit, if you reduce the fat and sugar.  Sucralose (Splenda) does not spread like regular sugar.


Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cookies are an even golden brown.

Sucralose and gluten-free baked goods do not brown the same as wheat and sugar, so just watch them!

This batch was left in to brown a bit more – they are a bit crunchier – not as soft in the center.


This batch came out a little earlier – crunchy and soft in the center


Remove from the oven, and allow cooling for 5 minutes before transferring to another cool cookie sheet to cool completely.

I make it a habit to use another cold baking sheet for gluten-free cookies as they may be a little brittle when hot.   These were not brittle at all.


With all shown together, the difference in oven time can be seen.


Yield: 33 cookies

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per cookie): 71 calories, 3.7g total fat, 1.3g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, 1.2g saturated fat, <1mg cholesterol, 79.2mg sodium, 26.9mg potassium, 8.5g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 7.6g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 2.4g sugar, 1.2g protein, <1mg iron, 3.6mcg folate, <1mg vitamin c, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, <1mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.


Super Healthy Granola (Updated)


First for the granola: I added an additional 2 cups of oatmeal, plus a tablespoon of cinnamon, to bring down the calories.  Substituted equal amounts of maple syrup and apple juice for brown rice syrup and Cranberry & Pomegranate No Sugar Added Juice


I had the granola out of the oven and was about to bag it, when I remembered that I had not added the fruit.  If you haven’t noticed, the well known dried cranberries have lots of sugar, so I usually use the one sweetened with apple juice.  I also discovered I was out of those, so had to use the regular ones.  I have plans to stop by Whole Foods on my return trip from an appointment next week and pick up another one with the apple juice.


This time, I chopped the cherries and cranberries to make them closer to the size of the raisins.


Then, I just took a fork to mix them before adding to the bag to mix. 

These big heavy-duty bags are sold by King Arthur flour.  I really like them, because they do not rip very easily.

After all mixed and now ready to store in Pantry.  Since it is a bit warm today and humid, I will leave the top open until tomorrow morning.  This is just in case there is a small amount of moisture left in the oatmeal mix.

With the changes and increasing the number of servings to 44 1/2-cup servings, the nutrition is as follows:

Servings: 44

Yield: 22 cups   88 -1/4-cup servings or 44 1/2 cup serving

 Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 227 calories, 8.9g total fat, 3.2g monounsaturated fat, 3.9g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2.5mg sodium, 131.7mg potassium, 33.6g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 28.6g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 6.4g sugar, 5.9g protein, <1mg iron, 14.9mcg folate, 4.9mg vitamin c, <1mg vitamin b6, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, <1mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Lighter Gluten-free Sugar Cookie

National Sugar Cookie Day in the USA -  So I made a lighter gluten-free sugar cookie.

Would you believe, I was reading an article on about nutrients and saw a link to the lower left for recipes?  I am a recipe junky, so of course, I had to click on it.  I checked it and saw a link to ‘Lighter Sugar Cookies Recipe’Of course, I had to convert it to gluten-free.

Earlier last month, I decided to mix up a couple batches of gluten-free flour mixes, because the purchased mixes contain more starch than I really like.  I have a higher starch one and one similar to the nutrients of whole-wheat flour, which I really miss being able to use.

The original recipe uses half white; half whole-wheat pastry flour, thus the reason I decided to use my whole-grain mix.

The changes/ substitutions were:

 6 tablespoons of Canola Harvest margarine
 SPLENDA® Sugar Blend instead of half sugar/half sucralose - same as half sugar/sucralose.
             2 tablespoons liquid egg white
             1/2 tsp vanilla powder instead of vanilla extract
             My mix was a self-rising mix – just makes them puff up a little more
 I did not brush them with the half and half (fat-free)
             I mixed as listed using a hand mixer just until mixed, because GF batter will get
               tough,  if over mixed.
- Cookies on parchment paper covered baking sheets-

-Baked about 10 minutes at 400 F.-
-Removed from oven, after the cookies puffed up and started to deflate.-

-Removed to a cool baking sheet to finish cooling –
Frosted the first pan out with some strawberry frosting

 - A closer view -

- Ready to  serve  up –

They were nice and soft.  As with many gluten-free baked goods, eat within two days.  Store in air-tight container.

 As made

Lighter Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cup gluten free self-rising whole-grain flour mix
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking
6 tbsp canola harvest margarine
1 1/2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half  
2 tablespoons liquid egg white (eggbeaters egg white)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour mix, vanilla powder and sugar blend in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on low speed to blend. Add margarine, half-and-half, egg white, and almond extract all at once, then beat on low just until dough forms.
3. Divide dough into 24 balls.  Press slightly with hands or spatula to flatten into desired shape on the prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for about 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are browned. The cookie will puff and start to deflate.  
5. Remove from oven as it begins to deflate.
6. Remove from pan. Let cool on another cool cookie sheet.  Frost if desired.

Servings: 24
Yield: 2 dozen  cookies

Nutrition Facts - each cookie
Nutrition (per serving): 84 calories, 3.9g total fat, 2g monounsaturated fat, <1g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g saturated fat, <1mg cholesterol, 63.7mg sodium, 24.5mg potassium, 10.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 9.6g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 4.4g sugar, <1g protein, <1mg iron, 3.7mcg folate, <1mg vitamin c, 10IU vitamin d, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, 0mcg lycopene, <1g aspartic acid, <1g glutamic acid.