Archive for Healthy Celebrations
It’s been birthday week at our house, as our third son turned nine on Tuesday. We now have 13, 10, 9 and 6 year olds at our house (and two 37 year olds but never mind that).
Birthday week means mom makes a special treat…usually a cake chosen by the birthday boy. I’ve tried to come up with healthier varieties of cakes and treats so that we’re not just consuming empty calories…even if it is a birthday. You can click through this entire section of Healthy Celebrations if you’re interested in finding other healthier varieties of treats I’ve shared in the past. I mean, Lemon Pound Cake is delicious, but sometimes you just need Chocolate. Or is that just me? Regardless, hopefully you’ll find something fun that will please your sweet tooth in our Healthy Celebrations section…and I plan to continue to add to this category as I continue to experiment. If you recall, White Cake and Angel Food Cake are both on the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge list!
For some reason, two of the last three birthdays celebrated at our house have included a Lemon Pound Cake. It has been fun to experiement with…although the first time I got a little bit carried away with the lemon juice. We were all pretty puckered up by the end of that cake. Whew! A little lemon goes a long way!
Lemon Pound Cake
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/4 cups sugar (I use sucanat and I’m pretty sure honey would work well in this recipe)
1/4 cup 100% lemon juice (from a bottle or from freshly squeezed lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
With beaters, whip butter, sour cream, sucanat, lemon juice and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time beating well with each one, or until you get tired of adding eggs one at a time…then just crack them all in and beat well. (Sometimes I get so lazy about individual egg cracking…) Beat in flour and baking powder until the batter is well mixed.
Pour cake batter into a well buttered cake pan (I use a fluted cake ring pan). Bake in a 325° oven for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on a cake plate. Allow cake to cool completely before pouring Lemon Glaze over the top…
1/2 cup 100% lemon juice (if that’s too much lemon for ya, just cut the amount of juice down and substitute water)
1 cup powdered sugar (I recommend using unbleached organic powdered sugar or your own homemade powdered sugar from sucanat)
Use a fork (or a spoon or a whisk or whatever is clean at the moment) to mix the two ingredients. Drizzle the glaze over the cake. You can even use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the cake before you start to drizzle so that some of the glaze goes down into the cake!!
So are you a lemon lover? Does lemon make you pucker? Have you ever been one of those parents who have given their baby a lemon wedge, just to see the face they make?
Let’s first do a quick sucanat/sugar review for those of you who are new to these ingredients:
Sucanat: Organic dehydrated cane sugar juice – my favorite form of natural, unrefined sugar to use in cookies and cakes. Recently I learned that you can use sucanat to make your own powdered sugar. It’s very cool! You can substitute sucanat one for one when a recipe calls for brown or white sugar. Rapadura is the same thing as sucanat…just with a fancier name. Rapadura is usually a little more expensive.
White Sugar and Brown Sugar: Refined sugars that have been stripped of most their nutrients.
Well…I wish this frosting was a little less…tan. But, what can we expect when we make frosting from our homemade sucanat powdered sugar? The darkness of the sucanat is easily disguised in this Chocolate Fudge Frosting, but there’s no way to make “white frosting” unless you use regular powdered sugar.
Oh, except that Baking Mama mentioned in my Cream Cheese Frosting post that you use honey granules to make powdered sugar, which makes an unrefined, but whiter frosting. I’ll have to look into honey granules.
I did find that this Sucanat Powdered Sugar Frosting worked great for Gingerbread Men. I’ll share a recipe for those fellas later! I think this frosting would also be good on just about any cake you make…it has a very rich flavor.
Sucanat Powdered Sugar Frosting
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-4 1/2 cups sucanat powdered sugar
Blend all ingredients together with beaters, adding your sucanat powdered sugar a bit at a time until your frosting is the consistency you would like it to be.
Be sure to check out our other recipes using Sucanat Powdered Sugar:
I hope you’re having a lovely time at our brunch. If you haven’t had a piece of Easy Breakfast Casserole, go ahead and help yourself. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of our Christmas Brunch Presents! Coming up next on the menu: It’s Gratituesday time…which will hopefully offer you a little Christmas Brunch encouragment during this busy time of the year!
I’ve had several requests for a good frosting to use for decorating sugar cookies. I’ve worked on a “sucanat powdered sugar frosting” and will share the recipe in a few days. Obviously that frosting is going to be a bit on the brown side and is probably not quite what you’re looking for in a Christmas cookie frosting (unless you’re frosting Gingerbread Men).
Today I have two Cream Cheese Frosting recipes to share with you. One uses unbleached organic powdered sugar, which has no nutritional value, but at least it’s not bleached or filled with pesticides. It is very much a compromise food, but we’re talking about Cream Cheese Frosting here. At Christmas time. Don’t go crazy, but if you’re gonna frost some sugar cookies anyway, you’ve gotta make sure you really enjoy the taste of the splurge!
The second recipe I’ll share uses honey or real maple syrup for sweetener. This frosting doesn’t work as well on cookies…it’s fluffier and better on cakes. BUT, since it uses honey or maple syrup, it’s one step healthier than the unbleached organic powdered sugar variety.
Powdered Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 1/2 cups unbleached organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whip butter and cream cheese with beaters until fluffy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until mixed thoroughly.
Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4- 1/3 cup honey or real grade B maple syrup (depending on your taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whip cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, honey and vanilla until creamy. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream.
You can make your own cream cheese very easily! I do prefer store bought cream cheese in these recipes however as the homemade cream cheese is cultured and therefore a little too sour for my taste in these frosting recipes.
I will admit right here and now that if something has cream cheese in it, I have a hard time staying out of it. I CAN NOT make either of these frostings very often because I love them too much. Are you a cream cheese lover like I am?
It’s “pie time” right? Otherwise known as “the holidays”. I know we typically think about pumpkin pie (er, squash pie) right now, but Tropical Traditions just sent me a fabulous big box of baking supplies and I decided that a Coconut Cream Pie was in order. And just you wait until you finish reading about this recipe because you’ll have a chance to win an even bigger box of baking supplies! I couldn’t be happier for you! This is one great baking supply box giveaway!!!
With my Organic Coconut Flour, I could have made a gluten free pie crust, which is so cool. I opted to use this Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe instead, using the awesome Organic Palm Shortening. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..I LOVE TROPICAL TRADITIONS PALM SHORTENING. Among other things, it makes wonderful, delicious, healthy, flaky pie crusts!
So, to make a Coconut Cream Pie, you need a pie crust. Bake it and let it cool.
For the filling, I used my Creamy Vanilla Pudding recipe and threw in some shredded coconut.
Coconut Cream Pie Filling
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks (save your egg whites in a separate bowl for the meringue!) (yes, that’s “muh-rang”, not mar-in-goo”)
1/2 cup real maple syrup (grade B is best for you) or honey
4 T. arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, arrowroot powder, salt and shredded coconut. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until pudding begins to thicken. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed. Pour this mixture into your baked and cooled pie crust.
You saved your egg whites, right? Whip ‘em up good with beaters.
You can stop whipping when they look like this:
Add about one Tablespoon of real maple syrup to the beaten egg whites, beat them just a little bit more, then spread the meringue onto the pie. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded coconut over the meringue.
Put the pie into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until the tips of the meringue are slightly browned. Watch it carefully so that it doesn’t over-brown!
Tropical Traditions is going to supply one of you with everything you need to make a Coconut Cream Pie and then some!! Okay, you’ll have to get your own milk and a few other goodies, but here’s what you could win in this Tropical Traditions Baking Package:
Organic Coconut Flour(2.2 pounds), Organic Palm Shortening (one gallon), Organic Shredded Coconut (one gallon), Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil (one quart), Organic Coconut Cream Concentrate (one quart)
Is that not the most exciting baking prize? You can make so many tasty holiday treats with this package! This gift works for those of you with gluten free needs, and those without! Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. I’ll draw a random winner on Saturday!
Here are links to some of Tropical Traditions free and awesome recipes:
Also, you can subscribe to learn about Tropical Traditions sales and specials…a great way to learn about discounts and free shipping!!
This giveaway is now closed…thanks!
This Caramel Frosting recipe is very exciting because you can make it with your very own homemade powdered sugar!!! If you don’t have sucanat or you don’t feel like making powdered sugar, DO NOT substitute regular pre-made powdered sugar. This recipe won’t taste very caramelly if you use the white stuff. (I made up that word. It is pronounced: care-uh-mellleeeeee. I like it.) If you do need to make a substitution, use regular ol’ brown sugar.
You do need to know that this recipe takes several minutes to make. It isn’t hard to make, you just have to beat it (and beat it and beat it…) for several minutes to turn it into frosting. I had my kids take turns holding the beaters while I made the donuts to go with the frosting. They were making frosting…they did not mind holding the beaters.
Oh look, only four ingredients!!!
2 cups homemade sucanat powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place sucanat powdered sugar, butter and cream in a pan on the stove. Cook until butter is melted. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring allthewhile (I made up that word too. It is pronounced ahll-thuh-wyle. It means - keep stirring for the whole minute and whatever you do, don’t stop). Remove this from the heat and pour it into a mixing bowl. Beat mixture with electric beaters for 15 minutes or until it thickens and becomes spreading consistency. Add vanilla and beat for a little bit longer, because you just love beating your frosting and you know it.
Here is the mixture as it is beginning to boil…
Now, we have poured it into our favorite stainless steel bowl and we are beginning to beat it…
Hello there. We are still beating our mixture.
It has been only a few minutes but already it is getting thicker…
Wow, will you look at that? It’s been about eight minutes and not only is the frosting getting thicker, it is turning a nice shade of…what shade of brown would you call that? Caramelly?
Eleven minutes and counting. Thicker and thicker it becomes allthewhile we have been beating it. We have switched beater holders a few times. Life is getting more and more exciting as we see that this really might become frosting after all…
Almost done. I think we’ve been beating for longer than fifteen minutes. What is that about?
Okay, we are going to pronounce that the Caramel Frosting is now finished. It’s not as thick as we may have expected, but we can certainly spread it on our donuts. (Or on a cake if that’s what we were making this for.)
Sure enough, we were able to spread this Caramel Frosting on our donuts.
The moral of the story is this: Just when you think you can’t possibly keep beating your frosting, stick those beaters back in the bowl and KEEP BEATING. Hey, if you’re alone in your kitchen, it’ll be good prayer time. Who says you can’t pray over your bowl and beaters?
The other moral of the story is this: Good things come to those who beat. For a long time. When you eat this frosting on a cake or on donuts or on cookies…you will recognize that the beating was all worth it.
Say, would you like a little chocolate cake with that chocolate fudge frosting? :)
This recipe is great because you can soak the flour to break down the phytates if you want. Or if you don’t, that’s okay too.
Buttermilk Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cups sucanat
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup melted coconut oil or melted butter
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
If you choose to soak your flour, mix the 2 cups of whole wheat flour with the 1 1/3 cups buttermilk. Cover and allow this mixture to soak overnight on the countertop. Add remaining ingredients (everything but the frosting, that is) and bake as directed.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil or butter and buttermilk. Mix with beaters until batter is smooth and well mixed.
Work very hard to avoid grabbing a spoon and eating the entire batter directly out of the bowl before it has been baked.
Butter two round cake pans or one 9×13 inch cake pan.
Bake round cakes at 350° for 25-30 or a 9×13 inch cake for 35-40 minutes. OR, leave the cakes in the oven until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean. Every oven is different, right?
Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans. I used a butter knife to loosen the edges from the sides of the pan. Place the cakes on plates.
Did I forget to mention that you would need some of this Chocolate Fudge Frosting? Oh yes, you DO need a batch of this Chocolate Fudge Frosting. Plop a nice amount of frosting on one cake and spread it around well.
Carefully place the other layer of cake on top of the frosted layer.
Oh look…it’s a chocolate fudge sandwich!!
Plop another nice amount of frosting on top of the second layer. Carefully spread the frosting over the top and sides. This step is not very easy for me and I’m usually messy and have to lick my fingers. Bummer.
Ah, a slice of chocolate heaven…
I will work (sometime within the coming months) to come up with a white cake and white frosting. However, when you’re using whole wheat flour and sucanat, the results are not going to be white. Anyone up for a Tan Cake? Mmm, sounds good to me!
Get ready to share YOUR recipes Friday!!! Can’t wait to see what you’re going to share!!!
This little cooking tidbit makes me very excited! I believe I had heard this tip before, but until Theresa reminded me in a recent post comment, I had forgotten to try it.
Did you know that you can make your own unprocessed powdered sugar from sucanat? Uh-huh, it’s true!!!
I have been using an organic, unbleached powdered sugar as a slightly healthier alternative to regular powdered sugar. At least it is organic and at least it has not been bleached. But still…there are not many nutrients left in this type.
But if you make your own powdered sugar from sucanat, you’ve got a much healthier powdered sugar. And would you like me to tell you how EASY it is to make powdered sugar?? Here, let me show you…
You need two things: A Blender and Sucanat
Put no more than two cups of sucanat in your blender at one time. I poured in four cups the first time I tried and it took forever to get it all “powdered”. Two cups at a time actually saves time, even if you need more than two cups of powdered sugar for a recipe.
Put the lid on your blender (always a good idea, right?). Blend up the sucanat for just a few seconds until it turns powdery.
Check out what happens when you take the lid off the blender. They don’t call it powdered sugar for nothin’…
And there you have it…homemade powdered sugar from sucanat.
I have only used this powdered sugar to make a chocolate fudge frosting (and yes, I’ll be sharing the recipe). I would imagine it will work for other recipes, but I’m pretty sure the frosting won’t ever be the color white. :) Wowza, I can not wait to experiment with more recipes using homemade powdered sugar. Look out everyone!
(Actually, the recipes may be few and far between. My family really doesn’t need to be eating that much sugar, even if it is healthier!)
So, what do ya think? What can we make with our homemade powdered sugar???
Recipes we’ve created so far to use with your Sucanat Powdered Sugar…
I think that making a fruit crisp is one of the easiest desserts to make. But that may be because of a little short-cut I like to take. Hey, I’m all for making special treats and doing it the lazy easy way.
Here’s my trick: You know how a fruit crisp has a “crumb topping”? All the recipes I’ve seen say to “add all the dry ingredients together” then “cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs”. I am REALLY not a fan of “cutting in the butter” in any recipe. It takes extra effort and makes an extra mess and now that I am all grown up and not in Home-Ec class anymore, I have become a butter cutter inner rebel. I believe we should all take a stand against things we feel strongly about. And so, I hereby stand firm on my belief and I refuse to cut in butter.
I hope you can still respect me after that confession. If you still choose to cut in your butter, we can still be friends.
As a replacement (aka lazy) option to cutting the butter into the dry ingredients in a fruit crisp, I have chosen to simply MELT the butter and stir it into the oat and flour mixture. I KNOW. And check it out…I have still made crumbs:
I love this fruit crisp recipe because you can use any fruit you want. This time, I made peach fruit crisp because it just so happens that I got to go pick some lovely peaches at my friend Kim’s house. Depending on the kind of fruit you use, you may want to add more sucanat (sugar), but I’ll leave that up to you!
Healthy Fruit Crisp
5 cups sliced fruit (apples, peaches, pears, cherries, blueberries or a combination of all)
2 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
Stir the fruit together with the sucanat and place in a small baking dish (8×8 inch).
Make your Crumb Topping…
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup butter (MELTED, for Pete’s sake)
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut flakes (also optional)
Mix together oats, sucanat, flour and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter and joy upon joy, it creates crumbs with little to no effort. Add nuts or coconut flakes.
Sprinkle crumb topping over fruit. Bake in a 375° for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.
If you’ve made and canned Apple Pie Filling, just dump it into your baking dish, sprinkle on your crumb topping and bake. SO easy!
I just have to know…are you a butter cutter inner, or a butter cutter inner rebel like me? Never thought about it before? Yeah, I figured I was the weird one with butter cutter inner issues.
When fresh strawberries are in season, nothing much tastes better than Strawberry Shortcake. This variation of Strawberry Shortcake is lightly sweetened with honey and made with whole wheat flour. We had the entire cake eaten up in just a few minutes!
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
4-5 cups of fresh, sliced strawberries
Whipped cream (fresh cream whipped to form soft peaks, with a bit of stevia added for sweetness)
Mix together flour and baking powder. Add in eggs, honey, oil, vanilla and milk. Stir well (or mix well with hand mixer). Pour into a well buttered 8×8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
Allow cake to cool completely. Top with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. (9 servings)
Please join me in welcoming Holly, who is guest posting today to share her awesome Double Lemon Cupcake recipe with us! I can’t wait to give these a try!
Hello Heavenly Homemakers readers! My name is Holly. I am a Christian, a military wife and momma to an 18 month old son, and I am really excited to be sharing a recipe (or three) with you. The past year I have been learning about traditional foods; I have reinvented how I shop, cook, eat, and feel about food. The most recent milestone in this journey was birthday cake. Remember when Laura asked us to choose between chocolate and vanilla? Well, to celebrate my 24th birthday I chose option C.
I wanted a birthday dessert that satisfied my emotional desire for cake, but also fulfilled my sensible need to eat wholesomely. I knew that if I did not satisfy both halves I would be left either feeling like a whole wheat martyr or a big sugar-filled failure. Yuck. Blessedly, I found a happy medium with these sweet and tangy cupcakes.
Let me just say that I am normally very relaxed baker, I never sift. I fudge the temperatures and can be lazy with the mixing. But for this recipe, if I say sift I do mean sift. The same goes for temperatures and times. It may seem fussy for some of you, but the results are rewarding.
Double Lemon Cupcakes
3 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 c butter, room temperature
1 c orange blossom honey
4 large eggs, room temperature
the zest of 3 lemons (I recommend organic because you are consuming the peel), plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter and flour the inside of two round cake pans or two dozen muffin tins. Zest the lemons (just the yellow part, try to avoid the white pith because it is bitter), you want this to be very fine. Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Add the lemon juice to the buttermilk.
Cream the butter and the honey until they are nice and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, until well mixed in. Add the zest and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk in three parts. Beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepped pans and bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test, 30-35 minutes for a cake, 25 minutes for cupcakes.
While the cakes are baking, mix up a nice batch of…
8 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
½ c plus 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
½ c orange blossom honey
teeny pinch of salt, about 1/8 tsp
¾ c unsalted butter (10 tbsp or 1 ¼ sticks) cold, cut in pieces
Wisk together all ingredients except butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mixture registers 160° F on an instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat. This should take about 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, just do what I did and use good quality eggs.
Remove pan from heat and add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. Strain through a sieve. It is normal for small bits of cooked egg to strain out, don’t worry you did it right. :) Cover this with plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge at least one hour.
Fill your cupcakes with lemon curd. You can use a pastry bag and large tip, or poke a hole with the wrong end of a wooden spoon and use a plastic baggie with a corner snipped off. Spread extra curd on top of the cupcake. If you’re making a cake, spread the lemon curd between the two layers. Then whip up your frosting.
Soft and Fluffy Frosting
8 egg whites
¾ c orange blossom honey
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Combine egg whites and honey in a large heat-proof mixing bowl (or the bowl for your stand mixer if you have one and it’s heat-proof) set over a pan of simmering water. Wisk rapidly for two minutes Make sure your water does not boil! You will end up with scrambled egg frosting and it will be gross. Cook this until it reaches 160° F on an instant-read thermometer (or if like me you don’t have one, use good eggs and cook for two minutes). Remove from the heat and beat on your mixer’s highest speed for until soft and fluffy, about 7-9 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Use this frosting immediately.
I used (some of the) leftover curd to decorate the tops of some of the cupcakes. Or you could eat it with a spoon and not tell anyone there were leftovers. I won’t look.
Thanks Laura for letting me share my recipes with you and your readers!
Holly wanted me to be sure to let you know that the curd will keep in the fridge about 3 days, but it is best served in the first 24-36 hours, and the frosting should be used immediately after it’s made, because it will start to deflate after a few hours. It’s still edible for several days, but the quality goes down after 6-8 hours.
This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday.