How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Fruit and vegetable smoothies are quick and easy to make and a powerhouse of nutrition. Smoothies can help you meet your nutrition goals whether you are following a vegetarian, plant-based, paleo, or keto diet or you are needing extra nutrients. Commercial or store- bought smoothies often contain added sugars, fats, artificial ingredients, and are high in calories.  Homemade smoothies can be much healthier than commercial or store- bought ones and when prepared right they provide many health benefits. They are a great way to get your fruits and vegetables in for the day and can provide a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. Homemade smoothies save time when you are too busy to prepare a complete meal. The basic ingredients of a smoothie are a liquid base, fruits and vegetables, healthy add-ins, and ice. There are endless ways to make a smoothie and can be designed specifically to meet your nutrition goals. Homemade smoothies along with a well-balanced diet, exercise, and a healthy life style can support wellness, anti-aging, and improve nutrient intake. 

Tips to making the perfect smoothie 

1.    Choose fresh or frozen produce. Wash fresh produce thoroughly to remove any possible soil, bacteria, and pesticide residue. Produce should be cleaned right before using with a vegetable brush and then rinsed under cold water. Peel foods with non-edible skins. 

2.    Experiment with a variety of ingredients. Be creative. Choose ingredients specific to your nutrition goals. 

3.    Freezing fruit for a slushy or creamy texture. Adding ice can also maintain smoothie texture, increase fluid volume and fullness, without additional sugar or calories.

4.    Layer each ingredient starting with the liquid ingredients first. Blend at low speed first and gradually increase the power. The liquid base will keep the solids moving to make a more smooth consistency without small pieces remaining.

5.    Avoid refined sugars, if additional sweetness is desired add a little fruit concentrate, stevia, dates, or maple syrup to taste.  

6.    It is best to drink your smoothie right away. But you can keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Freeze your smoothie in small containers or in an ice cube tray to enjoy at a later time. 

Step 1: Choose a liquid base (1-2 cups) 

A 32 ounce smoothie is approximately 2 servings and will require 2 cups of liquid depending on the water content of fruits and other ingredients 

·     Almond, coconut, soy milk unsweetened, or low fat milk 

·     Kefir (choose without added sugars): is a fermented yogurt-like drink containing probiotics 

·     Herbal or green tea 

·     Vegetable juice

Step 2: Add Leafy Greens if desired 

To maximize nutrition antioxidants and phytochemicals add leafy greens. Choose a milder green if you are new to a smoothie. 

·     Mild: 1-2 cups spinach, romaine, or radish greens

·     Medium: ½ to 1 cup chard, Bok choy, collard greens, beet greens, or kale

·     Strong: 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup dandelion greens or arugula 

Step 3: Pick your protein

Protein is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, bones, skin, hair and nails, and supports the immune system. 

·     Greek yogurt ¼ to ½ cup (plain is preferred) 

·     Cottage cheese 

·     Tofu 

·     Peanut butter

·     Protein powder (1 tablespoon to 1 scoop or more to preference, aim for 15 to 21 grams of protein per serving) choose certified USDA organic and non-GMO brands, whey based protein or pea protein (a non-dairy vegetarian and plant-based protein). 

Step 4: Choose your Fruit (1 cup)

Fruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folate, B-vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants support the immune system and protect your body from harmful free radicals that can lead to heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and other health conditions. Using frozen fruit creates a more creamy smoothie. Be careful when adding fruit as it also contributes to sugar and calorie content.  

·     Choose fresh or frozen fruit or try a combination of different fruits. 

·     Fruits high in antioxidants are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, prunes and raisins. 

Step 4: Add Nutrition Boosters

Add one or more of these nutrition boosters to increase the nutritional value of your smoothie. 

·     Healthy Fats 1 tablespoon (nut butters, avocado, unsweetened coconut, flaxseed oil, cashews): contain omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, and helps to increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

·     Herbs and Spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger): helps improve immune function, digestion, decreases inflammation and relieves chronic pain associated with arthritis. 

·     Seeds 1 tablespoon (ground flaxseed, chia, or hemp seeds): provide omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins, and zinc. 

Health note: 

There is no evidence that dietary supplements provide the same health benefits as eating a healthy well-balanced diet that includes lean unprocessed animal proteins, plant-based proteins, fruits and vegetables. High-dose supplements may actually be harmful and increase health-risk or interfere with certain medications. It is best to consult with your health care provider or a registered dietitian before starting any supplement.

Click on the link below to start your smoothie adventure

Orange and Mango Green Smoothie

Maple Sugar and Spice Cookies

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Maple Sugar and Spice Cookies 

The joy of holiday baking is creating a new cookie recipe. This recipe is similar to a traditional shortbread butter cookie adding holiday spices, maple sugar, and almond flour.

Recipe Tips and Highlights 
  • Organic maple sugar is made by evaporating the liquid (water) from maple syrup, and can be used as a healthy baking substitution to refined sugars such as brown sugar and white granulated sugar. Organic maple sugar contains vitamins and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Maple sugar also has healing and immune boosting properties. It contains antioxidants that can protect us against harmful free radicals that can contribute to heart disease and cancer. 
  • In this recipe I replaced 1/4 of the all-purpose flour with super- fine blanched almond flour. Almond flour is made from almonds that are blanched, the skins are removed, then finely ground and sifted into flour. Almond flour offers many nutritious benefits, is a good source of protein,  fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium and is low in carbohydrates. In baked goods, almond flour adds a slightly sweet and buttery flavor.  
  • Adding an egg to this butter cookie helps to add moisture and bind the almond flour to the dough helping to maintain its cookie shape.
  • Warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and allspice provide flavor and compliment well with maple sugar , almond flour and butter.
  • To decorate and give a festive look I used a cookie press, or you can use the bottom of a decorative glass or even a fork.  After baking, I added a decorative glaze of powdered sugar and cream. ( To a 1/2 cup powdered sugar gradually add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cream to form a glaze,  then dip or brush on, and decorate with sprinkles)

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Recipe
Maple Sugar and Spice Cookies 
Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 cup all- purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup super-fine almond flour (from blanched whole almonds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup organic maple sugar 
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 egg 
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. This recipe makes approximately 36 (1 1/2  inch diameter) cookies 

  1. Measure and sift all-purpose four and almond flour into a medium bowl. Add cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice and whisk together.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat unsalted butter, maple sugar, and powdered sugar at medium speed until light and creamy, 3-4 minutes stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix until well blended.
  3. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour and almond flour mixture in 3 additions. Mix until dough comes together, it will still be slightly crumbly.
  4. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  5. Using a small cookie scoop or a small spoon, form dough into balls and place on to the parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Using a decorated cookie press or fork, dip into sugar then press into each cookie. 
  7. Bake cookies 12 minutes or until the edges and bottom of the cookies are lightly brown. 
  8. Cool cookies completely on a cookie rack before adding a glaze.
  9. To make the glaze, measure 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a small bowl, gradually add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cream, mixing well between additions. Dip or brush on glaze, and decorate if desired.  

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Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

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Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake 

It’s a fall baking weekend, and I am making a new pumpkin cake recipe. This recipe is quick and easy to make and uses less sugar than traditional pumpkin cakes. I like using maple syrup in place of granulated sugar in many of my cake recipes. Maple syrup adds a natural sweetness that combines well with warm spices and many fruit cake recipes such as apple, banana or pumpkin, or in a zucchini or carrot cake. A swirl of pecan and cinnamon highlights the pumpkin perfectly. I used my 5 cup duet bundt cake pan but this cake can be made in a 6 cup cake pan or a regular loaf pan to.

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My collection of bundt pans. 

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Recipe 

Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake 

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice

Pecan Cinnamon Swirl 

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple Glaze 
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup                                                                  
  •  ½ to 1 teaspoon milk or heavy cream 

In a small bowl mix the powdered sugar and maple syrup together,  gradually add the milk or cream 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time until lightly thickened.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl with a spoon , mix together the Pecan Cinnamon Swirl ingredients. Set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Add grape seed or canola oil and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. To the cake batter add vanilla extract , then eggs one at a time blending well between each addition.
  5. Add pumpkin pie puree and blend until evenly distributed.
  6. On slow speed of mixer gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions.
  7. Spray a 6 cup bundt cake with baking spray. Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 of cake batter evenly into baking pan. Evenly distribute Pecan Cinnamon Swirl over batter. Spoon remaining cake batter. Place in center of oven, and bake for 35 to 38 minutes or until cake lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
  8. Once cooled, drizzle with the maple syrup glaze.

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Marble Spice Bundt Cake

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Happiness for me is creating a new bundt cake recipe. This marble cake combines a rich dark chocolate layer with a spiced butter cake layer. Unsweetened applesauce adds moistness and reduces the need for added sugar. Adding warm spices of ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice complements this updated version of a traditional marble cake recipe.

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Recipe Tips
  • This cake recipe uses classic baking techniques. Using the exact ingredients and following each step in order as listed in the recipe will result in the best tasting cake.  
  • Most of my bundt cake recipes use a 6 cup bundt cake pan. This cake can also be made in a molded loaf pan. You can alternate the chocolate and butter cake layers to your design preference.  
  • Suggested equipment: flour sifter, stand-up electric mixer, whisks, long handle spatula, a double boiler pot or a small handle pot with a heat resistant glass bowl, cooling rack, and a 6 cup bundt cake or loaf pan (I like the Nordic brand of pans).

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Marble Spice Bundt Cake
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil (1/4 cup canola oil may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Chocolate Layer 
  • 1/4 cup or 2 ounces of dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream 
  • 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 cup bundt cake pan with baking spray.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and all-spice. Set aside.
  2. Prepare chocolate layer. Using a double boiler or fill a small pot 1/2 way with water, and then set a larger glass bowl on top. Add dark chocolate, cream, and espresso powder and stir together. Set stove top burner to low and slowly melt chocolate stirring often. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly and whisk in the  unsweetened cocoa powder. Set aside to cool.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer first beat the butter for 30 seconds then gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add grape seed oil and maple syrup, continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. To the cake batter add vanilla extract , then eggs one at a time blending well between each addition.
  5. Add unsweetened applesauce and blend until evenly distributed.
  6. On slow speed of electric mixer gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions.
  7. In a separate bowl combine 1/2 of the cake batter with the reserved chocolate mixture.
  8. Alternately spoon chocolate and butter cake batter evenly into the bundt pan. Place on center rack of oven, bake for 35 to 38 minutes or until cake lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

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This Valentines Day combine healthy and sweet to bake a chocolate zucchini loaf that will make all your loved ones happy.  By substituting healthy ingredients in baking recipes you can enjoy your favorite desserts without the guilt and have the nutrition benefits to. The healthy ingredients I like to bake with are:

100% cocoa powder: Contains good sources of magnesium, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Cocoa powder is anti-inflammatory, helps to decrease cancer risk, heart disease, and insulin resistance and may help to prevent depression and cognitive decline.

Zucchini: A good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, folate, and fiber. The green skin is rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free-radical cell damage. Zucchini contains both soluble and insoluble fiber helping to support a healthy digestive system.

Maple syrup: In this recipe I reduced  and replaced part of the sugar with maple syrup. It has a lower glycemic index compared to cane sugar and brown sugar. Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants and calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Grape seed oil: Is from the seeds that remain from making wine. It is flavorless and does not alter the taste in foods compared to other oils making it ideal as a replacement to butter in baking recipes. Grape seed oil is high in phenolic antioxidants and a good source of vitamin E, is anti-inflammatory, helps lower cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Spices: Add flavor, color, and fragrance without adding fat and sugar. Dried spices have many  health benefits supporting digestive health, reducing inflammation, and preventing cell damage.

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Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting 

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose white flour (sifted)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper for easy removal of the cake after baking.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, and allspice. Set aside.
  2. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth, add grape seed oil and maple syrup and continue beating until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla extract, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. Whisk buttermilk and espresso powder together.
  5. On slow speed gradually add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk starting and ending with flour mixture.
  6. Gently by hand with a spatula mix in the shredded zucchini until well distributed.
  7. Transfer to a prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45 to 48 minutes until lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Once cooled frost if desired.

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Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of heavy whipping cream or half and half cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of seedless raspberry preserves

With an electric mixer beat unsalted butter until light and fluffy, gradually add the powdered sugar . Add the vanilla and cream and continue beating. Then add 1 teaspoon at a time the raspberry preserves beating until well blended and smooth.

 

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Apple Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

 

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Apple Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

The holidays have passed, and I’m enjoying a quiet Sunday. It’s cold and snowing outside and a good day to stay at home and bake.  This bundt cake is inspired by one of my favorites at Panera Bread the Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake.  This healthier version has a swirl of pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Warm spices of cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and all-spice highlight this apple bundt cake. Perfect as a breakfast or afternoon cake with coffee or it can be served for a special occasion.

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Recipe

Apple Pecan Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 medium size honey crisp apple peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Pecan Cinnamon Swirl 

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and all-spice. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl with a spoon , mix together the Pecan Cinnamon Swirl ingredients. Set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Add grape seed oil and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream and milk together. Set aside.
  5. To the cake batter add vanilla extract , then eggs one at a time blending well between each addition.
  6. Add unsweetened applesauce and blend until evenly distributed.
  7. On slow speed of mixer gradually add flour and sour cream mixture alternately, starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions.
  8. Spray a 6 cup bundt cake with baking spray. Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 of cake batter evenly into baking pan. Evenly distribute Pecan Cinnamon Swirl over batter. Spoon remaining cake batter. In center of oven, bake for 35 to 38 minutes or until lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash- with Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans

 

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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash- with Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans

This stuffed acorn squash recipe is both vegetarian and gluten-free. Inspired by the trend towards healthier plant-based eating this holiday recipe brings together quinoa, apples, cranberries, and pecans to become a new favorite holiday stuffing tradition.  Acorn squash is first sliced, then roasted and stuffed with healthy ingredients and holiday spices.  This recipe looks fancy but it is easy to prepare and can be served as a side dish or as a main entree.  It will certainly be the spotlight at your next holiday gathering and enjoyed by both your vegetarian and non-vegetarian guests.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

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Recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash- with Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans

Ingredients

2 Acorn Squash, medium

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil or grape seed oil

1 stalk of celery diced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 medium honey crisp or granny smith apple peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup fresh cranberries sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

salt and pepper

Directions:

First prepare the Acorn Squash Slices

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and pat dry the Acorn Squash. With a sharp knife cut off the top stem and bottom to create a flat edge.
  2. To make it easier to slice, soften each squash by first making several small slits through the skin with the tip of a sharp knife, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.
  3. First cut the squash horizontally in half. Scoop out the membranes and remove the seeds. Lay the flat side down on a cutting board and slice one more time to make a total of 4 slices for each squash.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Brush each squash slice lightly with oil and place evenly on the cookie sheet. Then brush lightly with maple syrup and sprinkle with nutmeg.
  5. Roast squash slices for 30-35 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife.

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While the Acorn Squash is roasting prepare the stuffing

  1. In a medium sauce pan heat oil and saute the chopped apple and celery until softened about 6-8 minutes, add the thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vegetable broth and lightly simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Mix in the cooked quinoa and sliced cranberries.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon stuffing equally among the 8 slices of roasted acorn squash. Sprinkle tops with chopped pecans. Turn the temperature of the oven down to 375 degrees F. Bake the stuffed acorn squash slices for 20 minutes or until heated through.

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Chai Spice Apple Zucchini Bundt Cake

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Chai Spice Apple Zucchini Bundt Cake

Welcome the flavors of Fall. This autumn inspired bundt cake highlights my favorite Fall baking ingredients.  The warm and comforting flavor of Chai spice blends well with grated honey crisp apple and zucchini to create a naturally sweet, moist bundt cake.

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This bundt cake includes the warm aromatic flavors of Chai spices a blend of ground cinnamon, allspice , ginger, and cardamom. Cardamom is an ancient spice from India, a very unique spice that is highly fragrant, a little spicy but also slightly sweet. It is known for many health benefits ; helps lower blood pressure, an antioxidant helping to prevent cancer, is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, and helps to lower blood sugar.

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Chai Spice Apple Zucchini Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
  • 3/4 cup peeled and grated honey crisp apple (approximately one large apple)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10 cup or 2 small bundt cake pans with non-stick baking spray.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. Set aside.
  2. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth, add grape seed oil and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. On slow speed add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix just until until flour begins to disappear, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk blend well, then alternate again with 1/3 of the flour mixture, remaining buttermilk, and ending with remaining flour mixture.
  5. Drain the grated zucchini and apple and pat the excess water with a paper towel. Gently fold into the cake batter until well distributed.
  6. Spoon the cake batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan, bake 35 to 38 minutes or until top of cake is a golden brown and lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  7. Once cooled, drizzle with a maple glaze and top with chopped walnuts if desired.

Maple Glaze: Mix together 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Gradually add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of milk or heavy cream mix until smooth and drizzle over cake.

 

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Rhubarb and Lavender Muffins

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Rhubarb and Lavender Muffins

Lavender is an ancient herb from the mint family known for its sweet floral fragrance. The flowering buds are dried and can be used in essential oils, fragrances, and cooking. In cooking, culinary lavender is used in both sweet and savory recipes. Grinding the lavender helps to release the flavor. Lavender can have a very strong flavor and it is best used in just small amounts. For this muffin recipe lavender pairs well with rhubarb, lemon, and honey to make a moist, light, and flavorful muffin.

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons culinary dried lavender
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all purpose white flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb cut into 1/4 inch pieces

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I used a mortar and pestle to grind the dried lavender . A small food processor, herb or coffee grinder will also work.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle grind the dried lavender. In a small bowl stir the sugar and lavender together.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and lavender sugar until smooth, add the grape seed oil and honey and continue to beat until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time blending in between.
  5. Mix in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. On the slow speed of your mixer, in 3 additions, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately just until the flour disappears.
  7. Using an ice cream scooper spoon muffin batter equally among 12 muffin cups.
  8. Place on center rack of preheated oven and bake for 22-24 minutes or until lightly brown and the top of the muffin springs back.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  10. Once completely cooled drizzle with a vanilla glaze if desired. Recipe to follow.

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Vanilla Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons milk or half and half

In a small bowl mix together powdered sugar and vanilla, gradually add milk and stir to a smooth consistency

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Chai Latte Bundt Cake

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Chai Latte Bundt Cake

My new favorite bundt cake is inspired by the flavors of Chai tea. It is mildly spiced and slightly sweet, warm comforting flavors, this bundt cake is perfect for any occasion. Chai tea offers a variety of health benefits, is heart healthy, reducing blood sugar levels, aiding in digestion, and boosting the immune system.

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Chai Tea spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, and allspice.

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My new Nordic Ware 5 cup Duet mini bundt cake pan

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Chai Latte Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chai skinny latte concentrate (I used Tazo)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 cup bundt cake pan  (or a 5 cup mini bundt duet pan) with baking spray.

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together, sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. Set aside.
  2. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth, add grapeseed oil and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and creamy about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time mixing between each addition.
  4. Add chai skinny latte concentrate and mix well, then add the freshly grated orange zest.
  5. On slow speed starting and ending with flour mixture alternate with the buttermilk just until flour disappears.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan, bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake is set and lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Lightly dust with powdered sugar.

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