Strong Arms for Kids

 
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These muffins are super healthy for you to make your body happy ...delicious to make your tongue happy...and vegan to make the animals happy...what more could you ask for in a muffin.

Recipe
start the night before by putting 1 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup of almond milk in a container and leave it in the refrigerator.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
oatmeal from the refrigerator

1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  When its completely blended, add the strawberries.  Mix just until the strawberries are incorporated into the mix.  Put in muffin pan (should make 12 muffins).  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
 
 
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I adapted this recipe from 101cookbooks.com.  I remember making this quiche a long time ago in Japan.  I followed the directions word for word (well as best as I could) and I don't remember it coming out that well.  I am sure it wasn't the recipes fault.  I am sure I did something wrong, and that is exactly why I wanted to try it again.  It just sounded so delicious and healthy for you, that I had to give it another try.  And I am glad I did.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but only due to the fact that I just wanted to use up what I had in the refrigerator.  It came out soooooo good, that I must say I was quite impressed with myself.  The crust still wasn't perfect (it may have been the flour I used, or my lack of experience) but it didn't seem to effect the quiche at all.  The photo is from heating it up in the oven the second night, hence the big piece missing.  And I can't wait to have it again tonight!

Broccoli Asparagus Tofu Quiche

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil plus more for brushing the pan

For the filling:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
10 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 garlic cloves, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
10 to 12 fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1 cup asparagus, lightly steamed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Paprika for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes.

3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

6. To make the filling, in a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and mushroom, raise the heat to high, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook until dry. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the vegetables into a mixing bowl and set aside.

7. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. With a rubber spatula, scrape the garlic oil into the bowl of a food processor.

8. Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the mushroom-onion mixture.

9. Quickly steam the broccoli and asparagus.  Once its done, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.   Chop into small pieces.  Add to mushroom-onion mixture, along with the fresh dill. Mix everything together, and adjust the seasoning.

10. Fill the tart shell with the tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Dust with Paprika. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes,until firm.

11.Let the tart cool for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
 
 
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It's been so long since I have posted anything.  Don't really know where time goes but here I am again.  I took these muffin photos so long ago, that I don't even remember what recipes I used to make these muffins, but I liked the photos so I figured I would post them anyway. 
 
 
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No matter what, I can't make a good glaze or a nice icing.  I actually think its subconscious because all that goes into icings and glazes are things like sugar, and butter, and I just can't consciously make foods whose main ingredients are sugar and butter without trying my best to make it somehow a little healthy.  And that's where the problems arise, I reckon.  If anyone knows how to successfully make icings or glazes without making them completely unhealthy, please send the recipes my way.  Anyway, this time, I did follow the recipe, word for word, for the glaze, but I was still frustrated with the outcome, but then thinking about it later, I think that's maybe the way they were supposed to look.  I just had in my mind, this picture of a beautifully gleaming white glaze drizzled across the cookies.  But they got rave reviews anyway, and I am definitely a believer that flavor and nutrition, by far, surpass the importance of appearance.

I found this recipe on the food blog Bread & Honey.  She adapted it from another website and I followed the recipe exactly.  It really didn't need any changing.  Great recipe and your house really does smell so good while baking them.

Glazed Apple Cookies
Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup apples - peeled, cored and finely diced
1 cup raisins (I used golden)
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Beat butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and blend thoroughly.
Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir half the dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts, apple and raisins, then stir in remaining half of dry ingredients and milk. Mix well.
Drop from tablespoon 1 1/2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies to racks and while still warm, spread with glaze.
To make Glaze: Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and enough cream to make glaze of spreading consistency. Beat until smooth. Spread on warm cookies.
 
 
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When life gives you apples, you should be so thankful.  There are endless possibilities for the apple.  To finish off the bag of Cortlands I hand-picked in New Paltz, NY, I decided to make this Spiced Apple Ginger bread.  I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite blogs eCurry, and she adapted the recipe from the blog Food & Fun, which is a new one for me.  I love finding new food blogs to explore.  With every bite, there are different surprises of flavors that pop into your mouth.  This bread is full of all sorts of spices and they all go so well together.  Here is my adapted version of the recipe.  And yes, the photos are back!  It felt so good to bring my camera back out again. 

Spiced Apple Ginger Bread

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  2. 1/2 cup oil
  3. 1/4 cup soymilk
  4. 1/4 cup orange juice
  5. 1 eggs
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla
  8. 1.5 cups sweet apples – shredded or chopped finely
  9. 1/2 cup Prunes – chopped
  10. 4 tablespoons grated ginger
  11. 2 tablespoons orange peels roughly chopped
  12. 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, toasted
  13. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  14. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  15. 3/4 tsp baking soda
  16. 1/2 tsp salt
  17. 1 cup finely chopped Pecans
Preparation:
Combine and set aside the oil, soymilk, orange juice, eggs, ginger, sugar, and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, Cumin Seeds (toast them in a pan for a few minutes until they are aromatic), baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to oil mixture gradually. Next add the apples, prunes, orange peels and nuts.

Grease one loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake at 325 deg F for 70-80 mins.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan after switching off the oven, then let it cool completely on a wire rack.
 
 
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I have a confession to make...I have no idea what buttermilk is, or for that matter, what it would be in Japanese, or even if it exists here.  It definitely didn't exist in the last place I lived (Nicaragua), so I started using yogurt in place of buttermilk, when its called for in recipes.  It sounds much healthier, as well.  I also have another confession, most of the time that I bake something, I don't taste it, so have no idea about the outcome of most of my baking recipes, except for what other people tell me.  There is, at least, always one person who will be blatantly honest with me about my baking (if it isn't completely obvious that it was a disaster).  My host mom in Nicaragua was an excellent critic.  She may have never tasted any of the treats that I used to make, before in her life, but that never stopped her from giving her honest opinions about my food, and of course, always adding her advice on how to make it better next time.  Thanks Maritza.  I wish I had a digital camera then, to document all the fun of baking in huge adobe ovens.  Well I have graduated to a convection oven now, which is tricky in its own way, also.  But, I am getting better.  This banana bread looked beautiful, but my third and final confession for this entry is that this bread is not at all good for you, so I didn't taste it.  Everyone seemed to enjoy, though.  And that's what really matters. Most people aren't a freak, like I am.  I got the basic recipe for this banana bread from an amazing baking blog called: The Knead for Bread  http://www.thekneadforbread.com/ but made some changes of my own.  This is a great website for all sorts of different breads.  I also made her Kiwi Banana Bread, which my new food critic told me was better than this Chocolate Banana Bread.  So you may want to check that one out, as well.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup powdered cocoa
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • extra 1/4 cup of yogurt
Prep all your ingredients ahead of time, this will help to make sure you have everything you need and to make things move faster. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using a wire whisk mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl peel and mash your very ripe bananas. Add in the eggs, butter, vanilla and 1 cup of yogurt. Mix together with a wire whisk till well blended. Add in the white and brown sugar to the liquid mixture; stir till well blended. Now, separate the flour mixture into two bowls (make sure there are equal amounts in each bowl, use a measuring cup to separate). In one of the bowls add in cocoa powder and blend with a wire whisk. Take the banana mixture and separate into two bowls again (make sure there are equal amounts, use a measuring cup to separate). In the bowl that is going into the chocolate flour mixture add an extra 1/4 cup of yogurt and stir. Add the banana mixture into each bowl of flour. Now, mix each bowl just till blended. Add the chocolate chips into the chocolate bowl. Prepare into 5x9 loaf pans with a little shortening. Add a little of each mixture into pans being sure to alternate each mixture. Before putting in the oven, slice some fresh banana slices and put them on top of the loaves.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If you are using a heat thermometer you want it to read between 180F to 185F. Allow to cool in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.

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