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Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Hello Baking Friends!

I had some requests for the sharing of a recipe I made last night and took into work today for my unsuspecting coworkers.

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

I have recently discovered I have quite a lot of food ‘allergies/intolerances’, and the closest ‘diet’ that I can follow is the Paleo diet. Knowing that this is something a lot of people are getting into, I have been intrigued by some of the lovely blogs and resources that I have found.

So far, however, my favorite named blog, and inspiration for my Blondies, is Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind. First of all, the name is just giggle worthy. I love it. Next, the author actually responds to comments, which is sometimes rare for some of the more popularly commented on bloggers (due to time). And finally, Vanessa actually discussed some alternatives with me, and gave me her stamp of approval. So of course, I am biased towards her! ūüėČ

So here is the Paleo Pumpkin Pie Blondie recipe from Vanessa at CEWADM. Her blog entry is worth reading.

Now, here is the recipe that I did, which yielded a deep-dish 13×9 pan of Blondie yumminess!

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup cashew butter (I used JIF)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s)

1 cup oat flour (homemade is easy, recipe below)
1/2  cup coconut palm sugar (looks like brown sugar)
1 tspn each ground nutmeg, ground cloves and Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tspn each ground cardamom seed, ground ginger, vanilla bean powder and ground allspice
1/4 tspn (or a dash really) Pink Himalayan Salt

Directions:

Step 1: Mix all the wet ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 2: Add the pumpkin and the cashew butter to the wet mix, and whisk until thick but well mixed.

Step 3: Mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 4: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture..

Step 5: Whisk until evenly blended.

Step 6: Pour batter into a 13×9 baking pan.

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour, but best if it sits overnight to settle.

Final Touches: Slice into 24-28 pieces, and add a dollop of cashew butter to enjoy to the utmost!

I input the caloric value, roughly, at 28 pieces per recipe, into CalorieCount.About.Com and came up with the following nutritional information (which is probably not entirely accurate, guessing on the high side):
Serving Size: 1 piece + 1/4 teaspoon cashew butter spread on top
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 14.3g
Saturated Fat: 7.8g [I am going to see if I can reduce this in a further rendition of this recipe]
Cholesterol: 6mg
Sodium: 98mg
Total Carbohydrates: 13.2g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
Sugars: 5.3g
Protein: 2.1g
Vitamin A: 11%    Calcium: 2%    Iron: 4%

As promised Рif you want to make your own oat flour, all you need to do is take equal amounts (i.e. 1 cup) of raw oats, or 75% oat bran, to what you need for a recipe. Pulse in food processor until completely refined to almost a powder, about 2:00 Р2:30 minutes. I made mine a little thicker, and it came out pretty tasty in the recipe, I thought!

So all of my coworkers who tried it enjoyed it (and no, they didn’t say it just because I was standing there, many actually came and found me to tell me they enjoyed it, so neener to all you nay-sayers who may have wanted to give me some teasing crap on that one, hahaHA!). Favorite way, however, was indeed with a smidge of cashew butter on top!

So go check out Vanessa, and try one of our variations of this recipe (or both), and let me/us know what you thought of it! I look forward to hearing about it!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Black Cherry Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I was recently up in the Traverse City area of Michigan visiting my grandparents, and they had gone cherry picking recently. Now, for those of you not familiar with that area, it is cherry country. So when they picked & bought the Cavalier cherries in a 3-pound bunch, they were ripe, fresh, plump, and oh-so-sweet. YUM.

Sweet As Cherry Pie!

To start, we took about 2.5 quarts of the black cherries and pitted and de-stemmed them. Now, there is a nifty thing called a cherry pitter

Cherry Pitter!

However I took a knife and just sliced (like an apple) around the cherry flesh to get the pit out. Ended up being like 2 slices for most cherries to get all the cherry flesh off the pit. This also ended up taking about 15-20 minutes when all was said and done. It also looked like a cherry bloodbath on the table, so be forewarned NOT to do this over white pants, or on a table that doesn’t clean up easily!

Now, take your cherries and add about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tspn vanilla extract and 2 tspn honey (drizzled), and mix well. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to soak in the flavor best.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a crust. Normally I use the Jiffy Pie Crust, however since we didn’t have any handy, I just basically made one up. Dangerous, I know, but since I sample as I go, I figured I’d be okay…

Crust:
Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt together. Add in 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter (softened & cut into pieces). Mix well until forms a nice dough. Place in a Pam-sprayed pie plate, with the crust going to the very edges of the dish in a thick layer. Take a knife and make a few indents in the bottom, to help avoid the crust trying to rise during baking, thus spilling the yummy parts onto the stove ‘floor’! Oh, and you should have enough crust leftover to do either a second smaller pie, or a thin top crust. ūüėČ

Now that you have that created, pour in your cherry filling. At this point, you can either top with the thin top crust you had enough dough leftover for OR you can make a streusel-crumble topping. I did the topping, myself! ūüėČ

Crumble Topping:
Mix together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tspn ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup butter (softened and cut into pieces) until, well, crumbly! Top the pie with this evenly.

Voilà: Black Cherry Pie!

Now bake the pie (preheated oven) at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes. The pie will look bubbly and browned on top, and will be very juicy – just to warn you!

I wish I had taken a picture of this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, however it didn’t last long enough for me to think of it! ūüėČ I think in about 15 minutes the whole thing was demolished! YUM!

So let me know what you think of this recipe, especially if you’re a pie lover like me, and how you like my sweet crust concoction! Until then…

Craft You Later,
Beth

Brunch Stuffed French Toast

Hiya Yummy-Brunch Fans,

I did a brunch with some friends awhile ago, and we all pitched in and brought something ‘to pass’. There were only 4 of us, so we kept it simple. Mimosas, Crab Quiche and Stuffed French Toast. I made Stuffed French Toast because it’s a go-to recipe I have used for years, and it is one of my favorite brunch items to make. It’s simple, delicious, and pretty cheap to make too. All three of these are great things in a recipe!

Cooking Light’s Stuffed French¬† Toast¬†recipe is a stand-by staple that you can make without feeling all the guilt that usually comes (for me at least) along with making something so decadently delicious. I rarely alter this at all, though I do have a couple things I change, more for personal taste than anything, though!

Ingredients to Serve 8-16 people (depending on how hungry everyone is):
16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

Directions:
1) In one 13×9 cake pan, or 2 8×8 cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray, arrange 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread evenly along the bottom of the pan(s).
2) Combine 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish(es).
3) Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn allspice, 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon, and cream cheeses in a food processor or blender, or you can mix by hand if you want some good exercise; process or mix until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish(es). Top with remaining 8 pieces of cinnamon-raisin bread. Pour remaining milk mixture over bread, spreading evenly.
5) Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
6) Uncover, place in cold oven, set oven to 350¬į, and then set the oven timer (where it turns your oven off afterwards) for 55 minutes. Let bake completely, and let sit in cooling oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
7) Mix remaining 1/8 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon until fully incorporated, then sprinkle evenly over tops of stuffed french toast. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving or covering.

Note: This works beautifully if you are wanting to take a dish to pass, because you can slice the bread and literally come out with stuffed french toast sandwiches to serve everyone easily! Whole or half sandwiches, they slice easy and serve very prettily!

Glaring Changes:
– I obviously add in the cinnamon and allspice, you don’t need to do that.
– I fully intend to make the next one with a reduced fat flavored cream cheese, in lieu of the 1/3-less fat cream cheese, to add some flavor. Then top with sliced flavor-of-choice fruit or veggies. We shall see how that turns out!
– I have before sprinkled the top instead of cinnamon-sugar, with powdered sugar, or a sugar-cocoa powder mix. Both are just as delicious.
– When layering my bread, I don’t stack it like in the CL picture, because I realized (finally) that laying them flat makes easy-to-cut sandwiches as a result! SO, you can layer it, but I recommend you use a loaf of 24 pieces of bread instead, and use 12 on top-and-bottom instead of the 8 I used! Just so you know!

Enjoy this wonderful and simple brunch with sides of fruit, tea, mimosas or bloody mary’s!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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