Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sourdough Buckwheat Waffles

Buckwheat Waffles with Peanut Butter and Fruit

We used to buy frozen waffles for breakfast. But at $4 to $5 a box, I was able to justify buying a decent Belgian waffle iron and coming up with a reduced wheat, yeast free (can be gluten free) Sourdough Buckwheat waffle that can be made in batches over the weekend and refrigerated or frozen for an easy breakfast during the week.

This recipe is born from trial and error, based on a recipe that starts with the Buckwheat groat. Buckwheat is actually not wheat at all, but a berry like seed that looks like tiny Hershey kisses. They come toasted (below) or raw (pistachio green/white). Buckwheat groats need to be soaked prior to incorporating into the recipe. Though it sounds like an insult, You can soak your "groats" overnight and have it ready to prepare waffles the next morning.

1 Cup Buckwheat Groats
2 Cups Water
1, 6 oz  Plain Yogurt 

1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour (or gluten free flour mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 cup Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Flax Seed Meal

Additional Options (pick one):
Raisins, Cranberries or other dried fruit or
Chocolate Chips and 1 Mashed Banana or
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree and 1 TSP Pumpkin Pie Spice

Soak groats in 2 cups water for 1 to 2 hours, drain syrupy liquid.
Add 2 cups fresh water and 6 oz yogurt to softened groats. Stir until yogurt is broken down and consistent throughout watery mixture.

Store Buckwheat yogurt mixture in refrigerator overnight, 6-8 hours. 
In the morning, prior to use, use an immersion blender and blend for 3-4 minutes until buckwheat groats are broken down and batter like consistency is reached.

Add rolled oats, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, beaten egg, milk and flax seed. Mix until well blended. Batter should be thick, not runny. Add fruit or other options as desired. Stir until blended.

Preheat waffle iron for 2-3 minutes, spray with Sunflower oil cooking spray. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter at a time until coated. Cook for 4-5 minutes until waffle easily releases from iron.

Let waffles cool for 10 minutes and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Use within 1 - 2 weeks for best results

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Porcini Ravioli with Pear, Shallots and Butternut Squash puree

During the fall, I love making dishes with the colors of harvest. I can't get enough of the Pumpkin, Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash. The fusion of Pear with pasta came from my work travels to Florence, Italy and has been a favorite of mine ever since.

So during the weekend, I usually roast one of these in my toaster oven (1 hour). Then puree it or cut in large chunks and save it in the fridge for later when work is really hectic and you need a quick soup base or sauce. (I learned this trick when the girls were starting on solid foods.) You can also freeze ice cube trays with the puree for using in sauces when you are short on time.

There is a small pasta shop called Phoenix Pastificio in Berkeley that makes the most amazing fresh pasta. If you are lucky to live in the Bay Area, they sell the Ravioli at several locations. (You can also get Porcini ravioli and Magnani's in Berkeley, CA)  I like Porcini best for this recipe because of the balance of earthiness with the light sweetness of pear and butternut.

So, If you can get fresh made ravioli, that's the best. You can also use plain cheese raviolis and add porcini mushrooms to your sauce.


Porcini Ravioli  (1 lb) - If you are using plain cheese ravioli, you can add fresh sliced Porcini to you saute.


Ripe Bartlett, Butter or Crimson Pear (1 or 2) - cut into bite size cubes (1/4")
1/2 Medium Shallot, finely chopped
2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Pre-roasted and pureed butternut Sqaush 
(you can add 1/2 cup of water to a small roasted butternut squash and puree with immersion blender, gradually add more until it has a soup/sauce like consistency)

Preparation Time (approx. 15-20 minutes):

Saute shallots w/ a small amount of sunflower cooking spray (or a few drops)
Add pear and fresh thyme and a little water demiglace.
Cook at low until tender. 
Pour over cooked pasta. 
Warm or prepare squash purée, then pour over pear shallot pasta and garnish with fresh basil, fresh milled salt and pepper.

This recipe is versatile. 
A meal on it's own,  or as a primi to your protein. 

Vegan option: 
Try Porcini Fettucine or plain Bowtie pasta with the sauce. Add chopped walnuts to the sauce.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guilt Free Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting

Guilt Free Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream

We love carrot cake, but it didn't love us back...UNTIL we discovered a recipe from for Whole Wheat carrot cake that I further modified to be free of processed oil and refined sugars. Spices, honey and raisins add natural sweetness and depth. Pineapple and Applesauce contribute to moistness. Flax seed meal also provides Omega 3 fats. The coconut cream frosting is a lighter, sugar and dairy free option to the traditional cream cheese frosting. 

These little jewels are perfect for special occasions, but also guilt free enough to make more often for a healthy snack/treat.

  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup Flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. clove
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 cup Carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts or Pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 8 oz. fresh pineapple, finely chopped.


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 9-inch pan.
Pour into a greased 9-inch round pan and bake at 350°F until toothpick comes out clean (about 40 minutes).

2. Mix together honey, flax seed meal, applesauce, eggs, salt and spices. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry to the wet along with the carrots, walnuts, raisins and pineapple and mix well.

3. Pour into regular or mini cupcake liners and bake at 350°F until toothpick comes out clean (about (mini) 10-15 minutes or (regular) 20-25 minutes). For Cake version allow approx. 40 minutes.


Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

1 can of Chaokoh full fat coconut cream, placed it in the fridge overnight.
Open the can without shaking it or turning upside down.
Spoon into a mixing bow
Add 2 packets of Stevia powder to the white stuff.
Whip the coconut milk froth until creamy. Start on low and move to a higher speed, move the beater in an up and down motion to infuse the mixture with as much air as possible.

Spread on cooled cupcakes and decorate for immediate serving.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Pannini Pressed Latkes - Low Oil/Fat

Latkes + Pannini Press = Healthier Hannukah Treat

I have no idea why, but my family has developed an amazing love affair with Latkes. Prior to experimenting with this mash-up, we avoided making them at home because of the frying mess associated with these savory treats. I always loved that you can make any sandwich taste great by pressing it in the pannini maker, so why not a Latke?

NOTE: This mash up does require that you have either a pannini press, George Forman grill, or regular waffle maker. Having a food processor around does cut the prep time for grating potatoes.

Low Fat Latkes

4 Medium Golden Yukon Potatoes (Organic preferred), Shredded or Grated
1 medium shallot or 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped/diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely  chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup Ground Flax Meal
1 Egg (For vegan version, substitute a flax egg)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat Pannini Press on high.
Shred/Grate Potatoes and then squeeze grated potatoes thru sieve to remove extra potato juices.
Place squeezed potato shred in large bowl
Beat Egg in separate bowl
Add Shallot or Onion, chopped herbs, salt, and flax meal into potato bowl 
Pour beaten egg over potatoes and mix until all ingredients are blended.
Spray pannini press (both sides) with sunflower oil
Shape palm size Latke patties and place them with 1/2 " space between latkes.
Close press and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and easy to release.

Serve with Low Fat Greek Yogurt and Apple Sauce.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Best Waffle Falafel Recipe

The Best "Waffle" Falafel

Ever wonder what you could make with a Belgian Waffle Maker besides Belgian Waffles? I was looking for ideas and was inspired by a blog called Waffleizer.  Among the many interesting mash-up ideas, I found the "Falafel Waffle", waffle shape and texture with amazing falafel flavor.  This was intriguing to me because 1) Let's face it, falafel eating is pretty messy trying to stuff everything into a pita pocket with hummus and all the other spreads and 2) I was looking to reduce oil in our cooking, so would the Falafel Waffle taste good without frying it?

I was excited to try the recipe in Waffleizer,  but truth be told the result was not too keen on the "course, dryer texture" of the Falafel Waffle. It was pretty much just falafel mix prepped and then spread into the waffle iron.  I was expecting something more waffle like in texture with the flavors of a falafel. So after creative research and some trial and error, I came up with this alternate recipe which I call "Waffle Falafel" because I prefer Fluffy, cake like waffle like consistency with the amazing flavors of a traditional falafel and not just falafel mix in waffle form. (It will make sense if you try both recipes)
Low Fat Waffle Falefel Recipe

1 cup Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Soda

1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley (Flat) - Finely Chopped or Immersion Blender

2-3 Sprigs Fresh Mint - Finely Chopped or Immersion Blender
 ½ tsp Cumin, ground
¼ tsp Coriander, ground
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Onion Powder
1 Lemon - Juice - Remove seeds

2/3 cup Hot Water

Prepare all dry ingredients before adding lemon juice and hot water.
Mix until batter is formed.
Preheat Waffle Maker and lightly spray with cooking oil
Spread mixture evenly on waffle iron and and cook for 4 minutes or until waffle releases.

The best part about eating the Waffle Falafel is that you can put the spreads (hummus, yogurt, avocado, tzaziki, baba ghanoush, etc) into the waffle valleys nicely and provides a great platform for other toppings (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives mint, etc) 

Pita is optional, so this recipe can be completely vegan and gluten free!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hummus Crab Cakes

Hummus Crab Cakes served with Fresh Avocado

While vacationing in Ocean City Maryland this summer, we came across Rippons Seafood, a local institution for fresh steamed crabs by the dozen, fresh seafood and specialties like crab deviled eggs. They sold crab cakes at $8 each and I thought to hard could this be to make this at our rental? So we bought a pint of fresh lump crab instead and proceeded to make these lower fat but just as tasty version of the Maryland classic. Since I didn't want to buy a large jar of mayonnaise for the little amount we would need for the recipe, I decided to substitute with hummus as the binder. Hummus is super viscose, so we didn't need the egg either! Alas, the hummus crab cake was born.

Amazingly, they were such a hit with the family that I ended up buying 2 more pints and transporting them to Long Island for a 2nd round of homemade hummus crab cakes!

1 Pint Fresh Lump Crab (Fresh, local and wild caught if you can get it for best texture/flavor) 
1/2 pint of Hummus (Either pre-packaged or homemade)
1 whole shallot finely chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
1/4 cup of ground flax seed
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1/2 Teaspoon of Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh ground pepper
1/2 Teaspoon of Sriracha
1/2 Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
4 pieces of Whole Wheat Bread - Toasted and coarsely grated/chopped into coarse crumbs

Bonus! Southeast Asian Version: (Add the following to above ingredients)
1/2 Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or thai basil.

Mix all ingredients except crab until well mixed
Add lump crab until well mixed and form crab cakes into palm sized circles and flatten slightly.
Spray non-stick frying pan with sunflower oil (or 1 teaspoon if no sprayer)
Fry at medium low for about 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown.

Serve with lemon slices and fresh avocado.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reduced Fat Low Sugar Peach Berry Cobbler

The challenge of making a dessert that is good for you usually means that it doesn't taste as good as the original. Right? Well after testing different proportions of the right ingredients, I was successful with making this light, fluffy, cobbler. Seasonal fruits at their peak of ripeness means less sugar added. Almond Flour and Coconut Oil adds good oils/fats to replace that "stick o butter" in most traditional cobbler recipes.  I used a little bit of butter for richness, but you could use a vegan butter/margarine that you prefer. And add a Maple/Pecan non-dairy ice cream to complete the picture of healthier dessert with nothing missing in the flavor/texture department.

4 Organic or Pesticide Free Medium sized Peaches - w/ skin, cubed
(for added complexity, mix 2 white and 2 yellow peaches)
1/2 cup Organic/Pesticide Free Blueberries
1/2 cup Organic/Pesticide Free Blackberries
1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Ginger
3 TBSP Honey or 1 TBSP Agave
1 TBSP Tapioca Starch

Cobbler Dough
1 Cup White Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3/4 Cup Almond Flour/Meal
1/4 Cup Cooking Oats
1/4 Cup of Flax Seed
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/2 of Vanilla Bean Seeds
2 TBSP Unsalted Butter
2 TBSP Virgin Coconut Oil**
2 TBSP Brown Sugar of Stevia equivalent
3/4 Cup Almond Milk

** You can use all Coconut Oil if you are avoiding dairy

  1. Preheat Oven to 365 degrees F
  2. Mix Filling Ingredients until fruit is coated and pour into pyrex pie plate
  3. Blend Cobbler Dough dry ingredients in food processor until butter/coconut oil are well blended.
  4. Add Milk to dry blend and mix until a wet dough is formed (no dry clumps). Do not overmix.
  5. Pour Dough mixture over fruit to cover all fruit.
  6. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until cobbler dough is golden brown with no wetness. Use a toothpick to test.
  7. Cool for 15-20 minutes to set
Bonus Healthy Topping Tip!

I served with Nada Moo Non-Dairy Ice Cream (Mmm Maple Pecan) and it was the bomb!
Low calories, low sugar as well.