Friday, April 26, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Is chocolate cake a temptation for you? It's okay to give in, when you can indulge on this fudgy, moist, cake-like quick bread.  Last night, my husband and I sliced some ripe, fresh strawberries and created chocolate strawberry shortcakes out of it for a marvelous dessert! My husband (the true chocolate connoisseur of the family) gives this recipe five stars!  I got the idea from the spring issue of the North Atlantic Region Whole Foods magazine and made appropriate substitutions to make it diabetic-friendly.  I was able to reduce the carbs per serving by over 40% without sacrificing the rich, chocolaty flavor of the original.  If you like dark, chocolate, fudgy brownies, then you'll love this dessert bread. (Note: Try this bread with a cup of decaf coffee in the evening.  It is a heavenly combination!)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 10 servings

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8-1/2 tablespoons Splenda granular
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk, unsweetened (soy milk or 1% milk can be substituted)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini, patted dry (about 1 medium to large zucchini)
1/3 cup semi-sweet, mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the first ten ingredients (from flour to salt).  In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, agave nectar, and vanilla.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.  Fold in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips.  Pour into the prepared pan and level with the back of the spoon.

3.  Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Nutritional Information per serving (about 3/4 inch slice): 173 calories, 21.2 g carbohydrate (3.1 g fiber, 8.7 g sugar), 9.3 g total fat, 2.2 g saturated fat, 146 mg sodium, 19 mg cholesterol, 75.1 mg calcium, 137 mg potassium, 4.5 g protein.

This recipe is adapted from the North Atlantic Region Whole Foods magazine, Spring 2013 issue, pg. 69.  This made-over recipe is by Kathy Sheehan, 2013.

How does this made-over recipe compare to the original?  This made-over recipe is lower in calories and has over 40% fewer carbs.  For comparison, the nutritional information for the same size serving of the original recipe is 210 calories, 37 g carbohydrate, 7 g total fat, 141 mg sodium and 4 g protein.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sautéed Pineapple with Rum-Spiked Creamy Topping

You will probably agree: Nothing is as delicious as fresh pineapple.  You can just taste the sunshine! Here is a spectacular spring dessert that you'll be pleased to offer to special weekend guests but, because its such a quick and easy recipe, you can enjoy it any day of the week.  I've tried to mimic the flavors of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by warming the pineapple in a bit of butter and dark brown sugar, then topping it with a cool, creamy topping and crunchy toasted almonds.  It really satisfies my craving, and my husband and daughter were ooohhhing and awwwing after every yummy bite!  Of course, you can use canned pineapple (with no added sugar), but using fresh fruit makes this dessert an extra special treat.

Sauteed Pineapple with Rum-Spiked Creamy Topping
Makes 4 servings

Topping Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
4 teaspoons spiced or dark rum (or 1/2 teas. rum flavoring or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Splenda granular
1 package of sugar-free, fat free white chocolate instant pudding mix

Using a wire whisk or handheld mixer, whip together the first five ingredients until well blended.  Add the pudding mix and whip for 2 minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4 teaspoons slivered almonds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Heat a non-stick skillet and gently toast the slivered almonds over medium heat until just beginning to brown; set aside.  In the same skillet, melt the butter.  Add the pineapple and saute until heated through.  Add the brown sugar and continue to saute, stirring often to coat the pineapple well until the sugar is bubbly.  Reduce the heat to low & remove the pineapple to serving dishes (3/4 cup per serving).  Place the toasted almonds back into the pan and stir to coat with the butter mixture.  Remove from heat before the sugar burns and set almonds aside.  Top each pineapple dessert with 2 tablespoons of the creamy topping and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the almonds. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 187 calories, 22.1 g carbohydrate (1.9 g dietary fiber, 15.9 g sugars), 10.4 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 23 mg cholesterol, 102 mg sodium, 59.7 mg calcium, 203 mg potassium, 3 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Almond Joy "Green" Smoothie

There is a new almond milk product available from Almond Breeze called Almond Coconut Milk.  I've been using it this week in my morning smoothies and it has a very subtle coconut flavor that is not overpowering, but makes an excellent base for tropical fruit smoothies. One cup contains 450 mg of calcium, making this smoothie an excellent source of this vital mineral.  I purchase the unsweetened variety because it has net 0 carbs and then add my own sweetening to the blender.  The recipe below is a delicious and nutritious meal in a glass that has the flavors of a candy bar. It's a fun way to start the day that will keep you satisfied for hours. (You would never guess that it contains spinach!) You've got to give this one a try soon:

Almond Joy "Green" Smoothie
Makes 1 generous, meal replacement serving

1-1/2 cups unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk
1/2 small frozen banana
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup baby spinach leaves (or other mild green)
4 teaspoons Splenda granular (or two packets, also you may substitute your own sweetener)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon fiber powder (optional)
1/2 scoop whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla, optional)
5 ice cubes

Place the first eight ingredients in the blender and slowly increase the speed of your blender until you reach high (#7 on a Vitamix). Blend until smooth.  Add the ice cubes through the top opening one at a time and continue to blend for a few seconds until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (including fiber & protein powders): 284 calories, 37.8 g carbohydrate (18.5 g fiber, 9.4 g sugar), 12 g total fat, 6.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 251 mg sodium, 905.5 mg calcium, 545 mg potassium, 11 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spinach Dumplings in Marinara Sauce

Longing for a rich, Italian meal without all the carbs that come with spaghetti?  This meatless dish is satisfying and extremely quick and easy to prepare.  For convenience, it utilizes frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and is full of nutrients, including vitamins A and K, folate, calcium, and potassium. This hearty meal will fill you up and make you think you've eaten spaghetti and meatballs.  Add a side salad and a small glass of red wine to complete this heart-healthy Italian feast!

Spinach Dumplings in Marinara Sauce
Makes 2 servings

8 oz. chopped spinach, defrosted
½ cup whole wheat  seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fat free ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped (or ½ TB dried)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg white
½ cup broth or water
2 ¼ cups marinara sauce of your choice (18 oz.)

1.  Squeeze excess water from spinach.   In a medium bowl, mix together the spinach, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, spices, chives, and egg white.  With your hands, form into 16 balls, about 1” in diameter.

2.  Place dumplings  into a non-stick skillet and add the broth or water.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and steam over medium-low heat  for about 5 minutes, gently turn over dumplings and continue steaming for another 2 minutes (if needed add a bit of water).  Remove lid and allow liquid to evaporate.

3.  Add marinara sauce and simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, turning dumplings and stirring sauce every 5 minutes.  Continue simmering until sauce has thickened.  Serve immediately, sprinkled lightly with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutritional Information per serving: 359 calories, 42.9 g carbohydrate (17.5 g sugars, 7.7 g dietary fiber), 14.3 g total  fat, 3.6 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 2771 mg sodium, 413.2 mg calcium, 17.9 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, ©2013