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Posts tagged ‘breakfast’

Product Placement: Tropicana Orange Juice

Hey, I’m back in GA! I do believe I got in enough baking and making my own recipes to last me a little while (or at least I can tell myself that) and I’m back and ready to continue my Product Placement. My schedule has been a bit off what with moving back into the dorms, but I’m all set to make some inroads on talking about products to buy or stay away from.

I was at a Leadership Conference the past couple of days and at breakfast there were these sleek looking black pitchers of cranberry juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, you name it they had it. Now, I’ve already discussed my love of grape juice and apple juice  but I do love orange juice as well. I just hate pulp and generally find the juice to be too sweet. I’m very picky when it comes to my orange juice.

The point, though, is that I was lured in to believe that this jazzy design for the pitcher meat the juice had been fresh squeezed. We were at a hotel and the entire conference can only be described as needlessly swanky, so I had reasons to believe that fresh squeezed juice was not outside the realm of possibilities.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Nope. I drank the typical Tropicana juice and unfortunately didn’t realize it until the next morning that it was typical Tropicana Juice until the hotel staff moved to refill it. From a carton.

Needless to say my spirit was crushed for a bit.

This is not to say Tropicana is a bad company or that their juice is disgusting. It’s not. I was just expecting to be blown away by the fresh squeezed variety and no matter what Tropicana claims on their website about from ‘Grove to Glass’ it’s packaged and it’s loaded with sugar.

I don’t care how many vitamins and minerals the juice has because it has 28 grams of sugar per serving. Something that claims to be healthy for you should not have that much sugar. Ever. There is no excuse. I am particularly critical here because this juice falls under the category of ‘masquerading as healthy’. If people don’t read the nutrition label they won’t know that although there’s 120% of their daily Vitamin C in that 10 oz glass of juice they’re also ingesting needless amounts of excess sugar that will then need to be burned off.

There are other ways to get your vitamin C (and occasionally Vitamin D if the juice is enriched). Try eating an actual orange, eat kiwi fruits, cherries, strawberries, and even red and green peppers are high in Vitamin C. For more information on Vitamin C rich foods check out: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/top-sources-vitamin-C-44102808

If none of these are in season (like strawberries, etc) you can always find oranges at the local supermarket and buy a small orange juicer to get the job done yourself. Small juicers like these are incredibly cheap and can be bought at a local Macy’s, or possibly even Target. You don’t need a fancy juicer in order to make healthy juice drinks. Juice away with all the health benefits and none of the added sugar.

Peanut Butter Pistachio Muffins

My mother, always the wonderful genius that she is, gave me the idea to take some pistachios that we had left over from homemade pistachio pudding and turn it into pistachio  butter. We were out of peanut butter, which in itself is a living nightmare for me, and I was struggling to figure out what to eat for lunch. I had recently made sandwich bread and decided to follow the advice of my mother, make pistachio butter and put it on a piece of my toasted bread.

It was okay. The pistachio butter tasted better on its own, in all honesty.

But then I had the new issue of what to do with pistachio butter?

The following day we bought peanut butter and I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I could combine three of my favorite things: peanut butter, pistachios, and muffin recipes.

The following recipe is an adaptation of the original I made because I am operating under the assumption not everyone wants to make pistachio butter in order to make this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup peanut butter (consistency doesn’t matter)

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup plus 3 tbs crushed pistachios

DIRECTIONS:

1. Grease six large muffin tins.

2.In a medium bowl combine, flour, baking powder and brown sugar. Stir until combined.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, vanilla, milk, oil, and peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

4. Mix in the 1/3 cup crushed pistachios. Pour the muffin batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining pistachios. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

*NOTE: I’m back at school and so no longer have access to an oven or photographs of what I make.

Milk Free Baking

A wonderful friend from Ohio stayed with me and my family this past week. She cannot have milk and so while baking with her I got the chance to experiment with soy milk and oil instead of butter.

Being milk free is not the same as lactose free. A product can be lactose free but still contain other milk proteins, the most common being caseins and whey proteins such as beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin. 

I don’t claim to be a scientist or an allergy specialist, but until I was involved in a situation where I had to understand the milk protein allergy I thought lactose free meant milk free and that was the end.

I was amazed that the store bought bread we buy (an organic bread too) had a side note on the bottom: contains milk. We even bought a margarine spread, but although there were no ingredients listed that should have contained milk, the allergen information said otherwise: contains milk. 

It’s a good think my mom’s a vegan because we always have soy milk and almond milk around the house. It wasn’t difficult at all, once we decided to use soy milk, to make blueberry pancakes, blueberry waffles (my friend shares my obsession with blueberries), and then to shake it up, apple and oat muffins. The pancakes and waffles were easy because all we had to do was use soy milk instead of cow’s milk and spray the griddle with an oil spray instead of using margarine or butter. Muffins too were surprisingly easy because most recipes already call for oil instead of butter.

I was concerned about cooking and baking when worrying about allergy information, but everything worked out fine and  this is a post for anyone who needs ideas on working around a milk allergy. For breakfast, soy milk makes perfect pancakes and waffles, and almost any muffin recipe should work.

Happy baking!

Blueberry Loaf Cake

I’ve had a bit of a blueberry obsession lately. I’ve been looking for blueberry muffin recipes to inspire me, going blueberry picking, writing about blueberry jam, and all around wanting to make the most out of the blueberry season. It shouldn’t be that surprising then that I created a recipe for a blueberry loaf cake.

Except, I was out of blueberries. But I was not out of blueberry jam! What made it even better was that this is the Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Jam which has whole blueberries in it. Delicious, gorgeous, and a perfect substitute for fresh blueberries.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups flour

2/3 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup blueberry jam OR 1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Grease a loaf pan and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. With an electric mixer combine oil and sugar. Beat in eggs and both extracts. Beat in milk.

3. Combine flour and baking powder. Beat into wet ingredients. Fold in blueberries/blueberry jam.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, tenting the cake with aluminum foil after 40 minutes.

This cake is moist and full of blueberry flavor. It can be eaten as breakfast, snack, or a less sweet dessert. Enjoy and let me know how you use blueberries in your summer baking.

 

Product Placement: Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest

Why does it seem that if you want to buy natural you have to buy brands that are expensive or brands no one has heard of before? It’s unfortunate that most brand name products are stuffed with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and chemicals and dyes.

But there’s a secret to most of these big name products: they produce natural versions of their commercial products. Both Jif and Skippy have natural peanut butters and Smucker’s has Orchard’s Finest berry preserves.

  

Now, I’ve only tried the blueberry (far right of the photo) but there are whole blueberries in the jam. It’s smooth and sweet and whole blueberries are abundant. When my family ran out of blueberries from Jones Family Farm and I wanted to make blueberry loaf cake, I used a half cup of Smucker’s jam and my blueberry cake is studded with blueberries.

Here comes the hard part though, it’s not perfect. Though it pains me to admit it, Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest preserves are not in fact perfect. The ingredients (though all readable and common) are: BLUEBERRIES, SUGAR, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID. It would be preferred if there was no sugar added, but this seems rather minor. There are 12 grams of sugar and 50 calories. For more information on the nutrition label visit: http://www.smucker.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?groupId=1&categoryId=338&flavorId=755

As usual, unfortunately, the natural jams are more expensive than the standard ones. A twelve oz jar is $3.29 for the natural jam and a 12 oz jar is $2.99 for their commercial products. This is, thankfully, not a huge cost difference. Look for the natural Smucker’s jams next time you shop and let me know what you think!

Apparently, Smucker’s also has an organic line. I’ll be looking into this soon and I’ll keep you posted. Enjoy!

PB & Peach Smoothie

I love thick smoothies. I’m talking about turn the cup upside down, liquid-cement, can’t drink through a straw, need a spoon kind of thick. As you can imagine, I’m frequently disappointed.  So instead of complaining or buying store bought smoothies I’ll never be satisfied with, I decided to make my own smoothie this morning.

Enjoy this healthy protein-packed breakfast. I used homemade peanut butter, but store-bought works just as well.

Peanut Butter and Peach Smoothie:

INGREDIENTS:

1 peach

1/2 cup peanut butter

milk, to desired consistency

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pulse cut up peach and peanut butter in the blender until smooth. Add milk until smoothie reaches desired consistency.

Apple Cinnamon Wheat Biscuits

So in my ongoing battle to produce healthy food, still be a foodie, and run a confections business I decided to spice up the basic biscuit recipe I use by chopping up some apples and making the dough half whole wheat.

The idea behind these biscuits came about from more than idea about being healthy though, as it is difficult to make biscuits healthy. After trying Yoga Bread, I wanted to experiment with using fruit in my baking and after successfully making apple oat muffins (more to come on this later) I knew I wanted to try a similar combination with a biscuit.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening*

1 1/2 tbs baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2 apples, chopped finely (I used McIntosh)

1 cup milk

*was butter in the original biscuit recipe, recipe works with either

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 6 large muffin tins.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Add shortening with two knives or with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Pulse apples through a food processor until chopped finely (skin them if you wish, it’s not necessary).

4. Add milk and apples to the mixture, stirring just until combined.  Spoon into muffin tins.

5. Bake for 15 minutes.

Try this variation on the biscuit recipe from Favorite Brand Name  books.