Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Raspberry Lime Jam

I figured berry season was the perfect time to join in all the canning fun. I wanted to use local fresh fruit and as little sugar as possible so I could enjoy my jam without hesitation. I also added a twist to a plain raspberry jam by adding a significant citrus kick with lime juice and the powerful zest.

raspberry jam (16)

I had lots of traditional pectin around my house, but grabbed a box of Pomona's Universal Pectin at Whole Foods at the last minute for this Raspberry-Lime Jam because it gels regardless of the amount of sugar you use. Pomona's pectin calls for making a calcium water to aid in gelling and they supply the calcium powder with every box of pectin. But it's easy, you simply add a little calcium powder to some water and stick it in the fridge before you start jamming.

I'm also going to give just the basic canning instruction here, if you've never done it before check out your copy of the Joy of Cooking or one of the online resources recommended by Food in Jars.

4 cups ripe red raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
Zest of one lime
2 teaspoons calcium water
2 teaspoons pectin

Wash and mash your berries. This is easy enough to do with a fork to ripe raspberries. Combine mashed berries, lime juice, lime zest and the measured calcium water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. In a separate bowl mix the sugar with the pectin and add to the boiling fruit. Stir vigorously for two minutes to dissolve the pectin and bring jam back to a boil and remove from the heat.

Carefully fill your sterilized jars to 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe the rim of the jar clean, place on the lid and screw on the band. Then process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let cool completely, about 12 hours.

My yield was about 4 1/2 cups of finished product. Delicious finished product.

Each 2 Tablespoon serving of Jam contains 0g fat, 20 calories, 9 carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crunchy and Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I stumbled across the full-sugar version of this recipe a while before the holidays when I was drooling over cookies recipes in anticipation of my own seasonal baking. I fell in love with the idea and flavor profile behind the original recipe which came from Oatmeal CookieBlog, and decided it could easily be modified to make it a bit healthier for me and my friends and family. Everyone loved them, so I made multiple batches and sent some home with my roommate for her family and brought bags of them to Temple University for co-workers and people I enjoy on a daily basis. The conclusion was that these are great cookies and no one guessed they were Splenda-fied!

holiday baking (7)

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Splenda Brown sugar Blend for Baking
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
turbinado sugar for rolling (optional)

Start by preheating your oven to 350ยบ.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and orange zest. (If you don't have a fresh orange laying around, you can use a splash of Orange Juice or forgoe it altogether, though the hint of orange is a nice compliment to the cranberries, it's not necessary.) Mix the liquid ingredients into the butter/Splenda mix and stir well.

In another large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, except the turnbinado sugar, and use a wire whisk to combine them. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until well combined. The dough will be a little sticky.

Use a cookie scoop of a couple of spoons to form the dough into evenly sized balls. At this point the cookies are ready to bake, or to make them extra-special, give them a quick roll in turbinado sugar and then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for at least 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The turbinado sugar gives the cookies an extra crunch on the outside that mimics the crunch of the almonds on the chewy interior. I highly recommend rolling the cookies in sugar before baking if you can allow the extra calories and carbs in your diet. Without the sugar, the cookies are still delicious and chewy, but lack the textural contrast that makes these cookies so glorious.

Makes 48 Cookies

Each cookie contains 4 grams of fat, 93 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. If you choose to skip the roll in turbinado sugar you can reduce the calories per cookie to 83 and the carbohydrates to 10.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2009 Broad Street Run Training

My friend Lindsey is an awesome personal trainer here in Philadelphia and she is offering to train you to get in shape for the 2009 Broad Street Run! Check out her website OutFit for more details on her traning programs. Below is the information on her distance run training services. I'm going to do it! Please join me!

2009 Broad Street Run Training Team

OutFit, Fitness Outside the Gym
Lindsey Schweiger, B.S. Exercise Science

The Broad Street Run is the largest 10-mile race in the United States, last year attracting over 19,000 runners. As a four-time finisher of this race and proud Philadelphian, I am inviting you to experience the sense of personal accomplishment and warmth of community that comes with preparing for and participating in this powerful event.

In training for an endurance race like the Broad Street Run, each of us faces a challenge. For some, ten miles may feel like an insurmountable distance to traverse. For others, it may feel realistic but confused with logistics: When should I run? How fast? What do I wear? What should I eat before? And still others may feel that they are practiced runners who want to improve their performance.

No matter what your hurdle in 2009 - train under the guidance of a running coach with the OutFit team! Feel the camaraderie and support of peers as we meet once each week for a "long run" group training. Explore your individual commitment further, following your personalized running program, with runs of shorter duration in between our meetings.

Make a commitment to improving your health and fitness level. Make new friends! Have an experience - though the training process can be tough, it is fun, enlightening, and rewarding.

And the race itself is AWESOME. Sign up!

2009 Broad Street Run Training Package:
Cost: $125
Ten team trainings - see schedule below

Personalized running program - one of the following: beginner (for those who expect to walk/jog), intermediate (for those who would like to jog the duration), advanced (for those with a time-oriented goal)

Team T-shirt for race day

Weekly tips via email covering footwear, nutrition, injury prevention, etc.

All team meetings will be at Lloyd Hall, at the end of Boathouse Row:

Sunday 2/22 - 9 am
Sunday 3/1 - 9 am
Thursday 3/5 - 6 pm
Sunday 3/15 - 3 pm
Sunday 3/22 - 9 am
Sunday 3/29 - 9 am
Thursday 4/2 - 6 pm
Sunday 4/12 - 9 am
Sunday 4/19 - 9am
Sunday 4/26 - 9am
Sunday 5/3 - 8:30 am - BROAD STREET RUN

For more information about Lindsey and OutFit, click here. To sign up or inquire about this program, email lindsey.schweiger@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Black Bean Brownies

When I stumbled across a recipe for Amazing Black Bean Brownies on 101 Cookbooks, I knew one day I would give it a try simply for the weird factor. At that point in my life I didn't know I had diabetes and didn't even notice the inclusion of agave nectar as the sweetener. I've been playing around with agave in baking and have had good results. It's 25% sweeter than sugar, so if you're swapping one cup of sugar in a recipe, use 3/4 of a cup of agave. The glycemic index of agave nectar is 27, extremely low compared to sugar or honey. On top of that, these brownies contain no flour and instead are loaded with black beans. That means high fiber!

These brownies are dark and rich with chocolate flavor, but they're purposely not too sweet. I like my chocolate dark and with little added sugar or milk to dilute the flavor of chocolate, therefore its very important to use the best chocolate you can find when you make this recipe. I made enough changes to the recipe that I'm publishing my version here, but if you're interested in more baking with agave nectar, check out the recipe's origin in Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano.

Black Bean Brownies 022

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened baking bar, chopped)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups canned black beans (look for a variety that has no salt added)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
¼ cup instant espresso powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup light agave nectar

In a large microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate at 30 second intervals until completely smooth.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, vanilla extract, almond extract, and about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture. Process until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. The mixture will be thick.

Add the remaining walnuts, the espresso powder, and salt to the remaining melted chocolate and mix well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minutes. Add the agave nectar and mix to combine.

Add the bean mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Reserve 1/2 cup of the egg mixture and pour the remainder in the bean/chocolate mixture and mix well. Spread this batter into a 9 X 13 brownie pan that you've lined with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of egg mixture on high until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Drizzle the thickened egg mixture over the top of the brownies and drag a toothpick or cake tester (I used a chopstick) through the batter and egg mix to create a marbled effect. (As you can see from the above photo, I probably didn't swirl my egg mixture in enough, but the end result wasn't totally unattractive, and the recipe still worked) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Mine were done right at 30 minutes. When done the brownies will be slightly browned on top, but will still feel soft. In fact, these brownies will still feel soft until refrigerated for a few hours, and if you can wait overnight. Don't attempt to slice until refrigerated for at least 3 hours.

Makes 24 brownies.

Each brownie contains 14 grams of fat, 196 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nutty Popcorn Squares

I've done about half a dozen variations of a no-bake peanut butter cookie my mother used to make when I was a kid. The original version contains equal parts peanut butter, sugar, and corn syrup which are boiled together and combined with more than half a box of corn flakes. This diabetes-friendly version swaps the cereal for a high fiber mix spiked with popcorn and flax seeds. Only minimal sugar and honey are used to bind the whole thing together.

Nutty Popcorn Squares 016

Nutty Popcorn Squares

2 cups Fiber Cereal (I used the Whole Foods store brand)
2 1/4 cups Kashi Honey Crisp Ceral
3 cups air-popped popcorn
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips

Mix the cereals, popcorn, and flax seeds in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan melt the peanut butter, honey, and sugar together. Bring to a boil and let boil for one minute. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat all the cereal and popcorn. Turn mixture into a 13 X 9 baking dish that has been sprayed lightly with non-stick spray. Press the mixture firmly down with the back of your spatula, sprinkle with the peanut butter chips, press the chips in firmly, and let cool for about an hour before cutting into squares.

Makes 24 squares.

Each square contains 4 grams of fat, 110 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Peanut Butter & Flax Cookies

This is quite possibly the easiest cookie you'll ever make. Add that to the fact that they're low glycemic and high fiber, and you'll wonder why you shouldn't eat one or two a day.

PB and Flax Cookies 028

Peanut Butter and Flax Cookies

2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix peanut butter, brown sugar blend, eggs, baking soda and vanilla until well mixed. Fold in peanut butter chips and flax seeds.

PB and Flax Cookies 025

Use a 1 oz cookie scoop, or a tablespoon measure to drop cookies on to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 48 cookies.

Each cookie contains 7 grams of fat, 91 calories, 4.5 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber and 3.5 grams of protein.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chocolate Brownies

Let's start things off simply. Brownies are a quintessential part of life. I like mine dense, fudgy, and with chocolate chips. Though I'm not opposed to additions of nuts, I despise frosting anywhere near my brownie. This recipe is adapted from Mark Bitman.

brownie (1)


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
4 large eggs
1 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with butter, or line with no-stick aluminum foil.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over very low heat. When the chocolate is almost melted, remove from the heat and stir until completely smooth. Pour the chocolate into a large bowl, and stir in the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gently stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownies are just barely set in the middle.

Do not overbake.

Cut into 24 equal pieces, each serving contains 12 grams of fat, 146 calories, 9 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.