The Clean Creative

healthy eating can still be awesome


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Berried Treasure Cupcakes

muffins3Delectable chocolatey goodness, we finally unite.

Now I have to admit: I came up with the name for these cupcakes whilst trying to figure out the baking time. I checked them in 10-minute intervals, so in order to pass the time, I watched ABT’s 1999 performance of “Le Corsaire” on YouTube. That’s probably where the pirate theme comes from with “Berried Treasure Cupcakes”.

The creation of these cupcakes all started out when I made some basic chocolate cupcakes a few weeks ago. I pulled them out of the oven, let them cool, and my taste buds made the determination that they were really, really AVERAGE. They needed something…like a little treasure…and more chocolate…definitely more chocolate.

That’s when I decided to push the recipe a bit further, and I came up with these guys!

Does anyone know the one thing that’s better than chocolate when you’re baking? You get 20 points if you guessed more chocolate!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 c. almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 c. spelt flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Sucanat
1/2 c. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. ground flaxseed (you can add more if you want)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. dairy-free maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips
(I recommend Hershey’s maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips or Yamate dark chocolate bars, broken up into pieces for your chocolate chips.)
72 frozen raspberries (fresh will work as well)

So, do you remember how we learned to make our own buttermilk in the last blog post? Good! We’re doing that again. In a small bowl, combine your apple cider vinegar and your non-dairy milk, stir it a bit, and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your spelt flour, ground flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set that aside as well.

In a large bowl, (oh, man – we’re using all the dishes!) combine your Sucanat, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Add the non-dairy milk mixture and mix well.

  • Helpful hint: I have a confession. I didn’t put Sucanat on my grocery list, and since I didn’t pick it up, I didn’t have enough for my recipe. (Sucanat is a natural replacement for brown sugar.) Did you know you can make your own brown sugar? Your ratio is 1 tsp. molasses to 1 c. xylitol, erythritol, or cane juice (whatever you choose). Combine it with a fork (this will take some work), and TA DA!!! You’ve got brown sugar.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Add in your chocolate chips, and stir until they’re mixed in there real good.

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That looks awesome, doesn’t it? Here’s the good news: This recipe contains no eggs, so you can eat all the raw batter you want! YAAAAAAAY! Be sure to save some for the cupcakes…

If you’re using a traditional muffin pan, now is the time to put your paper liners in the muffin cups. I’m using a silicone muffin “pan”, so I didn’t need them. I know, I know…I’m bound to get some hate mail on this one. Hey, I like my silicone baking pan! Don’t pick on me. The good news is that if you want to use a traditional pan, you are more than welcome to.

OK…back to baking…

Put about 1 Tbsp. of the batter in each of the muffin cups. I didn’t measure it too exactly, but you want to make sure you’ve got enough to cover the bottom of each cup. Place 3 frozen raspberries in the center of each cup, being careful not to let the berries touch the sides. I’m serious. If they touch the sides, your cupcakes WILL fall apart!

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Fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. You should fill 12 cups, as long as you didn’t eat too much of the batter before this point. If you’re using silicone like me, put your muffin pans on a cookie sheet in order to bake them. Otherwise, they flop all over the place!

Bake at 290º for 1 hour. Yes, I’m serious about that, too. If you bake your flax seed at any temperature higher than 300º, you’ll destroy the nutritional benefits of the flax. (Flax is loaded with Omega 3s, cancer-fighting lignans, and toxin-eliminating fiber!)

Your cupcakes will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean when they look like they’re done and the toothpick doesn’t come out too messy. Hey, who cares if they’re not completely done? You could eat ’em raw because they don’t contain eggs!

OK, but really, you want to bake them long enough so they don’t fall apart. An hour should do it.

When they’re done, let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan. Top each cupcake with three raspberries.

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The fudge I used in this photo is Wax Orchards Classic Fudge. It’s sweetened with pineapple juice, and it doesn’t have anything “bad” in it! It’s some pretty awesome fudge.

Berried Treasure Cupcakes, in a nutshell
1 c. almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 c. spelt flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Sucanat
1/2 c. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. ground flaxseed (you can add more if you want)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. dairy-free maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips
72 frozen raspberries (fresh will work as well)

Preheat the oven to 290º.

In a small bowl, combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together spelt flour, ground flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, combine Sucanat, applesauce, and vanilla. Add non-dairy milk mixture and mix well.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir until they are well mixed in. If you’re using a traditional muffin pan, put a paper liner in each muffin cup. Place 1 Tbsp. batter in each muffin cup. Place three raspberries in the center of each muffin cup, being sure not to let the berries touch the sides. Fill muffin cups with remaining batter.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near the side of a cupcake comes out relatively clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing. Top each cupcake with 3 raspberries before serving.


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Blueberry Oatmeal “Buttermilk” Pancakes

pancakes4I know what you’re thinking: “Buttermilk? Isn’t that dairy plus more dairy?”

Well, not really…and not to worry. You can make a DIY buttermilk without using butter or milk. It’s quite simple! For every cup of non-dairy milk (rice, almond, or coconut), add one tsp. of apple cider vinegar. Stir it together and let it sit for a little while. TA DA!!! You now have non-dairy buttermilk.

As you could probably guess, that’s the start of this whole process. Here’s what you’ll need for the entire recipe:

2 c. non-dairy milk (almond, rice, or coconut)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
4 Tbsp. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1/2 c. spelt flour (brown rice flour or oat flour would also work, I assume)
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries

First, you need to create your buttermilk, as directed above. Add to that your 2 c. rolled oats, stir together, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. (You thought you were going to whip these pancakes up in a hurry? Sorry…patience is a virtue…so is planning.)

When the oats are done, they should look a little something like this (I stirred mine after soaking to make sure everything was well combined):

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A normal person would have probably used eggs and oil in this next step, but I’ve had a fascination with flax and applesauce lately. It’s not that I can’t do eggs and oil; I just chose not to. Ground flax seed was also on sale at the grocery store, so I went for it.

You’ll want to combine your applesauce and ground flax seed plus 1 Tbsp. water in a mixer. You likely could do this with a fork, but I heard that whipping it with a bit more power does a better job. It’s a little overkill for such a small amount, but here’s the end result:

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Throw that in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, and it should be perfectly gloopy. (“Gloopy” is the new word of the day, just so you know.)

  • Helpful hint: If you’re a fan of using applesauce in your recipes, I’ve found that the best way to purchase it is in the individual 4 oz. cups. If I buy a jar of it, I end up using only half before it goes bad. When I buy the individual cups, it lasts MUCH longer, and I can use up all of it before it even gets close to growing hair.

In a separate bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Yes, I used spelt flour, and yes, it has gluten in it. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not on a gluten-free diet. Gluten really isn’t the problem; white flour is the root of all evil! (That’s what my immune system seems to think.)

  • Helpful hint: Baking powder already has baking soda in it. I always measure my baking soda first, brush off the spoon, and then measure my baking powder. No need to get a clean measuring spoon!

Now you don’t HAVE TO do this next step, but I must remind you: I have a Vitamix. I’m a little obsessed with it. What does any self-respecting Vitamix owner do when faced with something that COULD be blended? They throw it in! I dumped the buttermilk/oat mixture, the flax/applesauce mixture, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. honey, and the flour mixture in, and blended it until it was a glorious finely-ground batter. The batter comes out MUCH thicker than I like for my pancakes, so I added an extra 1/4 c. water and blended again. PERFECT! Should you choose not to blend your batter, that’s just fine. You’ll have to mix it by hand (or with a mixer), and you’ll have whole oats in your pancakes, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

  • Helpful hints: Any time you’re measuring honey, spray your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray first. It slides right out! Also, if you’re not a Vitamixer, a BlendTekkie, or a Ninja, make sure you use a LOT more water, should you choose to blend. You very well may kill your blender if you don’t.

Now for the fun part: let’s make pancakes! Dump in your fresh blueberries, stir them in (with a spoon), and you’re ready to go. Make sure your pancake skillet is preheated over medium heat. It’s ready when you drip water on it and it sizzles.

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Your pancakes will grow rather quickly, so use less batter than you think you’ll need for an average-size pancake. Be especially careful if you added extra water, because they’ll spread even faster! Let them cook until they bubble, and then gently coax them off of the griddle with a spatula to flip them over. I guarantee that your first few will grip onto your pancake griddle as if their lives depended on it! It gets much easier after those few rebels.

I always keep my oven set to “warm” when I make pancakes, which is 170º on its lowest setting. I keep a plate in the oven, and I toss the finished pancakes onto that plate. Seriously, who wants cold pancakes?

  • Helpful hint: If you’re anything like me, you hate getting food in the burners on your stovetop. Here’s an easy trick: Make sure your unused burner is turned OFF, and place a plate over it. Set your container of pancake batter on the plate. Rather than dripping all over your stove, it drips on the plate, which washes off quite easily!

Once the pancakes are done, serve them up with fresh blueberries and pure maple syrup. Yes, that’s butter in the photo. Strangely enough, a lot of people who can’t have dairy are just fine with butter, and I’m one of ’em. I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining!

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Seriously, I think these are my new favorite pancakes. They smell gloriously of fresh blueberries, they taste absolutely amazing, they’re fluffy and moist, and they’re REALLY filling!

Pancake recipe, in a nutshell
2 c. non-dairy milk (almond, rice, or coconut)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
4 Tbsp. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1/2 c. spelt flour (brown rice flour or oat flour would also work, I assume)
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries

Combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium-size bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add rolled oats and stir. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Whisk applesauce, 1 Tbsp. water and ground flax seed in a mixer until “gloopy”. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add flax mixture to oat mixture, along with vanilla, honey, and 1/4 c. water. Add flour mixture. Blend in a Vitamix, if desired. Stir in fresh blueberries.

Preheat pancake griddle over medium heat, and pour pancakes onto griddle. Gently flip once they have started to bubble for a minute or so. Cook until both sides are golden brown, and store in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Serve with fresh blueberries, pure maple syrup, and butter.


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Strawberry Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

yogurt6All right…here we go – TAKE TWO on the food blog! (Yikes!) For those of you who don’t know, I had to change the name of my blog the day after it was launched. In retrospect, I like “The Clean Creative” much better than the original name I had picked out!

Now…back to making food!

I wanted to start out with something exciting and chocolatey, but I decided to make this frozen yogurt instead. Honestly, it was quick, and I could make it and photograph the process before work. This one works particularly well for those of you who have a Vitamix. (Don’t worry…even though I’m completely obsessed with my Vitamix, there will be plenty of recipes on here where owning one of these glorious machines will not be necessary.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 6 oz. individual cup of SO Delicious plain coconut yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1 c. frozen strawberries and raspberries (the total of the two fruits should equal 1 cup)

My intention was to have a completely sugar-free, dairy-free dessert. I use SO Delicious plain coconut yogurt because it’s the ONLY dairy-free yogurt out there, and coconut milk products seem to work well for me. Upon starting my creation, I pulled the lid off of my yogurt container, licked it clean (you know you do it too), and thought, “WOW – that’s REALLY sweet for plain yogurt!” Then I read the ingredient label: it’s sweetened with evaporated cane juice!

SO Delicious, I’m SO disappointed…

Even though it has cane juice in it, I’m not letting it stop me from making frozen yogurt!

Anyway, I digress…

The making of this deliciousness is quite simple. Put the yogurt in your Vitamix first, followed by the frozen fruit. Isn’t it pretty?

yogurt3

You’re going to need your tamper for this! (As always, be sure to do this with the lid on, or you’ll decorate your ceiling and blend your tamper to bits.) Start on Variable 1, and gradually increase the speed to Variable 10. (You WILL get air pockets!) Increase to HIGH, and use your tamper to push the frozen fruit into the blades. (It smells awesome when you’re doing this, by the way. Lots of berry goodness!) The sound of the Vitamix’s motor will change, and you should see four mounds form on top of the frozen yogurt. This is when you know it’s done! (Be sure not to blend it for more than 30 seconds, or it will start to melt!)

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Do I lick the tamper when I pull it out? Absolutely. Every time.

This is the first frozen dessert I’ve made in the Vitamix, so I was pretty excited about it! I even flipped the Vitamix container over to see if everything would stay on the bottom, as it should. SUCCESS!

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The little chocolate wedge was just to make it pretty. It was from a failed recipe from a week ago, and I thought I’d put the leftover chocolate to good use. And yes, you have to put it in a decorative dessert dish, because presentation is everything!

If you don’t own a Vitamix, you could probably do some sort of modified version of this recipe by allowing your fruit to thaw or by using fresh fruit. Of course, if you do it that way, it will just be yogurt instead of frozen yogurt. I know there are other powerful blenders out there, but since I’ve never used one, I can’t say that I know it would work. If you’ve got a standard household blender, I KNOW it won’t work! I’ve got an Oster that argues with me about everything. (Well…it doesn’t do much arguing anymore. It sits on a shelf now that the Vitamix has moved in!)

I know this one was fairly simple, but I’ll have more fun and exciting posts coming up later! (Hey, I needed to start somewhere!)

I had a few comments on this post from my original blog, so I thought I’d respond here.

Catherine: You had asked about soy yogurt… It works for some people, but I’m not one of ’em! If it works for you, however, that’s awesome. And thanks for letting me know this should work in the Ninja! I’ve never used one, so I wouldn’t know. I assume this would also work well in a Blendtec.

Krista: I’m glad you like my photos! Thanks!