Saturday, October 5, 2013

Leader Enterprise - October 2, 2013 - Healthy Substitutions for Baking

Happy Fall Ya'll! Fall is my favorite season of the year, for a number of reasons. I love the colors, the decorations, the cooler temperatures and the foods. I can't stop thinking about and wanting to make anything with pumpkin, apples or squash. If you’re like me - autumn is a good ‘excuse’ for me to do more baking-to crank up the oven, heat the house, and warm my body and soul (and your fingers and toes).

It’s easy to prepare calorie-laden, fat-filled dishes using traditional recipes, but I wanted to share some ideas for doing more nutritional baking.

Applesauce can often replace the butter or oil used in many recipes. Little to no fat,low sugar options are available. I usually use 1/2 the amount of oil called for and replace the other half with applesauce. Coconut oil is a nutritionally rich fat which can also be used for part or all of the butter or shortening in a recipe. Flaxseed meal offers fiber and vitamins and minerals. Adding ground flaxseed - 1 Tbsp in the place of 1 Tbsp of flour can lend a nuttier flavor to your product. My favorite way to use Flaxseed meal though, is to REPLACE the eggs called for in a recipe! For each egg, use 1 Tbsp. Flaxseed meal +3 Tbsp.  water. By doing this,cholesterol and fat are reduced and the final product is more moist and nutritional.

This is a great time of the year to make soup. It’s easy and nutritious too. You can use some of those vegetables that you’ve stored up over the summertime or just clean out the fridge. Using whole grain pastas and fiber rich beans offer lower fat and healthier options. A sandwich or muffin served with soup makes for a good warm-you-up meal.

I want to share a favorite soup recipe. I believe soup is real comfort food. Consider sharing a food dish with someone in need. The blessing of giving will certainly be returned to you. 


1 lb. ground beef

8 Tb. butter, divided

(I use Smart Balance)

1-1/2 c. carrots, roughly chopped

1-1/2 c. celery, sliced

1 sm. onion, chopped

fresh parsley, snipped, to taste

basil, to taste
6 c. chicken broth
8 c. peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 c. flour
salt & pepper, to taste
3 c. (1%) milk
3/4 lb.Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1 - 16 ozs. container sour cream

In skillet over medium heat,cook ground beef. Drain; set aside. In large stockpot over medium heat, melt 2 TB. butter.  Add carrots, celery, onion, parsley and basil and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and potatoes; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.

While the veggies are cooking, make the roux: In saucepan,melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until bubbly and smooth, about a minute. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Add velveeta and stir until smooth and melted through. Add to broth and veggies. Turn heat to low and add beef. Stir in sour cream just before serving. 

When reheating, be sure to heat on low so sour cream will not curdle. (I added our sour cream to each serving). A marvelous family meal - yields about 10 servings.

This is an easy and delicious muffin made with two box mixes. Great alongside soup - or any bean dish.


1 (9 ozs) box yellow cake mix (Jiffy brand)
1 (8.5 ozs) box corn bread mix (Jiffy brand)
2 eggs
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. 2% milk
2 Tb. vegetable or canola oil 
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine both mixes. Grease AND FLOUR (don't skip this part...the spray that includes the flour is best) 14 muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; stir into the dry ingredients just until everything is moistened. Fill cups just over 1/2 full. (I like to sprinkle my cornbread with cinnamon/sugar mixture before baking). Bake 18-22 minutes,or until tops spring back when touched lightly or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan; remove to cooling rack. 

It's also the time of year for harvesting apples, and I just don't have to make all the apple recipes I'd love to try. My favorite apple is a gala. It's heart-shaped with a distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. They're just the right size for snacking and are great in salads; good for baking and very good for applesauce.

I have probably shared this tasty dessert recipe before, but it's worth sharing again (& again). The recipe can easily be doubled to be baked in a 9" x 13" pan for more servings. I have used fuji, gala and jonagold apples and they are all wonderful. Any baking apple will work well.


1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil

(or use half oil, half applesauce)
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. chopped, peeled (tart) apples
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. butterscotch chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8" square baking dish. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Combine the sugar, oil and eggs; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the apples, pecans and 1/4 cup butterscotch chips. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining butterscotch chips. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield:4-6 large servings.

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