Friday, October 9, 2015

So I've been MIA from my blog for a while now, but not because I purposely was neglecting it, but merely because I had been dealing with some crazy health issues.  I found out I have practically no iron or Vit D in my system and have been taking huge doses of prescription vitamins to see I feel better; I have had like zero energy for anything and have been having trouble concentrating and thinking. Thankfully, I think the vitamins are starting to get into my system after 3 mos, so here I am bringing you another tasty dish.

Tomorrow is my boyfriend's father's birthday, and I will be meeting him for the first time.  Ya know, I still can't believe it has been nearly a year since we first started going out; it still boggles my mind that we are where are now.  Funny how when you're definitely NOT looking for a relationship, and the person you've always been in search of was practically in front of you the entire time!  

Since it is a birthday, naturally I wanted to make a birthday cake; however, Cesar says his dad actually prefers pies over cakes just like him.  He also said that his dad is very simple and really likes apple pie so why not.   I thought it was great because I haven't really baked any pies in years and am pretty good at it.  

Important facts about pie pastry:

1.  Cold butter blended with flour will, during baking, melt & leave behind pockets of air that separate layers of the pastry and create a flaky crust.

2.  Do NOT overwork your dough; the more you stir and handle, the more gluten will develop and toughen your pastry.

3.  Do not add water all at once, use minimum amounts to moisten the flour or your pastry can get soggy.

4.  If doing a double pie crust, such as this one, always cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape or you will also end up with a soggy mess.

Ingredients for crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes
6-7 Tbs ice water

Ingredients for the filling:

6 cups of peeled, cored & sliced apples
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 Tbs butter
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.   With a pastry blender (or 2 knives), cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs or small peas.

Sprinkle in 6-7 Tbs ice water, one Tbs at a time.  Mix with a fork after each spoon until your dough is moist enough to hold together.  Shape into 2 balls, one slightly bigger than the other.  Wrap and refrigerate 30 min.

On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll larger ball 2-inches larger all around than inverted 9-inch pie plate.  Roll dough round gently onto your rolling pin, and gently ease into pie plate.  Trim the edge, leaving 1-inch over hang; set aside.

Combine apples and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar and next 5 ingredients, and mix well.  

Spoon over the apple mixture, and toss gently.  

Spoon filling evenly into the pie shell, and dot with butter.

Roll small ball of dough into 10-inch round.  Cut several slashes; center over the filling.  Trim the edge, leaving 1-inch over hang; fold under and crimp edges.  Brush pastry lightly with beaten egg yolk.  Combine 2 tsp sugar and 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, and sprinkle all over the pie.

Cover edges of pasty with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake at 450 for 15 min; reduce heat to 350, and bake 50 more min.

Tomorrow this bad boy gets cut and served; however from the small amount of sauce that dripped onto the baking sheet, it tastes divine.....oh and my apartment smells amazing!

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Healthier Chocolate Bread Pudding (for two)

Well I am back & hoping to be more present in my blogging now that everything seems to be falling into place in my life once again.  I have a new boyfriend who is a few months older than me (YAY!) and who is incredibly awesome to me, and makes utterly happy.  I have currently been presented with a new challenge: my babe is lactose intolerant (boo).  I have been on the hunt for all things lactose free including trying to make dishes and desserts friendlier for him. Now one thing that I find funny is that he LOVES chocolate, and chocolate does not seem to bother him and lucky for him I prefer darker chocolates as opposed to milk chocolates which is better also.  

I found an amazing recipe for Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding which turned out to be perfect for 2 people, but I decided to doctor things up and try to not only make it lactose free but also a bit more healthier.  Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?  As long as you do your homework and, of course, in moderation, you definitely can!

Before I get into the recipe, let's talk about some of the changes I made and how you can change them also.  Immediately you will notice, of course, that I use Lactose Free 2% milk; should you decide to use regular milk, take into consideration some of the nutritional values may change a bit especially if you decided to do full fat milk or even heavy cream.  Like I said, I am on a lactose free mission and have found the perfect cheese at one Whole Foods Market made from almond milk and tastes like regular cheese; Green Valley Organics also makes yogurt, sour cream, kefir and cream cheese; and Sprouts Farmers Market carries lactose free cottage cheese.  

Let me not forget to mention that you can use fat free or light whipped topping instead of the CocoWhip; again, just remember there may be slight nutritional differences. However, I MUST tell you how delicious this is, and the bf was blown away and amazed by the taste.

Also you will notice, I use Raw Cacao Powder instead of cocoa powder.  Raw cacao is made by cold pressing unroasted cocoa beans; this keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat.  Raw cacao powder is much better than cocoa powder in that it lowers insulin resistance; is high resveratol (a potent antioxidant); reduced risk for cardiovascular disease; reduces risk for stroke, reduces blood pressure; is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper & manganese; boosts your mood promoting a better sense of well being.  I use raw cacao powder in place of cocoa powder in lots of recipes including my overnight oats; it has a strong, rich, deep chocolate flavor.   The brand I buy is NavitasNaturals which can be found in the nutrition/health food section of HEB for $9.99; you might think that is too expensive, but a little goes a LONG way!

Another thing you will notice is that I use Coconut Sugar in place of regular sugar.  Why?  Coconut sugar is MUCH better than regular sugar as it has a lower Glycemic Index measure of 35 as opposed to 60 in regular sugar.  (BIG plus for diabetics)  Also research has shown that coconut sugar has impressive amounts of nutrients such as zinc, iron, potassium and calcium.  The brand I buy is Madhava Organic which can be found in the baking section at HEB for less than $5.00.

Ok, so I've rambled on for too long so lets get on with the recipe.  Since this is a 2 person recipe, you can definitely get away with buying those cute little 4-pk King's Hawaiian rolls; of course you can double this recipe for 4 people.


3 1/2 King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, cubed

2/3 cup Lactose-Free 2% Milk
1 1/2 tbs Raw Cacao Powder
2 tbs Coconut Sugar Pure & Unrefined
1 tbs Kahlua
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Eggland's Best large egg
1 oz Baker's Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate Squares
1 tsp SoDelicious CocoWhip Light
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove bread from oven.

Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg) in a medium bowl, whisk well until thoroughly combined. 

Add bread

Toss gently to coat.

Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Divide half of bread mixture evenly between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with half of chocolate. Divide remaining bread mixture between ramekins; top with remaining chocolate.

Place ramekins in an 8-inch square baking pan (I only had a loaf pan at the moment which had the perfect depth); add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until set

Serve each pudding warm with 1 tsp whipped topping.

Looking at the values of the healthy version I encountered, I managed to bring the calories down by 68, I brought the total fat within the range it needs to be for the calories involved, lowered the carbs by 14 mg AND brought the sugars down 15 g.  Granted based on these numbers the sugar level is about 8 g over the mark for the calories involved, but I still brought those numbers WAY down from the original recipe so that's a major thing to take into consideration.

Calories         327
Total Fat          10.7 g
Sat Fat              5.7 g  (2.43 g over)
Cholesterol    120 mg 
Sodium          223 mg (169 mg under)
Potassium      112 mg
Carbs               44 g (5 g under)
Fiber                  2.6 g
Sugar                20.9 g (8,4 g over)
Protein              13.7 g (5.5 g over)

The dessert was, however, a true and utter success.  My babe polished it off and, as I stated earlier, loved the CoCoWhip ;so if you or someone you know is lactose intolerant and don't mind a little coconut flavor, try this stuff out.

Hopefully you'll try this out and enjoy as much as we did.  If you like the blog, please feel free to like/follow the page.  

Until next time, Happy Eating!!