Low-Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake

I use the Whole Foods Recipes app for my iPhone a lot. The format is great. You can search for foods on hand, or in a certain category (vegan, slow cooker, quick and simple…) which I find is a huge help for making quick meal plans. I have a couple other apps for recipes but this one I use the most. I keep recipes bookmarked in my “Favorites” tab and have a fairly dynamic collection. I finally made the time to try this recipe recently and am very happy with the results. 
I happened to be babysitting the day I decided to make this coffee cake and finished up the prep with a one-and-a-half-year-old on my hip. He seemed mesmerized by my one handed mixing, all the while educating him on each ingredient I was using. He also liked to peek in the oven window with me to check the progress. Thankfully, amid the distractions of the wee one running amuck in a non-baby-proof house, the coffee cake turned out stunning. 
The cake has a much lighter crumb topping than most coffee cakes (remember it’s low-fat) but the almonds help give texture. There is hardly any fat in the recipe, so the moisture comes from fat free yogurt. Michael says you can tell it’s low-fat but he is also not a big fan of blueberries. The girls in my office liked it a lot and I enjoyed it as well. I’d definitely make it again and recommend serving it to guests. It’s fast to put together and friendly for your summer bikini body. 

Low-Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake
from Whole Foods Recipes

2 C fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries divided
1 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C plain non-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 C sliced almonds

for the topping:
2 T whole wheat flour
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl with your fingers until it you have pea sized clumps.

Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Combine yogurt, eggs, and vanilla in another small bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add half the blueberries and smooth into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter and add the remaining blueberries. Top with the almonds. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove the sides of the pan. Let cool another 20 minutes before serving. Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also use a standard 12 tin muffin cup with liners instead of the springform pan. Reduce the baking time to 22-25 minutes.

Healthy Zucchini Muffins

I recently found myself in the realm of unsatisfactory breakfasts. This usually means coffee and a mediocre scone or muffin. These pastries all too often are overly sugary or bland. I am a tough critic since making breakfast pastries is a favorite of mine, so I decided to stop being critical and make some breakfasts to take to work. Making muffins eases my objection to buying pastries you can make for two percent of the cost at a coffee shop.

I like to control the amount of sugar mostly – and the fat… well lets say I really miss it when I make a “healthy muffin.” I didn’t miss it so much this time which is the main reason I’m sharing these. You could also easily add some whole wheat flour for your daily manganese, fiber, tryptophan, and magnesium. Apparently, women who eat more whole grains also weigh less than women who eat refined grains (like a majority of breakfast pastries – or any pastries for that matter). I like the idea of weighing less and still eating these delicious muffins. I’m going to experiment more with the substitution of whole wheat in baked goods, and try making a lunch bread that includes wheat germ and whole wheat.

I like these muffins because they are a little less spice-cakey than most zucchini muffins. I posted about zucchini once before when I started a baking club. They weren’t the best recipe, but I like the idea. Just like carrot muffins, when you add a veggie to your muffin, you increase vitamin intake while decreasing the fat. Since these vegetables have such a high water content, you use less fat and don’t end up chewing forever on a dry muffin. I’m guessing you will be confused when you read the recipe below and see that I used melted butter instead of gobs of oil (and it’s much less butter than this chocolate chip recipe I know) but it makes for a nice crispy crust and the batter yields more than your standard 12 muffins. Sometimes I get annoyed by this, but I got to use my mini loaf pans for the extra… they are just so cute I couldn’t get mad at the excessive amount of batter. I also like that you fill up the cups entirely and the muffins bake up beautifully without spilling over the sides. pretty pretty.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Simply Recipes

3 C packed grated zucchini (you can mix yellow squash too) large grate with skins on works fine
1 stick butter melted and cooled
1 1/3 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 C flour
2 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly and add the sugar. Mix thoroughly then add the vanilla and cooled butter (you don’t want to scramble your eggs). Mix in the zucchini. Measure in the flour, soda and spices. Give them a swirl and mix into the wet ingredients until there is only a little flour visible. Add the walnuts and mix until evenly dispersed. Grease and fill muffin tin to the tops, or slightly over the top. Bake for close to 30 minutes, or until the muffins spring back slightly when pressed.  

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Funny that my second entry in the world of Whole Wheat is also pumpkin. I guess I just can’t help myself…. I do have another recipe waiting for the next round of whole wheat experimentation and it does not contain pumpkin at all.
So, I’ve been sick…. Which gives me loads of time to scour the internet for intriguing recipes and I have found a few. Some regular food and some baking. I’m a little nervous about this idea I had to blog about one food item each month. I am actually pretty bad at cooking. For some reason (mostly it has to do with following directions) I am a much better baker than cook. I leave that to M, but sometimes I try my hand at dinner. I mostly stick to soups and very simple pastas but every now and then I make something entirely too bland (like pumpkin curry – which should be the farthest from bland as possible). Anyways, hopefully one of these recipes I have found will make it’s way to the baking blog and who knows it might be great!

I felt so useless around the house, I tried to muster up enough energy to make some food. It worked (but my sinuses are still a bother). I tried this recipe for Whole Wheat muffins graced with the presence of pumpkin, cranberries, and walnuts. I adapted it from the source a bit to suit what ingredients I had on hand and I think they turned out well. At least much better than the Scones.

While it is going to take some getting used to, baking and eating more whole wheat will be fun. And if fun is not the right word it will at least be healthy. I don’t much like healthy.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

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2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1 C pumpkin puree
2 T canola oil
1/2 C sugar (plus more for the tops)

2 eggs
3/4 C buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Lightly grease a standard size 12 cup muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. If you think the batter is a little dry add 2 T more buttermilk. (It is ok if there are bits of flour remaining because the worst thing you can do is overmix!). Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake 20-23 minutes. Muffins are done when they spring back lightly to the touch or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They will be very tall and hearty.

Original Recipe adapted from Pinch My Salt

My Top Ten of 2009

Today is the first day of 2010, so Happy New Year to you all. I thought today would be a good day to reflect on the past year of my blog and I have decided to recount my top ten recipes. Before we reflect, I’m going to tell you all about my baking plans for this year, resolution style. I don’t typically make resolutions because they tend to get shoved aside or are so unrealistic that they are on the skirts of achievability. Food related resolutions are new for me and definitely attainable. Do you all have resolutions for the new year?

I’m going to attempt to use more whole wheat flour. Not so much for health reasons, mostly because I tend to run out of all purpose flour all of the time and the whole wheat bag sits in the cupboard feeling unwanted and depressed. If I had a repertoire of more whole wheat recipes I would definitely cook with it more often.

I’m going to try hard and not skip the Daring Bakers Challenges for the whole year. This will require me to plan ahead, not procrastinate, and make some items I don’t like. It is difficult when you know the recipe at the beginning of the month and don’t have to post something until the very end. I might have to make up more reasons to celebrate with baked goods during the month.

I am going to make more bread. Plain and simple. I can’t really say quantity-wise what “more” is equal to, I’m just going to make more of it. I have a lot of great cookbooks at my fingertips and I enjoy bread a lot. (I believe I’ve mentioned before bread is one of my favorite smells). It would also be nice to have more home made bread with dinners or lunches. I’m not limiting myself to just hand made either, I’ll bring my bread machine to this challenge too. 

I am going to post at least one non baking item each month. M and I cook a lot and I think some of these meals you might enjoy too. We have a plethora of food delivered to us twice a month from our local CSA and we cook with it each week, so why not share it too? After all, people who read this might not have the itch to bake quite as often as I do.

I would like to celebrate food more. This means all of you in San Fran might gain a few pounds with me. In an effort to appreciate the Slow Food Movement, and because M and I like to host dinners, I want to have people over more often for food. Cooking and eating together, good wine, what more could you ask for? (I haven’t discussed this one with M yet, but I’m pretty sure he will be ok with it).

I think this is enough resolutions for now, I’ll let you know if I come up with more later. Now, on with this recap of my favorites from ’09. (What do we call 10 by the way? It seems so awkward without the “O” in front of it). Here they are in random order.

Savory Puff Pastry

I enjoyed this Challenge for Daring Bakers. We made puff pastry from scratch (which I may never do again) and I came up with this savory topping. I absolutely loved them. You can make it store bought pastry but I definitely recommend trying the filling. 

Wedding Cake

Making a wedding cake is one of the highlights of my year. The challenge of it was unreal. I would love to make another if the opportunity presents itself. 

Four Cheesecakes

I like cheesecake. I don’t make it often because it is so terrible for you (though most of the desserts I make are not “good” for you) so I made the most of it using 4″ mini spring-form pans. They were so cute and tasty. I’d definitely make some of them again. 

Cookie Cake Tower

Who would not like a three layer cookie cake for their birthday? I chose this one because I felt it was creative and good. Not to forget it traveled from California to Virginia in one piece! 

French Style Bread

Bread, one of the techniques I attempted to master this year. I can’t say I am a master yet (hence the resolution to continue making more of it this year) but one day I might make bread like my dad numero dos. This french loaf was one of M’s favorites his dad made growing up, and I wanted to continue the traditions. It makes two loaves so you can save one for later or feed a lot of people. 

Carrot Muffins

Are you wondering why there is a picture of carrots here? It is because carrot muffins come from my early days of the blog when I was not obsessed with taking photos of food (or they were so good we ate them all before I could snap a shot). I didn’t post the recipe in my original post so you are welcome to view it here

Frozen Lime Pie

Not only was this a wonderful dessert, it brings back lovely memories of the Grenadines. After a week of sailing we relaxed at one of the most beautiful houses on St Lucia. Check out these amazing pictures by M. Then be sure to check out the website for the house if you feel like taking an extravagant vacation (pictures on the website do not do it justice). The house comes with the chef and two other house staff (one of which created this recipe). She also makes amazing curry chicken and mahi mahi. I’d like to be there right now. 

Walnut Ice Cream with Tomato Caramel Sauce

This recipe was inspired by my desire to make our plethora of tomatoes into a dessert. It worked, it just was not as literal as eating a tomato for dessert. Hidden in a caramel sauce the tomato gave a new depth of flavor to this amazingly creamy ice cream. If you have the supplies I recommend trying it. 

Mini Fruit Pizzas

I used to make this dessert a lot. I changed the recipe a little bit most recently and enjoyed it more than usual, especially served cold. A crowd pleaser when fresh berries are in season. 


One of M’s favorites. It accompanies soups, jambalaya, gumbo, fish, and whatever else we can create to go with it. I think it would go wonderful with a new recipe I came across Pumpkin Turkey Chili. Give it a try, you won’t even know the pumpkin is in there. We like it so much I sometimes think we choose recipes just so we have an excuse to make it. A good reason to keep buttermilk on hand at all times. 

Pumpkin Extravaganza

Have I mentioned before that I adore pumpkin. Really anything from the squash family I will eat without question. I’m looking forward to fall and all of the interesting winter squash our Farm Fresh produce will bring. If anyone has any great recipes to share, I’d love to cook something new.

For now (whilst my dear pumpkins are decorating the house for the season) I have been busy with the canned version. Over the next few posts I hope to share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes including this first post about a very versatile bread base. I found a recipe a few years back on the AllRecipes.com website that I have altered many times to cut the fat. It can be turned into loaves of bread or muffins, or a combination if you use the whole recipe. It tastes great with nuts or chocolate chips, and this time I made a loaf with green pumpkin seeds. All delicious.

Pumpkin is something I never grow tired of, and one of the first pies I made from scratch. It is so simple to use from a can, especially since the canned pumpkin folks haven’t added strange life extending chemicals to the mix. I am happy to say that my can of pumpkin contains solely “pumpkin”. Pumpkin from scratch is good as well but a lot more work. First you have to cut it in pieces which may be a challenge if you don’t have a super sharp chef’s knife. Then you wait around while it roasts, then you scoop out the contents, then you blend it up and hope your pumpkin was big enough to yield more than enough for you recipe. I enjoy cooking it from scratch every now and then, but typically I am using a butternut squash and making an amazing soup. Maybe this year I’ll try and recreate one of my favorite dishes, pumpkin curry with chicken….

I used the entire recipe below and made muffins – half with chocolate chips and half with a crumb topping. I had the crumb topping left over from the apple crisp and will say that it was not the most interesting addition to the muffin. Chocolate chips on the other hand are amazing. Pumpkin and chocolate go together well. I was mildly depressed that I hadn’t just made the whole batch with chocolate chips (I think M was too). The other half of the batter I dumped into my loaf pan and topped it generously with green pumpkin seeds. These are really tasty seeds and when added to the top of the bread toast very well. I don’t much like my muffins to taste like they should be a dessert so I steer clear of the cream cheese filling. A dear woman who my sister and I call “grandma Blanch” makes a very heavy pie with cream cheese and lots of whipped topping. I can only eat a sliver of it. I can however eat a decent slice of pumpkin cheesecake (which I should make for this Extravaganza). I hope you find some canned pumpkin to try out the upcoming recipes with. If you have any great ideas let me know!

Pumpkin Bread Base

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1/2 C vegetable oil

1/2 C plain yogurt

2/3 C water

2 C white sugar

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

and a splash of vanilla if you feel like it

1/2 C chocolate chips, 1/4 C pumpkin seeds, 1/4 C walnuts or almonds chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour one 9×4 inch loaf pan and line 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, yogurt, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Fill the muffins 2/3 full and pour the rest into the loaf pan. Bake muffins for 25 minutes and the loaf for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Carrot Ginger Bran Muffins

I like carrot muffins a lot. I like carrot cake even more, which is why I typically make a carrot cake-like muffins. This time I wanted to try something new, so I invented a new recipe more like a muffin we sometimes get at Peet’s Coffee. The coffee shop muffin is a very dense and sticky carrot ginger muffin – I wanted something a little more fluffy and healthy.

In my recipe I used a lot of powdered ginger. Maybe too much for my taste, but I’m not the biggest fan of ginger in the first place. I also didn’t use much oil since the carrots provide a lot of moisture. I think this muffin was a great accompaniment to tea or coffee but next time I might decrease the ginger to only 2 tsp. The texture was great and they were really fast to put together. I’m also a believer that these types of muffins get better with age (usually spiced muffins do) so hopefully the leftovers will be even better.

I forgot to take pictures before bringing them to work with me…. oops! They didn’t last long with my ginger-loving co-workers so I’ll leave it up to your imagination just this once.

Carrot Ginger Muffins

1 C wheat bran

1/2 C all purpose flour

3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/4 C brown sugar

1 1/4 C skim milk

1 egg

3 tbsp. canola oil

1 1/4 C carrots, shredded

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp ginger

Heat oven 400˚. Prepare a muffin tin with liners or baking spray. Combine all dry ingredients with a fork. Add shredded carrots to the dry ingredients and stir well. In another bowl, whisk together all liquid ingredients. Mix everything together until the batter is just moist. Don’t overmix or the muffins will be tough. The batter will be thick. Spoon evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes or until muffins rise and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.