Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green Smoothie

I know it is hard for some of you to fathom that I went from baking cakes, cookies, pastries and making ice-cream every day to now blogging about weird green stuff in a tall glass. I am almost certain some of my dessert fans may delete me from their bookmarks but I assure you I will still be sharing those recipes as well. But hey, what's wrong with having options? 

So as many of you know, I have fallen in love with kale in just about anything and try to incorporate it into my meals at least once a day. I recently started making a raw kale salad and now I have graduated to using it in green smoothies, my new favorite thing. There are so many smoothie variations you can make. But for the green smoothies I prefer apples or pears, kale or spinach, and ginger. The rest depends on what I have in the fridge. I tend to toss a little flax and a scoop of protein shake powder in there too. Other options for greens include celery, chard, romaine, beet greens, and collard greens. You'll want to leave the skin on the fruits that have edible skin to ensure you get the essential nutrients and vitamins your body craves.

Now I know what you're thinking. Trust me, three years ago you could not have convinced me that I would be raving about a glass of blended fruits and vegetables either. But, with the right combination, you hardly know the veggies are even in there.

Several years back my father was on a health kick and was telling my son that they would be eating beets, spinach, Fuji apples and carrots for breakfast in the form of a shake. Needless to say, those visits became a little bit more infrequent as my son is in love with cows and pigs. Though he did admit that the smoothies were not as bad as he'd anticipated.

Some of the benefits of drinking green smoothies are better digestion, more energy, fewer mood swings, less cravings, stabilized blood sugar, and more radiant skin. Who doesn't want that?
So come on...take a deep your mouth...take a sip...not so bad, is it? Save for the fact that it has this vibrant green color, you would hardly know it is good for you because it really tastes delicious.

Green Smoothie

2 c fresh baby spinach or fresh kale, rinsed
1 Granny Smith green apple, cored
1 banana, peeled (optional)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground flax seed

1 c plain organic yogurt
Ice cubes, if desired
Almond or soy milk, if desired

Wash and cut fresh fruit, removing core and seeds. Add fruit and grated ginger to blender with kale (or spinach), flax and yogurt. Blend a few seconds. Add ice cubes and blend until you reach desired consistency. Incorporate milk to thin smoothie, if necessary. Drink up!

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Zucchini Pancakes

I was never really a breakfast person…until now. I am eating every two or three hours now so eating breakfast is essential, even if it is just a bowl of steel oats or Cream of Wheat. But Saturday mornings require more than just a bowl of hot cereal! So what I am really enjoying is experimenting with different flours, flavors and toppings with my pancakes.

One of the benefits of eating every two hours is that you'll keep your metabolism running constantly. It will also allow you to keep your blood sugar levels steady. If you eat too heavily at one meal, it can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which can promote fat storage. Eating smaller meals prevents this and keeps you satisfied, yet not completely full.

I have some zucchini in the fridge and am wondering what to do with it. I was thinking initially of making some chocolate zucchini muffins. But instead I decided to put zucchini in my pancake batter. Very good decision, if I must say so myself.

It is a mid-July 60 degree morning outside, which is highly unusual. It has been in the 90s or higher for the longest; and even in the mornings it is stifling out. It is overcast, no humidity…definitely a good day to get out and do some running allergies are most appreciative. But sadly, as it always is after I eat my pancakes...(yawn). Suddenly my errands, grocery store trip and workout is looking a little bleak. Guess that is part of the Saturday ritual as well!

Zucchini Pancakes

1/2 cup spelt flour (Substitute: All Purpose flour)
1 packet stevia (Substitute: 3 tbsp granulated sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c Organic Greek yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 c soy milk (Substitute: Almond or 2% milk)
1/3 c grated zucchini
2 tbsp melted butter
½ tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zucchini, vanilla flavoring and melted butter. Slowly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Batter should contain some lumps. Do not overmix.

Preheat griddle or cast iron pan. Brush with butter. Ladle batter onto griddle or into pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles form and begin to pop. Flip the pancake and cook until golden brown. Keep cooked pancakes warm until ready to serve, in a 200 degree oven.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I typically end up making my own version of the items I spend the most money on in the store every week. But somehow I never thought to make my own granola until I saw it posted by one of my fellow bloggers at A Chica Bakes. I have tried many versions of granola but like the Bear Naked Banana Nut the best. I am addicted to that stuff! It is one of those items that my grocery store does not have in abundance. So if I go in and buy two bags and eat them in two days, there won't be any more when I go back!

Granola is eaten as a snack or breakfast food and generally consists of rolled oats, cinnamon, honey, oil, nuts and dried fruit. You can also use granola as a topping on yogurt and some desserts. For a variety, add chia seeds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, decide.

I love granola...and can afford to snack on it often, as I would love to gain a few pounds (bet you don't hear that every day)! But if you do not have the same goal, eat at your own risk!


2 c old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 c slivered almonds
1/3 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c golden raisins, cranberries, dates or figs
1/3 c banana chips (Recipe below), dried apricots, mango or cherries

Note: For healthier version use 3/4 c unsweetened applesauce and 1/3 c agave nectar.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the oats with cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined. Pour liquid mixture over the oats mixture and combine. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly and bake for 30 minutes. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir granola every 10 minutes, until done, for even cooking. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle the nuts and fruit over granola. Mix well with hands. Allow granola to cool. Mixture will begin to crisp as it cools. Transfer to an airtight container. Granola will keep for one week.

Banana Chips

2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp lime juice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Peel bananas and cut into thin slices. Coat with lime juice. Spread bananas (without touching) on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 2 hours. Rotate cookie sheet every 30 minutes for even baking. Cool. Chips will crisp after fully cooled.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I never liked oatmeal growing up unless it was in the form of an oatmeal cookie. But I recently fell in love with steel cut oats and have made them a weekly breakfast item at my house. Steel-Cut Oats are whole grain groats, the inner portion of the oat kernel, which have been cut into only two or three pieces. Steel-cut oats have a very different texture from rolled oats and are much more coarse. And they have this delightful nutty flavor. Because of the way they are cut, they take a lot longer time to prepare. Initially that turned me off from wanting to try them. But when I don't have time to slow cook them, Trader Joe's has a quick version, Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats, that cooks in 8 minutes.

Steel cut oats are rich in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber, while low in sodium and unsaturated fat. One cup of steel-cut oats contains 8 grams of insoluble fiber.

Steel cut oats can be dressed up in many ways. Top it with nuts, cinnamon, toasted coconut, maple syrup, fresh fruit, figs or raisins. I also add flax seed to my oats. Flax seed can be purchased whole, ground and in oil form. I add flax seed to oatmeal, salads, shakes and yogurt. Flax seed has been reported to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increase vitality, regulate blood sugar, enhance immune system, and act as a natural laxative.

Try some steel cut oats for breakfast...a very filling, nutritious breakfast treat!

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

1 c steel cut oats
1 3/4 c soy milk
1 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
6 oz unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a glass bowl combine oats, brown sugar, applesauce, and spices. Stir in soy milk; cover and chill overnight.

Before serving, transfer steel oats to a medium saucepan. Heat just to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with topping of your choice.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Buttermilk Spelt Flour Pancakes

Aaaah Saturday mornings. I am supposed to be doing some house cleaning but have gotten a little full from breakfast and am watching Salt. Great movie, I might add.

I used to live for Saturdays and Sunday mornings after church so I could hit up Cracker Barrel and get my pancakes, stewed apples, catfish and grits. My favorite Cracker Barrel special was Grandma's Pancake Breakfast. It has not been on the menu in quite some time but I still ordered it whenever I would go. Those pancakes are something special.

Going to "The Barrel" was an experience. It was never a short trip because no matter which day you went it would be packed. You spend a moment or two on the porch, sitting in one of those oversized rocking chairs, playing checkers. Then you frustrate yourself, losing countless games, playing with the pegs at the table and getting the title of being just plain dumb. And you can't leave until you get some nostalgic candy from the candy store - Kits, BB Bats, Now 'n Laters, Peppermint candy sticks, Atomic Balls. Good times...good times.

But I rarely eat out now because I am taking more control of what I am consuming. While a lot of restaurants are offering healthier options, you definitely won't find things like spelt flour and stevia on the menu. And I must say these pancakes here are as good as any I have had at my special breakfast place.

Spelt flour is similar to wheat, in appearance, and has become popular because of its sweet, nutty flavor and due to its high protein and nutrition content. I have been using it as a substitute for All Purpose flour. Spelt contains gluten, so spelt is not suitable for a gluten-free diet. Spelt flour can be found in most local health food stores.

Stevia is a South American herb that is used as a sweetener. The body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides from the stevia leaf or any of its processed forms - so there is no caloric intake. Additionally, stevia doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by diabetics. So you will hear me speaking of stevia a lot on the blog and will talk about it more indepth at some point.

But back to the important stuff...these pancakes. I love my pancakes to have a crisp edge and a fluffy center. These fit the bill perfectly! I am looking forward to Sunday breakfast some leftover batter to tend do.

 Buttermilk Spelt Flour Pancakes

1 c spelt flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar (Substitute 1 packet Stevia for sugar-free version)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Slowly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Batter should contain some lumps. Do not overmix.

Preheat griddle or cast iron pan. Brush with butter. Ladle batter onto griddle or into pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles form and begin to pop. Flip the pancake and cook until golden brown. Keep cooked pancakes warm until ready to serve, in a 200 degree oven.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


It's Fourth of July weekend and I was supposed to be in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. For a variety of reasons, me and my girls were unable to make the trip this year. So in keeping with the N'awlins spirit, I thought I would make some beignets with breakfast this morning.

A beignet is a very light, French style doughnut or fritter that originated in Southern Louisiana. Beignets are typically dusted with powdered sugar and served warm. Many people who visit New Orleans will tell you that cannot, will not, leave the city without visiting Cafe Du Monde. It is there where you will find the classic beignets. The original Cafe du Monde coffee stand was established in the French Market in 1862 and is still in operation today. Cafe Du Monde is considered a New Orleans landmark and stays open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As with many of the famous New Orleans "spots", pack some patience because the lines are typically long. But the end result is well worth the wait.

Beignets are fairly easy to make. But the key is to have the oil at the right temperature. It should be hot enough to give the outside a crispy exterior; but not so hot that the inside does not have a chance to cook properly. So it is a delicate balance.


1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water (115°)
1 c evaporated milk
1/2 c canola oil
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
4-1/2 c self-rising flour
Safflower or peanut oil for deep frying
Confectioners' sugar for garnish

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, oil, sugar and egg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Do not knead dough. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; roll into a rectangle. Cut into squares.

Heat oil to 375°. Fry squares, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with confectioners' sugar, eat with preserves, or drizzle with chocolate.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Breakfast Potatoes

During the week there is so much going on that there is not a lot of time to cook a good breakfast before starting work. Plus, to be totally honest, I would much rather get 30 additional minutes of sleep than to wake up to allow for a big breakfast. But, it is the most important meal of the day. So I enjoy the weekends where I can take my time and prepare a hearty breakfast while sipping on a hot cup of tea.

That's what I am doing this morning while reading Clean Eating. Any time I receive a gift I am always grateful. But I especially love receiving gifts that I can actually benefit from or use in my every day life. My bestie knows I am on this journey to healthier eating. So she purchased a subscription to Clean Eating for my birthday gift this year. If you are interested in eating food in its most natural state and are looking for healthier eating habits, this magazine is for you. It is full of great recipes, tips, and articles that help with improving your lifestyle.

I don't do a lot of "white foods", which are essentially bad carbs. But I will allow some flexibility with my weekend breakfast, from time to time. Today I wanted a fried egg and some breakfast potatoes. I use red potatoes for my breakfast potatoes and always leave the skin on. The skin has fiber, phytochemicals, and vitamins.

I always boil my potatoes first to reduce the amount of cooking time once I add them in the saute pan with the onions and spices.

Breakfast Potatoes

3 lg red potatoes
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add red potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Do not overcook or they will be mushy. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

In a saute pan, add olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add onions and potatoes to the pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika and cook for 3-5 minutes. Be sure to toss the potatoes so the spices are evenly distributed. Cook for 2-4 more minutes or until they reach desired doneness.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

No matter the holiday, it is always a good time when folks can get together and fellowship. I have not seen my some of my girls since the end of last year and am looking forward to hanging out and catching up with them for our pre-Fourth of July get together.

We each have things we are good at preparing and my area is dessert. So this go round, I wanted to do something we had not done in the past. I am a creature of habit so I typically whip up a cheesecake, pound cake, red velvet or carrot cake. Today, I decided to make chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.

I love a good chocolate cake. And coffee and Kahlua transform chocolate cakes to a new level of decadence. Since I am not a coffee drinker, I hated having to brew a pot of coffee just to include a cup or so in a cake batter. So I happened to stumble upon some coffee singles from Maxwell House that do the trick without wasting a half a pot of coffee. These little packets work much like a tea bag. You just heat or microwave your water, dip them for a few minutes, and voila! I get excited about the simplest things.

These cupcakes are moist and delicious and almost taste exactly like a bite from a Reese's peanut butter cup. Not too sure it was a good complement for the new drink Renee was preparing, the Purple Alaskan Thunderfu*k. There were at least 8 different types of alcohol in this concoction, along with some soda, pineapple juice and grenadine. Surprisingly, everyone was still standing and speaking clearly as we prepared for the drive home.

As with most of our time together, it came to an end too soon. But, I am anxiously looking forward to the next time we can all get together.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 3/4 c AP flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c Hershey’s cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c canola oil
2 lg eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla flavoring
1 c hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line three muffin tins with liner paper.

Sift the dry ingredients together, including the sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and the remaining wet ingredients, with the exception of the coffee. Using a mixer at low speed, combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, incorporating the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time. Slowly incorporate the hot coffee, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Pour batter into muffin tins and bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 15 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting

5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 c confectioners’ sugar
1 c creamy peanut butter
3/4 tsp vanilla flavoring
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c soy milk (or heavy cream)
1 c Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut into small pieces

Bring the butter to room temperature. Place all of the ingredients, except the soy milk (or heavy cream), in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until creamy. Slowly incorporate the soy milk and beat until light and smooth. Refrigerate frosting for at least an hour. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with candy pieces.

*Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mushroom Spinach Crepe

It is the Friday before the 4th of July and there are several people cooking out this weekend. So, just in case I end up indulging in some food that is not necessarily on my meal plan, I figured I'd start the weekend off the right way.

I used to be intimidated at the thought of making crepes - they sound like they would be more difficult to achieve than they really are. But now I am a pro at it. I used to toss at least three or four crepes before getting one good crepe from the batter. Now, I am down to only wasting the first one. Ha! Progress!

Tonight, I was craving something hearty but quick. So I settled on a mushroom spinach crepe. You can make crepes with all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or you can combine the two. You can also try buckwheat flour for an even healthier, heartier version. You will get a better result with crepes if you allow the batter to sit overnight. If the batter is too thick when you go to prepare them the next day, add a little more milk or water to thin them out.

I am planning on a relaxing holiday weekend, doing a lot of nothing. Perhaps a visit to the pool...but definitely lots of good eating and catching up with some old friends.

Mushroom Spinach Crepe

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter, plus more for pan

Mix the flour and salt together. Combine wet ingredients in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Add dry ingredients and mix, just until blended. Brush saute pan with butter and heat at medium temperature. Pour just enough of the batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Tilt and turn the pan so the mixture evenly coats the pan.

Cook the crepe until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
8 oz sliced mushrooms

4 oz spinach
1 tbsp thyme
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
4 whole wheat crepes
1 handful goat cheese or slice of Swiss cheese

Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.

Heat the butter in a saute pan. Add the onion, mushroom and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes. Season mixture with thyme and salt and pepper. Add the spinach and saute just until it wilts. Remove from heat.

Assemble the crepe by adding the filling and topping it with cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, fold and serve.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.