Orange Chocolate Chip Scones (vegan, whole wheat)

I have faith in scones again.

I stopped eating them years ago, after I changed my eating ways to low-fat, plant-based. ¬†A sad time in a way. ¬†I loved my new healthy path, but I also really loved scones. ¬†And cookies. ¬†And donuts. ¬†And cakes. ¬†And pastries. ¬†I always say “if I could give that stuff up, anybody can!” ¬†It’s not like I ate them all the time but I treated myself more than I should have. ¬† Vegan treats and baked goods are becoming more mainstream, but they are by no means healthy. ¬†The animal products have been removed (win!) but they still have a ton of fat and heavily refined ingredients. ¬†Which is why I love creating healthier versions of fattening vegan baked goods. ¬†These scones fit right in with that mission. ¬†Are they health food that should be eaten all the time? ¬†No. ¬†But they sure are better for you than most, and satisfy a craving without putting your health at risk and creating a ton of guilt! ¬†Enjoy!

Whole Grain Strawberry Scones (vegan, low-fat)

A friend recently posted a link to a scone recipe. ¬†The recipe called for whole wheat flour, and the addition of fruit, making it seem like a healthier version. I opened the link only to find the recipe was anything but healthy. ¬†It called for 1 cup whole cream, 1 stick of butter, an egg and and egg white. ¬†Yes, whole wheat is better than white, but with all the other unhealthy ingredients still there, it hardly makes a difference changing the flour and adding some fruit. ¬†Herein lies the problem with the way so many people eat. ¬†Adding a single food or nutrient, or taking it out, won’t really make much difference in health outcomes. ¬†We must pay attention to the overall pattern and big picture. ¬†As my friend and mentor Dr. Pam Popper says, “the totality of the diet and lifestyle”.

I was determined to “healthify” (not really a word, but I’m going with it) the recipe. ¬†I thought I would just be able to sub out good stuff for bad, but ended up basically creating a whole new recipe. I don’t use oil or vegan butter in my baked goods, but I did use a small amount here. ¬†Scones are all about fat, and I felt I needed some for them to turn out like anything resembling a scone. ¬†Keep in mind these are lighter than traditional scones because they aren’t loaded with fat. ¬†The average scone has 20-30 grams of fat (a day’s worth), so you’d have to expect this healthy version, which has about 3, to be a little different. ¬†They are still delicious, especially when you know arteries aren’t being clogged, and thighs or bellies aren’t growing during consumption!

NOTE: Use organic strawberries, as conventionally grown strawberries are very heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides.  Or, feel free to use a different type of berry.

Sunshine Muffins (vegan, oil-free, low-fat)

I’ve been craving lemon lately, which isn’t normal for me. ¬†I’m guessing it’s because I associate lemon with spring and the outdoors, which are two things I also crave. ¬†Living in SoCal the winters are really no big deal, but it’s still winter, and we have our days of no sun, with plenty of rain and even some cold temps (all relative, I understand). ¬†Whatever. I’m over it. ¬†However, since I have a ways to go until fairly consistent warmth and sunshine ensue, I will satisfy my cravings with muffins like these. ¬†To me, they taste like sunshine. ¬†The cardamom flavor paired with the fresh lemon is quite delicious. ¬†And the best part is they are healthy, using whole grain flours, no animal products and no added fat. ¬† The sun is shining in my kitchen!

Extras: 1) Top muffins with candied lemon zest just prior to cooking for extra lemony goodness. ¬†2) Add 1-2 TBS poppy seeds to batter for Sunshine Poppy Seed Muffins. ¬†ūüôā

UPDATE 2/12/13: Apparently the cardamom I used the first few times I made these had been around awhile. ¬†I purchased fresh (as fresh as you can get in the store) and used it in the recipe yesterday and the cardamom flavor was way too strong for my tastes. ¬†If you like it strong, stick with the 2 tsp, but I’m adjusting the amount to call for 1/2-1 tsp. ¬†Also, I felt the need to improve texture a bit. ¬†I wanted to lighten them a little; do something to help them rise a bit more (always tricky with fat/free, vegan baking). ¬†I added ground chia seeds/water and was very happy with the end result. ¬†You can grind them in a clean coffee grinder or blender. ¬†

Winter Spice Cookies

Winter Spice Cookies

These cookies have the flavor of a gingersnap, and the texture similar to a molasses chew. ¬†Usually I make things a few times after I create them before posting the recipe but not this time. ¬†I’m just that eager to share.

I’ve been asked several times lately if whole wheat flour can be used in place of oat flour in my recipes similar to this one. ¬†My answer is yes, however I’d use whole wheat pastry flour since it’s finer than regular whole wheat, which may be too coarse. ¬†Using all whole wheat in this recipe, as opposed to half oat and half wheat, would probably result in a less dense cookie, which may or may not be your thing. ¬†Personally, I’m all about dense. ¬†As I’ve mentioned before, light and airy makes me feel like I ate just that – AIR! ¬†The reason I use oat flour in so many recipes is not because I have anything against wheat. ¬†I don’t. ¬†It’s just that wheat is everywhere, in so many forms. ¬†I just like to sub other types of flour, and stay away from wheat when easily doable so that I’m eating more variety, and not so much wheat. As well, many people eat gluten-free diets so I try to incorporate as many suitable recipes as I can into my repertoire.

One more thing. ¬†The batter for these babies is SO good. ¬†I may or may not have eaten an entire cookie’s worth of batter. ¬†ūüôā

Gingerbread Muffins! Vegan, Oil-Free, Low-Fat and Tasty!

I created these muffins using the nervous energy I had yesterday, election day.  I find elections, and politics in general, very stressful!   Creating recipes and cooking is therapeutic for me.  Combine that with the fact that I LOVE gingerbread, and you have these moist, delicious muffins.

UPDATE 11/11/12: I made these again but added a little holiday twist this time around.  I sprinkled crushed peppermint candy on top before placing muffins in the oven.  The combination of peppermint and gingerbread was a real treat!

PUMPKIN LOAF | vegan | oil-free | low-fat | gluten-free option

For any followers out there who don’t love pumpkin, I do apologize. ¬†I realize this is my 3rd pumpkin recipe…so far. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I told you – I love pumpkin. ¬†And I’m going to utlilze it as much as I can this fall. ¬†The picture shows a loaf made with a combo of dried cranberries and chocolate chips. ¬†You can use one, both, or neither – it’s yummy either way!

So, if you like pumpkin, bust out the baking supplies and enjoy this tasty Pumpkin Loaf. ¬†It’s easy to make and really satisfying.

Peach Crisp

I needed to make a dessert for company recently and I knew I wanted something sort of summery, but warm since evenings are still cool here. ¬†Wasn’t in the mood for cake, pie or the Chocolate-Banana Muffin Cakes I always make. ¬†I decided a peach crisp was definitely in order since peaches are abundant and delicious right now. ¬†Unfortunately, most recipes for any kind of crisp are laden with sugar and butter. This version does contain some Earth Balance, so it’s best for special occasions, but it’s definitely less fattening than standard recipes – and every bit as good!