Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Cranberry sauce is a must-have on every Thanksgiving table, yet it often gets overlooked when it comes time to fill our plates. Sure, we all take a little spoon of it, but people rarely go crazy on it. (Gotta save room for the turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes!) So that means you're left with lots of cranberry sauce when the table is cleared.

What to do with that leftover cranberry sauce? Add it to apple crisp! And if you don't have cranberry sauce leftovers, just crack open a can. Works great!

Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal Crisp
Source: MSPI Mama

1 14-oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce or 1½ cups leftover cranberry sauce
1½ tsp. lemon juice
3 cups peeled, cored and diced apples
Sugar, to taste
1⅓ cups quick-cooking oats
2 tbsp. flour
½ cup walnuts, chopped
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce and the lemon juice. Add the apples, stirring to combine. Taste the mixture. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the sweetness you prefer. Pour mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish that has been rubbed with canola oil or coated with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, walnuts, brown sugar and salt. Drizzle in the canola oil. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread the oats mixture over the top of the cranberry-apple mixture in the casserole dish.

Bake the casserole dish, uncovered, in the oven for one hour. Set aside to cool before serving.

Tip: Make sure you taste the mixture! The amount of sugar you use will greatly depend on the sweetness of the cranberry sauce and tartness of the apples. I only added 1 tablespoon of sugar when I made this.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

I seem to have gone a little pumpkin crazy lately ... Pumpkin Muffins ... Turkey Pumpkin Chili ... Baked Pumpkin Spice "Donut Holes" ... but it's all so good! I can't seem to help myself. I hope you all don't mind me posting another one.

This bar recipe has just enough sweetness to satisfy your sugar cravings but it won't send you into a sugar coma either. It would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert spread!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin-pie spice (See note.)
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup butter-flavored shortening (See tip.)
1¼ cups sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1-2 cups MSPI-friendly chocolate chips (I used 1 cup of Enjoy Life mini chips.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Note: If you don't have pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1½ teaspoons cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon cloves.

Tip: If you are avoiding soy oil, instead of using regular shortening, try Spectrum Palm Shortening, coconut oil or even canola oil. I can't guarantee the results, because I haven't tried this recipe with those products, but I don't see why it wouldn't work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sausage and Kale Soup

I recently picked up a bunch of kale at the store. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do with it, but I was confident I could figure something out. After coming home and perusing the web for a few minutes, this is what I ended up making.

This soup warms you through and through and is quite tasty. If you can't find kale at your store, toss in some fresh spinach instead.

The original recipe doesn't call for any grain or pasta, but I had some leftover brown rice on hand, so I tossed it into the soup.

Sausage and Kale Soup 
Source: Slightly adapted from Budget Bytes 

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, cleaned and chopped
3 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale
1 (15 oz.) can white beans
4 cups MSPI-friendly chicken broth
2 cups water
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. cumin
Pinch crushed red pepper, optional
1-2 cups cooked brown rice or small pasta, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage. Break up the sausage into pieces and cook until no pink remains. When the sausage is fully cooked, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions are soft.

While the vegetables are softening, pull the kale leaves from the stems and tear into small pieces. Place the torn kale leaves in a colander and rinse well. Once the onions in the pot have softened (the other veggies may not be soft, that's okay), add the kale. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted.

Drain the can of beans and add them to the pot. Also add the chicken broth, water and spices. Stir to combine and heat through (about 10-15 minutes). If using the rice, add it now. Adjust the salt and other seasonings, to taste.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Corn Pudding

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and unfortunately, that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone on an elimination diet. Yes, the opportunity to spend time with your family is wonderful, but doing that while sitting around a table filled with foods you can't safely eat, is, well, unpleasant at best. So what's a girl to do? Make sure some of those foods ARE safe for you to eat. Here are a few strategies to get you through the holidays:
  • Host the big meal. If you're the one in charge of the menu, you will know for a fact what you can and can't eat.
  • If hosting isn't an option, talk to the person who is hosting about the menu. Explain your situation. Chances are they will happily work with you on the menu and let you know what's safe. (For example, instead of slathering the turkey with butter prior to roasting, ask them to use olive oil.)
  • Offer to supply several dishes. If dressing is your favorite Thanksgiving dish, then make it yourself! That way you won't feel deprived. And of course, bring a dessert you can eat!
  • If all else fails, fix a small Thanksgiving meal at home prior to the big day with all your favorites. Roast a turkey breast or even a chicken. Save some leftovers and fix yourself a plate to take to the real deal. Heat it up when everyone is sitting down to eat, and you won't miss out on anything. 
Those are some of my tips. Now it's your turn! Leave a comment here or on Facebook letting everyone know what you're doing to make Thanksgiving a wonderful experience for everyone at the table!

In order to get you ready for the big day, I'm sharing with you a recipe I created that would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving spread. If you've ever had corn pudding made with one of those boxes of Jiffy corn bread mix, this was inspired by that!

Corn Pudding
Source: MSPI Mama

1 16-oz. pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1 14¾-oz. can cream-style corn 
1 red pepper, finely diced
2-4 green onions, finely diced
1 egg
⅓ cup rice milk
cup all purpose flour
½ cup yellow corn meal
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup canola oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the corn, cream-style corn, pepper, onion, egg and rice milk. In a second bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking pan that’s been coated with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Spice "Donut Holes"

Who doesn't love donuts? They just melt in your mouth, but of course, they rarely fit into the MSPI diet. So that means making them myself, but I'm not a big fan of deep-frying. (I got burned once from attempting to make apple fritters in college. I didn't like that and don't want to repeat it!) However, I've been seeing lots of recipes for baked donuts, but those recipes require a special donut pan, which I don't have. I want one! But I don't currently have one. Oh, Santa -- a.k.a. my hubby (we'll see if he reads this post!) -- wouldn't this be lovely under the tree? Wink. Wink.

In case my Christmas wish doesn't come true, I'll just have to settle for these "donut holes," which are made in a mini muffin pan and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The kids loved them. I loved them. We were all quite happy!

Baked Pumpkin Spice "Donut Holes"
Source: Adapted from The Craving Chronicles 

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
 tsp. ground cloves
 cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup rice milk

For coating:
1 stick MSPI-friendly margarine, melted
 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Coat each cup in a 24-cup mini muffin tin with baking spray or grease generously.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices (through cloves). In a separate, large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and rice milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the donuts bake, melt margarine in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl or a large Ziploc-style bag. Remove donuts from oven and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Dip the cooled donuts in melted margarine, then roll in cinnamon sugar or shake in bag to coat.

Repeat steps with remaining batter. Add extra cinnamon sugar as needed. Recipe makes approximately 4 dozen donut holes.

Tip: I ran out of cinnamon, so the donut holes in the top of the photo are coated in cinnamon sugar, while the ones on the bottom are coated in sugar. Both are equally delicious!