Monday, February 17, 2014


Best Blog Tips

Saturday we were expecting a big storm (which never really developed) and we had prepared accordingly.  DH suggested that I bake something before we lost power (which we never did, this time).  I decided on muffins, since I haven't made them in a long time.  I  had a bit of a craving for a maple/walnut treat, so here's what I came up with-- a light, moist whole grain muffin with just a little oil added to the batter. A great treat with tea or coffee.

UPDATE: For people dealing with high blood sugar, pre-diabetes, weight issues, or diabetes, I have added some notes to the recipe about replacing all or some of the sugar and maple syrup in the recipe with sweeteners (not artificial) that have are lower on the Glycemic index or have a lower Glycemic Load. (See for a list of 750 foods.)

See also

Printable Copy

    Yield: 12 , or  8 larger muffins 
Nutrition facts calculated using the unbleached sugar and nuts.

For a lower glycemic recipe, use 1 cup oat flour and 1/2 cup chickpea or white bean flour instead of the wholewheat pastry flour. 

Mix A:   
1 1/2 cups    whole wheat PASTRY flour (be sure to use pastry flour for a light muffin)
1 1/2 tsp    baking powder   
1/4 tsp    baking soda   
1/4 tsp    salt   
3/4 cup    chopped walnuts-- pecans would be good, too   
Mix B:   
7 Tbs    UN-sweetened smooth applesauce   
1/4 cup   maple syrup (the darker type-- Grade B) 
1/4 cup    unbleached organic granulated sugar OR your favorite granular sugar alcohol-based  sweetener
OR use 4-6 T. Date Puree instead of sugar-- see NOTE below for Date Puree recipe-- and use only 5 Tbs. applesauce.
1/3 cup  soy milk or nut milk or your favorite vegan creamer (one that is not sweet-- here's an easy, inexpensive nut-free homemade creamer recipe)
1/2 Tbs    lemon juice   
2 Tbs    oil   
Additional, but optional:   
   a few tablespoons more maple syrup for brushing 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with oil from a pump sprayer, or grease with Cake Release (here's my homemade version). 

In a medium bowl, mix together the Mix A ingredients. Stir in the walnuts. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the Mix B ingredients. Pour Mix B into Mix A and stir briefly. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes. Test one of the muffins with a toothpick to make sure they are cooked through. 

Brush the muffin tops lightly with the extra maple syrup. Loosen the muffins with a table knofe and turn them on their sides to cool until they can be handled. 
 Nutrition Facts 
Nutrition (per muffin): 170 calories, 62 calories from fat, 7.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 68mg sodium, 184.1mg potassium, 24.6g carbohydrates, 2.4g fiber, 10.8g sugar, 3.2g protein, 4.9 points.

NOTE: About using Date Puree instead of sugar (this is much cheaper than using date sugar)--
The Date Puree can replace sugar using a 1:1 ratio, or it can be used in combination with a reduced amount of sugar in a recipe.
To make date puree, see this easy recipe:
Are dates really better than  sugar for diabetics or those with blood sugar issues?
Dates are actually on the lower end of the GI. There are a variety of dates available and most of them have a GI of less than 55 (some with a significantly lower GI)." From:
(GI stands for Glycemic Index)
See this study:

Another Note: Just because dates have a lower glycemic load doesn't mean that you should eat them or use them in baking and cooking with abandon!


Monday, February 10, 2014


Best Blog Tips

Yesterday I was trying to use up some local apples that we've had stored. With some of them, I made this easy apple cake (minus the chocolate drizzle) for tea with a friend yesterday, but I really want to use up these lovely cooking apples before they go bad.  So, I devised this quick and easy tofu saute to serve with a salad and some roasted nugget potatoes. Thumbs up on this one!

NOTE: If you don't want to use the tofu, you can substitute about 2 cups of reconstituted Soy Curls (see about this product here) or thin seitan cutlets, or your favorite commercial vegan "chikn" slices or cutlets. Dredge whatever you are using in Seasoned Flour (see below) and brown as for the "B of T" (see below).

Printable Recipe

Servings: 2     
NOTE: If you are using B of T/Breast of Tofu, you need to marinate the tofu slices at least 8 hours before cooking. 

8 slices    Breast of Tofu, Crispy Slices or Crispy Oven-Baked (see below)   
1 tablespoon    olive oil   
1 medium    apple, thinly sliced (only peel if the skin is tough or doesn't look good)   
1/2 medium    onion, thinly sliced   
2 cloves    garlic, chopped   
1 pinch    dried crumbled sage (don't use powdered)   
1 pinch    dried thyme leaves (don't use powdered)   
1/2 cup    dry white wine (can be non-alcoholic)   
1/2 cup    vegan "chikn-y" broth (I like Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan broth paste)   
1/4 cup    plain vegan creamer (I used So Delicious coconut milk creamer) mixed with  
1 teaspoon    wholegrain mustard   

Heat the olive oil in a seasoned cast iron or carbon steel 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced apple, onion and garlic. Saute until the onions soften. Add the sage and thyme, the wine and broth. Bring to a boil, then slip in the crispy tofu. Raise the heat to high a reduce the liquid in the pan by about half. Pour in the creamer/mustard mixture and heat through. 

Serve immediately with roasted nugget potatoes or mashed potatoes, polenta or steamed rice, quinoa or bulgur wheat. 

 Nutrition Facts (when made with Crispy B of T Slices)
Nutrition (per serving): 352.0 calories; 46% calories from fat; 19.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 539.2mg sodium; 415.8mg potassium; 25.2g carbohydrates; 4.5g fiber; 11.4g sugar; 20.8g net carbs; 12.9g protein. 

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S BREAST OF TOFU  (Known in our house as "B of T")
Servings: 8 
Yield: 32/ 3-inch x 2-inch slices
This recipe has appeared in all of my books. It's a staple in our house-- I always have some extra-firm tofu slices marinating in the following mixture. They will keep refrigerated in the marinade for up to two weeks, ready for a quick and delicious meal. They can be pan-fried plain on a nonstick skillet, or coated with Seasoned Flour and shallow-fried to make a crispy "skin" that is delectable hot or cold. Serve them plain, in salads and sandwiches, or with any sauce that you would have used on chicken. Instead of slices, you can marinate chunks, for using in kebabs,etc.

1 1/2 lbs.  firm, extra-firm or pressed tofu (NOT silken tofu!)
1 1/2 cups    water
1/4 cup    soy sauce  or tamari
3 Tbs    nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp    dried crumbled sage (not powdered)  
1/2 tsp    dried rosemary
1/2 tsp    dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
1/2 tsp    onion powder
   Seasoned Flour for dredging (see below)  
   OPTIONAL: olive oil

Prepare the marinade by mixing all of the ingredients together in a 5-cup rigid plastic container with a tight lid. Slice the tofu about 1/4" thick and place in the marinade so that it is fairly tightly-packed and covered with liquid. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks, shaking daily.

To pan-fry plain, low-fat: 
Simply cook the tofu slices over medium heat in a seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet until golden brown on both sides.

To Crispy Oven-Fry: (This is the method in my "Almost No-Fat Cookbook"): 
Coat the tofu slices in Seasoned Flour (below). Lay the slices in single layers on oiled DARK baking sheets (they brown better on dark baking sheets), not touching. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or til the bottoms are golden. Turn the slices over and bake about 15 minutes more, or until the other side is golden. Cool on racks if not eating immediately.

To make Crispy Slices, (my favorite way): 
Coat the slices with Seasoned Flour (below). Heat about 1 T. of olive oil or neutral cooking oil in a seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat (no hotter). When the oil is good and hot, add the slices and cook (watching carefully) until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Turn the slices over and cook the other side until golden and crispy. The medium heat works really well when frying things crispy in less oil than usual.
 Nutrition Facts 
Nutrition (per 4 Crispy Slices): 159.4 calories; 64% calories from fat; 12.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 291.5mg sodium; 204.9mg potassium; 5.2g carbohydrates; 1.6g fiber; 0.6g sugar; 3.6g net carbs; 10.8g protein.

Keep some of this in a tightly-covered container-- you'll find many uses for it.

Mix together:

2 c. wholewheat, or other wholegrain, flour,
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes,
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion or garlic powder (or a combination), optional
freshly-ground black pepper to taste.
Optional: some Cajun Seasoning or Old Bay Seasoning