What’s in a name?

You may have noticed the name of this blog is Baking on the Side.

Maybe you’ve wondered where exactly the baking has been.

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Four years ago I was looking for a change from my first blog, which I’d felt I’d outgrown. I wanted a new name that might have some room to grow with me. This name worked for me for a few reasons. I love to bake, but I don’t always have time in life, so despite baking being a fun activity it often gets relegated to the side.

It also spoke to my food philosophy. As a dietitian I believe in balance, and ultimately that hated word moderation. So delicious, butter, sugary baked goods should be something you eat and enjoy (if you like them), but within parameters of what’s healthy for you… say the 80-20 rule (for must of us baking fits in the 20%).

So that’s why despite having baking in the title there seems to be so few baking recipes on this blog. But hopefully that will change, after all with my new work schedule I have a little more time and energy to devote to writing this blog, and I also have more time for baking as well… so that definitely helps.

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So today I am bringing you some baking. A delicious recipe – with a hidden-you’d-never-guess-it ingredient. Or maybe you would… beets.

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Earlier this week I was craving something chocolaty so I began the hunt for a recipe on some of my favourite recipe blogs. These cupcakes are inspired by this recipe from Minimalist Baker, changed simply because I didn’t have some ingredients on hand. Now I don’t find it too uncommon to have beets in cupcake recipes, I’ve seen it before. However, the recipe called for roasting whole beets, and I only had shredded beets from food I’d prepped for meals last week. I also only had cow’s milk, which I knew would substitute just fine. I wanted to post what I did, so you can see how it’s possible to alter a recipe to suit what you have on hand rather than always rushing out to buy everything you don’t normally keep in your kitchen (even if the adjustments are small, it can be intimidated to make changes, so I find it helpful to see what one person did compared to the original recipe).

Beet Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup shredded beets
1 cup milk (Original recipe was almond milk, but I used what was on hand – having just regular milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375*F, line or grease 12 muffin tins.
2. In a small bowl combine milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle into buttercream
3. In a blender add the beets, oil, sugar, vanilla and milk + vinegar combo. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl.
4. Into the bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda mixing at the same time. Mix until the batter is smooth.
5. Pour batter into muffin tin, fill about 3/4 full (I definitely overfilled mine oops!). Bake for 20-25 minutes – a toothpick will come out clean if inserted into the middle.
6. Cool completely, then dig in!

These cupcakes do not need to be iced, I was experimenting with an icing recipe (did not turn out awesome, mostly just overly sweet). But of course if you want to ice them that is totally up to you! I think a nice buttercream recipe would work well on these.

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Good Morning Muffins

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These muffins are delicious; whole grain, with a slight sweetness and some pineapple and raisins thrown in for good measure. Of course they also have a secret ingredient. Well, maybe not so secret if you look at the picture close enough. Still can’t tell? Ok, check out this next picture.

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If you guessed red lentils, you guessed right! When I think about baking I don’t often think about using lentils. But in late January I received an email from Canadian Lentils about their Recipe Revelations contest, the idea for muffins sprang to mind. Originally I wanted to imitate morning glory muffins, but I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients for them, so I scratched that idea. And my first try at this muffins included some grated carrot, which I eliminated after for simplicity sake; it just wasn’t needed.

According to my guinea pigs taste testers, these muffins are delicious; cake-like in texture, and just sweet enough. For those among us who are extra sensitive there might be a slightly after taste, but most people didn’t even notice. The recipe makes a lot of small muffins; perfect for snacks! Or some big cake muffins for those extra hungry days.

I have to say my brain is buzzing with other ways to incorporate lentils into my baked goods. After this I feel like the possibilities are endless; muffins, cake, cookies…. maybe even bread. And if you replace the regular wheat flour, these make an excellent gluten-free high fiber ingredient. Other than fiber these little gems pack a serious nutrition punch; they’re a great source of iron, and make a full protein when combined with a grain (like whole wheat flour…).

Now that I’ve convinced you that not only are these delicious, but healthy too, why not move on to the recipe?

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Good Morning Muffins

Serves: 18 muffins
Time: ~30-40 minutes (including prep and baking)

Ingredients

1 cup cooked red lentils
1 & 1/3 cup whole wheal flour
3/4 cup canned pineapple tidbits, 1/2 cup of the pineapple juice reserved
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanila
1 egg
1/2 cup canola (or vegetable oil of choice) oil
1/2 cup raisins

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350*, and grease the muffin tins.
2. Using a blender, create a lentil puree using the cooked lentils and 1/2 cup of reserved pineapple juice.
3. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a medium bowl mix together the wet ingredients; pureed lentils, vanilla, egg, and canola oil.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine until just mixed; there should be no flour left but the batter will be a little lumpy. This is the time to add the pineapple tidbits and raisins.
6. Next scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling them roughly 3/4 full if you want to make 18 muffins. Place the tins in the oven, and baking for 15 to 20 minutes (my oven runs hot, so I actually probably cooked them for 12 minutes).
To check for doneness, simply use a knife or tooth pick; prick the center of  a muffin and if it comes out with just a crumb or too they’re finished. If there’s still batter, put them back in for a minute or two!).
7. Allow muffins to cool on a wire rack – enjoy by themselves, or with a little butter for a yummy snack.

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So what’s your favourite way to use lentils? Have you ever used them in a baking recipe?

Energizer Muffins

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I seem to post a fair number of muffin recipes. Which is odd, because I don’t generally eat a lot of muffins. But I guess when it comes to making my own recipes, muffins are one of the ones I like to make.

This recipe were inspired by a recipe on the Cookspiration App. Have you heard of Cookspiration? It’s a fun little website/app run by the Dietitians of Canada. It has different categories for the day and time you’re on the app, and gives you healthy recipe ideas!

Anyway I got started on this muffin recipe, and low and behold I was missing a few key ingredients. (expert baking tip: check your cupboard for ingredients before starting.)

So I had to make a few replacements and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Energizer Muffins
These have proven to be a great energizing snack for my mid-afternoon slumps or just before a workout!

Makes: 12 muffins
Time: Prep: 15 minutes, Baking: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup grated zucchini
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Olympic 2%, but what you have will work!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and grease or line a muffin tin
2. In a small bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla.
3. Add banana, and zucchini and mix thoroughly.
4. In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, ground flax, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir until just moistened. Stir in raisins.
6. Fill muffin tins evenly. Bake for about 18 minutes* (*my oven is super over-hot so I baked them for 15 minutes, I always bake for less, check them and if they need more time put them back in).

Nutritionals: Calories 154, Total Fat 4.5g (polyunsaturated 2.6g), Fibre 3.7g, Sugar 14.9g, Protein: 4.7g

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They aren’t super sweet, which I like, but it only makes the sweetness of the raisins pop even more brightly. Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

I go to the gyms in the mornings, I habit I’ve finally cultivated and absolutely love. But it does make it tight for getting to work. This breakfast which I heard about through Fitting It All In, and found the recipe for at Kath Eats Real Food is making things easy.

Get home from gym, start the coffee, throw a “baked oatmeal square” in the oven and voila! breakfast is ready as soon as I’m done showering.

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Baked Oatmeal

Serves: 4

Ingredients
1.25 cups large flake oats
1 cup milk
0.5 cups egg whites
3 ripe bananas  (2 works as well, I just wanted some added sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: sprinkle of brown sugar

Directions
1. Turn oven to 375. Mix oatmeal and milk and let soak. Spray a 9×9 inch baking dish.
2. Meanwhile mash 1.5 bananas and then mix with the egg whites and vanilla until well combined. Slice the other 1.5 banana.
3. Mix all ingredients together, and pour into baking dish.
4. Cook for ~25minutes – at about 20 minutes remove from oven and sprinkle on the brown sugar, this gives it a pretty “caramelized” look. (you might need to cook longer, my oven is quite hot for some reason).
5. Serve with favourite topping (the picture above is peanut butter of course). Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Flax Bread

I’ve been on a homemade kick. Basically all day Sunday I can be found in the kitchen, whipping up something. I’d forgotten in the past couple years of too-much school, and too-much stress, and too-little downtime how much I love to just play around in the kitchen. Get my creative juices flowing. (Also living at home, my dad really likes cooking so sadly I was ousted from that responsibility.)

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I’ve been making lots of bread lately. There is nothing as fantastic as homemade bread. Fresh from the oven, slathered in butter (or peanut butter, both are delicious choices).

I originally based my recipe on this one. The bread from Foodess’ recipe looks sort of like the photo below when sliced:

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The recipe always made a hell-lotta dough, and I’m only one gal so I started simply making smaller batches. I know baking is an exact science, but for some reason, I just don’t listen to the rules. I did use similar ratios of water:flour, but I also just add flour until it gets the dough to the right consistency.

Here is what I’ve been eating recently though:

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Whole Wheat & Flax Bread

Ingredients
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 cups lukewarm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups white flour
0.5 cups ground flax seeds

Directions
1. Place yeast, salt and water in a large bowl. Add flour, and with a whisk mix together. Continue to add flour until all is mixed. As the dough becomes tougher, switch to spatula, then your hands (sort of kneading) so that all the flour is mixed in.
2. Place dough in a bowl (I oil the bowl + dough a bit so it doesn’t stick), allow to rise for 2+ hours (Mine probably sat for 3.5 or so). Once doubled in size, punch down, then allow to rise again (can be placed overnight in fridge if you like as well, it is this overnight rise that I believe really leads to the more “artisan” type loaf).
3. After the second rise, divide in half. Shape both halves into loaves and allow to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 400F about 20minutes before you want to bake the bread. Place a small baking pan in the oven at this time. When you put the loaves into the oven, pour water into this baking pan, the steam helps make awesome crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Before you cut into a fresh loaf, wait a good 15-20minutes! I’ve had many a crushed and misshapen loaf of bread due to impatience. So wait a little while; it will still be warm and melt that butter perfectly, don’t worry.

And voila! Delicious homemade bread!

Granola Bars

I have about ten unfinished draft posts saved, and none of them seem to be finishing themselves.

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So I’ve decided to share a recipe with you guys instead. Recently I’ve decided to try and master a perfect granola bar. I know there are many great sounding granola bar recipes out there, but I basically started playing around in the kitchen one day, and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

I would not consider these my “perfected” granola bars, but my coworkers enjoyed them, and perhaps sharing the recipe will spark your imagination in some way. I’ve had some buckwheat flour hanging out in my cupboard, so I thought for a dark rich flavour I’d use it. I also used bananas, which tend to take over the flavour, but still worked well.

Buckwheat & Banana Granola Bars

Ingredients

Dry
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup each raisins, and chocolate chips (or your favourite add ins)

Wet
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup flax seed
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F, and prep a 9×11” (mine was 9×13”) pan.

2. Place flax and water in a bowl, allow to thicken.

3. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

4.  Mix together wet ingredients (I cheated and used a blender, and it worked amazing! The bananas I had were slight frozen, and blending all the wet together gave a beautiful consistent texture).

5. Add wet to dry mixing thoroughly until well combined. Spread into baking dish.

6. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes (*My oven is CRAP, so this is the best estimation I can give. My nose is my best friend, because I can smell when anything I’ve baked is done. So in a normal oven 20minutes is probably the go to.)

7. Allow to cool, cut into bars, and eat! They keep well in fridge and I had about 24 bars.

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I plan to be back with a slightly changed recipe (this was trial #2). I found these to be sort of like granola-y banana bread, chewy with a little crunch. So if you like granola bars, and you like banana bread, and you think the two could belong together, these bars are for you!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I know the title of my blog is Baking on the Side and yet, there doesn’t seem to be much focus on baking here does there?

Truthfully, I do love baking. But these days my time and attention is else where. And I also don’t bake a lot because then it sits around the house and well I eat it. Too much of it. So I don’t bake a lot. (Hence it is baking on the side, not just life of baking…)

But sometimes I do. I had a real hankering to bake on Sunday, so I did.

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Yup, the title says it all. Sadly, I cannot take credit for this recipe. That goes to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau & her book The Joy of Vegan Baking. I have both this book, and The Vegan Table and I have to say, I have not been disappointed with any recipe I’ve tried from them, they’ve all been delicious. Plus the cookbooks are full of pictures! Best part of a cookbook is pictures of the food right?

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar*
1/3 cup canola oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 cup non-dairy semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional – I did not use)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F, butter a muffin tin.
2. In a medium bowl mix together flours, baking soda, salt.
3. In a large bowl mix together sugar, oil, banana and water.**
4. Add flour mixture, and chocolate chips to banana mixture.
5. Fill muffin tins 1/2 full roughly.
6. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes.

* Original recipe had 1 cup of sugar, I halved it, also it called for just regular sugar, but I have a huge Costco-purchased bag of coconut sugar, and it was fine in the recipe.
** I had frozen bananas, and I don’t own a microwave; so I used a blender to blend the liquid ingredients together, it worked really well! Try it, no pieces of banana left in the recipe.

Busy

Life always seems to get busy all at once. One thing changes, and in a domino like affect everything else has to change too.

For my RD internship I’m back in a fast paced clinical setting, and I’m preparing for next week when the pace picks up even more as I begin my rotation in the hospital ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I have 10+ page papers to read every night (very very dry papers), I’m trying to make sure I fit in time to exercise (am now getting into the AM exercising, the transition has been good and I’m loving it!) and within all that blogging has fallen to the wayside.

And fortunately I forgot all my readings at work (uh-oh weekend will be busy now) or there might not have even been a post tonight.

So in apology for no posts until Thursday this week I am giving you a recipe.

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Banana Bread! A classic but a goody.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 mashed bananas (1.1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl mix together rolled oats, whole wheat flour, white flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a smaller bowl mix together brown sugar (I like to put the brown sugar in wet ingredients as I find it mixes better) mashed bananas, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla.

4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour, checking around 55min to see if it’s down (poke a toothpick or knife into the center of the loaf and if it comes out clean it is done.

Perfect with a little bit of buttah.

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Enjoy, in sunshine or rain.

Now I must be off, I remembered I have one article I can read tonight. So I might as well be a little productive, right?

The To Do List

Every weekend I fill my time with stuff to do. My To Do List. It’s usually a ridiculously long list, and you can bet that something from one weekend’s list will make it’s way to the next weekend’s list, because well, it won’t be done.

This weekend I actually felt very productive, despite another ridiculously long too do list. Of course I overestimated myself and set a goal of baking not once, but twice. Didn’t happen. Work overwhelmed me. As it should I suppose, I’m still a student, I’m still learning, and with some big projects looming it really is time to get focused.

Still I managed to make this delicious creation.

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I can honestly say I spent a good portion of my second year of university baking bread and trying to determine what made a perfect crust. I thought it must be more kneading, it must be something complicated, there must be some secret ingredient I wasn’t using.

This bread has the perfect crunchy crusty crust, with the perfect tear-it-apart-melt-in-your-mouth doughy insides ever. It reminds me of my favourite childhood bread. And of course the secret was to do pretty much nothing to the dough, and have almost no ingredients. Maybe you’ve heard of the 5 Minute Artisan Bread? I believe Mark Bittman did a spot on it (a friend showed me this, I remained sceptical).

But I owe the discovery of this recipe to the Foodess, since it was her version of the 5-Min Artisan Bread I used. The only substitution I made was to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white.

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Seriously, go make it now, or you’ll wish you had.

Then get back to your to do list. The other item on my to-do-bake list? They’ll hopefully make it onto next weekend’s done list.

Orange you…

Glad I didn’t say banana?

Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I know I was glad it was such a beautiful weekend. I enjoyed it thoroughly, trail running, skiing, walking, napping the sun. Actually I didn’t really do any napping.

Instead I did some baking. I had to, you see, my mom was teaching one of her last classes (she’s prof you know, at the local university) and she had promised baked goods. She’d planned on an early rise to fetch said baked goods before class, but I intervened, always searching for any excuse to bake and not be stuck with too many delicious baked goods so close at hand.

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We had an awful lot of oranges on hand due to a recent Costco purchase, so I wanted to use oranges in the recipe.

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I scoured the internet for a delicious baked good staring this citrus fruit, and found this recipe, a la Ina Garten. Only I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had on hand (see below for what I did).

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They turned out perfect really, good enough to eat.

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Which I didn’t get to do, since I made them for my mother’s starving students.

Recipe after my adjustments:

2 cups all pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/8 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp orange zest
~1/2 cup cold butter diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold milk + ~1tsp vinegar
A bit of orange juice for the top of the scones.

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400*, grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, or glass measuring cup, mix together milk + vinegar, replace in fridge allow to sit until needed (this creates the buttermilk by curdling the milk)
3. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest, add in the diced butter and mix at a low setting, until butter is incorporated as small pea-sized bits. This can be done with a pastry cutter, knives or hands as well (though hands melt the butter, so very last option).
4. Add eggs to milk mixture, then add to the flour/butter mixture, until it forms a ball of dough.
5. Flour a clean counter surface area, and place the dough on the area. Using your hands or a rolling pin flatten dough to an inch or two thick. You can either make a circle and cut wedges, or use a glass or something to cut out round scones. I had 8 good sized wedges.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 18-20minutes.

Enjoy!