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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Tuna & Hempseed Patties

I like easy meals.

Easy delicious meals.

I made this recipe last week. And it was great. Easy. And did I mention delicious?

The hempseed adds a little nutty-health boost, and works well with the tuna. The flavours are simple, and if you like playing with recipes, the world is your oyster with something like this!

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Tuna & Hempseed Patties

Servings: 1.5 (or 1 very hungry person)
Time: ~25 minutes

Ingredients
1 can flaked tuna, drained
1 egg
1 tbsp bread crumbs
2 tbsp hempseeds
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro (~1 tsp dried)
Optional: 1-2 tsp fajita spice mix

Directions
1. Place tuna in a bowl, and using a fork “mash” it until you have mostly similar sized flakes.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and mix until it begins to stick together.
3. Divide mixture into three even sized balls, and press into a patty shape, ~roughly 1/2” thick.
3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place patties in the pan, and fry on both sides until browned, and patties are heated through.
4. Serve with crispy baked cauliflower or rice or a salad!

See, easier than pie!

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Making Use (of left overs)

So maybe this New Year in your resolution craze, you went out and bought a juicer.
Maybe you’ve become a juice making fiend, in particular carrot juice. Maybe you have a lot of pulp and you’d like to be one of those thrifty sort-of juicers that use up the pulp….but you’re at a loss.

My brother and his fiancée bought a juicer just before Christmas and had a similar conundrum, and decided to leave the pulp for the expert (being me of course). I went home to visit and found a pile of carrot pulp awaiting recipe development and a few willing victims er I mean family members to be guinea pigs.

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This recipe was inspired from this post on the Kitchn. I’d been wanting to try a cracker recipe for a long time and this just seemed too opportune a time.

Carrot Pulp Crackers

2 cups flour (I used a mix of white and whole wheat)
1 cup carrot pulp
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tablespoons olive-oil (or any liquid vegetable oil)
1 cup water
Optional Topping: chia seeds and sea salt.

1. Preheat oven to 450* and lightly grease a cookie sheet or two.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
3. Add the oil and the water to the dry mixture. If the dough doesn’t come together, add more water a tablespoon or so at a time.
4. Flour a clean counter surface, and place the dough on it. I had to gather it together a bit and shaped it into a rough square or rectangle. Then roll the dough out using a rolling pin (or in my case a tall not-too-slanted glass). You wanted it to be about a 1/4 inch thick.
5. Sprinkle with the toppings.
6. Cut the dough into rectangles. The ones on the edge will probably not be complete rectangles, but that’s the fun of homemade crackers.
7. Transfer the crackers to the cookie sheet (I used a flipper/spatula as a few of my crackers had stuck to the counter…) and bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the edges.
8. Allow the crackers to cool, then serve with your favourite dip or some hummus.

I’m sure if kept in an airtight container they will last sometime (about a week in a dry place), but unfortunately these were gobbled down the night I made them so I can’t say exactly how long before they go bad.

The great thing about carrot pulp is it can be used just like grated carrots! I also made a few other recipes, including carrot-pulp muffins, and carrot-pulp pancakes. I did my best to use up that massive pile of carrot pulp, and managed quite a dent.

Waste not, want not I say.

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!