Monthly Archives: January 2015

Salted Chocolate Caramel Baked Donuts


Salted Caramel Baked Chocolate Donuts

Salted Caramel Baked Chocolate Donuts


I try and make something special on the weekend for breakfast or brunch for my husband. I saw a recipe for salted caramel donuts and was intrigued. The recipe that inspired me was from Country Cleaver. I did make a few modifications to add some whole grain and cut down on the saturated fat.

This recipe yields 17 donuts using a wilton donut pan.

Donut Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup and 2 tb of skim milk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 eggs (I like eggland’s best or farm fresh)

2/3 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup fat free sour cream or plain fat free greek yogurt

3 TB canola oil

2 Tsp of baking soda

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp Mexican vanilla extract


Caramel glaze ingredients: (there will be 1 cup remaining for another baking adventure)

2 cups of brown sugar

3 tb unsalted butter

1/2 cup and 2 tb of heavy cream

2 tsp of vanilla

Sea Salt or course salt to sprinkle


Prep work: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray with cooking spray wilton pan to prevent sticking. Even though this is a nonstick pan it really needs a good coat of a canola oil spray.


1. Mix  thoroughly with whisk cake flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking powder in a large sized bowl.



Set aside.


2. In a medium sized bowl mix with whisk eggs, vanilla, milk, canola oil beat until incorporated together smoothly.




3. Add  the liquid mixture into the dry ingredient mixture.



4. Optional place batter into a piping bag with an ateco 808 tip to pipe perfectly into the donut pan. This can be messy but it does do the trick. Make sure the batter is even before placing in the preheated oven. I like to tap the pan on the counter to help speed up the process. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.




5. Remove from pan immediately  and allow to cool on wire rack.




In the meantime prepare the caramel sauce.

Place the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy 2 quart nonstick saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. Just keep whisking and as it continues to cook, the sugar will melt back down. Keep cooking until temperature reaches 350 degrees. Once temperature reached add butter, once the butter is melted gently pour in the heavy cream and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla, stir to incorporate. Allow sauce cool for 10 minutes off heat and this will provide time for the sauce to thicken.


Dip cooled donuts into the sauce and sprinkle right away with sea salt. If you wait too long the caramel with harden and the salt will not stick. I like to place parchment paper under the cooling rack for easy clean up.







Butternut Squash Fries in the Actifry

My sister came to visit on Thursday and brought me down some of my grandma & grandpa’s butternut squash from their garden. I always love making fries with the butternut squash but I have never made them in the Actifry. Now after making this recipe I don’t think I’ll ever bake them in the oven again.

1 small Butternut Squash (approximately 2 pounds)
1/2 tsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
A dash of garlic salt
Canola or olive oil cooking spray


1. Wash the squash off with water and dry. Next peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler to remove the winter protecting skin. Cut the squash into 1/2 inch strips. Set aside.

2. Spray the Actifry with cooking spray and position the fries evenly. Spray the fries with cooking spray toss to coat entirely. Sprinkle the salt, cinnamon and chili powder on top of the fries.


3. Set timer for 35 to 40 minutes.




Cuban Black Beans and Brown Rice


I love love black beans but I must admit I usually eat the ones in a can or more recently the frozen variety. I try to buy the lower sodium versions when possible but honestly there is nothing lower in sodium than the staple dried bean. I have always wanted to try making them from the dried state. Not to mention the cost is so inexpensive from a bag. 1.50-1.80$ for a pound! This recipe was adapted from penzey’s catalog winter 2015. I made them vegan and cut some extra unnecessary calories along the way. The best part to this recipe is you don’t have to soak the beans over night!!

This recipe yields 7 cups (7 servings)

1 bag 16 oz black beans (rinsed and run though strainer to remove any no bean particles)
4 cups of water
3 cloves garlic (diced) (we used home grown which are pretty potent so if you are using store bought you might want to increase)
1 TB ground cumin
Salt to taste (I only used a dash)
Canola Cooking Oil spray ( just enough to coat the sauté pan)
1 1/2 cups diced green pepper
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 TB red wine vinegar
2 whole bay leaves
4 cups of vegetable stock ( I used penzeys)
1 TB honey (or Splenda or one packet of truvia or stevia)
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of each pasta sprinkle, sweet basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon
Brown rice cook according to package (optional)

Place dried beans in a 4 quart sauce pan and cover.

Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and keep beans covered and allow to rest 1 hour.







In the meantime prepare and chop onions, green pepper, cumin, and garlic. Sauté in cooking sprayed 10 inch sauté pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Rinse and drain beans.



Place the beans back into the same 4 quart pan and add the sautéed vegetables as well. Along with the all spices, bay leaf, salt, pepper, honey, and vinegar. Also at this point in time add the 4 cups of vegetable broth/stock to the bean mixture.




Cover and allow to simmer on low for 2 hours. Serve with fluffy brown rice or quinoa.





Trail Mix Bar



Tomorrow we have our quarterly NST meeting and I always make the team a special treat. Tonight I decided to toss everything but the kitchen sink in these bars. These Trail Mix Bars are very nutritious and will sure give us the extra charge we will need to get through the meeting. These bars would be good for the on the go commuter or as an after school snack.



2 Cups of Brown Puffed Rice Cereal

2 Cups of rolled oats (old fashioned oats)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup local honey

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 tsp Mexican vanilla extract

1 cup rasins

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup peanuts unsalted and roasted

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt


Additional essentials:

9 by 13 pan


Cooking Spray

Prep work: Line a 9 by 13 with foil and spray with cooking spray. This prep-work will help cut the bars at the end and easier remove from the pan. 


Yields 16 bars


1. Combined oats, puffed rice cereal, peanuts, almonds, cinnamon, wheat germ, dried blueberries, raisins & salt. Mix with hands to blend thoroughly. Set aside.


2. In a separate microwavable bowl mix peanut butter, honey, molasses, and sugar. Microwave for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 sections and mix every 30 seconds with a spatula.



Add vanilla and mix.


3. Add hot mixture over the dry ingredients.




4. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Make sure to coat all the dry ingredients with the wet.



5. Pour batter into the 9 by 13 pan. Spread the granola bar batter evenly using a spatula (sprayed with cooking spray will help). Make sure to press down the granola to prevent the bars from falling apart. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to harden.




For best results keep in the refrigerator. 


Roasted Yellow Beets in the Actifry


I bought these colorful beets in the strip district last weekend and have been eager to try them ever since . Being as though I’m on the Actifry kick I decided to try to roast them in the Actifry for 40- 45 minutes. These are delectably sweet and a nice switch from the traditional purple beet.


4 medium sized yellow beets (peel rough spots & chopped into even 1 inch pieces)
1/2 tsp Spicy Mrs. Dash
1/2 tsp Penzeys Mural of Flavor
1 TB dried shallots
1/8 tsp garlic salt
Canola Oil cooking Spray


1. Place all the ingredient in the Actifry. Set timer for 40-45 minutes.

2. Enjoy!



Non Deep Fried “actifry” Ravioli


I love my actifry and I think my husband and I are going to challenge ourselves to using it everyday for a month. Starting with This recipe.

1/2 a bag of frozen ravioli (about 20 (2 inch in diameter) (cheese or meat)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp pasta sprinkle
1 tb olive oil
2 TB whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 TB parmesan cheese


1. Place all ingredients in the Actifry (even the ravioli in the frozen state).


2. Set the actifry for 15 minutes.

3. Enjoy with Homemade marinara sauce


Cheesy Spinach and artichoke penne bake

What’s not to love about the combination of spinach, artichoke, and cheese! Warm-up with this tasty dish!

3 cups of dry whole wheat pasta penne ( I use dream fields pasta because it cooks white and no one will notice the difference)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
1 cup of Italian cheese mix blend
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon of pasta sprinkle (or Italian seasoning)
1 package (10 oz) of frozen spinach
1 can (13.7 ounce can)of artichoke hearts in water quartered rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend (optional to place on the top for garnish)

1.preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Cook pasta & spinach according to package directions.
3. In the meantime rinse artichoke hearts and quarter.
4. Using the same pot that you used to cook the penne (honestly why dirty another dish) put back on low heat and milk and cheese to melt and thicken for 1 minutes. Add noodles, spinach and artichokes into sauce and stir. Add salt, pasta sprinkle, pepper, & garlic powder and stir. Mix thoroughly to incorporate. Place in a 8 by 8 baking dish.
5. Add the optional cheese garnish, if you desire. Bake for 20 minutes or cheese starts to golden slightly.



Wasabi Roasted Squash Seeds in the actiFry


Yesterday my husband and I went to the Strip District. One of our favorite places to go is Lotus which is a Asian market.You never know what you find there. One thing you can guarantee is a good price (Ground Wasabi for 1.9 oz for $1.69). The store had a plethora of Asian spices. One item I couldn’t resist was the was ground Wasabi.


The night before I had roasted a very large acorn squash from our local farmer’s market. I had the seeds drying out at home. There is about a half of cup of seeds in a large acorn squash and I didn’t want those nutrition powerhouses to go to waste when you can either plant them next year in the garden or snack on them. Seeds and nuts are a great snack to keep in a sealable baggie or small airtight container in your purse or desk at work. Standing in the store in amazement is when it came to me that I had to try the two together.

1/2 cup of raw dried squash seeds (One large acorn squash work)
Pinch of kosher salt (breakdown between fingers over the seeds)
Cooking spray (I prefer canola oil)
1/8 teaspoon of ground wasabi


1. Place all ingredients in Actifry. Spray seeds heavily with cooking spray.


2. Set timer for 10 minutes on actifry.


You may hear some seeds popping (sort of sounds like popcorn) but that’s okay.

3. Once timer goes off open vessel and allow seeds too cool.


Kielbasa, Peppers & Potato Bliss


Looking for a quick dinner fix and have an ActiFry try this recipe. It will be done in 20 minutes! Who needs take out when you can prepare a meal in 25 minutes. Not to mention only one vessel to clean!!

2 Chicken kielbasa Sausage (cut into 8- 10 pieces each)
2 small potatoes (cut into bite size pieces)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Pasta sprinkle (or Italian seasoning)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup pasta sauce
1/2 medium onion (cut into quarter inch strips)
4 small garlic cloves
1/2 cup yellow pepper sliced
1/2 cup orange pepper sliced


Place everything in the actifry and set timer for 20 minutes! You will love them smell that permeates throughout the house!

Now you can eat this alone or enjoy with some brown rice!


Serving size as pictured not recommend for one but recipe for 2 to 3 people.

Chai Spice Muffins



Last night we watched the movie the 100 Foot Journey which was probably the best movie I watched all year. The movie inspired me to use some of my favorite spices (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove, Pepper). In fact I start my day every day with a hot Chai Tea with a splash of skim milk.

1 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup natural applesauce (no sugar added)
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 large egg (farm fresh or England’s best)

This recipe yields 12 standard size muffins using a size 16 scoop and filling with scant amount of batter.

Preheat the oven to 350 and 23 muffin tins with paper liners and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.


1. Mix with whisk all dry ingredients ( spices, salt, baking powder, flours) together in medium bowl. With the exception of the sugar.




Set aside.

2. In a medium to large bowl mix together oil, applesauce, vanilla, sugar, and milk.


Add egg and whisk to incorporate.




3. Add dry ingredients into wet using a spatula.



Mix well to incorporate.


4. Portion out perfectly the batter into the prelined muffin tins.






5. Place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


6. Remove muffins from pan right away be carful not to burn you hands and set the muffins on wire rack to cool.


Enjoy with your favorite chai tea ! It cannot think of a better way to start the New Year… let’s spice this year up!