Health­ier at home

Use whole­some in­gre­di­ents in recipes for muffins, cake, pan bread

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

Many store-bought or cof­feeshop muffins are like cup­cakes or dessert in dis­guise, loaded with sugar and fat and not a healthy snack, says reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Zan­nat Reza.

But you can make a health­ier ver­sion at home that is tasty, moist and will keep you full with fi­bre from the ad­di­tion of pureed lentils and fruit.

Com­mer­cial muffins are also usu­ally quite large, whereas the pan size most peo­ple use at home is a bet­ter por­tion size, Reza says.

When lentil puree is called for in a recipe, it’s easy to make. Rinse lentils to re­move any dust or residue. They don’t re­quire soak­ing like other pulses such as dry beans, whole peas and chick­peas. Split red lentils can be cooked in about 10 min­utes while whole lentils need about twice that long. Canned lentils are even more con­ve­nient - sim­ply rinse and drain.

In a food pro­ces­sor, place cooked or canned lentils. For ev­ery 250 ml (1 cup) of cooked lentils, add 50 ml (1/4 cup) wa­ter. Blend un­til smooth. (Lentil puree has a sim­i­lar con­sis­tency to canned pump­kin.) Add ad­di­tional wa­ter, 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time, if more mois­ture is needed. Cover and store in the re­frig­er­a­tor for up to 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Here are some bak­ing recipes that are chock-full of healthy in­gre­di­ents and easy to make.

BA­NANA LENTIL MUFFINS

Th­ese moist muffins are a great snack or break­fast on the go. “They have pro­tein, stay­ing power, keep you feel­ing full,” Reza says. Her chil­dren had no idea they con­tained lentils the first time she made them, she says. She put in ex­tra mashed ba­nanas and re­duced the amount of canola called for in a recipe from Cana­dian Lentils. Make a dou­ble batch and freeze one for up to a month. 1 egg, slightly beaten 50 mL (1/4 cup) canola oil 125 mL (1/2 cup) gran­u­lated sugar 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) ba­nanas, mashed 250 mL (1 cup) lentil puree 5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla ex­tract 325 mL (1 1/3 cups) whole-wheat flour 30 mL (2 tbsp) wheat germ

5 mL (1 tsp) bak­ing soda

5 mL (1 tsp) bak­ing pow­der

125 mL (1/2 cup) raisins

Pre­heat oven to 200 C (400 F). In a bowl, com­bine egg, canola oil, sugar, ba­nanas, lentil puree and vanilla. Mix well. In an­other bowl, mix to­gether flour, wheat germ, bak­ing soda, bak­ing pow­der and raisins. Stir into egg mix­ture un­til just com­bined. Spoon bat­ter into greased muf­fin pan, fill­ing each cup about twothirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 min­utes or un­til a tooth­pick in­serted into cen­tre of muffins comes out clean. Let cool and re­move from pan. Makes 12 muffins. Source: Recipe adapted by reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Zan­nat Reza from Cana­dian Lentils.

HERBED COT­TAGE CHEESE PAN BREAD

This savoury bread is per­fect for dunk­ing into a nour­ish­ing win­ter soup. The sol­u­ble fi­bre in bar­ley (beta-glu­can) will help keep your choles­terol lev­els in check. 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) bar­ley flour

125 mL (1/2 cup) all-pur­pose flour

15 mL (1 tbsp) bak­ing pow­der

5 mL (1 tsp) salt 5 mL (1 tsp) dry mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, rose­mary)

1 con­tainer (250 g) 2 per cent cot­tage cheese

45 mL (3 tbsp) milk

75 mL (1/3 cup) canola oil Pre­heat oven to 200 C (400 F). In a medium bowl, com­bine flours, bak­ing pow­der, salt and herbs. In a food pro­ces­sor or blender, process cot­tage cheese, milk and oil and add to flour mix­ture, stir­ring just un­til dry in­gre­di­ents are moist­ened. With lightly floured hands, shape into a ball. Place on a greased bak­ing sheet and gen­tly pat into a 2cm (3/4-inch) thick cir­cle. With a floured knife, cut cir­cle into 10 wedges; sep­a­rate each wedge slightly and bake for 25 to 30 min­utes or un­til browned and an in­serted cake tester comes out clean. Makes 10 pieces. Source: Go Bar­ley, go­b­ar­ley.com.

DOU­BLE CHOCO­LATE ZUC­CHINI MUFFINS

Choco­holics will love th­ese deca­dent-tast­ing muffins. They have a healthy spin with zuc­chini, whole­wheat flour, wheat germ and hearthealthy fats from the hemp seeds. 125 mL (1/2 cup) all-pur­pose flour 125 mL (1/2 cup) whole-wheat flour 125 mL (1/2 cup) co­coa pow­der 30 mL (2 tbsp) wheat germ 30 mL (2 tbsp) hemp hearts 5 mL (1 tsp) bak­ing soda 2 mL (1/2 tsp) bak­ing pow­der 50 mL (1/4 cup) canola oil 125 mL (1/2 cup) ap­ple­sauce or other fruit puree 125 mL (1/2 cup) sugar 2 eggs 5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) shred­ded zuc­chini (about 2 medium) 50 mL (1/4 cup) choco­late chips Pre­heat oven to 180 C (350 F). In a medium bowl, mix flours, co­coa pow­der, wheat germ, hemp hearts, bak­ing soda and bak­ing pow­der. In an­other bowl, mix canola oil, ap­ple­sauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add zuc­chini and choco­late chips. Spoon bat­ter into a greased muf­fin pan (or use muf­fin lin­ers) fill­ing each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 min­utes or un­til a tooth­pick in­serted into cen­tre of muf­fin comes out clean. Re­move from pan and let cool on rack. Makes 12 muffins. Source: Reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Zan­nat Reza, www.food­forhap­pi­ness.com.

CP PHOTO

Ba­nana Lentil Muffins are de­li­cious, moist muffins that are great as a snack or break­fast on the go.

CP PHOTO

Herbed Cot­tage Cheese Pan Bread is a savoury ac­com­pa­ni­ment to a nour­ish­ing win­ter soup.

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