Baked Vanilla Donuts

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My oldest loves donuts, so I indulge him with a healthier named version. These are light airy and full of vanilla flavor.

2 c all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBSP butter, melted
Seeds from one vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and butter and beat until just combined. Spray doughnut cavities with cooking spray or brush with butter. Fill each donut cup approximately 1/2 full.

Bake 5-8 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 4–5 minutes before removing. Finish doughnuts with vanilla glaze. Doughnuts are best served fresh.

Vanilla glaze:
1 c confectioner’ s sugar
1 TBSP milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

In small bowl, stir together sugar, milk and vanilla extract until sugar is completely dissolved. Use immediately to glaze doughnuts. Sprinkle on nonpareils.

Makes 12 donuts.

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Vanilla French Toast

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French toast is one of my favorite breakfast treats for Sunday morning. It comes together quick and the fact that i can cook it all up in one batch on my griddle makes it a win-win!

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c half and half
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP sugar
1 loaf challah bread, sliced 1/2 thick

Heat a griddle over medium high heat, brush with ghee or butter.

Beat together eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla and sugar. Pour into a shallow pan, dip bread in letting rest about 30 seconds, then flip over and to the other side.

Cook about 5 minutes per side on griddle until golden brown.

Serves 6.

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Corn Pancakes with Triple Cream Cheese

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These corn pancakes from Food&Wine are the bomb!! The cheese takes them to a whole new level. i cut the recipe in half, glad I halved it, I would have scarfed up ever last one. You need toile these now! I opted to leave out the oil and cook them on my griddle. I also doubled the corn and green onions – I’m drooling thinking about them.

Ingredients:
2 c frozen corn
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c water
3/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c finely chopped green onions
2 ounces triple-cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In a large bowl, beat the egg with the water. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder over the egg and whisk until a batter forms. Stir in the corn kernels and scallions.

Heat a griddle over medium high heat. Once hot, spoon a scant 1/4 c of the batter into the skillet for each pancake and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the cakes and top each with a piece of cheese. Cook until the cheese just starts to melt and the corn cakes are cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the corn cakes to a serving platter and season with black pepper. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serves 2.

Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

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Eggplant, tomato and cheese – three of my favorite things! I roasted the eggplant, filled with some fresh ricotta and then topped with a quick tomato sauce, fresh basil and some ricotta salata – heaven. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and your set for dinner.

Ingredients:
Tomato Sauce:
1 28 oz can tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp celery seed
Salt
Red pepper flakes

Combine all of the above in sauce pan and cook for 40 minutes over low heat. Mash up the tomatoes and keep warm.

Eggplant:
4 small eggplants, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
4 oz fresh ricotta cheese
Basil leaves
2 oz ricotta salata

Preheat oven to 450.

Spray a baking pan with olive oil. Place eggplant on baking pan, season with salt and pepper and spray with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until they start to brown. Flip and roast 20 minutes on the other side.

Remove from oven and place a dollop of ricotta on each round. Bake for 10 more minutes.

Top with sauce, torn basil leaves and ricotta salata.

Serves 4.

Crispy Tofu in Spicy Peanut Sauce

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Peanut Butter, Tofu and Sriracha, I think I’m in love! If your making this for kids leave out the jalapeños. I like is spicy so add more sriracha sauce.

Ingredients:
16 oz. firm or extra firm tofu
1 TBSP peanut oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger root, thinly sliced
2-3 TBSP green onions,sliced
1 large bag of spinach
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

Sauce
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP natural peanut butter
1 TBSP agave nectar
2 TBSP vegetable stock or water
1 TBSP Sriracha Rooster Sauce

Instructions:
Drain the tofu well, then put tofu pieces between a double layer of paper towels and press down with your hand so the liquid in the tofu is absorbed by the towel. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes.

Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, agave, stock or water, and then add the Sriracha Sauce.

Heat oil in a large non stick skillet of wok over medium high heat. Add tofu, garlic and ginger to the skillet, cook until the tofu is crispy on all sides, add spinach, sauce, green onions and jalapeños, stir to combine and remove from heat.

Serves 4.

Eggplant Fries

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I love salt and pepper eggplant – but there are so many calories in fried food I just can’t bring myself to make it. Instead I came up with a healthier version baked in the oven – crispy on the outside soft on the inside and most important yummy in my tummy! I dipped them in ponzu.

Ingredients:
3 small eggplants
Flour
2 eggs
Panko
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.

Cut eggplant into 1 inch fries, you can peel them if you like, I like the skin so I leave it on.

In a shallow bowl put a couple scoops of flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl beat the eggs and a splash of water, about 1/4 c. Pour the panko in a third bowl.

Coat eggplant in flour, dip in egg and roll in panko then place on wire rack. Spray eggplant pieces with a little olive oil.

Bake for 18 – 22 minute until crispy on the outside.

Serves 4.

Caprese Pasta

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This is the perfect summer pasta dish – light, refreshing and perfect for a hot weeknight meal. I added some toasted breadcrumbs for a little crunch.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb pasta
2 – 3 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c basil, ripped into small pieces
4 – 6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
1/4 c olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 c breadcrumbs, toasted
4 slices of prosciutto ripped into small pieces
Grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package.

Toss together tomatoes, basil, cheese, oil and salt and pepper.

Add pasta to tomato mixture, top with bread crumbs, Parmesan and prosciutto.

Serves 4.

Pesto Pizza with Artichokes and Olives

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I love my new baking steel – the pizza actually gets that crisp crust I only though I could get with a pizza oven. I made a big batch a dough this weekend and decided on pesto pizza for meatless Monday!

Ingredients:
16 oz pizza dough
4 oz pesto
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 can artichokes hearts, drained
1 can olives
8 oz mixed cheese blend – I used white Italians cheese – mozzarella, Parmesan, asiago and fontina

Preheat oven for 45 minutes at 500.

Roll out dough, top with pesto, cheese, onion, artichokes and olives.

Bake for 8 -10 minutes until cheese starts to brown and crust is crispy.

Serves 4.

Carrot Cake Baked Donuts

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My oldest loves my baked donuts so about every 6 weeks I bake some for him. I try to make them a little healthy, this week I made carrot cake donuts with lots of finely chopped carrots – yummy!

Ingredients:
2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
¼ tsp Salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 TBSP coconut palm oil, melted
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c Shredded Carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz light Cream cheese
2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 c coconut palm sugar or powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease a donut pan with unsalted butter; set aside until needed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

In a small bowl beat together, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined. Using a spatula, fold the carrots. Fill donut pan 2/3 with batter.

Bake the donuts until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean, about 8-10 minutes. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

In a small food processor combine coconut oil, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Frost donuts.

Makes 6 donuts.

Gluten Free Coconut Cupcakes

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If you are baking for folks who are gluten intolerant, these are the perfect cupcake – and if you leave off the icing and use soy milk they are vegan! These are so tender and moist – I can’t believe they are gluten free.

Ingredients:
¾ c coconut palm sugar
1 ¼ c oat flour
1/3 c coconut oil (not melted)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ c milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with liners.

Measure all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and combine. Add all of the wet ingredients in a larger bowl and whisk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in coconut.

Using an ice cream scoop transfer the batter into the liners.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes or until tops of cupcakes are firm.

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 c coconut palm oil
4 oz cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Shaved coconut for garnish

Combine in a food processor until smooth.

Makes 12 cupcakes.