Guilt-Free Carrot Cake

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I love carrot cake and although carrot sounds healthy the cake past is not. This version swaps out the butter for yogurt and cuts back on the sugar for a moist and dense cake.

Ingredients:
10 oz grated carrots, minced in a food processor
1 1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom, optional
2 large eggs
2/3 c coconut palm sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c low-fat vanilla yogurt
8 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP milk
Coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan.

Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat eggs, add sugar, oil and yogurt until light and frothy. Add flour mixture and combine. Stir in carrots.

Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla, if too think add the milk.

Spread over cooled cake and top with coconut flakes.

Serves 10.

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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.

Spring Rolls

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Spring rolls seem a little intimidating, but they are quite easy to make. The rice paper is very forgiving, it stretches quite a bit and if you tear it, just ping it back together. This was my first attempt and by the third one I had a grasp of the situation! Be sure to pull the rice paper tight when wrapping it.

As far as ingredients go, the combinations are endless! I did a veggie version, but feel free to add cooked chicken or shrimp and what ever veggies you have on hand. You can get rice paper in the Asian aisle of your grocery store. I just used my food processor to shred everything. The key is to have all your ingredients prepped. If you are not going to eat them right away wrap them in damp paper towels.

Ingredients:
Rice papers
3 carrots, shredded
1 english cucumber, shredded
1/4 daikon, shredded
Thai basil leaves
Bean sprouts
Mint leaves
Green onion, thinly sliced
Peanut Sauce

Fill a large pie pan about 1/2 way with hot water. Soak the rice paper for 20 seconds until they are soft and pliable.

Lay out rice paper, place 3- 4 basil leaves in the middle, top with bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, daikon, onions and then mint leaves. Fold the side towards the middle pulling tight, then pull the top over and roll tight. Remember the rice paper will stretch so you can be a little aggressive.

Repeat until you have the desired number.

Serve with peanut sauce.
Makes about 6.

Quick Coleslaw

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If you’ve seen my last couple blog posts of pulled pork and BBQ sauce, you probably guessed cabbage was coming next. This is another one from chow, with some changes. More veggies, less mayo, fat free sour cream – I think it makes for a healthier and tastier slaw.

Ingredients:
1 small head of green
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt,
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 – 8 carrots, grated

Slice cabbage in half through the core. Cut a V-shaped notch around the white core on each half; discard the core. Slice each half lengthwise into quarters and thinly slice each quarter crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

Place cabbage in a large colander set over a large bowl or plate, sprinkle with measured salt, and toss to coat. Place a heavy bowl on top of the cabbage, then place a heavy can or two in the bowl to weigh it down. Let sit until cabbage has released about 1/4 cup of moisture, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place onion and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let sit until cabbage is ready.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, caraway seeds, and measured pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.

When cabbage is ready, squeeze large handfuls to release any excess liquid and place in the large bowl with the dressing. Add grated carrots and reserved onion-vinegar mixture and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 day.

Choc Carrot Waffles

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The best thing about finely grated carrots is they allow you to add vegetables to almost anything – even waffles!! Now toss in some chocolate and my kids are in heaven and completely clueless I managed to get them to eat their veggies.

Ingredients:
2 c Whole Wheat Flour
½ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
⅛ tsp Salt
3 TBSP Brown Sugar
⅓ c Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
¾ tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Allspice
2 Eggs Beaten
3 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 ¾ c Buttermilk
1 ½ c Carrots, Finely Grated
1 c Walnuts, Finely Chopped
½ c Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients. Mix together, add carrots, nuts and chips.

Cook in a waffle iron. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots with Tuneric

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Food & Wine’s November 2012 gets all the credit on this one! Ethiopian Food is amazing and with the right spices super easy to make. The best part the house smells amazing!

Ingredients:
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 c red onions, finely chopped
Salt
10 garlic cloves, minced
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 TBSP ground turmeric
1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 large green cabbage, cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are fragrant and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes

Add the carrots to the along with 1/2 cup of water and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the carrots are just starting to soften, 7 minutes. Stir in the cabbage in large handfuls, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. When all of the cabbage has been added, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and serve.

Coleslaw

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This is a super easy coleslaw. You can make ahead, the flavor only gets better. I use fat free sour cream and low fat mayo to make it healthier.

Ingredients:
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 10 oz package of pre-shredded cabbage
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

Combine everything but carrots and cabbage in a food processor, pulse a few times and the toss with cabbage and carrots.

Spiced Glazed Carrots with Sweet Vermouth and Citrus

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Another hit from the Nov 2011 Bon Appétit issue! This one was the biggest hit of turkey day! It is perfect for a week night and you could substitute baby carrots to make it an even quicker meal.

Ingredients:
1 lb cut into 1″ pieces
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp salt
12 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP fresh clementine juice or orange juice
2 TBSP sweet vermouth, divided
2 pinches ground cloves
1 TBSP fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 tsp clementine zest or orange zest

Bring carrots, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 7– minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a medium bowl.

Add clementine juice, 1 TBSP Sweet Vermouth and ground cloves to skillet and cook until glaze forms, 7-8 minutes. Stir in carrots and remaining 1 tablespoon Sweet Vermouth. Season carrots to taste with salt. Garnish with tarragon and clementine zest.

Braised Beef Cheeks

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This dish is the dish to warm you up on a chilly fall evening. Best of all it requires little work and tastes better after two days. The meat is meltingly tender and tastes divine!

Ingredients
2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb beef cheeks, trimmed of excess fat
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c red wine (preferably dry)
1 28oz can whole tomatoes including juice, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat beef cheeks dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef, without crowding, on all sides, about 20 minutes total, and transfer with tongs to a bowl. Pour off fat from pot, then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and cook onion, carrot, and celery over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Stir cocoa powder into vegetable mixture, then add wine and scrape up any brown bits. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Return cheeks (with any juices) to pot and add tomatoes with juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then braise, covered, in middle of oven until very tender, about 3 hours.

Beef cheeks improve in flavor if made up to 2 days ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, surface covered with parchment paper or wax paper and pot covered with lid. Remove any solidified fat before reheating.

Serves 4 servings
9 WW PP per serving

Oatmeal Carrot Whoopie Pies

The inspiration for these cookies came from Scolari’s in Alameda. These are a healthier version – swapping in some apple sauce for 1/2 the butter, double the carrots, reduce the sugar and up the spices.

Ingredients:
1/2 c brown sugar
4 TBSP unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
1 Vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
2 c finely grated carrots
1/3 c raisins
1/2 c walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine sugars and butter in mixing bowl; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well combined.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine.

Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on low speed until just blended

Fold in oats, carrots, and raisins.

Scoop dough onto baking sheets lined with Silpat mats or parchment paper using a 1/2 oz. cookie scoop. (NOTE; 1/2 oz = 1 Tablespoon)

Bake 10 – 12 minutes.

Once cooled, spread desired amount of frosting onto a cookie. Sandwich together with a second cookie.

Frosting:
4 oz lite cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and until smooth. Add vanilla, stir until well combined. Add powdered sugar- beat until smooth.

Makes 24 sandwich cookies
3 WW PP per cookie.