Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double chocolate, banana and walnut muffins

I was in the mood for something sweet today, but wanted to add a little pizazz (and a little healthiness..... maybe?) to my usual chocolate cupcakes. I'll admit that they could definitely be made even healthier by using whole grain flour and possibly using something in place of the sugar, but I did cut the amount of sugar in half from the original recipe, added a large banana and some chopped walnuts.... healthier right? haha

You will need:

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unrefined sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup of water
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in sugar, walnuts, and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, mash the banana and add the oil. Mix with an electric mixer on low/medium until fairly smooth. Add vanilla, water and lemon juice and give it a little mix just to combine everything. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Divide evenly amongst the muffin tin. Bake for approximately 18 minutes (when a knife is inserted and comes out clean, they are done).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spinach Pockets

Well I think that I am finally starting to feel better. This pregnancy has really been sucking the life out of me! But I'm halfway through the 2nd trimester now, so hopefully I only feel better from now on! I will try to post more often now!:)

Here's a great way to get some greens into your little one, or even yourself. These are pretty simple to make, fun to eat, and they are super delicious. A little reminiscent of spanokopita, but healthier. I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose, but you could probably use more whole wheat and less white if you want. This was a trial recipe, so I wanted to stay on the safe side since using too much whole wheat flour can sometimes not turn out so well. Next time I will try with more whole wheat flour.

For the filling you will need:

3 cups frozen spinach, or equivalent
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh baby dill
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoon vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet/frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the margarine. Add onion and cook on low/medium until the onions have softened (not browned though). Add spinach, and cook on medium/low until thawed, and some of the excess water has evaporated. Add in dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper and the other tablespoon of margarine. Let cook for a few more minutes so that the flavours can combine. You want the mixture to be moist, but not really wet. In the meantime, you can make the dough.

To make the dough you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour (plus a little extra for dusting counter)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cool water

Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Combine oil and water in another bowl or measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix together, and you should end up with a ball of dough. It might be a little wet at this point, but that is fine. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the ball of dough a few times, just to make sure all ingredients are incorporated and that the dough is still moist, but not wet.
Roll dough into a large square, approximately 16"x16". The dough should be about 1/8" thick. Cut into 16 squares (4"x4" each) with a knife or pizza roller. Leave them in place on the counter, and add about 1.5-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each square. Fold square to make a triangle shape, and pinch the edges, or use a fork to press. You want to make sure that you press hard so that the filling doesn't leak out.
Place on greased baking sheet, or parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven to broil, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to give them a nice brown appearance. Keep and eye on them though, as they can quickly go from perfect to burned! Make sure to let them cool a bit before digging in, as the filling will be super hot. Store extras in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. Reheat in the toaster oven when needed. Enjoy!:)