Green Muffins Recipe — Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

green muffins! | pamela salzman

I am too excited about this muffin recipe to wait until St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ve had great luck in the past using pureed spinach to turn pancakes green, so I knew I could make a green muffin.  Not only do I think these turned out fantastic, even Mr. Picky loved them, too.  Although I did tell him a little lie and said I used green food coloring and he just lit up, eyes wide, “Really?!  You did?!  Really, Mom?!  Like the unhealthy kind?!”  Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that my son actually thinks I would use food coloring in a muffin.  And just as disappointed that he would be excited to eat that same muffin.  I had to lie again.  Actually, buddy, it’s a natural green food coloring which gets its color from spinach.  Bummed out face.  I know for a minute there he thought I suddenly turned into an exciting mom, one who would take risks and dare to use carcinogens!  “Oh.  They’re still good, I guess.”

whole wheat pastry flour

puree coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, milk together

And they are good!  These muffins are lightly sweet, moist, simple and BRIGHT GREEN because they are loaded with spinach!  St. Patrick’s Day is a HUGE opportunity to get green foods into your kids because they are expecting them.  You’re showing your spirit.  On any other day, green muffins are you just trying to sneak leafy greens into your kids who are not fooled.  But the closer we get to March 17th, green muffins are part of the fun!

batter made green from pureed spinach

fill about 7/8ths full

This is a very basic muffin recipe.  The spinach is undetectable and the banana is very subtle.  But if you hate banana, you might be able to sub 1/2 cup of applesauce.  I think adding walnuts or chocolate chips would be great, too.  One of my daughters suggested cream cheese frosting, although then these become cupcakes which is fine, too.  These tasted best the day they were made and the next day, too.  They lasted just fine a few days on the countertop in a sealed container, but I would freeze what you don’t think you’ll eat within a couple days.  Let me know if you make these and if you get lucky!

Green muffins! |Pamela Salzman

green muffins | pamela salzman

4.2 from 13 reviews
Green Muffins
Author: 
Serves: makes 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or use 2 cups of King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum)
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup (Grade A or Grade B)
  • ¾ cup dairy or non-dairy milk (such as almond milk)
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 5- or 6-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a blender add egg, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla and spinach.  Process until pureed.
  4. Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in the mashed banana.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about ¾ full.  I like to do this with a large ice cream scooper.  Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Store at room temperature up to 3 days.  These freeze nicely!

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies Recipe (gluten-free)

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

Have you made my vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies?   If you’re new here, do not hesitate.  They are fantastic!  They’re a staple around here and definitely one of the more healthful (less bad for you?) cookies I’ve tried.  I love that recipe so much I decided to tinker with it and make a fall version with pumpkin puree and delicious spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.  Amazing!  It’s like pumpkin pie meets an oatmeal cookie.  And as much I love these cookies fresh out of the oven, they are just as delicious raw.  That’s right, as in cookie dough.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  After I posted my secret pumpkin oatmeal cookie dough addiction on Instagram, my students started stealing the bowl out from under my nose during class and having a taste themselves!  The benefits of a vegan dough.

raw cookie dough

I thought I would sneak this recipe in today before you start baking treats for Halloween.  Of course, these are perfect during the entire season of fall and beyond.  They’re a snap to make and like many cookie recipes, you can prepare the dough in advance and bake as many or as few cookies as you need.  I like these best the day they’re made and even the next day.  Because there’s pumpkin in them, they get a little soft after a day.

pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

This recipe ended up being more flexible than I imagined.  I had to try it with a nut other than walnuts one day for a student with a walnut allergy and pecans worked great.  I haven’t tried this recipe with sunflower seeds, but I think it would work if you need to go nut-free.  The sunflower seeds just might react with the baking soda, however, and cause the cookies to have a green-ish color to the them.  Might be kind of cool for Halloween!  I know many of you will want to sub chocolate chips for the raisins and I say go for it!  Pumpkin + chocolate + spices isn’t my thing, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love it.  I was serving these in my classes plain and simple, but I found a recipe for a fun sweet potato-cream cheese frosting that was delicious as a filling if you wanted to make a sort of oatmeal cookie whoopie pie.  Just for kicks.

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies with sweet potato cream cheese frosting | pamela salzman

However, like I always say, just because these cookies are higher quality and not made with junk and chemicals doesn’t mean you can eat them all day long.  Concentrated sweeteners can still raise your blood sugar and will still feed yeast and fungus in your system and will keep you addicted to sugar.  So with the beginning of the season of sweets, which I say starts on Halloween and ends on New Years Day, I try to be conscientious about not going crazy when I am offered candy and treats galore.  But before we start thinking about 2014, we’ve got lots of fun in store.  Thanksgiving is indeed four weeks from Halloween which means you and I are going into planning mode pronto.  See you all back here on Thursday!

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies
Author: 
Serves: makes 20 2½-inch cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups oat flour (see Step #2) (use certified gluten-free oat flour if you are gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 ¾ cups raw walnuts or pecans
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (it doesn’t need to be melted)
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup (grade A or B)
  • 10 Tablespoons (½ cup + 2 Tbs.) coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (anywhere between ½ -1 cup works)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten-free rolled oats if you are gluten-free)
  • 1 cup unsulphured raisins or chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. If you need to make oat flour, place 1 ¾ cups rolled oats in a food processor and process until powdery.
  3. Place oat flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  4. Place walnuts in a food processor and blend into a fine meal. Add oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar and pumpkin and process until mixture has the consistency of natural nut butter.
  5. Stir walnut mixture into flour mixture. Fold in 2 cups rolled oats and the raisins.
  6. Use a 1 ¾ -inch ice cream scooper to form dough into balls, and place on baking sheets. You can fit 12 on a sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with a damp hand. Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry.
  7. Cool a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
SWEET POTATO-CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
(adapted from "Feeding the Whole Family")

1 cup mashed baked sweet potatoes
¼ cup softened cream cheese or soft tofu (2 ounces)
1 Tablespoon melted unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or orange juice

Cream together all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or with a mixer until smooth and spreadable.

 

Homemade chocolate-peanut butter cups and almond butter cups recipe

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Cups | Pamela Salzman

It is really ironic that I try to discourage sweets but I have always have so much fun making them!  I had the best time last Christmas making gingerbread men with my kids.  My favorite part of every Thanksgiving meal for me is baking all the pies.  And more recently, I thoroughly enjoyed making these chocolate peanut butter and almond butter cups.  After my friend Rachel Sarnoff from MommyGreenest guest posted here about choosing higher quality Halloween candy, I did a little research looking for the best options (organic, non-GMO, free of artificial colors, etc.)  And then I thought it might be cool to make my own candy for when I have guests over or to give as a hostess gift.  Do not for a minute think I would ever make my own Halloween candy to give out to trick-or-treaters!  That would for sure put me over the edge.  If you do that, however, I think you are amazing.

melting chocolate

I’ve seen DIY chocolate peanut butter and almond butter cups all over the internet, so I figured that would be a good one to try.  Plus, my husband and I both love them.  Reese’s peanut butter cups were always among my favorites at Halloween.  Let me tell you, these are a cinch to make!  No candy thermometer required.  No special ingredients needed.  You probably have it all in your pantry and they come together in a jiffy (no pun intended.)

almond butter cups in the making

Even better, I made these when I wasn’t in a rush.  I wasn’t trying to beat the sunset so I would still have natural light for photographing.  I wasn’t making these at dinnertime when I had other things to tend to.  In fact, my son was sitting at the kitchen table doing his homework, quiet as a mouse, and my girls were out at their activities.  And I found making these chocolates to be almost meditative.  I can’t wait to make them again!!  In fact, if you invite me over for dinner, I will likely bring you a little box of these!

pour melted chocolate on top

I know that some of you are ready to point out to me that these candies, no matter how much love and organic ingredients go into them, are not healthful.  And you know what?  You are totally right.  I am not going to sell these to you today as something that’s going to save your life.  Are they less bad for you than Reese’s?  I can argue that yes, they are probably less bad for you than Reese’s which contains GMO-sugar, non-organic peanuts and TBHQ, a toxic preservative which is a derivative of butane.  Nope, no butane in mine, but also not exactly health food.  But it is Halloween and I think we’re entitled to a few treats now and then and that’s that.

chocolate peanut butter cups

I have already made these several times, with both dark chocolate (less sugar) and milk chocolate.   I have used (homemade) almond butter as well as organic peanut butter.  And I have sweetened the filling with powdered sugar and also with a combination of powdered sugar and honey or maple syrup.  Clearly the least bad (I know that’s grammatically incorrect) option would be dark chocolate with almond butter mixed with powdered sugar and maple syrup.  And those are so delicious I can’t even believe it.  But if you are looking to make something closer to a Reese’s peanut butter cup, then you need to use milk chocolate, peanut butter and all powdered sugar.  Those were my kids’ favorites and I have to say they taste better than the real thing!

homemade reeses peanut butter

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids or grandkids, look no further!

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cups | Pamela Salzman

 

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
Author: 
Serves: makes 24 candies
 
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces dark or milk chocolate
  • ½ cup natural creamy almond or peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter if you’re nut-free)
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar (or 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar + 1 Tablespoon raw honey or pure maple syrup)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • sea salt flakes or pumpkin seeds for topping, if desired
Instructions
  1. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners. If you are using a silicone muffin pan, it's probably a good idea to place the pan on a baking sheet so you can transfer it more easily to the refrigerator.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a glass bowl big enough to fit over the pot of boiling water without touching the water (this is a double boiler).
  3. Lower heat so that the water just simmers and place the bowl of chocolate on top of the pot. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until perfectly smooth. Set bowl aside.
  4. Mix the almond or peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl until smooth. This mixture should be a consistency that allows you to roll it into small balls.
  5. Spoon a teaspoonful of chocolate into each lined cup.
  6. Scoop a teaspoon of the almond/peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball with your hands and press down slightly to flatten a little. Place in the center of each chocolate cup and push down slightly to allow the chocolate to cover the sides, but not the top of the almond/peanut butter disc.
  7. Pour another teaspoon of chocolate on top of the cups covering the peanut/almond butter mixture completely. Use the back of your teaspoon to smooth out the chocolate on the tops of each cup.
  8. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt or a couple pumpkin seeds if you like and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. If you need to speed this up, place in the freezer.
  9. Because the chocolate is not tempered, you should keep these refrigerated.
Notes
I use this silicone mini muffin pan.  Each individual mold measures 1½ inches across the top.  I found two mini baking liners at Michaels which worked perfectly, but these were just slightly too big for my pan.

 

 

Slow cooker apple pie steel cut oats recipe (stovetop version, too!)

slow cooker apple pie steel cut oats | pamela salzman

I feel like whining.  Nooooo, I don’t waaaaaaant school to start tomorrow.  I have to wake up so eaaaarrrrrly.  Ugggh.  And lunnnnnnches.  Ok.  I’m done.  Thanks for listening.

I think making breakfast, lunch and dinner during the school year is hard.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in a competition on a Food Network show.  Minutes to spare.  Limited ingredients.  Tough judges.  The pressure!  The fact is that I cannot wing it when school starts.  To feed my family and myself real food as much as possible, I need a plan.  I have one child leaving at 6:35 am, another at 7:20 am and my youngest leaves at 8:00 am.  To all of you who can pull together breakfast, lunch and dinner without so much as a list, I am in awe of you.  I consider myself a culinary quasi-professional and I cannot wake up on a Monday morning and open the fridge and say, “Hmmmm.  What should I make today?”  It stresses me out just thinking about doing that.

raw steel cut oats

Every Sunday night for 18 years, I have planned my meals for the week and I shop accordingly.  And every year I do one new thing to help me get a little better organized because every year my family seems to throw me a new challenge.  This year I think I’m going to do a breakfast schedule so I don’t have to think so much about that meal when I’m making my list.

Monday:  oatmeal or warm whole grain porridge (muesli in the warmer months)

Tuesday:  breakfast quesadilla or burrito

Wednesday: pancakes or waffles (homemade, silly)

Thursday: muffins, quick breads, or French toast or maybe oatmeal again

Friday:  frittata  or rice bake to use up leftover cooked vegetables from the week

I will always have homemade granola in the pantry, yogurt and nut butters in the fridge, stuff to make smoothies, and fresh fruit on the counter.  If one of the kids doesn’t want what I’ve made that day and chooses to make his or her own breakfast, I’ll believe it when I see it that would be lovely.  Here’s a previous post with more breakfast ideas.

place everything into the slow cooker

I’ve been making this slow cooker oatmeal for the last year and I couldn’t wait for it to be apple season again so I could share it with you.  We all love it!  Love!  It tastes like you stirred apple pie filling into your oats.  I like steel cut oats because they are so hearty and they take a little longer for your body to digest than rolled oats, so you get a longer-lasting energy.  There’s nothing wrong with making plain and simple oats for breakfast and setting out a bunch of delicious toppings, but this is so easy and it’s ready when you come into the kitchen in the morning.  Nothing else you need to do.  We love it as is, but if you don’t like raisins, you can leave them out.  But I encourage you to try it with the raisins because they plump up so beautifully and add a little extra sweetness to the oats.  You can also add more sweetener than I do, but again, try this as is because you can always add extra sweetener later.

what it looks like in the morning

If you don’t have a slow cooker, I have a post in the archives for stovetop overnight steel cut oats.  You bring everything up to a boil on the stovetop the night before, cover and turn off the heat.  I repeat, turn off the heat.  In the morning, just warm through and your oats will be perfect in a few minutes.  I don’t see why you couldn’t do this with this recipe.  And of course, you can do this the traditional way on the stovetop as well.  Just dump everything into the pot and cook.  No excuses on this one!!

I wish all of you an excellent beginning of school!

slow cooker apple pie steel cut oats

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (use certified gluten-free oats for GF oatmeal)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, & cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (you can use any sweetener you want)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Place the steel cut oats, water, apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and raisins into a slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 5 hours. Actually, anywhere between 4 and 6 hours is fine. Most slow cookers have an automatic “WARM” setting so after it cooks, it will stay warm until you’re ready for it.
  2. Stir well to combine before serving. I like to finish my oatmeal with a little homemade almond milk to thin it out a little. Yum!
Notes
I know it's tempting to leave the peel on the apples, but after they cook, the apples get soft and the peel stays tough.  Not so fun to eat!  To make this on the stovetop, see the last paragraph above.

How To Make Dairy-free Ice Cream!

buttered pecan cashew ice "cream" (no milk or cream!) | pamela salzman

Did you notice the exclamation point in the title?  I need you to know how excited I am about this.  !!  I’ll confess right here that ice cream is probably my favorite food.  That I don’t eat.   Ice cream doesn’t agree with me, if I can get personal with you.  But I think this is definitely for the best because it’s just not good for you.  Pasteurized cow dairy + sugar + ice cold = digestive nightmare.  But just because I can’t eat ice cream doesn’t mean I don’t dream about it.  Yes, of course there are alternative “ice creams” made from soy or coconut.  But soy milk is something I avoid (way too processed and hard to digest) and most of the coconut frozen desserts taste like coconut, which I like, but not every time mixed with every flavor.  Just an FYI, you can take two cans of full-fat coconut milk, mix it with sweetener to taste plus a drop of vanilla extract and pour it into your ice cream maker and get coconut ice cream.   That’s the recipe right there!

blend the soaked cashews with other ingredients

But recently I saw a cashew-based ice cream at Whole Foods and a light bulb went off.  Of course!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I use raw cashews all the time in my classes to make non-dairy substitutions for my DF friends.  When you soak raw cashews and then blend them with a little water, you have the beginnings of lots of dairy-free possibilities.  I even made a cheesecake with blended raw cashews that was to die for.  I need to post that one day.  What’s great is that raw cashews are pretty bland tasting, unlike coconut which definitely has a pronounced flavor, even when mixed with other stuff.  Also, soaked, raw cashews are loaded with protein and much more digestible than pasteurized heavy cream and milk.  !!

pour pecans in at the end

I wasn’t sure if you all would be interested in knowing how to make dairy-free ice cream since I can’t assume everyone has an ice cream maker.  But after an unscientific poll on Facebook, it seemed like enough of you wanted to know.  I made three different cashew-based ice creams in the last month and I thought they were all great.  My kids had NO IDEA they were made from cashews.  And to take it one step further (better), I sweetened two of the ice creams with dates.  Dates!  This is an ice cream that is cashews blended with dates.  Are you freaking out right now?  You should beeeeeeee!

ready!

 

buttered pecan cashew ice "cream" | pamela salzman

The three flavors I made were Buttered Pecan (ok, technically not dairy-free because I used butter on the pecans, but you can use Earth Balance), Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Mint Chip.  I loved them all, but let me mention that although these are more digestible and arguably more healthful than regular ice cream, I wouldn’t say they’re low-fat or low-calorie.  And I’m sorry if you’re nut-free or cashew-intolerant because that’s the only way to go here.  I am posting the recipes for Buttered Pecan and Mint Chip and as soon as I find the scrap paper with my notes for the chocolate version I will revise this post and let you know!

mint chip dairy-free ice "cream" | pamela salzman

I’m just sorry that we may only have another month of warm weather and therefore not much time left for ice cream.  Make the most of what’s left of summer, friends.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

 

dairy-free mint chip ice "cream" | pamela salzman

Cashew Ice Cream
Author: 
Serves: makes about 1 quart, so if you only want to make a pint, cut all ingredients in half
 
Ingredients
  • Salted Butter Pecan:
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, or use Earth's Balance to make vegan
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 teaspoon for pecans
  • 4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least three hours or overnight and
  • drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Grade A maple syrup (or agave, but I’m not a fan since it’s very
  • processed and high in fructose)
  • 4 vanilla beans, split and scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mint Chip:
  • 4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least three hours or overnight and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 20 pitted dates
  • 2 Tablespoons pure peppermint extract (you may want to start out with 1 Tablespoon and taste the mixture before adding the second tablespoon in case your mint extract is stronger than mine.)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, or more to taste
Instructions
  1. Salted Butter Pecan:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the pecans, tossing to coat. Spread buttered pecans on baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Bake for 6-8 minutes until toasted, but not burned. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt in a high-powered blender or food processor and process until very smooth.
  5. Pour cashew mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker.
  6. Once the pecans are cooled, place them in a food processor and pulse to make small chunks (about the size of a chocolate chip, or smaller) or chop coarsely on a cutting board.
  7. minutes before ice cream is finished, pour in the pecans.
  8. Store in freezer in airtight container.
  9. Mint Chip:
  10. Place cashews, water, dates, salt and mint extract in a high-powered blender or food processor and process until very smooth.
  11. Pour cashew mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.
  12. minutes before ice cream is finished, add the chocolate chips.
  13. Store in freezer in airtight container.

Blueberry sauce recipe (refined sugar-free)

fresh blueberry sauce | pamela salzman

I know what you’re thinking.   “We waited five whole days for a new recipe and it’s blueberry sauce?  That’s the best she could come up with?”  You know what, friends?  I have been busy!  Daughter #1 is still far, far away playing college student and Mr. Picky is at sleep away camp for two weeks.  I sure do miss those brats.  But Daughter #2 is an only child right now and is acting like it.  She wants all of our attention, especially since it was her birthday the other day.  She wore a tiara for three straight days.  If you’re new here and you’re envisioning a toddler, Daughter #2 is 15.  Just to paint an accurate picture.

fresh blueberries!

Besides doting on my newly crowned princess, I have been taking advantage of a little more freedom and I am trying to tackle my list of ambitious projects and must-dos.  Why does it seems as though two weeks is plenty of time to reorganize the garage, Mr. Picky’s room and the pantry AND watch the entire season of “The Americans” AND test new recipes AND exercise, get a manicure and visit a museum?  Well, I am 10 days into those two weeks and I think I moved a box of finger paints from one corner of the garage to another and took Mr. Picky’s room apart, but haven’t put it back together.  No so productive.  The hubby and I did go to the Hammer Museum in Westwood Saturday afternoon before meeting our friends for dinner who also have kids away at sleepaway camp.  Lovely.  We also obsessively watched the entire season of “The Americans” in three nights.  “It’s only 11:45.  One more episode!”  So testing new recipes has sort of fallen by the wayside, sorry! dissolve arrowroot in lemon juice

But before you think this blueberry sauce is something you can live without, I will tell you to think again!  We have been eating this on everything, it’s so amazing.  My husband keeps asking me, “Is there anymore of that blueberry sauce left?”  “Where did you hide the blueberry sauce?”  Maybe you’re hiding it, dude.  In your stomach!  I’m so not funny.  The point is, we have found so many ways to enjoy this, albeit not such original ways — swirled into yogurt with or without granola, on pancakes, on top of hot oatmeal or porridge, over vanilla ice cream.  And it takes a whole 1 minute of prep, about 5 minutes to cook and makes everything seem extra-special.  See, I had time for something.

Can we chat for a second about some of the other blueberry sauce recipes out there?  I’m not pointing links or anything, but what’s up with the 1 cup of sugar for a pint of blueberries?  Fruit is already sweet, for goodness sake.  I don’t get it.  If you don’t want to taste blueberries, don’t make blueberry sauce!

thicken it up | pamela salzman

I absolutely love blueberries and I can argue that they are one of the most beneficial foods out there.  How excited are you right now?  Delicious and insanely good for you!  Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant profiles, as well as lots of fiber and Vitamin C, and they’re lower in fructose than most other fruits.  High antioxidant + low glycemic = beauty food.  Botox or blueberries?  You don’t have to answer that.  In all seriousness, blueberries contain compounds that support the health of the cardiovascular system, as well as eye health, cognitive function, and blood sugar stability.  Have I convinced you to give this a try?  Good.  Gotta run.  Hubby wants to watch the entire season of “House of Cards” and Mr. Picky is back on Saturday!

over ice cream | pamela salzman

over yogurt with granola | pamela salzman

fresh blueberry sauce on pancakes | pamela salzman

5.0 from 2 reviews
Blueberry Sauce
Author: 
Serves: makes 1¼ cups of sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup (Grade A is light in flavor than Grade B) or cane sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.  Sauce will thicken as it sits and cools.

Apricot, cherry and almond crisp recipe

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

I was racking my brains thinking of something to post today for July 4th that would be red, white, and blue.  But really I’m not nearly as creative as all the people I pin on Pinterest or fave on Foodily and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t come up with something you haven’t already seen.  Although for 5 minutes I thought was a genius — potato salad with red, white and blue potatoes!  Until I googled it and saw that this was not an original idea.

crisp topping

But then I was thinking that I don’t ever make anything red, white and blue for the 4th, so why the pressure?  Our friends Melissa and Adam usually invite us to their beach house for a party where they serve the most delicious Tex-Mex food.  Not ribs or barbecue or anything cut into the shape of stars.  But it’s all crazy delicious and everyone is so happy.  I often bring a dessert or appetizer.  Last year Melissa asked me for Peach and Blueberry Crisp.  It was so yummy, but not red, white, and blue and I didn’t hear anyone complain that I didn’t have spirit.

beautiful apricots

A few weeks ago, I taught a 4th of July menu for Jenni Kayne and her friends.  Jenni asked me for a fruit crisp and I knew she would love this one with apricots and cherries.  When I was prepping for the class that morning, I asked her if I should throw in blueberries to add some blue to the red, and she responded, “Only if they would make it better.”  She’s so right.  Of course.  Who cares if it’s red, white and blue?  You want to know what I said?  I said, “They won’t.  This crisp is so insanely delicious already.  Why mess with it?”  That’s really what I said.  This crisp is so darn good, I have dreams about it.  I made this same crisp for some friends a few weeks ago and I could swear I heard moaning.  In a good way, naturally.

cherries!

pitting cherries is easy with the right tool

I have a theory that fruits and vegetables that grow in the same season taste good together.  I saw cherries and apricots sitting next to each other at the farmers market and voilà!  A new crisp.  I also read somewhere that the Prunus family of stone fruits also includes almonds.  An almond looks like an apricot pit, don’t you think?  I find all of that to be so interesting….and delicious!  Now the addition of almonds did make this crisp better.  Of course, leave them out if you have an allergy or substitute something crunchy like sunflower seeds.  Crisps are so easy to adjust for allergies, in fact.  You can make the topping completely vegan by using coconut oil (more natural) or Earth Balance.  For a gluten-free crisp, I used half GF oat flour and half King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour (which is free from cornstarch unlike some other very popular GF flours, like Cup4Cup — sorry Thomas Keller.  Love your food, though!)  Rice flour works well, too.

fruit ready to be topped

apricot, cherry and almond crisp | pamela salzman

I think you should make a fruit crisp for the holiday.  Absolutely everyone loves them.  There are no blue food dyes involved.  It’s mostly seasonal fruit.  They are sooooooo easy.  You can make your topping right now.  Yep.  In fact, you could have made it a month ago and frozen it.  You can make 10 times the recipe for crisp topping, freeze it and make a crisp every week for the rest of the summer and into Labor Day.  Or if you’re making a crisp for Thursday, make your topping today and keep it refrigerated.  Just sprinkle it on top of your prepared fruit and bake away.  No coming to room temp or any of that nonsense.  But if you just can’t make a dessert for the 4th that is missing one of the colors of our fair flag, then by all means add some blueberries or blackberries.  Or, dig deep and find your spirit of independence and make what you think you’ll love the most.  Hope you all have the best weekend!

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

Apricot, Cherry and Almond Crisp
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ pounds of ripe, fresh apricots, pitted, quartered if large
  • ⅔ pound of dark, sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (I love my cherry pitter which I haven't seen anymore at Williams-Sonoma, but this one looks similar.)
  • ½ Tablespoon pure Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon flour (whole wheat pastry or gluten-free flour)
  • less than ⅛ teaspoon of almond extract
  • Topping:
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat pastry or for GF a combo of GF oat flour and King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour)
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (for GF, look for labeled GF oats)
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch pieces or unrefined coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the fruit with syrup or sugar, flour and almond extract. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Add all topping ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until the mixture resembles small peas. This can also be done by hand with a pastry blender. Squeeze with your hands to create small clumps.
  4. Arrange topping over fruit to cover.
  5. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if you like.
Notes
For the crisp in the photographs, I doubled all the ingredients and used a 13 x 9-inch pan.

Raspberry chia seed jam

Raspberry Chia Jam by Pamela Salzman

Poor Mr. Picky was crying a little when I put him to bed last Sunday night.  I thought it was because his baseball team got walloped in their playoff game which then ended their season.  That wasn’t it.  I thought it might be because his pitching was lousy and he felt bad it.  Nope, apparently he had forgotten about his performance already.  Oh, wait.  It’s because I forgot to pick him up from religious school.   “No, Mom!  And who cares?  I only had to wait like 20 minutes.”  Bless his heart.  Then what’s the matter?  “The weekends are too shoooooort,” he sobbed and buried his face in his pillow.  Ahhhhh, you are quite right, Mr. Picky.  Quite right indeed.  That made me a little bummed out since I don’t think I felt time fly until I was much older than his 9 years.  Is life more fast-paced now than it used to be or does my family have too much going on?  I don’t know.  But I have good news, Mr. Picky — it’s a 3-day weekend!  Hooray!  And not only do we get an extra day of leisure, there are no practices or tournaments or stuff like that.  We’re on easy street.

chia seeds, defrosted frozen raspberries and maple syrup

I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom, I used to think, “Oy, the weekend!”  Weekends were so much more work for me to coordinate the kids and naps and birthday parties and soccer games.  I loved Mondays!  Mama got some quiet time.  But now, it’s a different life and even though I love my work, I also love a little break from a 5:30 am alarm clock and not having to face LA traffic in the morning, which has anyone noticed gets WORSE every year?

let those chia seeds do their magic!

I’ve mentioned before that I so look forward to leisurely breakfasts on the weekends and vacations.  I just made a double batch of this raspberry chia “jam” and I can’t stop day dreaming about all the ways I’m going to enjoy it this weekend!  I have never made “real” jam in my life because it just seems like a bit too much work and sugar.  But this is a raw jam that requires nothing more than a quick stir and some patience as it needs to sit a bit to thicken.  And it’s so much better for you than the cooked sugary kind!

raspberry chia seed jam

The secret ingredient here is chia seed, which is such a little miracle food.  They’re naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are super anti-inflammatory, as well as chock full of fiber and calcium.  When chia seeds come into contact with liquid, they become very gelatinous and thick.  So they make an awesome “pudding” when mixed with almond milk and help thicken up your morning smoothie.  They have no taste at all which makes them very easy to use.  They key is just knowing the right ratios of chia to liquid so your pudding or smoothie doesn’t get too thick or too thin and giving the chia seeds a little time to work their magic.

raspberry chia seed jam by Pamela Salzman

All you do here is defrost some frozen raspberries, which are good and mushy and already a little seedy, and mix with the chia seeds and a little maple syrup to sweeten.  Feel free to use a couple drops of stevia if you prefer.  After at least 6 hours in the fridge, you have a lovely, spreadable jam which is perfect for nut butter sandwiches (excuse the not-whole-grain bread here), pancakes or stirred into yogurt.  You could even do a yogurt-granola parfait with a layer of this raspberry -chia jam.  It’s always a nice idea to start your day off with a healthful breakfast during a holiday weekend, especially if you’re going to a BBQ later and you want to indulge a little.  Here’s hoping your Memorial weekend is a restful and restorative one!

raspberry chia seed jam by Pamela Salzman

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam
Author: 
Serves: makes about 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 10 ounce package frozen organic raspberries, thawed (drain the raspberries if you want a very thick jam)
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup or more to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to mix, making sure all the chia seeds have been moistened with the juice from the berries.
  2. Cover and allow jam to thicken in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Lasts for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.