blueberries

Muffin Makeover

Good Morning!!

Taking advantage of some recent cooler nights and an abundance of fresh blueberries, I decided to bake. I made two recipes from a collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of public health.

The first recipe I experienced tasting at the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives Conference last February. It is full of goodness...soluble fiber in the chickpeas for cholesterol lowering, and healthy fats in the oil. Find the recipe along with a video tutorial here.

I didn't even follow the directions exactly and mine turned out great. I forgot to beat the egg whites separately and then add them at the end. I just made sure to mix the ingredients thoroughly in the food processor. Next time I will take the extra step and beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. The purpose of that step is to make the muffin lighter.

Puree the chickpeas, oil, juices and zests, egg yolks until smooth. Add sifted ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom) to the chickpeas, stir. Then add ground almonds. Next, you are supposed to whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the batter. (I forgot that part, oops!) scoop batter into muffin papers and top with additional sugar, ground almonds and cardamom. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took longer, and I am wondering if this was written for a convection oven. 

A fun and abundant blueberry picking adventure provided the opportunity to make a healthier blueberry muffin. These muffins are just the right size, not the super large, all white flour, high sugar versions you find in the bakery section of the supermarket or big box stores. 

This recipe from the Culinary Institute of America uses whole wheat flour, almond flour and less sugar than a traditional bakery style muffin, resulting in an overall lower sugar and a higher fiber content. I did not have whole wheat "pastry flour" but instead used whole wheat flour and my tasty treat turned out just fine.  Since this recipe makes about 18 regular sized muffins, I had leftover batter after I made the traditional 12, so I made some mini muffins as well.  If you are looking for a smaller treat, these are a nice couple bites. 

Mix dry ingredients first, then add the blueberries to the dry mixture to help coat the berries with flour so they do not sink to the bottom of the batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first and then add the liquid ingredients and sugar. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and berries but do not overmix. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

For those of you signed up to get my blog delivered straight to your inbox, click here for my last post that due to technical difficulties, did not get sent. You can see my blueberry picking adventure :)

Enjoy in good health!

 

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

The most wonderful time of the year!

Blueberry season! This is my favorite time of the year. I love picking these berries with my family...so many fond memories with my kids (pictured below) when they were younger. We just went picking yesterday, so still creating memories!

These berries are beautiful to photograph (my pictures below). And I LOVE eating them. If you search anywhere online about a healthy diet, berries, especially blueberries will pop up on the preferred list of most diets.

Why is this fruit considered a super fruit? Berries in general are a great addition to any diet because of their high nutrient value and fiber content compared to their caloric content. Not to mention they taste so good. You can just see by the beautiful purplish-blue color that they are full of nutrients. Regular consumption of blueberries has been liked to better memory, lower risk of heart disease and cancer prevention.

Blueberries contain anthocyanins, phytochemicals that have been shown to be beneficial to our health. Anthocyanins are the compounds responsible for giving the berry it's rich color. These flavonoids can be found in other richly colored food such as red cabbage, eggplant, red grapes blackberries or red onion. An article in Todays Dietitian explains in more detail what anthocyians are. How much do we need to eat to derive health benefits? One study shows even 3 times per week can provide benefits. The Nurses Health Study, showed "women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less -- even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables." In addition to heart health, you can find berries listed as a preferred fruit on many kinds of diets including, for cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory, DASH diet for hypertension, and the MIND diet for memory.

1/2 cup of blueberries has approximately 40 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Full of antioxidants that may be beneficial in preventing cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants neutralize "free radicals" in our body that cause damage to the DNA which can lead to cancer. Antioxidants such as those found in blueberries may decrease the incidence of heart disease by decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol that becomes oxidized in our system. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese.

Some of my clients who have diabetes are often concerned about eating fruit because of it's sugar content. Berries in general are a good value food in terms of carbohydrate, fiber and nutrients. Blueberries can fit into diets of all kinds, including those for diabetes. Eating whole fruits, not taken in a juice or supplement form will provide the most benefit in terms of providing a low calorie, high fiber food to fill us up. A study led by the Harvard School of Public Health looked at whole fruit content of a diet and showed "people who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits — particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples — reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent in comparison to those who ate less than one serving per month."

For a summary on blueberries and health, click here.

Outside of just washing some off and eating them plain, this is my favorite way to enjoy blueberries, topped with greek yogurt and some toasted slivered almonds with a drizzle of honey.  As a dessert, think about a "dessert flip", instead of ice cream with berries on top, reverse it. Try 1/2-3/4 cup of blueberries topped with a couple small spoonfuls of ice cream and some sliced almonds and coconut shreds.

Outside of just washing some off and eating them plain, this is my favorite way to enjoy blueberries, topped with greek yogurt and some toasted slivered almonds with a drizzle of honey.

As a dessert, think about a "dessert flip", instead of ice cream with berries on top, reverse it. Try 1/2-3/4 cup of blueberries topped with a couple small spoonfuls of ice cream and some sliced almonds and coconut shreds.

Enjoy in Good Health!

-Brenda

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.