Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers

For the second day of this week’s snack duty, I was infected with both a premature preoccupation with St. Patrick’s Day and a craving for greenness. I can only chalk these urges up to cumulative Vitamin D deficiency. Thus, spinach and shamrocks were nonnegotiable. In researching other spinach crackers, I was disappointed with the dull spectrum of greens characterizing the final products, so I tried a couple tricks- blanching the spinach (which sort of “locks in” nutrients and mitigates color fade by stopping enzymatic action) and combining sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of baking soda, which leverages the same reaction as the Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

"Raw" shamrocks, before baking
“Raw” shamrocks, before baking

Since the Butterfly Beet Crackers made previously this week were a little sweet (but not sweet enough, actually, since I think kids expecting a butterfly shaped cookie felt duped), I risked full-on savory with these shamrocks, playing with cumin and paprika. Olive oil is the only thing making these nonpaleo, technically, so the purists out there can sub lard or coconut oil. Of course, they are much easier to make into squares or triangles (which makes them look like chips), so I would only go the shamrock route if you have plenty of time and an acute need to woo an Irishman. Feel free to adjust the spices and use some different herbs to suit your (or your favorite Irishperson’s) fancy.

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers
Serves 20
A deep green, grain-free cracker that pairs well with fresh salsa or a creamy cheese dip. Packed with spinach and essential fatty acids.
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108 calories
5 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
1 g
33 g
220 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
33g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 220mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 3g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  2. 1 cup sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups coarsely chopped). You can also use 1+ cup frozen spinach, as it is already blanched. You want to end up with 1 cup pureed spinach.
  11. 1/2 peeled orange
Instructions
  1. Combine sunflower seeds, flax seeds in a food processor (I used a Nutribullet) until crumbly but not super fine. Put the contents into a medium bowl, and set aside the food processor as you will use it again and don't need to clean it out.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and baking soda to the ground seeds, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add an inch of water to a steaming pot and put the fresh spinach in a steaming basket. It will look like a lot, but cook down. Turn the stove eye on to medium heat, add the lid, and let the spinach steam until just wilted and bright green, about 5 minutes. Do not let it turn to mush. As soon as it's hot, green, and wilted, remove the basket and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute.
  4. Retrieve the cooked leaves from the water and put them in the food processor with the half of an orange and olive oil. Purée until very smooth.
  5. Add the green purée to the seed/spice mixture, using a little spatula to get it all out of the processor and off the blades.
  6. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand, making sure to work in any clumps of seeds. You want a thick ball of dough, so only add 1 teaspoon or so of water (preferably the water remaining from the steaming) if necessary.
  7. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Place both balls on a large sheet of parchment paper (big enough to cover a cookie sheet) and flatten each into 1 inch-thick square. You may find it helpful to refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F.
  8. Working with one ball at a time, roll out one ball of dough on the parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness (but no thinner!) and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into whatever shape you like, as long as it's consistent. Squares or triangles would work fine, but I used a shamrock cookie cutter for the sake of St. Patrick's Day, which required using a spatula to transfer to another lined sheet. Uniformity is important to assure even baking, so just make sure each baking sheet contains only squares, or only shamrocks, etc.
  9. Once cut, separate the pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes and turn the oven off. Flip the pieces upside down on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown too much, and return to the warm oven for another 8-10 minutes until they are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Makes about 75-80 1.5 by 1.5 inch crackers, approximately 4-5 cups.
beta
calories
108
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
5g
more
https://goodphytefoods.com/
#paleo #sugarfree #grainfree#nutfree #beets #omega3s

Butterfly Beet Crackers

Ay caramba! This week, I am on snack-duty for my son’s class at The International School of Charlottesville, so I am on task to make three different, veggie-based snacks that will only gross out a small minority of the 12 toddler group (mostly boys). The teachers gave me a heads up that the learning theme would be shapes and colors, which served as a good excuse to use my motley collection of cookie cutters. As I procrastinated the challenge of a green snack, I decided that I wasn’t quite through with the beet theme of Valentine’s Day, and modified the savory Rosemary & Beet Crackers with some dates and warming spices, and used a butterfly shape. Honestly, I recommend sticking with a straight-up square version, as transferring the cut butterflies from the sheet of dough to the prepared cookie sheet is not only time consuming, but left me feeling like a cruel lepidopterist. Stretched, distorted wings and whatnot. Nevertheless, the flutter (one among several names for a group of butterflies, apparently) turned out pretty well, and are be great spread with a little goat cheese. That reminds me, Caromont Farm will be among my first stops when City Market opens for the season next month, as my freezer stash of their goat cheese is waning!

Nervous that the flutter might feel a little naked, I whipped up a curry dip with some black eyed peas, coconut milk, and a little honey, at the last minute before leaving for school on Monday. This was apparently was a good decision, according to the teachers, and I turned the leftovers into a salad dressing for my post-workout lunch (sloppy fried eggs and kale that stuck to the dirty iron skillet that I can never seem to keep seasoned properly).

Butterfly Beet Crackers
Serves 20
A beautifully magenta grain-free beet cracker sweetened with dates and warm spices. Essential fats come from sunflower and flax seeds.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
132 calories
11 g
0 g
9 g
4 g
1 g
40 g
128 g
6 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
40g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 132
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 128mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 4g
17%
Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cup steamed chopped beets
  2. 6 tablespoons water remaining from steaming beets
  3. 6 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
  4. 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  7. 1 cup golden flax seed
  8. 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  9. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  10. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  12. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  13. 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Soak your dates in the beet water (which should be a deep magenta) in a measuring cup for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  4. Add the spices and salt. Pulse until everything is a fine meal. Remove mixture and place into a medium sized bowl. Do not wash the processor bowl.
  5. Add the drained beets and soaked dates (with the liquid) to the to the food processor, along with the apple cider vinegar and melted coconut oil to the food processor. Process until the beets and dates are pretty thoroughly pureed.
  6. Use a spatula to scoop out the beet mixture, adding it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined, and a ball of dough begins to form.
  7. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape on a large piece of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll to about 1/8-inch thick rectangular shapes. Transfer the dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment. Trim any jagged edges off with a knife or pizza cutter. Using the knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into cracker shapes, or whatever cookie cutter you have that doesn’t have any fine points that would inevitably lead to premature cracker breakage. Clearly, my preference is butterflies.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch and light brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Separate the crackers along the pre-cut lines and space them out a little bit on the baking sheet so the air can circulate around them. Place the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes. This step helps to crisp up the crackers a little more. After 5 minutes, remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely, for at least three hours. Crackers will continue to crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container once cooled.
Notes
  1. Yield will vary depending on the size you cut your crackers. If you opt for squares rather than using a cookie cutter, 1.5 x 1.5 inch squares will yield 75-80 crackers. Nutritional information assumes a serving of about 4 square crackers.
beta
calories
132
fat
9g
protein
4g
carbs
11g
more
Adapted from 'Love Train' Beet & Rosemary Crackers
https://goodphytefoods.com/

Bears Share: A Snow Day Baking Tale

I thought we were done with snow days for the year, but alas. It was raining and 40+ degrees when the City of Charlottesville decided to cancel school due to a winter storm warning that would supposedly turn the rain to ice and snow later in the day. Spoiler alert: it happened, despite my fervent disbelief, and it’s sleeting buckets as I write this, safely at home.

Fortunately, Thursdays are not school days for Fionn anyway, so we pretty much operated as normal, waking about 6:15, eating breakfast, sitting on the potty, and finding socks that could pass for matching at 20 feet. Plenty of time to get ready and to head to the gym where he could play with all the other preschoolers off from school.

Sam & his mama wrapping cakes
Sam & his mama wrapping cakes

At an afternoon trip to the library this week, I picked up a book called You Can Do It, Sam by Amy Best and Anita Jeram. As usual, I was judging books by the covers when I made a series of quick grabs because before Fionn disappeared down an aisle or dumped a pencil container. I’m also just superficial like that, despite being an English major who should know better than to judge literature by its cover art. Upon getting home, though, my method proved fortuitous: the book features a mama bear and her son Sam, who together bake twelve little cherry cakes before sunrise on a snowy day. They wrap each one and drive out into the pre-dawn snow, delivering them to the doorsteps of their friends and neighbors, Sam hopping out of the passenger side of their beat-up green pick-up truck at each house.  I can practically hear the door creaking on its hinge into the cold air each time. The sun is just rising as they get back home, and they enjoy the two remaining cakes with some cocoa, Sam proudly recounting his baking and delivering, hoping his friends liked their surprises. This story brought back memories of my mom’s holiday candy-making (she was a maven of fudge, sugar-coated pecans, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, and just about anything so full of sugar that your teeth would get a migraine after two bites). Every year before Christmas, she would fill little boxes and bags with her treats and urge me off to the neighbors for delivery. I HATED it. Oh, I get nostalgic now, sure, but I HATED it, and I could empathize with little Sam as his mama nudged him out of the truck to go leave his cake surprise at the first house. Then he got into it, of course, just as I did… after about seven years.

So, with two hours before needing to get on with our day and head to the gym (where we both get to play, SEPARATELY, which is key), we got busy with Mollie Katzen’s recipe for Orange-Cherry Cornbread Muffins in the Sunlight Café cookbook, subbing honey for the sugar and using whole wheat flour. I also made my own buttermilk with raw milk and apple cider vinegar, because who keeps buttermilk handy? Fionn’s stirring of the dry ingredients resulted in only minor flour casualties, a triumph he made up for by dumping vanilla extract all over the counter while I grated orange peel. I swabbed it up and used it as cologne to prophylactically disguise my eventual sweat stank at the gym. Little dab for him, too, since toddlers always seem to smell a little weird.

I’m not the type to get fancy with gifts (my wrapping jobs often get mistaken for a man’s), but we managed to fashion a humble sharing receptacle out of an old Amazon Prime box. You should know that I am sheepishly looking away as I type “Amazon Prime,” by the way. Of course, in our version of the story, Fionn didn’t hesitate to stuff his face with two muffins before sharing. Gotta taste test, right? And hell if we were going to hand-deliver each muffin all over town. 

The box survived a couple accidental overturnings on the way (I’m a klutz), and eventually found a home on the kitchen counter in the ACAC Kidzone, where I am sure the staff were happy to see baked goods from me that didn’t include turnips or spinach. Yes, I brought paleo turnip spice muffins to share a few days ago. “Dude, just TRY one! Even Fionn says they’re nummy!” was met with skepticism.

NOTE: If a recipe says “10 muffins,” just trust it rather than trying to squeeze out another one with the batter.  Ours would have been fuller, with coveted muffin tops, if I had followed instructions. Great recipe, Mollie, as always. The orange zest is crucially delectable.

Oscar the Grouch Cookies

He loves cold weather, stinky things, and loud noises. Who better to celebrate the transition from February to March than Oscar the Grouch? Fur matted with please-I don’t even-want-to-know, is he really not such a bad guy? If you don’t fully appreciate the contrarian that is Oscar, then you can call these Crocodile Nuggets.

If you are familiar with baking using sunflower butter or meal (I wasn’t), then you are probably well aware of the emerald result when chlorogenic acid reacts with baking soda. Chlorogenic acid is present in the stems and leaves of most plants, but peculiarly also in the seeds of sunflowers. This cookie takes advantage of it!

I am going to continuing playing around with this recipe to enhance it. I learned a valuable lesson in the course of modifying the original recipe, which is that sometimes, I need to leave well enough alone. I tried my hand at Against All Alligator Surprise Cookies_InsideGrain’s N’Oatmeal Raisin St. Patrick’s Day Cookies, and ended up with something soft, creamy, sweet and delicious, in addition to being bright green on the inside (see photo to the right). Then I decided that if it was going to be green anyway, wasn’t it disingenuous to NOT contain some kind of leafy vegetable?  I tried a version with spinach, then with chard. They were equally delicious, but a less vibrant green throughout. The recipe below includes that veggie infusion, but as you can see, the cookies are a dimmer, “Oscar” shade of green throughout, even textured a bit like his fur. Still surprisingly creamy and moist. If you want a version that is deceivingly brown and cookie-like on the outside and bright green on the inside, though, go with the Against All Grain recipe.  I will update this if I can manage to retain the emerald illusion WITH the greens.

 

Oscar the Grouch Cookies
Yields 12
These nuggets are better than they look. Due to the reaction between baking soda and the chlorogenic acid in sunflower seeds, the interior of these cookies will turn green after cooling, which makes for a nice surprise for kids. The sunbutter makes them creamy and just sweet enough.
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Cook Time
16 min
Cook Time
16 min
170 calories
23 g
16 g
8 g
3 g
2 g
67 g
124 g
17 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
67g
Yields
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 16mg
5%
Sodium 124mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 17g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
3%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large egg
  2. 3 tablespoons hot water
  3. ½ cup unsweetened sunbutter
  4. 6 medium pitted dates
  5. ½ apple, with skin
  6. 3/4 cup chopped spinach (about 1/3 cup purée)
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. ½ cup finely shredded coconut
  10. ¼ cup coconut flour
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  14. 1/3 cup dried currants
  15. 1/4 cup pepitas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the halved, pitted dates into a glass or metal measuring cup and pack down. Add the hot water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the egg, sunbutter, greens, applesauce, vanilla extract, and dates (with their liquid) in a food processor. Process for about a minute until smooth.
  4. In medium bowl, measure out and combine the coconut, coconut flour, ground flax, arrowroot flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the purée mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  6. Add the currants and stir to incorporate. Let the mixture sit just a couple minutes so the coconut flour can absorb a little of the moisture.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each cookie should be about 2-3 bites in size. Gently flatten tops of cookies with a spatula. Add a few sunflower seeds to the top of each cookie for decoration.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cookies will turn green once cooled and will continue to get a deeper green after 2 hours.
Notes
  1. This makes between 24-26 "three bite" cookies. The nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of 2 cookies.
Adapted from Against All Grain
beta
calories
170
fat
8g
protein
3g
carbs
23g
more
Adapted from Against All Grain
https://goodphytefoods.com/

‘Love Train’ Beet & Rosemary Crackers

Remember those flimsy baseball card-sized paper valentines kids used to bring to everyone in your elementary school class out of obligatory, parent-enforced egalitarianism? In fact, do you remember Lisa Simpson’s regrettable decision to give Ralph Wiggum an “I Choo-Choo Choose You” card? If not, here is a 5 second clip on YouTube that was obviously recorded by someone standing in front of their television screen. Ah, the 90s!

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme this week, I wanted to use beets in a more savory finger-friendly context than the might-as-well-be-cupcakes ‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins I posted a few days ago. Inspired by Daily Bites’ Beet & Rosemary crackers, I gladly nabbed some sprigs from our monster rosemary bush and played around with a nut-free version that also beefed up the beet content. Consequently, the result is darker in color and rich in sunflower and flax seed goodness. It’s grain and sweetener free, and would pair well with hummus or any dip that your little one fancies. You could use coconut oil instead of olive oil if you want a purely paleo version.

I had recently acquired a few new cookie cutters from a thrift store, so made both regaular rectangular crackers with this recipe as well as some choo-choos, just to see if it made a difference in toddler-receptivity. The recipe below is the simpler, standard rectangle version. You’re welcome!

Of course, without the train, you’ll need to make a new name for them, like “Flamingo Biscuits,” or “Vampire Blood Crackers,” or “Purple Princess Crackers,” depending on the interests of your little one at the moment.

 

'Love Train' Beet and Rosemary Crackers
Yields 20
This recipe yields about 80 1 inch by 1.5 inch crackers.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
110 calories
6 g
0 g
9 g
4 g
1 g
29 g
185 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 185mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
3%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup steamed chopped beets
  2. 4 tablespoons water remaining from steaming beets
  3. 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 cup golden flax seed
  6. 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  8. 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (optional)
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  10. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  11. 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  3. Add the rosemary, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse until everything is a fine meal. Remove mixture and place into a medium sized bowl. Do not wash the processor bowl.
  4. Drain the beets, reserving any liquid, which should be a deep magenta. Add the drained beets
  5. the to the food processor, along with the 4 tablespoons of the reserved beet cooking liquid, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil to the food processor. Process until the beets are pretty thoroughly pureed.
  6. Use a spatula to scoop out the beet mixture, adding it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined, and a ball of dough begins to form.
  7. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape on a large piece of parchment paper, using generously oiled hands. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick rectangular shape. Transfer the dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment and sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse sea salt on top (if salt's your fancy). Trim any jagged edges off with a knife or pizza cutter and save it for another round of rolling. Using the knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into cracker shapes, depending on whether you prefer a square or rectangle.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch and light brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Separate the crackers along the pre-cut lines and space them out a little bit on the baking sheet so the air can circulate around them. Place the pan back in the hot oven for 5 minutes (longer if, like me, you only managed to roll them to somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch). This step helps to crisp up the crackers a little more.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely. I wait at least a couple hours and preferably overnight just to be safe.Crackers will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  10. Store in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.
Notes
  1. Nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of about 4 crackers.
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
beta
calories
110
fat
9g
protein
4g
carbs
6g
more
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
https://goodphytefoods.com/

‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins

Our toddler teacher’s request for Valentine’s Day themed snacks seemed like the perfect time to experiment with a chocolate-free version of Simply In Season’s Secret Chocolate Cake, which, by the way, I made for my husband’s birthday (which is conveniently less than a week before Valentine’s Day). For these muffins, I removed the cocoa, added a bit of ground flax and ginger, increased the proportion of whole wheat flour, and skimped a little on both the oil and honey (which replaces sugar in the original cake recipe from Simply in Season). Just as a note, honey can replace sugar in most recipes, though you only need 2/3 the volume when you use honey. It’s potent!

I love beets, and they seem an underexplored ingredient in healthy baked goods. Full of Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese (see full nutritional profile here). Mmmm. Manganese.

Throughout the fall and winter months, I eat steamed beets with yogurt every morning, along with a hard-boiled egg and some homemade granola. A close second to the fresh berries of summer, which I have already raided from the freezer-stash by February.

As with nearly all vegetables, I do not peel my beets. I grow my own or buy organic when possible, and simple soak them in cold water and lightly scrub the surface before chopping and tossing in the steamer.

These muffins are moist, cakey, and even earned an “It’s yummy?” from my son, which is pretty high praise from him. I regret that my final product did not retain that same beautiful magenta of the batter, so I am recommending a little lemon or orange juice in the recipe here, hoping that the acid might help you yield a brighter-colored muffin. I used mini-muffins, but the recipe below would yield at least 18 full-size muffins. More detailed nutritional information is available here, courtesy of Self Nutrition Data.

'Love Bites' Beet Muffins
Yields 28
A honey-sweetened muffin that is moist, gingery, and worthy of the cupcake genre.
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111 calories
17 g
20 g
4 g
2 g
3 g
47 g
128 g
9 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
47g
Yields
28
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
7%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 20mg
7%
Sodium 128mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
2%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups beets, chopped and steamed
  2. 1/2 cup applesauce
  3. 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 3/4 cup raw honey
  5. 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1/2 cup plain whole yogurt
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 cup unbleached white flour
  10. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  11. 2 tablespoons golden flax meal
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  15. 1 teaspoon ginger
  16. 1/4 cup sunflower or pepita seeds
Instructions
  1. Puree beets and applesauce in blender with the 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Set aside. I never keep applesauce handy, so I just steamed a quartered Granny Smith and crammed two or three of the gooey softened quarters into a 1/2 cup measure, carefully adding water to fill in the crevices until it came to the top of the measuring cup.
  2. Sift flours, baking soda, flax seed meal, salt, ginger, and cinnamon into a medium bowl.
  3. Combine honey, oil, yogurt and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, along with pureed beets blend; beat another minute.
  5. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing them in with a spoon, but stirring only until blended.
  6. Spoon into greased lined mini-muffin tins. Place two sunflower seeds in the shape of a heart on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees (about 16 minutes for mini-muffins and 20-22 minutes for regular sized muffins).
Notes
  1. This will make 57 or so mini-muffins or at least 18 regular sized muffins. Nutritional info assumes that a toddler serving is about 2 mini-muffins.
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calories
111
fat
4g
protein
2g
carbs
17g
more
Adapted from Secret Chocolate Cake
https://goodphytefoods.com/

Kale & Apple Roll-ups with Quinoa & Flax

Most fruit/veggie roll-ups (yes, even the organic ones with “feel-good” branding) have fruit or vegetable juice concentrates or extracts, not to mention liquid sweeteners and added pectin. By comparison, these kale roll-ups are simple, sweetened only with whole local apples, loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.

Kale & Apple Roll-ups with Quinoa & Flax
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
75 calories
12 g
0 g
3 g
2 g
0 g
71 g
8 g
4 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
71g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 75
Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
4%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 8mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
39%
Vitamin C
35%
Calcium
4%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups fresh lacinato kale leaves, packed
  2. 1 1/2 medium apples, cored
  3. 1/4 cup flax seeds
  4. 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  5. 1/2 peeled orange
  6. 3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. I use a Nutribullet, and this fills it up to the brim.
  2. Spread the puree evenly on a 14” by 14” silpat baking sheet or parchment paper.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the sheet and use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the mix from one corner to the other, somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Get it as smooth and even as possible, erring on the side of making the edges just slightly thicker than the center.
  4. Place in dehydrator and dry at 135°F or 57°C for about 3 hours (maybe longer in humid conditions).
  5. To test for doneness, press the leather lightly with flat fingers. If your finger leaves an indentation, it is not ready. If the leather feels moist or sticky, it is not ready. It will be slightly tacky, but it should not feel wet at all. If it pulls off the paper easily, it is done. If parts stick to the sheet (which is more likely at the center), it is not done. Look for color variations, wet spots may be much lighter or much darker in color.
  6. If it is dry and brittle, it is too dry, but it makes a nice crunchy "chip."
Notes
  1. Spinach or other mild greens can be substituted for the kale, and chia or other seeds can substitute for the quinoa, if you want a "grain free" version.
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calories
75
fat
3g
protein
2g
carbs
12g
more
https://goodphytefoods.com/

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)

Have you been duped in the confusing profusion of “energy bars”? Well, I decided I had been duped for the last time a few days ago, trying to choose the “least bad” option for my little guy at the at the store, as he Go-Go-Gadgetted his arms toward everything within view of the shopping cart. Even the best of commercially available ones (those without some kind of rice syrup or other liquid sweetener) are still composed mostly of dried fruits, with some seeds thrown in for texture. Of course they will give you “energy” if they are mostly sugar! This recipe is better for two reasons: Even by weight, seeds predominate, lending a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and minerals. Secondly, I managed to sneak a decent amount of spinach in there. In retrospect, I laughingly admit that these would be much prettier with some goji berries.  See my post on Seedy Superfood Saucers regarding goji berries. Go ahead and add about 1/2 cup of them to the recipe below if you fancy.

Note: There are two options with this recipe. The traditional bar size is made in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, while the saucers use a 24 cup mini muffin tin, which might require two batches. Alternatively, you could have it both ways by using a square 9 by 9 inch baking dish and simply use the remaining mixture for the muffin tin.

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)
Yields 20
Not too sweet, these "space saucers" are mostly seeds, with just enough dried fruit to hold them together. Your little one will never guess they also contain spinach!
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
134 calories
12 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
2 g
29 g
36 g
3 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134
Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 36mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 medjool dates
  2. 8 dried Turkish apricots
  3. 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1 1/2 cup (about 3-4 ounces) fresh spinach leaves, packed down (this should equal at least 1/2 cup purée)
  7. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  10. 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  11. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  12. 1/2 cup chia seeds
  13. ½ cup whole brown flax seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a 9” x 13” metal cake pan with parchment paper, OR grease the cups of a 24 cup mini muffin tin with coconut oil.
  2. Put the pitted dates and apricots in a metal or glass 1 cup measuring cup and pack down. Add about 3 tablespoons hot water and let soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soaked dates and apricots (along with the liquid) to a food processor. (I use a Nutribullet). Add the spinach and blend to a smooth purée.
  4. In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, and puree mixture, mixing till well combined for just a minute or two. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the ginger,cinnamon, and salt.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir the pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, and chia together.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir together thoroughly.
  7. For bars: spread the mixture into the parchment paper-lined metal pan and press down until you have an even thickness.
  8. For saucers: Spoon the mixture onto the greased mini muffin tin and press into each well, patting down firmly so that the mixture comes flush with the top in each one.
  9. Bake at 300 F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool completely on the counter, and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour (or overnight, if it's late!) before moving onto the next step.
  10. For bars: Cut into 20 rectangles.
  11. For saucers: place a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin and gently flip it over, setting the sheet on a counter before lifting the upside-down muffin tin.
  12. Store bars/saucers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (though they will probably last much longer if you let them!)
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calories
134
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
12g
more
https://goodphytefoods.com/