Monthly Archives: March, 2014

Farewell to Francisco and a Comforting Cake

This morning my family bade a fond farewell to our much-loved beta fish, Francisco.

Francisco

It was a Saturday in October of 2012 when we first welcomed Francisco into our home. I remember I’d just trudged through my first PSAT, and the sky was filling up with heavy gray storm clouds, and my mom and little brother and I drove to the pet store with the cheerful ambition to buy a beta fish to add some zest to the second-hand fishbowl we’d just received from my grandmother. Most of the fish at the store were dead or close to it, floating lifelessly in  those cruel little plastic containers. Out of the two or three that were still kicking, my brother was drawn to the double tail male with a pinkish body and vibrant, flowing blue and red fins.

We bought the fish and some supplies, and all the way home I held the little guy in my hands in his container, holding my breath and praying the car wouldn’t make any sudden movements, that I could keep the fish safe, that he’d make it home unscathed, poor delicate creature. I thought it must be a miracle when we arrived home and got him upstairs and into his prepared fishbowl in one piece.

As our first fish, Francisco quickly found a place in all of our hearts, especially the cat, Artemis. We all enjoyed watching him dart erratically around the bowl, and carefully asses whether he could fit through the door to his fish castle before slowly, gingerly inserting himself inside to claim his fortress. It was fun to feed him his pellets and even more so the dried bloodworms which were his special treat (I didn’t like to touch the nasty things but was content to watch my mom or brother drop one onto the surface of the water. In an instant, Francisco would dart forward and slurp the delicacy into his gullet in one gulp!)

As time passed and the novelty of the “new animal” wore off, it was replaced by a deeper, truer love that comes from someone being a vital member of the family. Although he was a fish and we couldn’t touch him or relate to many of his emotions, I think we all became quite attached to Francisco. Artemis watched him for hours on end to ensure he was getting along all right. And for a while, he was.

But a couple months ago, something changed. Francisco no longer built the bubble nests at the water’s surface that were supposedly a sign of his happiness. He didn’t seem to want to swim around as much as he used to, and instead settled down at the bottom of his environment, rarely moving at all. When he did swim to the top to get air, it was with pained-looking movements, and he’d fall back to the bottom and be still as soon as possible. He got so boring to watch that Artemis wondered what we’d done with her playmate who used to be so active.

francisco beta fish

Concerned about Francisco’s health, the family searched all over the web for possible diagnoses and treatments of fish diseases. A number of common ailments came up, and we deliberated intensely over what course of treatment would be the best to follow. We spent a pretty penny on medication from an aquarium store that was supposed to help cure a number of beta diseases, put Francisco in a freshly-cleaned environment, and painstakingly administered the medication as directed. (My mom had to divide a tiny packet of powder into tenths…ouch!) After a week or two of this, no change occurred in Francisco’s well-being, and we decided to just go back to caring for the fish as we had before. At least he was eating.

For the time being.

As the days and weeks dragged on, Francisco became more and more sedentary at the bottom of the tank. His fins drooped. His colors were less vibrant. He eventually began perching on top of his castle so it would be less effort for him to reach the surface when he needed to. Even centimeters from the surface, it seemed to be a great undertaking for him to grab hold of his food. In a burst of precious energy he’d launch his feeble body at the pellet of food…and miss. And try again. And miss. It was quite disheartening to watch. Eventually he’d simply give up and stare longingly at the pellet, unable or unwilling to go for it. After a week or so of this, when we dropped a pellet in for him he’d just stare blankly at it and not even attempt to eat it. It could bump right against his face and he’d just lie there on top of his castle, what had been his home and was now his prison…his deathbed?

We didn’t want to say it, but in the last few days we all knew our poor long-suffering little guy was not long for this world. He seemed to realize it too, in the way that a beta fish can be aware of these things. He didn’t even look at the food we put in the tank. It really frustrated me to see this, to try to feed the animal and not get any response, to be unable to have an inkling of what was wrong with him, but also to see plainly that something was horribly wrong, the nature of the disease was obscured as in a cloud of octopus ink but the symptoms were obvious as the glaring light of an anglerfish in the abyss. I wished he were human so we could take him to a hospital, get him examined, have needles running into his veins and filling his emaciated frame with the nutrients it needed to get back to health. I wished I could force the food pellets into his mouth and MAKE him eat so I could MAKE him better. Now maybe I’ve gotten a tiny taste of what it’s like to be the parent of a child who refuses to eat, who’d rather starve than risk gaining weight.

flower - pic by me

 

Regarding the animal world, we often presume things to be simple and primitive: animals are driven to survive and reproduce, therefore they pursue food, shelter and mates until the moment of their demise, not thinking of what comes afterward or what is the meaning or purpose of what they do, or whether they as individuals are happy doing it. Not much has been found yet that can be proven about the psychology of various members of the animal kingdom – we don’t know all there is to know about the workings of the human phsyche, for that matter. But the latter has been researched in far greater depth, and we have found ways to treat a myriad of human psychological disorders such as depression, obsession, and you guessed it, eating disorders. Even a generation or two ago the acceptance and available care for diseases such as these was far less expansive than it is today. And we still have a long way to go before we find a total “cure” for all eating disorders, if such a thing is possible (current findings point to no on that one.)

And certainly if one is not a human but a fish, say, available psychological counseling is pretty much zero. Who knows what goes through the minds of our household animal companions as they go through their lives and reach their ends? We can’t expect them to be brutes with no feelings, nor can we at this point understand what they may be going through during what they perceive as tough times. I have learned the hard way that it’s impossible to force an animal (or a person) to do what they’re “supposed to do.” I only wish they’d come up with some way for me to communicate with my fish so he could have let me know what was paining him so, what was eating away at him inside and out, why he wasn’t swimming around or building bubble nests or eating with gusto.

But we can be thankful that at least, while this technology has not yet been developed with with respect to inter-species communication, it is quite possible to communicate with other human beings whom we love who may be going through something we don’t understand. Who understands why I stopped eating? I’ll never completely decipher the meaning or origin of my muddy thoughts at that time period myself. All I can say is, I’m glad I had a supportive family who cared enough to work with me and listen to a language they didn’t understand. I’m glad I didn’t have to be force-fed through a hospital tube, and I hope I am never in a position of forcing someone else – human or otherwise – to be “cured” without really listening.

clouds - photo by me

Francisco, I know you’re reading this post up in fishy-heaven. This post, and the cake recipe I’d been planning to share before this fateful morning, are both dedicated to you.

If you know someone with an eating disorder, don’t try to feed them this cake because trust me, they won’t eat it. But if you know someone who’s been feeling down lately, or is missing a loved one perhaps, go ahead and bake this cake for them. It’s a healthier form of comfort food that will warm the heart while also nourishing the body. The cake base is made with whole wheat pastry flour and steel-cut oats (you can’t taste the oats) and infused with the flavor of sweet maple to caress the tastebuds and the heart. The cake is frosted with a quick and easy cinnamon cream cheese icing that looks repulsive but tastes great, and sprinkled with pistachios and chocolate-covered raisins for extra flair. At the bottom, I baked a layer of bananas that I hoped would get caramelized in the oven, but it didn’t seem to happen, so instead of caramelized bananas we have sweetened bananas. Oh, well. It still tastes great.

IMG_4374

I highly recommend this cake, whether or not you or a loved one has something to be depressed about. If you do make this cake for a hurting loved one, please bring it to them in person with a gift basket, a warm blanket, and an open ear ready to listen to whatever they have to pour out.

Click here for the full recipe: Banana Maple Cream Cheese Comfort Cake

IMG_4369

IMG_4375

Peachy Cream Pistachio Dream

tropical pistachio peach chocolate coconut smoothie pineapple mango banana

I’m no poet

And I know it

But today I’ve got the muse

‘Cause I sipped a special smoothie

And by now you’ve heard the news:

Simply magic

Was this smoothie

Not a recipe to lose.

Peachy cream

Pistachio dream

Came to me in a consciousness-stream

Add some mango

Now we’ll tango

In a tropical sunbeam.

chocolate coconut peach pistachio smoothie with coconut

Creamy peaches

Like the beaches

Of a land where pineapples grow

Add some chocolate

Now we’re rockin’ it

With a touch of pistachio.

Peachy dream

Of chilly cream

Like the clouds outside my door

But inside I’m slurping a smoothie

Wrapped in sweaters so I’m warm

Like those beaches

Full of peaches

Where the coconuts do grow

Wanna get groovy?

Drink this smoothie

Then the rhythm you will know

Of a tropical dance of flavor:

Chocolate, peach, pistachio.

peach pistachio chocolate coconut smoothie

Nope, I’m no poet

And now we all know it

But, dear reader, never fear

For you can still get the smoothie

You desire: just click here.

My poetry may be awful as the ocean glitters clear

But that does not concern us

With the blender yet so near.

You need only make this recipe

To set your tastebuds all aglow

Let them bask in these sweet flavors:

Chocolate, peach, pistachio.

Let’s go!

Click here to get the recipe for the smoothie that inspired this poem: Peachy Cream Pistachio Dream Smoothie

You Might Also Like:

Whole Wheat Peaches and Cream Scones

peach scone with white chocolate cream

International Danishes

pinwheel danishes reverse cinnamon roll

Lately I’ve become a little obsessed with the notion of international travel. I love to look at photos of beautiful nature and landmarks in distant places, watch nature programs taking place across the sea, listen to music in different languages and daydream about my future dream vacations to destinations all around the world. One country that has achieved high status on my travel bucket list has got to be Australia. I’ve always been fascinated by the quirky, unique creatures found only in the land down under, and after seeing some nature films taking place there and a ton of Pinterest pins of beautiful Australian beaches and the Sydney Opera House from every angle, I’m just about ready to pack my suitcase and set sail for this gorgeous continent.

It seems I’m not the only American interested in Australia. I’ve seen clothing and shoes bearing some allusion to the continent fly off store shelves. The food industry has caught on to America’s Aussie obsession as well: I’ve noticed more and more products in grocery stores claim to be “Australian” in some way. When my mom saw the Australian-style yogurt I bought (which was made right here in California), she wondered what comprises the “Australian style” of yogurt. I said since it’s being sold in the U.S. it doesn’t really matter how they make the yogurt; no one here knows whether it’s authentic or not. As long as it has a picture of a koala or says “matey” on the packaging, we Americans find it exotic and compelling.

When I went to Whole Foods Market to buy organic puff pastry dough for these danishes, the only brand currently in their freezer was Aussie Bakery. I’d never tried it before and had no reason to trust it…but it had Australia written all over it. I was sold.

Turns out Aussie Bakery was an excellent choice: the puff pastry was easy to work with, and once baked was buttery, flaky and delicious. It had a perfect, light texture and made a great base for creating my pastries. I daresay I could taste the Australia in every bite! 😉

cream cheese cinnamon roll danish

Australian Danishes. Is that an oxymoron? I’m pretty sure danish pastry was invented in Denmark. Although these particular danishes are not strictly Danish. I’d call them multicultural, as they consist of a blend of different flavors from all different regions of the globe. The pastry dough was “Danish”-style, though originating from Australia, but the fillings emulated those of a cinnamon roll, which was invented in Sweden. The very fact that they are made up of a harmonious blend of the best elements of various different cultures, in my mind, makes them quintessentially American, as this nation is known for being a colorful mix of cultures from all around the world. Think of pretty much any “American” food;  you’ll find upon further investigation that the different elements comprising the dish hail from multiple backgrounds. And such is certainly the case for these delicious danishes: they blend the flavors of different places into one petite, yummy treat.

reverse cinnamon roll danishes with cream cheese filling pinwheel

In these Reverse Cinnamon Roll Danishes, quality puff pastry dough is endowed with tangy cream cheese filling and drizzled with a buttery brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. I call them “Reverse Cinnamon Roll” danishes because in a cinnamon roll the cinnamon filling is the main attraction wrapped up in dough, and there’s often just a tad of cream cheese icing on top for good measure. But in these danishes, the rich creaminess of sweetened cream cheese is the highlight, and the sugary cinnamon mixture is the complement. I’m a very dairy-oriented gal so this pleases me more than a ton of cinnamon and a dollop of cream cheese would. Plus, more cream cheese = more protein, right? 🙂

Unlike danishes made in traditional bakeries, these can be eaten guilt-free. The cream cheese filling is made with light cheese and not a ton of sugar, and there are no preservatives or other yucky things you usually find on commercial bakery shelves. I made mine kind of smallish, but even considering the size, they are remarkably low in calories, with only 130 each. So bake some up now, and enjoy with abandon for breakfast or anytime! Let the international tastiness transport you to another land…

Click here for the full recipe: Reverse Cinnamon Roll Danishes

cream cheese reverse cinnamon roll danish

You Might Also Like:

The Apple Imperative

sweet spring roll with cinnamon cream cheese and fruit

Brownies of the Season

chocolate mint flourless thin mint brownies

I first made these brownies just for something to do on a Sunday night, and as a way of using up some odds and ends in our pantry. It wasn’t until after I made them – and after I began seeing all these St. Patrick’s Day blog posts and feeling the pressure – that I realized how perfectly these brownies fit into this time of year, in more ways than one.

How are these Deep Chocolate Mint Swirl Brownies with Thin Mint Crunch the brownies of the season? Let me count the ways:

1) St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone’s doing it – posting recipes including mint, beer, the color green, or some combination of all three. I don’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but of course I want to participate in an internet-wide holiday! I don’t drink beer, nor do I typically keep chemical additives to make my food an unnatural shade of green in my pantry. This leaves me with one option for St. Paddy’s Day: mint flavored food. (BTW: these brownies do include a touch of green, but it’s hidden deep within all the chocolate. There’s avocado in the batter, subbing for some of the fat found in traditional brownies. Shh…don’t tell anyone picky about our secret green ingredient!)

thin mint brownies flourless chocolate

2) Girl Scout Cookies. ‘Tis the season! I always look for creative uses of the multitudes of cookies that flow into our house during this time of year – otherwise my dad would be gobbling them all up by the boxful! I used Thin Mint pieces as a crunchy topping for these rich, moist, and intensely chocolate brownies.

girl scout thin mint brownies mint chocolate no flour

3) Springtime. The color of pretty flowers /artificially dyed Easter eggs is apparent in the pink swirl in the batter. Where does the pink come from, you ask? I’ll tell you, if you promise not to judge: the Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses that have been haunting our freezer since the winter holidays. Yes, I know candy cane flavor doesn’t exactly scream”springtime,” but look at it this way: getting those candies out of my freezer is a form of spring cleaning! (Oh, if only all housework could be accomplished by baking brownies!)

4) Warm weather. As spring and summer arrive, we naturally want to eat foods that help us keep cool, rather than warm our insides like all those piping hot baked goods we enjoyed during the cold winter months. These brownies are perfect for warm weather, as they taste great chilled and keep well for a week or more in the fridge. I recommend serving them up with cool whipped cream or a scoop of fro-yo for the ultimate indulgent treat! And don’t worry about these brownies getting in the way of any summer slim-down plans – they are flourless, low fat, and quite low-calorie at only 190 calories for 1/8 of the entire recipe, or around 100 for 1/16.

thin mint chocolate brownie no flour

5) Passover. It’s coming up, and for those who observe this eight-day-long holiday that involves restrictions on the consumption of grains and other food items, it can be a challenge to find kosher-for-Passover recipes that are also delicious and healthy. Boxed Passover cake mixes are sold, but these are usually high in sugar and full of weird ingredients. Many also don’t actually turn out as gorgeous and delicious as the packaging would suggest. Instead of putting your dessert in the hands of some scamming cake mix company, I recommend baking your own desserts from scratch, using your own hands and recipes you trust. This recipe, for instance, is a trustworthy one (because I said so!) and the base recipe for the batter includes no flour. Some changes may still have to be made to the leavening agent, as I used baking powder which isn’t kosher for Passover, but in general I was thrilled to be making progress towards finding a flourless chocolate brownie recipe with Passover around the corner. Maybe the recipe will inspire you to make something like this for Passover. Serve it at the Seder to all your health-conscious guests. Enjoy it throughout the eight days, and remember the suffering of our ancestors (and contemporaries!) who had to make do with second-rate Passover cake from a mix.

These brownies truly are a recipe of the season. So go ahead and make them now! Click here for the full recipe: Deep Chocolate Mint Swirl Brownies with Thin Mint Crunch. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, have a great weekend, and enjoy your brownies!

You Might Also Like:

Tropical Samoa Cookie Smoothie

tropical girl scouts samoa cookie smoothie

Tropical Samoa Cookie Smoothie

girl scouts samoa cookies

Yesterday afternoon, I was waiting impatiently for my dad to get out of bed (yes, he does take naps. In the afternoon. Ah, to be a grown-up!) and take me to the beach for a run. He went through his usual laborious process of sitting up in bed, lying back down, sitting up, changing clothes several times, then wandered into the kitchen. I sat twiddling my thumbs while he reached for some Girl Scout cookies, rustling the plastic and groping around for his well-deserved post-nap snack. He then trotted out of the kitchen to do other post-nap tasks. A few minutes later, I heard him creep back in there, more box-opening, more plastic-rustling. I sighed, wondering when he’d be ready to go. After another minute or two, there was that tell-tale noise in the kitchen again. Finally I asked him, “when will you be ready?” He replied, “I’m just doing my wake-up routine.” Exasperated, I demanded whether his “wake-up routine” required twenty Girl Scout cookies. He responded levelly that only five were necessary, grabbed a couple more, and we were out the door.

My dad sure has an enviable wake-up routine. While Girl Scout cookies aren’t generally considered to be part of a balanced breakfast, they do seem to make their way into many peoples’ grazing menus throughout the day. I have seen helpless dieters tear through boxes of the incendiary edibles, sacrificing health for deliciousness. My philosophy is that both are possible at once: a healthy eating plan should be sensible and nourishing while also including tasty foods, and even incorporating just a morsel here and there of the junk food so commonly “forbidden” by those intending to eat a healthy diet. If “forbidden” foods are consumed in moderation, they will not be so intensely craved, and one is less likely to lose resolve and binge on them.

One example of a healthier way to eat Girl Scout cookies is this smoothie. Made with Greek yogurt and nutritious fruit, you can feel good about slurping it all up. One serving of Girl Scouts Samoa Cookies is thrown in the mix for the taste of those caramel coconut temptations, without all the guilt of eating a whole box. Go ahead and enjoy this smoothie at any time of the day. Make it part of your wake-up routine. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did.

Tropical Samoa Cookie Smoothie

serves one

tropical girl scouts samoa cookie smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Greek mango flavored yogurt (I used Whole Foods’ 365 brand yogurt)
  • 3 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 small ice cube
  • 2 Girl Scouts Samoa Cookies

Directions: Place banana, milk, yogurt, frozen fruit, and ice in blender. Blend until smooth. Add one Samoa cookie, broken up into pieces. Blend for 10-20 seconds (depending on whether you want big chunks or small bits of cookie in your smoothie.)

Pour smoothie into desired glass. Break the second Samoa cookie into several pieces and drop them into the smoothie (or you could try to garnish the glass with the whole cookie, but I hope you have better luck with that than I did!)

girl scouts samoa cookie tropical smoothie - oops moment!

Ummm…yeah. What happens when I try to stage a fancy photo.

You Might Also Like:

Chocolate Cinnavanilla Thin Mint Smoothie

chocolate vanilla cinnamon thin mint smoothie

Breakfast At My House

At school a few days ago, my friends and I were hanging out and having one of our usual random conversations. One girl went around to everyone there, asking what they usually have for breakfast on the weekends. When someone said, “pancakes,” the girl declared, “I would have breakfast at your house!” Another friend responded, “I don’t eat breakfast,” and the interrogator said, “I would NOT have breakfast at your house!” When it was my turn to be interrogated, I said I like to make all different kinds of things for breakfast: I bake, cook, make smoothies, whatever seems appealing at the time. The weekend is my time to be creative with food, and I like to use my artistic license to make breakfast into something special without worrying about having to hurry up and be anywhere. My friend said she would definitely have breakfast at my house.

If she’d come a couple mornings ago, she would have been treated to something savory and scrumptious: Mediterranean Baked Egg Ramekins.

baked egg ramekins Mediterranean Gardein brand seven grain crispy tenders

Hot from the oven, the nourishing baked eggs and healthy veggies were spruced up with flavorful olives and yummy avocado. Gardein brand Seven Grain Crispy Tenders added that umami flavor with plant-based protein. I served them up with a spoonful of hummus for a Mediterranean-style mini-meal that was to die for. Too bad I didn’t have my breakfast-loving friend over to bask in the glory of baked egg ramekins with me. But at least this way I had some leftovers to use up during the busy week!

You’re invited to breakfast, my-house style. Just click to be treated to the recipe for Mediterranean Baked Egg Ramekins.

Mediterranean hummus baked egg ramekin

My Little Helper Kitty

Artemis cat face sunlight

Do you have “helpers” in the kitchen? I remember helping my mom and my grandmother with the easiest and lowest-risk-of-the-house-burning-down steps of their cooking procedures when I was a kid. Now I’m into cooking and baking myself, but all the little people around our house have grown up and I’m safe from the “help” of inexperienced little hands…but a certain set of paws sure likes to grace the kitchen counter while I’m working!

Artemis is really a very helpful kitty. Throughout each day and its long list of chores, she’s always eager to pitch in. We should all be grateful for her supervision of folding the laundry:

Artemis on laundrey

She also likes to organize the books in our library:

Artemis on bookshelf

And occasionally she can be found inspecting the water on our kitchen table to ensure cleanliness.

Artemis with water Dunkin Donuts mug

What an industrious feline she is! She somehow finds the time to perform all of the above tasks, as well as a few more (i.e. supervising the family fish, helping my mom make the bed, and sitting on my homework. I can tell by the righteous look on her face as she does this that she truly thinks she’s helping. Either her behind knows how to solve trigonometric equations, or she’s helping me procrastinate!) At the end of every day, you can tell by the long-suffering look in her eyes that she wishes we humans weren’t so needy and helpless.

Artemis face black and white

She’d like to take a vacation, catch up on her beauty sleep, visit the aquarium…but she knows if she left us to do the chores ourselves, the house would probably be falling apart when she came home. So she continues to help us out by sitting on our work and skillfully pawing at our household appliances, ensuring that everything gets done and the house is spick and span. Whatever would we do without our little helper kitty?

As a feline, however, she of course only does things on her terms. She helps when she’s in the mood – otherwise, she’s nowhere to be found. This was the case when I made these cupcakes the other day: maybe she was out catching mice, or enforcing “lap arrest” by keeping my mom or my dad confined in a chair under supervison. Either way, I sort of missed the watchful eye and -ahem! – help of the conscientious cat. I know her assistance would have added a truly special touch to these cupcakes.

blueberry cheesecake cupcake strawberry raspberry

Even without the cat’s help, these cuties turned out wonderfully. A simple, sweet cupcake base spruced up with mixed berries and topped off with a rich, tangy yogurt/cream cheese icing…what could be better? To make them even prettier, I added a dollop of strawberry jam to the top of each cupcake. Garnishing with fresh berries would be great too, I just didn’t happen to have any on hand at the time. Too bad Artemis can’t run out to the store and buy last-minute missing ingredients… 🙂

These cupcakes are made with whole wheat pastry flour, and added fiber and nutrients are derived from the almond butter and the fresh, frozen and dried berries mixed into the batter. The yogurt frosting, though not fatty or sugary, is just enough to grace each cupcake with scrumptious goodness! Though they are healthy as cupcakes go, these little guys do not taste healthy at all. My mom liked these cupcakes, and she NEVER eats a dessert that isn’t chocolate.

cheesecake cupcake blueberry strawberry raspberry

So if you’re looking for an alternative to those sugary, buttery calorie-bombs that are so easy to crave, if you like cheesecake and cake and don’t want to have to choose between the two, and especially if you enjoy baking and crafting something cool in the kitchen, then go ahead and try these Berry Cheesecake Cupcakes. Get some helpers to join you, and get baking!

Berry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes

berry cheesecake cupcakes

Ingredients:

for cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent of 2 eggs)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbls milk
  • 1/4 cup organic light agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbls Barney & Co. brand Honey & Flax Almond Butter
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 medium strawberries, chopped to little bits

for cheesecake frosting

  • 1 Laughing Cow brand Creamy Swiss cheese triangle
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 3 tbls Truvia brand Baking Blend
  • 2 tbl strawberry jam

Note: I encourage replacing some of the dried or frozen fruit indicated here with fresh. I just didn’t happen to have much fresh fruit on hand other than the two strawberries I wanted to use up.

Directions:

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a regular-sized muffin tin with 12 paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix. Add eggs or egg substitute, vanilla, milk, agave, and honey almond butter. Mix well, but do not over mix. Gently fold in the dried blueberries, frozen raspberries, and chopped strawberries.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Frosting: In a small bowl, combine the Laughing Cow cheese triangle, yogurt, and Truvia Baking Blend. Use an electric mixer on a low setting to blend until smooth. Frosting will have a somewhat liquid-y consistency. When cupcakes have cooled, spoon frosting over the top of each. If desired, garnish with additional berries and/or a dollop of strawberry jam.

Chill cupcakes in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy cool.

Even Mr. T. Rex wants a cupcake!

berry cheesecake cupcake dinosaur plate

You Might Also Like:

Berry Lemon Cupcakes with Chocolate Yogurt Frosting

lemon berry cupcakes with chocolate yogurt frosting

Etrange et Insolite

Ici tout est bizarre !

Santa Monica Bay Audubon Blog

The Official SMBAS Online Newsletter

•M•U•G•N•A•

with lesser words

indahs: dive, travel & photography

cities - cultures - ocean - marine life

charityjanisse

Art, Poetry, Thoughts, Photos I've taken and Random things that inspire me.

Underwater University

Teaching about fish in the ocean

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Fictional Kevin

Cigar Fueled Creative Writing

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Food...cooking...eating....tools - What works, and what doesn't!

Polishmewithglitter

Because bare nails are boring.

countingducks

reflections on a passing life

Triceranails

blog of a manicure addict

KITCHEN CICI

Food Innovator, Clean Eater, Recipe Sharer. My kitchen is small but mighty.