Sunday, January 27, 2013

Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties with Flaxseed - Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free

I like to simplify breakfast as much as possible.  When I wake up, it's a mad dash to get all three kiddies dressed, fed and off to school. Then is it my turn for breakfast!  Now that I am not eating eggs, I sometimes have lean turkey breakfast sausage patties to help start my day.  I make a batch and reheat them the next few days.   

At first, I tried Gracious Pantry's Clean Eating Turkey Breakfast Sausage.  It was a very easy recipe to whip together.  However, the ground turkey's flavour was a little too strong/gamey for me and needed a few more herbs and spices to counter this.  Then I found's Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties recipe that used more herbs and spices.  It was fun to use a wide range of herbs and spices from my inventory. 

We don't eat spicy food, so I toned down the heat considerably.  I didn't expect the children to eat these turkey patties but they enjoyed them as well!  It is a very forgiving and flexible recipe.  If you choose to make them spicier or more bland, adjust the seasonings as desired.  I played around with this recipe several times and I'm happy with the amounts of these herbs and spices.  I don't use salt, so adjust to taste.  

The addition of ground flaxseed and water helped improve the lean and dry texture of the ground turkey.  It helped bind the meat together (like an egg) and also provided extra fibre and healthy fat.   

I mixed all the ingrediets into my KitchenAid stand mixer and for a minute or until well blended.  Then I used an ice cream/cookie scoop to make large meatballs and patted them out to make 2-inch sized patties. With a digital scale, my ice cream scoop of meat weighed almost 1 1/4 oz.  When cooked, they turned out to be roughly 1 oz each.  Perfect portion control! 

I panfried them with some olive oil.  They cook up really fast!  

Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties with Flaxseed

1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp ground sage
3/4 tsp thyme
3/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp chili flakes
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

Combine all ingredients and blend well.  Refrigerate meat mixture overnight (optional).  Form into patties and cook as needed, freezing leftovers.  Don't overcook or they will dry out--remove from the heat as soon as they're no longer pink inside, but still juicy.  (If you prefer a moister texture, you add a splash of olive oil or an egg to the mixture just prior to cooking)

- Adapted from's Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties

My lunch today!  Turkey sausage patties served with a fresh mixed green salad, some fruit and a side of brown rice pasta topped with melted vegan cheese.  It was delicious!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

UBC Ponderosa Cake (Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake)

UBC is short for University of British Columbia, my alma mater.  UBC Food Services named this yummy banana chocolate chip coffee cake after the Ponderosa Cafeteria on campus.  It is wonderful with coffee, tea or a glass of cold milk.  

Making this cake brings back fond memories of my undergraduate days.  At UBC, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc) from the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine.  I figure this entry will give my children an insight of my time at university.

I learned much of my ability to analyze, troubleshoot and solve problems during my last two years of BMLSc.  I am so grateful for that.  After taking intensive organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, toxicology, histology, photo-microscopy and other laboratory related courses, I am thankful for these skills.  I can't believe I even defended my undergraduate thesis in front of a panel of professors! Back then, I never realized that I was taught how to think and not memorize.  UBC helped shape my way of thinking at work and at home.  

Now, I am thankful that I can figure out how to tweak and create recipes, fix leaky toilets and make "boo-boo's" feel better!  

This is a very easy sour cream banana cake.  There is a layer of brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips in the middle and on top.  Normally, there should be double the amount of chocolate chips but this time I used half.  

After 45 minutes, it's done!  I wanted to use my new 7"x9" pyrex glass pan instead of an 8"x8".  This recipe can be easily doubled for a 9"x13" pan.  I normally double this and freeze it, but I only had 1/2 cup sour cream left.  I think plain or greek yogurt will work too.  

Wanna come over to my place for a cup of coffee? 

UBC Ponderosa Cake 
makes 1- 8"x8" cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 bananas)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream (I used 7% light sour cream)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used half) 

Cream butter and granulated sugar. Add egg, then vanilla and bananas. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to banana mixture alternately with sour cream. 

Pour half of batter into greased 8" square pan. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar together. Sprinkle half on top of batter, then half of chocolate chips. Repeat layers. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until cake tester in middle comes out clean.

The kiddies (and hubby) enjoyed this for breakfast this morning!  I started my day with yummy bowl of steel cut oatmeal instead. 

Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Overnight Steel Cut Oats and My Favourite Healthy Breakfast

In the New Year, I thought it would be nice to make a better effort to eat less sugar and processed food.  I wanted to try make steel cut oats a part of my breakfast since oatmeal has so many health benefits.  

Steel cut oats are not rolled and they look like broken up bits of brown rice. They take much longer to cook than old-fashioned rolled oats but that is part of its beauty.  Since they are less processed, they take longer to digest and keep our blood sugar even.

According to the package, it takes about 10-20 minutes to cook.  Our busy mornings do not afford this time, so I make a few days worth the night before using an easier method. Whenever I have time (in the afternoons or right before bed), I take 1 cup steel cup oats and 2.5 cups of water.  I like the 1:2.5 ratio.  I like my oatmeal with a little bit of a chew.  

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on LOW for only 5 minutes

Oops!  I didn't turn down the heat low enough and it boiled over.  

Just a peek at the oats after simmering for a few minutes. 

Turn off the heat and let it sit on the warm burner overnight or for several hours until cool enough to put in the fridge.  That's it!  I don't have time to wait for 10-20 minutes for breakfast in the mornings.  Reheat oatmeal in the microwave and eat it the same manner as regular oatmeal.  One serving is 1/2 cup cooked steel cut oatmeal.    

Note:  If you like the texture of your steel cut oatmeal to be a harder/chewier or softer/mushier, adjust the cook time and the amount of water to your preference.   

Steel cut oats have become my favourite healthy breakfast in the new year.  This is what I normally do:  I warm up some oatmeal with brown rice protein powder and nondairy milk in the microwave.  Then top with fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and sweetened with a teaspoon of raisins and a dash of cinnamon.  

I was able to find unsweetened brown rice protein powder as an alternative because I have an egg and dairy intolerance.  I am hoping this food intolerance is just temporary!  

Everything in my "breakfast bowl" can be swapped for different toppings and ingredients as desired.  This oatmeal provide a nice base for a healthy, sugar-free breakfast.  

The combination of protein powder and oats gives me the energy needed to get the kids out the door and my day started.  I found that just 1/2 serving of protein powder (half the amount to make 1 protein shake) was enough to give the oatmeal the last power til lunch. Without protein or some sort, I was ravenous within 2 hours.  

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

1 cup (8 oz) uncooked steel cut oats
2.5 cups (20 fl oz) water

Bring water and steel cut oats to a rolling boil.  Simmer on LOW for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave on warm burner overnight or for a few hours until cooled.  Refrigerate.  Makes at least 3 cups of cooked oatmeal.  Reheat and serve like regular oatmeal.  

High Protein Berry Steel Cut Oatmeal

1/2 cup (4 oz) cooked steel cut oats
1/2 serving (15g)  protein powder (I use brown rice protein powder)
2-3 Tbsp milk as needed (I use rice or almond milk) 

1/2 cup (4 oz) berries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp dried fruit bits (cut dates, prunes, raisins, etc for added sweetness)
optional:  drizzle of maple syrup if not sweet enough

Mix 1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal with 1/2 serving protein powder and 2-3Tbsp milk, as needed to dissolve the protein powder.  Cover and reheat in microwave for 30 seconds or until warm.  Top with 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, ground flaxseed, dried fruit and a dash of cinnamon.  

I know this is not the prettiest bowl of oatmeal, but it is so hearty and fills this busy mommy's tummy for the crazy day ahead!  

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cherry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

My firstborn turned 8 yesterday and we had a very nice and quiet family birthday celebration.  It was -26C!  Brrrr.... not as cold as the day he was born: it was -38C!  It was the first week back to school after the holidays.  We resumed our normal hectic schedule filled with field trips and extracurricular activities for our three children.  

By the end of the week, I just did not have the energy to throw a birthday party filled with cupcakes and a bunch of active 8 year olds.  Instead, I decided to throw his "official" party with friends at a later date, preferably 1 month after Christmas!  In the meantime, I baked a lovely warm, comforting Cherry Sour Cream Coffee cake for a very cold winter's day. Instead of frosting, I thought a buttery, sweet, crunchy streusel topping would be just as good.  

OK, it was not a classic child's birthday cake.  Surprisingly, the children ate more of pieces of this cake than any of my other ones with frosting!  Another bonus, it was easy to make with simple ingredients.

Once cut, the children went crazy over the cherry filling.  The wonderful thing with this recipe is that you can use your favourite flavour pie filling instead.  Canned or homemade.  For simplicity, I used canned.  With cherry pie filling, I put 1 tsp almond extract in the cake for a "cherry almond" flavour combination.  For apple pie filling, the cake would be wonderful with vanilla extract and cinnamon in the batter and/or in the streusel topping.  I would also like to try bumbleberry and blueberry pie fillings too.  

Cherry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened (I used soft non-hydrogenated canola oil margarine)
1 cup sour cream (I used 7% light sour cream)
3 eggs
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling, or your favourite flavour of canned or homemade pie filling

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 chopped pecans (I omitted, possible nut allergy)
1 tsp cinnamon (I forgot!)

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup softened butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Reduce speed to low. Alternate adding sour cream and dry ingredients. Beat until well mixed.

Spread half of batter into greased and floured 13x9-inch baking pan. Spoon cherry pie filling over batter. Spoon remaining batter over pie filling; spread carefully. 

Stir together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and topping is dark golden brown.

Even better with a whipped cream topping!  The birthday boy enjoyed THREE pieces!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gluten-Free Vanilla Chiffon Sponge Cake

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all Prosperity, Good Health and Happiness for 2013!  

My New Year's Resolution:  to try cut out as much gluten as possible.  My tummy troubles are better when I eliminate gluten/wheat from my diet.  My test for Celiac's disease came back negative but I may be sensitive instead of allergic.  

I decided to make a gluten-free vanilla chiffon sponge cake. It was a success!  Sorry about the presentation of the cake, I had to quickly take these pictures before the whole cake was DEVOURED!

I found this recipe from SeriousEats and it is almost exactly the same as my regular chiffon cake except for the use of a gluten-free flour blend of tapioca starch, white rice flour, potato starch and xanthan gum.  The texture was beautifully fluffy, feather-light, not gummy and heavenly.  The taste was slightly powdery, but with a bit of whipped cream, sliced fresh strawberries and canned peaches, it tasted like a "real" (wheat) chiffon cake! 

Gluten-Free Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Gluten-free flour blend*
1 1/4 cup white rice flour (I used a Thai brand from an Asian supermarket, very finely milled)
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch (I used an Asian brand)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

cup granulated sugar 
teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup water (I used 1/4 cup milk + 1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
teaspoons vanilla 
egg yolks (or 7 if using all-purpose flour)
cup egg whites (8 eggs) 
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 

Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat in cold water or milk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks until smooth.

In large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over beaten egg whites, folding with rubber spatula just until blended. Pour into 2 ungreased 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pans.

Bake about 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown and springs back to touch. Immediately turn pans upside down onto heatproof funnel or bottle. Let hang until completely cool, about 1-2 hours. Loosen side of cake with knife or long, metal spatula; remove from pans. 

* if not gluten-free, you can use 2 cups all-purpose flour or  2 1/4 cups cake flour

- Adapted from Serious Eats:  Gluten-Free Chiffon Cake

My kiddies LOVED this chiffon cake.  They didn't notice anything different from my regular recipe and even wanted some for breakfast today! 

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