Friday, March 23, 2012

Vlada's #Apple Raisin Cake #Recipe

LINC Cares, a studio within LINC Housing, and Cooking and Kids, teamed up on a Friday afternoon to provide a free cooking lesson to the residents at the property where I run an after school program.

Vlada Vladic and her two helpers, (her children), volunteered four hours of their time to provide a hands-on demonstration for Vlada’s Aetna Healthy-Fight Winning Recipe - Fresh ‘Apple-Cranberry-Walnut’ Bars.  (See the recipe below for a few changes we made.)

The turnout was small but perfect!  A mom and her daughter and her daughter’s friend (both girls go to the after school program) attended the cooking lesson. Matter of fact, the girls were talking about it all week leading up to the event!

While everyone participated in the event, we had a discussion on healthy eating.  Vlada said, “The ingredients in this recipe are not fancy and are easily found and affordable”.  Vlada recommended buying the dried ingredients found in bulk.  She recommended Henry’s Farmers Market (or WinCo) where the bulk section has great prices.

Vlada talked about the nutritional value of the main ingredients found in this recipe.  Here is a synopsis:

Apples: With their skin are a great source of fiber and they have hundreds of phytonutrients;
Raw Sugar: The only “sweetened” ingredient in the entire recipe. This kind of sugar is better over refined, white sugar because raw sugar is the closest to its natural state – it hasn’t been stripped or processed a dozen times over nor has any harmful chemicals been added. More information on the differences found at Natural Organic Lifestyle.
Olive oil: A healthy fat;
Raisins: Low in cholesterol, sodium, and high in fiber;
Walnuts: Omega 3 for brain health, shown to lower cholesterol, rich in B vitamins and magnesium;
Cream of wheat: Used in the place of wheat flour; essential source of vitamins, here is some history;
Cinnamon: Lowers cholesterol, boosts cognitive ability and memory, it’s a natural food preservative.

Recipe (with permission to share):

2.5 pounds fresh apples - shredded
1 cup of raw sugar
1 cup of olive or grape seed oil (we used olive oil)
½ cup of dry cranberries (we used raisins)
½ cup of chopped walnuts
1 pound of cream of wheat (uncooked)
1 lemon zest (omitted)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon of real vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples and sugar;
add the vanilla, cinnamon, cranberries, lemon zest, baking soda and baking powder.

Add the oil and cream of wheat.

Pour the mixture into a baking pan, sprinkle it with chopped walnuts, and bake at 3500F for 35-40 minutes.

Cool the cake, and cut it into bar-like shapes and serve the bars at any time. The bars make a great dessert or snack. With plain yogurt or a glass of milk, they also make a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

This is how healthy and nutritious meet delicious.

 Grating fresh apples.

Thoroughly mixing all ingredients before adding the binding ingredient.

Adding dry (or uncooked) cream of wheat. 
While one of the helpers coats the pan with olive oil.

Spreading the apple-raisin-walnut mixture in the pan. 

Topped with crushed walnuts, additional raisins and a dash of cinnamon. Vlada is here talking about the benefits of these ingredients with one of the participants. 
Ready to serve.
The cake is extremely moist.  Hints of cinnamon come out in the apples with every bite.  This was the first time I ate a cake substituting cream of wheat for flour.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time eating anything other than breakfast with cream of wheat!  The apple-raisin-walnut cake is light and refreshing.  It packs nutrition in every bite!

I hope this has inspired you to look at food in a different way and try a new dish - perhaps you will try this recipe!  Feel free to leave a comment here and I'll share it with Vlada.  She would also be grateful for you sharing an image of your dish and your comments on her Facebook page: Cooking and Kids.

Thank you Vlada Vladic for your time and generosity, your heart and the ability to reach and teach cooking healthy foods to young aspiring minds!

I do receive a small commission from if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

A door prize was also awarded to one of the participants.
The prize: grater and a 3lb bag of apples! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A St. Patty's Day Treat - Green Muffins

@ConveyAwareness - Green Muffins

I found this recipe today while reading my “Conveying Awareness with Jessica David” news-feed and read that they are surprisingly sweet. I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge so I thought I’d give it a go!

I thoroughly like green vegetables but when these muffins came out of the oven, my initial thought was: … ehhh are you sure? Green muffins!?!? But, I do have an open mind so I bit into it and like the gal said, yep – surprisingly sweet.

Check out her recipe and give it a try yourself! (Plus it's a way to sneak in vegetables for your children. If they have a problem with the color, tell them it's for the special day - St. Patty's Day! - where it's cool to be/ have on/ eat/ drink anything green.) I substituted coconut sugar and coconut oil. 

Buon Appetito!

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)