Healthy Cooking.

Microwave convection cooking.

I have found xylitol (sugar) in a few more health food stores. There are some other products that are slower metabolizing that make good replacements for sugar if you do not want to use an artificial sweetener such as Splenda. it is a very good product for sweetening as well as cooking. The package I recently purchased says it does not cause foods to rise like sugar, but is otherwise good for baking. When you need the additional rising, I would suggest using half xylitol and half sugar. Since diabetes is an increasing risk to my husband, along with heart issues, we are especially diligent about using whole grains and carbohydrates that have a slow metabolism rate. In my recent classes, I used the white whole wheat flour for both baked recipes with very good results. Here are some of the things we have enjoyed in recent weeks.

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, page 71 "On-the-Go" book with 1 cup xylitol to replace white and brown sugar. Also used half ground almonds for flour.

White Whole Wheat Flour. This product is wonderful and can replace all purpose flour with minimal change in texture and flavor. It is made by King Arthur and available in some upscale food stores. I've used it in cakes, breads, crusts and even the Pannekuchen, page 60, "On-the-Go" book. I have used it for most class recipes recently and everyone agrees that you do not sacrifice flavor for whole grain. I recently found this product in our natural foods store, made by Bob's Red Mill. This product is more like whole wheat flour. I felt it was best when mixed with about half white flour than using it totally as the white flour replacement.

For an easy fresh fruit topping, blend together equal amounts of cottage cheese and plain yogurt. Mix in a little xylitol or Splenda for desired sweetness and a little almond extract. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Use as a creamy sauce with fresh fruit or as a substitute for whipped cream over cake or strawberry shortcake.

Make your own Maple Syrup by combining about 1/2 cup xylitol with 1/4 cup water. Microwave (100%) 2 to 3 minutes or until boiling and Xylitol is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup brown rice syrup and 1/4 teaspoon maple extract. Store in refrigerator. This is great with pancakes or waffles made with white whole wheat flour.

In the granola recipe that follows, I sometimes add 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour along with 1/4 cup additional brown rice syrup. This makes a more chunky product that is better for snacking.

I love pickled beets and have found they taste just as good made with xylitol as with sugar. You can microwave the beets or cook on a burner...or, start with canned beets.

Pickled Beets
  • 1 lb. medium-sized fresh beets, tops cut off with 1 inch stem on beets Water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Xylitol or sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dash ground cloves

  1. Wash beets. Place in 2-quart microwave dish; cover with water. Cover; cook with sensor setting, using fresh vegetable (hard). Let stand covered 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool in cold water. Remove and discard outer skin by removing stems and rubbing remainder to loosen. Slice beets into storage dish.
  2. Combine xylitol, salt, mustard, vinegar, water and cloves in 1-cup glass measure.
  3. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 30 to 40 seconds or until heated. Stir until sweetener is dissolved. Pour over beets. Mix lightly to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until served.

About 6 Servings

TIPS: Use the same cup used for measuring apples to mix topping ingredients.

  • Sugar can be substituted for xylitol.
  • Use tart apples for the best flavor. When apples are not tart, sprinkle apples with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Our local natural foods store, features a really tasty banana bread that uses sour cream. I took the idea and adapted it to plain yogurt since that has become a staple at my house. You will love the moistness of this lower fat banana bread.

Favorite Banana Bread
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar (use half Splenda or Xylitol)
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (use half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat microwave-convection oven to 375°. Blend together oil, sugar and banana. Add yogurt and egg; beat well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, salt and soda; stir just until blended. Spoon into ungreased silicone loaf pan or greased glass loaf pan; spread evenly.
  2. COMBO-BAKE on low rack on low-mix setting at 375° for 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove from pan. (Remove bread from glass pan after 15 minutes cooling). Store cooled bread tightly wrapped in refrigerator.

1 Loaf (About 12 slices)

TIPS: Regular oil can be used. However, the light olive oil is frequently used in baking.

Yogurt helps add moistness while reducing the quantity of fat used. Use non-fat or low-fat yogurt.

This salad does not have a microwave step, but it is so good I am going to share it anyway. Since one of our goals was to reduce blood sugar, we now use the sweetener Zylitol in most recipes (Splenda usually works well, too.)

Broccoli Salad

  • 3 cups broccoli pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Xylitol or Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon plain rice vinegar

  1. Combine broccoli, onion, raisins and seeds in serving bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in measuring cup; mix well. Add to salad. Toss to coat evenly.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until served, up to 12 hours.

About 6 servings

Tips: Leftovers taste great, too. Can be stored for up to 3 days in refrigerator.
For variety, use half broccoli and half cauliflower pieces.
To toast your own sunflower seeds, combine 2 tablespoons raw seeds in a 1-cup glass measure. Add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil; mix well. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 45 to 60 seconds or until toasted, stirring once. Cool before adding to salad.

This granola is easily toasted in the convection oven and extra healthy, too, since it has no added sugar. Look for brown rice syrup in your favorite natural foods store.

Granola
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine grains, seeds, coconut and cinnamon in large bowl; mix lightly. Combine oil and syrup in 1-cup measure. MICROWAVE (100%), uncovered, 40 to 50 seconds or until heated. Stir in vanilla. Pour over grains; mix until well coated. Pour into ungreased shallow 2-quart silicone baking pan.
  2. COMBO-BAKE on low rack with low-mix setting at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring 2 or 3 times. Store in tightly covered container.
  3. About 6 Cups

    Tips: If oven is preheated, decrease time about 5 minutes.
    The 9-inch round silicone baking pan is ideal for this recipe since the high sides give it a 2-quart capacity.