My husband and I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Almond Meal as a great alternative to breadcrumbs or flour when our dinner recipes call for our protein to have a breading or coating. What is almond meal, exactly? Almond meal is just ground up almonds, usually with the skin still on. It has the same nutritional profile as whole almonds: high in protein, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats. Why not add some good fats, protein and nutty flavor to your baked goods, while cutting some carbs at the same time?
While I try not to bake too much for the two of us anymore, I do enjoy the process of it and recently made a coffee cake for my inlaws as a thank you (or a bribe!) for dogsitting for us while we were out of town. Since I had the almond meal, I thought it would be a perfect way to 1.) try out a new use for it and 2.) get at least some nutrition into my thank you gift.
Adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, this sour cream coffeecake uses almond meal to replace a third of the flour in the original recipe, giving it a moist, nutty texture. You generally should only replace up to half of the flour in a baking recipe with almond meal if you want your product to hold together. The inside did slightly crumble when cut into, so you could tweak the recipe and only replace a fourth of the flour with almond meal and see if it holds together better. It was still pretty delicious, though. Next time, I may also try whole wheat flour, just for the extra fiber and nutritional benefit.
- 1 c butter, room temperature
- 1.5 c sugar, plus one TB
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c light sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking power
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 c all purpose flour
- 2/3 c almond meal
- 1 c pecans, toasted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour the bundt pan.
- Cream the butter with 1 1/2 c of sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. Stir in the vanilla and beat in the sour cream.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking power, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 equal portions, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Toast your pecans until fragrant, let cool. Coarsely chop and toss with 1 TB sugar and the cinnamon.
- Spoon half of the batter into your prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle all of the nut mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.
- Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan and bake the coffeecake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the pan on a wire rack and turn it out onto a plate after 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A few years back, I purchased a copy of The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook and have had great success with many of the recipes. One of my absolute favorites and go-to meals for midweek is the Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa. The addition of red pepper flakes and a hint of sweetener to the bright and crunchy vegetable salsa gives this dish a sultry heat that marries well with the rich, velvety salmon. As we all know, salmon is full of those fabulous omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are so important in helping to reduce inflammation throughout the body and lowering our risk for heart disease. So eat up!
While this recipe is perfection in its unaltered form, my husband and I recently embarked on a new way of eating, which incorporates leans meats, lots of veggies and other foods and ingredients that have a low glycemic index. In order to adapt this recipe to our new diet, I replaced the honey with raw agave syrup (easily found at Trader Joe’s), used red bell peppers instead of tomatoes, as tomatoes are technically a fruit, which we limit our intake of, and increased the proportion of “salsa” as it counts as our veggies.
For more information on our diet, please visit Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution and also my girlfriend’s excellent blog with loads of information and recipe ideas. And, no, this doesn’t mean I’m never making or eating cupcakes and treats again….just not as frequently!
Ingredients (original recipe found here):
- 1/2 english cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then cut into a small dice
- 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into a small dice
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into a small dice
- 2 Tablespoons chopped shallot or red onion
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro,plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Lime wedges for garnish
- In a bowl, combine the cucumber, bell peppers, shallot, and chopped cilantro. Toss gently to mix.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1 teaspoon of the canola oil, the agave syrup, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Pour the lime mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining ½ teaspoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the salmon fillets to individual plates and top each with the salsa. Garnish the plates with the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately with another veggie, like sauteed green beans.
Cost & Time-Saving tip: My husband and I do bulk protein runs at Costco, then cut everything up into portions and freeze them for later use.