September 30, 2011

Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

cinnamon chip coffee cake
I hesitated to post this recipe because I know cinnamon chips aren’t available to everyone (including us Canadians), but this cake was just way too good not to share! I hope that by now, more grocery stores in the US are carrying cinnamon chips, but if not, you can always order them on Amazon (they’re worth it). I also hope that Canadian stores will start carrying these, but until then, I’ll have to keep driving to the States to get them (no I don’t drive all the way there just for cinnamon chips, but I do go shopping there once in a while and I always grab a bag of cinnamon chips when I do!) For those who are still stuck, I have seen cinnamon chips in bulk food stores before, so don’t give up hope!

This coffee cake is full of those delicious little cinnamon chips, and it’s also really dense, moist, and delicious! The original recipe name was Cinnamon Chip Applesauce Coffee Cake, but I removed the word ‘applesauce’ from my title because you really don’t taste it at all, I think it’s mainly there to add moisture to the cake. The recipe didn’t specify which kind of applesauce to use, so I guessed and bought unsweetened applesauce. Once I tasted the cake, it was very sweet already, so I was glad I used the unsweetened kind. It’s definitely sweet enough to serve as a dessert cake, but I also enjoyed it for breakfast (though next time if I plan on serving it only for breakfast, I might reduce the sugar a bit). I also left out the nuts because I was sending the cake to work with Ryan, and I always try to omit nuts when they’re not essential so that people with allergies aren’t left out. But I’m sure this would be delicious with the added crunch of some pecans so go ahead and add them in if you don’t need to worry about allergies!

cinnamon chip coffee cake
This cake is so easy and quick to throw together. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool before removing it from the pan, because it smells so amazing – but it’s important to let it cool so that it will keep its shape when you invert it out of the pan. The cake is perfect on its own, but I decided to add a simple maple glaze just to dress it up a bit. However, you’re also supposed to wait for the cake to completely cool before adding a glaze, otherwise the glaze just kind of gets absorbed into the cake. I was in a hurry and so that’s exactly what happened to mine, but if you are a little more patient than me, it will look much better!

One more thing I wanted to add before I get to the recipe is that my twin sister Genevieve (from Vanilla & Spice) and I have decided to have a “Thanksgiving Week” on our blogs for the week leading up to Canadian Thanksgiving (which is next weekend already!) Every day next week, starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday, we will both be posting a different Thanksgiving recipe idea on our blogs. So be sure to come back on Sunday and follow along if you’re in need of some inspiration!

cinnamon chip coffee cake
Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

Adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. bag) Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional – I left them out)

Glaze ingredients (optional):
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons milk


Heat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in applesauce.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating until well blended. Fold in cinnamon chips, and pecans if desired.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

If using a glaze, mix together the icing sugar, milk, and maple extract, and drizzle over cooled cake before slicing.

cinnamon chip coffee cake

September 27, 2011

Apple Pie Smoothie

apple pie smoothie
When I first heard of an apple pie smoothie, I was amazed – Could it be true that in only a few minutes you can whip up a guilt-free, drinkable version of apple pie? The answer: YES!

I created my own version of an apple pie smoothie that smells and tastes just like apple pie – it’s soo good! Not only is it easy and quick to make, but it’s also pretty healthy – in addition to the apple, it contains non-fat yogurt, almond milk, spices (did you know cinnamon is good for you?), and just a teaspoon of sugar. I only used a small amount of cooking spray instead of butter to cook the apples, but if you want to save those extra few calories you could try the microwave method from How Sweet It Is and let me know how it works! You could also play around with the ingredients to make it even healthier by adding protein powder for a more substantial breakfast, or add some spinach for added nutrition to turn it into a Green Monster!

The hardest part about making this smoothie is waiting for it to cool before you can drink it, since it smells so good after you blend it. I stuck mine in the freezer to speed up the process but it was still torture waiting for it to cool down! When it was ready I gulped it down in what seemed like seconds, then immediately regretted not taking my time to enjoy it more. I guess that means I’ll have to make it again asap!

apple pie smoothie
Apple Pie Smoothie

Serves 1


Cooking spray
1 cup chopped peeled apple (about 1 small apple)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (if you don’t have vanilla milk, use regular milk and add a bit of vanilla extract to the smoothie)
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of allspice


Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Add the diced peeled apple, along with the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook until apples are lightly browned and soft, stirring often, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a blender.

Add vanilla yogurt, vanilla almond milk, nutmeg, allspice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer smoothie to fridge or freezer to cool before drinking. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.

September 25, 2011

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

african sweet potato and peanut stew

If you’re craving something hearty and comforting to warm you up on a fall day, this is the recipe for you! I made this many times to get me through last winter and plan to make it many times again this winter. This is my kind of comfort food, and unlike many traditional comfort foods, this one is really good for you too - while still managing to taste rich.

The recipe comes from Janet at the the taste space, a blog (by a fellow Canadian!) that’s full of really unique and healthy recipes that are so different from anything I see anywhere else, and I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from there.

I didn’t want to change much about the recipe because I knew it was perfect as is, but you could definitely mix things up with other ingredients if you want. Janet mentions that the peanut butter taste is not very dominant, so I doubled the peanut butter because I really wanted to be able to taste it. I wrote the recipe with the amount I used below, which I thought gave it a perfect hint of peanut butter, but if you’re not crazy about peanut butter then feel free to halve that amount back down to 2 tablespoons.

I’m also not a big fan of peppers in stews, so I decided to switch the pepper for carrots, which I thought would work well in this dish. I bought one of those ginormous bags of carrots at the grocery store, lugged it home on the bus along with all my other groceries, and when I finally went to take my first spoonful of the completed dish I realized I’d completely forgotten to put the carrots in. Urggh. Unless I write something down, I never remember it - does anyone else have that problem?

Anyways, if you have a better memory than me, you could try adding some chopped carrots in at the same time as the sweet potatoes. But even without any extra vegetables, this stew was still amazing. It also makes great leftovers for a filling lunch later in the week, so make lots!

african sweet potato and peanut stew

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Adapted from the taste space

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (green or red), deseeded and chopped (optional – I omitted)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds sweet potato (about 2 medium or 1 ½ large potatoes), peeled and cut into small chunks
1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes (I couldn’t find a can in this size so I just used half of a 28oz can)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 (19-oz) can red kidney beans
1/4 cup peanut butter


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion (and pepper if using) and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, and spices and briefly sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock, followed by the sweet potatoes. Cover and let simmer gently on medium-low for 30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft.

Add kidney beans, stir and heat through. Add the peanut butter and stir until completely incorporated into the sauce. Serve warm.

Ingredient Index

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