Tag Archives: light

Healthier Doughnuts: Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes Recipe

Written by Chris

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

Let’s face it; doughnuts taste great! But I really haven’t met a healthy or healthier doughnut I’ve liked — until these Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes. My kids’ love for pumpkin bread helped inspire this recipe.

Last Halloween, I brought Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes to their classrooms for their Fall Harvest party. To my surprise (well, not really — it was sweet season after all), there were bakery doughnuts there, too. My immediate thought was that my doughnuts had no chance. I fully expected the container to come home full, or at least half full.

Guess what? Every single doughnut got eaten! Every. Single. One. I was so happy! I’m not one to squash indulgence; it has its place every now and again. But when there is an equally good tasting, healthier alternative, I say go for it.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Ingredients for 36 doughnut holes:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup Baker’s sugar (ultrafine pure cane sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter (melted (optional)


PREHEAT oven to 425° F. Lightly spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

WHISK flour, baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and salt in large mixer bowl until combined.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

WHISK eggs, oil, brown sugar and pumpkin in medium mixing bowl until well combined. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; stir until just combined. Fill each mini muffin cup with about 1 rounded tablespoon batter. A small cookie scoop works perfectly for scooping, as shown above!

BAKE for 9 to 10 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (tops should be golden brown). Cool in pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

COMBINE Baker’s sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a pie plate or shallow bowl (or even a zip-top bag works well!). Brush or dip tops (or all sides) of doughnut holes in melted butter to lightly coat; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture as shown above. There will be about ½ cup cinnamon-sugar mixture left which can be discarded. (For less fat and calories, skip the butter and just roll in cinnamon-sugar.)

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes recipe

ENJOY warm or at room temperature.

Happy Halloween!


Related recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Frankensteins recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Frankensteins
Halloween Dipped Marshmallow Pops recipe
Halloween Dipped Marshmallow Pops

Cooking Light Recipe Makeover: Lower Fat Piña Colada

Written by Liz –

Cooking Light's Piña Coladas

The June issue of Cooking Light features a recipe makeover for that refreshing summertime treat: Piña Coladas, shown above (photos by Randy Mayor, recipe and content by Cooking Light). They use Carnation evaporated milk to help lower fat but keep the creamy flavor:

“You’ll like our way of losing almost all the sat fat while keeping the delicious coconutty goodness. Freezing the pineapple adds a velvety texture and keeps the cocktail frozen longer. The riper the pineapple, the more concentrated the flavor will be.”

Sounds good to us! Excerpt below is from June 2012 issue of Cooking Light.

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

Lighter Piña Coladas

Nothing says “escape” like a creamy, ice-cold piña colada: cocktail in hand, feet in the sand, music in the background (hopefully not that dreadful piña colada song, the last #1 hit of the 1970s, unless it’s a guilty pleasure). Unfortunately, nothing says “better head to the gym” like a piña colada, too: 425 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, most of which comes from the mysterious goo known as cream of coconut. We’ll show you how we kept the vacation-worthy flavor while slashing fat and calories. At just 158 calories, it’s all pleasure, no guilt.

Tip #1: Homemade Coconut Milk

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

We make our own infused coconut milk to replace heavy, sugary cream of coconut. This cuts 176 calories and 8 grams of sat fat per drink. Save day-of prep time by doing this step (step 1) the night before.

Tip #2: Fresh Pineapple

Pineapple peaks in summer; it’s sweet, slightly tart, and juicy. Sub fresh fruit for some of the canned juice and save 44 calories per drink. A splash of juice adds more acidity.

Tip #3: Gold Rum

We opted for the darker variety, with its hints of caramel and molasses, which better complement the creamy coconut and tart pineapple.

Piña Colada Recipe for Success

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

Freezing the pineapple adds a velvety texture and keeps the cocktail frozen longer. The riper the pineapple, the more concentrated the flavor will be. Get the recipe here.


Related better-for-you frozen cocktail recipes:

Green Jalapeño Margarita recipe
Green Jalapeño Margarita
strawberry margarita recipe
Frosty Strawberry Margaritas

May is for Strawberries: A Berry Good Month!

Written by Jenny

Strawberries and Cream Sherbert Recipe

May is National Strawberry Month and it couldn’t happen at a better time of year! Reason being is my grandparents would come and visit us for Memorial Day weekend, when we would attend a parade in the area (my grandfather was a World War II veteran) and later, have a barbeque. Once the dishes were cleared away, my grandmother, mom or I would start to hull strawberries for my grandfather’s favorite dessert Strawberry Shortcakes. The strawberries were most always bought from the local farmer’s stand. I can still taste those berries from the stand of long ago when I go strawberry picking with my daughter. Like back then, many of the berries never make their way into the bowl!

For some great tips on strawberries, see Chris’ April 2011 post with more strawberry recipes.

There are many recipes to celebrate the bounty of strawberries this month brings. Here are two new strawberry recipes from our kitchens.

Strawberries & Cream Sherbet is the perfect treat for the hotter months approaching or already here for some of you. I love the simplicity of this recipe and the evaporated milk brings the creaminess without all the fat and calories. Plus, no ice cream maker required!

Strawberries & Cream Sherbet (shown above)

Ingredients for 10 servings, 1/2 cup each:


PLACE frozen strawberries, evaporated milk, sugar and lemon juice in food processor; process until smooth.

POUR into 8-inch-square baking pan. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes, until ice crystals begin to form around edge of dish. Using fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan. Repeat, stirring edges into center every 20 minutes or until frozen (about 1 hour). Cover tightly. Freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, scoop into small paper cups, paper cones or martini glasses.

TIP: 3 cups fresh, whole strawberries can be substituted for frozen. Freeze berries before using.

Strawberry Wheat Germ Smoothie Recipe

Continuing on the smoothie kick, Strawberry Wheat Germ Smoothie made with nonfat dry milk will have you licking your lips and spoon. It’s loaded with good-for-you nutrients like Vitamin E and C, folic acid and calcium and is “berry good” to boot!

Strawberry Wheat Germ Smoothie

Ingredients for 2 servings, 1 cup each:


PLACE frozen strawberries, orange juice, dry milk, ice and wheat germ in blender; cover. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


More strawberry recipes:

Strawberry Shortcakes Recipe
Strawberry Shortcakes
 Strawberry Cheesecake Pie Recipe
Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

Whipping Evaporated Milk: Seasonal Fruit with Sweetened Lime Topping


Seasonal Fruit with Sweetened Lime Topping recipe

Did you know you can whip evaporated milk to create a slimmer version of whipped cream? Evaporated milk is a lower-fat substitute for half-and-half, light cream or heavy cream. It’s also super convenient since it’s a pantry staple, and shelf-stable.

Whipping evaporated milk is much easier than I expected! You only have to chill the milk well, then whip for several minutes with a mixer, adding any flavoring you like (I like to add Cognac and lemon) and a little bit of sugar (powdered and granulated both work fine).

Watch the video above to see how easy it is to whip evaporated milk.

Seasonal Fruit with Sweetened Lime Topping


  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 8 cups sliced seasonal fruit or berries, such as mangos and strawberries
  • Spiced chopped nuts (optional)


POUR evaporated milk into small mixer bowl; place beaters into mixture. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until ice crystals form around edge of bowl. Meanwhile, place about 1 cup fruit in each of eight dessert dishes.

BEAT evaporated milk on high speed for 1 minute or until very frothy. Gradually add sugar and lime juice; continue beating for 2 minutes or until mixture is stiff. Immediately top each serving of fruit with about ½ cup whipped topping. Sprinkle with nuts.

NOTE: For whipped evaporated milk that holds up to 30 minutes: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over 2 tablespoons water in small, microwave-safe bowl; let stand for 2 minutes. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 40 seconds; stir. Let stand for additional 2 minutes or until dissolved. Pour 1 cup evaporated milk and dissolved gelatin into small mixer bowl; follow recipe above. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes.


More whipped evaporated milk recipes:

Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe
Frozen Key Lime Pie
Whipping Evaporated Milk
Whipped Evaporated Milk


Baking with Coconut Oil: Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies


Written by Chris

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Recipe

Baking with coconut oil certainly isn’t new, but it’s fairly new to me. I finally decided it was time to give it a try after reading a post on The Kitchn. Until now, I’ve been completely devoted to butter. The more I experiment with coconut oil, the more impressed I am. I’ve been using it to pop popcorn (oh my, heavenly!), added it to stir-frys, used it for pancakes and blended it in smoothies. For this post, I am going to focus on COOKIES.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Recipe

Coconut oil is bright white in color and has a fresh coconut smell. The taste profile is light and sweet, with subtle hints of coconut. I am noticing a hint of coconut in baked goods, but for the most part, it’s hard to detect. I think what surprises most people is that coconut oil can change between a liquid and solid state very easily. Whenever the temperature is above 76 degrees Fahrenheit, coconut oil will be liquid. Below 76, coconut oil is a solid. Refrigeration isn’t needed. The shelf life for most coconut oils is two years.

I put coconut oil to the test in a family cookie recipe, in addition to a handful of other cookie recipes. I am finding that you can pretty much use coconut oil as a substitute in many recipes that call for butter or margarine. It’s a straight substitution, 1 cup for 1 cup.

Coconut oil can be beaten along with sugar the same way you would butter. I like to beat it a little first just to soften, and then I add the sugar. If your recipe calls for melted butter and you want to try coconut oil, just melt the coconut oil and make sure your other ingredients are at room temperature.

Here is the family recipe I referenced – my kids love it! I love using dark chocolate morsels, but semi-sweet and milk chocolate morsels work great too.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

Ingredients needed for 40 cookies:

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels


PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Recipe

BEAT coconut oil in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.

 Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Recipe

DROP by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. I like to use a small ice cream scoop so that all cookies are the same size.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Recipe

BAKE for 9 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Or, enjoy warm while the chocolate is still molten.

Have you been experimenting with coconut oil too? Please share your recipes and suggestions!

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil recipe


Related recipes:

Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites Recipe
Chocolate Chip
Cookie Bites


Ancient Grains: Spring Farro Salad

Written by Chris

Spring Farro Salad Recipe

Farro is an ancient wheat grain that can be found in specialty foods stores, natural foods stores, and Italian markets. It’s sold whole (which is the most nutritious), semi-pearled, or pearled, all of which can be used in place of barley and other grains in salads. In Italy, where most farro is grown, the grain is often added to soups. It can be substituted for rice in risotto as well. And it’s fabulous for breakfast.

Farro has a hearty texture and nutty taste, making it the perfect base for this spring salad. I chose to use pearled farro because it can be prepared quickly. Since it’s hulled, the cook time is reduced to 15 to 20 minutes. If you prefer to use whole grain farro, plan on cooking it for about 45-60 minutes.

 Spring Farro Salad Recipe Package and Heart

Grain salads make a satisfying lunch, simple side or nutritious snack. Use whatever vegetables are in season and you really can’t go wrong. I chose fresh English peas, English cucumber, green onions, dill, micro greens and avocado. I didn’t plan to have everything green in color; it’s just what I had on hand. Fresh lemon vinaigrette brings it all together!

Spring Farro Salad Recipe

Spring Farro Salad

Ingredients needed for four 1-cup servings:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 1 ½ teaspoons MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup English peas, blanched* (these are super tasty raw too!)
  • ½ cup sliced and quartered English cucumber, seeded if desired
  • ½ cup micro greens or wild arugula
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
  • ½ cup diced avocado


COMBINE water, farro and bouillon in medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook for 15 to 20 minutes or just until farro is tender (it will not absorb all the water). Drain and set aside to cool.

WHISK together oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, vinegar and pepper in large bowl. Add farro; toss to coat. Add peas, cucumber, micro greens, green onions and dill; toss gently to coat. Taste and season salad with sea salt, if needed; fold in avocado. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

*Set aside a bowl of ice water and slotted spoon. Bring a pan of water to boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the peas and boil just until bright green (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Quickly remove the peas with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice.


Related recipes:

 Whole-Wheat Couscous Salad Recipe
Whole-Wheat Couscous Salad
Apple Quinoa Salad Recipe
Apple Quinoa Salad
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