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23 May

Scratch That!

Posted in dessert recipes, GMO, Shop Smart on 23.05.13 by Smart Ingredients

One day recently I was making cupcakes form a box when my 5-year old daughter, and faithful baking helper, licked the batter bowl and said. “Eew, I can’t eat this, it tastes like chemicals.” I took a lick, and she was right, ick, it did. It does. Cake mixes are one of the most commonly purchased items by families, and this was a top 2 brand. And the shame is we are “trained” to believe these cupcakes are homemade if they are home-baked. “From Scratch” has become quite a fancy term in cooking these days. But it really shouldn’t be. To make your own cupcakes requires you to combine 10 ingredients instead of 3. This may sound like a lot to you, but when you consider that one of the three ingredients in the quicker method is a packaged cake mix that includes more than 17 ingredients such as “Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, and Artificial Flavors,” I think you’ll agree it’s not so bad. One of the ingredients is a complicated compound, and the other is a mystery. (I don’t want you to lose your appetite so let me just tell you to google search where artificial flavorings come from and you may discover a few surprises.)
When packaged foods first came out, they were a wonderful convenience option for busy cooks. But in the decades since their inception, the mission to create larger profits by using more manufactured ingredients has made them a toxic option for our families.
One step at a time, let’s get back to cooking from scratch. Once you learn to Shop Smart it isn’t as hard as it seems. This recipe for homemade chocolate cupcakes is a great place to start.
Easy Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1-1/3 cups flour (non-GMO, such as Hodgson Mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (I have used vanilla and chocolate almond milk in addition to cow’s milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

See our recipes section for frosting ideas, or frost as desired.


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16 Dec

Make Ahead Fruit Pies

Posted in dessert recipes on 16.12.10 by Smart Ingredients

Another make-ahead dessert we loooove for the holidays is fruit pies. And our Apple, Pear, Blueberry Fruit Pie… like so many of our dinner recipes… is flexible. It is a basic fruit pie recipe, with a crumble topping. The insides should be a combination of 4-5 cups fruit. It can be all three of these, or if you only have on hand at home apples and some frozen blueberries, just use that. Feel free to make other substitutions you know would work (or shoot us a message to ask). This pie is best frozen in its just-prepared state (prebaking), though it can certainly be frozen after it’s cooked. Remove from freezer just one hour before baking.

Here’s the link to the recipe on our site:

Apple, Pear, Blueberry Crumble-Top Pie


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