Even though I can't bring myself to actually go on the diet itself, I am enjoying cooking from the South Beach cookbooks. I have the regular one, the quick and easy one, and the entertaining book. With nary an exception, the recipes I've tried have all been tasty, and I've learned a few good tricks from them. (The crabcakes and the chicken parmesan are particularly good!)
One of my favorite recipes is for these muffins, made with whole grain flour and just a little fat and sugar. They are loaded with chunks of apple and walnuts, which keep them nice and moist and add a little texture. The recipe actually calls for sugar substitute, but I just can't bring myself to bake with Splenda, especially when the recipe calls for so little sugar. The book says these are supposed to be an "occasional part of your phase 3 breakfast." There are other muffin recipes in the book for phase 1 and 2, but these are as far as I plan to go, at least for now. They're best on the day they are made, but they freeze fairly well too - I microwave them, wrapped in a paper towel, for 45 seconds of so - and enjoy them with a schmear of Trader Joes Organic Apricot-Orange spread.
Apple Walnut Muffins
adapted from The South Beach Diet Cookbook, by Arthur Agatson, MD
3/4 cup of whole grain pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or either can be substituted for the other)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 medium apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 400
Coat a 12 cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, sugar and egg. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined, and stir in the apples and walnuts. Do not overmix.
Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full, and bake for about 12 minutes, until a pick inserted in one comes out clean. Cool on a rack for five minutes, and remove to a rack to cool completely. ( I recently learned somewhere else that if you don't take muffins that are in paper cups out of the trays to cool, the paper cups will detach from the muffins (or cupcakes) because of the steam buildup. I haven't had that happen to me, but thought it was kind of interesting.
Each muffin has about 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 18 grams of carbohydrates.
P.S. - I had the privilege of enjoying lunch today with Angie from Crazy Salad at Mama Testa in Hillcrest. The food was good, and so was the company. It is clear that Angie is very passionate and knowledgeable about the local food scene, and I really enjoyed meeting her!