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Sweet Potato Praline Cookies and Asparagus, Cranberry, Pine Nut Orzo Salad

Posted May 02 2010 12:00am
Good Evening!

I have survived the sleepover and a birthday party and now am getting ready to teach my new 6:00am class at Balance Yoga tomorrow.  I am a morning person but this may be a bit early for even me so I shall see how it all works out tomorrow.

It has been a fantastic day of eats and I have a couple recipes that I can't wait to share with you.  My husband was waxing poetically about a Sweet Potato Cookie he had at Jazz Fest last week and I remember seeing a recipe for Praline Topped Sweet Potato Cookies in the new issue of Light and Delish Magazine.  I did make a few tweaks to the recipe to make them a bit healthier so the recipe below is how I made them.

Sweet Potato Praline Cookies
U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1/2 cup(s) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup mango applesauce
  • 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 can(s) (15 oz) sweet potato puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter, for topping
  • 1/4 cup(s) light brown sugar, firmly packed, (for topping)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) milk , for topping; use more as needed
  • 3/4 cup(s) powdered sugar, sifted, for topping
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped pecans, toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1/2  cup butter, 1/2 cup applesauce, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add sweet potatoes, egg and vanilla; blend well.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients while beating at medium speed. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.

  3. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool for one minute on baking sheet, then remove from sheet to wire cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes or until cooled completely.

  4. For topping, melt the 2 T. butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar and milk. Add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Sprinkle toasted pecans on top.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies.

    These cookies are truly divine!  They are soft like whoopie pies but then topped with a sweet praline glaze and topped with crunchy pecans.  My husband loves them and says that I could sell these because they are so good.  
As a side note, I have to tell you I watched "It's Complicated" last night and loved it!  Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep were fantatic and I love Santa Barbara, it is one of my all-time favorite cities.  Her bakery was amazing and it made me want to bake!  My husband even enjoyed it and he was reluctant to watch it at first.  I love feel good movies and this was definitely one of them.

The morning started off with my beloved SunButter & Banana on Ezekiel English Muffin.  I enjoyed my detour into the Hemp 14 bread and La Brea Whole Grain Bread but I think I put on a few pounds when I indulge in all that good bread.  I have been trying to figure out what I have been doing differently the last couple of weeks and came up with indulging in bread.  The Ezekiel Muffins don't seem to bloat me or maybe this is all just psychological but anyways I went back to my tried and true eats.

 SunButter & Banana on Ezekiel English Muffin

1 Food for Life 7-Sprouted Grain Ezekiel English Muffin, toasted
1 tbsp SunButter
1 banana, sliced 

Lunch was my other favorite-- Greek Berry Chia Bowl.

Greek Berry Chia Bowl
3/4 cup Fage 2% Greek Yogurt
Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries
1 tbsp sliced almonds
1 tbsp chia seeds
drizzle of honey
sprinkle of Nature's Path Heritage Bites


The other recipe that I wanted to share with you is an amazing Asparagus, Cranberry and Pine Nut Orzo Salad.   I saw this recipe in the new issue of Prevention Magazine in the Cheers for Spears section.  I used whole wheat orzo and pine nuts instead of almonds in this fantastic pasta salad.

Asparagus, Cranberry and Pine Nut Orzo Salad

2 tbsp pine nuts
6 oz whole wheat orzo (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 lb aspargus, trimmed, cooked and cut diagonally into quarters
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon zest
(from two lemons)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1. Toast pine-nuts in 350 degree oven until browned, 5-10 minutes.
2. Prepare orzo per package directions and drain.
3. Heat oil over medium-low heat in medium saucepan.  Add garlic and ground red pepper and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add aspargus and heat through, about 2 minutes.  Stir in orzo and salt and toss to combine.
4. Remove from heat.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan, and cranberries.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.  Top with toasted pine nuts just before serving.

We had salmon for dinner tonight and this was the perfect side dish.  One of my personal training clients is a nurse and she had just been to a whole seminar on treating hypertension and was sharing that anyone with hypertension should be on a Mediterranean diet, eating cold water fish 3 times a week, eating lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and taking Fish Oil supplements.   I like the whole concept of the mediterranean diet and am going to do a little research on recipes that I can incorporate into my diet.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and I am off to lift weights before putting the kids to bed and then myself!
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