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Friday, February 28, 2014

Banana Walnut Muffins with healthy substitutes and Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples

I'm back, bitches!
Sorry I called you bitches. I'm sure all 3 of my readers are awesome as hell and very un-bitches. Anti-bitches, if you will.

Ok, so when it comes to carbs these days I tend to get a good majority of mine through fruits and vegetables, so when it comes to bread type products I try and jam any extra nutritional benefit I can into it.

I present to you: Banana nut muffins you can make with things likely in your kitchen already!

You will need:

3/4 Stick of butter (you could PROBABLY get away with 1/2 stick.)
1/2 Cup of sugar
3/4 Cup of brown sugar
2 Eggs
3 Brown as hell bananas
1 Cup Greek yogurt instead of oil!
1.5 Teaspoons vanilla
1.5 Teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1.5 Teaspoons of baking soda
2.5 Cups of flour - I think I ended up using 2 and 3/4 cups because I used 4th bananas
1/2 Cup of nuts. Or a full cup. Whatever. :)

I don't know about ya'll, but I usually have anywhere from 2 to 8 frozen gross bananas in my freezer. These four were no exception.  I had to let them sit out for a while to defrost, then mashed the crap out of them.  My 4 year old was in charge of this part.

In another bowl (or just use the same one like me!) add the room temperature butter and the sugars. If you're fancy, love doing extra dishes, or have the counter space cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl. Then add eggs, yogurt and vanilla and combine.
Add your dry ingredients. 

Scoop into muffin liners or greased tins and bake at 325 F for 25-30 minutes.  This will make 18-20 standard sized muffins.
Or 12 awesome muffins and 8 browned to the point of no longer being edible muffins because I may have forgotten to set the timer the 2nd batch in the oven....

Add whipped cream cheese as "frosting" for extra awesome.
Yeah, like you've never done that before.

Switching gears now, I'm trying to expand my squash horizons.  Enter: the Butternut squash.

I had never eaten or tasted a butternut squash prior to cooking this one, but I knew they made soups of them that people went crazy for, so I figured they couldn't be that bad.
Honestly, I would've made soup with it, but I didn't have any cream - so plan B: Roast that thang!

Peel the squash, half it, scoop out the seeds and any stringiness, then chop into bite sized pieces.
Do the same thing with 2 apples of your choice. A firm one would've been a smarter choice, but I'm a sucker for Gala apples and they ended up being pretty mushy while the squash was perfect.
Go for a Granny Smith and this should be like heaven in your mouth!

Arrange on a pan, throw some olive oil over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon (or don't, your choice)  then bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees until the squash is soft enough to stab with a fork. 

I've been eating this as a side dish to steak and chicken all week and it's freaking delicious!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Brownies - With a Secret Ingredient!


Trying to eat healthy, but still craving brownies? Have I got the solution for you! A dark chocolate, walnut, black bean brownie!
Yeah. Black bean brownie.

Now, hear me out.  I made these without telling my boyfriend or my 4 year old that they were gluten-free, vegan and made from black beans until after they'd already scarfed down TWO each.

If a 4 year old will eat it, it must be good!

  • 1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 large flax eggs (2.5 T flaxseed meal + 6 T water OR 1 to 2 eggs - depending on how cakey you like it)
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 cup raw sugar, slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture [I used ground up white sugar]
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chip

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan (not mini).
  3. Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (besides walnuts or other toppings) and puree – about 3 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth.
  5. If the batter appears too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but nowhere close to runny.
  6. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
  8. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. I found mine took about 25.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don’t be concerned if they seem too moist – that’s the point. Plus, they’re vegan so it doesn’t really matter.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer.
Nutrition Information [for flax, not eggs]
Calories: 140 calories Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 22g Sugar: 9g Sodium: 163mg Fiber: 7g Protein: 5g

**If you do NOT have a food processor, these can be made in a Magic Bullet blender in stages!**

I topped some of the plain ones with peanut butter and a sprinkle of shredded coconut and holycrapohmygodddd they were delicious!


On a side note: I dropped another 8 lbs since that last post. Since 2011 I'm down 67 lbs!

Those were the same pair of glasses in both photos. Apparently half my weigh was carried in my face!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oatmeal berry muffins & Frozen yogurt grapes

Good god, you guys.  Has it really been over 6 months since I last updated?! I'M SORRY!

Rest assured, I haven't stopped baking, though I have cut back somewhat to keep the pounds at bay.
Speaking of weight - I'm now down to 146 lbs! At least I wasn't slacking off while I was gone, eh?

I present to you - Oatmeal berry muffins

Ingredient List:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (dealer's choice on flavor)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (or whatever berries you have lying around the house. I actually used about two cups in the end)
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Combine the egg and yogurt then stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the berries.

Bake at 400° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

Olivia went nuts for these and ate about 6 in two days and John ate the rest.  All I got was ONE.

In anticipation of the ball sweltering heat that is about to be upon us all this summer, I'll share with you the best alternative to popcicles I've found thus far in my almost 30 years of life.

Greek yogurt covered frozen grapes. me on this one.

This might be one of the only foods that Olivia REFUSES to share. and since they're ridiculously easy to make, healthy and cheap(ish) I have no problems with that.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Egg Bagels

One of my little sisters (I'm the oldest of 4 siblings) came down for a visit and she bought some egg bagels from a bakery, but forgot to pack them to bring them home so we ate them all in her honor.

I figured I'd replace her purchase by make her a homemade version since I had just recently purchased some yeast, having never baked with it before.

First of all, these take a long time to make, but they are damn good!  Unfortunately they weren't nearly as "eggy" flavored as I was looking to make them, but that just means I'll have to try them again!

I found the recipe online, but wrote it down on some paper since I don't have a working printer currently and I couldn't even begin to tell you which website I found it on. My bad.
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar + additional 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg (I added another egg yolk to this for more egg flavor, but it wasn't enough)
1 egg yolk
3 cups flour - I think I probably used closer to 5 cups by the end
Disolve the yeast in the warm water
Add sugar and salt until disolved
Lightly beat in the egg - stir well
Add 2 cups flour to make a thin dough
Add 1 cup flour to make a stiff dough
Knead for 15 minutes (I could only manage 7 minutes of vigorous kneading)
At this point I probably adding another cup of flour because the dough was very sticky
Set aside to rise for 40 minutes
Divide into 10 peices (or however many you want)
Make them into balls, stab the center with a floured finger and twirl to make the hole
Rise formed rings for another 20 minutes
Boil some water with the additional tablespoon of sugar
Boil each side of bagels for 2 minutes
Turn bagels gently if you want ones that don't look deformed
Mix remaining egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water for an egg wash - brush onto bagels
Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees

They came out a lot lighter than a store bought bagel.  My 3 year old ate two of them immediately and my boyfriend inhaled another. I had two then put them into a ziplock bag before we ate the whole batch in a single sitting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bacon Apple Cheddar Sandwiches & Strawberry Jam!

I was bored on an airplane once and saw a photo of a bacon apple cheddar sandwich in some random magazine. I thought it sounded kind of gross to be honest, but when I found myself with an excess of bacon ("excess" bacon?! What does she mean?!) I decided to give it a whirl.  I mean, it has bacon in it. It can't be that bad, right?

Moral of the story: If you want a new take on bacon - try this! You will not regret it!
Bacon - as much as you want
Apple - preferably granny smith
Cheddar slice
Onto the strawberry jam!
I bought a flat of strawberries at the farmers market for $10 because they were not the prettiest and could not be displayed. SCORE! This guy has the best berries on the proverbial block.  You can smell them from half way across the market.  They're small and super sweet and I want to marry them a little bit.

Washed 3 baskets worth, hulled them and cut them in half.  At this point you could mash them with a potato masher, but I don't like chunks in my jam (I'm the exception, I know) so I pulsed them in a blender for a couple seconds into fine chunks.  Dump the frangrant mess into a massive pot that's not made of copper and add 1 cup of sugar per cup of strawberry.  I ended up with 4 cups I believe.

The reason I made the jam this way is because I hadn't intended on making jam this day and having never made jam in my life I had no pectin in my kitchen.  This version is pectin free and easy.

Put the heat on medium until the sugar is disolved then crank the mixture up to a rolling boil until it reaches 220 degrees ferinheit.  It took forever to go from 215 to 220. Just keep checking.
Make sure you're stirring it constantly or it'll start to burn on the bottom of the pot by the way.

This stuff with double in size, so make sure you used a really big pot and don't end up stopping half way through and using two pots....not that I had to or anything ;)
Once 220 is acheived put a drop on a fridge-cooled plate and drag your finger through it after a few seconds.  If it doesn't meet in the middle, you're good to go.  If it does, boil it some more until it doesn't.
Ladle your delicioius smelling jam into sterilized jars (I boiled mine, but apparently you can use a dishwasher to do this. I don't have one.) and if you plan on eating it within a month, throw it in the fridge at this point.
If you want to shelf stabilize it, put the jars in a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  It will store for a year.
Once it's done boiling DO NOT drain the hot water and replace it with cold water. Not that I did or anything.... Whoops.
Since it was my first attempt at jam making, I forced everyone in my house to try it and they all thought it was delicious and smelled exactly like a fruit roll-up. 
I ended up with 3 (pre-jar breakage) full 8oz jars and one 4oz container I put in the fridge that we ate within the hour.
I did boil one of the pots for too long I think.  The refridgerator fresh one was great, but once it cooled it tended to glob up.  I threw it in the microwave for 5 seconds and it was spreadable again.
Hopefully my next attempt will go even better!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sorry I've been AWOL

I know it's been way too long since my last post.  :(

I started working again and it's been entirely too hot in my apartment to use the oven lately *but* the garden is in full swing squash-wise so I'll be posted some breads/muffins by this time next week!

I promise!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Strawberry Muffins!

The grocery store near my house constantly has 'buy one get one free' deals on the strawberries.

I never say no to the free one and wind up with more strawberries than I know what to do with!

Luckily the internet helped me out by providing a delicious strawberry muffin recipe.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (or more to taste. I used just shy of 1 tsp)
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries (I used 2 cups, but 1.5 would've probably been better)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well.


Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture. Add vanilla. Gently stir in strawberries.


Spoon batter into muffin pans.


Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 400ยบ for 20-25 minutes.

Photobucket   Photobucket

The original recipe. I tweaked it to include less sugar.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pizza Bites & Kale Chips

Both these recipes have less than 5 ingredients and are ridiculously easy to make.

First up - Pizza Bites!

You will need:
Pizza Dough (I got mine pre-made from Safeway for a buck)
Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tablespoons of melted butter

A bundt cake pan apparently, but I didn't have one, so a bread pan had to do.

Melt butter and garlic together. Cover inside walls of baking dish.

Pull off marble sized balls, flatten them out and put a pepperoni and a piece of cheese on top, then pinch the dough over them at the top.

Layer into a baking pan and every once in a while use a basting brush to cover balls in butter/garlic goodness.

Bake @ 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until brown.

Serve with warm marinara or dipping sauce of your choosing.

John was half asleep while I made this dish, but once it was about 20 minutes into its baking time he was watching the oven like a hawk waiting to swoop in!

Switching gears to a more heart health friendly recipe, let's make some kale chips!

I had never heard of kale prior to juicing and since then I try to incorporate it where I can. Inside smoothies has been my favorite option thus far because any fruit I blend it with will take over the flavor of the kale.

I've heard people talk about kale chips and how they're a great alternative to potato chips so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

You will need:
Kale [washed, dried & ripped into bite sized pieces]
Olive Oil

I had some spray Pam olive oil that I used to lightly mist the pieces on a cookie sheet.
Crack some fresh salt over the top.
Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes and viola! Deliciousness!

They were really salty - which was my heavy handed fault, but otherwise perfectly crispy and airy and delicious.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Asparagus Fries & Perogies

Let me start off by saying I'm currently obsessed with asparagus.
It has been on sale every time I've gone to the store and my breakfast for the past month has been a 2 egg omlet with rough chopped asparagus and cheddar.

I. Love. Asparagus!

That being said, I saw a photo on a few weeks ago that looked interesting, but I didn't have the right ingredients to pull off. 
I modified the recipe a bit, but it's more or less the same end result in a different texture.

The Ingredients:

Bread Crumbs
3 George Foreman fat collection plates (They're the perfect size!)

The How To:

Make sure to rinse them in cold water prior to the flour coating. 
For faster, cleaner, more even coverage of flour, throw them in a bag and shake 'em around.

If your hands are clean, you're doing it wrong.
After they're all coated, lay them on a cookie sheet and throw them into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. 
Pair them with some cheese perogies covered in chicken gravy and there's your new favorite dinner!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rustic French Apple Cake

I found the original recipe here at this blog and book marked it for a later date.
It looked so good and I have a ridiculous amount of apples in my house right now, so it just seemed logical to make it tonight.

The ingredients are simple enough.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (I used unpeeled gala apples)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted and cooled

Optional: I added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon too - cuz who doesn't like cinnamon and apples together?

*If not using rum (I didn't) up the vanilla to 1 teaspoon or 1.5 teaspoons

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and beat with a whisk until foamy, about 1 or 2 minutes.
Pour in the sugar and whisk for another minute or so to blend.
Whisk in the vanilla and rum.
Sprinkle about half of the flour mixture in and whisk until combined.
Follow that with mixing in half of the melted butter, and once that’s incorporated, repeat the procedure again with the rest of the flour mixture and butter.
Each time you add something, whisk gently so that you have a smooth and rather thick batter.
Add in the apple slices, and using a rubber spatula, fold the batter to coat the apples.  Scrape the mixture into prepared pan and smooth out somewhat with your spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  I used a glass 9x9 dish, but a spring form pan would probably look better if you're going for aesthetics.

I'll DEFINITELY be making this again! I have a love affair with baked apple dishes and this hit the mark perfectly, plus it's super easy to make!