Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken


Who doesn’t love a bit of Chinese takeout?  Problem is they are often pretty unhealthy, and sometimes you just have no idea what goes into it, but likely MSG.  I actually really enjoy recreating our favorites at home, and there are no shortage of recipes floating around the net from which to do so.

Although I have made other versions of Orange Chicken in the past in the more traditional way of a breaded chicken bite, and they were great, I was very excited to come across this recipe which eliminates the breading making it not only healthier but a thousand times easier!  This recipe was so easy in fact I could hardly believe it!  It’s also made with honey in place of some of the sugar which helps keep it lighter and better for you.

I honestly didn’t miss the breading, and felt this had a nice heat level and orange flavor.  We had ours with some rice, which I also like to take a little shortcut with and use boil in a bag.  For me it just turns out way better than our rice maker which I have yet to perfect.  Overall it was a great dinner and one I would make again!

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Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken

Ingredients :

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 T. oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 T. white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 T. corn starch
  • zest from 1 orange
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I think I used about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • sesame seeds and more green onion slices for garnish (optional)

Directions :

  1. Heat 1 T. of oil in a pan.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and saute until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove any excess water or oil from the pan.
  2. In a saucepan mix together the rest of the ingredients minus the garnish.  Bring to a boil and stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  3. Pour sauce over the chicken and mix thoroughly.  Serve.

Recipe from Clever Spoon

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Good Morning Muffins


Sorry it’s been so long since I posted… got a little busy and things had to take a back seat for a while.  Anyway, I made these muffins a couple weeks ago and man were they good!  This is a recipe I found while watching Pioneer Woman’s cooking show.  I really enjoy her show and the type of food she makes.  So much of it is just good, simple, comfort food!  While watching the episode I was a bit skeptic about her use of TWO jars of marmalade in one batch of muffins, but I did the same and I really liked the balance of flavor and texture.

On the recipe she suggests using less if you don’t like the bitter taste of marmalade, but I don’t really feel like it is bitter so don’t be afraid to use it all.  The recipe I followed was also slightly different than what I watched her make on the show (I imagine it got altered a bit) and only listed 2 cups of marmalade, but on the show she says she just goes ahead and uses the two jars as it’s close.  Another difference I found when searching was the use of either just butter, just shortening, or a mix.  On the show she states that she likes the mix best so I went with that.

The muffins are nice and moist, with a great orange flavor, and have a little bit of sweetness and crunch on the top.  She uses a good deal of nutmeg in the topping, so you might consider cutting back a little if you aren’t a big fan.  She also uses salt which I found to be a great addition that sort of cuts through the sweetness a bit, but if you don’t like that sort of thing you can leave it out.  This recipe makes a lot of muffins, perfect for sharing, or just portioning out through the week for breakfast or a quick snack.  I think you can freeze them too if you like.

 

Good Morning Muffins

Makes : 24 muffins

Ingredients :

  • 4 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 4 T. unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1/4 C. shortening
  • 1 1/2 – 2 C. marmalade (or 2 jars)
  • 1 C. orange juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Topping :

  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. brown sugar
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • wheat germ

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut in the butter and shortening until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine your wet ingredients, then gently stir into your dry ingredients.  Use very few turns of the spatula to combine it. 
  4. Mix your toppings in another bowl and sprinkle a heaping tsp. over each muffin.  Also sprinkle about a 1/2 tsp. of wheat germ on each muffin.
  5. Bake 20-22 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

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Eggs Baked In Bread


I picked this recipe because I was honestly  just curious how it would turn out.  It sounded good… bread, eggs, cheese and broccoli.  I was just curious as to how the egg would actually turn out, and also the broccoli.  As I was preparing it for the oven I had a lot of doubts.  I imagined the broccoli would dry out or burn, and the eggs would either become very hard or spill off the side.  During assembly one of the eggs actually did spill over the side because I hadn’t made the hole big enough or perhaps I just put too much cheese and broccoli in.  I wiped up the mess so it wouldn’t burn and managed to salvage that yolk and most of the whites so I just put it in as it was.  I was baking my bacon at the same time and checking on that often so every time I would peak in there and see the eggs were nowhere near set up I would panic and start thinking of a back-up plan in my head.  Really up to the last minute I was sure it wasn’t going to turn out…… but somehow magic happened and it not only worked, but surprised me in the textures of the egg and broccoli.

The bread did not burn as I feared it would at that temperature for that long, though the ends did get pretty crusty since it was already a crusty piece of bread.  The broccoli sort of steamed in the bread leaving it moist and keeping the bread soft inside which was a nice contrast to the crusty outsides.  The eggs on the ends did cook more fully and the yolks, while not unpleasant, were solid.  I chose to make one large roll rather than cutting them into individuals prior to cooking so the two inside eggs didn’t turn completely solid like the two outside ones.  They were fully cooked, but the yolks took on a thick creamy sauce-like texture that really took this to the next level.  I would suggest cutting your bread before hand to ensure even cooking, and also to dispose of the very ends of the bread as they get a bit too hard.

The recipe was kind of general on some things… such as using a “sourdough sandwich roll” and how to stuff the ingredients inside.  I bought one of those really large sourdough loaves, and rather than cut it in half like you would if you were making a sandwich roll I just took enough off the top of the roll to level it off and make the entire thing crust-less on the top.  I wanted to make sure it was deep enough for stuffing and that worked out well.  One tip I have would be to not only make your holes big enough to accommodate an egg and some cheese and broccoli, but when putting the eggs on top do it very slowly and sort of stretch the holes a little with your fingers to allow the egg to settle into the bread rather than sit on top, or in the case of one of mine spill off the side!  The recipe called for mozzarella but I found I was out when I went to grab some and so I just used some pepper jack instead.  I am sure you could use whatever cheese you like though.  Same thing with the seasonings… the recipe mentioned chili powder in the list of ingredients, but then it wasn’t mentioned in the steps so I left it off not really thinking I wanted any on and it was good with just salt and pepper.

There are probably many ways you can alter this to suit your tastes, or improve on it, but the basic idea is definitely simple and also a little bit fun.  Perhaps some fresh herbs on top, or bacon crumbles.  Throw some ham inside.  Kick it up with a little hot sauce.  The sky is the limit.  All you have to do is put those doubts aside and trust that it will work!  As I mentioned the recipe I followed was little unclear on a couple of things so I am going to just elaborate on the recipe below to include the steps I took.

 

Eggs Baked In Bread

serves : 2-4

Ingredients :

  • 1 large sourdough loaf (unsliced)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup broccoli florets (make them on the small side)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh Parmesan, grated

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F., and line a baking sheet with foil. 
  2. Slice just enough off the top of the roll to leave a leveled crust-less top on your bread.  Make 4 holes across evenly spaced, digging out some of the bread.  There should be enough room for a little bit of broccoli, cheese and an egg in each hole. 
  3. Start by putting some of your broccoli into the bottom of each of those 4 holes, then stud the bread all around the holes by poking the broccoli into it.  Next put cheese into the holes over the broccoli, but leave room for the eggs.
  4. Carefully crack an egg over each of the 4 holes, going slowly, and taking time to stretch the holes a bit to settle the egg into the bread without breaking the yolks.  Season to top with salt and pepper, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake about 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set and bread is toasted. 
  5. **** Alternately, cut your roll into halves or fourths before stuffing them and arrange side by side to ensure more even cooking.  See notes above regarding the outer yolks cooking through more than the inside ones when left as one long roll.

Recipe from Divine Cusine Viva la Food!

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Spinach & Prosciutto Frittata


Frittatas are one of those magical things that look gorgeous, taste great, and are SO versatile.  You can seriously use just about anything you want in them making it the perfect dish to use up leftover produce, meat, cheese, etc.  They also take little effort, most come together quickly, and they serve a lot of people.  All you need is an oven safe skillet, but even that is just ideal.  You could get away with making these in cake pans, pie dishes, casserole dishes, or whatever you want.  It just looks more impressive in the skillet, and saves a few steps/dishes.  I actually have been meaning to try this for a long time …. kind of shocking that I haven’t actually other than a mini version in a muffin pan …. but I was waiting until I had a cast iron skillet.  And well… now I do!

I didn’t really follow any one recipe for mine.  I looked at a few for inspiration and to get an idea of the egg to cream ratio, as well as the cook times, but after that I just winged it so to speak and put whatever I wanted in it.  It turned out pretty dang good, but I think next time I would put even more of some of the ingredients in.  I just hadn’t wanted to over-do it and have it not turn out.  Now that I know it can hold more I won’t be shy.  Since I did wing it I am going to give pretty close estimations of what I used, but I encourage you to adjust to your tastes or if you want to play it safe like me for the first time use what I put down.

I said frittatas come together quickly most of the time, and that is true, but with these particular ingredients there are a couple more steps.  You might be tempted to take a shortcut and try cooking some of them together, but I think you might run into issues if you do, so I suggest just taking the time to do each separate and do them well.  I promise it sounds like more work than it really is.  As I mentioned I used a cast iron skillet and most of the recipes I read through suggested the same, as I think it does best with the sticking factor.  Also many suggested butter as a greasing agent to really be sure it won’t stick and who am I to argue.  If you want those perfect slices of frittata that look so impressive you can handle the little bit of extra fat/calories.

Anyway, I would call my first frittata a major success and you can be sure I will be trying other variations in the future and I imagine many of them will make it on here, so be on the look out!

Spinach & Prosciutto Frittata

Serves : 4-8 (4 for like a dinner, or 8 for like a brunch)

Ingredients :

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cream (you can use milk, but the cream really makes it good!)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (you won’t need much salt because of the prosciutto and cheese so go light to start and you can always season at the table)
  • 3 oz. package prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (basically two large handfuls, it really cooks down)
  • 5-6 crimini mushrooms (I think I would use a couple more next time)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cups grated gruyere
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan (a large grate as opposed to a fine grate)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced (I would use a little more next time)
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded (I would use a few more of these too)
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade (basically roll them up cigar style, and slice them into thin strips)
  • 2-3 T. butter, divided

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet heat a small bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, and cook your chopped prosciutto until crispy.  Remove and place on a paper towel to drain the grease. 
  3. Next put about 1 T. of the butter into the skillet and saute your mushrooms over a medium high heat.  To really get some nice color don’t overcrowd the skillet and let them sit for a minute before you try to move them around.  When they are just about perfectly golden throw in the garlic just to take the bitter edge off and let it get fragrant.  Remove to a bowl.
  4. Wipe out any leftover bits, then place your skillet back on a medium heat and throw in your spinach.  Cook it just until it wilts down and then remove it and let cool for a few minutes.  Once cool wring all the moisture out that you can and roughly chop it.
  5. While the spinach is cooling whisk together eggs, cream, baking powder, and salt and pepper.  Let sit for about 5-7 minutes as you finish preparations.
  6. Once you have all your ingredients ready to go, heat the skillet back up over medium-low heat and run the rest of your butter around the sides, and bottom.  Pour in your eggs, and after a minute or so start sprinkling in your basil, prosciutto, mushrooms, and spinach.  Then spread the cheese evenly over and sort of press it down a little so it sinks into the eggs, which should be slowly starting to set up ever so slightly.  Spread around your olives, and tomatoes taking care to make it look pretty of course.  Once the eggs starts to firm up a bit around the edges place your skillet into the preheated oven and bake for about 5-10 minutes until fully set.  You will know this  has occurred when there is not wiggle left in the center when you lightly shake the skillet. 
  7. Turn on the broiler and allow the top to ever so slightly start to brown before removing from oven.  Let it sit for a minute or two and loosen the edges before you try to cut it and carefully remove your slices to serve.

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Blueberry French Toast Sandwiches


This is a fantastic recipe for a special breakfast, or for a brunch perhaps.  We really enjoyed them.  However I did have to make a lot more egg mixture than the recipe stated.  I had doubled it right from the start and about halfway through realized I was going to have to make almost twice as much to coat all six slices (I had purchased thick french toast bread…. which I didn’t know even existed before the other day lol).  So total I did 3.5 batches of the egg mixture.  This wasn’t a problem, except for the fact that I had picked these because I thought I could keep the calorie count down to a reasonable amount by using fat free cream cheese and still be able to have a nice treat…. with the extra eggs I am sure that wasn’t the case any more.

Still, as I said, they were very good and one day isn’t going to make or break me.  I didn’t find them to be very sweet, which was ok by me, but Jeff liked it better with a little blueberry syrup drizzled on top which I thought was nice as well,  just not necessary.  Blueberries are not my first choice when it comes to these things so I want to try this again some time with raspberries perhaps, or if I can get my hand on them, maybe some huckleberries!  I am sure you could also use strawberries, bananas, or whatever you prefer.  Even mix them together!  The presentation is beautiful as well.  It would be perfect to make for that special someone on Valentine’s day, or any other day just to say “I love you”.

 

Blueberry French Toast Sandwiches

Serves: 3                          Time to make : 25 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 6 slices thick bread (sourdough or whatever you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I used 3.5 tsp.)
  • 2 eggs (I used 5 eggs and 2 whites)
  • 1 T. milk or cream (I used 3.5 T. cream)
  • 3/4 C. fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened (I used fat free)
  • 1 1/2 T. powdered sugar + extra for dusting
  • butter for frying

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, vanilla and cream.  Pour into a shallow dish and start soaking your bread slices in the egg mixture.  Let soak for a couple minutes on both sides.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Place your coated bread into the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes a side).  Drain grease by placing on a paper towel.  (After this step I then placed them on a plate in the oven set to warm)
  3. Meanwhile combine the soft cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl, stirring to mix well. 
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture on all 6 slices of french toast once done and sprinkle blueberries on top of 3 of the slices.  Place remaining three slices on top to make your sandwiches.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with additional blueberries.

Recipe from Farm Flavor

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Snickerdoodle Cookie Granola Bars


I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog these after messing up the recipe so much, but the results were still very good and I am sure would be even better if made correctly.  In true Monday fashion, I wrote down the ingredients wrong when I was making my notes and ended up putting twice the amount of sugar it called for and only a teaspoon of cinnamon when it called for a tablespoon.  As I said, the results were still very good, but definitely on the sweet side, so using the correct amount of sugar would likely take care of that issue.  My bars did remind me of snickerdoodles, but the additional cinnamon would definitely boost that familiar taste.  My version reminds me a lot of the Cinnamon and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal in bar form.

One thing I can’t be sure of is texture… mine were soft and very chewy/filling, but I have to wonder if they would have been firmer perhaps with less sugar.  Or maybe the opposite, I honestly don’t know.  The recipe I followed describes them as dense and chewy so I think it worked out fine.  The real test is whether they are enjoyable anyway right?  Well my 2 year old sure thought so as he sat at my feet begging for bites of the one I tried lol.  I do hope to try these again soon when my diet will allow and make them the correct way, so perhaps I will come back and add an update with notes on how they turned out.  I’d love to hear from anyone who makes them correctly as well.  Maybe it will turn out that the perfect recipe is somewhere in the middle!

I loved the simplicity of this recipe, and that there was no cooking involved.  I have never made my own granola bars before and now that I know how easy it is I can’t wait to try many other varieties.  I can’t say that they are particularly healthy, and especially not with double the sugar like I used, but they aren’t too bad since they are pretty filling, and they do have oatmeal which is good for you.  You can likely save a few calories on these by using margarine, and perhaps replace some of the sugar with splenda.  The recipe also suggested honey as an alternative to the light corn syrup and, though I don’t know if it’s much lighter in calories, I imagine it is probably more beneficial to your health.  I used the light corn syrup because it’s what I had on hand, and I needed to use it up to make room in my fridge.  One last thing I found was that I didn’t need as much chocolate as it called for to make a nice drizzle across the bars.  I probably ended up using about half of it, but if you like more chocolate go with the full amount.

 

Snickerdoodle Cookie Granola Bars

Makes : 12                        Time to make : 10 minutes + 2 hours

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional, or to taste)
  • 3 1/2 cups quick oats (I used the Quaker 1-minute oats)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour, + up to 4 T. as needed
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted for drizzling

Directions :

  1. Line an 8×8 baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  You want the foil to have an overhang so you can easily lift it once your bars have set.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl combine the butter, syrup and both sugars.  Heat for a total of 3 minutes, stirring at the end of each minute.  You are making a caramel sauce so watch closely in case it starts to boil over, but you shouldn’t have an issue as long as you used a large bowl.
  3. To the sauce add your vanilla, cinnamon, cream of tartar and salt and stir to combine.  Next add the oatmeal and stir to combine.  Add the flour last and a little at a time stirring to incorporate it all.  If after the 3/4 cup of flour your mixture is still sloppy you can add up to 4 T. extra (one at a time).  Mine didn’t need any extra flour.  You do want it moist and sticky.
  4. Press into your prepared pan firmly and evenly.  You can either top with your melted chocolate now or later on each individual bar. (I did it now)  Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set up, or 1 hour in the freezer if you are in a hurry.  Once set, lift your bars out and cut into 12 bars.  Individually wrap each in plastic wrap if you aren’t serving them right away and either store in an air-tight ziplockbon the counter up to a week, in the fridge up to a month, or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Recipe from averie cooks

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Day 141 : Strawberry Breakfast Crescents


I am supposed to shoot a maternity session today, and so planned a breakfast recipe for the day since I will be pretty busy this evening and into the night.  Of course now the weather is not cooperating at all, and I fear it may have to be postponed, but I went ahead with my food plans anyway.

I found these on key ingredient and thought it was just such a great simple idea!  They took minutes to prepare and the flavor was fantastic.  I want to try other flavors now, and I know Yokes sells some organic natural fruit rolls that would maybe make these even better.  Some of them busted open a tad and the strawberry leaked out, but it wasn’t bad and I think it only made them look better.  I did have quite a bit more glaze than I needed, so you could cut that back or use the rest on something else if you want.  You might even be able to stretch the amount for a double batch of the crescents.

Strawberry Breakfast Crescents

Serves : 4 (2 each)                Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 pkg of crescent rolls (I used reduced fat)
  • 4 betty crocker strawberry fruit rolls
  • 2/3 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp. milk (I used fat free half and half)

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Separate crescents into triangles.
  3. Unroll the fruit rolls and cut diagonally into 2 triangles each.  Place a triangle on each crescent, folding as necessary to ensure it is within the edges and not hanging out.
  4. Roll up crescents as you would normally and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  6. In a bowl whisk together powder sugar, vanilla, and milk to create the glaze.  You may want to start with 2 tps of milk and add a bit more at a time until you get the desired consistency… which should be liquid enough to drizzle but still on the thicker side.  Drizzle over the crescents and serve warm.

Day 118 : Coconut Key Lime Muffins


I bought some key limes on a whim a while ago and had originally thought to make a key lime pie, but I just never got around to it and wanted to use them before they went bad.  I did a quick search and came across this recipe and decided to give it a try.

As usual, I altered the recipe a tad because I was hoping to make it a little healthier but I am not sure it worked out as well.  We liked them well enough, but they stuck to the papers pretty badly, and had an almost chewy texture and obviously some of that could have been due to my alterations and additions.  I used coconut milk, applesauce in place of oil, and added some shredded coconut to mine.  I also used paper liners, which I have a feeling these muffins would do better without.

Despite the issues though I did enjoy the flavor of these.  A bit bitter perhaps, but I doubt that the key limes we get in our area are of the highest quality/ripeness.  My only complaint though is that key limes are VERY small and in order to get enough juice (I opted for the 1/2 cup) I had to squeeze a ton of them by hand because they were too tiny to work with my juicer.  It was also a bit of a pain to zest them.

Coconut Key Lime Muffins

Serves : 12                        Time to make : 30 minutes (not counting the zesting/juicing lol)

Ingredients :

  • 2 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4-1/2 C. fresh key lime juice (don’t substitute)
  • 1/3 C. milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. grated key lime zest
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions :

  1. Combine first 4 dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the rest and mix well.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just moist.
  4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 18 minutes or until lightly browned at 400 degrees.
  5. Immediately turn muffins out of pan to cool.

Day 114 : Tropical Yogurt Swirl


I’ve had this for breakfast/lunch about 4 times now and figured it was time to share!  I came across a recipe that called for mango, and fat free plain yogurt and though the idea was intriguing, the ingredients weren’t so much.  I decided to give it a try though using fat free vanilla greek yogurt and pineapple along with the other ingredients and it is SO good!  The original recipe also calls for protein powder, and I plan to try it that way at some point, but I forgot to pick some up the last time I was at the store.  I’ve been trying to get a bit more lean protein and fruits/veggies in my diet lately so this is a great way to accomplish that.

The recipe calls for shredded coconut, but I first tried it with toasted shredded coconut and really liked it that way.  I ran out of toasted coconut the last time though and it was still really nice with the regular shredded coconut.  I also added about a half of a banana, diced to it the last time and I think that was my favorite yet.  I think this is another one of those great recipes that is versatile and you can add whatever tropical ingredients you like!

Tropical Yogurt Swirl

Serves : 1                     Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup fat free vanilla greek yogurt (or any fat free yogurt will work)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • half a ripe banana, diced
  • 1 1/2-2 T. shredded coconut

Directions :

  1. Put yogurt in a bowl, and fold in fruit and coconut.
  2. Enjoy!

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 106 : Sunday Morning Coffee Cake & Cinnamon Maple Glaze


I’ve been wanting to make this one for a while, but needed to wait for a Sunday since it does say Sunday Morning Coffee Cake lol.  I decided to make the glaze with it, as a bonus recipe, because it just sounded good and I didn’t want the cake to be too dry by itself.  They went perfectly together…. so much so that between the three of us (Jeff, Archer and I) we ate the entire thing minus one piece for breakfast!!!!!  I just finished off the last piece tonight.

When baking I had to adjust cook time a bit because in order to plate it up nicely I made mine in a springform pan.  Since the insert that came with my pans suggests cooking on a cookie sheet to avoid leakage with non traditional spring-form type cakes that blocked some of the heat to my cake.  There is also a slight adjustment to cooking in a dark pan vs. glass so whichever dish you decide to bake in, just watch the cake and use a toothpick to decide doneness.

One thing I noticed was that most of the streusel topping seemed to sink in or collect in the center of my cake, which I worried would mess it up a bit.  However, it actually sank down into the cake and made a sort of swirl layer which was perfect!

For the glaze recipe I did half the actual recipe to get about 1/2 cup of glaze which is perfect for this size cake.  I felt with the stated ingredients that it was a bit too thick so I just added a bit of milk, a little at a time, until I got the slightly runny consistency I wanted.  I needed it to be able to drip down the sides of the cake.

Sunday Morning Coffee Cake

Serves : 8                      Time to make : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 2 T. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder

Topping :

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spary an 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a bowl beat together butter, sugar, and salt until crumbly.
  3. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour and baking powder, then pour into the wet mix and beat to combine.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  6. To make topping, in a bowl combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Cut in the cold butter using knives or a pastry blender until mixture is the texture of course crumbs.  Sprinkle over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve warm as desired.

Cinnamon Maple Glaze

Serves : 1/2 cup               Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 T. butter, very soft
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup

Directions :

  1. In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together.  Add milk a little at a time if it’s too thick, and then drizzle over the cake.

Day 101 : Banana Pancakes


It seems as if I am on a banana roll lately!  I guess it could be because that’s one of the things my littlest eats the most as far as table food and I like to find new ways to incorporate that for him.  I decided tonight I would try a banana recipe I came across because I figured it would work for everyone since my very picky eater recently decided he liked pancakes…. but it wasn’t a hit for him lol.

When making the batter I tasted a bit and felt it was bland so I added a bit more sugar… maybe a tsp or so.  I also realized midway through making them that I did not have any cardamom on hand so I subbed in some cinnamon instead.  I worried that such a small amount of pancake would go unnoticed completely, but the flavor was there, just in a subtle way.  I topped them with the left over marscapone “frosting” from the other day and some banana slices so that really helped to boost the banana in them.

 

Banana Pancakes

Serves : 4            Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Cups buttermilk
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 small firm banana, finely chopped

Directions :

  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, and vanilla.
  3. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just moist.
  4. Fold in the finely chopped bananas.
  5. Cook on a hot griddle or in a skillet with cooking spray, flipping once you see the air bubbles and bottom is golden.  Cook until the other side is golden and cooked all the way through.

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 95 : Healthy Banana Drop Cookies


I had a bunch of ripe bananas on the counter, and figured rather than freeze them or let them go to waste I would just make some cookies.  We’ve had these before and we LOVE them.  They remind me a lot of a muffin in many ways, but they are chewy, and bursting with flavor.  The added benefits of the healthy wheat germ and oats is just icing on the cake because when eating these you don’t feel like you are eating “healthy food”.

They are very simple to make.  I like to process my oats in the food processor, and then once I have added all the dry ingredients in the bowl and mixed them I put it all back in the processor to incorporate the butter.  Then I just pulse it a few times until I get the right consistency.  I usually have Sunny D on hand so that’s what I use for these, but just use any type of orange juice you have.  They may not be the prettiest cookies, but I assure you they are one of the best!

Healthy Banana Drop Cookies

Serves : 24 cookies                  Time to make : 40 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 T. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Directions :

  1. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray and lightly dust with flour.
  2. In a blender or food processor grind the oats until fine.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Using a pastry blender or knives (or in the processor as I mentioned above) incorporate the softened butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form.
  5. In a separate bowl mash bananas and orange juice together, then add to your dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Cover and chill dough for 20 minutes in the freezer.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Drop dough by teaspoon fulls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets and bake about 10 minutes until light golden brown.  I find it takes a few more minutes if I do both sheets at once.
  9. Allow to cool for a couple minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 1 1/2 large bananas)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Day 93 : Green Pancakes with Lime Butter


    These are not your typical pancakes!  The bulk of the pancake itself is made up of onions, jalapenos, and spinach, and instead of topping with butter and sweet syrups, you top these bad boys with a spicy lime butter.  They are definitely different, but also definitely delicious!  The striking green color makes for a great presentation too.

    I would suggest making the lime butter ahead of time, and allowing it to firm back up for a few hours.  When I made mine I found there to be too much lime juice in the sense that it would not incorporate into the butter.  I just mixed it as much as I could and poured the rest off before putting it into a dish.  I also added the zest from both limes so as not to waste and because I love lime flavor.

    Go ahead and use the 10 oz of spinach.  It seems like a lot when you look at it, but it wilts down to practically nothing once you squeeze all the liquids out.  I went with 2 jalapenos and don’t be afraid to use the entire bunch of onions as stated.  It really seems like an insane amount when cutting them up but it works.  I used an ice cream scoop to portion my pancakes and got 9 that way.  I was able to cook three at a time in my large skillet, and then just remember to put a bit more butter down between each new batch.  Cook time below will not reflect the chill time for the butter.

    Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

    Serves : 3-4                     Time to make : 30 minutes

    Ingredients :

    Butter

    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 4 stems of cilantro, just the leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • zest of 1 lime (or both)
    • juice of two limes
    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

    Pancakes

    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
    • 1-2 jalapenos, diced
    • 8-10  oz. baby spinach
    • 1 cup self rising flour
    • 1 1/4 T. baking powder
    • 1 large egg plus 2 additional egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 2/3 cup lowfat milk

    Directions :

    1. Mince garlic cloves and cilantro leaves together until very fine.  Put in a bowl with the lime zest and lime juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and mix in softened butter.
    2. Place in a dish with a lid to chill, or form into a log and roll up in some plastic wrap to chill.
    3. In a large skillet over medium high heat put a few T of water (3-4) and add the spinach.  Cover and cook about 2 minutes or so until wilted down.  Take off heat and allow to cool.
    4. Melt butter in microwave and allow to cool slightly.  Meanwhile slice your onions, dice your jalapenos after seeding them, and drain the liquid from the spinach.  To do so you can put it in a kitchen towel and twist it up tightly and squeeze it out, then unroll and remove the spinach.  Once drained of all the liquid, chop your spinach.
    5. In a mixing bowl combine the scallions, jalapenos, spinach, melted butter, and whole egg… stir.  Then add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cumin and mix.  Last add in the milk and stir well.
    6. In a separate bowl whisk the two egg whites 4-5 minutes vigorously until soft peaks form (or cheat and use an electric mixer) then gently fold them into the batter.
    7. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and either spray with cooking spray or melt some butter then drop your batter into the pan using 1/4 cup measurements.  Spread into a 4-5 inch round.  You can probably cook 2-3 at a time.
    8. Cook about 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown and air bubbles start to form on the top, then flip and cook another minute or so until cooked through.
    9. Place in a warm oven between batches to keep them warm.
    10. Serve with the lime butter on top.

     

    Day 79 : Carrot Pineapple Muffins


    While shopping recently I found so many adorable muffin pan/cupcake liners.  I was able to refrain from buying them all, as well as a bunch of picks, and sprinkles, but I didn’t walk away totally empty handed either.  I have quite the collection building of liners and sprinkles, and gadgets now.  Of course I can’t use most of them right now since I am trying to make smarter choices for a while and the idea of cupcakes just doesn’t fit in well with that after the last batch wasn’t even made a week ago.  However…. I figure muffins allow me to at least use the liners and are considerably more healthy.  To make them even more so I took the liberty to alter the recipe a bit using less sugar, replacing half the oil with applesauce, and substituted some whole wheat flour in for half of the all purpose flour.   They turned out quite well, and the best thing is that even my picky son liked them!  If you knew my son you would know how big that was!

    The idea with the carrots and pineapple reminded me so much of carrot cake, and they do taste like it, only without all the butter and less sugar lol.  You could almost slap some cream cheese icing on these and consider them dessert, but they make a great breakfast or snack as is.  Using the substitutions mentioned above resulted in a nice fluffy muffin, with a good balance of moisture and flavor.  You do taste the wheat flour, and my husband refers to it as a sort of grittyness, but I promise you it’s not in a bad way.  If you have ever tried the Ww 1 point pancakes it is a lot like that, and we definitely enjoy those!  The original recipe called for a cup of sugar but that seems to me like it defeats the purpose of a healthier snack, so I used about half and did part white sugar and part brown.  The applesauce is the perfect alternative to the oil, and I might even try to sub all of it next time.  I also might add some walnuts to them next time, I just didn’t want to take TOO much liberty with these the first time around.  They puffed up beautifully, but not really high, so you do need to fill the liners all the way.  For me the 20 minute suggested baking time was just right.

     

    Carrot Pineapple Muffins

    Serves : 12                   Time to make : 35 minutes

    Ingredients :

    • 1 cup sugar (you can get away with half)
    • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (I subbed half with applesauce)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup grated carrot
    • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

    Directions :

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pan.
    2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil together until well combined.
    3. Add eggs and mix until well combined.
    4. Stir in vanilla.
    5. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
    6. Add to the sugar mixture and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
    7. Stir in carrots and pineapple until just combined.
    8. Spoon into liners filling all the way.
    9. Bake 20 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

     

    Day 70 : Easy Almond Sticky Buns


    In our house your birthday isn’t a one day affair…. we like to consider it more of a birthday WEEK!  That means that during the week leading up to your birthday you get to decide all sorts of things, from what to watch on TV, to what’s for dinner or breakfast, etc.  Since my birthday is on Monday, I entered into my “birthday weekend” today and decided I was going to have almond sticky buns for breakfast!  Technically I shouldn’t be eating things like sticky buns for breakfast since my weight is steadily on the rise lately and I need to get it back under control, but it seems almost a sin to me to start a diet only days before your birthday.  Rather, I would like to gorge myself for the next few days until my birthday and all the leftover desserts are gone and THEN start my diet lol.

    These are probably some of the easiest sticky buns you will ever make and also some of the best!  I have made them many times before and will continue to do so because they are that good.  I love crescent rolls, I love almond, and I love sticky buns…. really it’s a no-brainer.  If you’re like us, you likely have a tube of crescent roll dough in the fridge most of the time anyway, and the other ingredients are definitely staples in my house, so I like that I can decide on a whim to make these, like this morning.  Today I just made 6, but normally I would make the full recipe of 12 and we’d still finish them all in record time.

    Sometimes when making them I have had slight issues with them wanting to stick in the muffin pan, but today I had NO troubles at all, and I think it’s because I went against the directions and sprayed the pan with a little cooking spray first.  They came out beautiful and though they did make  a pretty big mess of the top of the pan where it bubbled over they popped out with ease this time.  I am sure you could use any type of nuts you had on hand for this, or even things like raisins or cranberries or whatever you like.  It’s more like learning a great method when you find a recipe like this because it is so versatile.  However you choose to do so, I highly recommend you add these to your next weekend menu.  Your family will be very appreciative indeed!

     

    Easy Almond Sticky Buns

    Serves : 6-12              Time to make : 20 minutes

    Ingredients :

    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
    • 2 (8 ounce) packages crescent dinner rolls
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

    glaze

    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 -3 teaspoons milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

    Directions :

    1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Combine brown sugar, flour, softened butter, milk, and 1/8 tsp almond extract, and blend well.
    3. Spoon this mixture into 12 ungreased muffin cups.
    4. Unroll crescent dough into 4 rectangles.
    5. Combine melted butter and 1/8 tsp almond extract.
    6. Brush onto dough and sprinkle with almonds.
    7. Starting at the short side, roll each rectangle up like a jelly roll.
    8. Cut each roll into 3 pieces and place them cut side down in muffin cups.
    9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
    10. Immediately invert onto serving platter.
    11. Combine glaze ingredients while rolls are baking, and drizzle over warm sticky buns.