June 7, 2016

Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins



The smell of the maple syrup baking in the oven makes your house smell like there are pancakes cooking away on a Sunday morning!


I literally said out loud the other day, "are you freakin' kidding me?  This smell is amazing!"




Full of strawberry flavor
Moist
Just enough sweetness
Healthier
Hearty
Filling
Makes your house smell like a maple syrup conglomerate

Pretty


Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins 
Adapted from Sweet Little Kitchen

Ingredients:

-1 egg yolk

-1 egg
-1/2 cup milk ( I used skim)
-1/2 cup maple syrup or honey ( I used organic maple syrup)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup AP flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
-cooking spray or muffin liners
 

 Directions: 



-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolk, egg, milk, vanilla, maple syrup or honey, vanilla and melted butter together until smooth. Slowly add in both flours, baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined.
-Gently fold in the strawberries.
-Scoop the batter in prepared muffin tin ( I sprayed the tin with coconut oil spray)
-Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let muffins cool completely.


Claire dug these and that's what I want to do more of. For easy breakfasts and snacks when we're on the go, I like making easy and healthy muffins or bars like these and take them out of the freezer as we go.  Muffins especially are perfect for freezing.

Notes:

-If you use honey in this recipe, first spray your measuring cup with some cooking spray.  The honey will slide right out.

-Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and keep an eye on it so as not to burn it.  Keep stirring and once completely melted, take off heat.  It was the last thing I added to the rest of the ingredients.


Hope you enjoy!

Let me know if your kids tried them/liked them.




All that strawberry goodness!



 



June 6, 2016

The Best Fudgy Brownies!



For a while now, I've been longing to find a recipe for brownies that was homemade and delicious, but also pretty simple to make and that had simple in ingredients.  I'm a lover of chewy, dense and fudgy style brownies with the top being a bit crispy. Thick or thin, doesn't matter.  They just had to be chewy and crispy all in one scrumptious bite.  These brownies are all that and more.

I think I finally found "the one" when it comes to a go-to homemade brownie and MAN are they good!




The BEST Fudgy Brownies

Adapted from The Tasty kitchen ( eat live run guest post)
*I made a few modifications.

Ingredients:

-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
-2 ounces Unsweetened baking chocolate. (I used the brand Bakers)
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 cups sugar ( I had on hand organic cane sugar)
-3 eggs
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. sea salt ( I used kosher salt)
-cooking spray or butter to grease the baking pan *
 
 Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. * This recipe mentions placing foil in the baking pan and spraying with cooking spray or to use butter. I sprayed coconut oil cooking spray in a 9x13 baking pan and it worked fine.
2. In a medium sauce pan over very low heat, melt together the butter and baking chocolate until combined and melted through. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Pour the hot chocolate in a large mixing bowl.  Add in the flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar , vanilla and eggs. * I first whisked the cocoa powder and flour together in a separate small bowl.
4. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.
5. Top with some more sea/kosher salt.
6. Bake for 35-40 min. or until the batter looks cooked through. I think I took mine out at 37 min.  Test with a toothpick insert.  You want the inside to still be a touch soft/fudge-like texture.
7. Let cool in pan for 10 min. at room temp. and then place in fridge to cool down and firm up for about 45 min-hour. *hardest part is waiting*

*Dust with powdered sugar.  

I hope you'll try this recipe.  It's fun to make and they are seriously the best fudge like brownies I've had to date.





May 23, 2016

Crock Pot Chicken Alfredo Lasagna



Creamy.
Indulgent.
Flavorful.*
Hearty.
Comforting.


 I just love a good crock pot meal and this was another one of those super easy to prepare meals, cooks away for 5 hours on low while you do the rest of your day.  I have an asterisk next to the word flavorful because there's one thing I forgot to do and it's just to give you a heads up.  This recipe calls for 3 cups Alfredo sauce with 1 cup water.  I only had one jar .  This means not much extra sauce at all so I'll be honest and say after a few bites, it was a tad dry.

Easy fix, though!  You can also make homemade Alfredo sauce with just some skim milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese all brought to a boil.  I plan on doing that when we have leftovers.  Besides this not having as much sauce, it's a really tasty meal!








Crock pot Chicken Alfredo Lasagna
Recipe adapted from the kitchen magpie

Ingredients:

-2 tbsp. olive oil
-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I decided to leave mine whole because I like the idea of shredded chicken but this recipe mentions chopped in cubes).
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 medium red onion, diced
-About 14 whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
-3 cups Alfredo sauce
-1 cup water
-1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese ( I used part skim)
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp. oregano
-1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
-salt and pepper
-3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
-1 can of mushrooms *optional ( I didn't use mushrooms)
-cooking spray


Directions:


1. Soak the noodles in warm water in a 9x13 pan while prepping the chicken.
2. Cook the chicken all the way through until golden brown , along with the onions and garlic. Set aside.
3. In large measuring cup, mix the water and Alfredo sauce together.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pepper, salt and oregano.
5. Spray the bottom and sides of the crock pot with cooking spray.
6. Pour 1 cup of the Alfredo mixture into the bottom of the crock pot.
7. Place 3-4 noodles on top of the sauce for bottom layer. You'll need to break them in half and make them fit like puzzle pieces a little bit. ( It's fun. sort of).
8. Place 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles then place chicken on top. If you have cubed the chicken, it'll be more of a mixture that you can layer.
9. Next, sprinkle 1/3 of shredded mozzarella on top.

10. Take 3-4 noodles again and place on top.
11. Pour another cup of the sauce mixture on top.
12. Repeat with chicken mixture and then ricotta mixture on top.
13. Top with another layer of noodles.
14. Add another cup of sauce.
15. Top with remaining chicken and/or ricotta mixture.
16. Finish topping with noodles.
17. Top with remaining sauce and more mozzarella cheese
18. Cook on LOW for 5 hours MAX.  

Enjoy!




May 19, 2016

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Cookies


Dense.
Chewy.
Nutty.
Slightly sweet from banana.
Peanut Buttery.
Chocolatey.
Vegan.
Healthy.
Easy to put together.
Crazy good.

 


 



How can you go wrong with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate?  You can't. And the fact that these cookies are vegan, (I still can't get over that one).  You will keep going back for seconds and thirds. 


I had one small really ripe banana left that I wanted to use up and then I came across the recipe for these cookies.  Done deal.  And I'm so glad I chose to use it.



Best part?  You can actually eat and enjoy this cookie dough! VEGAN.  I almost didn't make the cookies.  Almost.

*My subs for this recipe were brown sugar for coconut sugar because I didn't have any and I had a bag untouched of Almond Meal and I thought that would be yummy so I did 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of almond meal.




Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
Recipe adapted from Amy's Healthy Baking.

Ingredients:

-2 cups whole wheat flour or almond meal
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 small/medium banana, mashed
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
-2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips


How to make the cookies:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350* F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours ( if you do two like I did, whole wheat and almond meal), baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, mix the mashed banana, vanilla, peanut butter and milk together.  Now add in the sugar and stir well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.
3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Roll about a tbsp. of cookie dough with your hands and shape into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with your hand or spatula.  Bake for 10 minutes ( 10 minutes seemed like the perfect timing for mine).  Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes and if you'd like, transfer to a wire rack.






 

 

May 17, 2016

Crockpot Pineapple Salsa Pulled Pork



Just enough heat.
Healthy.
Simple.
Tons of leftovers.
Delicious.










Crock Pot Pineapple Salsa Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

-2 pork tenderloins or 3-4 lb. pork butt
-1 jar spicy salsa
-2 tbsp. low-sodium taco seasoning
-1 tbsp. garlic powder
-salt and pepper
-1 medium red onion, sliced
-2 small cans of pineapple chunks
-Juice of 1 lime
-chopped fresh cilantro ( optional)

How to make it:

1. Slice the onion and scatter on the bottom of the crock pot.
2. Briefly rinse the tenderloins and pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Rub garlic powder, salt, pepper and taco seasoning all over the tenderloins and place them on top of the onions.
4. Pour the salsa on the tenderloins and then with the pineapple chunks.
5. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top.
6. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. 

*Serve with warm tortillas. 
Topping ideas: avocado, guacamole, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese's.   Garnish with fresh cilantro.



 
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