May 25, 2016

Flax Bran Muffins

This is the most frequently made muffin in my house.  I love it.  I've always loved bran muffins but the the grocery store kind tend to be full of fat, so I was on a mission to find a healthier version.  I found it.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it's full of flavor, dense and moist and yet very healthy.  You can change up some of the flavors if you want, to suit your own personal taste preferences. I've discovered that adding orange flavors (thank you Emily) brings this muffin over the top for me.

This recipe is easy to throw together in a big mixing bowl and stir together, no need to dirty up your stand mixer.  I refrigerate mine so they'll last longer, just pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds to have a nice warm muffin.

Just look at all the carrot pieces and raisins. So good and good for you.  I never get sick of this one for breakfast or snacking. 

For you Weight Watchers members, this is 4 SmartPoints per muffin. 
Flax Bran Muffins
Recipe from Foodista

  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran or wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or any dried fruit)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use orange juice sometimes)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (if you have orange extract it's yummy here)
  • I also add orange zest if I have any oranges around. 
Cooking Directions
  1. Line or spray a 12 cup muffin pan or line with cupcake liners (this recipe makes 15 muffins)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add the first 10 ingredients and stir together.
  4. In a small bowl add the milk, eggs, and vanilla together. Beat the eggs prior to adding.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir just until combined.
  6. Fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 15-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.

May 17, 2016

Sugar Free Chia Jam

By far the easiest jam recipe you'll ever make.  No cooking, no pectin, no sugar.  Only two ingredients and you can eat it straight out of the jar if you want to. Seriously. Crushed fruit and chia seeds and that's it.

The chia seeds thicken up the fruit so it can become spreadable for peanut butter and jelly or topped on your hot cereal's in the morning.  Also great scooped into your morning smoothie. And chia seeds are super healthy for you, so that's a plus. Noted as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet they have ton's of fiber, protein, Omega-3's and various other nutrients.  You can buy them most places these days, they usually come in a see through container and are dry and very tiny. You can also find them online. And best of all they are usually reasonably priced.

I loved this recipe because clearly, it's very easy.  But also very healthy AND it tastes exactly like the fruit itself, the chia seeds don't add any flavor, just texture.

Chia Jam
Recipe from Time

  • 1 cup crushed fruit
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together and place in the refrigerator for a day or two in order for the chia seeds to plump up. Enjoy.

May 11, 2016

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

If you're looking for some hot cheesy deliciousness, look no further.  This dish is the definition of comfort food.  Hot, melty and delicious. It requires a little bit of time to stuff the shells but honestly, it doesn't take that long once you get a system down.

I decided to try this one out when I saw that it was a little unusual in that it doesn't have a red sauce.  Don't get me wrong.  I love me some red sauce, but I wanted different. I wanted cheese! Oh boy did I get it.

I am in love with this recipe and I can't wait to make it again soon.

Cheesy Stuffed Shells
Recipe from Delish

  • 15 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup + more for sprinkling Italian cheese blend
  • 1 whole large egg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil for topping (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted, water - cook the shells until al dente and then let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, cheese blend, egg, and salt.
  4. Stuff the mixture into the shells.
  5. In the saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the Parmesan cheese and whisk until smooth. Season with pepper.
  6. Pour 2/3 of the cheese sauce into a baking dish or oven safe pan. Top with the stuffed shells and then pour the remaining sauce over the top of the shells. Sprinkle with some more of the blended shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  8. Garnish with basil if desired.

May 6, 2016

Applesauce Honey Banana Bread

Sorry for the lousy picture...

This bread is pretty darn good, and I wanted to get it posted ASAP.  Now, before you run off all excited about a healthy version of banana bread, keep this in mind.  It's HEALTHY, so it's not going to taste like your favorite sour cream banana bread, or some of the other sugar laden banana breads you might be used to.  However, you can feel good about eating this one.

The banana flavor isn't extremely strong, but it's prominent enough that you know you're eating bananas. It's moist (sorry to those of you who hate that word), dense and wonderful.  After years of eating the other not-so-healthy varieties, I was surprised at what a nice change it was to eat something that wasn't super sweet.  I really enjoyed this bread, I even toasted it and smeared peanut butter over it for a change up (yummy).

I hope you'll give this one a try.  It's good to try new things and this one is even good for you.

Applesauce Honey Banana Bread
Recipe from Just A Pinch by Linda Bailey

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray
  3. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the applesauce and honey, mix to combine.
  5. Add the beaten eggs and banana's and mix.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes.
  8. Test for doneness with a toothpick.