Friday, September 28, 2012

Low-fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


        It's friday! this week seemed to crawl at a snails pace! I've got big plans this weekend and it starts later on today. I'm getting a haircut at some point and tonight is family night where we all cook a meal together :) We have a 6 piece mini wok set that comes with 6 small burners to cook your pieces of food on. We usually do this around christmas but decided that special times like that need to be revisited more often. Then on saturday I'm heading out for clothes shopping and then a date with the husband. I can't tell you the last time we went out alone together..I mean I really can't because it's been that long. It's amazing how the grind of doing the same thing everyday can suck the life out of you sometimes. So take it from me..carve that special time out with your partner and even if it's a simple walk in the woods or sharing some coffee at your favorite spot or watching a movie together at really does your relationship wonders.

What also does wonders for you is a healthy cookie recipe that doesn't really taste all that healthy..And so what if it does tastes healthy anyway? I noticed people are big on hiding the health factor in baked items in fear of people not trying them. I say..don't try em, it just means more for me and my family :)

These cookies were a huge hit with us. The ingredients are simple..whole wheat flour,spices,raisins and honey. On the outside you'd think it was just an ordinary recipe but the honey really does something to this cookie. It made the cookies chewy and slightly sticky and the spice mixture brought it all together. So go make some and feel better about eating something thats not half bad for you..better yet,eat two since that is the serving size :)

Low-fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 Egg Whites
1/3 cup Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 cup Raisins

Preheat oven o 375 or 190 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, combine everything but the raisins and mix well. Stir in raisins ( dough will be stiff and that is ok.) Drop by tablespoons full onto prepared pan.

Bake 8-10 mins or until lightly browned.

Yield: 2-1/2 dozen
Source: Taste of Home 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pretzel Bread and Buns

       Right before my husbands two week vacation I made a list of things that I wanted us to get done together. I am not one for the  whole honey-do lists because he's pretty good about getting things done when they need it..or avoiding it for months on end..or even years because seriously...I'm still waiting for my custom made spice rack. My list consisted of things like..bake pretzel bread together. Head into Germany to find such and such ingredient. Tackle round 3 of nougat making (we are still tweaking a recipe to make it just right) and sit on the couch and eat cookies and watch a movie. I'm happy to say we did it all.


     If you love the taste of a pretzel then you are going to love this bread.  The inside is soft and fluffy and the outside is chewy and tastes exactly like a pretzel. I always get nervous when I tackle a new type of bread. This type consists of braiding it,slipping it into a soda bath,gently taking it out and putting it on a sheet to bake. I was worried sick that somewhere between the braid and the dipping and pulling out that it was going to go terribly wrong. Well it didn't and it turned out so perfect all I could do was stare at it..for a full 15 mins and then we couldn't wait any longer and had to eat it. I think the bread is best eaten on the day it's made. We had a small piece left over and the following day it still tasted like a pretzel but it lost it's chewy exterior that we loved.


     About a week later we started talking about the bread again and how neat it  would be to try it in a bun/roll style. So that weekend we whipped up another batch and turned it into buns. These were just as fantastic and the only difference was that they lacked the crunchy outside. I'm actually glad about that because these were perfect for breakfast with an egg,bacon and cheese stuffed inside and then used for sandwiches at lunch time.

This isn't a hard recipe by any means. If you aren't used to braiding a bread then that will be your biggest challenge. I messed up one of the braids which you can see in the first photo ( the higher part of the bread at the top was a mistake I made when I turned the dough around to braid the other side.) Take your time with the braid and slipping the dough into the soda bath and even more care when taking it out. It's a slippery little sucker!

Pretzel Bread

1 cup Warm Water
1 TBS Brown Sugar
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Milk
2 TBS Unsalted Butter
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
2-3 cups Bread Flour or All-purpose Flour
4 Quarts Water
1/2 cup Baking Soda..I used 1/4 cup with no problems
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1 Egg
3 TBS Pretzel Salt or Kosher Salt..I left out

In a large bowl,combine water,brown sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy,about 10 minutes.

Add milk,2 teaspoons salt,and enough bread flour to create a firm dough ( if you live in a humid area like me you will more than likely need more flour than the recipe calls for.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes,adding flour only to reduce stickiness. Shape dough into a ball and place in a bowl that has been lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in vlume,about 1 hour. After 1 hour,bunch risen dough, knead briefly, shape back into a ball,cover again and allow to rise for 1 hour.

In a large ( the largest you can get your hands on) saucepan,bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. At the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and add the baking soda. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray,and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius.

Turn risen dough onto a floured surface,divide into 3 equal portions, and form a 3-strand braid. Drop braid gently into simmering baking soda bath for about 30 seconds,turning to coat all sides.


Carefully remove loaf with 2 slotted spoons,shake off excess liquid, and place on prepared pan.

Whisk egg with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the top of the risen dough.


     Sprinkles with pretzel salt or kosher salt if desired. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding,about 30-40 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.  To make 8 rolls,instead of shaping the bread into a braid divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each one into a tight ball and dip into the soda bath for 30 seconds. Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake for 20 mins-25 mins. The rolls never had the hollow sound like the bread did and was nervous about taking them out at 20 mins. They were perfectly soft and slightly chewy.

** Ok here are some tips for you. The directions never stated how long I needed to make the strands of my braid. We had a large saucepan but I think you need an extra large one. We couldnt fit the full 4 quarts of water in there and instead went with 3-1/2. We didn't want to make the bread larger than the pan or it  wouldn't fit and we knew the bread would expand in the water. You can tell that the top of the bread still needed to be bent when placed in there because it expanded to much. So take into consideration the size of your pan that you will be placing the dough into and go from there. I didn't bother turning the bread while it was in the water..there was no way I was going to mess with it anymore than I had to. What I did was gently dunk the bread  under the water a few times to make sure it was covered really well in the soda bath.  I would also suggest you line your sheet with parchment paper that has been sprayed with nonstick spray aswell because this bread will stick. We found that out with the rolls...parchment paper is your best friend here.**

Yield: 1 Loaf or 8 Rolls
Source: The Everything Bread Cookbook


Monday, September 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins's officially fall in The Netherlands! We decided to celebrate by all getting sick! I finally caught it on friday and it's one of those colds that leads you to believe that it's really not going to be all that bad... That you might just beat it this time. Then it hits you hard right in the chest and leaves you huddled on the couch in a fetal position coughing like a seal and blowing your nose so much that you could play an extra in a rudolph the red nosed reindeer movie. I was so grateful that I had extras of pretty much everything in the freezer and didn't really need to stand over the stove for any length of time over the weekend. I'm still not back 100% and the cough is really hanging on but thankfully the worst of it is over!

Before I got sick I was able to try out some new pumpkin recipes! I have a very hard time finding pumpkin here and after years of being stubborn about it I finally turned to sweet potatoes. I knew that those were a great substitute to use in pumpkin recipes and decided to make my own puree :) It was pretty simple to do..bake sweet potatoes for almost an hour,peel,scoop out the flesh and pop into a food processor and then process until smooth..easy peasy. I went on foodgawker and pinterest and pinned like a mad woman. I decided to try two recipes right away and this was one of them.

I wish I could tell you guys that I'm in pumpkin heaven..but I'm not. I'm finding these recipes to be much like the ones using don't actually taste the ingredient! So far I haven't tasted one authentic pumpkin anything..nothing. I'm getting alot of the spice taste but then I'm not really after a spice muffin..I'm after a pumpkin muffin. I also know that there is no pumpkin flavor due to the fact that my husband has eaten both items..He hates the taste of pumpkin and both times I didn't tell him what was in it until after he swallowed the first bite. Needless to say he was over the moon that there was zero pumpkin flavor but I on the other hand am ready to throw the towel in and move on to apple recipes..atleast those taste like apple!

So here you go..a seriously moist spice filled muffin with a hint of chocolate. It goes great with a bowl of low fat yogurt or a cup of coffee. If you aren't a fan of pumpkin but love a moist muffin then you will have no worrie with this recipe. You get all of the benefits of using the pumpkin but none of the taste. Please don't get me wrong. I DO really like these muffins. I was just hoping for more of a pumpkin flavor.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Applesauce..can use another 1/4 cup Oil if you prefer 
3/4 cup Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Puree
1/3 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Mini Chocolate Chips..I used 1/2 cup regular chips

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flours,baking powder,pumpkin pie spice,salt and baking powder.

In another bowl,whisk together the brown sugar,eggs,oil and applesauce. Then add in the puree,buttermilk and vanilla;whisk until combined.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 17-21 mins,or until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Great Easy Healthy Recipes

Friday, September 21, 2012

English Crumpets


      I really miss the Food Network channel..I mean really really miss it. It's a cruel thing for someone like me who adores cooking and baking to live in a country that doesn't really care about it. It's not to say that the Dutch do not like food..they do, but it's different here. I've tried watching their one cooking channel here several times..and man is it bad. I love it when they make something that is labeled "typically american"and then proceed to ruin the whole entire thing. It happens..We do it aswell in the U.S. when it comes to making certain things aswell. I can however get my cooking and baking fix by watching the BBC channels we have here! I've become a big fan of the Hairy Bikers . I watch them all the time. I also watch Jamie Oliver alot aswell and then any other various show I am able to catch. I have found myself craving things I've never had before. I want a Bakewell Tart now, toad in the hole is another one and I finally tried this one..An English Crumpet!

A crumpet is like an english muffin but isn't split open.It's soft and spongy and wonderful! You can eat it like a pancake but it's way more's portable if you need it to be. You can cover it in butter and maple syrup,or melt cheese on top of it, and I recently saw Jamie Oliver dip cooled ones into whisked eggs and allowed them to soak the eggs up,then fried it in a pan with some butter until the egg batter is cooked and topped it with bacon and maple syrup or brown sauce ( that would be something similar to our A-1 steak sauce.) I'm gonna skip the whole brown sauce thing and stick with maple syrup thank you very much.

These arent hard to make but they do require some time. You let the batter rise for an hour and you cook them in a pan using Egg Rings (if possible buy ones that are about 4 inches but a 3 inch would work just fine aswell.). I found mine at a dollar store here and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you don't have egg rings then I am told a small can of pineapple can be used. You need to open not only the top but the bottom aswell. If you only have one this will take you awhile since it makes anywhere between 12-16 crumpets and they take about 8-10 mins of cooking on one side and then a further 3-4 mins on the other side. These are well worth the effort though! You can freeze whatever is left over and pull them out throughout the week as you need them. Simply pop them into a toaster and top with your favorite syrups,fruits,cheeses or whatever you like! Do not forget to add the baking soda..that is what gives them the cool holes on the surface!


1 cup Warm Milk
2-1/2 tsp.Sugar
1-1/2 cups Lukewarm Water,divided
3 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
Butter for the pan

Combine the warm milk,sugar and 1 cup of the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Sprinkles over the yeast,then set aside for 7-8 minutes or until foamy.

Add the flour and salt and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture for 3-4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm,draught-free place for 1 hour or until mixture is well risen and bubbly.

In a small bowl,combine the 1/2 cup of lukewarm water with the baking soda and stir into the batter. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Heat some butter up in a large non-stick frying pan over low heat and place 3-4  greased 4 inch egg rings in the pan ( I could only fit 3 into my pan.) Spoon about 1/3 cup of crumpet batter into each ring. Cook the crumpets 8-10 minutes or until they have risen,the bases are a deep golden brown and the tops are dry to the touch,with a few small holes.

Remove rings ( If you aren't using rings with a handle then please be careful when removing them! they get hot so use a pair of oven mits or better yet,tongs!),turn crumpets and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a plate,cover loosely with foil and keep warm in a low heated oven if you want. Wash,dry and grease rings before cooking each batch. Serve warm with butter,jam,syrup..whatever you like!

Yield: 12-16 Crumpets
Source: Mastering The Art of Baking


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Southwestern Quinoa Casserole


       Everytime I make a new quinoa recipe I am constantly reminded why I am so in love with it. It's versatile,packs a great protein punch and you can use it in place of recipes that call for rice. If you haven't tried using it yet,please give this recipe a try. It's so good. 

Here's what is great about this can change it up however you like. You can make it all vegetarian by replacing the chicken with a meat replacement,you can leave out what you want and add in what you prefer. I left the jalapeno out but added in diced zucchini. They don't sell fire roasted tomatoes over here so I used regular without any missing flavor issues. The first time we tasted this we all said how great this would be inside of a tortilla or wraped in lettuce leaves with some black olives and sour cream. You can certainly add the olives and serve with sour cream in this recipe aswell if you want. It's really that versatile!

Southwestern Quinoa Casserole

1 cup Quinoa,rinsed
2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 Boneless skinless Chicken Breasts,chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 pkt Taco Seasonings,divided
1 medium Onion,diced
1/2 of a Jalapeno,seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 Red Bell Pepper,seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 Clove Garlic,minced
1-1/2 TBS Oil
1 cup Frozen Corn..I used canned
1-14 oz can Black Beans,drained and rinsed
1-14 oz can Regular or Fire Roasted Tomatoes,drained
1/3 cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1-1/2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese,divided
1 TBS Cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 13x9 inch pan and set aside. Place chicken stock in a medium sauce pan and add quinoa. Bring to a boil,then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins, or until quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

Place oil in pan,sautee onion,pepper,jalapeno and garlic until onions are translucent and veggies are tender. Add in diced chicken and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning; cook until chicken is no longer pink,about 8 mins ( if you prefer you can take out the onion mixture and set it to the side while you cook your chicken. I just prefer to cook everything together at the same time.)

In a alrge bowl,combine cooked quinoa,chicken mixture,corn,beans,tomatoes,cilantro,cottage cheese,rest of taco seasonins and 1/2 cup cheese. Pour into prepared pan and spread the mixture out evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.

Bake incovered for 20 mins or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Source: CenterCutCook 

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Lighter" Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Muffins


        I hope everyone had a good weekend! We took it pretty easy around here due to everyone but me coming down with the back to school colds..blah Thankfully there are no fevers and just the annoying stuffy head to deal with.

So I baked muffins and bread and did laundry and planned the weekly menu and baking list...I realise it wasn't the most exciting weekend but it works for me!

Here is a lighter poppy seed muffin recipe. These were good but next time I will take them out of the oven sooner and instead of only spraying the bottom of the muffin pan with nonstick spray,I will spray everything. You need to take these out right away or they will stick really fast. I'm not sure if using paper liners would be a good way to go since I am pretty sure they will stick to those aswell. If you go that route you might want to lightly spray the liners with nonstick spray.

Lighter Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Muffins

1/3 cup Fat free Milk
1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 TBS Canola or Vegetable Oil
1-6 oz Container low fat Lemon or Vanilla Yogurt
1 Egg
1 tsp. Lemon Extract;optional..see note below
1-3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
2 TBS Poppy Seeds
1 TBS Grated Lemon Zest 
2-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking  Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
** Glaze**
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2-3 tsp. Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl,beat milk,applesauce,oil,yogurt,egg and lemon attract if using until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide batter evenly among muffins cups.

Bake 15-18 mins or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean ( start checking at 15 mins. I will pull mine out at that time instead of waiting for 18 mins.) Immediately remove muffins from pan and place on wire rack with tin foil underneath to catch any of the glaze that drips down.

In a small bowl,mix together the powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to achieve desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm muffins.

** I always add lemon extract to any recipe that calls just for lemon zest. I never get enough of a lemon flavor when just using the zest. If you want more of a lemon flavoring then add between 1/2-1 tsp of lemon extract**

Yield: 12 Muffins..150 calories per muffin
Source: Betty Crocker 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies


       My friday morning was a very dark and windy one. I can tell fall is quickly approaching and making herself known with the cold mornings and the first signs of the leaves changing. I made a wonderful soup lastnight so I know the cooler weather is coming on!

Is anyone still able to get fresh blueberries? I can but they are getting pretty spendy now. I made these a few weeks back when we had a deal on blueberries at the store. We totally fell in love with the wonderful healthy cookies and I am pretty sure that I ate some for breakfast and possibly lunch too. The fresh pop from the blueberries is just wonderful. I'm seriously loving the old fashioned rolled oats that I was finally able to find while shopping in Germany a few months back. They can be found here in The Netherlands but like most things..they are harder to find and when you do find them they are more expensive than in Germany. It's always a perfect excuse to zoom over the border and shop in Germany  :) A crazy life I live sometimes..jumping borders to food shop!

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
4 TBS Unsalted Butter,melted and slightly cooled
1 Large Egg
1 TBS Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Fresh Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper;set aside.

In a bowl,combine the oats,flours,salt,cinnamon and baking soda.

In a medium bowl,combine the butter,egg,milk,vanilla and brown sugat. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. 

Spoon heaping tablespoons full of dough onto prepared pan about 2-1/2 inches apart ( If dough sticks to much to the spoon spray the spoon with some nonstick spray.)

Bake 10-14 mins until edges are set and the cookies are beginning to brown but are still soft,puffy and underdone. Let coole for 10 minutes. Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

Yield:12-18..depends on your heaped spoonful of dough
Source:Sweet Happy Life and America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Farmhouse White Bread


        I've mentioned before that when I'm stressed I tend to bake. I've been stressed lately. My newest obsession is bread baking and no joke, I have baked 10 loaves of various types of bread over the last month. The joy it brings me is almost on the total ridiculous scale..but it's true. 


       I get the most absolute joy out of watching a simple mixture of flour,sugar,yeast,salt and warm water come togther and produce something that resembles a miracle. The idea is always in the back of my mind that no matter what our food budget looks like..I can bake bread and we'll always have something to eat. I have baked this bread once a week for over a month now. We love it that much. It produces a wonderful round loaf that begs to be sliced thick and slathered in butter..or eat it plain, I've done that numerous times..or slice it and top it with your favorite pizza ingredients,throw it under a broiler until the cheese melts and listen to your family ooh and aah over it. Pizza bread as we now call it is our current favorite. I've made a hawaiian version a meat lovers version and a veggie version. This bread is sturdy enough for anything that you might want to top it with. It's moist,firm,soft and just wonderful.


      Here is the loaf I made yesterday and tried to get all artistic like with carving my initials into it before baking. This is a very easy loaf of bread to bake. It has a 3 hour rise time,a 30 min resting period after you shape it into a loaf, and then it's baked. It's not hard. I promise.

Farmhouse White

1 cup COLD Buttermilk
2 TBS Honey
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 Egg
2 TBS Canola Oil
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
3-4 cups Bread Flour..I use All-purpose with no problems
1 TBS Cornmeal
2 TBS Milk

In a large bowl,combine cold buttermilk,honey,and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy,about 30 minutes.

Add egg,1 cup flour,and salt;stir to combine. Add enough remaining flour to create a frm dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that has a tiny amount of oil in the bottom. Place the ball on the oil and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free spot until doubled in volume,about 3 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper;dust with cornmeal. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and shape into a smooth,round ball. Place onto prepared pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray ( you dont want the plastic wrap sticking to your dough!),set aside and let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preaheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Place an oven proof pan on the very bottom of the shelf to use as a steam bath later on.

Take the plastic wrap off of bread and brush milk lightly over the loaf. Using a serrated knife or xacto knife,slash a a design into the top of the dough,about 1 inch deep ( I've done a cross,initials and slashes.) Place bread into the oven and then quickly pour some water into the pan on the bottom..quickly close the door so that you don't lose any of the steam. The stream will create a wonderful artisan crusty top on your bread while keeping the inside moist.

Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom,about 30-40 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely before eating.

*** Another version to this bread it so bake it on a pizza stone..which I do. Place the pizza stone above the extra pan for water and allow it to preheat in the oven for 30 minutes. Slide the bread on the parchment paper onto the pizza stone,pour the water in the bottom of the pan and quickly close the door.**

** Depending on your humidity you may or may not need more flour when kneading the bread. I live in a humid place so I always need the top amount of flour thats called for in a bread recipe. If your dough is to sticky then you need to add more flour..a tablespoon at a time until you get a moist soft dough. If you add in to much dough it will become tough and hard to knead.**

Yield: 1 Loaf
Source: The Everything Bread Cookbook    

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bacon-Corn Muffins


      It's monday and I've got muffins for you!! I know you've been waiting on pins and needles since my last post on muffins last monday. I whipped these up for our sunday morning lounge on the couch while watching some random show on tv ritual we have going on. I listened as the boys rambled on about various things and answering off the wall questions like..would you rather have bad breath or constant gas..Thats actually a tough one..What do you want to be known for? bad breath or being gassy??? I suppose you could eat a truck load of mints to cover the bad breath but what about the other issue? We basically just laughed at eachother when we tried to explain our reasons for picking one of them.

As we laughed, we ate muffins and decided that we really do like bacon and cornbread together. It's a match made in heaven.

Bacon-Corn Muffins

1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal
2 TBS Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg,beaten
1 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
5 slices Bacon,crisp-cooked,drained,and crumbled (1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl,combine the flour,cornmeal,sugar,baking powder,baking soda and salt.

In another bowl,combine the egg,buttermilk,and oil,add all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in bacon.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups,filling each 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm 

Yield: 12 Muffins..164 calories per muffin
Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Whole Wheat Applesauce Banana Bread


          Quick breads are a staple in our house. I always have one in the freezer waiting for when we need something quick to go along with coffee,a fast breakfast,company or for those "just because" moments..and I have alot of those types of moments.


    This recipe is super easy,quick and can be changed up however you like. I added in a cup of whole wheat flour but you can use all-purpose flour if that  is what you prefer. You could throw in some chopped nuts if you like and I'm thinking I will do that next time aswell. The only thing I can add to making quick breads is that they really benefit from a 24 hour resting period. I always wrap mine up in plastic wrap and we don't eat it until the next day. The resting period allows all the flavors to really come together and the loaf becomes even more's a win win situation.

Have a wondergul weekend and celebrate it by whipping up a quick bread!!

Whole Wheat Applesauce Banana Bread

3 Ripe Bananas
2 cups Flour..All-Purpose,Whole Wheat or a combo
2/3 cup White or Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Baking  Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
1/2-3/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips,Chopped Nuts or a combo

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Lighty grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork until creamy..or leave some chuncks..banana chunks are cool. Add the applesauce,vanilla and eggs. Stir until combined.

Stir in the sugar,flour,baking soda and salt. Stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts if using.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the batter out evenly. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

When completely cool wrap loaf in plastic wrap and allow it sit at room temp for 24 hours. Slice and enjoy!

Yield: 12-16 Slices
Source: The Sweet Mash


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Almond Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies


       My husband is a loaded cookie freak. The more I can cram into a cookie the happier he becomes. We are total opposites when it comes to cookies. I am the pillowy soft,chewy thick cookie lover and he's the crispy chewy fan. I try and meet both of our needs half way and it usually ends up being one seriously thick,chewy,soft delightful cookie!


    I'm also a total convert when it comes to using old-fashioned rolled oats in a cookie. It gives your jaw a serious work out and makes you feel like you are being atleast semi healthy..I mean if you have to work at eating your cookie that totally burns calories right? right!

So here you seriously jaw chewing,soft,crunchy,delicous large cookie for you! The only changes I made to this recipe was to toast my almonds first,used all butter and I added in some shredded coconut..because coconut and chocolate is pretty much a match made in heaven!

Almond Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Butter,softened
1/4 cup Shortening
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
1-1/2 cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Almonds,Chopped
4 Squares (4oz) Baking Chocolate(I used a semi sweet baking chocolate) or any chocolate,Chopped

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Either using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the sugars,butter,shortening,baking soda,baking powder,cinnamon,vanilla,salt and egg together until smooth. Gently fold in the oats and the flour and then the chopped almonds and chocolate.

Using either a 1.5 inch scoop or a 2 inch scoop ( I used a 2 inch),scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheet and place no more than 6 scoops of dough on each cookie sheet. These guys tend to get big and can spread a bit..They may not spread at all but incase they do start out with a smaller amount of dough on the sheet.

Bake for 10-12 mins,until they are golden brown and set. Allow to cool on sheet for 3-4 mins before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

** If you use the larger scoop you will need an additional minute or so before the cookies are done baking**

Yield: 1-1/2 -2 dozen..depending on the size
Source: PDXfoodlove 



Monday, September 3, 2012

Healthy Gingerbread Muffins


           My monday morning was a mad dash to send the youngest off to school,to walk the dogs that are staying with us for a month,complete my 5 mile walk/run,bake muffins,clean the house and shower all before lunch time. The older I get the more my get up and go drags on more and more. I could balance so much more than I can now and it irks me a bit. My ability to juggle everything is increasingly becoming more and more sloppy..

The important thing in all of this of course is that I baked muffins! My husband is home for another two week vacation so what better way to celebrate it. Well he probably would of loved a huge muffin filled with chocolate,nuts,caramel and anything else I could squeeze in there but our days of eating high calored foods without gaining weight are pretty much long gone. I say all this of course fully knowing that he's going to make nougat tomorrow and I have some kind of caramel chocolate thing I want to bake this week. I guess it's good I baked some healthy muffins today :)

Do you like gingerbread? I do but I can't eat alot of it. I was never one to run for the gingerbread men cookies and I must say that we baked them only once or twice growing up. I do like certain molasses based cookies though and since I have never had a gingerbread muffin before I figured now was the time to try it. I have a seriously difficult time finding light molasses here. I can find blackstrap sometimes and actually use that in one of our favorite cookie recipes but light is only found in international stores and it comes at a hefty price. I had to use blackstrap since thats all I had. I added in less than the amount called for because of the strong taste it had. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best!

We liked em'! I think they would of been 100 times better with the lighter molasses so please make sure you use that when making these but over all you get a delightful moist muffin that pairs well with a hot cup of coffee.

Healthy Gingerbread Muffins

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking add in
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger..can add more if you like the taste
1/2 cup Milk..your choice. I used fat free
1/3-1/2 cup Brown pick the level of sweetness
1/4 cup Light Molasses
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
2 TBS Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
** Combine ingredients in a small bowl**

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flour,baking soda,baking powder, salt,cinnamon and ginger.

In a medium bowl combine the milk,sugar,molasses and applesauce. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin tin. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar mixture and bake for 10-15 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 1-2 mins in the pan before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Southern In-Law