Chunky Monkey for Breakfast?!


A week or so ago I made our first attempt at ice cream and it was creamy and decadent. Shortly after our first bite, C asked if I could and when I would make Chunky Monkey ice cream. While I will eventually make it for him, albeit reduced-guilt, I couldn’t get the flavor combination out of my mind. Any morning that we are able to sleep in seems to require a special breakfast – waffles, pancakes, French toast, etc. As I have made more waffles than I care to count over the past month pancakes were the clear answer. I flipped through this book for inspiration on healthier breakfasts and made up one of my own. They are very easy to whip up and go down quickly, especially if dunked in warm buttery syrup…

Whisk up some whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, Splenda, cinnamon, and oats in one bowl.

In another some egg substitute, vanilla extract, milk, water and mashed banana.

Follow the normal pattern – add wet to dry and combine.

Next add in the chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and banana.

Portion them out in to 2-bite pancakes and cook them until crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

     

Chunky Monkey Pancakes (4 points plus/5 pancakes)

  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons fat-free egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, half mashed and half diced
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips,  chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces, chopped
  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk mashed banana, water, milk, vanilla and egg substitute
  4. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet – whisk until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in nuts and chocolate.
  6. Use a tablespoon (or tablespoon-sized scoop) to portion out batter. Cook  approximately 3 minutes on each side – they will be slightly crisp on the outside and light on the inside.
  7. While pancakes are crisping warm syrup with a bit of butter (I use 2 tablespoons of syrup and 2 teaspoons of butter).
  8. These will not last. Nothing bite-sized ever does… I put them out on a platter and portioned out 5 for myself.
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Apple Muffins


Now that the wedding has come and gone we get to delve back into our to-do list. The fun one that has things like update recipes and make macaroons on it… Not the one riddled with obligatory tasks like making table numbers. We are looking forward to fun and to relaxing. After all isn’t that what being newlyweds is all about?? Anyways, over the past few years I have adjusted this recipe from the original I was taught and the original one I posted here. This is where we are today.

Apple Muffins

  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 small Granny Smith apples, cored and diced into 1/4″ pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin trays with papers and spray papers with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter, sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract mixing until light,  airy and well-combined                   
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet in thirds and mix at a gradual speed – you don’t want to over-mix or make a mess. Mix the first two thirds then wait.   
  5. Add the diced apples to the remaining flour and stir to evenly coat the apples; add to muffin batter and fold to incorporate.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  7. If you are making mini-muffins, cook them for 18 minutes rotating halfway through. For larger muffins you will need 25 minutes, again rotate the pan halfway through cook time.
  8. Let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. These guys are delicious with yogurt, coffee, or by themselves.


a cruel April Fool’s Day


What do you do when all of your dreams come true? You sit back, appreciate it and think of what comes next. I think you do the same when your dreams don’t come true, when you are at a loss for words. You give thanks for what good things you still have and you reassess. And then, if you’re me, you bake cookies. I made muffins this morning in anticipation of the impending decision, and managed to screw up my own recipe. The muffins are hideous and a little moist but they are still a muffin thank goodness. Though I do have 24 ‘not quite’ muffins and more batter in the fridge to deal with now. The cookies however, I started yesterday before my nerves got unruly. I knew I would need something in the oven when I learned of my fate – good or bad. And something idiot proof… think scoop & bake. Easy.

My future husband  is a cynic while I am superstitious, he’s not so sure about religion and all while I’m pretty spiritual. Our difference here comes into play during situations like this.  He says try again, just keep pushing whilst I try to figure out the bigger picture and the message within it all. Who’s right? Not a clue. I can’t tell if it’s some higher power telling me that maybe I should reassess my goals or if it’s my hurt pride that doesn’t want to be rejected again. Maybe a bit of both? Only time will tell.

Here’s what I know I am: a wife (close enough), a daughter, a sister, a friend, a two-time internship/grad school reject…. ouch.

What do you make for your first meal after such a heartbreak? Scallops. With brown rice, a touch of bacon, and some green beans. You stay on plan because now isn’t the time to completely jump ship. Now is the time to zero in on priorities. Now is the time to really take care of yourself and what says taking care of yourself better than a healthy dinner with a dose of bacon with a chocolate chip cookie chaser? Not much.

Heart-Break Scallops

  • 10 ounces scallops
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, quartered
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon according to package instructions. Once browned remove to plate with paper towel to drain.
  2. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until tender and opaque, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes in the microwave.
  4. Remove scallops from pan and let rest with bacon.
  5. Deglaze pan with a splash (about 3 tablespoons) of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the browned bits up and let the sauce thicken.
  6. Add scallops, green beans, bacon and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes ensuring all ingredients are coated by the sauce.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Lumpy Path Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients – salt, baking powder, flours, chocolate, oats and coconut; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugars together on medium speed of electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and well-combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until just combined.
  4. Let the ingredients marry – allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake 16-18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cook-time.

Spicy Breakfast for dinner


The other day I mentioned a frittata I made. It was one of those fantastic things that you create with the random ingredients you have on hand. A few weeks ago I picked up my Bountiful Basket and also got a guacamole pack. There was so much food I was running out of inspiration to use everything before it went bad. I had this genius idea to make a Mexican-inspired frittata. You know, eggs, jalapeno, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. I have only made a few frittatas in my day and only one of them has turned out well. Oddly enough it was the first one I ever made and I have not been able to duplicate the results until this Mexican frittata. Do you have some goodies laying around? Or feel like going out of your way to try my concoction? Here’s what you will need…

Mexican Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven-safe medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir to coat pan evenly. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, egg beaters, pico, milk and jalapeno until well-combined. Add mix to skillet slowly. You want to work the egg mixture gently in the pan but keep the liquid moving so all portions get heated. This is just to start the process of cooking before placing pan in the oven. See this video for a visual (Giada). Next, I bake it for 7-10 minutes. You want the eggs to be set and the top to be a light golden brown.

You will get four servings out of this. I served ours with roasted potatoes and onions (1/2 pound potatoes, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 jalapeno diced; roasted at 400 for 35 minutes with oil, salt, and pepper) but you could also add a side salad and or some crusty bread.


Pumpkin Donut Muffins


These fabulous muffins came up last year. I believe I originally saw them in the November 2010 EDF. I knew instantly that these would be a huge hit. I made them last year as Thanksgiving day breakfast and they lasted a few days beyond that for snacks. This year I made them again – twice. Once for Carver’s breakfasts last week and again last week (5AM on Wednesday before work…) for my coworkers. Here is the original recipe.

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

Muffins

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup egg substitute

Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with papers and spray papers with nonstick spray.

2. Sift dry ingredients together in to a medium bowl or on to parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin and buttermilk. Set wet and dry aside.

3. In a separate bowl beat butter, brown sugar and applesauce together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg substitute gradually scraping down bowl regularly.

4. Put mixer on low and add wet and dry ingredients to butter/sugar mix. Alternate flour and pumpkin; add the flour in thirds and the pumpkin in halves.

5. Spoon batter in to muffin cup – they should be about 2/3 full.

6. Bake muffins for about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cook time. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in the pan.

7. Assemble the topping. Combine cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a small bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate small bowl.

8. After muffins have cooled for 10 minutes, dunk the top of each muffin in butter then dunk top in cinnamon sugar mix. Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. I would put paper or baking sheet underneath the cooling rack to catch any stray sugar.

These will last 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They also will freeze very well; they last 3 months in an airtight freezer bag.


harvest muffins make a come back


It was just over a week ago that the request for these muffins came to me. I made them once last year for a meeting and they were a huge hit. No surprise because they are filled with nuts, dried fruit and ‘fall-y’ spices. I have made them less sinful than the original recipe, but they will never and should never be a 2 point muffin – unless you make them mini then you could drop the stats. The changes I have made make them super moist as well so live it up and enjoy the tastes of fall.

Harvest Muffins

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried figs, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Line muffin tin with papers and spray papers with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl sift (or just stir with a whisk if you don’t have a sifter) dry ingredients together – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients egg, milk, sour cream, butter, applesauce, pumpkin; mixing slowly until just combined. Next, add in the sugar, making sure it is evenly dispersed. At this point I switch to a silicon spatula and fold in the fruit and nuts.

Scoop muffin batter in to prepared pans – each muffin paper should be 2/3 full. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking time. When they come out of the oven let them rest in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack (mine is still packed so I just put them on a brown paper bag to cool) until completely cooled. I keep them frozen and pop them in Carver’s lunch each day; by the time he is ready for a snack it has defrosted.

For 18 large muffins it is 6 Points Plus per muffin. If you were to make mini muffins you would get 40 muffins at 3 Points Plus per muffin.

I might add – they are delicious warmed with a light slathering of whipped cream cheese.


I know the shame in your defeat


I did a 180 this morning, on the advice of a dear friend. The day started with some bad pants. (Note that I am blaming the pants.) I should have done something about these pants months ago. They were passed down to me and I like the idea of the pants but they aren’t flattering and they do NOTHING good for my self-esteem. Anyways I gave them another try this morning and nearly spiraled out of control. I got by with a little help from my friend. As I was driving to work two things happened (three if you count driving…). One: I got some therapy from Foster the People. Torches is my current cure-all for bad moods or ambivalence. Two: I decided it’s far too easy for things to screw with my day. Last night it was eggs giving it their all. Today those pants. Changes at work over the past few weeks. I’M SO OVER IT!!! I’m sick of letting things like pants and eggs throw a kink in my day. I’m better than that. I know I’m not alone here so if you have that issue too – you are better than that too!

I was working on my meal plan for the week and decided spinach salads with bacon and hardboiled eggs sounded like a nice easy lunch we could both enjoy. One small problem. I’ve never made hard-boiled eggs before. For many years I wouldn’t eat them so why would I make them?! Well I was really nervous about these eggs. Because if I screwed that up, I didn’t have a back up plan (sometimes I work best that way). I did some research and I decided to go with Chocolate and Zucchini on this. And they were a success! I even got requests to have them more often. This morning I was nervously peeling the shell while Carver was laughing at me, “You make souffles and you’re afraid of a hard-boiled egg?” Yah, so.. Maybe I was. Anywho that’s all fixed now. Now that I have delicious, creamy hard-boiled eggs in my arsenal. They were delicious on our salad. Give them a try – they may help you fight the mojo-killer in your life.

I felt the eggs were a perfect example of letting something silly affect my day. This time I won. I showed those eggs who was boss. And when I get home I will either decide to give up on the pants or add them to my pile for the tailor. BUT until the issue is resolved they will not mess with my day.

What will you vow to stand up to today?

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