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.


not always as planned


Saturday I had this great idea to make these mini pizzas. It didn’t work the way I wanted and was totally discouraged. I’m going to share what I did anyways, just to show you dinner doesn’t always have to follow your plan for it to be balanced and delicious.

Here’s where I went wrong: I didn’t look up the recipe. Because I didn’t look it up, my measurements were off. I used 2 pounds of dough, with the intention of freezing at least half of my yield for the week after the wedding. I knew I wouldn’t be up for cooking the first couple days we were home – actually I probably won’t be up for grocery shopping, the cooking is easy. I have the hardest time with pizza dough. I canNOT get it to stretch out and form a nice thin crust. Never have been. I have found ways to make it work like par baking the crust so it doesn’t rise so much and won’t be gooey after we add toppings. So Saturday I knew the general idea of the recipe, put dough in muffin pans, top with goodies and bake. But my normal issue arose and I couldn’t get them flat. So I decided to just cut up the dough in 14 standard muffins and 10 mini muffins. I poked them with a fork so they wouldn’t puff too much and baked them for 10 minutes at 350. Meanwhile I chopped up some turkey meatballs. When the muffins were nearly finished (still a little doughy in the middle) I put them on a rack to cool.

Then a few hours later when it was time for dinner I preheat the oven to 350 and sliced the pizza dough muffins in half like a hamburger. Next was the assembly line. The muffin halves were lined up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Each half got a dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of meatball and then fresh grated parmesan and pecorino. They went back in the oven for 10 minutes until crispy and warmed through. We served it with a large salad. Not as intended, but still delicious.

We have the muffins left over and so when I am ready to use again I will defrost the night before then when it’s time for dinner I can get these guys ready in about 15 minutes.

Oh and we have a dog now… Unless his owner claims him before the wedding.
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how about a pork chop?


I have tried to write this post two three four times now – thanks WordPress. I think I have finally forced them to let me share an update with you all.

It has been busy around here. I know I say this often but it’s true. Busy is my baseline and I have yet to master my schedule given my current state of busy. I’m getting there though.

Since the last time we chatted a few things have changed. I finished and submitted my applications for internship spots. Only 30 odd days until I find out where I got placed. Carver and I mailed all of our wedding invitations (we have even received a good number of RSVPs) with minimal loss of sanity. We had our wedding tasting. And we also are licensed to wed (!!), possibly the most surreal and obscure moment of the past weekend…

Now that those major milestones are behind us, I have decided there are no more excuses for my lack of exercise. It’s time. No more hiking here, cardio at the gym another day. Solid exercise. My muscles need it. My mind needs it. So hold me accountable. I’ll share with you my progress and the torture.

Recently there my kitchen has been very dirty. A result of lots of cooking and baking. What have I been making you ask? Oh well a variety of things really. Bread, brownies, Cranberry Muffins, Chocolate chip cookies with bacon, a frittata, soup, pizza, peanut butter and the list goes on…

    

I looked in my freezer this morning for our dinner protein and shockingly found no chicken! Pork chops it is then. I also happened to have one nice lemon left and a giant box of spinach and the heel of a loaf of bread. Dinner was impromptu and improvised but delicious. Think Manhattan Chicken with pork.

I seasoned both sides of the pork with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash; preheated the skillet with a touch of olive oil and some nonstick spray. I seared the chop for 3 minutes on either side over medium-high heat. Then I removed the chops from the pan and set them on a plate to rest. I added to the pan a bit more oil (about 2 teaspoons) and more spray then 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of butter; I stirred this together with a wooden spoon and added in 2 cups of baby spinach. I seasoned the spinach with the juice of half a lemon and the zest of half a lemon, salt and pepper; being careful to keep the spinach moving in the pan. Next I replaced the pork chops in the pan – now that they had a beautiful green bed to rest on. I grated fresh parmesan over the chops and put a lid on the skillet. The two pork chops were about 1-1.5 inches in thickness so they needed about 5 minutes of steam time to be cooked through. Just before serving I removed the lid and hit the pork/spinach with the zest and juice from the remaining half of the lemon and a little more salt and pepper. We enjoyed our dinner with a couple thin slices of whole grain bread which was left in the fridge.

    


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.


Oh yes I did


I dare you to ask me what I had for dinner tonight. I doubt you’d believe me if I told you. Well lucky for you there is no photographic proof- so maybe it didn’t really happen.
The girl with a degree in nutrition, a (newly earned) nutrition credential and a food blog would never… Oh but I did. I had a dinner few would consider, but when it’s less than 60 minutes before bedtime and you haven’t eaten a girl gets desperate. So I guess now that I’ve built it up I should tell you. I stood in the kitchen and ate a cranberry orange muffin (see previous post), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (from the container), 1 medium-large banana and 1/2 cup of milk. Yah. Didn’t even sit down at the table. I will say that it could have been worse. I’m actually more embarrassed that I didn’t at least make it look like a meal and sit down to eat. No soup and baguette, no fatty fish with broccoli and whole grains. Nope. However I did wrangle 1/2 dairy serving, 1 fat serving, a whole grain and 1 1/2 fruit servings. I know, it’s shocking. But that is what having a well stocked kitchen can do for you. Make a questionable decision less of a taboo. So on that note – goodnight. Eat responsibly.


love at first bite


Years ago I started watching Barefoot Contessa religiously. It took a few months for her to really grow on me. But then I realized her recipes were well-written and her flavors impeccable. What I really loved was how much love she put in to everything. I love to watch her with her friends and with her husband. It was so refreshing to see those interactions, and you get the sense that she is that way on and off camera which is nice. Anyways when I met Carver I was deep in the Barefoot Contessa world and saw that when she and her husband were dating she would send him treats (brownies). Well that, I thought, was genius! So I started sending Carver treats. His favorite by far were my cranberry orange muffins. I’m not certain why those were the ones that won him over considering I sent homemade truffles with that shipment but those were his favorite. I think these really went a long way in getting him on board for the whole marriage thing – so thanks, Ina!

I made these muffins recently and was reminded again how delicious these are.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, light
  • 12 ounces frozen cranberries
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with papers and spray with nonstick spray; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. In a small bowl combine wet ingredients until just mixed. Add wet ingredients into dry and stir just until incorporated. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pan halfway through cook time. Let muffins cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to rack to cool completely. This recipe yields 24 muffins, and each muffin in 5 points plus.

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Cake (muffins) to remember


As you all know I love a good muffin. I made a new one last night. As per my usual I adapted it from another recipe. The original recipe is my dad’s favorite cake, but I don’t have the correct pan for it so I had to improvise. This isn’t a sweet batter, but it’s moist and delicious. These are a great no matter the occasion, whether it’s a meet in greet (what I made them for), or just your weekly breakfast. My future mother in law crumbled up the muffin and added it to her Greek yogurt which looked very good. Carvers favorite is just warm with a cup of coffee. These are very flexible and with the added applesauce and apples they yield 1/2 fruit serving per muffin. Also a bonus is the smell that permeates the kitchen and beyond. (My father says I shouldn’t have messed with the original recipe, but I think he would understand once he tasted one.)
Muffins to Remember

Preheat oven to 350. In a small skillet, toast 2c chopped walnuts for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Chop 2 medium Granny Smith apples, should be 1″ cubes, set aside. In a large bowl cream 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature) and 4 oz unsweetened applesauce. With mixer on medium speed, add in 2c granulated sugar and mix until combined. Scrape down sides and add in 2 eggs (room temperature), 3T egg whites and 2t vanilla extract; mix well. In a small bowl sift together 3c whole wheat flour, 1 1/2t baking soda, 1/2t salt, 1t cinnamon and 1/4t nutmeg. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet with mixer on low-speed; mix thoroughly. The batter will be very thick. Fold in walnuts and apples until combined. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or line with papers. Fill tins until two-thirds full. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating half-way through cooking time. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove and let finish cooling on a rack. Makes 18 muffins, 1 muffin per serving. Points Plus: 3.