recipes

Bea’s Bran Muffins

Bran muffins can be tricky.  Well, muffins in general can be tricky. You never know if you’re biting into a healthy, wholesome snack or a oversized sugar bomb. Sadly, bran muffins are often the worst offenders.  Most recipes contain healthy ingredients like wheat bran, walnuts, and raisins, but often in way too big of portions.

Luckily, my family still has a recipe from way back in the day when my grandma used to make bran muffins.  Original recipecard and all:

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How cool is that?!

Besides being incredibly healthy, these muffins are delicious. Topped with a little honey, they’re just the right amount of sweet and filling.

I love that I can continue to show my late grandma love by baking these muffins. They’re perfect for a light breakfast (if you add some protein and fruit on the side) or a quick snack.

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Bea’s Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-Bran (cereal)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup while wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combine cereal, oil, and raisins and pour boiling water over them (mixture 1).  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, molasses.  Add that to cooled mixture 1.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt: add flour mixture to cereal mixture 1, stirring just enough to moisten dry ingredients.  Cover batter with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes, preferably an hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Enjoy!

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Questions:

  • What’s your favorite type of muffin?  I love lemon poppyseed or fresh blueberry ones!
  • Any big plans this weekend? 
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Chicken and Peppers with Goat Cheese

Once upon a time I had this little ol’ blog and the only people who read it were mom and dad (thanks guys!) Ironically enough, it was during these first six months that I posted most of my recipes. Since then, I’ve started focusing more on the workout aspect of healthy living, and I leave the recipe development up to the pros like Erin, Arman, and Dannii.

So while I’m sure I’ll come up with new stuff here and there, I think it’s time to share some of the best things I’ve ever made, and hope you like them too. There’s something about spring that makes me want to start creating recipes again, and also start sharing healthy food ideas, not just fitness tips.

Chicken and Peppers with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 grilled chicken breasts (precooked)
  • 16 oz bag of quinoa (or brown rice)
  • 4 assorted bell peppers (we used yellow, orange, and green)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 of a 5oz. log of goat cheese–more or less depending on  your preference
  • 2 15oz. cans TJ’s Organic Great Northern Beans (or any other kind of white bean)
  • Cumin (start with 3 tbls. and add according to taste/preference)

Start by cooking the quinoa according to the instructions on the bag. Once it is cooked season it with a tablespoon of cumin and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

img_2101Once the quinoa is cooking, chop your peppers and onions.  You want these pieces to be bite-sized but not too small.img_2099

Sautee the chopped peppers and onions in olive oil until cooked, but still crispy.  Season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of the cumin.

Once the peppers and onions are cooked, add the chicken breasts (chopped). Finally, stir in the goat cheese! Mix only until the goat cheese is combined throughout.  Add your third tablespoon of cumin, along with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

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Now that everything is combined, it’s important to keep tasting until the amount of cumin is just right.  It’s a very important flavor that really adds a lot to the dish, so make sure you use enough.  You can always add more, but you can never take some back!

Serve with the quinoa and a simple side salad.  I made one using my dijon mustard dressing and leafy greens.img_2111

Crockpot Apple (Cider) Sauce

I was trying to think of a long-winded intro for this recipe but it’s just too simple. I figured I owed you all ONE fall recipe that was apple-themed instead of continuing my minor squash-obsession. So if you have an extra hour of prep time on your hands (coring, peeling and chopping apples isn’t an easy task) or just really need to take out some stress on food, then dedicate some time to this. Because you know what they say – all good things take time. Except microwave popcorn. And 4G LTE.

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Crockpot Applesauce

Ingredients

  • 24-30 cored/peeled/chopped apples – variety of Macintosh, Jonathan, and Golden Delicious
  • 1 cup of Trader Joe’s Honey Crisp apple cider
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used 4 packets of stevia instead)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in your crockpot on low for eight hours.

PS apple is one of those words that, when you write it enough times, you take a step back and think, “What IS that word?” Weird word.

Enjoy!

Questions:

  • Do you ever use your crockpot to make sweet recipes? I hadn’t before this!
  • Do you like your applesauce plain or with cinnamon/sugar, or another combo?

the wonderful world of unexplored squash: what to do with a delicata

Squash is one of those words you only ever hear from the months September-November. Can you imagine any scenario when you would bring up the vivacious veggie in conversation in, say, June?

Nonetheless, squash becomes a bit of an obsession this time of year.

From butternut to pumpkin, acorn to spaghetti and everything in between, it’s like there’s this tiny window of opportunity to cook such a unique species of vegetable that it makes foodies everywhere dash to their ovens and hike it up to 425 yelling “Let the roasting commence!”

Yesterday I shared with you that I recently cooked a delicata squash. I realized when I woke up this morning how unfair it was to just share that photo with you and not really get into some more detail about the wonderful world of unexplored squash (doesn’t part of you just wish that the plural of squash was “squashes”?)

Delicata squash!!

I stumbled upon this darling delicata last week at Trader Joe’s. I was swapping stories with one of the employees while sampling their pumpkin spice coffee and delicious spiced apple cider when I asked what her favorite pumpkin products were this year. If anyone else took a glance at the latest Fearless Flyer you know that there are probably a dozen pumpkin-themed products lining the shelves of TJ’s and I really needed an insider’s take on just which ones were worth it. Instead of leading me to the pumpkin pancakes or butternut squash soup she pointed directly at the delicata squash. “You have to try that.” So into my cart it went, what looked like the cross between an over-sized cucumber and a giant peanut. All I was armed with were the instructions to “cut, drizzle with olive oil, season, and roast.”

Ah the risky life of the ever-curious foodie.

Long story short I did exactly what she told me and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it! I sliced off the ends of the squash, cut it lengthwise, cleaned out the insides (post-picture), drizzled it with EVOO and salt+pepper, and stuck it in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the insides were soft when I stabbed it with a fork.

So what does delicata squash taste like? It tasted slightly sweet, like a sweet potato, but the texture was just a bit more firm, kind of like a spaghetti squash. It was smooth but not as creamy as sweet potatoes are. Like most squash, it really took on the flavor of the olive oil, salt and pepper but still tasted fresh and earthy, making it the perfect side to any lean protein. I ate half the squash while waiting for my fish to cook because I just couldn’t stave off my curiosity any longer.

Some quick facts about delicata squash:

  • It goes by many nicknames: the sweet potato squash, the peanut squash, the Bohemian squash
  • A 3/4-cup contains 30 just calories
  • It is fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and a great source of Vitamins C and A
  • Throw the peeler aside – you can eat the skin!

Here are a few amazing recipes I came across will be using for inspiration over the next few weeks:

Roasted Squash Blossom

Delicata-Squash5W

Delicata Squash Soup

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Roasted Cinnamon-Ginger Delicata Squash delicata-7

Delicata Squash & Chard Penne Pasta

Produce On Parade - Delicata Squash & Chard Penne Pasta - A perfect early autumn penne pasta with roasted delicata squash, sautéed chard and bell pepper, dressed in a fresh, herbed tomato sauce-

So join me in pumpkin rehab and pick up a delicata squash after work today. Because honestly, why the heck not? It’s like $2 and it keeps you from having to turn to those frozen mixed vegetables (again) that I know we’re all guilty of hoarding.

Questions:

  • What’s your favorite fall recipe/food that doesn’t include pumpkin or apple?
  • Do foreign veggies like this one intimidate you, or do you pick one up and experiment just for the heck of it?

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (recipe)

I’m an eggy gal. There’s no denying that. Bagel sandwiches, omelets, and scrambled eggs fill my plate Monday-Friday. Eating eggs at breakfast is one of the only things that keeps me full and my stomach quiet until lunch time rolls around. However, once the weekend rolls around, I love pancakes. Not that Bisquick crap, but big, fluffy, homemade wheat pancakes that sit in my stomach for hours and sing happy songs.

So today, as it snows another foot or two, I decided it was a banana pancake day.

Sometimes pancakes made with wheat flour can have a grainy, chewy texture that bugs people. I took a chance by combining a few different recipes that I found on the internet and luckily they turned out great! They have the appearance and taste of regular pancakes but don’t leave me hungry 30 minutes later. So enjoy your Saturday and think about making these when you wake up tomorrow. Pancakes are God’s way of reminding you that it’s the weekend, and time to take a breath and relax.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mix with 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 tsp stevia or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Steps

  • In a big bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and milk.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined. Stir in the bananas until distributed throughout. If you stir too much the pancakes will probably get tough so stop stirring once it all looks combined. Lumps are okay!
  • Preheat a skillet to medium heat, using Pam or butter to grease it. Once it’s hot, use a big serving spoon and pour the batter in circles on your skillet. Don’t touch until you see bubbles starting to pop–at that point it’s the perfect time to turn them over.
  • Keep cooking until they look toasty brown on both sides.
  • Serve with real maple syrup. Every time you use that high-fructose corn syrup junk a small business owner dies.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Question:

  • Do you change up your normal breakfast on the weekends?

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