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Cinnamon Raisin Muffins

16 Jun

Even before June arrived, I knew I wanted to make a foodie gift for Father’s Day.  I did the same for Mother’s Day and it was very well received! 

So I got to thinking about foods that my dad enjoys.  The first couple of items that came to mind were obvious steak, bacon, or anything meat related.  Since I couldn’t very well mail him a steak, I continued to rack my brain for other ideas when it dawned on me.  Some of his favorite foods involve cinnamon; cinnamon ice cream and brown sugar cinnamon Pop-tarts to name a couple.  I scoured the internet for cinnamon based recipes and ultimately decided to customize my own cinnamon raisin muffins.

One key component to adapting a baked good recipe is keeping the correct ratio of wet to dry ingredients.  If you have too much of the former, your muffin will end up soggy or under cooked but with too much of the latter, you’ll have a dry, hard rock-like muffin.  I didn’t want to send my dad rocks for father’s day.  Nobody likes a repeat gift.

Not only is the correct ratio important, but so is the quality of the ingredients.  This recipe was the perfect opportunity for me to use a new-to-me brand of coconut oil.  Tropical Traditions was nice enough to send me 32 ounces of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to sample. 

source

I have cooked and baked with coconut oil in the past and I continue to do so because I love the hint of coconut flavor it adds.  A small amount goes a long way and keeps me satiated for hours.  What I like about Tropical Traditions, is that their virgin coconut oil is unrefined and is made from fresh, organic coconuts.  To find out more about their coconut oil, check out their website.  Many thanks to Tropical Traditions for the sample!*

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
(adapted from Cooks.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 oz)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (2 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flours, oats, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, applesauce, oil, and egg until combined.
  4. Add raisins to flour mixture and make sure to coat all the raisins lightly with flour.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir just until combined.
  6. Lightly oil a 12 muffin pan or use paper liners.  Pour the batter evenly among the 12 cups.
  7. Bake at 400 for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Allow for some cooling time and enjoy!

Do you like to make foodie gifts for holidays?  If so, what was the last gift you made?

*Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

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A Recipe Worth Keeping

1 Jun

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a hoarder.  Not quite as bad as some, but I do hold onto things that will not make a bit of difference in the future.  Like, all of my notes from college or my old, ratty gym shoes from years ago, just to name a couple.  I know I don’t need this stuff and yet I can’t seem to let it go.

This hoarding has infiltrated many facets of my life.  One of the most important ones being my kitchen.  Since most food has a short shelf life I’m forced to use it or dump it (which I hate, obviously).  However, there are some that last a little longer so  they hang around for a while.  Today’s breakfast featured a perfect example; protein powder.

I think it’s common for people to try out a series of protein powders at first as each can be very different from the next.  The smartest thing would be to buy the sample packs so that if you don’t like it you aren’t left with a huge jar of a so-so product.  But this is also tough for me.  Everytime I shop for a new powder, my cheap skate self gets the better of me and I can’t help but buy the larger size.  Afterall, each serving will be cheaper that way.  So that leaves me with some food to hoard.

Lately I’ve been loving protein muffin’s for breakfast but I’m running low on coconut flour so I decided to improvise.  I decided to substitute some of the coconut flour with protein powder.  I used Biochem Acai & Cream whey protein since I’ve been holding onto a container of this powder for months.  When I first used this powder in a protein shake, it was just alright.  It was very chalky and bland but I held onto it (naturally) and used it in baking.  It’s not bad in baked goods so I was hoping it’d work in a protein muffin.  Lucky for me it did!

By the way, I didn’t realize until just now that the jam is shaped as a heart.  Isn’t it funny when things like that happen?

Berry Yummy Protein Muffin
(adapted from Smoothie Girl Eats Too)

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Biochem Acai & Cream whey protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened, all natural applesauce
  • dash of cinnamon
  • stevia to taste (I used five drops of vanilla stevia.)

Directions:

  1. In a small, microwaveable bowl, whisk egg whites, pumpkin, applesauce, and stevia.  Instead of the pumpkin and applesauce combination, you can use all pumpkin, all applesauce, or even a mashed up banana.  Be creative!
  2. Slowly add the protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Microwave on high for 3 and 1/2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the dish and allow to cool.  Top with greek yogurt, jam, peanut butter, maple syrup, or any other topping of choice.
Talk about protein!  Between the protein powder, egg whites, and greek yogurt, this breakfast had just over 50 grams.  This is a recipe that’s okay to hold onto 🙂

Do you hoard things?  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Will you hold me accountable?

23 May

Hello there!  Welcome to another week.  This week is going to fly by for me because I only have to work three days.  Love that.  This Thursday, Alex and I are flying down to North Carolina to visit some of my family.  Then on Saturday, we’re hitting the road to Hilton Head, South Carolina to see some of his family.  It’ll be a whirlwind trip as we’re due back in NYC by Monday evening.  Phew!  I’m looking forward to it and hope to blog a little bit about it on the way 🙂  Do you have any plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Because I’m going to be in and out all week, I thought I’d discuss my daily eats.  I also want to start using the blog as a way to hold myself accountable.  I know I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’d like to lose a little weight before my wedding.  (What bride doesn’t, after all?)  Unfortunately, I’ve found that since I got engaged my weight has been going in the wrong direction.  Now I know that the number on the scale isn’t the best measurement of overall physique.  After all, muscle weighs more than fat.  But I’ve noticed that my clothes are a little tighter and my energy levels are lower.  So, I’m going to work hard to change things up and I hope this will help me stick to it!

My latest challenge has been to cut back on the amount of nutbutter I consume.  I know that nuts are a great source of healthy fats but I think I’ve been over doing it lately.  Changing up the proportions of each micronutrient will help me a lot.  My plan right now is to aim for 30-40% protein, 50-60% carbs, and about 10% fat.  I do not have any support for those numbers besides what’s worked well for my body in the past.  (Please remember that I’m not a nutritionist and am not recommending you do the same.  Be aware of your own body and do what’s best for you.  But please read along as I try to figure what’s best for me!)

Let’s start the day, shall we?

Breakfast

For breakfast I made one of my latest (and greatest) creations.  Greek yogurt ice cream!  I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for eating “ice cream” for breakfast, but allow me to explain.  What you’ll need is 3/4 cup greek yogurt (I use Fage Total 0%), 2 to 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, and 10 drops of stevia vanilla.  Mix until all three are well incorporated.  Now taste and tell me that doesn’t taste like ice cream!  On top, I dumped 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean, 1/2 cup Fiber One, and 1/4 organic blueberries.  Yum!

Lunch

Today’s lunch is brought to you by Tossed.  Tossed is a great salad and sandwich place located in midtown.  They have a wide variety of ingredients and a nutritional calculator so you have an idea of your micronutrients.  Very nice.  Today’s salad included:

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Apples
  • Bean & Corn Salsa
  • Egg Whites
  • Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette

I also munched on a fuji apple that went unpictured.  But I’m guessing you know what an apple looks like 🙂

Snack


Today’s snack was a treat!  I had a chocolate chip protein muffin.  It was just as scrumptious today as the day they were baked.

I also nibbled on a couple handfuls of Kashi GoLean because my stomach was still grumbling.

After completing a full workday, I still had energy to work it out at the gym.  Tonight’s class was Chisel.  I may have mentioned this before, but just in case I didn’t, this class uses weights and calisthenics to sculpt and shape muscles.  Woo hoo!  It was a tough workout and just what I needed.

Dinner


Now dinner is not as in line with my new goals as I would have hoped but I had to clean out the refrigerator since we’ll be gone for a few days.  Besides, a little cheese, bread, and wine never hurt, right?  I think “a little” are the key words there.  Alex and I shared the above plate and had a glass of red wine each.  It’s such a nice indulgence that we both really enjoy 🙂

That’s about all for today.  I might try to find something in the way of fruit for dessert.  Hopefully I’ll find something good!

How do you hold yourself accountable when it comes to healthy eating?  I can use all the help I can get!

Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins

22 May

Happy weekend all!  Have you been up to anything fun?  I haven’t been doing much besides getting things done around the apartment and baking.  Two of my favorite ways to spend the weekend!  Last night Alex and I watched the King’s Speech.  I thought it was well done but somewhat slow at parts.  I’m not quite sure what all the fuss was about.  Did you see it?  What’d you think?

In an effort, to incorporate more protein in my diet, I’ve been looking to some of my favorite bloggers for inspiration.  One recipe that I’ve had bookmarked for a long time is Janetha’s Lemon Yogurt Chiaseed Protein Muffins.  While I’m not a big fan of lemon-flavored baked goods, I do like the idea of increasing the protein content in them.  So I set out to create my own adaptation with one of my favorite elements, dark chocolate.

I used slightly different ingredients which resulted in a lower protein content, however, they still have great stats.  8 grams of protein in a soft, chocolatey muffin is hard to beat.

I was slightly hesitant baking with the Garden of Life Raw Protein powder for the first time but it worked wonderfully.  These muffins turned out every bit as rich and moist as their non-protein counterparts.  In fact, I have to say that I favor these because of how dense they are.  I plan to eat these as a protein-filled afternoon pick-me ups throughout the week.

Well, that is, if they last that long 🙂

Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins
(adapted from meals & moves

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (Garden of Life Raw Protein)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 0%.)
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp egg whites (equivalent to two large eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup all natural dark chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients, except chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients except the milk.
  4. Add the dry to the wet and mix until combined.  Add milk if necessary to create a thick batter.  I used about 2 tablespoons.
  5. Fold in chia seeds and chocolate chips.  If chocolate chips aren’t your thing, then you can use any number of mix-ins.  Some great choices would be blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, carob chips, dried fruit, etc.  Be creative!
  6. Pour batter into a greased or lined muffin tin.
  7. Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
How do you incorporate more protein into your diet?  Have you baked with protein powder before?

I know I’ve had a good day when…

10 Apr

…I don’t get out of bed until after 10am.

…I have time to make Ashley’s french toast oats.  Yum!

…the first thing I do after breakfast is bake some amazing muffins.

…I head to the gym with a new workout in mind.

…I find the time to finalize my tax return!  You’re welcome Uncle Sam.

…I spend the afternoon sorting through dozens of bridal brochures and dream about my own big day.

…I have a hot dinner date at Cello Winebar.

…said hot dinner date is this guy.

…my dinner consists of gourmet, cheesy pizza

and a couple other small plates.

Yeah, I had a good day.

Tell me, when do you know you’ve had a good day?

Don’t forget to enter my Chobani giveaway!!

Chobani Inspired Muffins & Giveaway!

9 Apr

I’m very excited about this post!  This muffin recipe is just in time for warmer weather and I’m hosting my first giveaway ever!  More on that at the end of the post 🙂

But for now let’s talk muffins.  Pineapple yogurt muffins, to be exact.

I’ve been dreaming up recipes lately and this one turned so well.  They are light and fluffy with little bursts of sweetness for each piece of dried pineapple.  They’re a great way to start the day or to have as an afternoon snack.

All the pineapple and their golden yellow hue will certainly put you in the mood for summer!

Pineapple Yogurt Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 pure cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 6oz container of Pineapple Chobani greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add oats and mix.
  3. In a large bowl, add applesauce, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract.  Whisk eggs for about 30 seconds and add to the wet ingredient.  Whisk all the wet ingredients until combined.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and fold in using a spatula.
  5. In a small bag, add chopped dried pineapple and a tablespoon of flour.  Close bag and shake so that the flour is evenly distributed over the pineapple pieces.  This will prevent the pieces from sinking to the bottom of your muffins while baking.
  6. In a lightly oiled muffin pan, spoon batter until each cup is about 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Place the muffin pan on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, rotate the pan and place it on the top rack to bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Now for the giveaway!!!  The folks at Chobani were nice enough to send me some coupons and I want to share some with you.  You have the chance to win two coupons; one for 30 cents off one 6 oz container of Chobani and one for a free 6 oz container of Chobani.

Here are the ways to enter:

  1. Mandatory entry – Leave me a comment telling me what flavor Chobani you’ll buy with your coupons.
  2. Optional entry – Follow me on twitter @VoraciousChelle.  Leave me an additional comment.
  3. Optional entry – Tweet about the giveaway.  Please be sure to include my twitter handle!  Leave me an additional comment.

You have until Tuesday April 12th to enter.  I’ll announce the winner the following day.  Good luck!

**The giveaway is closed and a winner has been announced.**