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healthy buttermilk oatmeal peach muffins

Oat Peach Muffins

One of the first cookbooks I purchased was the Better Crocker’s New Choices Cookbook.  I have found several wonderful recipes in that book, including these Oat Peach Muffins.  These muffins are one of my very favorites from the book, and it’s nice knowing they’re made on the healthier side.

What really makes these muffins amazing is the molasses.  Molasses adds such a delicious character to the muffins and really goes well with the peaches and cinnamon.  The oats give a hearty texture, while the buttermilk yields a moist crumb.  These muffins are a great way to put to use all of those fresh peaches this time of year.   I do often use frozen peaches though, so we can enjoy these muffins all year long.

Oat Peach Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup chopped peaches (thawed if frozen)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray (or line with paper liners).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. Add brown sugar, oil, molasses, vanilla and egg, whisking until blended.
  4. Fold in flour mixture with buttermilk mixture until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold in peaches.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Choices Cookbook

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S’more Muffins

These S’more Muffins are everything you love about a s’more baked up in a tasty little breakfast treat.  These are made with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and lots of miniature marshmallows.  The marshmallows in the actual muffin melt into the muffin, while the marshmallows on top get sticky and gooey.  The buttermilk lends a moist crumb to these muffins and a bit of brown sugar deepens the flavor.

I recommend not using muffin liners with these, as these muffins live up to the reputation of the campfire treat and can be sticky.  I just used baking spray (the cooking spray that has flour) and let the muffins cool in the pan long enough.  They came out perfectly.  These S’more Muffins are moist and delicious and a fun way to start any morning!

Sâ??more Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4 sheets)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
  • 1¼ cups miniature marshmallows, divided
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cracker crumbs, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add buttermilk mixture into flour mixture, stirring gently until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and 1 cup marshmallows.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Top with remaining marshmallows (2-3 marshmallows per muffin).
  6. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before gently removing from pan. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adaped from Taste of Home: Cupcakes & Muffins

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Strawberry Banana Pancakes

We recently picked up several pounds of strawberries from a local farm, and I’m chipping away at my long list of things to make.  At the top of the list was pancakes, but not just any strawberry pancakes… Strawberry Banana Pancakes!  I searched online for inspiration and found nothing, so I decided to just make something up.  I took my standard pancake base recipe, combined it with my Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes and added some banana.  The result is a Strawberry Banana Pancake made with a buttermilk pancake base, a good dose of vanilla, and a generous amount of chopped strawberries and mashed bananas.  Such a delicious combination!

I never thought my little Adam would ever love any pancake more than Cottage Cheese Pancakes.  Well, after making these Strawberry Banana Pancakes, I stand corrected.  He devoured 4 pancakes with impressive speed and has been asking about them ever since.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups low fat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • 2 mashed bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Cooking spray or addtional oil, for pan
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, oil and mashed bananas until well-blended.
  3. Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring gently until just moistened (batter may be lumpy) and then fold in strawberries. Let batter sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat nonstick skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Spoon batter onto skillet by the 2 tablespoonfuls to ¼ cupful, depending on desired size. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until bubbles form and the edges look set. Flip pancakes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden.

 

 

healthy buttermilk chocolate banana swirl bread

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread is a moist banana bread with a chocolate swirl.  The addition of chocolate to the classic comfort food of banana bread is not only delicious but it’s pretty too!

Truth be told, the first time I made this bread, the result was less than stellar. The bread was pretty, and it tasted okay, but texture was off. It was dense and chewy, not quite the light and fluffy texture I look for in a banana bread. And actually come to think of it, even though it tasted good, it didn’t taste like banana bread.   Clearly, this recipe was in desperate need of a do-over!

Thankfully Frigidaire is encouraging folks to share do-over moments, which gave me the extra push I needed to try again.   I never like wasting ingredients on an unsuccessful recipe, but I loved the concept of the chocolate swirl in banana bread.  So I took the original recipe and gave it a makeover.

I made several tweaks, such as using buttermilk instead of yogurt, oil instead of butter and eggs instead of egg substitute. I also added some vanilla and a few extra chocolate chips on top. Then…I crossed my fingers!

A little over an hour later, the results of this do-over were in.  The bread rose nicely, had the perfect banana bread texture, and the chocolate swirl was harmonious with the banana bread.  This is exactly what Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread should be like!  I look forward to making this recipe again and again, and I thank Frigidaire for this do-over opportunity!

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread
 
Yields: 1 loaf (16 servings)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray
  • Additional mini chocolate chips, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ x 4¼ inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil on medium until blended (about 1 minute). Add banana, egg, buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until blended.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture, gently stirring batter until just moist.
  5. Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute (on high) or until almost melted. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds, if needed. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
  6. Add 1 cup batter to the chocolate, stirring until well combined.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, alternating between plain batter and chocolate batter. Swirl batters together using a knife. Sprinkle top with additional chocolate chips, if desired.
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack and the remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you share your own do-over moment at Facebook.com/Frigidaire, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, Frigidaire will help cover the costs for one lucky visitor to win the ultimate do-over.

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Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Many months ago, I made peanut butter cup blondies.  They were incredible, but also left me wondering about other candy possibilities.  The options seem limitless.  Since Peanut Butter M&Ms rank in my top 5 favorite candies, if not top 3 (after Nutrageous and Peanut Butter Cups, of course), Peanut Butter M&M Blondies were a logical progression.

Let’s just say the experiment was a success.  I used a generous helping of M&Ms instead of peanut butter cups.  I also used peanut butter chips to boost the peanut buttery goodness.  The result was dangerous.  Lots of tasty M&Ms in every bite, lots of good peanut butter flavor…yet they still come in around 210 calories.  Gotta love it!

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies
 
Yields: 16 bars
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ brown sugar, packed
  • ½ granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ⅓ cup natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter M&M candies, divided
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir to combine butter, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Fold in ½ cup peanut butter M&Ms and peanut butter chips.
  6. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread to fill pan. Top with remaining ½ cup peanut butter M&Ms, pressing them into the batter.
  7. Bake for 19 minutes, or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

 

lighter baked tortellini fontina cheese with spinach

Baked Tortellini with Spinach

I’m a sucker for anything with cheese.  Cheese pizza, a cheese sandwich, cheesy pasta, it’s all good.  When I saw a recipe for Baked Tortellini, I was beside myself.  Cheese tortellini itself is good.  Bake it in a light cheese sauce, and we’re golden.  In fact, the dinner I had planned was immediately scrapped so that I could make this!

I decided to add some spinach, which was very welcome and an easy way to boost the nutrition of this dish.  I added a little cayenne pepper to perk things up a bit, and also added garlic.  We can’t have pasta without garlic, right?  Baked Tortellini with Spinach is cheesy pasta perfection, made healthier, with a little kick.

Baked Tortellini with Spinach
 
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups skim milk, heated (I microwave it for about 1 minute)
  • ½ cup fontina cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 16-20 ounces cheese tortellini (I used 2 10-ounce packages)
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  2. Set water to boil in a large pot to cook tortellini.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly, cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until flour lightly browns. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, continuing to whisk constantly.
  4. Add hot milk and bring to a simmer, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. While the milk mixture is simmering, add tortellini to boiling water and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or according to package instructions.
  6. Remove milk mixture from heat and add in fontina cheese and cayenne pepper, stirring to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Drain cooked tortellini. Add tortellini to the cheese sauce (milk mixture) and stir until coated. Add chopped spinach and stir until evenly distributed.
  8. Spray 2½ quart baking dish with cooking spray and pour mixture into dish, using the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula to spread evenly throughout.
  9. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.
Notes
This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, up through step 8. When ready just sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake as usual.

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 366
Fat:  8g
Carbs:  46g
Protein:  18.5g

Adapted from Eating Well

Carrot Cake Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Carrot Cake Pancakes

 
 Carrot Cake Pancakes taste like carrot cake or breakfast, only healthier and quick and easy to make!  
After the first time I made these, all my little Adam could talk about for days were Carrot Cake Pancakes.  He wanted them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  And I can’t blame him really.  These pancakes taste like having carrot cake for breakfast (or lunch or dinner),…just a whole lot healthier!

These Carrot Cake Pancakes are made using whole wheat flour, buttermilk, and 2 full cups of shredded carrots.  There is a touch of brown sugar to give a little sweetness.  While these pancakes are delicious plain (Adam’s preferred way to eat them), I decided to dress them up a little a cream cheese drizzle.  Either way is excellent.  Pineapple, or whatever your favorite topping, would also be tasty.  Enjoy this little taste of spring!

Carrot Cake Pancakes
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrots, finely shredded (about 3 to 4 carrots)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or raisins (optional)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 ounces neufachtel cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons skim milk (suggested amount; adjust to desired consistency)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and gently stir until blended. Fold in carrots (and nuts/raisins, if using). Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat large nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Pour batter onto griddle (2 tablespoons to ¼ cup, depending on desired size of pancakes). Flip pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked (about 2-3 minutes). Cook the other side until set (about 2 minutes). Serve warm with Cream Cheese Drizzle (optional).
  6. Cream Cheese Drizzle: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk until well-blended. Add milk by the tablespoonful, adjusting to desired consistency).

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Drizzle | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #healthy #carrotcake #breakfast #Easter

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you check out Suzanne Goin’s springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with SymmetryTM Double Ovens – featuring two large ovens (thatcan each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.

peanut butter buttermilk pancakes

Peanut Butter Pancakes

As a lover of all things peanut butter and a frequent pancake maker, making Peanut Butter Pancakes was inevitable.  I searched online for some inspiration, but did not quite find what I was looking for.  Most recipes I found did not use natural peanut butter (some even discouraged it).  Natural peanut butter is a must for me, so I decided just to wing it.  The rest of the recipe just fell into place, and the result was just what I had in mind.  These Peanut Butter Pancakes have the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor, with a little sweetness from brown sugar.  Buttermilk contributes to the fluffy texture, and the whole wheat flour adds more nutrition.  They are delicious plain, with a little syrup, or even jelly to make a PB&J pancake!

Peanut Butter Pancakes
 
Yields: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1¼ cups low fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup chunky natural peanut butter (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • maple or chocolate syrup (optional, for serving)
  • chopped peanuts (optional, for serving)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using). Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, peanut butter, oil, vanilla and eggs, until well-blended.
  3. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat large nonstick skillet (or griddle) to medium (about 325 degrees).
  5. Pour batter onto griddle (2 tablespoons to ¼ cup, depending on desired size of pancakes). Flip pancakes when top are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked (about 2-3 minutes). Cook the other side until set (about 2 minutes). Serve warm.
Notes
To soften natural peanut butter and make it easier to work with, just microwave it in the jar for about 30 seconds (adjust depending on how much is left in the jar).

 

lighter healthy pretzel-crusted mustard chicken breast

Lighter Pretzel-Crusted Chicken

Like most people it seems, I am always on the look out for healthy, easy and delicious ways to cook chicken.  This Lighter Pretzel-Crusted Chicken is all of the above, is figure-friendly, family-friendly, and also easily halved to yield 2 servings.

No oil or butter helps make this a lighter and healthier version of a breaded chicken.  Chicken breast cutlets, or tenders, are dipped in an egg white and honey mustard mixture and then “breaded” with crushed pretzels.  A little cheese helps the pretzels adhere, and some seasoning rounds out the flavors quite nicely.  Served with a side salad or crudites, Lighter Pretzel-Crusted Chicken is as good, and good for you, as it is easy, and comes in around 200 calories.  Enjoy!


Lighter Pretzel-Crusted Chicken
 
This is one of our frequent go-to dinners for when we need something quick, easy and healthy.
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 4-ounce chicken breast cutlets (about ¼" thickness) or 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups pretzels, crushed (yields approx. 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Olive oil cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg whites and honey mustard.
  3. In another shallow bowl, mix pretzels, cheese, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Dip a chicken breast in egg mixture. Then dip the chicken in the pretzel mixture, pressing the coating to help it adhere and making sure both sides get well-coated. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. Spray tops of chicken lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until pretzel coating is browned and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve immediately.
Notes
Adapted from Eat Better America

raisin bran muffins

Raisin Bran Muffins

These Raisin Bran Muffins come from a cookbook called Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual, by Klutz Press.  I received this book as a gift when I was about 10 years old.  The book is obviously geared toward kids with recipes using basic ingredients ~ some with silly names or  interesting concepts (for example Tuna Cones, i.e. tuna in an ice cream cone.  Hmm…)

Anyway, these Raisin Bran Muffins were always a favorite and probably the most made recipe from that book.  They taste just like you would expect – raisin bran in muffin form.  I thought they would be a fun treat to make for Adam, only this time I decided to enhance the recipe with some vanilla, cinnamon and extra raisins.  I had no idea how much he would love them!  Adam is lukewarm about raisins alone, but the raisins in these muffins he loves.  Go figure.

Raisin Bran Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

2 cups raisin bran cereal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir raisin brain cereal, flours, sugar, raisins, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Mix egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until combined.  Add to the dry ingredients and fold gently until combined (do not over mix).
  4. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Put muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual by Klutz Press

healthy whole wheat buttermilk chocolate pancakes

Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I could not think of a better way to honor this day with you than dishing up a plate of these Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes.  Along with a cup of joe and a dish of fresh berries, these pancakes make a wonderful breakfast treat and are not as bad for you as you might think.  A healthy stack comes in around 200 calories, is low in fat, made with 100% whole wheat flour and high in fiber.  I’d say that’s not bad!

These pancakes are nice and light, making them perfect for breakfast, though they can certainly be dressed up for dessert as well. They are not overly sweet, which I like because you can easily adjust the sweetness to your preference with your choice of toppings. We actually enjoyed them plain, but a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some fresh berries is also delicious. Chocolate sauce, whipped cream and chocolate chips would definitely takes these over the top (making them more dessert-like and less healthy, of course).  The options are endless, which is always part of the fun.  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes
 
Yields: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee (I used some from my morning decaf)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I used light butter)
  • Cooking spray
  • Strawberries (optional, for topping)
  • Powdered sugar (optional, for topping)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, coffee, vanilla and butter.
  3. Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and fold until blended (there may be some lumps). Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Preheat non-stick skillet over medium and then spray with cooking spray. Pour batter in skillet by the ¼ cupful and cook until bubbles appear (about 3 minutes). Flip and cook on the other side until done (about 2-3 minutes). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with fresh berries and powdered sugar, as desired.

Adapted from Kiwi, Jan/Feb 2011

healthy easy chocolate peanut butter pretzel truffles with flax gluten free

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

I have never been one to do much for Valentine’s Day, but I am happy to have any reason to cook or bake something special.  Or in the case of these truffles, to mix, roll, and chill something special.  These tasty truffles are not only easy and a healthier option, but are made using a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

We all know that chocolate and peanut butter are wonderful together.  Add pretzels, and you have the ultimate salty-sweet combination.  Toss in a little flaxseed for good measure, and voila!   Delicious little Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles.  These are the perfect little treat for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, or for yourself any day simply because you are worth it!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles
 
Yields: 16 truffles
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup pretzels, crushed (this yields approx. ¼ cup once crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, melted
  • sprinkles (optional, for topping)
  • chopped peanuts (optional, for topping)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, crushed pretzels and flaxseed until combined. Put in the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until mixture is solid).
  2. Roll a small rounded teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture in your hands to form a ball. Place ball on small tray (or plate) lined with parchment or waxed paper. Repeat until all mixture is used. Put tray in freezer until firm, at least 1 hour (I often do this overnight).
  3. Working quickly, dip the frozen balls in melted chocolate and place back on parchment-lined tray. (Note: using 2 forks to dip and pass the balls in the chocolate works well). Top with sprinkles or chopped peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
Notes
1) When working with natural peanut butter, I recommend microwaving it in the jar (as long as the jar is glass) for about 30 seconds. All natural, easily stirred peanut butter.
2) When melting chocolate chips in the microwave, always remember less is more. Cook it on low power in 30-second intervals until chips just start to melt. Then stir to finish melting. Work quickly to dip the truffles.

Adapted from Eating Well

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Everybody needs a go-to recipe for a classic sugar cookie.  While these Chewy Sugar Cookies will never trump my grandma’s melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies, this is the ultimate chewy sugar cookie recipe.  The texture is chewy (obviously), the flavor is unbeatable, they have that perfect crackly top, and they’re easy to make.  Can’t beat that!  The key to making these chewy is to be sure to flatten to no bigger than 2-inch diameter and not to overbake.  Otherwise you may end up with a crispier sugar cookie, which frankly is really not a bad thing.  The flavor of these cookies is so incredible, they are good chewy or crispy.

Chewy Sugar Cookies
 
Yields: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces (I used ⅓ less fat cream cheese)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and hot
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I used skim)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place ⅓ cup sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside (this will be used for rolling).
  2. In a medium bowl, whick the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese. Pour butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps may remain). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until dough forms.
  4. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Using hands, roll dough into balls. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and place on prepared baking sheets, 12 balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with sugar remaining in shallow dish (discard any remaining sugar).
  5. Bake 1 tray at a time until edges are set and beginning to brown, about 11 to 13 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Source: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2012

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Bring on citrus season!  When life gives me a bowl of lemons, you better believe I’m going to make some muffins!  And perhaps some lemonade to wash them down, but that’s another post all together.  For now it’s all about muffins, as these Lemon Ricotta Muffins definitely deserve the spotlight.  They are bright, perfectly sweet and bonus – they’re low in fat, though you would never know it.  The ricotta cheese gives the muffins a moist, soft texture, and the flavor goes perfectly with the lemon.  The taste is reminiscent of delicious lemon ricotta pancakes, only a bit more portable.

With the wonderful citrus bounty upon us, over the next few weeks I will be sharing several recipes using citrus fruits.  In the meantime, grab those lemons and give these muffins a try!

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin cups with paper liners or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta, water, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, and vanilla until blended.
  4. Fold the ricotta mixture into the flour mixture until just blended.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the tops of the muffins.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins sit in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Cooking Light

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Reindeer Snack Mix

What happens when you cross peanuts with pretzels and Reese’s peanut butter puffs cereal? This Reindeer Snack Mix, that’s what! Each ingredient on its own is fabulous, of course. When mixed together with some melted white chocolate, you have a snack mix that is really too good for words. Yes folks, I am speechless. Or maybe I am just too busy stuffing my face with more snack mix. 🙂 Either way, I will simply leave you with this. It’s the holidays. You are bound to have guests or to be a guest. Here is a fun and easy little snack that will leave everybody singing your praises this holiday season!

Reindeer Snack Mix
 
Yields: about 3 quarts
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs
  • 4 cups miniature pretzels
  • 12 ounces lightly salted peanuts
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine cereal, pretzels and peanuts.
  2. In a microwave, melt the white chocolate chips; stir until smooth.
  3. Pour melted white chocolate over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Immediately spread onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Source: Taste of Home: Cookies and more!

pretzel hershey's kiss and m&ms

Pretzel Kiss Candies

Pretzel Kiss Candies are the ultimate salty sweet treat made using only three ingredients. Colors can be customized for holidays and events, making these a go-to for any party! Make a lot, because they disappear quickly!!
Pretzel Kiss Candies | alidaskitchen.com

Pretzel Kiss Candies are a fun and easy treat for the holidays. These candies have been circulating around the web for some time now, and with good reason. They are easy and SO good! You have the salty-sweet thing going on, plus they are a cute addition to your holiday treat plate.  Use your favorite M&Ms for the topper, choosing whatever goes with your celebration.  The white chocolate Hershey’s Hugs tend to melt faster and smoother than their milk chocolate counterparts, but they are both equally delicious.

Simple to make, Pretzel Kiss Candies are perfect for a last minute get together, or simply because they mood strikes you. Whatever the reason, Pretzel Kiss Candies are a must-make for the holidays!

More easy pretzel treats:

Pretzel Kiss Candies | alidaskitchen.com

Pretzel Kiss Candies
 
Yields: varies
Ingredients
  • Square waffle-shaped pretzels
  • Hershey's Hugs or Kisses
  • M&Ms candy, any variety
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Set pretzels on lined cookie sheet. Place an unwrapped Hershey's Hug or Kiss on top of pretzel.
  3. Bake oven for 4-6 minutes until softened (note: Hugs will soften quicker than Kisses). Remove from oven and press an M&M candy into the center of each Hug/Kiss.
  4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then place in refrigerator to harden for 15 minutes to overnight.

Pretzel Kiss Candies | alidaskitchen.com

banana graham muffins

Banana Graham Muffins

One of the reasons I often make muffins or quick breads is so that Mike can take breakfast on-the-go.  With this lastest muffin creation, I wanted to make something that Adam would love as well.  It definitely did not take me long to come up with this one.  It is no secret that toddlers love bananas and toddlers love graham crackers.  So why not put the two together in a muffin to create the ultimate toddler treat!

I must confess that Adam is not the only banana and graham cracker lover in this house ~ yours truly is a huge fan as well.  These muffins definitely did not disappoint!  The crushed graham crackers definitely add a tasty spin on an otherwise simple banana muffin recipe.  In fact, they ended up being a nice combination of the two flavors.  They were not overly graham cracker-y but also not like banana bread.  I added some cinnamon, which ended up very subtle in this recipe.  That amount could be doubled if you’re looking for something cinnamony to go with your banana and graham.

So did Adam love them?  He sure did!  In fact, we all did, and I hope you do too!

Banana Graham Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 medium overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the graham crackers, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combined the mashed bananas, oil milk, egg anv vanilla.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, folding gently until combined (be careful not to over mix).
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from Baking Vintage

no sugar healthy whole wheat pumpkin banana pancakes for toddlers

Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

Here are the Pumpkin Banana Pancakes I alluded to in yesterday’s post.  Thankfully I did not lose the eggs and was able to make them.  It’s a good thing too.  I was excited to try a new spin on an old recipe, and Adam absolutely LOVED them!  Similar to Pumpkin Banana Bread, these definitely taste like a cross between pumpkin pancakes and banana pancakes.  Not a bad thing if you ask me!

The recipe made around 50 small-ish pancakes.  I typically make a huge batch for the freezer and package them in groups of 6 (enough for a few days in each bag).  I figured Adam would eat 1 or 2, and I would have the rest to use for pictures during nap time.  Well…that morning he ate 4. Then he asked for another one for snack.  This left me with 1 pancake for pictures.  I couldn’t quite take a picture of just 1 pancake, so I decided to do pictures the next day and took out another 6-pack from the freezer.  Of course, what did Adam do the next day?  He ate 4 pancakes!  I feared having fewer, so I made do with the 3 that remained.  I’m just so glad he likes them.  I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Banana Pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups milk (whole, skim, 1%, whatever you like)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir and sift flours, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs with pumpkin, banana and vanilla. Add milk and oil and mix until smooth.
  3. Fold pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Drop pancake batter by the generous tablespoonful onto griddle. Cook until bubbles appear (about 2-3 minutes). Flip and cook until set (about 2-3 minutes). Repeat.
Notes
These freeze really well. I store them in a plastic baggie in groups of 6, with each pancake separated by wax paper squares. I then put all of the plastic baggies in a freezer bag.
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Spiced Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

I am always looking for new and different recipes for muffins.  They are an easy make ahead breakfast that Mike can take on the go, on his way to work or while traveling.  They are also easy for me to grab while I’m chasing after Adam, who then insists (very persistently) that I share with him.  Pumpkin season seems to be very popular with everybody these days, and our family is no exception.  For this muffin, I was looking for something pumpkin, healthy and with a little pizazz.  Enter Spiced Pumpkin Molasses Muffins.

These muffins fulfill all of the above requirements and then some.  The pumpkin and molasses flavors are nicely balanced, with neither one outshining the other.  I topped the muffins with a mix of chopped pepitas, oats and brown sugar, which added some nice texture and visual appeal.  The muffins would be delicious without this optional topping, but I highly recommend it.  I also highly recommend making these muffins!

Spiced Pumpkin Molasses Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ pepitas, chopped (optional for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats (optional for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin cups with liners (or sprady with cooking spray). In a small bowl, mix together chopped pepitas, oats and sugar for garnish, if using. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flours, flax seed meal, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, yogurt , eggs, molasses, oil, and vanilla until well-blended.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, folding until just combined (do not over mix).
  5. Divide the mixture into the prepared muffin tins, and sprinkle each muffin with the pepitas-oats mixture.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

Adapted from All Recipes

healthy chocolate peanut butter oat coconut bites

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls are an addictive, no-bake snack, made from simple ingredients found in your pantry.  

It is no secret that I love peanut butter.  So you can imagine my excitement when I was selected to participate in the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with the National Peanut Board.  The task was to create a snack recipe using peanut butter and incorporating other ingredients found in most homes. Easy enough!

I wanted to make something healthy, convenient and easy.  I also wanted to make something with oats.  It was time to roll up my sleeves, grab ingredients from the pantry and experiment.

After adding a little here, a touch there,…voila! I finally got the results I was looking for, using simple wholesome ingredients found in my pantry.

This healthy snack could not be any easier to make. The recipe requires no baking; simply measure, mix, roll and chill. The mixture may seem a little dry at first, but as you continue to mix it comes together (or add a little more honey or peanut butter to moisten the mixture to a consistency that works for you). Rolling the balls in a coating as optional. It makes the balls a little less sticky on the fingers, and also is a fun way to vary the flavors, but it is not necessary.

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls are a healthy and delicious snack, or even a quick breakfast on-the-go, featuring one of my favorite foods of all time…peanut butter!

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
 
Yields: 16-18 balls
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter, natural is preferred (chunky or creamy)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
  • cocoa powder, wheat germ, powdered sugar, chopped peanuts, (optional) – for coating
Instructions
  1. Heat peanut butter and honey in the microwave until easily mixed, about 15-20 seconds. Stir until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix oats, flaxseed and coconut (if using) until combined.
  3. Add peanut butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until incorporated. (Mixture may seem a little dry at first…just keep mixing).
  4. Form a rounded tablespoonful of the combined mixture into a ball and place on a plate. Repeat until all mixture is used. Now, if you do not want to coat the balls, skip to step 6.
  5. Roll each ball in whatever coating suits your preference. Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon sugar and chopped peanuts are some ideas.

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with 2 jars of Planters peanut butter, from the National Peanut Board, for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins | alidaskitchen.com

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins | alidaskitchen.com

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins are a healthy muffin that tastes good too!  They are made without any butter or oil, yet the are moist and delicious due to the zucchini and banana. 

 New magazine day is one of my favorites days of the month.  Since I subscribe to several magazines, this translates into several favorite days a month!   Actually, I think Mike might like new magazine day more than I do.  Especially when after just one quick perusal, it looks like this…

10 flags after just a quick glance.  Not bad, eh?   Just wait until I get a chance to be more thorough!

It was hard to choose what to make first, but there was clearly no better way to kick off zucchini week here than Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins!  Good thing too, because these might be the tastiest muffins ever!  I know, I know, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  But this time I mean it!

After one bite, you will never guess that these are healthy and low fat!  Sure there is zucchini and banana, but I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of times muffins find some way to become glorified cupcakes.  Not these.  There is no butter and no oil added to these muffins, yet they are incredibly moist and delicious.  For an additional nutrition boost, I subbed in some whole wheat flour.  I also replaced whole milk with buttermilk since it seems everything is made better with buttermilk.

This week I will be featuring several zucchini recipes throughout the week.  I hope you will all enjoy them as much as we have!

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups coarsely grated zucchini (I used 1½ zucchinis)
  • 1 mashed ripe banana (approx ⅓ cup)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a small bowl, stir zucchini and mashed banana together. Add to flour mixture and stir to combine.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir gently until combined (do not overmix).
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Notes
Adapted from Everyday Food, September, 2011
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Chipotle Black Bean Tacos

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos are a delicious meatless taco recipe filled with black beans and vegetables. {gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, depending on toppings}
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos are my favorite dish for meatless Monday, taco Tuesday or any day. They are fabulous! These tacos are made with mashed black beans, onions, peppers, chipotle peppers, spices, salsa, some broth, and then topped with any of your favorite taco toppings. The taco filling reheats well, and I often enjoy leftovers for lunches throughout the week (that is if there are any leftovers).
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com
These Chipotle Black Bean Tacos can be vegan and gluten free, depending on the tortillas and/or toppings. I enjoy them as a vegetarian options, since I like to add a bit of cheese. The taco filling reheats well, and I often enjoy leftovers for lunches throughout the week (that is if there are any leftovers).

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos
 
Author:
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • ⅓ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 15 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 6 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • Topping ideas for serving: spinach or lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, chopped green onions, salsa
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and peppers to pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, until crisp-tender.
  2. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and chipotle chilis, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in salsa. Mash lightly using a potato masher (or fork).
  5. Stack tortillas, wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 45-60 seconds.
  6. Serve ⅓ cup filling for each tortilla along with desired toppings.
Notes
Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Cooking Light

Chipotle Black Bean Tacos | alidaskitchen.com

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are made with whole wheat flour, studded with blueberries and a bright flavor from the lemon. These are a wonderful breakfast treat!
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Recently, my favorite (well,…only) pancake turner met an early and unfortunate demise.  Let’s just say the combination of a very hot pan, quesadillas sticking to said pan and a non-silicone turner resulted in a slightly melted pancake turner (and a slightly not pleased Alida).  Now I am armed and dangerous with a fancy silicone pancake turner, ready to take on the world…of pancakes!

What better way to christen this handy new tool than by making ricotta pancakes.  Ricotta pancakes are delicate to flip, so they’re sure to put this new device to the test.

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Not just any ricotta pancake recipe would do, however.  It was time to liven up my go-to ricotta pancake recipe from Everyday Food.  First I swapped lemon zest for the orange zest, and whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour.  I then decided to add vanilla and blueberries to the recipe.

The result was fabulous!  We thought they were perfect without any topping, though you could add a little confectioners’ sugar or maple syrup, if desired.  While these pancakes are easy to make, the batter is quite thick, thus requiring a few extra minutes to cook and extra care when flipping. In the end, it is all worth it – trust me!
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com
Whole Wheat Blueberry Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes
 
Author:
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • cooking spray
  • confectioners' sugar or maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl. whisk together ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, grated lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  2. Fold in flour until just combined; add blueberries, gently mixing until combined.
  3. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-low heat. Add batter, using a scant ¼ cup for each pancake. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Serve hot, with confectioners' sugar or maple syrup, if desired.
  Adapted from Everyday Food
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com
strawberry-yogurt-muffins

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins are an easy, healthy muffin recipe made with lots of fresh strawberries and Greek yogurt.  

After picking up 8 pounds of strawberries from a local farm, I noticed these were the most perfect strawberries I have ever seen.  They had a perfect shape, a perfect stem and were a deep red throughout (no white inside these berries).  My husband wondered what I could possibly do with 8 pounds of strawberries?  Spend a LOT of time experimenting in the kitchen, that’s what!

In fact, I was thinking 8 pounds might not even be enough.  I eat strawberries on my plain Greek yogurt every day.  My son eats strawberries by the fistful.  There is also a long list of goodies that I want to make with strawberries…hmm.

For the longest time, I have been searching high and low for the perfect strawberry muffin recipe.  I was inspired by this recipe for Strawberry Bread on Cate’s World Kitchen.  I love that Cate uses yogurt, a good dose of vanilla, and this recipe uses more actual strawberries than other recipes I found.  From the original recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar and used plain nonfat Greek yogurt.   The recipe below is written accordingly.

These muffins smelled incredible while baking in the oven.  It was hard to resist digging in while they cooled, but I knew they would be worth the wait.  And worth the wait they were indeed!  They are moist, delicious and have bits of sweet strawberries in every bite.  We are definitely going to make another trip to the farm to pick up more strawberries, and I will definitely be making more of these muffins!

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ cups strawberries, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease 12 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil and vanilla until blended. Add to flour mixture and gently mix until combined (Be careful not to over mix). Gently fold in strawberries.
  4. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer muffins to wire rack and let cool completely.

Adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins | alidaskitchen.com