Browsing Tag


Heathier Recipe 1: Banana Muffins

June 17, 2011
Since I had three very ripe bananas sitting atop my fridge, I decided to jump right in on this request to make banana muffins healthier. Banana bread is one of my favorite breakfast treats and an extremely easy food to make healthier because the ripe bananas naturally provide moisture and sweetness to the recipe.
Upon first looking at the original recipe, I noticed a few things. First, it contained sour cream; great for adding moisture and flavor but not so hot nutritionally. Second, they were made with all-purpose flour. Not the end of the world but something that could benefit from a healthy face lift. There was also a full stick of butter in these muffins and a hefty dose of sugar.
So what’s a girl to do? For starters, I stirred in vanilla yogurt for the sour cream to cut down on fat and calories and used a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour for a dose of whole grains and fiber. I also cut back on the amount of sugar used, since I find most recipes are a little heavy on the sweetness. And I cut back on the butter by a few tablespoons and used a little unsweetened applesauce in its place. 
The calorie comparison (calculated using between the original and my new, healthier version are pretty impressive: 

Original Recipe: 205 calories, 11 g fat (6 g sat. fat), 60 mg chol., 25 g carb, 14 g sugar, 3 g protein.
New Recipe: 154 calories, 6 g fat (4 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 24 g carb., 12 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Banana Muffins 
Recipe adapted from
*1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*3/4 cup whole wheat flour
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2 very ripe bananas, mashed
*6 ounces light vanilla yogurt (such as Dannon Light and Fit)
*1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1/2 cup sugar
*6 tablespoons butter, softened
*2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce 
*1 large egg
*1 large egg yolk 
*Preheat oven to 350°F. 
*In a bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
*In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar, butter, applesauce and eggs until well combined. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir until just combined. 
*Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. 
Happy Baking!

Cocoa Protein ‘Muffin’

May 30, 2011

Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. As strange as it may be, I think about what I’m going to have for breakfast while drifting off to sleep the night before. Breakfast is a big deal around here.

In the past I skipped breakfast more times than I’d like to admit, thinking that it was better to avoid racking up calories first thing in the morning. My poor metabolism. Now I aim to eat about 400 to 500 calories at breakfast, which isn’t difficult considering how ravenous I am the moment I wake up.

I had been reading about protein muffins on Gena’s site for a while now, but it wasn’t until last week that I got motivated to dig through my pantry in search of the ingredients I needed to make one. Of course, I didn’t have all the suggested items so I winged it a bit and was thrilled with the results. It turned out moist, dense and was huge (major bonus in my book). And on top of it all, the ingredient list ended up being pretty stellar.

Give it a try next time you have a craving for a bakery-like treat without the guilt.

Sidenote: I’ve been traveling, running and going at a hectic pace this weekend so blog photography is courtesy of my iPhone. Eventually I’ll get better at bringing my real camera with me when I’m traveling. Perhaps when I cave and get a more atractive camera bag!

Hope you all had a wonderful long weekend, and thanks for all your feedback on the pies!
What are your favorite things to eat for breakfast? Do you eat breakfast at all?

Cocoa Protein ‘Muffin’
Inspired by Smoothie Girl and Fitnessista

*1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1 egg white (from one large egg)
*1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I measured and it ended up being just shy of 1/3 cup)
*2 tablespoons peanut flour or whole wheat flour
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 teaspoon stevia or 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

*In a small baking dish or microwave-going cereal bowl, combine the applesauce, baking powder and egg white. Beat until well combined. Add in the chocolate protein powder, flour, ground cinnamon and stevia or brown sugar. Beat until all ingredients are evenly combined.
*Place dish in the microwave and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes on high, until mixture is puffed up and bounces back when you touch the center with your finger.
*Remove from dish, transfer to a plate and top with desired toppings, such as nut butter, low-sugar pancake syrup or Greek yogurt. Makes 1 muffin

Calories per muffin: About 360 depending on the type of protein powder

Happy ‘baking’!


Breakfast Muffies

March 4, 2011

You know those special pans you can buy at specialty cooking stores that are designed to help you create muffin tops or ‘muffies’? Yeah, I don’t have one of those pans, but I am most certainly a fan of muffin tops.

Unless we’re talking about muffin tops above your jeans. Definitely not a fan of those.

The good news about these muffies? They won’t give you a muffin top. In fact, they’re actually quite healthy, made with mashed bananas, whole wheat flour, oats, and a little butter and sugar. If you’re a fan of soft, fluffy, cake-like cookie-muffins then these are for you.

Of course, a single muffie on its own isn’t enough to keep me full all morning, so I dressed mine up this morning with a smear of creamy peanut butter and a dollop of Greek yogurt. A divine way to start the morning, indeed.

Breakfast Muffies
This recipe calls for oat flour, which is incredibly easy to make. Just place 1 1/2 to 2 cups of regular rolled oats in a food processor and process for about a minute, until the oats form a finely ground meal. Use as you would flour! 

*1 cup oat flour (see note, above)
*3/4 cup whole wheat flour
*1/4 tsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*3 very ripe bananas, mashed
*1 large egg
*1/3 cup sugar
*2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with non stick cooking spray. 
*In a small bowl, combine the oat flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the bananas, egg, sugar and butter. Stir until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in chopped walnuts.
*Drop by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden around the edges and puffed. Remove and transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 10 muffies

Nutritional Facts per muffie: (estimated from SparkRecipes) 191 cal., 8.2 g fat (2.6 sat. fat), 26 mg chol., 109 mg. sodium, 27 g carb., 3.2 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar, 4.4 g protein. 239 g potassium

Happy Baking!

Carrot Spice Muffins

February 17, 2011

Every morning starts off pretty much the exact same in my apartment.

5:30 – Alarm goes off
5:45 – I am making breakfast with coffee in hand
6:00 – I’m seated on my couch, eating breakfast and catching up on my favorite blogs

I catch up on the lives of my blog ‘friends’, get updates about family (my future sister in law just started a blog!) and drool over amazing recipes shared by talented chefs and home cooks. But rarely do I ever bake something from said blogs. It’s not that I don’t dream of cooking from other sites, it’s just that with limited time and resources, I try to save my ‘recipe cooking’ for things I plan to share on Espresso and Cream.

But on Monday I stumbled upon a recipe I knew I needed to bake. Natalie, over at The Sweets Life, posted a recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking from My Home to Yours. I don’t frequently eat muffins because I have a sneaking suspicion that many muffins are actually more nutritionally akin to cupcakes.

This recipe, on the other hand, was something I could get behind. Something I could make my own and enjoy for breakfast without guilt. To fit my needs, I cut back the sugar by 1/3 cup; my grandma, who is a wonderful baker, has a theory you can cut the sugar dramatically in most recipes without consequence because we are been accustomed to overly sweet food. Additionally, I made these little cakes with 100% whole wheat flour because white flour and I don’t socialize on a daily basis. I added kosher salt for a kick of flavor and made a few other minor alterations.

Surprisingly. considering they were completely whole wheat, they were pleasantly light. And for me, the sweetness level was spot on. Though if you like your muffins a tad sweeter, go ahead and add 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the mix.

Thanks, Natalie, (and Dorie!) for sharing this recipe!

Also, a few house-keeping notes. In addition to a the new header I designed while I was home sick last week, I also created an all new Recipe Page that has some of my favorite recipes listed for easy access. I’ve also updated my About Me, FAQ, and Press pages!

Carrot Spice Muffins
Adapted from The Sweets Life and Dorie Greenspan

*2 cups whole wheat flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup milk
*2/3 cup oil
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup golden raisins
*1 cup finely grated carrots

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or line 18 muffin cups. Set aside.
*In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined. Gently stir in the golden raisins and carrots. Do not over mix.
*Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter.

Happy Baking!


Pear-Almond Butter Muffins with Spiced Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’

October 1, 2010

I’m not entirely sure why, but lately change has seemed to be on the agenda. There’s a new mirror in my living room, new breakfasts at my table and last night I cut four inches off my hair on a whim. Like a breath of fresh air, this change feels good. Speaking of breakfast, I’ve been having so much fun rediscovering how exciting, varied and delicious the first meal of the day can be.

This week my breakfast of choice has moved on from last week’s banana bread to this week’s pear muffins. In part because they are healthy and contain whole grains, fruit and protein. Who am I kidding? I think what really drew me in was the feeling I get when eating them — like I’m eating dessert for breakfast. They seriously look like cupcakes, don’t they?

Incorporating pears into a bread typically reserved for bananas or zucchini was a natural choice, since pears are my absolute favorite fruit. That, and the fact that I had two pears sitting on my counter top when the urge to bake hit last night. Necessity truly is the mother of all invention, folks. And because my passion for nut butters is still burning strong, I incorporated a little almond butter into the batter. Pears, almond butter, cinnamon and allspice? I’m pretty sure no further explanation is necessary.

Pear Muffins with Spiced Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’
(Printable Recipe)

Hold off on ‘frosting’ these muffins with the Greek yogurt topper until just before eating, since the Greek yogurt needs to be refrigerated. If you’re looking for a little extra something, topping these muffins with an extra dollop of almond butter is always a good idea.

*5 Tbsp. butter, softened
*1/3 cup almond butter or natural peanut butter
*1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

*1/4 cup ground flax seed
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. allspice
*2 medium crisp pears, grated (on a box grater)

Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’
*3/4 cup Greek yogurt (2% Fage)
*2 tsp. Stevia, Splenda or granulated sugar
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter, almond butter and Greek yogurt with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined, followed by the brown sugar.
*In a medium bowl, combine the flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
*Stir in the grated pears by hand until evenly combined. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Remove from oven and cool completely. Meanwhile, stir together the Greek yogurt, Stevia and ground cinnamon. Spoon the mixture atop cooled muffins. 

Happy Baking!


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