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Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Adam’s nap cycle is pretty predictable.  He typically naps for 2-3 hours each day, but occasionally goes through week-long periods of 1 hour naps.  Sometimes it’s due to teeth, sometimes it’s due to growing, and sometimes who knows.  We have been through it enough to know that it passes in about a week.  So when we found ourselves through week 2 of short naps, it was a little disconcerting (and tiring) for all.  Fortunately, we did made it through the latest short-nap phase, and these Pumpkin Apple Muffins are a result of those extra 2 hours I was not expecting.   

I have been working on a recipe for Pumpkin Apple Muffins for quite a while.  When I found myself with extra apples from other recipes and several cans of pumpkin puree, it was clearly time to execute my vision.  The combination of my two favorite fall flavors was just so appealing.  The result is a moist, flavorful muffin that is a perfect blend of pumpkin and apple.

After Adam’s blissful 3 hour nap, I decided we should split a muffin for snack.  Before he could even finish his first bite, Adam said ‘more muffin.’  Over and over, ‘more muffin for Adam’ until he finished nearly 3/4 of our muffin.  His enthusiasm says it all…these are fantastic!   

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs (or 1 egg and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water – see note)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 medium apple, cored and shredded (any variety)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups in a standard muffin tin.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda until combined.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, applesauce and apple until combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently fold until combined. (note: batter will be thick)
  5. Divide batter evenly amongst 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note:  I only had 1 egg, so I used ground flaxseed as a substitute.  1 egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water.  Mix flaxseed and water in a bowl and let sit for about 2 minutes.  Add just as you would an egg.

    Adapted from Low Fat Cooking @ about.com

      Apple Cinnamon Oven Pancake

      I can still remember the first time I made this pancake.  It was many years ago, after I moved into my very first apartment.  I had purchased a Betty Crocker cookbook, and for whatever reason, out of all the recipes, the Puffy Oven Pancake jumped out at me.  I was hosting a brunch to show off the new place, and thought it would be a perfect dish to serve.  You know it’s a winner when after so many years, the memory of this pancake is fresh in my mind. 

      Over the years, I have made a few tweaks to the recipe.  It is very easy to make and yields an impressive looking result.  The pancake is light, and with the delicious cinnamon sugary apple topping, additional toppings are not necessary. 

      Apple Cinnamon Oven Pancake
      2 tablespoons butter (I use light)
      2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 medium apple, thinly sliced (any variety, I used granny smith)
      2 eggs
      1/2 cup flour
      1/2 cup low fat buttermilk

      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
      2. Put butter in a 9-inch pie plate and put in the oven to melt.  
      3. Mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
      4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk eggs.  Add buttermilk, and whisk until blended.
      5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour until blended.  Batter will be lumpy, be careful not to over mix.
      6. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over melted butter.  Top with apple slices.  Pour batter over apple slices.
      7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until pancake has puffed up and is golden brown.  Invert on to a serving platter and cut into wedges. 

      Adapted from Betty Crocker

      Pumpkin Gingerbread

      Evidently it has unofficially become pumpkin week here at Alida’s Kitchen.  I had something else planned for today, but it just seemed fitting to close the week with a new favorite and continue the pumpkin theme.  It does not get more seasonally appropriate for fall/winter than pumpkin and gingerbread.  This Pumpkin Gingerbread is no exception.

      I have not done a lot of baking with crystallized ginger, so it was fun to try something new.  It definitely enhanced the flavors in this gingerbread.  The original recipe did not call for cloves, but I like my gingerbread a little spicy.  I thought the cloves were perfect addition.  I love that this is made with whole wheat flour and not a lot of sugar.   Healthy, delicious and perfect for the season, this Pumpkin Gingerbread makes a delightful breakfast, brunch or even dessert.
      Pumpkin Gingerbread
      Yields 16 servings
      1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
      2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
      1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
      2 teaspoons baking powder
      1/3 cup chopped crystalized ginger
      2 eggs
      1 egg white
      1/2 cup canola oil
      1/2 cup molasses
      1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
      1 cup pumpkin puree
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside
      2. Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in crystalized ginger.
      3. Whisk eggs, egg white, oil, molasses and pumpkin in a large bowl.
      4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, folding gently until just combined.
      5. Pour mixture in prepared pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.    Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.  Serve topped with crystalized ginger, if desired.
      Adapted from prevention.com

       

      Pumpkin Banana Bread

      An overabundance of overripe bananas is never a bad thing.  We all know those little black bananas mean that in the near future, some sort of banana treat will be made.  Banana bread is always a safe bet, but this time of year I find myself wanting to make something with pumpkin as well.  What better way to combine the two than to make Pumpkin Banana Bread.   

      This Pumpkin Banana Bread is very easy to make.  Made with part whole wheat flour and less sugar, it becomes a healthier option.  The bananas add natural sweetness, which along with the pumpkin, yield a moist and delicious bread.  It’s not quite banana bread and not quite pumpkin bread, but a delightful combination of the two.     

      Pumpkin Banana Bread
      Yields 3 small loaves

      1 cup all-purpose flour
      1 cup white whole wheat flour
      1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
      2 bananas, mashed
      1 cup pumpkin puree
      1/4 canola oil
      2 eggs
      1 teaspoon vanilla

      1 tablespoon brown sugar (for topping, optional)
      1 teaspoon cinnamon (for topping, optional)

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 3 small loaf pans with cooking spray.  Set aside.
      2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. 
      3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the bananas, pumpkin, oil, eggs and vanilla. 
      4. Add the dry ingredients to the banana-pumpkin mixture, and gently fold until combined.  
      5. If using, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. 
      6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.   

      Powered by eRecipe.com

        Adapted from Low Fat Cooking @ About.com

        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

        Brown Sugar Coconut Blueberry Muffins

        The hunt for tasty ways to use the remainder of our blueberries continues.  It’s not a bad problem to have, that’s for sure.  We have been happily enjoying Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, lots of blueberries in Greek yogurt, and many other treats.  But it was time to make something new.  I already have several blueberry muffin recipes that I love, but when I found a blueberry muffin recipe using brown sugar and buttermilk, I knew it would become an instant favorite.

        While the recipe looked nearly perfect as-is, I decided to add a little twist and use coconut oil instead of canola oil.  This was my first time using coconut oil, but I had high hopes it would be the perfect addition to these muffins.

        The coconut oil imparts a delicious coconut flavor to the muffins, which works beautifully with the tangy blueberries.  The muffins are incredibly moist as well.  Score for the coconut oil, and score for another fantastic recipe for blueberry muffins!

        Brown Sugar Coconut Blueberry Muffins
         
        Yields: 12 muffins
        Ingredients
        • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
        • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
        • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
        • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
        • ⅓ cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
        • ⅓ cup buttermilk
        • 2 large eggs
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla
        • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
        • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, for topping
        • 2 teaspoons sweetened flaked coconut, for topping
        Instructions
        1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
        2. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar and baking powder.
        3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until well blended.
        4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring gently until just combined.
        5. Gently fold in blueberries.
        6. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a sprinkle of coconut.
        7. 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 wire rack to cool completely.

        Brown Sugar Coconut Blueberry Muffins
        Yields 12 muffins

        1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
        3/4 cup packed brown sugar
        1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
        1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
        1/3 cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
        1/3 cup buttermilk
        2 large eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
        2 teaspoons brown sugar, for topping
        2 teaspoons sweetened flaked coconut, for topping

        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
        2. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar and baking powder.
        3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until well blended.
        4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring gently until just combined.
        5. Gently fold in blueberries.
        6. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups.  Top each muffin with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a sprinkle of coconut.
        7. 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 wire rack to cool completely.

        Adapted from Babble

        PB Ball Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins

        Yesterday I shared with you Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins.  If you haven’t baked with cinnamon chips before, I suggest you go out and get some.  They are so good, especially in this banana muffin recipe.  As I also mentioned, that’s what I made with half of the recipe.  Today I am going to share with you what I did with the other half. 


        When I was conjuring up a purpose for the cinnamon chips, banana muffins were the first thing that popped into my head.  But then I got to thinking – what if I added something more…something delicious…something like…a peanut butter ball? 

        So today, part 2 of yesterday’s Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins, I present to you PB Ball Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins.  The muffins alone deserve the spotlight, because they really are spectacular.  Add a peanut butter ball to the center, and they become something extraordinary. 

        PB Ball Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins
        Yields 24 standard muffins

        1 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
        1 cup powdered sugar

        1 recipe Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins

        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 24 standard muffins cups with paper liners.  Set aside.
        2. Beat peanut butter and powdered sugar together until blended. 
        3. Roll peanut butter mixture into 24 evenly-sized balls and place in the paper-lined muffin cups.  
        4. Make Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins per the recipe.  Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, covering the peanut butter ball. 
        5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until muffin is set.  (You can do the toothpick test, obviously just don’t test through the peanut butter ball).  Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

        Adapted from Picky Palate

        Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins

        If there is one thing we always have plenty of in this house, it’s bananas.  Whenever we run low, Mike is quick to run to the store to replenish our stash.  It didn’t take him long to learn that there is no such thing as too many bananas.  A surplus of bananas means baking bananas, which means treats!  As I write this, I have a bowlful of overripe bananas waiting to be mashed, whipped, mixed, baked into something delicious.

        To completely change subjects – have I told you about my baking chip collection?  I have a thing for baking chips.  I love buying chips in anticipation of creating new and exciting treats, but life (i.e. a busy toddler) usually gets in the way of those plans.   I decided it was time for a self-intervention.  I must begin baking my way through this collection,…starting with these cinnamon chips.

        So the two stories come together…in the form of Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins.   These muffins are a delicious and healthy option, made partly with whole wheat flour.  They are also made using 3 bananas, which means you can use less oil.  The cinnamon chips add just a little extra something that make these muffins special.  But if cinnamon is not your thing, these would be great with chocolate chips (mmm, or even peanut butter chips!).

        These muffins are moist and delicious.  They are all I hoped for and more…yet I ended up doing more with them.  I made half of the recipe as just Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins.  Tomorrow I will share with you what I did with the other half of the recipe! 😉

        Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins
        Yields 12 standard muffins

        1 cup all-purpose flour
        1 cup white whole wheat flour
        1/2 cup brown sugar
        1 tablespoon baking powder
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        3 ripe mashed bananas
        1/3 cup canola oil
        1/4 cup buttermilk
        2 eggs
        1 tablespoon vanilla extract
        1 cup cinnamon chips (or chocolate chips)

        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease or line 12 standard muffins cups.  Set aside.
        2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
        3. In a separate bowl, mix the bananas, oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until combined. 
        4. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture until just blended (do not over mix).  Add cinnamon chips, and fold gently until combined.
        5. Distribute batter evenly among 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 Keep Your Diet Real

        Zucchini Bread

        Childhood summers, playing in the vegetable garden, my 3rd birthday “cake”, that’s what this zucchini bread tastes like. 

        Throughout my childhood, my parents had a vegetable garden.  I remember they grew cucumbers, green beans, various other vegetables, and of course zucchini.  Zucchini plants are the gift that keeps on giving.  Even better, lots of zucchini meant lots of delicious zucchini bread!

        My mom said she got this recipe from an old relative of my dad’s.  Isn’t that the way it is…the greatest recipes are the old tried and trues?  Classic zucchini bread…one of the best simple pleasures.

        Zucchini Bread
        Yields 4 small loaves

        3 eggs, lightly beaten
        1 cup canola oil
        2 cups granulated sugar
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
        3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
        1/2 teaspoon baking powder
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        dash of salt
        1 teaspoon cinnamon
        Cooking spray

        1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 4 small loaf pans with cooking spray (or grease/flour).  Set aside.
        2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Sift dry ingredients.
        3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Add zucchini and stir until combined.
        4. Fold the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until combined (do not over mix).
        5. Evenly distribute batter among 4 small loaf pans and bake for 60-70 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

         

        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

        Mushroom and Spinach Frittata with Smoked Gouda

        On Monday, I shared with you a summery dessert that uses 4 egg yolks.  I also promised you a healthy way to use up those remaining egg whites.  A promise is a promise!  This Mushroom Spinach Frittata with Smoked Gouda uses exactly 4 egg whites.  How is that for even-steven!

        Now I’m not normally a ‘smoked’ fan, but smoked gouda is truly the perfect complement to the earthy mushrooms in this frittata. The spinach gives beautiful color and flavor to the dish as well. From the original recipe, I increased the onion and added garlic. To compensate for these additions, I increased the olive oil by 1 teaspoon.

        The result is a delicious protein-packed veggie-filled dish that is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or a light dinner served with a side salad (saving room for Lime Tart for dessert, of course).

        Mushroom and Spinach Frittata with Smoked Gouda
         
        Yields: 4 servings
        Ingredients
        • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
        • 1 cup chopped Vidalia onion
        • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
        • 3 garlic cloves, minced
        • 4 cups packed baby spinach leaves
        • 2 large eggs
        • 4 large egg whites
        • ½ cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided
        • Pinch of salt
        • ¼ teaspoon pepper
        • Cooking spray
        Instructions
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
        2. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until tender (approximately 5 minutes). Add spinach, cover and cook until wilted (1 minute).
        3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, ¼ cup cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture to egg mixture, mix well.
        4. Pour mixture into cake pan and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese.
        5. Bake 30 minutes or until eggs have set. Cut into 4 wedges and serve.

         

        Nutrition Information per Serving (1/4 frittata)
        Calories = 177 ~ Fat = 9.6g ~ Carbs = 8.8g ~ Fiber = 1.5g ~ Protein = 13.5g

        Adapted from Health Magazine, March 2007

        Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

        My Adam is a pancake-eating machine.  Though he is pretty set on eating his favorite Cottage Cheese Pancakes every morning, I like to encourage a little variety.  So when I had some extra strawberries, I decided to give strawberry pancakes a whirl.  I figure Adam loves strawberries. Adam loves pancakes. It just might work. I scoured the internet, found some inspiration, and crafted this recipe with fingers crossed it would be a success. 

        I had Mike test the first pancake. After one bite, he asked for another. 🙂

        I gave a pancake to Adam…instead of pushing away the new pancake, he ate the whole thing.  Success!  

        Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes are packed with an abundance of juicy strawberries and simply delicious. I used whole wheat pastry flour, but you can definitely substitute all-purpose flour if that’s what you have. I diced the strawberries (in eighths), though sliced strawberries would work just fine and yield a beautiful result. Using orange zest is optional. You could substitute any other citrus zest or simply omit the zest if that’s your preference.

        There is no question that Cottage Cheese Pancakes are Adam’s favorite, but these Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes may someday rival that top spot.  Mike and I definitely love them, so here are tasty fruit-filled pancakes that will please everyone at the table, big and small.

        Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes
        Yields 32 small pancakes

        1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
        1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
        2 teaspoons baking powder
        1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
        1 cup buttermilk
        1 egg
        1 tablespoon canola oil
        2 tablespoons vanilla extract
        2 cups strawberries, diced or sliced
        1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar
        zest of 1 orange (optional)
        powdered sugar or maple syrup, for serving (optional)

        1. In a small bowl, mix strawberries and orange zest (if using) with 1-2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of your berries). 
        2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar and baking powder.  Set aside.
        3. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla until combined.
        4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until combined.  Fold in strawberries and orange zest, if using.
        5. Heat griddle to medium heat (add oil and/or use cooking spray as needed).  Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter onto griddle for each pancake.
        6. Cook until you see bubbles appear (about 2-3 minutes), flip and cook on the other side until set (about 2 minutes).

        Adapted from All Recipes

        Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

        My maternal grandmother was incredible in the kitchen and notorious for her baking.  She always had a vast array of ‘Grandma Goodies’ on hand, which certainly pleased her lucky grandchildren!  She knew everyone’s favorite goodie (granted it was near impossible to choose just one) and loved to make sure those favorites were always available.  One of my favorite goodies was a peanut butter rice krispie treat she made.  Much to my delight, she once told me it was okay to have one for breakfast.  “It has cereal after all!” is what she told me.  Who was I to argue with such reason!  I tried using that rationale to convince my parents, but it didn’t quite go over the way I hoped.  I found myself faced with yet another bowl of cereal for breakfast.

        My grandma was a wise woman and definitely on to something, if you ask me.  I think she would support me wholeheartedly today, because I am going to tell you IT’S OKAY TO HAVE CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST!

        Chocolate in the form of Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Muffins, that is!  After all they are made with banana, peanut butter and whole wheat!  I think individually each would be reason enough to forego your everyday cereal in favor of these muffins. Together, there is no excuse really.

        These muffins are phenomenal.  Chocolate and clove are a genius combination.  The spices, along with the banana, take this muffin from a chocolaty dessert to a chocolate spice muffin.  Combined with the peanut butter, it becomes the perfect breakfast muffin.  My grandma would have definitely approved of this!

        Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Muffins
         
        Yields: 12 muffins
        Ingredients
        • ½ cup all-purpose flour
        • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
        • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
        • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
        • ½ teaspoon baking soda
        • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
        • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
        • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
        • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
        • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (approximately 2 large bananas)
        • ⅓ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
        • 1 large egg
        • ½ cup packed brown sugar
        • ¼ cup canola oil
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
        • 8 tablespoons natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
        Instructions
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare standard 12-cup muffin pan with liners or by spraying with cooking spray; set aside.
        2. In a medium bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt (if using), cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
        3. In a large bowl, whisk mashed bananas and yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the egg, sugar, oil and vanilla until well blended. Add the flour mixture and fold gently until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
        4. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with the batter. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of peanut butte into the center of each cup. Evenly divide remaining batter to cover the peanut butter.
        5. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

        Adapted from Christina Marsigliese and Amy’s Cooking Adventures

        Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

        Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins are a healthy muffin recipe made with buttermilk, brown sugar and topped with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips.  

        When I boldly declared Whole Wheat  Peanut Butter Muffins as my favorite muffin of all time, Mike was not surprised in the least.  Not only do they have peanut butter, which I love, but they also have brown sugar and buttermilk, two of my favorite baking ingredients. Chocolate chips and chopped peanuts don’t hurt either. 🙂

        Today I am sharing with you a muffin recipe that I thought was lost forever. Many years ago, I bought a bag of whole wheat flour, and featured on the back was a recipe for peanut butter muffins.  I decided to give the recipe a try and was blown away. The muffins tasted just like a peanut butter sandwich only in muffin form. They were incredible.

        Fast forward years later, after many moves, the recipe sadly got lost in the shuffle. Until now! I googled away and found my beloved recipe at A Tasteful Garden. I had all of the ingredients on hand, so immediately got to work.

        I decided to swap canola oil for butter and add chopped peanuts on top.  I also used mini chocolate chips.  I like that with small chips, it seems as though you get more chocolate per bite.  As with most quick breads made with whole wheat flour, these muffins are dense and hearty.  I find they are best enjoyed with a big glass of milk.

        These muffins are even better than I remembered, and now thankfully will never be lost again!

        Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins
         
        Yields: 12 muffins
        Ingredients
        • 2¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1 teaspoon baking powder
        • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
        • ¼ cup canola oil
        • ½ cup brown sugar
        • ¾ cup peanut butter
        • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 2 large eggs
        • ¾ cup buttermilk
        • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (optional)
        • ⅓ cup chopped peanuts, for topping (optional)
        Instructions
        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with cooking spray or muffin liners. Set aside.
        2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
        3. Cream together the oil and brown sugar. Add the peanut butter and mix until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Scrape sides of the bowl often to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
        4. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Add half of the buttermilk, mix until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and remaining buttermilk. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
        5. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if using. Bake until golden brown, 22-24 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

        Adapted from King Arthur Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins, found on A Tasteful Garden

        Blueberry Lemon Muffins

        Have I told you lately that I love summer produce? Because I do!  This weekend we are planning a visit to our local farm to pick up several pounds of blueberries.  I am so excited! While we love to eat plain blueberries by the handful, I have a long list of great recipes using blueberries that I can’t wait to share with you!

        So in honor, and anticipation, of our future blueberry windfall, I would like to share with you my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.

        Years ago, I was flipping through a Bon Apetit magazine, and this recipe for blueberry muffins caught my eye. It just so happened to be an advertisement for Pam Cooking Spray – go figure!

        Now I know that I promised you a break from yogurt recipes, and well…I stuck to that for over a week. It would simply not be fair to keep this recipe from you any longer. These muffins rock!

        The beauty of using yogurt in baked goods means that you can use less oil/butter, which makes them a healthier option.  These muffins also contain oats, which provide a little texture that goes well with the juicy blueberries. And what more can I say about the blueberry-lemon combination – it just works.

        Over the years, I have made these muffins using different types of flours and yogurts.  This time, I made them using whole wheat pastry flour and Greek yogurt.  These muffins are just as delicious using all-purpose flour and/or regular yogurt, so use what you have or go crazy and try something different!

        Blueberry Lemon Muffins
         
        Author:
        Yields: 12 muffins
        Ingredients
        • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
        • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
        • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
        • 1 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or regular plain nonfat yogurt)
        • ¼ cup canola oil
        • 1 egg
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 cup blueberries
        • zest of 1 lemon
        Instructions
        1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare 12-cup regular muffin pan with cooking spray or liners.
        2. Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, oil, egg and vanilla.
        3. Pour yogurt mixture into center of dry ingredients; stir until just blended. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest. (Note: batter is thick)
        4. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups. Bake 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove from muffin pan and cool completely on wire rack.
        Notes
        Adapted from a Pam Cooking Spray Advertisement found in Bon Apetit magazine

         

         

        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 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

        Cottage Cheese Pancakes

        With a toddler, pancakes are a huge hit in this house. They’re easy to make ahead and a good finger food for my boy, Adam. Instead of a basic buttermilk pancake recipe, I wanted to find a nutritious protein-packed pancake recipe.  Cottage Cheese Pancakes sounded perfect!

        Not only are these Cottage Cheese Pancakes delicious, they smell amazing when cooking on the griddle.  It reminded me of a doughnut or a funnel cake.  But fortunately, these pancakes are a lot healthier than those greasy treats!  They freeze really well too, which makes it easy to have healthy, delicious pancakes on hand at all times!

        Adam absolutely LOVES these Cottage Cheese Pancakes, and they have become a household staple. 

        Cottage Cheese Pancakes
        Yields 20 pancakes

        Ingredients
        1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        3 eggs
        1 cup cottage cheese
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1 tablespoon honey
        Cooking spray (or oil) for the pan

        Directions:

        1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.
        2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cottage cheese, vanilla and honey until blended.  Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
        3. Preheat nonstick skillet over medium heat (about 325 degrees) and spray with cooking spray. 
        4. Pour batter by the heaping tablespoonful and cook until bubbles start to form and batter looks set at the edges (about 3 minutes).  Flip and cook until set (about 2-3 minutes).

        Tip:  These pancakes freeze really well.  I let them cool to room temperature. Then place a waxed paper square between each pancake, wrapped in plastic wrap (or a plastic bag) and then a freezer bag.  I typically bag then in groups of 6-8 so it’s easy to pull out a few portions at a time.

          Adapted from Weelicious

          Tomato Leek Frittata with Goat Cheese

          After taking a bite of this frittata, my husband sat for a minute and then said ‘Goat cheese is great, when done in the right way.’  Uh oh…and while I couldn’t agree more, I do know he’s not as fond of goat cheese as I am.  Fortunately he followed that up by saying ‘This way was definitely the right way!’ and quickly cleaned his plate!

          Goat cheese is definitely an ingredient that makes a statement.  Too much can ruin a dish.  Just the right amount can take an ordinary dish and make it extraordinary.

          So is the case with this frittata.  Goat cheese is the perfect complement to liven up the sauteed vegetables and eggs.  I reduced the amount of goat cheese from the original recipe, as I found it a bit overpowering.  I was a little generous when measuring the leeks because I love the subtle flavor and beautiful color.  Since I had large grape tomatoes, I halved them, and they still burst with each bite.  Beating the egg whites gives this frittata a souffle-like quality that just melts in your mouth. 

          The result is an exquisit blast of flavors in a light and airy frittata.   

          Tomato and Leek Frittata with Goat Cheese
          Yields 4 servings

          3 teaspoons olive oil
          2 1/4 cups sliced leeks
          coarse salt and ground pepper
          1 cup grape tomatoes
          6 egg whites
          4 egg yolks
          3 ounces crumbled goat cheese

          1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium. Add leeks ; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cover; cook 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Cover; cook 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
          2. In another bowl, beat 6 egg whites with salt and pepper to stiff peaks. Whisk in 4 egg yolks.
          3. Heat skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Add eggs; sprinkle with vegetables and goat cheese. Cook over medium until sides are dry, 3 minutes. Transfer to oven; bake until eggs are set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
          Adapted from Everyday Food

          Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

          Raspberry season is upon us with a plethera of delicious berries to do with as we wish.

          And I wish for Raspberry White Chocolate muffins.  Seriously.  I have been waiting all year for raspberry season just so I could make them.

          These muffins are definitely one of those muffins.  The kind of muffins that feel like dessert for breakfast…and well….it kind of is.  But there’s fruit, so it’s totally legit.

          Raspberry and white chocolate are such a classic combination.  The juicy raspberries burst in your mouth and the white chocolate chips provide a nice texture.  The cream cheese gives the batter a sticky consistency, resulting in beautiful, rustic-looking muffins.  Enjoy!
          Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins
           
          Yields: 12 muffins
          Ingredients
          • 1 package (8 oz) light cream cheese, softened
          • 1 cup sugar
          • 2 eggs
          • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
          • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
          • 2 teaspoons baking powder
          • 1 cup fresh raspberries
          • ½ cup white chocolate chips
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
          2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
          3. Combine the flour and baking powder.
          4. Add dry ingredients to the cream cheese mixture until just blended. Stir in chips. Gently fold in raspberries.
          5. Distribute batter evenly amongst 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack.

           

          Slightly adapted from Taste of Home: Cupcakes & Muffins

          Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

          Welcome to Alida’s Kitchen!  For my inaugural post, I am sharing with you a tasty crustless quiche recipe made with a few simple ingredients.  It is so easy to put together!  The cheddar cheese really adds a nice flavor to this egg dish, and broccoli adds great texture.  My husband and I enjoyed this quiche for dinner with a side salad (and leftovers made for great lunches the next day!), although it would be excellent for a brunch or anytime really. 
           

          Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
          Adapted from Everyday Food

          10 oz. frozen broccoli florets
          6 large eggs
          1/2 cup fat free half and half
          1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
          Ground pepper
          3/4 cup (3 ounces) cheddar cheese
          Cooking spray

          1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.
          2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add broccoli; cook 1 minute.  Drain well; transfer to a cutting board and blot dry with paper towels.  Chop coarsely.
          3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and nutmeg.  Add ground pepper to taste.  Stir in broccoli and cheese.
          4. Pour broccoli mixture into pie plate and bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

          Yields 4 servings

          Thank you for visiting Alida’s Kitchen.  Have a happy day!