Cottage-Cheese and Veggie Egg Muffins

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True fact: Up until this point in my life (just a day shy of 24) I have avoided that lumpy white sludge they call cottage cheese.IMG_1260

What about it is cottage-like, I wonder? The wordie in me likes to think this unattractive, lactose-filled allergen wonder was snarkishly named in memory of a grandparent gumming lumpy cheese back in the holler somewhere. That’s the story in my head that I’ll stick to.

On to more serious points, when I tried this recipe a few weeks ago–with my own single-serving adjustments–I was surprised, and pleasantly surprised at that.

Is lumpy white cheese my new favorite dish? No. I honestly don’t understand how people can pair this with fresh fruit…IMG_1262

But does it bake down into a delicious light, eggy crust? Absolutely. Paired with sauteed veggies and legumes, this recipe might be worth sharing with my own grandma and Nana.

Makes 4 small or 3 medium muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup diced vegetables of choice
  • 1/4 cup black beans or low-sodium refried beans
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese (lactose-free ones are available!)IMG_1258
  • optional: toppers like extra sprinkle cheese or diced hatch chiles
  • dash of paprika, cayenne pepper

Directions

1. Sautee vegetables, spices and spinach over high heat until tender.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with muffin liners (or grease really really well).
3. Spoon veggie mixture into muffin slots, filling each about 1/2 full. Then evenly divide and spoon the beans on top.
4. In a small bowl, whisk egg and cottage cheese together.
5. Spoon egg mixture over top of veggie cups.
6. Top with additional paprika and cayenne, if you like.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set. If they’re taking a while or if you’d like a crispy golden finish, set the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes, but be sure to remove quickly so they don’t burn.IMG_1253

Use a spoon to remove and serve warm. Enjoy!

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A Healthier Egg McMuffin

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Two or three things I know for sure (about food)…SAM_5804

An egg should not be a “patty,” a hockey puck, or in any other unidentified form.

Good cheese doesn’t have to be pumped with antibiotic-laden dairy.

Bread should be made with whole grains and wholly nourishing, not white, sugary, and processed.

And nothing should be fried in hydrogenated oils, ever.

But McDonald’s classic Egg McMuffin sandwich goes against all of this. We know this. So why do people still want to eat them?

I know for sure there are a lot of reasons why people still order these sandwiches. Lack of knowledge, will power, and delay gratification are just a few.SAM_5816

But another big one is time. Let me be the first to tell you, that time can be on your side. I made this, my Healthier Egg McMuffin, in a pinch. Here’s what you need and what to do:

Ingredients

2 eggs

1 slice of soy-based cheddar cheese

1 whole-wheat English Muffin

optional: turkey bacon, sausage, or other meat, preferably antibiotic free

DirectionsSAM_5810

-Pull out your two eggs. Get ’em ready. If you’re using the whole egg, you’ll probably have quite a bit left over. If you’re going egg whites only like I did, you’ll be right at a good amount.

-In a small skillet, turn the heat up to medium. It should get hot rather quickly. And when you can drop a few droplets of water on the skillet and watch them sizzle, then spritz with a good deal of cooking spray and crack the eggs over. Cook for about 2 minutes until the outer edges firm up, and then turn the pan a bit, letting the runny egg that remains cook to the outsides. When a fairly thick bottom has formed, you’ll be ready to flip. If you wait too long, it’ll stick to the bottom of the pan.

-Meanwhile, get the muffin ready by toasting it lightly.SAM_5812

-When the egg is cooked all the way through, remove and fold gently to fit to the size of the muffin. Lay cheese over the top and watch it melt.

Easy, right? Like 10 minutes or less easy. You can’t be that. It’s cheaper than a McMuffin, and a lot better for you, too! You won’t feel yucky and bloated afterward, and if your arteries could talk they’d probably say thanks, just sayin’.

Yogurt & Oat Pancakes

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Sweet breakfasts can be so good. Berry-filled crepes, French toast, pastry tarts. All of which can be healthy. All of which I’ve posted on this blog.

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But what I dislike about sweet breakfasts (only slightly…) is that they aren’t the most filling. Normally, I have to add a little peanut butter for protein and lots of fruit for fiber.

This recipe, however, is a sweet but stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast. The Greek yogurt and the hearty oats that can be mixed in make it very filling, enough to power you through any morning.

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 t whole-wheat flourSAM_4851

1 T rolled or steel-cut oats

1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (sub for coconut or almond varieties if you like)

2 T water (more or less depending on how runny/ thin you like your cakes)

1 t stevia

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powderSAM_4841

splash of vanilla

Directions

Heat your griddle to med-low setting. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Allow to warm.

-In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Then slowly add in yogurt, then vanilla, and then water as you like. For thicker cakes, use less water. For a few more cakes that are thinner, add more water.

-Pour pancake batter on griddle to the size of pancake you like. They will probably spread a bit. At this point, if you’d like to add in other ingredients, such as berries or chocolate chips, you can drop them on top while the bottom side of the cakes cook.SAM_4849

-When the edges begin to firm up a bit and bubbles are popping up through the top side, the cakes should be solid enough to flip. Do so carefully. They should be golden brown on each side.

Topping Ideas?

Yes, I always have lots of these! For this recipe, I mixed 1 T all-natural peanut butter with 1 T yogurt and a dash of honey. Fresh apples were chopped and added, too. Berries and honey would also be delicious.SAM_4847

Enjoy!

Key Lime Cake with Whipped Yogurt Frosting

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I’ve written about how I’m not crazy about cake mixes. They usually have hydrogenated oils, but sometimes I get lucky and find one that doesn’t.SAM_4933

Or if I’m really lucky, one that uses whole, unrefined sugars and flours. But that’s rare.

But people like those cake mixes so much! It’s hard to please a crowd with unrefined tastebuds.

So here’s a compromise I made for a very special someone’s birthday. He likes key lime pie, a lot. Now he likes key lime cake, too.

IngredientsSAM_4921

1 box of angel food cake

1 large lime or two small

1 container of key-lime-flavored yogurt

1/3 cup healthy whipped topping (try a soy type or Troo Whip)

DirectionsSAM_4931

-Prepare the angel food cake as directed, but add in some fresh lime zest and a little squeeze of juice at the end. The cake should still taste light and fluffy with just a hint of lime flavor, most of which comes from the topping

-Let cake cool, of course. But once it cools completely, you can begin making the whipped yogurt topping. It’s as simple as mixign the yogurt and whipped topping together, drizzling all over the cake, serving chilled, and if you like, sprinkling with fresh zest or coconut shreds.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

 

Une Vanilla-Pear Cupcake

There’s something rare about a pear.

No, really. That rhyme is purposeful, at least in our cultural context.

I think that we Americans, and some Amerikans, too, love our apples. It’s as American as apple… You already know what I’m going to say. And that, I think, proves my point.

But every once in a while, the American diet says “Bon voyage!” to this staple fruit and sets sail for a slightly different fruit alternative, le poire.

Pair that pear with a sweet cream cheese frosting, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Ingredients

3 T spelt or ww flour (or coconut flour for a gluten-free version)

dash of nutmeg and baking powder

2/3 T stevia

fresh lemon zest to taste

splash of vanilla

2 T nondairy milk

1 t organic vanilla yogurt

a few pear slices

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin or silicone muffin cup. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients; then blend in the wet ingredients. You can leave the pear out or you can mash some of the slices up for a very soft, fruit-puree dough.

-Transfer to prepared dish. Bake for about 10 minutes.

-While baking, mix 1 t Neufchatel cream cheese with 1 t stevia and a scant splash of vanilla. Microwave for 5-6 seconds if too thick. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

-Remove finished cupcake. Let cool a bit, and then spread frosting and top with extra pear slices.

Instant Deep-Dish Oatmeal Cookie

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A lot of you say you read my recipes but never actually try them because it looks like they take too long to make. I often get told, “Yes, that sounds healthy and delicious, but why would I want to make just one? I’d make a whole batch instead… I don’t like getting all those ingredients for one little treat… Too much work… I’m tired…”SAM_4890

I’m not going to say those are excuses in my book, but I will give you a no-excuses recipe I think you’ll like. But first, a few reasons:

1. Do it for your bank account! Single servings save you money.

2. Do it because few leftovers are ever as good as their original selves.

3. Do it to save resources. How much of the materials and ingredients used to make multiple-serving recipes just end up stale and in the trash?SAM_4483

4. Do it for portion control. The one Americans understand the least.

5. Do it because it’s fun! I love to experiment with cooking/ baking, and single-serving recipes let me try lots of new types of cuisine. Some fail. Some are delicious.

On to the super simple deep-dish cookie…

Ready for this?

IngredientsSAM_4493

1 packet of oatmeal

1-2 T almond milk (or regular milk or yogurt)

optional: dash of baking powder, vanilla

and whatever mix-ins you like (I like cinnamon + peanut butter, and chocolate chips on top)

Directions

Empty out the oatmeal into a microwave-safe dish. Mix in milk or other substitute (you should add in about half of whatever the oatmeal directions specify so it’s not runny.SAM_4888

Mix well, but again, make sure it stays firm and wet, not soupy. If you’re not feeling too lazy, you can add in the dash of baking powder and vanilla. Top with whatever mix-ins you like. Microwave as directed. If not completely firmed up like a cookie, press sides together with the side of a spoon and microwave a tad longer or pop it into the broiler for a crispier finish.

It’s essentially like some of my baked oatmeal recipes and it’s delicious.

So, no excuses! Try it. I dare your lazy bones… 😉

Sunrise Tortilla Egg Bowls

Want a breakfast that’s as bright as you are in the morning?

Okay, maybe you’re not as alert and enthusiastic as I am in the mornings–which I think frightened the poor students in my 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. sections of English 250–but your morning could be a lot brighter with this very simple tortilla bowl recipe.

Ingredients

1 whole-grain tortilla

cooking spray or vegan butter

3 egg whites

1 T non-dairy milk

desired spices for eggs (I always use cumin, plus dried cilantro and paprika this time)

sprinkle cheese of your choice

optional: salsa

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Set aside.

-Heat a small frying pan to medium heat for a few minutes. Prepare eggs and milk and spices in a small bowl, mixing well. Once pan is hot, coat with a little cooking spray and begin scrambling eggs.

-Meanwhile, make the tortilla bowls by cutting the tortilla into three evenly sized triangles. I used  a pizza cutter for smooth edges. Press into muffin tin, folding as necessary to fit.

-Once eggs are nearly finished, start transferring to tortilla bowls. Distribute scrambled eggs evenly, and top with cheese and salsa, if you like. I also sprinkled the dried cilantro and paprika on top for a little color.

-Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tortilla edges have started to crisp. Let stand and cool a few minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Deux Dark-Chocolate-Stuffed Crescents

In the spirit of all things faux-French, I had a rich and chocolate-y strike of insight…

Take new beloved pastry dough recipe. Fill with my favorite ingredient: dark chocolate.

If you remember my Healthified Pop Tarts recipe, you remember how impressed I was with the consistency and melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the dough.

I contemplated a chocolate-stuffed pop tart, but where’s the challenge in that? It would have been practically the same. So if you want a chocolate-filled pop tart, simply follow the recipe below and fill as you please.

But if you want to take a culinary trip abroad (well, sort of), try the same recipe with the following modifications:

1. Roll out dough and form into two triangles.

2. Use a pizza cutter to remove rough edges.

3. Place chocolate of choice on top of the triangles, keeping the chips a half inch or so from the sides.

4. Roll into crescents and lose yourself in some French folk music while you bake.

Recipe For Pastry Dough:

  • 1 T + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking stevia
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 t plain Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1.5 t vegan butter, diced at refrigerator temp.
  • 1.5  T non-dairy milk
Directions:
  1. In a mixer combine flours, Stevia, and salt.
  2. Slowly add in milk and Chobani
  3. Beat in butter until thick. (You may have to add more flour if your butter is warm)
  4. Roll up dough and wrap it with plastic wrap.
  5. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. After all the fillings are prepared take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out into a thin crust. Cut into 2x2in squares. Before you stack the dough make sure to sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Lay a sheet of wax paper onto a baking sheet and spray with Pam. Lay twelve of the dough sheets onto the pan. Add the fillings on top.
  8. Take the tips of the fork and press down the edges. Working with this dough is kind of like working with clay. The score marks will help the sides stick.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Remove when the pastries are golden brown.

Hotcake Hearts Bar & Muffins

“Only boring people get bored.” quoth Ruth Burke.

I’m always looking for a new and crazy recipe inspiration, something odd and out there, and this is because I get bored easily with the most commonplace dishes that make up the American diet.

Does this mean I’m boring?

Or does the pursuit of new baking ideas make me an innovator? The antilogoi to boring?

Did you ever think food preparation could be so philosophical?

I did and do. Just read my “Philosophies & Such” page.

Or make this warm brunch treat and see what you can learn about yourself.

Makes 1 big hotcake heart or 6-7 mini muffins.

Ingredients

3 T nondairy milk

1/2 T melted vegan butter or applesauce

1/4 large egg or flax egg, mixed

1/2 T stevia

1/4 cup spelt or white whole wheat flour

dash of baking powder

splash of vanilla

optional: dash of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease whatever pan you’d like to bake in. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Then blend in wet.

Transfer to prepared dish and bake for 6-7 minutes for mini muffins, 10-12 for the hotcake heart.

Serve warm and top with whatever you like. Pure maple syrup is delicious, but so is my favorite cream cheese frosting.

Strawberry-Vanilla Heart Scone

I’m not much of a coffee-shop fly. This may be because I don’t drink coffee. I was never part of the cool, “I-can-not-function-without-my-morning-latte” crowd.

First world problems, right?

But what I do find interesting about coffee shops is the baked goods section. I love the fanciful displays of bagels, and muffins, and fresh scones.

But I know, and you probably do, too, that the way these beautiful baked goods are prepared is anything but pretty. The ugly truth is they’re probably loaded with preservatives, refined sugars, and hydrogenated oils. Sigh.

I’m not the type to give up and wallow in self-pity. I’ll just find a better way.

I made up this scone recipe one Saturday morning, and I’m going to drop the modesty curtain for a minute and just say what I’m thinking: This scone is good!

For a bit of a drier scone, use oil instead of yogurt and reduce to 2/3 t. For a very, very moist one, opt for the vanilla yogurt.

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat bread flour

1 T stevia

3/4 T canola oil or organic vanilla yogurt

1/2 t instant yeast

1/2 cup warm (but not burning hot) water

splash of pure vanilla extract

1 medium-sized strawberry, diced

Directions

Mix all dry ingredients, except toppings, and then blend in oil/yogurt and water. Knead for a few minutes, and then let rest for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

Once dough has rested, pick it up again and easily knead a bit, adding in a few more t warm water if it has dried out too much.

Roll dough into ball and set aside.

Pick up the dough ball and use your thumbs to gently work in chopped strawberries. Mold into a heart shape, and once ready, place the scone on cookie sheet and bake for about 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.