Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip HEALTHIFIED Muffins

Tonight Zack went with some of his guy friends to a concert in Richmond.  He had to pick up his cousin to go, so after the concert they are driving back here and his cousin is just going to spend the night.

We had zero breakfast food in the house except for sparse bits of cereal.  I didn’t want them to starve in the morning, so I decided to make some muffins.

I wanted to attempt to make some that were still delicious, but had a hint of healthiness to them.  I definitely succeeded.

I get so excited when I make my own recipe and this is no exception.  I sent pictures of them to both my parents and to Zack and ate a whole muffin myself.  I usually just sample whatever baked goods that I make, but I was so proud of what I had concocted that I ate it all!

This was my first time baking with Splenda and I have to say, I am very pleased with the result.  I’ve heard mixed reviews about baking with Splenda, but my muffins turned out perfectly and were just as sweet as if I had used regular sugar.  Heck yeah!  It was also the first time I’ve tried substituting almond milk for regular milk and I couldn’t taste a difference with that either.  I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, just in case you were curious.  Less than half the calories of skim milk! I do believe we should all start educating ourselves when it comes to health. You can start by checking out Guide to Healthcare Schools or by using almond milk!

The only thing that went wrong was I should have baked them for a minute or two less time, but they didn’t taste over-baked, they just had browned tops.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip HEALTHIFIED Muffins

– 1 c AP flour

– 1 c whole wheat flour

– 3 t baking powder

– 1/2 c chocolate chips

– 1/2 c peanut butter chips

– 3/4 c almond milk

– 1/2 c splenda

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1/3 c oil

Topping:

– 1/2 c splenda

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line or grease 6 jumbo muffin cups.  In medium bowl, combine flours, 1/2 c splenda, baking powder, salt, and chips.  Stir in egg, milk and oil just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.).  Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the remaining splenda evenly over muffins.  Bake 20-23 minutes.  Loosen and remove immediately from pan.  Let cool on a wire rack.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread (Breadmaker)

Zack’s parents got me a breadmaker for Christmas!  It’s the really nice kind that makes square loaves of bread.

I “loave” it!  Har har.

I have had a couple of recipes for bread in a bread machine laying around and I was pretty excited to actually be able to try one out now.

I chose this one because it’s healthy and gets its sweetness from a natural source, honey, instead of sugar.

I really can’t believe how easy it was to make bread with a breadmaker.  Just throw all the ingredients in there and three hours later you have a beautiful, delicious little loaf of bread!  I think my days of buying bread at the grocery store are over.

The texture of the bread and of the crust were perfect.  I absolutely love my bread machine!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread for Breadmaker

– 1 1/8 c warm water (110 degrees)

– 3 T honey

– 1/3 t salt

– 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

– 1 1/2 c bread flour

– 2 T vegetable oil

– 1 1/2 t active dry yeast

Add ingredients according to the manufacturer’s directions to your bread machine.  Use the wheat bread cycle and light color setting.

The BEST Homemade Pizza Sauce & Crust

By now it is common knowledge that Zack and I are pizza addicts.  We have some form of pizza at least once a week (usually).

Well, we finally found the perfect sauce and crust.  It was actually two separate recipes that I found and tweaked.  The crust was originally not whole wheat, but I really wanted that added health edge (if there is such a thing in pizza!).  I’m very glad I did, because this was AMAZING.

There was a lot of sauce left over, so I saved it and served it with some pizza bites for Zack later on.  Post about those coming soon.

I cannot wait to make this pizza again, but I may have to wait a while, because I had no self control when it came to eating it! haha!

 

The BEST Homemade Pizza

Make the whole wheat crust:

– 1 pkg dry yeast

– 1 c warm water

– 1 t sugar

– 1 t salt

– 2 T olive oil

– 1 c whole wheat flour

– 1 1/2 c all purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, salt, and oil.  Add flours and mix well.  Cover and let rise in warm place for five minutes.  This makes one soft crust.

Make the sauce:

– 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

– 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste

– 2 t dried oregano

– 2 t garlic powder

– 1 t onion powder

– 1 t ground sweet paprika

– 2 t sugar

– 1/2 t salt

– 4 T olive oil

– 2 t white vinegar

In a large bowl or container, mix all ingredients.

Roll out dough onto pizza pan, cover in sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is browned.

No-Knead Whole Wheat Rolls

These rolls completely have my heart.  They are sweet, cute, buttery, and best of all, EASY.  You just mix everything up, let it rise, slap it into a muffin pan, let it rise again, slap some butter on top, bake and eat!  This may seem like a bunch of steps, but believe me, for bread, this is easy peasy.

I made these for a dinner party (I use the word party loosely here – it was just Zack, his brother and his girlfriend, a couple of random relatives, and me having dinner).  Calling it a party makes it sound so much more festive, though 🙂

These would be a great accompaniment to any chicken, beef, or maybe even pork dish.  With whole wheat rolls, though, how can you go wrong?

In the picture below, the rolls look two-toned.  This is because I used substantially less butter to put on top of them then required.  It made their tops look not-so-pretty, but it did not affect their taste.  Plus, my arteries thanked me.

Aren’t they just totally adorable?

No-Knead Whole Wheat Rolls

Yield: 1 dozen

– 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

– 1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 tablespoon butter, softened

– 1 tablespoon honey

– 1 tablespoon molasses

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes (dough will be sticky).  Do not knead.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Stir dough down, set aside 1/4 cup butter.  Fill muffin cups coated with nonstick spray, half full.  Top each with 1 teaspoon butter (I used a lot less).  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 8-12 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown.  Cool for 1 minute before removing from pan to wire rack.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone

I was so excited when I found this recipe! I thought, “amazing buffalo flavors baked into a crispy pizza crust?! Count me in!”

However, this was a one time thing.  It was good, but not amazing like I expected.  I’m glad I tried it though and recommend that everyone should try it, because you all might like it more than Zack and I did!

Rethinking it now, maybe it would have been better to make a chicken and cheese calzone and then serve it with buffalo sauce for dipping.  I’m not sure.  If anyone has tried it that way, let me know 🙂 Oh, and if you wish to improve your cooking, like I do, you can try taking online classes cooking as well!

Buffalo Chicken Calzone

– 1/2 a batch of pizza dough (I used fresh whole-wheat dough – you can get it in a bag in the refrigerated section of Wal-Mart).

– 2 cups cubed chicken breast

– 1/2 cup + buffalo chicken sauce (any variety is fine – use your favorite!)

– 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing OR ranch dressing

– 1 cup mozzarella cheese

– 1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Cook chicken and 2 tbsp buffalo sauce. Stir well, cooking chicken for 5-10 minutes or until fully cooked. Transfer to a clean bowl. Add an additional 1/4C buffalo sauce to chicken. Stir to coat. Set aside.

Grease a baking sheet.  Divide dough into as many portions as you’d like. I made two big calzones. Stretch dough into a large circle or rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Let gravity help as well as pushing on the dough gently while resting on your prepared baking sheet. Flip and continue process until you are satisfied with the size.

Coat one half of the dough with either the blue cheese dressing on the ranch dressing – not quite to the end.  Cover it with the cooked buffalo chicken (1/2 of it if you’re making two).

Sprinkle with about a handful of the two cheeses combined (leave some for the other one!).

Fold the dough over and pinch the edges to seal.  Place more cheese on top.

Repeat the process for the second calzone.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese and dough are slightly brown.

Tip: if you don’t want to bake the ranch/blue cheese directly into the calzone, you could always use it as a dipping sauce.

Whole Wheat Pita Meat Lover’s Pizza

Zack and I, like nearly every other Americans, LOVE pizza.  I’m always looking for new ways to make it, because it is that good.  I really liked the idea for this recipe, because 1) they are cute, individual pizzas and 2) they are on whole wheat pitas which are healthier (and crunchier!) than just regular pizza crusts.

My favorite kind of pizza is either plain cheese or one with lots of veggies, but I decided to give this one a try, because Zack loves meat pizza.  As you can see, even the loads of turkey in the sauce wasn’t enough for him – he still added pepperonis to his!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not before, but I do not eat beef or pork.  That’s why all of my recipes use ground turkey instead of ground beef.

Here’s my delicious pita pizza.  I actually ate two of them.  They were that good.  Next time I make these, I think I will add some oregano to them along with the thyme.  That would really add to the flavor.

Here’s Zack’s extra meat pizza.  Yummy if you like pepperonis!

Whole Wheat Pita Meat Lover’s Pizza

Prep: 10 minutes.  Cook: 50 minutes.  Yield: 8 6-inch pizzas.

– 2 tsp. canola oil

– 1 onion, chopped

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 3 large tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs. total) cored and chopped

– 1 tbsp. tomato paste

– 1 jar tomato sauce (~22 oz)

– 1 lb. ground turkey

– 2 tsp. chopped thyme

– salt and pepper

– 4 6-inch whole wheat pitas

– 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with foil.  Mist foil with cooking spray.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute one minute longer.  Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring often, until thick and pulpy – about 10 minutes.  Add turkey and cook, stirring often and breaking up large clumps with a spoon, until most of the liquid has evaporated – 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Using a serrated knife, cut each pita in half horizontally.  Place rounds, cut side up, on baking sheets.  Divide turkey mixture among rounds (~ 1/2 cup each).  Divide jar of sauce among the rounds and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan, if desired.  Bake until cheese has melted and pizzas are lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes.

I highly recommend trying these!

 

Whole Wheat Homemade Poptarts

Growing up, I LOVED Poptarts.  I would go months eating nothing but them for breakfast every single morning.  This actually continued until I got to college and realized that a pack of two chocolate Poptarts contains 400 calories! That broke my addiction really quick.

Nevertheless, when I came across a recipe for homemade Poptarts, I knew I had to try them.  This variety is made with whole wheat flour and has a cinnamon sugar filling, so they are probably healthier than packaged poptarts.

I actually made these a while back, but haven’t had a chance to do a post about them.  They turned out really similar looking to store-bought Poptarts.

Plus, they were delicious!  These are a good food to make for breakfast when you have a bunch of people with different tastebuds eating.  You can easily double (or triple!) the recipe and whip up a few different fillings for them and make everyone happy!  For example, you could make cinnamon sugar filling, jam/jelly filling, chocolate filling…the list is endless!

Whole Wheat Homemade Poptarts

Pastry:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter, cut into pats

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 6 tarts):

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste

4 tsp all purpose flour

Jam Filling:

3/4 cup jam

1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water

To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the cinnamon, sugar, and flour.

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers until pea sized lumps are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth rectangle about 3 x 5 inches. You can roll this out immediately or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove from refrigerator and allow to soften and become workable, about 15-30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 in thick, large enough so it can be trimmed to an even 9 x 12 inches. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cut each piece of dough into thirds. You’ll form 6 3×4 inch rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of 1st dough. This will be the inside of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. PLace a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork around all the edges of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts uncovered for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the tarts: remove the tarts from the fridge and bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Nutella Muffins

What? Chopped up strawberries and Nutella filling in a healthy whole wheat muffin?  Could it be so?  OH YES.

My friend, Brooke, gave me this recipe and I knew I had to try it out ASAP.  They are as delicious as they sound.  I am taking Brooke a plate of them to school.  I hope she likes them as much as I did.

Since I have lost so much weight (57 pounds!), I am a sucker for snacks that are healthy.  These are healthy on so many levels: whole wheat flour, fresh fruit, orange juice, skim milk, AND Nutella!

(Plus, who needs an excuse to eat more Nutella?)

Just a tip: I would probably either serve these warm or reheat for a few seconds in the microwave.  I think that would probably make them yummier!

Here’s what the batter looks like when you add the Nutella.  You fill the liners half full, add a dollop of Nutella and fill them the rest of the way.  They’re really simple to make.

Look at these delicious things! In the picture below you can see the Nutella inside of the muffin.  YUM.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Nutella Muffins

Yield: 12 medium muffins

– 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 2 t baking powder

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1/4 c oil

– 1 egg

– 1/3 c skim milk

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/4 c orange juice

– 1 c chopped strawberries

– 1/3 c Nutella

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and add the strawberries.  Stir only until combined.

Fill each muffin cup half full with batter, then add a teaspoon of Nutella, then fill the muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Whole Wheat Animal Cracker Cookies

Along with the blueberry scones, I also made whole wheat animal cracker cookies for our vacation snack bag.  I’ll admit, they aren’t as good as regular, “unhealthy” cookies, but they’re nice for a change.  Plus, each cookie is only 25 calories!

I made elephants, dogs, mice, cats, and cows! The cutest ones were the mice.  The picture really does not do them justice.

The recipe said you should yield 6 dozen.  My yield was only about 2 dozen.  Maybe mine were too thick, or I used different sized cookie cutters.  I’m not sure.

Honestly, I probably won’t make these again, but they were good to try once.  I figured I would share just for that simple fact.

Whole Wheat Animal Cracker Cookies

– 1/2 cup shortening

– 1/3 cup milk

– 3 tablespoons honey

– 1 cup  whole wheat flour

– 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat shortening, milk and honey with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.

Divide dough in half. On lightly floured cloth-covered surface, roll half of dough at a time 1/8 inch thick. Cut with about 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch animal-shaped cookie cutters. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cutouts about 1 inch apart.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are very light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.