Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cherry Yogurt Muffins

     As I work my way through my new muffin cookbook, I found THE. PERFECT. muffin for my husband.  Doug loves cherry pie, so I just know he will wolf these down.  Plus, I've not seen him turn down but one or two things I've ever cooked....it's sure to be a winner!

Cherry Yogurt Muffins

1/2 C softened butter
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 Large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking sodea
1 tsp. almond extract
2 C sifted all-purpose flour (dang! ~I hate sifting flour....oh well, hubby's worth it)
1 C plain yogurt (though I think I will use vanilla yogurt for added flavor)
1 (12 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1/2 C pecan halves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer until creamy.  Beat in sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Mix in the baking powder, baking soda, and almond extract.  Fold in half of the flour with a spatula; then add the yogurt and the remaining flour.

Line muffin tins with paper baking cups or spray with cooking spray.  Spoon one heaping tablespoon of batter into each cup and smooth the batter to distribute it evenly.  Add one teaspoon of cheery pie filling to each cup.  Cover the filling with another heaping tablespoon of batter.  Break pecan halves and sprinkle on top of the batter. 

Bake 25 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned. 
Makes one dozen muffins

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chunky Granola Muffins

     I purchased a new cookbook titled, "Mad about Muffins"  from a fellow Ebay colleague & I have bookmarked about a half dozen recipes to try. 
     I highly recommend this cookbook--there are 11 different categories and 128 pages of sweet to savory muffins ~ something for everyone!
     The one I will share today seems healthy and I believe I might have all the ingredients on hand, so I hope to make these tomorrow.  This should use up that half box of granola which has been sitting in the cabinet....

Chunky Granola Muffins

2 C granola
1 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 C milk
1/3 C butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C golden raisins 
1/3 C slivered almonds (or chopped walnuts or pecans if you prefer)
1/2 C flaked coconut  (if you don't care for coconut, add mini chocolate chips, some finely chopped or shredded apple, etc.  Use your imagination and taylor these to suit YOUR taste!)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a larg bowl, stir together the granola, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
In another bowl, blend together the milk, butter, egg and vanilla. 

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add milk mixture and stir just to combine.  Stir in the raisins, almonds and coconut.

Fill greased muffin tins or use paper/foil liners.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool.

Makes 12 muffins

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie

     I've made it my intention to eat super healthy from here on out, due to my recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, but also just because I'm getting older & I know it's the right thing to do. 

    Sooooo---for those who care, here is the Fruit Smoothie recipe I made today----I adapted one I found so you can do it my way or YOUR way....lol!  

     From now on, my breakfast will consist of a smoothie.  I'll snack on something healthy around lunchtime or mid-day & then eat a nice big salad LOADED with vegi's and/or protein for dinner.

     Have no fear, however....that this is going to become a blog filled with diet recipes.  I still plan to indulge once in a while--I feel that is completely normal & most things are fine moderation.  I will still be posting delicious things so don't you dare go anywhere!

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie

1 C yogurt (I used Vanilla)
1/2 C frozen strawberries (I used 3/4 c. assorted frozen berries)
1/4 C frozen blueberries (see above---I just used 3/4 c total of assorted berries)
1 apple, cored and sliced (I did NOT use the apple)
1 banana (this is BEST FROZEN--mine was not today 'cause I spaced it yesterday--I've already put some in the freezer for tomorrow!)
1 Tbsp. raw sugar (NOT needed--I didn't use)
1 tsp. vanilla
Dump everything into a blender and puree.

Comes out THICK like a shake. SOOOO good---even my hubby Doug loves it!

Makes one smoothie (tall glass)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mini Brown-Sugar Cheesecakes

     Count me as one of those who has vowed to eat more healthy this New Year.....but.....in MY world that doesn't mean I've sworn off all sweets.  That would ensure failure right out of the gate. Every once in a while a girl just needs some chocolate, ya know?  Or something decadent.  What we DON'T need is the entire package of cookies or the whole enchilada.  I mean pie.  Or cake.  Or box of donuts......don't act like you can't relate. 

     Here's a great recipe for those times when you just need a little something at the end of your dinner.  Or between meals....I promise I won't tell.

Mini Brown-Sugar Cheesecakes

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs (about 1 sleve of 4-section graham crackers from a 14.4 oz. box)
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. PLUS 1 tsp. unsalted butter, melted; PLUS more butter for the pan
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground ginger (I use less--NOT a ginger fan here)
1 C light-brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar and the salt.  Add butter and stir until combined.  Spoon about 1 Tbsp. mixture into each cup of a buttered 24-cup mini muffin pan;  press down to form a solid bottom layer.  Bake for about 5 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.  Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  With beater running, add aggs, one at a time.  Add lemon juice and zest, vanilla, ground ginger and brown sugar and beat until combined.  Divide filling equally among muffin cups and bake until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Refrigerate until set, for a least 4 hours or overnight.

Gently run a knife around the cheesecakes' edges to loosen them, and invert pan to release the cakes.  Transfer to a cake pan.

*Before serving, you could add a big dollop of whipped cream, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that it changes the calories. OR drizzle your favorite caramel or chocolate sauce across the tops, OR add about 3 mini chocolate (or your favorite flavor) morsels to the top.   Again, I won't tell ;-)

Makes 24 cheesecakes
Per cheesecake:  120 calories (see, ONE is ok!!!!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mayonnaise Cake

     Here's a blast from my past!  I remember my mother making mayonnaise cake when I was young---since I'm a BIG chocolate fan, this was something I really looked forward to.  My mother didn't serve dessert for the most part unless we were having company over for dinner.  Suffice to say, I relished those few times she made this.

Mayonnaise Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
1-2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans*; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.
In large bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in mayonnaise at low speed until blended. Alternately beat in flour mixture with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
On wire racks, cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.
Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting. *My favorite, Chocolate Buttercream, follows

    *Or, prepare cake mix as above in 13 x 9-inch baking pan and bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves 12

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Frosting:


6 oz. good semisweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.

Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Taco "Pie"

     If you're like me, this is kinda a crazy week.  I always take our Christmas tree down on the 1st, but this year that didn't happen.  I do plan to pack the ornaments away later today, and I started putting away the inside decorations yesterday. Since we have packed snow on the ground and it's BRRRRR degrees outside, I'm not sure when the house lights and porch decorations will be put away but that's not my department anyway.........

     Here's a simple dinner for busy times and a real kid-pleaser as well!

     *Feel free to mix it up with YOUR family's favorite ingredients---like spread refried beans over the crust before adding the first layer of crushed chips.  Add diced tomatoes and/or shredded lettuce to the top, after it comes out of the oven and a dollop of guacamole, if desired. 

Taco "Pie"

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1/2 C water
1 Can sliced olives (4 oz.) OPTIONAL
1 can crescent rolls
1 C sour cream
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 C crushed corn chips

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet brown ground beef until no longer pink.  Drain and return to the pan.  Add the taco seasoning mix, water and olive.  Simmer 5 minutes.

Separate the crescent rolls into triangles and lay them in a greased 9" pie dish, placing the points toward the center of the dish.  Press the seams together to seal, forming the crust.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the crushed corn chips onto the crust.  Spoon meat mixture over the top of the corn chips, spreading evenly.

Stir sour cream until smooth, then spread over meat.  Top with shredded cheese and the remaining 1 cup of crushed corn chips.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Red Onion Pinwheels

Turn store-bought dough into treats pretty enough for any breadbasket.
This is SUCH a time-saver as you use your oven to speed up the rising process!

Red Onion Pinwheels

1 lb. thawed frozen bread dough
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 C finely chopped red onion
Salt and pepper (I like Kosher salt)
1/2 C finely grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet.  Place the dough onto a floured work surfac; press to flatten.  In a medium skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion.  Season and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 minutes.  Cool.

Stretch the dough into a 10-inch square.  Sprinkle with the cooked onion, parmesan and parsley.  Roll up jellyroll-style, starting at the short end; cut crosswise into 8 slices.  Place on the baking sheet, spacing evenly.  Turn off the oven; let the dough rise in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven; place in a warm spot to rise for another 15 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Bake the rolls until they are golden, about 20 minutes.  Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and brush on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Happy New Year!!

I'd like to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year!! 

Last year was a rough one for me, health-wise, but my hope is to bring more GREAT RECIPES and blog posts this year.

I'd love to see my membership grow, and the best way to do that is to bring great, consistent quality to my blog.

I thank you ALL for following me and want you to know I value each and every one of you.  I know time is limited for all of us and that you choose to read and follow MY blog means the world to me!