Banana Blueberry Muffins


Hello from sunny South Florida! My journey has brought me back to the sunshine state, working for an incredible organization, JM Family Enterprises (Southeast Toyota Finance) and living close to family and friends again. Life is good!

I stumbled upon this recipe months ago and as I normally do, altered it a bit, and have since, made these muffins four times now. They are delicious! My first time making them, I used Paleo flour and was short a banana, so added applesauce for additional moisture, and you would never know the difference in the flour. I now add applesauce every time I make them, which is included below. The last couple times, I added chocolate chips, simply because I love chocolate and find it’s a nice addition to the fruit, but you can certainly leave them out.

Recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. flour to toss with blueberries
  • 1 ½ cups flour (for non-grain, I recommend Bob Mills Paleo https://amzn.to/3zhssFt)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup bananas, mashed (about 2 or 3, depending on size)
  • 8 tbsp. (4 oz.) applesauce (I prefer Mott’s cinnamon applesauce https://amzn.to/3Orvbkc)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste (my favorite/only kind I use, Nielsen-Massey https://amzn.to/3ocVAr1)
  • Sugar in the raw, sprinkled (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, set aside.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, applesauce, sugar, melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. (don’t overmix)
  5. Gently fold in blueberries (and chocolate chips, if using)
  6. Divide batter evenly over muffin wells (I used two muffin tins with 6 muffin wells each).
  7. Sprinkle raw sugar on top of each muffin/batter (optional).
  8. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

The nutritional information below does not include the 1 cup of chocolate chips. If added, the additional calories are 74, totaling 263 per serving.

Perfect Popovers


I posted a popovers recipe in 2010… can’t believe it’s been a decade! This version is slightly modified with cooking temperature, ingredients and method, but yields much better results. You can make them in a traditional popover pan or muffin pan; you can even make mini popovers. I’ll provide some basic guidelines for all three, but as always, ovens vary, so I suggest keeping an eye on them. And remember, do NOT open the oven door at all while they’re cooking.

IMG_1751

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, warmed in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes before cracking
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, or whole), lukewarm
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Position an oven rack on the bottom shelf, with plenty of room for them to rise.
  2. Grease the pan you’re using thoroughly (I use butter), covering the area between the cups as well as the cups themselves. Make sure the oven is preheated before you begin to make the popover batter.
  3. Using a wire whisk, beat together the eggs, milk, and salt. Whisk the egg and milk until well combined, with no streaks of yolk showing.
  4. Add the flour all at once, and beat with a wire whisk until frothy; there shouldn’t be any large lumps in the batter, but smaller lumps are fine.
  5. Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.
  6. Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  7. For standard muffin pans, bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. If you’re using a popover pan, increase time by 5 minutes. For mini muffin pans, decrease cooking time by 10 minutes. Reminder: keep the door closed.
  8. If you plan on serving the popovers immediately, remove them from the oven, and stick the tip of a knife into the top of each, to release steam and help prevent sogginess. Slip them out of the pan, and serve.
  9. If you want the popovers to hold their shape longer without deflating and settling quite as much, bake them for an additional 5 minutes (for a total of 40 minutes) IF you can do so without them becoming too dark. This will make them a bit sturdier, and able to hold their “popped” shape a bit longer.

To reheat popovers, preheat your oven to 350-400F and bake them for 5-10 minutes on a cookie sheet.

You can also freeze popovers in an airtight bag or container for up to three months.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
Nutritional Information
SERVING SIZE: 1 medium (64g)
SERVINGS PER BATCH: 12

Amount Per Serving:

CALORIES: 110
CALORIES FROM FAT: 45
TOTAL FAT: 5g
SATURATED FAT: 2.5g
TRANS FAT: 0g
CHOLESTEROL: 70mg
SODIUM: 135mg
TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE: 12g
DIETARY FIBER: og
SUGARS: 2g
PROTEIN: 5g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.

Guinness Molasses Bread


Guinness Molasses Bread

I decided on a whim yesterday, to try making beer bread after hearing my Mom rave about some she had made. I didn’t have her recipe so did a quick search online and found a simple one using regular (non self-rising) flour, which I have on hand. I realized I also had a can of Guinness draught in the fridge from a recipe I made a while back, so decided to look online again for bread recipes strictly using Guinness, and saw a couple with molasses. Mmmmm, molasses. I wasn’t entirely sure how this was going to turn out, and was prepared to toss it if it came out sub-par for my standards.  Fortunately, it came out fabulous and tasted delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) can Guinness beer (I used draught)
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted + more for greasing pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with butter.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Slowly add the beer and stir until about halfway done (all the Guinness has been added, but it’s not totally mixed together), then add the molasses.
  4. Mix until ingredients are just combined, but do not over stir.
  5. Pour/place into a greased loaf pan.
  6. Pour melted butter over mixture.
  7. Bake 1 hour, but check at 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick into deepest part of bread, and if it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, put back in oven for additional 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes and take out of pan.
  9. Let cool for 15 more minutes, slice and serve.

Beer Bread

Tips: It is VERY important to sift the flour. VERY. IMPORTANT. Do not skip this step. If you don’t have a sifter, then use a spoon to spoon the flour into a measuring cup. Do not level it off.

This recipe produces a hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust, incorporate the melted butter into the mix instead of over it.

The Guinness “pub cans” are 16 oz. but have better carbonation, so measure out 12 oz. and discard the rest… or drink it 🙂

Top ↑

Easy & Delicious Cornbread


Cornbread is another southern food I discovered while living in Georgia, which I truly enjoy. There are numerous variations of this dish, but this one is my go-to recipe since it’s quick and so very tasty!

Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
  3. Combine milk, oil and egg in small bowl; mix well.
  4. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Serve warm.
Source: Albers®

Top ↑

Cornbread and Bacon Muffin’ Stuffin


I was watching The Chew last Friday (again) and saw Carla Hall & Daphne Oz make this incredible muffin stuffing recipe, and decided this was going to be on menu this year since I’m just cooking for one (me). I really love the idea of individual servings, and the fact that you can customize these babies when serving a group. The original recipe calls for using sausage, but I substituted bacon since I had some in the fridge. I also halved the recipe, which produced six “muffins”, but am giving you the ingredients to make a dozen. I made these tonight to test them out, and have to say, they’re seriously delicious! I plan on reheating them tomorrow in the oven to accompany the rest of my turkey day meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups prepared cornbread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 thick slices of bacon
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup red onion (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Scallions
  • 1 cup celery ribs (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup red pepper (small diced)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Swanson’s chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh Sage
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Have the cornbread in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it & break into pieces to the bowl of cornbread.
  4. Add the butter to the pan and then toss in the onions, scallions, celery and red pepper.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vegetables to the bowl. Then, add the chicken stock, the seasonings, milk, and egg. Toss lightly to combine.
  7. Butter the muffin tins and then spoon the cornbread in. Compress the muffins and then add more stuffing on top.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins.

Top ↑

Cheddar Bay Biscuits


I made these a while back, and remembered how tasty they were so decided to make them again. Apparently, they’re very similar to those served at Red Lobster, but I haven’t eaten there in years so can’t compare. However, I just informed by a friend, that there’s a Red Lobster very close to me… which I drive by everyday to and from work. Pretty funny that I didn’t remember that. But, now that I know, I will definitely be popping in to check out their infamous biscuits. Anywho, if you like garlic, cheddar & biscuits, then you’ll surely enjoy these.

Ingredients

Biscuits:

  • 1 1/4 cups Bisquick
  • 2 tbsp. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Little less than 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

Butter Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.
  2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter (or use 2 forks). Don’t worry about mixing too thoroughly; there will be small chunks of butter in the mix about the size of peas.
  3. Add cheddar cheese, milk, garlic powder, and Old Bay.
  4. Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes in preheated oven or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
  7. While the biscuits are baking, melt butter is a small bowl in the microwave.
  8. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes.
  9. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits.

This recipe makes about 6 biscuits. Double the ingredients if you want more. 

Top ↑

Braided Spaghetti Bread


I loooooove bread and pasta, however, I try to keep my carb intake to a reasonable level. But, when I saw a picture of this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. The original recipe calls for using frozen bread loaf dough, which I found to be a little difficult (aka sticky) to work with, so alternatively, you could use Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets to make it easier and much quicker (and cut down on the carbs a bit). With that being said, after I got the dough loaf thawed (which takes about 2 hours) and rolled out, everything else was a breeze. The end result was a delicious garlic bread filled with spaghetti and mozzarella cheese! So if you’re a carb-lover, you will truly enjoy this recipe.

There are a ton of other things you could do with this if you want to skip the spaghetti… pizza, reuben sandwiches, chili-cheese bread, etc.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf bread dough, thawed to room temperature, about 2 hours (I used Bridgford, but the original recipe calls for Rhodes)
  • 6 oz spaghetti, cooked (I used thin spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 cups thick spaghetti sauce, like Trader Giotto’s (Joe’s) Tomato Basil Marinara
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley flakes for garnish

Directions

1.  Thaw bread loaf to room temperature.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3.  Place loaf on parchment paper (not wax), and spray rolling-pin with cooking spray.
4.  Roll  into an approximate 12×16-inch rectangle.

5.  Cover with plastic wrap, let sit 10-15 minutes, then roll again.
6.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, cool slightly and mix with marina sauce.
7.  Place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4″ strip down the center of the dough and add the cheese cubes.

I added sweet Italian turkey sausage and sautéed onions to the sauce.

8.  Make cuts 1 1/2-inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2-inch of filling (as seen in picture above).
9.  Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid.

10.  Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and parsley, as liberally as you like.

11.  Transfer parchment paper to baking sheet and cook for 30-35 minutes.

12.  Cool slightly and slice to serve.

Top ↑

Healthy Snacks


I want to talk about snacks and give you some low-calorie options for when hunger strikes in-between meals. It’s a good idea to have a snack to keep your metabolism going and the ones listed here, are only about 150 calories each! So, whether you’re watching your weight or just need a little something to hold you over ’til lunch or dinner, these are all guilt-free and pretty tasty.

  • 1 oz. healthy nuts (47 pistachios or 24 almonds or peanuts)
  • 2 whole-grain crackers with 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup baby carrots with 1/2 cup hummus
  • 6 oz. nonfat yogurt with 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups popcorn (popped in 2 tsp canola oil)
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple with 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh fruit with 1 part-skim string cheese
  • 1 cup whole-grain cereal (such as Cheerios) with 1/2 cup skim or 1% milk & 1/2 cup slice strawberries
  • English muffin pizza: 1/2 whole-grain English muffin with 1 tbsp tomato sauce & 1/2 oz low-fat mozzarella cheese (add green pepper and onion slices on top if you’d like)
  • 1 apple with 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal with sliced almonds (about 5) and 1/2 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1 oz. low-fat cheese with 3 whole-wheat crackers
  • 1/2 small whole-wheat tortilla with 2 slices turkey (or tofurkey), 1 slice tomato and 1 small slice avocado
  • 12 whole-grain corn chips and 1/2 cup salsa
  • Fruit smoothie: 1 cup skim or 1% milk blended with 3/4 cup berries

Banana French Toast


If you like bananas, then you’ll love this recipe that’s just a slight variation from the traditional French Toast, as it contains bananas and cream in the batter.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of bread (I prefer whole grain or wheat)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs (or 1 egg, 1 egg white)
  • 1/8 cup whipping cream (or milk)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Put eggs, 1/2 banana, cream and a dash of cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix using hand mixer (or blender) until smooth.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium-low with cooking spray.
  4. Soak each piece of bread in egg mixture just long enough to make sure it’s saturated.
  5. Transfer to skillet and cook until lightly browned on each side.
  6. Remove from heat and serve with other 1/2 banana, cut into slices, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and syrup.

Tomato-Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Recipe courtesy of one my favorites, Betty Crocker

Organic tomatoes, goat cheese and thyme are the signature flavors of this classic Italian recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 logs (4 oz each) soft goat cheese, cut into 8 (1 inch) slices
  • 1 can* (14.5 oz) organic, diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 24 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette (about 8 oz), toasted

Directions

  1. Heat over to 350F.
  2. In ungreased, 1-quart shallow ovenproof dish, place cheese in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle tomatoes, olives, thyme leaves and pepper flakes over cheese.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until warm and serve with baguette slices.

*Unlike fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes contain more nutrients and lycopene because they are pre-cooked, which enhances their nutritional content.