Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

photo 4I’m not much of a salad person.  I never have been.  Well perhaps that’s not true, let me rephrase that.  I’m not a meat salad person.  Give me a salad with beans and chickpeas and lentils, mixed with fresh veggies, or a spinach and fruit salad mixed with crisp spinach leaves, juicy strawberries and some kind of nuts, like almonds or walnuts, and then top it with a vinaigrette, and i’m S O L D sold. But for some reason, when you add meat to the mix, weather it be chicken or beef or fish, i just can’t do it.  It almost makes me nauseous. I have been on a quest to find the right Chicken salad.  I HATE fruit and meat combos (most of the time) so that was definitely out.  I made a mango barbecue chicken salad a few months back and I almost threw up trying to digest it.  Meat just freaks me out sometimes. I’m always concerned that i will get salmonella, or mad cow disease, or die from all the hormones and antibiotics hiding in there.  Sometimes meat just isn’t appetizing to me. But I like the taste of meat, and I’ve tried the vegetarian thing – just not my thing.

So what is a girl to do? Do I force down yet another boring unappetizing salad? Do I settle for a less than tasty dinner just because I’m trying to eat healthy and lose a few pounds? NO. I REFUSE to continue to eat less than tasty things just because they’re “healthy”.  NO. I will NOT sacrifice taste for fewer calories. NO. I WILL find a chicken salad that I love and can digest without wanting to eat an entire pizza to wash down the awful taste and cleanse my palette from the bland taste that is chicken salad.  I have challenged that bland chicken salad to become something more.  Something more than unseasoned chicken on a bed of greens. I REFUSE to settle for something less than extraordinary.  I want to be inspired by my salad. I want some SERIOUS salad Swag and some UNBELIEVABLE dressing. I want my salad to blow my mind.  To blow my tastebuds’ mind. I daresay, I have started a salad revolution.  Welcome to the uprising of the not-so-boring, unbelievable tasty, salad of awesomeness.

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I decided to go for a Thai themed salad.  I love Thai sauce.  It’s so damn good.  I used the President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce as the coating for my chicken.  I diced up 10 oz. of Chicken into strips, placed it in a skillet with about 1 – 2 tbsp. of the Chili Pepper Sauce, and cooked on medium, covered, until the chicken was no longer pink inside.  Flip the chicken every few minutes.  The sauce is thick and will begin to caramelize.  Once the chicken is cooked to your liking, remove the cover and allow any remaining juiced to evaporate.  This will also give your chicken time to brown slightly, and gives it a nice “from the grill” taste.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of your salad.  I used sliced cabbage, julienned carrots, romaine lettuce and thawed frozen corn.  I also prepared my own spicy Sriracha dressing using olive oil, soy sauce, Sriracha Sauce and the juice of one lime.  To top off the salad, I added some crunch and sliced up one of my homemade flour tortilla wraps  into skinny strips and toasted them in the oven.

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Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

makes two dinner sized salads

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 10 oz. of Chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp. of your favourite cooking sauce
  • 1 6-inch tortilla, cut into strips
  • 1 romain heart, slices
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large carrot, julienned

For the dressing

  • 1-2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce (depending on your desired level of spice)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp.  reduced sodium soy sauce
  • the juice of one lime

Cooking Directions

  1. Place chicken strips in a skillet on medium heat.  Add 1 – 2 tbsp of your favourite cooking sauce, like President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Once chicken is cooked through, cook for an additional 1 – 3 minutes to brown the chicken and allow the sauce to caramelize.
  2. Prepare the rest of the salad while the chicken is cooking.  In a large bowl, add sliced cabbage, romain lettuce, julienned carrot and the thawed corn.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour about 1/2 the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Place the sliced tortilla wrap on a baking sheet and broil until crisp, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide the cabbage mixture between two places and top each with one half of the cooked chicken and half the toasted tortilla wrap slices. Pour the remaining dressing over each plate and enjoy!

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My boyfriend found the sauce to be a little too spicy for his liking – I used 2 tbsp of Sriracha in the dressing I made.  So i agreed to tone it down the next time I make this.  This salad was so good, that I actually made more and took some for lunch the next day.  I’m very happy about how well this turned out.  It was not gross, or bland, or boring.  It was full of flavour and the crunchy tortilla added a great texture to the salad.

So.  People. I urge you to get some salad inspiration.  Join the revolution against plain, unsavory salads! Happy Cooking!

Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

photo 2Okay…. so apparently I’ve been a little obsessed with burgers lately.  Perhaps it’s because I’m being hopeful that spring weather will soon be upon us – we got snow yesterday… April 2nd… and I’m feeling a little depressed about it.  The weather forecast, however, does look promising and I don’t see any below zero degrees Celsius in the next week.  Pray that the weather network isn’t lying, and that the temperature will warm up, bring rain, and get rid of the six-foot snowbanks that encompass every street in the city.  To me, burgers are something that you eat in the summer, you barbecue them on your patio, or at camp, the sun beaming down on you – seriously, I’m getting sick of this snow, maybe if I keep cooking summer foods mother nature will get the hint and bring me some double digit temperatures.

So the recipe I’m going to share today is great because not only does it taste fantastic, but it’s also relatively healthy, like most of my recipes.  Burgers are typically a little higher in calories, since they usually are accompanied by a bun, some sauces, and in my burgers, cheese and turkey bacon, but trust in me when I say that this is well worth it.  Each burger patty will run you just over 300 calories – the rest depends on what toppings you would like to add.  For this burger I added a slice of turkey bacon to top my ground chicken patty, as well as a slice of mozzarella, some fat free ranch salad dressing, a few lines of Sriracha (because I love me some spice) and a few slices of red onion.  I served it, of course, on a whole wheat Ezekial bun and ate it with a cucumber and tomato Greek style salad.

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For the patties I combined ground chicken, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and some PC Chicken Barbecue Sauce – but you can use any sauce.   I mashed all the ingredients together with my hands, and then formed the mix into four 4 oz patties.  I cooked the burgers in a skillet, covered, for about 6 minutes on each side, then topped them with bacon and cheese, re-covered, and then cooked for an additional 30 seconds (or until the cheese has melted).  I pretty well cook all my burgers the same way – in a skillet, as I am not allowed to have a barbecue, and for about 12 minutes.  I then topped the burgers with Kraft’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing – I love this stuff because it’s creamy and thick and doesn’t really taste like fat free.  If you’re looking for a taste that’s closer to the full fat dressing, you can always go for the Calorie-Wise Ranch Dressing from Kraft – it pretty well tastes exactly like the full fat version.  I of course, made it spicy, and couldn’t resist adding a little Sriracha Sauce.  I developed this recipe by working off this one from JuliesEatsandTreats.com.

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Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

makes four 4 oz. burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 slices of cheese (I used Mozzarella)
  • 4 tbsp ranch dressing (about 1 tbsp per burger)
  • Sriracha Sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • Other garnishes of your choice – tomatoes, onion, spinach, etc.
  • 4 Burger Buns

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, spices and barbecue sauce.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Divide the chicken mixture into four and make four equally sized patties (they should be about 4 oz. each)
  3. Place in a skillet and cook covered on medium heat for six minutes.  Covering helps your burger get an even cook.  Flip and repeat.
  4. Add bacon slices and cheese to each burger patty, cover, and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Remove burger patties from heat, serve on a bun and top each burger with ranch dressing, Sriracha, and you favourite burger garnishes.
  6. Eat it!

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I promise that you will LOVE this burger.  It’s got a great taste and I LOVE adding the spicy Sriracha to give it a kick.  I promise I will make something else other than burgers at some point – they’re just so easy and versatile – meaning that they’re great for a weeknight dinner.  For more burger ideas please see my Burger Lover board on Pinterest.  Happy Cooking!!

Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

photo 4I like everything spicy, so of course, adding Sriracha to essentially every meal is a must – once I discovered it, I just couldn’t get enough!  I like the kind of hot that causes your lips to burn, you know, the kind that you should probably follow up with a glass of milk… or Pepto, depending on how much heat your gut can take.  After rumaging through my freezer I discovered that the only meat I had on hand was ground beef, and since that said beef was so conveniently sitting beside a bag full of burger buns, I felt that some sort of food god was telling me to cook me some burgers. And I listened.  As you might remember, I am a HUGE burger lover, so once I decided a burger is what my belly wanted, I had to make something new, something I hadn’t tried before.  After a few nights of Thai stir-fry, I decided I was going to incorporate some serious heat into my burgers, Sriracha style.

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I did a little bit of Pinteresting, and discovered a few recipes that I based this burger off of.  The first thing I noticed is that most of the recipes I found has a little bit of soy sauce in them, but were otherwise pretty basic – beef, Sriracha, salt and pepper, and onion.  I omitted the salt (you get enough of that form the soy sauce) and added 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1 egg.  I added about 1/8 cup of diced red onion into the recipe.

photo 1In terms of toppings, and I think the title of this post says it all, I added cheddar cheese and sliced turkey bacon (you can use any bacon, of course, but I imagine thick cut would taste the best).  I also topped the burger with some sautéed red onion and, you guessed it, just a few lines of even more of that spicy Sriracha sauce.

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I cooked the burgers in a skillet since I’m not able to have a barbecue in our building – and to be honest, with the dumping of snow we just got, you couldn’t pay me to barbecue outside right now.  I cook my burgers on medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, with no oil since even extra lean ground beef has enough fat to make some grease in the pan.  Once cooked through, I remove the burgers, drain the grease in the pan, and then return the burgers to the heat.  I then add the bacon, cooked and sliced, the sautéed onion, and then top it with cheese and cover for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  I like adding the cheese AFTER I put on the toppings – I find all the flavours blend a little better.

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Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

makes five 5 oz. burger patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 slices of sharp cheddar
  • 5 slices of cooked bacon
  • sliced, sautéed onion for garnishing

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients other than cheese, bacon, and extra onion.  Using your hands is the best approach.
  2. Form the beef mixture into five 5 oz. patties.  Cook in a skillet (or BBQ) on medium heat, for about 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink inside.
  3. Garnish each burger with bacon, onion and then cheese.  Cover for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until cheese is melted.  Serve on a bun and top with more Sriracha sauce if desired.

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 This is probably my favourite burger so far – but you know me, I’ll probably say that about the next one, and the next one, and the one after that.  I like eating my burgers on Ezekial Buns – I find they’re not too doughy and not too big for the patties – I can’t stand an oversized bun it’s like it overpowers the taste of the patty.  Anyways – I urge you to try this one.  It’s honestly fantastic.  Happy Cooking!

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

photo 3Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and, on weekends, it’s by far my favourite meal of the day. In general, I do not need to rush on a weekend.  I’m not going to be late for anything because I usually have no where to go.  This means that I can spend a little extra time making breakfast – and well, usually on the weekend my breakfasts are a little more…. carb-y.  My boyfriend has been begging me for weeks to make pancakes for breakfast, and I think he was almost ready to buy the prepacked boxed stuff and give it a go himself if I didn’t make a batch.  Of course I wasn’t having any of that.  So to save him from the Aunt Jamima pancake wannabes (and to save my poor pans from being scorched to death due to my boyfriend’s inability to cook) I agreed to make a from scratch batch of whole wheat banana pancakes. It was also a request that the pancakes be chocolate chip, and since I usually have some form of chocolate in my house I searched my cupboards and found a few chocolate chips to throw into the mix. Yummmmyyy…   I can’t remember the last time I had pancakes, and surprisingly enough. I’ve NEVER made pancakes before.  Never in my life.  Pancakes were something I would watch my mom cook when I was little.  She would put all the ingredients in a bowl, I would mix it and then sit on the counter as I watched her cook it all up.  She would make a bunch of fun shapes: a big circle for a head and tiny circles for eyes; she would make a nose and ears and a big smile.  Sometimes she’d even make a Mickey Mouse.  It was great. We had tones of fun eating our Saturday morning pancakes.

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Since I had never made pancakes before, I decided to do a little googling.  I found an excellent recipe from InspiredTaste that I used for a guideline.  For this recipe I used whole wheat flour mixed with a little unbleached all purpose flour, but you can use all whole wheat flour if you want.  Using all whole wheat flour has it’s advantages, but tends to create a thicker batter so you may need to add more milk if it’s unreasonably thick.  I added a little sugar, but you can substitute with 2 tbsp of honey, as well as 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1 ripe mashed banana.  I included a little bit of cinnamon and it gave the batter an amazing taste.  And of course, I topped it off with some maple syrup – and I’m sure it would taste fabulous with some homemade whipped cream, powdered sugar, or fruit.

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Makes about ten 4-inch pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more if you like them extra chocolaty)

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large bowl,  combine flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Set Aside.
  2. Heat milk in a skillet over medium heat until it is lukewarm (you should be able to hold your finger in it for 10 seconds without it burning).  Whisk together warmed milk, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract and mashed banana.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until completely incorporated and no flour pockets remain.  Do not overmix the batter. Fold in chocolate chips.  You may add more milk if the batter seems too thick.
  4.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Brush the pan with melted butter and spoon a 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet.  Use the spoon to spread the batter to about a 4 inch circle.
  5. When the edges look dry and bubbles form on the top of the pancake, it is ready to be flipped (about 2 minutes).  Cook the other side of the pancake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes – until light brown and cooked through the middle.

I’m not going to lie, we finished off the entire batch. Man they were good! They were light and fluffy, not too sweet, and the banana taste just amplified everything.  I will ABSOLUTELY be making them again… or some over form of pancake… I might be on a pancake roll now.  So, try these. They’re amazing. Happy Baking!

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Kelsey Makes a Change – Month One

Hello Friends! Sorry for the hiatus – I’ve been focusing on finishing my semester.  Come March I will be done until June… woohooo!! It’s been a little over a month since adopting a new, healthy lifestyle, and I have to say it’s much easier to do than what I remember (well, sort of… the workouts not so much).  I remember feeling grumpy when I would watch my friends eat their grease smothered pepperoni pizza, with the cheese pulling off in a long string as though it was straight out of a 90’s cartoon (you know the one)… and the smell, it made me drool.  I wanted to wear it as a perfume.  I scowled as I stared down at my dry and tasteless lightly seasoned chicken breast and side salad (dressing on the side, of course).  I was dreading this transformation.  Of course, I am completely capable of cooking a from scratch, preservative free meal.  But low calorie?  Unless we’re talking chicken and salad or baked salmon and steamed carrots I’m at a loss.  I’ve done TONS of healthy meals in the past, but they’ve never really tasted AMAZING.  Like I wouldn’t make it for a group of people and expect them to fall in love with my culinary skills.  So I’ve been experimenting, and trying to make some of my favourite meals and favourite tastes into something a little less… calorie dense, and I’ve also been looking for healthier recipes from cookbooks (like actual cookbooks… weird, right) and bloggers (the healthy kind).  I’d like to share some of the new recipes I have tried… they’re REALLY yummy.  And just give an update and what I’ve been eating. I’m far from perfect… hey, I’m a foodie. It’s tough to give up some things, but I’m trying and that’s all that matters, right?! Right.

First, lets start with a Spicy Thai Stir Fry.  I love this dish so much.  It was inspired by a a local restaurant – Sizzles, which is a Mongolian-style “build your own stirfry” grill.  SO tasty.  I try to hit it up a few times a month.  For this dish a sauté sugar snap peas and red peppers in a large skillet with olive oil and my favourite cooking sauce (which is Thai, it’s SOOO good – I am on the hunt for a light version).  I usually use about 2 tbsp in the skillet.  In a separate skillet, I cook about 10 oz. of chicken strips in a tad of water and 1 tbsp of the cooking sauce.  Cover and cook on medium, stirring and flipping every few minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Place 1/2 – 1 cup of gluten free or whole wheat pasta on a plate, top with half the veggies and half the chicken (this recipe serves 2).

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I love wraps – veggie wraps stuffed with fresh spinach and crisp peppers, topped with avocado and shredded cheese, or Thai chicken wraps with cheese and fresh veggies… or even ground chicken soft shell tacos with homemade taco seasoning, Jalapeno peppers, onions, salsa, and shredded cheese.  I just love them.. I could very well have them every day for lunch without a complaint.  However, fun fact, I NEVER buy tortilla wraps.  I make them, from scratch. It’s actually relatively easy, especially if you have  a stand mixer and a dough hook.  You will need*:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup of hot water
  1. Add flours and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer.  Sift to combine.  Add in the oil and using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium until the flour and oil are well combined, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  2. While mixing on medium, gradually add the water until a large ball of dough forms.  Again, scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Remove the ball of dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Form it into a log that is about 10 inches long.  Cut the log into 16 pieces – cut in half width wise, and then cut each of those haves in half, and then each of those in half until you have 8 equally sized pieces, then cut lengthwise.
  4. Roll each piece into a disk and then place it on a baking sheet or cutting board lined with waxed paper.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
  5. After 2o minutes, you are ready to roll out your flour tortillas! Roll out each disk, one by one, into a large circle (about 6 to 7 inches in diameter).  Place it in a frying panon medium heat (no need for oil) and fry it on each side for about 30 – 45 seconds.  Th pan should be hot before placing the wraps in.  Place on a plate to cool and enjoy!!

*Eat wraps within one hour or refrigerate.  Please visit  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/26/recipe-whole-wheat-tortillas/ for more info and how to incorporate more from scratch, real food into your life.

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I’ve also been enjoying sandwiches – using Ezekiel bread and Maple Leaf’s no preservatives added lunch meat.  But I’ve been thinking… what if I made my own bread?  My boyfriend eats store-bought almost everyday for lunch… maybe there’s a way to save money and eliminate preservatives by making my own?  So I borrowed a bread maker from a co-worker, and got to work!

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I think my absolute favourite smell in the whole entire world in fresh baked bread.  It literally makes my mouth water.  On my commute home from work we pass a bakery everyday and the smell of fresh baked yumminess seeps into our car.  It’s intoxicating.  So, when a co-worker of mine lent me her bread maker, naturally I was over the moon.  About an hour in, the poor old bread maker began making an awful clanky sounds-like-it’s-about-to-blow-up sound.  And…we it broke.  Lukily the first hour was the bread allowing the ingredients to sit and the yeast to activate.  I quickly pulled the ball of dough out of the machine, plopped it in a buttered bread pan, and covered it with a clean tea towel for 30 minutes.  Once the dough doubled in size, I plopped it in the oven and baked for about 35 minutes.  It turned out great!

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Ken and I each had a piece while it was still warm.  It was the best damn bread I ever had!  I got the recipe for the bread maker loaf here.  The only complaint ken had was that it was quite thick when I cut it (apparently I haven’t yet mastered how to cut the bread in relatively thin slices).  But I will continue to practice…and possibly buy an electric knife.

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The last thing I want to share is homemade pizza.  The crust uses quick rise yeast, so in total it takes only about 40 minutes to make the pizza.  For the crust, I used:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp) of quick rise yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp  sugar
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour in hot water and oil and mix with spoon or hands until you form a large bowl.  I found the crust to be very dry at this point, so I plopped it on a clean, dry surface, added a teaspoon of water, and kneaded until the dough formed a large ball free of excess flour or flakes.

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Place the dough on a piece of wax paper.  Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the ball, sprayed side down, for about 20 minutes.  While your dough is rising.  Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees.

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Roll out dough until it is about 12 inched in diameter, being sure to roll it our to a relatively consistent thickness all around.  I like my pizza to have a thin crust in the middle, but I like a nice thick crust around the edges, so I place the dough on my 9 inch parchment paper lined pizza sheet and then fold the excess over to make a thick crust.  Press the dough into the pizza sheet. I do this to try to even out the thickness.

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Top the crust with your favourite ingredients.  I add sauce, spinach, jalapenos, feta, mozzarella and lean preservative free pepperoni slices.

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Bake for 15- 18 minutes.  I like to bake it a little longer to ensure the middle is crispy.

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Now doesn’t that just look like the best pizza ever?  And, fun fact, only 215 calories a slice. Pretty wonderful if you ask me. Well that’s it from me for now.  Happy Baking!

Kelsey Creates a New Lifestyle: New Year, New Beginnings

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Hello friends, Happy January.  I have to apologize for my lack of recipe sharing – I have a few reasons for that.  To be completely honest, I’ve been avoiding you.  Why? Well. Do you ever feel completely and incredibly overwhelmed?  Like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you need to do, while still been able to do what you want to do?  Before Christmas I was seriously doubting whether or not I would make it through the holidays.  With school on top of working 40 hours a week plus trying to get all my baking/shopping/meal preparing/party-planning/all-the-unnecessary-holiday-stresses-we-put-on-ourselves-every-year stuff, I got tired, I took on too much, neglected myself and didn’t take anytime to relax – I didn’t take any me time.  I was exhausted, stressed and grumpy.  I won’t lie – there were a few times that I cried a little.  Any I know, I was being crazy – I know this due to the look on my poor boyfriend’s face after I burst into tears while putting up Christmas lights because half of them were burned out.  I’m talking major crocodile tears, a little sobbing – it was all very dramatic.  Perhaps it was because I was under so much pressure with studying for my upcoming finals, that I felt my head was going to pop off, or because I’m a perfectionist and things, well, weren’t perfect, or maybe it was even because as an only child, I like things to go my way and have a tendency to have a temper tantrum when they don’t.  Either way, I was a complete basket case and needed to find a way to figure my shit out – for my own good, and everyone else’s.  I was a stress ball, a stress-y McStresserton, a flipping grump.  It’s like I ate a big giant batch of frownies (I wish I could take credit for that last one).

SO one morning, after Christmas and after about ten people’s worth of food in just a few short days, I was laying in bed – and I had an epiphany.  Okay, not really… I had this epiphany a long time ago, I just refused to realize it until now.  Let’s jump back a little bit.  When I was young… I was a little chubby.  And, by chubby, I mean I was really overweight.  My mother (god bless her soul) called it baby fat and told me I was big boned.  And, I believed her for a very long time.  I believed that, in time, I would be a normal sized little girl, just like my other classmates, and that my size had nothing to do with the bags of Doritoz or Ice Cream Sandwiches that I would devour on a regular basis, or the high sugar fruit punch I was obsessed with, or…any of the other sugar packed, high fructose corn syrup infused boxes of pre-packaged poison that I ingested every single day.  I was young, I didn’t know any better, and honestly, neither did my mom.

I’ve struggled with my weight all my life.  I’m a yo-yo dieter.  A diet whore.  I have been around my friends, like REALLY been around, I have tried them all and let me tell you, they all failed.  I will calorically starve my body, and then binge on whatever form of sustenance is in my kitchen – from stale pita bread to half a brick of cheese.  I’m a stress eater, a food lover and, well as my blog indicates, I love everything that has to do with cake batter, icing sugar and sprinkles.  I am always looking for a quick way to lose weight – but I’ve never actually said, hey, why don’t I cut the crap and make a commitment to be healthy instead of trying every fad diet I can get for free on the internet.  And when I say failed, I don’t mean I didn’t lose weight, of course I lost weight you silly geese I was likely consuming under 1000 calories a day, drinking my college freshman face off, AND (dare I say it) controlling my appetite by smoking cigarettes (don’t worry friends, I kicked that nasty habit 1 year and 5 months ago).  But of course, I would also yo-yo on right back up to an uncomfortable weight because, after a while, I just didn’t feel like depriving myself of all the yummy treats I was missing out on (and like… you know, real food, not plain cottage cheese and cucumber pita sandwiches).

In the past two years I have not bothered to make a serious effort to live a healthy lifestyle, and in all honesty it’s making me tired, and sick, and fat, and I hate it.  I don’t feel like me.  Every year I make a new years resolution to get skinny, well this year I want to get healthy.

A few confessions:
1. I don’t like it when people tell me that I don’t need to lose weight because I am skinny enough – I have gained 20 pounds in the last year and a half and I get winded walking up a flight of stairs… if that’s not the picture of health I don’t know what is.

2. I love everything deep fried and everything sugar packed, I just don’t like how I feel after eating it.

3. I have never committed to a fitness plan for more than a month (and in that month I am likely not consistent), because, like, I hate sweating n’ stuff.

4. I hate meat in my salads.  Try me – I will attempt them all.  But in the end, chicken, or beef, or some form of meat on my wonderfully leafy and fresh greens? Heck no.

5. I am a Monday diet starter and a procrastinator.  I like excuses, especially if that excuse allows me to skip a workout.

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Promises I am making to myself (and my readers!)
1. I promise I will not turn this in to a crazy, body building health nut blog – I mean, I’m committed but not THAT committed.  Like, I’d kill for six pack but I won’t give up carbs or try to suffocate my sweet tooth.

2. I promise not to whine, pout or complain about having to go to the gym instead of playing Xbox, or skipping dessert… well, I’ll try.

3. I promise to fill your life with salads, leafy greens, healthy snacks, skinny treats and homemade everything.

4. I promise to search high and low for healthy pizza crust, sugar free muffins, and low calorie cupcakes.

5. I promise this will be fun – not boring, bland or depressing. This will be an adventure.  Kelsey’s super cool healthy food search adventure! Orrrrr Kelsey’s wicked awesome adventure of incredibly tasty and nutritious food! Pick one.. it’ll grow on you.

I was on a three week blogging hiatus – and for that, I’m sorry, but I needed to, like I mentioned earlier, figure out my shit, and decide what was important to me.  I wasn’t making myself, or my health a priority, and I feel awful.  Eat like shit feel like shit.  You are what you eat. “Insert healthy eating quote here.”

It’s on like DONKEY KONG!

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

photo 2 (4)Let’s talk skinny treats.  This one is fantastic. And one of the easiest recipes I have ever baked in my entire life.  Seriously. I’m not kidding.  This is the second time I have ever made brownies, in my life, and the first time…well, the first time it went relatively well, but let’s just say it was pretty well the first time I had attempted to bake anything (Aside from a brownie oreo cookie dough jumble of treats that I ended up overbaking to the point that it almost broke my tooth when I bit into it… oh how far I have come).  So needless to say, my first batch of brownies was no where near as tasty as this one, and not nearly as skinny either.  This chocolate and peanut butter swirl brownie is – wait are you sitting down? seriously sit down – only 120 calories per square! I think I can hear the celebrations as I write.  Party horns blowing, confetti dropping. It’s okay to cheer, honest, I’m not judging. I did.  

I love finding a new tasty treat that has very few calories.  I actually like this one a lot because I used no sugar. You heard that right. No sugar. Instead of the 1 cup of sugar, I used 1/2 cup of honey as a substitution.  The recipe also calls for greek yogurt, almond milk, egg whites, unsweetened cocoa powder, and rolled oats.  That’s it for the batter.  This recipe can easily be made gluten free if using gluten free oats.  I used light creamy peanut butter for the swirl.  Do not use natural peanut butter for this recipe. I almost couldn’t believe that there is no flour in this recipe! 

The brownies come out very fudgy. They are a messy treat.  It is recommended that you wait until the brownies are 100% cooled before slicing.  I got this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (of course) and she even went as far as tossing them in the fridge for a few hours.  Her’s also look much prettier than mine so perhaps I’ll try that next time, I’ll also have to practice my peanut butter swirl.  You can find the original recipe here.

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The other fantastic thing about this recipe? How about the fact that you will have relatively no dirty dishes? Why? Step 1. place all dry ingredients in a blender (yes…blender); Step 2. Place all wet ingredients on top of said dry ingredients; Step 3. Place lid on blender;  Step 4. Blend. BAM there’s your batter. The batter will be very thin.  Place in pan.  Then simply melt the peanut butter in the microwave, adding it to the brownie batter in large dollops, and then use a knife to make the swirl.  Do not overmix.

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Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

makes 16 squares, 120 calories per serving.  brownies stay fresh at room temperature for 2 days, and refrigerated for 5 days.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (185 grams) creamy peanut butter (do not use natural, runny peanut butter)
  • 6 oz. low fat or fat free vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) skim milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar  (see note above in post about substitutions)
  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats

Baking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 8×8 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients except for the peanut butter into a blender or food processor. (Yes, a blender!) For easier blending, place the liquid ingredients into the blender first. Blend until mix is smooth and oats are ground up. You will have to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times.
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Batter will be thin. Microwave peanut butter for about 30 seconds. Drop melted peanut butter by spoonfuls onto the batter, swirling gently with a knife to create a marbled effect. (Try not to overmix!)
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Brownies will be extra fudgy, so be sure to wait until COMPLETELY cooled –  Cut into squares and enjoy!

 Tonight I am making another real food recipe – a homemade veggie burger topped with guacamole (homemade), onion, tomato and spinach, on a whole wheat bun.  I cannot wait!  Today I went to 2 grocery stores looking for these amazing Ezekiel burger buns.  Could I find them? Nope! So frustrated.  The drive took up the better part of my lunch and still, no burger buns.  I ended up
photo (3)buying a few Kaisers from the bakery, which will do for now.  I have also discovered a great new lunch option: vegetable pancakes.  They are so good.  And very simple to make: grate 2 cups of vegetables ( I do 1/4 cup of carrots, zucchini, potato and sweet potato), mix in with 2 eggs and 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour, add a little garlic, and then pan fry into pancake shapes.  Super
good. They almost taste like hashbrowns.  And thanks to the eggs are extremely filling.  I get 4 pancakes out of the “batter”, 2 per serving.  They are also quite low in calories! Get this: 166 calories per 2 pancakes! So. Amazing.  You can find the recipe here,
it’s by 100 Day of Real Food.  I can’t wait to tell you about my veggie burger – I will let you know how it goes…it involves a food processor…which I broke down and bought today…  Happy Baking!  

Apple Pie Muffins

010I am so excited that I have holidays coming up. After today, I will officially only have 9 full days left of work until I can enjoy a full week off, away from work, housework, and my cellphone.  I am planning on spending my week at camp with Ken, but not before spending a night or two at Summerfest to watch The Sheepdogs perform.  It’s just getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning. I’m in serious need of a vacation.  

I am still on my quest to find some great healthy dinner ideas, and was forwarded a few blog addresses yesterday that will surely help this pursuit.  One of my favourite summer salads in the whole world is my Summer Spinach Salad.  It has loads of fresh strawberries and blueberries, dried cranberries and chopped walnut halves, and is topped with Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette salad dressing and goats’ cheese.  Last night I had it with my go-to salmon recipe, that has a balsamic marinade and is seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Pretty tasty, and I promise I’ll share the recipe once I’ve perfected it.

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So let’s talk muffins.  Miss Sally strikes again!  I totally fell in love with her Sky High Apple Pie Muffins.  They are so good! You know the kind of muffin that you buy in a bakery? or a coffee shop? They’re super tall and round and fantastic.  Well these are pretty much it. Except for one HUGE difference. They’re around 200 calories, compared to your average muffin, which are generally around 350 to 500 calories. Yikes! What the heck do they put in those things???  The original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction says that this recipe yields 12 muffins, however, I overdid the amount 011of diced apples that I put in the batter so I actually got 16 out of the mix. Always exciting.  This time when I attempted to make these “sky high domed muffins” I think I did it right, compared to my Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins where I overmixed the batter. I skipped the stand mixer on this one and did it all by hand.  I was careful to get out all the flour pockets, but once it was all mixed together, I stopped,  and once in the oven, the muffin tops soared creating fantastically fluffy, high domed muffins.  The trick with the high domed muffins is the initial high baking temperature of 425F degrees.  After the muffins bake in this temperature for 5 minutes, the heat is decreased to 375F degrees (keeping them in the  oven while the temp is reduced) and then they are cooked for an additional 15-18 minutes.  It’s also important to have a thick batter (spoonable, not pourable) and that the muffin tins be filled to the top.  I’m super proud of myself that I didn’t over mix the batter as this has been one of my major faults with baking.  016

So what’s over mixing? Most recipes in terms of baked goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies involve stirring your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, etc.) in to your wet ingredients.  When the flour is mixed around and exposed to the wet ingredients it start to develop gluten, a protein that helps bind your ingredients together, but can also give baked goods a firm and elastic structure – not always great in cakes, muffins or any type of pastry.  So, do the minimum amount of mixing necessary.  Get all the flour pockets out by ensuring that there are no streaks coming out in your batter.  Or, if you’re mixing in things like fruit, chocolate chips, or other add-ins, mix until there are only a few streaks left to ensure the minimum amount of mixing – you’re going to have to fold in your add-ins so the batter will still get mixed up.

The healthy good for you ingredients in this recipe include fat free, apple flavoured greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce (in lieu of oil), white whole wheat flour, and rolled oats in the streusal topping.  So yummy!! These is both brown and white granulated sugar in this recipe.  I was super close to trying it with brown sugar from Splenda (I think it’s essentially the same, but sweeter so you can use less), but I figured I’d best stick to Sally’s recipe for the first go so that’s I’d have a recipe to rave about the next day.  

In terms of the type of apple I chose for this recipe, I decided to go with a Cripps Pink apple.  These apples are juicy and sweet, and I found these apples really kept their shape while baking.  I’ve used other apples in the past and I’ve found once in the oven, that they lose their shape and essentially, “become one with the better”.  I don’t know about you, but I want apple chunks in my muffins. So I chose an apple that would likely not break down too much once cooked.

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Sky High Apple Pie Muffins

makes 12-16 muffins. 196 calories per serving.  muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  I found the muffins tasted better the second day once the flavours had settled.  

Ingredients

to make the muffin

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour (or white all-purpose flour)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup almond milk (or soy or regular)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp fat free apple yogurt (or vanilla or plain)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 heaping cups chopped apple (cored + peeled, if you prefer peeled chunks – I did not peel mine)

to make the Oat Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Baking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Prepare oat streusel topping by mixing everything together until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Set  aside.
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  3. Prepare the muffins: in a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the milk, sugars, yogurt, apple sauce, eggs, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Gently fold wet mixture into the flour, stirring until *just combined* – do NOT overmix. Gently fold in the apples.
  5. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin tins, making sure each one is filled to the very top.  Sprinkle reserved oat streusel topping over each muffin. (bake any additional muffins separately, adding water to the empty muffin spots to ensure even baking)
  6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 *note that I was able to divide the batter itself over 16 muffin tins, but I had to make more of the Oat Streusel topping (I halved the recipe) for the additional 4 muffins. That additional topping is included in my calorie estimation.

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T hanks to these muffins, I totally broke my “only one muffin a day” rule.  But in all seriousness I didn’t mean to eat it.  I was going to save it fro breakfast the next day…. but it just smelled so great.  For some reason the smell of baked apples and cinnamon reminds me of Christmas. I was feeling a little nostalgic so I broke down and ate one…in my defense I ate the smallest one I could find, or what looked like the smallest anyway.  I urge you to try this it is fantastic and very easy (like most of Sally’s recipes).  Like I said, I have found some pretty fantastic blogs over the past few days, and a lot of them focus on healthy eating (which I think we could all use every now and then).  Be sure to visit Sally’s Baking Addiction for more healthy recipes! Happy Baking!!

Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I just spent a fantastic weekend on the lake at my boyfriend’s family’s camp.  While it’s nice to be home, having to bring myself back to reality after a weekend of saunas, swimming, and sunshine is a bit of a bummer… I love long weekends, don’t get me wrong, but having to say goodbye to my home away from home was quite depressing…today is Monday, which means tomorrow is the beginning of another work week, a short work week, but a work week nonetheless.  I am already itching to be back to that tree covered slice of heaven, where cell reception is minimal and food preparation involves a barbecue and paper plates.  This summer the weather has been slightly uncooperative; we had a tumultuous heat wave that left me sluggish and slothful in my blistering apartment, minimal movement and cooking was key here, and now our weather is, while mostly comfortable, a little on the chilly side.  The wind has been incredibly cool for this time of year, leaving me feeling as though fall is quickly approaching.  I predict that we will likely be facing another long winter. Blah!121

Whenever my boyfriend and I return from camp we’re usually lazy and our nights often include netflix, video games, and sleep.  I have no intention of cooking a big fancy schmancy dinner, and I certainly have no intention of doing dishes (thank god my father is spending the weekend with us – he is a dish washing champion, thanks dad!).  Anyway, my lack of motivation to turn on my oven usually leads us to two options: take out, or homemade pizza.  While I love me a good hot pressed wrap from one of our local eats, I’ve always been a pizza girl.  Fat Tuesday’s has been my first choice lately, but I still love a good homemade pizza, and that’s been my go to rather than order in – it actually takes way less time, it’s super cheap, and honestly I think it might even taste better…plus I don’t get a belly ache from all the grease I’d be ingesting if I did order in.  

025I usually purchase a pizza crust from our local independent grocer if we’re planning to go to camp for the weekend so that I can have the ingredients I need at home to make the pizza – I use Molinaro’s Supremo Deep Dish Pizza Crust – it comes with 2 crusts and 2 packs of sauce.  Don’t knock the pre-made stuff! I know there is often so much taboo with ready made meals, any many swear that from scratch meals are the only way to go – but I also think that easy and convenient are the way to go, especially if I am reluctant to put much effort into my dinner.  Besides, I’m adding all my own toppings…so I’m pretty confident I can label this as homemade.  For my toppings, I add the sauce (duh), and then I throw a layer of chopped spinach on top.  I add chopped mushrooms, lots of jalapenos, and then feta and bacon.  I top it with a layer of four cheese Italiano cheese and Maple Leaf Naturals pre-cut pepperoni slices.  Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, broil for 2 minutes, and then presto! Done! I let the pizza cool for 3 to 5 minutes, slice and serve.  Sounds pretty fantastic right?  It so easy and takes no time!  Now, wait until you hear what I made for dessert.  So lets talk muffins.

So I couldn’t help myself…when I got home from camp this afternoon I was itching to make another skinny muffin! I am not through my list of healthy bakes that I want to create, and I thought, hey…it will only take 1/2 hour of my time, why not?  So I got baking.  I did a quick scan of the ingredients in my cupboards, and settled on Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins.

What makes these muffins healthy? Some of the wet ingredients include unsweetened applesauce, sugar, and honey.  There is only 1/2 cup of sugar for the entire dozen muffins you get out of this recipe, and the honey sweetens the rest.  The applesauce is a great substitution for fat, and paired with the Greek yogurt it helps keep the muffins nice and moist, eliminating the need for fats like oil or butter.  I used 2 egg whites instead of one large egg – this keeps the fat content down.  There is 4.5 g of fat in one large egg yolk, and 0.1 g of fat in one eggs white. Yikes! What a difference!  This also brings the calorie content down slightly.

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The one thing I absolutely LOVED about these muffins was the moist ewey gooey-ness thanks to the yummy chocolate chips…I had my first bite while the muffin was still relatively warm and fresh out of the oven. It was soooo good! If you have them again the next day, I recommended tossing them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up again.  Its sooo goood. And, just to remind you one more time, these are low fat, low sugar, and low calorie, with a whopping 137 calories per muffin.  Now that’s not so bad is it?

Just one more thing I want to point out – these muffins have an initial baking temperature of 425F degrees, and then after 5 minutes, the muffins are cooked at 375F degrees for an additional 13 minutes.  Why?  This helps make high domed muffins. Now, I’m not 100 percent on if I did this correctly, according to Sally’s instructions, overmixing the batter is a BIG NO NO.  I feel I may have done this…ouuups. Some of my muffins turned out a little flat, but they still looked a little higher than the ones I’ve baked before, so next time, I will skip my stand mixer and fold in the ingredients by hand to get a thicker, lumpier batter. You want a spoonable batter, not a pourable batter.  Filing the muffins tins to the top is also a must, the more batter, the more likely you will produce a high domed, fluffy muffin.

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Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 12 muffins. 137 calories per serving. Muffins stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well up to 3 months: heat up for 1 minute after frozen.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1 large egg)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, plus a few more for sprinkling on top

Baking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray. Do not use liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, honey, egg whites, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Whisk them all together until smooth, with no yogurt lumps remaining.
  3. Sift the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Slowly stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Get any dry pockets of flour out. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. The batter will be a little chunky. This is ok.
  4. Divide the batter evenly amount 12 liners – fill them all the way to the top if you can. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature down to 375 and continue to bake for 13 more minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of one muffin. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, bake for only 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Literally thought my boyfriend died and went to heaven when he bit into one of these bite sized chocolate bundles of fantasticness.

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I urge you to make these – you will not be disappointed!! Next weekend Ken and I will once again find ourselves at camp – rain or shine!  I’m really unsure of what the next baking creation will be – but I will post before I leave captivity.  I think this weekend I may try to make some fall off the bone, finger licking good ribs, possibly with a homemade sauce if I can find the time. Yummmmy!! Happy Baking!
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Skinny Chocolate Chip Fruit Explosion Muffins

007I just had to bake another batch of muffins this week…just one more.  I know..I’m going a little crazy.  I can’t help it! I had WAAAAYYY too much caffeine this morning. Thanks to my DIY friendship mug I made, I filled it up twice…that’s a lot of coffee.  When I came home this evening I got a crazy burst of energy and baked up a storm. I just really need to find the perfect combination of flavours, all baked into a little muffin of goodness.  This batch is kind of similar to one that I’ve already made, my Chocolate Chip Strawberry Muffins that I grabbed of Sally’s Baking Addiction, but with one huge difference: They are not chocolate chip strawberry, they are chocolate chip raspberry blueberry! And oh my goodness. Are they ever good!  I think I like them more than the chocolate chip strawberry, and I actually think I like them more than the Tropical Muffins I made the other day.  This muffin is like an explosion of flavour in my mouth…hence the name chocolate chip fruit explosion.  I bit into this muffin, and my mouth literally exploded. With awesomeness. In a good way.

So let’s talk muffins.  You know what drives me nuts? When people say – “Hey, cool, you made cupcakes”, and I’m like, “Oh no, they’re muffins.” and then they’re all “Pff. Whateves. Same thing.”  No my friends! They are not the same. They are soooooo not the same! But then they’re like, “Well what’s the difference?” So what is the difference exactly?  My usual response is, well….cupcakes are cake. And muffins are… so wait what are muffins? Are they bread?  I would move more towards bread…but there’s no yeast? So would they be a bread product? Quick and dirty – cupcakes have icing and muffins do not.  However…going into more detail we can see that there are other differences. “A basic formula for muffins is 2 cups flour, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, ¼ cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level.” (Thanks Diana’s Desserts!) So I think I’m going to stick with “cupcakes are cake, while muffins are more like a bread with additions like fruits and chocolate chips.”

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So before I made my next batch of muffins I thought…what are some of my favourite fruits? How can I turn these strawberry chocolate chip muffins into something super duper fantastic.  So I thought about it. I love Strawberries…but I LOVE Blueberries. Aside from bananas, they are my favourite fruit. And raspberries are great with blueberries. And they are also one of my favourites…. okay I just love, love, LOVE fruit. I see another tropical form of muffin – you know, maybe throw in some mango with the orange zest and banana. Yikes – my mouth is already watering.

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Alright so back to the muffins – again, these are a spin off from my Chocolate Chip Strawberry Muffins.  The only difference is that instead of the 2/3 cups strawberries I used raspberries, and then added 1/3 cup blueberries.  Now I’ve made blueberry muffins before…and used frozen blueberries…my muffins turned out COMPLETELY BLUE.  It was weird…weird looking. I didn’t post those pictures or the recipe…but I will reattempt and I promise it will make appearance here at some point. So I cannot stress enough… USE FRESH FRUIT. The blueberries… some of them explode and when you bite into the muffin, it’s like a blast of fruity goodness.  Trust me. Always fresh over frozen.  Now just like my Strawberry Muffins, these are 140 calories per serving.  My diet appreciates that…but I’m also eating muffins galore so maybe everything is just balancing itself out? Something like that… they’re just so damn good!

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Skinny Chocolate Chip Fruit Explosion Muffins

makes 10 muffins, 140 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2/3 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Baking Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 10 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and applesauce until together until no brown sugar lumps remain – a fork works well to break up the brown sugar here. Add the beaten egg white until fully incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined – do not over mix.  Fold in the raspberries, blueberries and chocolate chips.
  • Divide the batter evenly between 10 muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Muffins will be lightly golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Mine took about 19 minutes. Allow muffins to cool and enjoy.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to seven days and can be frozen.

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