Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins


 Growing up in a family where several members have diabetes, I like making recipes with less sugar that still taste amazing. These muffins are the best! The pumpkin and banana keep them super soft and chewy (and also provide a great flavor) and they have just the right amount of chocolate to balance everything out. Served for breakfast with coffee or as a simple dessert, this recipe is just one of the many ways I'm starting to celebrate fall flavors.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 muffin pans with nonstick spray. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. 


3. In a separate mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the wet ingredients. 


4. Working in batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. 


5. Fill muffin tins and bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 


 Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 1 1/2 dozen 

All you need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt 
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
2 ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 muffin pans with nonstick spray. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the wet ingredients. 
4. Working in batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. 
5. Fill muffin tins and bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mongolian Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry


I find making stir-fry one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to get a boat load of veggies into dinner. This recipe is super versatile as you can simply swap out the meat and/or veggies for your favorite types and keep that yummy sauce. And it's on the table in under 15 minutes!

 1. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. 

2. Heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or canola oil) in a large skillet over high heat. Add steak and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 


3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil and add the onion, carrots and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 


4. Add beef back to the pan along with the sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Finish with cilantro. 


5. Serve stir-fry over brown rice and garnish with chopped peanuts. 


Mongolian Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry
Serves 4

All you need:
Sauce 
4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch 
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 

4 teaspoons coconut oil (or canola oil), divided 
1 pound strip steak, thinly sliced 
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 
1 head broccoli, chopped 
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped 
Brown rice, for serving 
Crushed peanuts, for garnish 

All you do:
1. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. 
2. Heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or canola oil) in a large skillet over high heat. Add steak and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 
3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil and add the onion, carrots and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 
4. Add beef back to the pan along with the sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Finish with cilantro. 
5. Serve stir-fry over brown rice and garnish with chopped peanuts. 
 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin


 Zucchini and summer squash are abundant this time of year, leaving us to wonder what exactly to do with it all. While they sometimes get a bad reputation for being super watery and bland, cooking them this way makes them decadent. With a wonderful crunch from the breadcrumbs and just the right amount of salty, nutty fontina cheese, this dish is a crowd pleaser!

1. Preheat oven to 450. 
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook shallots and garlic for 30 seconds. Add zucchini and summer squash and cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring often. Season with oregano, basil, salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. 


 
 3. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk, Parmesan cheese and  nutmeg and cook until slightly thickened.


4. Transfer the zucchini mixture to a 13x9 pan and drizzle cheese sauce over. Bake for 10 minutes. 


5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and fontina cheese over the top, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until golden brown and bubbly. 


6. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. 



 Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin
Serves 8

All you need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini, sliced 
2 summer squash, sliced 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 
1 cup freshly grated fontina cheese 
Olive oil, for drizzling 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 450. 
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook shallots and garlic for 30 seconds. Add zucchini and summer squash and cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring often. Season with oregano, basil, salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. 
3. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk, Parmesan cheese and  nutmeg and cook until slightly thickened.
4. Transfer the zucchini mixture to a 13x9 pan and drizzle cheese sauce over. Bake for 10 minutes. 
5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and fontina cheese over the top, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until golden brown and bubbly. 
6. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. 
 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cashew Curry


 With fall right around the corner, I am always quick to jump on the "cooking with pumpkin" bandwagon because it not only adds great flavor but also a healthy dose of nutritional benefits. This curry is so simple (since the slow cooker does most of the work), but the complex flavors make it seem gourmet. If you want to make it vegetarian/vegan, simply replace the chicken with chickpeas.

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a slow cooker. 



2. Whisk the turmeric, cumin, coriander, fish sauce, sugar, curry paste, chicken broth, coconut milk and pumpkin puree together in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. 



3. Add sweet potato and red pepper and cook for 30 minutes longer on high or 1 hour on low. 

4. Finish with lime juice, cilantro and cashews. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with more cashews. 


Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cashew Curry
Serves 4

All you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced 
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth 
1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk 
1 cup pumpkin puree 
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced 
1 red pepper, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped 
1/2 cup roasted cashews, plus more for garnish 
Basmati rice, for serving (optional) 

All you do:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a slow cooker. 
2. Whisk the turmeric, cumin, coriander, fish sauce, sugar, curry paste, chicken broth, coconut milk and pumpkin puree together in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. 
3. Add sweet potato and red pepper and cook for 30 minutes longer on high or 1 hour on low. 
4. Finish with lime juice, cilantro and cashews. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with more cashews. 
 
 
 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Breakfast Cookies


 If you often need a quick breakfast like I do, these are a great grab-and-go item. They're crock full of protein and fiber thanks to the protein powder, flax seed and hemp seed. They may sound healthy (and a little scary - according to my husband) but trust the chef - they are super delicious and something the whole family can enjoy! Who doesn't love a chocolatey treat in the morning? :)


 1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, salt and protein powder. Set aside. 


3. In another bowl, whisk together coconut oil, brown sugar and agave nectar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine. 



4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, then stir in coconut flakes, cherries, wheat germ (if using) and hemp seeds (if using) plus 1-2 tablespoons water, until dough forms a ball.


5. Roll cookies into balls (about 2 tablespoons for each) and place on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. 

6. Bake for 9 minutes, cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a rack to cool completely.



 Chocolate Coconut Breakfast Cookies
Makes 18 cookies

All you need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla work fine)
1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar 
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds (optional)

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, salt and protein powder. Set aside. 
3. In another bowl, whisk together coconut oil, brown sugar and agave nectar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine. 
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, then stir in coconut flakes, cherries, wheat germ (if using) and hemp seeds (if using) plus 1-2 tablespoons water, until dough forms a ball. 
5. Roll cookies into balls (about 2 tablespoons for each) and place on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. 
6. Bake for 9 minutes, cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a rack to cool completely.