Island Pork Tenderloin {Awesome New Recipe}

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After the past week of just putting one foot in front of the other, I seem to have risen above my funk and am back to feeling like myself.  I’m sure the weekend spent feeding my soul with some QT husband time, chocolate, and fun helped!

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This morning’s first stop was the yoga studio.  One of my favorite teachers was subbing.  She told an amazing story about a golden Buddha covered in clay.  The moral being that we cover ourselves with layers of stress and expectations and that when we crack through them, our golden self is below and ready to shine through.  I was definitely ready to shine and was actually shining when I emerged 75  minutes later dripping in sweat.

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I thought the story was spot on and could have so many interpretations.  I’m thinking that I will use it for the kids yoga workshop I am teaching next weekend.  After yoga, I ran a few errands picking up a couple of gifts and groceries. I am all stocked up for an intense cheese plate for next weekend’s work party.

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I had leftover chili for lunch that I heated up as I unpacked all my food.  Then I put Tuesday’s dinner in the…you guessed it…crockpot.  I was in a baking mood and had the bananas to use, so I made mini Banana Maple Muffins with blueberries.

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I found the perfect mini muffin liners when I cleaned out my pantry.

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It was a productive day (for example I finally put away our snorkel equipment from the trip), and I happily curled up next to sleeping Cooper to watch a Law&Order marathon while blogging and emailing.  Around 6:20pm, I paused the TV to make dinner.  It’s super funny to watch Cooper who is his absolute laziest from like noon to 6pm spring up, stretch, and come to the kitchen demanding his dinner.

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So a few notes about tonight’s dinner recipe.  Number 1 and most importantly…it is AMAZING!  Like super awesome!  I followed the recipe pretty much as written except I only used a 1ish pound tenderloin.  I kept the spices the same so it was really strong and flavorful.

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I used my Le Cresuet because I know that it goes from stove to oven easily and I never know which pans can do that.  As for the glaze.  By the time I made that, I realized that I only needed half.  I used 1 tbsp garlic, 1/2 tbsp tobasco, and about 2 tbsp brown sugar.  When I tasted it, it tasted REALLY strong and spicy so I added a dash of cinnamon and coated my pork.  However, by the time the pork was cooked (this took about 25-28 minutes), it was spiced JUST RIGHT…not too hot at all.

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This recipe is easy and takes basically no time to prep.  We devoured our dinner with some leftover homemade ice cream for dessert.  And then sat down to enjoy the dynamic Grammy performances.

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You know it’s been a successful day when you’ve used basically EVERY utensil in your kitchen…ha ha!

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What did you think of the Grammy’s?

Island Pork Tenderloin

From Travels from East to West

For spice rub:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ – 2 ½ lbs total) trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For Glaze:

  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco

Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.  Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4-5 minutes total.  Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.
Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl.  Pat the mixture on top of the pork.  Place skillet in the oven at 350.  Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes.  Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes.

Muffin Monday and Running Update

Friday morning, I had the most AH MAZE ING massage!  I went somewhere new because I had a gift card, and the masseuse must have had some experience with runners because she was able to work into my IT band and gluts like I’ve never had before.  She also did some wonderful and much needed work to my low back.  I planned the massage to fit in after my 20 miler and with some time before the big race.  I’ve never done that before and it was well worth it!  Although massages are supposed to be relaxing, this one had a few painful moments, and I loved every minute.

 

Afterwards, I didn’t have time to run Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Oopps!

 

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So I rescheduled this weekend’s 12 miler for Monday morning.  Ahh!

 

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Isn’t that a long start to a long day???

I packed up my water belt and hit the road just as the sun was rising.  I had a little difficulty getting my Garmin going.  Can I blame it…it is Monday morning?!  However, it was super frustrating and I ended up starting my run before I loaded the satellites.  Does this happen to anyone else?  Any tips?  It shouldn’t take 10 minutes…right?!

 

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Since my watch wasn’t budging I decided I could stop and get a photo of the smoke coming off of the pond.  I love this view on fall mornings when I drive past on my way to work before the morning’s get too dark, and I never get a picture.

 

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My mom called around mile 6 and talked me through (on speaker phone) the next 3 miles.  I’m not sure of my exact time, but somehow I completed all 12 miles this morning with just a few short minutes left to get ready for work.  And then even more surprising,  survived my work day : )

 

Total Weekly Mileage

(I counted today’s run even though it’s technically the next week)

27 miles

 

Countdown to Marathon

13 days!!!

 

So now that I am on Pinterest, I knew it would be the perfect place to search for something to do with my brown bananas.  I have to say that I like searching Pinterest a little more than the internet when I know specifically what I’m looking for.  I typed in ‘banana muffins’ and came up with hundreds of options.

 

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And now I have a board full of fantastic looking banana muffin recipes.  Including this one for Banana Maple Muffins!

 

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I changed up the spices a bit (because I didn’t have any allspice in the pantry).

 

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The cloves combined with the maple syrup sweetener make this muffin addictingly good!

 

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Perhaps one of the best in town!

 

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Although I may have to bake up some more Pinterest recipes just to confirm this!

 

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Sounds like a fun challenge…huh?!

 

 

What is your favorite way to use Pinterest?

 

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Banana Maple Muffins

Adapted from Emma’s Baking Addiction

Yield: 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1 cup mashed bananas (from about 2 large bananas)

3 Tbs vegetable oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a 12-tin muffin pan with paper liners or spray with baking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops of muffins bounce back when lightly touched and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Muffin Monday: Banana and Blueberry

Shh!  Don’t tell the BOY that there is banana in these muffins!

 

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He has been eating the ‘blueberry muffins’ all weekend, telling me how good they are with NO IDEA that they are banana and blueberry muffins : )

 

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The motivation for these muffins came from some soft bananas and a huge container of fresh blueberries.

 

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I found the recipe on a blog while I was searching online and didn’t realize that they were vegan until I pulled them out of the oven.

 

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I was really just looking for a muffin recipe that didn’t use yogurt (because I don’t have any in the house), and the crumble topping was a huge selling point for me.

 

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You might have guessed that I didn’t mention that these were vegan to the BOY either…he he!

 

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Of course I took my first bite of the muffins warm because, really, who can resist?

 

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I know the hot temps outside aren’t going to encourage you to turn on your oven, but if you find yourself stuck inside in the air conditioning hiding from the heat, whip up a batch of these outstanding muffins!

 

 

Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins

From Cake Dutchess

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup almond milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

 

for the topping:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon margarine

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Spoon batter into the muffin tin. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; with your fingers, incorporate the margarine to the flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Good Morning Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

I haven’t made muffins in a really long time.  Confession…I’m not good with the portion control aspect and always want to eat, like 5 of them.  When I woke up this morning, I wanted to make something special for the BOY’s birthday.  He isn’t a huge breakfast person, but I know that he loves pumpkin. 

 

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I threw out the idea of pumpkin muffins and the BOY was on board. 

 

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And then I remembered that I had fun Birthday muffin liners.

 

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This recipe for Paleo Pumpkin Muffins comes from The Frisky Lemon.

 

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I whipped up a half batch of muffins for the BOY’s birthday breakfast.

 

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Before they were even ready, our house smelled incredible!

 

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I knew these muffins would be a huge success!

 

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And the BOY agreed!  We dug right into these warm muffins before they even had a chance to cool.

 

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These tasty muffins were the perfect way to ease into our Sunday!  They were super filling, and I was able to eat just 2. 

 

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Once we finally get moving out the door, we have big plans for a trip to Kohl’s and lunch, and then maybe a nap before heading out for another birthday dinner.

 

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Do you like to bake muffins?

What did you make for breakfast today?

 

 

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

From The Frisky Lemon

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups almond meal

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans

coconut (optional)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the eggs, vanilla and maple syrup to the dry mix.

Stir in the pumpkin.  Once combined, fold in the cranberries and pecans.

Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin or muffin liners and sprinkle some shredded coconut on top if desired.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

 

More Healthy (and Tasty) Ways to Start Your Sunday

Banana Almond Butter Bread

Eat Clean Oatmeal Pancakes

Tina’s OMG! Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Cinnamon Apple Raisin Bread

Paleo Almond Butter Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

Biking vs Blueberry Bread

I’ll let you guess who won this debate.  But here’s a clue, if I had gone biking, I would be out pedaling through town and not sitting at home posting for you the recipe that I guarantee will be your breakfast for tomorrow!

 

As of yesterday, the plan for this morning was a BRICK.

 

However, when I woke up this morning, a bike ride was the last thing that I wanted to do.  I find this odd because I always love to bike, but between the rain and the humid temps, I just wasn’t in the mood to head out.  I was actually in the mood to sleep some more, but for some reason, the BOY and I couldn’t fall back asleep.  Instead, we began the discussion of breakfast, which I am always thinking about the moment I wake up.  A few months ago, while watching Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives, I saw the most scrumptious looking Blueberry Muffin French Toast.  The thick slices of moist bread were smothered in a sweet egg mixture to make one of the best breakfasts that I have ever seen.  I declared on that day soon I would make us Blueberry Muffin French Toast!  Further investigation revealed that this breakfast delight is made at a restaurant called Chap’s in Spokane, WA owned and run by Celeste Shaw.

 

 

I have been thinking and talking about this breakfast since we saw it on TV, and when Jessica posted a recipe for Blueberry Muffin Bread on her website, I knew it would be perfect for French toast.  So instead of hitting the trails this morning, I headed into the kitchen to clean off some blueberries.

 

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In anticipation of a warm Blueberry Muffin Bread.  This recipe uses a whole wheat/white flour mixture which I always like.

 

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I had all the ingredients in the house except instead of milk, I used Almond milk.  I stirred everything together forming a thick, dense dough.

 

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I added in my blueberries.

 

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And the BOY requested some walnuts as well.  Actually he requested candied walnuts covered in sugar, but he settled for some plain walnuts : )

 

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I spread the dough into the pan, and then covered it with some cinnamon sugar topping.  The streusel in the recipe looks unbelievable, but for time sake, I just used some leftover topping from this recipe.

 

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I put my bread into the oven and then used some fresh fruit to create a simple green smoothie to sip on while I waited.

 

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55 Minutes later, I pulled the most beautiful looking bread out of the oven.

 

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It took all of my will power not to dig right in!  But I walked out of the kitchen and let the bread cool for a few minutes.

 

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You could see the steam escaping as I sliced over the first piece of the warm bread.

 

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I love all the warm and gooey blueberries (they are my favorite part), and the walnuts were a smart addition!  The cinnamon sugar topping complimented the bread well.

 

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The BOY decided he wanted to try a slice of the bread immediately.

 

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So we dug right in.  This Blueberry Muffin Bread is an absolute treat!  The BOY loved it, and I have a feeling he will be requesting it again soon! 

And the most exciting part…

Today’s Bread = Tomorrow’s French Toast!

 

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Now I just have to motivate myself to get off the couch and get in a workout.  Does watching the Tour de France riders weave their way up the mountains count as exercise???  Because it is looking like my top choice!  Their views are much more spectacular than my typical biking course.

 

Apparently, I’m not the only one out there drooling over the Chap’s Triple D recipe.  Some other bloggers have been making Blueberry Muffin French Toast too!  And let’s not forget all the great recipes in honor of National Blueberry Muffin Day.  Yummy!

 

 

Blueberry Muffin Bread

From How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, tossed in a spoonful of cornstarch

Walnuts (optional)

 

Streusel

1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan liberally with non-stick spray or grease with butter. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and baking powder, then set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract, then add in milk and mix until combined. Add in dry ingredients slowing, mixing with a spoon until batter comes together. Add in melted butter and mix until incorporated, then stir in blueberries.

Mix together the streusel ingredients, bring it all together with your hands. Sprinkle over the bread evenly. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter!

 

NOTE: Don’t eat the entire bread in one day…save a few slices to make some French Toast!

 

 

Is your Saturday starting with biking or bread?

Feels Like Friday

Does anyone else’s work day end like this???

 

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It would be nice to know that I am not the only one who sits in their car, flipping through radio stations, constantly switching lanes in an attempt to go above 8 miles per hour in their post-work day pursuit of home : )  At least in tonight’s case, it was also the end of the work week!  Hooray Weekend!

 

The good news tonight was that the BOY was not too far behind me when I finally made it home feeling exhausted after a LONG week at work!  I was ready to celebrate the weekend!

 

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The BOY picked out this affordable wine during our last trip to World Market, and we were both looking forward to trying it.  I pulled out our grown up glasses in anticipation of his arrival.

 

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And brought out maybe my best batch of Garlic Hummus EVER for a pre-dinner snack!

 

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Dinner was simple and thrown together based on what we have in the house.  I had some of Dr. Praeger’s newer veggie burgers, the Bombay Veggie Burger, that I found on my most recent trip to Trader Joe’s.  Have you tried them yet???  They are incredible.  All the healthy deliciousness of your California burgers with a hint of curry.  Love it!

 

Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Curry Veggie Burgers

 

 

But probably not as much as I love this new wine!

 

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I was so busy this week that I didn’t have time to properly celebrate National Blueberry Muffin Day yesterday.  I actually didn’t even know that it was Blueberry Muffin Day until I checked out Renee’s website.  You should definitely pop over to to Bendiful and check out her new and updated website.  Even though I am a day late, I wanted to share one of my favorite Blueberry Muffin recipes with you.  And because it feels like Friday, I feel like I can even stay up past 9pm to finish this post.

 

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These Lemon Blueberry Muffins were an early early addition on the Luv What You Do blog. And although this batch turned out blue (note to self…don’t use frozen berries), this is not the norm!

 

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They are actually quite tasty and the combination of lemon and blueberry is superb!

 

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Perfect for a weekend treat!  Especially since blueberries are now in season!

And if you are a lemon and blueberry fan, you HAVE to try these Blueberry Lemon Cookies from Itty Bitty Bakes!  And these Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins from Baker on the Rise look divine!  But if you happen to pick up some zucchini at the farmer’s market this weekend, I recommend this Blueberry Zucchini Bread from My Baking Addiction.

 

Happy Friday Feeling!  And Blueberry Muffin Day!

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

 

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 c firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

4 T trans fat free soft tub margarine spread, chilled

1 c lowfat lemon yogurt

1 c blueberries

1/2 c yellow squash puree

1 large egg

2 t pure lemon extract

1 t grated lemon zest

2 c all purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat)

1/4 c flaxseed meal

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

 

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

-In large bowl, beat the sugar and the margarine with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yogurt, blueberries, yellow squash puree, egg, lemon extract, and lemon zest.

-Add the flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just to combine, but do not over mix-batter is supposed to be lumpy.

-Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups. Bake until tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 13 to 16 min. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

-Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

Chili and Sweet Cornbread Muffins

A year ago, I made cornbread and taco soup for a friend.  When she recently mentioned that her boyfriend loved the cornbread, I decided to make him another batch.  I like this recipe for Sweet Corn Bread from All Recipes.com.  I figured that I couldn’t just give him some cornbread, so I made a simple beef crockpot chili to go with it.  The BOY loves chili, but he isn’t great about eating leftovers after 2-3 days, so it was a double bonus.  Dinner for the BOY and a side for my cornbread.

 

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I haven’t found an easy crockpot beef chili recipe that I liked, so I just made up my own, with some input from the BOY of course.  The result was a HUGE success!

Into the Crockpot:

1 lb ground beef

1 can dark red beans

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans in chili sauce

1 steam bag of corn

 

 

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Your chili seasonings:

Chili powder

Cumin

Garlic

Red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

 

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Giving everything a stir when I remembered…

 

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Onion!!!

 

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Can you even make chili without it???

 

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Cook according to crockpot directions. 

Meanwhile, get started on your corn muffins.

 

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So that when your chili is ready…

 

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You’ll have something sweet to eat with it!

 

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With some leftovers and extras to share with your friends.

 

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Cutest ToGo box EVER!

 

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Basic Beef Crockpot Chili

Trust me, if I can figure out beef chili, it is pretty simple

Plus, this recipe has the BOY’s seal of approval on taste!

 

Ingredients

1 lb 85/15 ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 bag steamed or 1 can corn

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can pinto beans in chili sauce

1 cup water

Optional: chili or adobo peppers for heat.

Chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper

 

Directions

Cook beef on a heated skillet, sprayed with cooking spray until browned.  Drain and place beef in crockpot.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, adjusting seasonings to taste.  Set per crockpot instructions. 

Tastes even better Day 2.  Freezes well.

 

 

Sweet Corn Bread (or Muffins)

From All Recipes.com

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour

    • 1 cup cornmeal

    • 1/4 cup sugar

    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 1 egg, lightly beaten

    • 1 cup sour cream

    • 1/3 cup milk

    • 1/4 cup butter, melted

            Directions

          • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

          • Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

          NOTE: When making muffins, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins!

          Back and Forth

          You know how I LOVE my 3 day weekends.  I tend to get a little cranky when I only have a two day weekend (I’m not sure how I ever survived on them), but I don’t have any idea how to survive with NO weekend!  Since I am in a class through Monday, and responsible for some of the planning, it has been a BUSY weekend!  I spent the last two night’s at my parents house, I’m back home with the BOY tonight, and then I’m back and forth between my P’s and my parents the rest of the week.  We had big plans for dinner tonight (going out with a gift card), but I was way too wiped out after 10 hours of class today.  Instead, we went to the local Mediterranean place for falafel, grabbed a movie form the Redbox, and one of my patients dropped off dessert yesterday.

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          Since I love to bake, I’m always happy to bring some baked goods to our classes.  Yesterday, I went with my favorite box mix from Krusteaz.  If you haven’t tried this one, it is absolutely incredible!

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          Tonight, I didn’t have any energy for serious baking, so I went with my FAVORITE easy muffin recipe.  It only takes 2 ingredients.

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          And a glass of Champagne never hurts!

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          Simply combine the pumpkin and cake mix.  I chose a spice cake mix tonight, but chocolate is good and marble cake is the BEST!

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          The batter is thick and stiff, nothing like a real cake or muffin batter.

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          Spoon your batter into a greased mini muffin pan.  Don’t worry about any bumps or peaks.  These are not going to be your prettiest looking muffins.

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          I told you these guys look a little funky, but trust me, they taste fantastic!  They are perfect in a pinch because who doesn’t have a cake mix and can of pumpkin in their pantry?!

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          Now I just have to figure out when I’m going to get to the grocery store because cake mix and pumpkin are ALL that we have in our house right now!

           

           

          Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

           

          1 box of spice cake mix

          1 can of pumpkin puree

           

          -Combine 1 box of cake mix and 1 can of pumpkin.  Stir until just combined.

          -Fill mini muffins tins with batter.  These will not expand like regular muffins, so they can be pretty full.

          -Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 16-18 minutes.  Muffins are done when the top springs back to your touch.

          -Let cool before enjoying!

          -Store in an air tight container.

           

          ***You won’t taste the pumpkin in chocolate muffins, I promise!

          ***If you want to get real daring, you can add a third ingredient…pecans with spice or chocolate chips with marble.

           

           

          By the way, I just found this recipe for Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies!  Will have to give those a try soon…maybe even this week if I don’t make it to the grocery store!

           

           

          Other Two Ingredient Recipes to Try:

          Yellow Cake (I love this recipe…it’s addicting)

          Two Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

          Two Ingredient Crockpot Chicken (This could be your families new favorite dinner!)

          Butternut Squash Puree

          Kale Chips

          Parsnip Chips

          TGIH

          Thank Goodness I’m Home!!!

           

          After a long day at work, 6 inches of snow, and a two hour commute on local roads, our vacation seems like just a dream!

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          I exited work to find the much anticipated snow storm covering my car.

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          Up until now, it’s been a mild winter and we’ve been spoiled here in Chicago.  While on the cruise, all of us Midwesterners even decided it might just be a mild winter. I guess not!  It took some time to get my car cleaned off, but the BOY got me a new scraper which worked real well.  Plus, the snow was the pretty powdery type.

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          I hit the road prepared for a long drive home.

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          The roads were awful, but I took it slow.  Don’t worry…all pictures were taken when I was stopped!

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          2 long hours later, I finally pulled into my driveway…thinking how good it was to be home and how much more enjoyable the snow was from inside!  Wow that’s a lot of snow!

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          If, like me, you are snowed in for the night (and possible morning), I thought I would share my treat day muffin recipes because they will make a warm and delicious winter breakfast.

           

          I had some leftover molasses from my holiday gingerbread cookies and I thought it would be a great idea to pair it with pumpkin.  I found this recipe for Pumpkin Molasses Muffins after searching for one online and followed it exactly.

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          I used winter wrappers to make some mini muffins (which means they only need to bake ~15 minutes).

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          I, like every other blogger, LOVE pumpkin.  The molasses adds a tasty component and who doesn’t enjoy some crunchy pecans in their muffins.  The house smelled wonderful, which is what you will need to lure you out of bed for tomorrow’s winter wonderland!

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          The other muffin has a bit of back story.  Right before Christmas, I discovered cranberries.  I didn’t know exactly what to do with them, but when my trainer gave me the most amazing Cranberry Walnut Bread, I knew I had to have the recipe.  Unfortunately, fresh cranberries are no longer in season, but the bread is ALMOST as good with the dried kind.  I had these adorable wrappers and all the ingredients in my house.

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          The muffins turned out great, but I must say that I think I like the bread better!

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          I had Cranberry Walnut Bread every day for breakfast for a  week in December and have been looking forward to making it for myself.  As promised, here is the TRAINER’S recipe.  If you are snowed in tomorrow, get creative with what you have in your house (dried cherries, pecans, raisins, coconut etc.), and give this bread a try.  AND, save it in your recipe folder for December when the fresh cranberries are available.  Trust me…it will become a new family winter favorite!

           

          Cranberry Walnut Bread

          Mix dry ingredients together:

          2 cups flour

          1 cup sugar

          1/4 cup brown sugar

          1/2 teaspoon salt

          1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

          1/2 teaspoon baking soda

          1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

          1/2 cup nuts (I use walnuts)

          1 cup cranberries-cut in half (can used dried if fresh not available)

          In a separate bowl, combine:

          2 eggs

          4 tablespoons butter (melted)

          1/4 cup oil

          1/3 cup orange juice (if you don’t have, just use 1 cup water)

          2/3 cup water

          -Combine both mixtures.  Stir just until combined.  Do not over stir.

          -Grease and flour a loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

          -Test with a toothpick.

          ***Note: If making muffins, bake for ~20 minutes until muffin top springs back to touch.

           

          Looking for some sweets to get you through this cold weekend, take a look at my recipe page!

          Stay warm my friends!!!

          You’ll Never Look at Parsnips the Same Again

          I have discovered a new food this winter…the parsnip!  It started with the parsnip chips, which I tried on a whim and have made many times since.  Then I discovered this fabulous Carrot Parsnip ‘Cakes’ at Whole Foods.  They are in the prepared section near the Mac ‘N Cheese balls.  It is kind of like a potato pancake with shredded carrots and parsnips. I have searched the web, but can’t find a recipe anywhere.  I will have to figure it out for myself.  Next time you are at WF, check them out!  I usually heat mine in the microwave…yum yum!

          During one of these searches, I happened to come across this recipe for Spiced Parsnip and Apple Muffins on the Whole Foods website.  Above you can find the link to the original recipe and then below, I will share with you some of the modifications that I made in an attempt to ‘clean’ them up.

          The first step is to toast your pecans at 350 degrees.  I bought my pecans already chopped in order to cut out a step.  Toast for 10 minutes.  You will know they are ready because the kitchen smalls wonderful!

          Then start shredding the parsnips and apple.  My grader has two sides and I chose to use the finer/smaller side.  This was definitely an arm workout!  Luckily the apple was easier to shred. Since the apple is peeled, the two mixtures look the same, but the texture is very different.

          Then combine dry ingredients.  I substituted whole wheat and spelt flour for the white all-purpose flour.  I also cut the sugar in half and used Sucanat, a sugar used in many clean recipes.  Stir in toasted pecans and golden raisins.

          Whisk together eggs and remaining ingredients.  I used 1/2 cup safflower oil and 1/4 cup applesauce.  Fold the wet mixture and parsnip/apple mixture into the dry ingredients.  This was a little harder than I expected because I had to make sure that  all 3 mixtures were combined without over mixing.

          I got these adorable Paula Deen muffin cups at Michael’s.  They had a few options to choose from and they were only $0.99.  Go check them out, they will add some exciting color to your baking.  I used a measuring cup to pour the batter into muffin cups.  I think I didn’t fill my muffins high enough because I was able to get 24 muffins.  They baked for ~25 minutes.

          I was so excited to try the muffins, I was barely able to let them cool.  The muffin is probably drier than if I had used the white flour. It has a hearty taste and the pecans and raisins are a fun twist.  My final outcome…these muffins will make a great, healthier breakfast option, but I might use a little more apple (or bigger sized pieces) next time.  AND, if I were bringing them to a brunch, I would use half whole wheat and half white flour and play with the amount of sugar (between 1/2 cup and 1 cup) depending on preference.

          The real THM (Take Home Message) is never be afraid to try new foods, such as parsnips, and experiment with fun recipes.  One website that I read said that you can replace your shredded carrot in cakes and breads with parsnip…something I will definitely be trying soon!

          Let me know…what new foods are you loving this year?