Zucchini chocolate chip muffins

I am writing this one last blog (Wednesday) before I leave for Greece – weeeeeee
I am hoping to be able to write the next one on one of the Greek Islands and share with you all what I have been eating.
IMG_3121We are leaving the house, dog and business in the kids hands, we are not worried at all. I am slightly concerned about my gardens. The kids have never really been interested in the process; other than eating everything. Hmmmmm I might have failed them – time will tell when they get their own home and yard I hope they will want to garden even if it is not to the extent that we do.
IMG_3112Thankfully the squash plants are starting to fade away. We had a crazy squash season; I think the best we have ever had to be perfectly honest. This will probably be my last zucchini recipe – OK you can stop smiling or rolling your eyes. It is a good one!!!!
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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins / preheat oven 350’F / makes 12 muffins plus a few smaller ones if you have leftover batter

Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil – or substitute ½ cup applesauce
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded/drained zucchini
½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Grease 12 muffins cups or line with paper muffins liners.
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Combine in a large bowl the flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl mix egg, oil, milk, lemon and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the dry till combined. Fold in zucchini, chips and walnuts.  Fill cups about ⅔ full.
IMG_3120Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Buffalo Chicken Boats

I wish you all a very happy healthy new year! Even though I do not make verbal resolutions; I do hope that I try harder to get in shape. Ya I know that doesn’t really scream diet and exercise but I do THINK about it so that’s something right?

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They are so cute!

OK so we spent New Years weekend in Quebec City with a bunch of friends and froze our asses off. Not literally but 11 degrees Fahrenheit below zero is just plain crazy to hang around outside. And that is without the wind which was whipping. We had a great time and the city is beautiful; I would like to go back; when it warms up about 60 degrees.

R - D quebec

Thought I would share how cold it was, and this was during the day


IMG_5652With the fridge and pantry being filled with holiday food from last month and us being away I haven’t been grocery shopping in a few weeks. We were invited over to some friends for dinner and I was to bring an appetizer. Not having time to run to a store, I needed to come up with something with what I had on hand. I was also thinking it should be something a little on the healthy side since its a new year and I was THINKING about being healthier.
IMG_5646I thawed a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chopped, seasoned, cooked and shredded them. I had a few sticks of celery and a little bleu cheese and voila appetizer.
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Ingredients
1 cup boneless skinless chicken breasts – shredded
Salt
Pepper
Adobo seasoning
¼ cup franks hot sauce
2 Tbs mayo
3-4 celery sticks
Chives

Directions
Season, chop and cook the chicken pieces, once cooled shred the chicken. Mix together the hot sauce and mayo and cover the shredded chicken.  Wash and remove the strings from your celery. I use a potato peeler to remove the strings on my celery. Slice into bite size pieces fill each piece with the buffalo chicken. Drizzle a little bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Dice up a few chives and sprinkle over the boats.
IMG_5656If you are already healthy wink wink than instead of the celery they would taste great as nachos or in a quesadilla – just saying

Baked Jalapeno Poppers – no longer afraid

As little as a few short months ago you couldn’t pay me or my husband to even try a Jalapeno popper – we both just figured they were going to be too hot for us. Now I am making them for my Christmas party. I must be growing as an adult, nah we were at a friends for dinner and they served jalapeno poppers and stuffed mushrooms – ugh I had to at the very least take a “no thank you” bite of each. My husband was going to be OK because he doesn’t mind mushrooms; I think it must be a texture thing for me. We were both super surprised how much we liked the poppers and the mushrooms were not too bad either.
IMG_5601.JPGSo here I was shopping for the party; saw the jalapenos and decided why not! I get home and tell my husband what I was doing and he was psyched. Maybe we are both evolving hahaha stop talking crazy Donna.
IMG_5591This is actually going to be great come summer when I have way too many Jalapenos from my garden; I usually just bring them into to work and put them on one of the kitchen tables for whoever wanted them. Now I have more than salsa and guacamole to use them in.
IMG_560024 +/- jalapeno
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounce cream cheese – softened
16 ounce breakfast sausage – browned and drained

Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and veins; I use an iced tea spoon, it is small enough to fit right in them. If you are not wearing gloves, make sure not to touch your face or eyes until you wash your hands really well.
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Mix the next three ingredients once the sausage is cooled.
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Scoop about a tablespoon and a half into each jalapeno. Press the mixture into them so it doesn’t fall out.

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My husband saw me writing and said you should tell them “that I Love these”


Place on a sheet pan and broil for about 7-10 minutes but you know your oven better than me so watch them. You want them nice and browned and for the jalapeno to be soft

Macros = 2 pieces
228 Calories – 15g Fat – 10g Carbs – 13g Protein

Bark – chocolate, pistachios, craisins

There is nothing more surprising to me when someone walks up to me or sends me a message to ask a question or make a suggestion about what I blogged about last week or last month. Or when someone I’ve never met makes a comment, hits the like button or starts to follow me.  Thank you for all who reach out, I truly appreciate it and you for taking the time out of your crazy life to acknowledge little ole me.  I am pretty proud of this weekly delve into my food and sometimes personal journey!
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I talked with my daughter about doing a blog of some sort with her for a few years until I finally pulled the trigger on writing about one of both of our passions. While it ended up being more of my food blog I do share this journey with her as she is my strongest supporter, she is my sounding board, my technical adviser, my social media guru and a huge inspiration – thanks sweetie!
IMG_5483So I have been trying to make things a little healthier around here for me and my family but sometimes you just have to have something that just totally rocks – good bad or indifferent I just have to share this ridiculously easy treat that I can’t believe I have never made before.
IMG_5485I saw it a few weeks ago, I can’t even remember where; TV, Magazine, Online I have no idea but I literally went to the kitchen and threw it together.  And I guiltily have made it at least a half dozen times since. Though my first few times were with semi sweet chocolate, almonds and craisins my brilliant daughter called me on her way to work with a batch for her co-workers and said “White Chips, Pistachios, Craisins” if you have never had this combination in anything you need to stop reading this and make SOMETHING – ANYTHING with this combo. We discovered them, well at least in my house, when we made the biscotti recipe I blogged about awhile back. I think they are magical together and this bark is crazy good!
IMG_5490Spoiler alert some of my close peeps that follow my blog might just be seeing some for a little Christmas love this year!

1 cup chips melted – your choice
Dried fruit chopped
Nuts chopped

Yeah its that easy!
IMG_54861 cup white chips melted in the microwave – takes a minute or so
½ cup Dried craisins – chopped a little smaller
½ cup Pistachios – chopped a little smaller

Spread the melted chocolate onto either parchment or if you are lucky enough to have a silpat mat; if you don;t ask for one or two for Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving or even Wednesday.

Sprinkle your toppings and place in the fridge till it hardens.  Break apart and enjoy!
IMG_5489I’ll give you the macros for the 2 I have been making; but they are not great. OK! am back I just made a batch so I could give the most accurate measurements.  You’re welcome and Thank you 🙂

Macros = 1 ounce white bark
210 Calories – 11 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 3 g Protein
Macros = 1 ounce semi-sweet bark
243 Calories – 13 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 4 g Protein

Pumpkin spice mini chocolate chip protein muffins

Not sure if you noticed that I had written my last 3 blogs on the same day 3 weeks ago. I do try to write my blog about something I had made at some point during the current week but in preparation of being out of commission for about a month because of carpal tunnel surgery I was scheduled for I wanted to get a little ahead of the game.  
IMG_5495I am doing better but still on limited use for another week or so.  I have found it virtually impossible to limit my most dominant hand to 1 lb and limited chopping for a month. For someone who loves to be in the kitchen and garden it hasn’t been easy; don’t tell my doctor but I know I have cheated a little more times than I can count.
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IMG_5496IMG_5497IMG_5498Since we are in the midst of pumpkin season I thought I would share a Pumpkin Spice Muffin with you all. I am still trying to be a little more healthy but without compromising taste; this recipe is low in calories and fat and has a nice supply of protein – for those like me counting macros; you can find them listed at the bottom of this and hopefully most all of my blogs.

Pumpkin spice mini chocolate chip protein muffins

1 cup oatmeal flour (quick oats ground in food processor – see below)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
3 egg whites
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium banana, peeled and mashed
1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 container applesauce

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°
Place liners in one muffin pan and lightly spray with baking spray.
In a large bowl combine egg whites, yogurt, pumpkin puree, honey, vanilla extract, banana, applesauce.
In a second bowl combine oatmeal flour, almond meal, vanilla whey protein powder, pumpkin mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Combine flour mix and egg mix together until smooth.
Fill each tin ¾ of the way full, spreading evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator

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Macros = 1 Muffin
170 Calories – 5 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 8 g Protein

Caramel Salted Nuts

Did I get you at Caramel? Salt? or the Nuts? I am going to apologize up front for sharing this with all of you, they are sinfully delightful! If you choose to make them; you will not be disappointed. I seem to have a problem with taking something somewhat good for you; the nuts; and adding a little more love; the salt and the caramel to bring it another level.
IMG_5364I have made this 3 times in the last couple of weeks. While that may sound like we have gone overboard on eating caramel salted nuts; we only got to eat 2 of the batches. I am not sure if I ever mentioned my crazy dog. I call him my ungrateful rescue; he has a severe case of separation anxiety and he only does this out of spite; he really has NO idea how good he has it. I am fairly certain that most would have given him up with all his shenanigans. Destroying shoes, clothes, stairs, doors to name a few. He has also been known to counter surf on occasion;  yep he found the sealed container of nuts on the counter, took them into the den and ate ALL of them. Thankfully there were no adverse effects to his digestive system. I wonder if he even enjoyed them?
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I do need to share that he does have some good quality’s as well; you will never find a more cuddly animal. He is most happy when sitting near or better ON you. And if we could all be so lucky that someone; anyone be SO excited when you walk into a door.
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If you have never made caramel before; it really isn’t that hard. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly it is VERY hot so don’t get any on you. Secondly stir it once and then leave it alone. You can swirl the pan but let the heat do the work and you will be rewarded in kind.

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Nuts
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of pecans
1 cup of cashews
1 cup of walnuts

On a sheet pan place in a 350’F oven for about 10-15 minutes. Just enough to barely brown them. Let them cool.
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Caramel
¼ cup water
1 ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a sauce pan place the sugar and water stir to combine and then let it be. You can swirl the pan a few times until it starts to brown. It will continue to brown so don’t take it too far. Remove it from the heat and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

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While the caramel is still hot add the nuts and salt into the saucepan. Working quickly spread the nut mixture onto the same sheet pan with either parchment or Silpat. Flatten out with a couple of forks the best you can. Once cooled and hardened break apart and enjoy!

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Recipe by Ina Garten  

Almond Flour Blondies

I am a huge impulse buyer – KP stop laughing! My girlfriend KP gives me crap all the time for picking up something obscure and totally not what we were out shopping for. The area around the register is pretty dangerous for people like me; lucrative for the store though.
IMG_5279My daughter had made a few almond crust lemon curd tarts awhile back, at the time we couldn’t find almond flour in our little town so she had to make her own; she is so clever. So when I was out shopping and came across a large bag of Almond flour sitting at the end of an aisle I grabbed it.
IMG_5268Since I made this impulse purchase she hasn’t made any tarts; so now what am I supposed to do with it? Oh and I forgot to mention that I was at my club store when I “found” the bag so you might be getting a clearer picture that the bag I bought was a 10 pound bag of almond flour Yikes!
IMG_5271Since Almond flour is crushed almonds it is a little on the sweet side so I think it would only be good for something sweet; though I haven’t explored what to do with it extensively that is the way I am going with it.  I made an almond flour blondie that is sooooo good.  The only noticeable difference I found was that my blondie while ooey and gooey, it was also a little crumbly but that hasn’t stopped me from making them again.
IMG_5274Almond Flour Blondie

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

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If you need to soften your cold butter; slice it into smaller pieces it will soften quicker

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on high till they become light and fluffy. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in the chips and nuts if you are using them.
Pour the dough into the greased baking dish. Smooth the dough and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes slice and enjoy!
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