Spaghetti with Meatballs

Tonight we were looking for an easy and delicious meal. I decided to make spaghetti and use the wonderful homemade marinara I froze the other week. For some reason I wanted to give meatballs a whirl. This is odd for a couple reasons:

1) I'm not a big fan of beef
2) Raw meat grosses me out, I've never touched it in my life. My husband is the one that handles the raw stuff.

I've never paid much attention to recipes for meatballs, so I decided to search my handy dandy google reader. I stumbled across a recipe for Meatball Sandwiches and decided to just use the part for the meatballs themselves.

The recipe was very simple and very tasty. I even forgot to add the garlic and it still tasted great. I think when I make these again I'll use ground turkey, the meatballs didn't taste greasy, but the grease left on the baking sheet isn't very appetizing. So tonight's dinner was a success....Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara and Meatballs and I got over my fear of preparing raw meat.

Source: Feed the Moose

Do you know how hard it is to get a good pic of meatballs on spaghetti? It's near impossible for a novice like myself. The picture above is the best I could do.

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, gently mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish. (I lined my baking dish with parchment paper to make for easier cleanup)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through.

Pumpkin Pancakes

One of my new favorite blogs is Cookies with Boys. Pamela has some wonderful recipes on there and her boys are too cute. Yesterday morning I was catching up on my Google Reader and I saw her post for Pumpkin Pancakes. I decided I needed them immediately and whipped them up for lunch yesterday.

The pancakes are so good! My BIL(Josiah) and husband loved them. Josiah liked his plain, Matt liked his with butter and I had to slather mine in butter and maple syrup. I wanted to top with some whipped cream too, but we didn't have any.

The pancakes are a bit more dense than any pancake I've made before. I loved the subtle pumpkin flavor. I also added 1 tbsp of wheat bran and 1 tbsp of ground flax seed to the batter. It was the perfect breakfast..errr lunch on a gorgeous fall day.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Source: Cookies with Boys
Orginally from: allrecipes
(no pictures of these, my camera battery was dead)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice I used pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp wheat bran
1 tbsp flax seed
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, salt, wheat bran, and flax seed, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Cooking With Love

When my friend Sarah posted about a Blog Event: Cooking With Love , I knew exactly what story I wanted to share....

One night in college at a party Matt told one of his friends: "She had me at ......


I kid you not, those are the exact words Matt said to one of his friends. "She had me at Hamburger Helper." Um ok, or maybe not those exact words, but you could interpret the story that way if you want.

The first meal I ever made for Matt consisted of Lasagna Hamburger Helper, Cream Corn, Salad, and Cheesy Garlic Bread. In college that was "our" meal. We had it a couple times a month. One night out at a party one of his friends came up to me and told me how Matt was braggin on me because of this AWESOME meal I made and how I was the best girlfriend ever. It makes me giggle just thinking about it. The night we got engaged we even had "our meal".

Before we got married someone gave me a recipe for a sort of "homemade" hamburger helper. Matt loves the recipe as is. To see the original recipe click here. I have to spice it up if I make it. I know I'm not a gourmet chef, but I've come a long way from Lasagna Hamburger Helper in the past 6 and a half years. My wonderful husband loves almost everything I make, but I know he'd be a happy man if I made Hamburger Helper every night of the week.

Corn and Blackbean Skillet

1lb ground turkey
1 can black beans
Minute Rice - I usually make 2 servings
1 can Rotel
1 cup Salsa
1 chopped Red Pepper
1 chopped Green Pepper
3/4 bag frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped green chilis
Fresh Cilantro to taste
Cumin to taste
Paprika to taste
Cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, other toppings

Cook turkey- drain. Combine rice, beans, rotel, salsa, corn, peppers, and 2.5 cups of water. (you may have to increase this depending on how much rice you make) Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min or until water has been absorbed. Add cilantro, cumin, and paprika.

I like to make mine as a burrito and Matt likes to eat his with chips.


Fried Green Tomatoes

We hung out with my cousin and her husband last night and came home with a bag of tomatoes from their garden - green tomatoes! I was so excited to make Fried Green Tomatoes. The only time I have ever had them was at the Missouri State Fair last year, but I have always loved the movie. :) Come on - who doesn't love Jessica Tandy!? And Chris O' Donnell isn't bad to look at either!

This evening for dinner we had some left over soup and Fried Green Tomatoes. I found a wonderful recipe on Allrecipes. Matt took his first bite and said "Oh My God! These are so good". After his second bite it was "Better than the State Fair!" After his third bite it was "These are amazing, I love you!". I swear after every tomato he had he would just go on about how much he loved them. It made me laugh!

I was actually very surprised at how good they tasted. I put some Ranch Dressing out to dip them in, but they were plenty good without the Ranch. We didn't end up using it. We don't normally eat fried food, so I won't make these again any time soon, but they were certainly delicious and it was fun to have something different for dinner.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Source: Allrecipes.com

My adaptions in italics - they're based on the recipe reviews

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs I used egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup bread crumbs I used Italian Style Panko
2 tsp coarse kosher salt I cut it down to 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying


Slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Discard the ends. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.

In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Cookie Carnival: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It's Cookie Carnival Time again! This month we baked Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. I was very excited - chocolate and pumpkin, one of my favorite combinations. I had a much easier time this month than I did last month. The actual cookie part is soft and cake-like. It has a mild chocolate flavor and is pretty unremarkable on it's own. It almost reminds me of devils food cake. Pair it with the tasty pumpkin filling and you have yourself a nice treat.

I messed around with the recipe a bit adding 3/4 cup of chocolate chips to the dough and making some changes to the filling. Thanks to the success I had last time I baked a chocolate/pumpkin treat, I decided to add melted Pumpkin Spice Kisses (25 or so). I also used some pumpkin pie spice and decided that the filling wasn't pumpkiney enough. Rather than the 1/4 cup of pumpkin the recipe calls for I ended up using an entire can. I think this changed the consistency and appearance of the filling, but it is so good.

Matt and I both enjoyed these cookies. If I were to make them again I would add the melted kisses to the cookie dough to spice it up a bit and increase the chocolate chips to 1 cup.

Thanks Kate for choosing this recipe!

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Source: Martha Stewart

My adaptions in italics

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin I used an entire can
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pumpkin Pie Spice
25 Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses - melted


Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. (mine never actually got smooth, just a moist crumbly texture, too much sugar to get smooth) Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

Makes about 20 cookies


I've been Tagged...

Who wants to play Attention Whore!?!?! Oh, I do! I do!

My friend Carrie from My Life in Pictures tagged me for a meme so I guess I'll play along.

5 Joys
1) My husband
2) My family
3) Baking
4) How I feel after a great workout
5) Nights where I laugh so much (friends - anyone up for breaking into a pool at 2am? or family - how 'bout a husker room night?) I wake up the next morning and my abs hurt.

5 Fears
1) Being in a car accident. (I’ve been in two really bad ones - like I should have died bad. I’m afraid of what will happen if I get in another one)
2) Being kidnapped and all the bad stuff that goes with it
3) Bugs, all of them!
4) Holding newborn babies
5) Going to prison - this is SO not rational, but I've seen a few prison shows on the National Geographic channel and it scares the crap out of me!

5 Obsessions
1) The internet – blogs, my RB’s, email..
2) Chocolate
3) Cheerleading (seriously, I still make up cheers in my bathroom mirror)
4) Christina Aguliera's new song "Keeps Gettin Better" (have you listened to the lyrics... pretty much sums me up!)
5) Working out

5 Surprising Facts
1) I cheered in high school and college, but didn’t learn how to do a back handspring until I was 21.
2) I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 17
3) When I was 18 I went on a float trip with a bunch of friends and became known as the beer-bonging queen of the river. People were floating by us going “oh there’s the queen" and were bowing down to me. :)
4) When I was 10 some stupid neighbor boy kicked me in the stomach and put me in the hospital for a couple days. Jerk!
5) I used to be quite the singer. I was in the chorus/choir from 4th grade until I graduated high school. One year my solo in the Spring Program was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore.


Apple Season!

The first time I had this cake was 3 years ago. One of my coworkers baked it and I politely passed because I didn't "do" hot fruit. She insisted I try it so I sucked it up and prepared myself for a nasty, mushy apple dessert. What I found though was heaven.

I've made it a few times since and I swear it gets better each time. I laugh thinking back to the first time I made it. There weren't any specific directions on the topping, so I poured the melted butter on top of the partially baked cake followed by a mixture of brown sugar/flour/cinnmon. Little did I know it was supposed to be a crumb topping. Oh I've come so far....

This cake may just be the perfect fall dessert. In fact, someone even said this cake "tastes like fall". It would be prefect for breakfast with a Chai Tea Latte or Caramel Macchiato. I've also served these as Apple Bars. We had it for dessert the other night after our Mac and Cheese. The cake is moist with a nice hint of cinnamon and cloves and a fabulous baked brown sugar crumb topping. The house smells amazing when you add the crumb mixture to the top. Oh and I should warn you, it's so easy to devour this. Take it into work, your coworkers and waistline will thank you.

Apple Cake

*I'm so bummed my pictures don't look very good, they do the cake no justice. The stupid sun didn't want to cooperate today. Oh how I miss summer.


2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1tsp each:
baking powder
baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
3 cups chopped apples (I used granny smith and fuji)

3 TBSP melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
Dash Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Beat oil, OJ, eggs, and sugar until well-blended. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in apples.

Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes Prepare topping (mix topping ingredients until crumb mixture forms). Sprinkle topping on top of cake and bake an additional 20 - 30 minutes.

Homemade Marinara

It's official, I've become one of "them". The people that swears they will never buy another jar of marinara because homemade is just so easy and tastes so much better! My cousin gave us a bunch of tomatoes a few weeks ago. I noticed a few of them started to go bad, so I decided to make a some marinara while the majority of them were still good.

I turned to my good friend Jules because I remember her fabulous garden from the summer and have heard many rave reviews about how delicious her homemade marinara is. Especially at 3am. Sadly, some of us pass out right before the spaghetti is served. ;)

Anyhow, her recipe isn't exact and that's what I love about it. I used what I had on hand and it turned out wonderfully. Much better than Ragu and so easy. I stuck this in the freezer for future use, but I can not wait to try it over a big bowl of pasta. The few taste-tests I had while it was simmering exceeded my expectations and the hubster agreed!

Julie's Garden Fresh Marinara Sauce
Source: Jules


Lots of tomatoes
Green Onions
Herbs: I used Fresh Basil and Parsley and dried Oregano and Garlic Salt.
Salt & Pepper
Tomato Paste (if after cooking for awhile, the sauce does not thicken up for you, add a few Tbsp of tomato paste)

Blanch tomatoes & let cool. Then peel, degut, squeeze & dice the tomatoes. In a large pot, heat some olive oil & saute the onions & garlic. Add the tomatoes & remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce hit & simmer for at least an hour. Check the consistency & taste, adjust accordingly.


Comfort Food

With my leftover cheese from fondue night, I decided to make the most perfect fall comfort food: macaroni and cheese. Usually I have a hard time figuring out what to do with the left over Gruyere and Emmentaler and that stuff isn't exactly cheap so I hate for it to go to waste.

I based my recipe on Ina Garten's Grown Up Mac and Cheese. A recipe I spotted on quite a few blogs last month for Barefoot Bloggers. The result was phenomenal! I especially loved the hint of nutmeg in the dish - delish! I decided this is definitely a mac and cheese that would be ok to serve to company. :)

Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from: Ina Garten

Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups shells
1 3/4 - 2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Gruyere, Emmentaler, and Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (Combined, mine equaled a little over 2 cups.)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Grated Colby Jack Cheese to taste
Panko Bread Crumbs to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, Emmentaler, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Pour into a 2 1/2 qt baking dish. Sprinkle Colby Jack Cheese over top of pasta, sprinkle bread crumbs over top Colby-Jack Cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


Oh My! Chai

Last year I had my first Chai Tea Latte and they have quickly become a favorite of mine. Besides being a fabulous Personal Chef, my friend Leslie is also a Tastefully Simple representative. One of my favorite Tastefully Simple products is their Oh My! Chai tea mix. It's a great alternative to a $4 cup at a coffee place.

Our friends Erin and Scooter had their son baptised yesterday (and I stupidly forgot my camera... he may just be the cutest baby on the planet). After the baptism they had a small open house and I decided I wanted to bring a sweet over to their house. Brownies sounded like a good idea and to spice them up I added some Oh My! Chai mix to them. They were delicious! The hint of Chai Tea was perfect. I'll definitely make these again.

Chai Tea Brownies
Adapted From: Hershey's Best Brownies

:1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4tbsp Oh My! Chai tea mix


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, tea mixture, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle additional Chai mixture on top.


Fondue Night

August 16, 2008 started out being a glorious morning. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. We were in STL, slept in a bit from the amazingly-awesome (yeah, I know that's not a real compound word) Brad Paisley concert the night before. My mom woke us up around 9:30 and she and my step-dad treated us to breakfast. After a delicious meal, we went down to the Festival Of The Little Hills and stopped in to see my friend Jamie. That night we were supposed to celebrate my dad's 51st birthday with my brother, step-sister, half-sister, and step-mom. On the way home from Jamie's store, we received a call that turned our lives upside down. My father-in-law, who was only 50 years old, passed away very unexpectedly.

Since then, things have just been insane. We've (especially Matt) have had to deal with things we never thought we'd have to at 26 years old. Neither of us have ever been people to take things for granted, but I think now more than ever we really understand the importance of living every day to the fullest.

Tonight we had Matt's mom, sister, and older brother over for fondue. (My younger brother in law had to work.) This was most definitely a meal my father-in-law would have enjoyed, it was the perfect amount of family zaney-ness. My MIL and SIL really enjoyed everything, my BIL however was going crazy, he was way too impatient to wait for all of his food to cook. All in all though, we had a blast! My SIL is almost as picky as I am and I was really nervous she wouldn't like anything, but luckily she did.

Tonight was delicious and so much fun. I cant wait to do it again. I want to dedicate this post to my father in law, Mark. We missed you tonight and will miss you always, but know you are watching over us.

Fondue Night:
Three Cheese Fondue
Coq au Vin Broth
Basic Chocolate Fondue

Best Formula Three-Cheese Fondue
Source: allrecipes.com

1 Cup White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc is suggested)
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Gruyere cheese - shredded
Sharp Cheddar cheese - shredded
Emmentaler cheese - shredded1 clove of garlic

Combine the cheese and flour in a bowl. Rub garlic over inside of fondue pot -or- saute it in the pot . Simmer wine and add cheese/flour mixture to wine. Stir in a zig-zag motion until cheese is smooth. Serve with French and Sourdough Bread and Apple Slices.

Coq au Vin Fondue
Adapted From: The Melting Pot/Recipe Zaar

2 14oz cans reduced-sodium beef broth
1 14oz can fat free veggie broth
2 Knolls vegetable bullion cubes
1 - 1 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
2 green onions, sliced


Dipping Sauces:

Heat beef and veggie broth in fondue pot (I have an electric), bring to boil. Add all other ingredients, bring to boil. Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temperature has been reached. Take the necessary precautions so you don't eat raw meat. Dip Meat in Various Sauce

Josiah searching for his steak:

Fondue is fun and apparently makes people make funny faces

My MIL, me and my SIL

Starvin Marvins! They want their food!

mmmm... dessert.....
Rice Krispie Treats, Marshmallows, strawberries, fresh and canned pineapple, and nanners

Simple Chocolate Fondue Recipe:

4 16oz bars bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 - 3/4 cup cream (I used half and half)

Pour cream in fondue pot, simmer. Add chocolate and stir til smooth.

Matt and his mom...


She cooks too!?

I know, shocking, right? This blog is going to feature something besides baking. I found this recipe for Thai Chicken with Cashews on Annie's Eats a few months ago.

Lately, I've been craving our favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Place. I absolutely love their Cashew Chicken. On Sunday, when I asked Matt what he wanted to eat, he told me he didn't really care. That left me and my google reader. I scrolled through, found this recipe, and never looked back.

When I served this, I didn't even have to ask how it was. Matt had a bite and immediately said "this is good", with a serious look on his face, I could just tell he loved it. I had my first bite soon after and knew exactly what he was talking about, this dish is awesome. It tastes exactly like the cashew chicken I get at Thai Place. If you like Thai Food, this is a must. You need to try it ASAP! We will definitely be making this often.

Thai Chicken with Cashews
Source: Annie's Eats

please excuse my crappy picture! This dark-by-7:30 thing is killing my pictures. I need to build a light box.

AM Edit: so besides the fact the lighting in that pic is awful, I didn't realize how bad the pic actually is. Apparently the glass err... bottle of wine I had with dinner impaired my judgement a bit more than a I thought.


1 bunch scallions
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (or 1 ½ tsp. dried)
¼ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes
¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup salted roasted whole cashews
cooked white or brown rice for serving


Chop scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry, then cut into ¾ -inch pieces and toss with salt and pepper. Heat a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir-fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and scallion whites to wok and stir-fry until peppers are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar, then stir the mixture into the vegetables in the wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate. Serve with rice

Healthy Muffins

Lately, my schedule is insane. I'm taking 11 hours at school, and work 32. Monday and Wednesday are my school related days and Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I work. Yuck. I usually end up eating at least 3 meals a week sitting in the parking lot before class. I don't want to spend the money or calories on eating out and I don't care for deli meat or sandwiches, so those meals usually consist of raw veggies and hummus, a handful of almonds, a banana and apple or nectarine, and a granola bar or trail mix - not super satisfying. I decided to go on the hunt for something that was easy to eat, filling, and healthy that I could throw in the mix every once in a while.

My hunt ended at this recipe from Cooking Light - Morning Glory Muffins. These fit my criteria perfectly. The yogurt and banana make these incredibly moist and I love the trail mix feel to them. An added bonus - I read the reviews and there was a comment on how well they freeze. I can make a batch of 18 and just take one at a time out of the freezer as I need it. I also love how you can change up the ingredients. I am really surprised at how delicious these are. Matt really liked them too. He declared them "The Perfect Breakfast Food".

Morning Glory Muffins
Source: Cooking Light

18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)
Cooking spray
1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2) (I had a little under 2 cups, so I added some applesauce)
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pitted dates (I used 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup cranberries)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used soy nuts)
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (about 2 tablespoons whole)


Preheat oven to 350°. Place 18 muffin cups liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.

Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine yogurt, banana, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in dates, walnuts, and pineapple.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with flaxseed. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information (for original recipe)

Calories:186 (21% from fat)Fat: 4.4g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.7g,poly 2.8g) Protein: 4.2g Carbohydrate: 35.2g Fiber: 3.4g Cholesterol: 12mg Iron: 1.2mg Sodium: 190mg Calcium: 42mg


Chocolate Chipperdoodle

Those of you who know me in real life are probably shaking your head right now. There she goes baking again….

Just the other day I was asking for advice on how to fight my sweet tooth, or more importantly, how to stop going overboard on my indulgences. The first 4 people I talked to told me to stop baking. I know I probably should – out of sight/out of mind. But, I used to bake and have sweets in the house and never had a problem with self control. It’s only been the past few months and I’m sure it’s because there’s been quite a bit of stress between work, school, and family. So the sweets combined with not being able to dedicate 2 hours/day to the gym anymore has left me feeling kind of gross. I decided I just need to hold myself accountable and after talking to one of my coworkers, I’m going to start freezing the majority of the stuff I bake. That way it’s not just sitting there on the counter tempting me every time I walk by.

So fast forward to Friday morning, I was going through my Google reader when I saw this magical recipe, it’s a combination of a snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookie - two of my favorites! I knew I had to make them soon. Soon came Friday at 7:37pm. I needed a break from my homework and had all the ingredients for these.

They are so, SO good! The sweet/spicy/cinnamony goodness of a snickerdoodle mixed with the smooth taste of chocolate make for a fabulous combination. I may just go all out here and say it's a better combo than chocolate and PB. (Well, maybe not better, but certainly as good). These cookies will definitely be showing up again around Christmas. They are perfect for a cookie exchange and will taste delicious on Christmas Eve!

Chocolate Chip Amish Puff Cookies
Source: Erin Cooks
Originally Published in: A Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips (used 1/2 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate. Normally, I'm not a milk chocolate fan, but they tasted great in these cookies!)
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I decided 2 tsp was the amount needed to reach cinnamon perfection)

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until combined.

Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. (I added my chips before I put the dough in the fridge)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line several cookies sheets with parchment paper. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks. Yield about 2 dozen cookies

*PS: go to Erin’s website and comment on this post. You may just win this !