Thursday, February 21, 2013

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Bacon

I credit my husband for introducing me to Brussels sprouts, because I don't recall eating them before we got married. I think they are delicious and that they needlessly get a bad rep! How many movies have you seen where a kid refuses to eat his Brussels sprouts? Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and are closely related to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower... Vegetables which might not scare you at all. 

This recipe is simple to make and seems elegant. Besides, when you add bacon and cranberries, even your kids will like them:) Recipe from my friend, Paige Smedley.

about 16-20 Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
2 slices bacon
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Tablespoons butter, divided (I omitted)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.* Generously salt the water and add the Brussels Sprouts. Simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. (*I actually steamed them in the microwave since they came in a steamer pack.) Do NOT overcook. Drain well, then slice in half.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the bacon until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add the red onions and 1 Tbs. butter, if necessary (I omitted the butter). Sauté until onions are translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the red wine vinegar and brown sugar and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. 

Add the halved sprouts to the skillet and stir to coat with the vinegar mixture. Add the remaining Tablespoon of butter (I omitted). Stir in the crumbled bacon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a bowl to serve. Serves 4-6 (3 to 5 full sprouts each).

30-Day Bran Muffins

My Mom made these for us over the holidays and I've been craving them ever since! These high-fiber muffins make a great breakfast or snack, the muffins freeze well and the batter stores in the fridge for up to 30 days! My Mom often makes a few at a time so they are fresh and hot out of the oven. What's not to love about that? I love them with raisins, but I have one child who prefers them without. We love them with butter and honey. Either way, they are delish! 

There are SO many very similar recipes online.  My Mom uses one from the Favorites cookbook. 

This recipe (below) makes about 8 dozen muffins (use the biggest bowl you have to mix!), so if you'd like to make a half batch, here's the recipe for 4 dozen: Spark People

4 cups Kellogg's All-Bran cereal (looks like little sticks)
2 cup boiling water
1 cup margarine
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
5 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk
2 cups Bran Flakes cereal (such as Post Bran Flakes)
1 (15 oz. box) seedless raisins, optional (or dried cranberries. Fresh blueberries would be great too!)

Combine All-Bran and boiling water in a large bowl. Cream margarine and sugar, and add to bran. Add eggs. Mix dry ingredients, and add alternately with buttermilk, then add Bran Flakes. Stir in raisins (or dried cranberries or fresh blueberries) if desired just before baking.

Keeps up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. I use a large cookie scoop to get just the right amount of batter.

Bake in muffin cups at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Nutritional information per muffin (without raisins): 134 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 3.5 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, 2.8 grams dietary fiber, 18.5 mg. cholesterol, 251 mg. sodium

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

My family loves banana bread, so when I found this recipe for yummy banana bread, with a twist, I was really happy. This recipe comes from Cooking Light and the only change I made is suggesting some substitutions for the rum. I hope you'll love this banana bread with a hint of lime & coconut as much as we do!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 Tablespoons dark rum (or substitute rum extract or milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum (or rum extract or milk), and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. 

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Check at about 35 to 40 minutes and cover with a tin foil tent to prevent over-browning, if necessary. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. 

Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.1 loaf makes 16 slices.

Nutritional InfoEach slice provides: 193 calories, 4.6 grams fat, 2.9 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 1.1 grams fiber, 35 mg. cholesterol and 179 mg. sodium.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Muffins

 I make these at least once a week. They are my go-to post workout snack and my kids gobble them up. I actually have to hide them or they are gone in a day. 

1 cup
Canned pumpkin
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
Plain lowfat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani)
Egg whites
1 3/4 cup
Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup
Protein powder (vanilla) 
1/2 cup
Baking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar 
1 tsp
Baking soda
2 tsp
Baking powder
1/4 tsp
1 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
Pumpkin pie OR Apple pie spice (If you don't have this just add a couple dashes nutmeg instead) 
Add-Ins: 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds, mini chocolate chips, raisins or dried cranberries. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth. Pour batter into paper-lined muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. 

*Note: This batter is very moist and a toothpick may not come out clean. They are done when the tops are golden brown. 

Biggest Loser Oatmeal Pancakes

These pancakes are a new favorite at our house. I know you may be skeptical when you first read the ingredients (I was a little) but give them a try and you will be hooked! They almost taste like a mix between a pancake and french toast. My whole family loves them. My three year old calls them "the most delicious pancakes ever in the world."

Ingredients:6 egg whites1 cup rolled oats, dry1 cup cottage cheese2 teaspoons sugar1 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon vanilla 

Instructions:  In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. For each pancake pour 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle. Flip when they start to bubble. Cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batches, spraying the griddle as needed. Makes about 10 pancakes.
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