Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spiced Blueberry Muffins

This baking episode was brought to you by our new budget. Instead of hitting the Dunkin Donuts for a morning snack (my husband) or afternoon one (me)... I made a deal with him that I would bake muffins each week to bring with us. It saves money and it's healthier for us all at the same time. This is, again, a Cooking Light recipe and is very tasty for a low-fat blueberry muffin. Most of the healthy blueberry muffins I've tried tasted bland, but this is not the case with this recipe. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (used a bit more)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh and used 2 cups which I recommend)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (8-oz) block fat-free cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk (I used 1%)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray 
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat over to 425 degrees.
Lightly spoon 2 cups of flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.
Place blueberries in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over blueberries, toss to coat.
Place butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 1 minute or until blended. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla to butter mixture; beat to combine. Add butter mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moist. Gently fold in blueberry mixture. Spoon batter into 14 muffin cups (I only did 12... 14 is silly) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tables spoons sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 425 degrees or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 5 minutes on wire rack. Remover muffin from pans, place on wire rack.

Yields: 12 muffins
WW Points: 5 
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Pumpkin Raviolis with Gorgonzola Sauce

This is also a Cooking Light recipe I made after the pumpkin whoopie pies due to some leftover pumpkin I had lying around. This is very good, but several things you should know in advance about these. 1. They do NOT reheat well at all, they get very soggy. 2. The recipe below is the original recipe, but when it comes to all the spices, I would double them for more of a taste.

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I would also add in a bit of cinnamon to this recipe)
30 round wonton wrappers 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Cooking Spray
1 cup fat-free milk (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese
3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted (I omitted)

Spoon pumpkin onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, and spread to 1/2 inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Scape into a medium bowl using rubber spatula. Stir in dry breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, minced sage, pepper and nutmeg.
Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep from drying out). Spoon 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into the center of the wrapper, brush edges of wrapper with water and seal, pressing edges firmly with fingers to form a half-moon. Place on a large sheet sprinkled with cornstarch. Repeat with remaining wrappers. 
Fill a Dutch oven with water, bring to a simmer. Add half of ravioli to pan (cover remaining with a damp towel). Cook 4 minutes or until done (do not boil), stirring gently. Remove ravioli with slotted spoon; lightly coat with cooking spray, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
Combine milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter stirring until butter melts. Gently stir in Gorgonzola.
Place 5 ravioli in each of 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola sauce. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons hazelnuts. Serve Immediately.

Serves: 6
WW Points: 5
Nutritional Info: Calories 250, Fat 9.1g, Sat. Fat 4.5g, Protein 9.5g, Cholesterol 22mg, Sodium 636 mg, Fiber 3.1g, Carbs 33g
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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - Yum.

While this blog mostly focuses on healthy, lighter recipes... from time to time I will throw in your old-school original recipes, and this is one of those times. I made these when the recipe was first published in Everyday Living with Rachel Ray back in October 2007. These are phenomenal and rank up there as one of my favorite recipes of all time. I can't tell you how many time I've been asked to make these since for holidays, birthdays and parties. Enjoy! They're not good for you, but man, they're tasty!

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree (not the pie filling, the one that's just pumpkin)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour

5 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bow, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transder to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar  and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended then beat on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Yields: 12 whoopie pies
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These remind me of elementary school because they seemed to always be served in the school cafeteria! This is a Cooking Light recipe and beyond tasty. They're perfect right out of the oven, but they're still chewy once they cool. I'm constantly asked to make these again and again at my work.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls (does seem crumbly sometimes, it's fine).
Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Back at 400 for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Remove from pans, cool on wire rack.

Yields: 30 cookies
WW Points: 2 per cookie
Nutritional info: Calories 99, Fat 3.3g, Protein .9g, Carb 16.9g, Fiber .3g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 59mg
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Oh I almost forgot, my V-day present

I can't continue on in this blog until I show you my fabulous valentine's day present from my husband. I love to bake, and every baker must have their Kitchen Aid Mixer! I got home on V-Day to find this baby sitting right next to Gabbie's crate. The color is cinnamon gloss... and it's beautiful!

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WW Beef and Broccoli

This is a recipe from WW's "Take Out Tonight" cookbook, which I have found to be a keeper in their collection.
This recipe is actually probably the closest to take out Beef and Broccoli that I've found. 
I made no modifications of this recipe, it was done as-is below.

3/4 lb beef top round, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into strips
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 lb broccoli crowns cut into florets (4 cups)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger 
3 garlic cloves, minced

Combine beef with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, toss well to coat, set aside. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the broth, oyster sauce, honey, soy sauce and sherry in small bowl and set aside. 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes and drain.
Heat a nonstick wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Swirl in the oil, then add the beef. Stir-fry until just cooked trough, 3-4 minutes, transfer to a plate. 
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the beef broth mixture, and cook, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens, about one minute. Add the beef and broccoli and cook until heated through.

Serves: 4
WW Points: 4 (without rice, I served mine over brown rice)
(I will try and calculate the calories and the like later on)

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I've been a slacker...

...concerning this blog.

Baby girl pug Gabbie had to have surgery on her leg/hip about two weeks ago now and it's been very stressful getting her back to spunky pug status. I swear, I think I need to start a separate blog about the pugs, they have so many of their own stories. :-)
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