A healthy oatmeal banana muffin recipe filled with fruit, honey, and honey.

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Muffins

A healthy oatmeal muffin recipe filled with fruit, honey, and honey.

I love oatmeal and bananas together and who doesn’t love a good muffin? Would you believe that these muffins are flourless and have honey instead of sugar? Yes, these are actually healthy oatmeal banana muffins. This was one of those recipes where I threw in things I had handy around the house and…… it worked! These muffins came out moist and tasted great.

I basically wanted to make it out of fruit and oatmeal without flour or white sugar. I had a whole bunch of bananas that were way too ripe. I had only one apple left, and a few pears. I took out some oatmeal and decided to grind it up and use it as the flour. I started with three cups because I wanted to use up so many bananas I had to increase gradually to five cups. The batter was way too runny. I didn’t want to use granulated sugar so I blended up the apple and pear and placed in my mixer bowl. Then I added 1 cup of honey. I didn’t feel bad about using so much honey because it has antioxidants right?!? I blended that then added vanilla and eggs like a typical recipe. Lastly, I added all the oatmeal until it was the right consistency. 

I used the Ninja Master Prep Professional (QB1004) small food processor which blended the fruit right down in less than a minute. It also did a fabulous job grinding up the oats.

In a lot of baking recipes, you would blend sugar and butter or oil, then add eggs and alternate some milk/liquid and flour. I blended the fruit and honey together, this created enough of a liquid that it just needs eggs to help bind and hold together and some blended oats as flour.

At this point, it didn’t look appetizing at all. I filled up the heart shaped cupcake pan and placed in the oven and crossed my fingers. This was an experimental recipe and ……. to my surprise! they came out good enough for my kids to eat them. Did I mention that my son has severe allergies, is picky and has a mouth device? He needs healthy soft foods, this was perfect. 

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I used a heart shaped muffin pan for this recipe and it worked great.  Fox Run Non-Stick Heart Mini Muffin Pan

Make sure you grease the pan well, I used non-stick cooking spray between each batch. When each batch was cooled I removed from the pan, wiped the pan down and added more spray. This made it easy for me to take the muffins out of the pan and was easy to clean.

This makes about 4 dozen small muffins. It may seem like a lot and you can play around to make less. I like making a lot, they are great with a cup of coffee. They also are easy to grab if you skip breakfast or your kids need a quick snack.

Muffins can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about a week.

A healthy oatmeal banana muffin recipe filled with fruit, honey, and honey.

 

 




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A hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic, and pomegranate.

Rosemary Garlic Hummus Recipe

Would you believe that all of these ingredients got along well in this hummus recipe? I really wanted to make a healthy recipe using all of these ingredients. That is not an orange hiding behind the pomegranate….it’s a pink naval fruit. Also called the pink naval orange, it is like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. It actually tastes like a mix of grapefruit and orange together.

Easy and delicious hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic and pomegranate.I used the pink naval orange instead of lemon in this recipe. Basic classic hummus recipes typically use chickpeas/ garbanzo beans, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and tahini. At first, I always omitted tahini because I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I did some research and found that it is made with a neutral oil and sesame seeds. I LOVE sesame seeds or anything sesame. I decided to make my own and try it and turns out….it’s super easy! For this recipe I used fresh ground garlic, chick peas, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, some zest from the pink naval fruit, avocado oil, salt and more juice from the orange fruit. I added pomegranate as a garnish with extra juice from the pomegranate drizzled on top.

When you basic hummus you can use canned chickpeas/ garbanzo beans, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. If you do have an extra few minutes, I suggest soaking dried chickpeas overnight in water and boiling them before making hummus. This tastes a lot fresher and you can make a lot more. Also, chickpeas are bland, you can play around with ingredients to your liking. You can add more garlic, salt or lemon to make it taste how you want it.

A hummus recipe usually calls for olive oil which is very healthy. Recently, I started using avocado oil. Not only does it taste great but it has so many of its own health benefits. I liked it in this recipe, it gave the hummus a good balance of flavor.

I used the smaller food processor piece of the Ninja Master Prep Professional (QB1004) for the hummus recipe and for the tahini.

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If you haven’t used a zester before here is a link. using the zest of a citrus fruit for recipes really does make a difference.

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 A hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic, and pomegranate.

I topped with pomegranate seeds and a little bit of the juice. No such thing as too much pomegranate. You can use so many different chips, crackers or vegetables to dip in hummus. I really liked blue chips with this recipe. I also like flat pretzels and my favorite wheat crackers, or pita chips.




A hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic, and pomegranate.

A hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic, and pomegranate.

A healthy hummus recipe using rosemary, garlic, and pomegranate and avocado oil.

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A homemade chicken soup recipe using fresh ingredients from scratch.

Chicken Soup

An easy chicken soup recipe with a versatile broth perfect for cool weather days.Cool weather means cool crisp breezy air and my favorite…..soup time! One of my favorite soups to cozy up to is classic chicken noodle soup. As you can see from the photos that I like to change up the noodles so it’s not always the same. You can change up the ingredients in the broth also, there are so many different ways to make s basic chicken soup broth.

Chicken broth made with fresh vegetables and herbs is just as healthy as it is delicious. Homemade chicken soup with out any artificial ingredients is pretty easy to make. I like to make a basic broth that can be easily stored and is versatile enough to be used in most recipes.Recipe for fresh homemade chicken soup with a versatile broth.First I start with the most fresh ingredients available. One of the best ways to infuse great flavor is to use fresh herbs. You can find fresh cut herbs in the produce section of your local grocery store, availability varies. I like to grow my own herbs, that way I know they are fresh and can have more the ones I use the most on hand.

I know this may seem a bit unrealistic to use fresh herbs from a herb garden if you live in an apartment. Most people think it’s easier to substitute with some bullion cubes or prepackaged chicken broth. I disagree, I feel it is easier to throw in some fresh veggies and even dried herbs. If you can even just substitute one ingredient for a fresh one that’s a step in the right direction. Do something like trying a prepackaged broth, use as whole chicken or even chicken legs or thighs with the bone and skin with fresh cut herbs. Try it and see to see the difference it makes. Once you get into the swing of using fresh ingredients and having them on hand, it will practically become second nature. First, you have to see the difference in flavor to realize the impact, not to mention the health benefits.

For instance, I turn this recipe which makes a huge pot of chicken broth into dinner for five and then extra packaged broth to have on hand. Once I drain out the broth from the simmer ingredients I remove the chicken, then scoop the broth into containers to cool and package up. I then add more carrots and celery with the cubed up cooked chicken back into the pot to eat that day.

I cook for a family of five and this recipe makes enough for dinner and tons of leftovers to freeze and use when I need chicken broth for a recipe. For instance, the next time I need to make chicken enchiladas and need 1 cup of chicken broth I pull one out of the freezer. This way I may fresh enchiladas with homemade chicken broth in less time. You don’t have to make fresh chicken stock every time you need it. Having homemade chicken broth on hand is what making it from scratch practical. You don’t need fancy or expensive containers either, just as long as they form an airtight seal when closed.

These are inexpensive and reusable glass jars.
They also have measurement markings on the side to help keep track of amounts.

You can also use:

TIP: Liquids expand when frozen, always leave at least an inch of room at the top for expansion and follow the manufacture’s instructions.

This is actually a fairly easy recipe, most of the cooking is throwing it in a pot and letting it simmer for a few hours. The key is a low simmer or about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs for infusing flavor and added health benefits.

For this recipe, I used a tall stainless steel 8 qt pot, which makes about 6 quarts of soup. I usually save 1-2 quarts of broth from each batch. I separate into 1 and 2 cup containers to package up and store. I like storing in small amounts, that way if I only need 1 cup I have access to it without having to thaw it out first and waste any. If I need more I simply take out a few containers. The amount may vary depending on how much the batch yields, how much evaporates while cooking, and how much you serve.

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If you are unfamiliar with cheesecloth, it is a light fabric that makes straining liquid very easy.

To use a cheesecloth: simply secure cloth over a large bowl and pour soup over the bowl with a large spoon or ladle and let the cheesecloth pick out all large pieces from the soup. When done discard cheesecloth and discarded ingredients, and place clean broth back into the pan.

Again, you can add more ingredients such as garlic or other herbs. This is my basic recipe for a chicken broth that is versatile and easily used in many different types of recipes. When you use the broth in another recipe, you can then add more flavor or seasonings that go along with the recipe you are making. For example, when I make chicken enchiladas, I use this broth and add it to tomato sauce along with a little water then add chili powder, cumin, and Cayenne powder and some fresh cut peppers.

This chicken soup recipe can be used in so many ways.  Every time I make some chicken soup I reserve some broth to freeze for future recipes. I have to admit, when I or anyone in my house gets sick, I use the whole pot. Chicken broth made from boiling the whole chicken with the bones has a lot of healing properties. Quite honestly, when I’m sick I drink this homemade broth out of a coffee mug.

How do you like your chicken soup?

A recipe for homemade chicken soup from scratch.




 

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Skinny EggNog

Delicious variation of an egg nog recipe using egg whites and light cream.Nothing says holiday more than a glass of egg nog. There are so many different variations from using cream vs. milk, adding alcohol vs. non-alcoholic, or using raw egg yolks or to temper them.  There are definitely a few different ways to make it. Also, I feel that there seems to be a love/hate relationship with eggnog.  Seems like people either love it and buy tons around this time of year or are scared of it. Most people immediately think of drinking raw eggs, which is common…. not that I blame them.  I never really drank it much because of the fat content from the yolks and heavy cream. So this year I wanted to try to make a skinny version that was low in fat. I needed to make a skinny eggnog recipe.

So, I started researching what goes into classic eggnog. Mainly egg yolks and heavy cream or whole milk and obviously nutmeg.  A lot of recipes temper the whipped egg yolks and surprisingly some people still use raw eggs. I would NOT recommend using raw eggs (especially if you are serving to guests!) So I had to find out how much you can cook an egg to kill bacteria but not cook it into a solid or scrambled egg….hmmmm.

What you want to do for egg safety is to slow cook it while whisking until it reaches 160 F. This temperature will make it safe to eat. When tempering the egg, it may only reach 125 degrees. I like to play it safe.

I decided to use egg whites and a combination of a small amount of light cream and fat-free half and half. I also used meringue powder, which can be used in some recipes as an egg white substitute. This helped give it a smooth and fluffy texture. Meringue powder is optional, I tried without and the recipe still worked.

Basically, what I did was whisked up egg whites with sugar in a small saucepan for a few minutes, then added meringue powder, cream, spices and half and half. I attached a baking thermometer to the pan and whisked while it cooked to temperature. I was able to get it to 185 degrees F without it overcooking.

To ensure the proper temperature you will need a candy thermometer that attaches to the side of the pot such as Winco Deep Fry/Candy Thermometer with Hanging Ring, 2-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch

It may be tricky to separate the egg whites, using a tool like Stainless Egg Separator really helps to avoid any risk of having egg shells in the eggnog. I always separate into a small bowl before adding to the pan.

 

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If you are making for a large crowd
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I make a non-alcoholic version so anyone including the kids can enjoy it as well. I like to have alcohol on hand for adults to add, such as a rum, bourbon or whiskey.

You can top with whipped cream or a festive homemade marshmallow, then sprinkle even more nutmeg.

Delicious variation of an eggnog recipe using egg whites and light cream.

See Recipe for Homemade Marshmallows.




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Delicious variation of an eggnog recipe using egg whites and light cream.
A christmas cookie recipe with a taste of the holidays! Easy cookie with cream cheese and spice flavors perfect for holiday decorating.

Holiday Spice cookies

A christmas cookie recipe with a taste of the holidays! Easy cookie with cream cheese and spice flavors perfect for holiday decorating.Shaped holiday cookies with tons of frosting and decorations = instant nostalgia! Even a simple photo can spark memories bringing you right back to Grandma’s house. Sometimes it is just as fun making them as it is eating them. I like trying new shapes and recipes every year.  This recipe turned out well, I call it holiday spice recipe because it’s a little different than the typical sugar cookie. It has holiday spice flavors mixed with cream cheese. This dough is easy to work with and rolls out with ease. I paired it with a simple cream cheese drizzle icing and topped with festive sugar sparkles.

A dough that is easy to work with and not too sticky is perfect for kids who want to make cookies for Santa.  I heard that Santa gets sick of chocolate chip……although they disappear pretty quick each year. This is a nice alternative…wouldn’t want to disappoint Santa, right?!?

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One good tip is to have a good small easy to handle cookie spatulas. This makes it easy and helps the cookie keep its shape when transferring from hot pan to cooling rack. This is the Wilton Cookie Spatula it has a great angled handle to help slide under the cookie without breaking the cookie. This type of spatula also works well for flipping an over easy egg when you don’t want to break the yolk.

Also, another great tool to have to help the cookies cool is a drying rack, such as Aluminum Baking Sheet Pan Half-Size (13″ x 18″) and Stainless Steel Cooling Rack Set (11.5″ x 16.5″) | Designed To Fit Perfectly Together | Only From Indigo True Company I started using one of these and love them! The cookies cool and hold their shape well. I used to use a plate and the cookies would always bend.

For this recipe, I used the simple icing recipe below but added about a tbsp of cream cheese. I like the flavor balance of cream cheese flavor and spices.

If you add cream cheese to the frosting just make sure you keep them airtight and refrigerated.

This is another simple icing that is perfect for decorating cookies and doesn’t require refrigeration.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of confectioners sugar
  • a few tablespoons water

Directions:

Place sugar and one tablespoon of water in mixer. Mix on medium speed, slowly adding more water until icing reaches a good consistency. You want it smooth, slightly runny but able to hold it’s shape. Place icing in a piping bag with a small circular tip. Start by lining the edge of the cookie in the shape you want to create. Then fill in remaining center, spreading as you go.

Top with sprinkles!

For more Xmas dessert recipes see

Gingerbread cookie recipe

Snowball cookie recipe

Peppermint Mocha Cupcake recipe

Mini Holiday Pie Recipe

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A christmas cookie recipe with a taste of the holidays! Easy cookie with cream cheese and spice flavors perfect for holiday decorating.






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Snowball cookie recipe with a hint of cinnamon for holiday flavor.

Snowball Cookie Recipe

snowballpic1This snowball cookie recipe is a great way to kick off winter. This recipe is as simple as it is delicious with all the holiday flavors in one easy to roll and bake cookie. These cookies are coated in confectioners sugar making them easy to store, serve or pack nicely as a gift. These cookies are typically plain sugar with nuts such as walnuts. Since my son is allergic to peanuts I leave any nuts out. I did add cinnamon and spices for a little hint of holiday flavor.

The best part of these cookies is how easy they are to store. After you cook them you roll them in confectioners sugar, this helps so they don’t stick to each other. I like to put them in large mason jars with holiday ribbon and give as gifts. It is an easy way to give a thoughtful gift that looks like you wrapped Christmas up in a jar.

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 While these are baking, prepare a bowl with a couple of cups of confectioners sugar. You will roll the cool, yet still warm cookies in this to add “snow”. I like to use a rectangular dish with a lip for the edges. This way the sugar won’t spill out and you can roll them to coat them with less mess. I have a stack of inexpensive plastic platters such as Clear Plastic Serving Platter 18″ x 12″that I use for so many things. I usually pour about a cups and cover the dish. It’s fun to roll the cookies in the confectioners sugar, my kids have fun with this.

Once the cookies are out of the oven place them on a cooling rack for a few minutes. When they have cooled enough that you can handle them begin to roll in confectioners sugar. Once done and completely cooled you can go back and roll cookies again if you want to enure you covered them in snow well.

Once you coat them in confectioners sugar they won’t stick to each other making them easily stack-able in an airtight container for up to a week.

My favorite is to make these snowball cookies with gingerbread men. See Recipe. I make a scene where it looks like the gingerbread are building a snowman.

Snowball cookie recipe with a hint of cinnamon for holiday flavor.

Also a great scene for outside a gingerbread house!

 




 

 

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Recipes using fresh ingredients from scratch & creative inspiration for a DIY lifestyle.