Fun With Fiber

I have been having way too fun with fiber! It began a few weeks ago with making some bran muffins. Then, this beautiful pear from my Harry and David package was staring at me and I decided to make Pear Spice Muffins! Fan-Tastic!

Pear Spice Bran MuffinsWP_005155

makes 8

  • 1 (7oz) box Hodgson Mills Bran Muffin Mix
  • 1 large very ripe pear
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • 3/4 Tbsp light buttery spread
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F. Chop the pear into bite-size pieces. Combine all ingredients and half the chopped pear. Once thoroughly mixed, fold in the remaining pear and divided amongst 8 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake paper. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

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Nutrition: per muffin (1/8 recipe)

Calories: 128, Fat: 1.6g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 178mg, Carbs: 26.2g, Fiber: 3.4g, Sugar: 8.2g, Protein: 3.9g

Dad and I adored the end result! He kept taking them to work for an on-the-go breakfast. I warmed one up at work and spread a little PB on top and the spread melted and it was fantastic!

??????????????Last night, after making two batches on Blueberry scones, I really went into baking mode! I zested 1 lemon, with the zester dad got me for Christmas, and combined it with powdered sugar, and enough warm milk to make a glaze. Wow! Genius! I love lemon and blueberry!

A few days ago, I began to make my own crackers… yes…. crackers… and dad? He loved them! “I need to put these away before I eat the whole bag!” he said.

The first time I made these, I used ground flax. This last batch, I used milled bran.

Fiberful Crackers

make 48 per batch

  • 1 cup ground flax (meal)
  • OR
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp milled bran
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat grated Parm
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat grated Parm
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp basil
  • 1 ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp flour of choice

Preheat over to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together and spread into a thin rectangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and slide a sharp knife over the sheet of fiber to cut 8 strips across and 6 horizontally (Sorry, guys, I’m pretty bad at dimensions). Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. By this time, the squares are formed enough to be broken. Break up the sheet into 48 separate crackers and return to the oven for a final crisp (5-8 minutes)!

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I’m seriously hooked! They go with everything! Salsa, peanut butter (of course), fresh fruit… I even crisped these up more and broke them into my salad as croutons!

Well, being on this bran kick, and in quite a baking mood, I went with the flow and after 2 batches on scones and a batch of crackers, I made another batch of bran muffins. This time with apples (and apple butter)!

Double the Apple Bran MuffinsWP_005254

makes 8

  • 1 (7oz) box Hodgson Mills Bran Muffin Mix
  • 1/2 cup apples, skin on, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp apple butter
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sugar Craisins, chopped

Preheat over to 350 F. Combine all ingredients! Divide amongst 8 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake wrappers. Bake for 15 minutes. Dig in!

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Nutrition: per muffin (1/8 recipe)

Calories: 118, Fat: 0.9g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 169mg, Carbs: 24.8g, Fiber: 2.1g, Sugars: 7.9g, Protein: 3.8g

Can you guy what dad’s breakfast was, this morning?

Fiber is freakishly filling, fun, fiberful, fit, and makes you feel fabulous!

Talk about a recipe overload!

PS. The muffins freeze really well!

Bursting Berries

Probably one of my things about cooking with fresh berries is when they are heated. They BURST! Today is National Blueberry Pancake Day! Rather than sharing another pancake recipe, I wanted to share a recipes bursting with the blue stuff!

I found a huge tray of blueberries on the discount produce rack and snatched them up! At first, I made Hungry-girl’s Blueberry scones, but the end result reminded me of baked blueberry oatmeal fritters… Nothing wrong with that…

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Well I couldn’t sleep that night, and decided to utilize the remaining berries to play around with scones. My brain wouldn’t stop coming up with proportions for ingredients until I got up to bake! The end result was beautiful and tempting! After two attempts, and the improving results, I gave it the “third times the charm.” Yum! But, nonetheless, there was still improvements to be made and on the four shot, I fell in love!

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Bursting Blueberry Scones

makes 6 scones

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet light
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Heart Smart BisquickWP_005233
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp Splenda Brown Sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free French Vanilla powdered coffee creamer, more if desired
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 Tbsp flax milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Spread the buttery spread on a piece of wax or parchment paper to a 1/4 in thickness and freeze for 2 hours, at minimum.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a bowl, combine the oats, pastry flour, Bisquick, 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar, cinnamon, Splenda packet, baking powder, and salt. In a separate, small bowl or cup, whisk the vanilla, powdered creamer, milk, and egg substitute until powdered creamer has completely dissolved.

Using a fork, break up the frozen butter into smaller pieces and quickly and thoroughly mash butter into the flour mix, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the applesauce, and whisked milk mix. Fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Form into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter and flatten the top. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from the oven. Using a large, sharp knife, slice the pastry into 6 sections. Sprinkle the last 1 tsp of Splenda brown sugar over the top of the crusty dough. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice along the previous cuts, and let cool.

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Nutrition: 1 scone (1/6 recipe)

Calories: 135, Fat: 3.5g, sat. Fat: 0.8g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 202mg, Carbs: 23.6g, Fiber: 2.1g, Sugar: 4.6g, Protein: 2.4g

Enjoy! If your feeling adventurous, top it with a glaze!

I loved pulling the scones out of the oven and seeing the skin of the blueberries thinning, fighting back, not to explode the berry goodness everywhere. I found myself sneaking warm blueberries off the scones! No, Sammy, if you eat out all the blueberries, they would be blueberry scones, anymore! They were packed solid with blueberries! Plus, the little sweetness from the brown sugar crust just accentuated the berries!

Benefits of Blueberries:

  • They contain more antioxidants than any other fruit, and are also good sources of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
  • 1 cup of blueberries contains 5g Fiber.
  • The pterostilbene in blueberries enhance immune function when combined with vitamin D, according to a study by Oregon State University.
  • “Blueberries contain plant pigments called anthocyanins, and these compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, according to a study published in the April 14, 2010, “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” These anthocyanins also help increase brain signals and memory function.” ~Livestrong.com
  • Also helps fight depression!

From Buns to Cookies

He likes big buns and he cannot lie!

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When I found this recipe, I was immediately intrigued. As I rummaged through my baking supplies, I found the one cookie mix I did not have was sugar. Hmmm… snickerdoodles have cinnamon and sugar… this could work… 

Cinnabon CookiesWP_004846

  • 1 pouch (17.5 oz.) Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle Cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup light buttery spread, like Brummel and Brown, room temp
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 Tbsp. light buttery spread, melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flax milk
In medium bowl, stir cookie mix (cinnamon sugar packet included), buttery spread, ap flour, and egg until dough forms.On a floured surface, roll dough to about ¼-inch thickness.Brush with melted butter.In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over dough.Begin to roll up dough, starting at the long side. If the dough tears at all, do not worry. This dough is very forgiving. Just pinch it back together, it will still bake up nicely.Cut dough log in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and pop dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (until firm – not hard).
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Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper. Take dough out of freezer and begin cutting into coins to your desired width. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Cool for about 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cooling racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Using a basting brush, paint the glaze over the cookies.
You might be wondering what dad’s opinion of these cookies are… May I present the following text:
“The cinnamon bun cookies may be the best cookies I’ve ever had.”

Merry Christmas, Darlings!

Merry Christmas!! I hope you all had a wonderful day! I am so excited to celebrate our first Christmas together. Yes, this is Barry and my first Christmas together, but I am referring to our first Christmas together… Yes… YOU!

Last night, I attended two celebrations. I really lucked out with not having to work. I first drove to Frank’s nephews house. How cute are the boys?! Cal and Anthony were preparing a four-course meal of The 7 Fishes! Not to mention, Cal baked a bunch of favorites, like her famous Angel Food Cake, pignoli cookies, and cocoa pistachio sables!

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Unfortunately, I was not able to stay and celebrate dinner, as I was expected at my grandmother’s house. I was so so excited to see the family, but pathetically excited to eat some kielbasa! Every year, we had three main dishes in the Higgins house: kielbasa and sauerkraut, roast beef, and meatballs! I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a piece of kielbasa! Haha!

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I had a couple favorite moments from last night. The first was a mommom combo. I first handed grandma a bottle of Spumanti from Barry and me. She loves this stuff! This is the drink she got completely buzzed off of at my graduation party. She was so excited she started kicking her feet, yelling, “My drink! Oh my drink! Oh I love this stuff!” (Keep in mind that this is a 79 year old woman with both knee and hip replacements, kicking her feet in joy… PRICELESS). The second was when grandmom opened an ornament I made for her. She immediately pulled it out of the box and kissed the picture of my grandfather that was in the ornament.

Another, came at my Aunt Linda’s House where cousin Eddie proposed to his girlfriend, Cindy! My Aunt was telling Cindy about Eddie’s First Christmas ornament, and when Eddie went to show her it… He showed her an ornament of a bride and groom on a motorcycle and tied around the couple was a ring. “So what do you say, babe? Will you marry me?” She was speechless. “Uh, I kind of need an answer. so I know what to do here…” We all laughed, she held out her hand and said, “Yes.”

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WP_005128Aunt Linda was really excited about the gift she made me.. In all honesty, I normally would have had some serious anxiety with this gift, but I was so well-thought-out, I couldn’t help but love it! Its the Nurse’s Survival Guide, packed with goodies and a paper included that stated the following:

Nurse’s Survival Kit

Lifesavers– A reminder of the times your are a real lifesaver. Starburst– For that extra burst of energy. Mints– A reminder that your compassion is worth a mint to your patients. Kisses– because you deserve many. Tissues– To dry tears, yours or someone else’s. Bandaids– To help with all the “little stuff.” Gum– To help your through the sticky situations. Paper clip– To help hold things together. Tea bags– Sit back and relax after a hard day at work. Taffys– To help you lick the problems you face. Jolly Ranchers– To remind you to laugh when you feel like crying. Tootsie Rolls– To help complaints “roll” off you back. Rubber Bands– For when you need to stretch beyond you limits. Battery– To keep you going and going and going. Candle– For when you feel completely burned out. Snickers– Because laughter is the best medicine. Button– Because you may need to button your lip. Marbles– To replace the ones you will lose.

Everyone asked about Barry, but he had to work. He came over at 6am Christmas morning and we began the holiday early.

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After opening presents with mom, Frank, Barry and my brothers, I headed over to dads with the pup.WP_005051

WP_005046We had a great morning. Money was a bit tight this year so we decided not the get a tree. Instead, we took a ceramic tree out of storage. My grandmother used to make ceramics and this one is one of my favorites! She even put a circuit in the base for a light bulb! It was a great substitution! Yay, for talented mommoms!

Who needs the avengers when youve got the Bundos??

Who needs the avengers when you’ve got the Bundos??

I thought it was pretty humorous that I got dad and Barry Captain America and Iron Man t-shirts, respectively, and my parents got me a Supergirl shirt!

Following a nice morning of family and gift exchanges, dad and I went to my uncle’s house. Before we headed over a prepared a few desserts. One of my cousins was on a low carb diet, so I made some dessert cups using Quest Bars. I cut a Lemon Creme Pie into 8 pieces, and and Apple Pie bar and a Double Chocolate Chunk bar into 4s.

Quest Cups

  • Quest bar of your liking
  • mini muffin tin
  • filling of choice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the Quest bars into the desired about of pieces. Space on a plate and microwave for about 8 seconds. Using dry hands, roll each piece into a ball. Flip over a mini muffin tin and spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Flatten each ball into a disk and form over the coated muffin tin. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Once cooled, fill the Quest cups with whatever filling you desire.

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I filled the Lemon cups with the left over fig and walnut filling from my Sicilian Crescents. I chopped up half a small fuji apple and mixed it with a packet of Splenda and apple pie spice. I, then placed the apple mix in the microwave for 30 seconds and filled the Apple Pie Quest cup. Lastly, I placed the Double Chocolate Chip quarters in the bottom of the mini muffin tin and baked for 5 minutes, as well. Upon removing the bar, I found 4 perfectly round Double Chocolate Chunk cookies, that RJ loved! Dessert would not be dessert with some fat free Cool Whip to top it off!

Aunt Carol and I took over the kitchen, preparing ravioli, Lightened Gnocchi, salad, gravy, sausage, and meatballs.

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Great minds must think alike. Barry and I, both bought each other robes for Christmas. My parents got Barry a pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants. Barry’s parents got me a new pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants!

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Some of my favorite gifts, this year, included the ornaments I made my family, the Cutco knife Frank gave me, Dad’s laptop and Mom’s pendant, the onsies dad got me, my Ninja (thanks Barry), and the collage I made Barry’s sister.

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Natale Italiano

Many Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Seven Fishes, however I celebrate Christmas day with the Italian side of my family.

Nonetheless, I still stick with baking my nonna’s papilli and pizzelles every year. For Christmas dinner, we typically have ravioli, sausage and meatballs. This year, I made a batch of my gnocchi to have, as well. I was very excited for my family to taste one of my favorite recipes!

This year, I also made two new additions to the Italian recipe stash, both of which turned out delicious! Being an incredibly proud Sicilian, I was ampt to bake these!

I attribute both recipes to Giada, and tweaked her recipes. Mmmm I could not get enough of these treats. The first is a perfect mid morning snack to have with your coffee. The colors of the pistachios and cranberries mimic the colors of Christmas, and the white chocolate adds just the right amount of sweet to offset the tart berry. I love the mild hint of lemon in the biscotti, too!

Natale Biscotti

makes 24 biscottiWP_004987

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 6 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, in shell, roasted and salted
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp flax milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the Splenda, buttery spread, applesauce, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the liquid eggs, slowly incorporating. Add the flours and baking powder in.

WP_004961While the dough is combining and forming, remove the nuts from there shells. Coarsely chop the bear pistachios  and set aside. Now, roughly chop the dried cranberries. While the mixer is still blending the dough, toss in the pistachios and cranberries and mix until evenly disbursed.

Transfer the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log. (This part gets your hands sticky and doughy).  Bake for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

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Once cooled, transfer the log to the cutting board, and using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, back on the lined baking sheet and return to the oven at 350 F for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

In the meantime, create a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl placed over the pot. Stir the chocolate and milk in the bowl until the chocolate melts. Using a brush, paint the chocolate over the cooled biscotti. Refrigerate until the chocolate dries, about 35 minutes, then enjoy!

Giada Note: “The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.”

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Fun Fact: “Bi”- “Scotti” translates into “twice baked.” Get it?

Funny Story: When I was younger, dad and I would take nonna food shopping. I can still picture this in my mind. We were in the aisle of Pathmark and I asked if she wanted “biscotti” (pronounced bi-scott-E). “You’re Italian… its “biscotti” (pronounce bish-kot). From that point on, the “E” sound never  left my mouth again when referring to this cookie.

The second recipe is perfect for after dinner. Its like a Fig Newton for Guidos. I am a huge fan of figs. I remember my nonna’s neighbor had a fig trees in the back yard, and every year, I would get to pick some off the bush. Mmm there’s nothing like a fresh fig. I just loved how beautiful these little crescent pastries were and how stuffed they were with the goods! The mild and seedy figs pair perfectly with sweet raisins. I am also a fan of the slight citrus notes from the lemon zest and orange juice!

Sicilian Fig and Walnut Christmas Crescents

makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Pastry Dough:

  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substituteWP_004992
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup Splenda, granulated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light

Filling and Cookies:

  • 8 ounces dried Mission figlets, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar free syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, Trop 50 preferred
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • about 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute (egg wash)

For the pastry dough:

Mix the flours, Splenda, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add the applesauce and butter to the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients with your fingers until incorporated.

Whisk the liquid eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and divide the dough in 2. Place each ball dough on plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap the dough disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling and cookies:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely, yet roughly chopped. Set aside. combine the figlets, raisins, lemon zest, and cinnamon in the food processor, while incorporating the syrup and orange juice until fully blended. Scrape the fig mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the walnuts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2  baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out 1 cold disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (I used a cup with similar dimensions), cut out dough rounds. Gather the dough scraps into a ball, flatten, wrap, and re-refrigerate disk while assembling the cookies.

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Spoon 1/2 heaping Tablespoon of the fruit mixture in the center of each dough round. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal. Arrange the cookies evenly apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies, lightly, with egg wash. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, while repeating the process and assembling the remaining dough and filling into more crescents.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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I actually ended up having excess filling… I can’t wait to do something with it!

Buon Appetito!

Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

After trying Hungry Girls recipe for Gingerbread cookies, and utilizing prepared cookie mix another recipe last week, I am really digging, what I affectionately call, “Cheater Cookies.”

With today being National Bake Cookies Day, have at it!

WP_004945Cheater Chip Cookies

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 snack size (7.5 oz) package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp  cup pure pumpkin
  •  2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Splenda Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 F.  Place the rolled oats in a food processor and allow the oats to be finely shredded, about 2 1/2 minutes in the processor. Meanwhile, sift the prepared cookie mix into a large bowl, reserving the chocolate chips. Add all the remaining ingredients, including oats, excluding reserved chips.

Place the chocolate chips in the processor and briefly chop the chips, about 10 to 15 seconds in the processor. Add the chocolate shreds to the batter and fold in.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp measuring spoon, spoon the dough onto parchment paper- lined baking pans and bake about 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and just try to resist.

These were delicious!!! I’m warning you, though, its hard to stop eating them. The day I baked them, I ate like 6! These are probably in my top 3 faves from this year’s baking!

While baking, Frank said, “I want sugar cookies.” He had the pouty lip and everything!

I cheated, again, with Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie mix…

Sugar CheatersWP_004943

  • 1  (17.5 oz) bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • jimmies or sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven t0 375 F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients and divided among parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. If desired, top with jimmies/sprinkles. Bake for 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and dig in! 

For other Cheater Cookies, check out December 17th’s Maple specials

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

ThinGerbreadSnap CookiesWP_004872

  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

The Good, The Bad, and The Bland

Cooking, baking… Experimenting in the kitchen is always fun, but when your fun turns out with a dud, its pretty frustrating. This past week has been a combination of good, bad, bland, doughy, and a full circle of emotions.

I made some cookies utilizing whole-wheat flour and, even with extract flavoring, the dough was chewy and tasteless. I’ve never described dough as beautiful, but this dough for my uncle’s famous cookies, that tried to replicate with whole wheat flour, was gorgeous!

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It smelled amazing and looked like mounds of clouds on the baking sheet. Needless to say, I had high expectations, which was met with defeat. Boo!

Some turned out as expected, like Pfefferneuss. I made one of my Nonna’s famous recipes, which I typically nail every year, and for some reason… disappointment.

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I also realized that I need to practice my PB cookies… I keep trying different recipes and still, I suck.

I had some winners and some losers and some I need to play with…

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This is when I realized the trick. I guess I always knew the secret, but it hit me hard during my baking.

When I’m so focused on making things with less calories or making things healthier, my recipes aren’t that impressive. But when I’m in the moment, put my thoughts aside, and cook, or bake, from the heart, its delicious!

Pups Love PB

 

I woke up and was in the mood to make dog treats. I happened to be at Barry’s and he had cereal that he bought to try but did not like. It was a wheat and grain based, so I smashed it up and made these babies. A batch for Lily, Barry’s lab, and Beauty, my baby.

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Whole Grain Puppy TreatsWP_004678

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup Engine 2 cereal, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • dash cinnamon
  • splash vanilla extract

Thoroughly combine all ingredients and dollop onto a baking sheet that has a thin coating of oil. Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool. Store in container for a little over 1 week.

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As you can tell, Lily could not get enough!

Barry and I spent most of the afternoon locked in the bedroom, like most couples… building a jigsaw puzzle… NO, really… we are loving jigsaw puzzles! The one we are working on now, is driving us crazy! Its a doozy!

We were in for a surprise when we got home. Mom had plans to put us to work! We were moving the refrigerator, the stove, scrubbing the floors… All of this worked up an appetite. I tossed some onion, carrots, garlic, and sliced bell peppers in a skillet and let them steam down for a bit. In the meantime, I seasoned a steak for Barry and tempeh for myself, with steak seasoning. One both things were done. I threw it all in sun-dried tomato wraps and topped it with some Barry’s Tempeh BBQ sauce! Delicious!!

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It’s Bacon… Brunch!

Today’s brunch features yesterday’s chicken soup, and a recipe I found on Wholefoods.com, that I immediately knew I needed to make!

I woke up nice and early to get the soup back on the stove and  and the bread in the oven, only to find Frank had used the last of the grated Parm! He was a good sport, though, and quickly ran out to the store to pick some up.

Bacon Bread

altered from Wholefoods

makes 24 thin slices

  • 8 slices turkey bacon, choppedWP_004611
  • 1 3/4 cup organic 100% whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby kale
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat grated Parmesean cheese
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/3 cup flax milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9-x5-inch loaf pan, heavily, with non stick cooking spray; set aside. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until just crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a medium bowl, and add flour, greens, cheese, baking powder, salt, pepper, and thyme. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add flour mixture and fold together just until combined. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.

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Set aside to cool and settle until warm. Flip the loaf from the pan and carefully slice.

Nutrition: (per slice, 1/24 recipe)

Calories: 54, Fat: 1.3g, Sat. Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 4.6mg, Sodium: 140.2mg, Carbs: 7.7g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 0.2g, Protein: 2.8g

The soup and bread combo was a hit and almost everyone had seconds! I was lucky to have both my little brothers over for brunch, today, and they went to town on the bread. Wholefoods recommended serving the tea bread with fig jam, I figured the apple butter in the refrigerator would suffice.

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The next time, I’d like to try a little liquid smoke or something to add a little flavor to the turkey bacon…

Following brunch, dad and I squeezed in a catch before the Eagles/Redskins game! Go EAGLES!!! We won!

Around dinner time, I got smacked with a hanckering! Ever since dad and I split “The Julian” from Fresh Thymes, I’ve been thinking about sauerkraut. And with Frank making black beans and rice the other night, I wanted beans. I would up creating an odd quesadilla that hit the spot!

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I threw fat free refried beans, sauerkraut, fat free shredded cheddar cheese, and salsa on a sun-dried tomato wrap! I topped it with chili powder and hot sauce!