Tagged: vanilla

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

I’m not sure if you’ve gathered this about me by now, but I’m not really much of a baker. I can safely say this is the truth for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’ve always been more of the “creative” type in the kitchen and I always have a very hard time following recipes. It’s not that I’m incapable of doing so. It’s just that baking is so exact that, personally, I can never get that excited about it.

What’s so exciting about following directions??

Nothing, I say!

That’s what I’ve always loved so much about cooking. Sure, there are techniques that I may need to know or ratios that are important but, ultimately, every time I whip something up in the kitchen the best part, for me, is that I don’t need to think about measuring or having things precisely a specific way and I know that whatever I make will still turn out delicious!

Another thing about baking is that the result of baking is so rarely healthy that I can’t  justify even bothering to bake something. Sure, there are some baked goods that I adore. I love a buttery croissant or cheese danish, I swoon over carrot cake, and I have a hard time saying no to brownies (especially if there are nuts in them!). Luckily, though, it’s always pretty easy for me to refuse a slice of chocolate cake, apple pie, or a big deli blueberry muffin.  As someone who typically advocates eating healthy, when I DO bake it’s usually something  like my banana oat muffin/bars or something similar, where there is no white flour or butter to be found!

For Easter this year, though, when I decided to make breakfast for the family I knew that I wanted to have something sweet to accompany the quiche I was making and although fruit is delicious (and was had in abundance) I decided to give baking  something a whirl.  Another pastry that I enjoy and my husband in particular loves is coffee cake. Nothing too crazy about it. Not some fancy, fruity, glazed nonsense.  Just a lovely cinnamon swirl coffee cake.

I found a fairly basic recipe for a standard classic coffee cake and spruced it up to make it my own (because I just can’t help myself). The batter is spiked with lemon zest and cinnamon and uses white whole wheat flour to get some fiber in your diet! I also used plain, nonfat greek yogurt to replace the traditional sour cream used in most coffee cake recipes and this recipe turned out perfectly moist and tender.  The cinnamon swirl contains oats and walnuts to bulk it out because I wanted as much swirl as possible without adding anymore sugar to the recipe.  The resulting coffee cake was delightful, especially paired with a steaming hot cup of English Breakfast Tea with milk and honey (or ya know…coffee…if you’re like most people.) I hope you enjoy this recipe!

coffee cake

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

For the Coffee Cake
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt

For the Cinnamon Swirl
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×9 inch baking dish with some nonstick spray and set aside.

To make he cinnamon swirl: combine the sugars, oats, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small dish. Add the vanilla and the softened butter and, using your hands, smush everything together until the butter is distributed and the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer if that what you’ve got) cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture with your mixer on low speed. Add 1/2 of the yogurt and combine. Add the remaining flour and combine, followed by the yogurt.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the cinnamon swirl mixture. Top with the remaining batter, making sure you spread it out to cover the swirl, and top with remaining cinnamon mixture.

Bake the coffeecake for 45-55 minuets, or until a toothpick (or heck, I always just use a knife) inserted in the center of the coffeecake comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving…preferably to people you love…because you’re not going to want to share this coffeecake with just anyone.

 

Do you have a favorite breakfast pastry??  

Do you prefer coffee or tea??

Last, but certainly not least,  don’t forget to grab a badge and link up with your favorite real food recipe, today!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

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Real Food Recipe Roundup # 4 – Apple Flax Muffins

Good morning, all!!  I hope you’ve had a great week so far!! Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Does anyone have any exciting plans for the weekend??

We’re finally painting the nurseryyyyyyyyy!!!!!!! Eeeeeee!!!!!!!

Seriously, this pregnancy is going by so fast. Today I am officially in my third trimester!! WTF?!  (I’ll be posting a bUmPdate tomorrow for anyone interested.)  Little miss Emma is going to be here before I know it and I genuinely cannot put into words how excited I am to meet my little yogi! 😀 😀 😀

Today I’m pleased to share with you a super delicious muffin recipe I came up with this week that tastes just like the fall…right in time for spring!! Ha. Oh well. It was so rainy and chilly at the beginning of the week that I felt like the warm spices would do me some good…and I was right…because these muffins rock. They’re dense and chewy from the oats with a tiny bit of sweetness from the apples and brown sugar. You’ll notice that there is no butter or oil or added fat at all in these muffins either! That’s because flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (which, as a momma-to-be, are essential to my diet!)! I promise these muffins are still perfectly moist without any additional fat. I guess, technically, these are more like little baked oatmeals than muffins but tomato-tomatoe. I’ve also included some alternative ingredients to keep these both gluten free and vegan if you so desire. Please note, though, that the nutrition facts I’ve included at the bottom are for the recipe as it is written below.

Apple Flax Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    (you can use oat or almond flour to keep this recipe g-free)
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large apples, grated
    (skin and all)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
    (I added these strictly to add some more protein to these muffins. If you’re vegan go ahead and leave these out and these muffins will still turn out great!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
    (optional, but I love walnuts in my apple muffins!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax meal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, spices, and walnuts (if using). Whisk well to combine and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the grated apple, almond milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and egg whites (if using).

Add the apple mixture  to the oat mixture and stir until just combined.

Scoop mixture into a muffin tin prepared with a bit of nonstick spray.

Bake muffins at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Let cool ten minutes before removing to a cooling rack and serving!

Nutrition (calculated on myfitnesspal.com) Per Muffin:
Calories: 156
Total Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 20 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sugars: 8 grams

apple flax muffins

These muffins freeze really well, too! Just pop it in the microwave to thaw and heat through and you’ve got breakfast in no time!! I’ve been serving mine up this week with some cinnamon cream cheese wedges from the laughing cow. I’m obsessed. They’re 35 calories of delicious, cheesy, noms!!!

Also, you may be wondering why on earth I’d photograph my breakfast on a Pampered Chef catalog? Silly me. That’s because I’ve started my own Pampered Chef business!!! I was a consultant a few years back and I loooved it, but I had a hard time keeping in touch with my recruiter who was based out of Baltimore. Not convenient. I just kind of decided on a whim that now is as good of a time as any to start throwing parties for people and earning them free and discounted products…because come on now…who doesn’t love free stuff?! Especially free KITCHEN stuff. OOoooooo man I’m just too excited. I know that I’ve already picked out at least a dozen products that I can’t wait to earn for myself…and I’m looking forward to helping other folks do the same!! (My mother-in-law is dying for the executive cookware set!) If you’re in Central PA and you’d be interested in hosting a show – please feel free to contact me!!! If you’re not in Central PA and you’d like to host a catalog show – go ahead and contact me, too!!

Last, but certainly not least,  don’t forget to grab a badge and link up with your favorite real food recipe, today!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

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How ’bout them Apples

Well hello there! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend so far! 🙂

Did you do anything exciting today?

Me? I slept until 10!!

Ooops!!

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch last night around 10:30…woke up at 12:30 and brushed my teeth… actually went to bed…and ya know…slept for another nine and a half hours!! I guess I needed it! I did feel pretty great when I woke up.

Johnny and I took our time this morning before we did anything. We had some breakfast together and watched NFL Gameday Morning. It’s not exactly my faaaavorite past time, but I do enjoy spending time together in the morning  just hanging out with Johnny and the puppies on the couch. It was super rainy today, too. The perfect day for an extra long morning lounge!!

apple crispWe did get up eventually, and we went to the gym around 1ish. I was sooooooo pleased I was able to run a full two miles today without stopping to pee!!! I felt so great! I hope it wasn’t a fluke and that I can keep it up. It’s up to Baby, really, but I’ve got my fingers crossed!

apple and nutsWe made a quick pitstop at Wegmans to grab some groceries before we came home to lounge some more. I needed to snag a few items for  my Chicken Corn Chowder which I made for dinner tonight. It was perfect! So toasty warm and cozy! I also pretty much knew immediately when I woke up this morning (because I pretty much only think about food) that I wanted to have a dessert tonight! I’ve had a serious sweet tooth lately (who am I kidding? I always have a serious sweet tooth!) but I wanted something I didn’t need to feel too awful about eating (like alllllllll of the Christmas Cookies I had this year!) So I thought long and hard about what I wanted until…apple crisp with froyo

LIGHTBULB!! Apple Crisp!! It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a good apple crisp. I know that they can be quite heavy with lots of butter, brown sugar, and white flour. I lightened mine up by using white whole wheat flour (and hardly any at all), lots of oats, coconut oil, and honey. I also made them in individual portions which made it super easy to control myself. This recipe is so simple and guilt free…I may eat the leftovers for breakfast. Don’t judge me. 😀

Honey Walnut Apple Crisp

  • 3 granny smith apples (I leave the skin on mine), cored and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (you may want to warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds to make sure it’s liquid)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Optional: Vanilla Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream

close up of apple crisp with froyoPreheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Spray four ramekins (or one big dish…whatever you have will work) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the apples with 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining flour, spices, oats, and walnuts. Mix well to combine. Add the coconut oil and honey and mix well to incorporate.

Divide the apple mixture evenly among the four servings (or pour them all into a single baking dish). Top each portion with equal parts of the oat and walnut mixture.

Place the individual ramekins on a sheet tray and pop them in the oven for 45 minutes or until the apples have softened and the crisp is golden brown. Top with vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream if you desire. (I desired two scoops…one for me and one for baby.)

Serve and enjoy! Or, ya know, if you’re me…take lots of pictures and try not to drool all over your camera before proceeding to devour your whole little crisp in about 3 minutes flat…and scrape the bottom of your little crispy container for all of the melty, delicious, froyo soup at the bottom. YUM!!!spoon of delicious

By the way… if I dooooo have this for breakfast tomorrow… I plan to top it with some honey greek yogurt. Froyo soup is for dessert only. Even I have SOME standards.

all gone

 

 

Confessions of an Omnivore

When you break it down to its most simple and basic definition, an omnivore is an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin.

I am an omnivore and I am proud.

I love kale and blueberries. I love bacon and lobster. I love eggs and cheese.  I have no desire to omit any of these foods from my diet.

When it comes down to it, there are loads of other omnivorous creatures out there and I’m pleased as punch to be a part of the crew.

Turtles, Skunks, Chimpanzees, Hedgehogs, Sloths, Pigs, Red Pandas, and Piranhas are all omnivores!

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There have been times in my life where I’ve seriously considered vegetarianism – like after I watched Food Inc. for the first time or when I first started studying nutrition my freshman year of college.

Could I give up red meat, pork, and poultry? Probably. I’ve considered becoming a lacto-ovo-vegatarian or pesco-vegetarian before. Ultimately, though, I’ve always found both of those terms to be dripping in pretentiousness. “Hi. I’m Jen and I’m a pesco-vegetarian.” Ugh, I’d sound like such a douche! Particularly to friends and family who aren’t familiar with the terminology. I can just imagine someone saying “Why doesn’t she just say I only eat seafood?

Although I undoubtedly respect people who can adhere to a vegan lifestyle, I can openly admit that veganism is not something I’d ever be interested in. Now, don’t get me wrong,  I do love animals and  I certainly don’t support their “exploitation” or many parts of  American food and agribusiness industry, but it’s just not a lifestyle I want to live. The most “vegan” thing about me is probably the fact that I don’t eat veal or foi gras – though I tried both in culinary school.  I don’t think either of them are tasty enough to support the processes by which they are obtained.  Also,  I’ve never quite understood the vegan stance on honey. I’m not sure they all do either. Not hating…just saying.

It’s taken me  until very recently to realize that I think every food has its place in my life in one way or another.

Every food, of course, except for those few things I don’t eat. Aside from veal and foi gras, the list of things I don’t eat includes:

  • mayonnaise
  • dill (so also pickles)
  • anise flavored things (like black liquorice)
  • caraway seeds (rye bread)
  • sauerkraut
  • essentially anything containing these ingredients

Just so you know, and don’t judge me as hard, I have tried all of these things many ways on numerous occasions and I really just can’t stomach any of them. My Polish ancestors would be so disappointed in me.

The best part, in my opinion, about being an omnivore is that when I’m preparing food for myself or, ya know, whoever else happens to be around that day, I can use whatever I want! I love cheeseburgers, but I also love a great black bean burger, too! Usually at least two days a week I don’t eat any meat at all, but it’s quite rare that’s ever my intention. I just eat things that I enjoy! If what I make happens to be meatless, awesome! If it’s gluten free – spectacular! I think it’s such a blessing to have the ability so consume so many different things, as it assures my body has the best chance of obtaining all of the nutrients it needs from all of the necessary sources.

What brought on this omnivores rant?

Ha. I’m glad you asked…

Last night when I was preparing my breakfast for today I was just looking for something that would be tasty and good for me, which OBVIOUSLY is my favorite way to start the day. I threw some ingredients into a pot and before I knew it I realized it was vegan!

*Self Five*

I may not be a vegan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some tofu from time to time. I may not live a gluten free lifestyle, but I can’t stop eating quinoa! I think it’s so important to realize that you can do so much with food.

An omnivore’s options are only limited by their taste-buds.

Today’s recipe (I know, we’re finally here! Woot!) is so delicious and healthful that even the most carnivorous folks out there could enjoy this vegan and gluten free recipe… for breakfast OR dessert!!

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • Splenda, Stevia, or Whatever Sweetener You Like – to taste (I used 2 packets of Splenda)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped, for topping

Combine all of the ingredients except the almonds in a small pot over medium-low heat.

Cover partially with a lid to allow some steam to escape.

Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Serve warm, topped with almonds and more cinnamon, and enjoy!

coconutbrownricepudding

My New Favorite Breakfast Ever

Happy Tuesday!

Not that Tuesday is ever all that exciting…

Unless, of course, some of you had off work yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so you get to enjoy a four day work week! If so, I hope you enjoyed your day off! I can’t say that I’m not jealous…because I totally am…and instead I got to enjoy a full and lazy productive day at work. 🙂

If I had to pick something I did get to enjoy recently, though, it would have to be my new favorite breakfasttttttt!

How many of you are fans of greek yogurt? Show of hands…

GOOD! I can’t get enough of the stuff!! I live off of Wegman’s brand (because I’m poor and it’s the cheapest one when I shop there…and it’s fantastic so I don’t care!)  I went through a brief period where I was eating their nonfat black cherry greek yogurt  with a few walnuts mixed in every morning for breakfast. It’s absolutely delicious.

It also has 18 grams of sugar per 6 ounce serving.

 

*INSERT GLASS SHATTERING SOUND*

B-b-but…that’s so much sugar for so little yogurt!!

After doing a little research I came to discover that just about any flavored yogurt will have this much sugar in it, maybe more. I’d be cool with having something like this as a treat once in a while, but I really can’t justify consuming that much sugar (that’s not naturally occurring in fruit) for breakfast everyday.

Then…I found this recipe for Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt.

Now, I don’t think this recipe tastes very much like cookie dough, but I do think it’s brilliant and flippin delicious!

Here’s my version of this recipe…I’ve had it for breakfast every day for the last week!

PB Greek Yogurt

  • 6 oz plain, nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter (of course you could use creamy peanut butter, but I like the crunch!)
  • 1 packet of Splenda or 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all of your ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until combined!

How easy is that?! Note that I like to microwave my peanut butter for about 10 seconds before I mix to make things a bit easier – but I also use a giant tub of greek yogurt that I measure out myself. If you have a little container of greek yogurt you can just mix it all up in there and I know it mixes fine that way, too! According to the myfitnesspal calculator, this delicious concoction is about 260 calories with 19 grams of protein and only 9.5 grams of sugar!

I like to serve mine with a chopped up apple or banana for dipping!!

greek yogurt of deliciousness