Snacks


Blueberries are in season right now, which means they are not only delicious but they are inexpensive. I love the taste and health benefits of blueberries – they are low in calories and packed with antioxidants. I have been eating a lot of them on cereal and in yogurt but I’ve been looking forward to baking with blueberries. Over the weekend, I made Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins from Cooking Light.

I followed the recipe as it was written except I used fresh blueberries. The muffins turned out really tasty and moist – especially when fresh. Even a few days later, the muffins were delicious heated in the microwave. Each muffin is under 200 calories so it’s a guilt-free treat or breakfast food.

I looking forward to including more fresh fruit in my recipes before the summer is over. This time of year is the best for fresh berries, you just can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

I get my love of cooking and baking from the women in my family. For as long as I can remember, my mom, grandmothers, and aunts have been cooking delicious meals and baking from scratch. Since I’ve started this blog, I received more cookbooks and recipes than ever from my family and friends. They are funding my habit, I guess. 😉 

About every week or so, my grandmother sends me recipes she’s seen in magazines or newspapers that I might be interested in. It’s so nice of her and I’m grateful to have someone else on my “research” team. 

A few week’s ago, my grandmother sent me a recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Cookies that was printed in Parade magazine. Dorie Greenspan is a pretty famous baker and I’m a sucker for anything peanut butter so I baked these over the weekend. These are classic peanut butter cookies – soft in the middle anc crunchy on the outside. I can see myself making them again and again.

I followed the recipe are written except I didn’t chill the dough overnight but rather baked the cookies right away. What can I say, I’m impatient when it comes to baked goods.

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Dorie Greenspan)

Makes 60 cookies

Ingredients:

2.5 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 c. peanut butter (not natural)

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

More sugar, for rolling

Preparation:

1. In one bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars for 2 minutes. Gently blend in the dry ingredients.

2. Divide in half, wrap, and chill over night (I didn’t do this). Shape scant tablespoons of dough into balls, roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. Press each with fork tines.

3. Bake at 350*F for 12 minutes, until cookies are golden. Transfer to cooling racks.

Chocolate Drizzle (optional but encouraged)

Because everything is better with chocolate, I had to incorporate it into this cookies. To do so, I melted about a 1/4 cup of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips in the microwave (10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until smooth). To the melted chocolate, I added about a teaspoon of corn syrup and stirred until the mixture was well blended. Using a fork, I drizzled the chocolate over the cookies and refrigerated them until the chocolate hardened (about 10 minutes). Delish!

On a side note, as I mentioned last week I saw the Valentine’s Day movie on Friday. It was cute! I enjoyed it and there were even a couple surprising scenes. I love a feel good movie, any day!

When I was at work today, someone called me to see if I were snowed in and eating my last Ritz cracker in the dark. First of all, Boston hasn’t been hit with much snow (phew!) and secondly, I don’t think I’d EVER run out of food around here. Our cupboards are very well stocked. I guess I’m a closet foodie at work – some of my co-workers don’t know that I actually like to grocery shop.

I hope, where you are located, snow hasn’t come your way and you’re not eating your last cracker, either. If you need a snack tonight, I have a good one for you. 

Bread. I just love carbs and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Pasta, crackers, BREAD. While I tend to eat a lot of bread and pasta, I like to stick with the whole grains. I almost never buy white bread or pasta. I hope that doesn’t sound snobby.

When it comes to snack breads though, I consider it a treat. Pumpkin bread seems to be a staple food during the autumn. Cranberry bread reminds me of the holidays, and chocolate bread? Don’t even tempt me!

But there are plenty of ways to lighten these type of breads. I’ve made a healthy pumpkin chocolate chip loaf in the past and no one knew it was “lighter.” My Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf is another good example. It contains fruit, whole grains, egg whites and canola oil (instead of butter). It’s just sweet enough to be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert.

Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf

Makes one 9×3 inch loaf

Ingredients:

1 c. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

ž c. brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. Salt

2 egg whites

ž c. Fresh orange juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ c. Canola oil

1 c. frozen raspberries

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Âź c. white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Spread pecans on single layer of a baking sheet and bake (toast) for 3-5 minutes. I did this in my toaster oven so I could make sure they didn’t burn.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs well. Add orange juice and vanilla extract to the eggs and mix well.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl. Mix in oil and stir until combined.
  6. Add raspberries, nuts and chocolate to the batter. Stir until well combined.
  7. Spray 9×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray
  8. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  9. Bake at 350* for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into bread.
  10. Let cool before removing bread from pan and cutting.
  11. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite snack bread? I honestly can’t decide. This one is very good but I also love banana bread (with cream cheese) and pumpkin chocolate chip bread, too! Tough decisions, I tell you.

Have a good Wednesday night, everyone! I’m going to finish my Ritz crackers. Kidding.

Did you have a good weekend? I did. It was busy but fun! It was a treat to “party” on Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl. While I was rooting for the Saints, I was also there to watch the commercials and of course, eat!

I love those E*TRADE commercials (“Milka..what?”) and the Careerbuilder.com one about casual Fridays was pretty funny, too. Did you notice how many Budweiser and Doritos commercials there were?

The game was a good one and it was accompanied by some delicious food – both savory and sweet! Pizza dip. Pigs in a Blanket. Veggies and dip. Cookies!

I brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to the party. It’s totally addicting. I even made it a bit healthier by using low-fat cheeses.

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip (serves 8 people)

Ingredients:

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened

Âź c. reduced fat blue cheese crumbles

Âź c. reduced fat blue cheese dressing

Âź c. hot sauce

1 can of chicken in water, drained

½ c. reduced fat mozzarella (2%)

Preparation:

  1. Layer the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate with the cream cheese.
  2. Top cream cheese with blue cheese crumbles.
  3. Top crumbles with chicken and top with hot sauce.
  4. Pour blue cheese dressing over hot sauce.
  5. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the dip.
  6. Bake dip for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until mozzarella is melted.
  7. Enjoy with crackers or veggies.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about dessert. I have been drooling over eyeing the recipe for Peanut Butter Blondies with Milk Chocolate Frosting from Joy the Baker. These treats were sweet and delicious! You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate – two of my favorite ingredients! I especially loved the fluffy frosting. Thanks, Joy!

I really enjoyed the Super Bowl this year and like the Saints, our food was also a winner!

What was your favorite Super Bowl treat? What was your favorite commercial?

It’s almost that time of year again. You know, when the holidays come around and cookies and other treats are everywhere. I know I’ll be indulging in some cookies this year so before the craze starts, I thought it would be fun to bake some healthy, guilt-free cookies.

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Over the weekend, I baked up some Oatmeal Everything Cookies (recipe below). Basically it’s an oatmeal cookie with raisins, cranberries, pecans and white chocolate mixed in. This cookie may be healthy but it’s surely not boring.

I felt like I was running my own little test kitchen, throwing a little bit of this and a little bit of that into these cookies…and phew, they turned out well! Not only were they soft and flavorful right out of the oven but they are still moist and tasty two days later. Each cookie is about 50 calories so you can feel okay about reaching for a second one, or even a third.

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Oatmeal Everything Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 c. vanilla pudding

1 egg white

3/4 c. oats

1/4 c. raisins

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. chopped pecans

1/4 c. white chocolate morsels

Cooking spray

 

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350*.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Mix until well combined.

3. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, egg, and pudding. Blend well then add to flour mixture.

4. Stir in oats, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped pecans and white chocolate. Mix well.

5. Drop teaspoons of batter onto greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies a bit with the spoon.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies on a rack.

8. Enjoy!

 

Have a great week everyone!

How was your Halloween? I can’t believe it has come and gone and now it’s November. Time sure flies.

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I was excited to fit in a little baking over the weekend. I bookmark a handful of recipes every week, ones I see other bloggers make and those posted on recipe sites. On Saturday, I baked up some Applesauce Spice Bars, which I originally saw on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. They were just mouth-watering and I knew it would be a great fall treat. The recipe originates from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook and the recipe can be found here.

My photos may not be as pretty as Tracey’s but the bars turned out moist and tasty (not to mention, they were pretty easy to prepare).

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I’ll leave you with a photo from the weekend’s festivities. Here’s my friend, Holly, and I on Halloween. I secretly want to be a dressed up as a cowgirl. Although, I think that’s obvious.

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Is it weird that I just made my third pumpkin dish in a month and I’m not sick of pumpkin yet? You’ve seen my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Now I bring you a recipe I’ve been making for a few years now, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. The recipe comes from Cooking Light but you’d never know it’s so healthy.

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I followed the recipe, just replacing the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. I also used 60% cacao bittersweet morsels from Ghiradelli. I love that dark chocolate and red wine is good for your heart. It’s a great excuse to indulge! Plus, the Ghiradelli morsels I used are larger than your average chocolate chip. Bonus!

This recipe is meant for two 8×4″ breads but I halved the recipe and made two mini breads. This tasty and moist bread makes for a great fall gift or flavorful snack. It’s a quick and easy recipe – you just can’t go wrong! Plus, a slice of the mini bread is under 100 calories. Woohoo!

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I have a feeling this may the end of my pumpkin treats but I will be enjoying a few more pumpkin lattes before the season is over. Now that it’s nearly November, I’ll have to find a new flavor to become obsessed with!

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What’s your favorite flavor right now?

Have a great day!

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