Category Archives: Breakfast

Green Monster Muffins

I am a spinach monster. Over the past week, I have singlehandedly consumed an entire 1-pound container of baby spinach from Costco. Although my family does eat a lot of vegetables, none of our dinners last week required spinach, so the huge container remained untouched. I absolutely hate seeing good food go to waste, so I took it upon myself to eat it all for my lunches and snacks.

Usually I try to incorporate spinach into my meals more creatively, but since I had SO much, I ended up cramming most of it into my daily green monster smoothies. I’m sure my nutrient intake was phenomenal, but I was pretty tired of my spinach overload by the end of the week.

Yesterday, I had just a few handfuls of spinach leftover, but I felt like I would turn absolutely green if I had another smoothie. I’d been wanting to try baking with spinach, so this was the perfect opportunity. I thought about baking a savory spinach bread, but I decided a sweet one would be more interesting. After a quick search, I found a recipe for Green Monster Muffins – just like my smoothies, but in muffin form!

These are probably the healthiest muffins that I’ve ever had in my entire life. They’re made with whole wheat flour, very little oil, and lots of spinach! And they’re actually really tasty!! The muffins are slightly sweet and citrusy, and the spinach flavor is undetectable. My family didn’t love these muffins as much as I did, but at least I got them to eat their leafy greens! 🙂

Green Monster Muffins

Source: slightly adapted from The Chic Life

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup PACKED baby spinach, washed and chopped finely in a food processor
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (I used lime zest)
  • chopped walnuts for topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 12 cup muffin tin (or 24 cup mini muffin tin) with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar until light. Then whisk in applesauce, chopped spinach, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 14-17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

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Zucchini Bread

I’m one of those people who actually loves the taste of raw vegetables. This is probably going to make me sound really crazy, but I really enjoy their fresh, crispy bitterness, and I don’t like salad dressings because they just cover up the taste of the veggies! Some people gag at the thought of eating kale, beets, celery, or brussel sprouts, but I love them all! In fact, I can’t think of a single vegetable that Idislike.

Lately, I’ve been trying to incorporate even more fresh produce into my diet (as if I didn’t get enough already) because I just feel so much more energetic and healthy and clean when I eat this way. I’ve been doing this by having a green smoothie as part of my lunch every day. Smoothies are great because you don’t have to chew so much. 🙂 Usually I include a few handfuls of kale and/or spinach, a big hunk of cucumber, plain Greek yogurt or soy milk, and a half a frozen banana or apple for a little sweetness. My siblings say my smoothies taste like grass, but I think they’re delicious!

I even like vegetables in my dessert! Pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots are some of my favorites, but I’m on a mission to incorporate a less common vegetable into a baked good. Leafy greens, perhaps? Kale cheesecake, anyone? Okay, I’m TOTALLY kidding about that one. It actually sounds really gross.

Anyways, I thought I’d start with something a little more familiar (and appetizing) – zucchini bread! This is my healthified version of a recipe I found on allrecipes. With a little less sugar, applesauce for half of the oil, and extra zucchini, it was great! I just wish that I could actually taste the squash! I love seeing all the little green flecks in the bread, so next time I think I’ll try to pack in even MORE zucchini. 🙂 

I’m off to a tea party with a mini loaf of the zucchini bread. Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

Zucchini Bread

Source: adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Whisk in oil, applesauce, and sugar until smooth. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in zucchini, walnuts, and raisins.

4. Divide batter between prepared loaf pans and bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.

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Coconut Graham Cracker Bread

I’m graduated!! Although Ahra and Deborah have both moved out, and the apartment is practically empty, it hasn’t really hit me that my college years are over. Maybe I’ll start to feel it when things finally calm down. I haven’t had a free moment between spending time with my family, saying bye to friends, and cleaning out the apartment.

I’m moving out of my apartment (and leaving Cleveland) tomorrow afternoon! I packed up the majority of my stuff to put in storage in Charlottesville or take home with me for the summer to Portland, but there were still some baking ingredients left in the cupboards that needed to be used up.

I found half a bag of shredded coconut lying around, and decided that I wanted to incorporate it into a quick bread to give to my bosses on my last day at work. I actually didn’t start liking coconut until recently. Desserts like German chocolate cake or macaroons didn’t use to sound appealing to me at all, but now I LOVE them!

I also had a box of graham crackers lying around, so I decided to use those in my quick breads too. I wasn’t sure how well it would go with the coconut, but along with some cinnamon and honey, it turned out to be a yummy combo of flavors! I love it when throwing a bunch of random ingredients together turns into something delish!

This is one of the only recipes that I have ever de-healthified and de-veganized. Normally, I try to make recipes healthier by reducing fat and sugar, and using whole grains, but I had to make do with the ingredients that I had. Plus, I wasn’t sure how much my bosses would appreciate getting “health food” as a gift! 🙂

Coconut Graham Cracker Bread

Source: adapted from Sweet and Natural

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and graham cracker crumbs until well combined. Add egg and honey, then mix thoroughly. Alternatively stir in dry ingredients and milk until just combined, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in the shredded coconut.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing.

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Homemade Granola

For the past two days, I’ve been covered from head to toe in dust! But I am finally finished organizing, packing, and cleaning, and ready to head down to Charlottesville, VA in just a few minutes! My dad and I are visiting Charlottesville for a couple of days to look at apartments and put all of my stuff in storage. So excited!

I wanted to bring along some granola to munch on during the eight-hour drive, so I tried THREE different recipes. Maple Nut Granola and Coconut Almond Granola both tasted fantastic, but I wanted a granola with more clusters. I actually don’t mind loose granola for sprinkling on yogurt or smoothies, but it’s not ideal ideal for snacking on in the car.

I’ve made granola countless times in the past, but I’ve yet to make a super crunchy, super clumpy batch. I’ve experimented with different types and amounts of sweeteners, oils, fruit purees, grains, and nuts, but I never ended up with exactly what I was looking for.

But after a granola-making marathon yesterday, I discovered the secret to clumpy granola – egg whites! The egg whites act as a binder and help the granola stick together beautifully. This granola had LOTS of clusters and awesome crunch! It’s SO addicting! I ate handful after handful after handful. Good thing I made a double batch or there wouldn’t be any left for the car ride! 🙂

Homemade Granola

Source: adapted from Wicked Good Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and dried fruit. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, egg whites, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir, making sure all dry ingredients are well coated.

3. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly and press down firmly into a thin, single layer with a spatula.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until granola is golden brown and crisp around the edges. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before breaking into clusters. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

The world seems like SUCH a better place now that I am eating sugar again! Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I love being able to eat whatever I want and not have to restrict myself from my favorite food group! 🙂

I got a little too excited about eating sugar again though, and had way too much gelato, cheesecake, and doughnuts at a school event earlier this week. It was blissful. 🙂 The sugar high actually made me feel kind of sick afterwards, but it was worth it!

I think I will take it easy with sugar from now on, though. As much as I love sugar, I don’t want to revert back to my old habits of eating multiple servings of dessert a day or substituting dessert foods for meals altogether.

Even though Lent is over (thank goodness!), I’m still going to bake with no added sugar from time to time. I made a batch of sugar-free nutty apple spice muffies yesterday, and they were sooo yummy! I call these “muffies” because they look like cookies, but they are more like muffins in taste and texture.

I think my tastebuds have become accustomed to the taste of naturally sweetened desserts because the muffies tasted so much better to me than all the sugary treats I indulged in this week. They are addictively good. I singlehandedly devoured half the batch in less than 24 hours. Oh well, at least they’re healthy, right? 🙂

Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

Source: adapted from Kat’s Health Corner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. Place walnuts, almonds, oats, and raisins in a food processor and process until a coarse meal forms. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

4. Add applesauce and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart, and flatten slightly into a cookie shape.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool muffies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Dessert, Muffins