Treat Yourself Tuesday: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

img_3448Two weeks in a row? What’s happening with me! I had a few days where I actually felt like I had a lot of energy, so after getting a bunch of work done I decided to work on my blog.

Last year I posted pumpkin muffins. They’re low-calorie and low-fat. They are still pretty good. But this year it’s not about restricting. You shouldn’t have to feel bad about food. It’s about making food you love and enjoying it. Just don’t go overboard. That’s the point of Treat Yourself Tuesday. So this year here are much more indulgent, but probably much more delicious, pumpkin muffins.

 

What you’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (an extra 1/2 tsp for topping)
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar (an extra 1/4 cup for topping)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp cold butter (for topping)

img_3447Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, oil, water, eggs and pumpkin. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Spoon batter into muffin cups (about 3/4 full).

In a separate bowl mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cut in pieces of the butter and mash together with your hands until the topping is chunky. Sprinkle this mixture over the muffins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the muffins and come out clean.

Enjoy fall! Enjoy muffins!

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Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped Cream

IMG_2506I don’t know about where you live, but here in Philadelphia it’s been HOT! Which makes sense, because it is the middle of July. But still, if you’re looking for a sweet way to beat the heat this recipe for summer berry sorbet with homemade whipped cream is perfect! Plus, nothing goes better than berries and cream!

*recipe cheat!!! If you don’t feel like making homemade whipped cream, you can just buy some from the store. BUT big *BUT* it won’t be nearly as good. and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make yourself.

**recipe cheat 2!!! Life is easier with an ice cream maker. I’ll show you how to make it without one (sadly I don’t have an ice cream maker). If you have an ice cream maker you can take the base of the summer berry sorbet, chill it and then stick it in the ice cream maker. Then you’re done!

What You’ll Need for the Sorbet:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

What You’ll Need for the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Make the Sorbet:IMG_2508-1

Take the strawberries, and half or quarter them depending on the size. Put the strawberries, blackberries and sugar in a mixing bowl. Give the berries and sugar a quick mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the berries are macerated (best word ever) and there’s a syrup at the bottom.

(Many people prefer to make a simple syrup and add it to the berries instead of macerating them. I think you get a better flavor when macerating, because it brings the flavor out of the strawberries and blackberries.)

Blend the berry mixture in a blender until smooth. Stick the sorbet base in the freezer. From there you have a few choices.

  1. Check on the sorbet occasionally (maybe ever hour or so) and give it a stir. When it’s firm your sorbet is done.
  2. Let the sorbet freeze completely. Then break it into pieces and blend until smooth. Stick it in the freezer again until its frozen and has the smooth consistency of sorbet. (Note: if you do this method, let the frozen sorbet sit out for about 5 minutes to soften first. If you don’t have a strong blender, this may not be the best method. Also you may have to stop and stir several times while blending.)

To Make the Whipped Cream:

Take the bowl and whisk you plan to use and stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. (This goes for the bowl and whisk for standing mixers as well.)

IMG_2504When the bowl is cold, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until you get stiff peaks. Don’t over whisk or you’ll start to get butter.

*note: If you’re using a standing mixer, make sure you whisk on a very low setting. In addition, make sure you scrape all the ingredients from the bottom. Generally the whisk won’t hit the bottom, so you have to make sure to scrape all the ingredients from the sides and bottom.

You can save the whipped cream or leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Just make sure to give it an extra whisk for a few seconds before using.

Put it All Together:

Take a few scoops of the sorbet, top with a few dollops of whipped cream and garnish with a few extra fresh berries.

That’s how you beat the heat with summer berry sorbet with homemade whipped cream!

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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

strawberry cookies 2I’m learning a lot more about moderation. For a long time I got paranoid about what to eat… Or whether I could have a cookie. Well I’m trying to be better. And I started with this recipe I made for my family this Easter. I got some pretty good reviews. So I decided to share. I originally got this recipe from Martha Stewart… But tweaked it a little. They came out great! Who can pass up cookies with fresh strawberries?!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries hulled and diced.
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra to dust the cookies with)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter (cold)
  • 2/3 cup vanilla yogurt (feel free to use Greek if you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Set aside so the strawberries aside and let them macerate.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Mix together (using your hands is best) until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.strawberry cookies 1

Take the bowl with the strawberries. Strain the syrupy juice from the bowl and add into the flour mixture. Once combined, add the rest of the strawberry mixture and the yogurt. The dough should become sticky.

Place parchment paper over a baking sheet. Scoop out the cookie dough using heaping tablespoons… And leaving space between the cookies for baking. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

bake the cookies for about 25 minutes. Look for a golden color around the edges (however because the cookies are pinkish it can be hard to tell)

These cookies are best served same-day.

 

 

Quick & Easy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

IMG_1665As we transition into the summer months I’m looking for some great fresh recipes. Over the weekend I decided to try and make frozen yogurt. I had some amazing strawberries, and wanted to use them before they went bad. But the great thing about frozen yogurt, you can literally mix whatever you want into it, freeze it and voila! This recipe is so easy. (even easier if you have an ice cream maker!)

Calories: 160 (makes a bowl of ice cream… for one person)

What you’ll need:

1- 1 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced.

1/2- 1 tablespoon Splenda (or you’re favorite no calorie sweetener… I just personally don’t like the taste of stevia. And of course you can always use traditional sugar if you’re less concerned about the calories.)

1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (trust me)

1 cup plain yogurt (regular or greek- it’s up to you… just depends on the taste you’re going for)

Take a small bowl and mix together the strawberries, splenda and balsamic vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap, put in fridge for a few hours. (note: using splenda… the strawberries will not macerate in the same way as normal sugar. Some liquid is drawn out from the strawberries, but it won’t really make a syrup like you’re used to. The strawberries should look slick and glossy, and be a little softer in texture. Apparently the longer it sits, more liquid will come out. I only put mine in for about an hour and a half. ALSO! Trust me about the balsamic. It sounds weird, but it’s really just a touch of acid to bring out the flavor.)

Take the yogurt. Drain all the liquid out of the yogurt. If you leave the liquid in there, the yogurt will become icy when frozen.

When the strawberries are ready, mix together the yogurt and the strawberry mixture. Mix well. I mashed the strawberries so it infused the flavor, but still left in some delicious strawberry chunks. (if you prefer a smoother texture… just stick it in a blender)

If you have an ice cream maker, put all the ingredients in the frozen bowl things (clearly i do not have one haha) and mix until frozen.

Cover the frozen yogurt with plastic wrap and put in the freezer. As the mixture freezes, occasionally stir so it doesn’t get too icy or hard. It becomes a lot smoother. (Admittedly the result is best if you have an ice cream maker)

Eating the same day is ideal, but if you want to save for later, and the frozen yogurt is too hard, stick it in the microwave for 10 seconds to thaw a little, and mix again until it’s frozen but not a rock.

Enjoy!