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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Treat Yourself Tuesday- Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin

img_3077Hi Everyone! I know I haven’t been posting much, if you read my previous entry this week, you’ll know I’m struggling with the energy to keep this going on top of work and my recovery. But I’m just going to work on it as I can. I made this awhile ago and I’m excited to share. My parents loved it… although they would probably say they loved dirt if I made dinner haha. So here we go.

Note pork loin and pork tenderloin are actually different cuts of meat. A pork loin is much thicker and comes from the back of the pig. It also comes as different names like top loin roast or center-cut. The tenderloin is Is taken from the muscle situated alongside the backbone of the pig. It’s much smaller. You can also make this recipe with a tenderloin, you’re cooking time will just be different- much less.. but the process of coating it is the same. I’ve made it with both kinds of cute and found the tenderloin dried out quicker, even though both are very lean cuts

What you’ll need:

*note you may need more based on the size of your loin/how many people you’re feeding. The loin I made was 2lbs and would feed at least 4 people.

  • 2 lb pork loin (The butcher will ask you how much. Honestly Just eyeball it.)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If your pork loin came with a large layer of fat, remove it img_3075and just leave the nice lean meat. Rub the loin with olive oil.

On a plate combine the rest of the ingredients on a plate and roll the pork loin in the bread crumb mixture until it’s completely coated. Place on a baking sheet (throw a sheet of aluminum foil on there for easy clean up!) and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Pork temperature can vary now. Anywhere from 145 degrees to 165 degrees. I prefer mine closer to well done, and I think this recipe still kept a lot of the moisture in. But if you like yours a little medium, the lower temperature is just fine.

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Let the loin rest for a few minutes before cutting and serve! If you’re looking for a few sides try my recipe for Green Bean Fries or Thyme & Honey Glazed Carrots

Treat Yourself Tuesday- Crispy Fried Chicken

IMG_2607What? This girl from the northeast is making fried chicken? Now southerners, don’t get upset with me. I’m not claiming to know everything about fried chicken, but I’ve found a pretty great recipe.

Now traditionally I do healthier food on this blog, but I also post a Treat Yourself Tuesday segment. The point of this is to allow yourself some freedom in food. Many people struggle with their perceptions of food. But we also need to be able to enjoy foods we love, without feeling guilty. So every once in awhile it’s ok to treat yourself.

Now we get to the fried chicken! Yes it is fried, but at least your getting a lot of good protein. Add some sauteed spinach on the side for vegetables (see below for a quick recipe), and you get a lot of nutrition. Most days you may want to opt for roasted chicken, but today we’re treating ourselves!

What You’ll Need:

  • One whole chicken broken down (You can either buy it that way or break it down yourself. Or you can do it yourself. Here’s how to break down a chicken.)
  • A lot of canola oil (make sure you have at least one whole bottle)
  • Flour (enough to coat an entire chicken)
  • At least one cup of buttermilk (or sour milk)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • A large skillet (preferably cast iron)
  • A meat thermometer (so much easier to test the chicken)

Put the flour in a large bowl. Season generously with salt, pepper, paprika and a little cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl pour the buttermilk. Take the chicken, and rub some salt and pepper under the skin of the bird. Dip the pieces of chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, then coat it in the flour a second time. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes until the batter turns into a paste on the chicken. This is important!

IMG_2604In your cast iron skillet pour the canola oil in so it will cover at least half of the chicken. Put the stove on high heat and let the oil get very hot (if it start smoking that’s too hot!! Don’t worry it won’t be at this heat the entire time) Drop in the chicken and brown on both sides. Once the chicken is browned, turn the temperature down to medium-low. The oil should still be boiling, but not as intensely. Cook for about 25 minutes to half an hour. Check all the pieces of chicken. The wings will cook much quicker than the breasts. If you’re worried about the wings overcooking, pull them out while like bigger pieces, like the breasts, cook. All of the chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. When the chicken is cooked, turn the oil back up to high heat to crisp up again. Trust me this will make for some very crispy chicken.

Put the chicken on a metal rack to drain or cool. If you don’t have a metal rack don’t worry. I use a broiling pan. Anything that will allow the oil to drip off of it. You can use paper towels, but your chicken will not be as crispy.

For the side of spinach you’ll need:

  • 1 5 oz bag of baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup almond slices
  • a few dashes of salt
  • a few dashes of pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat. Occasionally stir until the spinach has wilted. About 1-2 minutes.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s treat yourself Tuesday!

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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