Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

This time around, I was looking for a recipe to finish up some plain Greek yogurt in the fridge, preferably something my toddler could help me mix up. He loves to dump in the ingredients I measure out and to turn on the stand mixer. I decided muffins would be the best bet, so I started my internet search. After some careful recipe scanning, I found a recipe for {Healthier} Double Chocolate Chip Muffins that seemed to fit what I was looking for. You can find the recipe here:

http://cupcakesandkalechips.com/double-chocolate-chip-muffins/

My son was able to “help” quite a bit with this recipe (even if his favorite part was sneaking fingerfuls of batter), a testament to the ease with which you can bake these cupcakes. Despite my rather intense sweet tooth, I do feel that muffins should not be too sweet, otherwise they cross from breakfast or snack food to dessert fare. These muffins fit that expectation perfectly. However, the cup of cocoa powder gave a rich, chocolate flavor that was pleasantly lightened by the chocolate chips.

I found that the flavor could best be appreciated after the muffins cooled – sometimes fresh from the oven is best, but not here. The muffins seemed a little dry, though, this could be because it took us a few days to eat them and the weather may have caused them to go stale faster than usual.

We didn’t use icing for our muffins, so I can’t judge that part of the recipe.

Overall, this is definitely a recipe that I will repeat!20160809_085900

Fresh Salsa

20160817_150123My Dad has a little garden patch up by my parents’ garage. It’s small, but sunny and this summer produced a great crop of green beans and tomatoes. The green peppers were flavorful as well, but not nearly as abundant as the aforementioned veggies. I love fresh green beans, but I have never liked fresh tomatoes. Give me tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes and I’m a happy foodie, but fresh just doesn’t cut it. That’s why I didn’t expect to be able to help my Dad, who is the only one in the house who enjoys fresh tomatoes, use up the produce with any Try It Tuesday recipes… at least until he asked me on Sunday, “Do you ever do anything like salsa for Try It Tuesday?”

Have I done anything like it? No. Did I love the idea? Yes! I always enjoy salsa. Besides, after the horrible heat and humidity we’ve had in Pennsylvania this summer, a no-cook recipe sounded brilliant.

After taking our dog for our morning walk on Monday, my son and I picked all of the ripe cherry tomatoes. It was good practice with colors for Vincent: “Only get the red! Nope, that one is orange. That tomato is green.” He had fun and he proudly pointed out the tomatoes he picked to Aba (his word for grandma).

I spent quite a bit of time looking at different recipes for homemade salsa, but in the end, the fact that I only had one tomato bush to pick veggies from left me with fewer tomatoes than called for in the recipes. Therefore, I pulled inspiration from a number of sources and here’s my recipe. It makes enough salsa for 1-2 people to have a nice snack.

Ingredients

10-15 cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed (reserve to add for hotness to taste)

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of ½ lime

¼ tsp salt

Chopped cilantro to taste

Directions

Stir together all ingredients. Add jalapeño seeds and cilantro to taste.

 

Of course, I had to taste my creation immediately. I have to say, I’ve never had salsa with a hint of lime before and I loved the subtle freshness it added. It was also particularly enjoyable to have such fresh veggies in the salsa. I did have to add some jalapeño seeds, but they didn’t seem to add much hotness. The raw garlic, while tasty, left me with some slightly stinky breath, so I put the salsa in the fridge in the hopes that the acid in the lime juice would “cook” the garlic a bit. I might switch to garlic powder next time. While it was more work than opening a jar of salsa, the taste was worth it.

If anyone has any good salsa recipes or tips, I’d love to hear about them!

Ambrosia Salad

We had the Eckstein Family Reunion this weekend and I needed a good recipe for something to bring to the giant picnic. Usually, I prefer to bake something sweet. For the last family gathering, I made Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies. However, I haven’t been feeling much like rich sweets recently. It must be the heatwave… So I was at a bit of a loss as to what to bring. At least, I was lost until I started scanning through all of the links to recipes I’ve saved to my Facebook account. I came across a recipe for Ambrosia salad and it seemed like a light, sweet way to end a picnic meal. As a bonus, no ovens, microwaves, stovetops, or other heat sources were required! The link to the blog post with the recipe can be found below:

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/ambrosia-salad-recipe/20160812_170005

The dessert lived up to my hopes. I loved the creamy vanilla coconut base, lightened by whipped topping and marshmallows. Moreover, because I made it ahead, the maraschino cherries imparted a light cherry flavor to the whole dish as it sat in the fridge overnight. Moreover, as the author of mybakingaddiction.com pointed out, this recipe is a classic crowd-pleaser.

This is the first recipe in quite a while for which I have no tweaks, additions, or suggestions to make. Yum!

Oven-baked Eggs

A fellow blogger is my inspiration for today’s Try It Tuesday recipe. I say inspiration because I took some liberties with the recipe in the hopes of making it a bit healthier… and of using up some of the left-over veggies in our fridge. So, here’s the link to the original recipe: https://sourdoughmovement.com/2016/07/13/creative-and-tasty-way-to-use-stale-bread/

And here’s my version:

Ingredients

3 slices of your favorite bread (I generally always use wheat)

Your choice of a variety of chopped veggies (anything that would go well in an omelet)

6 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 (F). Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray.

Cut out circles from the slices of bread. Place the bread rounds in the bottoms of your muffin tins. Sprinkle your chopped veggies on top of the bread.

Lightly beat each egg individually in a small bowl before pouring one egg into each muffin tin. (Alternatively, you could crack the egg and add it directly to each tin if you prefer).

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook at 400 for 18-20 minutes.

Now, I must say that this recipe needs some tweaking. I didn’t particularly enjoy the bread at the bottom of the muffin tins. It didn’t get crispy like toast; instead, it was rather tough. I also think I needed to add the salt when I beat the eggs so it would be more evenly distributed throughout each bite. Also, this may have worked well with jumbo muffin tins. As it was, my eggs were overflowing the individual cups. Finally, detaching the individual servings from the tins (and cleaning) was a bit difficult, so next time I might try using foil liners.

On the positive side – yes, there are positives in spite of all of my tweaking – my son seemed to like the eggs pretty well. As many parents know, toddler friendly protein is something of a holy grail. Most seem to be happy with peanut butter, chicken nuggets, and cheese sticks. I also truly enjoyed the mix of veggies I used. Some of my egg cups had spinach and stewed tomatoes; others had spinach and chunks of creamy avocado. I wasn’t sure how I’d like warm avocado. I’ve eaten warm avocado brownies and room-temperature avocado chocolate pudding and the flavor of the avocado didn’t work until these foods were cold. However, in the eggs, it paired well with the spinach and I enjoyed each creamy bite.

The creaminess actually brings me to one final tweak. I think I appreciated the texture of the avocado so much because the eggs seemed a little tough and over-cooked. I’d decrease the oven temperature to 375 (or cook a few minutes less). I’ll definitely try this recipe again, but I’ll probably wait for cooler weather to do so. That was a hot oven on a steamy day!

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

20160802_180117When I began searching for today’s recipe, I happened to see a blog post that today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. And really, who doesn’t love a good ice cream sandwich? So I went on an internet hunt to see what kinds of recipes I could find. Let me tell you there are a lot of fancy ice cream sandwiches out there. You can use fancy ice cream, dip the sandwiches in chocolate, slather them with peanut butter… the options are endless. Today, though, I felt like keeping it simple. Therefore, I chose Martha Stewart’s recipe for Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches. My one gesture towards fancy was to add ¼ cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips to the cakes that make the sandwich around the ice cream.20160802_132420

It turned out great. The chocolate chips added a pleasant crunch to each bite. As tempting as those jazzy ice cream sandwiches were, I’m glad I chose the classic take. It hit the spot after dinner tonight. I will say, the recipe proportions didn’t seem quite right. As the recipe instructed, I used a 15×10 jelly roll pan for the cake, but my batter was far from filling it out. The next size down may have even been too big. I’d consider doubling the recipe the next time, but that would make an awful lot of ice cream sandwiches… though I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.20160802_180336