Monday, October 22, 2012

Super Chocolate Breakfast Muffins

Again with the muffins...I know! :) These are my husband's new breakfast obsession. In fact, when I made them two weeks ago, they only lasted for about 24 hours. 

They're not for the faint of heart, though. These are for chocolate lovers. Chocolate obsessors. Okay that's not a real word, but if you love dark chocolate, you'll love these. They're not quite sweet enough for me :) but if you wanted, you could always add some sweetener. The chocolate chips do help!

A couple of, spray the heck out of your pan or use foil liners, not paper ones. 

Two, experiment! I think these would be fabulous with peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, mint chips...

What you’ll need:
  •          1 3/4 cup oats
  •           1/3 cup egg whites (or the whites of 2 large eggs)
  •           1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  •          3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  •          1/2 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce 
  •          1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •          1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  •          1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  •          1/4 tsp. salt
  •          1 cup hot water
  •          1/3 cup chocolate chips (try the Enjoy Life brand for a dairy-free, soy lecithin-free version!)

The how-to:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan. I made these in my square pan from friend Sarah...LOVE this pan.
  2.  In a blender or food processor, beat the oats until they are smooth like a flour.
  3. Pour the oats into a mixing bowl and add the egg whites and yogurt and blend until everything is smooth.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, in order, except the chocolate chips, and mix well.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly into your muffin pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of each muffin.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, and allow to cool before removing from the pan.
  7. Enjoy!

              Nutrition facts via myfitnesspal (per muffin):
      114 calories, 18g's of carbs, 3g's of fat, 5g's of protein, 6g's of sugar (ahem, this is why I should've used unsweetened applesauce...) and 3g's of fiber. Voila!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Strawberry Breakfast Muffins

My husband thinks I'm obsessed with muffins (as he does the dishes and is constantly washing muffin pans!) but really I'm focused on finding us portable, healthy, gluten-free breakfast items for grab-and-go mornings! This is my latest favorite, and I've made them the last three weeks in a row. LOVE them! Fresh strawberry goodness any time of the year!

What you'll need:

  • 2 1/2 cup Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 C Egg Whites (Or the whites of 5 eggs)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (We love the Chobani Non-Fat Plain)
  • 6 packets Truvia Update: since writing this post, I have stopped using stevia after learning more about its processing. I've made the muffins without and they are still delicious! A drizzle of honey on the top is great if you need a little sweetener when you eat them.
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal (Optional. One of those healthy-but-you-can't-taste-it add-ins! I didn't add it this time so it's not included in the nutrition facts, fyi.)
  • 1 1/2 -  2 cups diced fresh strawberries (I used 2 cups this time, which was a lot of strawberries, but it was really good! Use 1 1/2 cups if you want them a little less chock full of berries)

The how-to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a pan. For these, either spray a pan directly OR use foil baking cups. With these, like the Banana Puff Muffins, don't use paper liners unless you want to eat them along with the muffin!
    I used my square muffin pan for this one--the recipe makes 12 of them, in whatever shape you choose. 
  2. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the oats into a bowl and add remaining ingredients except the strawberries and mix well. Stir in the strawberries after everything else!
  4. Divide your muffin batter equally among your 12 prepared muffin cups
  5. Optional: add extra berries to the top of each muffin
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and let them cool before removing them from the pan
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Per Serving:
102 Calories, 18 Carbs, 2 Fat, 6 Protein

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quinoa Burgers (Mmmm)

Admittedly, I was really skeptical of these, but we LOVED them! In an effort to find more gluten-free, low-calorie but tasty meals, I was willing to give them a try. You should too!

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (make sure it's rinsed if you buy the kind that's not pre-rinsed. I'll never do that again!)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Flour)
  • 2 green onions, including white parts, chopped (kitchen scissors is great for this!)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Any other seasonings you love to put in your burgers!
  • Olive or Grapeseed Oil

The how-to:

  1. Cook quinoa as directed. Usually it's 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. It's a lot like cooking rice--just keep an eye on it while you prep the rest of the ingredients:
  2. Grab a large bowl and combine everything else, mixing everything (except the oil) together.
  3. Add the quinoa once it's finished cooking
  4. Mix well and grab a 1/4 cup measuring cup
  5. Cook them, scooping 1/4 cup at a time, emptying it onto the pan and then flattening. Here are your options:

  • You can fry them for 4-5 minutes on each side on medium low, using the oil that was in the ingredient list. This resulted in really crunchy outsides, which we loved. Just be careful when scooping the mixture into the hot oil!

  • OR you can bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. This was nice for the second set so that I could sit down and have dinner with my family while the rest baked in the oven, but didn't result in that crispity-crunchity outside. Both are good options, depending on your preferences!

This recipe made about 10 burgers using the 1/4 cup measure as a guide. The best part--they're only 140 calories and have 8 grams of protein each! We ate them plain (oops, out of ketchup or it would have been a great topping!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

120-Cal Banana Puff Muffins

These. Are. Awesome.

This morning was a little crazy, but these muffins warm out of the oven really helped me have a fantastic start to my day! SO easy and so delicious. I think it took me 15 minutes total to put them together in my sleepy state--so maybe 10 minutes of prep if I'd been fully awake!

What you'll need:

  • 2 1/2 cup oats (old fashioned kind, not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup of low fat greek yogurt (I used plain, but vanilla or another fruit flavor (without added sugar...) would be great! Experiment.)
  • 2 eggs or 2/3 cup egg whites
  • 2 TBSP (8 packets) of stevia (I used packets of truvia and it was perfect) Update: since writing this post, I have stopped using stevia after learning more about its processing. I've made the muffins without and they are still delicious! A drizzle of honey on the top is great if you need a little sweetener when you eat them.
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed 
Optional add-ins (not included in the nutritional facts below): walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, craisins...the options are endless!

The how-to:  

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin 
  2. (you cannot use paper liners with this type of recipe unless you're interested in eating them along with your muffin. Just don't go there.) 
  3. Place the oats in a blender or food processor until smooth. 
  4. Pour the oats into a large mixing bowl and gradually add the rest of the ingredients except the optional mix-ins.
  5. Once your batter is smooth, add any additional mix-ins and gently mix them in using a spoon or spatula (or my latest favorite tool, the spoontula from Rachel Ray!)
  6. Pour batter evenly into your 12 prepare muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Yum.

    PS--here are the nutrition facts per muffin, as taken from the myfitnesspal recipe tracker. Enjoy!
Calories: 120
Carbs: 21
Fat: 2
Protein: 6
Sugar: 4
Fiber: 3

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pizza Peppers!

I just love myfitnesspal. If you're trying to lose or maintain weight or just track your nutrition, their app ROCKS. Anyway, I plugged all of the ingredients for this recipe into their recipe builder, and the results were great--these peppers are only about 175 calories per half, with 20 grams of protein. Awesome!

These were a HUGE hit at our house tonight--definitely a recipe that (now that it exists) I'm going to be making on a regular basis.

What you'll need:
  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half with seeds removed (I used red, my personal favorite, but you could use any color!)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 TBSP basil
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 15 oz can pizza sauce (we love Muir Glen)
  • Quinoa (optional)
The how-to:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray
  2. In a heated skillet, toss minced garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes
  3. Place all of the pepper halves on the baking sheet, along the edges to help hold them up, and put them in the oven to bake while you prepare the filling.
  4. Add ground turkey breast to the sauteed onions and garlic and brown fully, adding seasonings and mixing as you go
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the pizza sauce, parmesan, and optional quinoa. I used leftover Quinoa and Cheese from a couple of nights before and it was awesome!
  6. Pull the peppers from the oven and fill them first with the meat mixture and second with the sauce
  7. Bake for 20 minutes
  8. Top with mozzarella and bake for another 10 minutes
  9. Voila! SO yummy and healthy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baked Mac, no, QUINOA and Cheese!

After finding this recipe on pinterest, I decided I had to give it a shot. Here's the photo from the blog I pulled the original recipe from - doesn't it look yummy?

Mine tasted yummy, but it didn't look quite this good, so I'll leave her picture for your viewing pleasure! :) It got a big thumbs-up from Hubby J as well as from my lovely but oh-so-picky 8-year-old.

You've got to try this one!


  • 1 cup quinoa (dry, pre-rinsed and drained if needed)
  • Veggies or meat of your choice (I'm definitely doing cubed chicken, roasted red peppers, onions, and spinach next time!)
  • Salt to preference
  • Chili powder to preference
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain almond milk (or whatever kind you prefer)
  • 2 cups grated cheese (original blog called for cheddar, I had italian so it's what I used...I'd recommend a mixture)
  • Feta for topping
The how-to:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook your quinoa as instructed (10-15 minutes)
3. Lightly saute any veggies or prepare any meat you're using
4. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
5. Whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings together in a large bowl
6. Add in grated cheese, and then quinoa, folding all together
7. Transfer evenly to prepared baking pan and add feta or panko for topping
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is browned

You can serve immediately, with the caution that it's pretty hot! Let me know what you think, and how your experimenting goes!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Turkey-Tequila-Lime Tacos

Disclaimer: I fully believe that all recipes are better if you tweak them to your own liking.

Garlic olive oil (mine is from Trader Joe's - but you could use plain if you'd like)
1 medium onion, chopped to your size preference
1 pound ground turkey breast
Taco seasoning to taste (mine is different every time...salt, pepper, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chili powder...)
Lime juice
Diced tomatoes (today's were no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes)
Taco shells
Toppings: sour cream, salsa, lettuce, etc.

If cooking hardshells, preheat your oven. I always forget to do this at the right time!

Then, in a large pan, heat your garlic oil sightly and add the chopped onion. If you used plain olive oil, you'll want to add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic here, too.

Saute the onions for a minute or so, and add your turkey breast, breaking it up (I love my bamboo spoons for this) and then add the taco seasoning and begin to brown the turkey. I usually toss in a little extra black or white pepper and cilantro (fresh if possible!).

As it browns, add a splash of lime juice and tequila. Have fun with this!

Once fully cooked, add your diced tomatoes, cover the pan, turn the burner to low, and let simmer as you cook your shells. Sometimes I add a bit of water here, too, if there doesn't appear to be enough moisture.
I realize that it doesn't look so pretty in the pan - but wowzer did this make awesome tacos! I had stand-and-stuff corn shells that I baked, and then we layered in mozzarella, fresh wholly salsa (love that stuff!) along with the meat mixture. Topped with sour cream and lettuce and there weren't many leftovers :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Post-Honeymoon Cooking Revival

Ocean view from our post-cruise stay at the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort 
After a fabulous 8-day cruise through the Caribbean, we're finally home and ready for some real food. Both Husband J and I gained quite a few pounds on our honeymoon and are VERY okay with giving up the desserts at every meal, no matter how good they were! Thanks to Carnival, J had a fully gluten-free meal at every dinner AND enjoyed all kinds of custom GF desserts - hence the extra weight gain :)

Thus, the Creations and Concoctions blog lives again--with a new fervor for newlywed cooking. Here's a few things that are on the radar for this week (recipes to follow):

Ground Turkey Breast Tacos
Pan-Fried Shrimp
Red Quinoa Cakes (maybe with leftover feta?)
...and who knows what else :) Suggestions?