Sunday, December 30, 2012

Streusel Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This is a little decadent twist of taste to the simple coffee cake, and
 I love it. 

A rich, creamy center surrounded by warm sweet bread is the perfect partner for my espresso roast coffee in the mornings (or late afternoon, or quiet nights)

It's easy to prepare and easily adaptable for particular health concerns. 

Bake away!


1 cup Whole wheat flour
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs butter (or applesauce*)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Crumble Topping
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbs applesauce (or butter)
1 tsp vanilla
~1  cup of flour, divided

*If you replace applesauce for the butter you might want to reduce the sugar a bit because applesauce itself, even the unsweetened, all natural kind is quite sweet. 


Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 7x11 pan, set aside ( I used my Misto or Spray Pump filled with half water half olive oil)

Crumble First: Mix everything together in a small bowl with a pastry cutter, or fork. If mixture is too wet add in 1 tbs of flour at a time to help crumble the mixture. Set aside.

Filling Next: Beat cream cheese, and egg in a small bowl for 1 min then add sugar and vanilla. Set aside

Cake Last, but not Least: Mix flours, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat butter (or applesauce) and sugar in a small bowl until creamy. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Add flour mixture into wet and beat until well combined. 

Pour half of the cake batter into pan. 
Evenly spread filling onto of batter with a spatula, leaving about a 1/2 inch of the batter showing around the edges. 
Pour rest of the cake batter on top of filling. 
Then sprinkle crumble all over the top of the mixture. 

Bake for 30-35 min. or until a knife comes out without runny dough. 

Cool for 15 min, then slice and enjoy with a nice warm cup of coffee. 



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Filling

Making and Finishing a homemade pie gives one a wonderful satisfaction and accomplished feeling. 

But how much more better will one feel if they made the filling themselves?

I know how tempting the can of filling can be, I know. 
But if you take a look at the ingredients, it may change your mind--if your healthful-minded foodie like me: high fructose corn syrup,  artificial flavoring and preservatives, and worst of all...well maybe just for me since I am extremely allergic to it....RED DYE 40. 

But I can hear some of your cries:
 "but that must take so long"
"The can is so temping!"

Good news.
Have 15 min?
Filling Done. 

So make it, and feel REALLY AWESOME afterward. 

Recipe curtousy of this site to adjust the serving size. 
 The following recipe is an approx equivalent to a 21 oz can of filling.
3/4 cup mashed strawberries
1/2 cup +1 tbs water
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tbs +3/4 tsp cornstarch 
2 1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
3 cup sliced strawberries 

Slice 3 cups strawberries, Set aside.
Mash 3/4 cup of strawberries in a small bowl.
Place 3/4 cup water and mashed strawberries in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 min. 
Strain mashed strawberries from generated juice and add enough water to make 1 cup of juice; toss mashed strawberries.

Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and generated strawberry juice into the small sauce pan, bring to a boil and then stir constantly for 3-5 min until sauce is thick and clear--(by clear I mean sugar and cornstarch completely melted).

Remove from heat and let cool for 2 min. 
Mix in sliced strawberries.
Use as a pie filling or for this wonderful Strawberry Cream Pastry Bake!


Strawberry Cream Pastry Bake


Mhmmm mmm Hmmm!  
This was so delicious and very simple to put together. 

I found this recipe from this lovely website, and made some minor adjustments, but my oh my, it was wonderful! 

I made it as a breakfast treat and it was devoured in seconds by the family.

The key to this recipe is making homemade strawberry filling
The canned stuff makes it even easier to put together, but I was willing to sacrifice 15 min of my time to make this WAYYYYY healthier version myself.
No artificial flavoring, no high fructose corn syrup, no RED DYE 40! --which I'm extremely allergic too-- Just natural goodness. 

Roll it, and pat it, and cover it with cream cheese, then put in the oven and enjoy it like me!

2 can of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8oz  package of cream cheese, softened*
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Homemade strawberry pie filling** --or any fruit flavor you want!

*To easily soften cream cheese complete unwrap from packaging, and place on plate. microwave for 8 sec. Flip cheese and microwave for another 8 sec. Should be pretty mushy but still holding its shape.
**You can find the recipe HERE for the strawberry pie filling


Roll out the crescent rolls and separate the triangles. Put aside 4 of the triangles.
Take the remaining triangles and align them  on a 10x15 pan so that the wide edges of the triangles are touching the edges of the pan and the thin part of the dough is laying to the center of the pan forming about a 3 inch circle. Flour  lightly and pinch seams together on all open parts (I tore some of the triangles apart to fill gaps).

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg, and vanilla together. 
Top dough with cream cheese mixture leaving 1/2 inch uncovered on both edges. 
Spread Strawberry filling over the top of the cream cheese mixture. 
Take the remaining 4 dough triangles and cut them in thirds. 
Arrange them over the top of the strawberry mixture, pinch seams together. 

Bake for 25-30 min until dough is golden brown. 

Slice up and serve with some home brewed coffee.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Simplistically Easy Cinnamon Rolls

I made these Christmas eve for my visiting in-laws to enjoy Christmas morning. 

They turned out wonderful!
Yes, they require yeast
no proofing necessary
They take about an hour max to make,
 and you can even make the rolls the night before 
and then pop them in the oven for 15-20 min in the morning. 
Easy enough to make on a weekly basis for those who crave them often....
*cough* my husband *cough*


1/2 cup milk, divided
1/2 cup buttermilk (you could just use milk if you don't have this, or make your own*)
3 cups, all purpose flour, divided
1/4 sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
Yeast: Option 1) 2 1/4 tsp Rapid Rise Yeast--best for bake right away rolls. 
           Option 2) 4 1/2 tsp Regular Active Yeast--best for overnight rolls.**

* Homemade buttermilk for this recipe can be made by placing 1/2 tbs vinegar or lemon juice in 1/2 cup and then the rest with milk. Stir and let sit for 5 min.
**you can use this for the bake right away rolls too, no problem.

1/2 cup butter, cubed (for less fat version 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup  brown sugar, packed
2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
option: add 2 oz cream cheese, melted


Mix filling together with a fork or pastry blender, set aside

Blend 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in large blender bowl. 

Set aside 1/4 cup of milk and then in a small bowl heat  1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and butter for 1 min 30 sec. 
Immediately add 1/4 cup milk to heated milk/butter mixture (helps cool it down faster)
Add egg and milk/butter mixture to flour and beat  until well combined
Switch to dough hooks-or dump on to a floured surface and knead by hand.
Slowly add in the last cup of flour while mixture is beating, about 1/4 cup at a time, until dough starts to gently pull away from bowl. 
Kneed for 5 more min. 
Dough should be sticky--a good thing!--but not wet--a bad thing.

Dump dough onto well floured surface and let rest for 10 min. 
Roll out dough to form a 12x14 shape

Spread mixed filling over the entire dough surface. 
Roll dough long ways into a log
Score/mark dough into 12 rolls
Take a piece of dental floss, or thin string and slide it under the roll and under each score/mark gently pull string up through the dough, cross string to cut. 
Place roll in greased 9x13 pan with enough room to rise between rolls
Repeat for the rest of the rolls. 
Cover with a clean towel.

Heat a small bowl of water in the microwave for about 5 min--or until water boils. 
Put pan in the steamy microwave (with bowl if possible) and let rise:
  • If you are planning on baking them same day leave in steamed microwave for 30 min to rise:
  • If you are planning on baking them in the morning/next day, leave in steamed microwave for 15 min to start rising then place in the fridge, still covered with cloth to rise slower over night. 

Preheat oven to 350. 
Place rolls in the oven for 15-20 min,or until tops are golden brown
Watch them closely, you don't want these over cooked.

While baking make icing by whisking all ingredients in a bowl then pour into a plastic bag and then cut off the tip. 
They were devoured quickly!
Drizzle over dough once out of the oven. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tis the Season!

For some reason I never feel as guilty eating something sweet that has mint in it: Mint chocolate chip ice cream, Girl Scout thin mints, Andes mints, etc. 

It's just refreshing and light. 

So now that we are in the cookie extravaganza season, I thought I would help lighten up our exchange-worthy cookies by adding some Andes Creme de Menthe mints and making these delicious, healthy cookies. 

No butter here!

Bake away!


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg


Preheat oven to 350
Thoroughly whisk greek yogurt, apple sauce, and sugars until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. 
Blend in flour and baking soda until well combined. 
Mix in Andes Creme de Menthe Chips

Drop spoonful sized dough onto parchment lined pans.  Flatten dough with fingers (Dough is sticky--use wet fingers if you don't want it on your hands)

Bake for 8-10 min. Until top is golden. (be careful to not over cook. They burn easy)

Cool on a rack for 2 min. 



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pistachio-Cran Sugar Cookies

Green and Red cookies

Can't get more Christmas-y  than these.

Oh and they are DELICIOUS. 
Pudding Cookies always are. 

So bake some of these colorful joys.

adapted from the girl who ate everything
1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookies (1 lb bag)
1 box pistachio instant pudding mix (4 serving size)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup dry roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped


Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix cookie mix, flour, and pudding mix. Add in melted butter, and eggs and blend well. Fold in pistachios and cranberries. 

Grab a small  ping-pong ball sized dough and roll between your palms. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and flatten with your  fingers.

Bake for 8-10 min.  
 8 min was PERFECT FOR ME, they may look undercooked but THEY'RE NOT.
 Leave on sheet for about 2 min. TRUST ME. 

Cool for 2-5 min on rack. 


Friday, December 14, 2012

Quinoa Granola

Quinoa Burns.

The first food experiment making this granola was a failure. 
Burnt to a crisp being only 15 min in the oven.

So note to self, and all, DO NOT bake uncooked quinoa at the temp of 400 degrees for 15 min. 


 the second attempt  was amazing!!!!

I decided to cook the quinoa and then bake it at the lower temp of 300 (bumping it to 350 once I knew it wasn't going to burn) and it turned into a batch of cinnamony, sweet pebbles of bliss. 

It works well as a topping for yogurt, smoothies, and ice cream!!!! 

This could even be eaten as a cereal; ALL coupled with  ample amounts of protein and fiber.

Bake away my friends


1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 tbs cinnamon
1tbs honey--add more if you want it sweeter or brown sugar!
2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350

Pat dry cooked quinoa with paper towels 

--It's okay if not completely dry--

Place cinnamon, honey, and vanilla in a bowl.

Mix in quinoa with a spatula until well combined. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dump cinnamon/honey quinoa mixture on it and spread out.

Bake in 10 min intervals for 30-45 min. 

Every 10 min stir/flip quinoa. 

It will slowly bake into a deep rich brown and crunchy mix. 

Let cool for 2 min and transfer into a air-tight container for freshness--that is if you don't eat it all right then and there


** this is a very very versatile recipe! Feel free to add anything you want to the granola to suit you taste**

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Simple Coffee Cake

Simple & Sweet 

are the best two words to describe this breakfast treat. 

I love it with coffee...obviously

but my husband who despises the rich dark nectar--I know, I know don't get me started-- LOVES to eat it all by its self....well maybe with a glass of milk :) 

Any-who, he had been asking me to make it for quite sometime and so one fine evening I put it together and when he got home to the smell of cinnamon deliciousness, he was all smiles.

The recipe originally comes from his mother, but I had to make some little adjustments to make it healthy-foodielious. 


1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon (my husband LOVES the stuff) 
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs butter (you could use applesauce) 

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs white sugar
1 tsp vanilla

If you want a streusel topping check out my streusel cream cheese coffee cake!

Non-stick a 7x11 pan, set aside
Preheat 350

Blend ingredients for topping together and set aside

Mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat sugar and butter together until creamy.
Next, whip/whisk in egg, vanilla, and milk.

Add dry ingredients into wet and blend until smooth and well combined.

Pour half batter into pan. 
Sprinkle 1/4 of  Topping mixture on top. 
Pour rest of batter on top and spread out rest of the topping over batter. Gently pat down topping to help it set in the batter.

Bake for 30 min or until knife comes out clean. 

Enjoy with some steamy, rich, dark coffee of choice. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Apple Fritters

These are not healthy, but they sure were a treat!
I am a HUGE advocate for allowing all foods into one's diet, even the bad stuff as long as it's in moderation. 
Fats are good for us, 
we just have to be careful how much and what kind.

So just relax, have a few fritters, and enjoy your day!

To be honest I was nervous when it came to the frying part. A sauce pan full of REALLY REALLY hot oil just seemed like an accident waiting to happen. BUT it was SUPER EASY. 

So get your breakfast on  in sweet way

Adapted from

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 white flour (you can use 1 heaping cup all white flour)
1/3 sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbs butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk of choice
1-1/2 cup chopped apples-peanut size

oil for frying....about 3-4 inches in a 2 quart sauce pan (You can recycle the leftover oil afterward by placing it in an empty jar)

1 cup powdered sugar
1tbs milk + more if you want it thinner.


Option 1) The Original
Mix flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk egg, vanilla, sugar, milk, and melted butter in another small bowl. Blend dry into wet. 
Gently fold in apples. 

Option 2) What I did...however it made them runny and i should have left out the milk but was able to fix the problem on!

The night before, blend apple pieces, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl and let sit overnight in the fridge. It will sweeten and juice up--the cause the runny part--but tastes DELICIOUS!
Blend the dry ingredients as above and then fold in the apple mix. Like I said you should probably leave out the milk, because the apple juice created was more than enough liquid. 

Heat 3-4 inches of canola oil in a small sauce pan on medium to medium-high heat

To test if oil is ready for frying, take a small drop of the fritter mixture and plop it in the oil if it bubbles and floats to the top the oil is ready! If it sinks its not hot enough, if it burns its too hot so reduce heat. 

Scoop out golf ball sized dough and plop them in the oil, I used an ice cream scoop and just plopped them in, this created some odd shapes sometimes but still worked. 

let them cook about 35-60 sec each side, or until the dough is nice and golden all around. (mine took awhile longer, I believe because of the wheat flour and the runnyness of the dough)

Remove from oil with tongs and dry on a paper towel to catch oil.
Once warm enough to handle submerge in glace and place on a plate to cool--glaze will harden. 


Now....if you run into the problem of having wonderfully outside cooked fritters but when you cut them open and you notice the inside is not fully cooked--my problem with the runny dough--, HAVE NO FEAR. Just turn your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10-13 min. Even if you've glazed them-- I did--the glaze won't melt and you'll have crunchy, yummy, fully cooked fritters. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cooking the Perfect Quinoa

Once you've mastered this  technique--which is pretty easy--you'll be making Quinoa weekly,


The KEY trick for making any kind of quinoa recipe (for breakfast foods, soups, etc.)  is to wash it THOROUGHLY! Now, I don't mean throw it in a bowl and swirl it around a few times, I'm talking three really good washes. 

 1) Washing gets rid of the bitter taste that comes from the seeds shell. Who knows why, but it's there, but it's also wash-away-able
2) The seed can absorb some the water and help make it nice and fluffy later. 

So get your quinoa and let's begin. 

  • Grab a large enough bowl to hold your desired amount quinoa (I generally cook about a cup of dry=~2 1/2 cups cooked) large enough to fully submerge the quinoa in water. 
  • Dump your dry quinoa in the bowl and fill with wamish water. 
  • Now reach your hands into that bowl and start playing with it. Move it around, swish it, rub the seeds between your fingers (obviously this is the best/most fun part).
  • Once the water is pretty murky, dump the water and fill it up again. Repeat washing process. Repeat a 3rd time.
  • The water should get less and less murky every wash--but not completely clear--this is okay. 3 times usually does the trick for the bitter part. 
  • Now bring a small sauce pan full of your liquid of choice to a boil (water for versatility, Milk generally for breakfast recipes, broths for fillers--I always cook my in a chicken or veggie broth)
  • Dump washed and drained quinoa into the heated liquid and stir for about 2 min on boil
  • Now reduce Heat to Low and simmer covered for 20 min. Quinoa will expand, peel a little (the little white squiggles), and absorb the liquid as the time goes by. Feel free to stir every once in awhile. 
  •  After timer goes off, fluff away by stirring it! 
Now you have an awesome batch of yummy quinoa ready for your adventurous recipes. 


Chicken Piccata W/ Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce


Lemon and chicken go well together, 

but what makes it even better is whole wheat pasta and a creamy sauce. 

I put this dish together in a short amount of time and it turned out wonderful. My husband even stopped before he left the room--well after his second bowl--to tell me he "really liked the dish"; and thus it is going on the blog. 

This is a multi-tasking meal prep dinner. There is no lag time. But everything is timed pretty well and ends warm and ready to be eaten. 
So put on your apron and cook away!

Adapted from Lifeasalofthouse and

2 Large chicken breast or 4 small (I seriously had GIANT chicken breasts so I used 2 and cut them in half)
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (plain works just add oregano, basil, salt pepper, rosemary, and thyme)
1 tbs butter (I used parkay)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cups whole wheat penne pasta + 3 1/2 cups water to boil (This is more than enough for 2 people--adjust amount based on amount feeding)
*OPTIONAL 1 quarter of a chicken bouillon cube (just kicks it up a notch)

Creamy Cheesy Sauce
2 tbs butter (I used parkay)
6 tbs lemon juice (the juice from 2 lemons or just the stuff from the bottle)
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt/ pepper/ basil, to taste
1/2 cup Plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese ( I cheated here, I only had the powdered stuff that comes in the bottle and used a little more than half a cup. STILL TURNED OUT AWESOME!)


Whisk egg in a shallow bowl
Place bread crumbs in separate shallow bowl
Heat Large on Medium skillet with 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs olive oil
Pound breasts into a fillet using your fist or a meat mallet. Approx 2 inches thick
Pat dry and then  dip in egg mixture and then bread crumbs. 
Place in skillet and cook for 4-5 min each side. NO TURNING.
-- you are welcome to cut your chicken breast in half once this time is up to make sure they are cook through (they really should be) but if not just leave  them in the pan, cover with a lid, turn the heat down, and let them "cook" while your continue the rest of the meal--

While breasts are cooking....make pasta

Bring a small sauce pan with 3 1/2 cups water to boil, add quartered bouillon cube and then pasta. 
Boil for 7 min, or al dente.

While pasta is boiling.... start sauce

Mince garlic and place in a bowl with 6 tbs lemon juice.
Measure out 1/2 cup greek yogurt set aside. 

Chicken should be done  now...turn pan to low, with lid, to keep warm or place on plate and cover with foil.

Once pasta is done, set aside 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain the rest. 

Dump pasta in a small bowl with a drizzle of olive oil to keep from sticking and cover to keep warm 

In the same sauce pan that you made the pasta melt 2 tbs butter on medium high heat. 
Whisk in minced garlic and lemon juice and then add greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and basil to taste. Whisk until warm. 
Add cheese and stir until melted.--if you see your sauce thickening too much add some of the reserve water to loosen it.


Toss pasta with sauce and top with sliced chicken.


Monday, December 3, 2012



Alright this website is awesome...can you guess what it is? 


Its not chocolatecoveredkatie.... 

She is awesome and so is her blog which I am sometimes too obsessed with....





I know, I know. That was not what you were thinking.

But seriously.

They have SOOOOOOO much helpful information, tips and tricks, video guides, weight loss strategies motivational blubs, user forums, and SO much more.

Now I know what your are thinking,  
"Body building?"
"I don't want to body build."
 "I don't want to bulk up."
"I just want lean muscle and curves."
Well let me tell you, this is the site for you. 

They cater to every possible body type out there that you could want: 

But Woman,
(Men can too, it has some GREAT INFO) 
 I encourage you to read this particular article I found from them about the woman's body and how to find the perfect balance to help you achieve your healthy living goals. 

It's a long article but very interactive. 
It provides you, not only with nutritional guides, but also daily fitness routines and video demonstration and education. 

Before you pick up those dumbbells
 --because you should, trust me---



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love this easy recipe. 

I have made it several times for lunches at work. 

This is also a very versatile recipe.

It can be a simple meal or a complex palate teaser. 

Use your imagination. 

but here's what I did: 


1 large bell pepper (or 2 small),
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1-2 olives, diced
1-2 diced cherry tomatoes 
3 tbs shredded cheese
OPTIONAL: 1 tsp sriracha (I love the spice!)
OPTIONAL: 2 tsp plain greek  yogurt (great sour cream substitute!)


Cut bell pepper in half and rid of seeds and ribs (the white part lining the wall)
Scoop and fill bell pepper halves with quinoa
Top with diced olives, cherry tomatoes and cheese. 

Option 1) Microwave for 30-45 sec until warmed and cheese is melted.

Option 2) Heat oven 350 degrees and bake for 10-15 min. (This option cooks the bell pepper more if you don't like it raw--i like the crunch in the raw)


Have any other suggestions or add-ins that you've done?

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