Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Healthy Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Another snow day for us in Wi!  I am so thankful that I have all of my baking ingredients and my two toddler helpers to keep me busy while we are trapped inside!  We made these low fat muffins at 7 this morning, and I hope we have some left by the time Dan gets home from work.   Enjoy! 

Healthy Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins  - Yields 8 - Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
1 egg white, beaten
2/3 cup diced strawberries
1/3 cup dark  chocolate chips coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 10 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and applesauce until together until no brown sugar lumps remain.  Add the beaten egg white until fully incorporated.  

Add the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined – Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between 8 muffin tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow muffins to cool and enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I was craving something rich and bad for me this weekend, but I wasn't willing to commit to the calories of a brownie a-la mode.  Instead, I made these brownie cookies, that really do taste like brownies.  I used different sized heart cookie cutters to make this a pre-valentines treat.  They are satisfying enough to have just one, but really, who wants to stop there?!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies 
Recipe: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.  Beat sugar and butter with  an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl.  Mix in vanilla.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.  Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out cookie dough on a floured counter (my cookies were about 1/4 inch thick).  Cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, until edges are firm and centers are slightly soft and puffed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bacon and Kale Pizza

Chris and I are big pizza lovers.  A home made pizza is a weekly staple, especially when I am working and Chris is in charge of dinner. I get daily emails from Everyday Food with Sara Carey and this one caught my eye. I was even more surprised when I sent Chris the recipe and he agreed to make it!  We have been trying to incorporate more Kale into our meals because of its many nutritional benefits so I am always on the prowl for new recipes and this one was a winner!

We modified the original recipe by substituting escarole with kale and we also added tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Click here for the step by step video. ENJOY!


1 pizza crust
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Course salt and ground pepper
3 cups Kale
Extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan
Red Pepper flakes

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kale Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans

I have been paging through the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, trying to decide what recipe to try first.  The book is beautiful to look at and the recipes are interesting and easy to follow. The ingredients in the recipes are readily available and I have a lot of them in my kitchen already.  I love this cookbook - can you tell? (Thanks H!!)
After reading Deb's (Author of Smitten Kitchen) description of raw kale - healthy, but tough & bitter - and then reading on to learn that she found a way to make kale not only palatable, but delicious, I knew I had to try it.   I made this kale salad as a side this weekend and it was wonderful.  My husband and I ate the entire bowl (serves 4). 

Kale Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook 
3 cups of Dino Kale, or Tuscan Kale
4 medium radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spread pecans on a tray.  Toast them for 5-10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly.  Remove from oven and set aside.  
Wash the kale and dry with paper towel. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk.  Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Toss with pecans, dried cherries and radishes. Crumble goat cheese on the top. 
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish and pour the dressing over the salad.  Toss the salad until it is evenly coated with dressing.  You can eat the salad right away, but it gets better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

LOVE Art - Valentines Day

My house always feels so empty and sad after I take down the Christmas decorations.  The emptiness reminds me of all of the house projects that are on  my "to-do" list and I am currently trying to work up the energy/commitment to get some of them started.  In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to start celebrating Valentines day, however early it might be :) 

This project is super easy and it takes less than an hour to complete. I got the idea from Knock Off Decor, which is one of my new favorite blogs!   

Blank Art Canvas (I used 16x20)
Scrapbook Paper
Mod Podge
Foam Brush

1. Find a font that you like and type out LOVE (I used size 700 font). I printed one letter per piece of paper
2. Cut out letters and use them as stencils on the scrapbook paper of your choice.  I used paper from Martha Stewart Crafts - Valentine Designer Paper pad. Cut out the letters and place them onto your canvas to ensure proper spacing/design.  

3. This step is optional - I did it because I knew that I would be hanging the canvas on a white wall and I wanted to piece to "pop" vs. blend in.  Paint all four sides of the canvas with a color of your choice.  Then, paint around the edges of the top of the canvas to create a faux frame.  Let the paint dry completely.
4. Coat the entire canvas with Mod Podge using a foam craft brush.  Apply Mod Podge to the back of each letter and place them onto the canvas.  Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles in the paper and that the letters lay completely flat. Apply another coat of Mod Podge to the entire canvas and carefully brush over letters.  
5. Let the canvas dry for an hour and apply a final coat.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year, was a home-grown chicken from my Aunt and Uncle.  They raise a coop full of hormone free chickens each year and this Christmas I "won" one at our family gift swap.  Since it is the new year and all, and everyone is on a never ending quest to be even healthier, I decided to roast this bad boy with some root vegetables.  I used Ina Garten's "Perfect Roast Chicken" recipe and it really did turn out perfect.  I plan on using the leftovers for some soup tonight.   


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fudge Brownies

Happy New Year! Have you made those new years resolutions yet?  You should wait :)

We were skiing this past weekend in Vail and I started craving my favorite brownies from Blue Moon Bakery in Silverthorne. This cute little bakery is one of our favorite breakfast stops if we are up there early, as well as our Apre ski sweet stop after a long day! I have tried multiple brownie recipes from different books and websites and haven't fallen in love with one until now. I think I have finally found a brownie recipe similar to these amazing treats! Recipe from

Time: 75 minutes, Serving: 16 brownies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper with 1-2 inches hanging over the side. Place butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl (glass) and set over a pan of simmering water, not touching. Stir constantly until both are completely melted, about 7 min. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in each eggs one at time until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Combine flour and salt and gently fold into mixture. Pour batter into prepared dish.

3. Bake until a cake tester comes out with only a few crumbs attached - approximately 40-45 minutes. (It took mine close to 50 minutes, not sure if it is due to the altitude?) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Hope everyone had a very fun and safe holiday and New Years celebration! Make sure to stop by Blue Moon Bakery when you find yourself in Silverthorne, CO.