Chocolate Brownie Sludge

It isn’t fudge

And it isn’t brownie batter.

I call it “Brownie Sludge” because it is a cross between the two.

dscn1241I invented it one day in my kitchen because my kids always beg to taste my brownie batter. But I never want to feed them raw eggs, so I started giving them the brownie batter *before* adding the eggs.

 The consistency of brownie batter before eggs is thick, rich, and fudgy! Soon my husband and I were scooping this stuff out with our fingers, then moving on to very large spoons.

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When I’m dieting, I make it from boxed brownie mix by omitting the eggs and the oil and just adding the water called for on the back of the box. This quasi-diet sludge is even thicker!

The next time you make brownies, give it a try, and I guarantee your batter won’t make it into the oven, either! 🙂

How to Bake When the Power Goes Out

I’ve already mentioned that I like to grind my own wheat

hand-grinderBut inaddition to my Nutrimill Electric grinder, I also bought a hand-powered grinder to grind my daily wheat when the power goes out (I live in the arctic–it happens every winter at least once!). But  I often wonder: once I grind my wheat, how will I bake bread without power?? Sure, I could make tortillas on my grill, but I want BREAD, too!

Today I learned how! I can bake Italian Torta al Testo bread on my barbecue grill, or even in the fireplace! For the recipe, click here!

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

I sure wish I could get my camera to do justice to these heavenly, delicious, meal-on-the-go muffins, but they look all bumpy because I use home-mashed potatoes (I live in Idaho–using instant potatoes is a felony here!). Those of you who do use instant potatoes will find that your muffins have a much smoother shape and texture–not the rocky surfaces seen here: 

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I invented this super-scrumptious muffin so that I could have some sort of grab-n-go lunches in my freezer for days when I was going to be running errands or working, and didn’t want to rely on fast food for me or my kids.tatermuff01 I always bake these as a mini muffin to help save on calories per serving, because they do have cheese and bacon in them, but I leave the skins on my potatoes and use wheat flour, so they are still healthier than any restaurant version.

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Oh yeah–they taste better, too!  Here’s the recipe:

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

2 egg yolks

3 cups mashed potatoes (or 3 cups grated raw potatoes, squeezed dry in a dish towel)

1/4 cup grated oniontatermuff3

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 stiffly beaten egg whites

1 cup crumbled cooked bacon

3/4 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup sliced chives (optional)

Stir the egg yolks into the potatoes and onion. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to potato mixture, then fold in the oil and beaten egg whites. Stir in bacon bits and cheese (along with chives, if using them). Spray mini-muffin tins with canola cooking spray, then drop muffins into tins using a regular-sized ice cream scoop. Batter must fill cups because muffins won’t rise much. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until edged are dark brown and crisp, insides resemble dry mashed potatoes. Garnish tops with extra shredded cheese and bake another couple of minutes.

Refrigerate in air-tight container within 2 hours of baking.

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Sugar-Free Pumpkin-Chocolate Muffins

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The pumpkin in this batter helps hide the gritty texture of your wheat flour, so you can grind your wheat as coarse as you want (within reason) and your kids will still devour these scrumptious yet healthy muffins. Mine sure do! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Muffins

1 and 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

3/4 cup raisins or coconut (I prefer sugar-free or regular miniature semisweet chocolate chips–NOT milk chocolate which is too sugary.  The raisins just weren’t as kid-friendly)

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix together until combined.  Bake in muffin cups at 350 for 20-25 minutes for regular size muffins or 8-12 minutes for mini muffins.

SOFT Homemade Wheat Bread

wheat-breadProblem: we all love whole wheat bread and know that it is healthiest if homemade, but too many homemade whole-wheat loaves look, taste, and feel like bricks!

The Amish have always known the secret: to make a soft whole wheat loaf, you have to use more oil and more sugar. The sugar activates the yeast and makes the dough rise higher, and the oil keeps the bread soft (baguettes, on the other hand, use very little oil). Health nuts who worry about added fat and sugar should weigh the benefits of getting kids to eat whole grain breads that taste good versus kids refusing to eat rock-hard bread that is healthier! 🙂

Also, this recipe requires you to let the dough rise twice, rather than adding processed gluten. Bread manufacturers routinely dump tons of processed gluten into their dough instead of waiting for it to rise (the gluten–aka GLUE–makes the dough go POOF almost instantly) which can cause migraines or make children sensitive even allergic to wheat. But wheat kernels have natural, healthy gluten in them already; you jsut have to let it rise twice for the gluten to “awaken.”

Here’s my recipe:

Super-Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread (4 loaves)

4 cups warm water

1 and 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons yeast

*Combine these ingredients in the bowl of a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine. Pulse to mix, then let sit for a few minutes until foamy. Then add:

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice (can substitute dough enhancer or lecithin)

12 cups fresh-ground flour

3 teaspoons salt

*Let the Bosch knead all ingredients together for about ten minutes, then place resulting dough into a large bowl, coated with canola cooking spray. Cover with a light dish towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm location. Let it rise until double (30 min-hour depending on room temp), then punch down and let it rise a second time. Then punch the dough down again and shape into four loaves. Let those loaves rise again, then bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Feeling Naughty?

Like I said, I’m a whole-grain health nut, but every once in a while–when I’m feeling naughty–I make decadent treats like these!

Afterwards, I always repent during my “food hangover,” and go back to making HEALTHY TREATS like these!

Raspberries N’ Cream Muffins (Whole Grain)

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The cream cheese batter for these muffins makes such a smooth-textured muffin that kids will never notice the whole grain flour!

Instead of white flour, I used a cracked, seven-grain cereal:

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You can buy Bob’s Red Mill seven grain cereal at most grocery stores (cereal and baking aisles) or you can buy it here. You can then grind this cereal in your home blender, if the grains are already cracked, like this:

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Just toss it in the blender and blend until it looks like flour!

Here’s the recipe:

Raspberries N’ Cream Muffinsdscn1201

2/3 cup cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup canola oil

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups fresh-ground, 7-grain flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup regular milk with 1.5 tsp vinegar; let sit 5 minutes)

1/2 cup Raspberry Nuggets*

Beat cream cheese, oil, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg whites, egg, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients separately, then fold into cream cheese mixture with buttermilk and raspberry nuggets.

Bake in canola-sprayed muffin tins at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (mini-muffins) or 18-24 minutes (regular muffins).

These muffins are more of a dessert because they contain cream cheese and sugar and taste like cheesecake! But as far as desserts go, they’re ultra-healthy—how many cheesecakes have *you* eaten that are made from whole grains? 🙂

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dscn1200*I used raspberry nuggets for the mini-muffins pictured here because I make them in large batches to freeze. Whenever I’m going on the road with the kids, I just grab a bag and go, and I can’t have real raspberries thawing and getting raspberry juice all over my kids’ clothes. You can use real raspberries, instead, though.

Sausage-Maple Pancake Muffins

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I invented these super-yummy breakfast muffins for my son, who refuses to eat meat. The sausage is hidden inside a scrumptious maple/whole-grain batter and tastes soooo good that even my little meat-hater devoured them!

You can make these two ways. The first is a regular muffin with the sausage patty inside :dscn1187The second is a mini-muffin with cooked sausage bits inside:

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Either way, these taste SO good that you’ll never want to buy prepackaged breakfast foods again. Best of all, they’re super healthy, with two different grains and no oil or butter!

 Here’s the recipe:

Maple Sausage Pancake Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 cups buttermilk (or 3 cups milk w/ 3 tablespoons vinegar, let sit for 5 min. to curdle)

2 large eggs, beaten

1 and 1/2 tsp maple extract

**Prepare and set aside: one 12-ounce roll of sausage (flavored according to your preference) and cook it in patties, or crumbled, or half of both styles.

Combine flours, salt, soda, and brown sugar. Whisk egg and maple extract in the buttermilk, then add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened–batter will be slightly lumpy.

dscn1178For mini-muffins, fold the  pre-cooked, crumbled sausage into the batter until combined.

 

 

 

 

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Spray mini-muffin tins with canola oil cooking spray. Drop batter into the pan using a mini cookie scoop.

 Bake at 400 for 8 minutes (mini muffins) or 18 minutes (regular-sized)

 

 

 

dscn1181Before removing muffins from the pan, trace around their edges with a toothpick to loosen them without tearing or shredding.

Store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

 

 dscn1177For regular-sized muffins, spray muffin pan with canola oil cooking spray. Drop one ice cream scooper full of batter into tin, add sausage patty, then top with a second scoop of batter.

When I bake these muffins, I usually divide the sausage roll in half; I make one half into patties, the other into crumbled sausage. Then I divide the batter in half and make big muffins for the older kids, minis for the little tykes.

These muffins freeze well, too, so you can double up, make a bunch, and freeze them for quick breakfasts! Just grab ’em, nuke ’em, and kids can pop them into their mouths for a quick and tasty sausage and pancake breakfast on the run! Who needs fast food when you’ve got tasty, healthy, and cost-effective meals like this??

Chocolate Zucchini Muffin Tarts

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This Valentine’s Day, I resolved to help the environment by NOT buying those little paper Valentines for my children to distribute amongst their classmates. You know–the ones that they all pass around at school, after which the kids just rip them open, pull out the candy inside, and toss the card.

Tonight, instead, we all made Chocolate Zucchini Muffin Tarts and frosted them for the girls to take to school and give them out to their friends. Sure, they’re frosted, but they were made in mini-muffin pans, so kids will only get one small mouthful of sugar–sure beats the other junk they’re getting elsewhere! 🙂

Here is the recipe (thanks to Ice Cream for giving this to me!)dscn1165

6 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder

3 eggs

2 C. sugar

1/2 C. canola oil

1/2 c. apple sauce

2 C. Grated Zucchini (grated small, then squeezed in paper towels to remove excess water)
MIX ALL TOGETHER, then add:

2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
***Mix quickly and drop into cooking spray-coated mini muffin tins and bake for eight to twelve minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

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These chocolate zucchini muffins are very healthy, but as I mentioned above, we desecrated their healthiness with a little Valentine’s Day makeover!

 

Tuna Melt Muffins (Whole Grain)

dscn1159My husband and kids love tuna melts, but they are impossible to pack in their lunch boxes for work and school because they get all soggy and lose their toasty texture.

My solution: I created these healthy, whole grain TUNA MELT MUFFINS!  These taste great, they don’t get soggy, and my kids actually ate them–they’re so picky, that these muffins must be good! 🙂 I pack them in my husband’s lunch cooler, and he can microwave them until they are melty, but the muffin base stays nice and crisp!

Here’s the recipe:

WHOLE GRAIN TUNA MELT MUFFINSdscn1161

2 cups whole wheat or seven-grain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 beaten egg

1 cup cold milk (or water)

1/4 cup canola oil

Mix ingredients by hand until just combined (will still be lumpy). Fill 12 muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

dscn1158TUNA FILLING:

1 can tuna, drained

4 ounces Neufchatel cheese*

Combine tuna and cheese; place a spoon full of tuna mix into center of each muffin cup before baking.

Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with shredded cheese, then bake another five minutes until done. Store in refrigerator if not eaten within the hour.dscn1160They taste great with a slice of pickle or tomato on top!

*Can also use cream cheese, but do NOT use mayo, because it will liquefy during baking.