Mini Glazed Lemon Muffins

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As some readers may know, I am once again training for the Boston Marathon. Today was the daunting, surreal 20 mile training run. And I survived. I owe my success to this beautiful Cara Cara orange that I ate the other day. Just kidding– but it was a particularly good piece of fruit.

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Knowing that a) I had lemons in my kitchen and b) I would want to scarf down carbohydrates after the long run, I made these Mini Glazed Lemon Muffins.

Aren’t they just the cutest things? Bite-sized joy.

Although the batter was a bit thick, more like a dough, I was pleased that they turned out almost scone-like. Finished off with a tangy lemon glaze, these would be perfect for an Easter brunch. Or, after a long run…

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Mini Glazed Lemon Muffins

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 24 mini-muffins

For muffins:

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

Zest from one lemon

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice [or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice]

For glaze:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Lemon juice from 1 lemon (3-4 tbs)

Milk [optional]

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease mini-muffin tin with butter.

In a large bowl, beat milk, oil, sugar, lemon, and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Do not over-mix. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

While baking, make the glaze by combining the sugar and juice in a bowl. Gradually add milk to thin the glaze, if needed. Let muffins cool, then drizzle glaze over muffins.

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Nicaragua

I spent last week in beautiful Nicaragua.

I witnessed mind-blowing sunsets every night,

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ate my weight in rice, beans and the occasional scrambled eggs,

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felt like an ant on the widest beach I have ever seen,

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ate fresh fish tacos,

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took a catamaran trip to an untouched beach, returning to town just as the sun was setting,

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rode a horse through the mountains, ending the trek with a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola at the ranch,

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saw rugged coastline upon rugged coastline,

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lived the hard life,

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and of course, ate some more tacos.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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These remind me of the oatmeal raisin cookies I used to eat in my elementary school’s cafeteria. Except that these White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are so much better. There is still the spice and chew that was so familiar in the grade school version, but now there’s a hint of maple, tang from the dried cherries, and a healthy amount of sweet white chocolate. A childhood favorite, totally revamped.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

3/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a separate, larger bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and maple syrup. Beat until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just mixed. Fold in oatmeal, cherries, and white chocolate. 

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto lined sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges look golden. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to cookie rack. Image

Healthy Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

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I am a smoothie fiend. I have an arsenal of frozen bananas and yogurt in my kitchen at all times. I particularly like smoothies that kill two birds with one stone. Like this Green Peanut Butter Smoothie which boasts two heaping cups of spinach. Huzzah for vegetable consumption.

Along with the spinach, the protein from almond milk, plain Greek Yogurt, and peanut butter will keep you full for hours. This is a perfect breakfast smoothie or post-workout snack. You can change it up, as I normally do, replacing unsweetened almond milk with skim milk, or Greek yogurt with regular yogurt.

As far as the peanut butter goes, I’m all for it, except that I have no self control. PB2 is a great, lower calorie and lower fat alternative to regular peanut butter. A jar full of the dehydrated peanut butter is pricey, yet it works incredibly well in smoothies. I am in no way endorsed by PB2, and I will be the first to admit that I do not like it plain, however it gives this smoothie the familiar taste of peanut butter without weighing it down.

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Makes one tall glass

1 frozen banana

2 cups baby spinach

6 oz. yogurt [plain or vanilla]

1/2 cup milk or almond milk

1-2 tbs. peanut butter or PB2

Blend all ingredients together, adding ice if needed.

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Chocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt

ImageSwoon. 

That’s what I tried to make my boyfriend do by giving him this Chocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt for Valentine’s Day. I used roasted pistachios and semi-sweet chocolate, though ideally I would have used raw, unsalted pistachios and excellent-quality dark chocolate. Alas, I go to college in upstate New York and this is what was available. 

So, go on. Make this. I swear to you that you, too, will be swooning.

ImageChocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt

16 oz. chocolate [preferably good-quality and dark]

1/2 cup shelled pistachios

1/2 tsp sea salt

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt chocolate in microwave at 30 second bursts until melted. Pour chocolate onto cookie sheet, using a spatula to smooth into an even layer. Scatter pistachios and sea salt on chocolate. Chill in fridge until set, about 30 minutes. Break bark into pieces.

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Sunday Morning Blueberry Banana Muffins

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I am home for the weekend. It is snowing. I was hungry.

Solution? These Banana Blueberry Muffins with a Demerara sugar crunch topping. A one-bowl, dangerously good muffin, perfect for a last minute brunch or snow-day treat.

Adapted from Serious Eats, I used dark brown sugar for a deeper molasses flavor and added a half teaspoon of vanilla extract because…uh…everything is better with vanilla. I also sprinkled these muffins with a hefty topping of a Demerara sugar and cinnamon mixture. And unlike the original recipe’s yield of a dozen muffins, my batch perfectly made sixteen muffins.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Adapted from Serious Eats

Makes 16 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. 

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add eggs to mixture, then sugar–beat well to combine. Stir in vanilla, bananas, and oil. Gently fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into greased muffin tin, filling cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Golden Grahams S’mores Bites

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, in case you forgot. And if you did forget: rest assured. These Golden Grahams S’mores Bites are an easy treat to whip up. I made these back for the Superbowl and they were gone by halftime. What’s not to love about a gooey cereal bar filled with summer’s bounty, i.e. S’mores?

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Golden Grahams S’mores Bites

Adapted from Serious Eats

4 tbs unsalted butter

10 oz. bag mini marshmallows

6 cups Golden Grahams cereal

1-1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips [I used Ghiradelli]

Grease a pan of your preferred size. 

In microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave until melted. Add marshmallows and stir. Microwave this mixture for one minute, or however long it takes for the marshmallows to melt. Stir to combine. 

While microwaving butter and marshmallows, place cereal and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Pour the microwaved mixture into the cereal and chocolate. Stir. Place cereal mix in greased pan. Press firmly with spatula. Let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, or 

in the refrigerator, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

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Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

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 Unexpected flavors, with the crunch of Nilla wafers, and the added sweetness of white chocolate pieces, these Banana Cream Pudding Cookies took me by surprise– in the best way possible.

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With the help of pudding mix, the cookies stay moist in the center, while still being sturdy. You could try using any type of chocolate chip in these cookies, and if Nilla wafers are not your thing, they can easily be omitted.

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Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, unsalted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 pkg. banana cream instant pudding (3.4 oz)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chopped wafers

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in pudding, eggs, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add this dry mix to the wet mix. Stir until incorporated. Fold in chopped wafers and chocolate chips. 

Drop by the tablespoonful onto sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

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