Protein Packed Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Protein Packed Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Kodiak cake mix (or flour of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2c (15oz can) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Kodiak mix, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, honey, greek yogurt, eggs, and coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry until combined.
  5. Transfer the batter to either cupcake liners or a non stick loaf pan.
  6. Bake 30 minutes for muffins or mini loaves and 45-50 minutes if you use a full loaf pan.
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/pumpkin-muffins/

Well, I found my favorite recipe for pumpkin muffins. They were good enough that after a maybe 2-year hiatus of writing blog posts I wrote one up because I know you’ll all be asking for the recipe. I’ll get one up for my famous egg bake soon. I made these muffins often and keep them in the freezer but now that I tweaked the recipe I’ll be making them even more!

If you want to spend $7 for a tiny container of pumpkin spice at the store go for it. You can save a few bucks by making your own so I’ll share the recipe I use. I usually double the recipe and keep it in a mason jar so I always have some on hand:

3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tsp ground allspice
1.5 tsp ground cloves

What’s your preference- muffin or loaf? There’s something I love about cutting a fresh, hot slice and letting a hunk of butter melt over it. What spice blends do you make on your own?

Thai Peanut Dressing and Chicken Marinade

thai peanut dressingFirst- props and thank yous to my sister who got me a beautiful collection of dishes so my food picture don’t look so ugly.

Let’s just get right to it. My friend made me a phenomenal Thai chicken salad with homemade Thai Peanut dressing last week. I love anything with ginger, soy, or peanut butter in it so I immediately asked her for the dressing recipe. Now I have it and so do you.

Thai Peanut Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbps Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp honey (not necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly Grated Ginger (or jarred works too!)
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Instructions

  1. Add a splash of sriracha if all the eaters are up for spicy)
  2. I always add cilantro and chopped red and green onions for flavor in the salad, but those can also be mixed into the dressing if you are using it right away
  3. You can sub a different vinegar but mine was made with rice vinegar
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/thai-peanut-dressing-and-chicken-marinade/

The salad itself included chopped greens & cilantro, edamame, yellow bell pepper, green onion, shredded carrots, shredded purple cabbage, radishes, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, and marinated chicken.

…as for the chicken marinade:

  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger 
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Sriracha red pepper flakes to taste
  •  1 Tbsp of Rice vinegar or lime juice

What’s your favorite homemade dressing recipe?

Homemade protein pancakes

protein pancakesWe have breakfast for dinner at least twice each week. We just love it so much! I don’t think you’ll ever see a “What we ate” series without breakfast showing up multiple times. We always have eggs (we go through around 20 dozen each month!) and then change it up between homemade hash browns or homemade protein pancakes. It’s one of our favorite meals and I think Nora’s #1 favorite meal.

blueberry pancakes

I initially found this recipe from La Creme de la Crumb an have since tweaked it to result in our favorite protein pancake recipe. Here it is!

Homemade protein pancakes

Yield: 12

Serving Size: 3-4" pancakes

110

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 scoops Naked Whey protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 cups water or almond milk
  • Blueberries or preferred topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat griddle to just above medium heat
  2. Mix dry ingredients
  3. Mix wet ingredients
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk until all ingredients are combined; don't overmix
  5. Pour a 3" circle of batter and let it spread out. This is when you add blueberries (or chocolate chips)
  6. Flip pancakes after 2-3 minutes or when edges start to look dry and bubbles start to form
  7. Top with REAL peanut butter and a wee bit of REAL maple syrup

Notes

4g fat, 12g carbs, 6g protein

http://www.budgetforhealth.com/homemade-protein-pancakes/

This is how we enjoy our pancakes. Feel free to swap things out. For example, sometimes I put walnuts in the pancakes instead of peanut butter on top. I like using almond milk because it add an extra calcium boost but I don’t always have it on hand. I also use a gluten free flour I found at Costco, Namaste, and you would never know (Dave is probably learning these pancakes are gluten free as he reads this article). The batch makes twelve 3-4″ pancakes and we always put chocolate chips on 2 of them (one for me, one for Dave) while the rest get blueberries and cinnamon. Two pancakes would bring you to a max for the amount of carbs you typically want at a meal so be careful with the syrup. There’s only 4g of fat and 6g of protein per pancake so this is where the peanut butter topping and eggs on the side come in for the win and provide a balanced meal.

What are you favorite breakfast foods? What toppings do you put on your pancakes?

How to make homemade hash browns

Homemade HashbrownsHomemade hash browns. Need I say more? We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week so we’ve had a lot of practice as we sought to find the perfect method to make perfect hash browns that are crispy on the outside yet soft inside. You can shred or dice your potatoes but we prefer wedges.

If you want a crispy outside you can’t skimp on the butter. Butter is a healthy saturated fat (though I recommend buying a high quality butter since hormones and antibiotics given to conventionally-raised animals is stored in the fat). If you’re following my balanced eating approach, butter certainly has a welcomed place at the table when you’re choosing a protein, fat, and carb for your meals and snacks.

Let’s get right to the recipe:

How to make homemade hash browns

Ingredients

  • 5 medium russet or redskin potatoes
  • 3-4 Tbsp butter (cut into 1 Tbsp portions)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Wash & pat potatoes dry
  2. Cut potatoes in half (hot dog style) then into wedges
  3. Steam potatoes in microwave ~5 minutes or until cooked 80% of the way through
  4. Add butter to wide, shallow frying pan and turn heat on high
  5. Place potato wedges in hot pan in a single layer.
  6. Flip after 2-3 minutes when the skin is crispy and gold.
  7. Add salt, pepper, and other desired seasoning after flipping.
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/how-to-make-homemade-hash-browns/

My 3 favorite homemade spice blends

I have a stash of herbs and spices that I use just about every day. I keep them on a spice rack that came with a set and the rest are in a rectangle shower caddy in my cupboard. I never knew how to cook with herbs or spices before I was married. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I lived in the dorms for 4 years as an RA/mentor and never had to cook for myself! I’ve gathered some delicious go-to recipes over the years and many of them include using herbs and spices to add flavor.

Making your own blends is cheaper than buying from the store since you have to do the work yourself but it’s really an easy process. All you need are some measuring spoons and a mason jar or empty spice containers. I usually make a big batch that will last me a few uses so I don’t have to make the spice blend every time I need it. I’ll share my 3 favorite homemade spice blends and their recipes.

Poultry Seasoning
I’ve become a big fan of making a whole chicken in the crockpot ever since I tried it this summer and learned how easy it was to do! The recipe called for poultry seasoning and I didn’t have any on hand so with a quick google search I found a recipe from Peace, Love, and Low Carb that has been my go-to for chicken recipes.

photo credit: Rachel Schultz
photo credit: Rachel Schultz

Taco seasoning
I sure use this a lot. We make tacos a few times each month because it’s a quick and easy PFC dish. My college friend Rachel Schultz has an amazing blog and takes beautiful pictures of her recipes (not like my iPhone snapshots of a half-eaten plate of food). She kindly shared the recipe for her homemade taco seasoning here at Budget for Health. I usually multiply her recipe by 4 and store it in a mason jar. For every pound of meat I use 3 Tbsp taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. I stir it in to the cooked ground meat and let it simmer until some of the water has evaporated. I wrote this ratio on the lid of my mason jar because I’d forget how much to use every time.

Curry powder
I found this recipe when I was making one of my favorite dishes, coconut chicken curry stew. Side note: if you haven’t made this, you should. I’ve probably made it 20+ times in the past year because it’s my go to recipe for Meal Baby recipients and I always make an extra batch for us to enjoy or freeze for later use. It called for curry powder which I did not have on hand so I tried out a couple curry powders and stuck with this one. I use 2-3 tsp of the curry powder in a batch of the chicken curry stew. This recipe makes 5-6 tsp so you may want to double or triple your batch if you plan to use it often.

Mild Curry Powder

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Mix spices together and store in an airtight container
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/3-favorite-homemade-spice-blends/

What are your favorite spice blends?

Cookbook Ambassador: 100 days of Real Food

100 days of real food cookbook

Listen up, folks. Here’s a book you’re going to love.

I have the privilege of being a cookbook ambassador for Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food cookbook that was just released August 26th. She sent me a free signed copy and I get to tell you all about the book. I even get to share one of the recipes with you! How does a hearty veggie corn chowder sound? Mmmm smells like fall…

veggie corn chowder
Photo Credit: Carrie Vitt

I started following 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook over a year ago because we share a common desire to avoid processed foods and simply stick with real food. While reading the intro to her book I felt like she was sharing the story of my upbringing in terms of the types of food we ate (uh, melted cheese on Doritos… Kraft Mac n’ Cheese with cut up hot dogs… anyone else relate?) Lisa started making changes to her food choices after reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and embarked on a 100 day challenge to cut out highly processed and refined foods. This short-term experiment turned into a lifestyle and now she has a book to tell others about it!

Leake family at farmers market
Photo Credit: Kelly Trimble

Lisa does a great job of sharing tips and recipes for quick meals that are cost-conscious and made with wholesome ingredients. I appreciate that she focuses on the cost of food since many people think eating healthy means spending a ton of money. You know how much we love our budget so this cost-conscious concept is right up my alley. If you have kids then you’ll find plenty of real-food ideas for packing lunches; perfect timing for back to school season!

Enough talking though, let’s eat! Here’s your free preview of the veggie corn chowder recipe featured in 100 Days of Real Food.

Veggie Corn Chowder recipe

If you’d like to order a copy of 100 Days of Real Food you can find it on Amazon.

Check out the video below to learn more about the book.