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Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake

There is no such thing as having too many coffee cake recipes.  That’s like having too much cheese, or too many raw sugar packets, or too many pairs of shoes.

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake

Honestly, I have one coffee cake recipe (a cinnamon-streusel one) that is the best in the world, and my go-to under any and all circumstances.  And I’m just now realizing that I’ve never posted it.  So…that will need remedied.  But in the meantime, this one—if you like the combo of espresso and chocolate—is definitely a keeper.

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake slice

The sour cream gives this a lovely moistness and a dense but somehow light crumb.  Everyone at work totally raved about the taste and the texture, so you could probably switch up the toppings if the chocolate/espresso flavor combo isn’t for you.

espresso chocolate coffee cake ready to bake closeup

The original recipe (link at the bottom) calls for you to split the topping and batter, and have a layer of topping in the middle.  Since I was using a big springform pan I definitely didn’t have enough batter or topping to make this work, but if you go the bundt or tube pan route, you may want to give this a try.  Either way, the melted chocolate, deep espresso notes, and little spikes of cinnamon make this worth getting up in the morning. [Read more…]

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Whole-Grain Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Yeah, I went on something of a muffin-baking bender a couple months back. In a couple of weeks I made these double chocolate banana muffins and these healthy apple muffins with cinnamon-sugar topping, and somehow these guys fell off the radar.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Yeah, you’ll notice that there are two whole wheat, apple-y, cinnamon-y muffin recipes.

Funny story…

caramel glazed apple bread apples sliced

I made the first recipe for work, the one with the crunchy topping. It got rave reviews, but the pictures I took were terrible so I knew I’d need to make it again to get better shots.

So I pulled the ingredients together, started stirring everything together, and was like, “Wow, I must have been really out it when I made this the first time, because I don’t remember some of these steps!”.  Then I got the batter together and started to spoon it into the muffin tins, and was worried about how much more liquidy it was than the last time I made it.

Some of you can see where this is going…

healthy apple cinnamon streusel muffins batter tins 2

Yeah, not the same recipe.

So this is the second recipe, the one I made on accident. I loved the streusel topping, and the muffins were SO moist. Definitely recommend this one! [Read more…]

Persimmon Muffins with Lemon & Cardamom

I went on a roll this fall of trying new fruits and veggies that I’d never had before.  I tried acorn squash for the first time (definitely delish!), and then that same week saw these weird little orange tomato-like things in my grocery store and just had to grab one. Turns out it was a persimmon, specifically of the fuyu variety.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffin

So the next logical question was what to make. I browsed a ton of recipes, but most were salads, and I definitely didn’t want to go that route (boring). Then I found this somewhat odd-sounding muffin recipe and had to give it a try.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffins

I “healthied it up” by using half whole wheat flour and cutting down on the sugar just a little. The persimmons gave it a lovely sweetness, with the lemon giving it a tart complement. The overall texture of the muffins was pretty light but still hearty, due to the whole wheat flour. And, like most muffin recipes, they came together in a flash.

Persimmon Lemon Cardamom Muffins with Blackberry Honey

I ate one fresh out of the oven with blackberry honey from Croatia, and then took them to work for my breakfast for the next few days (with honey from New Zealand…I definitely have a honey souvenir addiction!). This is such an easy and versatile recipe that you could swap out the persimmons for many other fruits, and even swap in a different citrus zest to mix things up (orange would have been lovely here as well). [Read more…]

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This one’s for you banana bread lovers out there…

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

…of which I am not one. It’s one of my shameful foodie secrets. I’ve tried loving banana bread, I really have. And I don’t hate it. I just don’t LOVE it.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread baked

So when I saw this recipe that includes cinnamon and chocolate chips (two of my favorite things!), I thought that this would be the open door into me loving all banana baked goods…muffins, breads, and cake, oh my! (well, actually I love banana cake, so that doesn’t really count)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread piece2

Overall this bread had awesome texture and flavor, and the whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat) made it dense (read: hearty and filling) without being heavy. The cinnamon almost made it a touch too intense—in some ways, I felt like the recipe would be better with EITHER the chocolate chips or cinnamon—but both worked really well with the banana. So while it didn’t change my mind, it IS probably the best banana bread I’ve had. [Read more…]

Pleasing the masses (Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chicken)

If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a “chicken so easy I don’t actually have to do anything” kick for the past month or so. That’s mostly because I’ve been cooking for other people more often lately—when it’s just me, I am way too lazy to deal with raw meat. But this influx of company has been great for getting me to try a few of the most popular chicken recipes on Pinterest and see if they’re really as easy as they claim to be.

Spoiler: they are. First it was the garlic brown sugar chicken (which was phenomenal), then the white wine lemon chicken, which I made again last Friday night when my family was in town and it turned out even better than the first time.

So last Sunday, when I was going to be cooking another big meal, I looked at a few of my entree pins on Pinterest and picked this one out. It took ingredients I already had on hand, and it looked really easy so that I could concentrate on the new lemon ricotta cheesecake and lemon asparagus goat cheese pasta recipes I was trying out the same night. Yeeeeahh…sometimes I get a little overambitious on trying new recipes all at once…

Anyway, long story short, this turned out awesome and everyone raved about it. It also made my ravenous post-run self a great dinner of leftovers on Monday night.

[Read more…]

Healthy smoothie variation (Pear, Kale, & Mango Smoothie)

I posted an awesome pineapple spinach smoothie I’d been trying out for breakfast every day a couple weeks ago. On a few of the smoothie websites I’d read that you should mix it up, not just always do the same fruits and veggies, to get the most out of the nutrients. So I switched up a few of the ingredients for the past week.  Just as good, though I think I prefer the spinach one from a texture standpoint.

What I’ve been doing is making this in the morning, drinking part of it on my way to work, then putting it in the fridge while I have my normal coffee and such. Then I pull it out of the fridge around 10:30 and have breakfast part deux.

[Read more…]

It’s actually way better than it sounds… (Spinach Pineapple Smoothie)

I’ve been feeling the need to detox a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing any of that crazy stuff like drinking only lemon juice and cayenne pepper or anything. It’s just that between the long work hours, lack of sleep, some weekend trips, and general meh-ness, I’ve been feeling pretty blah lately. I was browsing Pinterest for recipes and found a bunch of different smoothies, which just struck my fancy for some reason. This one in particular jumped out at me, which is weird because I’ve never had a green smoothie. And I know the spinach makes it looks so weird, but it’s actually really good. The pineapple and banana are plenty sweet and you don’t taste the spinach at all. So I’ve been drinking it every day for over a week, and am loving it.

And now for the good news:

When blended really well, the combination of low calorie foods mixed with fiber and antioxidant-rich ingredients means your body doesn’t need to work as much because the food is already broken down. This allows key nutrients to flood the body better than if the food were eaten whole and separately.  Additionally, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins A and K, as well as iron, folate, calcium, and lutein. The pineapple is a vitamin C star, which helps the body absorb the iron in the spinach—which for someone like me who is always low on iron & vitamin C, it’s a 1-2 punch of awesome. Sign me up!

[Read more…]

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