Monday, December 27, 2010

Cranberry Spice Muffins

For a festive breakfast while my step-daughter was visiting, I customized a basic muffin recipe with flavors of the season.  Served alongside cheesy scrambled eggs and thick-cut bacon, they were a great way to start the day!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spritz a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and apple pie spice in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork.
  • Stir in milk and oil.
  • Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture.
  • Stir until moistened but do not beat.  Batter will be lumpy.
  • Fold in dried cranberries.
  • Pour into muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Eggnog Pie

This rich pie is a wonderful addition to the holiday dessert table.

  • 1 tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • Reddi-Wip and dark chocolate chips for garnish


  • Spritz a torte pan with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Press cookie dough into pan evenly and bake according to package instructions.  Let cool completely.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt white chocolate chips into eggnog, blending thoroughly.
  • Let mixture cool slightly.
  • Fold in Cool Whip until fully incorporated.
  • Pour mixture into cooled cookie crust.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Top with Reddi-Wip rosettes and chocolate chips immediately before serving.

Funky Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Chocolate-dipped pretzels are yummy and easy to make.  I wanted to kick things up a notch by giving them some funky flavors.  So, for a Christmas party, I created Whiskey Praline Pretzels, White Chocolate Chili Mango Pretzels and Chocolate-covered Sunflower Seed Pretzels.  They were all really good, and it was fun to watch people try out the unexpected combinations.


  • Pretzel rods
  • Light chocolate candy melts
  • Dark chocolate candy melts
  • White chocolate candy melts
  • Dried chili mangoes, chopped into small pieces
  • Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
  • Jack Daniels pralines, broken into small pieces


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt candy melts according to package instructions.
  • Dip pretzel rods into melted chocolate, tapping off excess back into the bowl.
  • Drop mango pieces or pralines or sunflower seeds onto pretzels.
  • Drizzle with alternate flavor of candy melt if desired.
  • Place in freezer for 10 minutes or until hardened.

You can also make candy bark by blending candy melts and toppings in a thin sheet, freezing it and then breaking it up into chunks. The Whiskey Praline Chocolate Bark, pictured above, was especially tasty!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cream of Rice with Mixed Fruit, Goat Cheese & Toasted Pine Nuts

I am a huge fan of Amy's frozen foods.  They are super healthy convenience foods.  I especially enjoy their breakfast cereal bowls: the cream of rice and the multi grain bowl.  I got thinking these bowls would be a great base for a savory side dish.  This dish isn't quite as savory as I thought it'd be; it'd still be a great choice for the morning meal.  But, it's a good start - and I think it'd be fantastic with a Quorn cutlet for dinner.


  • 1 package Amy's Organic Cream of Rice Bowl
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/8 cup dried mixed fruit, unsweetened, chopped
  • 1 ounce of goat cheese, crumbled


  • Warm cream of rice bowl in microwave according to package instructions.
  • Mix in dried fruit, goat cheese and toasted pine nuts until well blended.
  • Top with crumbled goat cheese and few pine nuts before serving.

Makes 1 serving

Nutrition Stats: Calories 395, Fat 17.5g, Fiber 6g, Protein 8.5g

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spicy Salmon & Corn Flatbread Pizza

I had an odd craving for salmon salad, but I wanted something hot.  So I decided to turn the salad into a pizza topping and see what happened.  It was good... and surprisingly spicy because of the salsa.  I had no idea how much kick that salsa had!  I don't normally like spicy stuff, but this was tasty.  The cheese wedges gave the topping a nice creaminess, and the flatbread was pleasingly crisp because I kept it in the oven while it was preheating.

The only thing I'd do differently next time is to use shredded mozzarella, rather than the string cheese I had in the house.  The string cheese didn't melt as well as I'd hoped, so shredded is the way to go.


  • 1 Flatout Healthy Grain Flatbread
  • 1 packet Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light French Onion spreadable cheese wedges
  • 6 tablespoons World Table Sweet Corn Salsa
  • 1 Frigo Light String Cheese 


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • While oven is preheating, spritz a pizza pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
  • Place flatbread on pizza pan and spritz with olive oil spray.
  • Place pan with flatbread in the oven as it preheats.
  • While the oven is preheating, use a fork to mix together cheese wedges and salsa, blending well.
  • Mix in salmon and blend thoroughly.
  • When the oven is done preheating, remove the pan with the flatbread and flip the flatbread over.
  • Evenly distribute salmon mixture on the flatbread.
  • Pull string cheese into strings and criss-cross on top of the salmon mixture.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.

Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition Stats: 345 calories, 34g protein, 10g fat, 11g fiber

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Double Chocolate Cookies

It's been unusually cold here in Vegas, and I've been craving something chocolaty that's warm from the oven.  I  had a scant 1/4 cup of flour remaining in the house and didn't feel like braving the chill to get more.  So, I turned to the always-handy Internet and found a flourless cookie recipe that would make use of the cocoa and unsweetened chocolate I had on hand.

This super simple recipe uses only 5 ingredients and whips up in minutes.  As a bonus, these cookies are gluten- and dairy-free.

These are quirky treats, crispy on the outside and fudgy on the inside.  Despite being made with a full box of confectioners sugar, they are not overly sweet.  In fact, they would be delicious with a small scoop of premium vanilla ice cream.


  • 1 pound confectioners (powdered) sugar (approximately 3 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large egg whites


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt.
  • Stir in chopped chocolate.
  • Stir in egg whites until just blended.  Be sure not to overmix.
  • Drop by tablespoon-fulls on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving room between cookies.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookie tops are dry and crackled.
Makes about 16 large cookies.

This recipe is adapted from the Bitten Word's Flourless Double-Chocolate Cookies recipe.