Eating Cheap and Healthy: Grammy B's Yummy Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup (the miracle soup) 
Tomato Salad
Whole-Wheat Hand-held Strawberry Pies
Apple-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Blackberry Wine Ice
Banana Chocolate Bread
Cauliflower-Potato Soup ("leftover" soup)

from my friend Brenda.
and they are true to their name -- yummy!

2 cups flour (any mixture) (whole wheat, or ½ WW, ½ white)
¾ c sugar (or honey) or agave
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
¾ - 1 c milk
½ cup canola oil
½ cup applesauce
1 T baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 4 T cinnamon
½ c soy protein (optional)
½ cup millet or oats or ground flax seeds
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
chopped walnuts or your favorite nut (optional)

Beat together eggs, milk and if using liquid sugar (all wet ingredients) in a separate bowl.

Mix together dry ingredients in a bigger bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Add blueberries, walnuts. Stir just until all dry is coated with wet. Add more milk if too dry.

I use the big muffin tin. Bake 20-25 mins at 375 degrees.

As you can tell from the ingredient options, there are many variations on this theme. Have fun playing with your favorites. The basic mission is to get the dry ingredients wet enough with the milk. The applesauce adds flavor, sugar, and moisture.

Experiment with flours such as quinoa, oat, coconut, and gluten-free flours.

(Brenda tells me she often uses less sugar than called for above with success.)

December 10, 2011

Quinoa Turkey Chili
from the December '11/January '12 Issue of
Healthy Cooking Magazine

 Hearty and Delicious -- and I cut four corn tortillas into quarters, placed them on a lightly greased (or Spam) cookie sheet to bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. (Watch carefully so they don't burn, and don't place them too close to the heat source.) 
Those crispy chips served as my side instead of cornbread.
(I also added a little more water to the chili to make it less thick.)


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Editor's Note: Look for quinoa in the cereal, rice or organic food aisle.


  • In a large saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from the heat; fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook the turkey, onion, red pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon; cook 2 minutes longer.
  • Add the black beans, tomatoes, zucchini, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, pepper and remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in corn and quinoa; heat through. Discard bay leaf; stir in cilantro. Yield: 9 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 264 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 514 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 15 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 lean meat, 2 vegetable.
Originally published as Quinoa Turkey Chili in Healthy Cooking December/January 2012, p47.

My CHANGES: I used three medium roasted green chiles instead of the chipolte. I also had some oven-roasted turkey, so I did my own grinding by using my food processor. I also used one can of corn, because that's what I had. 

December 7, 2011

I have been on a pumpkin binge this November. 
Here are some tried favorites:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
My husband just remarked to me, "You sure do like pumpkin." How could I -- you -- not? 

They're not only in season at the moment -- and delicious, but they're also good for you. They're a good source of Vitamin E, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6 . . . for a complete nutritional analysis, go here.

Every week I line my counter and table tops with a few nicely selected -- from the local farmer's market -- pie pumpkins, as seen above. Those are the ones you want if you're baking. They're smaller than those you carve. These weigh in at about 3 pounds each.

First step to making my own roasted seeds and pumpkin puree:  I slice the pumpkin in halves. And I remove the stringy pulp and seeds, which I place into a colander for rinsing. I then drain and place the seeds only in a bowl to dry out over night. I then place each half of the pumpkin on a greased cookie sheet to cook in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes -- or until I can insert a fork in the skin. After the pulp is done, I let it cool, puree in a blender or food processor and then store in the fridge for recipes that I plan to prepare in the next day or so.

The next day, I take out a frying pan. (I have better luck roasting these seeds on my burners as opposed to inside the oven.) I place a little butter -- Ghee, actually; about 1 tbsp. -- into the pan to melt. Then I spread out my seeds, covering the pan -- as you see in the image above. I stir them a bit and add some spices. I like a little cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cracked pepper, a dash of Kosher salt and, because I have it, I drizzle a little pumpkin oil over it all. And stir. I cook this on low to low-medium, stirring frequently. About 15-20 minutes. Then I taste. If the seed is edible, then they're ready to pour into a plate for cooling. I store in the fridge and use them for salads mostly. Sometimes I snack on them, as I'm doing now. 

Pumpkin seeds have tremendous health benefits. Go here for the scoop on them. (Watch out, they are a bit caloric, like nuts.)
  • Research studies suggest that pumpkin seeds have DHEA (Di hydro epi-androstenedione) blocking actions. This may be helpful in preventing prostate and ovarian cancers.
  • In addition, experimental studies suggest that certain phytochemical compounds in pumpkin seed oil may have role in prevention of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).

    I just prepared this soup -- with some health-intent changes. While the recipe sounded so wonderful, as Boho Farm had intended it, I couldn't in good faith do all the butter, creams and cheese. So, I pulled back some. And the good news is that I think it's delicious. Perhaps not as rich but still quite tasty.

    First off, I decided to make about a third of the recipe. So, I used about two cups fresh pumpkin, 1/2 cup fat-free half and half, two cups stock, 1 tbsp butter (actually Ghee), 1 cup-equivalent (perhaps a little more) of the cheese.
    photo from Boho Farm and Home

     My soup -- Boho's does look a little richer.

    In the meantime, if you want to indulge:

    1 6lb pumpkin
    1/2 cup butter
    1 large yellow onion
    6 cups chicken stock
    1 1/2 cup creams
    1 bay leaf
    2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    2 tablespoons orange zest
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ginger
    1 lb Gruyère
    salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons chives


    Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all the strings and seeds.  Coarsely cut the flesh.
    In a large saucepan, melt butter and chopped onions and saute till golden brown.  Add stock,pumpkin and bay leaf, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer.  Take out bay leaf.

    In small batches, puree the soup in a food processor, return the puree to the pan and stir in cream, orange zest, lemon and orange juice, nutmeg and grated ginger.  Reserve a 1/4 cup of cheese and put the rest in the soup, stir over low heat till cheese melts.

    Season with salt and pepper, pour in bowls and garnish with cheese and chives.

    Serves 10 to 12

From Crepes of Wrath

OK. These are really tasty! I made them AFTER I posted the recipe on the main page of LWYL. I did a post announcing Country Living Magazine's first-ever blog awards and Crepes of Wrath was one of the winners. I saw this recipe on her blog and had to post and try it. If you want to read about the author of Crepes of Wrath and the other winners, just click here. Based on this recipe, she has my vote, too! Yum.
I will tell you ahead of time that I did not use all-purpose white, as she suggests. I used King Arthur's unbleached whole wheat-white flour mix. I sifted the flour that I then measured out, according to her instructions. I also used fat-free organic milk and rather than molasses, I used real organic maple syrup. (I didn't have molasses.) Still very tasty and light!
Total Prep and Baking Time: 45-60 minutes
, Yield: 8-10 biscuits
photo from Crepes of Wrath blog.

My biscuits are below.

They might not be as pretty as hers, but they tasted great.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 
1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon honey

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line and/or grease your baking sheets (I recommend using parchment paper) and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the cold cubed butter and mix together with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your stand mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, milk, molasses, and honey until well combined, then gradually add into the dry mixture with the butter until just moistened. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Dust your hands and rolling pin with flour, then roll out to about a 1-inch thickness. Cut out 2 1/2-inch circles of dough and place on your prepared baking sheets. Continue until you have no more dough.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until set and golden. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheets, then serve warm or at room temperature, preferably on a Thanksgiving dinner plate!

 Image from Eating Well Magazine

My pumpkin custard:

 Since I didn't have the cystallized ginger, I topped it with chopped pecans -- that I did have. Plus a little yogurt.
I haven't met a recipe that I didn't want to change -- even a little bit. This is no exception. My aim always is to make it healthier, less sugar, for sure . . . .  First off, I used fat-free organic milk. I also lessened the richness by using 4 egg whites and 1 egg -- not the 4 whole eggs, as dictated. Additionally, I used 1/2 cup real organic maple syrup rather than 3/4.  I didn't have the crystallized ginger, so I chopped up some pecans and added a small dollop of yogurt. I love this dessert.

1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whipped cream
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel.

2. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until barely steaming but not boiling.

3. Whisk eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don't cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended.

4. Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups. Skim foam from the surface. Place custard cups in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.

5. To serve, top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crystallized ginger.

Pumpkin Bars
from Taste of Home Guilt Free Cooking

These are my pumpkin bars above. There is a frosting recipe in the book, but I don't think they need that extra layer of sugar. Sorry . . . just not going to tempt you. They're moist and tasty. I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup (as opposed to the 1 cup) and added raisins and walnuts. (I use raw sugar; no refined version.) I also use an unbleached whole wheat-white flour blend. Lastly, I used fresh pumpkin puree as opposed to the canned.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and cloves. Add the egg, egg whites, pumpkin, oil and water. Mix well.

Transfer to an 11" x 7" x 2" baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick (or knife) inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool. Cut. 

 Oven Barbecued Asian Chicken
This was finger-licking good despite the fact that I didn't add the toasted sesame seeds -- an ingredient in the recipe. I would have done so but just didn't have them. Still good. In fact, here are my leftovers:

1 bunch scallions
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Asian hot sauce
1/4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
4 bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed)
4 bone-in chicken legs (skin removed)
11/2 tsp. sesame seeds (toasted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Thinly slice 1/4 cup scallion greens; set aside.
Mince the whites. Whisk the scallion whites, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, hot sauce and five-spice in large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Arrange chicken in baking dish with meatier side down. Pour any remaining sauce over chicken.

Bake, turning once halfway so meatier side is up. Cook about one hour or until meat registers 165 degrees on an Instant-Read Thermometer.

Per serving: 361 calories, 16 g fat, 144 mg chol, 11g carb, 4g added sugar, 1g fiber, 
42 g protein, 547mg sodium.

The Secret to Great Scrambled Eggs
  I ran across some terrific advice from editors Bon Appétit magazine, which I'm sharing with you below:

1. "Don't be wimpy with your eggs. Whisk well and be vigorous about it--you want to add air and volume for fluffy eggs. And whisk the eggs right before adding to pan; don't whisk and let mixture sit (it deflates)." --Kay Chun, Deputy Food Editor

2. "Don't add milk, cream, or water to the eggs. People think it will keep the eggs creamy while cooking, but in fact, the eggs and added liquid will separate during the cooking process creating wet, overcooked eggs. Stir in some creme fraiche after the eggs are off the heat if you want them creamy." --Mary-Frances Heck, Associate Food Editor

3. "Don't use high heat. It's all about patience to achieve the soft curd. Whether you want small curd (stirring often) or large curd (stirring less), you need to scramble eggs over medium-low heat, pulling the pan off the heat if it gets too hot, until they set to desired doneness." --Hunter Lewis, Food Editor

The magazine also offers some great suggestions on how to jazz up those morning eggs.
Go here to get to the magazine site.

Here's my wakeup call:

My egg white florentine omelet topped with chopped tomatoes and goat cheese:

I like using a small omelet pan so I can turn it easily.

My ingredients:
Spinach and a tomato, both chopped.
Two egg whites and a spoonful of goat cheese,crumbled.
Confession: Up until reading the editors' tips above, I did pour in about a tablespoon of water for every egg used... Guess I will not be doing that agaiN. And I let it sit, which I won't do again. They say by doing the opposite, the eggs will be fluffier. And that sounds good to me.

I poured the egg white into a heated pan and then topped with the spinach, tomatoes and cheese in that order. Cooked a couple of minutes with lid shut and then turned it over for a couple minutes. Then back to serve. It slides right onto the plate.

Blogger "ate" the remaining recipes.
I will be re-posting.  sorry 'bout that. 

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