Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pumpkin Chai Latte

Yummy note: I know it is a bit off season, but I really love pumpkin. In the morning, I like a nice tea or flavored coffee drink. Usually I go for the cold frothy coffee drinks, but lately, since it has been a bit cooler in the morning, I like a warm drink. Earlier this winter I picked up some pumpkin spice coffee and it was a bit more stronger for my taste, so I didn't drink it very much. So I wanted to try and use it up by mixing it with something to make it more tolerable! :) I thought the spiced coffee might mix up well with the Chai tea I like to drink, and make a nice mix. Hey, and it is like a double-dose of caffeine in the morning, right? haha. It's good for those busy days!  Tea and coffee mixed, at first I wasn't sure, but once I mixed it up, it was delicious!

Pumpkin Chai Latte

Ingredients: Equal parts of each below:
(about 1/3 - 1/2 cup, about 3oz)
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Chai Tea Mix

Garnish: Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasoning
Whipped Cream

Prepare pumpkin spice coffee as directed. Next, measure out equal parts of the Chai tea mix and milk in a small measuring bowl or large cup, stir and heat as directed on your Chai tea mix. After your Chai tea is warm, stir in the coffee.

Again, you are still using equal parts of each mix in your drink. Garnish with whipped cream and additional pumpkin pie spice seasoning and enjoy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

green almond pear smoothie

Yummy note: I can't believe I am doing a post about a "green smoothie." Seriously. I feel like I just stepped out of the Dr. Seuss book...  I really never thought about drinking or even making my own green smoothie before, it just seemed weird to me. I like my fruit smoothies..strawberry, banana, and orange, you know, nothing too crazy, and usually no vegetables in them. I knew I had to throw out any of my previous thoughts and keep an open mind to it and just try it. I mean I do it with my kids day in and day out, so I should take my own advice and just try it. So an open mind, and a few ingredients later, I had made this delicious smoothie from Get Healthy with Heather. Yes, I admit it, I liked it! and my husband did too! (and he isn't much of a spinach fan.) This green smoothie recipe would even make Popeye proud. This is exactly what the Secret Recipe Club is all about, trying new things you'd never think of and being introduced to some wonderful bloggers, like Heather. I've always heard about how awesome these "green" smoothies are for you though, but I could never get brave enough to take the plunge, until now. Get Healthy with Heather had so many amazing smoothie ideas on her site, you should check it out for your own inspiration. Besides recipes, Heather has some great home fitness and health posts to read up on, too. Go over and check out Heather's site, and give her some comment love and best wishes, as she will have her hands full very soon, as she is expecting a baby in just a few weeks!  Good luck, Heather! and now on to the feature, a Green Almond Pear Smoothie!

Green Almond Pear Smoothie 

a frozen pear (peeled, cored, chopped up and frozen ahead of time)
2 cups of baby spinach
1 1/2 tbsp of almond butter
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
handful of ice

The day before you'd like to make your smoothie, you will need to have some chopped up frozen pear pieces. So make sure you do this ahead of time or just keep some fruit pieces in the freezer for handy.

In a blender, combine all of the above ingredients. I actually threw mine into my Baby Bullet, basically a smaller version of the Magic Bullet, but cute. :)

Blend ingredients together for a few minutes, or until smooth. You may need to stop and stir it a few times, if needed, depending on the power of your blender. Once smoothed, Add a bit of ice at the end to achieve your desired smoothie consistency.

Go on.. Just try it. Don't be afraid of the green. Must drink with a cool looking straw, right? I learned this trick from Heather, as she has had some cool looking straws and glasses for her smoothies! :)
Yummy note: Look at the flecks of almonds from the almond butter here, it is one of the more pronounced flavors in this smoothie, so if you are not a big almond fan, make the switch with a different nut! I made one with creamy peanut butter instead, and it was equally delicious and creamy if you are not a fan of the texture. If you have any food allergies, like in my family, you can easily make swaps with the milk and the nut butters and be creative. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

yogurt blueberry muffins

Yummy note: Becky from Baking and Cooking, a Tale of Two Loves guest posted on Kim's site called the Farmers Wife.  I immediately fell in love with these blogs, for some reason, I got a nice welcome home cooked feeling from them, so that is why I had to try out this blueberry muffin for this month's challenge. A challenge you ask, it was from Tina at Mom's Crazy Cooking, where every month a group of bloggers get together and make the same exact thing.. well sort of with our own spins on it. So you'll see here a big ole list of blueberry muffin recipes to try out all in one spot! So what I loved most about this recipe, is that I could easily adapt it to our dairy allergies in the family.  I am seriously Kim's newest fan of her site, as I think I have pinned several recipes to try out already! With an easy soy yogurt substitute, it worked great! Just note, for those new to soy yogurt, not all soy yogurts are dairy-free, so check labels and tiny print very carefully.

Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Original recipe I used with dairy-free adaptions located here 


Muffin batter:
2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten Could use Egg Beaters
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. milk (I used soy milk)
1 (6 oz.) carton yogurt (I used strawberry soy yogurt)
1 c. fresh blueberries (Original said to use frozen, non-defrosted blueberries.)

Crumb topping:
1/3 cup sliced almonds
4 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon


Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix egg, oil, milk, and yogurt in another small bowl or large measuring cup. Pour into dry ingredients, stirring only enough to moisten.

Fold in blueberries. Yummy note: If you'd like you could also fold in some of the almonds at this point into the muffin batter as well.  

If you’d like to add a crumb topping, combine almonds, sugar and cinnamon and keep off to the side. Line muffin pans with paper muffin cups or grease the pans. Scoop out about an ice cream scoop or so (roughly about 2/3 full) of the blueberry muffin batter.

Sprinkle with your crumb topping if desired. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees oven for about 20 min or until golden brown.

Yummy note: What I love about this recipe, is that these muffins stay moist for several days. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

April fool's day egg-cellent brownies

Yummy note: I wanted a fun treat to take to a recent playdate for the kids and with April and Easter right around the corner, I made up a batch of these adorable brownie eggs for them. I thought the girls would get a kick out of them, especially since my kiddo hates hard boiled eggs. I get the "yuck" look everytime, so why not play an April Fool's joke on her and say her treat is a hard boiled egg, rather than a sweet treat!

Egg-cellent Brownies


7 ounces chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 8 pieces
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
prepared empty egg shells, as directed below
couple tablespoons vegetable oil


To prepare the empty egg shells: The prepared egg shells need to be done atleast 30 minutes prior to baking, so allow extra time for that. I carefully poked a small hole at the top of the egg shells using a wine bottle opener. Then I took a wood skewer and broke up the yolk to be able to shake out the rest of the egg into a bowl. While doing this part, the small opening at the top of the egg became a bit bigger, lol. Time and patience, or perhaps a steady hand is needed for this. :) Emptied egg shells are then rinsed and dunked into a bowl of salt water for about 30 minutes to soak. Once you soak them, drain the water out of the eggs and let them dry. Last step in preparing the eggs, is you want to pour in some vegetable oil into each shell and gently swirl it around to coat. The original recipes calls to do about 12 eggs, however, I only had the patience and time with the kiddos to do about a half dozen! So I poured the rest of the batter in one of my smaller shaped silicon pans and baked the leftovers that way! :)

To make the brownie batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler like I did, or in the microwave. Stir until melted and smooth, then allow chocolate to cool a bit. Then whisk together eggs and sugar. Add in vanilla and warm chocolate. Mix ingredients well before adding in your flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Stir until just combined. Then pour batter into a baggie and cut off an end to be able to pipe into the eggs. Pipe in batter into empty egg shells, until the eggs are about ¾ full. Place eggs into a muffin tin, that has a layer of crinkled up aluminum foil on the bottom, to hold the eggs in place while they bake. Bake for about 15 minutes or until brownies are done and cool. I would guess you could color the eggs shells before, but honestly it was more of an after thought for me, so I did it at the end. To make the dye, I just used like a cup of boiling water, a splash of vinegar, and a couple drops of food coloring in a cup and dunked the eggs in to pretty up the eggs.

Thanks to the bloggers from these sites from which I saw the idea originally: