Brownie Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love brownies? These brownie cupcakes from Giada De Laurentiis were a big birthday hit at work. They were pretty dense though as a full size cupcake. Next time I make them, I’m going to try mini cupcakes instead.

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Preheat your oven to 350 and get out your cutest cupcake liners.

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 (21 oz) box brownie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups powered sugar, sifted

Mix together the brownie mix, eggs, oil, and water until blended. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips. Fill your cupcake liners and bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, use a mixer beat the cheeses together. They should look fluffy. Then slowly add in the powdered sugar until its the consistency of frosting. Spread, add some extra mini chocolate chips on top, and dive in!

*Dairy free, Vegetarian

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Nutella Muffins

I have never been a fan of peanut butter, Nutella though (a hazelnut spread) is a different story. I love it on toast, apples, and definitely in these muffins. The recipe is great because it uses things I normally have in my pantry and doesn’t require a special trip to the market. That came in handy during Blizzard Nemo – why not bake during a blizzard, we had power.

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The original recipe from Baker Street makes about a dozen muffins. The only change I made was softening the Nutella in the microwave for 30 seconds first – this made it easier to swirl into the muffin batter.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tsp flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • About 1/3 cup Nutella

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin tin or go easy clean up and use muffin/cupcake liners.

Whisk together your sugar and egg first. Then, whisk in flour, baking power, salt, and nutmeg. Last, whisk in the oil, milk, and vanilla.

Fill each muffin cup with batter about 2/3 full. I use a small ice cream scoop to get even muffins, 2 small scoops is the perfect amount.

Add a small spoonful of softened Nutella to each muffin cup and swirl with a toothpick or fork. Bake for about 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Manga manga!

*Dairy free if you use soy or almond milk, Vegetarian

 

Homemade hummus

I’ve been meaning to try to make my own hummus for a while now. I finally remembered to buy tahini and gave this recipe from Simple Recipes a twist. I roasted half the chick peas for a little extra flavor and it turned out great!

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  • 2 cans chick peas – 1 roasted, 1 rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cups tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add all the ingredients together in a blender and puree until smooth. I like to use the immersion blender for easy clean up.

Use as a dip with crackers or veggies, or use as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.

*Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roast chick peas

These are a great little healthy snack and super easy to make. I saw them first on the How Sweet It Is blog and have tried a few variations since then. I’ll usually make a big batch and split them up to take to work for the week.

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  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Cracked pepper
  • Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat your chick peas in olive oil and add pepper and lemon juice to taste. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Shake the baking sheet once in a while so they roast evenly.

Let cool and enjoy.

*Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Apple honey bake

Its almost the end of apple season but I wanted to work in a few more treats. I made this bake for the first time visiting my aunt in North Carolina. I was tasked with dessert and this is what came out of the ingredients at hand. It was a hit.

You can make as many servings as you like, this recipe is for one large serving.

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  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in an oven safe bowl and bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Serve alone or a la mode.

*Dairy free (sans ice cream), Gluten free, Vegetarian, Vegan (with butter and honey substitutes)

Kale chips

My aunt loves these healthy chips and now we do too. I’ve seen lots of recipes and finally had a chance to try one. There are several variations where you can add different flavors like teriyaki or parmesan. I kept this one simple – salt and pepper.

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and patted dry
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the stems and any tough pieces from the kale leaves. Then cut or tear the kale leaves into one-inch pieces.

Coat the kale in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Spread kale in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the kale gets crispy. Keep an eye on the oven so the chips don’t burn.

Crunch on!

*Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

Turkey Crockpot Chili

Sheldon Cooper would say this isn’t really a chili recipe because it has beans, but thats what I’m going to call it anyway. Sorry Sheldon.

I love an easy crock pot recipe, especially a hearty warm one like this on a cold night.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can beans (red kidney beans work well)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 package frozen veggies (I like carrots, corn, green beans)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-4 tsp chili powder depending on how spicy you like things
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Cook the turkey in a pan first. Then put the browned turkey and everything else in your crock pot. Cook on low for about 8 hours and dig in. Its good by itself or over rice.

*Gluten free, Dairy free