Although it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet here in Philly, I’m kicking off the season with a fresh start – starting now. I’ve got some pretty exciting things coming up (hello trip to France!). And also some rather crazy changes happening as we move into one of my all-time favorite seasons. I’ll fill you in on posts to come. For now, let’s talk about one of the latest transformations to happen, aka, the bright new feel of this site!
Sorry that it has been down the past few days, but Food-Fitness-FreshAir is back, and, in case you haven’t noticed, with a spankin’ new design. I’m happy to say both my blog and I are kicking off the season feeling fresh. We’ll be celebrating the early spring cleaning with the recipe below. It in itself makes me want to grab my party hat.
Hands down, these are the best muffins I’ve had in a long time. And all of their star ingredients make them a healthy choice, too.
The chocolate-infused recipe is 100% whole wheat, but stays incredibly moist from the bananas, yogurt and tahini. Yes, tahini. This is the secret ingredient that adds an interesting depth of flavor to these muffins. Though it’s likely you’d only be able to pinpoint it if told it was in there. Even more importantly, the tahini keeps these muffins butter-free, relying on the naturally heart-healthy fats of sesame seeds instead. Combined with the omegas from the walnuts, this is one stellar choice when you need an on-the-go snack. After the first bite, you’ll want to celebrate too.
Click here for recipe…
The first wave of pumpkin in the culinary arena did not make me happy. Pumpkin spice lattes at the outset of September? Come on Starbucks, I’m still enjoying summer, thank you very much. Then, my friend had me traversing with him through the city to pick up his new favorite beer, a pumpkin variety of course. The sweaty bike ride to get there made me feel a bit wrong about sipping on the brew, no matter how cold and tasty it was. (Though, if you like pumpkin beer, you should likely try this. I’m not even generally the biggest fan, but this one had such an amazing depth of flavor.)
I admit, however, I’m a pumpkin lover, not hater. Once my love of boots and sweaters finally pulls me to let go of summer, the orange puree quickly starts creeping into my own culinary world. From soup to oatmeal to cookies, my tastebuds welcome pumpkin in all forms. Luckily, the it’s packed with a bunch of healthy stuff, so my body can welcome it, too. Yes please to the fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium.
My latest and first pumpkin recipe of the season is this muffin one. These are super moist, reminiscent of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving pie, but with all the best qualities of a portable cake.
The muffins will hit the sweet spot, but aren’t overpowering in this way. This enables them to serve as a nice breakfast option, too. If you’re ready for fall, then I’m betting your tastebuds are ready for these.
Click here for recipe…
I miss baking. In high school, it was practically a nightly activity. I didn’t grow up watching much else other than Sesame Street, so TV never became habit. (We didn’t have cable till I hit 9th grade, and up until then, it wasn’t infrequent that my mom would contemplate storing the TV in the barn). Instead, baking became my evening relaxation.
It’s funny because just like TV, my mom didn’t bring us to expect dessert after dinner. But once I was old enough to navigate the kitchen, chocolate became ritual, even if it was just filling the room with its fumes. I’d regularly send my dad off to work with plates of cookies, muffins, or the occasional iced cupcake. Sometimes I’d surprise my friends at school by whipping out a bag of brownies from my backpack during our lunchtime break. Even if I had gotten sick of sweets (is that even possible?), I never tired of baking. It got to the point where I almost enrolled in culinary school, but by the time I got to making up my mind between pastry and the traditional track, I ended up opting out altogether. (According to this article, maybe I shouldn’t have.)
Whenever I get a free moment, I still often turn to baking. Play dates become bake dates with friends, and late night bike rides often end at the grocery store for a golden bag of Ghirardelli semisweet chips. More often than not, I’ll bake by myself, after dark, relaxing with the leveling off of each cup of flour. It’s my way to unwind. I can mindless follow a simple base of flour and sugar, and then choose from a list of basic add-ins to spruce things up. That’s what happened with this recipe, filled with healthy, whole wheat goodness that made this the perfect late night snack and hearty early morning breakfast.
Click here for recipe…
I couldn’t be happier with my second choice of the season for using pumpkin. As I said in my pumpkin waffle post, I’ve been bookmarking pumpkin recipes like crazy. This one was recommended by my friend Kirsten who has me wanting to move in with her to reap the delicious benefits of her late night baking.
Instead, I too enticed by the desire for a midnight batch of cookies, got to work setting my next can of pumpkin in action. I’ve actually never been a huge pumpkin cookie fan, so normally it wouldn’t have been second on my list for ways to use pumpkin. But when I saw the photos of these on Sweet Treats & More, brimming with oats and chocolate chips, my eyes had my stomach convinced that pumpkin cookies I must make.
Best choice I could’ve made. These are far superior to the sweet, cake-like pumpkin cookies I’m used to. The ones where I’m usually wishing I was eating a slice of pumpkin pie instead. Rather, these are full of irresistible, chocolaty deliciousness, with oats that add a real, chewy texture to the typical texture-lacking pumpkin cookie. Oh, and they’re whole wheat too. Who would’ve guessed? I went with white whole wheat flour and didn’t find any issue with density. The only thing I might add next time are a couple handfuls of walnuts for an even extra element of additively rich texture and taste.
Serve to a hungry stomach with a glass of almond milk.