It’s 2014! With every new year comes new resolutions. The top one on my list for this year is Meatless Mondays! Meatless Mondays are becoming a popular health trend because of growing personal health and environment concerns. Eating less meat reduces risk of chronic disease, as well as our carbon footprint and water usage since the meat industry generates a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. I don’t think I would ever be able to completely say goodbye to meat, but Meatless Mondays I can do. The hardest part is actually going to be remembering it…
Today, I made a variation of the original, healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes. That recipe has caught the interest of many Greek yogurt-lovers and is the most popular recipe on this blog. For a little twist, these pancakes have fresh blueberries in them, but you can also put in chocolate chips, bananas, apples…anything you can think of!
Blueberries are a favorite food of mine so lucky for me, they are actually one of the healthiest fruits in the world. They are well known for their antioxidants which slow the aging process, giving them the nickname “fountain of youth.” Grab a handful and eat them plain, put them in your yogurt, or even better…in your Greek yogurt pancakes!
GREEK YOGURT BLUEBERRY PANCAKES
(makes 10-12 mini pancakes)
3/4 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
In a small bowl, stir yogurt until smooth. Crack an egg over the yogurt and stir to combine roughly.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda.
Pour yogurt and egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and baking soda. Stir to combine. (The batter will be very thick.)
Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto a non-stick pan heated to low-medium. Use spoon to gently spread out batter into an even circle on pan. (The thinner it is, the quicker it takes to cook).
Put several blueberries on pancake batter.
Flip the pancakes when they start to bubble a bit on the surface. They should be done when you start to hear the blueberries sizzle.
When was the first time you had a quiche? I remember my first time so vividly. It was one of those afternoons where I was buried in the library, swamped with never ending homework. A friend and I ventured to the library cafe to grab something to eat. Seeing how I was unable to decide what to get, my friend suggested I try a quiche. I had never even heard of a quiche before and I was skeptical of the odd-looking “egg pie”. For some reason, I trusted him. I took a bite and marveled with wide eyes at how incredible this new food tasted!
That memory of the quiche has stuck in my mind ever since which is why I was so excited when I found a recipe for mini quiches. My family had never heard of a quiche either so I was more than happy to introduce it to them.
These mini ones tasted…unbelievable. Biting into the quiche was an experience of its own because of the spongy, juiciness of the quiche. I compared them to muffin-shaped omelettes. After all, they had similar ingredients – egg, cheese, vegetables, and bacon. However, they had a fluffier, airier texture since more egg whites were used than yolks.
My family seemed to have a positive first experience with the quiche as well. They were impressed by how flavorful they were and said they were even better than omelettes.
The best moments are those when you discover something new and wonderful, making your life just that much better. So go out, be brave, and try something new. You might end up pleasantly surprised. 😀
MINI MUSHROOM AND SPINACH QUICHE WITH BACON
6 strips turkey bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 cups baby spinach
Pinch of nutmeg
4 egg whites
1/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup grated white cheese (I used Queso Blanco)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
Cook the turkey bacon strips in a large skillet on medium heat. Keep turning strips until crispy. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into small bits.
Using the same skillet, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms, shallot, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are dry and browned and shallots are soft (about 10 minutes.) Add baby spinach and nutmeg and stir for about a minute, until spinach is just wilted but still bright green.
Whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Stir in cheese. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins, filling them halfway. Top with mushroom and spinach mixture. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until quiches have risen and are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.
adapted from Food Network
Last Saturday, my best friend Hayley turned 19. Back in high school, her birthday would always be right around finals so I never had the time to properly bake her something other than brownies. This year I wanted to make her something special, since we have been close friends throughout all of high school and just spent our first year away from each other at college. So I decided to bake something colorful, something fun…hello funfetti cupcakes!
Sprinkles are so much fun and especially perfect for birthdays. They add some pop, joy, and happiness to everything. They even add the slightest bit of crunch to these cupcakes, which are wonderfully fluffy and cake-y. The rich vanilla buttercream frosting and vanilla cake duo just melt in your mouth in a spectacular way.
Rummaging through my pantry, I came across these cute mini cupcake liners that I had never used before. So I decided to give them a try. The itsy bitsy cupcakes came out SO cute. Then, I found these aluminum liners that were a bit bigger than the mini ones but not quite the size of standard cupcake liners. So I used them too and they also came out beautifully!
I have a confession to make…this was actually my first time making my own frosting. Before, I would just kinda cheat by icing my cupcakes with store-bought frosting. This time, I decided it was time to bring it to the next level and make my own. Turned out it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty easy – just mixing butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in a standing mixer.
Okay, frosting a cupcake is actually harder than it looks. My first couple of tries came out pretty terribly. But after watching some how-to videos and taking some practice runs on a couple of cupcakes, I started getting the hang of it. In the end, I gave the pretty ones to Hayley while the not so attractive ones were quickly gobbled up by my brother.
MINI FUNFETTI CUPCAKES
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (regular yogurt also works)
3/4 cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sprinkles
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered (confectioners sugar)
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini muffin tray with 24 mini cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Melt butter and stir in sugar until well mixed. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Add in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
Slowly mix in dry ingredients until batter is thick and smooth. Slowly stir in sprinkles.
NOTE: If you are using nonpareil sprinkles (the little balls), they may bleed so don’t over stir.
Divide batter among the 24 liners and bake for 10 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean.)
For the medium aluminum liners, bake for 15 minutes and for regular cupcake liners, bake for 20 minutes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
Beat softened butter in an electric or stand mixer on medium for 3 minutes.
Add sugar, cream and vanilla extract with the mixer still running. Increase speed to high for 3 minutes.
Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle away!!!