Oat Chia Blueberry Chocolate Chip Healthy Eggless Muffins

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I love muffins. I don't eat them but I love them. Because they are high in fat, high in calories and once I start eating them, I don't think I will stop. I will need to have one for breakfast every day!

Items in my usual boring but healthy breakfast rotation include plain plain oatmeal with brown sugar and dried apricots, Fage with added honey, hemp seeds and berries,  Breakfast Chia Pudding with Berries or Overnight Oatmeal that I learned about from the The Yummy Life Blog.

When the The Yummy Life Blog posted the recipe for the "Magic Muffins", healthy muffins I became obsessed with trying them. Let me tell you, these were a huge hit. Both kids and husband approved! I will definitely be making these again. The original recipe is here: http://www.theyummylife.com/magic_muffins. So far, I tried blueberry to which I added chocolate chips. I will definitely be trying a variety of these and will report back. I had to modify the recipe a bit because I was not able to find some of the flour varieties (barley or brown rice) so I just used oat. No issue. These were moist and delicious. There were meant for make ahead if desired but I made all 12. For my gang, made ahead would only work if the recipe is doubled.

These have are whole grain and have no eggs or no butter. They get their moisture from the chia seeds which create a gel like substanace! Magic! 


2 cups of Whole Grain Oat Flour 
      (note Yummy Life's recipe uses 1 cup of oat flour, 1/2 cup of barley flour and 1/2 cup of brown rice flour but I could            not find these so substituted, no issues) 
2 tablespoons GROUND chia seeds
2 teaspoons baking POWDER
1/2 teaspoon baking SODA
1 teaspoon ground cinamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup lowfat buttermilk*
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey (my kids thought these need to be a tiny bit sweeter, will add a bit more next time)
Fruit, nuts, etc. 

Cooking Spray (I used Trader Joe's Coconut Spray) 

*Buttermilk substitute can be created by combining 1 tablespoon of vinegar with enough low fat milk to make 1 cup total liquid and letting is sit for 10 minutes. I did not try this. But if you do, please let me know how this turns out. 

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix.

2. In a medium bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Mix.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Do not overmix, it's fine if mixture is a bit lumpy. You will NOT BE STIRRING again when adding mixture to your muffin tin.

4. Allow to sit on counter for 30-40 minutes. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. I did not try to refrigerate. You can double or triple the recipe. 

5. Wash your fruit or berries that you will be using. I used about 1 cup of blueberries and about 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

6. Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

7. Add a bit of muffin mixture, add a few blueberries and a few chocolate chips. Add more mixtures till muffin cup about 2/3 full. Add a few more blueberries and chocolate chips to each.

Assembled muffins ready to bake

8. Bake about 22-25 minutes till toothpick  inserted in center comes up clean. Mine took about 25 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before moving to cooking rack.

Baked  muffins straight from oven

Baked muffins cooling! Kids waiting impatiently!
Per the original recipe, these can be cooked in microwave as individual serving.

I have not tried these.The Yummy Life suggests many varieties or you can make up your own! My girls are already begging me to make more so I will review those when I do. They each devoured 2 each for breakfast. The younger one said they need to be a bit sweeter and dipped them in berry preserves.

Pan to Oven Filet Mignon

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This recipe results in a perfect steak! Simple, delicious and few ingredients. Just the way I like it.
Searing the steak first gives it a nice crust on the outside as well as seal in all the juices. Baking it afterwards results in a steak that is cooked through just the way you like it , for me, that would be medium with a nice pink center.

1 filet mignon steak per person, mine were about 5 ounces each and about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Remove the steaks from the fridge about 1/2 to 1 hour prior to cooking to allow them to come to room temperature. 

Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat butter in an oven proof skillet till hot. Add steaks and cook 2 minutes, flip over and cook another 2 minutes. Do not disturb while cooking to allow crust to form.

When your oven is preheated, place skillet with steaks into the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes for medium. Internal temperature should be approximately 150 F.

Cooking time will vary based on the size and thickness of your fillet as well as your cooking preference.

Rough guidelines for cooking time:

Rare 6 minutes 130-140F
Medium Rare 8 minutes 140-150F
Medium 8-10 minutes 150-160F

You can keep the steaks warm by covering with foil. They will continue to cook a bit after removing from oven.

I served these with roasted potatoes and sauteed kale for a delicious meal the whole family enjoyed.

Pan to Oven Filet Mignon with Roasted Potatoes and Pan Sauteed Kale

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Monday, December 22, 2014

Beef short ribs are not in my regular rotation, this was my first time making them ever but the results were delicious. I used Anne Burrell's recipe (link below) which I adapted to fit my preferences (I loathe celery) and what I like more (leeks) as well as ingredients I had on hand. 

This recipe is fairly simple with the work front loaded and the rest of the time spent just smelling the delicious smell.


4 bone in beef short ribs (~2.5 pounds)
2 tablespoons of oil ( I used grape seed)
2 leeks, roughly chopped
3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 cup of tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cup of red wine
Salt to taste


Season each rib with salt. In a dutch oven/heavy cast iron pot, preheat oil on medium heat. Add salted beef short ribs. Do not crowd. If you have more then 4, you may need to do this in batches.
Brown about 3 minutes per side. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

While the oven is preheating and the short ribs are browning, puree all vegetables and garlic until they form a coarse paste. Do not overblend. Season with salt (and pepper if using-- I omit pepper, just not a fan).

Remove short ribs once browned. Drain the oil, add fresh oil and pureed veggie mixture. Cook till brown, about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste and tomatoes and cook  another 5 minutes. Add wine, cook about 5-8 minutes till mixture is reduced by half. 

Return short ribs to pan, placing on top of sauce. Add enough water to cover. Add thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Flip ribs to the other side. Cook another hour while covered. If the sauce is getting too thick, feel free to add more water. Remove cover and cook uncovered another 20-30 minutes to allow meat to brown. Meat should be very tender.

Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta with the sauce.

P.S--next time I will be making more of these to allow for left overs. 

adapted from Anne Burrell's Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe

Rainbow Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa and Ground Beef

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

These stuffed peppers are a delicious dinner option that I don't make nearly enough. You can pretty much vary the filling here to meet your dietary preferences or the leftovers grain you have on hand.

You can make them vegetarian by omitting the ground meat, and you can add grain of choice, I have tried these with rice or quinoa and both were great. Both pictures below, proportion are similar and you can eat the leftover stuffing without the pepper for lunch the next day.


2 cups of quinoa OR  rice cooked per package direction
1 pound of ground beef (I use lean grass fed beef), you can use another ground meat of choice or keep vegetarian
2 finely shopped shallots
1 bulb of leek, washed and finely chopped
salt to taste
seasoning to taste (I like to use Everything Rub from Fresh Direct which contains garlic, onion, chili powder and paprika)
1 can of diced tomatoes drained (if using)--i used these with rice but not with quinoa
1 tablespoon of oil ( I use grape seed)
4 bell peppers ( for the quinoa recipe I only had 3) with seeds removed and top cut off neatly to keep intact


In a large skillet, heat oil. Add shallots and leeks and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium flame until they begin to soften.

Add ground meat of choice. Cook breaking up with spatula until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add rice or quinoa, salt and seasoning. Add tomatoes if using. Allow to come to warm temperature.

In a small or medium pot, add a few inches of water. Bring to boil.

Fill peppers with filling. Top with pepper top. Add very carefully to pot with boiling water. Cover and cook on a small flame about 15-20 minutes until peppers are soft. 

Remove carefully and serve in bowls


Stuffed peppers with quinoa, ground beef, shallots and leeks

Stuffed peppers with rice, ground beef and diced tomatoes

Potato Leek Soup with Bacon (Non Dairy)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So technically, it's end of October so soup weather should be upon us. But it has been warm but nevertheless I have started out with my fall soup repertoire. Here we have Potato Leek Soup with Bacon. Because you know as well as I do that bacon makes everything better.

This was a huge hit with my older daughter and husband. The younger daughter--not so much. Thought she did eat the bacon crumbles. 

5 medium potatoes
3-4 leeks (white part only)
2-3 shallots finely chopped
6 -8 pieces good quality bacon (divided because you will blend some into the soup and use the rest as a topping)
4 cups of chicken stock  (I used low sodium organic chicken broth by Imagine, homemade stock would be even better)
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of oil ( I used grapeseed)
Salt to taste
Seasoning of choice (I used a spice blend from Trader Joe's)

Peel and chop shallots and set a side. 
Wash leeks really well. Chop and set aside 
Wash potatoes, peel if the skin looks meh, leave skin on if it's pretty unblemished. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces

In a large pot or preferably a Dutch oven, heat the oil about 2 minutes. 

Add shallots, cook on medium flame for about 3 minutes.

Add leeks. Cook another 5 minutes.

Add potatoes. Add stock and water.

Continue to cook till potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Season with salt and seasoning. 

In the meantime, cook bacon in a skillet till crispy. Crumble and add 4-6 crumbled slices into the soup in the last 10 minutes of cooking. 

Blend till smooth, using immersion blender. Serve topped with reserved bacon crumbles. 

Potato Leek Soup with Bacon

Citrus Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baked drumsticks are always a big hit in my household. Easy, tasty, fast, messy and inexpensive dinner-- what's not to like? I have several drumsticks recipes on my blog already Baked Asian Style Drumsticks and Soy Balsamic Drumsticks and here is another one for a little variety.

8-10 drumsticks
Oil of choice --1 teaspoon
Seasoning you like for chicken (I used 21 Seasoning Salute from TJs)
1/2 cup of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
Juice of 1 orange

Combine all ingredients except chicken in large ziploc bag. Shake to mix. Add chicken and shake it to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator anywhere between 1/2 hour to overnight.

Bake at 400F for about 40 minutes till brown. Flip over 1/2 through cooking time. This recipe would work just as well with other chicken parts, modify cooking time according to thickness.

I only marinated for about 1/2 hour and these tasted great anyway. I bet they would have been even better if marinated longer.


Inspired by http://www.sandraseasycooking.com

Butternut Squash Parsnip Soup

Monday, October 6, 2014

This soup is a twist I tried on our family favorites, Butternut Squash Apple Soup . This version contains parsnips instead of apples and is topped with crunchy bacon. 

Butternut squash 
2 parsnips
4 small shallots or one medium onion, diced
4-5 cups of chicken stock (I use a combination of homemade chicken stock that I froze and Imagine Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth)
1tbs oil, I use grapeseed
Salt pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg optional
1 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of milk or cream ( I used 2 % milk)
1-2 pieces of bacon per bowl (Optional)

If you are able to get your hands on peeled and cut up squash, skip to the end of step 1.

1) Wash and dry your squash. Using a sharp knife to piece a few holes in the squash. Place it on a paper towel. Microwave about 3 minutes and flip over. Let cool a bit. At this point, you should be able to peel it, scoop out seeds and cut into cubes. 

2) Wash and peel parsnips. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. 

3) In a medium pot, heat oil. Add shallots. Cook about 5 minutes till soften. Add squash, parsnips and broth. Cook on medium flame till squash and parsnip are soft, about 20 -25 minutes. 

4) Add salt, sugar, pepper and nutmeg if using. Another option to nutmeg if you like spicy is a bit of curry powder.  Add milk or cream.  
Using immersion blender, blend your soup.

5) If using bacon, cook till crisp per package direction. Drain and chop into small pieces.

6) Add soup to bowls. Top with bacon if using and serve.

I served these with crackers I made out of Nasoya wonton wrappers. I cut the wrappers into strips, sprayed with cooking spray and baked at 350 till golden brown.

Masor Jar Salad--the Perfect Work Lunch

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

As you guys know, I am a working mom. I work in NYC, one of the most expensive if not the most expensive cities in the US. I also try to eat healthy which means a $10 to $12 salad from one of the local places (Chop't, Just Salad, Sweet Green, etc). Meanwhile, I have a perfectly stocked fridge at home.

About 6 months ago, I started to see these Mason Jar Salads popping up all oven Pinterest. I have it pinned forever like I do many many recipes (hanging head in shame), till finally, I tried it for the first time last week and fell in love!

The combinations are endless but the most important thing is the order of ingredients and packing your items tightly. I can't stress this enough ORDER OF INGREDIENTS IS KEY!
I make 2-3 jars at a time, usually on Sunday night and the salad stayed fresh and tasty with the greens being not at all soggy.

I have been using 1 Pint mason jars which is just about enough but am thinking of picking up some Quart jars to see if I can pack more greens. If you pack the ingredients tight, you would be surpised how much fits into a pint size jar.
Mason Jars are available on Amazon, if you are looking to pick some up, please search through the link on my blog (it's on the right side of my page)

The key to preventing the greens from getting soggy is placing the hearty veggies on the bottom. Note that the veggies on the bottom that touch the dressing get a bit pickled which tasted delicious, particularly for red onions, carrots and radishes.

Layer 1: Dressing (to go on the bottom)
You can choose any combination you like.
So far I have done:
  • Extra virgin olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon, Chopped Shallots
  • Extra virgin olive oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil, Fig BalsamicVinegar and Berry Preserves
About 2 tablespoons of dressing is more then enough for my taste.

Layer 2:Hearty Vegetables
I have used thinly sliced red onions, radish, thinly slice carrots, cherry tomatoes with success.

Layer 3: Less Hearty Vegetables
Less hearty vegetables such as zucchini, corn, beans, edamame, beets, roasted butternut squash, avocado (if using avocado, squirt with lemon to prevent browning)

Layer 4: Grains or Pasta
Any grains you like-- quinoa, wheatberries, faro, rice.

Layer 5: Protein and/or Cheese
Protein and/or cheese would go here. So far I have used grilled chicken and goat cheese. Both with great result.

Layer 6: Greens and seeds
So far I have used arugula and kale as the top layers. I also brought pistachios but in a separate ziploc baggie which I broke out when I mixed my salad.

That's it, you are done. Close the jar tight. Refrigerate and bring to work!

To eat, I throw the salad into a large bowl that I keep at work and mix well.

Mason Jar Salad Ready to Transport

Mason Jar Salad in a bowl at my work desk.
With Kale, Red Onion, Carrots, Radishes, Quinoa, Tomatoes, Avocado,
Pan cooked zucchini, Grilled Chicken

Another option: carrots, green apple, freekeh, avocado w a squeeze of lemon, chicken, shaved parm.
Dressed in evoo/apple cider vinegar and honey.

Another Mason Jar Salad (with Arugula, Red Onion, Carrots, Radishes,Avocado, Beets,
Wheatberries, Roasted Butternut Squash and Pistachios)

Shrimp with White Beans and Garlic

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The minute I saw this recipe from Bon Appetit, I had to try it.  Just from the description, I knew it was very similar to the shrimp white beans appetizer I have had at Spanish tapas restaurants that I have been wanting to replicate at home.

I made some modifications to make my life simpler which resulted in the below which I can guarantee tastes better then it looks. 


6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (divided into 2 tablespoons each)
3 garlic gloves minced (divided into 1 minced clove and 2 minced cloves)
1/4 teaspoon of ground chipotle (recipe called for 2 dried chilles de arbol but I could not find it anywhere)
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can on diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 1/4 cup fresh tomatoes)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 pound of shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 teaspoon smoked paprika ( I plan to use more next time)
Parsley for garnish (optional)

Crusty bread for grilling (optional)


Preheat broiler. 

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven proof skillet that fits you broiler.

Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, chilles or chipotle and bay leaf. Cook stirring constantly for about 1 minutes, don't allow the garlic to burn.

Add diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato paste, cook till paste is red and begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes.

Add drained beans and broth, salt and pepper. Simmer till reduces slightly, about 5 

While the mixtures is simmering, in a medium bowl, combine shrimp, smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and remaining minced garlic. Mix to combine.

Add shrimp mixture on top of the beans. Place under broiler for about 3 minutes.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil and garnish with parsley. I used dry because I did not have fresh.

For grilled bread, I used a grill pan. I brushed it with olive oil. Heated till hot, about 3 minutes, added baguette cut across, flipped after about a 1-2 minutes. Grilled for another 1-2 minutes. 

I served this with a side of green beans in addition to the bread!

Hope you enjoy and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

adapted from Bon Appetit' http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/garlic-shrimp-and-white-beans

Sauteed Soft Shell Crab

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

While I am not usually big into fried food,  when it comes to soft shell crabs, I say "Yes, please".
I usually serve them over a salad or with a side salad and limit myself to one or two so it's not too unhealthy.

These are surprisingly easy to make! I will be making them again tonight! Soaking the crabs in milk helps plump them up when cooked. Combining butter and oil results in crispy crabs.

Ingredients (4 servings)

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 4 small soft-shell crabs, washed and well dried on paper towels
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat with great results)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Ponzu sauce for dipping


1. Wash and pat dry the crabs with paper towels. Make sure they are well dried because you want them to soak up the milk, not water.

2. Place the milk in a shallow bowl large enough to hold the crabs in a single layer. Add the crabs and let them soak for 1 hour. Drain and discard the milk.

3. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dump it  into a large ziploc bag. Lightly dredge each crab in the flour.

4. Heat the oil and butter together in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and sautè the crabs in batches until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Add more oil and butter to the pan if necessary.

4. To serve, place a crab in the center of 4 salad plates and garnish each with a sprinkle of chopped parsley if using. I serve this with a sized of ponzu sauce, usually over a green salad. The salad in the picture is mixed greens with roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes (left over from the night before), fire roasted corn (from Trader Joe's)and market fresh radishes.