Category Archives: Seasonal

Jumbo Ginger Molasses Cookies

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I like these gingery molasses cookies so much, I think I will make them every fall and winter! I first made them during this past Christmas season and think they’re a great cookie to munch on during the cold weather. They’re flavored with lots of ginger and some cinnamon and cloves. They’re slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. And they are one big cookie! Big enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

They’re very buttery, too–rich and buttery. And after you roll the cookie dough into balls, you also roll them in coarse sugar–I think the coarse, sparking sugar coating really makes them look special! Molasses cookies have never been a huge favorite of mine, but I really like these, so if you’ve never made molasses cookies before, you may want to give these a try!

JUMBO GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 26 to 28 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; gradually add this mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix everything well.

Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls (I used an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough, then rolled it into balls) and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets (or baking sheets lined with parchment paper). You’ll be able to fit about 6 cookies on each baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until tops are cracked. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Do you like gingery, spicy, molasses-flavored cookies? What kinds of cookies do you like making during the winter months?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

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White Chocolate Peppermint Scones

white-chocolate-peppermint-scones-nancycI like making at least one peppermint-flavored recipe each year for the holidays. This year, I decided to try scones. These White Chocolate Peppermint Scones have crushed candy canes both in the batter and sprinkled on top. White chocolate chips are mixed into the batter too. They might be a little too sweet for early in the morning, but they’re perfect for a holiday brunch, a holiday tea, or a dessert –with a scoop of ice cream on top…make that peppermint ice cream! 🙂

WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT SCONES by NancyC

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PEPPERMINT GLAZE:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Half & Half
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed candy canes for sprinkling on top
  • Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender until the flour/butter mixture is crumbly. Stir in the crushed candy canes and white chocolate chips.

In medium bowl, mix yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Blend yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until clumps of dough form (dough will be a little sticky).

Sprinkle some flour over the dough in the bowl to make it less sticky, and with floured hands, knead a few times and shape dough into a ball. Place dough on your parchment-lined baking sheet and pat into an 8-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Use a knife to score into 8 wedges, then bake at 375˚F on your center oven rack for 18 -20 minutes, until golden. The scones may puff up as they’re baking, but they’ll settle down as they cool.

Cool scones for at least 20 minutes, or cool completely, and then add the glaze and topping.

To make glaze, mix powdered sugar, Half & Half, and peppermint extract until smooth. Drizzle glaze over scones with a small spoon, then sprinkle some crushed candy canes over the glaze. Let glaze set, then cut scones into wedges where scored, and serve.

Peppermint-flavored goodies are great for the holidays–they’re so fun and festive. Plus, it’s a great way to use those extra candy canes. Have you made any peppermint recipes this year?

Wishing you a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

Jumbo Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I start thinking about making recipes with cranberries as soon as the fall season comes around. Cranberries, whether they’re fresh or dried, are such a classic autumn and holiday ingredient. It just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving or Christmas without cranberries, would it? And because these cookies have dried cranberries, along with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, they’re perfect for making this time of year when the days are chilly, evenings come earlier, and cookie baking and giving are in full swing.

These cookies are big, thick, and chewy–the kind of cookie you want to have when you’re sitting in a big, comfy chair with a mug of hot cocoa, wrapped in a warm blanket and maybe watching a favorite movie or reading a good book. Did I mention that these cookies also have oatmeal in them too? It always makes me feel a little better when a cookie has oatmeal in it–somehow, cookies with oatmeal just seem a little healthier, don’t they?

JUMBO OATMEAL CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • parchment paper, for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well; set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of this flour mixture to the egg/butter/sugar mixture and mix well; then add in the rest of the flour mixture and mix all ingredients well.

Fold in the dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips; stir until these are evenly distributed in batter.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (if dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes before putting on cookie sheets). You should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes, or until very lightly brown (do not overtake, or cookies will be dry). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Baking cookies is a great thing to do when it’s cold outside–it makes everything so cozy inside! Do you like making cranberry-flavored goodies this time of year too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday.

Bite-Size Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

bitesize-red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-nancycI never have enough time to make all the holiday cookies I’m wanting to. Because making those pretty, festive cookies does take up quite a bit of time. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It’s easy, because cake mix makes up part of the dough, but these cookies still look pretty and festive with the crinkly, powdered sugar coating.

These Bite-Size Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies are a cute rounded shape. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and have a soft cake-like texture on the inside. I was a little surprised that these cookies didn’t spread out more–I was fully expecting them too. They spread out a little, but for the most part kept their rounded shape. So if you want to make some bite-sized cookies for your holiday cookie tray, keep these in mind!

BITE-SIZE RED VELVET CRINKLE COOKIES by NancyC, adapted from AllRecipes

Makes 44 to 48 cookies

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 (16.5-ounce) Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines®)
  • 6 Tablespoons canola oil or light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Parchment paper for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Place powdered sugar and cornstarch in a shallow dish and blend with a fork; set aside (if you don’t have any cornstarch, you can just use the powdered sugar).

In large mixing bowl, mix red velvet cake mix, oil, and eggs (and vanilla, if using) until well blended and dough forms. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar mixture. Place on cool, parchment-lined cookie sheets, 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

Bake 1 cookie sheet at a time, placed in the center of the oven, at 375˚F for 8 to 9 minutes or until set (be careful not to overbake or cookies will be dry). Cool cookies for 1 minute on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The only bad thing about these bite-size crinkle cookies is that it’s so tempting to pop a few in your mouth as you’re taking them off the baking sheet! Maybe you have more will power than I do. 🙂

Have you made any kind of red velvet cookies this holiday season?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Cream Cheese Mints

cream-cheese-mints-nancycI love the scent of pine during the holidays. And the taste of peppermint and mint–flavored sweets! This holiday season, I’m enjoying both.

Right now, I’m using the new limited-edition winter scent of ECOS™ Dishmate™ Hypoallergenic ecoswinterpineDish Soap–they have a special holiday scent called Winterpine that they sent me to try, and it smells so fresh and clean!  It’s a great way to add the scent of pine to your kitchen. If you’re not familiar with ECOS™ products, they are earth-friendly and made with plant-derived cleaning agents that clean well and are gentle and safe to use.

And I’m also eating some wonderful minty sweets! These Cream Cheese Mints are kind of addicting. They have a rich, creamy, minty flavor. I like them more than I thought I would, which makes them dangerous for me to have around. So I’ve been sharing them with friends and everyone really likes them. You can make these yummy mints for any special occasion–birthday celebrations, wedding and baby showers, wedding receptions, and, of course, the holidays! I tinted mine red (or I guess you could say pink) and green for Christmas, but you can tint them any color you want. Or don’t use any food coloring and leave them a soft creamy white. This recipe makes about 175 small mints, which is a lot, but you’ll need a lot if you’re making them for holiday parties or any other event!

CREAM CHEESE MINTS by NancyC, adapted from BettyCrocker.com

Makes about 175 small mints

  • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (or use 6 ounces from an 8-ounce block)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon mint or peppermint extract
  • Red and green food coloring, optional

In large bowl, cream the softened butter and cream cheese together, then add the confectioner’s sugar, 3 cups at a time, and blend until smooth. Mix in mint extract. The mixture gets pretty thick, so you may need to work everything in with your hands. Or, you can mix all the ingredients with a food processor (use on-and-off pulses until mixture comes together in a ball).

If you’re wanting to tint your dough red and green (or any 2 other colors), divide dough into 2 equal portions and place on wax paper or parchment paper; add a few drops of red food coloring to 1 mound of dough and a few drops of green food coloring to the other mound of dough; work in or “knead” food coloring into each mound until the coloring is evenly tinted to your desired shade. If you’re just making one color, you won’t need to divide the dough, and if you want your mints to be creamy white, you can skip this whole step–just leave out the food coloring.

Roll dough mixture into small balls (I rolled mine into balls that were between 1/2″ and 5/8″ in diameter-I wouldn’t go any larger than that or they will take forever to set–smaller is better!). Place on waxed paper or parchment paper–lined cookie sheets and flatten each ball with a fork. Let stand about 2 hours or until dry (If the mints are still a little soft after a few hours, go ahead and put them in the refrigerator to finish drying). When mints are set and dry, cover with another sheet of wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

These mints are perfect for parties or sweet little food gifts! And this recipe makes plenty of them, so you’ll have extra for yourself! 🙂  Besides pine and mint, what other flavors and scents do you enjoy around the holidays?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Gifts that Change a Life from World Vision and a Giveaway!

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The Christmas shopping season has begun once again and gift-giving is on everyone’s mind…the perfect time to tell you about some gifts that help improve the quality of life for struggling children and families living in extreme poverty in the U.S. and around the world. The 2016 World Vision Gift Catalog invites you to Share Big Dreams this Christmas by not only giving a gift, but changing a life. And, World Vision is sponsoring a very special giveaway of beautiful handcrafted items made by artisans from around the world, which I’ll tell you about in a minute!

worldvisioncatalogBut first, in case you’re not familiar with World Vision, here’s some information about World Vision and their gift catalog:

  • The 2016 World Vision catalog is the 21st annual edition, and offers more than 100 meaningful gifts. Plus, there are more than 250 items available for giving online at www.worldvisiongift.org.
  • Popular items being given from the catalog to those in need include a goat and two chickens, clothing for children, ducks, and medicine.
  • Over 30 gifts in the catalog are $35 or less, including gifts like chickens, job training, or school supplies.
  • 84% of World Vision’s operating expenses are used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need, and they provide assistance to people in almost 100 countries.

Here are some ways you can support World Vision:

  • Choose a gift to donate…give a gift to help a child or family, from farm animals to farming tools, by going to www.worldvisiongifts.org or call 1-855-WV-GIFTS. Hard copies of the catalog are also available upon request.
  • Gifts can be given in honor of a loved one. Cards can also be printed or emailed from the website at any time to let an honoree know that something special has been given in their name this Christmas.
  • You can give a general donation to be used Where Most Needed…a one-time gift that will go towards needs that might otherwise go unmet.
  • You can donate and receive a handcrafted gift for yourself or for someone else–this donation will go to Where Most Needed. Choose from a variety of items like the beautiful Vietnamese Silk Scarf, Upcycled Artisanal Bowl, Thai Patchwork Tote, Drops of Turquoise Earrings, and much more. There are so many beautiful, unique handcrafted gifts online at the World Vision site!

I hope you’ll take some time to visit the WorldVison.org and learn more about how they are helping people worldwide and how you can be a part of that! You can also follow World Vision on social media: Facebook: /wordvision; Twitter and Instagram: @WorldVisionUSA

Now for the giveaway! The Giveaway is now Closed! The winning comment was #1, made by Pam!

worldvisiongiveawayThis giveaway, compliments of World Vision, includes 6 items worth $530. They’re pictured in the top photo and in the photo to the left: an Upcycled Artisanal Bowl, a package of Organic Coffee with a coffee scoop, a beautiful Vietnamese Silk Scarf, a Tree of Life Votive Holder, a Turquoise Medallion Necklace, and a Mango Wood Beaded Bracelet.

If you’d like to enter to win this giveaway from World Vision, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite gift item is from the World Vision site. Leave your comment on this blog post between now and Thursday evening, December 1, at 8 p.m. (CST). The random drawing will be made from comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and the winner will be notified via email later  Thursday evening or Friday. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will do another drawing. This  Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S.

First entry:  Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite gift item is from the World Vision site.

Bonus entry (one per person): Follow my blog by email or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram–If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry–it just means I haven’t had the chance to click on it to approve it before it becomes visible!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

cranberry-sauce-nancyc

It doesn’t seem possible that Thanksgiving was yesterday! The big meal we all look forward to has come and gone. The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and countless side dishes and desserts shared with family and friends…it’s all a pleasant memory now, unless you’re still enjoying the leftovers.

in_winters_kitchen_150dpi_rgb_1Most likely, you probably had cranberry sauce as one of the side items on your table or buffet. I was never much of a fan of cranberry sauce as a kid, but I like it now, especially if it’s homemade. As I was reading a review copy of the book In Winter’s Kitchen, by Beth Dooley, I found a recipe for cranberry sauce which I decided I had to try, since I’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce.

In Winter’s Kitchen is not actually a cookbook, although there is a small recipe section at the back of the book. It’s part memoir–the author shares stories of her family’s past Thanksgiving meals and winter meal traditions–and part informational guide to the local food movement Dooley discovered when she relocated years ago from New Jersey to Minnesota. She provides lots of information and insight on the benefits of eating locally–grown, fresh, organic, in-season foods. The book is well-written and very informational if you are wanting to learn more about farm-to-table foods.

I really liked the flavors in this cranberry sauce recipe–it’s sweet, but not too sweet and has a slight cranberry tartness. It’s much, much better than the sauce you buy in a can and it’s so easy to make–so hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it out sometime during the holiday season.

CRANBERRY SAUCE from In Winter’s Kitchen 

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or orange juice (I used apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, honey, or maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 maple syrup)

In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries and cider or orange juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the berries have popped open, about three to five minutes. Stir in sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

NOTE: The original recipe doesn’t say to do this, but after stirring in the honey and maple syrup, I continued to simmer the mixture an additional 5 minutes, then let it cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools, and then you can transfer the sauce into a small serving bowl.

Not only does this cranberry sauce taste great, it adds a nice touch of tradition to winter meals. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are having a nice holiday weekend!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Pumpkin Maple Bread Pudding

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This fall, I knew one recipe I wanted to try was pumpkin bread pudding. I had made it a few years ago, and thought it was okay, but I really wanted to see if I could improve upon it. I do like this new version so much better! It’s dense and moist, with lots of pumpkin and spice flavor. I really like this bread pudding with additional maple syrup drizzled over it, but you could also top it with caramel sauce or whipped cream.

bfreeI made this pumpkin bread pudding with some wonderful bread that I received from BFree. BFree offers a great selection of bread products that are gluten free. BFree products are actually wheat, dairy, egg, nut, and soy free, which makes them free of all major allergens–and suitable for vegans, too. They are high fiber, low in fat, and low in calories. And they taste really, really good. I was able to try samples of their whole product line–their Brown Seeded Sandwich and Soft White Sandwich loavesBrown Seeded and Soft White Rolls and Hot Dog Buns, Multiseed and Plain Bagels, Multigrain and Quinoa and Chia Seed Wraps, and Pita Bread. I loved all of their products, and if I hadn’t already known they were gluten free, I probably would have thought they were made with wheat. I think my favorite were the rolls–they were so soft and fresh and tasted like homemade!

bfreeproducts

So I decided to use some of the BFree Soft White Sandwich Loaf in this bread pudding, and it was really tasty! This makes a wonderful fall dessert. Some of my friends said it tasted like pumpkin pie–they didn’t realize it was bread pudding! Hope you get a chance to try it out!

PUMPKIN MAPLE BREAD PUDDING by NancyC

Makes a 9×9″ pan

  • 6 cups cubed white or wheat bread, cut into 1″ squares (I used BFree Soft White Bread)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 cups Half & Half (light cream)
  • 1 (15-ounce) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • maple syrup for drizzling on top, about 3 to 4 Tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan; set aside.

Combine cubed bread and dried cranberries in large bowl; set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine Half & Half, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract, brown sugar, spices, and salt; blend everything well. Pour mixture over bread/cranberry mixture and stir, coating all the bread cubes. Spoon this mixture into your greased baking pan and let stand for 10 minutes.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle chopped pecans over mixture during the last 10-15 minutes of baking time.

When bread pudding is done, remove from oven and drizzle the top with maple syrup. Let cool 10 minutes and cut into squares. Serve warm with more maple syrup drizzled very lightly over each piece if desired.

Are you a fan of bread pudding? If you are, I think you’ll really like this Pumpkin Maple Bread Pudding! What other kinds of desserts do you like making with pumpkin?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Whole Wheat Honey Apple Muffins

Whole Wheat Honey Apple Muffins @ NancyC

I promised you an apple recipe and here it is! I have apples on my mind now that it’s October, and this is a great apple muffin recipe! It’s pretty healthy, too, with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, honey, and olive oil as some of the ingredients.

I don’t use whole wheat flour in my baking very often–I’ve found it hard to substitute in many recipes because the flavor comes out a little too wheaty for my taste. But I think it’s perfect in this muffin recipe! I don’t really notice the wheatiness that much–maybe it’s because the spices and chopped apples give this muffin such a good flavor. I like to chop my apples into small chunks for these muffins, too–that way, there’s lots of apple taste in every bite!

The streusel topping does have a lot of brown sugar in it, but you can substitute raw or organic sugar if you like. Also, when you mix the topping, it will seem like a lot of topping, but you’ll be putting about a Tablespoon of it on top of each muffin. You’ll have extra, but it’s better to have too much topping than not enough, right? You can always save it for other muffins or a coffee cake. If you don’t want to put so much streusel topping on these muffins, cut the streusel ingredients in half, and you should have more than enough to lightly top each muffin!

WHOLE WHEAT HONEY APPLE MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes about 19 muffins

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples (if you use organic apples, peeling is optional–I like to use organic Gala apples)
  • Streusel Topping: 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two muffin tins with 19 paper muffin cups.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spices; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add the honey, olive oil, and vanilla extract, blending everything well. Stir in the Greek yogurt.

Add the flour mixture to the egg/honey mixture and stir just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the chopped apples.

Fill muffin cups with batter, filling about 3/4 full.

Mix streusel topping ingredients together in a medium size bowl, then top muffins with streusel topping–use a heaping 1/2 Tablespoon per muffin (or less, if you prefer).

Bake at 350˚F for 14 to 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean (be careful not to overbake, or muffins will be a little dry).

Let muffins cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I really like the flavor the ground spices give these muffins–and all the tasty chunks of apples in them!

What kind of recipes do you like to make with whole wheat flour?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Banana, Mango, Ginger, Orange Smoothie

Banana Mango Ginger Orange Smoothie @ NancyC

Yes, that’s quite a long name but it sounds good, doesn’t it? This smoothie recipe comes from a cookbook called Eating Clean in Costa Rica (softcover). As I looked through my review copy, I found lots of easy, healthy foods that the book describes as 616-fPC8brL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_“farm-to-table” recipes and there are 108 to choose from for breakfast and brunch, main dishes, veggies and sides, salads, soups, and desserts. The instructions for most of the recipes include amounts measured in grams, milliliters, etc., so if you’re used to cups and ounces like I am, you’ll have to convert the amounts.

I thought I’d try the Banana, Mango, Ginger, Orange Smoothie. It sounds kind of summery, but the day I made this it was almost 70 degrees. So a tropical-sounding smoothie was in order to celebrate this warm sunny day! It was so smooth and creamy, and had a great lightly-sweet taste. Normally I like to sweeten smoothies with honey, but this recipe does not need any additional sweetener.

BANANA, MANGO, GINGER, ORANGE SMOOTHIE from Eating Clean in Costa Rica

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 mango
  • 1 to 2 bananas (I used 2 bananas)
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 200 ml plain yogurt (I used 1 cup–it’s not an exact conversion, but it’s very close!)
  • A pinch of ground ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 12 ice cubes
  • 2 slices of lime

Cut mango into cubes, removing the pit and skin. Chop the bananas. Juice the oranges.

Combine these ingredients into a blender, including the ginger and yogurt. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding a little water if needed.

Add ice cubes and blend once more. Serve in tall glasses decorated with a slice of lime.

I love smoothies and I’m sure I’ll be making this quite often during the warm weather. Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Show and ShareFull Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.