Strawberry Blender Muffins – 5 Smart Points

Strawberry Muffins

Fresh strawberry muffins are one of my favorites. About a year ago, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe for fresh strawberry muffins that I fell in love with. They were so tender, delicious and moist. The fresh strawberries made them really tasty. My only problem with them was the fact that they were a little involved to make. The way to get them to turn out perfectly involved sifting dry ingredients, creaming butter and sugar, and so on. I’m someone who likes to toss baking recipes together all in one bowl, mix and be done. So I went on the search for a simple and delicious replacement for my favorite strawberry muffins. I found these blender muffins that were just perfect. Originally, they had bananas in the recipe, so I tried it without first and just added the strawberries. They’re OK that way, but the bananas add the extra moistness that they really needed to be tasty. Everything, except the fresh strawberries, gets tossed in the blender (or food processor), pureed and then fold in the strawberries. They’re ready to go in just a few minutes, and bake in a few more minutes. Fresh out of the oven they are just amazing. I’m really enjoying my new strawberry muffin recipe, especially since if I use gluten free oats, they’re gluten free, and have no need for me to adjust flours. They’re easy, tender, moist and really delicious. They’re perfect for breakfast or snack – whether they’re fresh and warm or leftover.

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Fresh Blueberry Muffins – 6 Smart Points

Blueberry Muffin

In addition to some projects we were working on last weekend, my in-laws also brought us some really delicious, fresh, ripe blueberries. I love blueberries. Growing up, my grandparents lived on the coast of Washington. Grandma had the most amazing blueberry patch ever. It was about 6 feet by 10 feet and completely encased in a large chicken wire cage, to keep the birds out. The only downside was the bugs, because we could go in there and have as many blueberries as we could eat. Each summer, I try to get some fresh blueberries so that I can freeze them to add to sauces, muffins and all sorts of other things the rest of the year. A few blueberries have to be saved to be eaten fresh, and a few have to be used in a special recipe. This years special recipe was fresh blueberry muffins.

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Double Chocolate Banana Muffins – 7 Smart Points

Chocolate Banana Muffins

This banana muffin is probably my all time favorite banana recipe. It is moist, delicious and very easy to put together. I’ve made it about a dozen times and it has yet to fail me. The original recipe was for a banana bread, but I rather dislike making banana breads. They take so long to bake and a piece of banana bread isn’t nearly as convenient as a muffin. I almost always make my quick breads into muffins. In fact, I love to make these as mini muffins. The mini muffins are just perfect for a couple of bites of a snack without going overboard. As much as I love mini muffins, I left this one as regular sized muffins for this recipe. These regular muffins are great for me as a treat after a walk or bike ride, or as a mid afternoon snack with some fruit or veggies. I always make mine gluten free with a baking mix, but you can use regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour just as easily with no substitutions. Use up your leftover bananas with these delicious muffins. The moist, rich chocolate muffin won’t disappoint.

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Sundried Tomato & Basil Clover Rolls – 5 Smart Points

Sundried Tomato & Basil Clover Rolls

I was recently asked to design a recipe with frozen basil in it. I decided to go with classic clover rolls, and then add sundried tomatoes and basil to it. They were delicious! They were light and fluffy (provided you don’t over bake them like I did with my first batch), and had just the right blend of tomato and basil flavor. I find the sundried tomato flavor is often too strong when just mixed into salads and pastas, but with this, the basil seemed to temper it a bit. They were perfect with some spaghetti and a side salad. My original recipe used all purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat and get a little more fiber and whole grain nutrition in them. I’ve also made them with gluten free flour. They didn’t rise quite as well, so they were a little denser, but were still delicious. Give these clover rolls a try – you won’t be disappointed with their elegant flavor. [Read more…]

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Ciabatta – 4 Smart Points

Whole Grain Ciabatta

Oprah has said what everyone else is thinking – it’s possible to lose weight without giving up anything. One of the keys to loosing weight and keeping it off is to find a way to compromise. To find a way to enjoy your favorite foods while not going overboard. For many people I know, one of those things you want to keep enjoying is bread. Baked goods are something that just about everyone loves. Whether you’re try to lose weight, diabetic and counting carbs or gluten intolerant, there is something about a chewy and delicious piece of bread that can’t be replaced. One way to make bread healthier is to use whole wheat flour. Just make sure that the flour is finely ground. If your flour isn’t finely ground, your bread could be grainy. Whole wheat flour adds a richer texture and flavor to these traditional Italian rolls. Ciabatta are rustic Italian rolls that are chewy with a crispy crust. They are made with a starter, biga, that is fermented overnight. The dough is very wet, almost more like batter than dough. Letting the dough sit before kneading allows the flour to absorb the water so the dough is the right consistency. These rolls do take longer than normal to make, but the delicious texture and flavor definitely make it worth while to make a batch of these for a special occasion.
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – 4 Smart Points

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I’m not sure about everyone else’s house, but we almost always seem to have bananas that are getting overripe. As a result, I’m frequently making something that requires overripe bananas. Well, to be perfectly honest, I frequently make things like banana bread, but I also usually have a half a dozen bananas in the freezer. If your bananas are getting ripe, and you don’t have time to make something, just stick them in the freezer. Those bananas are perfect for making this banana bread. The number of bananas, along with the way that the liquid is reserved and then reduced from the bananas adds to the rich banana flavor and also the incredibly moist texture of this banana bread. I typically cover the banana bread with foil about half way through cooking. This helps the center cook without the top getting too brown. Really, this is a fabulous recipe. If you’re not a fan of chocolate (like my husband), just use walnuts instead of chocolate chips. I love this for breakfast and quick snacks – it’s so moist and delicious.

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Pumpkin French Toast – 6 Points +

Pumpkin French Toast

Since you’re probably turkey-ed out by now, let’s go for some pumpkin this weekend. It’s fall, so there’s plenty of pumpkins available, and this pumpkin French toast is delicious. Make it with French bread or sour dough bread and let the bread sit for a minute or so in the egg mixture. That way it soaks up more of the pumpkin flavor. I like to serve my French toast with yogurt on top, since it’s a better alternative than sugary syrup. This French toast is one that you could easily do as a baked French toast. Just chop the pieces of bread into cubes and put them into a baking dish. Then pour the egg and pumpkin mixture over the top and bake it for about 45 minutes. Whether you fry it on a griddle or bake it in the oven, this fall inspired French toast is perfect for a wintery morning with a cup of coffee.
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Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe – 4 Points +

Pumpkin Cornbread

Fall is officially in full swing, and like everyone else, I’m on a pumpkin craze. There are SO many amazing pumpkin flavored goodies and treats available right now, it’s insane! In addition to trying out some tasty looking products I find at the store, I’ve also been in the kitchen whipping up some homemade, healthy pumpkin recipes too. Though it’s been over 100 degrees here this week (boo for California in the fall!), I’ve been working on a Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe that I hope you love as much as I do! Moist, delicious, slightly sweet cornbread that bakes up light and tender boasting a traditional corn flavor, but with a hint of pumpkin and spice. Goes AMAZINGLY well with chili or soup, and if you want to spend the extra points, is best when topped with hot butter. So get on the pumpkin craze bandwagon and give my Pumpkin Cornbread recipe a try this fall. Each serving is just 4 Points Plus!

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Gluten Free Banana Nut Scones – 5 Points +

GF Banana Scones

Scones are a wonderful breakfast food and snack. They are so simple to make and they can be made with just about any combination of flavors. One of my favorites is cranberry orange. But since I had some bananas, I thought I’d try this banana nut scone. It’s wonderful! I typically don’t like to cut in the butter. I take my butter out of the fridge and grate it with a cheese grater. Then all I have to do is just mix it in with a spatula. These scones are light, fluffy and moist. They’re a quick and easy breakfast or snack.

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Breakfast Muffins – 5 Points +

Breakfast Muffins

I’m someone who isn’t a morning person. I love to eat and cook, but mornings are one of those times that if I’m not really inspired, breakfast is just a chore. Any time that I can find a delicious recipe for breakfast, I’m always excited. I love things that don’t require forethought and these muffins fit the bill. They are tender, moist and delicious. The whole cranberries add a wonderful tart flavor. If you’ve only got dried cranberries, use half of the amount, since dried cranberries add several points to each muffin. The sliced almonds add a little crunch and the whole wheat flour provides whole grain goodness. If you’re concerned about whole wheat products being grainy – make sure you get a whole wheat flour that’s very finely ground. If it’s finely ground, you won’t be able to tell the difference, and you’ll love these wonderful breakfast muffins!

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Whole Wheat Banana Nut Mini Loaves – 5 Points +

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Mini LoavesWith school getting ready to start back up soon, I know I need to be prepared for those hectic mornings where getting the family fed becomes an on-the-go task. When I have spare time, I love making wholesome, baked breads or muffins to have on hand for those days when cooking breakfast just isn’t going to happen. These Whole Wheat Banana Nut Mini Loaves are ideal for this exact situation. Made with all clean ingredients, healthy fats, and nothing artificial, they are nutritious as well as incredibly moist and delicious. I like to make them in mini loaf form because my kids think it’s super cute. But, alternatively, you can use mini muffin cups instead. Both options make them easily accessible and portable! For just 5 Points +, this banana bread recipe will leave you feeling happy and satisfied. Enjoy!
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Fresh Strawberry Muffins – 5 Points +

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

This delicious recipe is one that my mother-in-law has shared with me. It’s one of my favorite muffin recipes, I love the flavor of the fresh strawberries in the muffins. These are delicious for breakfast with scrambled eggs, or for a snack in the afternoon, or even as dessert. They’re simple and easy to make, but turn out light and fluffy each time. I make mine gluten free, substituting 2 cups of gluten free flour, but these work well as wheat muffins too – just use regular flour. Give these a try this weekend, they’ll be a sure hit with the whole family.

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