Monday, October 22, 2012

Greek Yogurt Fruit and Chia Seed Parfait

My almost daily go-to breakfast. It's quick, it's inexpensive and it's satisfying. Using plain, fat free Greek yogurt reduces the sugar and subsequently, Calories. The addition of chia seeds (and whole fruit) increases the fiber content and nutrient density of this yummy concoction. I use frozen fruit as I think the extra cold fruit pieces taste better and are easier to keep around the house but fresh works too. Prepare a couple at a time for added convenience or to share (aside from being delicious, they're pretty cute)! Packed with protein and fiber, this breakfast treat will easily keep you satiated until lunch.

1 cup Plain 0% Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. Chia Seeds
1/8 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (no sugar added)
1/8 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
2 packets artificial sweetener (I use Truvia)

1. In separate bowl, mix yogurt and sweetener.
2. Fill bottom of small glass with a spoonful of sweetened yogurt.
3. Sprinkle small amount of chia seeds and place blueberries around the perimeter of the glass.
4. Place another layer of yogurt on top of blueberries.
5. Sprinkle with chia seeds and add a layer of raspberries around the perimeter of the glass.
6. Continue to repeat layering of chia seeds, fruit, and yogurt until you are out of supplies.

Don't be alarmed when you notice the chia seeds have gelatinized. They're supposed to. That's what contributes to their feel-full effect! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins (and purée how-to) not the healthiest, but nothing short of delicious! I used a pie pumpkin and made the pumpkin purée myself (time consuming, but simple). One could opt to omit the cream cheese frosting, but I just couldn't...

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract. 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners (or spray with nonstick cooking spray if you don't have any).
2. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.
3. Add pumpkin and egg and beat to combine. Add milk and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed.
4. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, and add to sugar mixture. Stir by hand just until combined.
5. Fill muffin tin wells 3/4 full, making sure batter has an appealing flat-ish top, as it won't change while baking. Combine topping ingredients and top each muffin with mixture.
Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on wire cooling rack.

Yields 20 regular sized muffins.

Word to the wise- if you're using a muffin tin with 12 wells, 4 will be empty on the second round. Fill the empty wells with water prior to baking to keep the muffins from baking uneven. Trust me, you'll be happy you did. 

While baking, beat together frosting ingredients and store in refrigerator until muffins are cooled and ready to frost.

Pumpkin Purée
If interested in making the pumpkin purée yourself, simply get your hands on a pie pumpkin and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
1. Slice the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy stuff (I baked the seeds for a little snack!).
2. Coat the inner pumpkin with a small amount of olive oil and place cut side down in a baking dish. Add 1 cup water.
3. Bake for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until cool enough to handle. Gently scrape the pumpkin from the shell and place in a medium bowl. The outer pumpkin shell will practically fall off.
4. Mash pumpkin with a fork and place on a paper towel to remove excess water.

The finished product has a much lighter color than canned pumpkin so don't be weird-ed out when it doesn't look like what you're used to. Stores well frozen in a freezer safe ziploc bag.