ChocolaTEA Mini Muffins

22 Feb

This month’s Recipe Redux challenge is “Favorite Chocolate Matches.” What’s better for an afternoon pick-me-up than a bit of dark chocolate and a hot cup of tea? That’s a normal snack for me – the combination of minimal sugar + antioxidants + vitamin C + warm, soothing liquid is just the hit I need for an energy boost. It’s a great pairing on its own, but I wanted to take it one step further: why not combine the two into a healthy, oat-filled muffin? And make them mini??

ChocolaTEA Mini Muffins |

Yep, that’s exactly what brought me to this recipe. Into a hearty oatmeal base of a batter, I mixed rosehip-hibiscus tea leaves and chocolate chips. Paired with the healthy fats of eggs and coconut oil, the protein of Greek yogurt, and the gluten free happiness, you just can’t go wrong! They’re slightly sweet, super adorable, and full of all the good stuff — and none of the guilt!

These are basically Vitamin C antioxidant fiber bombs. They’re just too good to be true…until you make them yourself :) Share them with friends, co-workers, or eat three for a quick breakfast.

Get creative and use any kind of tea you like! Fruity, herbal, even green tea would work well in these. The possibilities are endless.

ChocolaTEA Mini Muffins |

ChocolaTEA Mini Muffins, adapted from Mother Earth Living
Makes 24-27 mini muffins, or 12 normal ones

  • 2 C ground oats (use gluten free oats if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bags of rosehip-hibiscus tea
  • 1 packet powdered stevia
  • 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. Line mini muffin tins with mini muffin papers (polka dots are so cute!)

Grind a bunch of oats in a food processor, then measure out 2 cups into a large bowl. Whisk in all the dry ingredients – baking powder through chocolate chips.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the water, syrup, eggs, melted oil and vanilla. Whisk this into the dry ingredients.

Now mix in the Greek yogurt.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins – fill them to the top, as these don’t rise too much.

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins to cool completely. Note: the papers will stick until they are 100% cooled.

Store in an airtight container on the counter for two days, or a little longer in the fridge. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee, and revel in all the health benefits within!

ChocolaTEA Mini Muffins |

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

Buffalo Wing Cheddar Beer Mac and Cheese

18 Feb

Wings seem like a culture around here…the spicier, the sweeter, the weirder…it’s a constant one-up game among restaurants and pubs. And it’s a trend I’ve never cared for – vegetarian or not!

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m opposed to the flavor profiles that make up wings – hot, spicy glazes paired with creamy cool dipping sauces, and a side of raw veggies. So I transformed it into a mac & cheese dish!


Cabot Creamery makes an amazing Buffalo Wing cheddar cheese – it’s hand-rubbed with all the spices. When shredded and added to a creamy low-fat base, with a hit of extra hot sauce, this mac & cheese will warm you up on these cold February nights. And it’s vegetarian! And has beer baked right in!

Whip up this quick meal tonight and please the whole family. Bonus: it’s great reheated too.


Buffalo Wing Cheddar Beer Mac & Cheese
Serves 8

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta (I actually used leftovers from three types of pasta)
  • 1 8oz block of Cabot Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese, shredded in a food processor
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp hot sauce or wing sauce
  • 12 oz wheat or pale ale beer (I used Finch’s Wet Hot American Wheat)
  • 3 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13″ glass dish.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.

Shred the cheese in the food processor. Cut the block into 8 cubes, and shred half at a time. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same food processor, combine chopped onion, yogurt, milk, spices and hot sauce. Puree until smooth.

Drain pasta and return to its pot. Add the shredded cheese and pureed sauce. Mix well to combine. Mix in the beer. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the pasta, then sprinkle on the paprika.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes out of the oven, then serve and enjoy!


Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

10 Feb

What’s a girl to do when her boyfriend is sick? Make him soup, of course! I’m no doctor, but I do know that a warm, hearty, healthy meal made with a bunch of love is a great cure for the common cold. I even replaced carrots with bell pepper because Chris isn’t a fan of the orange root vegetable. I sure do love him!

Vegan "Chicken" Noodle Soup |

Chickpeas easily replace chicken in this classic recipe, and it’s loaded with veggies, which translates to tons of vitamins! Boiling the pasta right into the soup Oh, and it is SUPER quick to make! In less than a half hour, your home can be filled with the comforting smells of soup made from scratch, and your tummies will be happy too!

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup, adapted from Willow & Thyme

Serves 6-8

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (replace with 2 large carrots, diced if desired)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 6 C vegetable broth (low-sodium preferred)
  • 1 C water (add another cup if you like really liquidy soup)
  • 1 C white wine (I used leftover chardonnay)
  • 12 oz whole wheat or vegetable rotini pasta
  • 1 28oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (use less if you like)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, pepper, celery and garlic until softened, but not browned.

Add the bay leaf and other seasonings and cook another minute.

Add all the liquids, cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles and chickpeas and cook 7-9 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and if you’re not vegan, garnish with freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Store leftovers in the fridge up to 5 days.

Triple Chocolate Mini Oat Scones with Salted Caramel Sauce

2 Feb

Who doesn’t love a good scone? It’s like a sweet biscuit, and breakfast-appropriate! Well, how about some scones filled with chocolate and doused with a homemade salted caramel sauce?

Triple Chocolate Mini Oat Scones with Salted Caramel Sauce |

Look at all the caramel goodness.

Yeah, I thought so. These are hearty, sweet, chocolatey, gooey and caramely. And they’re low-sugar, low-fat, half whole wheat and have oatmeal. So they’re basically healthy. Right? Yeah, let’s go with that. You could even make these vegan! The sauce already is, and the scones can be done with vegan Greek yogurt if you like. See? How easy is that!

I made these “mini” because A) mini is adorable and you can justify eating three of them without any guilt and B) they’re great for serving at a morning get together! Like when you go to the bar at 7:30 am to watch a British soccer team play a game. Yep, that’s exactly what these were for – and a hit they were! My team won, and so did I with these small sweets.

Triple Chocolate Mini Oat Scones with Salted Caramel Sauce |

COYG! (That’s: Come On You Gunners!)

Triple Chocolate Mini Oat Scones with Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 24 mini scones

Triple Chocolate Mini Oat Scones, adapted from Valerie’s Cookbook

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 C + 1/3 C (divided) plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 C white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce, adapted from Veggies and Gin

  • 1 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with a SILPAT mat or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder & soda, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix in 1/2 C Greek yogurt and the coconut oil.

Mix in the oats and chocolate chips. Now mix in the other 1/3 C Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla. Mix until dough starts to come together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it holds together. Press it until it’s about 1″ thick, in a round-ish shape. Use a knife to cut 6 large triangles (like a pizza). From that, cut each triangle into 4 small triangles. Yep…time to bust out that geometry!

Place scones about an inch apart on the ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool while still on the baking sheet.

NOTE: if you’re not into mini things, simply make 12 normal-sized scones and bake for 13-15 minutes.

While those are baking and cooling, make the salted caramel sauce.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and sugar over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Instead of stirring, simply swirl the saucepan a couple times. When it starts getting bubbly, let the syrup simmer for a minute.

Measure cornstarch into a small bowl. Add three spoonfuls of the syrup to the cornstarch and whisk together – this will thicken the sauce. Whisk this into the syrup. Keep whisking until the syrup thickens. Once it does, remove from the heat. Whisk in the coconut oil and Himalayan salt crystals.

Spoon warm caramel sauce over the mini scones, while they’re still on the baking sheet (this will make cleanup easier!). Don’t be skimpy with the sauce, either. Really pour it on! Store leftover caramel sauce in the fridge up to one week. I’m sure this would make AMAZING oatmeal! Or poured on ice cream. Or eaten with a spoon….

Once scones are completely cooled, transfer to serving plate or container for later consumption. These will last a couple days in an airtight container. As if….you’ll want to eat them all!!

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream

31 Jan

Disclaimer: By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

There is poetry in cupcakes. I’m serious! The way flavors can compliment each other in a soft cake, topped with a creamy frosting…that kind of poetry can only be achieved in the kitchen. And what’s poetry if not an expression of the person who baked it?
Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream |

These apple cheddar cupcakes are a representation of me…all American, classic, holistic, risk-taking, sweet with a bit of bite, and just downright awesome (not to toot my own horn!). It’s not often we come across a flavor combo that everyone can seem to agree on. Which is why I knew I had to transform the well-loved apple and cheese pairing into a secretly healthy treat, perfect for game day, parties, or just bringing to your favorite watering hole.

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream |

These delightful cupcakes are packed with protein and calcium thanks to the multitude of Cabot cheeses, have a wonderful whole wheat punch to them, cradle the fiber of apples, and carry a fruity undertone with the use of honey and olive oil in place of traditional cake ingredients.

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream |

It was tough to choose which Cabot cheddars to use in these cupcakes!It’s like a cheese plate made into a cake!

It’s like a cheese plate made into a cake!

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream |

My 1950s apron kept me clean and cheese-free!

Still not sold? Everyone who tried these loved them. They’re a perfect balance of sweet, savory, healthy and cheesy. You just can’t go wrong!

So give it a shot. Impress your guests with something out of the box. You won’t he disappointed.

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream
Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 C grated apple (about three small apples, peeled)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4oz Cabot White Oak Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2oz Cabot Alpine Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1/2 C organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 C skim or nondairy milk
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Cheddar Buttercream:

  • 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.5oz Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 C powdered sugar (plus maybe an extra 1/3 C)
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp skim or nondairy milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Spray lightly with PAM.

Apple Cheddar Cupcakes with Cheddar Buttercream |

It IS January, after all!

Begin by grating the apples and mixing in the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Grate the two white cheddars into that as well.

Whisk in the honey, sugar, olive oil, eggs and milk. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flours, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Gently whisk half the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients. Whisk the rest in until just combined.

Scoop cupcake batter into prepared tin, filling each liner about 2/3 full. You’ll be able to make 12 full cupcakes.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before transferring cupcakes to a cooling rack. To speed up the process, you can throw these in the fridge or freezer, still in the tin.

While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting! Whip the softened stick of butter in your stand mixer until light and creamy. Add the shredded Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and a dash of nutmeg and keep whipping. 1 cup at a time, whip in the powdered sugar. Taste after 2 cups are added, and adjust to your sweetness level.

Note: I used 2-1/3 cups of powdered sugar, because the cupcakes aren’t overly sweet on their own, so I wanted a nice sweet balance.

Frost the cupcakes once they’re completely cooled using a piping bag and circular tip (hint: don’t use a star-shaped tip, as the cheddar gets in the way of it coming out perfectly).

Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them come to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!


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