Gingerbread Mini Muffins

Is January too late to post a gingerbread recipe?? We just threw out the last of our Christmas gingerbread men cookies and I was so sad… Why must these delightful flavors be limited just to pre-holiday celebrations?? I say, they shouldn’t be! Thus, I bring you Gingerbread Mini Muffins, with an extra surprise inside!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I sometimes avoid posting “sweet treat” recipes because I’m afraid they aren’t healthy enough… And then I’m afraid if they’re too healthy they won’t be tasty… The struggle. But as I’ve learned about desserts (and life), it’s all about balance!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

While I usually avoid added oils, I used some here. (Although you can swap it out for applesauce- just be careful for pan sticking.) So how did I balance it out? Why by adding, three servings of veggies of course!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Hang with me here. If you dug my Mint Chocolate Chips Cookie Barsall my coworkers did!!– with all their crunchy healthy ingredients, you’ll die for these! The next installment of my Undercover Veggies series is packed with veggies but you’d never guess it! And my veggie of choice here?? Drumroll please…

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

BEETS!!

Last February, I whipped up some Heart Beet Pancakes, which I used as inspiration for today’s muffins. Beets act similarly to applesauce or pumpkin, common additions to dessert recipes, but with a unique earthy and sweet flavor. And when paired with bold ginger and cinnamon flavors, the taste is almost undetectable.

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

If you’re trying to up your veggie intake, want to sneak some veggies into your kids’ daily foods, or are looking for a way to cut calories and fat in sweet treats, this recipe is for you! Sneaky, sneaky Undercover Veggies, where will you show up next…?

Gingerbread Mini Muffins

Yield: 18 mini muffins

A sweet, flavorful recipe with a secret inside! These Gingerbread Mini Muffins are perfectly tender and delicious, but pack a healthy veggie punch!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. each nutmeg & clove
  • 1½ cup roasted pureed beets*
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (or applesauce)
  • 2 Tbs. molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup crystalized ginger, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350F and lightly spray a mini muffin tin with baking spray or line with baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until just combined. DO NOT over mix. Fold in the crystalized ginger.
  4. Fill the wells of the muffin tin most of the way full and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Keeps well in an air tight container for 3-4 days.

Notes

*To prepare beets: scrub beets well, prick with a fork, wrap in foil, and place in a 400-degree oven for 55-65 minutes, until completely soft. Allow to cool completely (I pop them in the fridge overnight), slide the skins off, then add to a high-speed blender and puree until completely smooth. I roasted about 8 beets and had plenty of puree leftover for other recipes.

https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/gingerbread-mini-muffins/

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Happy New Year babes! 2017 is here and it’s time to shed the burden of last year and drape ourselves in the brilliance and warmth of a clean start. I’m not setting “Resolutions” this year (as usual) but have decided to make this a year of intentions. Today I intend to eat an entire pan of Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

As a co-chair of my work’s Wellness Committee I’m leading a session this month called Undercover Veggies. I’ll be bringing in an array of foods packed with vegetables that can go undetected. All of the recipes will be posted here so that my coworkers, regular readers, and anyone else can make their own versions of the recipes they taste at our in-office session. This recipe is the first in that series of treats and eats!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Eating a crowd’s worth of dessert in one sitting might sound like a pretty unproductive way to kick off the New Year. After all, we all want to start the year off on a healthy note to set the tone for 365 days of wellness. But what if I told you that you could eat more than your fair share of these “cookies” and not feel the slightest bit bad about it?

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Is guilt-free too strong of a statement for something with chocolate chips in it? Maybe.

But are these bars way healthier that the Christmas cookies lurking on the picked-over dessert table in the dining room? Absolutely.

When glancing through the ingredients below, don’t get confused and think I accidentally pasted in the recipe for a green salad. Spinach is supposed to be there. WAIT- DON’T RUN AWAY!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | AreYouKitchenMe.com

One goal I’ve heard from a lot of people is to incorporate more fresh veggies into their diet. And I love that. It has nothing to do with losing weight, “toning” (gag), cutting carbs, cleansing, detoxes, or any other extreme fad sure to fade into disappointment by February. So let’s add more veggies! To dessert…? Hear me out.

Black bean brownies have had their day in the sun. So it’s no surprise that using a light colored bean works brilliantly to make a lighter colored dessert. When I decided I wanted a mint-flavored bar, I thought long and hard about how to make it green. You won’t find any artificial food coloring in this household so I turned to my favorite green vegetable, spinach.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Just like in a green smoothie, mild-flavored spinach adds vitamins and color without tainting the sweet flavor of mint cookies. Ditto, avocados. And chickpeas. So basically, I found a way to pack a whole punch of phytonutrients, fiber, and healthy fats into dessert. WIN.

Give these seemingly strange Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars a try. Isn’t that what the New Year is all about anyways?

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yield: 16 bars

A dessert that won't break your New Years resolutions! Think it's too good to be true? Think again! Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are hear to prove you wrong!

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained but liquid reserved
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 packed cup spinach
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbs. reserved liquid from beans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. mint
  • 2 cup oats, ground into flour (or sub 2 scant cups oat flour)
  • ¼ tsp. each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life minis)

Instructions

  1. If not using oat flour, add oats to a high-speed blender and blend until completely broken down and a flour is formed. Add the flour to a bowl and stir in coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Add chickpeas, avocado, spinach, maple syrup, liquid from beans, and extracts to the blender and blend until completely smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides multiple times.
  3. Scrape the wet ingredients from the blender into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to form a stiff dough. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper, lightly spraying the pan and the parchment with cooking spray.
  5. When the dough is cool, stir in chocolate chips and scrape into lined pan. Smooth out the top well and sprinkle with additional chips, if desired.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, until the edges become slightly brown. Allow to cool completely before slicing, otherwise the bars may fall apart.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/mint-chocolate-chip-cookie-bars/

How to Build a Green Smoothie

Happy Global Smoothie Day!! A whole day for the whole globe to celebrate my absolute favorite breakfast, snack, and treat! What could be better??? In honor of this most wonderful holiday [can I get PTO?], I’ve put together a quick guide on How to Build a Green Smoothie.

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Smoothies are all the rage these days. And why wouldn’t they be? Smoothies are refreshing, creamy, sweet, easy to eat, and super healthy. Right? Well, let’s hold on a minute. Not all smoothies are created equal…

For examples, a large Smoothie King Almond Mocha High Protein Smoothie [listed under their “Fitness” smoothies] has a whopping 86g of sugar partially from added refined cane sugar, 24g of fat, whey protein, and a grand total of 840 calories. If you’ve just powered through a master spin class and jogged 3 miles to the café, you MIGHT have torched enough calories to justify something this indulgent. But if you’re like me, and just looking for a healthy way to get to 11am, this “healthy” breakfast simply isn’t.

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Even some “green” smoothies these days are sugar bombs in disguise, so I’m all about making my own- not to mention the added financial benefits!! Below I’ve outlined ingredients that I use in rotation to make a wide variety of healthy, filling smoothies. Feel free to use your favorites or what you have on hand, but remember this general formula.

1-2 cups veggies + 1 cup fruit + healthy add-ins + flavor boosters

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Pick mild veggies. One time I tried to be frugal and added some leftover beet greens and arugula to my green smoothies for the week. It was a week of bitter, grassy morning breath. The vegetables below are mild enough that their flavor won’t overpower a smoothie’s yummy flavors:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas*
  • Cucumber*
  • Zucchini*
  • Cauliflower*
  • It is imperative that these veggies be frozen for best texture

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Use plenty of fruit. Please, don’t be afraid of fruit! The natural sugars found in fruit break down to form the sugars that our brain and body need to survive. Some of my favorites include:

  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
    • These should all be frozen before blending

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Boost health benefits with some “superfood” add-ins. I’m not wild about claiming certain foods can have such superior health benefits that they alone can have a noticeable impact on health. However, I do believe there are foods that might have vitamins and minerals that we may not get in our everyday diet, or have higher concentrations of healing compounds. Add these in small quantities to avoid a funky tasting shake. Some healthy add-ins that I use are:

  • Spirulina
  • Maca
  • Turmeric (+ pinch of black pepper)
  • Match green tea
  • Chlorella
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Plant-based protein powder
  • Ginger (fresh or powder)
  • Wheat grass

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Kick up the flavor and add a little healthy sweetness and creaminess for a breakfast you’ll actually want to wake up to! Add these to satisfy your personal taste, although I recommend using sweeteners sparingly.

  • Pitted dates
  • Golden raisins
  • Honey/ maple syrup
  • Stevia
  • Spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc.)
  • Rolled oats
  • Avocado
  • Nut butter
  • Powdered peanut butter
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Vanilla extract, or other flavors
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Plain non-dairy yogurt

Blend with liquid, enough that your smoothie blends easily but doesn’t thin out too much. The amount is totally up to you, but I always start with enough to fill half of my ingredients, then add as I go. Some great blending options include:

  • Unsweetened non-dairy milk (my favorites are almond or cashew)
  • Coconut water
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Low-sugar juices (or watered down juice)
  • Filtered water

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Plan ahead for accessible smoothies on busy mornings or any time a craving hits.

  • Pre-make smoothie packs to keep in the freezer. Portion individual amounts of ingredients from the formula above to plastic bags, glass jars, or Tupperware containers. In the morning, simply dump in with your liquid, blend, and go!
  • Turn any smoothie into a green smoothie with what I call booster cubes! Blend your veggies and superfoods with a tiny amount of liquid, freeze in ice cube trays, and pop into any mix. I make these every weekend with whatever wilted greens and mushy veggies are in my fridge, spirulina, and turmeric. Take a look at the pics for what mine look like.
  • If you really can’t stand getting your blender out in the morning, it is possible to make a smoothie, freeze it in ice cube trays, and then thaw in the morning. You can pop them into a cup or container and let them melt while you make your morning commute. The texture isn’t as good but it’s a decent time saver!

 

How do you green smoothie? Let me know in the comments! I hope I answered any questions you might have about smoothie-ing the healthy way! Happy Global Smoothie Day!

How to Build a Green Smoothie | AreYouKitchenMe.com

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