Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cherry Muffin Recipe
The motivation for this Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cherry Muffin Recipe comes from the same place as most of my muffin collection… it’s was our turn to bring snacks at Lil Dude’s school. This recipe is 100% whole grain, but that isn’t the only thing that makes this recipe healthier. Pumpkin puree makes them moist, flax meal adds healthy omega’s, oat bran adds fiber, and the chocolate yumminess comes from cocoa powder… meaning we get the antioxidants, without the extra fat. All combined, these Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cherry Muffins are perfect for the preschool set!
These muffins are not too heavy, they have a light almost cupcake like textures, so they’d also make a healthier cupcake for a birthday party or special occasion treat. Especially if you added the chocolate chips!
I love to bake muffins in the mini bundt tins, the shape makes any muffin a little more interesting!
Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees
Ingredients For the Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cherry Muffin Recipe
1 1/4 Cups of Whole Grain Pastry Flour
1/2 Cup of Oat Bran
2 tablespoons of Flax Meal
1 Cup of Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
3/4 Cup of Yogurt
3/4 Cup of Milk
I cup of Pumpkin Puree
1 Tsp of Vanilla
1/3 of Cup of Grapeseed Oil
1 Cup of Frozen Cherries — Chopped Chunky
Going for an extra special treat? Add 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips!
Chocolate Cherry Muffin Recipe Instructions
Sift the cocoa powder – or things will be a lumpy mess! Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, the mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Form the dry ingredients into a well-like shape. Pour the liquid in the middle and blend all the ingredients well. Once everything is almost mixed add the chopped frozen cherries.
Spoon the batter into an oiled mini bundt pan or lined muffin tins.
Bake for 12 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry. Another way to test if they are done… press down lightly on the muffins. If they are done, they will bounce back, not done, your finger print will remain.
This recipe makes 24 smaller muffins!
Tip: If you are going to dust in powdered sugar, do it just before serving… otherwise it will just absorb into the muffin… leaving none of the pretty finish!
Come back and comment when you make these Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cherry Muffin Recipe, we love your feedback!
A Closer Look at Community Supported Agriculture
Today nearly everyone is looking for new ways to eat better. Between busy schedules, fast food restaurants, and junk food at the checkout, there are endless temptations to eat badly.
How about a temptation to eat better? My favorite is Community Supported Agriculture.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, is an arrangement between subscribers (also called members) and a local farm. The members join for a season and make a monetary payment in exchange for a share of the harvest. Typically you receive a weekly box, delivered locally, often to another member’s garage. CSA members share in the risks and benefits of the harvest. This means that in a good year there may be additional bundles of corn while in a bad year, corn may be absent–but there may be extra cauliflower.
Your Community Supported Agriculture Dollars at Work
CSA’s typically offer good value for your food dollar and the foods are often grown without chemical pesticides. By “eating local” you help the local economy, support family farms, and reduce the impact of packaging and shipping cross country. And you get some really fresh, amazing food.
One of the surprising advantages of joining a CSA is that it is a commitment. With one burst of resolve you sign up–and are in it for the season. Since you have already paid for a weekly box of vegetables, you are more likely to eat them. And let’s be honest, if you have a bad week at work, you are going to need something more motivating that a simple commitment to eat better. Sounds challenging, but the (really fresh) produce is so beautiful, it feels like you are getting a weekly present.
Beyond the food itself, joining a CSA may offer additional benefits. Often there is a newsletter with healthy recipe suggestions and connections to other providers like grass fed beef producers. There may also be farm events like canning classes or member parties, where your kids can see a real, live chicken. I’ve had a great time and gotten delicious recipes at my CSAs annual harvest party.
Most CSAs are getting ready for the new season and signing up members now. If you are serious about eating better, this is one of the best commitments you can make. To find one near you, check out the Local Harvest website.
Let Us Know About Your Experiences with Community Supported Agriculture!
I love it when I find a way to make conventional recipes healthier, even if it’s just a little bit better as in the case with this recipe. Spritz cookies are perfect for the holidays, but they are so much fun and so easy to make that once you get the hang of making them you won’t want to relegate them to the holidays! This recipe is 100% whole grain and the addition of oat bran adds to their flakiness.
• 2/3 cup Organic Butter
• 1/3 cup of Grapeseed Oil
• 2/3 cup sifted Organic Confectioners’ Sugar
• 1 Organic Free Range Egg – separated
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla
• 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
• 1 Cup Organic Whole Grain White Flour
• 1 Cup of Organic Whole Wheat
• 3/4 Cup of Organic Oat Flour
Organic Decorating Sugar or Confectioners’ Sugar for decoration
1. Bring Butter to room temp and blend with oil, cream together with the confectioner’s sugar in bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg white, then add egg yolk and vanilla; blend well.
2. Gradually stir flour into creamed mixture, mixing well.
3. Choose your design and place into cookie press. Place about 1/3 of the dough in cookie press at a time. I found it worked best when you made a nice tube out of the dough first then plop it in and press. Line up the press “grips” to engage the pressing action. Place the press on the cookie sheet, press and quickly but gently remove the press. Space cookies about 1 inch apart, on parchment or an ungreased baking sheets. The press takes time to get used to and get going… so don’t worry when you have a couple that don’t work, just toss them back in with your unpressed dough and have a redo.
4. If decorating with colored sugar, cherries, or jelly – add that before baking.
5. Bake in 400 degrees F oven 7-10 minutes or until set, not browned.
6 . Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.
7. If decorating with confectioners sugar. Lightly dust once cool. Enjoy.
Preheat oven to 375
Makes 24 Mini Bundt’s or Small Muffins
We love making “muffins” in a mini bundt tin because it makes an ordinary muffin seem more special.
I’m always looking for recipes that lil Diva will be proud to serve for snack at preschool.
I tweaked a recipe I found on RecipeZaar to make it healthier – using Organic Products, 100% Whole Wheat Flour, adding Flax Meal & using heart healthy grapeseed oil, even more carrots and extra cinnamon.
3 Cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
4 Tablespoons of Flax Meal
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups of Grated Carrots
1 Cup of Raisins
1 Cup of Milk
1/2 Cup of Molasses
1/2 Cup Grapeseed Oil
In large bowl combine flour, flax meal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. After it is well combined add Carrots & Raisins
In a separate bowl, stir together milk, molasses, grapeseed oil and eggs. Pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
Spoon into mini bundt tins or muffin cups, filling three quarters full.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Bacon… tastes so good and after watching this vlog… hopefully it will be a little bit less bad for you!
For further information about Sodium Nitrate – Read the Twinkie Report.
Do you dream that your children – or in my case husband – will ask this question at the dinner table?
You’re not alone – It’s just a dream in my home too! Do you know that ideally we would consume 9 – 1/2 cup servings of fruits and vegetables a day and should have no less than 5! Some of my friends seem mystified by how many vegetables my children eat, so I’m giving away my secret.
Many people are familiar with hiding puree’s in your food. I do use this technique, but need it less and less as my children eat their vegetables without me having to hide them.
My secret is diced mixed vegetables. Every week I dice up a giant dish full of mixed vegetables – this mix typically contains onions, red pepper, green pepper, zucchini, and celery. Sometimes I will add grated carrot or diced yellow squash. Really you can add almost anything.
Once you have this mix – add it to everything you cook that week at the end of 5-7 days cook up whatever is left and put it in the freezer for use on a day when you are out of the fresh mix.
We use this mix to up the veggie count in spaghetti sauce (1/2 vegetable and 1/2 meat), shepherd’s pie, tuna noodle casseroles and other comfort foods. I put it in mac & cheese, quesidilla, enchilladas, burritos, rice pilaf, soups, ready made spaghetti sauces (my kids never met a noodle they didn’t love!) and eggs. Basically if I’m cooking – there are mixed vegetables going in.
Once the mixed vegetables are in, I also add chopped frozen spinach to most dishes and other vegetables that are part of the dish. For example, in our home peas are part of shepherd’s pie and tuna casserole.
It’s also a good idea to add flax meal to any dish that will hide it’s dark color, 1-2 tablespoons in the sauce. A tablespoon in the pancakes or french toast egg mix. You won’t taste it, but you will amp up the nutritional value.
So there you have it. You are hiding vegetables, but they still know they are there.
Some of you may find your eaters pick around the vegetables (I’m OK with this, they can’t get them all) and in my experience they will eventually give up with most dishes. My daughter used to pick around the vegetables in spaghetti sauce and after enough nights of “you can’t have more noodles until you eat the sauce”… the sauce is now eaten with the noodles.
We just need to be more persistent and consistent than they are.
She told me it was bad for me… and given my desire to provide whole, natural and organic foods for my family I realized that splenda use was completely incongruous with my other habits. So I eliminated Splenda from my diet (I had never given it to my children).
A few months later, I thought I should do some research of my own to better understand what makes it questionable. I know that other artificial sweetener’s had been found to cause cancers in animal testing and wondered if the same was true with Splenda.
Studies have shown that it depress’ immune systems:
It has been shown to interfere with the Thymus Gland - causing it to shrink up to 40% in animal testing. The Thymus is a a key part of our bodies immune system. In addition it has been shown to cause calcification in the kidneys and swelling in the liver or kidneys.
I wouldn’t say I was ever a heavy Splenda user, but a few teas and coffees per day and perhaps a Hansen’s or two in the evening. Certainly enough that it adds up.
Since eliminating Splenda my body has fought a few bugs, but I have not been down & out sick. I don’t know if it is a coincidence or not, but after my research it makes me believe that it’s not.
For my money – skip the Splenda.
This article goes even farther in condemning Splenda: www.holisticmed.com
Try Agave Nectar for a low glycemic index option.
Stevia, Honey, Brown Rice Syrup and when all else fails… just use sugar.
Simple Egg Frittata
This Egg Frittata Recipe is great.
Not familiar with Frittata? Think, crustless quiche – eliminating the crust you removes most of what is unhealthy. Load it with vegetables and you have an easy one dish meal! Leftover frittata makes a quick, healthy and easy breakfast or snack.
Another great thing about making frittata’s is how easy they are to make.
This recipe is a great template.
Use up leftover vegetables – hide vegetables that normally get pushed aside!
Add your favorite seasoning.
Make it your own.
Ingredients for Egg Frittata
1/4 Cup of Milk
Mix – Set Aside
1 1/2 Cups of Diced Mixed Vegetables
1 Tablespoon of Grapeseed or Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning or other Favorite Seasoning
1 Cup of Chopped Cooked Potato
1/2 Cup Chopped Frozen Spinach
2/3 Cup of Diced Meat (Sausage, Bacon or Ham) – Optional
2 Tablespoons Feta Cheese – Optional
1/4 Cup of Sharp Cheddar or other favorite Cheese – Shredded.
Salt & Pepper to taste
Egg Frittata Cooking Instructions
In a Cast Iron Frying Pan, saute Diced Mixed Vegetables in oil over medium heat, (onion, zuchini, mushroom…) add seasoning.
Add cooked potato, cooked meat, and frozen spinach.
Note – I cook my frittata in a a cast iron skillet and flip it onto a plate – If you’d rather not flip – at this stage pour the egg mixture into a 9 X 13 Pyrex at this stage and bake the dish in the oven at 350 Degrees for 45-60 minutes – until the center is solid. Then add shredded cheese return to oven until melted.
If you’re in a flipping mood or a hurry because it’s faster…
Pour the egg mixture into the vegetables (you can also add feta here if using) for a minute or two, folding, as it starts to solidify, stop and leave it on the heat for a few minutes.
Once it looks nice a firm on the bottom, place under a low broiler and cook the top, when the liquid is gone, take a spatula and run it around the edge of your skillet and lift under to see if it’s loose, if not use a tool to separate it from the pan. Place your oven safe serving plate upside down on top of the skillet, flip the whole thing using gloves. Now the frittata is on your serving plate, add cheddar and place the frittata under the heat until the cheese it melted.
Slice and serve.
This recipe should serve 4-6.
Let us know what you put in your Egg Frittata?
By Tania Reuben
Tuna Casserole is a staple in many American kitchens. Comfort food.
Lil’ Diva hasn’t met a noodle she doesn’t like, so this mama has had to master the art of making some American favorites just a little healthier.
We use lots of vegetables, less cheese, whole wheat noodles and flax meal in the topping to increase the nutrients in this staple recipe.
See if this one works for your family!
3 Cups of Diced Mixed Vegetables
1-2 6 oz Cans of Tuna
1-2 Teaspoons of Grapeseed Oil
1 Teaspoons of Italian Seasonings
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup of Milk
2 1/2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
3/4 Cup of Frozen Peas
1/2 Cup of Spinach
1/4 Cup of grated Sharp Cheddar
1/4 Cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 Tablespoon of flax meal
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1/4 Cup of Parmesan
1/4 Teaspoon of pepper
1 lb Whole Wheat Spiral Noodles
Boil Water – Cook Noodles. Set aside.
Saute Mixed Vegetables in grapeseed oil until the vegetables are soft, add seasonings. Mix in flour. Add broth and allow to simmer and thicken. Add tuna, peas and spinach until they are cooked. Pour in the milk. Once warmed add the Cheddar.
Set oven to broil.
Combine all the topping ingredients.
Put the noodles in a casserole dish, combine with the sauce. Cover casserole with topping. Set under broiler until the topping is toasted.
Crockpot Chili is perfect for serving a crowd or feeding your family and still leaving leftovers to freeze for another meal.
This recipe is as comforting and delicious as it is good for you.
I prepared this for a weekend getaway in Seattle a number of years ago and apparently they are still talking about this recipe.
2 Cups Dried Black Beans
2 Cups Dried Kidney Beans
40 oz of Tomato Sauce
28 oz of Diced Canned Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Grapeseed Oil (divided)
2 cloves of garlic (or 1 teaspoon pre chopped)
1-2 lbs of Lean Ground Meat (we use turkey or 94% lean ground beef)
4 cups of diced mixed vegetable mix
1 cup corn kernals (we use frozen)
1/2 cup of chopped frozen spinach
2 Tablespoons of Flax Meal
1 Teaspoon of Oregano
1 Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Molasses
1 Teaspoon of Agave (or sugar)
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
Salt to taste.
Rinse and Drain the Beans together in the crockpot (power off), cover with water, let soak for a while (5-6 hours).
Rinse the beans then cover with water 3-4 inches. Cook overnight (6 hours).
Drain and rinse the beans.
Use a fry pan to saute ground meat in with garlic in oil. Add to crockpot. To increase iron content use cast iron. Using the same pan, saute mixed vegetables in oil. Add to crockpot.
Add seasoning, allow to cook the rest of the day. My crockpot only has two settings – Cook and Warm. If yours has multiple settings, use high.
Serve with favorite chili garnish. In our house its cheese and light sour cream, sour cream and cheese, cheese and sour cream.