These adorable mini whole wheat strawberry donuts are the perfect breakfast for all of your special Valentines!
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, even on those many February 14ths where I found myself single and a bit angsty. Probably because in my family, you get Valentine’s Day presents and care packages no matter how old you are or who you’re dating. Plus, in my family, it’s very hard not to constantly feel loved. I think growing up with so much love, it’s hard not to get excited about a holiday centered around the emotion.
I’ll admit, the whole thing is a little cheesy. Mushy cards written by people sitting in cubicles drinking bad coffee, over-priced flower arrangements that die the next day, crappy chocolates and truffles not worth the $50 they cost. But even though the flowers always die too soon and the chocolates never taste quite as good as the ones I can make, I still am over the moon excited when I get them. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sweets and pretty bouquets.
This year, we’re spending a very low-key Valentine’s Day at home. Due to a very crappy January, we’re on a bit of a budget this year. Which means no fancy dinners, expensive bottles of wine or over-priced flower arrangements. And to be honest, I’m kind of okay with that. A night in with my hunny, watching some sappy Nicholas Sparks movie, drinking $10 Cabernet sounds like a piece of heaven to me.
Especially if I don’t have to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, but when you do it from 9 -8 every single day, you can get a little burnt out. Which is why I am, with much trepidation mind you, letting my husband take the wheel this Valentine’s and make me a very special (and hopefully not burnt) dinner.
I think just to prepare myself, I’ll make a big batch of these mini whole wheat strawberry donuts on Thursday morning. That way, if he burns the chicken or over cooks the rice, we’ll have these pretty little donuts to enjoy. Because you know what goes really well with cheap wine? Strawberry donuts. It’s a little hidden secret I’m letting you all in on.
Mini Whole Wheat Strawberry Donuts
Yields about 12 mini donuts. Inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Prep time: About 5 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
For the donuts:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup 2% Chobani Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons light cream
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 3 tablespoons chopped fresh strawberries
For the glaze:
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a mini donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. In another bowl beat the egg, vanilla, light cream, Greek yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar and white sugar until fluffy. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Carefully fold in the fresh strawberries.
- Fill a pastry bag with the donut dough and carefully pipe into the mini donut pan, filling about 3/4 the way full.
- Bake for about 11 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly.
- To make the glaze, beat the sugar, heavy cream and strawberry jam. Dip the mini donuts into the frosting about 3 times to liberally coat. Sprinkle the top with Valentine’s Day sprinkles.
Nutritional information per donut:
Fat: 1.8 grams
Carbohydrates: 24 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 2.4 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 3
Before we dig into this beautiful funfetti chocolate chip cookie pie, I need to do a bit of shameless self promotion. My book, the one I spent months developing, one of the few things that gave me purpose after the fire, the one that has a big chunk of my heart and soul in it, is available for pre-order!
Part of me is excited and part of me is horrified. I’m so scared that people won’t love it. I’m awake at night sweating over every little detail. What if I forgot an ingredient? What if a baking time isn’t right? What if the copy editor forget to check page 245? What if the amazing chocolate chip cookie bars come out dry instead of moist for Barbara Adams in Madison, Wisconsin and she tells all of her friends what a horrible book it is? These are legitimate fears I face, friends. Even though I’m scared, I’m equally as excited. A book, A REAL BOOK, will be in the shelves of stores and online with my name on it. That feels…just…surreal.
Let’s move onto something a little less scary, a funfetti cookie pie! On a scale of things that give you anxiety, this is probably a negative 5,500,345. I mean really, how can anything with the words funfetti and cookie cause you anything but glee?
Now, as you can probably tell by the pretzels, sprinkles, frosting and, well, cookie base, this recipe isn’t healthy or low-fat. At all. But it’s Monday, Valentine’s Day is in 4 days, so why not live a little aye? It’s a scientific fact, when Mondays include sprinkles, pretzels and cookies, it’s going to be an incredible one.
And if it’s not, at least you have a cookie pie to drown your sorrows in.
I seriously can’t believe Valentine’s Day is 4 days away. I swear it was just New Years Eve. I swear I just woke up with a bunch of resolutions I had full intentions of following. Before you know it, St. Patrick’s Day will be here and then it’s practically Memorial Day. If I wake up tomorrow and it’s the 4th of July, I give up.
Mainly just because I’m nowhere near bikini body ready. Like, at all.
Funfetti Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Serves about 10.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: About 18 minutes
- 1 cup butter
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup red chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup sprinkles
- About 1/2 cup frosting
- Chocolate covered pretzels, chopped
- Sprinkles for garnish
FOR THE DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS FUNFETTI COOKIE PIE, CHECK OUT SHEKNOWS.COM!
Nutritional information per slice:
Fat: 27 grams
Carbohydrates: 62 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 14
After one taste of this quick and easy homemade marinara sauce, you’ll never buy another jar of it again, I promise you!
The spring of 2005 wasn’t an easy time for me. I was 20 years old and was pursuing a major I wasn’t passionate about. I thought I wanted to be a dietician, despite my anguish over chemistry and biology, and was knee-deep in 16 credits worth of geometry and molecular biology. I was partying far too frequently with the too many friends I had on campus, had a new boyfriend every other week and was completely and utterly lost. I truly felt sad, lonely and scared for the first time in my life. I knew if I kept going down the path I was on, I wouldn’t graduate and I’d be a drop-out with a drinking problem. So, after doing some research online, I had an epiphany.
I called my parents, sobbing hysterically, and told them that I needed to move and attend a different college. I hated who I was and where I was going, and to really succeed, I needed to leave. After a few scares earlier that year involving my reckless ways, they happily obliged. My dad forked over the money for the applications and I applied to 2 schools, each of them over 750 miles away from where I currently sat. After just a few short weeks, I found out I was accepted to one of them, Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Neither of my parents had heard of it, but both were equally excited to get me out of the hole I dug myself into.
Fast forward 3 months into my fall semester in Georgia and I’m completely homesick. I went from having hundreds of friends at my side to having two, both of which had a life outside of me. One very homesick weekend, both of my roommates had left, and I was completely alone. Instead of going out to the bars, where the girls looked like country stars and the boys only noticed them, I stayed in. Instead of ordering yet another Hungry Howie’s pizza, I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs. A simple dinner that always made me feel like I was at home with my mom as she tossed the pasta into the boiling water and mixed the meatballs together with her hands. So the next hour and a half, I sat by the stove watching as the sauce simmered, tossing in herbs, salt and pepper as the bubbles gently popped when they reached the surface. I mixed pork and beef with diced onions and garlic to create perfectly little meatballs to sit on top of my pasta.
My first bite tasted like home. It wasn’t as good as my mothers, but it brought me that much closer to her anyway. Instead of feeling sad and lonely, I felt happy. It was the first time in my life that I actually felt how powerful food can be. How it can ignite memories of happiness and security with just one bite. Now, I know this wasn’t my best sauce (by far), but in that moment, I had never tasted anything so good.
I have always, always loved food, but it was that plate of spaghetti and meatballs that really showed me how much food can also love you back in the moments where you feel like nothing else does.
Quick and Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
Serves about 8. (1/2 cup serving size)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 35 minutes
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 6 ounce can of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped leeks
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm up the 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and leeks, cook about 2 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add garlic and carrots. Heat vegetables for about 5 – 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant. Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, parsley, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Add in the red wine.
- Reduce heat to low and cover. Pour in remaining olive oil. Let sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 – 30 minutes. Working in batches, carefully pour the sauce into a blender (or use a hand blender) and puree until smooth.
- Serve immediately or store in sterilized jars for up to a month.
Nutritional information per serving (about 1/2 cup):
Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 2.5 grams
Weight Watchers points: 3
Looking for the the perfect fudgy brownie that is also GF? Check out these amazing gluten free chocolate peanut butter brownies! So fudgy you’ll need a fork!
What a whirlwind past week it’s been for me. You may have noticed a bit of radio silence on my end these past 7 days, but I promise there’s been good reason for that. In addition to a heavy workload for SK, I’ve also been on a work trip to Vermont! Surprisingly in my 28 years of life, I’ve never been to New England. The farthest Northeast I’ve gone is Ithaca New York, and as a devoted travel writer with a passion for the unknown, this was completely unacceptable. Instead of heading up during the foliage season, I thought it would be awesome to see New England in all of its winter glory, and holycrap am I glad I did. I had such an incredible time in Stowe and Burlington. I’m going to write a whole post about it, but I wanted a tiny snippet into my trip.
Dog-sledding was, hands down, one of my favorite parts of the trip. These dogs are not only so incredibly beautiful, they are so happy to be running. They are probably some of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen. Plus, Siberian huskies are just such beautiful creatures to begin with, and so gentle. It was such an incredible moment getting to spend some quality time with these gorgeous dogs and learn all about them while I rode on the back of the sleigh.
Now, enough about that for now (blog post to come next week), let’s talk brownies and a new direction for this little blog. But first? Brownies. Decadent little squares that are so fudgy, you have to eat them with a fork and about a gallon of milk. Which to me, is the only way to really eat a brownie.
As you know, I’m a peanut butter addict so instead of swirling each brownie (which arguably would have made a prettier end product), I just dolloped big ol’ spoonfuls of Jif creamy right on top. That way I was ensured each bite would contain the proper 85% peanut butter 15% chocolate ratio. And, for good measure, I tossed in some peanut butter chips. Really so I would stop eating them like grapes, but that’s besides the point.
In all honesty, this is probably the 3rd gluten-free brownie recipe I’ve tried. As many of you know, one of my good friends has a gluten allergy, so I’ve been trying to perfect the fudgy gluten-free brownie. The other two recipes I tried had a weird, grainy texture or turned out spongey with a cake like texture. I wanted brownies that looked and tasted like my favorite salted chocolate ones, and doing that gluten-free can be tricky. But friends, I think I finally did it.
Now, I promised we’d talk about a change coming to this blog, but I’m only going to share a small tidbit of information. Like, the fact that there are going to be some pretty major changes around these parts in the next few months! I’m going to put more focus on travel and real life and less focus on recipes. Before you flip, don’t worry, I’ll still share a new recipe 1 – 2 x a week, but I plan on sharing more about my adventures abroad and the experiences I have while traveling. Because right now, that’s where most of my passion lies.
But don’t you worry your pretty little heads off, new healthy and delicious recipes will still be found here! If you want to know more, just email, tweet or FB me! I’d love to answer any questions. Now go make brownies to combat your worry.
Gluten free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Serves about 14. Recipe adapted from Eat Good 4 Life.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 22 minutes
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon Green Mountain flavored coffee (I used gingerbread)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter chips
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter*
*You can use less peanut butter or omit completely if you’d like. This was simply added as a preference.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs and coffee together until fluffy. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over medium low heat. Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg mixture to thoroughly combine. *If you want, you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Simply mix in the same way.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flours and baking powder together. Add the flour mixture to the egg and chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the peanut butter chips and chopped walnuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared glass pan and spread with a spatula. Using a tablespoon, scoop peanut butter on top of the brownie mixture. You can swirl it in if you’d like, but I just plopped it on. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips.
- Bake for about 22 – 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack for about 10 – 15 minutes and then dig in!
Nutritional information per serving:
Carbohydrates: 18 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 4.2 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 6
Looking for a cheesy, decadent and healthy recipe for the Super Bowl? Try these delicious crispy tofu nachos!
I have a confession to make.
And it’s a shameful one.
And funny enough, it actually has nothing to do with these incredible crispy tofu nachos. Friends? Fans? I’m a Netflix tv-show binge watcher.
It all started harmlessly enough. I saw that they had season 5 of Mad Men and I thought “hey, I should reacquaint myself with this season since the new one is starting this spring.” And then, after that, I noticed that they had all 9 seasons of The Office, and it had really been a long time since I watched those. 3 weeks later and 9 seasons down, I was rabid. I needed more. I needed something else to sink my teeth into. Now, as a full-blown addict, I’m on season 3 of Desperate Housewives and I don’t see quitting anywhere in my future.
My issue is that I work from home, so when I’m cooking, photographing and editing, I like to have something on in the background. And Netflix knows this, so they suggest “hey, since you blacked out and watched 9 seasons of the office, maybe you’ll do the same with 8 seasons of Desperate Housewives?” And I’m weak and The Netflix knows that. They prey on me when it’s cold and murky outside, illuminating my couch with a ray of warmth whispering “just one episode, then you’ll go read Ayn Rand or pick up knitting.” But I know and they know one episode turns to 9 and there’s my day.
But I guess an addiction to old TV shows is far better than crystal meth or crack. And at least I don’t have a meth lab like Breaking Bad (which is next on my suggested watch list.) So things could be worse, right? Well, I need to wrap this up because Lynette just got cancer and Gabby kissed Carlos on her wedding day to Victor. So bye!
Crispy Tofu Nachos
Serves about 8 – 10.
Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: About 25 minutes
For the tofu:
- 15-ounce block of extra firm tofu, drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 package taco seasoning
For the nachos:
- 1 bag Food Should Taste Good jalapeño tortilla chips
- 1 1/4 cups part-skim cheddar cheese
- 1 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1 habanero, seeded and chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 avocado, mashed
- 1/2 can (about 2 ounces) mild green chiles
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Wrap the tofu in paper towel and stack heavy plates on top to drain the water. Remove wet paper towels and repeat 2 more times.
- Once drained, slice the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and taco seasoning. Place in an even layer and bake for about 20 minutes. Use a spatula to break the tofu around and bake another 20 – 25 minutes, or until crispy.
- To make the nachos, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Grease an oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange a layer of the tortilla chips along the bottom. Top with tofu and 1 cup of the cheeses (I mixed mine for flavor). Add a few pieces of jalapeños. Top with more chips, more tofu, diced tomatoes and another 1 1/2 cup of cheese. Top cheese with the rest of the jalapeños, habaneros, tofu, green chilies and rest of the cheese.
- Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with cilantro and avocado. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving:
Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 23 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Protein: 18 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8