Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Espresso Double Dark Chocolate Muffins

I’ve been reading a series of Coffeehouse Mysteries. When reading them I always get a craving for coffee and in the last book, I got a hankering for a coffee muffin. So I scoured the internet for a while trying to decide what I wanted to try. I considered healthy versions of the muffins but at last decided, that if I’m going to eat a chocolate coffee muffin, I’m not going to make it healthy…it’ll be a true treat. So finally, I landed on Serious Eats’ page and decided that looked good. I made a few tweaks and here we are.

Espresso Double Dark Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Serious Eats

Yields: 18 muffins

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Hershey’s unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c plus 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips, divided (I used Guittard)

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray standard muffin tin with non-stick pan spray. (I highly recommend you don’t use paper muffins cups on this recipe.)

    Stir flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl; set aside. In large bowl, whisk sugar with eggs. Whisk in oil, milk, vanilla, and espresso until combined.

    Whisk dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Stir in 1 cup chips.

    Evenly divide batter between muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining chips. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and place on wire rack to cool completely.


Drunk Honeyed Pecans

The other day I had a hankering for some sort of different snack and I happened to have a huge bag of pecans from my mom’s yard in south GA. So I started thinking I could do a sweet candied pecan but I didn’t want the typical sugar coated. So after some research online I modified a recipe to make this!

Drunk Honeyed Pecans

  • 1/2 c bourbon honey
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c whiskey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, stir together honey, granulated sugar, whiskey, and salt. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a slow boil. Add pecan halves. Stir to coat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring, until syrup begins to bubble up and turn a light brown in color. Remove from heat and drain liquid through a strainer.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place coated pecans onto parchment paper in a single layer, separating as much as possible. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, separate pecans from each other and use to top salad or as a tasty snack.

Smooth(ie) Tuesday

Well, it’s another icy morning here in Maryland but since I’m working at home today, I took advantage of my blender and whipped up a smoothie. I didn’t have much to use in one so I threw some things together but it works. Perhaps it’s a little sweet for a breakfast smoothie but I’ll be keeping this one in mind for a sweet treat in the future.

Caramel Apple Cherry Protein Smoothie

1 Grove Square Caramel Apple Cider K-cup
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c dark frozen sweet cherries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Blend it all up!

Mine made just over 1 serving of my smoothie cup so you could easily make 2 smoothies out of this I think.

Nutrition Details:
Calories – 260
Carbs – 37
Fat – 0g
Protein – 27
Sodium – 235
Sugar – 27

Roasted Southwest Veggies

It’s finally Friday! I don’t know about y’all but this has been a LONG week. I started my half marathon training and I’ve done 9 miles thus far. On Sunday I’ll run 4…ok, I’ll run/walk 4. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather stays warm(er) and dry so I can run outside. Running in the gym is for the birds. But enough about that, let’s get to what you should make this weekend or next week for a fast after work dinner.

Roasted Southwest Veggies (with Butternut Squash)

5 cups fresh butternut squash, cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butternut squash, peppers, and onions in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss/stir to coat veggies. Mix seasonings in a small bowl and add to the veggie mixture. Toss/stir to coat evenly. Pour veggies in one even layer onto a greased baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes until squash is fork tender.

Now…the good part? You can eat those just as they are. Add a little guacamole and sour cream for extra deliciousness. But I took the veggies one step further. I put a couple of spoonfuls and some shredded cheese onto a tortilla, rolled them into burritos and baked them in the oven for 5 minutes so the cheese would melt. I’ll be honest, at first bite, I didn’t love it but the more I ate, the more I liked it. Even my meat loving fella liked them. While they may not be a weekly appearance in our kitchen, I do think they’ll show up from time to time when we’re wanting something a little different and really easy.

Enjoy the weekend!

What a Workout! (and a smoothie)

My trainer is forever keeping my workouts different and exciting. She knows what type of workout I prefer (cardio circuits) and tries to sneak those in on occasion when I’m needing more than some strength. Yesterday afternoon she texted me asking me if I wanted my butt kicking workout that night or Friday morning. Um? Great. So I opted for last night because Friday morning I train after Spin and I’m half dead. Thank goodness I chose that option. I would’ve been on the floor to stay if I did it after Spin!

It was 3 circuits of 3 exercises. I did each circuit for 7 minutes seeing how many rounds I could do. The idea is that you can see your improvement over time so I’ll be doing it again in a couple of weeks. Plus, the workout FLEW by since you only take a 1-2 minute break in between circuits.

Circuit 1:
10 push-ups
20 walking lunges
30 jump ropes (I didn’t actually use a jump rope)

Circuit 2:
5 burpees
10 barbell chest presses
15 sit ups/roll ups (knees can be bent or extended)

Circuit 3:
15 squat pulses
10 jumping jacks
5 TRX pull ups

It may be you can’t do some of them depending on your access to equipment but you get the idea of what muscle groups are working and could switch out. I thought my abs were gonna give out on the last set of roll ups. I ended up doing 4 rounds of the first 2 circuits and 8 of the last one. So that breaks down to:

40 push-ups
80 walking lunges
120 jump ropes

20 burpees
40 barbell chest presses
60 roll ups (dying)

120 squat pulses
80 jumping jacks
40 TRX pull ups

All in a half hour’s time.

In other news, this morning I decided I’d try a pumpkin pie shake as part of my breakfast. Last night I froze pure pumpkin in ice cube trays so I could just pop out a couple for smoothies. This is what went in to the delicious breakfast treat:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
1 c unsweetned vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp frozen pumpkin (use more if you want it thicker)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
pumpkin pie spice

Blend it all up!

Smoothies Anyone?

So, I’m a smoothie girl through and through. Usually once the cooler weather hits I tend to put the blender away to collect dust. But lately I haven’t been able to get enough of them. My trainer gave me the idea of using green tea as the liquid which is genius because it’s better than just plain ol’ water but it doesn’t have the added calories of milk or yogurt. So…I’ve been doing my experimenting with green tea. I brew up a kcup worth of green tea either before going to the gym or before I go to bed and let it chill while working out or sleeping. Then it’s nice and cool when it’s smoothie blending time!

Green Tea Apple Cucumber Smoothie

6-8 oz. chilled green tea
1/2 – 1 c baby spinach
1 scoop Jay Robb vanilla protein powder (any protein powder will do but I love this brand)
1 small gala apple, peeled and sliced
1 baby cucumber or 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
4-6 ice cubes (optional)

I love that smoothie up above. I will warn you that if you don’t have protein powder, you should add some honey or Stevia as it can be kind of bland otherwise. It’s very refreshing and very low calorie. Your calories will come from the protein powder and the apple. It’s only about 180 calories and 17 carbs so it’s a perfect snack but with 27 grams of protein (if you use the protein powder) it’s a great workout recovery snack.

Another smoothie I accidentally discovered when I realized my cucumbers were slimey is a take on a favorite snack, apples and peanut butter.

Apple Peanut Butter Smoothie

6-8 oz. chilled green tea
1/2 – 1 c baby spinach
1 scoop Jay Robb vanilla protein powder
1 small gala apple, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp Pb2 powdered peanut butter
4-6 ice cubes (optional)

It’s a little odd if you don’t like green tea but that is the key to keeping this low calorie. How 196 calories, 18 carbs, and 30 grams of protein catch your eye? You could make it with almond milk for sure but it’ll up your calories and there are a lot of health benefits to green tea. The other key to low calories? The powdered peanut butter. Seriously, y’all, why has it taken me so long to get on board? This stuff is magical in smoothies. I get just as much if not more peanut butter flavor than regular peanut butter but I get 1/4 the calories and carbs. We’re talking 23 calories for 1 Tsbp as opposed to almost 100 calories of almost any other peanut butter option for 1 Tsbp. The powdered stuff comes in chocolate flavored, too, which is great in peanut butter banana smoothies.

I recommend you go try these smoothies. Play around with green tea and different fruits and let me know what you find works best.


Pumpkin Spice M&M Cookies

Over the weekend, I made use of the Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. I tried eating them straight up and they’re a little too much for me. So I thought I’d try baking them into a cookie. It worked. I wanted to use up some semi-sweet chocolate chips I had in my cabinet, too, so I threw those in to add a little more chocolate but you can leave them out. If you can find the M&Ms in your stores (I think they may only be in Targets), then try this cookie.

Pumpkin Spice M&M Cookies


  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 bag Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
  • 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in M&Ms. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Spicy Honey Tilapia

When I made the quick and easy Cilantro Brushed Tilapias last Sunday, I also made some Spicy Honey Tilapia to enjoy during the week as well.

Spicy Honey Tilapia

24 oz. tilapia filets
1/2 c honey
4 tsp chili pepper paste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse tilapia filets (if frozen) in cool water and set aside.
Mix honey and chili pepper paste until well blended. Place fish on foil lined and sprayed baking sheet. Brush tops of fish with honey mixture so that the tops are completely covered.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes.

Serves: 5 (serving size should be approximately 4 oz.)

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories – 238
Fat – 2g
Carbs – 29g
Protein – 29g
Sodium – 145mg
Sugar – 29g

Cilantro Brushed Tilapia

I made quick and easy tilapia filets on Sunday night. I quickly rinsed off some frozen filets, whipped up a sauce and baked away. Now I have dinners for the week!

Cilantro Brushed Tilapia

24 oz. tilapia filets
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 tsp cilantro herb blend
1 tsp crushed garlic

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse tilapia filets (if frozen) in cool water and set aside.
Mix olive oil, cilantro, and crushed garlic until well blended. Place fish on foil lined and sprayed baking sheet. Brush tops of fish with olive oil mixture so that the tops are completely covered.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes.

Serves: 5 (serving size should be approximately 4 oz.)

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories – 209
Fat – 11g
Carbs – 1g
Protein – 29g
Sodium – 57mg
Sugar – 0g


Monday Meal: Shrimp Salad

Good Monday morning! I love a good shrimp salad. I mixed up a quick and easy shrimp salad because shrimp is what I had on hand. You could easily add crab or swap out for chicken. Add whatever veggies you want, I just like mine simple with celery. You could also substitute the mayonnaise for plain fat free Greek yogurt. The ground mustard is key for me. It adds a bite to the salad without adding too much “sauce.”

Shrimp Salad

12 oz. cooked, peeled and chilled shrimp
3 stalks celery hearts
1/4 c Smart Balance mayonnaise
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Chop the shrimp and celery evenly into small cubes and set aside. Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper in a large bowl. Dump celery and shrimp into the bowl and mix until evenly coated with mayonnaise mixture. Let it chill for at least one hour before serving to maximize the flavors blending.

Serve on bread, rolls, croissants, with crackers, or eat it plain.

Serving size: 1 c
Yields: Approximately 2 cups

The nutritional stats (calculated the way I described above) per serving:
Calories: 243
Fat: 9g
Carbs: 4g
Sodium: 601mg
Protein: 37g
Sugar: 2g