Egg White French Toast

When I think of french toast, I think of one of my dear college roommates. She would randomly whip up a batch of french toast for us all to share for breakfast from time to time. The first time she made it for us was the first time I watched anyone make french toast, and I couldn’t believe how simple it was! Previously I always assumed it was a labor intensive task, but she inspired me to make it more often. I actually prefer it to pancakes or other typical breakfast items because it seems to be more filling, specifically due to the protein in this version of the classic.

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Who said french toast needs to result in a heavy meal? I used mostly egg whites to increase the protein and used light bread to keep this dish lighter. You can certainly use whatever kind of bread you have on hand!

I love topping this off with fresh berries or some of my homemade crock pot apple butter. It is so much better (and lighter!) than maple syrup!

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One last thing–a neat trick I have is to preheat the oven to 250F so you can keep the first few slices of french toast warm while the second round is cooking. This is really important if you are cooking for a large crowd because you can ensure all the french toast is warm when you serve it!

Egg White French Toast (Serves 3)

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Light bread (I used Sara Lee 45 calorie bread)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Pre-heat oven to 250F. Heat a large skillet/ non-stick pan over medium heat. In a shallow dish or large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the bread. Coat all slices in the mixture.

2. Add bread to the heated pan. Cook until both sides are golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Enjoy!

Servings: 3. Nutritional information per 2 slices of french toast: Calories: 142 Carbs: 21g Fat: 2g Protein: 13 Sugar: 2g Fiber: 5g          WW PointsPlus: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://theskinnyconfidential.com/2012/03/13/egg-white-french-toast/ 

Crock Pot Apple Butter

One of my favorite fall activities is going apple picking. My good friend and I recently made the 90 minute trip up to the local orchards to pick apples, and I used a large portion of those apples to make this fabulous recipe. Did you know you can make apple butter effortlessly in the crock pot? The only time-consuming part is slicing the apples, but if you have one of those peel/slice/core machines it doesn’t take long at all! If you don’t have one, you really should get one…they are amazing!

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Back to the recipe. All you have to do is combine sliced apples with some spices and sugar, and the crock pot does the rest. It cooks down so well that in the morning all it takes is just a quick swirl of a fork or whisk and the apples completely disintegrate into a jam-like consistency. The worst part about this recipe is having to wait 12 hours for the final product. But the best part of this recipe, other than the delicious apple butter,…

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…It makes your ENTIRE house smell like a holiday candle. I let this cook overnight and we woke up to the most amazing autumnal smell of cooked apples and cinnamon.

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This recipe makes a lot of apple butter, which is perfect because you can freeze apple butter to have year round or give it to friends in a cute jar as a gift. Mine made 11 cups!! We love having homemade apple butter at our disposal year round. We seem to use it often on top of homemade breakfast items such as biscuits, pancakes, french toast, muffins, etc. If you are really feeling bold, toss a spoonful of it into a milkshake. My husband makes himself milkshakes all the time and does this. It tastes like apple pie!

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An important note about this recipe: it is easily adaptable and you should feel completely comfortable tweaking it to your taste. I suggest starting with the recipe below and adjusting from there. You will want to add more sugar based on the tartness of the apples you use, and you may want a stronger flavored apple butter. I always taste the apple butter after the initial 9-11 hour cooking window and add more spices then. Also, I have used various types of freshly picked apples in the past and it has always turned out amazing!

It is October, fall is here, and you MUST make this recipe!

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 lbs of apples (about 15 for me), peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 2-2 3/4  cups of sugar (add more if you have very tart apples…I usually start with less sugar and add more if needed)
  • 2 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Place chopped apples in the crock pot and combine with sugar and spices. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

2. Cook on low for 9-11 hours (I always do this overnight). It should be dark brown and thickened. Uncover and cook on low (I sometimes kick this up to high) for 1 hour or longer until thickened to desired consistency.

3. Allow to cool; place in containers. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Serving size: 2 tbsp. Nutritional Information per 2 tbsp: Calories: 31 Carbs: 8g Fat: 0g Protein: 0g Sugar: 8g Fiber: 1g

WW PointsPlus: 1

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/all-day-apple-butter-2/detail.aspx

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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Banana bread has always been my baking nemesis. For whatever reason, I have never been able to bake banana bread successfully. Banana muffins, yes, but not banana bread. Each time my banana bread would turn out under cooked in the middle and burned on top. It still tasted delicious but the texture was completely wrong. What was it about banana bread that was so difficult to master? Why could I make seemingly much more difficult recipes with ease (like homemade pie crusts, for example), but not this particular baked good? After several failed attempts, I decided to write off ever making banana bread. It was the one thing I couldn’t make. Audrey: 0, Banana bread: 1.

I was perfectly content not ever being able to make banana bread until a couple weeks ago. It was a Saturday morning and I had several ripe bananas staring at me, desperately needing to be used. Those bananas, couple with an intriguing find on Pinterest, convinced me to give it one more try. I hoped that I would not end up wasting precious ingredients, but came to terms with the fact that it might happen. I got out my mixing bowls and got to mashing those bananas.

I had a slight panic attack when, after the suggested 45 minutes of baking, the toothpick I used to test the bread did not come out clean. I was certain this would be another one of those recipes to add to my failed banana bread attempts. I checked it after 5 more minutes. Still not done. Finally, 5 minutes later, the toothpick test was successful and I took the golden banana bread out of the oven. It looked amazing, and I had high hopes that it would taste equally good.

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I am so happy to report that it turned out AMAZING. It was perfectly cooked through, not too dense, and full of flavor due to the cinnamon swirl in the middle and the glaze on top. The glaze is certainly not necessary, but it is a wonderful addition! In truth, it makes this recipe fall somewhere in between banana bread and banana cake. Regardless, it’s worth the time and effort!

Now I just might start experimenting with other banana bread recipes!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, soften to room temp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about three bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt), or 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbs heavy cream or half-and-half or milk

Directions

1). Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a separate large bowl, use a stand or hand mixer to beat the brown sugar and butter.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the mashed bananas, yogurt/buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Then slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the mix, but be sure to not over mix.

2). Pour half the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan (will need to adjust cooking time if using a different size).  Mix the cinnamon swirl ingredients together and then pour over the batter in the loaf pan.  Top with the remaining batter.

3). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (or for my oven, 55 minutes!) or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let it cool for about ten minutes in the pan on a wire cooling rack, then remove the bread from the pan to let it finish cooling just on the rack.

4). While the bread is cooling, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.  Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired thickness.  Finally, drizzle the glaze over the bread before enjoying.

Servings: 9 Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 251 Carbs: 41g Fat: 7g Protein: 6g Sugar: 11g Fiber: 4g

WW PointsPlus: 6

Recipe adapted from: http://mckinneyliving.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread/ 

Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins

IMG_20130525_102801Schools are out and summer is officially here! One of my favorite aspects of summer is all the fresh produce in the grocery store/farmer’s markets, including blueberries! Fresh blueberries are they key to making these muffins great (but frozen blueberries work too…they’re just not as tasty!). Did I mention I can get my husband to eat any fruit if I put it in muffin form? It’s true. Blueberries and bananas would never be tasted, unless baked in muffin or bread form. I used only white whole wheat flour in the batter to add nutrients and give these muffins staying power. They are surprisingly filling!! Each one is around 111 calories and can definitely tie you over until lunch, or be a sweet afternoon snack. I personally enjoyed them on our screen porch with a cup of coffee. Lovely!

IMG_20130525_102627I usually use applesauce as a substitute for oil or butter, but these muffins called for yogurt. Greek yogurt or regular yogurt both work perfectly. Substituting yogurt is a great trick to keep in mind for future baking! It keeps baked goods moist and adds protein without adding fat.

The next time you buy blueberries at the store, save some to make these muffins. They are fantastic!

Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large very ripe bananas)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup skim milk (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1). Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin tins with foil liners or spray pan with cooking spray (paper liners will stick!).

2). In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Set aside.

3). In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until no longer lumpy. Add honey and mix. Add yogurt, egg, vanilla exctract, and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.

4). Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold them all together (it will be very thick!). Slowly add the milk while mixing the batter to thin it out some. Gently fold in the blueberries. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

5). Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Oven times will vary so keep an eye on them! Transfer them to a wire rack and allow muffins to cool before serving.

Servings: 16.

Nutritional Information per Muffin: Calories: 111 Carbs: 25g Fat: 1g Protein: 3g Sugar: 14g Fiber: 2g

WW PointsPlus: 3 Old Points: 2

Recipe adapted from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/03/17/skinny-banana-blueberry-muffins/ 

Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins

These may be some of the best muffins ever! Truthfully, these “muffins” may as well be cupcakes without frosting because they’re so sweet. No oil or butter is used, but there is quite a bit of sugar. They taste so rich and decadent that you would never imagine each one clocks in under 175 calories!

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The banana flavor is almost undetectable here. Muffins are the only way I can get my husband to eat bananas, so I always try to find muffin recipes that call for them. It helps that I always have plenty in the freezer waiting to be used!

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One look at these muffins and you know it has to be chocolate.  The cocoa powder addition elicits the dark brown, almost black, color of the batter, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips ensures that each bite is sweet and chocolate-y.

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I could not believe how light and fluffy the texture was, considering I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I’d like to test it out with all whole wheat flour but I’m afraid it may weigh down the final product too much. Next time I will at least do 3/4 whole wheat and 1/4 all-purpose!

I will definitely be making these again!

Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe large bananas
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until there are no lumps. Add the sugar, egg, and applesauce and mix well.

2). Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the wet ingredients. Fold but do not overmix! Evenly divide batter between 15 muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Servings: 15

Nutritional information per Serving: Calories: 173 Fat: 5g Carbs: 33g Protein: 3g Sugar: 21g Fiber: 2g

WW P+: 5 Old points: 3

Recipe adapted from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/11/11/skinny-chocolate-banana-fudge-muffins/ 

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Clean Egg White Veggie Muffins

I am SO excited to share how to make these “muffins” today! These muffins are actually egg whites and veggies, cooked in a muffin tin to make for convenient, on-the-go access. No flour or oil, just protein and vitamins!

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The best part? The basil and oregano combined with the red bell pepper creates a flavor very reminiscent of pizza! These are absolutely delicious and so incredibly healthy! Each “muffin” has less than 40 calories and 5g of protein. There is no reason to reach for an unhealthy breakfast or snack when you have them in your fridge. I was shocked at how filling these little guys were!

To speed up the process, I used my food processor to chop all my vegetables, but if you don’t have one or if you have time, you can chop them up yourself. I also used foil muffin liners but they did stick a little bit. Feel free to spray your muffin pan instead.

This recipe made 15 muffins in my pan! You can refrigerate them for up to a week after making, or try freezing them and taking them out at your leisure. If freezing, allow the muffins to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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Clean Egg White Veggie Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 14 egg whites
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled (optional) and shrdded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 carrots (or about 6 baby carrots), finely shredded
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • dash sea salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

2) Using a food processor (or knife), chop all the vegetables. Fill each muffin tin 1/3 full with the veggies.

3) Whisk the egg whites, 4 eggs, and seasonings together in a large bowl. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the egg mixture and fill each muffin tin.

4) Bake for about 30 minutes, or until they’ve risen and are slightly brown. Enjoy!

Servings: 15. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 39 Fat: 1g Carbs: 2g Protein: 5g Sodium: 211mg

http://www.oxygenmag.com/Nutrition/Articles/Clean-Egg-Muffins.aspx 

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Oh yes, you read that title correctly.

Peanut butter.

Bananas.

AND chocolate chips.

All in one delicious muffin!

Can I tell you what is absolutely delightful about these muffins? Not only is there peanut butter incorporated into the batter, but there is an additional tiny dollop in the middle of each and every muffin. It is a savory little surprise you find as you bite into these fluffy muffins and just really amplifies the peanut butter flavor.

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The peanut butter also increases the staying power of these muffins, making them a great option for a mid-afternoon/morning snack or even breakfast! Do you have a favorite brand of peanut butter? My husband and I both love Smart Balance for the short ingredient list (no oils or sugar!) and flavor. Since that’s what we have in the pantry, that’s what I used. Choose your favorite and go for it!

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The chocolate chips are totally optional. I made these before without them and they still turned out fantastic. My husband made a special request to add them in so I did, but please feel free to leave them out. (Chocolate does make everything better, though…) 🙂

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat!)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 Tbsp peanut butter (I used Smart Balance), divided into 8 Tbsp for batter and 2 Tbsp for filling.
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (completely optional!)

1). Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with muffin liners.

2). Mash bananas in a bowl. Set aside.

3). In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, apple sauce, vanilla extract, and 8 Tbsp of peanut butter. Beat together until thick, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

4). Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together and fold in chocolate chips. Don’t over mix!

5). Fill muffin pans halfway with batter. Top with a scant 1/2 tsp peanut butter, and add additional batter to fill up the muffin cup. Bake for about 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Servings: 17.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 151 Carbs: 19g Fat: 7g Protein: 4g Sugar: 9g

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/07/low-fat-peanut-butter-banana-muffins.html 

Homemade Southern Biscuits (Just 100 calories!)

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Biscuits.

Hot, flaky, buttery biscuits.

They are a southern staple.

Unfortunately, they aren’t the most healthy choice due to all the butter and flour. So, here is a little trick to cut the calories/fat in half.

Ready?

Roll the dough out thinner.

While I know this is probably not earth-shattering, it does the trick. The downside to this, of course, is that you are left with a much thinner biscuit. Every bite is still delicious and rich, but it is something to consider. If you are content with just 1 biscuit, feel free to make your biscuits as thick as you’d like.

Here’s another tip: if you are like me and never have buttermilk in the fridge, you can easily make your own by mixing 1 cup milk (I use skim) + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and it can substitute buttermilk in any recipe!

We love to top these with homemade apple butter (recipe coming soon!), honey, or jam.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

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Homemade Southern Biscuits

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour, such as White Lily

2 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

2 cups buttermilk (or you can do what I did…1 cup skim milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using)

1-2 Tbsp. melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Sift together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in buttermilk with a fork until dough forms a ball.

2. Turn dough out onto a well-floured sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle dough with flour, and flatten into a disk. Cover and chill for about 15 minutes.

3. Remove wax paper, and turn dough out onto a well-floured surface; sprinkle with flour. Pat dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch cutter, reshaping scraps once (or else they get tough). Place biscuits 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

4. Bake at 450F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush immediately with melted butter. Serve hot.

Note: I halved this recipe and got about 10 biscuits because I rolled the dough out thinly. The original recipe should make 12.

Approximate Nutritional Information per biscuit: Calories: 102 Carbs: 10 g Fat: 6 g Protein: 2 g Sugar: 0 g

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2013.