Honeycrisp Wheat Germ Muffins

I thought I’d share a family recipe with all of you! “Easy Wheat Germ Muffins” is the official title, but I’ve made these into an apple cinnamon muffin. But what is wheat germ?

Wheat germ is the reproductive part of wheat that can produce a whole new plant. Because of that, wheat germ is a concentrated source of essential nutrients. Of course on the list of nutrients that it has, it does include gluten. So if you are gluten intolerant and needing to stay away from gluten, wheat germ would be something you’d need to stay away from.

If you are not allergic or gluten-intolerant, then I’d suggest looking up wheat germ. It’s an easy thing to add in for extra nutrients and basically replacing what is stripped away from wheat when it’s processed in a concentrated form.

There is more about wheat germ on my post on another family recipe, “Amelie’s Wheat Germ Pancakes”. And yes… apples are in those too.

Wheat germ has a nutty flavor to them and I guess I just always think of apples, but with this recipe, you can use berries, nuts, etc. or leave them plain. Up to you. For me, I’m not a huge sweet person, but I love baked goods. So this muffin is a delicious nutty flavored baked muffin that’s slightly sweet.

Oh! And I almost forgot – because I always do – if you buy wheat germ, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator after it’s open. Although it’s a flour, it needs to be stored in the fridge. I always forget this. I got a few cups from my mom who had just bought some. She put it in a zip lock bag and in big letters said, “STORE IN FRIDGE”. I still forgot. It contains unsaturated fats, which can become rancid. It has a shelf life of a year if it is stored properly. The way to tell, if you forget to store it in the fridge like me, is that fresh wheat germ has a slight nutty smell, similar to toasted nuts. Not sour.

You could bump up the sweetness with adding a streusel topping, but I don’t think these guys need it. So let’s get to the recipe, but first… don’t ya’ll love this melted butter shot I got?! I’m so proud!

WARNING: Your house will smell like baked cinnamon apple muffins and you will have to slap hands away from people trying to eat them before you can take a picture!

Honeycrisp Wheat Germ Muffins

  • Servings: 9 large muffins
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped honeycrisp apple
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with liners or grease with small amount of vegetable oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: all purpose flour, wheat germ, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg until well beaten. Add to the large bowl with dry ingredients.
  4. Add in almond milk to large bowl. Mix all ingredients together.
  5. Add in the apples and cinnamon, or any other add-ins, and fold into the mixture.
  6. Fill in large muffin tin about 1/4 cup each.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes before devouring.

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Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

I don’t know of too many people who don’t like Caesar Salad. It’s lettuce, a creamy dressing, and then the crunch of flavorful croutons. I originally had a recipe for a cashew dressing to make it dairy free, but since have made a yogurt version (using plant-based yogurt or dairy-based) so that it is low fat but still creamy, delicious, and not so heavy. But first, I want to share how I make my own croutons.

Home-Made Croutons

Croutons can be expensive for how much you get, and almost always have dairy in the ingredients. Here is how I get around that. This recipe will fill about a 1/2 gallon bag when you’re done. Half the recipe if you need to.


Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 1/2 gallon size bag, enough for 12 salads, 6 croutons each
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Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bread of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take 6 slices of bread and cube them. About 9-12 cubes each. Slice twice one way to make ribbons, and 2-3 times the opposite way.
  3. Spread on a cookie sheet (prepared with aluminum foil or parchment paper).
  4. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper.
  5. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bread starts to brown. You might want to shake the pan around or flip them about half way through to make sure they get dry. Let cool. Add to salad or store in ziplock bag for about a week.

Nutrition Information (Whole Wheat Croutons Only)

1/2 slice worth of croutons per serving

84 calories | 5 g fat | 0.7 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 323 mg sodium | 7.9 g carbohydrate | 1 g fiber | 0.8 g sugars | 1.8 g protein

Energy Sources

38 g carbohydrates | 54% fat | 9% protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

0.4 Grain

 

So simple and easy that I always make my own croutons now. No added flavors or seasonings I don’t want. No hidden allergens. And it can be a healthy whole grain bread that I like.

Onto the salad!

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 3 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, optional
  • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt, I used Kite Hill’s Plain Almond Milk Yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • 1 tbsp miso paste, for soy free I use chickpea miso
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup Homemade Croutons
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or my Nut Parmesan

Directions

  1. Add washed and chopped romaine hearts to a large bowl.
  2. In a blender add yogurt, garlic, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, miso, capers, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  3. Add red onion if using, croutons, and parmesan to the romaine and toss. Right before serving, add in the dressing a small amount at a time and mix together until lightly covered.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

124 calories | 3.3 g total fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0.8 polyunsaturated fat | 1.0 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 4.5 mg cholesterol | 379 mg sodium | 16.5 g carbohydrates | 7.3 g fiber | 4.7 g sugar | 7 g protein

Macro Sources

53% Carbohydrates | 24% Fat | 23% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.2 Grain
  • 0.1 Milk Alternative
  • 5.3 Vegetables

Chipotle Black Bean Chili

The chipotle chili in adobo sauce is something you don’t want to miss out on. It adds a smokey flavor and the smell while it’s cooking is one of those things you want to permeate the house. It’s something I keep in mind for busy days or weeks. Freezer and slow-cooker options are below as well as some of the health benefits.

 

Black Beans
  • High in Fiber
  • Good Source of Magnesium
  • Good Source of Iron
  • High in Flavonoids – which has antioxidant abilities
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Aids Digestion
  • Controls Blood Sugar
My Favorite Bean:

Like other beans, black beans have a sugar that our body has a hard time breaking down. Hence the bloating and musical notes which are the unpleasant side effects beans are known for. However, black beans have less of this sugar than other beans. It shouldn’t put you in as much discomfort (or embarrassment) as other beans will. It’s a win win for everyone at the table.

Quinoa
  • High in Fiber
  • Low in Fat
  • High in Minerals
  • Complete Plant Based Protein

Although you do not need to consume complete proteins to get the amount of protein you need throughout the day, it is good to know the sources of them. Being plant-based and soy-free, quinoa is something I regularly have in my kitchen.

Lean Ground Meat Option

You can add a lean meat like ground turkey or a lean ground beef if you feel that you need it. By using lean meats it has less unhealthy fats, less cholesterol and overall better for your heart health when compared to average ground meats. Whatever option you decide, just make sure it’s lean. The only advantage that ground turkey has is that it does have a fat-free version you can find and beef does not.

However, my family members eat this without meat and is completely full and satisfied. This would be a great “Meatless Monday” meal if you are just starting to dive into vegetarian meals and plant proteins. It won’t disappoint.

Meal Prep & Slow Cooker Options
  • Meal Prep | Freeze all uncooked ingredients before putting it in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
  • Slow Cooker | Set on low for 6-8 hours. Add an extra cup of water or broth.
  • For families of 2-4 people, this will make more than one dinner. You can freeze 1/2 of it or when prepping, make 2 separate meals. 1 to have one week and another for the next week.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili

  • Servings: 10 Servings, 1 1/2 cup per serving
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked black quinoa, rinsed OR 2 lbs. ground turkey, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, if using quinoa
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 2 (19 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • cilantro & limes for serving

Directions

  1. Bring vegetable broth to boil and add quinoa. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, turn off heat and set aside. If using turkey, cook the turkey and crumble it. Once it’s cooked, turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with juice, drained black beans, green and red bell pepper, zucchini, chipotle chili, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and corn and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  4. You can let it simmer on low for a few hours. Adding water or broth if needed. Or you can serve with cilantro and limes.

Crock Pot Directions Add all ingredients to the crock pot, stir and set on low for 6-8 hours. If you can, you might want to stir the chili about 1/2 way and add vegetable broth if needed. I usually will add an extra cup of broth or water to the recipe when it’s going to be in the crock pot, especially for 8 hours.

Nutritional Information

Chipotle Black Bean Chili with Quinoa: 

205 calories | 3.4 g total fat | 1 g saturated fat | 2.0 g polyunsaturated fat | 3.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 363 mg sodium | 35 g carbohydrates | 8.4 g fiber | 3.2 g sugar | 8.6 g protein

Macro Sources

68% Carbohydrates | 15% Fat | 17% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.8 Grain
  • 0.3 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables

 

Super Greens with Clementines & Roasted Pecans

One of my favorite salad recipes! Usually dinner is the heaviest meal for me, so I like putting salads with dinner to keep it lighter. This recipe is what I usually put with spicy foods. Anytime I make something with Cajun seasoning, this is what I like to have on the side to cool it off. Not to mention it’s delicious and healthy.

Clementines
  • High in Vitamin C which boosts the immune system and promotes healthy skin
  • Aids in Digestion
  • High in Minerals
  • High in Antioxidants
Roasted Pecans
  • Healthy Fats
  • Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
  • High Fiber
  • Energy Maintenance
  • Improves Brain Function

 

Super Greens with Clementines & Roasted Pecans

  • Servings: 4-6 servings, about 1 cup per serving
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest, or clementine zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 clementines, peeled and in slices
  • 8-10 oz. Super Greens (I used swiss chard, spinach, and arugula)
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, olive oil, and dijon mustard. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
  2. If your pecans are not already toasted, heat a small skillet on low without anything but the pecans and let it slowly toast while you constantly move them around so that they don’t burn. Once you start to small the pecans, turn off the heat and throw the toasted pecans in a small bowl to cool off.
  3. Take your greens, clementines, and cooled toasted pecans, and toss with the dressing. Serve immediately!

Nutritional Information

234 calories | 20 g fat | 5 g polyunsaturated <1 g omega 3, 4.5 g omega 6 | 12 g monounsaturated | 2 g saturated | 0 g trans | 0 mg cholesterol | 63 mg sodium | 14 g carbohydrates | 4 g fiber | 8 g total sugar | 4 g protein | 68% vitamin C | 206% vitamin A | 278% vitamin K | 11% iron | 24% magnesium

Green Chili Enchiladas

This recipe is something I make whenever we need a special meal: officially being moved in to a new place, an anniversary, my hormones deciding I need something gooey and fattening… Whatever calls for something to be deceptively nutritious and comforting. I make this with hearts of palm and plain low fat yogurt for a vegetarian/plant-based version, but you can easily make it with chicken and a plain low fat yogurt. (If you want a little more fat, use sour cream or coconut cream from the can, only using the cream and not the water that is at the bottom of the can.) I have the nutrition information for both versions below.

High Fiber
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Aids in Detoxing
  • Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Aids in Weight Maintenance
Low-Fat

If you are watching the amount of fat you intake or just want a lighter dish than your regular creamy enchilada recipe, using the plain low-fat yogurt is a great swap!

  • Dairy-free yogurt: I’ve used the Kite Hill unsweetened almond yogurt
  • Nut-free and Dairy-free: A plain unsweetened soy yogurt should work
Easily Adaptable
  • Already Soy-Free
  • Already Dairy-Free
  • Already Plant Based
  • More Plant Based Protein: Use soy or seitan products instead of hearts of palm
  • Gluten Free: Use corn tortillas instead of whole wheat

 

 

Green Chili Enchiladas

  • Servings: 12-14 Large Enchiladas | 6+ Servings | 2 Enchiladas per Serving
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Ingredients

    Enchiladas
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, optional if using a non-stick skillet
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can hearts of palm, pulled into shreds OR 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 “chicken” bouillon cube OR use veggie broth instead of water
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 can low fat vegetarian re-fried beans
  • salt to taste
  • 12+ whole wheat OR corn tortillas
  • Low Fat Green Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened low-fat yogurt
  • 1 15 oz can green chili sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, if using the coconut cream
  • Toppings
  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Limes

If using the coconut cream, the best way is to buy a can of full-fat coconut milk. Do not shake the can, and if you have the time, put it in the fridge for a few hours. The coconut water will separate from the coconut cream. Most of the time it does this on its own if it’s not shaken. Use only the cream. It does not have much of a coconut taste.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9-by-13 pan.
  2. Heat oil in skillet, if using. Add onion and sautee until translucent. Add pulled hearts of palm or shredded cooked chicken and sautee for a few minutes more until the onions and hearts of palm/chicken start to brown.
  3. Add water, “chicken” bouillon or 1 cup vegetable broth, chili powder, and garlic powder and simmer with the hearts of palm/chicken mixture. Simmer 20-25 minutes making sure most of the liquid is gone and the bouillon cube is dissolved.
  4. Add the re-fried beans and mix together. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  5. Sauce
  6. Add all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Assembly
  8. Add a few tbsp of the hearts of palm/re-fried bean mixture on one tortilla and a small bit of the sauce. If using corn tortillas, you will need to make sure they are not cold and that they are dipped into the sauce, otherwise they might crack. Repeat until your 9-by-13 pan is full. You want to make sure it’s tight and completely full if possible so the enchiladas don’t dry out in the oven.
  9. Cover the enchiladas with the rest of the sauce, making sure all corners are covered.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before eating.

Nutritional Information

With Hearts of Palm Per Serving: 

387 calories | 12.6 g fat | 1.5 g polyunsaturated | 5.2 g monounsaturated | 4.8 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 0 g cholesterol | 784 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 13 g fiber | 6 g total sugar | 14 g protein | 71% vitamin C | 31% calcium | 38% magnesium | 26% iron

With Chicken Per Serving: 

445 calories | 14 g fat | 1.8 g polyunsaturated | 5.9 g monounsaturated | 5.2 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 36 mg cholesterol | 601 mg sodium | 54 g carbohydrates | 12 g fiber | 6 g total sugar | 25.8 g protein | 66% vitamin C | 29% calcium | 35% magnesium | 21% iron