RECIPE OF DELICIOUSNESS: Pumpkin Muffins

I adore baking treats that are just low in sugar and “healthy” enough that they trick my kids into thinking they’re an indulgence, when really they’re also suitable for a breakfast addition or a snack. This recipe for the most amazing pumpkin muffins hits the mark! Here we go…

Mix all of this deliciousness in one large bowl:wpid-img_25271.jpg

  • 2 c pumpkin puree
    • I like to use the fresh pumpkin guts this time of year, but if you don’t like all of the mess that goes with that, feel free to use the standard 15ish oz can of pumpkin.
    • IF you are going to go with the fresh pumpkin, puree it in the blender before adding it to break up any stringiness.
  • 1/2 c raw sugar
  • 3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 1/2 T vegetable or coconut oil
  • 2 c your choice of flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/4 c pepitas (which is just a fancy name for pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (or your choice of nuts…which are completely optional)

Notice anything? Oh, like these muffins are completely vegan. Oh yeah…double bonus! Unbelievably delicious and also happen to be free of animal gunk. Good times!!!

Mix it all up and you’re ready to bake.

Now is the time to get your oven warming. We’ll cook these babies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While your oven is warming, grease your muffin tin with your choice of oils. I prefer a dab of veggie or coconut oil for each, then spread it around the muffin tin to evenly cover the bottoms and side of each slot.

Fill your muffins each to about 3/4 full! I know this is more than the standard muffin recipe will call for, but these are deliciously dense and hearty, so they won’t fluff and run all over the place like some crazy egg-based muffins would 🙂

*Makes about a dozen muffins*

If you would like, you can also sprinkle some extra fun on the tops of your muffins once they’re in the tin but before they’re baked. I chose to top mine with some dry-roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds for a bit of extra nuttiness, but you could also use the pepitas or chopped nuts for a topping, as well!

When your oven has reached temp, these beauties will bake for somewhere in the 40-50 minute range, but just watch them, occasionally stick a toothpick in them, and judge for yourself.

When they’re ready:

  1. the toothpick will be mostly dry (they’re still going to be pretty dense muffins, so some of that pumpkin is bound to stick…)
  2. the edges of the muffin will start to pull away from the sides of the muffin tin
  3. the edges of the muffins will have turned a beautiful golden brown

After pulling the pan out of the oven, allow to rest for about 3 minutes before running a butter knife around the edges of each muffin, and removing the muffins from the tin to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

These delicious treats are sure to become a new family favorite in your household! Now…go get your pumpkin on!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf

How many times have you made a turkey meatloaf and ended up disappointed by the lack of flavor and texture? I have terrific news!!! Your search for a full-flavored and delicious turkey meatloaf stops here! Bake up to deliciousness:

image

*Preheat oven to 350°F

*Yields 10 servings

Mix together in large bowl:
*3 lbs ground turkey
*1 c quinoa
*1 onion, chopped
*2 T hot pepper sauce
*1 T Worcestershire sauce
*2 eggs
*1 T salt
*1/4 c brown sugar
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*2 t black pepper
*1/2 can from 15 oz can tomato sauce

Once thoroughly mixed, press into one large or two smaller loaf pans.
*Pour remaining 1/2 can of tomato sauce over loaf/loaves

Place in oven and bake until center is no longer pink (160°F internal temperature), approximately 50-60 minutes.

Slice and enjoy the most flavorful turkey meatloaf you’ve ever sunk a tooth into!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

My Family’s FAVORITE COOKIES EVER!

marilynsfamouscookiesI prefer to call these gems “Marilyn’s World Famous Cookies,” but that’s not really an accurate name for them. They’ve neither been around the world, or been shared with anyone who’s been outside the U.S, so for now I will just apply the title to my own little corner of the universe. But, now that you’re going to be craving them so much I know they’ll be “world famous” very soon!

These cookies began on an evening when my kiddos were craving homemade chocolate chip cookies. Not having a family recipe to go from, I used the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips bag. Those were tasty, but I found myself thinking, “that was a lot of work for cookies that were as good as I could have purchased, pre-packaged, for half the price.” So, instead of turning back to the cookie aisle, I decided to improve upon the recipe and make these cookies something my family and I could really sink our teeth into. What I created was a cookie recipe that my family actually craves and begs for. They’re really something special!

Begin with the basics:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the following ingredients at a medium speed until creamy and smooth:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter–I prefer the unsalted variety, and I believe butter is the most cooperative when it’s softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup regular old white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract–the real stuff, no imitation flavors allowed here
  • 2 large eggs

Slow mixer speed, and add the following ingredients about a half cup at a time to allow for full incorporation and less flying powders 😉

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

wpid-20150727_195945.jpgNow, you’ll need to put aside your mixer and put some elbow grease into your mixing, but just think of how many calories you’ll burn! I bet the workout at least earns you an extra cookie or two!!!

Like the powdery stuff, I prefer to add these ingredients a 1/2 cup at a time to ensure full-on mixability:

  • 2 cups (or a 12 ounce bag) chocolate chips–My family prefers when I make these cookies with the dark chocolate chips, but the semi-sweet are a close second. You can also play around with using white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or whatever strikes your taste buds!
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts–We have several nuts in our family, but no nut allergies, so I play with this one a little bit. Sometimes, I’ll have a fresh batch of pecans from a local tree, so I’ll use those. Sometimes, I’ll crave macadamia nuts, or slivered almonds, or walnuts. I pretty much use whatever is handy at the time, and they all work beautifully with this recipe.
    • IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY IN YOUR FAMILY: just use a 1/2 cup extra of one of the other “chunky” ingredients listed.
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal–Any old kind will do, but I prefer the old fashioned oats over the quick oats.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries OR dried blueberries…or a mix of the two!

Once ALL of this is good and mixed together, drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet with 2 inches between globs. Don’t spread the batter, just let the chunky, gooey globs form their own cookie shape as they bake.

Bake for 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees. After baking, allow to rest on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula (I prefer metal because the pliable, hot cookies tear less with a metal spatula) onto a cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Might as well go ahead and make a double batch…they’ll go FAST!

I hope your family loves these gems as much as mine does!

Until next time…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Let’s Make Ice Cream out of SNOW!!!

What better to do with freshly fallen, fluffy, white, gorgeous snow than to whip up a batch (or 3) of snow ice cream?!?!

My children and I decided to make three snow ice cream recipes for you and judge which we liked best. The results are in…drum roll, please…

ICE CREAM #1, from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/snow-ice-cream-ii/)
**The winner with 2 out of 4 votes**
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup milk
-8 cups snow

ICE CREAM #2 from Paula Deen (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/snow-ice-cream-recipe/index.html)
**Received 1 out of 4 votes**
-14 oz sweetened condensed milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-8 cups snow

ICE CREAM #3 from the Duggar family blog (http://duggarsblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/snow-ice-cream-recipe.html)
**Tied for second place with 1 out of 4 votes**
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
-3/4 cups half & half
-8 cups snow

This was SUCH a fun way to make the most of the snowy outdoor days here in Wisconsin! AND, we also found that they’re even better with all three recipes blended together 😉

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Chocolate Covered Cherries: Tastiest Things EVER!

chocolatecoveredcherries.jpgThese chocolate covered cherries are absolutely AMAZING (my son says they’re the best thing he’s ever eaten…EVER!), and very easy to make! I’m already thinking of different variations of the recipe I can make to be able to create a variety of flavors and combinations. So tasty…soooooo, so tasty!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
Wax paper
1-2 Cookie sheets
Room in your fridge for chilling trays of cherries
1 1/2 qt saucepan (I used a 2 qt and wished I had used the smaller pan–of course, you’ll need to use a larger pot if you choose to double the recipe or make a large batch at once, so use your judgment on this one)
16 oz jar of maraschino cherries (with or without stems), very well drained
2 1/2 cups Confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon Almond extract (though mine spilled a little, so I’d say my mix ended up with at least twice the recommended dose and was wonderful!)
1 tablespoon Milk (I prefer whole for a more full-bodied creaminess)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
2 cups of your choice of chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips in mine, but can imagine dark chocolate being out of this world!!!)

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Keep up with Marilyn Horton and all of the Chronicles of life all over the interweb:

WEBSITE: https://marilynhorton.com/

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And I’m on Vine, too! @MarilynHortonDotCom

On the 9th Day of New Year’s

On the 9th day of 2014 I spent much of the day waiting for another video to load (the Beauty Guru video, to be exact…), so this one didn’t get a turn until it was officially the 10th day of 2014. Thankfully, this is all for fun and no one takes this mighty countdown too serious so I know none of you who watch for this will hold it against me. I mean, let’s face it…if you’re going to hold something against me…it’ll be the singing! 🙂

Make it a great day & enjoy the video,

Mari!yn

 

Dropping Body Fat Over the Holidays {+Video}

In an attempt to see just how trim I can get my bod, I’ve decided to document the next eight weeks of body changes on my YouTube channel. Every two weeks I will post a preview video to highlight how I’m doing. Then, at the end of the eight weeks, I will post a compilation video of the body changes.

Marilyn flex Preview1The goals here are simple:
1. I want this to be a “real world” experiment. I’m not going to heavily alter my nutrition regimen, and the added bonus of the holiday season week make this particularly “real.” The only control over my diet that will factor in is that I am going to stop myself from completely over-indulging in holiday sweets and treats. There will still be sugar…oh yes, there will be sugar!
2. I want to get my body fat down as low as I healthfully can without some crash diet or insane workout schedule. My focus throughout this experiment will be on my training, which will range from weight lifting to various kinds of cardio work (including cycling, since I’m also in prep mode for next year’s LaCrosse Omnium).
**A note on body fat: Please note that pre-menopausal women are highly encouraged to maintain a natural body fat level of at least 12%, but more realistically 15-22% for the most normal female reproductive functions. I am post-menopausal thanks to endometriosis running in my family, so I do not have this factor to worry with.  Please consult your physician as I did before embarking on a similar experiment.

So, I invite you to view the first preview video, subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest video news, and even connect on Endomondo, the fitness tracker I prefer for all things without related!

Thanks to all for your support and cheers!

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn