healthier chocolate muffins

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Today I woke up with a craving for chocolate.  I know, shocking.  But instead of grabbing a cupcake from the refrigerator (there are ALWAYS cupcakes in the fridge), I decided to make some muffins.  I wanted it to be healthy-ish, but I also didn’t want something too dense or packed with oats or wheat germ.  A few simple substitutions later, and I was left with a one bowl, no butter, no granulated sugar recipe that was quick and delicious.  The muffins were moist and soft, with a crispy muffin top, just like it’s supposed to be.  I added some mini chocolate chips because there’s nothing better than a warm muffin and those melted pieces of chocolate in each bite, but you can certainly leave them out to make them even healthier.

I’m now writing this post outside on my deck on a beautiful sunny morning, on the unofficial start of the summer.  I’ve got my dog laying down next to me, a warm muffin to my left, and a small cup of iced coffee to my right.  What more could you want?!

Healthier Chocolate Muffins
(Makes 6 jumbo muffins)

1/2 cup maple syrup
3/8 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup vanilla (or plain) yogurt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/8 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp espresso (or strongly brewed) coffee
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more to top each muffin)

Preheat over to 375F.  Line a standard jumbo muffin pan with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, egg, milk, and coffee.  Once combined, add the baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  Whisk until combined.  Add the flour and whisk until combined again.  With a spatula, fold in mini chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin liner almost to the top, a little more than 2/3 full.  You want the muffins to rise enough so that they develop that “muffin top” shape.  Top each muffin with a few (or ten if you’re like me) mini chocolate chips.  Bake for 20-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

– bake on,
Sharon

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trio of fruit smoothies

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For the past year or so, I’ve grown to love fruit smoothies.  I don’t go overboard with the ingredients either.  The way I see it, if I have a way to get fruit, juice, and yogurt in my belly before 10am, that’s 100% A-okay.  I have these smoothies pretty regularly for breakfast, and I also love to have them as a post-workout “snack”.

I also love making smoothies because it’s pretty impossible to mess it up.  Pretty much any and all combinations work.  Whatever juice, fruit, or yogurt I have in the house, I can throw it in the blender and (somehow) it always comes out delicious.  Today I’m sharing three (yes, three!) different smoothies.  But again, use these recipes as just a base – feel free to include, or leave out, whatever fruit you’d like!

Pink Smoothie
(Makes 1-2 servings, easily multiplied)

1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (I typically use vanilla, strawberry or blueberry yogurt)
3-4 large strawberries
1 banana
1/2 apple, peeled and seeds removed
5 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender or Vitamix and pulse for 45 seconds, or until smooth.  Refrigerate before serving.  If any separation occurs, mix with a smooth or pulse for 10 seconds.

Yellow Smoothie
(Makes 1-2 servings, easily multiplied)

1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup green grapes
1 cup honeydew chunks
1 cup cantaloupe chunks
5 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender or Vitamix and pulse for 45 seconds, or until smooth.  Refrigerate before serving.  If any separation occurs, mix with a smooth or pulse for 10 seconds.

Green Smoothie
(Makes 1-2 servings, easily multiplied)

1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup green grapes
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 banana
2 cups spinach, lightly packed
5 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender or Vitamix and pulse for 45 seconds, or until smooth.  Refrigerate before serving.  If any separation occurs, mix with a smooth or pulse for 10 seconds.

smoothie on,
Sharon

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