Coconut Chai Cupcakes

I love chai.  I love cupcakes.  I love coconut.

Sometimes I just have to combine things I love (i.e. cheesecake and hot chocolate, spinach and mint chocolate chip) and sometimes you just have to trust me on it. 

Coconut Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (just blend rolled oats into powder – easy peasy!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup concentrated chai tea (1 cup hot water, 4 tea bags)
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 and then mix all of your dry ingredients together. 

You will, of course, need to have chai.

Steep your four chai tea bags in hot water for about 2-3 minutes.

It should be a nice dark brown when it’s done.

Now you can add the chai and the rest of your liquid ingredients into your dry mixture.

Line your muffin tin with liners and pour your batter.  I like to put my batter into my liquid measuring cup so it’s easier to pour.

Place your cupcakes in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Then you can remove, brush with agave nectar or maples syrup, and top with more shredded coconut, then bake for about 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and enjoy!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Crunchy Pecan Granola

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. I’ve definitely got a bad case of the after-Christmas blues, especially after taking down my tree today. Well, technically I just moved it, fully lit and decorated, out of the living room and into the second bathroom that we never EVER use. Why spend hours taking a tree apart and putting it back together? When Christmas rolls around again, decorating will be a cinch! I think it’s a brilliant plan. Plus, if ever I’m in a bad mood I can simply draw up a hot bath in the old bathroom, plug in the tree, and listen to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. It’ll be Christmas all year round in there!

Has everyone made their resolutions? I have quite a few, so I’ll just share a couple of them. More than anything, I want to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and be more committed to nutrition and daily exercise. Some others: Learn to drive stick. Develop lots of new recipes. Learn how to use my camera. Practice calligraphy. Learn to sew. Figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Blog more. Buy a bicycle. Oh yes, and stop hanging every darn thing on the refrigerator! It’s getting ridiculous.

Oh, and lastly, eat more waffles. My mom got me a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas, so look out; I’ve already named 2012 ‘The Year of the Waffle’. We’ve had them for breakfast twice already this year and it’s only January 2. I would hate for the world to end and have the regret of not eating enough waffles. I promise to post my recipe once I perfect it. Yesterday’s waffles weren’t so great, but today’s….mmm boy! They’re whole wheat, vegan, and use soy milk curdled with apple cider vinegar! Doesn’t that sound tasty? 😉

Now, about this granola: it’s without a doubt the best granola I’ve ever tasted. I gave it to some friends for Christmas and they all loved it, too. My husband says we could sell the stuff. I got the recipe from one of my dearest friends, who got it from her sister, who adapted it from a recipe she found…somewhere. The only trouble I see with it is that some of the ingredients, namely the coconut oil, pecans, and coconut palm sugar, are rather expensive and may not be something you have on hand or want to splurge on. While I do suggest sticking to the recipe if possible (because it’s perfection), you can make substitutions if necessary: other nuts of your choice for the pecans, butter, a butter alternative, or canola oil for the coconut oil, and a darker sweetener (such as brown sugar or sucanat) for the coconut palm sugar. Also note that the wheat germ can be omitted if you don’t have any, and oat bran is easily made by blending rolled oats into a coarse flour in a coffee grinder or food processor.

Crunchy Pecan Granola

Ingredients:
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional, I love them!)
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup molasses, honey, or agave

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together.

 2. Whisk the oil and molasses together and add to the oat mixture. Mix well.

3. Divide the oat mixture onto two baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring all the way down to the bottom of the pan every 10 minutes or so. Bake longer if you prefer darker, crunchier granola. Let cool and serve.

Granola is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast (besides waffles). I especially love it with Greek yogurt and chopped fruit for a delicious and healthy breakfast parfait. If eating healthy is one of your resolutions this year, make sure to eat breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day!

I topped this parfait with banana, shredded coconut, and homemade blackberry sauce. What tasty additions do you put on your parfait?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Veggies-for-Breakfast Muffins

I have officially pulled myself out of the Thanksgiving coma. It was nice to live in a fog of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for a few days, but my body was definitely missing its giant helpings of raw fruits and vegetables. And I don’t even want to think about dessert for a few weeks.

That being said, let’s make muffins!

I promise I’m not contradicting my anti-dessert claim, here. These are not “dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast” muffins. They are not double chocolate chunk muffins. They are not gooey gobs of sugar and fat that destroy the good name of “blueberry” muffins.

No, they are made of fruits and vegetables, like all good muffins should be! This is a tasty breakfast idea for those of you who are getting tired of oatmeal (a.k.a WEIRDOS). This recipe is from VegNews and I followed it to a T (that’s how great the ingredient list looked!).

Veggies for Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 giant muffins or 12 regular 🙂

Ingredients:

1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 apple, grated
1-3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small cup, add water and ground flaxseed, stirring with a fork. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until mixture thickens.

2. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla, and applesauce. Add in zucchini, carrot, and apple. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. To agave mixture, add flaxseed mixture and stir to combine. Mix dry ingredients to wet, and stir to combine.


3. Divide batter evenly into muffin tins and top with walnuts, if using. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. Spread butter or jam as desired, serve, and enjoy!

My husband gobbled all of these up before I even had a chance to eat a second one! I guess I’ll have to whip up another batch; after all, you can’t eat too many veggies, right?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Accidental Genius

Red velvet pancakes.  They sound brilliant, right?  I certainly thought they would be a good idea.  Of course, it would be completely un-skinnyfat of me to use food coloring, so I decided to use beets.  Now from the internet research I did, it seemed like using beets to make red velvet cake is pretty much a hit or miss, with more people missing than hitting.  I figured I’d still give it a shot.

Yeah, my red velvet pancakes were not so red and not so pretty. 

However, my complete failure at producing beautiful, naturally scarlet pancakes, were a near stroke of genius.  These pancakes were so soft, so fluffy, so delicious.  I knew I was on to something.  My next version of the pancakes were, in a word, divine.

Oh, So Fluffy Pancakes (No Buttermilk Needed)

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons stevia (or 1 packet)
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (I used pomegranate vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or healthy substitute
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped or sliced

To begin with, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Check out my humongous bag of whole wheat pastry flour!  It’s so big, the laundry room is the only place it fits in my apartment.  I love Amazon! 

Okay, ignore my rant and keep mixing the dry ingredients.

Then slice the squash.

Blend the squash along with the butter, milk, and vinegar.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.

Preheat your frying pan to medium heat.  Once the pan is heated, then you can pour and form your pancakes on the pan.  I always like to transfer my pancake batter into my liquid measuring cup or blender, it helps me to pour the batter more easily. 

Your pancakes should be ready to flip when they get fluffy and bubbly, like this:

See how pretty?

I used pumpkin puree, cinnamon, peanut butter, and maple syrup to make the perfect pancake stack.

The cream at the top is coconut whipped cream.  You can find Katie’s version of it here

I had these pancakes for lunch  the past two days.  Yes, I have no shame in eating pancakes for lunch.  If it’s good for breakfast, it’s also good for lunch and supper.  I think I have my new mantra. 

Until next time, try pancakes for lunch.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Strawberry Scones

When I was 18 I worked at my aunt’s coffeeshop. I consider it one of my favorite jobs ever, which is saying something, seeing as how I’ve already had over 10 jobs in my 24 years.  The Moonstruck Cafe; I have such fond memories of that place.


It was just barely big enough for the counter and a few small tables, but it had plenty of faithful customers. Everything was decorated in suns and moons, and my aunt had stenciled hundreds of hand-painted gold stars over the midnight blue walls. Ecclectic paintings hung for sale by local artists and hometown bands would come in and play live music on Friday nights.

Whether it was The Talking Heads or Duke Ellington or an old 80’s mix playing overhead, the musical selections were unpredictable and yet somehow always just right. The atmosphere was laid back and everybody knew each other. It was fun to see the regulars pull up – Teacher Tim, Steve the Green Tea Guy – and have their drinks ready by the time they reached the counter. It was cozy. It was home.

But my favorite thing of all was the scones. Blueberry scones. Selling that last scone was the happiest moment of the week, because I knew that in less than an hour I would take a fresh batch from the oven and escape into a rich, warm, blueberry scone heaven. Yes, being the owner’s niece had its perks. Free coffee was great, but nothing compared to free scones.

Before I knew it, we had moved out of state and my coffeeshop days were over…and I haven’t had a scone that good since. With that realization, I made it my mission to recreate scone bliss, only this time a healthy version. A daunting task; scones are all cream, butter, sugar, and white flour. But I’ve done my best, combined multiple recipes, and present to you my best attempt at a very nutritious and delicious scone.

Warning: turn back now if you like crumbly (DRY) scones like the ones you find in most coffeeshops. These scones are moist. Not dense, moist – because there’s nothing I hate worse than a mouthful of dry crumbs. Oh, and for the record, these taste nothing like the blueberry scones from Moonstruck. Completely different flavors, but even more satisfying. Trust me, I tested these on a number of people who are not fans of typical health food. Even my brother, whose favorite food in all the world comes from Taco Bell, came back for seconds and told me repeatedly how good they were.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever berries are in your fridge. These can just as easily become blueberry scones, raspberry scones, or boysenberry scones! I just happened to have strawberries on hand, but you can bet my next batch will be blueberry.

One last thing: you’re going to be adding some vegetables. Beets and carrots, to be exact…because that’s just what we do around here. Don’t get me started about beets. Poor, underrated root! To be brief: Don’t want cancer? Eat your beets. 

Let the scone-making begin.

Skinnyfat Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 T Stevia (or sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener)
1/4 cup cold butter or substitute (I used Smart Balance)
1/4 cup oil (healthy variety; I used coconut)
3/4 cup milk (the thicker the better. I use 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup coconut cream. Creamier means richer, moister scones)
1/4 cup finely shredded beets
1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup fresh strawberries (or berries of choice)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. Combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and Stevia) in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the wet ingredients (butter, oil, milk, and cream, if using) to the dry ingredients. Cut in with a fork or pastry cutter until just combined.

Step 3: Shred the beets and carrots onto a paper towel. Press until most of the juice is gone and you have semi-dry vegetable shreds. You’ll go through a couple of paper towels.

Step 4: Add the berries, beets, and carrots and mix until just combined.

Step 5: Shape the dough into a round, very thick pizza shape on a cookie sheet (think deep dish pizza, only deeper!). It should be about 2 – 3 inches deep. Cut into 8 equal parts and separate the pieces about an inch apart so they have room to expand while cooking.

Step 6: Bake for 17 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. You can drizzle agave on top or add a glaze, which can be made by whisking together a bit of melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla. Serve with butter or jam, or devour them plain like I do. Scrumptious any way you look at it!

So grab a cup of hot coffee, that book you’ve been wanting to read, and savor a warm scone (or two). The best part? Now there’s no scone guilt, because – let’s face it – most scones are just a dense cake that managed to weasel it’s way into the breakfast food category. Enjoy the satisfaction of eating baked goods that are actually that: good for you. “Baked good-for-yous”, if you will. 🙂

~Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Bagels = Joy and antioxidants

Okay, so you know how in this post I said that pastelillos de guayaba (guava pastries) would be my next recipe attempt?  Well, I lied.  Don’t ask me why I have not yet gotten around to using the enormous stack of guava paste that I ordered in bulk from Amazon. 

In my defense, I did not realize how much guava paste I would be getting when I ordered it.  Now I will definitely get to making pastelillos de guayaba at some point, but now is not that time.  

By now you must know how much Becky and I love to add funky things to our recipes to make them more nutritious .  You can take a look at pretty much any of our recipes and see examples of this (“Greens with Ice Cream” Shake  and Chocolate Chip Blondies  are just a few).  I’ve applied this tactic with a vengeance to another food item I love, bagels

If bagels are one of the foods you’re scared to eat because they are unhealthy, fear no more.  I have rescued and remade your nutritionally void loop of unhealthy carbs into a fiberful treat for both you and your body to rejoice over. 

Here it is:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (yes)
  • 1.5 cups chopped kale (and yes, seriously)

Blend all ingredients except for yeast and flour in the blender.  Once the carrots and kale have blended in well, heat the mixture in the microwave until warm.  Then mix the flour, yeast, and liquid together in a mixing bowl.  Oil your hands and knead dough, then separate into 12 equal parts.  Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  While the dough rests, bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat your oven to 425.

Once you have let the dough rest, form each section into bagels.  I found the best way to do this is to roll each section into a hamburger bun shape and then use your finger to make the bagel hole.   Once the bagels are formed, boil each bagel for about a minute on each side.  This will make them puffy and nicely shaped. 

Once boiled take bagels out and put on an oiled cookie sheet.  At this point you can dip the bagels in seeds or nuts, if you want.  I didn’t, but if I had some whole flax seeds, I may have tried.  Bake at 425 for about 5-10 minutes, then flip them and bake them for 5-10 minutes more. 

For a healthier version of cream cheese, try using greek yogurt or neufchatel cheese.  I had one with neufchatel cheese and guava paste (hey, I had to start using it somehow) and then I had another with melted cheddar cheese.  Yes, I had to have two, they were just that good!  And tomorrow, I have a sneaky suspicion I will be having a egg and cheese bagel for breakfast.

Have another favorite type of bagel?  Try your own variations of bagels and let us know how they turn out!  We love to learn new tricks!  Don’t forget like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  And if you love us, help us spread the word! 

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

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