Blueberry Almond Bran Muffins

 

My great-grandmother passed down the BEST bran muffin recipe. Moist and sweet with lots of yummy raisins…so delicious. My mom has now taken the responsibility of making these muffins and they are phenomenal; every time I visit her she gives me a bunch to take home. However, I decided to challenge myself to make them a little healthier, since they are traditionally made with lots of sugar and sour cream. So I substituted honey, whole-wheat flour, coconut oil, and plain Greek yogurt. I also used fresh blueberries because they are delicious and gooey when baked. I also decided to add Blue Diamond Blueberry almonds to the top of the muffins for an added crunch and extra flavor. While not exactly the same as my great-grandmother’s, these muffins are pretty darn delicious in their own right.

Also a big thank you to my Aunt Diane and Aunt Rita for supplying me with loads of new baking dishes and tools – I’m sure you’ll recognize many items in these pictures and in pictures to come! 🙂

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Blueberry Almond Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups bran flakes
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds

Directions:

1.) Add boiling water to blueberries in a small bowl and set aside. Beat 1 egg in a medium sized mixing bowl and add honey, coconut oil, milk, and yogurt. Whisk together.

2.) Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, add in the blueberries with the water included. Cover mix and let stand in refrigerator overnight. Will keep for months (never tested this myself though!)

3.) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F. Chop almonds into small pieces. Pour batter into greased muffin tin – I filled the wells about 3/4 of the way; fill to the top if you want bigger muffins. Top with chopped almonds and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

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Whole-Wheat Almond Joy Blondies

When I think of blondies, I think of the delicious chocolate chip blondies from the bakery I worked at in college. I used to pray there were some leftover at the end of the day so I could take them home. And by home, I mean devour them on the less-than-a-half-mile walk to my dorm. Or eat them for breakfast. Yet more reasons why I gained weight in college. But who can say no to an ooey gooey blonde brownie? Whoever invented the blondie is a genius. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, everyone loves brownies…let’s mesh them into one delicious, mouthwatering dessert! Here’s hoping I’ll be responsible for the next earth-shattering food creation like the blondie…

In the meantime, I can make this delicious whole-wheat version to satisfy my sweet tooth in a slightly healthier way. I decided, rather than stick with the safe chocolate chip version, to kick these up a notch by adding chewy coconut and crunchy Blue Diamond Sea Salt almonds. I also used dark chocolate to make them even more decadent. Keep in mind that these do still have butter and brown sugar; however, they have less sugar and calories than a normal blondie as well as more nutrients from the whole-wheat flour. The key is to brown the butter first to give it more flavor, and it certainly succeeded! These are chewy, soft, and delicious, and they were also a hit at a potluck with some friends this week. Feel free to switch up the add-ins by using more nuts or adding dried fruit, white chocolate chips, etc. Enjoy!

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Whole-Wheat Almond Joy Blondies

  • Servings: 24 brownies
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Adapted very slightly from: Eating Well

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes (I used half sweetened and half unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup Blue Diamond Sea Salt Almonds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao and chopped them up)
  • Coconut oil cooking spray

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a glass baking pan (about 9 x 13) with coconut oil cooking spray.

2.) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and starting to brown. Remove from heat, whisk in brown sugar, and let cool for 15 minutes.

3.) Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Prepare mix-ins by chopping nuts and chocolate chips into small pieces. Reserve 2 tbsp of each.

4.) Once butter mixture has cooled, whisk eggs and vanilla into mixture until combined. Fold in the flour mixture in 2 additions until just combined. Fold the coconut, chocolate, and almonds into the batter and spread evenly into the pan. Top with the reserved mix-ins.

5.) Bake the blondies until light brown around the edges, around 18-20 minutes. They may appear a little underbaked in the center, but will become firmer as they cool. Leave the pan on hot plates or a wire rack to cool completely for about 2 hours. Cut into 24 bars.

Nutrition Info (Per blondie, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 131
Fat 6 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 1 g
Carbs 15 g
Sugars 10 g
Protein 2 g

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Honey Dijon Almond-Crusted Chicken

 One of the best things about being a nutrition student is that we have a required food lab where we get to make and eat delicious, healthy foods. I wish I had majored in nutrition in undergrad…I never would have had to deal with the end-of-the-semester-lack-of-meal-plan-money crisis, where I’m forced to eat spinach and water for two weeks since I splurged on food the rest of the semester. I would have probably also not gained 20 pounds because I would have known what is healthy and what is not (although I probably did know Taco Bell wasn’t healthy…but I loved it).

Anyways, the point of this is that in my food lab this semester we made an almond-crusted chicken that was so delicious and so easy. It gets nice and crispy on the outside while staying moist on the inside; when I saw these Blue Diamond Honey Dijon almonds, I knew they would give the tenders a honey mustard taste without having to douse them in a calorie-laden sauce. The end result was indeed delicious! I paired the chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato for dinner, and also tried the tenders on a salad one day for lunch…yum!

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Honey Dijon Almond-Crusted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole Blue Diamond Honey Dijon almonds
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 2 large egg whites

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with cooking spray.

2.) Place almonds, spices, flour, and salt and pepper into the food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely chopped and everything is well combined. Drizzle in olive oil while pulsing until it is well mixed. Spread mixture onto a shallow plate.

3.) In a small bowl, whisk egg whites. Dredge tenderloins in egg whites and then roll in almond mixture. You may need to press the mixture onto tenderloins with your hands; don’t be afraid to put it on thick. Place tenders on baking sheet and spray them with cooking spray.

4.) Bake until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, abut 15-20 minutes, turning the tenders over about halfway through.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 236
Fat 13 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 3 g
Carbs 9 g
Sodium 242 mg
Protein 23 g

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Game Changing Snacks with Blue Diamond Almonds!

The big game is almost here! Naturally, being a Massachusetts girl, I’ll be rooting for New England 🙂 Whether you are going to a party, hosting your own, or just plopping down on your couch for the game, you need game time snacks! In my opinion, the best part of the game is the food, so I came up with two great snack ideas that are super easy to whip up. I made one salty and one sweet (to satisfy all types of snackers) and both are quick to throw together in a hurry. Also neither require heating or baking, so you can keep your focus on the game and not worry about burning anything! They are the perfect crowd-pleasing snacks for any occasion. Enjoy – let’s go Pats!

Team 1: Sweet Smokehouse Party Mix

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Team 2: Asian Almond and Garlic Hummus

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Sweet Smokehouse Party Mix

  • Servings: 12 (1/2 cup servings)
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Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) bag Turtle Chex Mix
  • 2 tbsp coconut chips (I get them at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 1/2 oz. (about 42) Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
  • 1 (1.69 oz.) pouch M&Ms
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Directions:

1.) Chop up almonds into halves. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve! Could also be put into decorative bags to hand out before the game 🙂

Nutrition Info (Per 1/2 cup serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 160
Fat 7 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 1 g
Carbs 22 g
Sugars 12 g
Protein 3 g

Asian Almond and Garlic Hummus

  • Servings: 32 (2 tbsp servings)
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water (or less if you want the hummus to be thicker)
  • 9 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz. each) chick peas/Garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy. Store in the fridge for about an hour before serving to thicken the hummus. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or veggies for dipping!

Nutrition Info (Per 2 tbsp serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 92
Fat 7 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 2 g
Carbs 6 g
Sodium 144 mg
Protein 3 g

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!