I am always challenging myself to make salads that have enough flavor in and of themselves that they don’t even need dressing. When you have a sad looking iceberg lettuce salad, the only thing that makes it actually taste good … Continue reading
Vitalicious products are expensive. There’s no way around that. At a local grocer, a box of 6 VitaMuffins or VitaTops are likely to set you back $6, maybe less if you were lucky enough to catch a sale. Either way, it’s expensive at right around $1 each muffin. The good thing is they are all natural, low in fat and calories and high in fiber. They are a tasty, chocolate-y treat.
So, why do we have to pay them to make them when we can make them ourselves at home, right? Ah, a recipe. That’s what’s missing.Oh wait… But I have one right here for you!
This recipe tastes surprisingly close to the VitaMuffin/VitaTop version. It does have that same slightly ‘healthy’ undertone to it, so if you’re looking for a really decadent chocolate muffin, this isn’t it. But don’t let that detour you from trying it out. If you’re wanting a sweet, healthier treat, this will definitely do the trick. Especially heated up with a little low-fat vanilla ice cream over the top. Yum!
It makes a fairly large batch, so I recommend freezing them and pulling them out one at a time. To freeze, I suggest you cool them down twice before moving them to the freezer. Cool them completely on the counter, then move them to fridge to chill. Finally, seal them up really well and freeze. When you’re ready to eat a frozen one, simply microwave it for 30-45 seconds (60 if you prefer it hot).
Now, go get in the kitchen, you chocolate-loving vitamuffin/vitatop people, and whip up your own batch!
(Sorry, no pictures of this one. I’ve been meaning to make another batch so I can snap a few, but I haven’t been able to and I didn’t want to hold out any longer, so I’ll just show you a picture of chocolate and hope that suffices for now until I can come back and add a photo.)
Chocolate Chip Muffins (or tops)
Makes approx 36 mini muffins.
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fat-free half & half
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp unflavored fiber supplement (such as Metamucil Clear & Natural)
- Preheat your oven to 365 F (Note: you will drop the temperature down before actually baking the muffins. Don’t forget!)
- Using a mini muffin tin or a muffin top pan, lightly spray the pan with a non-stick spray.
- Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all wet ingredients except the water.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the water and stir until completely incorporated. Do not over-stir.
- Divide batter between muffin tins and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of each.
- Put your muffins in the oven and CHANGE the temperature to 350 F. Bake 8-10 mins, or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not over-bake or they will get very dry. Let cool for 15 mins on a wire rack.
Nutrition (approx): 70 calories. 1g fat. 14g carb. 1g fiber. 1g protein.
This pumpkin yogurt has become a staple in my fall eating repertoire. Breakfast, snack, dessert, midnight snack. It’s super healthy, super satisfying, filling and all kinds of yumminess all wrapped up in one delicious bowl (or parfait glass). Don’t be scared off by the layering fanciness. The truth is I usually throw it all in one bowl and mix it up in one goopy glob of goodness. But layering makes for prettier pictures. It also makes for a fun holiday breakfast or brunch item to add to your entertaining menu.
Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait
- 1/2 c pumpkin puree, canned
- 1/2 c nonfat greek yogurt (such as 0% Fage)
- 2 Tbsp sweetener of your choice (sugar, brown sugar, splenda, agave, honey, etc)
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (more or less to taste)
- 1 t cinnamon (more or less to taste)
- 2 Tbsp Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
The quick way… Throw everything except the cereal into a bowl, mix and sprinkle cereal over the top. Or, if you prefer, follow the directions below to make a pretty parfait and add some elegance to your day.
The parfait way… Divide the yogurt in half and place in 2 small bowls. Divide the sweetener between the two bowls. Add pumpkin puree and all the spices into one of the bowls. Mix each thoroughly to combine. Layer in a parfait glass starting with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture, 1/3 of the cereal, 1/2 of the yogurt. Continuing layering in this order.
Nutrition (without sweentener): 138 cal, 1g fat, 21 carb, 5 fiber, 13g protein
I’m always looking for new ways to use my over-ripe bananas. Usually it’s just a basic banana bread. But that gets boring after a while. I was inspired by a Hummingbird Cake recipe on Martha Stewart’s site and decided to make my own lowfat version. In making it lowfat, I knew the texture would end up being more of a bread than a ‘cake’, so I put it in a loaf pan and am calling it Hummingbird Bread. I also left out the nuts to keep it lowfat, but feel free to add pecans to the batch if you’d prefer.
I LOVE this recipe because it’s SO incredibly easy! Literally throw everything in a bowl, mix and bake. My husband is addicted. I can’t keep the stuff in the house.
Lowfat Hummingbird Bread (aka Pineapple Banana Bread)
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups Splenda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 t cinnamon
- 5 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly spray 2 loaf pans with nonstick spray.
- Mix all ingredients together until just combined. Divide batter between pans. Bake 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before sliding a knife around the edges and inverting the bread onto a plate.
- Optional: Make a cream cheese frosting for the top out of light cream cheese (approx 4 Tbsp), powdered sugar (approx 1/3 cup), vanilla and a bit of milk (approx 2 Tbsp).
Nutrition (without frosting): 185 cal, 0.4g fat, 40.4g carb, 1.8 fiber, 13.8g sugars, 5g protein
When I’m in need of some real ‘comfort’ food – something with sustenance and will make me feel full and satisfied, I almost always turn to this easy, ‘meaty’ recipe for vegetarian lentil loaf (‘meatloaf’) with mashed cauliflower “potatoes”. With its high protein and fiber, combined with low calorie content and tons of flavor, what’s not to like? Even my meat eating husband will make a meal out of this lovely little loaf (thanks, mom, for showing me the recipe!). Serve it up with some steamed green beans and you have the perfect all-American dinner. Plus, it makes great leftovers (a sandwich, maybe?). I even think it might taste better after sitting overnight after the flavors have really mixed. Try it out and enjoy!
Vegetarian Lentil (“Meat”) Loaf
- 2 cups water
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup oats
- 3/4 cup lowfat cheese (2% cheddar or mixed), shredded
- 2 egg whites (or 1 egg), lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce (I usually use Trader Joe’s “traditional” marinara sauce)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce (I use Trader Joe’s)
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring water and a dash of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add lentils and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of the water is evaporated. Drain and lightly mash lentils
- Stir in onions, oats and cheese. Add egg, marinara sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Spread mixture into a non-stick or greased loaf pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Mix barbecue sauce and catchup together and spread over the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until edges look dry, firm and golden brown.
- Cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan, slice and serve.
Nutrition: 190 cal, 5g fat, 27g carb, 9g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 11.5g protein
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (“Potatoes”)
- 2 heads cauliflower florets (approx 4 cups)
- 3 Tbsp fat free sour cream
- 2 Tbsp fat free milk (plus more as needed)
- 2 Tbsp fat free cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp light butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Place cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle water over the top and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave 5-7 minutes, until very soft.
- Drain and use a paper towel to press out access moisture, taking care as the cauliflower will be very hot.
- Place cauliflower in a food processor with garlic. Process until lightly pureed. Add sour cream, milk, cream cheese and butter. Continue to process adding additional milk as needed until they reach a desirable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition: 35 cal, 1g fat, 5g carb, 1.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 2.5g protein
Well, I can’t take credit for these at all. I can, however, give credit to my sister and Martha Stewart. Martha invented the recipe and my sis made it. We tweaked it a bit, of course (when do we NOT?), and this is what we ended up with:
My sis made the cupcakes, then we filled them each with about a tablespoon of store bought lemon curd and another tablespoon – or two – or three – of whipped cream, lightly sweetened and flavored with limoncello (double lemon!). A side of strawberries and… voi la! Happy Mother’s Day, mom!
They’re light, tasty and completely a mess to try to eat. But worth every single crumb.
There’s just something about a yummy soup on a cold rainy day that just does it for me. I’m always looking for new soup recipes – ones that are choc full of healthy veggies and that are filling. Egg Drop soup has the added benefit of having a ton of protein and is lowfat. It’s also (almost) fully customizable. You can add in whatever you’d like – more or less vegetables; and if you prefer to add some faux meat, you may.
I made it for dinner for my husband and me a few nights ago. We licked the bowl clean – no leftovers. Yumness.
Egg Drop Soup
Makes 4 servings.
- 4 c plus 2 Tbsp no chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/2 t fresh ginger, grated
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 3 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
- 1/3 c carrots, chopped
- 1/4 c corn
- 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 c snow peas
- Bring the 4 cups broth, ginger and soy sauce to a full boil. Make a slurry of the remaining 2 Tbsp broth and cornstarch by mixing in a small bowl until combined. Slowly pour into the broth and stir until thickens, slightly – 2 or 3 mins.
- Add carrots, corn and tofu to the soup. Boil 5 minutes.
- While the broth is at a full boil and while stirring in one direction, slowly pour in the egg whites. The egg will spread and feather.
- Add snow peas, green onion, salt and pepper.
Nutrition: 103 cal, 2.5g fat, 8.5g carb, 1.6g fiber, 2.9g sugars, 11.7g protein
I have developed a love for the lowfat, low calorie muffin tops that are the Vitalicious VitaTop Muffin Tops. However, I DON’T love the exorbitant amount of money these little morsels cost. So, I set out to make my own. My two favorite flavors are Deep Chocolate and Cranberry Apple Bran. I think I have successfully found recipes that copy both (chocolate one to come at a later time). After finding a nice base recipe for a Cranberry Apple Bran recipe (full fat), I started tweaking (while enduring some pretty dry/flat versions) until I got a lowfat/low cal version of it that I’m happy with. And here I am to share my results with you.
Plus, like the VitaTops, these are right around 95 calories each with just 0.4 g fat and about 2.2g fiber. (i.e, good for you!). The full nutrition stats are at the bottom of the post for all of you out there who want the deets.
These muffins are GOOD. So good I can’t wait for them to cool down after they come out of the oven and generally end up burning my tongue off on the super hot apples inside. Worth the burn.
Cran Apple Bran Muffins
Makes 18 muffins. (faux vitatop muffin copycat recipe)
- 1 c wheat bran
- 3/4 c skim milk
- 1 1/4 c wheat flour
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/2 c splenda
- 1/3 c applesauce, unsweetened
- 1/4 c nonfat egg substitute (or egg whites)
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 1/2 chopped, peeled apples
- 1/3 c Craisins
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 18 cups of 2 muffin tins with nonstick spray.
- Combine wheat bran and milk. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, splenda, applesauce, egg and vinegar.
- Add wheat bran and milk mixture and wet ingredient mixture to the dry mix and stir until just combined (do not over mix)
- Stir in apples and Craisins (or reserve Craisins to sprinkle over the top if you wish).
- Divide batter evenly between 18 muffin cups. Bake 12-15 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Nutrition: 95 calories. 0.4g fat. 20.7g carb. 2.2g fiber. 2.2g protein.
I have been delaying posting these recipes waiting to take some pictures, but my life is crazy right now so I unfortunately haven’t been able to get to it. In the meantime, I don’t want to keep these AH-MAZ-ING recipes from you, my loyal readers, any longer. These are both really really delicious, almost non-fat (traces of fat from fruits & egg substitute) and right around 100 cals each. How can you go wrong?
Wheat Bran Banana Muffins
- 4 Bananas, very ripe
- 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c splenda
- 1/3 c egg substitute (or egg whites)
- 3/5 c skim milk, soured with 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 2 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c wheat bran
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (approx)
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, mash bananas. To bananas, add applesauce, sugar, splenda, egg whites, skim milk with vinegar added to it.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, bran, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir until just combined. Do not over beat.
- Divide evenly between 18-24 muffin cups, sprinkle with about 5 chocolate chips each muffin, and bake for 18-22 minutes, until lightly browned and knife inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Mango Coconut Muffins
- 2 c whole wheat flour
- 1/4 c sugar
- 3/4 c splenda
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 c egg substitute
- 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 c skim milk
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp coconut flavoring
- 2 cups diced mango (about 3 mangos)
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray muffin tins with cooking spray (these tend to stick a bit)
- In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients (dry ingredients).
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the mango and banana.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just moistened.
- Stir in mango and banana. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
I was introduced to Oat Bran by my friend and fellow food blogger, Faith of I Pray to Gouda. Without making myself like a mad woman, I’ll say it simply – I’m addicted. This stuff is so good and you can do all kinds of things with it making it taste all kinds of goodness. Ahhh… So so yummy. You really do need to try it. (See? Now I’m a oat bran ‘pusher’!) Plus, it’s so easy, you have no excuses.
I can whip up a quick oat bran breakfast for myself in about 3 mins, so it’s a great on the go meal. It also works well to bring to work with me because I can throw the oat bran, sweetener and cinnamon in a tupperwear container and just add the water and microwave it there. Easy, peasy!
And in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a pair of MY favorite ways to make oat bran. (FYI – I used two mini bowls and half the recipe for each for presentation purposes, but you’ll want to use bigger bowls)
Step 1: Assemble Ingredients.
- 1/4 cup Oat Bran (I use Toasted Oat Bran from Trader Joe’s)
- 3/4 cup Water
- Dash of salt
- Sweetener of your choosing, to taste (Agave Nectar, Sugar, Stevia, Splenda, etc)
Strawberries n Cream:
- Freeze dried , unsweetened strawberries (Trader Joe’s them and I’m ashamed to admit I have found yet another addiction. These little guys are awesome morsels of crunchy “yum”. They also have freeze dried mango, blueberries and banana chips – all unsweetened. You MUST try them!)
- 1/8 c (2 Tbsp) Nonfat, plain greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage that I buy in bulk at Costco)
- Cinnamon (I like a lot. I usually use 1 t. or more)
- 1/2 of a ripe banana, sliced and warmed in the microwaved for about 30 seconds to make it warm, gooshy and caramelized
Step 2: Cook Oat Bran.
In a microwave safe bowl with some extra room for boiling up (so it doesn’t run over), stir together the oat bran, water, salt and sweetener. Microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir.
For Strawberries n Cream: Add your strawberries at this time and stir.
Microwave for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until it just begins to boil. Watching CAREFULLY (aka – do not take your eyes off the bowl. The moment you do, it WILL boil over and create a mess. You don’t want that to happen. And don’t say I didn’t warn you… ha!). Stir again and continue microwaving for 15 seconds at a time until your preferred consistency is reached.
Step 3: Add the Fixin’s.
For Strawberries n Cream: Add greek yogurt and mix together well. Top with a few more strawberries if you feel fancy.
For Banana Cinnamon: Add cinnamon and mix together well. Top with warmed bananas.
Step 4: Eat.