Pecan Pie Muffins

Pintesting Pecan Pie MuffinsThe American Pie Council National Championships are about a month away and this year I get to be a judge! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this honor. So I’m going to be doing some pie-related Pintestings this month leading up to the big event. My Pinterest page, Desserts – Pies/Tarts/Crostatas are all about pie related recipes. Go check it out for some inspiration. The first recipe I’m doing is this pin for Pecan Pie Muffins by Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Even though the recipe has the word muffin, don’t be fooled. These are just like little pecan pies but a whole lot easier. Personally, I like that they don’t have the corn syrup that pecan pies traditionally have. And instead of thinking of them as muffins, you can think of them as self-crusting. Let’s get baking.

The Pintesting:

There are just 5 ingredients and most of them are kitchen staples.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

First mix the dry ingredients.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Toss them together until they’re evenly coated.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Next, mix the softened butter and the eggs.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

It won’t look pretty – mine looked kind of like curdled milk. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look this way and will smooth out once everything is mixed together.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Now stir in the dry ingredients JUST until mixed. See the bits of butter in the mixture? It’s okay to leave it like that.

NOTE: For the most part, muffins turn out best when they’re not over mixed. It’s better to leave a few lumps in the batter and have a tender crumb than to over mix the batter and have your muffins turn out like bricks.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

According to Christy, you want to grease your muffin pan really well or your muffins will stick. I love to use the “Best Ever Pan Release” recipe by I Am Baker (you’ll find the recipe at the end of the recipe in the Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake post found here).

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Fill the cups 2/3 full. The mixture made more than the mini muffin tin could hold so I made 6 regular-sized muffins, too.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Bake at 350 degrees until done; see the recipe for baking times.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

The muffins easily pop out of the pan and into my mouth.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

WARNING! These are incredibly addictive. If you’re not careful it’s easy to pop 4 or 6 of the mini bite-sized pecan pie muffins in your mouth before you realize it. (I have no idea if or how that happened.)

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy:  These muffins have the taste and texture of pecan pie. In fact, the next time I have the urge to make a pecan pie I’m going to make these instead.They turned out just like Christy said they would. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  These are very easy to make. Just five ingredients and, if you buy the pecans already chopped, the only prep work is to make sure your butter is softened.  You don’t even need to use a mixer. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  According to the recipe, this should make 8 large or 16 mini muffins. When filling my muffin cups 2/3 full, I ended up with 24 mini muffins and 6 regular muffins. Since there were different baking times, I baked the different sized pans one after the other; 12 minutes for the minis and 14 minutes for the regulars. I also let the regular sized muffins rest in the pan for an extra 5 minutes to set after running a knife around the edge; they seemed just a bit soft. Total time was just over half an hour so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples – all but the pecans. I don’t know if they’re not in season, but they seemed a bit pricey at more than $10.00. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  Not only are these an easier substitute for home-made pecan pie, but they’re quicker to make, too. They make a lot of the mini muffins, and the bite-sized treats are perfect for lunches or, don’t judge, dessert portion control. I’m guessing that they’ll freeze well, too (although I’ll have to confirm and let you know). 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

BLT Lettuce Wraps (No-Carb BLT)

Sometimes I get things that look amazing as an impulse purchase. Some people might be tempted by a cute pair of shoes, a new outfit, or the latest tech gadget. More often than not, my impulse buys are food related. I see a recipe that sounds good and I’m off to the store, and that’s what happened when I saw these BLT Lettuce Wraps.

I first saw this video clip on Facebook and then the pin popped up on my Pinterest feed. I love BLT sandwiches as you can see from the Weave Your Bacon BLT and Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich posts. This BLT Lettuce Wraps recipe was trying to sound healthy since it doesn’t have any bread and is, therefore, no-carb. I thought, sure, let’s go with it. Anytime you want to try to combine BLT + healthy I’m willing to give it a try.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

The Pintesting:

The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Large leafy romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes, mayo and bacon. Although not specified, I seasoned my tomato halves with salt and pepper.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

Spread some mayonnaise on a romaine lettuce leaf and top with several tomato halves.  TIP: make sure your romaine lettuce leaves are blotted dry if you want the mayo to stick.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

Add the bacon and you’re done.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I put three on a plate thinking that this should be the serving size because that’s what the video did. After all, these BLT Lettuce Wraps are supposed to replace a BLT sandwich.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I have to say that it was not easy to get the pictures before digging into these BLT Lettuce Wraps.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I made a total of 6; three each for my HH and me. They were delicious if just a wee bit messy. I’m not sure if I should have used two slices of bacon on each wrap, but I think that would have thrown off the balance of the B-L-T. That said, after finishing them we both still felt hungry and agreed that these would be a fantastic appetizer, salad, or finger salad (if there’s such a thing, and if not I just made it up).

The Pintesting Results:

OVERALL RESULTS:  4.85 PINS

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

 

Accuracy:  The recipe was very simple and straight forward and the taste was delicious. I was very pleased that it turned out exactly as the recipe and video said that it would. I also liked how refreshing they looked. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: This was one step easier than a traditional BLT in that there’s no bread to toast, but the rest of the process was pretty much the same. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time: Putting this together took very little time. The longest part was cooking the bacon, and I did that on the stove-top so it took about 15 minutes for crispy thick-cut bacon. From prep to plate took 20 minutes – 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: This is a low cost dish – especially if you get the bacon on sale (which I did; buy one get one free). The romaine  came two heads to a package and there was a LOT leftover that I used for salads.  The tomatoes were also buy one get one free, so the cost per BLT wrap was less than a dollar. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality: If you’re looking for a satisfying meal then you might be disappointed. If you’re looking for some great taste, a gluten-free or paleo BLT snack, an appetizer, or a salad that’s finger food, then this is a fantastic recipe. The original recipe doesn’t specify that it will be as filling as a BLT sandwich, but three to a serving size should have at least been close. Even people on diets don’t want to feel hungry after eating. Therefore, I’m giving this  4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

 

Whipped Feta

I’m always on the lookout for delicious and healthy food. Yes, I want to lose weight (as does the handsome husband), but more importantly, we want to eat real and healthy food as much as possible. Diets that cut out whole food groups never sounded healthy, balanced or sustainable. The minute you eat a carb or fat gram, you blow up like a puffer fish. That’s not realistic, nor is it any way to live. I prefer the European mindset on eating – particularly the French. They eat amazing food that’s esteemed as the top of the culinary ladder. They drink wine with their meals. They celebrate food, family and friends. And with all of this partying, they don’t have the obesity problems, heart problems, and other health problems that we do here in the US.

So five years ago, when we started researching a diet we could live with, we focused on Mediterranean diets. After spending days looking online and in book stores, we ended up choosing The Sonoma Diet. Their philosophy is to celebrate food by eating the best foods in the proper portions, which will make you healthier and lose weight. As long as we “keep to the code” and don’t start eating processed or junk food, we have had great success with this. The recipes are delicious and we felt great and were losing weight. There have been times when we drifted for the sake of convenience, laziness, or even for Pintesting. But we always come back to the good way of eating since this is a marathon for life, not a sprint toward a number on the scale.

I LOVE Feta. Okay, I love cheese. Period. But there’s something about the salty, tangy, briney bite of Feta that makes my taste-buds dance and sing. Crumbled on a salad or pizza or sandwich… Mmm! It’s the crumble part that sometimes makes it hard to work with. So when I saw This Pin for Whipped Feta from Jessica’s blog How Sweet It Is, that seemed like it could be worked into a healthy lifestyle AND make a spreadable version, I was ready to give this a go.

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/02/how-to-make-amazing-whipped-feta/

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/02/how-to-make-amazing-whipped-feta/

Ingredients – there are two; whipped cream cheese and feta cheese. VERY IMPORTANT!!! Both need to be at room temperature. I set these out in the morning before going to my Saturday morning Zumba class. They were just right when I got home almost 2 hours later.

Whipped Feta - Ingredients - Pintesting

Mix them together until they’re thoroughly combined. In her blog post, Jessica used her food processor for this, and I totally understand why. Mine was already occupied, so I spent extra time with a hand mixer. This is why you want the cheeses at room temperature.

Whipped Feta - Mix Thouroughly - Pintesting

That’s it! Now you can spread this whipped feta onto whatever you want to make delicious. I toasted several slices of pumpernickel bread and asked my friend, who carpools with me to Zumba, for her opinion. First we tasted the whipped feta with a spoon so that we could get the unadulterated flavor. In a word – YUM! The salty, tangy taste of the feta was predominant, but the creamy smoothness of the whipped cream cheese softened it a bit. It was also delicious on the pumpernickel toast. But when we topped it with tomato slices and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, as Jessica suggested, that was beyond amazing. I can’t even tell you how good it was. Just go and make some for yourself, because I’m not sharing any more.

Whipped Feta - Finished - PintestingThe results of the Pintesting are as follows:

Overview:  5 Pins

5 Pins Overall

Accuracy:  The creamy smooth texture with the taste of feta was wonderful. I didn’t follow the instructions precisely since I didn’t use my food processor, but the extra time with the hand mixer gave wonderful results. For those who don’t have a food processor, this is welcomed news. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Difficulty:  Two ingredients, mix, serve. Just don’t forget to bring them to room temperature or you won’t get the same results. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Time:  The mixing time is super quick – maybe 5 minutes with a hand mixer. Since the cheese need to be at room temperature, which takes a couple of hours, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Cost:  The whipped cream cheese and feta both came to just under $6.00, and this makes enough to use for several days. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Practicality:  This was delicious served on the pumpernickel bread, both with and without the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I can’t wait to try it as a spread for sandwiches, wraps, and crostini. I think it would be amazing with mix ins like dill, oregano, olives, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, or even swirled with hummus. It’s simplicity lends to lots of uses. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Sour Patch Grapes

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

So it’s the end of February and New Year’s seems ages ago. Are you still doing well on your resolutions? Eating healthy and/or getting fit is listed as one of the top three New Year’s resolutions, depending on your source. Everyone wants to look and feel better, myself included. Over the years, we’ve made basic changes to the way we eat. We try to use only whole grains,  incorporate more fruits and veggies in every meal, eat lean meats and more fish, and drink lots and lots of water. Some days are easier than others, but we try not to beat ourselves up too much when we have an off day.

I was looking for healthy ideas from Pinterest to Pin Test and I found about 17 new dessert recipes. Then I saw this pin for Sour Patch Grapes by Kim of A Spotted Pony, and my inner 8-year-old started jumping up and down. I mean, who doesn’t like Sour Patch candies? They’re tangy-sour, slightly sweet, and have that sugar coating that gets all over your fingers. However, we try to stay away from things that have a lot of sugar, so most candy is out – unless it’s not candy. Thank you, Kim!

Original Pin from A Spotted Pony

Kim referred to her original source, in the pin below, by Carol from the blog Pure Sugar. (Does anyone else find it funny that I’m trying to find healthy ideas, and the pin is from the blog Pure Sugar? Anybody?) I decided to go with the original recipe from Carol since I was able to find the mystery Jell-O at my grocer.

http://puresugar.net/cooking-thursday-sour-patch-grapes-glitter-grapes-recipe/

The Pintesting:

On to the Pin Test! The recipe called for 1 lb. of grapes, pulled off their stems and washed, and a box of Melon Fusion Jell-O. My bag of grapes was almost 3 lbs with the stems on, so I got two boxes of Jell-o. The Cherry Lemonade flavor sounded fun, plus it’s one of my favorite Nerds candy flavors, so I went for it.

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

This is extremely difficult. Put some of the Jell-o powder onto a plate or shallow bowl. I used a shallow bowl so I wouldn’t worry about spilling. Remember, my inner 8-year-old is making this recipe.

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

Add some of the washed and still slightly damp grapes…

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

And swirl around until they’re coated with the Jell-o powder.

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

Put them in a bowl and refrigerate uncovered. This keeps them from getting gummy.

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

That’s it! Both bloggers recommended they not be frozen because they get really gummy and messy when the grapes thaw, but they should be served cold. I did the second half with the Cherry Lemonade flavor, but think I might save that for red grapes next time.

Pintesting Sour Patch Grapes

I brought them into work to share and get feedback. Everyone who tried them LOVED them! It was about an even split for the favorite flavor. One manager even asked for the recipe today and went on her lunch to pick up the grapes.

One note of caution, several people whose stomachs were sensitive to acidic foods said that they had some problems shortly after eating the grapes. I am not making any medical statements, just sharing the feedback of my colleagues. Now for the rating.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Rating: 5 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

 

Accuracy: The Mellon Fusion flavored grapes had the tangy-sour, lightly sweet taste that was very much like the Sour Patch candies. The Cherry Lemonade flavored grapes were a little sweeter, but not overly sweet, and they still had a bit of tang to them. Both made it almost impossible to not lick the Jell-o powder from your fingers while eating them. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Difficulty: My inner 8-year-old believes that real 8-year-olds could make these with very little supervision. The hardest part is not eating them all immediately. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Time: Each batch took less than 10 minutes to make, but both blogs recommend at least 1 hour in the fridge before serving. 5 Pins.

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Cost: The grapes were on sale for $2.99/lb. and the Jell-o was $1.00 each. 5 Pins.

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Practicality: These are a perfect treat and candy alternative for kids, or you could serve them at a wine and cheese party for adults, or anything in between. I like that you can get creative with different grape colors and Jell-O flavors.  5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL