Healthy Apple Muffins Recipe

Trust me, no one will suspect that these fluffy cinnamon apple muffins are healthy! cookieandkate.com

It’s apple muffin time! You all really seem to love my banana muffins , pumpkin muffins and carrot muffins , so today, apple muffins are joining the club. Like the others in the bunch, these muffins are made with 100 percent whole wheat flour and naturally sweetened with maple syrup or honey. They are nice and fluffy, with just enough sweetness to be irresistible.

apples

Granted, I already have an apple oatmeal muffin recipe on the blog from four years ago, but I have significantly upped my muffin game since then and declare these to be the better of the two. I based these healthy apple muffins off my carrot muffins, replacing grated carrots with grated and chopped apple (I used two Granny Smith apples), and replacing half of the Greek yogurt with applesauce.

These apple muffins taste even better after resting for a few hours, if they last that long, and I particularly enjoy them with a spread of peanut butter. Check my recipe notes for how to use honey instead of maple syrup, and some ideas for how to make the muffins vegan. I think it’s time for another!

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Muffins

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    Serves: 12 muffins

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    Notes

    Recipe adapted from my healthy carrot muffins .
    *If you are baking with honey: Honey tends to brown quickly, so to avoid overdone muffins, bake muffins at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 23 to 25 minutes.
    Make it vegan: This is really my best guess, but I think you could replace the eggs with flax “eggs” and replace the yogurt with vegan buttermilk—try mixing 1½ teaspoons vinegar with a scant ½ cup non-dairy milk. Let it rest for 5 minutes before adding it to the other liquid ingredients. (You could also try using more applesauce in place of the yogurt but I’m not sure it’s acidic enough to counteract the bitter taste of the baking soda.)

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    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Chinese Mongolian Hot Pot Recipe

    Chinese Mongolian Hot Pot - celebrate Chinese New Year with this one pot dinner. It's like fondue with a special dipping sauce

    Chinese Mongolian Hot Pot is perfect for celebrating Chinese New Year, or for serving on any cold winter night.

    Chinese Mongolian Hot Pot - celebrate Chinese New Year with this one pot dinner. It's just like fondue with a special dipping sauce

    Chinese hot pot, fire pot, or Chinese fondue as it is sometimes called, has been one of ourfamily traditions for many years. My Mom used to serve it for New Year’s Eve and I’ve been making it for my family forspecial occasions like Christmas and Chinese New Year. It’s the ultimate one pot meal, and perfect for a freezing cold day.

    This is the Chinese Hot Pot from our Christmas Eve dinner for ten people

    My kids love Chinese hot pot. Similar to fondue, there is a large pot filled with broth simmering away, placed at the center of the table. Then, there are plates upon plates of a variety of proteins (meat, fish, shellfish, tofu, fish balls, shrimp balls, meat balls, fish cakes), vegetables (bok choyandmushrooms are my personal favorites) and dipping sauces. In addition, noodles of some sort are usually served with Chinese hot pot (we’ve used cellophane noodles, Korean glass noodles, and udon noodles), and sometimes wontons are added.

    For our annual Chinese hot pot meal for ten people, I set uptwo electric woks on my dining room table (it’s always a trick because we have to run two extension cords too). Alternatively, you can use an electric fondue pot, electric skillet or a portable induction stove.

    This year, I am making a very simple hot pot for Chinese New Year ~ a Mongolian Hot Pot from my Aunt Florence’s cookbook, Cooking with Fire Pots. Mongolian Hot Pot is basically thin sliced lamb, cellophane noodles (sometimes called mung bean or glass noodles), tofu and leafy green Chinese vegetables. The dipping sauce is rich and flavorful, made with roasted sesame paste (or peanut butter), soy sauce, sesame oil, sherry, vinegar, sugar and spicyred chili oil.

    Thinly sliced meats can be found in the frozen section of most Asian grocery stores, specifically meant for hot pot. Variations of hot pot arefound in all parts of Asia – there’sJapanese Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki, and Korean hot pot. I found thinly sliced lamb at H Mart, a Korean supermarket, but I’ve seen pre-sliced meats at our local Japanese market and Chinese market too.

    The proper way to eat Mongolian hot pot is to cookslices of lamb in the hot pot broth (it takes just seconds), then dip it in the sesame dipping sauce. Once everyone is done cookingthe lamb, all the other goodies are added to the hot pot ~ tofu, leafy green Chinese vegetables (bok choy in this case), and cellophane noodle.

    Cellophane noodles come dried in packs, and just need to be soaked for 20 minutes in hot water to hydrate them before cooking.

    I used baby bok choy, but you can use any leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or napa cabbage.

    Tofu is a great flavor absorber and goes terrific with the sesame sauce. You can use whatever kind of tofu you like – I like soft tofu better than firm tofu.

    What I love most about Chinese hot pot is that it’s an interactivemeal, and be sized up or down easily.This will continue to be one of our family’s favorite traditions – I think we would have a revolt in our house if I didn’t serve Chinese hot pot to my family at least once a year.

    Print

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    Sesame Dipping Sauce

    Directions

    Notes

    Adapted from Florence Lin’s Cooking with Fire Pots. Beef or chicken can be substituted for lamb, if desired.

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Szechwan Hot Chili Oil Recipe

    Szechwan Hot Chili Oil - this bright red chili oil is fragrant and spicy, and is used in many Szechwan dishes - a kitchen staple

    Szechwan Hot Chili Oil is a fragrant and spicy condiment that is a staple for Chinese Szechwan cooking.

    Szechwan Hot Chili Oil - this bright red chili oil is fragrant and spicy, and is used in many Szechwan dishes - a kitchen staple

    I love spicy food, and recently, I’ve been making some Szechwan cuisine. Known for it’s bold and spicy food, the Szechwan province of China also produces Szechwan peppercorns, a unique ingredient that leaves a numbing feeling in your mouth.

    Although you can buy Szechwan hot chili oil, the flavor is not the same as making it yourself. There are many layers of flavors in this homemade version. A good friend of mine rattled off the ingredients over the phone the other day, but didn’t provide any proportions. The ingredients for his Szechwan hot chili oil include garlic, scallion, garlic powder, white pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, salt and Szechwan peppercorns. I added ginger too.

    I have a Szechwan cookbook that has a recipe for hot chili oil, but there are no measurements either, just photos, so I came up with this recipe based on my gut. The only hint I got from my cookbook is that the typical ratio of oil to chili powder is 5:1, which I felt would result in a super spicy oil, so I used a ratio of 10:1 which still resulted in a very spicy oil. I weighed the ingredients which I found easier when I came up with this recipe sinceI did it visually. I will try to provide the measurements using teaspoons/tablespoons, etc. soon.

    This hot chili oil is important in a number of Szechwan recipes, so I wanted to get this written down before I forgot how I made it.

    I used hot pepper powder that I found at the local Asian grocery store, but I think cayenne pepper would work fine as a substitute.

    Here are some Szechwan Hot Oil Wontons I made using this hot chili oil. I’ll be sharing the recipe for this amazing sauce soon ;).

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    Serves: 1 cup

    Ingredients

    Directions

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Simple Healthy Coleslaw Recipe

    This healthy slaw recipe tastes amazing! It's made with a simple lemon dressing and features toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Gluten free and vegan. - cookieandkate.com

    How do you like that alliteration? Eh? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. This slaw is just the ticket after an indulgent weekend with a strong Aziz Ansari theme. I accidentally watched the entire season of Master of None on Netflix on Saturday (it’s that good), and plowed through two-thirds of Modern Romance last night.

    cabbage

    Mind you, I took some breaks to take bites of this amazing chocolate pie thing I’ve been working on for my cookbook. And sure, I probably should have been writing my book all weekend, but then what would we talk about today? The weather? I did that last week .

    Let’s talk about this slaw. It’s proof that sometimes, the most humble of ingredients can make for the best recipes. Take cheap cabbage, with all of its potent antioxidants, and toss it with carrots and a simple, garlicky lemon dressing. Add some freshly toasted seeds to the mix (toasting them makes all the difference!) and you have a colorful coleslaw that’s bursting with fresh flavor and amazing health benefits.

    Before you get started, I should mention that finely shredding cabbage is easier on a mandoline that with a sharp knife, but it can certainly be done. I also cheated and used some store-bought, pre-shredded carrots. You could safely use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to shred the carrots; if you don’t have one of those, a plain old box grater or the grating attachment on your food processor should work pretty well.

    Last but not least, I used three-fourths of a cup of mixed seeds here, but you could get by with less. Whichever seeds you use, and however much you use, just don’t skip the toasting step! Keep an eye on those little seeds because they can turn too toasty in a blink.

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Salad

    Prep time:

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    Serves: 4 to 6 side servings

    Ingredients

    Coleslaw

    Lemon dressing

    Instructions

    Notes

    Recipe adapted from The Adventurous Vegetarian Cookbook by Jane Hughes.
    Storage suggestions: I like this slaw best the day it’s made, but it keeps well for several days, covered, in the refrigerator.

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    Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!

    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Light Jalapeo Popper Dip Recipe

    Light Jalapeno Popper Dip - this lightened up version of a favorite dip is perfect for Game Day!

    This Light Jalapeño Popper Dip is a healthy addition to any Game Day spread. Check out the recipe for the secret ingredient.

    Light Jalapeno Popper Dip - this lightened up version of a favorite dip is perfect for Game Day!

    This post is sponsored by Peapod

    I remember the first time I bit into a jalapeño popper – it was so decadently cheesy, crusted with bread crumbs and just a bit spicy. Deep fried and stuffed with cheese, I can only imagine how many calories were in just one of thosejalapeño poppers.

    Super Bowl is just around the corner, so when Peapod asked me to create a recipe for them with a Super Bowl theme, I came up with this Light Jalapeño Popper Dip recipe , with all the flavors of a fried jalapeno popper, but in dip form.

    I love recreating healthier versions of favorite footballsnacks and have made lighter versions over the years, including a Skinny Queso Cheese Guacamole Dip , Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip , Skinny Philly Cheesesteak Dip , and Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip . One of my favorite skinny tricks is to substitute pureed low-fat cottage cheese for cream cheese in dips. It might sound a little strange, but trust me, it works.

    Flecks of pickled jalapeño pepper and roasted red bell pepper are scattered throughout this cheesy dip, which uses sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese for best flavor. A crunchy breadcrumb topping mimics the crusted exterior of a fried stuffed jalapeño popper.

    Here are some more Game Day Appetizers I found on From The Pod’s recipe index .

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    Prep time

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    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    Breadcrumb topping

    Directions

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Kimchi Fried Forbidden Rice with Black Garlic Recipe

    Kimchi Fried Forbidden Rice with Black Garlic - this one bowl meal is absolutely delicious! Spicy, sweet and full of flavor

    This Kimchi Fried Forbidden Rice with Black Garlic is a one bowl meal packed with flavor.

    Fermented Black Garlic

    I love one bowl meals for their convenience, especially ones that include whole grains, vegetables and protein with a spicy sauce. One of my favorite one bowl meals is Kimchi rice, topped with a fried egg. It’s pure comfort in a bowl. The kimchi fried rice I’m sharing today is a bit more exotic than your usual kimchi rice because it includes two unusual ingredients – forbidden rice and fermented black garlic.

    I’ve been wanting to try both of these ingredients for a while, so when I saw that this month’s Recipe Redux theme was “A New Ingredient for the New Year,”I knew it was time to figure out how best to showcase these two ingredients. Both of these ingredients made this kimchi fried rice more dramatic in appearance, and I think the fermented black garlic was a great addition, with its sweet and earthy flavors.

    A fried egg on top is optional, but I highly recommend it. In my book, it’s what makes this dish complete. I’ve eaten this for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it always satisfies.

    This recipe uses three fermented foods – kimchi, gochujang and black garlic, so it’s full of good-for-you, flavorful ingredients that support healthy digestion.

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    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    Directions

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Kale Pesto Pizza Recipe

    Kale pesto pizza with crispy kale on top! This is a simple weeknight pizza for kale lovers. cookieandkate.com

    Attention kale lovers! I have a pizza for you. Everyone else, please shield your eyes and forgive me for the very green pizza on your screen. I’ve had this idea for a while now—kale pesto pizza with golden mozzarella and crispy kale on top—and it is finally reality. A very tasty reality, of which I am looking forward to eating again for lunch.

    kale pecan pesto

    As any good vegetarian blogger should be, I am obsessed with pesto , and basil is awfully expensive this time of year. I say “this time of year” like it’s nothing, but it’s snowy, icy, below freezing and gray outside, and I’m currently wondering what I’m doing with my life/daydreaming about beach vacations.

    As I was saying, kale pesto is a great, affordable option this time of year. I made mine with pecans and I love the subtle, sweet pecan flavor in every bite. You could also use walnuts in your pesto, or pepitas for a nut-free option. This vegan pesto would be fantastic on pasta if you need to warm up with a bowl of hot, steaming pasta. It’s cold outside!

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Entree

    Cuisine: Italian

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    Serves: 1 large or 2 smaller pizzas

    Ingredients

    Pizza

    Kale pesto (yields about 1½ cups, which will probably leave you with extra)

    Instructions

    Notes

    Recipe adapted from my Super Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto and Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza .
    Make it nut free: Substitute pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for the pecans.

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    Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!

    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad

    This simple quinoa salad is perfect for packed lunches! cookieandkate.com

    This salad couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve just returned home after a long weekend in Austin, Texas. Taco after taco, margarita after margarita. Chips and salsa in between. On the return home, I ate a scoop of Mexican vanilla ice cream for dinner. It was incredible.

    quinoa and spinach

    This was a girls’ trip, just for fun, and it was desperately needed. My taste buds got a break from all the cookbook recipe testing and now, I’m craving healthy home cooking once again. Please, remind me to take real vacations more often!

    This mega-healthy quinoa and spinach salad was inspired by a Whole Foods buffet salad that I found in Kansas City last week. I was desperate for recipe inspiration, so I sampled a few of their salads and particularly enjoyed their spinach and quinoa salad with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. The sign said the salad had basil in it, but I sure couldn’t find any.

    Anyway, I tried to recreate it at home and ended up making a few changes, of course. I swapped more affordable sliced almonds for the pine nuts (they taste better, too), skipped the nonexistent basil, and whipped up a zippy lemon dressing.

    This salad packs up great for lunch. It would also make a lovely, protein-rich side salad. Top it with a fried egg and call it dinner. It’s vegan as is, but you could throw in some feta if you’d like. Chickpeas might be nice, too. Arugula is a great alternative to spinach (I could hardly decide between the two).

    I’ve been frustrated with my quinoa ending up mushy lately, so I tried cooking the quinoa uncovered for 15 minutes this time, and it worked beautifully. I hope it works just as well for you. Please let me know!

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Salad

    Cuisine: Mediterranean

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    Serves: 4 servings

    Ingredients

    Salad

    Lemon dressing

    Instructions

    Notes

    Recipe inspired by a quinoa salad at Whole Foods Market.
    Make it nut free: Replace the almonds with pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). Sunflower seeds might be nice, as would pine nuts if you aren’t sensitive to them (they are technically seeds).
    Storage suggestions: This quinoa will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for several days. Gently reheat or serve chilled.

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    Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!

    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • The Best Stir Fry Sauce Recipe

    The Best Chinese Stir Fry Sauce - make a batch of this special sauce and you can make stir fries anytime easily

    Make a batch of the Best Stir Fry Sauce and you can make a stir fry meal any day of the week easily.

    Chinese Stir Fry Chicken and Vegetables - this healthy stir fry is so much better than takeout - the Chinese stir fry sauce is the secret

    I’ve been trying to come up with easy recipes for one of my boys who’s in college and cooking for himself. I’ve already posted an easy recipe for Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables and Healthy Ramen Noodle .This week, I’m shipping him a batch of an extremely versatile stir fry sauce that I’m calling The Best Stir Fry Sauce because it is my go-to combination of Chinese sauces and ingredients when I stir fry. I actually tried finding a good stir fry sauce at our local Asian grocery store, but couldn’t find anything, so I decided to make my own. I’m not sure why I never thought to do this for myself all these years.

    Stir frying is a quick and easy, healthy meal, especially if you have ready made stir fry sauce handy. All you need are some vegetables (most supermarkets carry pre-cut stir-fry vegetable mixes if you don’t feel like doing any prepping) and a lean protein. I like to use garlic, ginger and/or scallions as aromatics, but you can use chopped onion too.

    Here’s the basic formula for an amazing stir-fry that is healthier than takeout and absolutely delicious:

    Choose a lean protein:

    Choose a variety of fresh vegetables:

    Choose one or morearomatics:

    Stir-Fry Method (serves 3-4 people, depending on how hungry you are):

    Note: If you’re cooking for one person, simply halve or quarter the above recipe.

    Print

    Serves: enough to marinade 10 pounds of protein

    Ingredients

    Directions

    Notes

    This sauce should keep for several months in the refrigerator.

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos

    These roasted butternut squash tacos with slaw are bursting with flavor and so good for you, too. cookieandkate.com

    Just when I thought I couldn’t come up with another recipe, my wonderful hair stylist said, “Tacos.” So here we are, two grocery stores later, with tacos that are as tasty as they are colorful. You need some color to brighten up drab winter days, you know?

    butternut squash tacos ingredients

    For these tacos, I drew inspiration from my sweet potato tacos and roasted up some cubed butternut squash instead (sweet potatoes would be awesome here, too!). I actually cheated, for once, and used two bags of pre-cut squash from Trader Joe’s. I think I’ll do it again soon.

    While the squash roasts in the oven, just mix up some simple cabbage and black bean slaw (a riff on the slaw used in my spaghetti squash burrito bowls ) and mash up some guacamole. I have finally learned that mashing guacamole with a pastry cutter or potato masher works way better than a dinky fork. Hallelujah! Hope you love these. Find more tacos over here !

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Entree

    Cuisine: Mexican

    Prep time:

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    Serves: 4 servings

    Ingredients

    Roasted butternut squash

    Cabbage and black bean slaw

    Simple guacamole (double if you love guac!)

    Everything else

    Instructions

    Notes

    Change it up: Sweet potatoes would be an awesome substitute for the butternut.
    Storage suggestions: Store individual components separately for best results. Store leftover guacamole in a small bowl with plastic wrap pressed against the top to prevent oxidation.

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    Did you make this recipe?

    Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #cookieandkate!

    Source: Cookie and Kate