Lemon Chia Seed Mufffins

Today it was cloudy and rainy and the forecast for the entire week is…. cloudy and rainy.  So I made Honey Lemon Chia Seed Muffins!  Nothing like a little lemon to brighten up a cloudy day.  These whole grain muffins are made with spelt flour, sweetened with honey, and contain omega-3-rich chia seeds.  Spelt flour is officially part of the wheat family, but it has a higher protein content and is more easily digested than the more common wheat.  (Although it does contain gluten and is not gluten-free.)  These spelt muffins are tender and moist and best eaten warm out of the oven.

Honey Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Grease or line 12 muffins cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs. Add the yogurt, honey, melted butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Notes
inspired by Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
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Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Shells

It’s amazing how the quality of ingredients used can completely change the way a dish tastes.  There is a world of difference between stuffed shells made with fresh whole milk ricotta without any added gums or stabilizers and those made with ricotta packed with added stabilizers.  The ricotta in these stuffed shells lends to a creamy and slighty sweet dish with the prosciutto balancing the sweetness with its salty flavor.  The prosciutto transforms this meal into one that is worthy of serving to company and it is perfect for making ahead of time and simply putting in the oven as guests arrive.  Enjoy!

Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Shells

Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Shells
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • For the shells:
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 20 pasta shells
  • extra mozzarella and parmesan for sprinkling on top

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta shells in salted boiling water according to package directions.
  2. Cook the spinach in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Drain and squeeze excess water out and roughly chop spinach.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper until well blended. Set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, mix the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and salt.
  5. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread a thin layer of the tomato mixture to cover the bottom of the pan.
  6. Divide the ricotta filling among the stuffed shells, about 1½ - 2 tablespoons per shell. Arrange the shells neatly in the baking pan.
  7. Spoon remaining tomato mixture over the shells and sprinkle with extra mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400. Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Notes
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Kale Salad with Red Cabbage, Carrots, and Pine Nuts

Did you know that you can get tennis elbow without being a tennis player?  I certainly didn’t, but now I have it and I know all about it.  It has forced me to slow down and appreciate all that I use my arms and hands for.  How true it is that it’s easy to take things for granted until those things are taken away.  As I struggled to chop this kale, I felt so thankful for simple things like being able to use a knife to cut fresh vegetables.  Doing things slowly help me to appreciate simple things in life.

Olive oil and lemon juice make up the dressing for this salad.  It may not sound like much, but the lemon truly brightens up the kale and cuts through any bitterness.  It’s simple, but goes along so well with the kale, cabbage, and carrots.  The wonderful thing about kale salads is that they store well as leftovers, although sometimes it’s necessary to add some extra dressing and seasoning to the salad if it’s eaten the next day.

Kale Salad with Red Cabbage, Carrots, and Pine Nuts
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1½ cups thinly chopped red cabbage
  • 1½ cups grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast pine nuts in a single layer in a 350 oven for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully because the pine nuts burn easily.
  2. Remove kale leaves from the tough stalks and roughly chop kale. Toss with the chopped cabbage and grated carrots.
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad, tossing together until salad is evenly coated. Top with the toasted pine nuts. Allow salad to marinate in dressing for 15 minutes or so before serving.

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