Cappuccino Muffins

I'm in a breakfast mood lately.  I'm either eating Mexican food or breakfast food these days.  Oh, and fries.  Because I always have room for fries.

This weekend, I'll be eating a ton of fries.  They're a special at the fine establishment that we lovingly called "The Dirty O" at my college in Pittsburgh.  That's right, folks.  I'm heading back to Pittsburgh for a few days to meet up with some old friends and hang out at all the local hotspots.  There will be pictures...some heavily edited pictures.

While I work on getting those fry pictures for you, you should check out these muffins I made.  They have coffee and chocolate and you can eat them guilt-free in the morning.  That's the best I can do for today, but I think that's pretty dang good if I do say so myself.

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Biscoff Cheeseball

I've been holding out on this recipe for almost a year.  Sorry about that.  

I first made this tasty appetizer for my housewarming party back in May 2013.  I was hoping to snap a few pictures of the final product before putting it out to be devoured, but of course time got the better of me and all of a sudden it was already half eaten.  I must say that I think this was the life of the party.  If you happen to love cookie butter and cream cheese, then this is probably a bandwagon that you will want to jump on.

This week, my client had a "breakfast for lunch" event, or as I like to call it, "brunch for lunch".  I described this biscoff cheeseball to someone last week and their reaction was: "Oh, so it's like a biscoff cream cheese frosting."  Technically, I guess that could be correct, but I like to see it as a dip.  You can serve it with fruit or graham crackers or whatever else you desire.  I picked up some Nilla wafers as well, because why not?  (Ok, I know this cheeseball has nothing to do with breakfast, but I really just wanted to make it again, so I volunteered it for the party.  That's a good enough excuse to make this, right?)

This biscoff cheeseball is quick and easy to create and it only requires 5 ingredients.  Blend the first three together, freeze the result, then roll it in the final 2 ingredients.  Freeze once again.  I can pull this together in no time and lately, I've been realizing that most of my recipes have required less than an hour of active time to make.  What can I say? A girl has things to do.

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Carrot Cake Muffins

Are we still on that health kick thing?  You know, the whole "It's a new year and I need to workout and diet like a mofo" thing?  I'm pretty sure that ends once the Superbowl comes around.  I mean, who doesn't love a good queso dip?  I will never say no.

So anyhow, I guess that means we can talk about these carrot cake muffins without any guilt, right?  Cool.  'Cause that's what I'm about to do.  I don't know why I haven't made any form of carrot cake before since I absolutely love it.  Let's be real.  It's all about the cream cheese frosting.  It gets me every time.

I had been looking for a recipe for healthy muffins when I initially crossed paths with these.  Pretty soon,  I was convincing myself that the amount of carrots in each muffin definitely negate the amount of cream cheese filling inside it.  AmIright?  That's carrot-cake-math, in case you're wondering.

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Banana Speculoos Microwave Brownie

I can't be the only person obsessed with the Starbucks chocolate smoothie, right? ... 

OK, I'm pretty sure 90% of the people reading this have no idea what I'm talking about.  Let me drop some knowledge: Starbucks makes protein shake smoothies!  The next time you go there, check out the menu and you'll find it.  It's pretty much overshadowed by any and every holiday/seasonal/espresso drink, but it's there.  (Speaking of holiday drinks, I got my gingerbread latte yesterday in my very first red Starbucks cup of the season!  It was initially a weird experience since I picked up my drink right next to a display offering coffee grounds in the flavor "Thanksgiving".  I was confused for a second and then realized that pop culture is now celebrating Christmas a month before Thanksgiving and two months before the actual Christmas day, which is sort of aggravating to me but...I'm digressing...)  Chocolate Smoothie.

This smoothie happens to be a chocolate banana protein shake (20g protein!).  I discovered this by accident one day when I was bored and scrolling through the Starbucks app on my phone.  Over the past year or two, I've become a consumer of protein shakes before, during, and/or after a workout, so finding this shake was exciting for me!  I admit that at first I didn't love the taste of it.  My taste buds were expecting a pretty sweet milkshake instead of a slightly sweetened and (relatively) good-for-you smoothie, but eventually I came to love it.

The other day I was looking for a quick snack to whip up and I came across this recipe for a Banana Nutella Microwave Brownie.  Right away, it reminded me of the Starbucks smoothie!  Alright, it's definitely not the same thing, but the flavors are sort of similar.

Then I realized I didn't have any Nutella in my pantry.  However, I do have crushed cookies in the form of Speculoos hanging around!  I picked that up instead and got to work.

Do the dang thing!

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Pumpkin Pecan Cranberry Muffins

And I'm back on my "fall flavors" kick.  Can't hold me down for long.

When I made zucchini muffins a few months ago, I was really surprised by how convenient it was for me to freeze the extras, then pop them out and into the microwave for breakfast on the go or a quick snack.  If you know me, you know that I'm usually on the go on the weekends.  So much to do!!!

I sadly ran out of zucchini muffins a few weeks ago and finally got around to making another batch of muffins.  This time, I had some pumpkin puree to use up, so I put it to excellent use.  I mean....pumpkin, pecans, and cranberry in one muffin.  It's like autumn in each bite!

This recipe is super simple too.  It comes together within a few minutes and all of a sudden you have 12 extra large muffins on your hands.  Who doesn't want extra large muffins?  Seriously!  Don't miss out on this!

(OK, I'm shouting now.  Calming it down...)

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Zucchini Muffins

I feel it's time to deal with the zucchini situation that we typically find ourselves living in around this time of year.  You know what I mean.  Zucchinis are being harvested out of your gardens in droves.  Or, in my case, zucchinis are overflowing in the supermarkets.  Let's face it.  Hoboken is not known for its great gardening opportunities.

Still, I love these little green vegetables and can't wait for this time to swing around every year.  Recently, I've been loving a simple side of grilled zucchini slices as a snack or a side dish with dinner.  However, when I was assigned the blog Jane's Adventures in Dinner for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I discovered her recipe for Airy Zucchini Muffins.  Clearly I needed to get a little snazzier with my zucchini fare.

I've previously made a zucchini bread and I can vividly recall how delicious that was, so I was quite excited to give these muffins a shot.  Jane's recipe was so quick to whip up that the task which took the longest was the grating of the zucchini.  Seriously.  These muffins came together in minutes and they were simply delicious.  I ended up using cranberries instead of cherries in the recipe simply because I believe in using what I have already in my pantry if I can.  Other than that, I pretty much followed the directions given.  The muffins were as promised: light, airy, and delicious.

I liked that these muffins aren't too sweet, which makes them a perfect for breakfast sustenance.  I also ended up freezing several of these so I can defrost them overnight and have a quick meal on the go the next morning. (Come on. You know I can't resist freezing things!)

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Cranberry-Almond Chocolate Biscotti

I want to let you guys in on a little somethin' somethin'.  I'm moving.

No, this blog isn't moving.  (At least not yet.  I actually do want to make it snazzier but that's not happening for a bit. Sorry!) I'm physically moving my junk from one apartment in Hoboken to another apartment in Hoboken.  I've been living in the same spot since I started this blog a few years ago, so this is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking, time for me.  I have a few blog posts lined up for the next couple weeks, so you most likely won't even realized I've been busy packing, unpacking, assembling furniture and decorating and the likes (crossing my fingers!).

However, you'll probably see a difference in the pictures that I start taking in a few weeks.  Will it be a good or a bad difference? Uh, that remains to be seen.  I actually previewed the new place at night-time, so I'm not certain of that situation just yet.  I'm hoping hoping hoping that I still have a good source of natural light.  If I don't, it will probably take me a few posts to figure out how to fix that....so what I'm saying is that I'm possibly gonna need some slack here.  No judgements, right?  Fab.

Oh hey, and I also have this biscotti recipe for you.  In the spirit of cleaning things out of the kitchen, I found some dried cranberries in the cupboard and slivered almonds in the freezer.  I've been going through a huge carb-craving phase lately, so I was inspired to adapt Katie's cherry-hazelnut biscotti recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand.

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Honey Greek Yogurt with Pomegranates & Pistachios

Dessert for breakfast is where it's at.  I know this because I just experienced this fact this morning.  In fact, I may also experience this again tomorrow morning.  That's just how I roll.

I'm deeply involved in an illicit affair with yogurt, honey, and pomegranates.  Seriously.  I can't get enough of them.  I am writing this as I sit with a tub of pomegranate arils on my stomach.  I am force feeding them into my face with a spoon.  Things are getting real rough around here, people.  Real rough.  So I decided to roll all this fun stuff together.  Adding some pistachios ain't so bad either.  Oh yeah.  Make this happen.

I wish I could say I was clever enough to think of this all by myself, but I'm not.  I totally "borrowed" this recipe from Gina over at Skinny Desserts.  Let's be honest.  We could all use a low-calorie dessert/breakfast in these overindulgent times.  However, I still want something scrumptious.  And this is that.

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Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

I've been going all out lately.  I mean, I've been doing some serious travel and I just need to a take a breather.  At this particular moment, my breather happens to involve cinnamon and muffins and crispy crunchy streusel. Yes, I like this kind of breather.

In all my blog life, I've never made cinnamon streusel muffins.  I'm not sure why, especially because this is my go-to muffin in real life.  There's nothing quite like spicy cinnamon and sweet brown sugar topping melted over a soft, spongy cake.

Did you also know that you can freeze muffins?  Yes, you can.  Wrap them up and throw them in the freezer.  The next time you desire a warm, sweet treat for breakfast, pop one in the microwave oven for a few seconds and it's just as if it was freshly baked!

Don't sleep on this.  Make sure you whip up your own cinnamon streusel goodness.  This is not a game, folks.

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Candied Pecans

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were having a post-gym Whole Foods tryst.  Yes, we go to Whole Foods after the gym.  At 9:30pm. Whatever.  One of my friends found something that I'm calling the "Nut Bar". No snickering.  This is serious talk here.  The Nut Bar at Whole Foods is sort of like a candy bar.  A variety of nuts are displayed in a case and you can choose which one(s) you want, or you can mix-and-match.  Whatever you desire.

This find immediately kicked our killer taste testing skills into high gear.  Resoundingly, our favorite type of nut was a pumpkin spiced pecan.  This was honestly the best candied pecan I had ever tasted.  I could have eaten a pound of this stuff, which was why I didn't buy any.  Know thyself.

However, the universe seems to realize that I can only hold out so long.  Recently, I woke up to a post by JTB (aka Joy The Baker) in which she blogged about a candied pecan biscotti she had recently made.  Though I won't turn it down, I'm not a huge fan of biscotti.  What really caught my eye was the mention of candied pecans.  Do you mean I can make my own candied pecans at home?  Oh yes.  I had hit the jackpot.

I found a bag of pecans in the cupboard.  They may have been living in the cupboard for quite a while.  I don't want to talk about it.  Let's get down to business.

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