Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

I recently tried Kodiak Cakes pancake mix (Power Cakes, Protein Packed) and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I’ll make pancakes for breakfast once in a blue moon, but this mix boasts 14g of protein for 3, 4-inch pancakes…so I wanted to give it a try. I prepared the batter with milk (which brought the protein up to about 18 g) and a little cinnamon and they came out great! A healthier alternative if you enjoy a classic pancake breakfast every once and a while.

I decided to make muffins using what was left of the pancake mix and added my own fall flare to the recipe listed on the box. Here’s my recipe:

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes flapjack mix
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup non-fat or 1% milk (I used 0% fat fairlife milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with muffin batter. Bake for about 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

power-pumpkin-muffinNutrition Information: 1 muffin – Calories: 139 cal  Total fat: 5g  Saturated fat: 3g  Sodium: 148mg Carbohydrates: 19g  Dietary fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Protein: 6g – calculated via MyFitnessPal

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins: Tara Tested, Tara, family, and friends approved! At the request of a colleague of mine, I made these muffins without banana and used pumpkin instead. The flavor worked well with the cinnamon and created a moist texture in the muffin. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of the Power Cake mix, but I was running low and decided to use old fashioned oats to make up the difference. If you are after a lighter, more airy muffin, you might want to use regular or whole grain flour. I am happy with how these came out and look forward to experimenting with different variations and recipes! Dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and peanut butter anyone??

Get Pumped(kin) for Breakfast!

It’s that time of year again – you can’t go anywhere without seeing an advertisement for something pumpkin-flavored or “pumpkin-spice something” featured on a menu. Why settle for pumpkin flavoring when you can go full-throttle and use the real stuff?! Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A as well as fiber – a great choice for keeping you full and energized all morning long. Here are two ways you can use that can of pumping puree to start your day off right:

Crunchy Pumpkin Yogurt Bowlimage2

  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal
  • 1/2 oz almonds
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Drizzle of honey

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! This is a very tasty and filling meal – whether you have it for breakfast or lunch. Opt for plain Greek yogurt to save on excess sugar, and sweeten it up own your own with a little bit of honey.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup of oat flour (I used our Ninja blender to grind up old fashioned oats)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking sodaimage3
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if you really like it!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Using a whisk or a fork, mix all of the ingredients together until a smooth batter forms. Grease a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low – medium heat. Drop the batter onto the skillet into evenly shaped circles and cook until brown on both sides (you know they are ready to flip when you start to see little bubbles form). Serve up these pumpkin pancakes on a cool fall morning with maple syrup, chopped pecans, or Greek yogurt.

Pumped(kin) Up Breakfasts: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Both of these meals are great ways to use up some of that canned pumpkin you have in your pantry. Try both of these recipes this weekend and you won’t have to worry about wasting a half-used can of pumpkin! I love throwing pumpkin into my yogurt – especially when I choose plain Greek yogurt because it adds a subtle sweetness so I don’t feel the need to overdo it with the honey. The pumpkin pancakes are very hearty and filling, a great breakfast (or dinner) after a tough workout or a long day of raking leaves in the yard. What are some of your favorite ways to use pumpkin at breakfast?


Winter Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Fall has finally arrived! The leaves are starting to turn, hockey is finally back on TV, and farmer’s markets are packed with brightly colored pumpkins and squash. As the weather cools down, our appetite for comfort food heats up. There’s nothing like coming in from the cold to a warm, tasty meal. Baked macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods and I have been eager to try Ellie Kriger’s Macaroni and 4 Cheeses recipe from her book The Food You Crave. Her recipe calls for winter squash which serves as a base for the cheese sauce and ups the nutritional value of this dish. Winter squash is a great source of Vitamin A, which plays a key role in bone growth, healthy vision, and immune system health!


Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat pasta)
  • 2 (10-oz) packages of frozen pureed winter squash
  • 2 cups 1% low fat milk (I used skim)
  • 4 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 oz Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook for about 5-8 minutes and drain. While the pasta is cooking, add the frozen winter squash and milk to a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the squash is defrosted. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the Cheddar, Monterrey, and ricotta cheese, salt, powdered mustard, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. To limit the amount of dishes I needed to clean, I took the macaroni right from the strainer and added it to the cheese mixture in small batches before transferring it to the baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Mix together and sprinkle on top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the topping is brown and crispy.

mac2Winter Squash Macaroni and Cheese: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! This dish is like a hug from Mom, it makes everything better. Paired with a glass of wine and NHL action on TV, it’s almost like I’m back home on my living room couch (except instead of the Devils, I’m watching the Blues!). The squash has a subtle flavor and it’s hard to tell that the majority of the sauce is actually vegetable- don’t tell anyone and see if they notice. I definitely want to make this dish again and experiment with adding some broccoli to the mix before throwing it in the oven. Enjoy!