A small reusable mini muffin cup resting on a pale hand. In the background are many more placed upside down, slightly damp, drying from being just washed.

The Magic of Silicone Baking Cups (& How Making Mini’s Has Helped Me With Portion Control)

I’ve loved making mini muffins since I’ve started doing meal prepping and doing portion control. They’re so satisfying to eat, in one or two bites. Plus they’re just cute! Let me have cute foods, it’s just the best. Since I’ve realigned my mindset about food this year, I’ve been paying more attention to how the food tastes and nourishes my body instead of how it looks. When I feel like putting in that effort as a little treat to myself, mini muffins have been the go to!

However, I try to be as eco friendly as possible. And mini muffin tins are the worst of the worst for cleaning out their metal wells. So I begrudgingly used paper liners for a while, but they don’t work for certain foods (mini omelettes in paper liners are gross, but prying cooked egg out of metal is even grosser 🤢). And I just hated the amount of waste that went along with them with how frequently I was needing more of them because of my freezing and prepping routine.

So, this week I wanted to make up a batch of pumpkin mini muffins, half to freeze for later in the month and half to eat for breakfasts and snacks of the next two weeks. (The family got a hold of these yesterday though, so I don’t think the freezing is going to happen 😂). My recipe ended up getting 62 minis, so they ended up around 50 calories a piece. I plan on having four for breakfasts with a small banana or apple and my iced almond milk (cold brew 😍) lattes!A small reusable mini muffin cup resting on a pale hand. In the background are many more placed upside down, slightly damp, drying from being just washed.These little babies are AMAZING.

 

My focus over the past few years is finding reusables to reduce our daily household disposable waste. I’ve known about these for a while, so every time I picked up paper muffin cups I felt BAD. I knew they’d be worth the investment but I was still nervous.

I’m happy to report: I was right.

They’re a brilliant investment (without a ridiculous price tag).

I know many people recommend adding additional time for silicone baking pans and the like, but because minis take so little time to bake I didn’t notice that at all. The recipe called for 13-15 minutes and I took them out at 15 and they were perfectly done. They also seem more moist than normal, but the top still has that iconic muffin top texture. All around, just what I love in a muffin.

And best of all, the clean up was amazing. I tend to leave my muffins to sit in the pan for up to 5 minutes so they can set and finish baking (as most recipes suggest). But as I was picking them up out of the pan, they just popped out of the case! 😲 No pulling, no ripped liners, no leaving half of the muffin behind in the case. And I didn’t even grease them! I tossed them in my mixing bowl with some hot soapy water, let them sit in the hot water for twenty minutes, and then they were clean. Because there was no crumb residue left behind from the muffins, they just needed to break down any left over oil from the batter. I agitated them a little bit in the hot water for my own sanity, and then rinsed them. SO EASY, and so worth it.

Here are my favourite ones**, the colours are cute and the price is so great for how amazing they are! I may get another batch of 48 to make soap cupcakes too ❤️

So yeah, minis are rad. Pumpkin Spice is rad. IT’S FALL, Y’ALL 🎃🎃🎃

(Anyone who hates on pumpkin spice just because it’s popular can suck my toe, and that’s the tea. It’s delicious and festive and in this near apocalyptic world we live in we need these little things to thrive! Get over it, just because girls like it doesn’t make it bad.)

And anyways, next on the agenda is mini omelettes, I’m ready to conquer those little devils 😈

Happy Fall, loves! 🍂

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**Amazon affiliate link.

 

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7 Ingredient Simple Cold Taco Dip

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This is just one of those recipes. Your cousin’s boyfriend’s mom probably has a copy of it. Everybody loves it because the base dip is incredibly simple, 3 ingredients simple. And if they don’t love a certain part of the prepared layered dip- you can exchange out ingredients so they will!

It’s a reliable addition to a taco bar. It’s a supplement for a vegetarian’s plate for a taco night that normally would only consist of rice and beans. It’s freaking pretty to look at, come on. And super satisfying to put together and layer.

The three truly required ingredients for the base dip are sour cream, cream cheese, and taco seasoning. You can take that however you please. You can go super low fat on both the sour cream and cream cheese, and doesn’t really change the flavour because the taco seasoning is so domineering over the rest.

Base Taco Dip

  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 30 grams / 1 ounce packet Taco Seasoning
    • (Substitute for homemade seasoning, if desired.)

Just noting, I actually really love homemade taco seasoning. It’s considerably more mild than prepared seasoning, if that’s ya game. It’s super duper easy to mix up a quick batch and take a few tablespoons when you need it. Here’s my favourite recipe! However, there’s a time and a place for packet seasoning, particularly if you love the denominations of spice from mild, original, etc.

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Here they are; your three base dip ingredients. Using these, we will make delicious magic! Note the condensation on both the cream cheese and the sour cream. We need these at at least room temperature. This will allow for the least amounts of lumps and bumps in the cream cheese once we start to mix everything together.

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Must use happy cream cheese, of course! I was blessed with naturally happy cream cheese on this day. Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a medium to large bowl.

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Give it a quick mix together with a spatula, wooden spoon, etc. Some days I have the patience to whip my dip together by hand…

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… but alas on this day I did not. That is actually Mother Dearest whipping this up because I hate using the electric mixer. I gave you this picture, despite it’s blurriness, so you can see why we mix this so intensely. We are really working to integrate as much of that cream cheese into the sour cream without lumps. However, this can be an impossible task, depending on the day. Don’t obsess over it too much. You won’t hurt the dip if you over mix it, you are really just mixing it until creamy and completely homogeneous like…

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This! Gorgeous texture, is it not?

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And then we add in our seasoning. This is a packet seasoning, but about a tablespoon or two of homemade will also do. To taste, of course, but our standard is 1 oz packet : 16 oz sour cream : 8 oz cream cheese and it turns out perfectly without fail. Just give that a stir up with a rubber spatula, there really is no reason to pull out the mixer again if you have no drive to. It doesn’t really affect the outcome if you do or if you don’t. So completely up to you!

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If you prefer to eat this without veggies and cheese, you may, but it really does this no justice while comparing it to an American taco. I really recommend you go through and spread this out in a pan, and just go through it. It will be 100 times better! So, here you can see the texture. Even we can’t get all of those lumps out, and we’ve made this recipe upwards of 150 times in my life. Some of the texture is also the seasoning, so no worries about that. I find that after the dip is refrigerated, if you’ve mixed enough, none of the issues with the texture are present anymore.

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Next, spread this out into as even of a layer as possible. It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect because…

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… we’re gonna cover the whole fricking thing up with shredded cheese. Oh yes. For our fourth ingredient, I used some marble jack because I like that it’s a bit less monotonous than mild cheddar, but cheddar works just as well. I also really like Mexican blends, but not the “Mexican Taco Blend” types that are just a normal cheese with taco seasoning on it. If you have a choice between that and normal cheese, definitely pick a normal mild cheddar or Colby Jack blend. Yummy!

I used a smaller more shallow pan this time, an 8×12 cookie sheet, so I didn’t use all two cups, and it was still a pretty thick layer of cheese. Finely shredded is best for this, because how the cheese sticks to the dip is important for the layerage and how the dip stays together.

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Then, a layer of iceberg lettuce, our fifth ingredient. This is really just American tacos at it’s core 😂. Substitute as you wish, of course, but this is the bare bones version after all. Toss on a bag of shredded lettuce and move on with your life! I actually just really rough chopped some off of a head of iceberg, and it worked absolutely fine. The reason we keep an eye on the size of the things with this dip is so we don’t make a big mess when scooping it onto a chip or lifting it off of the pan.

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And, with this final shot, our sixth and seventh ingredients, tomatoes and black olives. Both of these are really to taste type ingredients.

If you want a thick full layer of tomatoes, or even none at all, you do you boo. The world is your pickle. Our family likes a happy medium, probably around three quarters of a cup of freshly diced tomatoes. And not to boast, but these are actually some really gorgeous Beefsteak and Big Boy tomatoes from our garden. I feel like I can brag about that because I’ve had to endure tomato juice canning for the past week. As always, all of the tomatoes get ripe at once and Dearest Stepfather insists on going on the canning quest each and every August. Hey, whatever makes him happy.

Considering black olives, we like a meatier layer of those. Normally, one can of small olives quartered or ringed is perfect. Apologies for the inconsistent cut on this pan, hahah. Mother Dearest and I were cutting these together, and she was ringing and I was quartering and I didn’t realize until were nearly done. It doesn’t look all that bad, now does it?


In terms of possible additions, what immediately springs to mind is additional spice. Jalapeños, banana peppers, habaneros, green chiles, etc. to be added to the very top layer, or even minced very finely and mixed into the base dip, or perhaps even a chopped bell pepper rainbow of red, yellow, orange, and green on top.

However, if you noticed above, my family are spice wimps. Mother Dearest cannot even take original taco seasoning, she has to get mild, and is allergic to bell peppers (and has unfortunately passed said sensitivity onto moi). And Dearest Stepfather gets really terrible heartburn from anything more severe than original seasoning as well. And me, well, I just have had very little exposure to spice because of that so I’m afraid of most of them, to be honest.


In any case, here we are, the wrap up bit. I will say, this is probably one of the most iconic foods of my childhood. I very recently served a double batch of this at my graduation party and there was none left to bring home by the end of it.

As someone who has studied Spanish and hispanohablante culture for upwards of eight years, of course I love a lot of traditional foods as well. From true Mexican street Tacos all the way to Cuban Medianoche Tortas, they are all delicious to me. But dare I say that American tacos are my favourite food? Maybe? Probably? They’re definitely up there, with how much I love tortillas (and I love tortillas so much).


Full Recipe

  • 1 oz / 30 g packet Taco Seasoning
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • ~2 cups Finely Shredded Cheese
  • Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
  • ~1 cup Diced Fresh Tomatoes
  • 1 can Ringed / Quartered Small Black Olives
  1. Bring sour cream and cream cheese up to room temperature / soften. *Important*
  2. Place in a medium to large bowl and give a quick  mix to combine by hand. (Heterogeneous)
  3. Give it a quick but thorough whip with a mixer to completely emulsify the cream cheese. (Homogeneous)
  4. Sprinkle seasoning over cream mixture, and combine using a spoon or rubber spatula.
  5. Spread into a baking sheet or cake pan. (Any size, pan choice will create thickness and serving size. Smaller pans make thicker, bigger pans make thinner.)
  6. Coat with a generous layer of finely shredded cheese.
  7. Follow up with a layer of shredded greenery, traditionally iceberg lettuce.
  8. And top with your favourite veg chopped fairly small (we use tomatoes and black olives on every batch).
  9. Chill for at least an hour or two to set up the dip and the cream cheese within it for the best possible texture.

So just, all in all, so I can stop rambling, try this recipe out for me, if you eat dairy and enjoy American tacos. You will not regret it. And it just may become a family Taco Night tradition for your family too. ❤

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5 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Frosty Dupe (Banana Ice Cream)

I’ve been trying to get back into my vegetarian groove, and completely cut out animal products. But the hardest thing for me is dairy, and I constantly am craving things like ice cream.

I’ve heard about this frozen banana ice cream for years, but I have never ever tried it. Until today! I decided to try it out, and form my favey fave version of the basic recipe. I consider this a chocolate frosty dupe! Feel free to leave out the peanut / almond butter if you don’t like it, and it is an exact dupe!

  • 2 Frozen Bananas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces before freezing for ease of blending
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut / Almond / Sunflower Butter (I use almond butter because yum, but use your preference 😃)
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Vanilla (Do NOT Skip Vanilla! It makes a world of difference for the flavor of the ice cream, especially if you are using unsweetened almond milk.)

I start out by putting my bananas and almond milk into my blender cup, and then blend it up to create a thick gloopy ice cream! You can totally just add in the vanilla at this step and have a pure plain ice cream, but who would want that lol, so boring! pfft. I used 1/2 cup of my almond milk for the first blend with the bananas, reserving around 1/4 cup.

Then, I plopped in the almond butter on top, then the vanilla, and cocoa powder on top. Finally, I just poured the last of my almond milk on top for easy blending.

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Sorry for the bad cell phone photo quality, I didn’t plan on making this post, but it tasted so good I had to!

I think I really am beginning to prefer non dairy options because they don’t form a phlegmy residue in my throat. It’s really refreshing, and I’ve gotten back into cereal and oatmeal because of the existence of almond milk. I can eat my beloved Raisin Bran again! Yay!

It makes me happy that this is a new vegan option to add to my repetoire and it’s such a good easy, simple recipe that almost anyone could make! Good for summer breakfast or even a dessert. Now that I think about it, it could be a nice before bed snack to keep your blood sugar up while you sleep, and there is no residue to keep you awake coughing at night. So, all around, I really loved this recipe, if you couldn’t guess from the above! ☺️

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