Flash Back Friday — Chocolate Ricotta Muffins


Jenn Bumb, from Pretend It’s A Donut, issued a challenge on her Instagram story to revisit a favorite recipe you haven’t made in a while.  I thought that was a great idea so I pulled up A Solitary Feast and began to look through the old posts for a favorite.  I am always concentrating on what to post next.  I don’t often look at old posts so it was fun to see how far I have come over the last 4 years and 3 months.  What worked, what didn’t work, how much more comfortable I am in my writing, how much my photography has improved and how much my site has changed.
What amazed me the most is how many really good recipes are buried in my archives.  For the rest of the summer, every Friday, I am going to feature a favorite recipe from my archives for those of you that haven’t been around since the beginning.  Today’s recipe is Chocolate Ricotta muffins.  I would have to say muffins are one of my favorite things to make.  I have more unique muffin recipes in my big, white binder of recipes for one or two than any other kind.  There is something about baking muffins that just gets my day off to a good start.
I tend to make these muffins when I make lasagna because it is a great way to use up leftover ricotta cheese.  I know what you’re thinking.  Cheese in sweet muffins? Are you nuts?  I thought the same thing the first time I made these.  The ricotta adds a nice tang and keeps these muffins incredibly moist.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

Adapted from The Sunlight Cafe Cookbook
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ to 2 ½ TBS cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup ricotta cheese
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
6 TBS plus 1 teaspoon milk
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 6 muffins cups with cooking spray. Combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa, sugar and chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place the ricotta in a second small bowl. Add the egg, beating until well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour the ricotta and oil into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir from the bottom until the dry ingredients are all moistened. A few lumps are okay. Fill prepared muffin cups to the rim. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Whole Sisters Dump Ranch (Whole 30)


If you like ranch dressing you need to make this recipe as soon as possible.  I have made my own salad dressings for years.  I have tried dozens of different kinds of  dressings and many variations of each.  I can honestly say this is the best salad dressing I have ever tasted.  I could, and have, ate it with a spoon.  It’s easy to make.  It uses ingredients I already keep in the house and best of all it is Whole 30 compliant.

The original recipe called for making the dressing in a wide mouth mason jar.  I didn’t have one so  I used a deep, narrow bowl.  It worked fine.  The key is not to move the immersion blender until the emulsion starts to form and after that move it up and down and all around until everything is blended well.  The dressing may seem thin at the blending point will thicken upon standing.

Whole Sisters Dump Ranch

From The Whole Sisters

1 egg

1 cup  light olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk, stirred

1 handful fresh herb of choice or 3 tablespoons dried parsley

Place all ingredients in the jar in the order given, except for the fresh herbs.  Use your immersion blender and blend for 1 minute.  Add the fresh herb or dried parsley and blend for another 15 seconds.  Use it on everything.  It will keep for about a week.

Instant Pot Mini Monday Beef Stroganoff (Whole 30)

This week something amazing happened.  Well, it was amazing to me.  I was watching Christina Lane’s Instagram story when she flashed a picture of a recipe she is working on for her blog.  As with all of her recipes, it looked amazing so I jokingly asked her if I could recipe test it for her and she said YES!!!  She sent me her recipe notes and we talked about it for a while.  I am so honored! To me it indicates a high level of trust because there are still a lot of people out there who think just because it is out there on the internet it is free to take and claim as their own.  I guess those people where absent on the day their English teachers and professors talked about plagiarism.  Anyway, my feelings on that subject are a post for another day…   I am also honored Christina, a professional who makes her living on her recipes, valued my opinion on her recipe.  I am a proud home cook, not a professional.  So to have someone whose work I admire like I admire Christina’s, take what I have to say seriously was a great gift.  It means a lot to me.

Just so you know the recipe is amazing and as soon as she posts it to her blog, I will link to it for you.  In the meantime, try making Beef Stroganoff.

Instant Pot Mini Beef Stroganoff

Adapted from Wholesome Delicious

3/4 lb lean beef stew meat

1/4 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced

5 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons beef broth

2 TBS coconut aminos

2 TBS red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup coconut milk or coconut cream, the stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk

1 1/2 TBS arrowroot

salt and pepper

Preheat the Instant Pot on the saute function.  When hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.  When the oil is hot, saute the onions for about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more.  Cancel the saute function.  Season the beef with garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste.  Place the beef on the onion/garlic mixture.  In a small bowl, combine the broth, coconut aminos and apple cider vinegar.  Pour over the beef.  Add the sliced mushrooms.  Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Natural release.  Add the coconut milk or coconut cream and stir. Dissolve the arrowroot in the water.  Add to the pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Instant Pot Mini Monday — Iced Tea (Whole 30)


After almost 4 years of  pressure cooking, I have finally found a recipe that I wouldn’t want to make in my pressure cooker again.  Its my recipe for Italian Tomato Sauce.  I made it this morning to put over some meatballs for lunch.  The sauce wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as when I do it on the stove.  I think the problem is in the pressure cooker’s steam filled environment doesn’t evaporate liquid and concentrate the flavors like cooking on the stove top.  It also doesn’t save any time doing it in the pressure cooker so I won’t be making Italian Tomato Sauce in the pressure cooker again.

On recipe I make almost daily in my pressure cooker is Dr. Urvashi Pitre’s pressure cooker ice tea. Making tea in the pressure cooker results in a super smooth tea with absolutely no bitterness.  I can and do drink this iced tea without any added sugar.  This means I have something other than water to drink on my next round of Whole 30.  I use Red Rose brand of black tea but you could use any brand you like.

Pressure Cooker Iced Tea

From Two Sleevers

4 regular tea bags

6 cups water

1/2 cup sugar (omit if Whole 30)

Place the tea bags and water into the liner. Bring to high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. you can quick or natural release. Add sugar to taste. Stir to dissolve. Serve over ice.

Zesty Pickled Brussels Sprouts (Whole 30)


When I saw this recipe for pickled Brussels sprouts in my feed this morning, I got up from bed so fast I almost fell over.  If that doesn’t tell you how much I love pickles and how much I love Brussels sprouts I don’t know what will.  I am trying to eat more salads this summer so I am looking for interesting things to include in them.  This isn’t a quick pickle, they take a few days to ferment, so I haven’t tasted them yet but I already have 3 or 4 variations in my head to try.

Head on over the the Frugal Haus Frau to get the recipe.