Category Archives: bran

Note to Self…

This morning, hardly awake:

First thought – DKM. Dropkick Murphys. YES! That was it! go back to sleep.

Second thought – Bran muffins. I want some bran muffins. go back to sleep.

Third thought – I think I’ll sleep in today. I’m a little tired and it looks crappy out so I probably won’t be going anywhere anyway. shut eyes.

Fourth thought – The phone would ring immediately after I declare I’m sleeping in, wouldn’t it?


So, basically I must have been driving myself crazy in my sleep because I still hadn’t thought of what DKM was before I went to bed. There were a couple bloggers who guessed it [e-mail me to redeem your prizes], which just made me laugh and remember waking up with “Shipping Up to Boston” in my head moments earlier.

And no, it’s not just because of the Bruins that I love that song. I mean, just listen to it. First thing in the morning, preferably. And do some Irish jigs around your butcher block in the kitchen while preparing your breakfast.

In a leprechaun hat, preferably.

Not that I would know anything about any of that scenario.

I would know something about flaxy French toast, though. So I’ll talk about that, instead. I’ll leave it to your own imaginations as to whether I was tap dancing around my kitchen while making this, though.


Being that I looked out my window and saw this yet again:

Really wet, heavy snow. Read: Sloppy and slippery. House arrest once again.

I decided to make something a little more time consuming for breakfast. I have pancakes down to a science so I can make them quickly in the morning, which carries over to mornings when I have more time, too. Having nowhere to go, I decided to put a little more thought into breakfast this morning.

I’ve been wanting to make French toast for a while now, but wasn’t sure if the mini slices would be enough for keeping me full. Today, I knew I’d be home all day. Worse comes to worse, I eat an hour later, right?! Surprisingly enough, it was difficult for me to finish it all! Don’t worry, though – I took one for the team and did.

Yes, it really is possible to get that same French toast texture without eggs! Making it with flax sounds strange at first, I admit. I mean, I think I was legitimately grossed out when I first heard of it, so I don’t blame you if you are, too.

But I mean, really. Have I ever lied to you? -insert shifty-eyes here-

Buttering/Earth Balancing your pan is critical to making any sort of pancake or sandwich – and French toast is no exception. You don’t need a lot, but you can’t even compare the flavor to that and just using non-stick spray.

And please, no need to be “neat” about it. We’re not after pretty awards here, we all know the ugly food is the best.

Huh, maybe that’s why I’m always disappointed whenever I go out to eat…

If you’re patient and give it enough time – the outside still gets crispy while the insides are still moist and flavorful. I’m sorry if you hate the word moist. I do, too – but really, what else can I say? Damp? It’s not juicy not is it soggy.

The Mixture I used (approximately, anyways…about that measuring thing…)

  • 2 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. coconut milk
  • 1/2 t. coffee extract (vanilla would work just fine, I just so happen to be the person who is all out of vanilla, yet has plenty of coffee, peppermint and coconut extracts. I would.)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Mix all with a fork, allowing to sit a few minutes. Add more milk if necessary. Poke each piece of bread a few times before dipping each slice in and saturating. Transfer to a greased pan, allowing extra of the flax mixture to remain on the bread. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, until crispy.

Garnish with grilled banana and figgy peanut butter and jelly sauce. And chia seeds and honey-roasted almonds if you’re feeling feisty.

Note to self: I miss you terribly. (speaking of “bring me back” songs…)

Er, wait, what I meant was – note to self: make French toast more often.

And about those bran muffins?

They were not just a groggy early-morning sentiment, my dears. They were happening.

I promise these were muffins for me, not Teddie. I kept thinking how much he would love them. Carrots, applesauce, molasses, cinnamon and sunflower seeds? The kid would be in heaven.

I used these almost-forgotten about pressed dates that Mo sent me way back when. I got a kick out of the “serving size: 1 package,” as I imagined myself just plopping down on the couch and nommin’ on the brick like so:


The recipe I used was Kelsey’s. And they are fantastic! It’s a good thing I didn’t actually read the recipe before I printed it off and trekked into my kitchen, though. It requires the use of a food processor, which is usually a big no-no for me. For some reason, I detest cleaning the processor in addition to regular baking dishes. Or in general. Same goes for garlic presses.

Life’s tough.

I realize this is probably old-news, but my new trick is using an ice-cream scoop. I used to just spoon it in, but then I’d have really ugly muffin tops. This leaves them nice and smooth!

And perfectly sized! Well actually my mini-muffins are perfectly sized since I usually just want a little somethin’ somethin’ when it comes to muffins, but that would have required me refilling the tray about ten times.

Which wasn’t happening.

I am very picky about my bran muffins – a lot of bran muffin recipes use more oat bran than wheat, and are too sweet for my liking. I like my bran muffins to be dense, moist and…well…wheaty! These are just the ticket.

Another added bonus: they didn’t require any bananas. I love bananas, and have a great branana muffin recipe – but I’m down to my last banana and you guys know what happens when I lose my bananas. I think I might hide the last one, just as an extra precaution. You know…in case someone else might want it, heaven forbid.

But if I haven’t convinced you to make bran muffins or flaxy French toast…maybe I can convince you to do this:

Toast up some good bread…smother one slice with cashew butter…smother the other with a bit o’ butter/earth balance…throw on some good dried apricots…drizzle a smidgen o’ maple syrup…and chow down. Heavenly.

(but what’s with me saying o’ instead of “of”? Am I really feeling that Irish today?)

And I’ll leave you with this scandalous picture:

I had sausages with dinner! I love sausages…

What’s something you openly admit to having high standards about? I am definitely a bread snob!


Filed under baking, banana, bran, bread, breakfast, brunch, carrots, chia seeds, cooking, dates, dinner, food, french toast, healthy living, muffin, muffins, recipe, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Sippin’ on Sunshine

Hey lovies! Hope everyone’s Tuesdays are going famously – and has sunshine as warm and beautiful as here in VT!

I’ve decided that Tuesdays are going to be my “lazy blogger” days. Meaning – I’m just going to post while I’m home on my break, rather than having to worry about upload photos, sort through photos, and write up a post since I get home so late on Tuesdays. By the time I can touch a computer it’s almost 9:00! And I just want to relax – especially tonight!

I woke up relatively early for a school day and prepared a stellar bowl of Banana-Strawberry Barley! The usual base (with Barley flakes this time) topped with flax, crystallized ginger, dates, and banana and strawberries sauteed in maple syrup and almondmilk. I’ve been using almondmilk lately to help them get a little mushy rather than water – and it makes such an amazing difference! You just need a splash, but they get nice and creamy and soft. Perfection!

Speaking of almond milk, my intake has gotten a little out of control. I used to be able to go a week with a half gallon. Friday, I had to stop at the grocery store frantically on my way home because I had run out earlier than usual that morning. And I just finished off that half gallon this morning!

This is my sad face.

Luckily, however, Price Chopper is up-to-date on their creeper technology, and has likely been profiling my shopping purchases.


I received a coupon with my friday half-gallon purchase! Yesss. At least I had enough for my morning coffees, oats, and tea.

You know what I forgot to mention was on my oats this morning? Um, hello – only the star of the show: Artisana Cacao Bliss! I’d been neglecting it in my cupboard – and this, shockingly, was the first time it made it into my breakfast! I don’t know how I let that happen. Especially because it. is. fan. freaking. tastic. There are no words. And you know what? It’s my birthday, so I can have chocolate for breakfast if I want to. But, chances are – I’ll only want to if coconut is in on it, too.

Rain Forest Nut. I think. It was a couple hours ago, but lately I’ve been jonesin’ for the “subtly, sweet, delightfulย coffee with tastes of vanilla, caramel, cashew, and Brazil nuts.” Ohh, you betcha. And you know what’s pretty dang cool? Green Mountain’s slogan: “A revelation in every cup.” I mean – who hasn’t had a revelation over a cup of coffee? Okay, I confess – I’m often just thinking about how much I love breakfast – but this morning’s revelation was that come 5:00 tonight, I’m going to be old.

My sister has unleashed a monster. Strawberries? Yes, please. English muffin? Yes, please. Rumi’s Hempspread? YES PLEASE!!!! Seriously love this stuff. Seriously love this stuff even more with a bit of sweetly tart jam. And a fluffy english muffin.

In case you’re wondering if I took the plate with me in my car – I did. In case you’re wondering if I took the cat with me – I did.

Eh, just kidding.

In case you’re wondering if I chose to wear sweats and mocs to classI did. Why?

Because it’s my birthday and I can be comfy-cozy if I want to.

I have a strict “waist up” rule. Meaning – as long as I dress civilized from the waist up, and put my face on like a normal human being, and maybe look a little more tidy than usual – I can wear whatever school-themed sweats/bottoms I want. As long as they’re long, obvs. Today was one of those days. Hey, everyone else wears pajamas to class on a daily basis at my campus. This used to bother me to no end – until I was forced to one day. And you know what? It’s comfy. Still – I do like to look at least a little put together – so it’s not a habit.

After enduring 90 painful minutes of sitting next to a loud-breather, I decided to sip on some sunshine and take a lil’ jaunt downtown. Yes – you read that right. This is our downtown. And I love it.

Afterwards, I hurried my way home, but not before making an emergency stop at P.Chop for my beloved almondmilk. You know what bothers me, though? almond milk is two words. Silk, however, terms it almondmilk. So I never know which to use. End of dilemma.

Ironically, I receieved another coupon: $2.00 off two half gallons! I get it, Price Chopper. I have a problem.

Once home, I made a snacky fruit-plate to feast on while preheating le oven and preparing the lunchage.

One thing I feel kind of narcissistic about while blogging is how often it appears I toot my own horn. I’m really not a vain person, and am actually typically pretty shy (which, may not be apparent since I have a blog where I’m always talking about myself. I’m still getting used to that fact.) – but I am pretty open when I eat some good food, aren’t I? I’m not sure if this is vain, though I hope not. I mean, I’m complimenting the food – not myself. Right?

That being said, I celebrated my birthday the right way with this lunch.

This may just be lunch of the year. I am not kidding you. Peep how gooey that cheese is. Smell how delightful that basil-tomato-turkey bacon panini pita smells. Oh wait – I’m sorry…imagine how good that fresh basil, tomato, mozzarella, yumlisciousness smelt as I cut through it hot off the panini press. I totes rocked this BSTM.

Deviled eggs? But aren’t I the girl who hates yolks? Ah-hah! Almost tricked ya. That is my version of a deviled egg. What does one do when there are just a few chickpeas left in the fridge? Make filling for deviled eggs, of course. I almost filled them with hummus – but then the lightbulb went off! So I just mashed the last of my chickpeas, mixed with some dijon & plain greek yog, salt, pepper, and sprinkled with paprika. Yes, Please.

But what’s a BSTM, you ask? a turkey bacon-spinach-roma tomato-almond mozzarella pita panini, of course! Crispy, yet chewy. Dijonnaise meets smooth almond mozzarella. Fresh basil wafting through the air. Are you sick of my corniness yet? Sorry. Anyways – have I convinced you to go have this for lunch, yet? I hope so. It’s right up there with my sweet potato panini pita…speaking of which, I need to get on that.

And that about brings me to now! I’m going to go have myself birthday dessert round one – some puffins or kashi & mango-coconut cupcake…warmed up…with strawberries…and dates…and whatever else I can throw in there. And then…it’s off to my midterm. Yum.

My mom is making her divine stew tonight! So I’m not sure if I’ll have that or the rest of my ‘zone. My poor ‘zone keeps getting pushed to the backburner! At least if I opt for stew tonight, it’ll make a perfect lunch for tomorrow. Dang, I plan a lot, don’t I? How about you – do you tend to plan out meals a lot, always excited for your next concoction?

I hope everyone has a simply superb rest of the day and soaks up the sun for all it’s worth ๐Ÿ™‚ Catch ya’s tomorrow night.


Filed under almond milk, bacon, banana, blt, bran, breakfast, chia seeds, coconut, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe


Happy Monday, bloggies! Usually I’m of the belief that saying happy Monday is a joke – I mean really, who wants Monday? But today was definitely a happy Monday for me, and I hope for everyone else, too! I think it definitely had to do with the beautiful sunshine and warmth that mother nature gave us before she hits us with a couple killer storms for the rest of the week. Either that, or this…

Yeah – now that I think about it, it’s probably both ๐Ÿ™‚

In the Mix: equal parts TVP and Rolled Barley Flakes, brewed coffee & almondmilk, goji berries, nutmeg, couple slices banana, almond extract, 1/3 kiwi

On the Top: Last of the Chia Seed Icing with Pineapple, flax, rest of the kiwi, toasted coconut, plum jam, and white choco coconut pb

I seriously love the rolled barley flakes. They seem so much fluffier than normal oats! And – I had my kiwi skin on! It’s not as weird as I was, for some reason, expecting it to be. Just like the skin of an apple or peach, really. And Karla is right – it’s a lot easier to not bother with the peeling. Kiwi’s are a pain to skin!

There were a few times today where I was thinking about how quirky humans can be – especially myself! I’ve already discussed how I like to mix all my food together – yet I get really disappointed if I accidentally mix in the peanut butter. I like saving it for the last couple bites so I can really taste it ๐Ÿ™‚ When p.b. is as delicious as this is, you really need to enjoy it!

So, remember how photo-heavy yesterday’s post was? Uh, well, I guess I was unknowingly making up for today. I was running a bit late for work so just packed everything as I grabbed it. And go-figure: I actually mixed up my snacks a bit! I packed: an orange, a carrot, blueberry-salmon pita panini, kale to cook up some kale chips with,ย crispbreads, pretzels, and hummus. And tons of tea to leave at work! I’ve started drinking way too much coffee during the day at work just because I want a warm beverage. So, this is to remedy that.

Lunch was delicious, regardless of the fact that it took forever to eat because my boss kept trying to have a convo with me/talk at me about the hockey game last night. Another quirk? I hate being the only one eating when people are talking/looking at me because a. I tend to make a sloppy mess when I eat, and b. I feel rude having eye contact with my food, and not the speaker. It wouldn’t have been weird if we all have the same lunch and we were all talking while eating, but we don’t. haha.

After being highly edumacated about hockey, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and take a walk to get a coffee. (not being hypocritical – I did stick to tea all morning. lol) the quirk here? we have copious amounts of k-cups at work for free. the other quirk? after I got back from that short little jaunt, I was in the best of moods, regardless of the fact that I had also been faced with a telephone call from a crazy customer thinking we were magically going to make her black and white photo a color photo. I spent a good twenty minutes trying to explain that no, her photo was never color in the first place – and so no, our reproduction wouldn’t be, either.

Did I mention I stunk up the whole absement when I burnt all my kale making kale chips? Yeah, did that today, too. I tried eating them, but they just tasted like really old broccoli. Yeck. Next time I’ll remember that just because ten minutes at 350* works in a huge oven, it probably won’t work in a much tinier toaster oven.

Anywho, the work day absolutely flew by and before I knew it I was headed home, secretly enjoying listening to really bad pop songs, with some really good oldies and really random rap songs thrown in. Does anyone else ever find themselves listening to the radio, thinking “Ugh, I hate this song.” and completely forget that you can easily change the station? Um, guilty. I do the same thing when it gets static-y. I even do the same thing when I’m listening to my iPod. I swear I’m not loco.


We all also know my quirky love for anything involving a panini maker.

That includes making food that has the looks that only a mother could love.

This, my friends, is a delicious honey-lime cumin chicken panini wrap. Failure at wrapping, complete success on the eating and tasting.

You know what else I do? Eat things people normally eat with their hands, with a fork and knife. In retrospect, I’ll sometimes eat things you’d typically use a fork with, with my hands. Hey, I never claimed to always be civilized. We’ll just call it food entusiasm. This wrap was eaten with fork and knife and fingers. You’re weird, Jess. And you all probably picture me as a pig eating now. I promise it’s not that bad!

In the Wrap: Chicken seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, honey and zest & juice of half a lime.

Gettin’ all snugly with almond mozzarella, spinach, roma tomato slices, red onion, and dill pickle.

Served with a side of kale chips (note that they’re not burnt.) and an awesome dipping sauce made of: spoonful plain greek yogurt, zest & juice of half a lime, dollop of dijonnaise, salt, and pepper.

The yogurt sauce was really good with the kale chips dipped in it, too ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m totally loving the fresh flavors I’ve been using lately – lime, lemon, basil, etc. This meal was really refreshing, too! I think I’ll be going back to my old ways and using them moreso than the mexican-esque flavors I used much of the winter. For some reason, I find them to be more satisfying, too. Maybe because after eating spicy food I just want sometihng more to cool my mouth down? haha.

If you make this – which, you should – enlighten me, please, as to how to successfully press it so that one end it still open…and just one end is folded…without pressing your hand in the panini maker, too. I was at a loss, and I’ve been having a lot of close encounters with that press lately. For some reason, I’m thinking my food wears the grill marks better than my hand would.

About to go have myself a crazy mixed up applesauce and yogurt mess because I’m quirky. And looking forward to tomorrow! I’ve got a lunch date with an old friend from the barn whom I haven’t caught up with in ages. Should be fun – and hopefully we’ll be getting snow rather than rain! It’s kind of warm for it to stay as snow at the moment :\

What are some of your quirks? I have so many more random things that I do – sometimes I think they’re weird, sometimes I wonder if it’s actually normal but nobody admits to it ๐Ÿ˜› I love quirks, though! And it’s a funny word…

Hopefully I haven’t scared you all off after this post – I’m telling you, those extra UV rays are making me into a bubbly chatterbox!


Filed under bran, breakfast, chia seeds, chicken, coconut, cooking, dinner, fish, food blog, foodblog, health, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, oats, organic, panini, porridge, recipe, TVP, whole grains, wrap

Recipe: Carrot-Maple Bran Muffins

I’m a random baker. I can browse the internet, foodbuzz, tastespotting, read blog, etc. for hours every night and see & save tons of recipes that I decide I WILL, soon, make.
But then when it comes time to bake…I can’t pick out a recipe to save my soul, and feel like all the ones I’ve saved just aren’t what I feel like making! So then I go on hour-long hunts to find just the right recipe before giving up and combining favorites with some flavors I’m craving.
I blame part of this on my terrible recipe-organizing skills, but mostly I blame it on being quirky.
So, this brings us to today. I’ve finally almost eaten through all of my Christmas baked goodies. And by finally I mean there’s still three mini-loafs of Banana Oat Bran Bread in the freezer, rather than 10. Luckily, I love oat bran bread…and was sort of what I wanted to make again!
…except different. 
But what was it I wanted?
Cinnamon Buns? mmm…tasty, but not enough nutritional value.
Supercharge Me Cookies? nutritious, but I prefer breads or muffins.
Pumpkin Spelt Scones? ooh, getting warmer!
But what about Bran? Oh, yes! Bran!
Carrot Bran? 
Carrot Oat Bran?
So the search began for recipes. I came up unsuccessful for a Carrot Bran Muffin recipe that met my “requirements” and finally decided to take my beloved oat-bran bread recipe and a generic bran muffin recipe, and combine them and modify it to my liking.
When I say requirements, I mean tasty and nutritious. I’m not really one for just munching away on sugar-laden cookies all day…Ideally, I’d like to be getting some form of nutrition. And when it comes to muffins and breads, bran is by far my favorite, be it oat or wheat. 
Let’s see what I came up with, shall we? I feel it was a large success, and I hope you do too!
Carrot-Maple Bran Muffins 
yields approx. 12 muffins
See notes after recipe.

-1.5 c. Wheat Bran
-1/2 c. Oat Bran
-1/4 c. Rolled Oats
-1/4 c. Spelt Flour
-2 T. A.P. Flour
-1.5 t. Baking Powder
-1 t. Baking Soda
-1/4 t. salt
-1/3 c. Stevia [or sweetener of your choice]
-cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg [i didn’t measure. heh…]
-vanilla extract [i was pretty liberal with it.]
-1 c. soy milk
-1/2 T. vinegar
-1/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
-1/3 c. maple syrup
-1/4 c. egg substitute
-1/2 – 3/4 c. grated carrots
-crystalized ginger, dates, raisins, additional oats [optional – for mix-ins or topping]
Notes on Ingredients:
1. Ratio of brans & oats not exact – I am fairly confident this is close to what I used, but may be a hair off. Additionally, you could use more wheat bran and less oat, and vice versa. The oat bran gives it a great texture, however.
2. WW Flour could likely be used in place of A.P, as well as the Spelt. I wanted to incorporate Spelt flour, and added in some A.P. just because I wasn’t sure if WW would encourage it to be too dense. Baby steps!
3. If you don’t have/dislike maple syrup, I am sure these would rock just as hard with molasses or honey – especially molasses. But, I’m from Vermont. You know how we do.
4. I used between 1/2 c. and 3/4 c. grated carrots…but I think next time I’ll up the ante and use a whole cup.
5. Next time, I think I’ll try to “soup them up” a bit more and play with the ratios of brans – taking some out and adding flax or wheat germ. I was hoping I could experiment with Chia seeds this weekend as well, but I have not received my delivery…
Lets start baking, shall we?
1. Preheat oven to 375*. In a liquid measuring cup, add vinegar to milk. Let sit 5 minutes while measuring and combining wheat bran, oat bran, and oats.
2. Add milk & vinegar mixture to bran and oat mixture. Let sit while mixing together applesauce, stevia, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Pour this mixture into bran & milk mixture.
3. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in seperate bowl. Then add this and grated carrots to the master bowl.
4. Mix just until moistened. Do not overmix! You can also add in raisins or dates at this point.
5. Think to self “well dang, at least this smells delicious…will it taste this delicious?”
Spoon into greased [okay, sprayed] tins of choice.
I happen to have the cutest little mini loaf pan…I made 8 mini-loafs (which probably equate to a very large muffin?) and had batter remaining for 2 average-sized muffins.
5. Pray to the baking gods that you crafted something successful.
Bake for about 20m. It is very easy to underbake these, so be careful and cut one in half before taking them out. I find that the with the oat bran, it actually get s a really nice “crust” when done for a couple minutes longer than completely necessary, anyways!
6. Remove and Cool!
(…but, you should probably enjoy one while they’re warm! or, maybe more than one…)
So, yeah. Really happy  with how these came out! Give them a shot!


Filed under bran, bread, carrot, foodblog, health food, healthy living, muffins, recipe