Category Archives: muffins

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:

om-nom-nom

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!

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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

Going Bananas over Cashew Butter

You may recall that I’m often saying I’m relatively laid back. Not much ruffles my feathers, if you will.

This morning, I realized something.

I realized that’s all lies.

Do you see what's missing? It starts with "b" and rhymes with "shmershmanas"

Because I get upset about bananas.

I was somewhere in the middle of demanding my sister tell me what happened to my bananas, prompting her to tell me if she’d eaten any, and rifling through her purse and lunch box before I stopped myself and had this sudden epiphany of “oh my heavens, what has become of me. I’m being selfish over bananas.”

Sure, you can have my kidney.

Hell, take my liver, too!

But heaven forbid you eat my bananas. Because then the pancake batter that I’ve so lovingly prepared to go along with those non-existant bananas will, in fact, hit the fan.

Muffins I made Tuesday. There were 9 large ones and a dozen mini ones. I've only eaten one. None of my food is safe around here these days.

I guess it’s a good thing, so I’ll just look at it that way. Even if last night I had three bananas left and this morning, 0. The other night, I still had a quarter of a loaf left of  an orangey-coconut barley flour loaf, and the next morning, none. So finally I made these muffins that were politely requested, using barely any sugar, and braced for the “these are terrible!” remarks, but apparently that wasn’t necessary.

I think we have secret leprechauns hiding in our cabinets that come out at night-time, because there’s only four of us. March is just around the corner, you know.

Luckily, being rendered banana-less doesn’t mean the world has stopped turning. I don’t think. I mean, I’ve still got three more days to go before I make it to the store because I’ve pledged no more groceries until Sunday, but I’m pretty confident that the apocalypse won’t come because of this occurrence.

Knock on wood.

Being all thrifty and wanting to save money lately, I decided to take it upon myself to make cashew butter.

Cashoo butter, if you will.

I guess I’m not really sure if that makes sense, since I don’t recall how much I spent on those cashews, but I’m sure the price would end up being pretty close.

At least I feel like I’m being more resourceful/economical/thrifty.

Do these pictures convey how runny it was?! Because it was. I was so giddy. It is so delicious. Cashew butter is easily my favorite nutbutter. So smooth and creamy all on its own. I refrained from adding anything to it, because I just love the plain cashew flavor it has on its own!

Well, I did add a bit of oil – but just because based on everything I read, it tends to be on the drier side, and the jar of it I had prior had oil in it, too. You could omit it, but I wanted it runny so I added it. It’s negligible, really, so you might as well just add it since it improves the consistency that much.

Cashew Butter

  • 1 1/2 c. salted cashews
  • 1-2 t. olive oil

In a food processor, blend cashews first, it took me about 5 minutes. When butter-like in consistency but a bit dry, add in the oil. Blend about 4-5 more minutes, until silllllky smooooth!

Such a shame all that gets wasted, too difficult to scoop out and into the jar…

Hah, syyyyke. You wouldn’t think I’d let all that creamy, cashewy goodness go to waste, did you?! You’d be silly.

I’m not sure, though. Between my pancake breakfast for lunch on Tuesday, and my clean-out-the-cashew-butter with bread lunch today, I’m probably being shunned by other health bloggers blog-wide. Please don’t hate. (appreciate?)

If it makes me look any better, at least the cleaning up was mainly done with homemade pumpernickel…which I realize is actually terribly unappealing, but there will be a post dedicated to this baby soon.

Although, speaking of babies – maybe I ought to mention how much of a rockstar Teddie was today after his little vacation. Oh, yes – it was 20* when I woke up this morning and was about ready to go running around outside in shorts and a t-shirt it felt so warm. Which meant Teddie’s sweet vacation must come to an end.

I thought his little eyeballs were going to pop out of his head when he saw a new scary monster in a new corner (now there’s scary things in all but one corner – eyeroll) but he was surprisingly gentlemanly about it. Truth be told, it scares me, too – it’s a cart (to be pulled behind a horse) that is quite large and propped against the wall.

He probably knows exactly what it is and is afraid I’m going to hook it up behind him. Maybe that’s why he was so good undersaddle…hmmmmmmm…

Now. Go protect your bananas. And make some cashew butter while you’re at it.

Are you “possessive” over anything? I should clarify that I wasn’t legitimately upset about the banana issue, but I was a little baffled and a little disgruntled I couldn’t have my grilled banana this morning. Eh well, it’s good for me to start having to think outside of the banana.

In terms of the baked stuff, I enjoy sharing because I know what the alternative is and I’d rather the fam eat homemade stuff than pure sugar from a box or bag :/

Have you ever made your own nutbutter? What was your favorite combo?

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Filed under baking, banana, breakfast, food, food blog, health, healthy living, horseback riding, lunch, muffins, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, teddie, vegan, vegetarian

Carrot-Spice Graham Muffins

*ahem*

Sorry for my “spaz-moment” last night.

But when I opened up that e-mail, I literally couldn’t stop thinking/saying “oh my God” over and over and over. Needless to say, I attempted getting my thoughts together to form a relatively comprehensive post, but it just wasn’t happening. And instead, I probably confused a good number of you all, too!

My mom probably thought I was reading a letter from the dead, as I slammed my bowl of chili to the coffee table and stared at my computer screen bug-eyed and open-mouthed.

I apoloize if youre not the correct person but if you are, you posed on the fuglyblog about a haffie that you wanted past history on.  I owned him as a yearling (the face markings are unmistakable)…

And believe it or not, my little punk is even registered. Not something that matters terribly to me – but pretty interesting.

Anyways. I promised muffins, so I’m here with those graham-carrot muffins I blogged about the other day.

DSC_3526

From Nicole:

Is graham flour anything like graham crackers? Is that a dumb question??

Well, it’s not a dumb question if it’s me you’re asking. I mean…when I saw a bag that said “graham flour,” my immediate thought was “I love graham crackers!!”

Which made me realize that it’s been far too long since I’ve had graham crackers.

That’s a subject for another day.

DSC_3528

ANYWAYS. Back to the matter at hand: graham flour. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed when I investigated my new purchase further, just to discover it was stone-ground wheat berries. Apparently I was expecting stone-ground graham crackers or something.

DSC_3519

Graham flour is actually named after a person – Sylvester Graham – who was really the backbone of the health food movement way back when it was first starting. “Graham flour is a form of whole wheat flour made by grinding the endosperm of winter wheat into a fine powder. Both the bran and the germ is mixed back in so the final mixture is, sweet, nutty flavored coarse flour. Depending on the manufacture sometimes the amount of wheat germ is reduced because of the high oil content which makes the flour go rancid faster.” [source] Graham crackers were actually made from graham flour – although nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find graham crackers that still use this flour. Since it is so whole with the bran, germ and endosperm – it goes rancid quickly, and if you’ve ever read In Defense of Food, you know that refined flour is used most often because it has no nutrients and as such, is far more shelf stable.

DSC_3520

DSC_3521DSC_3522

There was one source where Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and Graham Flour is used interchangeably – but every other source treats them as if Graham flour is its own thing. Who knows. Do you know?

In my terms – graham flour has sort of a consistency of cornmeal, yet with a flavor just as described…slightly sweet, “graham”-y and nutty. Delicious! I’m an addict.

DSC_3523

So. History lesson over. Now it’s time for the baking lesson. Just don’t look at me to teach.

This recipe is a take on Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Zucchini Spelt Muffins. The changes are not huge, but I have a feeling the taste is definitely a huge difference!

It can easily be veganized with replacing the honey for maple syrup or agave. I’m just tired of having a honey bear sitting in my cabinet.

DSC_3540

Carrot-Spice Graham Muffins

yields 6-7 muffins

  • 1 T. flax meal
  • 1/4 c + 1 T. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. grated carrot
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. oil (coconut, olive or canola)
  • 1 c. graham flour
  • 1 T. cane sugar
  • 1/8 t. sea salt
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • generous pinch ground nutmeg
  • generous pinch ground clove
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecan
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375*. In a small bowl, combine flax meal and milk. Mash banana and add it to the bowl along with the grated carrot. Combine well. Add in honey, vanilla and oil. Stir to combine.

In a separate larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for pecans, sifting in the baking powder and soda. Stir until combined.

Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just combined. Fold in pecans.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, and fill muffin cups to 3/4s full. Smooth tops (better than I did, at least) and bake for ~22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Filed under carrots, muffins, recipe

Recipe: Tropical Cupcake Parfaits

(aka…my birthday cake dessert of choice!)

So I’m finally getting around to posting this now. Hey, it’s only a week late – better late than never, right?

As I mentioned, I completely intended to follow Stella’s (The Witchy Kitchen’s) recipe for Mango & Coconut Cake. Not only did it sound and look delicious (as you may very well know – I’m a sucker for anything coconut, and I had recently discovered the deliciousness that is mango.) but it was already quite healthy! Considering it was my birthday I wasn’t so concerned about having a healthy cake, but I wouldn’t have complained.

As I continued looking the recipe over, I decided a banana would be good to add too – give it even more of a tropical twist! And then I realized, that often times – fruit purees can be used as a sub for oil. So I figured, hey, why not just omit the oil and sub the banana, anyways? And that’s what I did. And then, of course, I wanted to play even more and just turn them into fun cupcake-and-yogurt parfaits. Maybe not your traditional birthday dessert, but everyone loved them. And I got them to eat chia seeds.

For the Cupcakes:

original recipe here

Ingredients:

-1 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour

-3 T. stevia

-2 T. honey

-1 1/2 t. baking soda

-1/4 t. salt

-1/2 t. ginger

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1/2 mango, diced

-scant 3/4 c. almondmilk

-1 medium banana, mashed (should yield approx. 1/3 cup)

-1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

-coconut (to sprinkle on top)

Destructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, omitting the coconut. (note: you could add in coconut, as well – if my sister wasn’t “on the fence” about coconut, I would have.)

2. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients, omitting your diced mango.

3. Combine your wet and dry, and then fold in your diced mango.

4. Spray with non-stick spray 12 medium muffin cups and divide the batter evenly amongst them.

Sprinkle coconut on top (optional) and bake for approx 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from tins, and allow to cool on a cooling rack! And obviously, as always – taste-test one or two to make sure they’re…you know…cooked all the way. Right? Right.

Omitting the oil worked out fine – they were still perfectly moist and – well – dreamy! If I were to make these again today, I think I’d even add in some dried papaya that I’ve got hangin’ out in my cupboard, as well as some crystallized ginger. Because I’m that kinda gal.

You could, of course, stop there and just devour these as-is. In fact, that’s how most of them were eaten – but for my birthday dessert, I took them one step further and made up a lime chia-yogurt pudding and layered it with some fresh fruit to make a deliciously refreshing parfait.

For the Parfait Yogurt:

Ingredients:

1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

-1/4 c. almondmilk

-2 t. chia seeds

-1/4 t. vanilla extract

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1 T. honey

-zest of 1 lime

(I also think I used the juice of half of it? But I didn’t write that down. Take that for what it’s worth, haha.)

Destructions:

Just combine everything! Adjust the sweetness to your taste. Also – this will not give you enough yogurt to make all 12 muffins into parfaits. I got five – and could have used a little more since it was so dang good!

To Construct the Parfait:

Additional Ingredients:

sliced straberries

-sliced kiwis

-poppyseeds

-lime zest

-shredded coconut

Layer to your hearts content! I topped with a sprinkle of lime zest and poppyseeds (hey – I think it was a mind trick – they thought the chia seeds were poppyseeds! Honestly, though – chia seeds have such a fun texture, and are an easy way to sneak in some extra nutrition for those people who think you’re a health nut who lives on rabbit food. If you have them, definitely use them! No one needs to know. But tell them after they rave, aight?)

Enjoy!

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Filed under almond milk, chia, chia seeds, coconut, cooking, food, food blog, foodblog, greek yogurt, health, health blog, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, muffins, pudding, recipe, whole grains

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.



Ingredients:
-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!

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