Tag 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?

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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

The Baking Blog

You guys must wonder if all I do is bake and eat sweets these days! Yesterday, I mentioned baking as being my boredome-buster for being snowed in. I guess that’s not so surprising considering…well, I bake when I’m not bored, too. In fact, at this very moment, all I can think of is what I want to bake. And so, I’m sitting on my hands (or, typing this blog post if you want to be literal) because we have plenty of food in this house, and I know I have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to bake. Four days in a row without baking won’t be happening, so I figure I might as well give myself until Thursday to eat through Super-Charge Me cookies, cookie dough balls and muffins.

Had I mentioned how, after baking so much for friends and co-workers, all I wanted was some Super-Charge Me cookies? The craving was pretty intense, and I figured I had to make some for Santa on Christmas Eve so that he could be charged for his long night delivering joy and presents.

While nosing through my cupboard to see what I had in terms of dried fruit, I was reminded of an old obsession I had; dried apricots. I used to have dried apricots on a daily basis -how did I forget all about them?! They wound up being paired with roasted almonds in some good old-fashioned Super-Charge Me cookies. Hit the spot.

Is there something you used to have all the time, only to completely forget about it all of a sudden?

And yesterday, I made muffins. Mini muffins. When Ipopped these littlebabies out of the tin, I couldn’t stop ooh-ing and awww-ing, even shoving them in my mom’s face proclaiming “loooook at these little babies they’re so adorable!

I am officially wierd. You knew this.

My mother gave me Vive le Vegan! for Christmas, and naturally – I had to test it out. I was thinking muffins, and settled on the Orange-Poppyseed Muffins, but then when I was flipping through the desserts section, I saw coconut-lime cookies.

…Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Do you see where I’m going with this?

It had to be done, folks. I mean – who doesn’t cook with coconut and limes while there’s a blizzard outside? I realized afterwards how backwards I am. Here, in the middle of a blizzard, I am cooking coconut-lime poppyseed muffins while I should be standing over a pot of bubbling chili.

Ohhh, my life.

Before we get started, a few notes, mainly because I have this sudden obsession with bulleted lists lately:

  • They aren’t very pretty because I never bother smoothing out my muffin tops. Note to self: smooth out your muffin tops! We’ll just call them rustic.
  • If you bake these in mini-mini muffin tins you’ll probably die at the cuteness.

Coconut-Lime-Poppyseed Muffins

  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. ground oats
  • 1 T.  poppyseeds
  • 1 T. (generous) sugar
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut
  • zest from one lime
  • 1/8 t. sea salt
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. coconut flour (or another 1/4 c. white whole wheat)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1 t. chia seed
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T. almond milk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract (I bet coconut extract would be good, though)
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, flaxseed and chia seeds.
  3. In a large bowl,combine the ground oats, poppyseeds, sugar, coconut, lime zest, salt, nutmeg, flours, baking powder and baking soda. Tip: sift in the coconut flour and baking powder and soda.
  4. To the lime juice and flax mixture, add your remaining wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in the coconut oil. Combine everything and stir until well combined. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  5. Spoon the batter into sprayed/nonstick muffin tins until 3/4s of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes (longer or shorter is depndent on the size of your muffins. My baby ones were pretty crispy on the outside after 17 or so, while the large ones I left in for twenty.)
  6. Now, pop those little babies in your mouth like they’re popcorn, while watching the violent snowstorm from inside your safe and humble abode.

Oh, and for what it’s worth – sitting on my hands to prevent myself from baking totally didn’t work. I started writing this post shortly after lunch to keep myself entertained. It’s not 3:35 and I had to do something. It’s still frigid outside, I did all of my cleaning yesterday, and I don’t feel like going out again, either. I’m still chilled from being at the barn all morning.

So, naturally, I convinced my mom she wanted a dessert. She didn’t really, but I needed an excuse, you know. I convinced her she wanted date squares. And when I mentioned it, she realized she wouldn’t mind some date squares after all.

Touch-dowwwwwnnnnn, Jessica!

She’s used to this game I play by now – me suggesting she wants a dessert or a snack or something. And then I play a guessing game, until I say something that she actually says “oh, yeah, okay!” to. Her mom used to make date squares, I guess – so I hope these are just as good!

I followed the recipe in Vive le Vegan, however I used orange zest instead of lemon, coconut oil instead of canola, and date syrup instead of molasses. I quite like them, myself – they are not too sweet, and have the subtle tones of orange in the creamy date layer. The oats in the subtly sweet crust are a nice touch, too.

My thoughts on the cookbook? Another great one to add to my collection! None of the recipes are so complex that they are off-putting, nor are any so simple that I sort of laugh and say “well gee, maybe I should write a cookbook.” They are all health-conscious but not in a restrictive way, and there is a good, diverse selection, too. Lastly, the ingredients are all pretty easy to find, save for tamari and barley flour – though I think I could find both of those things if I knew to look for it at the co-op. The author does give subs for the barley flour, luckily – but it does make me want to try baking with it!

Have you “read” any new cookbooks? What’s your favorite one, or a favorite “kind”? I enjoy reading my cookbooks from cover to cover, not just skimming recipes. I find it really gets my creative juices flowing, and helps to teach me what works with what, too.

I’ve also found that I enjoy all types – not necessarily just vegan cookbooks or just “healthy”cookbooks. In fact, I love flipping through magazines with recipes for meat or things that aren’t trying to be healthy, too – because it’s another take on marinades and dishes!

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Filed under cooking, foodblog, healthy living, recipe, Uncategorized

Same-Old Same-Old

This weekend went by too fast.

I want it back.

I want weekends like this all. winter. long.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen and I doubt we’ll have weather this beautiful again for many more moons. It’s already back to rain starting tomorrow.

That said – I spent nearly every daylight minute outdoors this weekend. I found a little bit of “kitchen time” at lunchtime today to play – but other than that, I’m still in my low and slow sweet potato rut.

You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

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And I’m still swearing by these cornmeal pancakes. I keep forgetting to try it as a waffle – remind me to do that on Tuesday!

I know I’ve said I’m going to start eating more environmentally friendly  – but I couldn’t pass up these strawberries at Hannaford’s! And I mean…I’d get a little bored eating apples all winter. This is Vermont, you know. I am nothing without bananas.

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And yes – I’ve still been loving buffalo tempeh! Is it weird that I equate hot, spicy food with bad for you, though? And pickles. Pickles make this sandwich, though. And hummus. In light of Vegan MoFo, of course – it was my ranch dressing Winking smile

Speaking of which – why do these pickles need to be called hamburger pickles? Honestly. It’s not like they’re made of hamburgers.

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I really needed to make another loaf of bread, and while you might think “how do you find time for bread making when you’re outside all day?” it’s the easiest thing to fit in, really!

with a minor backfire.

First, let me say that the hardest part of baking bread has come to be actually picking out the recipe. I spent all night last night deciding on a recipe! In my exploration, though, I read Matt’s explanation of a bit of the science behind dough and whole wheat, which was helpful I my baking expeditions.  So then I really wanted to make this bread, but only have active dry yeast. Could I sub that for instant yeast, anyone know?!

Anyways – I ended up baking this, but veganizing it with molasses, earth balance and almond milk. It was super easy to get the dough ready this morning and let it rise while I was at the barn. I asked my mom to punch it down and put it in a loaf pan in an hour or two…and therein lied the problem.

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I’m not complaining, because it was sweet of her….but she also decided to bake it. She didn’t know what to bake it at or for how long…but she did. I still haven’t asked because I don’t want to know, but I think it was definitely underbaked. The top was still really soft, much like a sandwich bread you buy in a bag from the bread aisle. It’s really hard to cut because of this, but still tastes really good. I was afraid the molasses would have too bold a flavor, but it’s surprisingly not. I did cut back on that a bit, though.

I’m not complaining because I had the best ride on Teddie. Both yesterday and today he was amazing, though….our best rides yet! He was cantering like an old pro!! Transitioned right when I’d ask with no little hop/buck like he does in the indoor, and actually maintained it for full 20m circles – something he can’t do in the indoor yet. And correct leads [nearly] every time! I’m seriously … well, walking on sunshine right now. I’m so proud of my little boy!

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I also quickly made some muffins – a hybrid variation of my gingerbread muffins mixed with my carrot-spice graham muffins.

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And blackened tofu – from ED&BV. I’m still limiting my non-fermented soy intake, but it was $1.99 at Hannaford and after disliking/avoiding tofu for so long, really just wanted to give it a try.

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I think the real reason I’ve got a bone to pick with tofu is because everytime someone asks me what I’m eating (well, okay, not so much anymore), it’s along the lines of”what’s that, tofu?” or if I talk about what I’m making, it’s obviously tofu something. It makes me just want to scream “I don’t even eat tofu!” Which, I don’t. Today reminded me of that. I just don’t care for it. I’d rather have tempeh or seitan, especially because those are either a fermented soy product or soy-free.

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It wasn’t terrible – but nothing to write home about. If I’d have done the same thing with tempeh, I bet I’d have loved it, though.

Hopefully it’ll be good in sandwiches.

Either way – the kale ad s.p. so picked up for the lacking tofu. I feel like all I’ve done lately is eat kale and sweet potatoes. And I’ve hardly eve made a dent in my kale supply. You’ll be seeing it very often, I think.

Tofu – yay or nay?

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Filed under breakast, dinner, lunch, pancakes, sweet potato, vegan

Gingerbread Muffins

I’m really glad everyone enjoyed yesterday’s post!! I enjoyed writing it, too – I was actually a little surprised that I had to reel myself in a few times. Before moving onto a normal post, one thing Daniel pointed out that I should mention is that ketones actually occur when carbohydrate intake is less than 50-100g/day, not when protein intake is too high, which is what I had said. Another thing I forgot to point out is that yes – ketones are in our body naturally. The only difference is that if we’re eating a diet that is well balanced, everything in our body should be relatively well-balanced, too. So when there are carbohydrates consumed only in minor amounts, less fatty acids are being broken down and excess ketones build.

I was sure I was missing something 😉

But anyways. This weekend has been busy! Good busy, but still busy. Yesterday morning I had  a senior portrait to shoot bright and early…well, it was supposed to be bright and early. I ended up having to wait for the girl an extra half hour which was sort of frustrating, but I dealt.

I was probably so understanding because my breakfast was simply outstanding. It must have put me in a good mood 😉 Well that and I’m pretty easy-going, anyways 😛 I ended up taking so many pictures on this shoot – I am still going through them. I don’t do much usually, but she specified she wanted a “scene-vintage” type senior picture, so I’m doing some funky editing with color and such on some of them.

Since I was parked within walking distance of the co-op, there was no way I could just not go. I mean, hello! I was so stoked to see they had this coconut milk kefir! Ironically – I usually hate strawberry flavored stuff.

I was debating as to whether I wanted to try it for a good five minutes, literally standing there with a bottle of kefir in one hand, and this in the other.

I’d put one back, then change my mind.

I think the people there thought I was crazy.

Obviously, you see which I chose 😉 I think I just have a bad mental image of strawberry flavored things since I’d remember strawberry flavored ice cream, yogurt, etc. taste so artificial-like. I tend to forget that stuff like this doesn’t taste artificial because it uses real fruit!

So I was quite pleased with the taste. I had it over some of the best waffles I’ve ever made…mashed banana oat bran. It’s really good on its own, too.

That said, I really hope the co-op gets the plain or at least vanilla in stock…strawberry is good, but I doubt I’ll always want strawberry.

Especially with my ginger-kick! Speaking of which…

I ran completely out of ginger, but guilt-tripped my mom into getting me some while we were at the store 😛 She made me return a bunch of nasty cans and bottles for her.

As in, that she finds. It doesn’t sound too gross…but they’re not all rinsed out, the bag smells, and the beer slime gets all over your hands.

Though it is sort of comical as little old ladies watch as you feed the machine with gigantic empty 40s.

Anyways. Ginger kick. With my new ginger, I could now attempt gingerbread muffins. I guess attempt is an unfair adjective, though – I succeeded, after all!

Seeing as how it was basically impossible to find a recipe that did not require at least a cup of sugar, I decided to just wing it based on a banana bread recipe, because I also had some ripe bananas to use up.

Gingerbread Muffins

yields 6 muffins

  • 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. oat bran
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground clove
  • 1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
  • 1/3 c. + 1 T. almond milk
  • 1 medium-large ripe banana
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. walnuts

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine the flour, oat bran, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and clove in a large bowl. Set aside, and in a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Stir in the molasses and almond milk.

Add the wet to the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.

Spoon into sprayed muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

And if you want to play a trick on someone, tell them it’s chocolate!

Okay, that’s just a little bit mean.

Next time, though, I’d love to add fresh cranberries rather than dried raisins. ooooh! ahhhhh!

I also tried my first carnival squash this weekend! I was expecting it to taste a lot like an acorn squash, but it’s actually so much better. A lot sweeter than I was expecting (because, as I said, I was expecting acorny!) but purely delicious, especially with cheater baked beans.

I tried a different baking method, too – rather than baking face-down in a pie plate with water for an hour, I just put it on a cookie sheet and baked it face-up at 450* for…I don’t know how long.

I will definitely buy this guy again! It made for a great easy dinner last night, and easy lunch today – which is saying something, because you know I love me a good sandwich for lunch!

like this. My mom broke out the “let it snow” placemats already. Uhhh, let’s not.

Anyways. This was a “grilled cheese,” the cheese being humnut cheese! It was just what I was craving.

It was, however, the last of my bread. I really enjoyed that loaf of honey whole wheat, but I wanted to try something new this time.

My initial plan was to make a bread that required I be of legal drinking age for the key ingredient, but we didn’t have any in the house, so I settled on spelt bread. I really love spelt – but you might not know that because I can’t remember the last time I bought a loaf/made a loaf.

Spelt is similar to wheat in appearance. However, spelt has a tougher husk than wheat, which may help protect the nutrients in spelt. Spelt flour has a somewhat nuttier and slightly sweeter flavor than whole wheat flour. Spelt contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.
It is that nuttier flavor that makes me really love it, I think!
Except…every time I’ve made spelt flour, I get a flat-top! I followed this recipe with some tweaks.
Next time, I’d just bake it for 35 minutes or so at 400* rather than 15 minutes at 480* first, and then 45 minutes at 380*. I think the high temperature first gave it a really crunchy crust. While the inside is still moist and flavorful, it’s really hard to cut through!

And hey..might as well wrap this up with a quasi-fail, right?!

I wanted to try making my own “KIND” bars – but my binding method needs tweaking 😛 The flavor is delicious – it’s a mix of cashews, dates, puffed millet, date molasses, flax and sunflower butter (well, primarily) – but I couldn’t get them out of the pan in one piece. I formed some of the “scraps” into balls!

This blurb is horsey, read or picture-read, just giving you a warning!

And I know, I know – it’s been ages since you’ve seen Teddie photos! My mom hasn’t come out with me recently, but she wanted to come see him this morning. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go (since I haven’t been on Sundays) but then I realized I got all of my homework done yesterday and there was no way I was going to just sit and edit photos all day.

I’m so glad we went, though – it was a nice enough (by that I mean it’s getting too cold already!!) morning and since we got dumped with a tooon of rain the past two days, I knew we’d have to work in the indoor. I wasn’t sure how he’d be, so I was more willing to go knowing I’d have help available on the ground if necessary.

See, I took a lesson with A last week and we worked on going forward – meaning, hello, Teddie, yes leg means go! I’m fairly certain he knows this, just likes to try and get away with not doing it – namely, in the indoor. So the second he’d pull his “I’m going to stop” move, she’d be right there and quick little pop him in the butt with a lunge whip.

Before you go calling PETA, we weren’t beating him into submission, merely politely reinforcing the rules.

And he’s actually been really good since then! He’ll still randomly try it one or two times – usually if we’re crossing through the middle of the ring – but it’s not a huge issue. Knock on wood. We now have a nice, forward marching walk and trot. I was surprised at how much he’s stepping up in some of these pictures, actually!

I’m seeing our mini-dressage pony potential coming through again, which makes me happy 🙂 He’s such a stinker…love him!

And on a completely unrelated note…

I also loved tonight’s dinner.

But, since I’m one for cliffhangers lately, you’ll just have to wait and see what it is. I promise it’s pretty ridiculously yummy, though!

What was your highlight of the weekend?

Does anyone know of a good “nutrition tracker” or recipe-calculator website? I have to track three days of eating to analyze for nutrition for class…and while I’m really excited for the project, it’s also going to be a bit of work considering how much I make from scratch. I’m trying “SparkPeople” at the moment, but I’m not sure I trust all of the calculations since some of the foods are entered by users.

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Sweet Potato Muffins

Rain, Rain, go away…

…come again some other day…

or never. That works too.

Just before you go calling PETA on me, I don’t kick my cats out without flippers and floaties when it’s raining buckets. I tried coaxing her inside, but she just wanted to snooze on her chair listening to the rain, I guess!

Needless to say, yet again Teddie was a no-go. He doesn’t like wearing flippers, and we all know I melt when I get rained on. …or not.

So, Kaia was stuck with me in her house all. day. long.

Poor thing. Yes, that is her chair. Looks cozy, non? I wish “mine” was that cozy. My butt hurts as we speak and I’ve only been sitting in it five minutes. That chair, however, is like melting into a cloud. A soft, pillowy, non-rainy cloud.

After some lemon poppyseed waffles (shoutout to Daniel) I devoted my morning to you all.

que?! Si! I made my sweet potato cookies again, but made them into muffins. That may come as a disappointment to some, but if you want a cookie, just plop them on a cookie sheet, but don’t say I didn’t warn you that they’re not cookie-like in texture!

The main reason it took me a while to post this was because a. I wanted to make them once more but as muffins, and b. I wasn’t 100% sure of the changes I’d made to the recipe I was adapting from by the time I let a week pass! Only 99% 😉

Strangely, I can’t remember important days or what to get while I’m out to save my soul, but I can remember an ingredients list and their measurements for quite a while.

I’ve had a request for making my recipes printable, but honestly – I am clueless. If anybody knows how I can do that, please give me a heads-up! I know I probably make it a pain with all of the pictures I insert, so for now I’ll just try to make it a point to not put a picture after each instruction because you guys probably know how to stir 😉

Sweet Potato Muffins

Adapted from Moosewood’s “Butternut Cookies”

for 7 medium muffins

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, yields about 1 c. mashed
  • 1 1/2 T. maple syrup (*)
  • 3 T. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed + 3 T. almond milk
  • 2/3 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries (I used fruit juice sweetened cranberries)
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 1/8 c. wheat germ
  • 1/2 T. date sugar (or brown sugar or omit)
  • honey
  • almond milk
  1. Poke the sweet potato with a fork or knife, and microwave, about 6 minutes, until baked. While it is baking, work on other parts of le recipe.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients [second list] except for oats into a medium-sized bowl, and then add in the quick oats.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milled flaxseed with the 3 T. almond milk. Allow it to sit a few minutes before whisking in the maple syrup and 1/2 c. almond milk.
  4. In a small bowl or dish, combine the last list – quick oats and wheat germ. This is going to be a streusel-esque topping. Use honey to taste (I didn’t want an awful lot) and if it’s still not crumbly enough, add in a splash of almond milk until it is.
  5. Remove the potato from the microwave and once it’s slightly cooled, peel and mash in a bowl until smooth. Add to the flaxseed, maple syrup, and almond milk mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Heat your coconut oil for about 30 seconds or until slightly softened, so that you can measure it. Add it to the liquid ingredients. Note that the potato will still need to be pretty warm so that the coconut oil does not clump. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Add the liquid to the dry, and fold until combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
  8. Oil or spray a muffin tin, and spoon batter into cups until 3/4s full. Smooth tops and crumble on the streusel topping.
  9. Bake in a preheated 375* oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Let cool ~1 minute in tins before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

* these are not sweet muffins, as you can imagine given that they only use 1 1/2 T. maple syrup. Feel free to add more, but personally I like the subdued sweetness – it makes the coconut oil and sweet potato really shine!

As far as add-ins go, last time – when I made the cookies – I added in sweetened shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips, too. They were really good that way, and you could easily add them, too. Dates would also be nice if you don’t have cranberries, I imagine.

This was the struesel topping. If you can call it that?

These are surprisingly light in texture, given that they’re potato-based. I love the bites with cranberries! I love cranberries…I cannot wait until cranberries are available in the grocery store. If you ask me, they should not be a seasonal fruit.

I also made some birdseed bars while the muffins were baking. I think my mom’s been enjoying the ginger ones (even though I burnt them!) because there’s only one left! These were cashew-butter based (YUM!) with dried mango!! It was almost dried pineapple – but there was more mango in the bag 😉

Aaaaand what else….

Oh, yes, made some chili. I just followed a recipe in Moosewood’s Cooking for Health. It’s nothing to write home about, but a good basic chili. I didn’t want to spend hours searching for one (there are lots, so it would be easy to do!) so went for the first I saw 😉

I was able to get a lot of homework done while it was simmering away on the stove, too. Joyous.

And, even was able to do horse chores while there was a break in the storm! Which is surprising, because often times it would be Murphy’s Law that it would start torrentially downpouring when I need to go outside 😉

Unfortunately, wet horse poo weighs more than dry in case you were wondering, and really heavy wheel barrels are, not surprisingly, harder to push through mud than lighter ones.

Oh, and I had peanut banana soft serve. I blended a frozen banana with almond milk and peanut flour. Uh, yuhmmmm, I loved it.

But, all that said, I think the real star of the day was dinner.

Or, maybe I should say the star was Angela?!

When I saw Gabriela make her Basil Scalloped Tomatoes and Croutons dish, I had to scope it out, and had to have it for dinner tonight! This dish was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen’s version, who in turn adapted it from Ina Garten.

I made a few changes, too.

  • I used fresh oregano in place of the fresh basil (don’t worry, I didn’t use half a cup, though!)
  • I added in white kidney beans or cannelini beans, or…whatever they are. I like my meals to have some protein, na’mean?! I couldn’t think of a protein to put on the side and it definitely seemed like a dish that would welcome chick peas or, what I happened to have open, white beans.
  • I added in about 1/4 of a red onion, which I coarsely chopped.
  • I halved the sugar, and next time would probably just see what it’s like completely omitted. I’m fairly sure it’d still be good – I mean, it’s tomatoes and yummy bread and fresh herbs!! – but I am really interested to see what kind of flavor dynamic the sugar really adds to the tomatoes.
  • I used basil oil to brown the bread cubes!

and I think that’s it.

Loffly. Loff her 3-minute vegan parmesan, too! It’s better than parm, if you ask me!

I had this amount x2 + 1/2. I just couldn’t help myself – it is so good!! And my mom is no longer threatening me to use the mass amounts of garden tomatoes we have that are taking over the kitchen and dining area. That first picture you saw? Yeah, that’s hardly even a fraction of them! I think I’ll make this again this weekend to use up the last of them 😛

I felt like such a little Suzie Home-Maker making this…I used my homemade bread, homegrown tomatoes, and homegrown oregano. Does it get any better?!

Why yes, yes it does…because I still have some for lunch tomorrow 😉

…and because this is my homework 😉 ‘Night!

Design my next birdseed bar flavor! What should I make next?!

Do you like chili? If so, what’s your go-to recipe?

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Scattered

Lets have a scattered post day, shall we?

Kitchen Experiements

I am all out of muffins, and have been for a couple of days now. This is sad to me. I love having one of my muffins for dessert. And I especially loved the PB Branana Muffins I made recently. It’s also been way too hot to turn on the oven.

I was going to make them again, but then remembered the BSI this week is applesauce. And so I changed my plans a little. Yet still failed to come up with something suitable to enter.

Why?

Well, these muffins taste good. But, there were some glitches in the experimenting. Take, for instance, trying to bake a big loaf (instead of the intentional muffin) in a small toaster oven.

Yes. I went there. But!! I’m still going to post the recipe because I am 99% sure if you are just able to bake them as muffins you would have a much greater success rate.

Quinoa Carrot Muffins

  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 3/4 c. applesauce (unsweetened, all-natural)
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1/3 c. Xagave
  • 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ginger
  • 1 1/4 c. cooked quinoa
  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 2 chopped Turkish figs
  • crystallized ginger (optional, for the top)

Whisk together the milk, applesauce, and flax. Allow to sit one minute, and then whisk in agave.


In separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
Add wet to dry, and combine. Do not overmix.
Fold in quinoa, carrots, figs and pecans.


Pour into muffin tins and bake at (I’m guessing here) 350* for 20 minutes. Don’t take my word for it, though. I sprinkled chopped crystallized ginger on top, too.

They are moist and delicious, but my batch is ugly. I figured that would happen. I baked it for about half an hour…took it out…flipped it over in the pan…baked about 20 more minutes…thought it was done…cut into it…was sorta gooey. Cut it into chunks about the size of a muffin, put on the baking sheet that came with the oven, and baked longer. Then they were done 🙂  So, they will certainly be making an appearance again. Except in real muffin form.

The Morning

Everyone was sleeping still when I woke up! And I even slept until 7. Looks like these guys were out late partying.

Maya and ???

Apologies for the poor photography. I didn’t feel like putting shoes on, so shot from the deck 😛

Jiggy. He's alive, I promise.

Kaia was up, though I don’t know how she felt about it:

Really, mom?

And SaBaay always wants to say hello, too:

She looks so mean. She's not.

For a cat, she's doing a pretty good "cow."

I had to take advantage of the pretty fog we had this morning – sorry! Moving on. I was obviously too lazy to change my lens. Work with me here.

The Eats:

Really good waffles. I'd missed them.

Peaches were on sale for $0.68/lb yesterday. Score. Obviously, they will be much loved this week.

Waffles! Except, I’ve been buying the honey flavored Kashi puffed cereal. Very good, as well. For some reason, these waffles were better than usual, maybe for that reason. Or maybe because it’s been a couple of days and I missed them more than I’d realized.

The Toppings:

And yes, I do still let my waffles get soggy before eating them. The juices from the fruit combined with the agave melting into the waffle is just too perfect for words.

Lunch was amaaaaze today.

A tomato sandwich, but not being a mayo person, I made it with a ranch dressing – greek yogurt, garlic salt, pepper, dill, and chives – and pepper goat cheese.

Why yes, yes that is a boatload of smoked sea salt that my snap peas are swimming in. And yes, yes that is fresh lettuce from our garden. Minor gloat.

Fun Fact: I’ve probabbly eaten my body weight x ten in sweet cherries today. I feel like a farmer spitting out chew when I spit the seeds out, because I’m not classy enough to cut them or de-pit them first.

Best snack ever. If I'm home, anyway.

Kashi, oats, trail power, honey roasted peanuts, sunflower seed butter, cherries, almond milk.

I found a kidney bean in my chickpeas when I was making dinner. Random.

I had leftover quinoa, so naturally that had to star in dinner. I made a quick cold quinoa salad with:

  • quinoa
  • chickpeas
  • sliced cherries
  • fresh basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

And let it chill for a while in the fridge. When it was time for dinner, I served it over a bed of lettuce from the garden, snap peas, and red pepper and made a quicky yogurt-dressing by mixing greek yogurt, cranberry-orange jam, dijon mustard, and fresh basil. I thinned it with a splash of almond milk. This was a great combo of flavors, if I may say so myself 😉

The Ponies

My mom tried her hand at momography while I rode Teddie this morning. Teddie was a superstar once again. Mom was a superstar at momography. Which, as you may know, means a work in progress at photography. I’m just grateful to have someone with me though, so I won’t complain! It’s actually difficult to find someone to take good riding pictures because there’s a certain point in the stride that you need to press that button. Otherwise, it’s just not a pretty picture.

And that’s the “pretty point” in the trot. Although I’m mildly embarrassed at how popped my collar is. He’s stepping up nicely, though. And honestly, I’m just glad he’s quieter with the bit at the trot, so I’m still not asking for much.

Showing off for my mom. He’s a ham.

This isn’t flattering for either party involved, but he has the cutest face, doe she not? Proud mom here, bear with me.

Practicing our centerline!

As for Maya and yet-to-be-named, they are the sweetest things ever. Especially Maya! Yet-to-be-named is sweet, but sometimes plays “hard to get,” in that she’ll walk away at first but after a minute or two of just letting her think it out she comes over and ends up loving the attention! We took them both out for a little walk down the road in-hand and they did very well, even when Mel and Jiggy charged the fence 😉 My mom took Maya and I yet-to-be-named. We have our favorites I think 😉 Yet-to-be-named reminds me of a female Teddie!

I’m off to find my cell phone, finish a massive load of laundry (when did I become so awful about putting off laundry?!) and if tonight is anything like last night, do a little bit of yoga, too 🙂

So, I’ve blabbed long enough – what was the highlight of your weekend?!

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