Muffins and cat selfies

Merry Christmas from the 1900s when no one thought anything was funny! We’re weird (and SO awesome). We know.

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Ugh. Total blogging fail. I’ve blogged… once?! the entire month of December and it’s now the 27th? Appalling.

But you know how the holidays go… it’s like eating, eating, eating, omg I never want to see food ever again, and then ten minutes later… wait, is that chocolate?! I know you… you do it too.

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So anyway, here we are in that odd stretch between Christmas and New Years when no one really knows what to do with themselves. Especially this year, where both holidays fall on a Thursday which makes the in-between week especially awkward. And we also find ourselves eating. Because that is apparently how you fill your time in that awkward week? Not to mention the previous week…. despite the lack of blogness that has been happening around here, there has been a proper amount of holiday food consumed. OMG. Food. Have I mentioned I love desserts? And waffles!

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Haha. One waffle kinda sorta stuck. Let’s call it waffle:deconstructed.

And in between the indulgent moments I try to be good. So then things like muffins happen (also things like this happen when I get irritated by the dead bananas that have taken up seemingly permanent residence in the back corner of the refrigerator and am determined to get them out by whatever means necessary but am, for the moment, semi-over banana bread… I know. I shocked even myself).

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Mystical muffins in the flowers. That photo was a lot harder than it looked. Apparently I can’t hold still long enough to get a non-blurry picture… Can’t sit still? Internal age? … Six.

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And also THIS SOUP. I made it and I want it again. Like, now.

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Because LENTILS! And BACON! No way, you say… SHE doesn’t eat bacon! But actually… I do. On occasion. When it fraternizes with lentils and cavorts around in a soup or around a date stuffed with a pecan. I like bacon in very specific applications. OR with brussel sprouts. Obvi. But okay. Moving on. You really should make this soup immediately.

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I did absolutely nothing to the recipe besides use green lentils and extra broth (and not wanting to go to the store for one thing meant I used a whole onion in place of the leek). The recipe is from The Wanderlust Kitchen, here! Also because it’s Bavarian, it made me want to get back into the eight years of German which have gone dormant in the recesses of my grey matter. Die Suppe. Mit Speck. It’s a start…

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But back to the muffins. I realized I hadn’t made muffins in ages, so these were a welcome change. Perfectly spicy and gingerbready, and not overwhelmingly banana-y. Lightly sweet and perfect with small hits of chocolate.

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Gingerbread Banana Muffins

The recipe is slightly adapted from the hilariously titled blog Connoisseurus Veg, here! Vegan, whole wheat, and refined sugar free. So delicious, especially with almond butter or salted butter (any kind of butter, really… as long as it has butter in the name you really can’t go wrong). Yield: 9 muffins in my ginormous muffin tins, probably 12 in normal sized, normal people tins.

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  • 2 super ripe, dead bananas (the nastier looking, the better)
  • 1/4 c blackstrap molasses*
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 1/3 c unrefined coconut oil, melted*
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

*Fun fact: molasses pours much more easily and less messily if you measure the coconut oil first, pour it out, then measure molasses in the same measuring cup. The oil residue in the cup helps that sticky business pour right out!

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your muffin tins of choice (ginormous or otherwise).

In a large bowl, mash the bananas (a fork is my preferred implement). Whisk in coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, vanilla, and almond milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together pastry flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, followed by the chocolate chippies, and stir until just incorporated. Avoid overmixing like the plague since it makes your muffins tough and no one wants that. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the tops spring back just slightly when poked (mine were perfect at just about 20). Remove tins, let cool for a few, then turn out the muffins and let them cool completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container for a few days.

Aaaannnd I take selfies with my cat. Apparently I’m now that person. Sorry I’m… NOT SORRY! Ha.

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Her face is like… “Really, giggling human?? Must we do this??”

Soup is just an excuse for bread, don’t try to deny it!

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Soooooop.

And bread.

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Because obviously you can’t have soup without some bready, carby side dish. We all know that soup is really an excuse for bread, let’s be real here.

But mmmmm, soup. I do love it (but I DO NOT love photographing it. Ugh). ESPECIALLY now that I have this fabby immersion blender!! Which means that I can dispense with all that silliness of attempting to blend soup in a food processor (no, I don’t own a normal blender), which is a dumb idea as a) soup is hot. Hot things expand and b) food processors aren’t watertight (rude). So instead of soup going slightly all over the counter, now I can just bust out the trusty immersion blender, stick it in the pot of soup buzz buzz buzz and low and behold!! Creamy soup, no mess required. Genius.

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Also. I bought a spiralizer. Possibly the BEST decision I have ever made. And also possibly the most fun kitchen utensil ever created.

See?

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Reeeeealllyyyy looooooong zucchini noodles! So much fun to play with. Obviously avoided if you do the smart thing and cut the zucchini in half first, but why spoil your fun? Incredibly long noodles are so much more entertaining. And delicious, especially when you top them with bison pasta sauce and other delicious things. Unfortunately, it was slightly too delicious and there went that before I managed to take a picture of anything besides the noodles. Whoops! Next time.

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Anyway. Let’s get seasonal! Hellooooo autumn, you’re my favorite. The day I made this, I ate three sources of beta carotene in one day. No eye problems for me!
This soup is very easy, comes together in a snap, and is (naturally) delicious. The muffins are awesome too, likewise easy and delicious. In fact, if you time it right, you can bake them while the squash is simmering, then blend your soup and have everything hot at the same time. Wheee!

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Ginger-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4, with leftovers. Recipe inspired by Whole Foods, here! Gluten free, can be vegan with veggie broth.

  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (yield: 4 c diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or diced
  • 3.5 c veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk (out of the can)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pepitas, for garnish!

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in onion, carrot, and cucumbers, and let cook until the onion is translucent (about 5ish minutes). Add ginger, let cook a few minutes more. Finally, add stock, squash, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the squash is fork-tender (about 30 minutes). Once squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. An upright blender is fine too, just make sure the soup is cool enough.
Garnish with pepitas just before serving!

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

My yield was 10, in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins. I never fill them all the way, but these muffins came out a totally normal size. High in vitamin A, low fat, refined sugar free, and whole grain! Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 1 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil).

Whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, almond milk, yogurt, melted butter and pumpkin puree. Combine wet into dry, mixing just to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 15 minutes (a tester should come out clean, and the tops should be slightly browned). Let cool for a few before turning out onto a cooling rack.
I’m sure these keep well, but ours didn’t last that long!

I hereby dub thee ‘Rescuer of Dead Bananas’

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Look!!

I rescued some lovely dead bananas from Trader Joe’s. Poor bananas… you think no one wants you because you’re ugly and brown, but GUESS AGAIN! The black banana hoarder strikes again, muaha. Just know that I have single-handedly decimated about two bunches of dead bananas in the last week. I think I only have… two bananas left? Maybe? I might have to freeze them until I rescue another bunch. There are just so many fun things to do with dead bananas!

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Or you could just revert to an old favorite and make banana bread. Like I did. But hey, it’s been ages since I’ve had/made good banana bread and therefore it needed to happen… NOW. So happen it did. Um. I may have made the same batch of banana bread muffins twice, which speaks to how good they are (or how lazy I am) (let’s go with how good they are, mmmk? Yes let’s, moving on..)

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I loooooove when the store has dead bananas on hand, I practically tackle anyone in my way to grab them. It just means instant gratification of banana baked goods, rather than waiting foooorrrreeevverrrrrrrr for the bananas to ripen whilst simultaneously fending off anyone who might try to eat them in granola for breakfast (*yawn* whatta snoozer). Labeling them with a nice big ‘B’ or BAKE ME! I’ve found works too… and then the bananas end up with a nice tattoo…because I know you’ve always secretly wanted to doodle on bananas. Don’t try to deny it, invisible internet friends, I’ve got yo’ number.

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Anyway. Whether you’re a weirdo who likes to doodle on bananas or not, you should go to the store, tackle someone (likely me, if you live near me, as I’m the only other one crazy enough to snatch up dead fruit) for the last bunch of dead bananas, then run home and pop this in the oven. Your house will smell delicious and your tummy will be happy, what more could you want?

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Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe adapted from Seven Little Bowls, here! I got 12 muffins, in my rather jumbo-ish muffin tin, hence the flatness of the tops (this could also be made as a bread, but I was impatient and wanted a shorter bake time). These muffins are high in fiber, relatively low in sugars (all from minimally processed sources), and contain a bit of healthy fats from coconut oil. They’re perfect on their own or with almond butter+coconut+cinnamon, my personal fave.

To make tasty things, we find:

  • 3 dead bananas!
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c milk bev (I used 1% dairy)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • heaping 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

And then we:

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease muffin tins or baking thingy of choice— I use coconut oil to grease mine.

Mash up the bananas in a bowl. Chuck in maple syrup, eggs, milk bev, coconut oil, almond and vanilla extracts. Stir lightly to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, sea salt and baking soda. Toss wet into dry, and stir to combine, avoiding over-stirring (nooooo one wants tough muffins). Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, and pop into the oven. Bake for 17-19 minutes. (I’ve made these twice—the first time, 19 was good, the second time it should have been more like 17 or 18. Check them, and take them out when a tester comes out clean!). They keep well in a tupperware, on the counter or in the fridge.

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Mo’ Muffins! And some kitchen shenanigans.

this pottery is ADORBS

Mo’ muffins!

I know, I know, they’re just so fun to photograph. Besides… I also made this.

you see that fab green color? Nutrients, that’s what that is. (Read: KALE!)

And this.

I’m just visually taunting you, no big deal

But this needs improvement, so you don’t get a recipe. Yet. Let me make it awesome first, then I’ll share.

And I also did this. Yeah yeah, there’s a wee bit of Scottish in me (have you checked out my last name lately?!) and I like to be repppin’ at the Pleasanton Highland Games. Don’t be judgy.

A Bellendaine!! [The Scotts are out! War cry of Clan Scott, ahhhhh yeahhh] And yes, that IS the ancient-green Scott tartan.

Anyyyway. These muffins. I made quinoa muffins once before back in Salem for Kira and I, and MAN were they delicious. So I figured, why not again? Except this time, I had a plethora of dead bananas getting deader by the minute in the fridge, and they really needed to go to a nice home in muffins. And cake. Which is why the above happened (imperfectly… it was kind of an experiment). And really, I stopped to listen to my internal thought process when I was baking… and it’s ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Apparently I am a tad ADD when baking: “ooooh dead bananas, they should go in something but what? Tired of muffins. No bread it takes too long I want instant gratification OH! CAKE! A half recipe would bake faster Hmmm okay so it has eggs but I don’t want to use eggs today what about flax? nahhh OOOH vinegar goes with bananas and brings out their flavor, what about vinegar and baking soda? ooh but wait I want quinoa… okay so quinoa muffins and banana cake and kale pesto… that’s a weird combo but whatever” etc etc etc and on and on and on. Be thankful you aren’t inside my head.

mo’ muffins!

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Muffins

Makes 11 muffins. Very slightly adapted from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! The quinoa gives these muffins a slightly crunchy texture (in an extremely good way), and are full of all kinds of delicious things. Whole grains, protein, lower in sugar, and perfect for breakfast. Or snack. Or appeasing your gremlins at any time.

timberrrr

Acquire:

  • 1 c quick oats (uncooked) (Mine was more like 3/4 c quick oats, 1/4 c rolled)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk)
  • 1/3 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp-runneth-over (aka heaping) peanut buttahhh
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c cooked quinoa (about 1/3 c dry)
  • 1 buhhnahhnuhhh, mashed
  • a sprinkling of chocolate chippies

it seems like there should be a rainbow leading to the pot o’muffin..?

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins.

You know the drill, muffins are easyyyy: In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, whisk applesauce, vanilla, honey, milk bev, yogurt, and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in egg, quinoa, and banana and whisk until incorporated. Add dry into wet, sprinkle in chippies, and (avoiding overmixing) stir to combine. Fill tins about 2/3 full depending on muffin size preference… and bake for 15-16 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

up close and muffin-personal

Why yes, I AM turning into a zucchini, thanks very much.

zucchiniiiii explosion!!

It’s that time of year again…!!

I know I’ve been averaging about zucchini a day, but the amount we have is even defeating my ridiculous zucchini-consuming abilities… we have a least six medium-large ones at the moment. And that is AFTER I baked with them and ate them in my lunch and dinner yesterday, AND breakfast this morning (Yes. I did have zucchini for my last three meals. Don’t be judgey, they’re delicious… just warn me if I start taking on a slight greenish tinge).

mmm.

 

This is what happens when we grow them: I get sooo excited that we’re growing zucchini, so I anxiously await their arrival. But then they take forever to get started, so I end up buying them at Trader Joe’s anyway… which is fine until the bush goes into hyperdrive and produces about four at any given time. Which means that I now am up to my ears (happily) in squash. Ehhh, not so bad, at least I have a surplus for baking now! Which never happens if I just buy them, since I go through them too fast.

mushroom teacups. Adorbs, or what?

Side note: is it weird that I prefer green zucchini over yellow squash? Maybe I just like green things…

That being said…now that I actually have zucchini surplus, I got to make zucchini muffins! I spent forever trying to figure out what kind, and eventually settled on chocolate because really, who doesn’t love chocolate?! But these aren’t your normal gut-bomb bakery muffins—they have a much lighter crumb than most muffins, and are oil/butter free. They’ve got a healthy dose of fiber from the whole wheat flour, and (obvs) a sneaky serving of summer produce. AND they’re delicious, what more could you want?

Muffin Monday.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Slightly adapted from Oh She Glows, here! Mine aren’t vegan, as the original recipe is, as all I had on hand was buttermilk. Next time, I’m thinking I’ll make them with vegan soy “buttermilk” and do a comparison. Either way, they’re fluffy and delicious, and come together in nothing flat. An excellent way to use up all that summer squash hanging about. Makes 12 normal-size muffins.

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water (alt: 1 egg, or 1 tbsp chia seeds+3 tbsp water)
  • 1.25 c shredded zucchini
  • 1.25 c lowfat buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • a scattering of chocolate chippies

yum yum yum.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease muffin tins of choice.

In a small bowl, combine flax and water and let sit while you mix up the rest of the ingredients. In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together flax “egg”, buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add liquid into dry and stir to incorporate, folding in zucchini and chocolate chips as you go. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full, and bake for 15-17 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Mine went for about 16, and came out perfectly. Let cool on a cooling rack until cool enough to eat (who needs storage, anyway?).

it’s very easy being green

My kitchen smells like sunshine!

Lemon-tastic day!

Saturday was a good day indeed… life handed me Meyer lemons! Or rather, Trader Joe’s handed me lemons. Or at least put them where I would see them and then pay for them, and THEN they were handed to me.

And then. They were mine. Citrusy goodness, miney mine mine. (And Kira’s. Sharing is caring!)

At which point I was confronted with a dilemma. What to do with these rare gorgeous lemon specimens?! Since Meyer lemons have such a ridiculously short season, I wanted to do something with them that would stick around for awhile. But what?! Soooo many options. Thus it happened that while I was dutifully thesising this morning (which, by the way, is 54 pages and winding down, hooray!) that some devious part of my brain escaped to Meyer lemon land to ponder the myriad possibilities of four lemons and a relaxed Sunday at home. At which point it apparently decided that lemon curd was the way to go! Mmmm, good work, brain. (Though I must remember to chastise it for skipping out on me, and leaving me to thesis with only partial brain cells. Psh. If I have to concentrate, EVERY cell up there has to be involved, it’s only fair)

glowing lemon curd :)

So after I finished up writing for today, lemon curd happened. And oh man, am I glad it did… there was not a drop spilled that wasn’t immediately swiped up and eaten. And the food processor that was very thoroughly “cleaned”… and the spoons…. and the spatulas… Well. You get the idea. I’ve loved lemon curd since I went to high tea with my lovely Mutti, and we found ways to put it on everything! Now all I need is some clotted cream and scones… hmm.. next weekend’s project?!

BUT. Surprise, surprise! Lemon curd only used TWO of my lemons. Which meant that I had an unexpected bonus of TWO MORE! So I made Sunday muffins… with lemons! (and chia seeds, natch) I’m sure they’ll be fab with the lemon curd. And then, when I was done with these, I realized that I still have one lemon left! Wow. This is even better than dead banana surplus… What to do?? Something to ponder in the next few days :)

mmm, sunshine in food form!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Curd. Such a *ahem* LOVELY word. Like, move one letter and it spells crud. But hey, don’t knock it till you try it: this is good enough to eat with a spoon. Oh wait, I already did that… Your turn!

From the Pastry Affair, here! I got… half a peanut butter jar’s worth?! Sorry for the inexact measurements… I would guess between one cup and 1.5 cups.

  • 1/2 c sugar (I used turbinado, which is why my lemon curd isn’t bright yellow)
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c Meyer lemon juice (I used the juice of the 2 I zested)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter (Mine was salted), softened and cut into chunks

spoons are a perfectly acceptable vehicle for lemon curd

In the bowl of a double boiler, combine sugar and lemon zest, and rub it together with your fingers until combined and smelling tasty. Whisk in lemon juice and eggs.

Over medium-high heat, whisk constantly as the curd cooks. (Think of it as your arm workout for today). It will begin to thicken: cook it until you see whisk-tracks, and then remove from the heat and let cool briefly. This took me probably about 15 minutes.

Scrape the curd into a food processor or blender (Strain first, if you want to eliminate zest pieces—I don’t mind the zest, and I don’t have a strainer… so I skipped this), and blend until smooth. Once smooth, add in butter chunks, a few at a time, blending after each addition, until all of it is fully incorporated.

Let chill in the refrigerator before using. Keep it in an airtight container (I use jars for EVERYTHING). Eat with anything, or just off a spoon!

muffins 'n curd

Meyer Lemon, Cardamom and Chia Muffins

I made 6, as per usual: double if you want a normal sized batch! This makes 6 huuuuge muffins. They’re not very sweet, which I like for snack muffins, but I’m sure the lemon curd would add just the right amount of sweetness :) Those who prefer sweeter muffins, make sure your bananas are super ripe, or else add a few tbsp of honey or brown sugar. *Update 3/14: These need lots of work—Kira and I aren’t super fans, we’ve decided. They need more flavor and more moistness… but that’s a project for another day! Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 c meyer lemon juice
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used plain, lowfat)
  • judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen huckleberries (or frozen berry of choice, blueberry would be good too)

the muffins are so BIG!

Preheat the oven to 375, and grease yo’ muffin tin.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamom, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, and then vigorously whisk in (your second arm workout for today: your biceps can thank me later) egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and yogurt until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry, and fold in chocolate chippies and huckleberries.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Mine went for 15 and came out perfectly.

Mmm. Enjoy your lemon-tastic day! My kitchen smells like sunshine now :) (And I have the added bonus of having sunshine in a jar in my fridge for later consumption, wheee!!)

like sunshine in a jar :)

Birthday Muffins for Marion!

natural lighting?! In OREGON? no way.

Ohhh my goodness, thesis brain! ouch. It hurts.

Today, I worked so long that Pandora thought I had disappeared. Nope. I was still writing… but the funny part about it was that I was so into it, I didn’t notice the music had stopped! Whoops. Whatever, I’ve been insanely productive, huzzah!

Not only that, but I came up with a great idea. You see, today at work I was filling ‘testing cups’ for the kiddies. You know, like pencils and little pieces of candy to boost their testing potential. Gum, too, because apparently chewing gum while testing improves performance. Who knew?! And seriously, these testing cups are a genius idea! Added incentive for the little kiddos to do well on their tests. They should give these to college kids. Really. I would be sooo much more motivated if I got a fun treat cup with my name on it. Which is why I’ve decided to make my own! Hadihah. I think I’m going to take one of my mugs and puffy paint my name on it… and then fill it with things to motivate me to thesis. Like food. And sprinkles. And stickers (because I like to indulge my inner 5 year old, shhhh). I wonder if I could fit yoga pants into a mug? Hmm. Something to ponder.

See? Genius. With this system in place, there is absolutely no reason for me to procrastinate thesising. Not that I’ve been slacking in the slightest, as Pandora can attest: I have 20+ pages! YES. And still kicking… I’m nowhere near close to covering everything. But still. A thesis cup sounds like an excellent idea :]

ANYWAY. Sorry for the long ramble. Tired brain=rambly brain.

In honor of Marion Cunningham’s 90th birthday today, I made muffins! I don’t have a copy of the breakfast book here, but I thought I’d make something breakfasty (besides, Kira and I were out of snacks), since she is the breakfast queen! I am forever in her pancaking debt. Happy Birthday, Marion!

Breakfast muffins for Marion!

Quinoa Cardamom Muffins

Adapted from Martha Stewart, here!

I made a half batch, as per usual, so I’ll list those measurements here. Makes 6!

These are BOMB muffins. Super moist and dense, but in a good way—the quinoa adds a nice texture. I LOVE cardamom, so I was happy to note that the flavor is pronounced in these little puppies. I know you’re not supposed to brag about what you make, but whatever. Totally violated that when I texted Kira that she must immediately eat  one of these on account of their amazingness. Yes. They are. Make them, you must!

muffin floorplan? yeeesh, too much architecture on the brain! muffins > thesis.

Procure:

  • 1 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, not packed
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c soymilk (or whatever milkish beverage you have handy)
  • a judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen berries (I used huckleberries)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a muffin tin. Combine all dry ingredients, including quinoa, and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together applesauce, egg, and milk. Add wet to dry, and stir until just incorporated, then add in berries and chippies. Avoid overstirring! Plop batter into tins and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

These are especially delicious with a smear of peanut butter (what isn’t?!). I see peanut butter+cardamom cookies in the very near future!

The Return of Muffinhenge

Muffinhenge is making a comeback! Would this be the Muffin Revival? Or Neo-Muffin architecture?

Brace yourselves.

A baked good that is NOT a cookie?!

Weird, I know. But just roll with it… there will be more cookies coming soon, I’m sure, at the rate I’m consuming them! Having cookies around is just SO civilized. But I decided that there had been a depressing lack of muffins around here lately, which translated into a severe lack of portable snacks. And portable snacks are a hot commodity in this apartment, between Kira’s and my work/class schedules. Girls must have easily portable and tasty snacks! Besides, last semester I got really attached to muffins. And thesising requires copious amounts of brain pushups, which translates into LOTS OF CARBS! Gotta keep those brain cells happy and firing, and for that we need carbs. Since glucose is the primary source of energy for brain neurons, whole grain carbs are a necessary part of a healthy diet (just say no to Atkins!). Helloooo, muffins, you adorable source of brain energy!

uh-oh... one got away!

And really, muffins are just another excuse for me to consume more peanut butter. Which, by the way, I am packing away at a truly impressive rate of consumption. One jar. PER WEEK. The bag of glass recycling can prove it: there are two empty jars in there, and I’ve been back for two weeks. I’m also steadily on course with the jar in the fridge… have no fear, I’m sure it will join its companions by the time Sunday rolls around…

In other news, I’m also on a quinoa kick. One of these days, quinoa and peanut butter are going to become happily married. In my stomach! My quinoa dinners the last two nights have been deeeelicious, but I’ve been too hungry/lazy to photograph them, so you’ll just have to wait a bit for that! It’ll come, I promise. For now, content yourselves with these muffins: Full of whole grain goodness (raw wheat germ and whole wheat flour) and apples, with no added sugar!

that little stray crumb is just asking to be eaten...

Apple Wheat Germ Muffins

Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here! Original makes 12, but I only made 6, so I’ll post my measurements. Double if desired!

The original recipe calls for wheat bran, but I don’t usually have that around. What I do have (and LOVE) is raw wheat germ. It substitutes perfectly into a muffin for bran, and results in a slightly lighter, less dense muffin. Love love love! Use what you have, though—either is fine!

Rummage around in your pantry for the following:

  • 1/2 c plain yogurt (mine happened to be nonfat, whatever you have is fine!)
  • 3/4 c raw wheat germ (I’m sure toasted is fine as well)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 a large or 1 smallish whole apple, depending on apple-y density preferences, cut into chunks
  • small handful of choc chippies, for sprinkling (life is better with texture)

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your muffin tin.

In a small bowl, combine wheat germ and yogurt, and let sit while you do the other stuff. In a larger bowl, mash the banana, then whisk in egg and vanilla. Keep whisking until smoothly combined. Add wheat germ mix to this bowl, and stir to combine. In yet another bowl, sift dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until just combined (try not to overstir: no one likes tough muffins!). Fold in apple chunks and chocolate chippies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine were done at closer to 20, if you have a convection oven, I’d check at 15. A tester should come out clean, and they’ll be nicely golden brown. Let cool (or not) on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a large smear of peanut butter, whilst thesising away regarding Neo-Gothic architecture on a grand vertical scale….and be smug in the feeding of your brain, which will allow you to produce a thesis of epic magnitude. Neuron food, for the win!

look at that up-close and personal apple-y goodness!

Tales of a muffin tin

MUFFINS! On a Sigma Nu plate, naturally...

Once upon a time, there were gremlins. These gremlins resided in Hayley’s upper digestive tract, mostly in the area of the stomach. Small beings, probably technicolor (likely thanks to large amounts of sprinkles consumed. whoops).

Now. Hayley normally has a very amicable relationship with the gremlins… except sometimes. They. Get. HUNGRY. And when they get hungry… well… more like hangry. Hungry-angry. You don’t want to be around them when they get hangry. Vociferous complaints start emanating from their subterranean hideout. And only a certain amount of vocal placating will suffice before they start rioting.

However, there is one thing that the gremlins love more than anything else.

Can you guess?

SNACKS!

Gremlins LOVE snacks. Especially home-made ones, that don’t come in packaging, and are derived from whole foods (not the store, silly!). What can I say, these gremlins are a bit picky (although  they prefer the word particular, thankyouverymuch). But. If Hayley can placate them with the right kind of snackies, life gets insta-better! No more hangry subterranean grumblings from small technicolor beings, and no awkward pauses in class when the gremlins attempt to loudly voice their dissatisfied opinion on the contents (or lack thereof) of Hayley’s stomach region.

Pause. Reverting to first person. As much as I like describing my gremlins in the context of their relationship to me in third person… Awkward.

Recently, I discovered a handy snackie that appeases the gremlins! MUFFINS! Thanks to Gillian, who gave me the bright idea of making a batch of muffins on the weekend, for snacks during the week. I knooooow all of my classmates are SUPER jealous when I roll into class with a homemade, healthy muffin. Yep, that’s right. Whole foods, non-processed, and a tastily convenient way to deal with all the random items in your fridge. Muffins are extremely forgiving :)

Whole foods+non-processed snackies=happy gremlins! (which in turn yields a happy Hayley, as we are a very symbiotic being…)

Here’s the recipe! I use this as a base, and throw in whatever I happen to have on hand, or whatever sounds good when the mood for muffins strikes. I cut these in half before I leave for class, and swipe some nut butter and jam or honey in the middle! Squash them back together and no one is the wiser ;)

down at muffin level

Muffin Madness, makes 6 (I make half the recipe, so it lasts me about a week)

Adapted from Easy Peasy Organic, here

  • 1 large egg (or flax egg, if you don’t have eggs)
  • 1/8 c olive oil (or whatever)
  • 1/2 c lowfat plain yogurt (milk, soymilk, or anything milkish is fine, I really like them with yogurt)
  • 1/8 c brown sugar (I prefer less sweet, if more sweet appeals to you, that’s fine! Honey also works, as does any sweetener)
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or whole wheat, I like to use two different kinds)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
**Any add-ins you might want! My favorite combos are:
*mashed banana with cinnamon and vanilla, chocolate chips, and huckleberries
*grated fresh ginger, mashed banana, unsweetened shredded coconut, and chocolate chips
*grated raw sweet potato, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, choc chippies, and coconut
*anything, really. Just make sure you adjust the batter consistency to be not too runny (add flour), and not too thick (add milk/yogurt). It should be thick but not too thick, if you know what I mean… sorry for not being too specific! These are really forgiving. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll still appease your gremlins.
Preheat oven to 350, and lightly grease a muffin tin (I usually use coconut oil for this).
Mix the egg, oil, yogurt, sugar, and oats together. Add in whatever other wet add-ins you have (ie banana, vanilla, pumpkin, sweet potato, whatever), and stir to combine.
Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add liquid to dry. Be careful not to over-mix, since that makes for tough muffins! Just barely incorporate all the flour. Check consistency, adjust as needed.
Spoon batter into the jumbo muffin tin you are so justly proud of finding ON SALE at Sur la Table, and pop into the oven. Depending on your add-ins, bake time will vary, but I usually bake mine for about 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them… I’m sure your gremlins will be happy to do that for you, as it means fresh, hot muffin for them, straight out of the oven! Excellent with earth balance, jam, nut butter, honey, or all of the above.
Enjoy the satisfaction of placating your own gremlins! (Don’t try to deny it, I know you have them too ;)