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

Now what?!

Nuts for coconut?

I can’t even believe I’m going to type these words…

Wait for it…

I FINISHED MY THESIS! For realzies. 92 pages? Check. Bound and printed? Check. Coherent (and relatively humorous) presentation? Check. Wait. NAILED. (Despite feeling I was going to go into cardiac arrest for the first few sentences, ha). I feel a thousand pounds lighter! [and mildly exhausted… this may be on account of running on adrenaline for the last 24 hours] Or maybe that’s just the removal of the pile of books that is now off my living room floor and back to the library…? It’s like my child. I sort of want to frame it, and keep it up on the wall forever and ever.

So…

I love the way citrus looks.

Now what?! So much free time, what to do, what to do?! Oh wait. That’s right. Bake more! And alternatively get more creative with dinner. Because I’m stuck in a dinner rut the size of the Grand Canyon. Except not tonight. Because tonight is a fancy-schmancy department dinner! YAY! Celebration time. And time to do all the fun senior-type things at the end of the semester (which is rapidly approaching, sheesh. Sloooowww for the cone zone, please). Which means that I have an excuse to bake a ton… in order to mitigate the amount of food to be carted back down to California when Kira and I move out, of course. You have to admit, this a is a perfectly valid excuse. Not that I really ever need an excuse to bake.

Except today. I was celebrating :)

mmm.

Coconut-Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Mega thanks to Christine for showing me this (and for several ingredient donations)! It’s adapted from Cooking Light. I made 1/2 the batch and ended up with 2 mini-loaves, though putting it all in one loaf pan would be fine as well (just increase the bake time). I reduced the sugar quite a bit, as sweetened coconut is already pretty sweet. This bread comes together quickly and is DELICIOUS. Just sweet enough, with a pronounced coconut flavor… mmm. It’s also decently not so bad for you, considering it comes from Cooking Light. Win all around :)

look at all that toasty coconut

Acquire:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • very heaping 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 c Earth Balance (or butter)
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4ish cup mashed ripe bananas (the riper the better, obvs) (about 1.5 bananas)
  • 1/8 c plain, lowfat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp rum (don’t leave this out, it’s YUMMY!)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/4 c shredded sweetened coconut + 1 tbsp (mine was probably closer to 1/3 c… I loooove coconut)
  • optional: chocolate chipppies! (But really… why would you leave these out?!)
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • juice of one lime
/

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease your loaf pans of choice. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, combine Earth Balance and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add in banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla, and beat to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add in flour until just combined. Stir in 1/3 c coconut and chocolate chippies, if using. Pour batter into the prepared pans, and top with remaining tbsp of coconut. Bake for about 30 minutes for the mini loaves, until a tester comes out clean. (Or about an hour for a larger loaf).

While the bread is cooling/baking, combine powdered sugar and lime juice, and whisk until smooth. When the bread is cool, drizzle the glaze over the top of individual slices, or poke holes in the bread and drizzle over the whole loaf… up to you!

Mmmm… post thesis and post workout zen :)

creative storage, heheh...

Definitely Leprechauns.

a scone-clover! hehe.

Sláinte! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day :)

So. I had taken a fab set of pictures for today’s post (with natural light, even! Thanks, Oregon, for cooperating) yesterday, and they were all nicely stored on my camera, ready to be uploaded. This morning, when I uploaded them, I swear I put them into my blog photos folder. I know I did. So…

Where are they?! Nowhere to be found, is the answer I’m looking for. Maybe in pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? I suspect leprechaun involvement in this (definitely not user error. DEFINITELY leprechauns). Probably because I didn’t make a leprechaun trap last night… those sneaky little buggers! I better rustle up some green to put on… currently I’m not wearing any (that’s visible, anyway! ha.). I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day! And yes, I am for-reals Irish (not just 1/365th), which is probably why I’m being targeted by those feisty little green men.

Blurry, but I still like it...

Anyway, after much grumbling, I took another set of photos (sadly not as good as the last ones), so you can vicariously enjoy the soda bread scones Kira and I made to celebrate! They turned out beautifully—the shape almost reminds me of a four leafed clover. Scoring the top of soda bread lets the fairies out (and promotes even baking, but that’s less fun), so I kept to this tradition and scored my scones into triangles… we now have a sprite-free apartment! To me, these scones don’t taste like traditional soda bread, but they are definitely delicious. And not at all bad for you, since they’re made with soda and yogurt rather than eggs and butter. Mmm… and, I have to say, they’re excellent with lemon curd (what isn’t?!)!

yum yum yum

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Very slightly adapted from Eat Drink Love, here! Makes 8 scones.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour (We used half pastry, half whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional but sooo good)
  • 1.5 c low-fat plain yogurt (Kira and I usually keep this instead of buttermilk, but buttermilk works here too)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add yogurt and chocolate chips (or other add-ins of choice). Stir to combine: the dough will look shaggy when its close to incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead into a circle (ish). Place onto prepared baking sheet, and slice into 8 scones (a knife works fine for this). Brush the tops with buttermilk (if using), and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto them for crunch factor :) Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden! Eat. Preferably warm, with lemon curd. Mmm. Maybe share with a leprechaun, if one happens by…

Star Destroyer, anyone??

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!

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 ;)