You’re in for a treat. We made this popcorn for our photo shoot yesterday, and I couldn’t get enough. The jalapeno creates a gorgeous, subtle and building heat, especially after it’s sat with the popcorn for a few hours and cooled. However, eating it hot and fresh is bliss, too. Last night, I polished off the rest of the bowl, relishing the flavors while I liked my fingers clean.
Devour it hot or at room temp. Either way if you are looking for a lively, salty, sweet, and unstoppably good movie snack, you’ve found your ticket. Cheers!
For the past month or so, I’ve been planning. Spectacular, beautiful, and meaningful eating design events have been playing through my mind’s eye over and over. Interesting, I would think to myself as I watched these scenes unfold before me. And I really couldn’t (and can’t) help it, they just burst into my head. At first, I didn’t judge them. It was fun day-dreaming (the best form of mental exercise there is), seeing what my imagination would come up with next. But then, when I started to question this use of my time, and mainly myself, I started to panic. Literally, worry. And not just a little, but a lot. What does this mean? Why is this happening? Ugh, I thought, talk about putting a damper on things. When this happens, and I’m lucky enough to catch myself at it, I try to frame things in a new light for myself to help me step outside of the issue, ex: If your best friend came to you and confided she’d been having some wonderfully creative ideas popping up, would you dissuade her and her process by asking non supportive probing questions? No.
As it turns out, there is still a lot of MFA left in me. In fact, it’s not going anywhere. That experience, while it will take me the rest of my life to fully digest, did so much for me in the way of coming into my own. While I will be forever grateful for this, there is a lot to sort through still–something I have been putting off for, oh, the past year. Forming my creative self and coming into my own was anything but easy. Doing this under (and do mean under) intense scrutiny, critique, and little to no support would leave anyone wary–not to mention worn out. But the old adage “time heals” is certainly true, especially in this case. Except, it wasn’t my conscious mind per se, that let me know it was alright to start living creatively again, it was my day dreams. It’s amazing what a little rest, recuperation, and a focus on health will do not only to the body, but the mind as well. And those non supportive probing questions I default to asking myself (and inciting panic and immobility)? Just leftovers from a critical juncture in my personal growth. Now that I know this, I can (literally) move on!
Wouldn’t it be nice if life were always a single, aligned package, all wrapped up with a neat little bow–and presented to us for us to unwrap? I used to think so, but now I’m not so sure. Yes, it would make things “easier” in the way of knowing what’s to come exactley and not having any surprises. But it’s those surprises that force us to grow, to think for ourselves, and to live. Life may seem like a bottomless pit while we go through an especially tough time. But once through and can look back, you are undeniably a different, deeper person. That personal experience is priceless and in the end will help shape the future. The trick is, I’ve discovered, is to really understand what we’ve been through in order to know where we are going. I tried and tried to push down the shame and guilt I felt for not “living up to” the standards of my school, my parents, of whomever-I-felt-I-let-down-before; for not “creating” in a way they saw fit, or living my life in a way that they could understand. Cliche sounding, I know. But, it’s even more weird when you realize,
hey, that’s exactley what I’ve been doing.
It’s even weird now to say out loud. But, I’m excited because I can take action and do something about it.
All of this thinking and multiple realizations later, (of course) I found myself in the kitchen. My focus was on these oat bars and trying to find one that I could make over and over again, to have as a staple snack in the house. Crunchy, chewy, layered with texture and pizazz, I want no ordinary oat bar. So I recipe tested until I found the winner. Of course (and this ALWAYS happens!) Heidi Swanson‘s power bars won out. She is incredible, seriously, incredible. And her recipes, well, they are all over-the-top incredible too. So you know what to expect from these oat bars then–sheer amazingness. The other blueberry oat bars were delicious too, don’t get me wrong. But they were actually more like a dessert than a grab-and-go kind of thing I was looking for. I’d make them again for sure and the filling options could be endless (substitute the blueberries for pumpkin, cherries, apples, you name it…). So really, it was a win win for us all.
Happy recipe trying (and meditating)!
Cranberry Ginger Power Bars, via Heidi Swanson
1 1/4 cups walnut halves (5 ounces)
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup brown rice syrup (see Note)
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (see Note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly spray an 8-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and golden, about 9 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Transfer the walnuts to a large bowl. Add the puffed rice, rolled oats, cranberries, oat bran and ginger and toss well.
In a small saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, cane sugar and salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the syrup into the rice-oat mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Transfer the warm mixture to the prepared baking dish and pack lightly with a spatula greased with cooking spray. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting into 16 bars.
The cranberry-walnut bars can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper and kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Blueberry Oat bars, via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water or juice to form a smooth paste
3 cups oatmeal* (regular, not instant)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) agave nectar
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375F. Oil an 8×8-inch baking dish.
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, agave nectar, and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal into a blender and grind it to a fine powder. Pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and mix well.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the blueberry filling over the batter, and cover the blueberries with the remaining batter.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
I’ve been searching for a good tasting, healthy, snacky, oat bar. Something that I can make a batch on Sunday, individually wrap (even stick in my freezer) and grab and go. Ideally, I’d like it to have a little bit of crunch and something that will stick to the ol’ ribs, not just fill me with carbs. And not be packed with white sugar, but still satisfies the sweet flavor. So, I did some preliminary searching on the inter-webs and found a few recipes. The first one of the “oat-bar search series” I’m sharing with you was from a website that I come across every now and then, Kath Eat’s. She’s a nutrition consultant like myself and has a huge resource of good recipes.
These bars are packed with flavor. For the dried fruit, I used dried blueberries, coconut, and golden raisins and they were fantastic together. They are all hugged by a cinnamon finish, leaving a pleasant aroma on your palate and nose. There is no added sugar in these either, which I liked. All the “sweet” comes from the dried fruit and it definitely works. In fact, the bit of salt that is added to the batter initially hits the tongue on first bite, very subtlety. But what it does is sets you up for the lovely and languid bursts of sweet you get from the fruits, and even the coconut (the coconut is not “sweetened” per se, but is considered part of the sweet-flavor family). My one complaint is the texture. They are made with egg, which makes them a bit chewy, spongy even. Texturally, I am looking for something that is a little bit crisp on the outside, and has a delicious pull to its chew. Sometimes I like things breaking off in my mouth with a satisfying crunch, but for the oat bars, my mind is craving crunch with some satisfying chew. If you have any favorite oat bar recipes, please I’d love to hear about them!
Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars, recipe from Kath Eat’s
1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup dried fruit (Kath used 1/4 cup cranberry trail mix, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped dried “just banana” from TJ’s; I used 1/2 cup dried blueberries, 1/4 cup golden raisins, and 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut shreds))
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1.25 cups milk (regular, soy, almond, rice…)
1 egg or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Mix dry ingredients.
3. Mix wet ingredients.
4. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine.
5. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.
7. Cut into 9 squares.
Makes 9 servings . Each bar is appx. 165 calories, 3 grams fiber and 5 grams protein.
You can double the recipe and use a 9×13 baking dish. While delicious, the only sweetness in these comes from the dried fruit. Add in 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar if you like.
The variations are endless: cranberries, coconut, all kinds of dried fruit, nuts, etc.
I cannot resist the spicy kick of ginger, especially when it comes in the form of a bread. I know it has something to do with the texture and that spicy, unexpected zing! One of my favorite recipes of all time is gingerbread. I could easily eat a whole pan of gingerbread by myself. Not. a. problem. And even though it does have some nutritional value via the molasses and spices, it’s high amount of sugar and white flour leave me feeling totally zonkered out. Instead of having energy to finish the tasks of the day, I become a baked-good space cadet!
So I set out to figure out how to get the same spicy and textural sensations without the total low-energy crash afterward. And I was pleasantly surprised with the result. If you make these, do not expect something sweet. In fact, they are more like a bread than a muffin. I took them over for some taste testing to a friends and both she and her husband really liked them. She whipped out some almond butter and suggested trying it with a liberal smearing–it was great! They are delicious naked, but the nice thing is you have the option to doll them up with a dab of jam, butter and honey, or any nut butter. The carrots and apple sauce make these super moist, a texture that could almost be called addicting.
These muffins are packed with good nutrients like wheat bran and molasses (both high in magnesium), beta-carotene, anti-oxidants, and vitamins. They are also great with breakfast or as a mid-day snack. Enjoy!
Spicy Carrot Ginger Muffins
3/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c wheat bran
1 1/4 c whole-wheat or other whole-grain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp ground dried ginger (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c yogurt
1/2 c shredded carrots
4 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp molasses
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
*1/4 cup sweetener (honey, agave, sucanant…)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together wheat bran, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and dried ginger. In a separate bowl, combine apple sauce, egg, yogurt, carrot, fresh ginger, and molasses. Combine mixtures and then fold in pumpkin seeds. Spoon batter into paper-lined or buttered muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack.
* As these are not sweet on their own, you might find that adding a little more sweetener will fit your tastes better. Taste the batter before you bake it and see, then add as you’d like. Cheers!
Ah, sugar–we go way back–as far back as I can remember, actually. I would go into the kitchen and bake something when I felt bored, alone, or entertaining myself. I have a very clear memory about how I started baking: I was maybe 8 or 9 and I had been bugging my mom quite a bit about “being bored”. I’m so bored! I would whine to her. She would rattle off her regular list of things I could go and occupy myself with: go play outside, read a book, play with your dollhouse (yes, I interior decorated that thing like you would not believe!), and she’d always throw in “you could always do some chores” in which case I usually found myself something to do pretty quickly. But one day, she added to the list, bake some cookies, and I thought “hey, I can bake some cookies!”. It was one of those self-realization childhood moments–yes, I CAN do that! For an eight or nine year old, that was pretty big.
So I got in there and never looked back. The kitchen became a place of empowerment and positivity–I could make things and make them well. I could create new flavors, smells, and textures all by myself that were delicious. I found refuge in the kitchen. And the irony is the kitchen is a place my mother and her generation worked so hard at getting themselves out of. But positive reinforcement after positive reinforcement (oh, this tastes wonderful! or, Trish, can you make us some of your wonderful _______?) I felt drawn into that room like a bee to honey.
These past three years however, my approach to cooking and to self-healing has grown yet again. Instead of using sugar to give myself a hug, I now use it more sparingly and only for special occasions. And I find that I enjoy it that way even more (and after years of using sugar in one way, this actually surprises me a bit). I also have found that the less I eat granulated sugar in my foods, the less I crave it. I used to get really emotional just reading about the attributes of sugar (seeing words like bad and addictive, etc etc…), thinking to myself the whole time “no one’s taking away any sweets from me!”. Hilarious, I know. But quite revealing when it came to understanding my body’s needs vs. my heart’s needs.
So how the heck does Chia Pudding fit into all this? Well let me tell you. It’s one of the best desserts I’ve had in ages and there is no sugar in it. It is sweetened with a little real maple syrup, but the whole fat coconut milk is what really satisfies the sweet tooth. Chia seeds (yes, I’m talkin’ about those seeds that are used to make the infamous Chia Pet–cha cha cha chia!) are great for lowering cholesterol and helping with thyroid issues, along with many other things. And it has to be whole coconut milk–in case you missed the Better Bites post about Healthy Fats, check it out. Light coconut milk is missing most of it’s amazing mineral and healthful properties. Whole coconut milk is not only delicious–and seriously one of my favorite foods on the planet–but it is full of good things like potassium and phosphorous and it is a natural immune system builder. I find that a little goes a long way too because it is so rich, just how I like it!
I use Native Forest canned coconut milk because it is BPA free
The pudding comes out in the consistency of tapioca. These little amazing seeds get a bit gummy and chewy like a tapioca would, expanding as they sit in the coconut milk. You can really use any type of liquid milk or juice for this–mango juice, apple juice, green juice for a more pudding-type consistency–coconut milk or regular whole milk, for a more cream-like consistency. It was even better the second day–a much thicker consistency more like ice cream, after leaving it in the fridge in a tupperware over night. Cheers!
Ch-ch-ch-Chia Pudding via Find Your Balance
4 Tbl. chia seeds
3/4 cup organic whole-fat coconut milk
1 Tbl. maple syrup
Topping options are endless: fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa, cinammon…
In a bowl, combine seeds with coconut milk. Stir well. Let mixture sit for 20-30 minutes. Stir every 5-10 minutes. The consistency will become thick and tapioca like. Add maple syrup and stir. You may refrigerate at this point for a cool treat, but it’s also good at room temperature. Add toppings and enjoy!
A few weeks ago, I was at a friends house and had my first bite of spring: a wheel of fresh goat cheese smothered in a chopped garlic, rosemary, and olive oil compote. Sprinkled with a little sea salt, I couldn’t believe my mouth. Really? I mean, I understand the power of fewer ingredients and am an ardent lover of garlic, but come on–this can taste that good? I thought to myself. Yes and yes. It was so simple, so fresh, a little spicy, definitely aromatic, and soft around the flavor-edges that I think I must have eaten about half of it–probably to make sure I was in reality and not a dream.
Making this impressive tasting hour d’oeuvre is actually super simple. Take a nice goat cheese and shape it into a circle (or not, a log of chev is fine too!) on a deep plate or in a shallow bowl. Mince some fresh garlic (8-10 large cloves), finely chop some fresh rosemary (3-4 tablespoons), stir it together with about a 1/2 – 1 cup nice olive oil (depending on how much cheese you have, use more or less), pour it over the cheese, slice a nice batard or ciabatta bread and you are ready to enjoy.
The flowers are in full effect up here in the Pacific Northwest. Andrew and I visited the annual tulip festival again last weekend which was gorgeous. One square mile of all tulips everywhere–varieties upon varieties that are jewel like in color and shape. It’s one of my favorite things about Oregon!
I went on a little walk around my neighborhood the other day and collected a huge bag of lilacs, blue-bells, and flowering rosemary from the surrounding alley’s. The color of the month here in Portland is definitely purple. Unless, of course, you visit the tulip festival. Then it’s every color under the rainbow. For the rest of the week, I will be busy at the IACP conference. I’m helping with the Culinary Trust dinner tomorrow night which I am so excited about!
Thanks for stopping in, enjoy the rosemary-garlic compote! Cheers!
How often do you make a pot of brown rice and have a lot left over? This happens all the time for me and while I usually put it to good use later on, it never hurts to have a few more ideas for it. This brown rice pudding is something I do all the time–breakfast, snacks, I’ve even eaten it for dinner when nothing else would hit the spot. It’s a versatile recipe where you can substitute, add, and subtract all sorts of goodies to it. Instead of raisins, try another dried fruit like chopped dried apricots, apples, or peaches. Use coconut milk (decadence!) instead of coconut water when simmering it down. Try throwing some granola, yogurt, or nuts on top. Sweeten it with real maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar. Look to see what you have in your cupboards, sometimes a dried cereal or a sliced banana is great on it too. The options are endless!
I’ve had an abundance of nuts hanging around for too long–they needed tending to. So I made this spicy nut mix. You can make this in bulk and store it for a while in your cabinets (in a mason jar or something that is air-tight). It’s great to take to work or have in your bag for a quick pick me up in the afternoon. The garam masala gives it an exotic flavor that is warm, not spicy as in hot, but literally bursting with taste. All of the ingredients satisfy our six tastes: salty, sweet, pungent, sour, bitter, astringent–which means that you and whomever you share these with will feel really satisfied. The tongue is always looking for all the flavors in a dish (or in an entire meal); now you can give them what they’re looking for!
I find it challenging at times to keep things simple. My mind wants to find ways to add more or do something differently–which can be great for many other reasons. However, I like to remind myself from time to time of the basics, especially when it comes to the food I eat. When I come back to those foundations, I find that I actually have a lot more to work with than I thought. It’s also easier to build (and let the mind start experimenting!) off of basic recipes and food ideas. Simple snacks make me feel good all around—tasty food that doesn’t waste or take time!
2 cups left over brown rice, cooked
1-2 cups coconut water—or coconut milk, or rice milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins—I prefer it with golden raisins
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 cardamon pods or 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
In a pot, stir together all the ingredients over medium high heat, until the liquid has been dissolved into the rice and the raisins are plump. Serve warm.
Spicy Mixed Nuts
2 cups of a mix of almonds, pecans, and cashews
1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-3 teaspoons garam masala
sea salt (to taste)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together nuts, coconut oil, and maple syrup in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. When finished baking, sprinkle the nuts with the garam masala and sea salt, toss, and let cool. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!
I’ve been using what is in my refrigerator and cupboards to find inspiration to think of some new (or old, but haven’t eaten in a long time) snack ideas. Forcing myself to turn on a different part of my brain, to actually try to see what I have differently, has been a challenge! But a good one–I do love a challenge. Thankfully, I’ve been good about buying “whole foods” for the most part–nuts, seeds, dried fruits, vegetables, grains. But sometimes seeing foods like this in their raw, or native forms, can be overwhelming. What the heck can I make with all of this? Once I get over that initial shock of seeing, my brain goes into create-mode.
Yesterday, I found some celery that needed to be eaten, seed butter, and raisins—the perfect combination for the classic Ants on a Log. I don’t even remember the last time I ate this snack, but it was all around satisfying. It tasted of playgrounds, elementary school lunch-time, and I thought I may have even heard the shrill laughter of young kids playing as I crunched into this memory-laden snack. Try making it with a variety of nut or seed butters–almond, cashew, and sunflower seed butter are all great. Instead of just using raisins, experiment with dried blueberries, cherries, or cranberries. You can even sprinkle some sliced almonds on top as well, for a little added crunch!
In the fridge, there was also an abundance of heirloom carrots and a big ginger root. (I always keep a ton of ginger around, especially during the winter months.) So I juiced them and drank the sweet, spicy juice with my logs! This juice is a great pick me up in the afternoon–especially if you are craving something sweet.
During my hunt, I also came across several cans of beans, some frozen chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and cilantro. Recently, I had read about tortas, a Mexican style sandwich that is as versatile as it is delicious. And since hadn’t had one since I’d last been in Mexico City four or five years ago, I suddenly had a craving! I used to get them from a small sandwich shop in La Condesa; they were slightly crunchy on the outside and absolutely filled a with combination of refried beans, pork, sausage, salsas, tomatillos, avocado (either as guac or straight up), mayo, vegetables (fresh or stir-fried), cheese (either crumbled on or melted over)–basically you name it, you got it. My favorite was pretty simple—beans, avocado, salsa (red with chunks of tomato and onion), and crumbled cheese. So I used some left over ciabatta and toasted it for the bread; Andrew and I made the most amazing refried bean recipe ever; we sliced up some avocado, drizzled on the salsa, and crumbled some good feta on top (yes, feta, and it is fantastic on this sandwich!) and wa la! A torta that took me right back to La Ciudad de Mexico.
Chipotle Refried Beans, via FOODday
Makes more than enough for 4-6 sandwiches
This recipe makes more beans than you likely will need. Save the rest for quesadillas, burritos, huevos rancheros or future tortas.
2 15oz cans black beans, well drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves – I used some flat leaf parsley here and it still tasted great
1 to 3 canned chipotle peppers–you can use chipotles in adobo sauce, also excellent!
1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
1 lime, squeezed
In a food processor combine the beans, garlic, cumin, cilantro, chiles, water, brown sugar, and lime juice; process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary with a rubber spatula. Pulse in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the bean mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until texture has thickened and flavor has mellowed, 8 to 10 minutes on medium high heat. Prepare sandwhiches immediately or transfer to bowl and keep warm.
For whatever reason, the past few months I’ve felt like a deer in the headlights when it comes to eating. I have a few favorite snacks, dinners, and even lunches–and I’ve been sticking to them. But to tell you the truth, I’m really tired of them! So I have been looking for ways to incorporate more good foods into my day as I tend to err on the bread and cheese side of things. I began sleuthing in my kitchen, looking around, trying to figure out ways to spice up my eating, per say. I flipped through a few cookbooks–it’s amazing what an hour a month of doing this can do for recharging the ol’ ideas bank–ransacked my cupboards, the back of my fridge, and pantry and I found a few things to try.
This week, I’ll be sharing with you some of these snacks. I want, no, I need more variety in my diet (the winter can get very bland if you let it!) and I want to start incorporating some more veggies, nuts, seeds, and other goodies into my daily foods. I thought there was not a better place than to share this with you! After all, you have the ability to hold me to this—so I better not let you (or me) down ;).
Today, I made two things–kale chips and whole wheat pear muffins. Okay, I know what you might be thinking right now—those sound SUPER healthy and probably not that tasty. Au contraire mon amie, they are both super delicious and, well, good for you! The kale chips were a surprise actually. Andrew even liked them! If you are looking for another way to get a few more greens into your diet, give this a try—you will be surprised! They are satisfyingly crunchy, salty, light, and enticing.
I also made some whole wheat muffins, a recipe from Mark Bittman. Usually, the first thing I think of when I hear of whole wheat being used in anything pastry-like is a brick—heavy, hard, and really sad. But when I found this recipe I thought I’d give it a try—after all, Bittman states right in the title how light they were in texture. And he was right. There are two tricks involved with this recipe: use whole wheat pastry flour AND a cup of pureed or mashed fruit or vegetable–like banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini, apple. This ensures the muffin is moist and really brings an incredible element of flavor to your muffin. I made mine with apple sauce and cut up two super-ripe pears (those pears were either were going in these muffins or directly to the compost–the best for baking:), lowered the amount of sugar and used brown sugar instead of white. They are amazing when they first come out of the oven and will still be amazing for breakfast (and snacks) for the rest of the week. If you wanted, you could even make a nice crumble for the top with oatmeal, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter :). Try these (more recipes to come) and get snacking!
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Pull the leaves off the stem, place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and some salt. Toss with your hands to make sure all the leaves are coated. Bake for 10 minutes, maybe a little less if your oven gets really hot–they can singe pretty easily–but I like them that way!
Whole Wheat Muffins, via Mark Bittman
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter—I used canola oil for this (because I didn’t have butter on hand) and they were still great
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4-1 cup white sugar—I used about a 1/4 cup brown sugar and they were plenty sweet!
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed fruit or veggie—this is where I used a cup of natural apple sauce + two cubed pears that were pretty mushy, using more fruit than the allotted one cup is ok.
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract—I added this ingredient in because it goes well with the pear. Feel free to add in any of your own favorite spices too!
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 12 muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the mashed fruit/veggies, the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and butter or oil. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined. Fill muffin tins until full, bake 25-30 minutes or until muffins are puffed up and golden brown on top. Serve warm if possible.