Tag Archives: food

Bananas N’ Bran Breakfast Muffins

Sshh! Don’t tell my kids that these delicious, carmel-y muffins are actually a good-for-you breakfast of whole grains and nutrients!

I invented this particular recipe after wondering what to do with some leftover bran cereal. Because bran flakes are so similar to Raisin Bran (which has more sugar than Fruit Loops!), I determined to make a healthy, wheat flour and oats muffin that also tastes good enough that the kids would eat it.

The secret: bananas! They are so sweet that I only needed a half cup of sugar. So I chose brown sugar, which always adds a hint of caramel flavoring to any baked good. Mmmm!

Here’s a great tip for saving brown bananas for future baking projects: Don’t EVER put them in containers, or they turn a nasty brackish brown. Instead, freeze bananas in the container mother nature originally gave them and just toss them into the freezer. Here are the frozen bananas I used for this recipe:

These were frozen solid, so I just microwaved them for a minute. Here’s what you see inside once they have thawed. They keep a nice, light color while frozen:

So here’s the recipe:

1 cup of bran flakes cereal

1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant oats)

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the following:

2 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk w/ 1 tablespoon of vinegar, left to sit 5 min)

1/3 cup canola or sunflower oil (NOT vegetable oil, which is bad for kids’ health)

Whisk together, then fold into the bowl of dry ingredients

Drop into greased muffin tins, using a large ice cream scoop (to keep muffins uniform in shape). Bake at 400 degrees for 25-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sugar Free Summer Squash Muffins

With fresh vegetables and whole grain flour, these muffins are healthy enough to serve for breakfast, but yummy enough to taste like dessert!

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I invented these muffins last night, because my garden has produced quite the bumper crop of summer squash this year:

DSCN1446The resulting recipe turned out some very healthy, yet delicious muffins! In my pictures, you are seeing mini-muffins with mini chocolate chips (smaller muffins=less mess). But you could easily make them as regular-sized muffins with regular-sized chocolate chips, too!

Here’s the recipe:

Sugar Free Summer Squash Muffins

  • 3 cups grated/shredded summer squash
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Slice the summer squash and remove their seeded centers. Shred the squash on the fine setting of your cheese grater or food processor. Place the zucchini on a finely woven cotton towel like this:

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Next, close the towel around the squash and squeeze out excess liquid, like this:

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You should end up with a play-doughy ball of summer squash pulp that looks like this:

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Next, add honey, eggs, vanilla, and oil to the squash in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.

In a separate, larger bowl, combine the following:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips–which I use because otherwise my kids won’t eat muffins this healthy). Can also add chopped dates, craisins, or raisins.

Combine dry ingredients, then stir in the squash mixture. Next add:

  • 1 egg white, beaten until thick and foamy

(Note: this egg white is optional, but I like to add it because it makes the muffins lighter, fluffier, and they puff out more in the pan when I add it).

Drop muffins into tins sprayed with canola oil cooking spray, using an ice cream scoop to ensure uniform sizes (or use a large cookie scoop for regular-sized muffin tins, since in this picture, I was using mini muffin tins)

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Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes (remember: this is for mini muffins. You want 15-20 minutes for regular-sized). These tasty muffins hide the vegetables so well, that all you see is a hint of gold on the inside (unlike zucchini, which leaves green tints in baked goods, thereby alerting my children to their healthy content!)

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I made these muffins last night. Now that we have early church, I don’t have time to cook on Sunday mornings, so once the kids are up and dressed, I hand them each a baggie with 3 or 4 mini-muffins on our way out to the car. By the time we get to church, they eat them all gone! What a great way to have a quick–yet healthy!–breakfast.

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Pineapple Upsidedown Muffins

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With brown sugar in the batter and pineapple chunks in the center, these muffins taste so incredibly dessert-like that my kids devoured them without stopping to notice the coarse whole grain flour and precious little oil I used to make them! They gobbled them up so quickly that next time, I will have to double the batch if I want any leftovers to freeze for quick breakfasts on-the-run!

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Here’s the recipe:

Pineapple Upsidedown Muffins

2 cups  fresh-ground whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

2/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk mixed w/ 2 teaspoons vinegar and left to curdle for 5 min)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 tsp imitation)

1 egg white, beaten until stiff

1 cup pineapple chunks, drained.

dscn1296Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl ,whisk together all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the egg white. Add wet ingredients to the large bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in the egg white until just combined.

Drop batter into canola-sprayed mini muffin cups using a mini cookie scoop. Press one pineapple chunk into the center of each muffin, then top with another half scoop of batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Breakfast Bar Muffins

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I like the convenience of breakfast bars, but hate the cost (four buck for six bars? COME ON!), added preservatives, high fructose corn syrups, and very environmentally not-friendly wasteful packaging!

And so I invented these–my yummy breakfast muffins, loaded with the tasty flavors of whole grain flour, oats, and fruit jam!

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You can use any jam that you have on hand instead of the apricot jam I recommend, but I recommend it be something light in color (think marmalade*, peach jam, apple butter) or else your muffins will take on the pinkish or blue-ish hues of strawberry or grape jams!

Here’s the recipe

Breakfast Bar Muffins

1 cup quick oats

1 cup whole grain flour (can be wheat, spelt, seven-grain, whatever)

1/4 cup sugar (can substitute honey)

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup fat free milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup apricot preserves (can substitute peach jam, apply jelly, or orange marmalade*)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg white, beaten stiff

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk, oil, jam, and vanilla, then stir into dry ingredient. Fold in beaten egg white, then drop into greased muffins tins and sprinkle extra oats on top. bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes for large muffins, or 8-10 minutes for mini-muffins (pictured here)

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 * For an AMAZING do-it-yourself, environmentally-friendly homemade marmalade recipe and instructions, you have got to check out this recipe, from one of my favorite blogs ever!

 

Zesty Tamale Muffins

This is the perfect way to eat Mexican when you’re on-the-go!

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Don’t be fooled by the outside appearance of this muffin! It’s cornbread-like appearance can be deceiving, but the muffin base is definitely not the sweet-salty flavor of cornbread! Instead, is is straight-up true tamale saltiness!

Inside each salty cornmeal muffin you can use whatever tamale filling you like best (and I have some suggestions, too!)

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Here’s the recipe:

Zesty Tamale Muffins

1 and 1/2 cups fresh ground flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

Combine these ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the following:

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Stir wet mix into the dry ingredients above. Then add:

1 egg white, beaten until stiff

Fold the beaten egg white into batter, then drop one scoop of batter into greased muffins tins, using an ice cream scoop. Top batter with a smaller scoop of taco meat, tamale filling, or my mixture* idea below:

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You can also top this filling with chese, which I did not do in the photo, but which makes these much more kid-friendly.

Next, cover filling with a second ice cream scoop of the batter:

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Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, then allow to cool for ten minuted before removing from tins (when they’re really hot and soft, they can fall apart if you try to remove them from the tins too soon!).

These taste great when spread with sour cream! 🙂

*For my filling, I sauteed six ounces of chorizo sausage with a diced onion and minced garlic clove, then drained the oil and dropped it into the center of the tamale batter. This is spicy and not very kid-friendly, but I sure liked it! 🙂

Chocolate Brownie Sludge

It isn’t fudge

And it isn’t brownie batter.

I call it “Brownie Sludge” because it is a cross between the two.

dscn1241I invented it one day in my kitchen because my kids always beg to taste my brownie batter. But I never want to feed them raw eggs, so I started giving them the brownie batter *before* adding the eggs.

 The consistency of brownie batter before eggs is thick, rich, and fudgy! Soon my husband and I were scooping this stuff out with our fingers, then moving on to very large spoons.

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When I’m dieting, I make it from boxed brownie mix by omitting the eggs and the oil and just adding the water called for on the back of the box. This quasi-diet sludge is even thicker!

The next time you make brownies, give it a try, and I guarantee your batter won’t make it into the oven, either! 🙂

How to Bake When the Power Goes Out

I’ve already mentioned that I like to grind my own wheat

hand-grinderBut inaddition to my Nutrimill Electric grinder, I also bought a hand-powered grinder to grind my daily wheat when the power goes out (I live in the arctic–it happens every winter at least once!). But  I often wonder: once I grind my wheat, how will I bake bread without power?? Sure, I could make tortillas on my grill, but I want BREAD, too!

Today I learned how! I can bake Italian Torta al Testo bread on my barbecue grill, or even in the fireplace! For the recipe, click here!

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

I sure wish I could get my camera to do justice to these heavenly, delicious, meal-on-the-go muffins, but they look all bumpy because I use home-mashed potatoes (I live in Idaho–using instant potatoes is a felony here!). Those of you who do use instant potatoes will find that your muffins have a much smoother shape and texture–not the rocky surfaces seen here: 

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I invented this super-scrumptious muffin so that I could have some sort of grab-n-go lunches in my freezer for days when I was going to be running errands or working, and didn’t want to rely on fast food for me or my kids.tatermuff01 I always bake these as a mini muffin to help save on calories per serving, because they do have cheese and bacon in them, but I leave the skins on my potatoes and use wheat flour, so they are still healthier than any restaurant version.

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Oh yeah–they taste better, too!  Here’s the recipe:

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

2 egg yolks

3 cups mashed potatoes (or 3 cups grated raw potatoes, squeezed dry in a dish towel)

1/4 cup grated oniontatermuff3

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 stiffly beaten egg whites

1 cup crumbled cooked bacon

3/4 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup sliced chives (optional)

Stir the egg yolks into the potatoes and onion. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to potato mixture, then fold in the oil and beaten egg whites. Stir in bacon bits and cheese (along with chives, if using them). Spray mini-muffin tins with canola cooking spray, then drop muffins into tins using a regular-sized ice cream scoop. Batter must fill cups because muffins won’t rise much. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until edged are dark brown and crisp, insides resemble dry mashed potatoes. Garnish tops with extra shredded cheese and bake another couple of minutes.

Refrigerate in air-tight container within 2 hours of baking.

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Sugar-Free Pumpkin-Chocolate Muffins

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The pumpkin in this batter helps hide the gritty texture of your wheat flour, so you can grind your wheat as coarse as you want (within reason) and your kids will still devour these scrumptious yet healthy muffins. Mine sure do! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Muffins

1 and 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

3/4 cup raisins or coconut (I prefer sugar-free or regular miniature semisweet chocolate chips–NOT milk chocolate which is too sugary.  The raisins just weren’t as kid-friendly)

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix together until combined.  Bake in muffin cups at 350 for 20-25 minutes for regular size muffins or 8-12 minutes for mini muffins.

SOFT Homemade Wheat Bread

wheat-breadProblem: we all love whole wheat bread and know that it is healthiest if homemade, but too many homemade whole-wheat loaves look, taste, and feel like bricks!

The Amish have always known the secret: to make a soft whole wheat loaf, you have to use more oil and more sugar. The sugar activates the yeast and makes the dough rise higher, and the oil keeps the bread soft (baguettes, on the other hand, use very little oil). Health nuts who worry about added fat and sugar should weigh the benefits of getting kids to eat whole grain breads that taste good versus kids refusing to eat rock-hard bread that is healthier! 🙂

Also, this recipe requires you to let the dough rise twice, rather than adding processed gluten. Bread manufacturers routinely dump tons of processed gluten into their dough instead of waiting for it to rise (the gluten–aka GLUE–makes the dough go POOF almost instantly) which can cause migraines or make children sensitive even allergic to wheat. But wheat kernels have natural, healthy gluten in them already; you jsut have to let it rise twice for the gluten to “awaken.”

Here’s my recipe:

Super-Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread (4 loaves)

4 cups warm water

1 and 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons yeast

*Combine these ingredients in the bowl of a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine. Pulse to mix, then let sit for a few minutes until foamy. Then add:

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice (can substitute dough enhancer or lecithin)

12 cups fresh-ground flour

3 teaspoons salt

*Let the Bosch knead all ingredients together for about ten minutes, then place resulting dough into a large bowl, coated with canola cooking spray. Cover with a light dish towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm location. Let it rise until double (30 min-hour depending on room temp), then punch down and let it rise a second time. Then punch the dough down again and shape into four loaves. Let those loaves rise again, then bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.