Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Pumpkin Zucchini Breakfast Muffins

These muffins are not too sweet but also quite filling for breakfast. They are really quite easy to make since they do not require any prolonged preparation or mixing. It's a good way to use up any small pieces of pumpkin or zucchini that you may have in your fridge.


1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup Colombian Panela Redonda (or any dark brown sugar)
2 Tablespoon molasses
2 large eggs
¾ cup grated pumpkin
½ cup shredded zucchini
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup vegetable oil
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, shredded coconut, spices, baking powder, baking soda, ½ cup of the pumpkin seeds, and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the half and half, vanilla, sugar and molasses until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the grated pumpkin, shredded zucchini, and 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries into the half and half mixture. Cool to lukewarm.
  5. Whisk the oil and eggs together. Add the cooled half and half mixture to this, then add the wet to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups, filling them about 2/3 full (I use Jumbo foil lined muffin cups). Sprinkle the remaining pumpkin seeds and cranberries evenly over the tops of the muffins, carefully pressing them into the batter with your fingers or the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer the muffins, in the tin, to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the tin and let cool completely on the rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or wrap carefully and freeze.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Blueberry Cranberry Almond Baked Oatmeal

I am a big fan of the health benefits that come from eating oats (not so big on the calorie load). Baked oatmeal is a "stick to your ribs" breakfast, and with seasonal fruit and a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt, is a quick and healthy breakfast that will keep you full for quite a while. I have different variations on my website, and this is a combination that I have been wating to try for quite a while. Despite only having 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, the natural sweetness from the dried fruit makes it sweet enough for me. If you like it sweeter, top with a little maple syrup or honey.

1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal
4 tablespoons dry, shredded coconut
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/3-1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 medium Granny Smith or other slightly tart apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or almond extract. I don't use it because I find the flavor too strong)

1.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, oatmeal, chopped nuts, flax meal, coconut, baking powder, and salt. 
2.      Mix the sugar, honey, spices, dried fruit, and vanilla, with the milk and half and half. Slowly bring to below boiling, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat, add the shredded apple, and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature.  
3.      Heavily grease a 8x8x2 inch baking tin or Pyrex dish (If I’m using Pyrex, I put about 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the dish, microwave to melt, then swirl around to coat the bottom and sides just like you would do when making a bread pudding).  
4.      Whisk the eggs, and add the lukewarm milk mixture to this (do not add it while the milk is still hot).
5.      Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use a wooden spoon to distribute the solids evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours (6 hours at least) or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. 
6.      Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and twenty minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, in a water bath, until the center is set, firm to the touch, has a golden color, and a cake tester inserted comes out relatively clean (I use a food thermometer to make sure that the center temperature is 164 degrees Fahrenheit or just above). Cut into the size squares of your choosing. I also freeze the squares, and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in a microwave.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Very Seedy, Gooey, Sticky, Oat Bar

These bars are like a soft brittle (I know soft and brittle are just opposites), sticky, gooey and sweet. I certainly don't think they are very healthy but do satisfy any craving you might have for something sweet. Warning: They are addictive, but it would not be advisable to eat too many....hard as that may be!
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons water
3/4 cup brown sugar (I told you it was sweet)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Measure all the dry ingredients (EXCEPT the sugar) in a bowl.
2. Bring to a slow boil, the butter, sugar, molasses, and water. Simmer for about 5 minutes
3. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Pour into a 9X13 inch pan lined with parchment paper
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and score into squares the size of your choosing. Let sit for 15 minutes than return to over and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool. They will firm up a bit as they cool. Break into the pre-scored squares.  Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Low Sugar Granola Wholewheat Muffins

These muffins are not as sweet as others I have on my site. The good thing about that is if you want to make it sweeter, you can spread the muffin with a low sugar, or no sugar added spread to bring it up to your taste. The muffins are rich in fiber since I have used flax meal, granola, oatmeal and wholewheat flour. While not as gigantic in size as a true breakfast muffin, it does provide a satisfying snack.
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup flax meal
½ cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I use Colombian Panela Redonda)
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 cup prepared granola ( I use my homemade Chocolate Caramel Toffee Granola, also on this site)
½ large granny smith apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup yogurt
¾ cup half and half
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Insert Jumbo muffin liners into a 12 piece muffin tin.   
2. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, including the granola. 
3. Gently warm the half and half mixed with the vanilla, molasses and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. 
4. Peel and shred the apple. Add the lemon juice to this and set aside. 
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, yogurt until combined. Add to this, the half and half mixture and mix until combined. Add in the apple and lemon juice and quickly add to the dry ingredients, stirring just enough to combine (you will see bubbles forming in the batter at this stage due to the reaction between the lemon juice and the soda). 
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full. 
7. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional granola, if desired. 
8. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. Cool on a rack.