Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Tasty Treats

Muffins are far and away some of the easiest foods to whip up. Not only are they easy, but they’re infinitely variable, and one heck of a good way to use up all the “bits and pieces” lurking in your fridge and pantry. I can’t imagine any other type of food that can take vegetables, dregs of milk, the last of the honey and a handful of cooked or raw grains and combines it into a portable, tasty and (if you play your cards right) healthy meal on the go that even picky kids will like. They can be packed with oats, sunflower seeds and applesauce with hardly any sugar and nary a trace of fat, or you can channel Costco or the local bakery and plug in gads of butter and chocolate while the whole wheat flour hangs out in the back of the cupboard. Likewise, muffins can become breakfast, snacks or even dessert. It’s all in the presentation.

Usually when it comes to making muffins though, it’s because I’m bored and looking for a quick way to both avoid things that I “should” be doing (like homework, or cleaning my room, or writing blog posts... I can’t focus!) and make something fun and unique to take along to appointments or give to my classmates.  It’s always a bonus if I don’t have to run to the store, or if I’m already there finding a cheap goody to make a fairly “standard” batter unique.

That was how I came about making these rather random, somewhat Asian-y flavoured bites. Already in the Asian grocery store picking up some veggies and chicken for that purple soup I concocted (meat is so much cheaper there than at the “box box” guys, and amazing quality too!), I breezed by the “death bin” of produce and found some gems. Not only did I get some beautiful mushrooms and a giant parsnip for a steal (I don’t know why they were in there but they were!) but I also found a bag containing a couple limes and a slightly over-ripe mango. I had some tahini waiting patiently in the fridge for someone to use, and a partial can of coconut milk in the freezer, and I already had the purple rice out to be simmered away in the soup. It all seemed like a perfectly logical combination, especially when I remembered the beautiful bread that I baked in July with the cooked wild rice mixture. Once the rice was done and the coconut milk was thawed, it was a flash-in-the-pan (or rather “mix-in-the-bowl”) before I had these flavour bombs cooling on my counter.

Tasty Thai Muffins
Makes 16
1 ½ cups cooked purple rice (also called "forbidden rice") - about 2/3 cup dry
½ cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
1 egg
j
uice and zest of 1 lime
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ cup honey
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut milk
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 cup flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 Ataufo (honey) mango, peeled and diced
  1. Preheat oven to 400F, line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine rice, tahini, egg, honey and milk.
  3. Stir in flours, baking powder and salt until just moistened.
  4. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 199.7
Total Fat: 7.3 g
Cholesterol: 13.3 mg
Sodium: 21.2 mg
Total Carbs: 31.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 4.6 g

Still on my muffin-making kick while my mom was away in Texas, and without any “good excuse” to hit the shops, I turned back to the random bits in my fridge for answers. If you remember the super-flavourful cranberry, honey and wine sauce I cooked down a little while back, I figured it, along with some cereal and dried cranberries, would make for some pretty healthy and delicious snacks for my dedicated “eaters”. Of course, that same sauce also had a shot of curry and thyme leaves too, but that fell by the wayside as I folded it into the grainy batter. If anything, it probably tempered the super-sweet factor of the honey and the pre-sweetened dried fruit, while adding a touch of “ooh la la” to the baked outcome. Of course, I’m sure this would have worked just as well with a can of the “whole-berry” stuff, but I’d take out the maple syrup in that case or you wind up with sticky-sweetness coating your mouth.

Completely Cran - Tastic Wholegrain Muffins
Makes 12
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup 100% Bran cereal (the twigs, not buds)
3/4 cup V8 V-Fusion® Pomegranate Blueberry juice blend (or 100% cranberry juice)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp fresh-grated ginger
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (preferably homemade) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick coating.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats and bran cereal, the pour juice and syrup overtop and set aside 10 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, ginger and flax mixture to the soaked cereal and blend well.
  5. Gently stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  6. Finally, gently fold in the cranberry sauce and dried cranberries.
  7. Bake for 18-19 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 146.5
Total Fat: 1.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 57.4 mg
Total Carbs: 33.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Protein: 3.3 g

1 comment :

Spice Sherpa said...

Muffins? Did you say muffins? Me and my family are all over that! And from a nutritionist no less. I'll be looking for more!