Healthy (and Nomable) Mix In Muffins

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

By the end they had a little of all the mix ins in their muffins.

Harmony even helped me wash the dishes! It doesn't get much better than that!

I found the original recipe for these fantastic muffins online and it calls for butternut squash. I used canned pumpkin the first time, instead. The second time, I made them with 4 super ripe bananas. Then Sunday, I made it with 2 ripe bananas pureed and 1 HUGE sweet potato, peeled and shredded. Then I cut up the other .5 banana, an apple, and maraschino cherries into small pieces and put them in individual bowls. I also put out some raisins and shredded coconut. *my kids don't like nuts, but those would be good, too...or pineapple, or whatever you have on hand.* I filled the muffin tins about 1/2 way (SUPER important that you pan spray it or use muffin liners) and then let them stick whatever mix ins they wanted on top. When they were done, I poked everything down into the batter and baked them up.

SO GOOD! I left Marc and mine without mix ins (so just banana pureed and sweet potato) and they were delicious, too!
Basically, it's a very versatile recipe. I also decreased the sugar yesterday to 1/2 cup and Marc and I both thought it was PLENTY sweet still. So here is the recipe and nutrition facts for the butternut squash version and the banana version. Enjoy!!!

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon (I prefer Saigon Cinnamon for the extra heat)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (I replaced oil with applesauce to make it healthier)
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded/mashed roasted butternut squash

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl mix sugar, vegetable oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the roasted butternut squash and optional mix ins. Once the ingredients are incorporated, pour them into 1 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or 18 muffin cups or 9 jumbo muffin cups.

Bake loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Or bake muffins for about 25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
9 Servings (9 jumbo muffins)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 195.0 (for a JUMBO muffin!!!)
Total Fat 2.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 70.8 mg
Sodium 320.3 mg
Potassium 226.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.8 g
Sugars 12.5 g
Protein 6.3 g
Vitamin A 97.8 %
Vitamin B-12 2.8 %
Vitamin B-6 5.5 %
Vitamin C 20.2 %
Vitamin D 2.2 %
Vitamin E 0.9 %
Calcium 5.8 %
Copper 2.5 %
Folate 5.3 %
Iron 4.9 %
Magnesium 5.6 %
Manganese 10.8 %
Niacin 3.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.6 %
Phosphorus 5.4 %
Riboflavin 5.9 %
Selenium 7.9 %
Thiamin 4.1 %
Zinc 1.9 %

Substitute 4 bananas for the squash-
Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
9 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231.8
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 70.8 mg
Sodium 147.2 mg
Potassium 354.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 49.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 23.1 g (So much of this is natural sugars- compare to butternut squash version!)
Protein 6.3 g
Vitamin A 3.0 %
Vitamin B-12 2.8 %
Vitamin B-6 21.0 %
Vitamin C 11.5 %
Vitamin D 2.2 %
Vitamin E 3.2 %
Calcium 5.8 %
Copper 8.1 %
Folate 7.4 %
Iron 9.6 %
Magnesium 13.6 %
Manganese 60.7 %
Niacin 10.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.1 %
Phosphorus 14.4 %
Riboflavin 11.7 %
Selenium 35.2 %
Thiamin 10.2 %
Zinc 7.1 %

Here are just some extra pictures of my cutie patooties doing what Mommy does...baking!! Harmony decided to make some adorable smiley face "cookies" out of her play doh all by herself and I just HAD to take her picture.

Here is Layla helping Mommy bake a lemon pound cake.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for it to bake.

I really need to make more of an effort to get pictures of them EATING the goodies, huh? They just disappear so fast that I don't really get the time to do that often.


Back to school on Monday!

South India- Week 10

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week we were still in India, although we moved to the South. I prepared Mango Chutney, Poori (a puffed flat bread), and Chai Masala (tea). The mango chutney was *loooooooooooooong pause here while I sort through a list of words in my head trying to find the right one to describe the chutney*, let's go with distinctive. It wasn't BAD, and in fact it was quite tasty, but it was not wonderful to eat on it's own. When it first hit your tongue, it was overwhelmingly sweet, but as you chewed it, the heat from the cayenne pepper hit you and balanced out the sweetness. It left you going, "Huh! That was...spicy. And really sweet. Weird." We didn't have a specific dish it was being served with so a few of us tried it on the puffed flat bread. This was pretty good, but even the small 5" round with a little of the chutney was just too much for a serving. I think the chutney would make an interesting ice cream topping or perhaps would accompany chicken or even a lamb burger nicely.

The puffed flat bread was intriguing. It was a simple recipe that called for 1 cup each of wheat flour and AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tb oil, and 1/2 cup water. You mix the flour and salt together, add the oil and mix to form "breadcrumb like texture", although I found it to be much looser than that, and then mix in the water to form a VERY stiff dough. I mixed in the water and let it sit for 5 minutes before I attempted to knead it so the water would be completely absorbed first. Then you cut it into 12 pieces, make them into balls, and roll them into 5" rounds. Once that is done, you heat 1" of oil in a saute pan to 350 degrees or so, and then add one of the rounds. Here is the intriguing part. How does a this super stiff dough PUFF UP?? I found myself grinning as I ladled the oil over the bread in the pan and watched in amazement as it did, in fact, puff up. I love this. THIS is what makes me tick. I seriously was grinning like an idiot.

I also made chai masala tea. This was a very simple recipe but it turned out to be so delightful. In the midst of all the tasting, I sipped my tea and savored every drop of it. I'm sure some of you go to Starbucks and pay over $4 for a grande chai latte. This tea tasted almost exactly like theirs, and I'm absolutely certain it cost far less.

Here is the recipe for those interested.
Chai Masala Tea-
Milk 1 cup(8 oz)
Water 2 cups(16 oz)
Cardamom pods 3
cloves 2
cinnamon 1/2 stick
fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
granulated sugar TT
orange peko tea bags 4

1.) Combine milk and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the spices and sugar to taste.
2.) Turn off the heat, cover and let the spices steep 10 minutes.
3.) Add the tea bags. Bring back to a boil, then turn off the heat and steep 3 minutes.
4.) Strain and serve piping hot.

Cauliflower fritters were also on the menu. I was EXTREMELY unenthusiastic about these. They were not very flavorful and the cauliflower was too crunchy in the final product for my taste. They were served with a tamarind sauce which I wasn't a huge fan of, either.

Another dish was banana erccherry. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I do like bananas, but I do not enjoy the texture of them. I thought that this may turn out to be the texture of the mashed plantains we made a few weeks ago and wasn't looking forward to that. This WAS pretty thick, but the coconut scrapings added a nice texture variation to them. The spices that were included in the dish also made it more enticing.

Another dish was kerala style lamb. The lamb was cut into cubes and simmered. Then a masala sauce was made and the lamb was coated in the sauce for service. This dish was delectable. The lamb was a little on the chewy side, but the flavor more than made up for that. One thing that I really enjoy about Indian cooking is the time and care that is taken to layer and truly allow the flavors to fully develop. Spices are added deliberately in certain quantities at very specific times throughout the cooking process to produce an exact flavor. I find this fascinating. I would love to learn even more about Indian cuisine.

There were many other dishes this week (13 in all) but I only included those that made an impression, good or bad. This was the last week of this quarter cooking new food. Next week is the final. We will be drawing a dish out of a hat and that will be our practical. We will also have a written final and a product ID. Then we will be deep cleaning the kitchen. I must admit that I am glad that this quarter is almost over. This quarter has been long and taxing to my sanity. Or maybe it was taxing because my sanity was in question to begin with. Either way, I think next quarter will be a little bit of a break for me. I am taking Garde Manger (a 2 day lab) and two entry level classes that somehow escaped my attention before now. I will have all my classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. That means those two days will be long, but I will have a whole five days between so that will be nice. I will try to post an entry sometime soon with my Menu Management project material. Perhaps that will be next weeks entry during the "off week" since I won't have new cooking pictures to post. Although pretty soon I will be cooking massive quantities of pumpkin items. Fall is my FAVORITE time of year and I go a little pumpkin crazy.

Week 8- North India

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu: India
Pineapple Smoothie
Vegetable Samosas
Chicken Korma Kashmiri Style
Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Katchumber
Garam Masala
Green Chutney
Spinach with Curd Cheese
Red Kidney Bean Dal
Khumbi Pullao/Mushroom Rice

This week was North India. Oh. My. Goodness. This food was so incredibly fantastic. The smells were delicious in and of themselves. This week was just a fabulous week.

Let’s just go through the list. The pineapple smoothie was incredibly refreshing. It wasn’t a “smoothie” that you would get from, say, Planet Smoothie. The texture was much thinner than the smoothies that we usually think of here in America. It had a little more of a juice kind of consistency but did have the pineapple pieces in it. When everyone was done tasting this, I gulped the rest down. I could have drunk a whole pitcher, I think.

I made the vegetable samosas. These were amazing, too. I wasn’t sure how I would like them because they had peas and chunks of potatoes with seasoning all wrapped in a pastry pocket and fried. Wow. I brought the rest of these home and even Marc liked them, which is surprising because he is SO picky about what he enjoys. These were a hit, though.

The samosas were served with a green (mint) chutney, also made by me. I didn’t think I would like this either, because of the jalepeno in it. I didn’t LOVE it, but it definitely was good in tiny doses on the samoses and rocketed them to a whole other level of deliciousness.

The Chicken Korma was...ok. It wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t hate it either. Same thing with the mushroom rice. It was just kind of blasé to me. Chicken is chicken is chicken, I think to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken, but we’ve been eating so much of it at home that I think I’m just a little chicken-ed out. The red kidney bean dip didn’t even leave an impression at all. It was very forgettable and it probably would have been forgotten if I didn’t have a picture and a recipe card of it.

The spinach with curd cheese was very good, too. Each teams turned out a little different. Group three used A LOT of cheese, which was extremely tasty. Team one just had bigger hunks of cheese in theirs which I enjoyed also. I think our dip was my least favorite, but our cheese was my favorite. The guy who made it kept some cheese separate and seared it off and served it on the side of the spinach. This was a nice twist to the presentation of it.

The Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Katchumber (dip) also shocked me. This was kind of like a salsa except it had the cucumbers in it. I made the flat bread which was used to scoop this up and eat it. This was delightfully refreshing also, and I used it sort of as a palate cleanser in between bites of the other heartier food. I kept returning to it, though, and eating more, and more, and more of it. I was so full by the end of the tasting on this day I could not eat a single bite of lunch later. I cannot wait to see what amazing things we cook this next week!!

On a side note, Marc has asked me to begin disguising veggies so he will eat more of them. I am embracing this challenge and really having fun with it. So far I have been able to get him to drink a sweet potato smoothie that tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and eggplant and spinach stuffed shells. The stuffed shells turned out so amazing, I was even surprised. The reason I am including this little side note is because I never would have even tried to experiment with the eggplant if it were not for already using it in World. I have learned a great deal about ingredients that I have never encountered before and for that I am extremely grateful. I had a preconceived notion about eggplant because I had it once before and it was NOT prepared correctly. This makes me wonder what other fabulous ingredients I am missing out on because I had them once and hated them. What a shame that I haven’t been partaking in this delightful violet veggie all along. I’m sure I will make up for it now that I know how scrumptious it is!

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