Mini Corn Muffins

There isn’t much to say about these sweet little things. Hardly worth a post, but I enjoyed them so much, I thought, why not!

I picked up my mini-muffin tins from my mom recently, they are so useful and cute, albeit annoying to wash. And pinterest as so many fun ideas with mini muff pans,  I wanted to do something creative and fun, I ended up with boring corn muffins, but they are delicious, and so much cuter than regular muffins.

The hierarchy of corn based baked goods cuteness goes something like this

1. Mini Corn Muffins (cute)

2. Regular Corn Muffins (neither lacking nor comprising of cuteness)

3. Corn Bread (not cute)

I just followed the recipe on the side of the corn meal box.

I made two batches of these, so 96 mini muffs, I used fresh corn in them as well, even though the corn is cooked it adds an incredible CRUNCH. Mmmm. I froze two huge bags of them for later use!

My only additional note about muffins, is that you hardly want to mix them, undermix them even, you should be able to see streaks of flour throughout still. Also melt the 3 tablespoons butter before mixing in. I baked these for about 12 minutes at 250 degrees. I added 1 ear of corn, chopped off the cob. And I did spray the muff tins with some non-stick coating.

Pretty simple! Enjoy!

Ham and Potato Quiche

I started reading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmatians) last week, it is nothing short of BEAUTIFUL. I won’t share any of the surprises here, but if you are a fan of anything Jane Austen, you will enjoy this book. At one point the characters in the book are bestowed a ham. The author describes the ham so wonderfully, it made me hunger for ham.

Ham can be expensive, at least for our budget. I ended up finding a sale bone-in ham for $12 at Rosauer’s. We enjoyed a few days of delicious ham sandwiches, I froze some leftovers and used some leftovers for this quiche.

I used leftover tortilla dough for the crust, I was hoping it was going to solve all my crust isues, but unfortunately it ended up being just weird. . . I highly recommend using your own pie crust recipe or pre-made crust.

We had a lot of potatoes, so I used those as well. Matt and I don’t enjoy excessive amounts of cheese, so feel free to add more cheese to the recipe.

Ham and Potato Quiche

8 small potatoes, cut into chunks

2 onions, chopped and sautéed till soft

2 cups of chopped ham

4 eggs

1 cup egg substitute

1 cup milk

2 tsp pepper

1 TB salt

1 tsp paprika

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pie Crust (your choice)

Whisk eggs, egg substitute, milk, pepper, salt and paprika together until smooth. Press your choice of pie crust into 9 x 13 casserole baking dish, spread potatoes, ham and onions evenly into pan, pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake in 350 degree for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Aprium Muffins

What is an aprium you might ask? An aprium is a hybrid fruit that is a mix of an apricot and a plum, but more of a APRICOT. comparable to a pluot, yet a pluot is much more PLUM than apricot.

They might be the FIRST official fruit off of my dad’s orchard. They are beautiful and actually quite tasty!

I love a good muffin. I made two batches of these, one I shared with friends, sadly it was lacking in some certain goodness. I made a second batch and it was MUCH better. That is the recipe I will share with you all.

Muffins are not cupcakes, so don’t expect these to be overly sweet. I used my blueberry muffin recipe and added cinnamon.

Aprium Muffins

1 3/4 cups white flour

1 TB white flour (reserved)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp lemon peel

1 cup chopped apriums

1/2 cup applesauce

1 egg

1 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)

2 TB canola oil

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

Mix apriums with 1 tablespoon of flour. In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, mix till incorporated. In another bowl mix remaining ingredients, mix ingredients together until barely mixed. Muffins are sensitive to overmixing, be careful. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes on 375 degrees.

Homemade Tortillas

There were great tortillerias in the small towns around where I grew up, they’ve all but disappeared. It’s quite unfortunate since a freshly made tortilla and a packaged store-bought tortilla are practically two different foods.

It’s quite a shame since homemade tortillas are really easy to make. Way easier than pizza dough even.  I don’t really know why I don’t make them more often. Since we started making them from scratch I haven’t purchased flour tortillas from the store (although I rarely did anyway).

I could eat homemade tortillas with homemade refried beans for dinner and probably not feel that bad about it.

One cringe moment with this recipe . . .  it contains lard, which kind of makes my stomach turn. If you’ve read my rants and ravings on this blog long enough, especially my tamale post, you know I have a complicated relationship with lard. It’s yucky animal fat, right?

HOWEVER. I think I would like to recant my statements against lard.

I dusted off the old nutrition books, and did some mild research.

The current thought process on eating healthy is to eat UN-saturated fats and limit saturated fats. Unsaturated fats include olive oil, which is what we hear about all day long, (unsaturated fats have been found to lower “bad” cholesterol levels)

Butter and lard have both unsaturated and saturated fats in them. But lard has MORE unsaturated fats than saturated fats in it even though it is higher in calories than butter. Butter has more saturated fats than unsaturated fats but fewer calories.

And in all of this please bear in mind that you commonly don’t use lard in excess like Paula Deen uses butter. This tortilla recipe makes 20 tortillas with 2 TABLESPOONS of lard.

And besides all of this, I think we should be WAY MORE CONCERNED about filling our guts full of sugar and processed grains rather than quibble over a little fat.

And yet again I digress. . .

Back to the recipe

Matt and I whip up a batch of tortillas in 10 minutes flat. The first time took longer because we had to figure out how to roll them, cook them, etc. We usually just make up the ones we want for the meal and store the dough in the fridge. We’ve stored the dough for up to 5 days and it’s still worked fine.

I like tortillas because they are carb-y without overloading you with carbs, not like mashed potatoes or noodles. That statement made sense in my head.

We are out of a lot of vegetables today, we did have zucchini tho! So, sautéed that up with a lonely chicken breast and defrosted some fantastic black beans. Topped with sour cream and salsa and it was FANTASTIC.

(Never underestimate the deliciousness of zucchini)

Homemade Tortillas

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons lard
1 1/2 cups water

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the medium-hot skillet, and cook until bubbly; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer; continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Gingersnap Cranberry Balls

Since the raw brownies  I made a few weeks ago were a success I thought I’d try some of the other energy balls I saw on pinterest. But since I cannot follow a recipe verbatim to save my life I drew inspiration from a few recipes and decided to do my own thing.

Gingersnap Cranberry Balls

20 Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger snap cookies

1/2 cup walnuts, ground

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 TB Maple Syrup

8 Medjool Dates (SEEDS REMOVED)

Toss everything in food processor, process unti everything is incorporated, roll into 3/4 inch balls, should make at least 20 balls

Here is your SCHWEET nutrition facts for 1 ball, 90 kcals isn’t too bad.

Bearded men like gingersnap cranberry balls

So do beautiful nurses

Thank you to D.O. and to Laura for being great taste testers and food models.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Mmmmm, I don’t know why I was drawn to this recipe initially, other than I FREAKIN LOVE MACARONIC AND CHEESE.

I love the 800 calorie a serving Stoffers frozen mac and cheese. I love the fluorescent orange Kraft mac and cheese (however I prefer the “shapes” version the most, dinosaurs, spongebob, etc). A treat is Annie’s brand Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar boxed macaroni, mmmm. Absolutely loved that stuff.

But, as stated, mac and cheese is usually chock full of fat and cholesterol.

This recipe is low on saturated fat, “meh” on protein, and has ZERO cholesterol.

Okay, mild rant on cholesterol . . . it’s not as bad as everyone says it is, so take a chill pill. Breast milk for goodness sake has copious amounts of cholesterol in it. . . actually on second thought I’ll tackle cholesterol another day.

Back to the recipe.

First of all, this is far from original for me. I’ve tried other vegan mac and cheese recipes with nutritional yeast, cashews etc, but my favorite HANDS down is Hannah Kaminsky’s from her blog BitterSweet. I won’t use her pictures (which are GORGEOUS by the way) and I won’t post her recipe either. But you can access it from here.

My changes: Double the tumeric, use 1 cup instant mashed potatoes rather than the 1 cup yukons. I also omit the oil, it’s a texture/consistency thing, add it in if you want the consistency, but I don’t miss it or the caloires.

You really do need a food processor for this recipe. Yum. Seriously my favorite comfort food ever.

And nutritional yeast? It’s a dream. Love that stuff, anytime I’m making something and I want it “cheesy” I just add a few TB of it, does the trick everytime. Kind of challenging to find. I purchase it in the bulk sections of health food stores, Co-Ops, Whole Foods, Main Market . . . how I wish Trader Joe’s would carry it, but it is a little obscure, even for TJs.

When I buy it, I buy a lot, so I don’t have to hunt it down another day. 

At the end of the day is this REALLY all that better for you? Well, I did the calculations following the recipe WITH my changes (omit the oil etc) and this is what I found. Here is one “unit” of Kraft Easy Mac

And here is one LARGE serving of the Vegan Mac and cheese (this is calculated on my own using FDA data for nutrition facts)

Pretty much better all the way around. Of course, bear in mind this is macaroni and cheese, it has tons of sodium and carbs in it. So, still probably not an every day food. But pretty darn reasonable. And not bad on the tummy either. Oh, I forgot to mention it has tons of vitamins in it, since you actually use the water you cook the carrots and onions in, and nutritional yeast has lots of vitamins in it. Here is the rest of the nutrition data.

Dang! Look at that! Pretty great I think.

Black Bean Burgers

My mom went through this fantastic health food phase in the early 90’s, and that is when I was introduced to manufactured “Garden Burgers”, they have greatly improved over the years, my mom and dad still get garden burgers on occasion.

I think it was the Morningstar Farms brand that came out with a spicy black bean burger that was delicious. That was my inspiration for this recipe. I absolutely love black beans. If you took all the bean varieties and rated them by their percent of nutritional awesomeness black beans are right up there with the top 3 in my opinion.

They’ve got loads of protein, iron, calcium, B-vitamins and lets not forget FIBER. Very important for many reasons.

Oh, and yes, this meal does constitute as a COMPLETE PROTEIN, there is egg in the patty. The only fat in addition to the beans is in the egg, so this is an incredibly low-fat, high protein meal. Mmmm yum.

We ate these burgers with spinach, tomato, Dijon mustard and ketchup.

Black Bean Burgers

3 cups black beans

4 slices bread toasted*

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

2 TB hot sauce

Toast 4 slices of bread (I used stale oatnut bread) tear up and pulse in food processor until desirable size (see above photo, anything works really). Pour bread crumbs into large bowl. Pulse black beans in food processor with eggs, pepper, salt and cumin until smooth (if it all doesn’t fit in processor then blend beans in smaller portions and mix all together in bowl). Mix black bean mixture with bread crumbs (add hot sauce if that’s your thing), roll into 10 balls. Spray small pan with non-stick coating, press a ball into a patty with hands and place on heated pan (medium heat) cook on each side until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

This recipe made 9 burgers, but could have EASILY made 10, I just wasn’t paying too much attention.

*I suppose you could use bread crumbs, commercially packaged bread crumbs, however, without sounding like a nutritional snoot, I would encourage you to read the ingredients and nutrition facts on a container of . . . let’s say Progresso Bread Crumbs, it’s kind of yucky. Many more ingredients that just a slice of bread and often additional trans fat. One of the few food products STILL on the market with significant amounts of trans-fat. You’ve been warned.

More Bean facts (I LOVE WSU)