Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Applesauce-Oat Bran Muffins


applesauce oatbran muffins
I have been baking my breakfast for the week on Saturdays and muffins have been my staple. What can you not love about muffins: it is portable, can be savory or sweet (admittedly, I opt for the sweet ones), and one can stuff them with anything they want.

I have been opting for low- to non-fat muffins so I can have my fat elsewhere (Think peanut butter, people!). I also want to increase my fiber intake so I’ve been using a lot of oats and oat bran. I found this Banana-oat bran recipe in Food.com which I can use as a starter recipe.

Obviously, I have been using this for quite a while and the recipe needs to be cleaned up. I am using this week’s post to do so and share it with you folks.

Here’s what I have for now. Let me know what you think.

Mad Gourmet Applesauce-Oat Bran Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup of applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of oat bran
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (use white sugar, if you want more rise)
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp of butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp of chia seeds (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine oats, oat bran, applesauce, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Add the melted butter and milk in the applesauce-oat bran mixture.
  6. Combine dry ingredients to wet. I usually do the reverse, but in this case there is more wet ingredients and it  is just more practical.
  7. Fold in nuts, raisins and chia seeds, if using.
  8. Divide batter among 10 muffin cups.
  9. Bake about 20 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins come clean.
  10. Transfer to a rack and cool.
  11. Serve warm or just grab one to go.

Verdict

This has been my go-to muffin recipe for breakfast. I have tried other delicious recipes, but this is the one I use most often. I do vary the flavor: maybe using bananas (and coconut oil) for a more tropical twist. I omit the cinnamon and nutmeg though for the banana muffins and boost the vanilla. Sometimes, I add chocolate chips, nibs, or both.

It does use a lot of ingredients, but you can simplify by using just the 1/2 cup of oat bran and 3/4 cup of flour. I really just want to boost my fiber intake. If you want a gluten-free version, you can probably use rice flour or quinoa flour. You may need to bake it 5 minutes more when using quinoa.

Other subs? Almond milk instead of regular milk (dairy does not agree with me too much). I am also watching my sugar intake, so I more often use agave or a combination of thereof. If you use agave, you may end up with breakfast cakes since it would not rise as much.

For a vegan alternative, use olive oil instead of butter or just omit the oil altogether (I have by accident, It will be as moist enough).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Discovery Weekends: Inspirations


I’ve been looking through my iPhone photos (all 1,895 of them) and have realized that I have been remiss in some of my discovery adventures. In this post, I am going to focus on my inspirations for my future projects from Bay Area restaurants.

From Lazy Dog Restarant, Concord: Delicious Sticky Hawaiian Ribs, Unami Fries and Asian Slaw. I got to learn how to make ribs - maybe via the slow-cooker.

Sticky Ribs from Lazy Dog Restaurant


From Bocanova, Jack London Square, Oakland: Short-rib Empanadas - got to make empanadas before the weather gets warmer. It has been my goal. These were delicious and inspiring.

Empanadas from Bocanova

Also from Bocanova, Yucca Cheese Fritters. I've never worked with yucca before so this may be a good starter.



From Rustic Tavern, Lafayette, a delicious cod sandwich and truffle fries. The cod was very light and the fries... well, they got me at "truffle." In the background is my new vice... Ginger Beer.

Cod Sandwich from Rustic Tavern at Lafayette

Also from Rustic Tavern, Fettucine Carbonara - Did you see those chunks of bacon? Portions were really huge (We also shared a delicious salad to start). Unfortunately, we did not save room for their famous Mason Jar cheesecake. Got to return (and just share an entrée)!!!

Fettucine Carbonara from Rustic Tavern


From DJ's Bistro in Concord: Don't let the name fool you - this place is a really good German restaurant. I ordered the Jaegerschintzel because I had a craving and I have never made it before. 'Should attempt to make it with some spaetzle for my German-American husband.



From Fiore Italian Restaurant in Concord: Gnocchi Marsala - seems to be a good Marsala sauce starter recipe... and my husband loves Marsala. I still think of Fiore as Mediterranean cuisine - they have delicious tagines.

Gnocchi Marsala from Fiore Restaurant in Concord

Also from Fiore, a not-so-traditional paella, half-order. I do like the presentation.

Paella from Fiore Restaurant

And their desserts look fantastic! I think this was a Berry Tartlet. Look at the wonderful design... I think this clearly shows their Mediterranean roots.

Berry Tartlet


Speaking of desserts, From La Sen French Bistro in Concord, Apple tartlets. Reminds me of a portable apple pie... or empanada. Their food is delicious; we shared the French Onion Soup, Lamb Shank, and the tartlet for a sweet ending. The other pictures just came out too dark.

Apple Tartlets from La Sen Bistro in Concord, CA


Sigh, too many recipes, too little time. To add to the clichés, "it has been a year since I started my blog". I have been posting almost every week. Because of this, I really have not had enough time to play with new ingredients, transform or develop recipes, and write. It has been a frantic schedule, and as you can see I have a backlog. So for Year Two, I will start posting twice a month to give me time to experiment, play, and most importantly, eat...err, discover.


Until next post...in about two weeks or so.