Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bran Flax Muffins

Muffins aren't very photogenic, bran muffins even less so, hence no photo accompanying this post. Despite the fact that they are ugly, I love them- for breakfast, as a snack, a pre-dinner appetizer (don't judge). Plus, these particular muffins have no added fat; a fact that I didn't even occur to me until after I had put them in the oven to bake. Actually, I panicked for a second when I realized that I hadn't added any oil or anything to the batter and went back to the recipe to check if I had missed something. The recipe had initially intrigued me because it calls for shredded carrot and apple, and it seems that these two additions keep the muffins moist (ugh that word again) without having to add any additional fat. I want to call these muffins low-fat, however flax is pretty high in fat but it's good fat- flax has omega-3's.

I was still a bit sceptical even after they came out of the oven, as I don't have a lot of luck with low fat recipes being very good, to be honest, but these muffins are fantastic. I will never make another bran muffin recipe again. The deal was sealed when Tyler snuck a muffin off the cooling rack (I don't know what he thought they were, but I guarantee he didn't know he was about to eat a bran muffin) and declared them "pretty good". Trust me, that's saying a lot.

Makes 15 muffins
*Flaxseed meal can be found in the health/organic section of the grocery store

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 wheat bran
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 average sized carrots)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with oven rack in the middle of oven. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add shredded carrots and apples, raisins, and nuts. Toss to coat with flour. In a smaller bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk and vanilla to eggs, stir to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry, stir until just moistened- do not overmix!

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool on rack.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I think they call it "nesting"

I spent all weekend painting, sewing, or making lists of things to paint or sew. I was awake until almost 5 am on Friday night because I couldn't sleep for thinking of all the projects I want to work on. You would think that my bouts of pre-baby nesting would involve cooking, but I have an urge to make things- like curtains and refinishing furniture.

I blame it on the NHL play-offs. Hear me out. Tyler was watching his Flyers on Friday night, so I started casually looking at Design*Sponge for ideas for the baby's room. Four hours and many bookmarks of things from their DIY section later, I was hooked. Fast forward to 1:00 am- I am wide awake laying in bed, thinking of all kinds of other DIY things that I can do around the house, so I get up and watch DIY Network for a few hours. I now have a list of about 15 things I want to work on.

We went to Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday and found all kinds of cool stuff to make over. A console table for $5? Sold. Sure, it needs some major sanding and painting and tightening of bolts that hold the legs on, but it has all four legs at least. For $5! It will be perfect for to hold a laptop and printer in our home office. Paint in the exact colour I was looking for to paint our bedside tables for $5? Done. Three shelves for $15? Cha-ching. These I think are actually remnants from cabinet-making, but are the perfect size for shelves and all I have to do is figure out a way to hang them.

Saturday night when other people are out partying and hanging out with friends (my husband included), found me in the garage painting a chair. Look at it! I got this chair at a garage sale when we bought our first house almost 5 years ago, and it was U-G-L-Y. Now it is pretty and happy. How could you not be obsessed with making something cool out of junk?

Here are a few things that I hope to have completed in the next week or so:
- Make an apron out of the material I cut off the curtains in the kitchen
- Finish sewing those curtains back up and get them hung before Tyler kills me for messing up the curtains
- Make fabric covered box valences for baby's room
- Re-work the old cabinets from my parents kitchen reno into storage benches (really excited about this one, but probably won't get this done this week!)

Since this is a food blog, I leave you with this recipe for BBQ Pork Kebabs. These are so good and easy- we have them for dinner with rice and grilled corn quite often in the summer, and even a made them couple of times for guests. Some recipes for grilled corn say to grill them in the husks- I like my corn husked and put right on the grill so it gets browned in spots and nutty. I think it takes about 20 minutes to cook on the grill over direct heat, turning often.

Aloha Pork Kebabs from Chatelaine Magazine May 2006