Category Archives: Non-Breads

Healthy Banana Muffins

Well, I can’t eat bananas fast enough. I like them with some brown spots, so I wait and wait and then… BAM! Too many bananas. Luckily, I have this healthy– downright virtuous!– muffin recipe (based off this one) to convert those babies into breakfast or an afternoon snack. They’re not too sweet; I like to spread honey or peanut butter on them. And the secret ingredient? A little garam masala for complexity elevates these babies from run-of-the-mill to spectacular. Go ahead, have two. If you eat them warmed up, you can’t even tell they’re good for you.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (available in the spice section)
2 eggs
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup skim milk
2 mashed ripe bananas
Make Em:
Preheat your oven to 375, and line a muffin tin with liners.
Combine all ingredients and stir until you have a chunky, dough-like batter. Spoon into muffin tins so they’re about 3/4 full. Put the tin in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins “spring back” when you press lightly on the tops.  Let cool slightly before enjoying.

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

I’m an early riser– I try to get my workout in before I go to work at 7:30 in the morning. A portable breakfast, then, is key. Usually I take a Fage yogurt with me, but since I’m trying to use up everything in my pantry, I decided to make some healthy(ish) muffins instead. I had peanut butter on hand, and dried cranberries, so that’s what I used in my modification of the recipe here. They turned out really great!

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tsp safflower oil

2 T Greek yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or you could use peanuts, chocolate chips, whatever.)

Make Em:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Let cool on wire racks before trying!

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Soft, Salty Pretzels

My family is big into Sam’s Club.


When we were kids my brothers and I could drink a gallon of milk a day, and once we learned how to use the oven, we burned (usually figuratively, sometimes literally) through frozen pizzas at an alarming rate. One of my favorite things from the jumbo-sized retailer were microwaveable soft pretzels. Except they weren’t actually very good– they were hard and flavorless and probably packed with preservatives. But I loved the idea of a soft pretzel– a little salty, warm and fluffy… and today, I made them myself. Forget the giant box in the freezer section. These are fun to make and not as hard as you’d think! The recipe is a halved variation on this one.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup warm water (maybe plus a little more. I added a few more teaspoons but I often do.)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon iodized salt

1 T baking soda

some cornmeal to dust the baking sheet

3 cups of water, plus 1 teaspoon

1 egg

kosher salt

Make Em:

Proof the yeast in the water with the sugar added. Combine the flours and salt, then pour in the dissolved yeast and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, maybe 5 minutes or so. The dough at this point should be sticky, but not stuck to your hands… add flour as necessary. Let rise one hour, covered, in a warm place.

Divide the dough into six balls. Roll each ball into a long, thin rope about a 15-18 inches long. Form a circle, leaving a few

inches on each end. Twist the ends once and then bring them to the inside of the circle in a pretzel shape. (Although you could put them in any shape you please, really. Pretzel bread, circles, hearts… follow your bliss.) Pinch the ends into the circle. Let rest while you boil 3 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda added.

Like this.

Preheat oven to 425. Reduce heat on water to medium. Drop pretzels, one by one, into simmering water. Flip after fifteen seconds (they should be floating) and then drain on a plate. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Once drained, place pretzels on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Mix one egg with one teaspoon of water and lightly brush pretzels with egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 12 minutes until golden and fabulous.

Makes six pretzels… four if you immediately eat two of them. Enjoy!

Ready for the Oven

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Making Friends With Crepes

So there’s a crepe restaurant here in Charlottesville. And everybody loves the crepe restaurant. Except me. I’m not really all that into crepes.


See? Everyone but me.

I had them in Paris, back in the 90s, and they were fine, I guess– lackluster pancakes, really. I just wasn’t all that enthused. But now, it’s 2011, and I have some leftover melted chocolate from the strawberries, which I’ve mixed with peanut butter. Which would be really good on… crepes.

We’re going to get liberal with this recipe from Alton Brown.

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/4 cup plus a splash more of milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup flour

1-1/2 T butter, melted, plus extra for the pan

1 T sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Make Em:

Mix all the ingredients in a blender, then let the batter sit in the fridge for an hour. (Mr. Brown says this will keep the crepes from tearing.) Then heat up a nonstick pan and coat it with butter. Pour batter into the pan like you would pancakes, flipping and cooking on each side. This should make 6-7 crepes.

Crepes can be served with lemon and powdered sugar, or strawberries, or banana, or plain, or whatever. You can also make them savory, with sausage or spinach… I mean, it’s flour and an egg, right? It goes with everything. I’m serving mine with sliced strawberries and chocolate/peanut butter sauce.

Yum! I may just like crepes after all.

Do you have a food that you never really liked until one day, you just… did? What is it?

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Road Trip Food: Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Or, Why You Should Use Muffin Pan Liners

It’s Spring Break, and I am going to be doing some road-tripping. This calls for two things:

1) I have to eat all the perishable food in my house and

2) I need something to eat on the drive!

So, recipe one: chocolate chip banana muffins, which will knock out my bananas AND the yogurt in my fridge. Nice.

This recipe is a modification of the one found here.

Ingredients

1 egg

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup skim Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

a handful of semisweet chocolate chips

If you aren’t familiar with my philosophy on chocolate chips, it’s that you should eyeball it until you think you’ve added enough. Everyone’s got a different chocolate threshold!

Make ‘Em:

Preheat your oven to 350, and prepare a muffin pan with liners, or just grease the pan. More on that part later.

Combine the egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the sugars, then stir in the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Pour into pan, 2/3 full in each well.

Bake 20-25 minutes. You can use the toothpick test if you aren’t sure.

… Except, this left me with burnt muffins!

Gotta eat around the burned shell.

All of my muffins were burned black on the bottoms, and I think it’s because I greased the pan instead of using liners. I had read that this was preferable, but now I’m arguing for the opposite: bring on the colored paper liners.

The good news is, these were still edible, and in fact quite scrumptious. Except I can’t bring myself to share them because they look like they’d be bitter… hmm. More for me, and lesson learned.

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