Muffins!

I had a collection of muffin recipes before I went vegan. They were pretty traditional, with all-purpose (AP) flour (which I’d haphazardly exchange for whole wheat as I felt like it/had it available), egg, and sometimes milk. I did like to use pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce, but they always included sugar and CHOCOLATE CHIPS. We lloooovvve chocolate chips!

More recently my baking efforts have been a little more sophisticated, in that I want to use a recipe that is specifically designed for the particular flour that I use. But I don’t like the idea of using AP flour–I seek out whole wheat recipes. I have found some good ones:

Dark chocolate banana bread: I’ve never been a fan of bananas. This includes smoothies that include bananas, banana flavored candies, and banana bread. But, I’m a vegan now, I eat plants, so I think I should try to get on board the banana train if I want to eat muffins. I made this quickbread as muffins, so it counts. I decided to try it because my kids like bananas and muffins, I had new star-shaped muffin molds, and chocolate (it can’t be that bad with all that chocolate, right?). It was ok. The kids liked them, but I had a hard time with the banana. The second time I made it, I had a cold and a stuffy nose, and couldn’t taste the banana. I loved them that day.

Sugar-free banana muffins: I used molasses instead of honey, vegan margarine as the butter, and some sort of egg replacer (I don’t remember–either pumpkin puree, aquafaba, or Ener-G, I’m guessing). I also left out the walnuts. These were super delicious, but unnecessarily sweet. Also, I get her point, but it irks me when people say “sugar free” when you just sub a liquid sweetener or xylitol for the sugar. Really, with overripe bananas, you can get by with very little sweetener.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread from Chocolate Covered Katie: This recipe was already vegan, so I didn’t make changes, other that omitting the additional sweetener. I went with canned pumpkin puree, sugar over xylitol, spelt flour over AP, and my milk of choice was unsweetened almond. I don’t have pumpkin pie spice; I just used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (in ascending order) to make up the 1/2 teaspoon called for. I had to bake it for a little longer that the recipe specified. This doesn’t have any fat like butter or oil, but it was still pretty good for me and the kids. And chocolate chips are in it, so ya know…:-D

Those chocolate chips got me thinking…they are sweet enough that whatever I throw them into doesn’t need to be so sweet. Maybe I could find an “unsweetened” muffin recipe rather than “sugar free”. More on that later!

What attributes do you look for in a muffin recipe?

Mediterranean Vegan Lasagna for the freezer

I love the idea of spending one day cooking–perhaps following Once A Month Meals’ plans–and then just turning on the oven for the rest of the week/month with no worries about babysitting the stovetop, chopping veggies, or otherwise spending time in the kitchen. I haven’t been able to spend a whole day cooking, nor do I have a large freezer, so I just cook when I can and try to make enough for leftovers.

I tried the Mediterranean Vegan Lasagna because Catboy has been interested in Greek culture ever since he discovered the Percy Jackson book series. He usually doesn’t like bell peppers or onions, and to be honest, neither do I. But ever since I went vegan (rather than vegetarian) a few months ago, I’ve made a point to try new foods and really give them a fair chance. To get the flavor and texture I like best, I cooked the onions and peppers a little longer than it said and barely cooked the zucchini cubes. I ended up having to cook the pasta and veggies on one day, assemble it another and stick it in the fridge, then bake one after a couple hours of freezing.

I couldn’t find whole wheat lasagna noodles so I let Catboy choose his whole wheat pasta of choice: linguini. I used half a box for the recipe (rest for another dish). Instead of using an oily pesto and spending money on fresh basil, I went with dried basil and nutritional yeast. I think the nutritional yeast and the Daiya Mozzarella style shreds (I used 1.5 cups) went well together. For the marinara sauce, I with with my standby, Hunt’s Garlic and Herb pasta sauce.

The little ones haven’t tried it yet, but Catboy enjoyed his. I thought it was quite tasty, and would like to try it with a different pasta shape–if not lasagna noodles, perhaps bowties or shells. Maybe I could even do a stuffed shells-type casserole based on this recipe…

Do you have a dedicated day of the month for food prep?

Cookie Dough Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

So far I’ve made Chocolate Covered Katie‘s Cookie Dough Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal in a pan (like the recipe calls for) and muffin-style. In an effort to cut down on calories, at least from sugar, I skip the maple syrup and use sugar-free Torani syrup (hazelnut or caramel) instead, and just use a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips on top before baking.

For the oatmeal cups, I doubled the recipe and got about 17 muffins out of it. I freeze them while they are spread out on the baking sheet, then zip them together in a bag after they’re individually frozen, and microwave a few when I’m ready to serve them.

They are healthy and fun to eat, and all 4 kids (or at least all 3 that are able to speak well) request them! The breakfasts right out of the freezer are the best because it only takes seconds to heat them. You could even stick them in the fridge overnight and eat them cold the next morning if you want it instantly. They can also be eaten on the go!

What do you eat when you need something portable?