Tag Archive | blueberries

Muffins Make It Better

This week, muffins have just made it better. The “it” being studying, snacking, breakfast preparing, everything. Between all of this studying, I needed a pick-me up. Is it just me, or does anyone else ever feel like they just NEED a muffin?  Or a sweet little pick-me-up of some kind? I feel like this pretty much all the time thanks to my massive sweet-tooth, but when you add being in the middle of finals on-top of a sweet-tooth, my cravings have been out-of-control. Things got even worse this past weekend after seeing ‘National Donut Day’ mentioned on nearly every blog I read! After seeing picture after picture of delicious-looking donuts popping up, there was no question that I had to bake something for a Sunday brunch and get-me-through-the-week treat. With no Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme’s in Australia, Brandon and I were out of luck on the donut front, but not on the muffin front.  This week, homemade muffins have just made studying better, and I’m very thankful for that!
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These aren’t just any muffins, these are Blueberry Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins, and they are definitely a healthier alternative to your traditional bakery muffin. I combined three of my favorite things for these muffins: blueberries, oats, and cinnamon. The result was a tasty, sweet and satisfying baked treat. These are perfectly good to eat on their own, but I’ve also been crumbling mine on top of my oatmeal in the mornings, as well as eating them warm as a snack, too.

Need for muffins=fulfilled : –)

Blueberry Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

 

makes 12 muffins

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk, divided (I used skim)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (or chips of your choice- I used Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips)

Directions
1)Preheat oven to 350 F (176 degrees Celsius), and line 12 muffin tins with muffin liners.
2) Add the oats to a small mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of milk. Let the oats soak for 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the first few steps of the muffins.
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3) In a large bowl, combine the egg and brown sugar and whisk together until it’s smooth and caramel in color.
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4)Next, add in the vanilla and the butter (make sure it’s at room temperature), whisking well. Try to smooth the batter as much as possible; there still may be some small butter chunks but try to get as many out as you can.
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5)Add the flour, soaking oats, baking soda and cinnamon to the mixture and stir it all-together. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and combine until smooth.
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6) Now fold in the blueberries and cinnamon chips (or the chips of your choice). Be careful not to over-mix.
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6)Spoon the batter evenly into each muffin tin. Sprinkle the top of each with cinnamon sugar if desired. (I like to do this because it adds a nice crunch to the top! )Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cooked through.
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Cinnamon-sugar topping
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Finished Product!
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These muffins are delicious whether they’re served warm or cold, and the possibilities for toppings are endless. Enjoy them with margarine, a nut-butter, jam, plain or with topper of your choice, it’s up to you!
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What’s your favorite muffin?
At a bakery, my favorite is  a coffee-cake muffin. Blueberry is a close runner-up!

When do you crave sweets the most?
I crave sweets in the worst way when I’m stressed!

P.S. Countdown to home: 9 days : –)

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Springtime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad For One

Hey there! How was everyone’s start of the week? Mine was nice and busy, starting with a 5:30 a.m. boot-camp, followed by a day full of classes until 6 p.m. Needless to say, it was a long day, but still a good day. Sometimes after long days, I want to go straight to bed. However, being in the kitchen is truly one of my favorite parts of every day, and last night was no exception. As tired as I was, I could not wait to make dinner; it was all I could think about! Honestly, I have been craving a good salad for months. It might sound funny, but salads as a “meal” are so popular in the U.S.A. and offered nearly everywhere,  whereas  restaurants around us in Australia don’t seem to offer many salads on their menus, if any at all.  So a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a certain salad recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats, I bookmarked it immediately. I knew I had to make it, or at least attempt a similar version.  I’m only cooking for one this week since Brandon is gone for work, so I cut down the quantity of her original recipe, and I adapted the ingredients to fit what I had available.

This salad incorporates cooked shrimp for protein, quinoa tossed with feta cheese as the salad base(another excellent protein source), and additional mix-in’s of corn, avocado, roasted broccoli and roasted chickpeas, and blueberries for a pop of color.  All of this is drizzled in a lemon and olive oil based dressing to top off the salad. I loved every bite of this! It is filling, but very light.  A perfect salad for the start of spring!

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Springtime Shrimp & Quinoa Salad (for one)
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats Superfood Salad
Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used gluten-free, organic)
8-10 cooked shrimp (I got mine at the seafood counter, pre-cooked with tails on)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup roasted broccoli
1/4 cup roasted chickpeas
2-3 Tbsp. of crumbled feta cheese (or the cheese of your choice)

Dressing Ingredients
1 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
salt & pepper

Directions:
1) Cook 1/2 cup quinoa, following the package directions. I cooked mine in 1 cup of boiling water, and simmered it for about 15 minutes, until it was fluffy.
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2) While the quinoa is cooking,  prepare your salad ingredients. First, I set my shrimp on ice in the fridge to make sure they were nice and cold for the salad. Then, I chopped the avocado, cooked the frozen corn for about 1.5 minutes in the microwave, and got my other ingredients out of the fridge, including roasted broccoli, chickpeas, and blueberries.
***Keep in mind, you could add virtually any fruit or vegetable to this. I added what I already had in the fridge, so it was even simpler to make. Set these ingredients aside.
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3) Now make your dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper, and whisking them together in a small bowl until combined.

4) Once your quinoa is cooked, add the feta cheese(or your cheese of choice) and stir. Then prepare your salad. I started with the quinoa as my base, then added in the toppings, and finally the shrimp. Drizzle with the lemon dressing, and you’re all set!
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I enjoyed this so much, I’m seriously debating making this again for dinner tonight. The sweet lemon dressing paired with the textures and flavors of the fruit and vegetables, along with the fluffy quinoa, was a perfect meal to round out a long day.  I have leftover quinoa, so it just may happen again tonight!

What are your favorite salad ingredients?