Raspberry Almond Muffins

I have certainly been on a big baking kick lately. I think it has been partially brought on by the responsibility of making snacks for CSA every week this summer. So today I decided that some breakfast muffins sounded great. Usually Tyler gets a hankering for blueberry muffins and I generally make them from a mix. Fresh blueberries don’t come here, frozen ones (if I can find them) are way overpriced so I cheat. But today I decided to make some from scratch using a recipe in my trusty cookbook. I am not a fan of plain muffins, so I course picked a jazzed up version. I actually was thinking of making apricot almond muffins but part way through I realized I had eaten most of the dried apricots I had (oops!) and then remembered I had some delicious raspberry jam I should use up – so really it worked out great.

What You Need:

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
8 Tbs. butter melted and cooled
1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves 

Preheat oven to 375 and line or spay your muffin tin. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In another  bowl whisk together eggs and yogurt and extract in a large bowl.

Mixing the yogurt mixture into dry ingredients.

Gently fold in the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Fold in the melted butter. The batter is very dough-like rather than soft and runny.

The batter - it comes out really doughy.

The batter - it comes out really doughy.

Into each muffin cup spoon about 2 Tbs. of batter. Add 1 tsp. of raspberry jam to the center of each muffin. Top muffins with remaining batter evenly and bake for about 20-25 mins or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Filling the muffin tinsReady for the oven

For added pizzaz, I usually add a light sprinkling of sugar to the top of each muffin right before baking. It is something I learned to do as a kid when my Grandma taught me how to make muffins from scratch. I don’t know if she necessarily taught me to do it that way or if my 9 year-old self just thought homemade muffins just were not sweet enough. Now I do it for the little crunch it gives on top.

Out of the oven goodness

Out of the oven goodness - nice and golden



Fruit n’ Nut Baked Oatmeal Bars

Finished ProductThese are seriously my new favorite thing! I am a sucker for baked oatmeal – I fell in love with it in college. I had all-but forgotten about it until while looking for make-ahead breakfast ideas I stumbled upon a recipe here. So with a little experimenting and searching the stores for all the dried fruit I could find, I created my own version of these tasty little bars and baked up a batch. Wrapped them and froze them and they soon became my go-to quick breakfast. While it was hard to beat the unbelievable taste of the quiche I made, these take a fraction of the prep time.

What You Need:

2-1/4 C quick cooking oats, uncooked, or 2-3/4 C old fashioned oats, uncooked 
2/3 C brown sugar 
3/4 C raisins and/or dried cranberries (substitute any other dried fruits you want)
1 apple, peeled and sliced (substitute other fresh fruits – I used malay apples (french cashews) or jared fruit I found at the store for a cheaper alternative to fresh apples)
1/4 to 1/3 C nuts, chopped (walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts…, or even better a mix of all)
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/3 C milk 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

I usually added more dried fruit and nuts than the recipe called for, more like a cup of dried fruit and maybe 1/2 cup cuts. I loved the added hearty feel they gave the bars. To make them you simply mix together the dry ingredients, add in the wet, make sure to stir in all the toppings, and then pour into a baking dish. I found that if I wanted to make portioning easier I could bake the bars in a muffin pan and then they were already divided. But if you opt to go that route, make sure you try and evenly distribute the solids to liquid ratio. Once the mix is in the baking dish, top with the sliced fruit and bake in a 360 degree oven for about 55 minutes or the center is set in the middle. For an added touch, top the bars with a little shredded coconut and it adds a fantastic little hint of sweetness and texture.
I would freeze these and reheat for breakfast. Perfect as is or if you are serving for a crown or feeling fancy, heat some milk gently in a sauce pan with a cinnamon stick and a dash of vanilla extract and you have the perfect breakfast treat.

Crustless Mini Quiche

As soon as the reality of 4 hours of class beginning at 8am kicked in, I realized that I needed to come up with a way to have a hearty breakfast that didn’t require me to get up at 5am everyday to make it. I did some research and started reading some of my favorite food blogs looking for the best hearty make-ahead breakfast ideas. While I found a couple good ones, the one that quickly became our favorite I found over at this site. I made my own adaptations to the recipe to fit the local ingredients available, etc. Tyler and I love these little things and I am trying to find time every week to replenish our stash in the freezer. Trust me, this recipe though seeming time-consuming at first is well worth the time.

What You Need For Batter:

1/4 cup cornstarch
 1 1/4 cup whole milk 
 2 large eggs
 2 large egg yolks
 1 cup heavy cream
 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

**note: I often substitute half-n-half and skim milk for some or all of the heavy cream and whole milk to cut down on fat and calories. So far, it has tasted great even with the substitutions so feel free to make them a little healthier.

For Filling:

minced garlic
sliced onions
sliced potatoes
chopped bell peppers
sliced spinach leaves
diced tomatoes
cooked bacon pieces
shredded parmesan cheese
fresh chopped basil
olive oil 

**note on the filling: you can put anything you want inside of these. This is my favorite filling, but I have added all kinds of things to these. You can add any filling you can invent.

Heat oven to 450°F.

To Prepare Batter: Put the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisking steadily, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the milk, mixing until quite smooth. Whisk in the whole eggs and egg yolks, mixing again until smooth, then gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, the cream, salt, and nutmeg. Be sure to re-whisk well if you let it sit for a little while as you prepare the rest, it tends to separate.

To Prepare Filling: To make my favorite filling I add a little olive oil to a large pan and add the potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. I heat them over high heat to get them golden brown and then I turn the heat down to low to let them soften up. When they are almost done, I add the garlic and onions and let cook for about a minute, then I add the bell peppers and kick the heat back up. After the peppers start to soften, I add the spinach and stir for about 30 seconds and then remove it from the heat.

Oil mini muffin tins well. The original recipe was for mini muffin tins, but I used regular sized ones because that is what I had and actually found that one muffin tin sized quiche was the perfect amount for Tyler and I for breakfast. Put a pinch grated cheese into each muffin cup, a couple spoon fulls of the veggie mixture and throw in some bacon crumbles and a couple tomato pieces. Then top with fresh basil leaves. Into the cup spoon in the batter. Usually each muffin tin took about 1/4 cup batter.

All filled up and ready for batterBatter in and ready for baking.

Bake until the quiches puff and start to turn golden, 15-25 minutes. My oven is finicky, but it is important that they are set in the middle or you will never get them out of the cups. Let cool for 10 minutes and then carefully run a paring knife around the rim of each muffin cup. Carefully lift each quiche out of its cup.

Fresh out of the oven - they look tasty!

Fresh out of the oven - they look tasty!

I make these babies ahead of time and freeze them for breakfast. I make a weeks worth of quiche on Saturday and Tyler and I can have yummy breakfast all week. I take the quiche out of the freezer the night before (if I remember) and pop it in my toaster oven at about 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until hot.

These will revolutionize your early mornings. And they are hearty enough to keep me going even when I have 4 hours of class in the morning.


** Sorry my pictures are not as pretty as the picture on top I stole form the website, but at least you know I really made them. I should really get out the nice SLR for these photos, but I am usually too lazy.