Monthly Archives: January 2010

Spicy Buttermilk Muffins

I have a total guilt complex when I waste things, especially food items.  I bought buttermilk last weekend to make scones.  Those turned out beautifully so they will definitely be making an appearance at some point on the blog.  Since I only needed one cup, I have quite a bit of leftover buttermilk sitting in the fridge.  The baking itch got to me yesterday afternoon, so I started looking for a muffin recipe that called for buttermilk.  I love muffins because they make a quick breakfast addition to eggs during the week, and they can be frozen to last for months.   After looking at several recipes online, I decided to make up my own.

This recipe started off with a base of oats.  I later added some whole wheat flour because it was a little bit too wet.  Molasses gave the muffins a slight sweetness with some depth.

These muffins are “spicy” because I added about twice as much cinnamon and nutmeg as most other recipes I referenced in coming up with ideas for ingredients.  I like my muffins to have a little character. 🙂

This was the result. Minus three courtesy of Brad (I had 1/2, Brad and 2 1/2).

Unlike most recipes I make on the fly, I meticulously wrote down the ingredients as they were added.

Mix dry ingredients together:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl:

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup agave syrup

2 Tbsp. molasses

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Combine both mixtures.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Use 1/4 measuring cup to put batter into muffin tin.  Bake at 400 degrees Farenheit for about 15 minutes, or until you can insert a knife or toothpick into a muffin that comes out clean.

It’s really important when baking to remember that every oven is different.  Once you have really gotten to know your oven you’ll always know how to interpret a recipe.  For example, add five minutes or go by the exact time.

These muffins were a big hit with Brad, which really is the seal of approval since these muffins are really healthy.  They’re full of whole grains, don’t have much sugar, and are only 121 calories a piece by my calculations.  Brad prefers that his muffins are sweet, while I like mine to take more like a hearty bread, not like a cupcake.  Although Brad did suggest a crust of sugar on the top of the muffins would be icing on the cake, I mean muffin.  I usually find that when I substitute applesauce for fat, Brad doesn’t care for the consistency.  The oat base really helped the muffins be more hearty, not airy and spongy, which is usually the case with flour + applesauce.

Overall, these muffins were a success and are quite delicious with the blueberry preserves I smeared on them this morning.  I also recommend a bit of almond butter to give your snack/breakfast a bit more protein.

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Recreating Brad’s Peanut Sauce

Good evening!  Long time no blog.  I’ve been a bit busy since getting engaged last month.   It’s been a hectic but really exciting past month. I feel so lucky to have met the man of my dreams and to now be planning our wedding.  But enough about that, there is another blog devoted to those details.

On to the food…

A couple of nights ago, Brad made this really delicious peanut sauce that he has made many times, to go on a brown rice dish I made.  He has made this sauce so many times and it is really nutty, tangy, and has a bit of a kick.  He never measures what he adds, using his memory of the taste to figure out how much to add of each ingredient.  I really wanted to use the massive spaghetti squash I bought today at Trader Joe’s so I suggested we use the leftover peanut sauce with chicken and veggies.  There wasn’t quite enough leftover for our meal for two so I set out to recreate the sauce, although I’ve never made it before.  I also wanted to write the recipe down so I could share it.

This was Brad’s original sauce.  I set it out so I could taste both and compare.

I assembled all of the ingredients.

Eventually, with the help of Brad’s taste buds, I had replicated the sauce and combined them.

Earlier that day, I had baked a large spaghetti squash.

I’ve learned that everyone cooks spaghetti squash completely differently after talking to my friend Brittney about it and then noticing several other food bloggers discussing their methods as well.  I like to quarter mine (which allows it to cook faster than when it is just halved).  Then I cook it, seed side up, at 400 degrees  Farenheit until the top is browned (as pictured above).  I do it this way because I don’t time it while it’s cooking.  Each spaghetti squash differs in weight and size, so each one differs in the time it takes to cook.  I’ve found that waiting until it browns is a good indication that the squash is completely cooked.  Another thing I’ve learned, after many burned fingers, is to cook the squash way before you actually want to use it, so it will have plenty of time to cool.  Scraping out the flesh of a cooled spaghetti squash is waaaay more pleasant than scraping out the flesh of one that is molten lava hot, much like the inside of a hot pocket. (Side note:  you won’t ever find me eating a hot pocket.  I tried them once in high school and once was enough for me.)

After removing the seeds and scraping out the flesh into a big bowl.  I steamed some broccoli and carrots, sauteed two chicken breasts, and combinedall, drizzling the sauce over the entire mixture and topping with crushed cashews.  It’s difficult to see the sauce in the picture because it really only takes a few tablespoons to really flavor the dish.  The sauce is very flavorful.

Brad’s Peanut Sauce:

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled or quadrupled…I don’t know any more vocabulary to explain how much of this sauce you are gong to want to make after you taste it.

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky works just fine)

2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. sriracha sauce

This recipe makes about 6 Tbsp at approximately 39 calories per Tbsp.  I think it could easily be made into a dressing by adding a bit of oil and more vinegar.  By the way, if you don’t know what sriracha sauce is, it’s the red sauce with the green top in the picture of the ingredients.  You can find it in the Asian/world food aisle of the grocery.  It is totally addictive and I pretty much eat it on any green vegetable that will hold still.

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