The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bran Muffins with Pineapple and Dried Cranberries

HOWDY friends!!  Happy Lord's Day!  I’ve been enjoying a beautiful weekend here in Zig Zag.  After the icy cold weather we’ve been having, yesterday's sunshiny day with temps in the mid 60's was just glorious!!  I even got to spend a bit of time outside playing with my 5-1/2 week-old puppies…so fun!
Anyway…I was in the mood for muffins yesterday morning, so I decided to make a batch of these long-time favorites.  As I was eating them, I realized that I’d never shared this recipe with you, so I had to fix that!  I found the recipe almost 10 years ago in a book called:  "Eating for Lower Cholesterol" by Catherine Jones and Elaine B. Trujillo.  It’s a great little book, filled with delicious low cholesterol recipes…who says eating healthier has to taste like cardboard?!!

These muffins are high in fiber, loaded with B vitamins and folic acid, and cholesterol free (if you are able to use the fat-free buttermilk…if not, they still only have a trace amount in each one!)  And…if you make the recipe into 24 muffins like I did, they are only about 110 calories each.  I’ve been making these little gems for years, and they’re always a hit.

I hope you’ll give them a try, and they’ll become a favorite of yours as well!

Bran Muffins with Pineapple and Dried Cranberries

3-1/2 cups bran cereal (I used Fiber One brand…the original recipe recommended All-Bran…it’s mostly a texture difference, as the Fiber One cereal has larger strands of cereal)
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup canola oil (I actually used a vegetable/canola oil blend)
3/4 cup Whey Low® Type D (or regular sugar or your favorite sugar substitute)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (fat free buttermilk would be even better, but I have trouble finding it here…if you don’t have any buttermilk, you can substitute a mixture of skim milk with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to equal a total of 1 cup…just let it rest for 5 minutes before mixing it into your batter)
3 large egg whites
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can use a total of 1-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour if you prefer)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (this is half of the amount the original recipe called for)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple (be sure to use crushed pineapple in its own juices - NOT SYRUP; do not drain)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I only had 1/3 cup available today, and that worked fine)

Preheat the oven to 400º F.  Spray muffin cups with cooking spray.

Place the bran cereal in a medium-sized bowl and pour the boiling water over it; do not stir.  Set aside while you’re putting together the rest of the batter.

Combine the oil and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together.  Add the buttermilk and egg whites, then whisk again.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk well.

Add the softened bran cereal and mix with a wooden spoon.  Now add the pineapple, cranberries, and pecans and mix just until combined.  (This makes a very thick batter.)  Let the batter rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  (You can also cover it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, so it will be ready to bake in the morning!)

Gently stir the batter, then spoon into your greased muffin tins.  (As I’ve mentioned before, I always like to use my large cookie scoop - or an ice cream scoop - for this, as it hold just the right amount of batter for the job, and makes very little mess.)  Bake until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean:  about 20-22 minutes.  Transfer the muffins onto a cooling rack and let cool slightly before eating.  (They hold the heat very well, and you don’t want to burn your mouth!!)
You can cover these, and leave them at room temperature for up to 2 days, or tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  I usually just freeze what we don’t eat immediately, and then just pop them into the microwave for a few seconds whenever I want a quick breakfast or snack.

From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. -- John 1:16 --

Don't forget to take some time to R-E-L-A-X today with those you love...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blueberry-Zucchini Muffins

HOWDY FRIENDS!  What a beautiful day the Lord has made today.  After so much cold, yucky weather, today’s sunshine and temps in the 70’s are delightful!

Since I had a day at home (rare lately), I decided to clean out my fridge and try a new recipe…all at the same time.  I had blueberries and zucchini that definitely needed to be used…pronto…so I decided to try a recipe I found over on Abby’s Manila Spoon blog site a while back.  I kept meaning to try it, but just hadn’t found the time.  Today was the perfect occasion.

I’m currently participating in a 12-week weight-loss challenge at my office, and I didn’t want to blow it completely, so I made a few minor adaptations to Abby’s Blueberry-Zucchini Bread recipe, and came up with these muffins.  (According to they are about 101 calories each.)  They smelled marvelous while baking, and tasted great too.  I’ll definitely be making these again.  Thanks for the delicious recipe Abby!!

1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Whey Low® Type D (or regular sugar or your favorite sugar substitute)
1/4 tsp salt (I always use 1/2 of what the original recipe calls for)
1 tsp sodium-free baking powder (Since I'm using some whole wheat flour which is a bit more dense, I added extra to help the batter rise.)
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I think nutmeg can be a bit overpowering, so I only used 1/2 of what the original recipe called for)
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I added this in place of some of the time I think I'll leave the oil out completely.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups grated zucchini (The original recipe called for 1 cup, but 1-1/2 cups would use up what was in my fridge, so I went with that!  It worked fine.)
1 cup blueberries

Topping (optional):
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp. Sugar in the Raw (or any coarse/Turbinado sugar)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine dry ingredients (flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk well. 
Toss blueberries with about 2 Tbsp. of the dry ingredient mixture in a separate small bowl.  (This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins.)

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, applesauce, oil and zucchini.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined.
Gently fold in the blueberries (don’t worry…if you break a few, it will just make your batter more colorful!), and spoon batter into greased (I spray mine with baking spray) muffin tins (I always use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop for the perfect amount of batter and MUCH less mess!  NOTE:  the way I made this recipe, it made 13 muffins.  Since my muffin pan only makes 12, I used a small ramekin for the extra batter…came out perfect!).

Mix the topping ingredients together and sprinkle generously onto the top of each muffin.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.  Serve warm (but NOT right out of the oven, or those hot blueberries WILL burn your mouth!...Don’t ask me how I know this, hee, hee…).  My husband like to add butter to his, but I enjoy them just the way they are.  To me, a great muffin doesn’t need any accompaniment!

Well…gotta get busy on this beautiful day.  Lots to do here in Zig Zag.  Be sure to give these muffins (or Abby’s original Blueberry-Zucchini Bread recipe) a try.  You won’t regret it!  And be sure to stop by Manila Spoon and check out all the other yummy recipes she has posted while you’re there.