Chocolate Chip Flax Muffins

Based off of Flax & Oat Power Muffins. Hopefully it is a healthy version of an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie!

Ingredients

  • 1 mashed banana (thawed frozen one works fine)
  • 2 T olive oil (original said 2 tsp. oops!)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 c ground flax (or 1/2 c flax seed, ground)
  • 6 T whole wheat flour (heavier flour, use 1/4 c.)
  • 1/2 oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda  (should try 1 tsp baking powder next time)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chips
  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Mix wet ingedients.
  3. Add dry to wet, mix.
  4. Fill 6 greased muffin tins.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Flax Banana Bread

My muffins last week turned out pretty well, if a bit on the dry side, but they prevented me from buying any morning snacks from bakeries while at work. So, I need to continue this week. In hopes of getting Javier more excited about my flax baking, I am attempting banana bread.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. flax meal
  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. pecans

Directions:

  1. Mix flax, sugar, and wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and pecans in a small bowl.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix gently.
  4. Bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for one hour.

Flaxseed Muffins

Trying to be healthy, I bought flaxmeal. So, then I went looking for muffin recipes to use the flax for a healthy mid-morning snack to replace my usual chocolate croissant. There is one recipe that pops up all over the Internet that seems pretty normal, and a lot of weird ones with lots and lots of bran and weird fake sweeteners. Then I found this recipe, which seems to be an improvement over the normal one. So, what do I do? I improve it again, based on what I have at home! The muffins are still in the oven, so we’ll see how they turn out. (Recipe directions are a total rip-off of the Chef in Med School, so thank you!)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried berries (soaked in ¼ cup boiling water)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar mixed with1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Pour boiling water over berries in a small dish, cover and set aside. Spray cups with non-stick spray. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In as separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredient. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once, along with berries and liquid. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place pan on cooling rack for a couple of minutes, then remove from pan.

Grandma’s wine cake

This version of Grandma’s wine cake does not use the traditional yellow cake mix, but it still uses the instant pudding mix. Someday I’ll work on removing that as well.

Mix in a food processor:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 3.4 oz. box of instant lemon pudding
  • 6 oz. butter, cut into 12 pieces

Transfer to a stand mixer and add:

  • 3/4 c. cream sherry
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla

Beat for 5 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and pour on the following glaze while still warm:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 T. milk
  • 3 T. cream sherry

Now the hard part: wait. The cake really is best the next day. You can eat it while it is still warm, but it will taste a bit boozy. The cake keeps very well for up to a week.

Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 T. dried currants
  • 1 T. brandy
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 T. mint, chopped
  • 3 T. parsley, chopped
  • 2 T. pine nuts
  • 3/4 c. Greek feta
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9″x13″ pan or casserole dish with olive oil. Soak the currants in brandy and a tablespoon of hot water.
  2. Cut the bell peppers into third or quarters along the lobes to make little boats. Remove ribs and seeds, and finely dice two sections. Put the rest of the peppers into the dish and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked but not mushy.
  3. In a small pot, cook the quinoa with the stock until cooked, about 30 minutes.
  4. Saute the diced peppers and onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, and cumin and stir for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and currants (with liquid) and cook until the spinach is wilted. Take off the heat and stir in mint, parsley, quinoa, and a third of the feta. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the cooked peppers with the quinoa filling, and top with the remaining feta. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the feta browns. (You can also finish the peppers under the broiler to finish browning the cheese.)

Three alarms

Nothing like a three-alarm fire two doors down to get your heart going at 5:30AM in the morning. Sirens are pretty unusual on our quiet little Barcelona Avenue here in the  city, so when they stopped right in front of my bedroom window, I knew something serious was going on.

This is what three alarms looks like

This is what three alarms looks like

I threw on my clothes and ran outside (sorry cats), and saw flames shooting out of the building just two buildings over. Embers billowed over my roof as more and more fire trucks showed up. After seeing my neighbor from the same building run out with his cats and his computers, Javier and I ran back inside and forced the cats from under the bed and into the carriers. By the time I got out, the flames were a little smaller and my nerves started to ease.

We watched as the firemen broke into our nieghbor’s house (left building in picture). They are on vacation and I am hoping that we can help somehow when they get home.

Javier and I, along with his parents who are staying with us, are back inside now drinking tea and watching the local news coverage of the events (I declined to be interviewed on camera, especially since my story isn’t that interesting). But I think Javier’s dad was one of the few to get pictures while the flames were in full force. So here you go…

They weren't on our roof, but they kept an eye on it.

They weren't on our roof, but they kept an eye on it.

You never know

For the first time in a long time, this blog could be used to consider me for a job, like a for-real job. This is why I never write anything that I wouldn’t want my mom to see.  But that got me thinking about my Web 2.0 claims to fame.  The Web 2.0 buzz has died down quite a bit, but let’s reminisce, shall we?

  • Illegal use of my photo in the New York Magazine’s blog Grub Hub. I contacted the writer, explaining that you can’t steal photos from Flickr and how copyrighting and basic blog etiquette works. I never got my blog link that was promised.
  • My brief moment of fame.
  • The answer to why I do this and why you should too.
  • Food writing.

Anyway, blogging seemed to be the first step towards making communicating via the interwebs accessible to more people, and now with things like Facebook and Twitter, it is becoming even easier to communicate. Although the shift seems to be going from telling the world about your grand thoughts and caring about links and hits, to talking directly to your friends and family and caring about their personal responses. That’s why I’ve found myself less and less here on WordPress and more on Facebook (sorry Twitter). There is also the move to mobile apps, which I am still not a part of thanks to my cheap little phone.

Totally unrelated, here’s why I don’t have an iPhone yet. It’s like herd immunity. When everyone you are around is immune to a disease, you aren’t going to catch it, even if you aren’t immune, because there is no one to catch the disease from. I don’t have an iPhone, but since everyone I know has one and there is always someone nearby with one, I have all of the benefits of them without owning one. Granted, now that I am running around more on my own during the days instead of being stuck at work, I sometimes wish I had one. I do want an iPhone, of course, but it just hasn’t been a pressing issue for me. One of these days I’ll get around to it.