Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meatloaf, variation #1

I've been craving red meat a lot lately for some reason, and I'm not a huge red meat eater. Maybe it's because of all the swimming...Anyway I've been wanting to make this meatloaf for a while, since I realized I still had some ground porc in the freezer leftover from Christmas time that needed to be used. I make meatloaves quite regularly, and they're never the same. This is the first of many on this blog.

Ingredients, for an 8x4 loaf that'll feed 2-4 people:

250g(according to my new kitchen scale..) ground meat, mix of porc and beef.
1 onion
1 carrot
1 branch celeri
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mushrooms
2 TBSP ketchup
1 egg white
1/2 cup quinoa flakes(may need more...)
1 TBSP parmesan
Worcestershire sauce(about 2 big slpashes...)
Salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, parsley, paprika, all to taste.
1 small can tomato juice

-Cut all the vegetables finely, or pulse in the food processor if you're in a hurry.
-Sautee in a little oil, salt and pepper until semi-tender, about 5 minutes. Let it cool a bit.
-Mix all the other ingredients, except tomato juice. Add the veggies, mix it all well, get in there with your hands and squish everything nicely. If it seems too wet add flakes, or a few tablespoons of flour. But it SHOULD be quite wet, otherwise it'll turn out too dry. There's nothing worst than dry meatloaf.
-Shape into a nice little log.
-In a medium loaf pan(i used an aluminum 8x4 pan, bought at the grocery store. they come in packs. very practical...), pour half the tomato juice, put the meatloaf in and pour the rest of the juice on top. Sprinkle more salt and lots of cracked black pepper.
-Cook in a 400F degree oven for 30-40 minutes, and broil for 5 minutes to crisp the top.
*To check for doneness, just cut it up in the middle and check if it's cooked. It's the only way to know for sure.
*The juice in the pan makes a great little topping, and mashed potatoes on the side is only necessary in this case!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken Panini.

Today for lunch I had to finish the last piece of my Focaccia bread. So I made a sandwich. Well, I don't like calling the a "sandwich"'s more like a panini. If I had to give it a name it would be...: Mediteranean Chicken Panini.

*Chicken, 5oz breast(yes, 5oz...I bought a scale, I weighted it...!) seasonned with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and oregano, cooked in a little oil in the pan.
*Salami, about 5 slices, crisped up in the micro-wave.
*Feta cheese
*Sundried tomatoes
*On Focaccia bread, with a little bit of dijon mustard.
*Toasted in a dry non-stick pan with some kind of weight on it to make it as flat as possible(or, in a panini press if you have one...).

Hit's the spot, doesn't it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Oh-My-God-I-Need-To-Sit-Down" Brownies.

I've been looking for a really good recipe for brownies. One that doesn't call for 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of sugar...I seached a lot of other food blogs, looked through my cookbooks, and in the end settled for, again, one of Sarah Philips' "Healthy Oven" recipe. I think I'd made them before, a long time ago because that page was a little dirty(sign of a good cook book...). But I didn't remember they were THAT good!
So after making sure I had all the ingredients I decided to go for it.
Now, let me warn you in advance, you MAY need to sit down to eat these. My knees buckled a bit...This is the Holy Grail of Brownies!


4 TBSP melted butter, and cooled a bit.
2 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate( I used Baker's Chocolate, 1 square is 1 once)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour(or all-purpose...I find pastry flour better for baking, it makes everything more moist and tender.)
1/3 cup unsweetened coca powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBSP canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder

1/2 cup white chocolate chips(optional, this was my idea...)


-Heat theoven at 350F, positon the rack in the middle of the oven. Spray an 8-inch square pan with oil.
-Melt the chocolate(in the microwave is the more convenient way), and let it cool a bit.
-In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, coca powder(may need to sift it if it's too lumpy), baking powder and salt, Set aside.
-In another bowl whisk butter, sugar, egg, egg whites, oil, vanilla, instant coffee and melted chocolate until smooth (mine was a little lumpy still)
-With a rubber spatula or spoon, add in the dry ingredients. Add choclate chips...or nuts would be good in there too!
-Pour into the baking pan and smooth the top. I added a bit more chocolate chips on the top...
-Bake until the edges pull away from the pan, EXACTLY 25 MINUTES. Also, do NOT open the oven's door while it bakes because it will deflate.
-Cool in the pan on a wire rack. them sitting down...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Goodness of Oats.

Oatmeal is probably one of the, if not THE, most healthy breakfast. Whether it's cooked hot or eaten cold in muesli, it'll fill you up and do wonders on the inside.
As much as I love bread, I think we eat WAY too much of it. Think about it; toasts for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta(made from wheat) for diner with...garlic bread. Croutons in the salad are made with bread... That's too much wheat. There are other grains out there besides wheat. Oats is one of the best. So is quinoa, millet, barley, etc. So let's ease up on the wheat. What I try to do everyday is to have at least one wheat-free meal(not always gluten-free, cause oats and barley have a little gluten too...). The best way to do that is to have oatmeal for breakfast. It's one of my favorite. When I say oatmeal I mean REAL oatmeal, not the instant stuff that comes in pouches along with sugar and other "flavors"...It's just as easy, and cheaper, to get a big bag of quick-oats, it cooks in 5 minutes, and they haven't been transformed as much AND when things are can flavor it anyway you want!! Also, you can use them in baked goods, or even meatloaves and stews, etc. Wonderful little flakes!
Here are some nutrition facts:(I did my research!!)
-Oats are a good source of soluble fibre, which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
-They're rich in iron, manganese, folic acid, vitamin E and complex B vitamins, such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, etc.
-They have some powerfull anti-oxidants that help prevent cancer and other diseases.
-It's a good option for diabetics because oats help reduce blood sugar levels and insuline levels as well.
-Since they're high in protein and fiber, they take longer to digest so they'll make you feel fuller longer.
So...oatmeal rocks, basically.
There are so many ways to cook it, usually for quick oats you need 2 parts water or milk(or half water, half milk...) for one part of oats. Thicker rolled oats will take longer, up to 20 minutes, and you may need 3 parts liquid. Check the bag for instructions.
For me, I like my oatmeal with some kind of nuts or seeds, and fruit. Fresh or dried. And depending on those I'll add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamon, or a mix of whatever, and of course almost always brown sugar. Not a lot, but I love the molassy taste of it. But it could be maple syrup, honey, or like this morning I threw in a couple of tespoons of chocolate chips. Yum.

"Banana Chocolate Walnut":

Now I'm not gonna give any recipes for morning oatmeal. But here are some suggestions, good combos, and ideas:
*Apple-raisin-sunflower seed with cinnamon and cloves,
*Pear-Walnut with nutmeg
*Peach-pecan with cinnamon AND nutmeg
*Blueberry-almond with cardamon
Basically, think of you favorite cookie, or pie or muffin flavor and put it in the oatmeal. Possibilities are endless.
So with that said, here are a couple other snaps of my oatmeal breakfasts;
(and notice how it's the same bowl...I know I need new dishes...)

"Cranberry Pear and Sunflower seeds, with nutmeg":

"Apple Raisin and sunflower seeds, with cinnamon":(ok, i really like those little seeds, can you tell?)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hot Curry-Ginger Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

Today I was gonna post up a really nice quick-bread recipe I found online. I "baked" it this afternoon, made it according to the instructions, I'm absoluetly POSITIVE I didn't forget anything, but it didn't work out. It was still raw on the inside. I was able to salvage a little bit of it, and it tastes great but it's in crumbles. Oh, well. These things happen...
So, I had to find something for diner that would be quick enough to make before daylight disapears(all the pics all naturally lighted, at night it just doesn't work as well). And...since I'm the soup master, and I have plenty of options in the fridge for soup, soup it is. Plus, I feel I have a bit of a cold coming so I wanted something soothing, spicy and gingery. And spicy it was! I put a little too much chili flakes in it...oups...

So here it is:
*and also, like any cooking "recipes" on this site, these ingredients are not set in stone, if there's something you don't like don't use it. if you want to add something, go for it! it's all about freestylin' ya know?!

1 big onion
1 branch celeri
1 big or 2 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
6-7 button mushrooms
1 piece fresh ginger the size of a golfball, cut in 2
1 big potato
1/3-1/2 cup lentils(i used brown lentils)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt, pepper to taste
about 1tsp each of: curry powder, ground cumin, tumeric, paprika, chili flakes
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP oil(i used grapeseed)

-Cut all the veggies, sautee the onion first in oil, 1-2 minutes. Add carrots, celeri, garlic and ginger, salt and pepper, heat for 2 minutes.
-Add zucchinis, mushrooms, potato, lentils and all the spices. Sautee for a bit...
-Add the stock and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer until cooked.
-Puree 1/3 of it in a blender, return to pot.
-Bon Appetit!

Now, I always eat my soup with crackers and margarine. It's a habit. I think it goes back to my childhood, the traditional saturday vegetable "Minestrone" soup eaten with saltines. And I just really like crackers. I'm gonna learn how to make them for a later post...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthy Chicken Tenders

Ah...chicken tenders...a childhood favorite. Chicken nuggets at McCrap was one of my favorite when I was little. Dipped in honey.
Now I avoid McS**t like the plague, but I still love chicken tenders. The restaurant I used to work at had AMAZING chicken tenders but of course they were deep fried and heavily breaded, like they always are. I use to eat them all the time at "The Rock". But now that I don't work there anymore I had to find a way to get my fix, so I started making my own chicken strips, with soooo much less fat. It's not the same as my Tupelo tenders from the Rock but they still taste great and it's the idea of eating something not so good for you (when in fact they're really healthy) that I love with these. I don't give exact amount of the ingredients because A) I didn't measure and B)it's up to YOU to make it how you want it.

Here's how I made them today:
Heat the oven at 425F.
Ok so first, get a couple of chicken breast, no skin, pat them dry with paper towels and cut into strips.
Second, take out 3 bowls. In one put flour, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you want. I used paprika and chili powder. In the other one break and whisk 1 egg(or 2 if you're cooking for a big crowd). The third bowl is for breadcrubs. Or crushed crackers, or even cornflakes...Go with what you got. I take crackers and smash them in the morter&pestle. Easy enough.
Then, each strip goes in the flour, shake off any excess, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Make sure all sides are covered.
Lay them down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake, for about 15-20 minutes, turnig them half-way.
Voila. Garanteed you won't miss the deep-fried fat.
And I still, and always will, dip my chicken tenders in honey.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Garlic and Herb Focaccia Bread.

Bread scares me. It's so "scientific". And it takes a long time, you gotta let it rise, knead, rise again, wait, etc...Takes a lot patience. Of course, when it's well done the result is amazing. Nothing beats fresh bread out of the oven. And the smell...well, you all know what I mean.

So today I decided to make bread. I had done this recipe before a long time ago so I knew it wasn't gonna be too difficult(it's actually pretty simple, if you get it right). Unfortunately I had to throw away the first attempt. It just wasn't rising. I think the water was too cold in the start. So the yeast didn't activate. Ok, so I tried again, it's a lot of wasted flour if this one fails too but if I don't try I'll never get it. So I got back at it. And the second one worked! The dough was kinda sticky, I had to ADD flour while kneading the second time, but that water was warm enough so the dough rose as it was supposed to. Yessssssss.....
Ok, so you really wanna try some really good and relatively easy bread? This one's awesome. It's not your average toast loaf, but it's great for dipping in soups, stews, or chili(i had that chili also tonight!), makes great sandwiches "panini style", or just eat as it is with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
*Here's a good dip: 1 part balsamic vinegar, 3 parts oil, cracked black pepper, and 1-2 pieces smashed sundried tomatoes. Yum.
Ok so for this bread you'll need:

3 1/3 cups all-purpose or bread flour(as I said I had to add more but I don't know how much so start with 3 1/3 cups).
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water(120F: VERY IMPORTANT=120F!!)
6 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoon dry rosemary, oregano, thyme, or a mix of the 3.(you can use fresh if you have it!!)

*You can do this in a food processor but I did it by hand and it worked fine...just kinda messy...

-Combine flour and salt and mix well.
-Add yeast, mix well.
-Add water and oil at the same time while pulsing(if you're using the processor)or stirring with a fork. If you need more flour, go for it, 1-2 Tbsp at a time. When the dough comes together in a ball transfer to a very well floured surface and knead until smooth(it took me about 2-3 minutes). This is where it might be a little sticky,...but DON'T PANIC!
-Put the dough in an oil bowl and cover with a dish towel.
-Set aside in a warm dry place and let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
-Preheat the oven at 450F and set the rack in the middle.
-Slice the garlic. Mix with the herbs(but keep about 1 tsp for sprinkling).
-When the dough is ready, knead in the garlic and herbs(for about 1 minute), flatten it into a disk and with a rolling pin roll it out to about 1/4 inch think. Here you can choose its shape: round, oval, square, or just as it turns out...
-Set on an oiled baking sheet.
-Poke some holes in the dough with a fork, and sprinkle some salt and what's left of the herbs.
-Cover again and let it rise another 20-30 minutes.....................
-Brush with olive oil.
-Bake for about 20 minutes.
*A good way to tell if it's done: if you tap on it it'll sound hollow.
-Let it cool a bit and enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easy Chili.

I don't know much about chili. It's never really been part of my growing up and I don't often order it in restaurants. But once in a while I like a nice bowl of spicy chili. Today, I happened to have ground beef in the fridge, ready to be cooked, and I had no idea what to do with it. Spaghetti sauce? Burger? Meat balls? meh...But as I was watching the Food Network, Jamie Oliver's show came on about chili peppers. Mmmm..., there's an idea. But I don't really buy chili peppers either. I usually keep bell peppers in the freezer cause I don't use them often. Ok, I have green peppers, not quite the same but it'll do...So I was going through the ingredient list and procedures it seemed like something I could make. I should mention this was my first ever chili, so for those of you purist out there I'm sorry if I'm breaking any chili rules of forgot something major... ;)
Here's the "recipe", it makes about 2-4 bowls, depending how big the bowl...:

1 onion
1 branch celeri
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
1/2 green pepper
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes(canned of course...)
Ground beef(i had about the amount for 1 big burger patty, not sure of the weight...)
1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 cup corn niblets.
salt, pepper, chili powder(or flakes...)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP molasses
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP tomato paste

Chop all the vegetables roughly. Sautee the onion in a little oil(no more than a teaspoon)for about 2 minutes, add the meat, season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and as much chili powder as you care for. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes, but don't brown the meat. That way it'll remain moist and you won't have to simmer it all day! Add celeri, carrot, galic, pepper and tomatoes. Mix it all well.(here it seemed too thick so I added 1/4 cup of water. if i'd had tomato juice it would've been tomato juice.) Add lentils; this is the thickening agent, as well as extra protein!! Add molasses and bay leaves. Simmer on low-medium, add tomato paste and corn after 30 minutes. By then it should be almost done, I think all together for this one it took about 45-50 minutes.
Of course then all you gotta do is shred some cheese on the side, toast a nice piece of indian flatbread and dig in!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cocoa-Orange Snap Cookies.

I love baking cookies. I love eating them too! With a cup of coffee or tea it's pretty hard to beat. I rarely buy them in the grocery store because a)i love baking and b)commercial cookies can have stuff in them that don't belong in food...
This recipe is also from Sarah Philips' "Healthy Oven", each cookie as approximately 50 calories. Not bad...I tweaked it a bit by adding orange zest, because orange and chocolate go together so well, and I also I'm fascinated with citrus zest.

These cookies take a bit of thinking ahead because they need to chill in the fridge for a while.
So here's the recipe: it'll give you about 30 cookies.

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

1 cup sugar(plus 2TBSP for dipping)
6 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1 TBSP vanilla

zest of one orange(keep 1/2 tsp for dipping)

-In a bowl, mix flour, sift in cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside
-In another bowl, beat sugar and butter until it starts looking like breadcrumbs(with a hand mixer is better, and quicker!!)
-Add egg, corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the zest and mix lightly.
-Stir in the flour mixture, in 2 batches.
-Transfer to a sheet of wax paper and shape the dough into a log, about 1 1/2-2 inch in diameter. Wrap tight and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
-Turn oven on at 375F, set rack in middle, oil spray a cookie sheet.
-On a small plate, mix 1-2 TBSP or so of sugar with the one half-teaspoon of zest. Mix it well, take time to crush it good so the oil gets out and the sugar becomes a little yellow.
-Cut the dough into 1/2 inch rounds, dip one side in the sugar/zest mix, put on the sheet sugar side UP(obviously...).
-Bake for 10-12 minutes.
-Let stand 5-8 minutes on tray before transfering to a cooling rack.

The cookies might seem underdone after 10 minutes but keep in mind they will keep baking for a bit once out of the oven. They're snap cookies so they'll get hard. Perfect for dunking in tea, or milk, etc.

Note to self...: try not to eat the whole stack...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breakfast potatoes.

Potatoes rock! I love them anytime of the day, but breakfast is, in my opinion, the best time to have them. Who can resist sauteed potatoes, really? It's a perfect side-dish to eggs. In restaurants they're usually deep-fried, but it's really easy to make them healthy and delicious without loading up on the fat. So it doesn't have to be a once in a while luxury anymore.
I make those 2-3 times a week. I'm Irish, after all, I gotta have my potatoes!

Ingredients(not really specific, i don't like measuring things unless it's for baking...):

-Potatoes, diced, one medium-size per person.(i keep the skin on but you could peel them if you'd like...)
-Mushrooms(potato's best friend if you ask me...), sliced, about 1/3-1/2 cup...
-Green onion, chopped, about 1/4 cup(1-2 onion...)
-Flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup or so, chopped roughly.
-Salt, pepper and paprika.
-1-2 TBSP canola oil

-Heat the oil med-high heat.
-Add potatoes, salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Toss so they get evenly coated.
-Cover, turn heat to medium.
-Cook about 5 minutes(could be more depending on the size of your potatoes, the smaller they are the faster they will cook), check for doneness and toss around to even the browning.
-Add mushrooms and onion, cook until everything is, well, cooked...
-Throw in the parsley at the end.
That's what I call some good potatoes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When you just HAVE to have pizza...

Everybody loves pizza. I mean, it's bread, meat and cheese(ok, some veggies too...). What's better than that? But we all know it takes forever to make real dough, and ordering in can be quite pricey. Here's an easy way to get your pizza fix anytime, without getting stuck with leftovers that end up being dry and tough and usually gets eaten cold out of the box(ok, sometimes that can be good, like the day after a night of drinking for example...ya, i don't do that anymore...).
This is a freestyle type of meal, whatever's in the fridge will do.
For the "dough", use flatbread. It's sold in most grocery stores. I like the onion Naan bread. There's cumin in it, soooo tasty!
Next, smear some tomato sauce on it. I love italian food, I'm a pasta addict so I always have pasta sauce in my fridge, or a can of tomato sauce lying around somewhere. Today I used some spag sauce I had leftover from a few nights ago. 1-2 tablespoons is usually enough.(sometimes i smash a few slices of sundried tomatoes with garlic and oil and use that as a sauce; very tasty.)
Next, I like to put the meat under the cheese. In my case it's usually salami. I LOOOOVE salami. I'm not big on cold cuts but I could live with just salami and bread if I had to.
Then it's cheese time. Here I used cheddar. Another staple in my fridge. I try to use no more than 1/4 cup 'cause it's pretty greasy...
Finally, the "decorations": black olives and green onions. Olives is something else I could not live without. And green onions go in pretty much everything.
So there you have it. Perfect little pizza for 1!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sundried tomato and Feta omelette.

We've already established that muffins are my pre-swim snack. For the after swim I usually go with eggs. Omelettes, sunny-side, softboiled or scrambled...i love eggs. And omelltes are quite easy to make and they're very versatile. Today I went for sundried tomatoes and feta. I looooooove sundied tomatoes. You can buy them dry or in oil; I like them in oil. Then when the tomatoes are gone you're left with this awesome flavored oil perfect for salads. I also love love love feta cheese. So the two together can only be a delicious combo.
Now, today I had a bit of a "sticky" situation with my non-stick pan that's not really non-stick can probably tell on that picture. But it was good anyway. Anything with sundried tomatoes...
This recipe is for 1 omelette. For 2 people double the ingredients.

1 egg
2 egg whites(you can buy just the whites, in a carton. 2tbsp is 1 egg white)
1 green onion(or 2 if they're really thin)
2 slices sundried tomatoes
Black pepper(no salt! the feta is pretty salty already)
Oregano(eyeball it, i love oregano so I put like 1 teaspoon in it.)
1-2 TBSP Feta cheese.(not sure of the exact quantities, i'd say the size of a golfball...)

-Mix egg, egg whites, onion, tomatoes, pepper and oregano.
-Throw in a med-high heated pan(i always put a little nub of margarine, to prevent from sticking to my "non-stick" works MOST of the time...)
-When it starts to "take" throw in the feta.
-Fold carefully in half, let it go for a minute on one side, flip it and turn the heat off.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Potato, asparagus and chick pea soup.

Soup is one of my favorite things to freestyle with. Anything can go in a soup. I love making it when it's cold outside(God knows it gets freakishly cold here in Quebec!), or raining like today, with a good piece of bread on the side or good Plus, since it's hot it forces you to eat slower which is what Mom always told me to do...I can say without a shadow of a doubt there will be a lot of soup recipes on this site!
Today I decided to honor my Irish roots and make something green, with potatoes:


1 TBSP oil
1 TBSP butter(unsalted)
1 big white or yellow onion, diced
1-2 parsnips, diced
1-2 branch celeri, chopped
2-3 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 cloves galic, sliced
1-1 1/2 cup asparagus, cut about 1 inch long.
1 cup canned chick peas(rinsed of course...)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk(i used 2%)
salt and pepper to taste
some kind of herb, i used tarragon fo this one...

-Sweat the onion on med. heat in oil and butter for about 2-3 minutes, until they start to get transluscent. Add celeri, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, season to taste.
-Add asparagus. Sautee for another 2-3 minutes.
-Add stock and milk, bring to boil, reduce to simmer until the veggies are all cooked.
-Add chick peas.
-In a blender(or with a hand blender), puree half of it so it gets a little smooth but it's still chunky.
-Check for seasonning...

Happy St-Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fruit&nut quinoa muffins.

Ok. So since I just made muffins this morning, and I make these muffins once a week I think it's fitting that it would be the first recipe I share here. I got it from Sarah Philips' book called "Healthy Oven", which is one of my favorite cookbooks because all the recipes in there are low in fat and healthier than "regular" baking. Now here I made a few changes in some secondary ingredients, since I eat these usually before going to swim practice I always add nuts for extra protein.
You'll need:

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oats or flakes of some sort(today I used quinoa flakes, but they could be oatmeal, barley, kamut or millet flakes, or a mix of whatever's in the pantry)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
3/4 cup UNSWEETENED applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup maple syrup, or honey
1 1/2 TBSP canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup nuts(walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds, hazelnuts, the possibilities are endless!!)
1/2 dried fruit(raisins, craisins, dried apricots, or a mix of dried many possibilites!!)

-Set the oven at 350, place the rack in the middle of the oven.
-Oil spray muffin molds.
-Mix all dry ingredients, set aside.
-Mix all wet ingredients until slightly frothy.
-Pour wet in dry, add nuts and fruits, mix gently with a rubber spatula, but do not overmix it otherwise the muffins will be tough and dry.
-Scoop in muffin mold, a little above the rim. Using an ice cream scoop here is the best, it'll give you nice and round muffin tops.
-Bake for 20-22 minutes.
-When they're done, put the tray on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so, then unmold carefully.

*DO NOT open the oven door once they're in. Wait until 20 minutes, check with the knife test and if they need more time go 2 minutes at a time.
**Also, I usually put the muffin tray on a baking sheet. For my oven I find it works best. And if there's any spills it won't make a mess..!

So that's it! Super easy, super tasty, versatile and healthy.

First post.

So this is it. This is a new blog about food and cooking and stuff like that. I know, I know, there are LOTS of these around on the web right now... So why not one more?!
First of all, I'm not a chef. I've never cooked professionally as a line cook or anything and I didn't go to cooking school. I used to do a little baking in a coffee shop in Whistler,BC 7 years ago for about 6 months, but that's it. I just love food and I love cooking, experimenting with it, I love baking muffins and cookies and cakes. So this little blog is gonna be kinda like a journal of what I make, recipes I come up with or lift right out of some cook books(yeah, sorry...but i'll always give creds to the original authors..).
Hope you enjoy it!