Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pineapple-ginger Oatmeal Muffins and Betty White being awesome

Who doesn't love a good muffin?  I've had a can of crushed pineapple in my cabinet that my mom gave me - my beautiful mommy-ninja loads me up with absolutely ridiculous amounts of non-perishables every time I visit.  I think she is convinced that I am somehow going to starve to death.  At one point last year I had so many canned goods and dried beans and rice from her that it wouldn't all fit in my cabinets and I had bags of beans and cans all over my kitchen table and countertops.  Mom - as one of the few people who I know actually reads this blog - I love you...but you are slightly insane....and I think that just makes me love you more <3

But I digress....I wanted to stick the crushed pineapple in some kind of baked good, and I thought "hey, ginger sounds like it would be yummy with that" and then I started thinking about muffins.  This recipe was the result.  These are TRUE muffins - not the modern-day muffin that's actually just a cupcake with no icing.  They aren't too sweet and the ginger gives them just enough flavor to be satisfying.  The pineapple taste isn't very strong; it mostly lends a sweet backdrop and makes the muffins very moist without too much oil or sugar.  These make a great breakfast because they stick with you (I eat breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and then don't get to chow down on lunch until noon so trust me on this one) and according to my ninja-love Mike, pineapple revs up your metabolism.  Plus there's also oats in there for all sorts of fiber-y goodness.  Mike is awesome by the way.  Poor boy doesn't get much in the way of meat with me doing much of the cooking, but he still eats what I make with a smile on his face.  He loves my muffins anyway, hehe.

Anyway....onto the recipe:

Pineapple-ginger Oatmeal Muffins

(makes 12 standard-sized muffins)

I topped these muffins with a streusel made of ginger, oats, and brown sugar.  If you want to cut down on the sugar content, just make the muffins without it.  You can also increase the healthiness of these by using white whole wheat flour or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour instead of just all-purpose.


 1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
2 Tablespoons very cold non-dairy butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oats
2 teaspoons ginger
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
 First, make the streusel - mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, and ginger well in a small bowl.  Add the non-dairy butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture is well-combined and crumbly.  Set aside.
Next, make the muffin batter - mix the flour, oats, ginger, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until combined.  Do not overmix!  The mixture should be very thick.
Fill the muffin cups almost to the top - about 3/4 full.  Top the batter with the streusel mixture, pressing the streusel gently into the top of the batter.  Now - this is important - let the batter rest in the muffin cups for 10 minutes.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 18 minutes or until muffins are slightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Ninja Tips and tricks:

1. Don't use crushed pineapple in syrup; use the stuff that's in juice only.  The only ingredients on the can should be pineapple and pineapple juice.  Make sure you get some of the juice in there when you measure it out.

2. Make sure you spray your WHOLE muffin tin with cooking spray, not just the bottom of the cups.  These babies do rise over the edge (no flat-topped muffins for this ninja!) so if you don't spray the whole thing the tops might stick and we all know the top is the best part.

3. It's important to let the muffin batter rest before you slide them into the oven.  I used to be plagued by flat-topped, unattractive-looking muffins, and finally read that it was due to them not rising properly.  Letting them rest for 10 minutes gives the leavening agent (the baking powder) more time to work and makes lovely, dome-topped muffins.

4. Bake your muffin tray with a cookie sheet underneath it.  This will prevent the bottoms of the muffins from being overcooked.

Happy muffin making!  And now to close, as promised, here's a video of Betty White talking about her muffin:
(thanks to my ninja-love Mike for the video)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sauteed Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Almonds

Good day, faithful ninjas!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  It's hard to believe that I haven't seen you all since my last post in February!  Despite my slacker-ness with new posts, I have been a very busy and productive little ninja.  I have several new recipes to post, I've moved into a lovely (and HUGE!) new home with the boy-ninja love of my life (and Lucy and Skye of course!) and we are happily going about setting up our new place together.  I finally have a nice, big oven to cook in, and my kitchen is still small, but much larger than the last one!  Ooooh....and a GAS stove.  Joy!  As you can see, the blog has a new look, and I think it's high time to post some back-recipes that I've been procrastinating with and get cracking on some new ones.  Sorry for the long wait!

Sauteed Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Almonds

 A nice, simple recipe using fresh and easy-to-find ingredients.  Don't substitute frozen cauliflower for fresh or you'll miss out on the toasty crispness of the cauliflower and almonds playing off the sweetness of the raisins and the brightness of the parsley and lemon.  Serve as a side-dish with grilled or baked tofu, or make it a full meal served over brown rice, couscous, or quinoa.  If you're concerned about not having enough protein from the almonds alone, toss a drained and rinsed can of beans in when you add the almonds.


2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat the butter/oil in a wok or very large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the almonds, raisins, coriander, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the almonds are slightly toasted, about 5 minutes.  Remove mixture from heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley.  Serve with lemon wedges.

More recipes to come soon - maybe even today - as I try to work through this backlog of my cooking successes in the last 6 months.  Feedback on the new blog layout as well as recipes welcomed, as always.  See you soon!