07 April 2007

Alterations and Altercations

There will actually not be any disagreements in this post, I just liked the alliteration.

MotherMe posted a muffin recipe the other day, and upon reading it, my first thought was YUM! And my second thought was a wistful, (sigh), I haven't baked anything in forever, due to my self-imposed weight loss program. I love to bake. But cookies, muffins, cakes and quick breads are not the stuff that weight-loss dreams are made of, so I've been abstaining from doing much in the kitchen besides making dinner. Dinner is usually boneless, skinless chicken, or grilled fish. And yes, that can be rather dull, but the idea of becoming a Type 2 diabetic is terrifying enough that I've been highly motivated to stick to the program of gym, every single day, and eating right, making big changes that must be lifelong changes if I am to avoid the traps that my genes have set for me of obesity, diabetes, knee replacement, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Yet again, however, I'm wandering off topic. Boy, I'm good at that.

Back to the muffins. These appealed to me because they have both carrots and zucchini in them, and I have a tough time getting all of the servings of veggies that I need each day.

Here's the recipe as MotherMe posted it.

  • 2 cups unbleached, unbromated white all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 2 cups grated carrot (approx 6 medium)
  • 1 smallish zucchini, grated (approx 1/2 to 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Butter or grease 18 muffin cups, or line with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly together in a large bowl. Add pineapple, vegetables, raisins, and nuts and stir well. It will look a lot more like a pasta salad than a muffin mix, but trust me on this.

In another bowl, beat the eggs well and stir in the oil and vanilla. Add to the vegetables and fruit and mix well. Forget that stuff about mixing muffins until “just combined”. It doesn’t apply when you’re making muffins out of cole slaw.

Spoon the slaw batter into the muffin tins or papers. They won’t rise a whole lot, so fill them fairly full.

Bake approximately 30-35 minutes until a knife or toothpick poked into the center comes out without any goo on it. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before eating. Pineapple chunks will be very hot.

Here are the changes that I made....
  • 1 cup unbleached, unbromated flour
  • 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • golden raisins (because regular raisins are icky.)
  • I omitted the salt. I almost always do in baking recipes. You get enough salt from other sources...ahem. Let me get off my soapbox.
  • I omitted the vanilla. Not because I intended to, but because I forgot about it until filling the muffin tins.
Now since I haven't tasted MotherMe's version, I don't know if my alterations made a significant difference in the texture of the finished product, but I'm guessing that it might make the muffins a bit more coarse-textured with more whole wheat flour. But it gives them a higher whole grain content, too, which means fewer simple carbs.

Turbinado sugar is just a fancy way of referring to what is sold commercially as "Sugar in the Raw" and I have a bunch of it from the health food store, so I used it instead of white sugar. It is less 'processed' than white sugar. Again, this may make a slight difference in the final texture, but the benefits, IMO, outweigh those minor consequences.

My prep time was reduced as well, because I purchased matchstick carrots instead of grating my own. I'm pressed for time in general this weekend, so while I the grocery store I took the opportunity to purchase chopped nuts and shredded carrots, making this one of the easiest quick bread recipes I've ever thrown together.

The taste? Delicious. I couldn't resist them straight out of the oven, being wildly curious about how cole slaw turns into yummy muffins, so yes, I ignored the caution that the pineapple chunks are hot and burned my lip. Worth it, though. They're good cold, too, I've been munching a second one as I've written this post. The cinnamon is a nice touch, the nuts an unexpected crunch here and there, and the carrots are not so cooked as to be mushy and gross. (I despise cooked carrots.) These are nearly ideal breakfast food if you ask me, a nice veggie addition to my usual 2 hard-cooked eggs-and-a-banana breakfast.

Further experimentation will probably be in reducing the amount of sugar, as that's important to me. I also might try adding a scoop of soy protein or wheat germ to see what happens.

I'm pressed for time this weekend because somehow, the family gathering for Easter dinner is at my house. I'm not sure how the only pagan heathen in the family ended up hosting the most important Christian celebration on the calendar, but that's life for you sometimes. So I've been busy cleaning and cooking, and will probably not have a second to spare to be on the computer tomorrow at all. Let's not talk about how traumatic I think the withdrawal will be, OK?

Listening to: The washing machine. As it spins endlessly, sounding like a small jet is going to take off from my kitchen.


Erin said...

Lucy - right with ya, sister, on the whole excercise thing. Dunno if I told you but I've had recurring knee pain for YEARS. Well, I've been lifting weights and running and I've dropped about five pounds since Jan (I know nothing to sneeze at but still) and the knees have not been bothering me for...at least a couple weeks now. YAY! Keep up the good work!

MotherMe said...

I'm so proud that (a) someone read my blog, (b) someone made a recipe I posted, and (c) someone liked my recipe enough to eat it, have seconds, and then post about it on their own blog. And (d), it's particularly thrilling to have a, b and c be the same person. (e): All of the above!

Urp. We take waaay too many multiple choice tests in our lifetimes.

(Am I allowed an "I TOLD U SO" on the hot pineapple? No?? That's okay, because I wrote that one from experience.)

Cheers! or... shall I say it? bon appetit!

MotherMe said...

Oh, and (f)- ditto Erin's kudos on the healthy lifestyle progress. You're more - or perhaps, less- woman than I.

Lucy Arin said...

Erin and MM
~fank you very much on the congrats. Its been a right pain in the behind, and s-l-o-w going, but worth it in the end. The goal is far, far away, though, and that's annoying.

yes, absolutely, you're allowed to say "I told you so" about the hot pineapple! Overeager? Me? Nah.

Hope you both had a nice weekend...