Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring has sprung (Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins, Granola Bars)

Spring at 179 means a couple things. I start spending a lot of my free time outside getting my hands dirty in my gardens. I have so much to look forward to after work each day. I get home and check on my flowers and plants to see how they are progressing. And lastly, Seth starts back to work full time...which means that I have to start packing his lunches.

I've really been trying to think of creative things to put in his lunch. He is a vegetarian. He eats his lunch in a truck. So I am quite limited. Today I made Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins from Joy the Baker as well as Alton Brown's Granola Bars. Both things that I can have on hand to stuff in his lunch in a pinch. Plus they are healthy. Both photos and recipes are at the end of this post.

Crocuses in full bloom. I love the variety of colors. Beautiful.

Pink Bleeding Heart just starting to poke through the soil. I'm hoping my white one didn't die during the winter. I can see where the roots are but they look a bit brown and mushy. I have my fingers crossed that it is just slow.

Pink Peonies! I was surprised at how much these spread over the year. This is the second year I have had this on the side of the house. My grandfather had split the plant and thrown half in the woods. I found it a few years ago and transplanted it. I'm happy it is has done so well.

This is my sad sad garden. I have promised myself to scale back since I wasn't able to manage it very well last year (never mind that I was preoccupied with a wedding). This year I am thinking green beans (bush), cherry tomatoes, red tomatoes, gourds, zukes, cukes, and maybe some peppers (sweet and hot).

Today I promised Boyd that I would look around for his leash and run so he could spend some time outside. After digging through the piles of crap in the garage Seth was able to find it and Boyd was able to join us in the sun. It didn't take him long to get into trouble.

Daddy to the rescue!

Then he played dead.

Yummy healthy muffins!

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins (I doubled and made 12 huge muffins)

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

These granola bars are really good. Much more healthy and cheaper than the ones you buy in the grocery store!!

Granola Bars
Source: Alton Brown
Yield: 12 squares

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Anonymous said...

I am definately going to try your muffins, thanks!

KaceyLeigh said...

Wow Boyd really does look he really dead? Did he eat one of the Car Bomb cupcakes? Was the Jamesons Ganache too strong for him? Was he nervous for his future date with Sammy? No, that wasn't it...I know what it was the egg on the pizza, he couldn't handle the egg on the pizza. I think V had the same look on her face when she watched us crack the eggs. A look of pure disgust, hatred for the egg... The egg should be lucky, it didn't have the chance to grow up and get it's little chicken neck swung around. Instead, it was cracked on an already delicious pizza and enjoyed by you and me. Although to be honest...when I reheated the pizza, the reheated egg kinda grossed me out.

Keep on Keeping on Sweet Cheeks!!!

P.S. Boyd: Sammy thinks your a handsome devil!

Ashley said...

SO, I really really like these muffins! They are so yummy and moist! I made half of the batch with blueberries and the other half with chocolate chips (for the boy who won't eat fruit in a muffin). Thank you for the recipe, it's hard to find muffin recipes that taste really good AND are good for you:)

ChristineE said...

We loved the muffins, thank you, my bf had said that he had tried whole wheat muffins before, but they were always dry, I'm just about to send your receipe with him as he just ate them and loved them! Saving this receipe for the future:) Thanks again Sweet Cheeks!