Blueberry Banana Muffins (and life lately)

Hi friends, how are you? Life has certainly changed a lot in the past week, hasn’t it?

Just last week we were doing fairly normal activities like cooking class, bootcamp, and making plans for IB & AP “mock” exams… and in the space of about 48 hours, found ourselves on a plane back to the US to ride out what has become an “enhanced community quarantine” in Manila. This Presidential order keeps residents home-bound, regulates food and medical supplies, and has laid off hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the city. It’s an uncomfortable situation to say the least.

It’s been a lot to wrap our minds around… so much uncertainty and so much potential loss. Theda feels it especially, as do all graduating Seniors- they have worked so hard for their IB diplomas and looking forward to the well-deserved rewards of Prom, Graduation, and Senior trip. Yet everything is on the line right now.

I know we are not the only ones to experience stress, anxiety, and the anticipation of loss. We all have plans for the future and it’s hard to keep them on hold for an uncertain period of time, not knowing how that “hold” will change things.

But maybe the “on-hold” nature of our lives at this point can serve a purpose too. We find that here in our little house, fulfilling our 2-week self-quarantine, our lives have become reduced… to school (online), food, sleep, board games, and connecting (online) with friends and family. It’s a much slower life, and how often have I wished for time to slow down?

In the past couple of days, I’ve been grateful to God for the “little” things that really aren’t so little: health, family, friends, and daily sustenance. I take life on a 24-hour basis right now… thanking the Lord that today we woke up healthy, today we have food to eat, today we can find joy in each other’s company. It’s a different way of thinking for me, and not unwelcome.

It snowed yesterday in Colorado and dumped about 10-12″ (20cm) of snow on us. It was perfect snow-ball and snowman-making snow, and we took full advantage… see pix below! Tommy never put on a jacket, and turns out he didn’t really need it as he never took a direct hit- must be nice to be able to catch every snowball thrown at you! Sara & I considered it quite an accomplishment to build our little snowman while still under attack…

I’ve also been cooking a lot… no other option since we’re not going out at all, ha. I made these blueberry banana muffins this morning for breakfast with some pretty basic ingredients using a recipe I made up in my head. They turned out pretty well and I know you can substitute with whatever you have on hand.

For example, if you don’t have blueberries, substitute chopped apples, pineapple, mango, or another frozen fruit. If you don’t have bananas, use applesauce. If you don’t have an egg (they’re in short supply here), just add an extra tablespoon of flaxseed meal. To substitute for the protein powder, add an extra tablespoon of regular flour, coconut or almond flour. It will all work. You may wind up with something completely different than what you first had in mind, but that will be OK.

I guess the point is to work with what we’ve got, not only in terms of the muffins… ya know?

Stay safe and healthy, friends!

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Category: Breakfast

American

Yield: 12 muffins

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 T. vanilla protein powder (optional- I used Orgain vanilla bean)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 T. brown or coconut sugar
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. almond (or other) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F.) Line a muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease with oil.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, protein powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, salt, & cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, combine mashed banana, brown sugar, oil, milk, egg, flaxseed meal, and vanilla.
  • Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and combine gently until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.
  • Fold in blueberries gently. Scoop into prepared muffin tin and bake 17-20 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Makes 12.
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http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/blueberry-banana-muffins-and-life-lately/

Toasted Oat Muesli

Howdy, friends! Do you ever get inspired to whip something up in your kitchen just by seeing a similar item at the grocery store? I did, today at Santi’s (our amazing little Swiss deli that sells all the major food groups: cheese, chocolate, and wine.) It’s one of my favourite stores. They also sell a breakfast muesli that Theda loves, called “Full o’ Fruits”… anyone know what I’m talking about? I’ve bought it many, many times, and I had it in my hand to buy today.

THEN. I looked at the price tag. 439 pesos (about $9), for a bag that contains maybe 15 servings. IT’S OATS, PEOPLE!! So my inner rebel (yeah, I admit that feisty girl has tamed down quite a bit over the years) told me I’d been bamboozled long enough, and I should just make my own “Full o’ Fruits” muesli for about a quarter of the cost. My Ma would call this “beating the system” and she would be proud of me. So here you go, my version of “Full o’ Fruits”…

This homemade muesli came together in less than 30 minutes with ingredients I had on hand in my pantry. Really, you can use anything! Besides the oats, I used pumpkin, sunflower seeds, and walnuts to give it a little crunch (and some healthy fats!), and then after it was toasted, added finely chopped dried apricots, figs, dried blueberries, & a few raisins. Just use whatever you have!

I actually didn’t even use a bowl to mix this; I just spread all the ingredients out on my baking tray, sprinkled over the cinnamon, and toasted it for about 10 minutes, turning it once to make sure the nuts & seeds didn’t burn.

Then, when it was slightly cooled, just add your dried fruits and stir to mix.

My kitchen smelled absolutely heavenly as this was baking, and the end result is amazing: fresh, toasty, crunchy, with little bits of sweet-tart dried fruit. I think Theda will love it.

It’s so easy that she can even make it in her college dorm room toaster oven when she goes to SCAD this fall! And so yummy it’s good any time of day… with yogurt & fruit for breakfast, after a workout, stirred with milk to make overnight oats, or for a late-night snack.

Enjoy, friends!

Toasted Oat Muesli

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: Breakfast

American

Yield: 13 servings

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Toasted Oat Muesli

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  • ¼ cup seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)
  • 2 T. walnuts
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ½ cup dried fruit (I used apricots, raisins, figs, & blueberries)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200C (425F).
  • On a large baking sheet, spread oats, seeds, & walnuts in a thin layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon & salt.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once with a metal spatula to ensure even toasting. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • Mix in dried fruit. Cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container.
  • Makes 12 (¼-cup) servings.
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http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/toasted-oat-muesli/

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