POWER muffins: blueberry+oatmeal+yogurt=POWER

Yeah, I said it, POWER muffin baby.  Greek yogurt, blueberries, and oatmeal will have you a POWER breakfast. Chobani for the W-I-N again! Perhaps it’s the Olympics that have me all excited, perhaps it’s the love I have for not using oil in baked goods, perhaps I just like to bake. No matter the reason, these muffins are packed with goodness from the greek yogurt, the fresh berries, and the power boost with whole oats. I enjoy some carbs with breakfast and these are a nice change from my typical morning routine.  My everyday ‘menu’ is usually hard boiled egg whites, a slice or two of homemade bread or toast, and a fresh peach or whatever is in season.  And a giant iced coffee during the summer. It’s quick, I boil eggs on Sunday’s so I can spend more time online before I go to work.  It’s not the most exciting thing, but it’s quick, healthy, and I don’t “stray” on my healthier lifestyle track if I have a planned menu.

Fruit is in season at the moment, so I’m being spoiled with a plethora of fresh produce from the garden and the CSA share, and whatever I find. Yes, I scavenge and I’m proud to admit it. I picked up some fresh blueberries but if it’s ‘off season’ you can always get frozen berries and thaw them out. I would recommend straining them and dusting them with flour or sugar so they don’t clump together. I switched out the oil for non-fat honey greek yogurt but kept some butter and two of the eggs.  The yogurt gives them a dense consistency and removes some of the fat. I’m working to remove some of the junk from baked goods, but sometimes you need some butter to achieve a lightness and texture in baked goods.  I just can’t get off the ‘butter’ wagon and refuse to use anything that is a substitute because it’s just not as good. The oatmeal gives the muffins a great texture and adds some fiber, powering you through the morning.

You’ll need:

makes 12 regular muffins (depending how full you pack your muffin tin)

  • no-stick cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats–quick or regular oats, plain
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces honey nonfat greek yogurt or 1 1/2 cups (Chobani)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat muffin tin with cooking spray or liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. Combine yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a second bowl.
  5. Fold yogurt mixture into dry mixture; stir to combine completely.
  6. Gently fold in blueberries.
  7. Spoon into muffin tins.
  8. Bake until top is golden and springs back when you gently touch it, 20-25 minutes.

Pen pal foodie roundup July! #foodiepenpals

I participate in Foodie Pen Pals and I love it!  It’s really fun!  Just like pen pals before email, foodie pen pals is organized by Lindsay at the lean green bean.  Thanks for organizing this!

Foodie Pen Pal is an amazing program where bloggers (non-bloggers too) connect and each send to each other some foodie love! And I mean really isn’t food love the best?

My pen pal this month was Sarah from Love Bird Foodies-what a great gal! Thanks for the nosh! She sent me some awesome eats, some unique eats, and some CHOCOLATE!!!!

Sarah personalized my box after several emails.  She catered my box with an Asian theme since she’s Filipino and I’m Korean.  A cute bento box, a handmade coffee cozy, and some sweet eats made this a great package!  While the chocolate and ginger candies were a bit melted from the long, hot journey, some freezer time cured what ailed them and let me say: chocolate cherry chocolate is amazing!!!

If you want to become a foodie penpal, check it out and learn more about it.  It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, check out some of the awesome eats, and have a little fun shopping for your own eats to send to someone. I sent my pen pal two kinds of homemade granola and some energy chunks this month and hope she enjoyed them! 

Interested in participating with us?  Here are some of the dirty details!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

Pinterest find: cleaning stove top trays

Pinterest is slightly addicting.  There’s all kinds of ideas, recipes, beauty tips, and cute puppies.

And cleaning tips.  As a current renter, I am living with an electric stove with one large burner and three small ones.  Was there a special liquidation sale on these stoves at one point in time????  First world problem for sure 🙂  As you can imagine, the large burner gets a lot of action and the burner tray also gets a lot of drips.  After epically boiling over potatoes the other day, it was time to clean them. I found a site from our friends at Pinterest, said a prayer, and went to bed.

This morning, VOILA!!!  Minimal turmoil when cleaning up the burners and while the big one may never recover fully due to its’ extensive use and be replaced upon move out, it sure did a good job overall! The fumes of the ammonia are what pull the gunk/grease/nasty bits off.

You’ll need:

  • ziploc bags-gallon size
  • ammonia
  • large pan or cookie sheet
  • scrubbing pad or tough sponge
  1. Put 1/4 cup of ammonia in each ziploc bag and one burner. You can double up if you want.
  2. Put the bags in the large pan or cookie sheet for (just in case).
  3. Put the pan outside or leave in the sink overnight.  I had no spills but you never know when using ammonia.
  4. About 10-12 hours later, carefully open the bags, rinse with cool water and use a scrubbie sponge or soft scrubbing pad to remove any other gunk.

**never mix ammonia with any other chemicals.  The chemicals will make a toxic mix.

this is the large burner after the fact.  a major improvement, but you can see it’s not perfect.  don’t let your burners get as bad as i did!!!
this is the small burner.  all gunk removed!  

what handy, dandy cleaning tips do you have? care to share?


Tricks are for kids: favorite tricks in the kitchen

Anything that can make life easier and more efficient in the kitchen is something I can “get on board” with–cutting board, cheese board, pretty much anything that will help me get a meal to the plate and be cost efficient.  If I’m sharing my hopes and dreams here, I would LOVE to own a bright red industrial kitchen aid mixer….someday….or maybe I’ll just keep asking for Amazon dollars for the next few holidays.  I may also resort to marrying myself like Carrie in Sex & the City in order to get the mixer, I have no need for high heels.

I love kitchen gadgets.  Who doesn’t?  I always look forward to getting new kitchen scissors usually because mine are dull as dead when I finally get around to buying some, but I recently came across some new helpers in the kitchen that I can’t get enough of and have been using on a daily basis since they were removed from their hermetically sealed packaging and washed for first use.

One of my newest and quickly becoming a favorite is my Multi-purpose scraper/dough cutter.   I love this thing! I picked mine up at TJ Maxx on a recent splurge and I’ve used it every day since.  I swipe onions and veggies off the cutting board and into the pan, I split meat to form patties, and swipe off the counters when bits get stuck. I love this thing! Mine even has some handy measurement cheats on it just in case….

Something else that makes life much more pleasant is a bread machine.  I put all the ingredients in and a few hours later a fresh, healthy, whole grain loaf comes out.  Voila!  This adjustable bread box helps keep the loaves fresh, has it’s own built in cutting board, vents to provide the right amount of moisture, and expands and contracts with ease. A colleague with a bread machine turned me onto this when she found out I had acquired one via craigslist and it was money well spent. This cleans up beautifully and contracts to a relatively small box when it needs to be stored.

**I used amazon.com as the default for the links to products I purchased.  There is no other reason for this other than I love amazon and their two day shipping. They aren’t paying me.  Trust me on that 😀Iced coffee concentrate.  I know I’ve posted about this before, but it’s halfway through summer and I cannot get enough.  Every day I enjoy a glass of homemade iced coffee.  This mason jar is holding concentrate that I started this morning as soon as I emptied it. 

Last but not least: cubes. I’ve started cubing and freezing as much as I can as a way to preserve and have it available in perfect portions.  I make a ton of homemade pesto each year and converted to the ‘all cube’ method this year.  I can grab two or three cubes to add to pasta. I freeze chicken stock  that’s left over from boiling off a whole chicken in the crock pot so I have it on hand for soups, gravy, or to add to greens as they cook down.  Last but not least, coffee to make cubes to add to my iced coffee so it doesn’t get watered down with ice cubes if it sits for a bit. I brew four servings and let it cool before adding it to the cube tray and freezing it down. I might be a bit cube crazy…..

What helps you get supper on the table?  What prep secrets do you keep?  What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?

Mind your beeswax homemade lotion

Ladies (and some gentlemen), I have a confession: I am allergic to a lot of ‘products’ out there.  While I know I don’t live alone in my plight with extremely sensitive skin, it’s a real pain in the a^^ when I buy nice things only to use them and break out in massive hives, rashes, and other unpleasant side effects.  Things that should be enjoyable, like a massage, are less so because whatever creams those great folks use I’m allergic too.  However, I know this when I make the appointments and immediately shower when I get home.  One area of my life that is a pain is also easy.  Since I’m allergic to soaps, lotions, detergents, anything from Bath & Body Works, cheap stuff, expensive stuff, and air freshener anything, shopping is super easy. Even things labeled “hypoallergenic” are no match for my largest organ, my dermis. I have no future as a make up tester unless I get really awesome health insurance. On the flip side, it takes me a long time to find things that do work or don’t make me explode.  I started this journey as a child when my whole body swelled up and eyes closed, later in college when I found out I was allergic to laundry detergent when my throat closed and I had to visit the ER, and as I continue to age.  I keep a running prescription of epi-pens, steroid creams, pills, and other things in my personal arsenal. I have found products that work through trial and error and if anyone reading this wants a bunch of really nice bottles of lotions, please let me know.  PIC doesn’t use lotion, but he is the proud recipient of shampoos, body washes, and other products that I boot off my personal beauty island. He also smells real good ;~).

Lotion is something I have been trying to catch like a herd of cats for years.  I find one that doesn’t bother me and about a year later, the ‘chemicals’ change and my skin explodes yet again. I have resorted to homemade lotion out of necessity at this point and this one is a winner.  It’s thick, making it good to apply at night before bed, and I added some essential oils for my own benefit.  The best part: I’m not allergic to it.  I have bombed batches of homemade lotion but was not ready to throw in the towel.  I also had all of the ingredients for this batch, having to only go purchase some more olive oil, a regular cooking ingredient in the house.

I followed the recipe posted by A Sonoma Garden and said a secret prayer for better results this time around.  What’s the worst that could happen? More trial and error?

You’ll need:

  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. beeswax (I buy mine at the local organic shop.  if using solid beeswax use 2 oz.)
  • 1/2 t. Vitamin E oil (or about 5 capsules cut open and squeezed out)(optional)
  • 20 drops (approximately) essential oil (optional) i chose citrus
  1. Combine olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax pastilles into a pint sized canning jar.
  2. Put this jar into a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the canning jar, being careful not to get water into the oil mixture.
  3. Put on the stove over medium/low heat. Heat and stir occasionally until melted.
  4. Let cool to room temperature either by leaving out or quicken the process by putting into the refrigerator.
  5. During the cooling process, put a fork into the jar and stir vigorously every 15 minutes or so.
  6. Once at room temperature, add in the Vitamin E and essential oil. That’s it. You have lotion!

What do you do to combat sensitive skin in your house?  Any products that are your favorites?