Monday, September 20, 2010

An Autumn Affirmation

Admiring the light
on the trees
in the early evening
a passing breeze caressed my cheek.

As I looked up to face the
cool embrace
one yellow leaf rode the wind
to fall at my fingers
along the splintered wooden rail.

In that brief moment I felt
connected to everything.

I felt an energy radiating
through my feet
into the soil
to signal the changing season.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lazy Sunday Muffins

Don't panic, I'm still alive! This past month I've been busy preparing for and then enjoying my sister's wedding, with very little time for extra-curricular activities (like blogging). Now that my time is mine again, I've resolved to post at least once a week. I need to flex my creative muscles if I'm ever going to find a writing job!

The happy couple!
 Today is quite a gloomy contrast to the beautiful weather we had yesterday, so I thought I would warm things up with a batch of muffins. Rather than turn to my tried-and-true recipe collection I set out to find something a little different. Per usual, the options I found online were good but not great. So I took a cappuccino muffin recipe and tweaked it to trim the calories and up the deliciousness. What I ended up with were muffins that taste decadent but are actually very healthy!

Instead of plain instant coffee, I used hazelnut for a "gourmet" flavor.
I was a little skeptical at first when I saw olive oil on the ingredient list, but once I tasted the final product I was sold! It keeps the muffins seriously moist and gives them almost a silky texture inside. As for the coffee and chocolate, you can use whatever you have on hand. I like using flavored instant coffee for an added punch, and I pretty much only use dark chocolate because I find milk chocolate to be uncomfortably sweet. Feel free to experiment with your own variations and let me know how they turn out!

How could I say no to Ikea food?!

2 cups flour
3/4 cup Splenda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
cinnamon & nutmeg to taste (1-2 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
2 Tb instant coffee granules (3 single serving pouches)
1/4 cup + 2 Tb olive oil
2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 squares crushed dark chocolate (about 30g)

* Mix together flour, Splenda, baking powder, spices, and salt in large bowl and set aside.
* In a small bowl, whisk together milk and instant coffee until it is dissolved.
* Add oil, egg whites, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
* Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened.
* Gently stir in chocolate pieces. Do not over-mix or the muffins will dry out!

Bake in greased muffin pan or paper cups at 375 for about 16 min or until muffins pass the toothpick test. Makes one dozen muffins.

Nom nom nom

Tip: If you can't eat all the muffins immediately, they can be frozen and saved for later. Just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it will be ready to enjoy!
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