Sunday, July 6, 2014

W54: Much Ado About Muffins

Since the weather did not cooperate for kayaking, I found myself scrambling for a challenge last week.

Then, it hit me: QUINOA!

It's that oddly-named "grain" (pronounced KEEN-wah) that I keep hearing about but have never actually tried.  You may also recognize it from the Bud Light commercials in which the boyfriend continues to grill quinoa burgers for his girlfriend because his team won that one time.  He pronounces it slightly different... QUEEN-oh...

But I digress... As I was saying, I decided to try quinoa...

Quinoa Fun Facts:
It's almost always organic. 
Gluten-free. Cholesterol-free.
It's a seed but can be treated like a whole grain.
It's a good source of riboflavin which helps with migraines. 
It's a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids).
Like chia seeds, it has been cultivated for thousands of years.
Quinoa can be popped like popcorn.  It's actually a popular treat in Peru.
It's coated in a toxic chemical called saponin, so it's important to always rinse your quinoa thoroughly.

Of course, when I commit to something.  I really go for it.  I couldn't just cook plain ole quinoa and eat it.  That's boring.  No, I baked my quinoa into a muffin...because who doesn't like muffins??

The original recipe can be found here, but if you know anything about me by now, you know that I also didn't follow the recipe exactly...

Here is my version of how to make Cranberry Quinoa Muffins.
The Ingredients:
1 C. Red Quinoa, 2 C. Flour, 3/4 C. Brown Sugar, 1.5 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp Salt, 3/4 C. Craisins,
1/4 C. Vegetable Oil, 3/4 C. Whole Milk, 1 Egg, 1 tsp Homemade Vanilla Extract
The lazy approach. Skip all of the steps on greasing the muffin tin.
Rinse & Cook Quinoa--Boil then simmer 11-13 minutes covered (until water is absorbed)
While the quinoa is cooking, combine all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl.

While the quinoa is cooking, whisk all of the wet ingredients into a small bowl.

Once quinoa is cooked, let it cool then combine with dry ingredients.

Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it looks like this.

Evenly distribute the muffin mix into the tin.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.
Let cool.

Enjoy your healthy, high energy snack!
The verdict:  I enjoyed making these muffins.  I feel that muffins in general don't get enough credit.  You can cram a lot of really good stuff into those tiny paper cups.  I am a fan of anything that creates a portable breakfast/snack.  As for the quinoa itself, it actually wasn't too bad.  It has an interesting texture, but I love chia seeds so that's not really a turn off for me.  The cranberries bring a much needed sweetness to the muffin.  Overall, not bad.  To me they needed a bit more crunch and a little more sweetness.  I might do a crumble for the top next time or add nuts into the batter.

Coming up... Week 55: Elevated Writing

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