Muffin Week: “Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze” (Day 6)

These do seem a little more complicated than I’ve been going for but the certainly do seem worth it. Since I work from home on Fridays and this particular Friday isn’t too crazy I think I can schedule a full lunch break to make these while monitoring my “mobile work space”. Some people think I’m crazy bringing all these screens into the kitchen. During work hours I will have my work laptop (in case of any phone calls or urgent emails), personal laptop (with the recipe), Billy the iPad (named after William Blake and usually streaming some sci-fi series on Netflix), and my phone (because I’m popular… and my boss has my cell phone number in case I’m needed for something).

So during a full episode of Star Trek: Voyager I think these could come into being…

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze

“Chai Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze” from Ambitious Kitchen

 

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Muffin Week: “Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins” (Day 1)

I’ve been at home a lot more than usual these last couple weeks and there’s a little of the stir-crazy Oci starting to come out now. I’ve found that a quick baking session every couple of days can go a long way to keeping you sane while making sure family members don’t… well don’t dismember each other.

While I’ve been trying a large variety of recipes, one of my favorite genre’s lately has been Muffins. So for the entire week, I’m going to feature muffin recipes I’ve been testing out.

As a brief note, my father has removed our all-purpose flour from the house so I’ve been left with either a high-gluten bread flour or a whole wheat pastry flour. This means that any recipe I’ve tried has mostly likely been made with a whole wheat pastry flour which I’m finding I rather enjoy when used in certain recipes.

To start off the week is a new recipe I’ve tried that I just found when I was looking for something that involved chocolate and a little bit of texture. These absolutely delivered! I cut the chocolate chip count in half since I was using the regular sized chips and would probably add another 1/4 cup of oats for even more substance. I also suggest using liners (which I didn’t) as the chocolate will stick through any non-stick coating (I used Pam).

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

“Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins” from Hello Homebody

The Morning After…

Mushrooms & Vegetables with Feta

“Mushrooms & Vegetables with Feta” from KwestiaSmaku

Sooooo…. I’ve kind of been overdoing it this month. The parties, the eating out, the drinking, the not exercising. And the last couple of days I could feel it. I mean sure, I did walk about a bajillion miles  taking my friend around DC but then I also went to Nando’s, Pitango, Cork, and Founding Farmers (click to check out the restaurants).

This morning, I could barely eat my chocolate croissant from Paul. It was horrible. And now, at about 30 minutes to lunchtime I’m hungry but it’s for some serious vegetables and tons and tons of water. And maybe some decent tea. The hot water in my office is seriously far from hot and the steeping ability is far from up to par.

As I finished Excel-ing the list of honors society students (which nowhere near balances out the deficiency students but I love them anyways), I’m also surfing the great internet (for [gastro]Porn!) and seeing all these much healthier-than-I’ve-been-eating things that I sort of wish I’d had time last night to actually try cooking some of them for lunch today. Instead I was making my mom some birthday dinner creativeness and monitoring a couple teenage boys attempting to make peanut butter cookies.

And here’s what I found:

Sweet Potato Fries

“Sweet Potato Fries” from Our Best Bites

Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos

“Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos” from Naturally Ella

Creamy Avocado Pasta

“Creamy Avocado Pasta” from the Blissful Blog

Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

“Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower” from Right@Home

Eggplant Involtini

“Eggplant Involtini” from Alexandra’s Kitchen (Because you know I just can’t help having me some eggplant)

 

 

Vegetarian?

Cheesy Skillet Polenta and Eggplant Bake

Cheesy Skillet Polenta and Eggplant Bake

So the other day the above photograph showed up as a post from America’s Test Kitchen. The post read something like polenta is a vegetarian option blah blah blah being a vegetarian is no fun because then you have to eat polenta blah blah…

In case it isn’t apparent, I don’t like polenta. It makes this sort of dry hard lumpy mass of grits meets cream of wheat and I don’t like any of those above descriptors. Now, maybe you like polenta. That’s up to you and your taste buds. But I do not and I also do not like people bashing on vegetarianism. Yes, I do love goat curry and satay and yes, I do occasionally enjoy a good burger. But I was a vegetarian until I was 17 and my mom let my dad take me on a trip to Africa instead of attending my high school graduation and my dad was NOT raised a vegetarian and I was told I was old enough to try for myself and make a decision. So I tried lots of things and I decided I was no longer strictly a vegetarian. Still don’t like chicken much, however.

There seems to still be some sort of stigma attached to vegetarian cooking these days that just seems silly. While I eat meat occasionally I almost never (and I mean NEVER) cook meat at home. I’m sure I could if I had to in order to save my family from murderers but that’s about it.

My brain tends to run a mile (or two) a minute so between seeing that post yesterday and now I’ve been thinking a lot about goo resources for vegetarian cooking that makes it both appealing and non-disgusting looking. I’ve seen a lot of craptastic vegetarian food and I would never wish that on any of you.

In some of my musings and milling aboutness on the internet I saw a few cookbooks that I have previewed and which, I feel, seem somewhat promising. The first one is “Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes” by Martha Stewart. Say what you will about the woman but she’s got a decent set of gastroporn in her back pocket and I often approve of it.

Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

The biggest problem of eating vegetarian is that too many people try to REPLACE meat with something that isn’t meat and try to pass it off as meat. Stop. Don’t do that. Once you start trying to replace your meat with a “meat-like” mass, you’re doomed.

Check out this burger:

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

“Spicy Black Bean Burgers” from Skinnytaste.com

No meat, no problem.

Being vegetarian or vegan can sometimes come with religious or spiritual backgrounds but for a lot of people it’s a fad or a phase. Like “I’m so cool because I’m a… Vegetarian…” (insert some over the top facial expressions and maybe even a hair flip  in there somewhere). The problem with that is that you take it seriously for a while then you get these cravings and it’s all over. So better not to do that.

Of course their are health benefits to cutting out meat in the average diet. If you want any of these benefits it’s like using that exercise machine. Doing it all in a week then sitting on the sofa the rest of the month isn’t going to help your fat ass get any sexier. Although some people have a sexy fat ass… I think you all are much smarter than the majority of students I have to deal with and can figure out for yourself what you need to do.

What I Should Be Eating For Lunch

Green Goddess Salad Bowl

“Green Goddess Salad Bowl” from Grass, Roots, & Grains

So for those of you who still don’t know (or are just tuning in) I have this job thing that I do. I come into my little corner office four days a week (one day for 14 hours thus the 3-day weekends) and I “work”. As one of those unfortunately productive people in the land of the Vogon-human hybrids I usually get the bulk of my physical work done in the span of about an hour. Then I sit around waiting for all the students that aren’t “making it” that are supposed to come see me. As is evidenced by this blog and its Pinterest and Facebook siblings, they don’t seem to feel as passionately about their education as I’m paid to. You’d think they’d want to get the best out of what they paid for but it’s like spending a ton of money on some fancy exercise machine that you use like twice a year. I use mine a little more often than that but I’ve had my equipment since high school and I ain’t losing much weight so clearly that ain’t working’ all that great. Sorry, I’ve been watching “True Blood” while working up a tentative orientation schedule for August. The accents gets in your head after 4 straight seasons.

And at lunch I close my office door so I can eat while doing… well the exact same thing. But today I took a look at some of the other bloggers out there and found this: “Green Goddess Salad Bowl | Grass, Roots & Grains“. While I do usually bring in something more along the lines of a salad for lunch this past week has been a train wreck and there is currently nothing green in my fridge. There were, however, a couple tomatoes in the kitchen so yay! My mom hasn’t been home for a few days and so scrounging happens (my dad doesn’t like buying food and expects us to live off the condiment bottles in the fridge until is is completely empty).

If you read this morning’s post you’ll know that I happened to have enough energy to mix together and bake up some cornbread to go with some chili (canned vegetarian kind. Oh yeah.) and of course, my tomato. That is not salad but I’m fed and now I can be more logical about my frustrations. Speaking this morning was a task of great magnitude so I opted for sneaking down into the English department to visit my friend who is a professor down there and eat chocolate and have some tea. Their hot water making device is much better than the one in my office.

But my mother returns to us this evening and so she will probably get to go grocery shopping this week and that means healthy food!

For those of you confused how someone with a master’s degree and a full time job still needs her mother to help buy groceries it’s okay. You’re not alone. But this is what happens. It’s hard to explain. But as some form of justification I don’t drive and I live just far enough into the suburban sprawl that not driving means not having access to much besides the super cool playground.

And now I should probably reopen my office door and get back to “work”.