Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blueberry health muffins

These were very good. Moist, not too sweet and great warm out of the oven. The boys even liked them! Hopefully they'll be good tomorrow as well - we'll see if they get left behind in the lunch bags.

Adapted from the recipe as it appears on the Whole Living website. It makes 12 muffins.

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
Note: Toasted wheat germ can be hard to find, at least it is near me in Canada. I used to buy it in the jar but now all I can find is untoasted wheat germ in a bag. Quick fix - toast it yourself. Use a moderate oven (350-375), spread the wheat germ thinly on a cookie sheet (don't use the whole bag, do a couple of cups at a time), and watch closely. Don't walk away! Stir and/or shake the pan often and it should be done in under 5 minutes. It toasts very quickly - watch for browning around the edges. You are trying to get a nice golden brown all over. I keep my toasted wheat germ in a big mason jar in the fridge beside my jar of ground flax see and sprinkle both on yogurt, cereal and porridge.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin cups. In a bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of the toasted wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and the 2/3 of a cup of brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients all at once. Gently mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries just until distributed. Do not over mix.
  2. Divide batter among the muffin cups. Combine 2 tbsp. toasted wheat germ, 1 tbsp. brown sugar (I substituted organic raw cane sugar), and rolled oats in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over tops of muffins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let sit in pan 10 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack to cool.
Note: The bottoms browned more than I liked because I was out of liners. But it did not affect the taste. Next time I'll use liners or cut back a minute or so on the time.

The finished product.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pasta and prawns

OK, for the inaugural recipe I decided to keep it simple and use my most recent recipe. Jon loved it and the kids ate it as long as I picked the tomato skins out first. :-) I didn't use a recipe and I didn't keep track of quantities. So, I'm gonna wing it.

To amp up the nutritional benefits of this dish, you can make some important choices: whole wheat pasta, organic if possible; local prawns (in BC we have great spot prawns that are harvested sustainably and are less likely to contain chemicals than frozen imported ones - full disclosure, I had to go with frozen ones because that is what I had); increase the amount of tomatoes (you could double them without hurting this dish); omit the cream or substitute low-fat cream (I know it exists but I can't attest to how well it stands up to heating in a dish like this); and serve with steamed broccoli and a leafy green salad.

Note: I used deveined, shell-on prawns so we had to go through the messy work of peeling the prawns as we ate - which involved lots of finger licking. :-) If you don't want to do this, peel them before adding them to the pan.


Pasta for four (I used linguine but you could easily use penne, rotini or even angel hair - just watch the cooking time)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs crushed or minced garlic
Two big handfuls of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a yummy BC Riesling)
454 grams large raw prawns (I used shell on, frozen prawns and thawed them before cooking)
1/4 cup of cream (can be omitted)
Stock or water
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh marjoram or oregano, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Put water on to boil. I used linguine and it takes under 10 minutes to cook. The sauce takes about 15 minutes start to finish - so if you get the water boiling at the beginning you can just chuck the noodles in the pot when you are five minutes into making the sauce.
  2. Heat a skillet or large saute pan on medium high. Swirl twice around the pan with the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add your garlic. Saute very briefly until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. 
  3. Add the tomatoes. Saute for a minute or so till they start to soften, pressing on some of them with your wooden spoon to get the juices out. (During this stage is when I would pop the noodles in the water.) 
  4. Add the wine. Allow sauce to simmer a few moments to burn off some of the alcohol and thicken slightly. 
  5. Add the prawns and cook briefly, flipping them so they cook evenly. 
  6. When the prawns are just starting to turn pink on all sides, add the cream and enough water or stock to make a nice sauce (I would guess it is about a cup in total between the cream and water/stock). 
  7. Add lots of fresh parmesan cheese, marjoram or oregano, salt and pepper. 
  8. If you've timed this well, you should be able to now drain the noodles and add them to the sauce in the pan, adding extra pasta water if required to loosen the sauce.
  9. Serve, passing extra parmesan and ground pepper at the table.

Serve with a salad.

I should have taken pictures. It was really pretty. If I make this again, I'll be sure to add them then.