I've also been trying to keep up my nails with fun color, since when I'm mentally exhausting myself during the work day, I like to look down at my nails and have something to smile about. Is is weird that a good manicure can boost my mood during a tough day?
So, while I've been spending time at work and letting my nails dry, I haven't been keeping up the blog like I'd like to.
However, I have been inspired. Gina over at Skinnytaste.com may not realize it, but I semi-stalk her. Earlier this month, I was on a banana bread kick, and tried out two different recipes in single serve and two serving portions. The problem I found with the recipe I made into 2 serving portions (using mini-loaf pans), was that I seem to be physically incapable of only eating half of the loaf. Those are in the freezer and are a bit of a treat on those low-point days.
Onto the inspiration. I was sitting at work toiling away and fantasizing about that banana bread, but wishing it were fewer points (the 2 servings together are 11). I had also just eaten my lunch - 1C of oatmeal with chopped apple and maple syrup (easier to throw together in the morning than a sandwich, when there's nothing in the freezer). I was thinking of making an oatmeal fruit bread, similar to my lunch but with leftovers. Later that day, while taking a short sanity break, I checked Skinnytaste.com and found the recipe for Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. I already had most of the ingredients on hand, and had chopped up strawberries and blueberries in the fridge.
Naturally, I had to hit the grocery store to pick up some things first. I didn't think I had enough honey at home and didn't trust the applesauce in my fridge to still be good. Long story short, the baking was delayed until last night, at which time my berries were dried out and sad looking. Quick change - apple pie muffins instead. I substituted chopped up apple for the berries and added some apple pie spice to the dry ingredients.
I'll admit that sometimes I get intimidated by lengthy ingredient lists, but this recipe is really rather simple and easy to follow.
Ingredients ready for assembly
Since the first step in the recipe is to let the oats soak in the milk for about 30 minutes, it gave me time to prepare all the rest of the ingredients while the oven pre-heated. Once the oats are sufficiently soaked and the wet ingredients are mixed, everything comes together quite quickly.
Ready for the oven
Normally, I would worry about filling a muffin-tin to that level with the batter, but since the photos in the recipe page showed this level (and the finished product), I was okay with it. And you may be wondering what all that liquid is on top of the muffin-tin. One of the recipe steps was to spray the tin and liners with oil. I had never done both steps before, but after reading the comments, saw this to be integral. I used non-stick cooking spray.
This is the first time I've baked something that didn't rise up and out over the top of the pan to the point that you have to destroy them to remove them. I guess actually following written instructions has its perks. Of course, since it's me, I had to do something stupid during the process. This time, when I slid the muffins into the oven, I realized that I hadn't moved the racks to their usual positions (I had planned on putting these on the rack in the middle position, but had forgotten that I'd moved that rack to the top position to broil something earlier this week). My solution was to bake these on the top rack for the first 11 minutes and then move them to the bottom rack for the last 11. Result - some of the muffin bottoms are a bit over-done. I'm not sure if this is due to the rack issue, or the fact that while I was mixing the ingredients, the pan was on top of the hot oven waiting to be filled. I need a larger kitchen, or more inclination to keep the counters clutter free. Normal people probably will not get this result.
The first taste
The verdict: Moist and tasty. I will definitely be making these again, and trying different fruit combos. It has a good oat flavor and a subtle sweetness. The big apple chunks cooked up well, and there's a nice fruit to muffin ratio. When I first folded in the fruit, I was afraid it wouldn't be enough, but it is.
To circle back to spraying the liners with the oil...you do not want to skip that step. These muffins come out of the liners completely with no precious points lost to the wrapper. That is so important to a Weight Watcher's member, since I know when I have counted points for an item, I am eating every morsel, even if it means gnawing the crumbs off of that muffin liner (I'm not proud). From the recipe comments, you will want to use liners because otherwise these tend to fall apart when removing them from the pan. Other comments have remarked that the muffins bottoms tend to be rather wet, but dry by the next day (I didn't have this issue, but I'm "special").
I may be smuggling one of these in to The Hunger Games later for a WW-Friendly movie snack.