Zen #4: The Zen of Baking

I think this is number four; I honestly lost count somewhere along the way. Isn’t it funny how life seems to be ruled by numbers? There’s the numbers on the scale (or your BMI), your cholesterol numbers, your bank account numbers, your GPA numbers, your SAT numbers, and so on.

It has always astounded me that someone would actually CHOOSE a career in which most of what they do is add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. Yes, I know math is a lot more than that and, yes, I do actually enjoy discrete mathematics and fractal planes and different dimensions and what not, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is sitting around all day adding and subtracting numbers. I would shoot myself. Or give my kitty a cyanide pill and then take another myself. That’s the way the great men die, right?

Okay, no, this post is not going to talk about Hitler, although I do seem to have this ongoing obsession with the psychology of deranged (yet brilliant) figures in history. This post is more about the “funks” you get yourself into, and how to get out of them. Yes, I admit it, I was in a funk, and still am, but at least now I know I have to work on it.

I’ve been eating mostly processed foods because of the insane amount of work that goes along with taking 20 credits. And then I’ve been beating myself up, counting calories, and the like. That’s a funk. That’s not how you achieve balance. BALANCE comes from moderation. Things that should be common sense like: don’t exercise if you have the flu or don’t starve yourself because you overate or don’t procrastinate when you have a paper due in a few hours (ahem, me right now, ahem). Basically, I’d been feeling bad for being really inactive because I was focusing on WRITING 20 PAPERS!!!! Yes, I counted, with the wonderful invention that is numerology.

So I felt like some muffins the other day (I know, why crave homemade spinach (saag) when you can have muffins, right?) and decided I would try to make some. I looked in the fridge and realized I probably had most of the wet ingredients, but then, looking in the pantry, I realized I had none of the try. So I invented (yes, WITHOUT exact measurements) a blueberry muffin recipe that is actually quite delicious (although, I must say it could use a little more punch, and a little more sugar).

Blueberry Muffins (a.k.a. Craving + Creativity = Food!)

2 weeks of blueberry season, and I make muffins!

2 weeks of blueberry season, and I make muffins!

  • 2 cups oat bran cereal or oat flour or combination of the two (I ran out of the bran after about 1 1/2 cups so used 1/2c. of flour)
  • 1/3 c. splenda (or brown sugar or white sugar or whatever)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 2 t. spice (cinammon, cardamom, pumpkin pie, allspice, etc)
  • 1/2 c. sweetened yogurt (non-fat, low-fat, full-fat, homemade, self-sweetened, whatever)
  • 1/2 c. of something to temper the sweetness (think orange or pineapple juice, a little tang but still sweet)
  • 1/2 c. egg substitute (or whole eggs beaten but NOT only egg whites because they have no binder in them)
  • a tablespoon or two or mild oil (or applesauce or melted butter MIGHT work, but just use a healthy oil)
  • 1 c. fruit or chocolate chips or peanut butter chips or chopped nuts or anything else you crave (I made blueberry)

→Freeze the blueberries (or you’ll have a blueberry puddle on the bottom of each muffin).
Preheat oven to 350*F and coat a 12 regular size muffin tin with cooking spray.
Mix dry ingredients (not blueberries).
Mix wet ingredients separately (not blueberries).
Add wet to dry and stir well.
Fold in frozen blueberries.
Spread the mixture evenly between the 12 sections of the muffin tin.
Bake for about 15 minutes (until you can break one open and it’s not soggy anymore.

Thank you, Alton Brown, for your food science.


3 responses to “Zen #4: The Zen of Baking

  1. Andrea@WellnessNotes August 23, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I can relate to the difficulties of finding balance when you have LOTS going on… And it’s so hard not to beat yourself up when you don’t do what you think you should be doing… When things get really hectic, I still do what I normally do but just not as much of it. I have found that I have to get some sort of exercise (or movement) everyday, or I don’t feel well. So I make sure to move/exercise for at least 20 – 30 minutes. It sure sometimes feels like I don’t have 20 minutes, but if I don’t make that time, I know I’ll “pay for it later.” I also try to have lots of fresh produce around that I prep once I bring it home. Just eating some raw veggies makes me usually feel better…

    I love that you baked muffins without following a recipe. I am not a good baker at all (and I don’t like to measure things – I think the two are actually related), so I admire anyone who can bake without following a recipe! 🙂

    • eeyoreblues27 August 23, 2009 at 2:53 am

      Well, I sort of had a recipe, or several. You should watch some of Alton Brown because then you know what ingredients perform what function.
      I started with a basic blueberry muffin recipe and then thought about what I could swap out. Sugar for splenda is easy (I think I decreased the amount too much though). Then some type of whole grain for regular flour: whole wheat is too caloric so I thought about oat flour and then thought about mixing it with some oat bran. The pineapple juice was just because I had it lying around. Yogurt is richer than applesauce and bakes up quite a bit more moist, I find, not to mention the protein kick. And then, there’s the baking soda/powder, which it tricky, but there’s a general idea of how much to use for muffins and how much to use for cake, etc. I knew I needed a bit more because oats are heavier than white flour.
      It’s all about science. 😉 But thanks for commenting!

  2. Pingback: “Best of” Recipes « Thoughts on the Freshman 15

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