“Morning Glory” muffins

Morning Glory Muffins | thelittleredspoon.com

Morning Glory muffins. I learned this recipe during my first semester of culinary school. These muffins make a great breakfast on the go, which is something I’m always on the lookout for. I usually eat breakfast during my commute on the TTC each morning so I like to have something small that’s easy to eat, more or less odourless and that travels well. These tasty little muffins check all those boxes. It’s kind of a cross between a carrot cake and a walnut muffin with some extra goodies thrown in.

Interested to know what I learned about these muffins in school?

 

Muffins are classified as a quick bread, which means they are easy-peasy to make. Quick breads are made with a chemical leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast. They’re “quick” because they usually don’t need much time to rise before popping in the oven.

 

To make muffins or any other quick bread, use the “Muffin Method” – mix your dry ingredients, then separately mix your wet ingredients, then mix the wet into the dry gently by hand. Did you even know that method had an official name? Seems kind of like common sense to mix wet and dry separately but it’s one of those things you can mess up if you don’t pay attention to the basics.

 

Morning Glory Muffins ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

To start you’ll want to get all your ingredients prepared. Top, tail, peel and grate 1 cup of carrots. Peel, quarter and core an apple and shred half. (Snack on the other half while you’re working if you’re like me) Get all your wet and dry ingredients organized and whatever goodies you want to throw in the muffins. This recipe calls for ¼ cup chopped nuts (I think walnut works best here) and ¼ cup dessicated (dry, shredded) coconut. Yum. You could add some other stuff here: things like oats, different types of nuts and brown sugar would make great toppings. Orange zest or dates would taste nice too. Experiment and let me know what you’ve come up with!

Morning Glory Muffins shredded ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

When you have your mise en place ready, mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spice, salt, baking soda), preferably sifting them first but you can get away with being lazy here.

Morning Glory Muffins dry ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

Add your chunky bits like the carrots, apple, raisins and coconut in with the dry and mix them around a little.

Morning Glory Muffins added ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

In a separate bowl, mix your wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, vanilla). This recipe could easily be veganized by substituting mashed bananas or ground flax seed and water for the eggs. I’ll definitely be working on experimenting with that next time I make this recipe.

Morning Glory Muffins wet ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

Add the wet to the dry.

Morning Glory Muffins mixed ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

While mixing wet and dry together be careful not to over mix. Stir gently by hand with a wooden spoon and stop just before you think you are done. Over mixing can cause “tunneling” (large air pockets) to form in your quick bread. Too much stirring can cause added gluten to develop so your batter which will make your muffins tough instead of fluffy.

Empty Muffin Cups

I got these silicone muffin cups from Ikea – they are so cute and cheerful!

Spoon the batter into muffin cups. Top with any desired toppings such as oats and brown sugar before cooking. This recipe will yield about 8 muffins depending on how large you make them. I went with slightly bigger muffins and ended up with 6. When making bigger muffins, leave them in the oven for about a minute or two longer. To check doneness, carefully press a finger into the middle of a muffin. The centre should bounce right back and look and feel about the same as the edge does.

Morning Glory Muffins cooling | thelittleredspoon.com

When finished cooking, let the muffins relax once they come out the oven. However you don’t want to let them cool completely in the tray – take them out of the tray and cool on a rack after a few minutes.

 

"Morning Glory" muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: quickbread
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unbleached All Purpose flour
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut
  • ½ medium apple, shredded
  • 90 grams eggs (about 2 eggs)
  • 125 mL melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spice, salt, baking soda)
  2. Add carrots, apple, raisins and coconut in with the dry and mix them around a little.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix your wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, vanilla).
  4. Add wet ingredients into the dry.
  5. Gently stir the mixture together by hand, making sure not to over mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into muffin cups ¾ full. (In this case, “full” is referring to the pan you are using, not the muffin cups.) If making big muffins, make sure not to fill muffin cup higher than the pan, make the batter flush with the muffin pan. (Bigger muffins will also need an additional 1-2 minutes baking time)
  7. Top with any desired toppings such as oats and brown sugar before cooking.
  8. Bake 18-20 minutes.
  9. Left muffins rest in pan for 2-5 minutes, then cool on a cooling rack 20 minutes.

 

Morning Glory Muffins crumb | thelittleredspoon.com

Yum!

Like all muffins, these are best eaten the day they’re made although they’re still pretty good for the next couple days after if kept in an airtight container.

Let me know what you thought of this recipe in the comments below!

Lentil and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Can you tell I dig lentils?

This recipe is amazing. I did not develop it on my own but I wish I did. I mean, I could have. Unknowingly I one day had all the ingredients, was trying to decide what to do with my acorn squash that I found for 99c and was browsing Laura Miller’s Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. videos on the Tastemade AppleTV app.

Acorn squash | thelittleredspoon.com
As soon as I saw her video I was like, “yuuup this is happening” and immediately pulled out my shiitake mushrooms and lentils and got to cooking.

Lentil and Mushroom ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

It’s a pretty low-maintenance recipe. I cook it often and it always turns out well. It does take a while to roast the squash so it’s not a recipe for those nights when you’re dead tired from working all day but it all comes together in roughly 1hr so it’s still in my regular rotation.

Cutting Acorn Squash | thelittleredspoon.com

Start off by roasting the squash. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with EVOO and salt, and pop in a hot oven at 400*F. One thing I really hate is the feeling of squash juice all over my hands. A lot of people get a rash on their hands after touching squash and other gourds, sometimes even mangoes. Getting squash juice on your hands from acorn or butternut squash can cause itching, peeling, blistering red skin.

I remember once working at an old fogue home where one of the recipes we prepared involved peeled, cubed butternut squash. My first time making the recipe I must’ve prepped at least a dozen squash with bare hands, and I will never make that mistake again. Nothing soothed the burning, peeling itchiness of my hands for days after. No amount of washing, exfoliating or applying hand cream helped… Yuck. So, despite weird looks from my boyfriend, every time I prepare squash I now wear a pair of latex gloves. And luckily since I’m a dental assistant now, these are easy to come by for me.

Mirepoix | thelittleredspoon.com

Next step, while the squash are roasting, get your mirepoix sauteeing.

Mirepoix with shiitakes | thelittleredspoon.com

When it’s soft, add those tasty shiitakes. You can use whatever mushrooms you want here. But I only want shiitakes. I love that meaty, earthy taste. Add your herbs and garlic here as well. Herbs will release more flavour when cooked in oil rather than just thrown in with the stock. I love using fresh rosemary picked right off my little windowsill rosemary shrub. Add your mirin, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar as well and let all the flavours come together. Yum. Smells so good.

Simmering lentils | thelittleredspoon.com

Add the lentils and vegetable stock and simmer about 30 minutes until lentils are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Vertical shot of lentil stuffed squash | thelittleredspoon.com

When the squash are ready, take them out of the oven and carefully fill with the lentil mixture. Drizzle with a nice extra virgin olive oil (or sprinkle with parmesan or other cheese substitute) and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Lentil stuffed squash with parmesan | thelittleredspoon.com

Try it out and let me know what you think of this recipe! Whenever people ask me “what’s a good vegetarian/vegan recipe I can make for my friend?” or “you’re vegetarian? what do you eat?” this is my go-to example of an easy, plant-based recipe that anyone would love. So tasty and comforting, and who doesn’t love food stuffed into other food?

Lentil and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 stuffed squash halves
 
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lb. shiitaki mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400* F
  2. Prep squash, by first scooping out seeds of squash with a spoon, then cut a small slice off bottom of squash so it balances easily. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season w/salt and pepper. Roast for approx. 45 minutes. [meanwhile…]
  3. In a large saute pan or sauce pot, add coconut oil. Once heated, add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Saute for 10 minutes until soft and golden brown, stirring frequently. Add shiitake mushrooms and mirin, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Saute 5 minutes.
  5. Rinse and drain lentils and add to pot with vegetable stock.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  7. Cook and cover for 30 minutes.
  8. Pull out squash and carefully begin filling the squash with heaping spoonfuls of the lentil/mushroom filling.
  9. Drizzle with olive oil (or sprinkle with parmesan) and place back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes.

If you’re following my tweak on the recipe, you will have some leftover lentils for lunch tomorrow. And they are tasty!

This video is 7 minutes long if you want to watch Laura Miller make it slightly differently (but you’ll probably need more than 7 minutes because if you’re like me you’ll go down a rabbit hole and watch all the videos on the playlist….)

This entry was posted in Recipe.

Lentil Loaf

Meatless meatloaf. Did you ever think that was a thing? Cause it totally is.
I remember going vegetarian when I was 13. My parents had no idea what to cook for me. I started watching a lot of the Food Network. I started experimenting a lot more in the kitchen. In fact, that’s really my origin story as a “hobby chef.” A mum that could cook frozen fishsticks and a dad that could barbecue meat = two exasperated, confused, overworked people with no idea what to make a vegetarian kid for dinner. That’s where I stepped in.

I started making dinner more and more often. I kind of became the “head chef” of the family as a teenager, making simple meals of salads, soups and pastas from mostly scratch. One recipe I stumbled onto was a recipe for a lentil loaf. I was pumped – I loved lentils! And the recipe called for a ton of cheese. I loved cheese, too! Match made in heaven, right?

Wrong, cause that recipe just made a sloppy mess.

But this recipe… this is what I’m talking about.

lentil loaf ingredients

Got a food processor? Good. Bust it out. Pulsing the lentils is the key to this thing sticking together. (Pulsing? Pulses? Lentils = pulses… See what I did there?  Sorry, dorky food nerd joke)

There’s no cheese in this recipe, but it does call for eggs. It can easily be made vegan with some flax seed eggs or another vegan egg substitute. I would’ve happily tried it that way but didn’t have any flax seed available. Maybe next time.

roasted vegetables lentil loaf

One of the things that really makes this loaf stand out is the roasted, caramelized vegetables. You know what I’m talking about. Caramelized onions and carrots and Portobellos and some liquid smoke really give it that umami, smoky, meaty taste you’re craving. You won’t even miss “real” meatloaf. This is so much healthier, these lentils are going to give you all that protein you want out of a main dish with tons of dietary fiber and iron. And if you want it extra healthy I bet a bundle of cooked spinach thrown in would be a great addition as well. Try it and let me know!

lentil loaf

Lentil Loaf
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of lentils (green or brown) – rinsed
  • 3 eggs or vegan egg substitute
  • 2 medium carrots – peeled and cut in half length wise
  • 1 large onion – peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 6 to seven large Portobello mushroom caps - stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic – peeled (I use pre-minced garlic in a jar - SO easy - use a couple teaspoons or tablespoons depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 1 and ½ cups of bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of dry Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Ground sea salt and pepper to taste (I added a LOT of salt and I prefer white pepper to black)
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 385°F
  2. Cook the lentils by covering with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer once boiling and let cook for 30 minutes on medium-low heat, adding more water as needed. The lentils should be fully cooked and soft - taste them along the way.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, roast the carrots and onion on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. Roast for five minutes, flip and add mushrooms, then roast another 5 minutes. Repeat, keeping a close eye, until veggies are caramelized and soft. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  4. Once the lentils are done cooking, drain excess lentil water in a fine mesh colander and pulse half of the lentils in a food processor. Add to a large mixing bowl and pulse the other half of the lentils.
  5. Add the caramelized vegetables to the food processor along with the minced garlic and pulse until they are cut into small pieces. Add to mixing bowl with the lentils.
  6. Add the bread crumbs, eggs, liquid smoke, and diced tomatoes (reserving part of the tomatoes and juice for pouring over the top of the loaf), rosemary and desired seasonings and stir until well combined.
  7. Make sure to taste the mixture and adjust seasoning as needed.
  8. Line a 1 lb. (8½" x 4½" x 2¾") loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it and put the lentil loaf mixture in the pan. Firmly press it into the pan until it forms the shape of the pan.
  9. Bake for 55 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and cut three slices into the loaf and evenly pour the leftover juice and tomato from the can of diced tomatoes on top. Don’t drench it, it should just cover the loaf. Bake another 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it set for ten minutes.

Based on this recipe by Veganosity.

 

lentil loaf served

I just had it with some buttery mashed potatoes that I whipped up quickly. With all the prep involved this probably isn’t your every day weeknight dinner, but the leftovers sure could be. And they make an amazing work lunch the next day – ALL of my co-workers commented on how delicious my lunch smelled and wondered what it was. (That delicious smoky rosemary smell just wafted through the entire lunchroom)

This would be a great main dish for a veggie dinner party, or even a regular one! My carnivore boyfriend gave it the seal of approval. This recipe is a real winner! Try it out and let me know how it worked for you!

7 Numbers

Choosing a restaurant to visit during Winterlicious 2016 was easy because we already knew 7 Numbers was an adorable, cozy little Italian joint on the Danforth. The boyfriend went here before a concert at the Danforth Music Hall in the fall and once I heard about how cute, quirky and awesome this place was I couldn’t wait to go back with him.

Sparkling Lemon

To start the night off, we got some cocktails. It was a cocktail kind of night and this “Sparkling Lemon” drink on the menu really caught my eye. Lemon, prosecco and peach schnapps? Sign me up, cause I had a huge thing for peach schnapps in University and this is the grown-up way to drink it that I never knew I needed. So sweet and bubbly.. I loved it and I made sure everyone tried a sip because I couldn’t not share it. Great start to the night and our bread and food came out really soon after.

arugula salad 7 numbers

I ordered the arugula salad with red peppers and goat cheese. To give you an idea of how sassy the menu reads – one of the things my boyfriend really loved about this place – the description for this salad was “The goat cheese is the dressing, can’t do it ‘on the side'”.

Some other gems:

Grilled shrimp with spicy pea purée – Who knew green peas could be this good?

Sweetgrass Golden Ale – Friends of ours make this beer. And we like it. I hope you like it too, don’t make my friends sad, drink their beer please.

Shirley Temple – Sure.

The salad was great. Next up were the mains and side dishes. I was impressed with the veggie selection here – all the side dishes were vegan and there were actually choices for me. Yay I went with the eggplant palmungiane but I could have went with veggie spinach and ricotta lasagna or a ‘heartwarming’ pasta and bean soup.
eggplant palmungiane 7 numbers

Eggplant is one of those things I usually just get at restaurants or with chinese takeout since the bf is not a huge fan of the texture. Plus, finding a decent one that’s ripe and taking the time to salt it and drain the extra water can be a pain in the butt… (Although now that I have eggplants on the brain, don’t be surprised if you see a ratatouille recipe in the near future.. Yum. ) Anyway this eggplant was delicious, the red pepper sauce with it was really nice.

I made the mistake of getting marinated roasted red pepper as my side dish as well. A little too much red pepper going on, there, the real side dish winner was the mashed garlic chickpeas that everyone else ordered. That would have been the perfect thing to go with my dish but hey, live and learn. Still delicious.

I gotta tell you, though, the real show-stopper came at the end of the meal.

Nutella tiramisu.

nutella tiramisu 7 numbers

Oh my goodness. Obviously the picture doesn’t do it justice.

People, I’m not even a huge chocolate lover. I’m not a chocoholic. I don’t typically go in for coffee-flavoured desserts. I normally don’t even like dessert that much (I have more of a savoury tooth than a sweet tooth). But tell me something is Nutella flavoured and I’ll at least give it a chance.

I’m so glad I did…….. You know when something is so good you just want to share it with everyone and be like “omg isn’t this good? can you believe how good this is?” But then when something is just on another level you kinda just quietly stuff it in your mouth and savour every. single. little. bite. all by yourself? I couldn’t bring myself to share a single bite of this. (Sorry, babe) I even licked the spoon clean.

I don’t think this is on the regular dessert menu but, damn, it should be.

Overall we had a wonderful night at 7 Numbers. The atmosphere was cool and cute. The servers were quick and courteous. The food tasted great and came out quickly. And the bill was completely reasonable as well. What else can you ask for? We would go back here any time and have already told a bunch of friends and family how nice it was. 7 Numbers restaurant on the Danforth has earned my whole-hearted recommendation, check it out!

7 Numbers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Game Day Soft Pretzels

Carb heaven. Nothing beats home-made soft pretzels, hot out of the oven, drenched in melted butter and sprinkled with sea salt. Just ask our friends who came over for the Super Bowl last night and gobbled these babies up.

We dipped these in home-made queso sauce (not pictured but delicious) and vegetarian chili.

I doubled the recipe to make sure there was plenty for everyone and thank goodness I did. In fact, I could have tripled it because having leftover pretzels with my leftover work-lunches would be awesome.

Pretzel bites

Yes, they are everything you are dreaming of. Warm. Buttery. Salty. Pretzel-y.

I made regular twisty pretzels and little pretzel bites. Both were equally delicious. The bites were perfect for a party since people can have a taste or go back for more without having to finish off an entire pretzel.

The pretzel dough would taste delicious as a pigs-in-a-blanket wrapper, or bagel (pragel, if you will), or really, any way you could possibly cook it. I haven’t tried a loaf of pretzel bread yet but I probably will since this recipe is really easy to make and has turned out well every time I’ve tried.

 

Pretzels on cutting board

 

King Arthur’s Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels Recipe

Game Day Soft Pretzels
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread - Soft Pretzels
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 large pretzels
 
Ingredients
Pretzel Dough
  • 2½ cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ⅞ to 1 cup warm water (use more water in the winter, less water in the summer)
Topping
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • coarse sea salt, optional
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add the water and stir until combined. Knead the dough by hand (or machine, but I prefer hand-kneading for this recipe) for 5 minutes until it feels soft and smooth. Flour the dough and place in a plastic bag to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. While the dough is resting, prepare the baking soda bath. Combine boiling water with baking soda in a baking dish until the baking soda is dissolved (or mostly dissolved). Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Grease your counter top or work surface with olive oil or cooking oil and divide into eight equal pieces. Let pieces rest 5 minutes.
  5. Roll each of the eight pieces into a long, thin rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel or cut into 6-8 equal bite-size pieces. (To make a pretzel twist, shape your rope into a U-shape. Take the ends of each U and twist into an X. Twist again. Fold towards the base of the U.)
  6. Place the pretzels 4 at a time into the baking soda bath and spoon the water over the tops (or flip so each side gets bathed). Let sit for 2 minutes in the water - this gives the warm golden-brown pretzel colour we are going for. Transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  7. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
  8. Once removed from the oven, brush pretzels thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing. Yep, use all that buttery goodness, really soak those babies good. Ahhh yisss. Eat them while they're toasty warm, or reheat in toaster oven or microwave if eating later.

Pretzels on table

Some other pretzel-y ideas:

  • Making sweet pretzel bites covered in cinnamon sugar
  • Everything bagel spice blend as a topping – sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic and sea salt
  • Pretzel bites stuffed with cheese

Seriously, make these for your next get-together or bring them to work and be the most popular person in the office. They are a hit and super easy to throw together. And if there are going to be more than 1-2 people eating them (or if you are a carbivore like me), just go ahead and double the recipe. You won’t regret it.

This entry was posted in Recipe.