First off, you just have to see this pic of my cat Artemis lounging like a queen in an old, cluttered toy box:
The smoothie I had used carrot juice instead of milk to help use up the bottle of carrot juice I bought yesterday to make “carrot cake” scones. There wasn’t too much carrot flavor in the smoothie, just enough to complement the peach, apricot and pineapple flavors that were the main focus, along with the too-good-to-be-true white chocolate peanut butter. That stuff is the best! If I ever had to make a smoothie for a king or queen, I would make one like this. It reminded me of some kind of fancy peach/ carrot cake with white chocolate, that would be served on a royal table at a banquet. Here is my recipe:
Divine Peach Carrot White Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice
- 1 Yoplait Greek peach flavored yogurt
- 1 tbsp apricot pineapple jam
- 1 tbsp Peanut Butter & Co. brand White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Yasso Greek frozen yogurt bar, blueberry flavor (I couldn’t taste this at all in the smoothie. But it probably helped balance the flavors.)
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a royal goblet and toast to the kingdom’s wealth!
I had the idea this week to make some scones that were inspired by the flavors of carrot cake. Carrot cake is something infamous for being “fattening” and high-calorie, but it has the potential to be very good for you if you think about it. First of all, it obviously contains carrots, which are high in vitamin A. Second of all, it can be paired with a cream cheese frosting for calcium and protein. (No, I did not use a cream cheese frosting for these scones, however disappointing that may be. It might be an interesting thing to try, though.) And a final reason why carrot cake has potential to be extremely good for you: Look at all the super-nutritious mix-ins that go with it! It’s common for people to add carrots and walnuts, both of which have healthy fiber. Pineapple and coconut, also popular additions to carrot cake, have fiber and vitamins as well. So why is carrot cake usually so bad for you? Probably because of all the oils and butter used in most recipes.
These scones are extremely low in fat, with only two tablespoons of butter. They also contain whole wheat flour, and I mixed in some pineapple and coconut since those are popular carrot cake mix-ins. Nuts and raisins might be interesting to try instead. I whipped up the dough, threw the scones in the oven, drizzled with sweet vanilla glaze, and done! I had some incredibly healthy, incredibly delicious scones reminiscent of carrot cake, but miles away from any worries of all the fat and calories.
When my mom first tried one of these scones, she wasn’t too impressed. Then she thought about it for a minute as I sat eating my own scone, and tasted a scone again. She said they weren’t so bad after all, and as time passed began praising my scones and saying they were actually great, recommending them to my dad! I guess the carrot flavor took her by surprise. They just needed to grow on her. Me, when I first took a bite of this scone I instantly knew it was what I had been hoping for. Just the right amount of sweetness, a soft main body, and crispy shredded carrots. Not to mention of course the addictive coconut and juicy pineapple… need I say more?
For the recipe for “carrot cake” scones, click here.
This recipe was based on “Blueberry Lemon Scones” by Dannivee.
I don’t like to be mediocre. I get all A’s in school, I practice violin until I get it right, and I color in all my drawings (yes, I do draw as a hobby) until there are no annoying little white spaces. The same concept applies to my baking: I don’t want anything I bake to be just okay, so-so. I want all who are lucky enough to taste my baked goods to practically faint in amazement, I want to be able to blog about some muffins I made that were sublime, not just sort of acceptable. Unfortunately, I cannot tell a lie: these muffins fall into the latter category.
I’m not sure what it is about them, there’s just something that isn’t quite five-star quality about these muffins. Maybe they could be more interesting? I threw in some oatmeal when I mixed up the batter, but maybe I should have added more because it’s barely noticeable in the texture. The flavor is pretty good, the texture is soft and moist… my mom thinks they don’t taste quite right because I used Truvia. But she loved my whole wheat cookies and pumpkin brownie cheesecake thingy, which both included Truvia. Maybe combining the Truvia with chocolate masks the “strangeness” of it? I have to say, I think it does something to the flavor of these orange blueberry muffins. They are sweet, but maybe not sweet enough.
I was very frustrated that these muffins are just mediocre, because I actually tried to make the recipe twice. That’s right, folks: America’s most fanatical never-do-the-same-thing-again baker has retried a recipe on the same day that it flopped! The first time I made this yesterday I used solely Truvia and no real sugar, so it was not sweet at all. In addition, since I replaced the orange juice called for in the original recipe with more docile mango juice the mango flavor was not detectable and the muffins kind of had no flavor. So I used orange juice the second time, added some real sugar along with the Truvia… and my result was sort of better than before. But still only mediocre.
I’m going to post my recipe, just in the hopes that someone can come up with an idea of how to make this okay recipe stellar. If anyone out there has an idea, and/or tries themselves to make this recipe differently and gets a different result, please feel free to post the changes made in the comments.
Mediocre Muffin Recipe for Blueberry Orange Muffins
Makes 12 regular-sized muffins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 16 packets Truvia natural sweetener
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 packet Open Nature brand Vanilla Almond flavor instant oatmeal
- 1 Chobani brand Greek yogurt, Blood Orange flavor
- 1 tbsp orange zest (called for in original recipe. I did not use this.)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 eggs (I used 1/4 cup Egg beaters and one egg, since that was all the egg matter we had in the house.)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix. Add wet ingredients and mix well, but do not overmix. Batter will seem wet and thin (at least, it was like that when I did this.) Fold in blueberries.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, trying not to splash it all over the place like I did 🙂 Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Don’t you just hate when you put a lot of time into baking something, have your hopes rise up and up as the warm oven fills the house with a delicious aroma, and then feel your hopes crash to the floor again as you take a bite and it doesn’t taste as awesome as it smells? My baked stuff always smells so good… but the scent is often deceiving.
Again, if anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment!
There are raisin people, and then there are non-raisin people. Non-raisin people are the ones who scorn oatmeal raisin cookies and think raisin people must have something wrong with their brains. Raisin people are the ones who bake raisins into their cookies upon occasion and tend to have a healthy digestive system. I’ve never met anyone who was super fanatical about raisins; I myself don’t eat them very often. But I think that is about to change.
I recently discovered Sun Maid brand dark chocolate yogurt covered raisins. They are so delicious! The yogurt shell is a perfect complement to the chewy, flavorful raisins! I shall from now on officially identify myself as a raisin person, despite the disparaging scowls this may earn me from strongly opinionated non-raisin people.
Needless to say, I incorporated the chocolate covered raisins into a smoothie. The flavor of the smoothie was good, though next time I might try to make it more interesting.
Apple Vanilla Smoothie with Chocolate Covered Raisins
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 Snack Pack brand pudding cup, apple pie a la mode flavor
- 1 tbsp apricot pineapple jam (I couldn’t really taste this in the smoothie. Maybe next time I’ll try some tart fruit like strawberries to add more flavor.)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a dash of cinnamon
- 5-6 ice cubes
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate yogurt covered raisins
Place all ingredients except the chocolate covered raisins in the blender and blend for a minute or until ice is crushed. Stop blending and add chocolate covered raisins. Blend for about two seconds, then immediately stop and pour smoothie into desired glass.
Enjoy! (P.S.: the raisins are the best part!)
In the summer we picnic under a majestic, ancient oak
With grounded roots and a sturdy, thick trunk
She reaches her myriad branches up, up, up
I believe she will touch the sky.
Her trunk is too thick to wrap my arms around
But never once did I give it a thought
Measure her girth and complain
And the oak grows larger and stronger.
In the ocean there dwell humpback whales
Large like monsters, but cherished by man
Weighing 48 tons, sporting heavy blubber
They beautify the ocean with their echoing song.
There are no tabloids for the humpback whale
Blaring with headlines about dieting
Wrapping a rope around the middle and constricting
So the whale can breathe freely, a burst of salty air.
Everything, large and small belongs to the earth.
A sapphire in the necklace of the universe
A perfect sphere, swirling with clouds
Dancing and spinning because she is life, she is beautiful.
And who would dare to fit a corset to the earth?
Mold the green-blue orb into a grotesque form
Chisel away at the chubby cheeks of our home?
No one. She is a masterpiece, she is life.
So why, then, do we look at the girl
Her eyes two brimming cups of innocence
And weigh the invaluable child on a scale?
The California state standards, the tabloids
Suck the breath of life out of a child
Prey on the insecure hearts of girls
Drink their blood as we turn our faces
Why do we do it?
The tree, the whale, are beautiful
Growing strong, as large as ever
The earth doesn’t shrink with each generation
So what of girls? Are they not
Gorgeous, each one, healthy, robust
Waists voluptuous or righteous like a tree trunk
Isn’t the song they sing more valuable than the size they wear?
Mother earth bears apples, peaches, potatoes for us all
She does not put her daughters on a diet
So why must we?
Sources: animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/wild-kingdom/about-animals/humpback-humpback-facts.htm , http://www.merriam-webster.com , http://artist-3d.com/free_3d_models/dnm/model_disp.php?uid=2284 , http://ttsn.net/free-killer-whales-wallpaper-download-the-free-killer-whales/www.scenicreflections.com*files*killerwhales_1024x768.jpg/ , http://www.123rf.com/photo_6281625_fruit-bowl.html , http://indianapublicmedia.org
I do not own any of these images!