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MacroTreat Fridays: Macrobiotic Apple Cinnamon Millet Muffins

Who doesn't love a good muffin?

I mean, there's just something wonderful about sitting down to a delicious muffin and a warm cup of tea for breakfast. Especially on a chilly day.

Warning: these breakfast muffins ain't for sissys. Just like all my treats, these guys are vegan and made with real whole food. They are definitely less decadent than last weeks' treat as they are super dense & hearty and sweetened only with apples. So, if you're wanting a cake disguised as a muffin for breakfast, these aren't the ones for you. If you're wanting something super filling and nutritious, then good for you, you just found 'em.

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MacroTreat Fridays: Macrobiotic Apple Cinnamon Millet Muffins

These are super-duper healthy, and taste like it too - in a good way. Completely whole grain, no leaveners, and no sweeteners - just the wonderful taste of apples and cinnamon, surrounded by hearty-whole grain goodness, with a surprising nutty crunch of millet. They are almost like dense apple energy bar biscuits (yah, I don't know, it makes sense to me). For suggestions, substitutions (including a no-millet option), and notes, please check down below after the directions.

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Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups whole grain sprouted spelt flour (regular whole spelt or wheat flour works well too)*
  • 3/4 cup millet (uncooked, but toasted, see directions below) *
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 pinches of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup oil of choice - I used grapeseed and olive oil
  • 1 cup water *
  • 2 medium apples, diced (pear would be lovely too!).
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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Rinse millet, then drain completely in a sieve. Once drained, toast millet in a pan on the stove-top, over low-heat, stirring frequently, until it's golden brown and smells wonderful (around 5 mins). Remove from heat.
  4. After millet has cooled slightly, add to the rest of the dry ingredients.
  5. Dice the apples into small chunks. You can leave the skin on :)
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the apple sauce, oil, and water.
  7. Add wet to dry, and mix until just combined. I used a fork to mix it together.
  8. Fold in the apples.
  9. Pour into muffin liners, or into a greased muffin pan.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. I let mine bake for 30 mins, as I preferred them to be a bit extra cooked :) Let cool until ready to serve.
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*NOTES:

  • Like I said earlier, these muffins are not very sweet at all...so feel free to add in some maple syrup in place of part of the water- even just a few tablespoons are really nice. I'd recommend 1/4 cup maple syrup 3/4 cup water  if you are new to whole-grain baking or this way of eating, or if you are serving it to regular eaters.
  • The millet definitely has a very noticeable taste & texture in these muffins. It is pretty crunchy, when added in this way, kind of like a seed. So, feel free to replace the millet entirely if you are unsure about it. I would recommend just adding in more flour in place of it (I've successfully done this), or you could try oat flakes as well. Another possibility is replacing the crunchiness of the millet, with sunflower seeds :)
  • If you think these are going to be too dense for you, then you can easily lighten these bad boys up a bit, by using half whole wheat pastry flour, or light spelt flour. You can also add in a teaspoon of baking powder too, if that suits your fancy.
  • Feel free to spice these up a bit too - ginger and nutmeg are amazing with apples or pears, and if you are using pears, cardamon is amazing <3
  • I think these taste better the next day! They are super quick and easy to make, so throw them in the oven the night before, and let them cool on a wire rack overnight on the counter. They'll be ready & waiting for you in the morning!
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I enjoyed mine for breakfast, cut in half, and spread with some almond butter.

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Delicious. Delightful. And a dreamy way to kick off the weekend.
xoxo J


Oh-I love my-sawa pot.

Well...it's Thursday, and I haven't done a Thursday Things post in awhile.

Did I ever show you what my lovely man T got me for Christmas?

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

An Ohsawa Pot ( A ceramic pot that is meant to be placed inside the pressure cooker).

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The Ohsawa Pot makes whatever it is you cook --- and so far I've tried apples, brown rice, millet, and adzuki pumpkin stew --- taste even yummier than in the pressure cooker alone. I believe part of the reason for this is that it keeps all the moisture inside the food. Also, the ceramic pot reduces the slightly metallic taste that the pressure cooker can impart into food. (Truthfully, I never really noticed any sort of metallic taste from the cooker until after I tried cooking in the Ohsawa pot, and then again without it, and noticed how different the same dish tasted). Plus, you can soak the grains, cook them, and serve them all in the Oshawa pot...and then pop it right into the fridge to store the leftovers.

So far, i'm super happy with it, and haven't cooked a thing in the pressure cooker without it since. The above dish, stewed apples with ginger & cinnamon, turned out fabulous, and it was my first attempt at using it. The ratios for water change a bit, so i'm still experimenting to get the perfect recipe---i'll let you know when I do.

But honestly, the tastiest thing to emerge out of my Ohsawa pot so far, is simple brown rice. I didn't think brown rice could get any tastier, but both T & I cannot get enough. Super Yum. Expect my new recipe soon. Until then, try my recipe for brown rice dainty pig style version 1.0 (stovetop) or version 2.0 (pressure cooker - no Ohsawa pot).

Have you ever cooked in an Ohsawa pot?
Any tips or favourite recipes?

** Also, I've finally put up my Resources Tab, with a link to Macro & Non-Macro blogs, websites and books that I enjoy. If you'd like to be included & are not up there yet (i'm slow, sorry! still working on it!), please let me know!

Have a great day.
xoxo

Tahini Custard

I made a most delicious dessert from my new favourite cookbook "The Macrobiotic Guide to Cooking" 
(I've added it to my amazon store. Check out the link!)  
Tahini Custard 
from Aveline Kushi's "Macrobiotic Guide to Cooking"
This dessert requires only a few ingredients:
  • apples
  • tahini
  • raisins
  • a bar of agar agar 
  • some water 
  • some apple juice
I made a kanten following the usual method, but used apples and tahini and raisins instead of strawberries.
Then you let it set, blend it up, let it set again, and voila! A creamy, delicious, nutty dessert. Not too sweet, but really creamy. To make a less sweet dessert, you can use less apple juice and more water...but I think it was perfect how it is! (For full directions, please check out the book!)
I love agar-agar:
Cooking away:
Yummy yummy!
 
Have you ever cooked with agar-agar? 
Do you like custards? 
What's your favourite vegan custard/pudding recipe?

Post-Christmas Happy

Happy New Years, friends!
2011 is going to be wicked, I just know it!

I decided to get back on track with healthy eating right away after my lovely Christmas dinner.Instead of gorging until New Years Eve and then starting fresh over, this past week has been filled with lots of steamed veggies, brown rice, quinoa, a few other odds and ends.

I realized this year that even though my Christmas meal was delicious and nice...I actually prefer the wholegrain veggie stuff. For myself anyways, bread is really yummy---but it is always such a quick, fleeting satisfaction. And it leaves me feeling pretty yucky anyways (why do I always try to forget about my wheat allergy?). So suffice to say, special occasions is the right amount for me and wheat.

A few days of clean, simple eating put me back on track, and I decided to try out some new recipes, from this book (I love this book! Every recipe I have tried has been a hit, try it!):

First up, was Nishime-style Daikon Stew
Layer some veggies up, add water, and simmer away for about 45mins-1hr. Delicious!
You can season with some salt or tamari near the end.




Mmmmm so yummy! enjoyed this over 3 days.
The last day I turned it into a soup by adding water, boiling, them simmering in some miso.

For dessert, an apple kanten.
I like to use the kanten in bar form. Soak it, add it into boiling liquid (water, juice) per package instructions. Stir--the kanten will dissolve. Cook a bit more. Then pour on top of fruit and let it set.
So simple and yummy! Kantens have been one of my favourite macrobiotic discoveries.


If you need any health products for the New Year (bath salts, essential oils, probiotics, teas), I order them from iHerb. If you are shopping there for the first time, use my code ROP008 to get 5% off your first purchase! This company has really helped me out while living abroad. I have been able to order brown rice cereal and puffs, yogi teas, probiotics, and more. And it gets to me internationally, 4 days later, for less than $10 shipping. Sweet!

As far as my thoughts and focus for the New Year go, a few simple words come to mind:
Self-love. Moderation. Freedom.

I wish you a very happy new year, from the bottom of my dainty little heart.
It's going to be a great year, I can feel it!
May you find peace, love, and happiness.

Peanut butter apple pie for breakfast.


So awhile back, lovely Maggie did a post on rice cooker oats.

It could not have come at a better time! Around the same time, on the other side of the world, I was coming back from a trip to Osaka and Kobe. When I arrived home, I needed a quick meal. I looked in my cupboard, and had some oats left (**thank you online food stores, for allowing me to purchase oats in Japan!). I saw my rice cooker, and decided, what the hell, yes i'm lazy and don't feel like watching the pot on the stove. So I went for it, and haven't looked back since.

Rice cooker oats are absolutely the creamiest most delicious thing ever. And they are even more wonderful if you thinly slice an apple and throw it in while cooking. My favourite way to enjoy this delicious breakfast (or lunch...or dinner...) is to mix oats, a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon,water and one apple, thinly sliced. I then turn my rice cooker on to quick cook, and 25 minutes later, hassle free, I have apple pie oatmeal.

Add some peanut butter into the bottom of your bowl (trust me, when you get down to the last few bites, you'll be thanking me).

And then add some to the top as well.

Eat, and enjoy your peanut butter apple pie.

If you haven't tried them....do it!!

Thanks to some online health food stores, I have been able to order oats, peanut butter (oh my gosh! 2 months without peanut butter, and you learn to appreciate it so much), and flax oil! I am definitely loving the Japanese diet, but there are a few things I miss. And I eat brown rice for lunch, and usually dinner, so sometimes it is nice to mix it up with oats in the morning. One sad thing, is that quinoa here is ridiculously expensive. It is over $2 / 100g.

Some eats that I am definitely missing:
~flax seeds (great if you want to do some baking and need an egg replacer)
~rice milk
~chia seeds
~dulse (I cannot get this seaweed here!)

Some new eats here that I am loving:
~lovely miso
~miso
~sesame everything (black sesame seeds especially...mmm...)
~umeboshi

So I guess it's a fair trade. And my family is sending me a care package for Christmas...is it okay if I ask for all food? Haha...

Have a great week you guys!
I am about to finally try PBU with my newly delivered peanut butter! Can't wait!

xoxo

P.S. I'll leave you with a random act of kindness: I called in sick to work on friday, because I had a bad cold, and did not feel like infecting the elementary school I was supposed to work at. On friday evening a cute english assistant lady from my elementary school paid me a visit. She brought me piping hot Japanese soup, brown rice with ginger, carrots, chestnuts and daikon that she made herself, and a kimono she brought me as a present. She showed me how to wear kimonos, and how to fold them up properly. And then she left me and T with some fresh mikans (japanese oranges) from her tree. Apparently she has a farm about 5 minutes away from me, and has a "mountain of orange trees," a huge rice field, and almost every vegetable you can think of. She invited us to go to her farm some weekend, and help her make her own umeboshi plums. She said she wanted to be my Japanese mom, and hoped that she had cheered me up....ummm...yes please! What a sweet thing to do.