Low-Calorie Cinnamon Streusel Muffins Recipe

My entry today is later in the day because the muffins I made last night only rated a 7, 9, and 6, according to my kids. So today, I re-worked the recipe and got a 9.5, 10, and 9. Here’s the improved recipe:

Topping/Filling
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon  nutmeg
pinch of ancho chili powder (optional)

Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup water
1/4  cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 12-muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Mix together the butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.

Mix the remaining flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix remaining sugar, egg, milk, applesauce, sour cream, and water. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture just until moistened.

Spoon  half of the batter into the twelve cups in a muffin pan. Top with half of the cinnamon mixture, and then the rest of the batter, and then finish with the rest of the cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition according to Living Cookbook (per serving): 135 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2.3g total fat, 22.5mg cholesterol, 236.4mg sodium, 107.7mg potassium, 25.7g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 7.5g sugar, 4g protein

 

Menu Plan for March 28 – April 3 and Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Menu Plan

Dinners

Sunday: Roast chicken with oven roasted potatoes (see below)
Monday: Spaghetti with Italian sausage
Tuesday: Tuscan soup with breadsticks (recipe to come)
Wednesday: Chicken and dumplings
Thursday: FFY
Friday: Kids at their dad’s; I’ll have some fish and asparagus
Saturday: Kids at their dad’s; I’ll have something from the freezer

Lunches: Quesadillas, sandwiches, beans and weinies, Madras lentils and rice, smoothies

Breakfasts: Cinnamon streusel crumb-top muffins, oatmeal and fruit, smoothies, cold cereal

Oven-roasted Rosemary Potatoes

By mixing this in a plastic bag instead of a bowl, you can get every surface of the potatoes covered with oil and seasonings without having to use very much oil. This is more frugal (olive oil is pricey), and lighter.

2 potatoes
1  teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
2 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Scrub potatoes and cut them into one inch chunks. (If your potatoes are a little green, you can go ahead and peel them, like I had to do with last night’s potatoes.)  Put them in a plastic bag and add the other ingredients. Mush it around until all of the ingredients are well dispersed, and all the potatoes are covered with the other ingredients.

 

3. Spread the potato chunks out in one layer on a cookie sheet. Put in oven and roast for 30 minutes or until a fork inserts easily and the edges are golden brown.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 130 calories, 46 calories from fat, 5.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 476.9mg sodium, 457.7mg potassium, 19.3g carbohydrates, 2.4g fiber, <1g sugar, 2.3g protein.

 

Sweet Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips Recipe

We had beef and bean burritos the other night, and for dessert, we had a fantastic fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. We really loved this, and it’s something we’ll have again and again.

5 large frozen strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 small mango – peeled and diced
1 peach, peeled and diced
1 banana, peeled and diced
3 whole wheat tortillas
butter flavor non-stick cooking spray
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. In a food processor or blender, process the strawberries with the orange juice to make a sauce.  Combine the kiwi, mango, banana, and peach. Stir in the strawberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray, and then cut into 10 triangles with a pizza cutter or knife. Arrange on a cookie sheet with the sprayed side down. When all the tortilla triangles are on the sheet, spray them again with non-stick spray. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the tortillas.   Bake  until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool and serve with the fruit salsa.

4. You can make the fruit salsa up to a day ahead, and the chips earlier in the day.

Servings: 6

Nutrition (per serving): 160 calories, 18 calories from fat, 2.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 247.4mg sodium, 299mg potassium, 34.9g carbohydrates, 7.6g fiber, 20.9g sugar, 5.2g protein.

It tastes like a really decadent dessert, but that salsa is all fruit! It’s a very healthy (lots of fruit, lots of fiber, low calories) treat. I used the Santa Fe whole wheat tortillas from Costco, and they were only 100 calories each.

Not only is this healthy, it’s also frugal — you can use up the last bits of all kinds of fruit (pears or apples would be really good in this, and so would cantaloupe).

I think this salsa would also make an amazing ice cream topping, or if made with bigger chunks of fruit, a great fruit salad. And it’s gorgeous enough to serve for company or to take to a potluck or party.

This is definitely one of my favorite new recipes!

 

Constructed Languages – A different way to learn about OUR language

My thirteen year-old son knows more about grammar than I do, and I’ve been called a Grammar Nazi (I prefer “Grammar Advocate”, thankyouverymuch).  He’s really taught himself the majority of what he knows. In addition to a great understanding of English grammar, he’s also got a fantastic grasp of how our language works.

How? Through “Conlanging” – constructing languages.

He started out by learning Esperanto, probably the most well-known constructed language — although that honor might be shared with Klingon and Tolkein’s elven languages. Now he spends his spare time constructing his own languages.

Awhile ago, I had him write an essay about constructing languages. Here are a few paragraphs out of that essay:

When making a language, you must start with the phonology, which is the set of sounds in the language. A phonology is divided into two parts: consonants and vowels. Consonants are defined in English by three separate features: place, manner, and voicing. Place is where in the mouth the sound is made: options include labial (such as b or f), dental (such as th or a Romance t) and velar (such as k or German ch). Manner is how the sound is made: options include stop (such as t or g) or fricative (such as s or v). Voicing has only two options, voiced and unvoiced, and is whether or not the vocal cords are vibrating when the sound is made. Some languages have more or less distinguishing features in consonants: for example, the Slavic languages have palatalization.
Vowels have three distinguishing features as well: height, place, and roundedness. Height is how open your mouth is: options include open (i, u), open-mid (o), and close (a). Place is where your tongue is: options include front (i, e) and back (o, u). Roundedness is how rounded your mouth is: options include rounded (o, u) and unrounded (i, e, a). Many languages also distinguish length, which is how long the vowel is pronounced. Some have more than two length categories, and some have more than two roundednesses.

[…]

After the morphology comes the grammar. A grammar can be fusional, agglutinative, or isolating. With a fusional grammar, one affix has a variety of meanings; for example, when the English -s is added to a verb, it means present tense, singular, and third person. With an agglutinative grammar, one affix has one meaning; for example, the English verbal -s would be composed of three separate affixes: one for present tenst, one for singular, and one for third person. With an isolating grammar, there are no affixes; the English verbal -s would use helper verbs, like English “will” for future tense. Once you’ve decided on a grammar type, you can start coining affixes and/or helper words, but remember that they have to fit your morphology. You also have to pick a syntax; first decide your order of subject, object, and verb (for example, English is SVO, and Latin is SOV; Yoda-speak is OSV), and then your order of modifier and head (English is modifier-head; Romance languages are head-modifier). Once you’re finished with the grammar, you create your vocabulary. Simply create words and define their meanings; make sure they fit your morphology.

Okay, I’ll quit showing off now. I’m a proud Mommy.

I asked my son for some links for beginners to Conlanging, and he enthusiastically shared these three:

The Language Construction Kit

Geoff’s Homepage (which includes “Creating an Earthlike Planet” and “The Climate Cookbook”, too)

How to Create a Language

I’m very impressed with the way my son’s knowledge of language has grown through his hobby of constructing languages

Freezing Banana Slices

I use bananas in a lot of recipes — banana muffins, smoothies, banana bread, empanadas, more muffins, fruit salsa, and more. It can be a problem having bananas of the right ripeness around, though. It seems like there are a whole bunch of almost-ripe bananas, and then, as if by magic, there are one or two overripe bananas. The minute they get ripe, the boys want to eat them, but the second they start to turn brown (which is when they start gettingreally good, in my opinion), none of the kids want them anymore. And one or two bananas isn’t enough for a lot of recipes.

For years, I’ve thrown them in the freezer when they get too brown for the kids to eat them.  I’ve found, though, that it can be very difficult to peel a frozen banana. I’ve tried thawing them and then peeling them, but the banana is so mushy after freezing that it’s also really hard to peel (although the mushy texture is perfect for banana bread).

So for awhile, I’ve peeled the bananas before freezing them, and that works pretty well, but sometimes I just needed half a banana for a smoothie or one of the other snacks I like to make with bananas.

Finally, I figured out to cut the bananas into coins and lay them out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and freeze them for a couple hours. Then I throw them into a zip-top bag, and I can get as much or as little banana as I want.

I can even just grab one little banana “coin” for a snack when I’m hankering for something sweet and cool.