Thursday, December 6, 2012

Healthy Gingerbread Muffins

Very rarely do I FEEL THE NEED to blog. Usually, I'll blog to tell you about a story or experience that happened, to unwind from studying for a couple of hours and get something off my chest. That hasn't been happening too much lately, so it'll usually take one of my friends' friendly reminders ("why haven't you blogged since OCTOBER 24?!") to kick me off my butt and inspire me to clamor up a blog post again. Not today.

A friend and I made gingerbread cookies for the children's wing of the hospital! 

I just knew that when I bit into these warm, pillowy muffins yesterday that I had to share this with you. I couldn't believe they had no added sugar and were made with whole wheat flour. I've been sort of on a gingerbread kick lately (gingerbread lattes, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread candles) and wanted to make something gingerbread flavored and also healthy so it would fill me up for breakfast (switching it up from my pumpkin flavored pumpkin oatmeal cookies, below). Enter these healthy (technically even vegan, but none of you are vegan, so whatevs) gingerbread banana muffins!

I actually came up with this recipe myself too, mixing and matching from a lot of different sources because I wanted to replace the oil and sugar in this recipe I found on Pinterest. They're made with no added sugars, bananas for sweetness, only 2 T coconut oil for moistness, half white, half wheat flour, 1/4 cup molasses, and a healthy dose of ginger (none of that half tsp crap). So put on some holiday music, light your gingerbread candle, and whip up these guilt-free gingerbread muffins!

Healthy banana gingerbread muffins
Makes 6

1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t ginger powder
1 T pumpkin pie spice (or 1 T cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves)

1/4 cup milk (any type, fat free, almond, soy)
1 cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas's worth? Just use however much banana you want)
1/4 cup molasses
2 T coconut oil (I got mine from Trader Joe's)

Mix together wet ingredients, minimizing lumps (I even microwaved mine for about a minute to melt the coconut oil). In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients well. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not overmix. Ladle into a paper-lined muffin tin. Muffin liners should be 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Recipe is easily doubled.

The muffin's aren't too sweet, which is perfect for me, but if you're so inclined, add some brown sugar (1/4 cup) if you can't bear to eat your cake unsweetened.

Ate all but two before I took a picture. I'm a bad blogger. 

I've been nomming on them for breakfast the whole week and might just go back into the kitchen to make more. I'm a gingerbread freak.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The holidays are here!

It's finally December and we can officially start celebrating the holidays like normal people, and not freakishly overzealous holiday people! Who am I kidding -- I've been using Eggnog flavored creamer, Sugar Cookie and Eggnog flavored teas (yes, teas. And they taste as weird as they sound), a gingerbread candle, and soaking up all the other holiday flavors (and hoarding pumpkin spice creamer) for weeks now. Above is the Bath and Body works candle I've been obsessed with for the past week or so. The peppermint scent (which I usually dislike) isn't strong at all and it smells more like an everlasting delicious mug of hot cocoa or a batch of chocolate cookies baking in the oven. Try it out, it's my new favorite holiday scent!

I'm a little sad that I'm going to be missing the traditions of Dec. 25 and NYE here at home this year, but I'm also excited to go back to China for winter break! It'll be the first time I've been back in two years (in winter nonetheless, we usually only go back in summer), and I'm looking forward to seeing my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins & spouses again as I get older and prioritize them more each year. I also take it for granted that my entire family here (mom, dad, sister) can go too because there was a chance my dad wouldn't have been able to go back with us this year! My sister and I have gotten older and started living our own lives in the past few years which makes it increasingly hard to travel together as a family, so I'm still thankful we're still able to go back together this year (albeit all taking different flights, landing in Beijing on different dates, sigh). And also looking forward to doing nothing but eating, shopping, and getting pampered every day!

What else have I been up to? Trying to focus on school even though it's my least favorite topic -- cardiology. It's basically a repeat of last year now with all the drugs added in. Something about the heart just doesn't interest me as much as the other systems. Maybe it's the instructors, maybe it's the language they use (everything is a variation of increased/decreased contractility, inotropy, rate, force, volume, etc). Ooh, I just realized it all has to do with very physics oriented terms, and I hated physics! That's it! However, I did shadow a cardiologist today at the Asian American clinic we go to, and you can't deny that you're indispensable to your patients when you're a cardiologist.

I'll leave you with some pics we took over Thanksgiving break with my dad's new DSLR camera. He got hooked when he tried my uncle's and then decided to order one himself before Thanksgiving. After seeing the new James Bond flick and pregaming the big meal with our own mini-Thanksgiving lunch, we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, dress up, make ourselves up, and do a photoshoot like our favorite bloggers! Enjoy.

 About 80% of the pictures were of my dog. But doesn't Charlie look so majestic here? Like he's on a Scottish moor? 

 Frolicking in the pine trees in our backyard, pretending we're in an AE ad. 

 "Pretend like you're emerging from the woods and see something scary!"