Monday, June 25, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Only a month after moving into my new apartment, I decided to finally start using my awesome new kitchen for what it's meant for... cooking (as opposed to using it as my diet soda storage/chilling room).

I decided to start by baking some grab and go breakfast foods! These apple cinnamon muffins can be found in the Everything College Cookbook. They're pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. 

Yes, I use my heart plates for pretty much everything.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups diced apple (I forgot to measure and just used one gala apple)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin pan (or use muffin cups).
  2. In a small bowl, add the egg and vanilla extract to the buttermilk and beat lightly. Add the oil and mix to combine. 
  3.  In a large bowl, stir the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar into the flour and blend well. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. 
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to form a batter. Be careful not to overmix the batter; don't worry if there are still lumps. Stir in the diced apples. 
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins so that they are between 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
Makes 12 servings
Nutritional Information (per serving):
  • Calories - 162
  • Total fat - 5.36g
    • Unsaturated fat - 4.43g
  • Carbohydrates - 25.46g
    • Sugars - 10.75g
  • Protein - 3.1g
Note: nutritional information may not be entirely accurate, as the values were found through some light Googling.  

Having these muffins around for breakfast will be perfect! Not only will it mean that I stop going by McDonalds for their Sausage McMuffin with Egg each morning on the way to work (which would be a guilty pleasure of mine if not for the fact that I have zero remorse about liking them so much), but it also means that I'll have an excuse to use my new individual muffin/cupcake carriers!

How perfect are these?

Next up: Pesto Chicken Pasta from the Everything Healthy Cooking for Parties Book. 

What's your favorite grab-and-go breakfast? Do you like that many McDonald's locations are now starting to serve a limited breakfast menu at midnight?Are you jealous that my new kitchen has an island and lazy susan cabinets?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

On Wednesday, for the first time in recent memory, I had absolutely nothing to do (other than work, of course). I didn't have to pack or move anything (now that I'm finally all moved into my new apartment). I didn't have any classes. I didn't even have guilt of not going to optional classes because my kickboxing gym was closed for the evening. I didn't agree to any social engagements or make any plans with my family. I didn't have any errands to run (well, any that I had any intention of doing). I had even washed all of my dishes and whatnot during lunch so there wasn't that hanging over my head.

I had an entire evening to do whatever I wanted. Perfect opportunity to finally go running again, right?

There are a ton (literally 2,000 pounds) of running trails in my new neighborhood that I've been wanting to explore, but I haven't yet had the time or motivation to get out and do so. On Wednesday, however, when I got home from work, I was excited. Everything was in place: it was still light out, it wasn't blisteringly hot outside, and I had had a healthy lunch (a
homemade breakfast taco) so I didn't feel too gross to run.

I was feeling a bit peckish, so I grabbed a bowl of cheerios (because I decided to supplant every meal that day with different breakfast foods, apparently), started hydrating, and changed into my running attire. I sat down on the couch to put on my running shoes, and...

Whomp whomp!

... woke up 2 hours later when Hannah called (to see if I wanted to go running, actually).

But it was okay. I figured it was still light out and had probably cooled off even more. Despite my unanticipated nap, I could salvage this run. Still seated on the couch, I reached for my water bottle and...

Cue another sad trombone sound
... woke up and hour and a half later when Teddy Westside texted me about Star Trek.

By the third time I woke up (from a text about how great Data's daughter is), it was almost midnight and pouring down rain outside. Since I definitely couldn't go running then, I just moved from my couch to my bed and went back to sleep (still in my running gear - although, I did have the forethought to take off my sneakers).

I started to lament the fact that I had wasted an entire evening when I realized that sleeping on the couch was probably exactly how I needed to spend it.

As someone who tends to overbook myself, I sacrifice sleep more than anything else. Why choose between a late night party and an early morning breakfast the next day when I can just not sleep and do both? I really need to finish packing up my apartment tonight but my parents want me to come over for a long dinner? Sure! I'll just go pack after dinner even though it means I'll be up until the wee hours of the morning (side note: the drunks at my old apartment who were up at 4am last Friday were surprisingly willing (and weirdly insistent) to help me move heavy boxes to my car). My nephew's birthday party is tomorrow morning and I forgot that I was in charge of decorations? No problem, after I get back to my place at midnight, I'll start cutting out those mustache straws. It should only take a few hours, right?

Don't worry; they turned out great.
And I don't mean any of this sarcastically. This is genuinely the philosophy I approach things with. If I ever have to pick and choose between things, sleep is always the first thing to go. It's kind of like Liv Tyler in Empire Records, but without the drugs (also probably without most other aspects of Liv Tyler in Empire Records)*.  

It's how I operated in middle school - Why go to sleep at a reasonable time if I could stay up and watch Late Night with Conan O' Brien with my big sister?

It's how I operated in high school - There's no need to quit any of my extracurriculars; if I don't sleep, I can go to practice, get all my homework done, make the cookies for the bake sale, and finish the ad posters for all four of my clubs that will be at the club fair tomorrow! (or occasionally: Sleep? No thanks. Sleeping would mean I'd have to take a break from the new Harry Potter book!)

It's how I operated in college - Well, my big paper is due in the morning, so I'll work on that until 5am, then spend the next few hours before class decorating and cleaning the apartment for our Halloween party tomorrow night. (This one was Kirsten's favorite, because she was amused that she woke up at 7am to find me hanging streamers and watching Twilight while I visibly twitched from exhaustion. It was my favorite because by the time the party started,  I was so tired that I kept forgetting where I put my drink and thus avoided drinking too much.) 

And, it's how I operate now.

Happy Endings: "Did you make [these candied walnuts] yourself?" "Couldn't have been
easier. You just crack 'em, hole 'em, toast 'em, brush 'em with a little bit of olive oil, then rub
'em with cayenne pepper, some turmeric, and some cinnamon sugar, and you put 'em in the
oven for a quick roast, flipping them every five minutes for... an hour an a half."
"Are you crying?" "A little bit. I am just so tired." **

But even with a steady stream of caffeine running through my system at any given time, this lack of sleep eventually catches up with me. And when it finally does, what happens?

I was sitting on a box while coloring.
Hannah and I were very good at studying.
Caitlin and I had sat down for what was supposed to be a brief lunch when touring Brussels.
My sister and I were pretty lively during a retreat. I guess it runs in the family.

I fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, frequently without much warning. It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's how I fell asleep during a live production of the Lion King in London (that'll learn me to not let myself get over jet lag) and how I fell asleep while swimming (that one was a little scary).

And every time that happens, I learn nothing. Despite all the research showing that a "lack of sleep is one of the main reasons we get overstressed" and that getting enough sleep is necessary for both weight loss and a healthy life in general, I never make sleep a priority. Once I've caught up on my sleep (or at least gotten enough that I can function like a normal person again), I start the cycle over again.

How long will I go this time before another bout of pseudo-narcolepsy?

What are your sleep habits like? Do you like how my link to research is just a link to another
blogger that has basically the same problem as me (don't worry, her blog links to actual research)? Does anyone else think it's a little weird that people keep taking pictures of me sleeping (because believe me, this is a very small sampling)?

*I realize that the blog I link to, The Great Fitness Experiment, also references Liv Tyler in Empire Records. This is purely coincidental.

**I couldn't help but think of this last Saturday when Regina Falange suggested that we all go bowling the next day. I involuntarily cried a little bit when attempting to calmly state that I would rather not because I would be busy packing up my apartment. I was just so tired.