Saturday, January 18, 2014

Breakfast Muffin Parfaits

I have a confession to make: I like sweets for breakfast. Seriously, if there was no nutritional downside, I'd eat danish, muffins, pancakes with syrup, donuts, waffles and coffee cake for breakfast each and every day. I admit it,  I have a raging sweet tooth and breakfast is no exception. But there is a downside. Like mega calories, no protein, lots of sugar, etc., etc., etc.. So I don't eat those things, except for occasionally on the weekends. I still want them though and these last few months I've gotten in the bad habit of having a blended mocha for breakfast. Home made, and really not too terribly loaded with calories, about 250. But no nutritional benefit. Seriously, not a redeeming ingredient in them. They're just so tasty and convenient. I can sip on them while still going about my morning routine. Then two hours later I'm crazy hungry. This is not a good habit.

My bad breakfast is not a new realization, I've know it all along, it just got time to get real with myself and kick the habit. As much as I abhor New Year's Resolutions, after the nutritional debauchery of December, I resolved to start my days with a better breakfast. This recipe looked like a good start. Some decent nutritional value, portable (I can easily take it to work), convenient (make ahead on the weekends), easy (a pretty simple recipe) and still sweet. Check it out. . .

There are some wacky ingredients here but you should be able to find most in the bulk bins and only need to buy about what you'll use.: Whole grain oat flour, whole grain barley flour, whole grain brown rice flour, chia seeds (ground or grind your own), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, buttermilk, vanilla and honey. Also optionally, some chopped nuts (your choice).

You'll also need twelve 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars. Use the Kerr brand because they have straight sides. The Ball brand doesn't have straight sides and will make it difficult to clean. You can also get the plastic lids for the wide mouth jars which makes covering a breeze. I found everything at Wal Mart and not too expensive. (About $10 for the jars and about $4.00 for 8 lids.)

The ground chia seeds I found a Whole Foods were a whopping $11.00. So I went over to the bulk section, grabbed just about 1/4 cup of whole black chia seeds and ground them myself in a spice/coffee grinder. Worked like a charm. Above is what they look like before you grind them up.

And this is what they look like after. This is WAY cheaper than buying them ground.

Start by mixing up all the dry ingredients: flours, ground chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, some water, the vanilla and honey. Stir until well combined. The honey tends to sink to the bottom so use a whisk and really get the honey dissolved in the mix. 

Dump the wet mix into the dry and stir gently just until moistened and you don't have any big clumps.

It should look about like this. Be careful not to over mix.

If you want to add some chopped nuts, gently stir them in. I used about 1/2 C. chopped pecans. YUM! Now cover the batter and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 5 days. This gives the chia seed time to absorb moisture and "gel up" so you have a moist muffin.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the jars up on a rimmed cookie sheet and fill each with about 1/4 cup of batter. This #20 disher/ice cream scoop worked perfectly. Use the back of a spoon to level out the batter if needed. If any batter gets on the sides or rims of the jars, wipe that off with a damp paper towel before baking.

For some reason I only had enough batter for 11 jars. Oh well, that's just how it works out sometimes. Put the jars (on the cookie sheet) in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My oven runs a bit hot so mine took about 22 minutes.

Carefully (those jars are HOT) remove the jars to a rack and cool completely. Once cooled, you can got to the next step or cover and freeze them until needed. The plastic lids I got came in a pack of 8 and I only bought one pack, I just used a double layer of plastic wrap to cover the extra jars. I kept 3 jars out for the next step and froze the rest.

The night before you want to have these for breakfast, fill each jar with 1/4 cup yogurt. I used vanilla greek style yogurt. Then top with any fruit you like. I have lots of frozen fruit so I went with frozen blueberries. Fresh fruit will have a better texture after 2-3 days but the frozen was just fine with me and I wanted to use it up.

Cover the jars and let sit overnight in the fridge and up to 3 days. The muffin will absorb moisture from the yogurt and you'll have a nice pudding texture the next morning.

I really liked this recipe. It was a great way to get a wholesome breakfast and satisfy my sweet tooth. I just added the yogurt and fruit three jars at a time and kept the rest in the freezer until needed. Eleven days of yummy breakfast and easy to pack for work.

Just baked and on it's own (yes I tasted one) the muffin is pretty "bran muffiney", a bit dry and grainy. If you wanted to just make muffins, follow this link to the muffin recipe and a list of add-ins which I would definitely suggest. Follow this link for the full recipe that I made. The only changes I made were adding 1/2 cup chopped pecans and using frozen fruit. As written, the recipe claims that one jar is about 150 calories. I haven't done the breakdown (yet, I'll try and update later.) but I'm guessing mine turned out closer to 200 calories as it only filled 11 jars, I added nuts and used sweetened yogurt. Still not a bad nutritional breakdown for breakfast. I'll make these again for sure.

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