Friday, June 26, 2009

Econo-what?! Plus A Recipe! or Economy-Shmeshmonomy

Well it's been 6 months since I've posted. This is an abomination in the blogging community, I know!

I take my food very seriously, I consider it to be an outward expression of who I am inside. I share it with those I love to express my feelings to them. I create it to release whatever is in my heart; good, bad, happy, sad. It is how I deal. But what do you do when so much happens all at once that something you once loved feels like an added burden?

Earlier this year, I was secretly thanking my lucky stars that the troubled economy had somehow left us untouched. We both had jobs, we were financially comfortable, we were saving up for and anticipating adopting a child soon. Well, I certainly jinxed us because not too long after this thought, my husband was laid off due to shrinking profits in his company. Everyone tries to convince themselves that their job is vital to their company, that the company can't survive without their position. Unfortunately we were wrong when we thought this. The most difficult part about it was admitting that we could not continue our adoption efforts through it.

I never imagined myself being the primary income provider, but here I am doing it. Not just that, but I was able to pick up an extra job to provide a little more. During all of this, I have found that there isn't much time or desire for cooking and baking, and that makes me really sad. Working takes up so much of my time and effort now, and I have lost some interest in a lot of things I used to love. This can be a sign of either serious devotion (to job and family), or serious depression! I like to think that I am just so devoted, albeit a little depressed :)

Anyhow, we are coming out of the worst of it now. My husband was able to find a new job, and should be starting within the next couple of weeks! We are really excited for it, but I will still have to continue with both of my jobs due to a large pay cut with his new job. We are almost back on track with the adoption, and hopefully things can run smooth as butter! (Don't forget to think of us if you know of a baby in need of 2 awesome parents!...shameless self promotion :P)

Sooo, I hope that I can soon make room in my head and schedule to get some serious cooking done. It will be a smorgasbord of all that has been cooped up inside for the last 6 months! In the meantime, however, I plan on blogging a new recipe once a month. Once I am able to go back to just one job, it will be on like Donkey Kong. For reals.

And I hope this didn't totally bring you down :)

So, ahem, without further ado: A recipe!

Not just any recipe, but my favorite summertime muffin recipe. Not just any muffin! But my Surprise Jamba Muffins! Why are these my favorite? Well aside from tasting freaking awesome and smelling like a Jamba Juice, these puppies bake on the grill. Why is that so awesome? Because it's 90 degrees outside! Who wants to bake in the house? My house is already too hot without an air conditioner!

So get outside, fire up the barbie, and BAKE!

Here is the original post, along with the recipe:

You may wonder why I call these 'Surprise Jamba Muffins'. As you may recall, I have mentioned the dry heat we experience here in Colorado in past posts. As our house does not have air conditioning, or any kind of cooling system, I really hate to turn on the oven if I don't have to. Sometimes though, I really want to bake. I really want eat a tasty home made cookie or muffin. So what should I do? Bake it on the grill, of course! Surprise!

I started off with the idea of following a recipe, but then just ended up throwing random ingredients in. Once the batter was all mixed up, I couldn't get over how much the aroma reminded me of how Jamba Juice smells! I think Jamba Juice has more locations than just Colorado, so at least some of you know what I'm talking about...I hope :) At Jamba Juice, they are always squeezing fresh oranges. Add that smell with all the other fruit smells they have in there, and it smells sooo yummy! Well, my batter smelled just like that to me, so that's also where I get the name.

After baking these off, they taste not so "Jamba-y" and more fruity muffin-ish. They are some of the best muffins I have ever had, and much healthier than most other recipes to boot! I know this will be one of your favorites :)

Surprise Jamba Muffins

1/2 C Agave Nectar
1 C Coconut Oil
1 Egg
1 1/4 C Sylvan Border Farms AP GF Flour (or whatever flour mix you like)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 Tbsp Flax Seed
pinch of Salt
2/3 C Soy Milk (or any milk you like)
splash of Vanilla
zest of 1 large Orange
1 1/2 C fresh or reconstituted dried Cherries
a couple handfulls of sliced and toasted Almonds

Preheat your gas grill to 350* f (or your oven). It helps if you have a thermometer on your grill lid. Mix all ingredients except the cherries and almonds together, but do not over-mix. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the cherries. Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups, sprinkle the toasted almonds on top and push them in a bit so they stick. Bake on the top rack of your grill, with the lid down, for 15-25 minutes- depending on your altitude. Mine took about 2o minutes.

To test for doneness, bop your finger on the top of a muffin, and if it springs back up, they are done. Or you can stick a toothpick in to see if it comes back out dry. Once out of the grill/oven, remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

A really great thing about these is that if you store them in a zip top bag, then they do not dry out for like 4 or 5 days (if they even last that long!). I gave out the muffins to random friends and family, and I got a great response from everyone! Even my glutenous (not the same as gluttonous, silly!) friends thought they were awesome! Success!!!

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