About Me

I am a writer, content editor, and artist with the soul of a swing-dancing Pony Express rider. Interests include consumerism, classic films, environmental issues, scent-free living, health, science, writing, and robots. My blog reflects exploration in word and image. I can’t promise how often I will or won't post. In 2018, I'll continue to explore identity and boundaries beginning with nature vs. man.

Recipe: How to Trailblaze Muffin Tangents

Muffins: banana oatmeal with chocolate flecks, butternut squash, and pumpkin (small)
Half Baked's original recipe with my changes

Back in 1989 a friend showed me a shortcut through LA's Sunset Plaza. We entered the paved parking lot and continued into a dirt area beyond. The car bumped over some ruts and we popped out on Holloway Drive. Then we buzzed around some side streets and arrived at a coffee shop. No, this wasn't a spy mission, this was a way to beat LA traffic. It strummed a memory chord of childhood trailblazing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. My pony Taffy and I were a team and went where none of the other kids did and discovered porcupines, faced off with a big buck, and listened to every small sound in the woods.

Tangent (noun): a course abruptly deviating from that previously pursued. J.F. Wharton once said, "avoid wandering off on tangents." (via Unabridged Merriam-Webster)

I embrace tangents, sometimes I know where I may end up other times stepping off into the unknown gives fuel to my inner self. Frequently I change course because I need to avoid something toxic: while driving the exhaust coming out of a truck's tailpipe ahead of me or when walking the fragrance trail drifting over me from the laundry products perfuming someone's T-shirt and jeans.

I've always been an explorer, even with the mundane things like driving home. I like to see where the sun is, have an idea where north is, then turn on a new road...see where it will take me; creating a new thread for my memory palace map of where ever I happen to be.

During the fifteen years I spent in LA, I always tried new routes to get to my destinations. There were even ways to twist through the Hollywood Hills while keeping off main roads for the most part. My fragrance-free journey continues during the holiday feasts as aroma avoidance. Smells permeate our lives, both good and not so good. The potpourri of seasonal spices is too strong for me so I avoid them. When I bake most are not an option, so whatever I can use I add in sparingly. I make almost everything from scratch. A little nutmeg and real vanilla extract is my limit and provides just enough seasonal spirit.

“I follow a recipe like I follow a map; I make my own path, a little different each time. This may not result in perfectly baked goods.”

Tangents are true with recipes too. Baking is already a game of measurements, but I will limit myself to one measuring cup and teaspoon, and orient myself with an actual recipe. Then "feel" what is needed. Here's what I’ve done to an actual recipe, which I found online but have adjusted for higher elevations. Ingredients have changed, even what I do to oats (grind into flour or a consistency between the oat and the flour). It needs to be an exploration or an experiment like driving the side streets instead of taking the freeway.

My food sensitivities are tricky. Applesauce was okay for a while, then it wasn't so I changed to bananas, then they weren't, so roasted squash was substituted. Butternut is richer tasting than pumpkin. At some point I'll try sweet potatoes — I'll take a sweet potato pie over pumpkin any day. Yogurt changed to organic goat kefir then almond milk only (and not just any nut milk for me, some contain inulin, a fiber from artichokes and other fructan containing foods which can trigger gastrointestinal problems).

Gluten-free Banana Oatmeal Muffins With Dark Chocolate Flecks
Yield: 24 single scoop plus 6 double scoop (scoop is 2 inches and holds 2 1/2 T)
Avoid over mixing.
Bake: 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes +/-

In large bowl mix & let soak:
2 1/2 c gluten-free rolled oats
2 c (minus 3 T) unsweetened almond milk

In medium bowl mix:
3 c gluten-free oat flour
*2/3 t salt
*1 3/4 t baking powder
*1 t baking soda
apprx. 3/4 t nutmeg
*adjust to personal taste

Back to large bowl with soaking oats, add:
3/4 c real maple syrup
4 mashed/pureed ripe medium bananas
2 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 t pure vanilla extract

Now mix dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients.
Then add 3/4 c of chopped 70% dark chocolate.

Fill greased or paper cups 2/3rd full using scoop. Bake approximately 18-25 minutes depending on altitude, oven temperature, and cup size. Freeze what you don't eat.

Right now my favorites are the stand-by banana oat with chocolate chunks and the butternut squash.

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