About Me

I’m a California-based voice & visual artist. I immerse myself in creative adventure by exploring multiple genres, styles, and forms in my writing and art. I also make short films. ❤️robots.

Recipe: How to Trail Blaze 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 drove beyond the shrubbery into the dirt of an undeveloped plot. The car bumped over some ruts, and then 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. We discovered porcupines, had a face-off with a big buck, and felt our hearts almost burst as a bear tracked us in the forest brush. We paid attention to our senses. We smelled the wind 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." (as defined by 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. Things like the exhaust coming out of a truck's tailpipe ahead of me. Or when walking, a smell drifts and hits me. Someone's fragranced laundry products perfuming their T-shirt and jeans hit me like a wall. This fragrance trail creates a brain and lung short circuit.

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 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 the pleasant and destructive. The potpourri of seasonal spices is too intense for me, so I avoid them. When I bake most spices and flavorings are not an option, so whatever I can use I add sparingly. I make almost everything from scratch. A little nutmeg and real vanilla extract is my limit and provides just enough seasonal spirit.

Warning: 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 happen with recipes too. Baking is already a science 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 a recipe, which I found online but have adjusted for higher elevations and my special needs. Ingredients have changed, even what I do to oats (grind into an almost flour-like 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 became a substitute. 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 brand of 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 a medium bowl mix:
3 c gluten-free oat flour
*2/3 t salt
*1 3/4 t baking powder
*1 t baking soda
approx. 3/4 t nutmeg
*adjust to personal taste

Back to the 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 a 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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