Monday, March 6, 2017

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Maple Muffins

I know February is short but goodness it flew by. We had a nice stretch of warm weather and the sap was flowing. The days were beautiful. I planted some small garlic bulbs from the scapes that I didn't get around to planting last fall. It even got so warm that we were able to get back into the three remaining bee colonies and make sure they were alive and give them some food in case they need it. Needless to say, the days all ran together. The one consistent thing? Muffins.
In truth, these should probably be called February Muffins because I made them almost every day. They were that delicious that even the kids didn't get sick of them yet.

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Maple Muffins
1/2 c. dark maple syrup
1/2 c. organic oil (coconut oil is delicious but so is canola)
3/4 c. organic whole milk
2 organic eggs
2 c. organic flour, divided
1 TBSP. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
additions:
organic dark chocolate*
1/2-3/4 c. toasted coconut*,**

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Mix 1.5 c. flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Mix remaining 1/2 c. flour with coconut and chocolate chips.
5. Mix wet and dry ingredients using a dough whisk***, until just moist.
6. Add remaining flour and additions and mix with dough whisk until combined. Do not over mix.
7. Pour into muffin pan.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until set.

Enjoy!

* You can use other additions such as banana and walnut - add smashed banana to wet ingredients, walnuts to the second bowl.

** Toasted coconut will make any of your recipes more amazing. To toast coconut, put unsweetened coconut into a pan over medium heat. stir occasionally until toasted evenly 3-5 minutes depending on heat.

*** Do you have a dough whisk? If you don't, you are seriously missing out. My husband got me one for Christmas (or my birthday) it is one of my most favorite kitchen tools. It is super easy to use and I am constantly using it. Anything that says to be careful not to over mix gets the dough whisk! Waffles, pancakes, muffins, cake, you name it and I try it. I even made biscuits with it and they came out so much more fluffy.


February Update:

February was very unproductive in terms of goals. I didn't finish any new books, or do anything on the homestead (granted, it is winter!). I was very good about making sure that we didn't waste anything. Also, we are eating a lot more of our leftovers as well as eating more beans. Our favorite way the eat beans, besides as maple baked beans, is to use only a little (or no) meat with organic black beans and taco seasoning. Add that to some cheese and salsa on an organic corn tortilla and you have an easy, nutritious meal.

I did manage to keep our grocery budget at or under $250. This was pretty awesome. I have come to realize that this may not be as sustainable as I had hoped. As I am rereading Notes From a Blue Bike, I am again reminded that cheap food has a price and although we work hard to grow, raise or buy only good food, preferably from local sources, the amount of money we spend is such a small amount. As Americans we spend such a small percent of our income on food. I would rather spend more money on good food so that farmers get paid better than scrimp and save. Now, we are also following Dave Ramsey's plan from The Total Money Makeover to get rid of all debt so I while I am trying to save money to finish paying off those student loans and whatnot, I also want to make sure that I am making intentional choices about what I am buying.

Grocery Budget: $250
2/1          Milk                                                                                  $   25.00
2/5          Distributor: Org. Beans                                                    $   30.35
2/5          Org. 1/2+1/2, Org. Mustard                                             $     7.28
2/5          Milk (prepay for the month)                                              $ 100.00
2/5          BJs: cheese, org. apples& org. carrots                            $   22.27
2/7          Aldi's: Org. Bananas, crackers                                         $    7.83
2/14        Polish Shop: Imported Cheese                                         $    9.19
2/19        BJs: yeast                                                                         $    4.49
2/22        BJs: org. corn chips, cheese, org. butter, org. lettuce     $   41.73
Total Spent:                                                                                      $  248.14

So we stayed under budget which was nice. On the last day of the month, I took out $350 from savings for our CSA share. Since it is for the summer months, I am planning to spread to cost out over those months as much as possible. If in the end we are over our $3000 year goal for groceries, I am ok with that as long as we continue to make intentional choices. The reason I did it this month is that the farmer was offering $25 off if paid by 2/28. I figured this was a good intentional place to save money. They needed the money sooner rather than later and since I was planning on buying anyway, it would work out best on all accounts if we saved a little and paid earlier.

As for our No Spend, I think we are right on track. I did splurge this month and get a Starbucks coffee but I used a gift card so I don't think that counts. It made me really appreciate it going. Afterwards we went to the park and the kids got to run and I got to enjoy a coffee and my sister's company.

Decluttering has also been going well. Every week I have been to the consignment shop or posting something on our local Buy Nothing group.

So all in all, it was a good month but not as productive, especially on the reading side, as I would have liked.

How was your month?




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