Baking Muffins in the Ninja 3 in 1 Cooking System

The Ninja says you can bake it in. So I had to try. The results were not so good.

I am not sure if it was my fault or the Ninjas – probably a combination of both.

I started with this recipe for Blueberry Pancake Muffins. This recipe is apparently designed for the Ninja Cooking System.
Ninja Blueberry Pancake Muffins

I didn’t have blueberries so I used frozen Strawberries instead. I also added a package of instant oatmeal, used skim milk instead of buttermilk and egg whites instead of an egg. Maybe those were my mistakes.

I was attempting to be creative and make Strawberry Oatmeal Ninja Muffins.

baking muffins in the ninja

Regardless my muffins cooked. If you could call it cooked; they really didn’t rise. It was like eating a poached (read boiled) muffin. The first two were hard to get out of the pan but the rest came out okay. It tasted alright but the textured was all wrong and I don’t think that was my fault. Like I said, imagine eating a cooked but soft soggy muffin. Muffins are supposed to have the nice crispy top and be golden brown and delicious all over. Let’s face it, that is never going to happen in an appliance that STEAM BAKES.

And I mean really – all this to save 20 calories a muffin? Sure you can bake with half the fat but half the fat split up over a recipe is not worth it. Trust me on this.

strawberry oatmeal ninja muffins
YUCK!

I threw all these poor muffins in the trash (minus the bite I took to taste them). Even my dog didn’t want to eat them. But really, look at them. Do you blame her?

I don’t think baking in my Ninja will ever happen again and not just because of this mess.

Before I even made these I had already come up with a few more reasons why baking in the Ninja Cooking System was just not worth it. You can only cook (notice how I didn’t say bake?) 6 muffins at a time; most recipes out there are for 12. Trying to reduce a recipe is a pain, especially when it calls for one egg. How do you half an egg? All this hassle just to save a few calories a muffin is not worth it. Not to mention the horrid texture. The extra cleaning time. No muffin liners. No crispy tops. Do I need to go on?

Do yourself a favour, make your muffins in a oven. Save your self time and make a regular size batch of muffins (or whatever). Bonus: they turn out properly and you won’t be embarrassed to offer one to your guests. You can also use paper muffin liners and make your clean up a breeze. Another bonus: you don’t need to spend tons of money buy baking pans that fit inside the Ninja (huge bonus in my books!).

In can be argued that making 6 muffins at a time will save your waist line. In that case just throw half your muffins out. Because you are going to end up doing that anyway if you cook them in the Ninja.

This is just my experience cooking muffins but I am pretty sure results will be the same or at least similar with all baked goods. Slimy cupcakes anyone?

EDIT – I was just browsing the Ninja Facebook Page and it seems a lot of people are baking with good results but I found a post talking about the Blueberry Pancake Muffin Recipe. That person threw theirs away too and they followed the recipe. Perhaps it is just a fail recipe. After seeing that I might consider baking something again…

New Cookbook: The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podlesk

Words can’t even describe how extremely excited I am about this cookbook. I absolutely adore Janet and Greta Podlesk other three cookbooks and this one is their best yet.

When I am on plan I cook at least once a week from their other book Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. Having a new book to cook from is extra exciting and should help me stay on plan easier. I haven’t had much of a chance to really go through it yet but at a quick glance it does have a lot of their popular recipes and some new ones too.

I pre-ordered my copy of The Looneyspoons Collections almost two months ago! The wait almost killed me.

You can order your copy here at Chapters.cause promo code OLNOV11 to save $5 during the month of November.

Since you need $25 to get free shipping you should book up their other cookbooks, they are all fantastic. I really can’t say enough good things about these books – if you can’t tell. I just love that their recipes are low calorie but don’t taste it. I also really like that they use ingredients I can find in Canada, since they are Canadian too.

I am sure there will be many more posts once I start cooking. But first I must look at it!

Saturday Bake Fest

I love baking; seriously adore baking. I really shouldn’t – but I do. So whenever I get the chance to bake for someone else I do. I got up bright and early to bake muffins. I had some bananas that were very brown; so banana chocolate chip muffins it was! I used the Banana Bread recipe (Sweet Home Alabanana) from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. I manged to get 18 muffins. Some for a friend, my dad and some for me. Perfect!

I did leave the nuts out and my bananas were small. But they were perfect and not too sweet. I really enjoyed the more healthier taste. They were the perfect breakfast before a walk in the park.

banana chocolate chip muffins

One problem. My dad never came by to get his muffins. So now I have too many left for me. That wouldn’t be such a big deal except here is problem number two. While the muffins were baking I thought I put the ingredients for rice pudding in my slower cooker – again; making lots for my dad. So now I have two much rice pudding as well. The rice pudding was low in calories – using very little sugar and skim milk; but still. A girl can only eat so much rice pudding – even when she adores it.

low calorie rice pudding

I think I might have to pack the little dog in the car tonight and deliver the left overs. And onto the third thing on baking list. Peanut butter ginger cookies (Girl-Guy Cookies) – also from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. These cookies are to die for; really – they are simply amazing. I baked up a double batch of these for Mother’s Day. I did have to save a few of these for me, but most went to my mom and grandma.

peanut butter ginger cookies

Uh-Oh: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

What oh what was I thinking when I let the boyfriend talk me into making these. This is why I don’t lose weight. I am going to admit – this is the second, yes second, batch of cookies I have made this week! *sigh*

On a plus note, I made these without flour. That has to count for something, right? right?

I used this Quick and Easy Flour Free Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe and added chocolate chips. Fail.

Recipe Review: Poppy Love – Low Calorie Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

From Eat, Shrink and Be Merry – page 162.
[rating:4]

I have made this lemon poppy seed loaf at least 4 times (that’s what happens when you buy too many poppy seeds)! It great every time; however, I think I do like the banana bread better. Maybe because the banana bread has chocolate chips in it… anyway, I do suggest trying this one for yourself. Again I use all whole wheat flour and I never have lemon zest so I just add a touch more lemon juice – I also always just use the lemon juice from a bottle. I love that this recipe is so basic and I always have the ingredients in the house.

low calorie lemon poppy seed loaf

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup oat bran
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 melted butter or vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8×4 load pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Mix flour, sugar, oat bran, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt together.
3. In a separate bowl mix together milk, butter, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry just until dry ingredients are moist. Spread batter in pan and baked for 40-35 minutes. Until the loaf is golden brown and toothpick comes clean.
4. Cool and enjoy! Keep leftovers covered with plastic wrap and store at room temperate.

Nutritional Information per one slice of Low Calorie Lemon Loaf
12 slices per loaf
161 calories, 5.3 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1.1 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein

Recipe Review: Sweet Home Alabanana – Low Calorie Banana Bread

From Eat, Shrink and Be Merry – page 160.
[rating:5]

I have made this banana bread a few times and it is so delicious. Some of the best banana bread I have ever made. I always replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and never even notice.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups mashed rip bananas (3-4)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8×4 inch pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Mix flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix and set aside.
3. Beat together eggs and brown sugar on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat again until well mixed.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not use electric mixer. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Divide the batter between the two load banks and bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

banana bread

Nutritional Information per 1 slice.
Makes 8 slices for each loaf, total 16 slices
173 calories, 6.4 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein

Some helpful tips: using ripe bananas is very important as this recipe doesn’t use a lot of sugar. Also, you can add a splash of lemon juice in regular milk to replace buttermilk. I also usually just half this recipe as I don’t need two loaves of banana bread about the house.

Yummy Cake with Chocolate Icing

It’s Sunday and it’s raining and I have been bad. I have made a cake. Seriously though, I am so proud of myself because the icing was… good! I don’t really like icing and never have. I have made it before in the past and it was so gross. Even my little sister said something along the lines of, “you’re a good cook but this sucks.”

cake
Yes, those are icing sugar lumps… I guess I should of got out of the beaters.

So I have always avoided making icing like the plague. I have been known to make my own cake and buy icing – least if it’s gross then it wasn’t my fault.

Anyway, today I really wanted a treat. What I really wanted was pizza and beer (damn commercials during the hockey game) – anyway, I was being cheap so I opted for a cake. Only because I had the ingredients. A boxed cake, but I needed icing. So I tried again. Just a basic icing, but this time I added some cocoa powder to it – and I left it kinda runny, and it fantastic!

One problem, a box of cake mix makes two round cakes. I can’t eat two cakes! I hope the boyfriend is hungry.

I didn’t measure but the icing was pretty much: butter, milk, cocoa powder and icing sugar. I melted the butter, mixed in the cocoa powered – microwaved it some more and then stirred in the milk and icing sugar. Pretty basic stuff really.

cake with chocolate icing

I had to use a boxed cake because I am actually out of white flour. I have decided I am not buying anymore white flour, having it in the house just leads to these types of problems. Thankfully there is only one cake mix left. I am going to have to cave eventually, not for now – no more flour!

Recipe Review: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

[rating:3.5]

I found this recipe on sparkpeople.com – I had to try it. It used whole wheat flour and applesauce – two things in my house I have an abundance of. They turned out really good. I gave some to a co-worker and she enjoyed them too. The boyfriend however… ate one, said that was enough and reached for the peanut butter cookies. Figures.

I liked the fact that it used ingredients I usually keep around – they were quick and easy to make too. The only bad thing is that it says to let the oats and milk sit together for an hour before making. So you do need to think ahead when making these. They are pretty filling and good for 90(ish) calories. Quick, easy and cheap snack. I have been eating them for breakfast with a boiled egg and for a snack with a banana – delicious! My biggest issue, is I have to eat 12 of them! I might just half the recipe next time.

IMG_7815

Recipe from sparkpeople.com

Ingredients
1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
raisins or nuts (optional)

Directions
1. Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
4. Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
5. In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
8. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. I only had to bake for about 15 minutes.

Number of Servings: 12

FYI – I used quick oats. I also didn’t add any raisins or nuts and I assume that would increase the calories a bit. The recipe on the site also says they can be frozen, honestly I wouldn’t think these would freeze well.

Nutritional Information – Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
per 1 muffin
94 calories
0.5 grams of fat
20.5 carbohydrates
1.7 grams of fiber
2.9 grams of protein

Next time I make these I think I might try adding some cranberries and maybe even some cocoanut.

Recipe: Quick and Easy Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

[rating:4.5]

I wanted to bake, the boyfriend wanted peanut butter cookies – so peanut butter cookies is what he got. I think these have to be the best peanut butter cookies I have ever made. I normally find peanut butter cookies kind of dry, but not these. I really like that there is no butter or flour in them, I am not against either of those foods – but it just seems like useless ingredients after eating these. There were also so quick and easy, I have a feeling I will be making these again and again. The calories in these cookies are not too bad either, just don’t make them too big or eat too many!

gluten free peanut butter cookies

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients.
3. Form into balls and place on cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper) Flatten cookies with a fork.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until nice and golden brown but still a bit chewy.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Nutritional Information Per Cookie
75 calories
4.5 grams of fat
7.4 grams of carbohydrates
0.5 grams of fiber
6.5 grams of sugar
2.5 grams of protein

Eat Shrink and Be Merry, Girl-Guy Cookies

[rating:4]

Found on page 168.
Or Peanut-BETTER Gingersnap Cookies as they are called on the Eat Shrink and Be Merry Food Network Site.

I made these cookies last night. Buying all the stuff I was missing (ginger, allspice, molasses, etc) was a bit expensive but worth it. These cookies were great.

They are sill 90-100 calories a cookie – so they really aren’t that “low calorie” but they made for a delicious treat. My boyfriend wasn’t a fan; too bad for him! I ended up doubling the recipe – I sent my little sister home with a huge bag and then took the rest to work for my co-workers (who loved them!) Okay, I did have to leave a few at home – but for the dog, because she likes them to. *wink wink* (she really does like them)

eat shrink and be merry girl guy cookies

Anyway, if you are looking for a different cookie to try – make these! They are just a nice combo of peanut butter and ginger snap (or ginger bread even). Neither of the flavours are over powering making them perfect. One big problem – it is very easy to eat too many. I find I can eat maybe two peanut butter cookies before I get sick of them. I could easily eat 5 or 6 of these. I am not admitting that I already did that. Nope.

Recipe from FoodNetwork.ca

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/3 cup light peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons molasses
1×1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt. Set aside. Combine granulated sugar and remaining 1 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, beat together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter on medium speed of electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add molasses, egg and vanilla. Beat again until smooth.

4. Using a wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture. You will be making a stiff dough. Using your hands, shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll balls in reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart (they spread a lot when baking). Flatten cookies slightly using a fork.

5. Bake cookies for 7 minutes. They may appear undercooked, but that’s okay. Remove cookies from oven and immediately transfer from pan to a wire rack to cool.

I totally never rolled my cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, what can I say… I am lazy. I have done that before with snicker-doodles and it just makes a huge mess. A tip though if you are doing to do. Put the mixture in a zip-lock bag and then just drop the cookies in the bag and shake them around.

5 stars from me. I would totally make them again… good thing, because I have enough ingredients to make a few hundred more.

Nutritional Information (per cookie)
108 calories
3.4g total fat (1.6g saturated fat)
2g protein
17g carbohydrate
0.8g fiber
15mg cholesterol
100mg sodium