Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

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Seventeen degrees below zero. That is the temperature my iPhone read when Matt and I walked out the door yesterday. It’s the type of weather that makes you want to wear a massive jumper to work and put a pair of tights on under your pants. Even for a Minnesota girl, these temperatures are chilly enough to make me want to crawl back under the covers. Even our puppy went outside and did her business in record time. She then promptly looked up at me with eyes that said, “Carry me back inside… pleeease mommy!” Given the circumstances, I didn’t hesitate to pick her up and carry her back to the door.

One thing I love about the winter months is the fact you can use your stove as another heating source! Unlike the summer months when the absolute last thing you want to do is turn on the oven, it becomes an added bonus in the winter. This past weekend, I took advantage of the extra warmth provided by our stove and made a few batches of muffins. As you know, I’ve been on a muffin kick lately in the Sweet Precision kitchen. I love muffins because they’re so easy to whip up and there are infinite variations possible. This week I tried a mixture of oatmeal with applesauce to create a tasty and classic breakfast muffin. This recipe doesn’t have a lot of add-ins, which means that you can get creative by adding in fruit or nuts to spice things up a little bit!

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Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

Servings: 12 • Size: 1 muffin • Calories: 113 • Fat: 1.0 g • Carbs: 23.0 g • Fiber: 2.0 g • Protein: 4.0 g • Sugar: 11.0 g • Sodium: 297.0 g

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg

Directions
Place oats in a small bowl, pour in buttermilk. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar. Stir in oat/buttermilk mixture, applesauce and egg; mix well. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
If your muffin cups are filled more than 3/4 full the muffins will have flat “flying saucer” tops. This is because enough room is needed for the muffin to expand before reaching the top of the cup!

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Valentine’s Rice Krispies Treats

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Winter has arrived in full force here in Ann Arbor. We received 15 inches of snow last week, and the forecast is still calling for more. It’s easy to be glum about the short days and bitter winds. Especially when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, portending six more weeks of winter. However, there is so much to love about the season! Here are just a few of my favorite things about winter, which will hopefully have you embracing the next inch or two of snow that arrives in your driveway.

1. Tights and leggings
2. Cold, crisp air
3. Hot apple cider
4. Justifiable hibernation
5. Snow days and snow emergencies
6. Seeing your pets reaction to the snow
7. Winter sunrises
8. The first snow of the year
9. Fuzzy socks
10. Comfort food

Speaking of comfort food… a chilly winter day is all the motivation I need to do some serious baking. One of my favorite snacks growing up were the pre-packaged Rice Krispies that came in a little blue package. My mom and I used to buy them in bulk at Sams Club. While I don’t snack on them that often these days, I still enjoy one from the vending machine now and then. This week in the Sweet Precision kitchen, I decided to be a little creative and make some Valentine’s Day inspired Rice Krispies. All you need is a cookie cutter, red or pink candy melts, and some red sprinkles to take this every day dessert to the next level.

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Valentine’s Rice Krispies Treats
Makes approximately 24 treats

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
red or pink candy melts

Directions
Melt margarine in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended. Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.

Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly and firmly in buttered 13 x 9 inch pan. Cut the treats into heart shapes with a 2- 3-inch cookie cutter when cool.

Melt the candy melts according to the package directions. Transfer into a plastic bag with a corner cut off for piping. Decorate with sprinkles and let chocolate set before serving. Enjoy!

Heather’s Helpful Hints
When making your treats, don’t crank the heat on the stovetop too high. I get it, you want to get these quick-to-make treats set as soon as possible so you can dig in. High heat is the prime culprit for rock hard Rice Krispies. It will take a few more minutes of cook time, but melt the butter and marshmallows over low heat. You’ll be rewarded with delicious, soft and chewy treats!

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