Muffin “Monday” Chia Pomegranate Almond (Vegan)

The beauty of chai in and out.

The beauty of Chia in and out.



  • 1 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Applesauce
  • 2/3 cup Pomegranates
  • 2/3 cup Slivered Almonds
I picked up my package of Chia seeds at the Red MIll display of my local grocery store. The fresh pomegranates were in the produce aisle at Trader Joe's.

I picked up my package of Chia seeds at the Red MIll display of my local grocery store. The fresh pomegranates were in the produce aisle at Trader Joe’s.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 12 muffin cups with baking spray.

2. Put Almond Milk into the measuring cup and add the Apple Cider Vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl mix together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cornstarch, Salt, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Chia Seeds, and Sugar.

4. Add Applesauce to the Almond Milk and stir.

5. Add the wet to the dry and mix until incorporated.

6. Fold in the Pomegranates and Almonds.

7. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until muffins pass the tooth pick test. Let stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

The muffins ready to go in the oven.

The muffins ready to go in the oven.


These muffins a super flavorful and yummy. I loved the pop of the Pomegranate and the crunch of the Chia Seeds and Almond. The spices definitely give these muffins the taste of a warm mug of Chia Tea on a cold winter morning. Taster Kathy thought they were delicious. She gave them thumbs up for being unusual and added that she loved them. (Me too!)


Golden perfection, the muffins fresh from the oven.

I <3 the golden perfection of Chia Pomegranate Almond muffins fresh from the oven.

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Sean Bean 4.17.14

[Image courtesy]

[Image courtesy]

“Listen to people and treat people as you find them. There’s an inherent goodness in most people. Don’t pre-judge people – that was me Mam’s advice anyway.” — Sean Bean

“Winter is Coming”

Shaun Mark Bean was born in Handsworth, Sheffield, England in 1959. He is 55 years old.

His father owned a welding firm. After high school Bean learned the trade at  Rotherham College of Arts and Technology and worked at the firm while taking occasional courses at college. He came across and art course that ignited his interest.  Then he took a drama course and was hooked.

In 1981 He started at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on scholarship. He graduated from the seven-term course in 1983 and began to work in the theatre. By 1986 he was in the Royal Shakespeare Company and had appeared in his first film, Caravaggio. Over the next decade he built his CV with roles on stage, on film and on British TV. (It was about at this time that he changed his first name to the Irish spelling “Sean”.)

Then came Richard Sharpe, Bernard Cornwall’s rogue who brought Bean to world-wide attention. He played the character in 16 episodes as the riffle man crossed Europe and Asia in his iconic (and sometimes tattered) red coat and boots.

Bean is equally comfortable in the role of hero or villain and he usually plays something in between. Alas he often ends up dead at the end of a movie.  (Besides Sharpe I’m not sure that I can think of a Bean role that DIDN’T end in a death scene). There’s even a YouTube video devoted to Sean Bean’s Death  Scenes. He can also slip easily from classical or modern roles. Like wise fantasy or realistic. Give him an oversized shield or sword and he’s in a sci-fi epic, give him a flannel shirt and he disappears into the role of Kyle, a loving, supportive husband in North Country.  (Oh! he doesn’t die in North  Country! Yeah for him!)

Besides Sharpe,  you’ll know him as Boromir from Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and more recently as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.  (And of course you’ll remember that I featured him last year in my first month-long Secondary Character Saturday series for his roles as Boromir, Stark, Odysseus, &  Ian Howe.)

I think the Sean Bean role I’m most looking forward to is his take on Macbeth in the upcoming Enemy of Man (which is in post production.)

[Image courtesy]

[Image courtesy]

Richard III is at it again!

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster. *

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster features the King’s crest and a White Boar, his symbol. *

Everybody’s favorite Shakespearian villain is haunting the streets of Baltimore again. This time at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s indoor performance space, The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s on Roland Ave.

The Factory presents the Bard’s works as they were originally presented:

  • Universal lighting
  • Minimal sets
  • Music period to the time
  • Cross gender casting
  • And actors taking on multiple roles.

Given The Great Hall’s thrust stage and the the fact that they keep the lights up it is no wonder that as an audience you feel very engaged in the play. The players can see YOU as much as you can see them, and when Richard cracks some scheme or Elizabeth pleads to the heavens for mercy… they are talking to you.

This production snaps along at about 2 hours and 45 minutes (plus intermission) and stars Chris Cotterman as Richard. Cotterman is ruthless and –somehow– heartbreaking in the role. I (very unexpectedly) found myself (kind of) routing for the guy. Ian Blackwell Rogers– who won me over as Macbeth and Hamlet in past Factory productions — is delightfully oily as the power hunger Buckingham. And Lily Kerrigan, Kelly Dowling and Barbara Madison Hauck do justice to the trio of women (Lady Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margaret) who have their lives torn apart by Richard’s ambitions. The show is directed by Tom Delise.

You’ve got one more weekend to catch it as the show runs through April April 19.

Poster for Richard. *

Poster for Richard. *



*I was lucky enough to design the promotional materials for the Factory’s production.

Muffin Monday: Almond Currant (Vegan?)

Almond Currant muffins cooling

Almond Currant muffins cooling


2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2/3 cups Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 cups Almond Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

3/4 cup Currants



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 12 muffin cups with baking spray.

2. In a large bowl combine the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt.

3. In a large measuring cup combine Vegetable Oil, Milk and Vanilla Extract.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until well incorporated.

5. Add the Almonds and Currants.

6. Divide evenly into the muffin cups.

The Almond Currant muffins before they went into the oven.

The Almond Currant muffins before they went into the oven.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins pass the tooth pick test.

8. Cool on a wire rack.

Yum. The final product.

Yum. The final product.


I have a friend who is trying to follow a Vegan diet, so I wanted to do a few more Vegan friendly recipes. I think this one works. I hope my Vegan readers will let me know if I missed anything!

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to put in these muffins, but I had the currants left over from some Irish Soda Bread and I thought… why not? They are really nice with the almond (which is another left over ingredient.)  Hope you like them!


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Muffin “Monday” — Zucchini Fig Almond

Zucchini Fig Almond muffins from the ritaLOVEStoWRITE test kitchen

Zucchini Fig Almond muffins from the ritaLOVEStoWRITE test kitchen


  • 2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon Peal
  • 1 cup shredded Zucchini (fresh or frozen/thawed)
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup Fat-Free Milk
  • 1/3 cup Fig
  • 1/4 cup  Almond Slivers
  • Water to smooth the tops of the muffins
A note on the Zucchini — So Sunday was a  lovely day here in Northern Maryland and I finally got out into the garden to do some rehab and bit of planting. Being an optimistic kind of human, I planted Zucchini — yes, I’m one of those people who thinks you “can NEVER have too much Zucchini.” So I started a packet of seeds, knowing full well that I’ll get Zuke in my weekly box from the farmer co-op come summer. With this in mind I went to the freezer to free it of some of last year’s crop. I let a bag thaw over night than (after cracking the ziplock seal) gave it an assist in the microwave for a minute. Then (over the sink) I pierced the bottom of the bag in several sections and squeezed the water out. I got 1 cup of compacted Zucchini.
Frozen Zucchini. On the left is an unthawed bag straight from the freezer. On the Right is a thawed bag that has been drained of excess water.

Frozen Zucchini. On the left is an unthawed bag straight from the freezer. On the Right is a thawed bag  drained of excess water.



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and Prep muffin cups with cooking spray. (I used 12 medium-sized muffin cups).

2. In a large bowl, mix the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Cardamom, Sugar and Lemon Peal,

3. In a medium bowl, combine the Zucchini, Lemon Zest, Canola Oil, Egg and Milk and stir well.

4. Add the wet to dry and mix until combined.

5. Chop up the Fig into small segments. Cut off the tops of the figs. Cut fig in quarters length wise, then dice.

Important Fig Cutting Diagram.

Important Fig Cutting Diagram.

6. Add the Fig and Almonds to the batter

7. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups. With a wet spoon smooth out the muffins.


8. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins pass the toothpick test.

These babies would pass any test.

These babies would pass any test. Bring it on tooth pick.

9. Cool on a wire rack.

These came out perfectly. Dense, but not gummy. Crunchy at the top. Just sweet enough, but not overly so.  I think they’ll keep and travel well because they weren’t moist. But they weren’t so dry that you’d need to add butter or apple sauce to enjoy them. Yum.

While last week’s Strawberry Peach Minis were a bit on the dessert-y side,  these darlings fit nicely into the breakfast category. Taster Kathy agrees. She thought the muffins were healthy and hearty and really liked the fig and almond addition to the zucchini. She added that they were “Just delicious.”



Beauty shot.

Beauty shot.




Muffin Monday: S’mores & Mandarin Orange Choc. Chip

Special Snow Day: Nutella Zucchini

Muffin Monday Top Blog Honor

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Secondary Character Sunday: Murray Hewitt (Flight of the Concords)

[From Flight of the Concords (HBO)]

[From Flight of the Concords (HBO)]

WHO: Murray

FROM: Flight of the Concords

CREATED BY; James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie

PRODUCED: 2007–2009

PROS: Funny (albeit unintentionally),  dedicated to the band, proud New Zealander.

CONS: Clueless and full of himself, Murray ought to seriously consider the people around him more (especially the boys in the band, Brett and Jermaine, and his co workers). He should also take a class in ethics.


WHY I CHOSE MURRAY: He always cracks me up. Flight of the Concord is a wonderfully odd and silly show, and as daffy as Brett and Jermaine can be, Murray (as played by Rhys Darby) has them beat in the clueless department. If you are in the mood for some very smart/silly comedy you should give this show a chance (it’s available on Netflix.)



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