I know that fall is synonymous with apples, but pears are really the fruit that has always done it for me. Since they aren't grown locally, their season is sort of muddled, but now is when they're on sale, and now is when Trader Joe's sells a 1/2 peck of them for a few dollars. That, in my pear-loving book, is a deal.
I mostly like my pears unadulterated. Yes, a baked pear is nice, and they could be a nice addition to a salad, but for the most part, I just bite right in.
For this particular 1/2 peck of pears, I made an exception, and modified the Jam-Filled Oat Bran Muffins in Joy of Vegan Baking to include some of these perfectly ripened pieces of fruit.
Pear Berry-Jam Muffins (modified from JoVB)
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
6 Tbsp water
2 cups oat bran
1 cup spelt flour (could sub any other flour, AP or WW, etc)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/3 cup sunflower oil (use any light oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pears
1/2 cup blackberry preserves
I've been on a Trader Joe's 'kick' recently (I love the Chili-Lime cashews), and have been buying more and more stuff from them. One of my recent purchases was of my most favorite kind of jelly/jam/preserve, blackberry.
The fact that its low(er) in sugar makes it even better. The lack of sugar is definitely noticeable, but it actually lets the taste of the blackberry peek through a little more. I felt this would pair with my pears perfectly; the deep purple next to the light green is a beautiful contrast, plus...it tastes good.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Whip the flaxseed and water to make your "flax egg" (I like to use a mini-food processor or my Magic Bullet for this job)
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (even the sugar!): flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt.
In a small bowl combine the wet: milk, vanilla, oil, flax "egg" mixture.
Stir the pears into the wet mixture, then combine wet with dry, stirring until just combined.
Take out your muffin tins and either grease or apply muffin cups.
Fill cups halfway with muffin batter.
Using a 1/2 tsp, scoop out a dollop of jam (about 1 tsp).
Nestle the jam in the batter, then cover the jam with another spoonful of batter.
Bake 15-20 minutes. I took mine out around 18 minutes.
These came out completely perfectly. Little chunks of pear in a muffin that is warm with whole grain nuttiness from the oat bran, and then the jam...who doesn't like something filled with jam?
If you want to get crazy, these probably wouldn't mind being highlighted with some walnuts too, nuts in muffins just aren't my thing.
I made a half batch of these, and I came out with about 9 muffins. So plan for 16-18.
Nutrition Information: 158.7 Calories; 5.5g Total Fat; 0.5g Saturated Fat; 0.0mg Cholesterol; 24.2g Carbohydrates; 3.5g Fiber; 3.4g Protein.
If anyone is wondering about the sporadic-ness of the nutrition information, that is because while I don't count calories, I liked to calculate in the past to highlight how healthy vegan food is. I don't necessarily have the time for that now, but if I do have time, or if I'm curious myself (as I was for these), I'll post it! And if there is anything where I don't post it, and YOU are curious, let me know, I'd be more than happy to calculate for you!
One last thing...Bianca posted about this the other day, and while I assume I must be the last to know, maybe this will light up someone else's life as it did mine...
Skittles are vegan! This makes me incredibly happy, as they were always one of my favorites (back in high school, I logged onto their website everyday at work to vote to keep the green lime, and not apple). If you buy a pack now, you'll see under the ingredients that they are Gluten Free and Gelatin Free. Pretty cool. Healthy? No. Fake fruit flavored sugary goodness? Yes. Granted, they're a "once in awhile" food, but its nice to know they're there, and they're animal-free.
Enjoy the rest of your Columbus Day weekend! Hopefully you have some festivals to go to, fall is in full swing!