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    Microwave Mug Challenge: Vegetarian Style

    Microwave Mug Challenge: Vegetarian Style

    Why Mug Recipes?

    Originally, when I set out to write this article, I intended to create a piece detailing various vegetarian breakfast recipes. However, shortly after I started writing, I noticed a glaring issue with my plan. Many of the recipes I’d been considering involved an incredibly long list of steps, required the use of unique ingredients, or simply just looked too intimidating for the average person to cook. I wanted to give readers something fun and quick to make, not a dish from a five star restaurant.

    Trying to figure out a way to revive my story, I scoured my pantry to see what all I had. Suddenly, inspiration struck. During my search, I came across some old coffee beans and immediately knew what I wanted to do. Instead of cooking something boring and tedious in a pan, why not cook something fun and easy in a coffee mug? I’d seen tons of people post different mug recipes online, but I’d never actually gotten a chance to try any myself. “No time like the present”, I thought to myself as I began searching the internet for vegetarian-friendly mug recipes.

    After thorough consideration, I decided to challenge myself to try and cover one recipe each for the two hardest meals of my day: breakfast and dessert. While I wouldn’t call myself a master chef by any means, I had faith in my abilities and was looking forward to the challenge. With the recipes I chose, anyone from a kid to a college student should’ve easily been able to cook a successful dish, or at least that’s what the cooking blogs I read had said. Keep reading to hear about my triumphant, yet laughably difficult, experience with this mug challenge.

    RECIPE 1 – Granola (Breakfast)

    In all honesty, I didn’t have super high hopes for this dish to begin with. As a vegetarian who doesn’t like yogurt, eggs, or oatmeal, I always find breakfast to be the hardest meal to make. Pancakes and waffles are great but finding something that’s both filling and tastes good has always been challenging. I’ve also never been a huge granola fan and microwaved oats didn’t sound terribly appealing so my expectations for this dish were fairly low. However, out of the two recipes, this ended up being my favorite. I thought it not only tasted the best but was also the easiest to make. The instructions were very clear and simple, left room for ingredient substitutions, and allowed me to easily personalize the dish to my liking. For my version of the granola, I chose to use basic dried oats, honey, chopped walnuts, olive oil, dried cranberries, and dried raspberries.

    Unfortunately, I did encounter one small problem with my mug recipe. I couldn’t find a mug anywhere in my house that was big enough to safely (without chance of extreme overflow) fit any of the given portions for either recipe. My poor little 12oz coffee mugs were simply not enough. Instead of giving up or running out to buy an appropriately sized coffee mug, I made do and turned to the next best thing, my large glass measuring bowl. While it may not have been as pretty as my pastel colored mugs, it got the job done. Thankfully, once I found an appropriate cooking vessel, I discovered that making this granola was surprisingly fun and easy to do. It also gave me the chance to do something I didn’t even know was possible.

    After I had mixed my ingredients, I noticed that the recipe called for me to set my microwave to medium power. This surprised me a little because I honestly didn’t know you could manually change that setting. After staring at my microwave for way too long, I finally found the power level button and magically set the power to 50%. This feat alone left me feeling very accomplished regardless of how the granola tasted. Luckily, it tasted absolutely amazing. The honey gave a sweet tinge to the savory oats while the nuts and dried fruit added nutrition. Microwaving it gave the dish a nice toasty, crunchy texture and I found myself eating the entire bowl full of granola. For the purposes of this experiment, I ate the granola by itself, but it would also be perfect to mix into cereal or to use as a yogurt topping.


    Recipe 2 – Snickerdoodle Mug Cake (Dessert)

    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a soft spot for anything snickerdoodle. Understandably, I was extremely excited to try this recipe and thought it’d be a piece of cake (no pun intended). If it worked, I would now have an easy way to satisfy my sweet tooth without having to make a trip to the grocery store or my nearest Sonic.

    As I lined my counter with everything from a tub of baking powder to a jar of cinnamon, I happily envisioned the sweet, fluffy taste my success would bring. Using my various measuring spoons and my makeshift mug, I followed the recipe and whisked the various ingredients together into a smooth, cinnamon brown batter. While the recipe was indeed quick and fairly easy to make, I found that pouring 2 whole tablespoons of sugar and 2 whole tablespoons of butter into the batter hurt my conscience just a tiny bit. After cooking the cake in the microwave and saying a quick apology to my waistline, I dove in.

    Upon first taste, the cake was really delicious, but it tasted strangely savory for something that was supposed to be snickerdoodle flavored. Trying to determine the error of my ways, I swiftly reexamined the recipe and realized what had happened. I’d forgotten to layer a cinnamon sugar mix in between the various sections of my batter as I was filling up my makeshift mug. Eager to see if anyone else could taste my mistake, I asked my two best taste testers what they thought. “Fine” was the encouraging one-word response I got from my mom when I asked her how it tasted. Thankfully my dad was a little more generous with his review: “It doesn’t taste bad, it tastes a little bit like cinnamon…All in all its pretty good tasting.”

    While those may have not been the rave reviews I was hoping for, I was pleasantly satisfied with how it tasted and I know it’ll taste even better next time when I remember to follow all of the steps. Overall, considering that my baking experience consists of watching Food Network and eating store-bought cookies, I think it turned out pretty well.

    Note: If you’re anything like me, this recipe is likely to get a little messy. However, the powder covered counters and sink full of dirty measuring spoons are completely worth it in my opinion.

    For the full recipe visit: SNICKERDOODLE MUG CAKE