Fresh out of the oven!

Scrumptious Blueberry Bread Muffins

There’s nothing like cooking with fresh fruit and berries.  Here’s a recipe that Lacy and I pieced together one day after we were given the request to make blueberry muffins with the blueberries in the fridge.  It was likened to a biscuit with blueberry jelly filling.  “A blueberry surprise!” as my father expressed after tasting it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute (we used Splenda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid or melted
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 large eggs

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (about 162 degrees Celsius).

Step 2: Grease a muffin tin thoroughly.  Remember, this recipe makes at least 12 muffins, so make sure to have a tin that cooks at least 12.

Step 3: In a large bowl, mix the 5 dry ingredients together. This is the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Step 4: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, which are the milk, coconut oil, blueberries, and eggs.

Step 5: Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients, stirring them together.

Step 6: Continue to stir carefully until the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are evenly balanced in the batter.  You can stop when the dry ingredients aren’t sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  Don’t stir too much.  You want to see some of the flour still dry inside the bowl.BlueberryBreadMuffins-DryBatter

Step 7: Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.  The more batter each cup has, the bigger the muffin, so keep that in mind.  If you want smaller muffins then you could make 18 to 24.

Step 8: Cook for 30-40 minutes.  Stick a toothpick into the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.   The toothpick may appear blue from the fresh berries. This is fine.

Step 9: Cool for 5 minutes.

Step 10: Serve the muffins warm with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.  

Something my mother always tells me, and it’s wise advise to remember:  “Always store anything with fresh fruit in it into the refrigerator.  Fresh fruits spoil easily and they last longer when they’re stored in the cold.”

 

Recipe-BlueberryBreadMuffins

Sausage & Cheese Frittata

We recently got a Red Copper™ Square Dance Pan, so this past week we decided to make pancakes to see if they would stick to the pan. We mixed up a batch of Bisquick’s Ultimate Pancakes (using coconut sugar in place of the white sugar that the recipe called for), we put them in the pan, and…. it didn’t stick!   I didn’t even spray the pan with cooking spray first, so it impressed me very much.

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Of course, a meal of pancakes always feels like it’s missing something important, so Lacy and I decided that we would make a sausage and cheese frittata to go along with our pile of pancakes.  We had tried frittatas before, and although last time we did it the task seemed daunting, this time we knew that the egg dish is very easy and fun to make.

This frittata recipe takes about 45 minutes to fix, and it serves 6 to 8 people.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package (12 oz) ground pork sausage
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (or a Mexican blend)

Step 1: Prepare.  Gather all your ingredients together and preheat the oven to 350°.

Step 2: Cook the sausage in your iron skillet or Red Copper™ pan. The meat is finished cooking when there is no more pink showing. Once finished, drain the grease off the meat and then dish the meat out into a bowl. Wipe out the skillet and set the bowl of sausage aside while you prepare the eggs.

Step 3: Mix the eggs, cream, pepper,and salt. In a medium bowl, whip the eggs with a whisk or a fork.  Then mix the cream, the pepper, and the salt into the eggs.

Step 4: Make layers in your skillet. Melt the coconut oil into the bottom of the skillet, then pour half of the egg mixture into the pan. Spoon all of the sausage onto the first layer of egg, and then sprinkle the cheese onto the sausage.  Finish by pouring the rest of the eggs over the cheese.

Step 5: Cook the frittata for 23 minutes at 350°. Put the frittata in the oven and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes.  This would be a great time to fix the pancakes on the stove top while the frittata is cooking.

Step 6: Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!frittatarecipe

 

SNOW MELT HOLIDAY DONUTS

Recently Lacy and I got a new silicone donut pan, so we could learn how to make our own donuts.  We’ve been doing some experimenting with donut recipes, trying to learn the trick of baking a good batch of donuts.

Yesterday I was browsing the internet, wondering what kind of holiday treat we could make for the family this week. As I was browsing I discovered a “no yeast cinnamon roll” recipe.  Cinnamon rolls have always been a favorite around our house, but with my mother’s health issues, anything with so much sugar has been a complete and strict “NO!” in our family.  This time, however, the no yeast jumped out at me, and I decided to look further.

Anyway, I saw the recipe and wondered, what would a cinnamon roll donut taste like?  Would it be as much fun to eat if it didn’t have the rolled dough and the lovely delicious cinnamon and sugar glaze swirls? I brought the idea to Lacy and her curiosity was peaked too.

As we were preparing the kitchen for our cooking experiment, I realized that we didn’t have enough all-purpose flour to meet the requirements for the recipe.  We did, however, have a few odds and ins of other kinds of flours: coconut flour that we have on hand for experimentation sake and Bisquick which Lacy likes to make dumplings with.  We decided to use what we have and change the recipe, since we were already adding a few spices to make the recipe our own anyway.  The experiment turned out to be a success; the whole family enjoyed the scrumptious holiday donut.

Here’s what our final recipe looked like. It’s a complex recipe with a complex flavor that will make people guess what spices you used. If you don’t have donut pans then I’m sure you could use make the recipe with muffin tins instead.

holidaydonutscompare

Makes 9 donuts

Expect about 1 hour to fix this delicious treat.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweetener (or more white sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup Bisquick
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Step 1: Prepare the kitchen. Gather all the needed ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray each donut cup with a non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2: Make the filling. Mix the sugar and sweetener, coconut oil, cinnamon, and anise in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle a little of the filling into the bottom of each donut cup.

Step 3: Make the dough. Sift the all purpose flour, coconut flour, and Bisquick into a large bowl. Add the coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to the sifted flours and stir. Then mix the coconut oil into the dry ingredients. It will now be a crumbled mixture. Form a small well into the mixture and pour the milk into the well. Stir until a soft dough forms.

Step 4: Alternate layers of dough and filling into the donut pan.  Fill each donut cup half-full with dough. Then spread a layer of filling on top of the dough layer in each cup. (Leave a small amount of filling to sprinkle on the top of each donut.) Fill the donut cups the rest of the way with dough. Sprinkle the remaining filling mix on the top of the dough in each donut cup.

Step 5: Bake the donuts. Cook the donuts at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let the donuts cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan.

Step 6: Make glaze. Mix confectioner’s sugar and milk or cream together in a small bowl until the glaze is creamy and the lumps are gone.

Step 7: Serve warm. Place a donut onto a plate and drizzle the white glaze over the donut. If the glaze is thin and runny, sprinkle or sift some confectioner’s sugar on top. Serve immediately.

holidaydonutsshort

 

Black Beans and Tofu Tacos

My family loves taco night. They basically boycott the restaurants now because nothing is healthier and more delicious then tofu tacos. I know, sounds weird… tofu is primarily known for its Asian origin, because its soy, but making a great meat substitute, it is a good source of protein and has less fat than beef.

My tacos are not the easiest ones around to make, but they’re not too hard, either. You will need to use an oven to heat the shells, a skillet to heat the meat, and a knife to chop fresh garlic and onions. You’ll also have to have tissues to wipe your crying eyes (haha).

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 to 6 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 taco shells

Step 1: Prepare.  Gather all your ingredients and get them ready to use.

Step 2: Finely mince the tofu, the onion, and the garlic.  After you drain the tofu and pull it out of the package, mince the three ingredients; the finer you mince, the better the chance you can hide undesirables from a picky eater. For example, my family doesn’t like big and noticeable onions, and prefer the tofu not to be in big chunks, so there will be more balance to the flavor.

Step 3: Put the tofu into the skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix the onion and garlic into the skillet with the tofu. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the tofu from sticking to the pan.  Once the tofu begins to stick, it will  begin to look a little brown on the pan. At this point, do step 4.

Step 4: Drain the black beans and pour them into the skillet.

Step 5: Mix the taco seasoning into the tofu-bean mix and cook using the directions of the seasoning.  When we cook tacos, we like to use half the seasoning package, because there are some who have trouble eating foods that go heavy on the spices. If you use the whole package, like you’re meant to do, the tofu is going to turn out more orange and look less like a “black and white” mixture.

Step 6: Arrange the taco shells onto a pan.  Sprinkle cheese into the bottom of each shell and place it in the oven for 5 minutes.

Step 7: Remove the taco shells from the oven and divide the tofu mixture evenly into each shell. Then put the tacos back in the oven and cook for 5 more minutes.

You can prepare your tacos any way you like.  My family typically likes to have it with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, black olives, and extra cheese sprinkled on top.   We also make Quick and Creamy Pinto Beans and Natural Avocado and Lemon Guacamole to serve with flour tortillas, when we have the ingredients on hand.

tofutacorecipe

A Tuna Sandwich Recipe for Picky Eaters

As a kid, I was always a picky eater.  The only things that my mom could get me to eat was homemade soft tacos (just meat and cheese, thank you), spaghetti (plain, only with sprinkle Kraft Parmesan cheese on top) and chicken patties (Tyson brand only, please), plain on a bun.  Sometimes I would relent and have a hot dog (beef, not pork, which was hard to find at the time), but only if it was plain.

I would take turkey sandwiches (just the lunch meat and bread) for lunch, with chips – Doritos, Pringles, or Lays – as a side and gummies for dessert.  Finally, after she was tired of seeing me take the same lunch over and again every day to school, she helped me find another type of meal for my lunchbox: steamy Hot Pockets wrapped in aluminum foil.  (My mother was a genius, yes?)  Of course, since it was barely even a new product, the only flavor Hot Pockets offered at the time was pepperoni, so my friend would watch in amazement as I picked out ALL the pepperoni and left the pocket practically empty.  “Are you really not going to eat that?” He would ask me.  It’s true. I would not.

There was one meal which my mother could make, and I think she took advantage of it some because it was actually a healthy meal that I would happily eat.  I loved my mother’s tuna fish sandwiches.

Now, I’m still picky about my tuna.  I don’t like mustard in the sandwich, and I don’t like pickles.   But I love my mother’s tuna sandwiches. Lucky for me, she passed the recipe along, so that I could continue to fix the tuna sandwiches that I enjoy so much.

When we took in my 2nd cousin as a baby and raised him, he proved to be… quite the picky eater.  For a long time, he would only eat olives, oatmeal, anything jalapeno or cherry (candied, not fresh), and…. tuna sandwiches, made just like my mom would make for me.

I was on Pinterest a while back, finding recipes online of all the meals we enjoyed (because Lacy and I do much of the cooking for our family) and I searched for my mother’s tuna sandwich recipe, or even just a tuna salad recipe that was similar.  I searched site after site after site, but couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. I feel it’s a bit of an injustice, since this tuna was the ONLY kind of tuna I would eat as a kid, and Jake (my picky eater brother mentioned above) acts the same way.

So I’ve decided to share it on the blog.


Ingredients

  • 1 family pack tuna (11 ounces)
  • 3 or 4 boiled eggs
  • 2 or 3 big, red apples of your choice, peeled
  • 3 or 4 or 5 heaping soup spoons of mayonnaise (about 2/3 or 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Step 1: Prepare. Get all your ingredients together before you begin.  It’s easier to work if you already have everything ready when you start.

Step 2. Chop the apples into a big serving bowl. You can put either 2 or 3 apples, depending on if you like the apple flavor more.  My family loves the apple addition, so I usually chop 3 apples.

Step 3: Chop the eggs up into the bowl with the apples. Again, you can choose to use 3 or 4, depending on if you like to have an eggy sandwich. I use 4 because that’s how my family prefers it.

At this point, I like to add a dash of salt, to flavor the eggs and apples more.

Step 4: Add the tuna and mix it with the apples and eggs. (Don’t forget to drain the tuna if you’re using a can instead of a package.)

Step 5: Add the mayonnaise.  If you like dry tuna, use less.  If you prefer a more moist tuna then add more.  You can use a measuring cup, but I typically just use a soup spoon to dish it out of the mayo jar.  Usually it takes about 3 or 4 spoonfuls, but sometimes it takes 5 or 6.  Just do a little at a time until you get the right amount of moistness. Be careful!  It is possible to put too much mayonnaise.

Sprinkle a light layer of pepper onto the tuna, and stir it in. Add more salt, too, if you want.

This makes about 8 sandwiches. If you’re like Jake and you don’t prefer bread, then you can eat it as a dip on fritos, corn chips, or potato chips, instead. If you’re like Lacy and you have a yeast allergy, you can also eat it as a wrap, on crackers, or simply on top of lettuce as a salad.

For variety, try chicken instead of tuna: substitute the tuna fish for 4 plain, baked chicken breasts chopped and add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. If you also add 1/2 cup of purple grape halves, then you’ll get a chicken salad sandwich similar to Arby’s chicken salad sandwich (one of my favorite meals when I eat out). Yum!


trigwaiting4tuna
Our dog Trigger, waiting for his own package of tuna. It happens every time! When I begin to chop the eggs and apples, he comes and sits at my feet, waiting patiently for me to give him his share of the meal. I always have a package ready for him.

 

True Story: I was making the tuna tonight to take a few pictures of it, and got completely mixed up with the steps, putting the mayo before the tuna, because I was so caught up in whether the pictures looked right.  Where’s a photographer when I need one?  (I’m the photographer, but don’t take pictures and cook all at the same time! You’re brain’ll get flustered and it’ll be hard to think. )

I made the tuna as usual, I thought!  But I guess I forgot the extra apple, and I used the wrong mayo spoon so the tuna was too dry, and I paid the price.  The moment Jake got a spoonful on his plate he reacted.  “Ew! Kathryn, what did you do different this time!?  Are you trying to poison me with fish?” It must not have been that different though, because he still ate it without any post-serving complaints.

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