Bran

My doctor recommended giving my son more fibre in the form of bran.  After the appointment I diligently went to the grocery store and bought a box of All Bran Buds.

Three weeks later… I finally made some muffins.  I must admit that I was scared.  Bran has a bad rap and I was afraid of making a batch of really gross muffins that I was going to have to eat all by myself.

I made this recipe and was pleasantly surprised!  If anyone tells you that you need more bran in your life, this is a great place to start.  My son enjoyed them (not a surprise, he has yet to turn his nose up at a muffin), and so did I.  What’s more, they have a most pleasant aroma.  If you find yourself sitting in a car with someone eating one of these you’ll wish you had your own (this is from experience!)

Go ahead and make a batch.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Something simple

It’s a good thing that I made a little something new at the beginning of the week this week, because after Tuesday the week was a bit of a write off in the kitchen.

I had wanted to make herb biscuits to go with the soup we were having for supper.  I ran out of time and ended up using Pillsbury crescents that I found in the fridge and using this recipe.

I will have to try this again.  They didn’t turn out as I’d hope, but I believe it’s because I used large crescents instead of the regular ones.  Since the large crescents are baked longer, they ended up over done.

If you have a recipe for herb biscuits from scratch, let me know!  I’d love to give it a try.

Three guesses

I’ll give you three guesses about what recipe I tried this week.  If you’ve been following my blog then you just might have an idea.

If you guessed that there was pumpkin involved… you be right!

If you guessed that I made muffins… you’d be close!

If you guessed that I made a delightful pumpkin loaf… you’d be right on!

(If you sighed and said “enough with the pumpkin already!”… you probably wouldn’t be alone.  I promise to make something completely different next week.)

Having become very aware of the fact that I have made A LOT of muffins over the past month and a half, I decided to try something new… -ish.  This pumpkin bread was great!  So good, in fact, that I made two loaves this week.  I had to make a couple adjustments due to the fact that I didn’t have all the ingredients, but I didn’t stray too far, so I hope you will forgive me.

Pumpkin pie spice… I’ve never really understood this because, well, the pumpkin pie recipe that I use doesn’t call for it.  So instead of the pumpkin pie spice and cloves listed in the recipe I used the following, as suggested by a reviewer of the recipe:  1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg.  The loaf is quite spicy and I enjoyed it that way.  However, when I make it again I’ll try reducing the ginger to 1/4 tsp and see what that does for flavour.

Butter flavoured shortening… I didn’t know that this existed before reading this recipe!  Not having soft butter to replace this with I just used unsalted margarine (don’t judge me!).  And it turned out just fine.

My one year old son loved the bread and didn’t seem to mind the amount of spice.  My husband said it was good.  We’ve got another keeper!

UPDATE: Reducing the ginger to 1/4 tsp was brilliant!  This perfects a great loaf.

The most amazing muffins in the world!

How’s that for a claim?!  

This week I made the most delicious raspberry oat muffins.  Seriously, they were awesome!  I never knew I liked raspberries so much.  I think the secret to their great flavour was the addition of sour cream.  It was suggested to me that I could probably substitute yogurt to reduce the fat content, but there is no way that I’m going to mess with perfection.

My only tip is to watch how long you leave the muffins in the pan to cool.  Following the baking method of another muffin recipe, I used paper muffin cups then left the muffins in the pan to cool for almost 10 minutes.  When I took them out a number of the muffins had small burnt spots.  I just picked them off, but next time I won’t wait so long.

So go ahead a try these yourself.  You won’t be disappointed!

Smorgasbord

Sorry for dropping off the face of the planet!  The month of the December has been a busy one.  Between exams, starting a new course, Christmas and trying to complete a photo book before my Groupon expires, I have had little time for writing.

However, I have still made time for new recipes!  In fact, tonight I made a list of all the new things I have tried since my last blog, and the list is actually longer than the number of weeks that have passed.

I am going to quickly share here all that I have been up to.  Some of these recipes are keepers and have been repeated already.

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

I have made this recipe three times now.  On my second attempt, I increased the amount of blueberries and used half a cup all-purpose flour and half a cup whole wheat.  I have decided that increasing the blueberries was a bad idea and won’t do that again.  There just wasn’t enough actual muffin compared to blueberries.  I will however continue with the whole wheat flour substitution.

Tender Pumpkin Muffins

I’ve made these muffins twice and will definitely keep them in my repertoire.  Both times I did not have buttermilk on hand, so substituted yoghurt.  They turned out great.  Next time though I think I’ll experiment with adding some cinnamon or other pumpkin pie spices.

Pumpkin French Toast

With left over pumpkin from the above recipe, you can make this!  I used the above recipe as inspiration and scaled it down for just me and my son (3 slices of bread).  The batter is really thick, but cooks just fine.  In subsequent versions I’ve added a bit of milk to thin it down, but it’s not necessary.  Just makes the batter go further.  My one year just love this!  I serve it to him plain, though I enjoy it with butter and syrup.

Parmesan-Crusted Haddock

Continuing on my quest to find a fish recipe, this was attempt #2.  There is a parmesan chicken recipe that we love that my husband suggested using for fish.  Not knowing if fish can be breaded the same way fish is, I decided to give this recipe a try instead.  We both agreed that it was good, but strange to be eating fish that tasted like chicken…

Panko Haddock

Fish attempt #3 – Success!  We have found a winner!  This will be my haddock recipe going forward, however there are still a few things to work out as this recipe is pretty vague.  This was my very first time using panko bread crumbs.  I really like them!  Though the recipe calls for way too much.  I used only 1 cup for 4 fillets and this was still too much.  The author suggests adding oregano, black pepper and ground mustard to the bread crumbs, but doesn’t suggest any quantities.  This is where I’ll focus my attention next time to try and perfect the flavour.

Pretzel M&M Hugs

My husband’s extended family gets together a few times and year.  Every time I agonize over what to bring, if anything.  I usually decide on bringing nothing.  This Christmas Eve, however, I brought this little treat which was recommended to me by a friend.  It was a big success with everyone!  I made these both with Hugs and Kisses.  The chocolates melt at different rates, so I recommend doing them in separate batches.  Christmas M&Ms don’t seem to exist in Canada, so just go to your local bulk food store and try to pick out of the bin as many red and green ones as you can without drawing attention to yourself.

The Raw Brownie

For Christmas Day I needed a gluten free, diabetic friendly dessert.  I sought out the advice of a friend who I knew would have some tried and tested recipes.  This one was highly recommended.  If you decide to give it a try make sure you have a large food processor.  I borrowed a little one from a friend and worked the poor thing until it was smoking!  The brownie was good and rich in flavour.  I was able to keep the leftovers for a second party with friends who loved it.  So give it a try.  But beware, the ingredients (though few) are expensive!

Two-thirds full

As we speak I have a batch of cornmeal muffins in the oven.  I don’t know what got me thinking about cornmeal muffins in the first place, but I’ve been thinking about them for a few weeks now.

I am giving this recipe a try: http://www.food.com/recipe/cornmeal-muffins-109798.

I followed the recipe exactly (as promised in this post here).  So exactly, actually, that I didn’t even use paper baking cups.  This is new for me and I’m sure I over greased the pan out of fear!  (Good news!  All the muffins came out of their cups… and scattered everywhere!  How do you get them out gracefully???)

Now, this recipe didn’t say how full to fill the muffin cups, but more often than not recipes say something to the effect of “fill cups to two-thirds full”.  This is always a struggle for me.  The mathematically-minded, over-analytical side of me wrestles with what they really mean by 2/3s.  Are they taking into account the fact that the bottom of the cup is narrower than the top?  Or am I supposed to pretend that the cup is a perfectly straight cylinder?  And to be honnest I’ve just recently become aware of the fact that the recipe writer might not actually care that the cup is shaped like a conical graduated cylinder (I had to look that up…).   But I care, folks!  And so I never end up with the proper number of muffins…

Oh, and the muffins turned out well!  I now need to find an appropriate dish to serve them with.  Any suggestions?

Plans change

This morning was shaping up to be a long one.  It seemed like my son’s nap time wasn’t going to come soon enough.  To pass the time I decided that we would make muffins (really, I’d make muffins while he’d hang out in the baby carrier trying to grab everything).  I have been wanting to make zucchini muffins for a while, so I set out to find a recipe.

Well wouldn’t you know, in the end I made oatmeal muffins and I put my son to bed an hour and a half early!  I still want to make zucchini muffins, so please share if you have a good one.

The oatmeal muffin recipe that I made is from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th Edition.  Now, I always laugh at recipe reviews where the recipe has been rated 5 stars (or just 1 star), but the home cook has changed every single ingredient!  And I always think that I will be different and actually follow the recipe exactly.  Well, not the case!

Sure enough, now that I have changed the recipe (used apple sauce instead of oil), I have myself some disappointing muffins and no way to tell if the problem was the original recipe or just me… Hmm… Well let’s just use this as a lesson for going forward.  If I’m going to comment on the success of a new recipe I really must stick to the original recipe, at least for the first attempt.

If you have a oatmeal muffin recipe that’s good, I’ll take that too!  🙂