Remember when I used to actually add new recipes to my (sadly neglected) “Cooking for One” page? I started out with good intentions but, quite frankly, cooking for myself is no fun. On the nights that Shawn works, I usually grab leftovers, make English muffin pizzas, or skip dinner all together and go straight for the ice cream. I know, it’s terrible! Anyway, when I realized that the end of the month was coming up (again, already!) and I would be forced to complete my Secret Recipe Club assignment on a night that he was working, I got kind of bummed out. It seemed like such a waste of time and effort to make an elaborate meal that I wouldn’t be able to share with anyone. Luckily the blog I was paired with, Fried Ice and Donut Holes, is filed with easy recipes that I didn’t mind cooking for myself.
I considered making the Buffalo Chicken Shepard’s Pie or the Lemon Thyme Chicken, but I knew what I really wanted was breakfast for dinner. I ended up making the Easy Breakfast Braid. I love making stuffed breads, but had never considered a version filled with scrambled eggs before so this was a totally new concept for me. I loved how adaptable the recipe was!
I did some research and found a lot of answers, ranging from the ratio of flour and sugar to fat, to the method of combining the wet and dry ingredients, to my favorite – the sound it makes when you throw it against the wall. Then, if course, there’s the old “does it have frosting?” method of deciding.
None of that answered the question of what to call these amazing little cakes. There’s no frosting, but they’re light and fluffy. They have a high ratio and sugar and fat, but the taste like muffins. Or do they? They definitely have a muffin-like thing going on, but they’re sweet and delicate and light. The BruCrew Life, the blog I was paired with for this months Secret Recipe Club, calls them muffins though so that’s what I’m going with. After all, it’s her recipe and who am I to argue?
One again, I was “stuck” with a baking blog for SRC… this event is going to be the death of my diet! BruCrew had so many great recipes to choose from. I was thisclose to making her Berry Burst Oreo Scones (um, hi!) when these muffins caught my eye. Bananas? Coconut? Toffee?! Sold.
I thought about messing with them,using whole wheat flour or adding flax, but in the end I kept them almost exactly as written. The only things I changed were using reduced fat cream cheese instead of regular and crushing up Heath bars rather than buying both toffee and chocolate chips. I’m glad I stuck with the original recipe because good Lord are these good. They’re seriously some of the best muffins (or cupcakes) I’ve ever had. The flavor is light and summery, the cream cheese keeps them moist and rich, and the texture is perfect. I’ve eaten 3 today. The rest are being brought to work tomorrow because I don’t trust myself around the – I need them out of the house! If you’re looking for a sure fire way to please a crowd, give these a try!
It’s Secret Recipe Club time again! This month, I was paired up with Krissy from Krissy’s Creations. She has a beautiful blog full of tempting treats (Funfetti Waffles? Yes, please!)
Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the mood for sweets, so I searched for a savory recipe to make an settled on these blueberry-honey cornmeal muffins. We had some beautiful weather last week (with highs near the 80s!) and I made these muffins the cornerstone of a summertime-inspired meal of we ate them with barbecue chicken, grilled asparagus, and potato salad. I really loved the contrast of the slightly sweet muffins with the smokey, barbecue flavors.
Bagel shop flavors from the comfort of your own kitchen! With a crisp outer crust and a chewy center, these homemade pumpkin bagels are ready in just about 30 minutes. Slather them with butter, cream cheese, or Nutella for super easy weekend breakfasts.
I’ve been holding out on you; I’m sorry. I received a review copy of the fabulous new cookbook, Power Foods, a few weeks ago but things have been crazy around here and I just haven’t had the time or energy to write the kind of review that would do it justice. Instead I kept the book to myself, making recipe after recipe, thinking about how excited I was to get to share it with you all. Well, enough is enough. I hope that you’ll accept this muffin recipe as an apology.
Power Foods is a beautiful, softcover cookbook from the editors of Whole Living Magazine. The concept of the book is simple: 150 recipes featuring 38 healthy ingredients — from asparagus and Swiss chard to salmon and pecans. Unlike a lot of other cookbooks that are published this time of year Power Foods isn’t a “diet” cookbook; it simply promotes eating healthy, whole foods that are chock-full of nutrients. That’s my kind of cookbook!
I really like how this book is laid out. It starts with a one-page overview of each “power food” — explaining the food’s health benefits, providing tips for purchasing and storage, and directing the reader to specific recipes in the book that use the highlighted ingredient. Following that section are the standard cookbook chapters: breakfasts, starters & snacks, sandwiches & wraps, soups & stews, salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Finally, there’s a nifty little section that they call “The Basics” that includes informative overviews of things like oils, herbs, and sweeteners, as well as nutritional breakdowns for each “power food.”
There honestly isn’t a single thing that I don’t love about this cookbook – I’m completely smitten. Gorgeous, full-page photographs accompany most of the recipes, nutritional information is included for each recipe, and the ingredient lists are simple and straight forward (I’ve made a few substitutions here and there — like using oat bran instead of wheat bran in the recipe below — but the only thing I’ve actually had to buy especially for this book is flax).
And the recipes? Delicious and creative. These applesauce muffins were fantastic for breakfast. The walnut-crusted chicken breasts along with the shredded Brussels sprouts salad made a great weeknight dinner (it was on the table in under 15 minutes). Turnip was an interesting and welcome surprise in the paprika shrimp. I can’t wait to try the soba noodle soup, or the quinoa and turkey patties, or the halibut in green tea broth. I know, I’m swooning again. This book is just that awesome. I’ve never said this on this blog before, but here it goes: if you have any interest in healthy cooking at all, buy this book. Now. It’s $16.44 on Amazon and worth every cent.
Every year, without fail, I get an uncontrollable craving for bran muffins as soon as the faintest hint of fall sneaks into the late-August air. Growing up, my mom always made them for me as a back to school treat. They were my favorite breakfast — especially when they were still warm rom the oven. Even now, years later, homemade bran muffins signify the start of fall just as much a pumpkin spice lattes (Yes – I’m one of those people who wait for them all year. I told you I love coffee!)
Mom always made the classic Raisin Bran muffins that use a box of cereal, but have you seen the cost of cereal these days? It’s completely outrageous. Clearly time to find a new, more economical recipe. It took a while. So many versions were too dry, too dense, or too gritty. I felt like I was being beaten over the head with health food. Just as I was about to give up and buy a box of Raisin Bran, I decided to give it one last try. Success! After two years of fiddling around with recipes, I’ve finally developed what I think is the perfect bran muffin: light, springy, and moist with just the right amount of nutty bran flavor.Spread with a little butter and served with a glass of cold milk, this is the perfect back-to-school (or off-to-work) breakfast.
When I was really little, we would go to my grandparents house for Easter. At breakfast, they always had this really good bread called babka. I had forgotten all about it until a few years ago, when something triggered the memory. I went searching for some, but I could only find one bakery that had them and it was way more than I wanted to pay. Ever since, I’ve looked for them each year at Easter to no avail. This year, I decided I would just make my own already. A quick search of the internet showed me that this was easier said than done – recipes were few and far between, they seemed to have crazy differences (some had tons of sugar and few eggs, others few eggs and tons of sugar), and most recipes seemed like they would feed an army.
A little research showed me that there are actually two types of Babka – an Eastern European/ Polish kind and a Jewish kind. The Polish babka is an eggy bread that is traditionally served at Easter, while the Jewish version is closer to a cake with a streusel topping. The Polish version was definitely what I was looking for, so I sent out a twitter message asking if anyone knew of any good recipes for it. It actually turned out that Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet was baking Babka that day too, and we shared out progress as we went along. It didn’t take long to realize that the recipe I was using was no good – my dough wasn’t rising at all! Hers was successful though, so she very kindly emailed me the recipe that she used. I gave it another try the next day, with much more success. The resulting bread was light and fluffy, with an eggy and slightly sweet dough that is similar to brioche. I filled my bread with chocolate and cheese, which I thought I remembered from my grandparents, but i think I actually remember it from when I was a little older and we bought babkas at the grocery store. When I read her post about eating raisin-studded babka slathered with butter, I remembered that’s how we ate it back then. Either way thought is delicious, and this would be a special treat on Easter morning.
I don’t have a bundt or tube pan so I made a makeshift one using a springform pan and a ramekin. I just set the ramekin upside down in the center of the pan and twisted the bread dough around it. It worked just fine, so I’m glad I didn’t go out and buy a special pan for this.
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