Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

That sounds like an awfully long name for such a simple muffin, doesn't it?

I am quite the fan of white whole wheat. It has a lower gluten content as compared to our United States whole wheat (made from red wheat) but almost the same nutrition content. In my baked goods, it acts more similarly to enriched white flour. Every thing just seems lighter compared to when it is baked with regular whole wheat. If you haven't given it a try, do so! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

White Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
adapted from Simply Recipes

4 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon strong coffee
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you may call them optional but I have no idea why you would!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place mashed bananas in a large bowl (or mash them in the bowl, as you prefer). Stir in canola oil along with the sugar, egg, vanilla and coffee.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Mix your flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Fold in chopped walnuts.

4. Scoop batter into a lined muffin tin (why would you not use cupcake liners? They make clean up sooooooo much easier!). Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Happenings & A Menu Plan

Spinach, asparagus, chives, cilantro, and various other herbs all have what in common? You may have guessed it - I'm eating them out of my yard once again!

Actually, in all truth, the spinach started to go to seed so I had to pull it. But it made a wonderful two meals. Really, I should have taken a picture. Wait! I think I did and it's on my phone - maybe someday I'll actually get a picture on here of some good lookin' food!

With the gorgeous, insanely warm spring we've been having, I'm glad I got a head start on my spring vegetable plants, as well as some flowers. Yesterday, I planted my homegrown starts of Red Acre cabbage, Little Gem lettuce and Parris Island lettuce. Today is cool and cloudy - perfect for lessening transplant shock. My first planting of radish seeds are starting to get their true leaves so I may have to plant some more. The sugar pod peas are up a couple of inches. The kale came up very well but I think some pill bugs may have a taste for kale seedlings because there are now bare spots. I've made a mental note to just go ahead and start kale inside with my cabbage and lettuces. Also to go into the ground are my first crop of kohlrabi seedlings! Not sure if I like kohlrabi but anything is worth a try.

Here's this week's menu plan:

Monday: Savory Pork Roast with Thyme, Seasoned & Baked Brown Rice, and Roasted Asparagus
Tuesday: Sautéed Chicken with a Caper Lemon Sauce, Whole Grain Pasta, and Green Salad
Wednesday: Pork Enchiladas Suizas (using leftover pork roast), Black Beans and Salad
Thursday: Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup, Egg Rolls
Friday: Libby's Birthday Dinner! Hot dogs, Mac-n-Cheese, & Baked Apples
Saturday: Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dehydrated Citrus Ideas and a Menu Plan

I love citrus fruit. Oranges, clementines, limes, lemons, grapefruit - I love it all! And the best thing about winter time is that citrus is in season. Since it keeps fairly well for a fruit, I tend to load up when a good sale hits. A few times this year I bought a 4 pound bad of oranges for $1.49 (maybe even a few cents less). A couple bags of oranges, a bag of limes (from Sam's), and a box or two of clementines, as good as they are, don't get eaten in lightening fast speed. So I decided to do some preserving.

The first thing I tried to make was a citrus marmalade. I follow the recipe exactly, and it turned out incredibly bitter. Bummer. Maybe next year I'll try a different method - we'll see.

I then went to my dehydrator, but if you don't have one you could easily use your oven to dehydrate citrus. I dehydrated limes and oranges. To do this I cut them thinly into rounds - about 1/8 inch or less in thickness. They took about 16 hours to dehydrate to the dry, brittle place I wanted them to be. The limes did turn dark - not sure what's up with that. They taste fine, however!

So what do you do with dehydrated citrus? Well, that's a great question! So far I've ground up the oranges and added the powder to a simple Chinese stirfry and made orange beef. That was pretty awesome. Tonight I made a rub with the limes and some other seasonings and used it as a fajita seasoning packet.

Fajita Seasoning Mix (note these amounts are approximate to what I made)

4 slices dehydrated limes, ground in a coffee grinder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4-1 tsp cayenne powder (just depends on how spicy you like it!)

Cut meat (I used beef) into strips. Toss with seasoning mix (the above recipe will make enough for about 2 pounds of meat). Allow to sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

Saute your onions and peppers in a canola oil. Remove from the pan when softened. To the pan add extra canola oil (like 1 tablespoon) and then saute your meat over high heat. Add back the onions and peppers. Serve with the toppings of your choice on a small flour tortilla. I like pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream.

This weeks menu plan:

Monday: Beef Fajitas, Zesty Black Beans, Chips and Pico De Gallo
Tuesday: Harvest Pork Stew and Salad
Wednesday: Chicken and Olive Bake and Salad
Thursday: Chicken, Mushroom, and Brown Rice Soup
Friday: Shepherds Pie and Salad

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jan 2nd Week Review and Menu Plan

It's the beginning of a new year and things are off to a dizzying pace. But we're used to that. AND we are all healthy, which is more than I can say for how we were at Christmas time! Again, can I just say a huge thank you to those who man hospitals and urgent cares and are on call during the holidays? Thank you!

Okay, so since I have much more time at the end of the week than at the beginning of the week I thought I'd maybe (read maybe) try to start reviewing our weeks meals and hopefully give a menu plan for the following week.

On Monday we had a new creation for us - Ham and Spinach Rolls. What I did was take some fresh onion, garlic, and spinach (about two cups, fresh, chopped). I sauted them together in olive oil with some red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Once they were soft, I added diced ham - about a cup and a half. Then I added about a cup of ricotta cheese and some shredded Parmesan cheese. This acted as our filling. Instead of using manicotti shells or those jumbo shells, I used Barilla's no-bake lasagna sheets, softened for a couple minutes after pouring boiling water over them. They roll up very nicely! For a sauce, I made a Bechamel sauce with melted provolone in it. Over all, they were pretty good! Served with a green salad on the side.

Tuesday brought the start of the work/school week for us. I made Chicken and Dumplings from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food January 2012 magazine. Of course, I made my stock in the pressure cooker - turned out great! The kids enjoyed this meal. Yea for that!

On Wednesday, I made broiled salmon (marinated with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and brown sugar) with brown rice (again in the pressure cooker). We had a side salad with this as well.

Thursday was one of my favorite meals with Chicken Fajitas with Black Beans (pressure cooker) and an Avocado Salsa on the side. Yum! I've given up finding the perfect fajita marinade. I usually wing it and it works out pretty well. This time I used lime juice, minced onion, minced garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, some hot sauce, some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and canola oil. The fact that the peppers were from this summer's garden probably helped make the taste all that much better.

Friday was a great, comfort food night. We had mini-meatloaves, caramelized butternut squash (baked with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg), and Caesar salads with homemade croûtons (hey, I didn't have any on hand!). I did make a dessert too - magic cookie bars. Yum!

So this coming week, here's what I have planned:

Monday: Citrus Herb Pork Chops with Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Tuesday: Blackbean Soup with Salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs with Salad
Thursday: Sautéd Chicken Breast with Lemon and Capers, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday: Pizza