Orange Muffins and Earl Grey

I’m excited to get back into the swing of posting recipes! I made these muffins for the first time in the brief period between my oven breaking for the first and second time. Orange muffins are the perfect breakfast accompaniment to Earl Grey tea, which is orange scented as well. I bake these off by the double batch so I can freeze one batch of muffins for later.
orange muffins and earl grey tea

 

Orange Scented Muffins:

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Dutch Baby (German Pancakes)

Dutch Baby Pancake

Three cheers for breakfast, three cheers for spring strawberries, three cheers for Dutch Baby!

This is one of my new favorite recipes. We love breakfast in this house, but we don’t get to have a proper breakfast often enough. Between rushed mornings to get to work and travel or obligations on the weekends, lazy mornings don’t come around often enough. But when they do you can bet we’re serving up Dutch Baby or Chunky Monkey Smoothies. This week its Dutch Baby topped with lovely fresh strawberries and a side of a cup of coffee, or two, or three.

We sometimes also make this dish as breakfast for dinner, which is usually on a Thursday. Lets just face it, by the time Thursday evening rolls around I’m sliding in to home for the week. I don’t want to put lots of effort into dinner.

I think Dutch Baby would also be a great “company” dinner because when it comes out of the oven its a real show stopper! They are puffy, crusty, and what friend or relative and wouldn’t want to popover for pancakes, right?? Ha!

OH, and one more thing! I have prepared this recipe with both skim milk and almond milk. Both come out great, but I had to  cook the almond milk version for a minute or two more. It might just be my oven but hey if you can’t consume milk, no worries!

Dutch Baby (Serves 2)

2/3 cup milk (or almond milk)

3 eggs

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or amaretto)

1/2 cup AP flour

1 Tablespoon butter

Place a 10″ oven safe skillet in the oven while it preheats to 450 degrees. Whisk the wit ingredients until frothy. Whisk in the dry ingredients until smooth. Let it rest for 5 minutes (or until the oven is fully preheated).

Once the oven is preheated CAREFULLY remove the pan from the oven. Melt the butter in the hot pan until completely liquid and the bottom of the pan is coated. Pour in the batter and carefully move the pan back to the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges have puffed up and browned and the center is completely set.

Dutch Baby Pancakes

Cut into wedges, top with sliced fruit or maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you are feeling extra fancy.

Dutch Baby Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancakes

 

 

 

The Leftover Formulas: Part I “The Muffin Method”

muffin method

I have found that the most useful recipes are more of a “process” or a “formula” than a rigid recipe. An adaptable framework allows more room for creativity, but also gives some flexibility to use ingredients you have on hand. Recipes that use up dribs and drabs of leftovers are useful efficient, reduce waste and are more fun take make, in my opinion.

I found this wonderful muffin master recipe in The Complete Tightwad Gazette. It is great for using up bananas that are too brown, partially used cans of pumpkin, bits of cooked squash, or surplus zucchini. Make a double batch and freeze the extras! The total formula is a bit daunting at first read, so I’m including a tested oatmeal raisin muffin recipe developed with this method as an example.

Muffin method, master recipe

Muffin Master Recipe Makes 12 Muffins:

Grain:  2 to 2-1/2 cups AP flour. OR substitute oatmeal, corn meal, whole wheat flour, rye flour, flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour.

Milk or Juice: 1 cup

Fat: ¼ cup oil or 4 tablespoons melted butter. Or substitute peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a “wet addition”. {I cut the fat in half, to 2 Tablespoons, when using wet additions with great results}

Egg: 1 egg

Sweetener: Between 2 tablespoons to ½ cup sugar. Or substitute up to ¾ cup brown sugar. Or substitute up to ½ cup honey or molasses, and decrease milk to ¾ cup. {Oats and whole wheat flour tends to be a bit bitter, so I tend to be on the generous side with the sweetener if using whole grains}

Baking Powder: 2 teaspoons. If using whole or cooked grains or more than 1 cup of additions, increase to 3 teaspoons or 1 Tablespoon.

Salt: ½ teaspoon, or omit. {So far, I left out salt with good results}

Optional Items: Can be used in any combination, up to 1-1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions decrease milk to ½ cup. {I maintained the milk proportion at 1 cup, since I cut back on the oil}

Dry and Moist: Nuts sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot etc.

Wet: Pumpkin puree, applesauce, mashed cooked sweet potato; mashed banana; mashed cooked carrot, and so on. If using ½ cup drained canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.

Spices: Use spices that complement the additions, such as 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground gloves, or nutmeg, Or 2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon peel.

oatmeal raisin muffins

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins:
Makes 12 muffins

Dry Ingredients:
1-1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup quick cooking oats
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
2 bananas mashed
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Spray muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray before filling.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown.

I hope you find the muffin master recipe as useful as I do. Do you have a favorite “method” or “formula” recipe? What is your favorite way to use up leftovers?

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Homemade DIY Yogurt or Greek Yogurt

As I cruise over websites and blogs aimed at those interested in cooking from scratch for health, lifestyle or financial reasons I often see recipes to make foods that are often purchased ready made including bread, homemade tortillas, homemade granola, fresh pasta, tomato sauces and salsas. These all take a little work, but really they aren’t that intimidating.

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Then every once and a while I come across a recipe for homemade yogurt….Scary stuff. It’s part science experiment, part eco system, part cooking. We go through a probably a quart of plain greek yogurt a week at our house. So I thought even though it’s pretty scary, even though I’ll probably mess it up, its worth a try. The ingredients aren’t that expensive. Whats the worst that could happen.

Here’s what you need:

Hardware:
A heat proof large bowl and a small bowl
Measuring utensils
Whisk
Thermometer – I just got an instant read thermometer with an alarm function that can go in the oven. I love love love it!

Software:
Milk – I used 2% today
Nonfat dry milk powder
plain yogurt of your choice – My husband will only eat Fage (faaah-YAY!)

None of that looks to frightening right??? Right?!?
I used the recipe and procedure outlined on this site

I’m including the link because I’m by no means a yogurt making expert, I’m just sharing my experience. So follow the link and read the recipe before trying this out.

Here are some step my step photos

Heating the milk

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Cooling it down

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Mixing in the yogurt starter

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Put it all in heat proof bowl and stash it in the oven with the oven light on and the heating elements OFF, to keep the mixture between 100 and 110 degrees F. Warm and cozy microbes are happy microbes, I guess. Wait a really long time (5-7 hours).

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Now you have yogurt. Strain off the whey with a double layer of coffee filters and chill before eating.

Strain for a couple of hours to get Greek yogurt.

Taah Daah!

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Serve plain or topped with honey, granola or fruit preserves.

Homemade DIY Granola

granola 1

Granola is another one of those things, I can’t figure out why people pay so much in stores to purchase it ready made. The ingredients are dirt cheap and it’s really simple to make. It’s no surprise that the homemade version tastes better too.

I like to make this granola with a few simple ingredients. If you want to fancy it up with add-ons like dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut shavings etc. you can always add them at the end.

A word on oats. I really prefer the quick cooking oats in this recipe. I can handle using a blend of rolled oats, which are less processed and quick cooking oats. I find the rolled oats to be too chewy in the cooked granola. Also, the less processed rolled oats will take a little bit longer to dry out completely. Experiment a bit and find out which blend is your favorite.

Also, I prefer 100% pure maple syrup. I’ve made this with regular maple syrup and it will still turn out. The flavor just isn’t as maple-y.

Granola:
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup oil

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Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Mix up all of the ingredients in a large bowl. There will be some clumping, that’s OK!

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Dump out the mixture onto parchment or a silpat lined cookie sheet.

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Spread it all out into one even layer and pop it into the oven for 45 minutes.

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After 45 minutes turn the granola over with a spatula. At this point the granola should cling together in large shards. Cook 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the granola is browned to your liking.

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Let it cool completely before packing into containers for storage. Enjoy with toppings as a snack, or with warm milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon for breakfast.

granola 2

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Chunky Money Smoothie

This is one of my favorite smoothie recipes. We often make smoothies on the weekends so we don’t want to make a big production out of breakfast or make a lot of dirty dishes making pancakes.

This smoothie is filling because of the peanut butter and the bananas and chocolate make it taste like desert for breakfast. WIN!

chunky monkey

 

– 2 bananas

– 1 tray of ice cubes

– 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

– 4 Tbsp. Ovaltine (Optional)

– 3 Tbsp. peanut butter

– 1 Tbsp. (or a healthy drizzle) of honey

– 1/2 cup of milk, more or less to get the consistency you like.

Combine all of the ingredients in the blender and take it for a spin until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Butterscotch Scones


Butterscotch Scones

Makes 24 small scones

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups plus 1 tablespoon AP flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly with a fork or Whisk. Dice the cold butter into small cubes, approximately ½” and add to the dry ingredients. With your hands pinch the flour and butter together until the cubes are broken up into smaller pea-sized pieces.  In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly with a fork to break up the yolks. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add a pinch or two of flour to butter scotch chips and toss to coat. The flour will keep the chips from sinking to the bottom of the scones. Fold the butterscotch chips into the batter. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 8” x 9” on a floured surface. Cut the scones into 2” x 1.5” squares with a floured knife. The dough will be sticky. Place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheets approximately 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned.

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