Saturday, April 12, 2014

Donut Muffins

Some recipes you come across and you have to make them at the first opportunity. This was one of those. I came across this recipe for Raspberry Jam-Filled Doughnut Muffins via Betty Crocker. They looked awesome and easy - two things for a great recipe.

Jam-Filled Donut Muffins


  • 2 c AP flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c fruit preserves
  • 1/4 c fruit preserves
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  1. heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray 12 regular size muffin cups with cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, agave nectar, butter, eggs and vanilla with a whisk. Add dry mix to wet mix and stir until combined. Spoon batter evenly among cups, filling about 2/3 full.
  3. Using a butter knife, swirl 1/2 t preserves into each muffin
  4. Bake 9-10 min or until donuts spring back when touched and are golden on bottom. Cool in pan about 4 min
  5. Heat preserves in saucepan on stove until bubbly. Add powdered sugar until smooth. Quickly spoon over cooling donuts. 
I used strawberry jam that we had made in the fall. These were super delicious. All the more deadly since they were soooo easy to make. I used 1 container of greek yogurt (on the 6 oz size) and found that I had to add a touch of water to make the batter come together. This was a very stiff batter for me but came out wonderfully!!! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

'Cupcakes' for Portion Control

After a few indulgent weeks, I need to get back to the diet (and let's be totally honest, I haven't really been on the diet since January). My biggest problem has always been portion control. I've always thought the trend of using cupcake pans was a fun one - so today, I cooked for the week (and then some) using muffin pans.

I found a neat blog called Emily Bites - which has a tagline of "lightened up comfort food". She has a whole section dedicated to these portion controlled bites. Today I made Hawaiian BBQ Cupcakes, Enchilada Cupcakes and Lasagna Cupcakes. The last recipe is from Hungry Girl - another great website for low calorie dishes.

The filling for the BBQ cupcakes. I was feeling adventurous and made my own BBQ sauce. The cupcake recipe suggested a spicier sauce, so I added a chipotle pepper since I didn't have smoked paprika.

All the cupcakes have 2 layers of the wonton wrappers.

Before the oven - these are the enchilada and Hawaiian BBQ cupcakes.

After the oven - I did the full 20 minutes.

Hawaiian BBQ cupcakes - hard to tell the difference by look between the can see the pineapple in this one, so it's Hawaiian.

Enchilada cupcake.

This is a series of pictures for the lasagna cupcakes - these were more involved than the chicken cupcakes. Ricotta, spinach and egg.

Ground turkey, mushroom, onion, crushed tomatoes.

Cheese, of course.

After the oven.

Some thoughts - the chicken cupcakes were not as moist as the lasagna cupcakes - which made them easier to get out of the pan. Plus they were very simple to put together, especially if you had chicken already cooked. That would make it an easy weeknight meal - particularly since it only takes 15-20 min for them to cook. Add a salad and you have a rounded meal.

Now, to figure out what to do with all that BBQ sauce, and a half can of enchilada sauce, and green chiles. That's one of the down sides to all this portion control, you only need a little of this or that. If I do, I'll let you know!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sauerkraut Slaw

A word of warning, I'm going to get a little crunchy-granola on you for the next few posts. Last fall, when I was getting into fermenting, I made my own Sauerkraut. I've kinda forgotten about it because, mainly I don't really eat it. My mother can't stand the stuff, so I never had it growing up. However, if you are into fermenting, sauerkraut it the holy grail. It basically ferments itsself. You don't have to add any water to pickle it, it makes it's own water. Amazing stuff really.  

Here's my kraut. It's a pretty simple process. You shred a head of cabbage. Add 1 T caraway seeds and 2T salt. Now comes the fun part - take a wooden spoon, turn it upside down and beat the crap out of the cabbage. You could also use a woden mallet or meat pounder, but I don't have those. After your 10 min arm workout, pack the cabbage in your jar and wait. Keep it at room temp for 3 days then transfer to cold storage, ie the fridge. So that's where mine has been for about 4 months now.

So what made me bring out the kraut? Well for one, I found that recipe for Reuben Casserole I made with the St Paddy's left overs. For another, I was reading ShopSmart by Consumer Reports of all things, and there was an idea to use the kraut in a slaw.

Sauerkraut Slaw
1 part sauerkraut
2 parts shredded cabbage
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
apple cider vinegar to taste
olive oil to taste

The article was more of an aside, so I put in what I thought would be a good ratio of things. The idea is to temper the kraut with fresh cabbage - so I used a 2:1 ratio of fresh to fermented. I think it could have used more apple, but I only had 1. I put everything in a bowel and added a few glugs of vinegar and a few glugs of oil. This is all very scientific, I know.

I actually liked this salad. The vinegar kinda covered the tang of the sauerkraut with tang of vinegar. I think more apple would have been nice, so something to think about for next time...which there will be a next time as I still have a lot of sauerkraut left over - even after the casserole and slaw. Good thing it pretty much lasts forever!!!

Homemade Mayo

Yesterday, we made yogurt cheese to get to the whey. Now most people would just throw out the whey - Nourishing Traditions adds it to homemade mayo to extend the shelf life (well, refrigerator life) from just 2 weeks to months. 

Mayo (from Nourishing Traditions)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp mustard
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 T whey
3/4 - 1 cup oil
pinch salt

Put first 5 ingredients in a food processor and process until blended. With processor on, slowly stream in oil until thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt or lemon. Place mayo in jar and seal. Let sit at room temp for 7 hours then place in fridge. Makes 1.5 cups.

Now, I can hear some of you thinking "eggs at room temp for 7 hours!?!?" and you would be right to be suspicious. The thing is that by adding the whey and letting it incubate, you get lactic acid and that inhibits other (i.e. bad) bacteria from growing. What is also good, is that fermentation delays the oxidation of unsaturated oils because the bacteria consume all the oxygen. Another benefit of using the whey is that it thickens up the mayo. Now be smart - if something starts growing in your mayo or it starts smelling off...throw it out!!

You can make the mayo without the whey and you would then just place in the fridge directly. I didn't specify what kind of oil to use - one time I used all olive oil - too strong. The next time, I did mostly canola oil and some olive for flavor - better. The mayo is a nice yellow color from the egg and oil - so you know it is homemade! This is thinner than your store bought mayo - word of warning. But the loss of thickness is replaced with I would rather have that! You can use this mayo any way you would traditional mayo. I have not cooked with it yet, so I'm  not sure how it would hold up in a casserole or dip; but it works well so far on sandwiches and in tuna salad!! Yum, yum, yum

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yogurt Cheese

I found a new cookbook called Nourishing Traditions. It's premise of this book is interesting because it's a few years old but seems very "now" with recent evidence to suggest our obsession with cutting out fat from our diets and replacing that fat with carbs is actually worse for you than the fat was! One of the mainstays of cooking with this cookbook is that you add whey to a lot of recipes for added nutrition and to utilize the beneficial bacteria in some way (I will explain more what I mean about that in a future post or two). The first process is to get the whey. It seems the easiest way to do that is to make yogurt cheese.

Take a quart of plain yogurt and put in a clean kitchen towel in a strainer over a bowl. You can use nonfat or whole milk yogurt. One thing I have found is that you need to take a look at the ingredient list. I tried to make cheese once and it just wasn't straining - what I saw in the ingredient list was cornstarch - this made it so that the yogurt wouldn't strain - just a word of warning.

You let the yogurt sit at room temp for many hours - most of the day, if you can, until you have cheese. As you can see, that yellow liquid is they whey - keep that! Put the whey in a jar and place in the fridge for future use.

Here's the cheese.

I decided to mix my homemade ranch dip mix into the cheese.

Here's the finished product. I have found that with the addition of the salt from the dip mix, some additional whey will come out - you can pour that off. This stuff is better than cream cheese with a nice tang and can be used endlessly. Stay tuned for ways to use the whey!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Reuben Casserole

How's everyone enjoying St Patrick's Day? I generally make Corned Beef and Colcannon every year, and this is no exception. I usually try to find the smallest cut I can find, since it has just been me eating for the past little while. This time around, I found a recipe for Reuben Casserole. Genius!

First layer is left over corned beef - I started out making the recipe before I really looked at that should be chopped.

Next a layer of sauerkraut, well drained. This happens to be my homemade kraut - I made this a while back and it's been sitting in the back of my fridge...time to use it! But store bought kraut would work here as well - I would suggest the type you buy in the deli section that is refrigerated...better bugs that way, in the good-for-you sense.

Next Thousand Island Dressing, also homemade - this is ridiculously simple to make, don't buy this!

Mix mayo, ketchup and relish until desired color/taste/consistency. Add hot sauce (just a few dashes). That blue jar is the mayo - homemade too (I'll explain how I made that later).

Top with Swiss Cheese, I had slices, the recipe used shredded. Whatever works - this isn't supposed to be complicated.

Then top with rye bread - this is a loaf I made from my Healthy Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book, a dill rye. But the marble rye that was used in the original recipe looked equally delicious (and frankly prettier).

Put in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Yum!!! It's pretty much an upside down open faced sandwich. I don't know why I never thought of doing this before!! Maybe because after the initial dinner and then the corned beef hash, there usually isn't enough left for a sandwich!! Well I will be planning appropriately for next year...

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I might have a green thumb after all, well at least growing sprouts is like following a recipe...I decided to do this based on an article I read in the most recent issue of Clean Eating magazine. Seemed easy enough, so here's the process.

Gather your ingredients. The magazine suggested you use cheese cloth, but when I was looking for seeds online, I found sprouting lids that fit on a wide mouth mason jar (with varying sizes of holes that you can change out as the sprouts grow). I don't have a pic of this, but the first step is to soak 2T seeds for 8-10 hours. You can add citric acid to the soaking water in order to limit bacteria growth. I've now done 2 batches of seeds and have found that with the citric acid, things don't grow as quickly. Of note, you can use the soaking liquid for your other plants (but don't use it if it has citric acid in lucky bamboo is not looking so good right now, maybe my green thumb should be revoked?).

Once the seeds have soaked, rise with warm water and prop screen side down to allow ventilation and drainage.

Continue to rinse seeds with warm water twice daily.

Once the seeds start to sprout, you can switch the lid to one with larger holes. Now the sprouts won't come out, but the hulls of the seeds will.

Grow, grow, grow

Once they get large enough, you pour out your sprouts into a large bowl of cold water to wash and stop the growing process. Fish out the rest of the seed hulls then drain on a towel. Once dry, put back in your jar with a venting lid and place in the fridge. These guys don't last very  long - a few days max. If you have ever bought sprouts from the store, you probably already know this.

Here are the little sprouts! I had a 3 seed mix with alfalfa, radish and broccoli. The whole process is pretty quick - 4ish days (including soaking). Since they don't last long after sprouting, you could have jars in different phases of growth so you could have sprouts all the time. If you really like sprouts, that is. For now, I'm doing 1 jar at a time and using them in on the hunt for recipes that use sprouts! Anyone have any suggestions?