Oatmeal apple cinnamon muffins

20 04 2008

Last night I felt like baking, but I didn’t have any butter left in the fridge.  I decided to check out my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and I found a muffin recipe that called for oil instead of butter.  Then I saw that I could add oatmeal in place of some of the flour (healthier, right?!), and I decided to chop up an apple and throw that in there, too.  I also threw a teaspoon of cinnamon in there for some extra flavor.

They came out great!  Nice and light and perfect for breakfast.  There’s nothing really special about them, I suppose, but they took me all of 10 minutes to make, which is pretty special all in itself.  😉 

Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins
adapated from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook 

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 medium apple, peeled and cored, then diced – I used an Empire apple.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Grease twelve 2-1/2 inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal.  Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

5. Fold in the diced apple.

6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.

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Blackberry scones

13 04 2008

My mom, sister, and niece are coming to visit tonight, and I wanted to make them something special.  My sister has already requested salmon cakes for dinner (see salmon cakes post), and I thought I would whip them up something to snack on and/or have for breakfast. 

I had been eyeing the blueberry scones in Katie’s blog (another food blogger) for awhile now (www.goodthingscatered.blogspot.com), and I thought today would be the perfect day to make them.  I didn’t have any blueberries in the freezer, but I did have blackberries.  Why not, right?  I’ve never baked with blackberries before, and oh my goodness!  They turned the dough a very bright purple/red color.  They taste good though, so no complaints here. 

My pictures aren’t the greatest, but it’s about the taste of the scones, not my photographic abilities!

I recommend you slather on some butter while you’re eating these. 

…but not THAT much!  I scraped some off before I ate that bite.  Don’t worry.

I also recommend that you sweeten them up a bit by dusting on some powdered sugar.

Or just eat them plain with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.  Heck, or even a glass of wine.  Everyone needs wine!

Here’s the original recipe for blueberry scones:

Oh – and a couple notes…

a) I used whole wheat flour because I was all out of regular flour.

b) I didn’t have half-and-half, so I used 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. heavy cream.  I’m not sure how much that affected the recipe.

c) I had to actually post a message asking Katie if the blueberries (blackberries in my case) needed to be frozen or thawed.  She assured me that they needed to be frozen.  So glad I asked.  I was about ready to defrost the whole darn bag before using the blackberries.  (Thanks, Katie!)

d) Click on the link to take you to Katie’s blog and check our her scones.  They look much more delicious than mine do! 

Blueberry Scones
from www.goodthingscatered.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

2 c. flour plus 2 Tbsp, plus 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, plus 1/2 Tbsp, chilled
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 c. half and half, chilled
2/3 c. frozen Maine wild blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. In small bowl combine frozen blueberries and 1 Tbsp flour and toss to combine.  Place blueberry mixture back into freezer.

3. In large bowl, combine flour (2 cups plus 2 T.), baking powder, sugar and salt.

4. Take butter out of fridge, cut into chunks and add to flour mixture.  Cut butter into flour until pea sized or smaller.

5. Add vanilla and half and half and mix in with a spoon until just barely incorporated.

6. Take blueberries out of fridge and knead into mixture until mixture forms a ball of sticky dough.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and pat down into rough 9-10 inch circle.  Cut into 8 triangles and place triangles onto prepared baking sheet at least an inch apart.

8. Take 1/2 Tbsp butter and cut into 8 small pieces.  Place one small piece of butter on top of each scone.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

 





French toast casserole

16 03 2008

Today was the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’s the last year that we’ll live within walking distance.  (Sad to be leaving our little city apartment, but exciting to move into our new house in the ‘burbs!)  Of course we needed to take full advantage and invite our friends over to drink some mimosas and fill our bellies with food before braving the chilly air, puddles, and hordes or green clad parade-goers! 

My plan was to research recipes and expertly (ha!) put together the perfect spread of delicious brunch food.  Well… this week was a brutal one, because I squeezed in 38 parent teacher conferences in 4 days, and all that planning time that I thought I had went right out the window.  And then I had to fit in a 12 mile run this morning before everyone came over at 11am.  I should mention that I got back from the run at 10am, leaving me 1 hour to shower, throw on my green shirt, and get my butt in gear in the kitchen. 

Instead of having a lovely array of delicious food ready when everyone arrived, I had a few St. Patrick’s Day plates and napkins out, a husband still in the shower, and French toast casserole just making it into the oven.  Forget about the quiche that I thought I’d have time for, too.  Once the first champagne bottle was opened, I prioritized.  Friends and mimosas beat out slaving in the kitchen any day! 

The moral of the story?  I’m not sure, but I have a few ideas:

1. When you’re entertaining, make sure you have more time to plan things out rather than thinking things will magically all come together in the morning.

2. Don’t plan to get back from a 12 mile run one hour before guests arrive.  Showering and cooking and doing last minute cleaning do not fit into a mere 60 minutes!

3. Know when to give up on the quiche and grab a mimosa with friends instead!

 What about the French toast casserole, you ask?  (If you managed to read this far, that is!)  It turned out fabulously, and it received a hearty thumbs-up from everyone… which could have been a result of the mimosas and Guinness, but I prefer to think that it really was that tasty!  I didn’t take a picture while everyone was here, but I did manage to snap a shot of some cold leftovers from the fridge.  Better than nothing, I guess! 

(P.S. Don’t you just want to reach into the picture and grab that stray pecan?!)

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
foodnetwork.com

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 T. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline topping
Maple syrupDirections:

1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each.  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 x 13 inch flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and beat with a rotary beater or whisk into blended but not bubbly. 

3. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered with the egg-milk mixture.  Spoon some of the mixture between the slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Spread the praline topping over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

 Praline Topping

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. 

*** My changes: I used a sliced baguette instead of larger pieces of French bread, because I told Brett to get the wrong kind of bread at the store!  It worked out perfectly though.  I just didn’t use all of the egg mixture since there was less bread involved.  Same goes for the praline mixture.  ***