Baked Apple Oatmeal

We have been so enjoying our baked apples, so I decided to do a little experimentation. Basically that’s what cooking is all about, isn’t it? I never cook oatmeal with milk, buy I decided to give it a go for some added richness.

Basically, I followed the instructions on the side of the Old Fashioned Oatmeal box. Normally, I prefer the steel ground oats, but when I get a bee in my bonnet and want to try something new, I want to try it now. So, in under 10 minutes, I was ready to go.

Next I made baked apples. I basically followed Grandma O’s recipe except:

2 large baking apples, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oatmeal or granola

drizzle with honey

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and halve apples. Core out the center of the apple.

Place a tablespoon of butter in each center.

Sprinkle with brown sugar

Sprinkle with granola.

Drizzle with honey.

Bake until the apples are soft and the filling is browned, 1 hour.

***From the Recipe Box:

These were nummy. Both G and I gave them our seal of approval. Perfect food for a winter day.

and remember: Strong women intimidate boys and excite men. Big kiss, Lynn

Faux Sqirl Toast

I’m not ripping Sqirl off; I’m giving them total credit for this amazing thing to eat.  I remember the first time I took my folks to Starbucks.  I truly thought my dad was going to split a gut.  I can still hear him, ” $3.00 for a cup of coffee.  You’ve got to be kidding me.”  Sqirl is the same principle for a lot of people.  One slice of toast for approximately $9.00.  As if!

The owner of Sqirl, Jessica Koslow, rocks my world.  Not only did she come up with this amazing idea, but she was able to market it to people willing to pay the price.  I’ve seen her a few times in interviews and I can’t believe how clever some people are.

So, let’s talk recipe.

The one I saw profiled tonight was called Unicorn Toast.

Cut a slice of brioche at least one inch thick.  I’m using our very own homemade oatmeal bread.  Toast it on both sides.

Slather it thickly with creamy ricotta cheese.  I’m using creamed cream cheese thinned with a little cream instead because I prefer cream cheese to ricotta.

Finally, spread it with stripes of jam.  They used 4 different jams, thus the Unicorn.  I don’t keep that many jars of jam in the refrigerator, so I settled for 3.  I do wish I’d done a better of striping.  I used raspberry, golden plum and lemon curd, all Bonne Maman.  I must say, both G and I thought the lemon curd was magical on the cream cheese.

It looked ever so amazing.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Jessica, I’m going to look up some of your other concoctions.  You are my type of creative genius.  Look her up on-line.  The brioche is much more La-di-da than my oatmeal bread, but you know how I feel about using what you’ve got.

and remember:  Better an “oops” than a ‘what if”.  Big kiss, Lynn

Very Berry Oatmeal

We like oatmeal a lot, but I have a tendency to add too much butter and brown sugar, so we kind of limit our consumption.   But then, I’m strolling through the Internet as I often do and I saw oatmeal with berries and peanut butter.    G kind of went ugh, but I’m intrigued.

Our favorite oatmeal is Scottish stone ground, but I don’t cook it very often.  Regular old fashioned oatmeal just slides down ever so easily and I can have it ready in less than 10 minutes as opposed to the 30 or 40 the other takes.

For the old fashioned oatmeal:  Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal is my go-to and I use the recipe off the side of the box.

If you want to try the Scottish stone ground:

  • For every 1 cup of steel cut oats, you’ll need 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid, depending upon how thick you’d like them to be.  I use water, but you could use milk just as easily.
  • I add about a teaspoon  of salt for each cup of oats.  Be careful, we like it with more salty than the average.  It won’t make the oats taste salty;  it wakes up their flavor and helps ensure the oats are not at all bland.
  • Let the oats simmer for about 20 minutes to start.  You don’t need to stir them constantly.  Simply mix the oats every now and then to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom. 
  • Once the oats have been simmering 20 minutes, they’ll need about 5 to 10 minutes of additional simmering to reach their ideal texture.
  • Stop cooking them sooner if softer, thicker, and creamier is more your style or let them go the full half hour. Thirty minutes is my personal favorite.
  • The oats will continue to thicken as they cool, so don’t panic if they seem too thin.

Top them off:

  • This is the fun part. Oats are a healthy beginning for any of your favorite toppings and mix-ins. Fresh fruit, nuts, peanut butter or almond butter, are some of my go-tos.

* From the Recipe Box:

I think that crunchy peanut butter added just the right texture, but we’re both reserving judgement.

A spoonful of jam works well too.

and remember what Gabourey Sidibe said:  One day I decided that I was beautiful and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.   Big kiss, Lynn, the beautiful and vivacious 

Mini Monkey Bread Muffins

We love having Butterscotch Rolls for Christmas and the 4th of July, but occasionally I’ve been known to forget to start the rise the night before.  My bad.  So, I was ever so glad to see these mini muffins.  My excellent sous chef has been staying here for a few days, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment.

These individual monkey bread servings are perfect hot out of the oven, or 24 hours later. Caramelized bite size pieces of breakfast heaven. Enjoy!  We’re heading to the coast for a few days, Covid virus permitting, and I think this would be a fun treat to take along.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 8 count cans of buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 box butterscotch pudding, not instant

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. pre-heat your oven to 350 F
  2. cut each biscuit into six pieces
  3. Put 2 Cups sugar and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon in a bag and mix, add the biscuit quarters and shake them until all the quarters are fully coated
  4. Place 6 or so biscuit pieces in each muffin cup
  5. Sprinkle with some butterscotch pudding
  6. Melt 2 sticks butter,  and 1/2 Cup brown sugar over low-medium heat, until fully melted and the sugar has dissolved resulting in a gorgeous golden brown, dark caramel color (stir frequently)
  7. Pour the butter mixture over the muffin cups until each is about 3/4 filled
  8. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately turn over onto a platter so that all the ooey gooey caramelized butter sugary goodness tips out and covers the monkey bread bites in their caramelized goodness.
  10. If you have some cute little ramekins or serving dishes, place a monkey bread cup into each one and use a spoon to drizzle more caramelized sauce over each cup.
  11. I found several recipes like this on line so I’m not really able to give credit to anyone in particular.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I didn’t tip these out of the muffin pan immediately; I wanted the caramel sauce to firm up a bit so it would stick to the muffins a little better.

We always vote after eating something new and this was voted a winner.

Is there anything better than a tradition?

and remember:    Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  Big kiss, Lynn

Banana Pecan Muffins

I had a request for banana pecan muffins the other day, not the yucky gluten free ones I made gluten-free girl, but real muffins like you could buy at Costco.  They are no longer selling the banana ones here in Washington, so my peeps who love them are having to scramble.  These are dense with mashed bananas and lots of chopped pecans.  It’s rather odd to me that you can like pecans and not walnuts, but I guess I am odd.  Don’t say anything.

This is Tyler Florence’s recipe.  His food is usually pretty solid so I started with his.  Since I’m not a banana person, I brought in others to help with the taste test.  My initial thought was a bit more salt.  No one else agreed with me.  Hosers.  The recipe says 12 muffins, I got a solid 18.  I baked them for 20 minutes, but 23 might be better.

These weren’t bad.  G ate 2.  I’m going to try another recipe or 2.  Combining the brown sugar and bananas for your moisture was a new step for me and I may incorporate it in other recipes.  Clever.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 overripe bananas

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 2 muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together like you mean it, for a good 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
  3. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

 * From the Recipe Box:

Bananas are not my favorite fruit, but these were pretty good.

Yes, we do love our butter.

I do wish recipes were more specific.  4 bananas:  big bananas, little bananas, I need details.

and remember:   A better world is possible, don’t settle.   Big kiss, Lynn

Strawberry Muffins

Why yes, it is strawberry season in the great Pacific NW.  We are lucky enough to grow the most beautiful strawberries.  When I was a kid you could be hired to pick them.  Your mom or dad would drop you off up at Safeway and the buses would pick you up and take you out near Monroe to pick berries.  The pay was horrible, but the camaraderie was excellent.

The biggest difference in the strawberries now versus then is the size.  I really don’t like the huge berries.  I know they look cool and they ship ever so well, but they’ve gotten woody.

This is a new recipe for me.  I find strawberries bland even though they can be quite acidic.  If I had to give you a quick fix for these muffins, up the salt to 1 teaspoon and don’t forget the lemon juice.  Yes, I was disappointed.

2/3 cup chopped strawberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Make the muffins: Toss the strawberries in a small bowl with 2 tablespoon granulated sugar; set aside. Whisk the flour, remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Add the eggs to the well and gently whisk. Stir in the milk, melted butter and lemon juice until just combined with small bits of flour remaining. Stir in the strawberry mixture.
  3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling them most of the way.  I keep about a teaspoon or 2 of diced strawberries to put on top.  Bake until the muffins are lightly browned  and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let the muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

* From the Recipe Box:

Next time I’m making cheddar and jalapeno muffins.  I need more oomph in my muffins.

and remember:  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  Big kiss, Lynn

Crunchy French Toast

I tried a new recipe today.  I wish I was the kind of cook that could come up with my own recipes from scratch, but no, I’m not that girl.  What I can do is see something and then finagle it a bit until it’s my own.  I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but I’ve been watching a fair amount of television.  We don’t usually watch a lot of TV, but these are interesting times.  What I watch will probably surprise you:  Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; Alton Brown; The Great British Baking Show; all the David Chang shows on Netflix.  David and Alton are my new heroes since I lost Anthony Bourdain.

I seem to have lost my rule about not getting distracted.  Sorry about that.  To get back to the French toast.  Diners, etc., went to 3 different restaurants over the last few weeks where they made variations of French toast stuffed with peanut butter and jam.  That was a sign I was to try making it.  They crushed 3 different cereals:  frosted flakes, Captain Crunch and something I missed.

Since I’m still on lock down, I couldn’t run out and get just anything.  I think if I had any option, I would have gone with the frosted flakes, but corn flakes it was.  They also used a nice firm bread, but I was lacking that as well.  I used a fairly firm wheat bread.  I also would prefer crunchy peanut butter, but I’m the only fan in this house.

4 slices of bread

creamy peanut butter

your favorite jam

3 to 4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar

1 to 2 cups corn flakes or frosted flakes

Mix the eggs, sugar and milk.

Make a p,b, and j and sandwich it together.  Dip it in the milk mixture.  Cook it on a low medium.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I will make these again, but I will use frosted flakes or maybe Corn Pops.  I lusted for those when I was a kid.   I don’t know if I will fill them with peanut butter and jam.  I might use cream cheese and jam.  My mom used to love sharp Tillamook cheese with jam on toast.  That’s sounding really interesting.  Or how about an Elvis:  bananas and peanut butter.  The possibilities are endless.

They were heavy and very substantial.  Interesting concept though.

and remember what my Sci-Fi hero Neil Gaiman said:  Fairy takes are more than true:  not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us the dragons can be beaten.  Big kiss, Lynn

Raspberry Muffins

I do love a good muffin.  C the MP was up yesterday with a “Care” package that included raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb.  He knows how much I love my fruit.  After eating almost all of the raspberries plain, I thought it would be nice if I shared a few with G via a muffin.  I’m so good about sharing.

I remember this recipe from when I was a kid.  My mom’s mom and my dad’s mom lived together in this big old house in Portland.  I had many a grand adventure going to stay with them.  They would make wonderful delicacies for “us girls”.  I had cantaloupe filled with ice cream, ribbon candy, baked cheese and more.  Things that have forever stayed in my memory.

The bread basket was my favorite.  There would be Flat Bread, different muffins, Rye bread (still my favorite), lefse, krumkake.  The woman knew how to bake.  She had a tiny little kitchen and still managed to bake everyday and everybody stopped by to share in the bounty.

1 1/2 cups flour (2 cups)

1/2 sup sugar (1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons baking powder (3 teaspoons)

1/4 cup shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (1 cup)

Mix together the dry ingredients with a blending fork or a pastry blender.  Then stir in the wet ingredients  just until the ingredients are blended.  At the last, blend in 1 cup raspberries.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.   Bake until golden brown.

This is Grandma’s sweet version.  In the parentheses are the changes she would make for “plain”.  A plain muffin would have Wheaties or whole wheat in it.  I always loved the pop of color the raspberries provided.  She rarely added a streusel topping.  Occasionally there would be a sprinkle of sugar, but she was a firm believer in the beauty of the raspberry.  I may have gotten my love of raspberries from her.

* From the Recipe Box:
Grandma also had this wooden handled pastry cutter that I was lucky enough to grab.  I don’t care how bent and disfigured it gets.  Closing it in the drawer simply adds to the cutting ability.
and remember:  If you boil a funny bone, does it become a laughing stock?  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Granola 1.0

Something wonderful happened, I have my original granola recipe back.  This is all thanks to Gluten-free Girl.  When she was up last, she brought a bunch of family recipes to share.  Low and behold, there was a recipe card with my hand writing and THE granola recipe.  I wanted to jump and shout and knock myself out.

This isn’t just a recipe, it’s part of my heritage.  It’s part of the history I built for my family.  That’s what food is.  It’s a chance to share memories with benchmarks so to speak.  This was breakfast when my boys were young.  Yes, they got to eat Cookie Crisp at their Besta’s, but at home they ate healthy granola.

You need to do this.  Not necessarily make granola, but establish a heritage, a history if you will.  Make something to make memories.  It doesn’t matter what it is, but be sure you don’t lose the recipe for 20 years.  Your family will thank you for it.

6 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup sesame seeds

3 cups coconut

1 cup wheat germ

mix together in a large bowl

combine:  1/2 cup oil

1 cup honey

stir into the grains and mix until well moistened.

add 1 cup water and stir until crumbly

Place in a large oiled pan and bake at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let it cool with the door closed.  Store in tight fitting containers.  Makes about 12 cups.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I add 1 cup bran and I increase the honey to 1 1/2 cups and the oil to 3/4 cup.

1/2 cup slivered almonds may be added when you turn off the oven.  I add 1 cup raisins when the granola is totally cool or they get too hard.

We like lots of other dried fruit in it as well, but it can soften the granola so I keep it in a jar next to it to be added when ready to eat.

We like it as much with yogurt as we do with milk.

and remember:  It’s OK to feel afraid….but don’t let that stand in your way.  Big kiss, Lynn

Gluten-free Banana Muffins

       

What is the world coming to?  I, the queen of gluten, am now making gluten-free muffins for Gluten-free Girl.  We (meaning G and I) are not big banana eaters, so I was left with a major supply of very ripe bananas for some stupid reason.  Why did I buy so many?  Can’t honestly say.  But, I started looking for ways to use up said bananas when I came across Baked Banana Oatmeal Muffins.  And, since I’ve been on a bit of a muffin kick just to show up those stupid scones, I decided this was the recipe to try.

I’m a firm believer in trolling the internet.  I find the best stuff.  This one jumped out at me, but when I went back to get the proper credit, I could not find the recipe again.  I’m such a maroon.  So, to whomever put this recipe online, I thank you and acknowledge that you are the g-f muffin queen or king.

3 cups rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup mashed bananas (2 – 3 very ripe bananas depending on their size)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a separate bow, mix together mashed bananas, eggs and milk until well combined.  Pour milk mixture over oat mixture and stir will to combine.

Evenly divide the oat mixture between all 12 muffing cups and then top each one with a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until set and cooked through.  They will store nicely in the refrigerator for up to a week.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The original recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, but you all know by now how I feel about nutmeg.  I do use mace now and again.  It’s really growing on me.

As these were baking, the aroma was absolutely intoxicating.  I could hardly wait to take them from the oven.  They aren’t sweet by any stretch of the imagination, but both G and I enjoyed them.

and remember:  A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of the sheep.  Big kiss, Lynn