Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Monday!

What I’m thinking: God is so gracious to me; I’ve been blessed beyond compare.

What I’m reading:  Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. That  man is brilliant, and my amazement grows every chapter I read.
What I’m listening to: Well, this is strange, but let me explain. I don’t like Dev’s music…overall. But, recently, I heard her song, Dancing Shoes, and really enjoyed it. Why? It’s very un-Dev.
What I’m  learning: How to deal with an extremely tight schedule in a semi-sane manner.
What I’m watching: We re-watched the 5-hour Pride and Prejudice this last weekend. That movie brings me fresh waves of happiness, embarrassment, and sadness.
What’s cooking: I made Jillian Michael’s fudgy brownies from her cookbook, Mastering Your Metabolism. They are yummmmay and good-for-you too!

What I’m thankful for: A brain created in the image of God. I am so happy that I am able to think and analyze, unlike an animal.
What I’m creating: A food budget, which should be interesting since I will have to formulate an entire month’s work of meal plans.
What I’m praying: For focus on the tasks set before me.
What I did this last weekend: I took the SAT this last weekend. It was fun ( I love competition), but my grey cells were fried. Sunday was restful. We had a wonderful time with friends, had a delicious lunch, and played Kinect Dance Central.
What I’m looking forward to: The Youth meeting week.
A picture to share: Here are some personal photos of foods I have made in the last months.
Elvis Bars

 Lemon Herb Chicken (recipe coming soon!)

Homemade Cinnabon-style Cinnamon Rolls (My family liked these, but prefered a different type I made. So, I'll be posting the second recipe, instead of this one.)

P.S. Please vote in my latest tutorial poll! I'd appreciate feedback.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blueberry Muffins!

My favorite blueberry muffins, they are what you wish for on winter mornings with a steaming cup of tea or paired with cheddar-broccoli soup.  Light and flavorful, they don't even need butter, and surpass their Betty Crocker cousins when it comes to texture and size. (You can replace the white flour with Golden 86, aka white whole wheat. All the other whole grains I've tried using have failed.)

Blueberry Muffins
½ cup butter
1/2 cup honey 
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (or Golden 86)
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups of fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. raw sugar
In a large bowl, cream butter and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine nutmeg and raw sugar; sprinkle over the tops. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yields 1 dozen.

P.S. Please vote in my newest poll! It closes on February 11th, and I would like to have a video or picture tutorial up by Valentine's Day, if possible. Your feedback is appreciated.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comfort Soup

Kid-friendly, family-friendly, tongue-friendly! This yummy soup does it all, and feels like a hug on a cold day. I like to serve it with blueberry muffins; I will post that recipe soon.

Step 1:
4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 onion, chopped
Sauté the ingredients above for 5 minutes.
Step 2:
7 cups of chicken broth
The sautéed onion and broccoli mixture
¾ tsp. oregano leaves
In a large soup pot, bring broth to a boil; add broccoli and onion mixture along with oregano leaves. Reduce heat, simmering until broccoli is tender.
Step 3:
3 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour
1 cup low-fat milk
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
While broth simmers, prepare cheese sauce for soup in a small saucepan. Melt butter in saucepan, adding in flour and blending with spoon until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring with whisk over medium heat until thickened; blend in cheese until melted.
Step 4:
Puree the broth/vegetable mixture in blender until smooth. (This may be completed in batches.) Whisk in cheese sauce. Season as desired with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Better Than Vintage

I typed "meatloaf" into Google. The first image to accost my occipital lobe was this...urg. If you have had this kind of meatloaf, I feel your pain.

These kinds of meatloaves are classic to be sure, but tend to become dried out, and don't have a whole lot of nutritional value. Sometimes, it's good to update a classic recipe, but do so in such a subtle manner, that the recipe has a vintage vibe but all the benefits of the modern age. This "modernized" meatloaf recipe is near and dear to me. I've tweaked it through three different sessions, and have hopefully perfected it. My family loves it; it's moist, flavorful, and packs flavor without the ketchup, french-fried onions, copious ammounts of cheese, bacon, and corn flakes. It tastes new.

Sweet and Savory Meatloaf
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices wheat sandwich bread)
1/3 cup whole milk
2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pound ground  turkey
1/2 cup crushed canned pineapple
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook celery, carrot, onion, and garlic with chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to bread-crumb mixture with turkey, crushed pineapple, parsley, 1 tablespoon pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until just combined. Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf (mixture will spread slightly) in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish. Stir together water, remaining 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce and brush over surface of meatloaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.   

My notes: I’ve tweaked this recipe (of course.  Couldn’t help myself!), yet tried to leave the directions alone, as much as possible. But, I do want to relate a HUGE time-saver. If you have a food processor, use it to grind up those stale pieces of sandwich bread, empty it, then use it to chop up all the veggies and garlic. It saves you time plus those lovely onion tears!