Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blueberry Mania Continues!!

Okay, now I haven't actually made these for a few weeks, but I thought I should continue with my blueberry theme...

By popular demand (by several facebook friends...)

HEATHER'S (Moody Bible Institute-Famous) BLUEBERRY MUFFINS!

This is yet another adaptation from an recipe... but I have heard nothing but "OHMYGOSH THESE ARE SOOOOOO GOOD" from those who have tried them...

For The Muffins:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cut white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tin or line with muffin wrappers.
2.  Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Place applesauce in a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.
3.  Mix these liquids with the flour mixture.  Add vanilla.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin tin right to the top.  Top with crumb mixture (see below).
4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make crumb mixture, combine 2 tablespoons flour, 5 tablespoons sugar (I prefer to use brown sugar, but either work fine), and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut 2 tablespoons butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Now, the KEY to the crumb mixture for the top of muffins (and coffee cakes, ect) is the BUTTER.  Ugh.  I have had more fights with butter than I know what to do with.  Recipes like this one call for butter that is soft enough to easily chop into little pieces, but hard enough that your topping won't just glop all over the place.  The problem is, when I cook, it's usually not very well planned out.  What I mean by that is, I'm spontaneous enough that when I decide I want to make muffins or cookies or whatever, my butter is usually still sitting in the fridge, hard as a rock.  So, I attempt to soften it by microwaving it.  BAD IDEA.  I usually end up with a pool of liquid butter which simply will not work for the reasons stated above.  And putting the melted butter in the freezer to fix THAT problem doesn't work, either.  There's something about the chemistry of the butter that's been tampered with that makes a bad situation even worse.

So what's the solution?  Well, I have invested in a butter keeper.

What, you may ask, is a butter crock?  Well, according to the product website (and my dear friend, Amy Gatschenberger), a butter crock is a bell shaped lid into which softened butter is firmly packed.  Cold water is poured into the base of the crock, and then the lid is placed upside down back into the base of the crock.  This apparently keeps the butter soft, fresh, and perfect for recipes like the one above.  Apparently, the water seals out the air keeping butter much fresher than it would be simply in a butter dish.  I haven't gotten my crock, yet, but I hope it will save my muffins!!!   

Happy Crumb-Mixture Making!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woman vs. Waffle Iron: Another Kitchen Victory

While munching on my whole wheat banana blueberry pancakes on Tuesday morning, my loving husband asked me, "Why don't you ever make waffles?"  I smiled and responded, "I don't know - I guess I just don't really think about it."

The truth is, however, I have a love-hate relationship with my waffle iron.  Why?  Well, when Shannon and I got married, we received a waffle iron as a gift.  Naturally, I was excited about this.  After all, who doesn't LOVE waffles, and when done well, they look very impressive on the breakfast table.

However, I soon discovered that the waffle iron was not just another kitchen tool to use and enjoy - the waffle iron had to be mastered.  My first experiences with my waffle iron left me cleaning up gobs of goo where the batter had seeped out and goobered onto the kitchen counter, not to mention in every crevice and crack the waffle iron had.  Apparently, I was using too much batter.  So the next time, I was extra careful, but my waffles turned out puny and burnt.  This time, I wasn't using enough batter.  Then, there was the sticking factor.  The instructions that came with my waffle iron said that I didn't have to grease the iron between waffles.  BIG mistake.  There is nothing worse than opening your waffle iron and finding half of the waffle on the top of the iron and the other top on the bottom, and it's stuck, everywhere.  Finally, there is the ADD factor.  I'm an easily distracted individual.  Thus, I have found myself getting carried away washing dishes, mopping the floor, or even taking a shower - completely forgetting that the waffle iron doesn't turn itself off when the waffle is done.  Yeah, there's not much that's tasty about burnt waffles.

In recent days, however, I have slowly, step by step, conquered my waffle iron.  I've discovered that 1 heaping cup of batter is generally perfect to make the perfect waffle.  I used a measuring cup for awhile, but then got frustrated that more of the batter was ending up on me than in the waffle iron.  Finally, I discovered my medium-sized soup ladle - PERFECT for measuring and pouring waffle batter.  :)  Next, regardless of what the directions say, SPRAY that waffle iron GOOD every time you are about to pour batter into it.  Don't be stingy - just SPRAY.  There's nothing quite like a waffle sliding gently out of your waffle iron onto your plate.  Your food was made to be eaten, not chiseled from the cooking utensil.  Finally, and there's no easy way to do this, but stand close by your waffle iron and keep an eye on that little light.  If you're in the market for a waffle iron, I highly recommend spending a few extra dollars and buying the waffle iron with the built in beeper.  But, in my case, I discovered that it was about a minute and a half for my waffles to be done, so I set the kitchen timer for one minute and fifteen seconds.  When the timer goes off, I stand guard over my little waffle iron and am armed and ready with my spatula for the waffle do be done.  A little extreme?  Maybe, but hey - it works for me.  :)

If you can conquer your waffle iron, it will do all of the work for you.  You'll have delicious waffles with little mess, and you'll make it look so easy.  :)

And so, this morning, I took my husband's little "hint" in stride and searched my favorite website,, for the perfect waffle recipe.  I found their recipe, "Blueberry Oat Waffles" and decided to make a few modifications of my own.

Today was my first day making these waffles.  They tasted great - crunchy on the outside and really warm and soft on the inside.  The oatmeal adds a nice texture and health-factor - plus oatmeal helps you feel full all day.  The blueberries add the perfect hint of sweetness.    It was really easy - the ingredients are basic and it only took a few minutes to throw them together and pour them in the waffle iron.

Enough babbling - here's the recipe!  Enjoy!  :)

1-1/3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup quick oats (you can use traditional oatmeal, too, but I would recommend putting it in your magic bullet or food processor to chop it up a bit, just like the pancakes!)
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups Milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (Imitation is fine)
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries - (but don't thaw the berries if they're frozen - that will make them gooey!)

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2.  Combine the liquid ingredients in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients.
3.  Fold in the blueberries.
4.  Pour into that pesky waffle iron (show it who's boss) and wait for them to be done!!

Til next time, folks.  :)


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Banana - Blueberry - Whole Wheat - Oatmeal Pancakes!!!

Sounds like a mouthful, right?  Well, it is, but in a very good way.

I've made these pancakes a number of times now, but I think I may have finally perfected them today.  So, I wanted to share the recipe with you.  :)  They are healthy, wholesome, easy filling, and incredibly tasty.  AND they are both husband and guest approved and acclaimed.  Enjoy!!

1 cup uncooked oatmeal (I use the quick-oats 'cause it's what's in my house!)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon imitation (or real) vanilla extract
1-2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups blueberries (frozen and thawed or fresh)

1.  Place the uncooked oatmeal in a food processor (I use my Magic Bullet!) and chop 'em up a bit.  I like to have a little bit of texture, so I don't make it into powder, but I do grind it finely.
2.  Combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
3.  In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk, applesauce, and vanilla.  I use my Magic Bullet again to mash the banana - it works perfectly and is SO much better than using your fingers, which yes, I have done.  Add the banana to the liquid mix and blend well.  Then add to the powdered mix.
4.  Cook pancakes over medium heat, dropping blueberries into the batter as the first side cooks.  Serve with Maple, Strawberry, or Blueberry syrup!!

These pancakes are great - and you can make them, no problem!!  If you try them, leave me a note and let me know what you think!!

Heather  :)