bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Spiced Squash Muffins

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month is Burnt Apple.  The name of the blog makes me think of this Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby I made for a previous SRC post - slightly darker than it should have been but still yummy.  However, on this blog, the term refers to recipe fails, where it all started.  And who hasn't had a good recipe fail?  But since that first brick muffin that went through a wall, the busy cook behind Burnt Apple has come a long way - from someone who could not cook to save her life to "master recipe manipulator", adapting favorite recipes and the fun foods kids want to eat to make them more healthy - all using regular ingredients and even possible on a strict budget.

Traci works, goes to school, has three kids to keep up with, and still somehow finds time to make some yummy (and usually healthy) food and share her recipes.  Her blog focuses on healthy, budget friendly and delicious recipes, with just enough sweet treats thrown in for good measure. (She had a bit of a deprived childhood, so there's some making up to be done.) I especially love the Burnt Apple recipe index which clearly indicates the recipes that have been adapted and offer variations for different dietary needs.

Suddenly it's October, and the weather is beginning to cool down so of course it's time for recipes that say Fall.   There are plenty of apple recipes, lots of pumpkin recipes - she's kind of obsessed with pumpkin this time of year - and she's a big fan of anything with cranberries (me, too!), so if you're looking for recipes that scream Fall, be sure to check out Burnt Apple.

Of course, there are lots of amazing sounding recipes for all the other seasons, too.  Here's my short list of recipes to try:

Spiced Squash Muffins
from Burnt Apple

  • Topping:
    * 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    * 2 T oats
    * 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    * 2 T cold butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease muffin tin.  (12-15 muffins)
  2. In a small bowl mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the yogurt and sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs and butternut squash and mix until smooth; add milk.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir into wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of topping over the top of each muffin.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to sit for five minutes in the muffin tins before moving to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Measure flour and the rest of the dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients,
then lightly mix them together before stirring them in.
These are the perfect muffins for Fall! (They most definitely are not bricks.)  All those spices are so perfect, and that topping is to die for.  It was hard not just nibbling that off the top of all the muffins when they came out of the oven.  I kind of overfilled my muffin tins - the recipe said 12 muffins, so I made my batter all fit - so the muffins overflowed a bit and there were bits of topping to be picked off the muffin tins once I took the muffins out of them.  It's a tough job...

I would suggest greasing the cups for 12 muffins and having another smaller muffin tin standing by and just grease the cups you may need based on the amount of batter and how it fits.  These are just a bit too full...

Store any leftover muffins in the refrigerator because they are very moist, and then just heat them up in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes (or 15-30 seconds in the microwave if you use one) to enjoy.  And since they're healthy, it's OK to have more than one!  Right?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Onion Soup Mix

I like to use onion soup mix when I cook a roast, and I added it to my Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef for a bit of extra flavor.  When talking to a friend about that beef recipe, I mentioned that I had made my own onion soup mix, and she asked if I could share the recipe.  I had been meaning to post it so that I always have access to the recipe - I currently have it written on a piece of paper, but if the paper ever gets lost I might be in trouble.

So, it's time to share the recipe, for me and for any of my friends who might want to mix some up for themselves. 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix
from Heavenly Homemakers

  • 2/3 cup dried, minced onion
  • 3 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  1. Measure all ingredients into a jar; cover and shake until well mixed.  (for best results, shake the jar before each use)
  2. 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix = 1 packet of  store bought onion soup mix. (adjust amount of mix to your own tastes)
  3. Store in a dry, cool place.

That's it.  It's really simple and uses ingredients you probably already have in your spice cabinet.  I did have to buy the minced onion because I was out, but that's a handy ingredient to have on hand so it was time to get some of that anyway.  The original recipe listed turmeric as an optional ingredient, but I've started putting that in pretty much everything, even my morning coffee, so I consider it a necessary part of the recipe.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lentil and Potato Salad

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month is The Wimpy Vegetarian.  Susan is a mostly vegetarian (hence the 'wimpy') married to a meat-loving man.  Sounds like quite a challenge, doesn't it?  Susan has met that challenge head on, finding healthy ways to pump up the flavors of her vegetarian dishes and making things tasty and interesting enough that her husband began eating more of her vegetarian 'horse food' - alongside his meat - and even going back for seconds.

Susan and her husband are again able to enjoy meals together, and for the rest of us, The Wimpy Vegetarian is a wonderful resource for anyone who is looking to eat more vegetarian and meat free meals, with great tips and ideas on how to adjust those meals so that even the meat eaters are happy.  There were so many recipes that caught my eye, as I'm sure you'll see when you check out Susan's blog for yourself!  Here are just a few:

When I saw the recipe for this salad, I just knew it was the one.  I had never thought to use lentils in a salad, though I love them in soup, so I was definitely intrigued.  I also had a potluck to prepare for and thought this would be good for that because it's a great make-ahead dish that gets better as the flavors have time to blend.

Lentil and Potato Salad
from the Wimpy Vegetarian

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 2 medium tomatoes,diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Cook lentils according to package directions, just until tender (15-20 minutes). Drain and cool.
  2. Cook potatoes until tender.  Cool and dice. 
  3. Mix lentils, potatoes, onions, jalapeno, celery, and parsley in large bowl.
  4. Whisk together the vinegar, oil and seasonings for the vinaigrette; toss together with salad.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and toss gently.  Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later.  Toss gently before serving as the vinaigrette tends to settle to the bottom.
Makes approximately 10 cups

Susan indicated that her recipe would serve 2 (I'm guessing as a vegetarian main dish), so I doubled everything, needing enough to take to the potluck and share.  It made a very nice sized salad, and I even had leftovers to bring home, so I was able to enjoy it with my lunch several days the rest of the week.  Yeah, it made a lot.

This salad turned out quite tasty; I really enjoyed the combination of potatoes and lentils. It is very good on its own or as an accompaniment.  Susan's recipe called for fresh parsley and rosemary, but I settled for dried since that's what I had.  I also used diced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, because I am getting tomatoes out of my garden now, and I wanted to use some of those.  Oh, and also used a jalapeno because I'm getting a bunch of those from the garden too.  As always, I think that's the best way to cook - use what you have on hand!

The only thing I think needed adjusted was the salt, so just taste and adjust seasonings according to your own taste.  Susan boiled her potatoes in well salted water (which I only just noticed when I sat down to post the recipe), and I baked mine in my crockpot, so I'm sure that made a bit of a difference.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blueberry Nectarine Sour Cream Popsicles

I made these popsicles a couple weeks ago when my grandson Jason was visiting.  The original recipe used just blueberries, but I had a very ripe nectarine that needed used, and I thought it would go quite well with the blueberries.  So I added it, and I doubled the sour cream and almond milk since I had added extra fruit.

I'd say they turned out pretty good.  The first thing Jason said when he tasted one was, "it tastes like ice cream!"  And they really do taste a bit like ice cream - ice cream with blueberries and chunks of nectarine mixed in.

Blueberry Nectarine Sour Cream Popsicles
adapted from marlameridith

  • 1 (very ripe) nectarine, diced
  • 1 T sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups almond milk (I used Caramel, Almonds, and Cashews Nutchello)
  1. In large bowl, mix nectarine and sugar; mash slightly.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Add blueberries
  2. Whisk sour cream and milk together until smooth. Add to nectarine/blueberry mix.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds (I used my 2 oz. Tupperware molds) and freeze until solid.  Enjoy!

I didn't have enough popsicle molds to freeze all of the mixture at once, so I stored the mixture in the fridge and made up new popsicles whenever we ate some.  Then Jason decided he didn't really like the whole blueberries, so I added the rest of the mixture to my Ninja with a ripe banana and mixed that up really well - and we had some very purple popsicles to enjoy too.  The banana added a bit of sweetness, because I really didn't add much sugar to the original mix - just enough to draw a bit of juice from the nectarine - and let the sweetness of the Nutchello be enough.  Both options were really good.

I'm not sure why I never thought to use sour cream for popsicles before, but I am ready for some other versions now, like  maybe these Strawberry and Sour Cream Popsicles.  Mmmm, so many possibilities, and they're such a fun treat on a hot summer day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Bean Salad

I made this Curried Chicken and Barley Salad last week and added some red quinoa along with the barley, just because it sounded good.  But, since I had cooked a cup of quinoa - and only used 1/4 of it - I had 3 cups of quinoa left and wanted to find something to make with it.  I started searching for a simple salad and found a lovely cilantro lime black bean and quinoa salad.  While there may be no better flavor combination than black beans with cilantro and lime, my quinoa was red (and I had other plans for my last can of black beans), so I decided to switch up the beans and use some Cannellini beans.  I think it turned out great.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Bean Salad
adapted from Simply Quinoa

  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  •  drizzle of olive oil
  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

This salad is simple to make, definitely yummy, and can be made ahead so it's ready when you want it.  I'd say it's definitely a winner!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Margarita Sour Cream Muffins

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month is Karen's Kitchen Stories.  Karen likes to try recipes that are a bit of a challenge, and she's constantly learning new cooking techniques which she shares with her blog readers so we can all learn something new.  She's especially in love with all things bread and has been known as the Bread Queen by other members of the SRC, though she considers herself more of a Bread Geek.  Judging by the long list of bread recipes on her blog, I can't argue with either!  There were definitely some bread recipes that caught my eye.

Of course, there are plenty of recipes for other things on Karen's blog, too.  Here are some that I really want to try:
They all sound so good, but in the end I came back to the first recipe that caught my eye, these lovely Margarita Sour Cream Muffins.  It's OK to have tequila for breakfast with these!  Nobody disillusion me by telling me that the alcohol will bake off, all right?

Margarita Sour Cream Muffins
from Karen's Kitchen Stories

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon lime oil (optional)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.  Generously grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, sour cream, tequila, orange juice, lime juice, lime oil, and lime zest together.
  3. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt together and then stir it into the egg mixture. mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin;  sprinkle the tops of each muffin with a pinch of sea salt.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned.  Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins

These were really fun to mix up.  When you stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, there's a great chemical reaction between the baking soda and the citrus juices.  Preheating the oven is very important because you will want to get these into the oven immediately.

The flavor of these muffins does remind me of margaritas.  They're really tasty, and I love the texture that the cornmeal adds.  While they were good on their own, I thought the muffins could use a little something extra, so I mixed together 2 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and about 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest and used that as a spread.  Yum!  (It wasn't quite enough; I really should have mixed up twice as much)

Next time I think I'll use more lime and orange juice and cut down on the tequila - use just enough to get the flavor.  The tequila makes the muffins taste good - you really do get the flavor - but I'm back to thinking that all my alcohol is baking away, and I think I'd rather use my tequila for actual margaritas. I do love a good margarita.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I've  been wanting to try making my own taco seasoning for ages, but I still had some I wanted to use up, so I just hadn't gotten around to it.  Then, last month when I started planning meals for Camp Outreach, I realized that there is wheat in the taco seasoning I had.  Now, ordinarily I might not think a thing of it, but we had some people with gluten sensitivities who were going to be there, and I thought it best to avoid the wheat altogether in the taco meat.  So, I finally got around to making some taco seasoning.

I started looking on Pinterest and came across this recipe.  It's called the 'best taco seasoning recipe ever' so I figured it ought to be good.  Apparently she tried a lot of taco seasoning recipes from around the internet, and this is the one

Taco Seasoning
from what's that Smell?

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Measure all ingredients into glass jar; cover and shake to mix well.
  2. Use 2 T per 1 lb. of hamburger for tacos. (or adjust to your taste)  

Seriously, it's that easy - mix together spices you probably already have on hand (I had everything except usable onion powder.  Why is it that onion powder always, always, always turns hard as a rock?) and you get a taco seasoning mix that is really good.  I think it has a better flavor than the store bought kind - and no weird ingredients in there, either. 

I will definitely be making and using this taco seasoning from now on. I may not even finish that little bit of the store-bought seasoning I have left...

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