bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Grow Sprouts in a Glass Jar

I never had sprouts until I went to college, and then I fell in love with them.  After college and marriage, I occasionally bought alfalfa sprouts in the grocery store, but then I stopped because they were fairly expensive and not always good.  Then I mostly forgot about them until a couple years ago when a friend of mine mentioned that she had been growing her own sprouts, and she gave me some seeds so I could try it too.

Since then I've been growing my own sprouts regularly.  It's easy.  Very, very easy.

Grow Your Own Sprouts

You will need:
  1. Place about a Tablespoon of sprouting seeds in jar, and put the cheesecloth or nylon over the mouth of the jar and secure it in place.
  2. Cover seeds with water and allow to soak overnight, or 8-12 hours.
  3. The next morning, pour water out and add more water.  Swirl seeds around in the water a bit to rinse them and then pour the water back out, draining well so that there is no excess water.
  4. Let the jar sit on your kitchen counter, rinsing and draining them a couple times a day, until they have sprouted and begin to have small leaves.  You want to be sure they don't dry out, but you don't want them sitting in water either.
  5. Once the sprouts have reached the point you like them - usually in 5 days or so, rinse them one more time and place them in a container and refrigerate.  I usually put a folded paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb any excess water.

Enjoy!  and repeat the process as needed.   Sprouts are good on sandwiches or salads or just eaten by the handful with a sprinkling of sea salt.  So good, and good for you too!

sourdough biscuits make great sandwich buns for lunch

 This isn't exactly a recipe, though in the end you get something really good to eat, so I guess it kind of is after all.  I posted this a couple years ago on my other blog, but when I went looking for it, I had a hard time finding it.  I finally did, so I'm posting here - and fixing the images that somehow disappeared.  (Note: do not link directly to pictures you've posted to Facebook.  They may work for a while, but eventually you will end up with a missing image in your post.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Strawberry Muffins

I saw this recipe on Facebook, and I just had to try it. I don't think I've ever had strawberries in muffins before, but they just looked so good.  And I happened to have some strawberries in the fridge...

Fresh Strawberry Muffins
from Home of My Heart

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well.  Add vanilla and milk.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Stir into butter/sugar mixture, just until mixed. Gently stir in strawberries and coconut.
  3. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan.
  4. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over muffins.
  5. Bake at 400ยบ for 30-35 minutes, or until browned.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool.
Makes one dozen muffins.

I cut the sugar down just a bit, because I don't like my muffins too sweet, and strawberries are plenty sweet by themselves.  I also added the coconut, which is sweetened. 

I also increased the bake time. I baked the muffins for 25 minutes, like the original recipe said, but even though they were technically done, they just weren't browned as well as I would have liked.  Baking them the extra 5 to 10 minutes gives them a nice crunch around the edges and enhances the flavor nicely.

I'm thinking of adding rhubarb next time - or adding strawberries to my Rhubarb Muffins.  Some kind of combination of the two.  I bet that would be really good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Southwestern Hummus

I only recently discovered hummus. Well, in the last few years anyway.  I'm not sure why I never tried it before that, but I'm crazy about it now.  Of course, the best hummus is the kind you make at home, and this recipe for Really Smooth Hummus is my favorite.  I love it with with pita chips and celery especially.

But sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) I just have to try something new.  I had pinned this recipe on Pinterest, and when my friend Jennifer asked me to bring an appetizer when we went over to their house for dinner, I had the perfect opportunity to try it.  (Note: when trying new recipes, it's always good to try them when you're taking food to share with lots of people.  That way, if it's not good, you don't have to eat it all yourself.  And if it is good, everyone thinks you're a great cook.  It's a win-win situation, really.)

This was definitely a win!  This recipe is one of my new favorites.  It's a variation on the traditional hummus, made with Great Northern beans and southwestern spices, and it is yummy and so smooth.  The Great Northern beans blend up so nicely, and this comes together quickly and easily.

Southwestern Hummus
from an Aldi recipe

  • 2 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp each - garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, black pepper
  • 1 T chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Garnish:
    1/2 Roma tomato, diced
    1 tsp chopped cilantro
    1 tsp. olive oil
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except garnish and process until smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Transfer hummus to a serving bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine garnish ingredients and place on top of hummus. Serve with vegetables.

This would probably also be good with tortilla chips or maybe pita, but the veggies were perfect.  I especially loved it with the red pepper, celery, and broccoli.  It looked pretty, too!  Of course, I won't always put together an entire veggie tray when I make this, but it was a special occasion.

The original recipe called for an entire Roma tomato in the garnish, but 1/2 was enough.  I guess it depends on the size of your tomato.  This hummus would be good on its own, but that garnish adds a touch of freshness and makes it really special.  A bit of finely diced jalapeno might be nice, too - if you're feeding people who like a little spice.

The consensus is that this recipe is a keeper.  I'll definitely be making it again. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

I've made the Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts several times since I first tried them. The flavor is just so good.  Unfortunately I'm out of sun-dried tomatoes, but I did want to try some different flavors in my stuffed chicken breasts.  So I went looking for a recipe to change it up a bit but still use the spinach and feta.  The addition of the lemon zest in this recipe caught my attention right away.  I also added just a touch of lemon juice, and I think the flavor turned out great.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
inspired by this recipe

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • a squeeze or two of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat; add onions and garlic, and cook until onions become translucent.  Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat and stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and feta.  Set aside.
  2. Place a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan until breast is about 1/4" thick.
  3. Spread half of spinach/feta mixture on chicken breast.  Roll chicken breast up, starting with the narrowest end.  Secure with toothpicks and transfer to a baking dish.  Repeat process with second breast.
  4. Drizzle the breasts with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes; Remove toothpicks, slice and serve.  Spoon a little of the cooking juices over the top, if desired.
4 Servings

The recipe said to cook the chicken breasts in the skillet after rolling them up, turning them occasionally to get the chicken browned and cooked through.  I don't roll my chicken breasts up well enough to feel that I wouldn't just lose all the filling if I tried that.  There is a lot of filling!  So I just placed my chicken in a baking dish and baked it.  Super simple, which I love.

The skillet-cooked breasts might get a little browner, but you'll notice that my toothpicks came loose on at least one of the chicken breasts, so I probably would have had filling everywhere.  It probably would have tasted just as good, though.

I'll definitely be using this filling again.  (I'm kind of obsessed with spinach right now)  I'm also a dark meat chicken kinda gal, but these stuffed chicken breasts turn out really moist and flavorful.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cranberry Gingerbread Loaf

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Hun... What's for Dinner? a blog full of recipes inspired by the best recipes from magazines, cookbooks and the web.  Cindy is a stay-at-home mom of two adorable kids.  She married a professional chef thinking he'd be the one doing the cooking in their relationship.  When that didn't pan out, Cindy became an excellent cook in her own right and has even won some cooking and baking contests and been published in several cookbooks.  No wonder I had such a hard time choosing a recipe from her blog!

Here are a few of the recipes that caught my eye:
There were more, but I just had to stop myself from looking.  I'm sure you know how that is.  I finally decided on this Cranberry Gingerbread Loaf because I just can't resist anything with cranberries.

Cindy made this for something called the Crazy Ingredient Challenge, which sounds like a lot of fun.  She's also got something called Simple Supper Tuesday going on every week which is a round-up of, you guessed it, simple recipes. I will definitely have to be checking that out again!

Cranberry Gingerbread Loaf
from Hun... What's for Dinner

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/2 cups flour, divided (part white wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease a loaf pan, or line with parchment paper (making sure there is plenty hanging over the edges).
  2. In a bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, brown sugar and boiling water. Let mixture cool to room temperature and then mix in the egg.
  3. Combine 2-1/4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix into wet ingredients until just combined.  Toss the cranberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and gently fold them into the batter.
  4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes; until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.

Cindy's recipe called for 2 T of powdered sugar dusted on the top, but I used a little less than 1 T.  After that it was just going everywhere and making a mess.  It really does look pretty, but I think next time I'm going to sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on top of the loaf before baking and see how that turns out.

I really loved this loaf.  Is it breakfast?  Bread?  Dessert?  A snack?  I'd say all of the above!  Seriously, really good - great flavor, nice texture, and the tart bites of cranberry really make it special.  Nothing crazy about cranberries and gingerbread together.  The flavors are perfect!  I will definitely be making this again.  My husband wasn't a huge fan of the gingerbread spices, but that just means more for me.  Every time.

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