Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spiced Bran Muffins

Baked Goods ... yum!!! Baked goods have always been a weakness of mine since I was a little girl. As a teenager I worked at the best Italian bakery in the town I grew up in, our master baker was trained by the famous "Mike" of Mike's Pastry in the North End of Boston ... so you can only imagine what yumminess that was baked daily and eaten daily by myself and all my co-workers. So as I got older I find I am still drawn to bakeries all the goodness that comes out of them, weather healthy or not. And that is where these spiced bran muffins come into play.

I think I have mentioned before that I am an avid reader of Real Simple Magazine, Daily Thoughts, and Weekly Recipes. Everyday I eagerly await for my email to come in and see what Real Simple is delivering me. The recipes though seem to only come once a week ... but when they come I think of when I can make it, who I want to make it for and how can I alter this recipe and make it all my own.
Then this recipe came, Spiced Bran Muffins, I was so excited about making muffins that are 262 calories and have 3g of fiber per muffin. I have just found healthy baked goods ... these are muffins I had to make.
This is what I did ...

1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup currants (or raisins)

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In a second bowl beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high until smooth. Add the eggs and beat to combine. Add the yogurt and molasses and beat to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Fold in the currants.

Spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Serve with butter or jam, if desired . YUM!!!

Of course there are ways to make this recipe gluten-free and even lactose free, this time not too much changing. When I do I will update this post and what was changed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans are a staple in my house ... they have been since I was a kid right through married life. There is something about baked beans that is not only comforting but also very filling, and can compliment more dishes that you can shake a stick at. Think about it beans go with everything you BBQ on the grill ... as well as our personal favorite blackened seafood.

My husband and I were talking just recently about summertime food and baked beans came up, and in his usual fashion asked if I could make some home-made beans. I had always tried home-made beans when someone else made them ... but they were always watery and runny, they missed that thick pasty consistency that you can get out of a can (I cannot believe I just mentioned "a can"). That is what I craved out of a home-made version but had no idea how to make them.

I started to search the Internet (which is what I usually do when I am given a challenge) ... and found many, many, many Boston Baked Beans recipes, some stove-top, some oven, and some crock-pot. Crock-pot was the cooking method I wanted to use, especially in the summertime since it does not give off as much heat as the oven or stove-top.

This is what I did ...

1 bag of dried navy beans
5 small slices of salt pork
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Arrange the beans in the crock-pot by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with salt pork and onion.

In a saucepan, combine molasses, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Simmer on Low for 6-8 hours, until beans are tender.

If you find it is to salty, add more brown sugar one tablespoon at a time, till you reach the right flavor.


The nice thing about beans is that they keep very well in the in fridge, in "Tupperware" or some kind. Like most things that are made in the crock-pot these beans will only get better and better ever day they sit and gather more flavor.

I wonder what we will eat with beans tomorrow???