Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Banana Bran Muffins

These turned out to be quite tasty. I made a double batch and froze a bunch for an easy grab and go breakfast. I also added chocolate chips because I had a half a bag that needed to be used, and I love chocolate chips in breads. Maybe the chocolate chips made these extra delicious. I don't feel too bad about it because I'm getting my potassium and 3 grams of fiber from each muffin, which is pretty good if you ask me.

Banana Bran Muffins

From EatingWell: May/June 1997

1 dozen muffins | Active Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mashed banana, (2 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, or walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk egg, egg white and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add buttermilk, banana, bran, oil and vanilla and whisk until blended. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with nuts. Bake until tops spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool.


Per muffin : 197 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 18 mg Cholesterol; 33 g Carbohydrates; 4 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 251 mg Sodium; 188 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giant Cookie Cake

Our big little boy turned three yesterday. After showing him a few different options of cakes I could make him, he decided he liked the one made of giant cookies. Good choice, bud. This idea would be fun just to make the cookies w/out turning it into a cake... it ends up being A LOT of frosting.

Giant Cookie Cake
Serves 16

4 C. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C. light brown sugar
3/4 C. granulated sugar
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus two egg yolks
3/4 C. heavy cream
3 C. semi sweet chocolate chips
5 pkgs cream cheese, room temp
2 C. confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in chocolate chips.

For each of the 5 layers, drop one level cup batter onto center of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To make the circle even, trace an 8-inch plate or bowl on the underside of the paper. (Refrigerate unbaked dough.) Spread dough into a circle. Bake til edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Use spatula to reshape circle. Return to oven and bake til edges are golden brown, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack to cool. *There will be leftover dough

Mix cream cheese and sugar in clean mixing bowl. Spread onto 4 cookies. Stack cookies, placing unfrosted cookie on top. Refrigerate til frosting is set, at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours. Serve at room temp.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Lemon Cream Pasta with Veggies

I will always associate this dish with celebrating nephew Jonah's arrival, when we had it for Sunday dinner at Mase and Amanda's. Really, really delicious- and such a happy memory.

Lemon Cream Pasta with Veggies

1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 C. heavy cream
3 lemons
salt and pep
1 pound pasta of choice
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
1/2 C. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook just for a few seconds- not more than 30, or it will burn, and burnt garlic is so bitter and nasty. Add cream, zest and juice of two of the lemons, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Simmer sauce for about 20 minutes on medium-low.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 1 T. salt and pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Immediately add cream mixture and cook for about three minutes. Steam zucchs and squash, and add to the pasta. Toss in parmesan and tomatoes. Slice the last lemon and add a few slices to the pasta, to make it purty. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

* We've also made this with broccoli and it's yum too.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Cranberry Pancakes

We are LOVING our pumpkin pancake/waffle mix from TJ's. I was there a couple weeks back and this was their tasting sample. Knocked my socks off. If you don't have the mix, I am sure there are a number of simple recipes for pumpkin pancakes on the net.

Pumpkin Cranberry Pancakes

(This is more of a method than a recipe.)

Pumpkin pancake dry mix
egg, milk, and butter as box directs
fresh cranberries
real maple syrup
pecan halves

Prepare batter as box directs. Preheat griddle or skillet. Grease pan and pour batter by 1/4 cupfulls. Add cranberries to batter. When pancakes are dry round the edges and bubbles start to burst, flip and continue cooking on other side. Meanwhile, heat maple syrup in saucepan over low heat. Add pecans to syrup, warm through, and serve over finished pancakes. Perfect fall recipe!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cuties and a menu, 11-15-09

Happiness filled my heart when I came accross this box of clementines at Trader Joes last week. I proceeded to buy two boxes on the spot, and another at Costco later that day. There have been a couple times when I've been duped into buying a box of mandarins... and they're not the same. Gotta be clementines.

Here's what we're eating for dinner at our house this week:

Sun- spaghetti, garlic breadsticks, pizza salad, and Texas sheet cake

M- roast chicken, steamed broccoli and rice

T- mini hamburgers and glazed carrots

W- leftovers

Th- lemon fusilli pasta with zucchs, squash and tomatoes (recipe to come)

F- out (carbing up for Chris' bike race Sat. am)

Sat- cold cereal, most likely.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

My diet has been extremely lacking in the area of fresh food (mainly fruits & veggies) for the last few weeks. This week, I recommitted to eating more vegetables and decided that this soup would be a good start.

My notes:
  • I used fresh bell pepper, left out the onion, and used cheese tortellini.
  • It was a bit spicier than I thought it would be, but I still liked it. If you're planning to serve it to kids, I'd probably omit the crushed red pepper flake.
  • Next time I might opt to just use regular canned diced tomatoes, not fire roasted.
  • Other than that, it was a nice hearty soup that was delicious with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top and a nice piece of crusty bread for dipping.

Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

From EatingWell.com

Fresh or frozen ravioli cook in minutes and turn this light vegetable soup into a main course. Look for whole-wheat or whole-grain ravioli in the refrigerated or frozen section of the supermarket. Tortellini can be used instead of ravioli as well.

4 servings, about 2 cups each | Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix, thawed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 15-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or marjoram
  • 1 6- to 9-ounce package fresh or frozen cheese (or meat) ravioli, preferably whole-wheat
  • 2 cups diced zucchini, (about 2 medium)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pepper-onion mix, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, water and basil (or marjoram); bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add ravioli and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add zucchini; return to a boil. Cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper.


Per serving : 264 Calories; 9 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 28 mg Cholesterol; 38 g Carbohydrates; 11 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 763 mg Sodium; 762 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 fat

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Thin with broth before reheating, if desired.


For my husband's thirtieth birthday party, I made those pies in jars I had been dying over a few weeks back. They were lots of work but lots of fun. I made some apple, some peach, some pumpkin, and some blackberry, at Chris' request. I found the short squatty jars at Ace Hardware, since they were sold out on Amazon. Here is the blackberry pie recipe I used, adapted from a Blueberry pie I found in my ATK cookbook. This recipe makes one regular pie, follow the link to the pies in jars for instructions on making and baking those.

Blackberry Pie

6 cups blackberries
1 C. plus one T. sugar
4 T. potato starch
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. allspice
pinch nutmeg
1 recipe double crust pie dough
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss blackberries, 1 C. sugar, potato starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and spices together and let stand for 15 minutes. Place bottom crust into pie plate and roll out top crust to a 12 inch circle. Spread berries in the unbaked crust bottom and dot with butter. Lay top crust over berries, seal and crimp the edges, and cut four vent holes. brush crust with egg white and sprinkle with 1 T. of sugar. Place pie on baking sheet and in the oven, then lower the temp to 425. Bake til top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, reduce oven temp again to 375, and continue to bake til crust is deep golden brown, about 30-35 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack and cool before serving. You can store this pie at room temperature wrapped in foil for two days.

Double-crust Pie Dough

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
8 T. vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces and chilled
12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cun into small pieces and chilled
8 T. ice water

Process the flour, sugar and salt in a food proccesor til combined. Scatter shortening over top and process about ten seconds. Scatter butter over top and, using short pulses, process til it resembles coarse crumbs, about ten pulses. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle ice water over mixture. Stir and pressdough together with a rubber spatula. Divide dough into to even pieces and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

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