Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Day, Another Way

Since making these bran muffins and being the only one eating them, I feel like they are breeding in my fridge.  I eat one and the pile does not appear to diminish.  I eat another.  Still a heap there.

I made these as a solution to leftovers.  What was I thinking? I should have known better, but I have to keep plugging healthy foods as inconspicuously as possible.  Yet, if they won't eat bran cereal, they still won't eat bran muffins.  Even when the identities of all essential ingredients are not fully disclosed (as  I like to selectively label my concoctions in hopes of a well received outcome).  Wishful thinking.

No matter how I disguise things sometimes, the true identity is revealed by the palate.  I tried.  I called them banana muffins.  I called them cinnamon muffins.  I implored each family member to taste and see for themselves how scrumptious and moist they are.

Two tasted and revolted against the bran-ish aspect.  Two drew battle lines and warned me not to cross it armed with bran-banana-cinnamon-whatever-I call-them-at-the-moment-to-disguise-the-icky-stuff-in-them muffins or they would retaliate.  Actually, they ran away as I drew near.  They all chose to deprive themselves of these healthy and tasty little brown bundles.

I am left to my limited culinary devices to figure other serving ideas.  Because they really are quite good!

 Voila, strawberry brancake.
It's what's for breakfast.


You could do this with any muffin batch.

Have a go at it.  You will love it.

I still can't get my kids to touch it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Banana Bran Mishap Muffins

These warm, hardy muffins were actually born from a failed banana ice cream attempt.  Not sure what happened there, but when I pureed my frozen bananas and tasted the "ice cream," I wanted to spit it out in the sink. It was just plain awful.  So I added some vanilla.  Gross.  Added some cocoa powder.  Still gross.  What a waste of yummy cocoa powder.   I try, though am not always but I truly try, to be a good steward with money, goods, materials, food, etc. as I see them as blessings and provision.  Therefore, I needed to figure another way to use the ice yuck rather than feed five bananas to the trash.

As school is almost back in session, I decided to clean out my cabinets and reorganize and restock for the morning melee which will soon resume in my kitchen every weekday morning at 6:15 for another ten month season.

After a very long steamy summer I just knew I would behold lots of goodies in there.  Nutri-grain bars smushed to planks, opened granola packs with half of the contents spilled out and what remained soft and stale, several cereal-ends in bags (many of which are the same exact kind), one-third full crunchy chip bags now spongy stuffed into corners, and some other fossilized snack relics.

It was a gold mine of half-eaten and soggy treasures.  Some of the cereal that wasn't chewy I combined and returned to the shelf.  Some protein bars I remolded to closely resemble their original rectangular shape.  And some of the open granola packs I can crush to mix with yogurt.  But, the large box of bran flakes which was consuming much needed space would have to go.  They had been waiting politely and patiently for the chance to be picked to fill a hungry belly. They weren't asking for much, just for someone to show them a little love.  Even one bowl would have made them ever so happy.  Yet, arm reach after arm reach, grope after grope, they were bypassed, and quite frankly, intentionally avoided by sugar-seeking cereal mongers.  Alas, they would be evicted from the cabinet.

So what was I to do with a container of banana ice yuck and a box of bran flakes (the good ones that cost a lot - Grain Berry)?  Why, marry them in a ceremonial mixing bowl, and make a pile of little muffin babies, of course.

This guy begged to be munched down first.  Isn't there always one in every family that simply has to be first?

Embellish with jam, blueberry-lime was my choice, and a pat of butter if you would like.

This banana ice cream mishap made pretty delicious bran muffins.

1 C whole wheat flour
1 C flour
4 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1 3/4 C pureed (or super smashed) bananas
3 C bran flakes
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C honey
1 C fat free milk
1 Egg
1 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tsp cinnamon

Grease tins.  Fill.  Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes.  Makes a dozen muffins.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beside Still Waters

I think too much.  I think, think, think, think, think.  Then I think and think and think.  Are you thinking on all that thinking yet?

Sometimes its pondering.  Sometimes its wondering.  Sometimes its analyzing.  I simply always have thought, think, thunk.

This is both the proverbial blessing and curse.  I think to develop understanding, knowledge and hopefully wisdom.

However, my thinking can become chaos in my mind, and that causes physical turbulence.  Then the good has turned to not so good, no matter the original intention.

As I walked by the lake, I glanced across the very picturesque waterscape.  Completely smooth.  As still and glossy as a sheet of glass.  Reflective of the beauty regardless of the bustle around and within it.  I was instantly reminded that I do not have to think so much or so hard.  My mind can be still.

It is not my job to think everything through to a wonderful outcome of which I am neither capable of producing nor responsible for creating.

These waters, with all the liveliness jostling below were resting in complete stillness on the surface.

That is often how I feel.  Whirling inside but a picture of calm outside.

I don't want to be a picture.

I want to be as calm inside as the surface projects me to be.

I want to be still despite any underlying or surrounding circumstances.

God is God and I am just me.

He leads me beside still waters.

 It's up to me whether I reap the peace from Him or think my way out of it.

I choose the serenity He gives knowing and trusting He is God.

Now, to think on this lovely choice...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summery Strawberry Salad

I actually broke out a long sleeve shirt yesterday.  It felt so thick and confining as they usually do after months of thinner short sleeves.  Mornings have been very chilly, the days and evenings cooling steadily, and so I keep cooing 'its still summer, its till sumer' in hopes of serenading the season back for another go round (maybe not in the nineties, but eighties are welcome).  

Here is a summery salad I made for a deck lunch.  It has that warm weather appeal with the bright fresh colors that sprout from the season.

Fresh sliced strawberries on a bed of fresh baby spinach and romaine.  Dotted with chopped walnuts and layered in grilled chicken.  Fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped add a huge flavor dimension.

Dressed with only a shake of salt and pepper, misted with olive oil and splashed with fresh lemon juice.  The flavors of the ingredients stand on their own and need no further enhancement.

Summer deliciousness especially under a beaming sun on a lounge chair.

I could eat this aaaall daaay looong.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pizza Pizza

The recipe for this pizza is perfect for making with kids.  They like to peruse my books and find something that is not too complicated and which they can literally dig their hands into.  Because its just not fun to cook if you can get all sloppy and sloshy with the food.

Choose something yummy and hands-on.

Measure and dump.

Mix and blend (with fingers of course).

Swipe the baking sheet so not a morsel sticks.

Roll out the dough.

Slather on sauce.

Sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
We chose to do a traditional pepperoni with ham and a Hawaiin style pizza with pineapple and ham.

Bake until golden.

Serve it up to a very big grin laden kid whose eyes are like the rings of pineapple in anticipation.
Then to everyone else.

Recipe adapted from
Gran's Kitchen

2 C flour
1 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
1 C milk

Combine all ingredients except butter which is used to coat pan.  Place on baking sheet and roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Add toppings and bake at 400 degrees for approx 20 minutes.

Tip:  My baking sheet was too deep so I had to roll dough out with a thick glass for first pizza.  I do NOT recommend this as the glass could break under the pressure.  I did the pressing and let the kids "spread" the dough after it was all set so they did not have to apply any pressure.  The dough is thick and takes some pushing to spread. Use a shallow pan or pizza stone.