Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do you know the Muffin Man?

Saturday was a baking day for me. I made Best Ever Muffins. (That's the title.) I got the recipe from my hometown church's cookbook. Shout to Holy Family Catholic Church in Emmetsburg! The recipe is fairly simple. I had been wanting to make muffins for quite awhile so we'd have something different to eat in the morning. Lately my breakfast has consisted of a mandarin orange and string cheese. While that's nutritious, it gets a little boring. Muffins are usually healthy and quick. These muffins were ridiculously easy to make:

Best Ever Muffins (courtesy of Diana Parisi)
1 3/4 C flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 well beaten egg
3/4 C milk
1/3 C oil or applesauce (I used oil because I didn't have a

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat egg; add milk. Pour
this mixture into bowl of dry ingredients. Stir quickly only until dry ingredients are moistened. DO NOT overmix. Bake at 400 degree preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. May add chocolate chips, fruit, etc. For variations, about 1/2 to 3/4 C each.

Easy, right? I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to sift the dry ingredients together. I also added blueberry craisins after mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. This recipe literally came together within 10 minutes and the best part is: it's delicious! It made about a dozen muffins, which for us is perfect. We each had one yesterday. I kept out two for tomorrow's breakfast and put the rest in the freezer. The crust is crunchy but the inside is very fluffy and light. And the blueberry craisins were a nice addition. Side note: I bought craisins, cherry craisins and blueberry craisins all for this recipe. I was that sure it would be good.

I also made bread with my bread maker.

I had planned to make whole wheat bread using the recipe from the bread maker's manual. No one tell my mom I didn't use her recipe. I will eventually but I'm still learning. And no one tell her that I bought bread flour by mistake. Friday I was standing in the baking aisle looking for whole wheat flour. I wanted the Gold Medal brand because I've used it before and it's usually not expensive. I saw Gold Medal all purpose flour and better for bread flour. There was another brand of whole wheat flour but it was over a dollar more than the Gold Medal flour. I didn't want to pay a lot for the flour. I checked the ingredients on the Better for Bread flour and it says: Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin (A B Vitamin), Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (A B Vitamin). I saw wheat flour and my brain stopped right there. I thought Gold Medal had changed the title of their whole wheat flour because there wasn't any on the shelf. I didn't figure out that I bought the wrong flour until yesterday. But I do plan on making bread quite a bit so the flour will still be used. On the side of the flour, it says that it can be used cup for cup for whole wheat and all purpose flour in recipes so I went ahead with the whole wheat recipe. And you know what? The bread still tastes good. It doesn't take like whole wheat bread; it doesn't take like white bread. But it's good. It's a little darker than your average white bread because it contains molasses.
I also wanted to make granola. My older sister sent me the recipe and it looks good. But I forgot about it. I might make it this afternoon or I might save it for next weekend.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shaking Up The Menu

I'm changing how I do my menu plan. It's a small change but one that I think will provide us with better nutrition. Each week, I'm going to try to have 2 chicken meals, 2 beef meals and 1 vegetarian meal. The other 2 meals can be whatever we want. I had noticed that if our menu was heavy on chicken or beef we would get bored half-way through the week and not eat it. Steve and I sat down yesterday with some cookbooks and wrote down meal ideas. Coming up with 16 meals is not easy and I had been slacking on the grocery list part when I was making the menu by myself. (Steve would be at work while I making the menu and grocery list.) I'm hoping that by bringing Steve back into the mix, I'll get a more accurate grocery list. Our list of meals so far is this:
Beef Meals:
tostada casserole
Runza casserole

Chicken Meals:
crockpot buffalo chicken sandwiches
chicken pasta alfredo (I forgot to buy alfredo sauce for this week!)

Vegetarian Meals:
baked apple French toast

Other Meals:
biscuits and gravy
left-overs x2
sub sandwiches
hot dogs

I need 2 more chicken meals and 1 more vegetarian meal. I also need to find recipes for the biscuits and gravy and the dumplings. We're not going grocery shopping until Friday or Saturday so we have plenty of time to figure it out. We also started a list of sides we'd like to include on the menu:
glazed carrots
fried broccoli

I'm also trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. It's easier said than done but I'm hoping that by writing it here, I'll have more motivation to actually do it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My birthday present

My birthday was this past Sunday. I had a great day of relaxing. Steve took me out for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. He had been hinting about my birthday present for awhile. He ordered it online at but it wasn't supposed to arrive until the 12th. It actually arrived on the 11th but the office for our apartment complex was closed when I got home and Steve was at work. I did get to open it yesterday. He got me a bread maker! I had been wanting one for awhile and figured I would buy one at a thrift store or a garage sale. I am so excited! My sister had given me a mix for Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread which will be the first type of bread I make with the machine. The mix has bread maker instructions on the back so I'm confident it will turn out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Re-cap

A couple weeks ago, I posted my menu. It was the menu for right after Christmas. As usual, we didn't eat everything on the menu but we had a good reason. An epic flu hit my grandma's house and we ended up staying a day longer than planned. (I couldn't ride in a car the day we were supposed to go back.) The items that we did not eat were: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, Boneless Beef Ribs, Vegetarian Chili and Chicken Noodle soup. Some of these made their way onto our current menu; others did not. The Crockpot cheesy chicken spaghetti did not make its way onto our current menu. Our previous menu was my second attempt for it. We've had it in the past and it tastes good but if something is on two menus in a row and we don't eat it, I figure we don't really want it and move on. The beef ribs was a lack of planning on my part. I didn't have a recipe and thought I'd figure it out when the time came... I didn't and I was still feeling a little weak from the epic flu. I'm not sure why we didn't have the vegetarian chili but I put it back on the menu. Chicken Noodle soup was another instance of not planning ahead. I hadn't taken the chicken out of the freezer before Friday. We're supposed to have it today but once again, the chicken is still in the freezer. It will get made at some point this week.
We did have the ham and the ham soup. I didn't care for the soup. It's alright but not great so I threw away the recipe. I don't keep recipes that we're not crazy about. It took 11 hours in the Crockpot. And no, I'm not kidding, 11 hours. It ended up being more mush than soup. I did add more chicken broth to our left-overs but it was still weird when I took it to work for lunch.
A couple of things that went well were: ground beef with rice and Rotel tomatoes and the hodgepodge sloppy Joes. The ground beef with rice and Rotel tomatoes was so easy. Cook rice, brown ground beef and drain, open two cans of tomatoes (with green chilis) and there you go. It made me want to prep all of our veggies for the current menu plan in advance. I haven't done it yet but am going to. This will make it easier to make supper when I'm dead-tired from work. (Something that's happening more often.) The hodgepodge sloppy Joes were the best I've ever had. I found the recipe on and it is a Crockpot recipe.
In hind sight, the Crockpot was used three times which is still great. Steve did help cook through out the week which is great. I'm hoping we stick to our current menu plan a little better than we did our previous one.