Cherry Bran Muffins

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Here's my version of the Kellogg's All-Bran Muffins.

I'll eventually find a way to make this without the cereal (and it's high fructose corn syrup), but this method is very simple and nearly fool proof.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

  • 1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda (optional if your fruit is acidic)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups All-Bran
  • 1 1/2 cup Naked Juice Red Machine
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used Canola)
  • about 1 lb of Fresh Cherries

Toss the All-Bran and the Juice into a large mixing bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Mix the oil and egg in with the bran and juice until you get bored mixing (5 minutes or so). Add the dry ingredients and mix til it's combined. Do not over-mix now. Let the batter sit while you prepare the fruit.

Pit the cherries until you have about 1 cup. I just pull the stem off, and dig my thumbs into the stem end to tear them in half and toss the pit in the trash. Once you have about a cup of cherries, stir them evenly into the batter.

Divide the batter between 12 muffin pan cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the largest muffin comes out clean.

Not All My Recipes Work :(

I made a first attempt at a Lime Bundt Cake today and failed.  I'll give another recipe a shot  tomorrow.

If you ever think a recipe looks like it might be healthy because it lacks a significant amount of butter and/or cream, then you can also bet it will lack a significant amount of flavor.

Yummy Rice Pudding from Scratch

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Before you start, this is not a quick recipe, expect to spend the better part of an hour near the stove.

  • 3/4 or 1 cup uncooked white rice.
  • 2 cups milk (split, 1 1/2 now, 1/2 later)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cook the Rice:
Skip this step and use some left over rice if you have it. About 2-3 cups is good.
Boil twice the water as you have rice (2 cups of water for 1 cup rice). Add uncooked rice to the boiling water and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer til done. Stir occasionally and don't let it burn. The rice is done when all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

Making the Custard:
Combine rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy (15-20 mins, maybe more). Be very careful with the heat, you want to just barely scald the milk, but not make it taste bad. It's important that you stir frequently and don't let anything stick to the pan. Near the end you should stir continuously.

Test the mix by wiping the back of the spoon with your finger. If the line holds well (doesn't run) then you can proceed, if not cook a bit longer. This is a good time to taste it also.

Stir in the remaining milk and beaten egg[s]. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously. Take it off the stove and stir the vanilla.

Serving:
You can spoon into single serving bowls or a large dish. Serve warm or cold with a dash of cinnamon and cream or whipped cream if you like.

Options:
Use two eggs for a thicker pudding. Use other spices, nutmeg or anything else that you like. Some people (not me) like raisins in their pudding.

Our Chili Recipe

At work we recently had a Chili cook-off (no voting, just eating) and I had promised to share the recipe. Here it is:

  • #10 Can of tomatoes. This is the large "economy size".
  • #10 Can of Kidney beans. If you can't find that, 4 of the next largest cans works well.
  • 5 lbs of burger. Beef, turkey, sausage, whatever you can get cheap. I like half beef and turkey.
  • One each, Red, Yellow, and Green bell peppers (or more)
  • One (or two) Poblano peppers roasted (or not)
  • One Red Onion
  • 8 oz Chili powder (or more)
  • Garlic - Fresh or Powdered, to taste.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cumin, Smoked Paprika, or similar to taste.

The exact amounts aren't so important. This isn't rocket science and you can adjust the proportions to taste and according to what you have on hand.

Toss the tomatoes in a large stock pot and squish them with your hands. Some people like to use a spoon or potato masher to break them up but I find it great fun to squish between my fingers. Sitr in the beans and and powdered spices. Leave on low heat, stir occasionally.

Brown the burger in a couple of large frying pans. Salt and pepper to taste. While the meat is cooking, chop up the veggies (don't forget to stir the meat). When the meat is done, drain it and add to the stock pot.

Throw the veggies into the frying pan(s) and soften them up a little. You can use the hamburger grease, or discard it and use olive oil, they both taste good. I prefer to saute the onions first til they are clear, then add the peppers for a few minutes. Don't cook them too much or they will turn to mush. Add all the veggies to the stock pot and stir well.

Simmer the chili on low heat for an hour, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you want to spice it up a lot, take the meat of a habiñero pepper (just the meat, not any seeds) and puree it with a cup of the chili juice.

Let the whole mess cook on low (just barely bubbling) for a few hours. Stir occasionally. If some sticks to the bottom of the pan leave it there. Scraping it up could add a burnt flavor to the chili that isn't good. Serve when you can't resist the smell anymore. Chili gets better with age and it's at it's peak about 3-4 days later after it's been reheated a few times.

Home-made Pumpkin Pie

img_6031_processedMaking your own pie not only tastes better, it is just about as easy as buying one and slightly cheaper.

Preheat the oven to 425. It should be ready about the time we are. Be sure to take the pans out of the oven first if you're at your mom's and she likes to store things there.

Crust:
Buy some of the rolled crusts in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. Grease a 9" pie tin (the disposable aluminum ones work well) and gently form the crust to the inside of the pan. Pinch the edge of the crust into a scalloped shape so it hold it's form.

Custard:
2 cups pureed pumpkin. I usually use real pumpkin, but a 15oz can of puree will do in a pinch.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
A dash of salt
2 eggs (3 if small)

Toss all the custard parts in a bowl and mix well.

Spices:
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Allspice

Experiment with the spices. Some people also add nutmeg, cloves and other seasonal spices. You can also buy "Pumpkin Pie Spice" already mixed. Alternately, leave all the spices out and just sprinkle a lot of cinnamon on top of the cooled pies before serving.

Continue mixing the custard parts and add the spices slowly to avoid clumping. You should now have a thick soup. Pour the soupy mixture into the crust. Fill to about 1/4"-1/2" of the top and carefully put it in the oven.

Real Pumpkin:
To use real pumpkin just buy a couple small pie pumpkins. Slice them in half and remove all the stringy bits in the middle. Microwave in a covered pyrex dish with a little water until mushy. Let it cool enough to touch and scoop the meat out with a spoon. Puree the meat and use the same as the canned stuff.
Baking:
Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 and bake about 60 more minutes (+/- 15 min). The pie is done when a knife poke into the custard comes out mostly clean. The pie will firm up some as it cools. Let it sit for an hour (or more) and enjoy warm (or cold) with whipped cream.

Tips:

  • You can make 2 or 3 pies in the same time it takes to make one.
  • One 15oz can is close enough to 2 cups.
  • It is very hard to over-cook just don't burn the crust.
  • Even undercooked it still tasted great.

You can protect the crust for the last half of the baking by making a shield of tin foil (or buying one already formed at a kitchen store). Just be sure not to cover too much of the custard or it will take longer to bake.