Friday, March 25, 2016

Oatmeal & Raisin Bran Muffins

This is truly a decadent muffin.  If you aren't watching your calories . . .this one is for you.  Each muffin is about 200 calories. . . .but man, oh man . . .delicious!!

Oatmeal and Raisin Bran Muffins
Yield:  12 Muffins

3 Cups Bran Flake Cereal
1 and 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Egg, Beaten
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Raisins

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line muffin tin with paper muffin liners.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, add the bran flake cereal and the buttermilk.  Stir.  Add in the oil, egg and honey.  Stir to combine.

Step 3:  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients:  flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and raisins.

Step 4:  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix to combine.

Step 5:  Disperse the batter among the muffin tin.  They will be full!  

Step 6:  Place the muffin tin into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.   

Friday, March 18, 2016

Oriental Slaw

This is one of my all-time favorite salads and is always potluck favorite.  Shredded cabbage, oriental flavors, onion, almonds and crunchy ramen noodles.  There are many versions of this salad - here is mine.  What makes it better than the other recipes?  I toast my almonds.  I use Nature's Seasoning + the seasoning packet from the ramen.  Those are just the first few differences.  Give it whirl - you will love it!

Oriental Slaw
Serves Several

1 Pkg Cabbage, Pre-Cut
1 Pkg Oriental Ramen Noodles
1/2 Sliced Almonds, Toasted
1/2 Cup Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Bunch (5-6) Green Onion, cleaned and sliced
2 Teaspoons Nature's Seasoning

Step 1:  In a large bowl, combine the seasoning packet from the ramen noodles along with the vinegar, oil, sugar and Nature's Seasoning.  Mix well.

Step 2:  Add to the bowl the cabbage, toasted almonds and green onion.  Stir well to combine and incorporate the dressing.

Step 3:  Crunch up the ramen noodles.  Add to the salad and stir.  Serve immediately.  OR, if you prefer to make ahead - prepare everything except this last step.  Reserve the noodles and add them to the salad right before serving it (unless you prefer soggy noodles . . .which are okay too).

Friday, March 11, 2016

Incredible Edible Sweet Potatoes

Love sweet potato fries?  Then you will love these!  Less fuss, same effect.  Delicious.  Sweet, creamy texture in the center and slightly crispy on the outside.  Buy extra when shopping for sweet potatoes - this recipe always disappears fast!  All you do is dice up the sweet potatoes and roast . . .and shebam!  Before you know it . . .happy family.  The hardest issue is just waiting for them to roast (approximately 1 hour baking time)!  These go great with pork chops, just sayin'.

Incredible Edible Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4-8 

1-2 Pounds of Sweet Potatoes
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with non-stick pan spray.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Wash the sweet potatoes.  Once washed - leave the skins on.  No need to peel!!  Cube them into approximately 1/2 inch cubes.  Place on the cookie sheet in a single layer.  Use two cookie sheets if you run out of room on the first cookie sheet!

Step 3: Once all potatoes are cubed, drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and then give them a quick toss with your hands.  No need to fully coat them in oil.  You just want the oil to get disbursed.

Step 4:  Time to roast up these babies!  Place in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then, stir them around/flip them.  Return to the oven and bake for another 30  minutes - until they are soft when pierced with a fork and slightly beginning to brown around the edges.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Cream Cheese Candies

These Cream Cheese Candies are the perfect confection to place in a candy dish or use as little favors for events.  They are easy to make, use only a few ingredients and are completely delightful.  They are sweet, melt in your mouth and highly addictive.  Some people refer to them as 'mints' . . .but they really aren't mints unless you flavor them with mint.  Regardless of the flavors you use, they will be a huge hit! And just think of the gift/favor possibilities . . .Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas . . .place them a cute mason jar with some ribbon and viola!  

In the picture below, I feature two flavors:  Saskatoon Berry (pink) and Almond (yellow).

Cream Cheese Candies
Serves Many

8 oz Cream Cheese
5 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Flavored Extract of Your Choice (Example:  Almond, Mint, Strawberry, or Cinnamon etc)
A few drops of Food Coloring (to coordinate with the flavor)
Waxed Paper or Parchment Paper
Granulated Sugar (optional)

Step 1:  In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and beat with a mixer until smooth.  This is an occasion where you may want to use your big mixer (like a Kitchenaid stand mixer).

Step 2:  Add the extract, food coloring and half of the powdered sugar to the bowl.  Beat again until well combined.  

Step 3:  Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Taste a small bit and adjust flavor and food dye as needed.

Step 4:  Line two large cookie pans or sheet pans with waxed paper or parchment paper.  Use your hands to take pinch off a small bit and shape into your desired shape.  A few ideas:

  • Roll into a small ball and then flatten with a fork (as pictured below).
  • Use a rubber/silicone candy mold - sprinkle the mold with a bit of granulated sugar first and then press the dough into the mold.  Remove the excess and pop the candy out onto the waxed paper.  I used a star mold for some that I made (see picture above)
  • Roll some dough into a long, rope.  Make it about the circumference of your pinkie finger.  Then, with a knife - cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Separate the pieces. These will look like tiny little pillows (not pictured).
As you are creating the shapes, place them onto the lined trays into a single layer to air dry.  You will want to let them dry for several hours (overnight on the counter works great!).  Or, you can expedite the drying process by placing them in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.  

Step 5:  To serve, place them in a candy dish and let guests help themselves :)  These are perfectly fine sitting out in the air for about 24 hours.  Or, package them up for gifts.    

For long-term storage - place them in an airtight container in the fridge and they will last about 2-3 weeks.  As well, they can also be frozen for later use (if doing so, place in container single layered, with waxed paper between the layers of candies before freezing).