Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Posts tagged “Breakfast

Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Hello!  I’m sorry I’m so bad at blogging these days.

I want you to know how much I love fall!  I fell like I can’t properly bake anything in the summer because it’s just too hot, but as soon as the leaves change colour and the temperature drops, I can’t help BUT be in my kitchen.  My family came down from Canada and we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with them.  We also went down to Arches National Park in Moab.  It wasn’t fall there…

Anyways, I was so excited when they all left and I realized I had leftover cranberries… AND a brand new recipe to try out.  These Cranberry Walnut Muffins are for grow-up tastes because the cranberries can be a bit sour, but I thought they were wonderful.

I’m not usually a huge fan of nuts, but they were good here.  I have to admit that when I was picking up the walnuts at the store, I looked at them and then at the much more expensive pecans and couldn’t tell the difference between the two.  I mean, I’ve always known that there were nuts called walnuts and other nuts called pecans… but really… what’s the difference?  I think I’ll stick with the cheap ones!  That being said, I’m sure you could substitute pecans in this recipe if you, unlike me, care and know the difference between the two.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins (adapted from “The Family Baker”)

  • 1 large egg at room temp.
  • 1 cup orange or peach yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp orange extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the over to 400F.  Grease muffin cups (or use the paper muffin cups).

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, sugar, butter, orange extract and zest.  Sift in the dry ingredients.  Stir JUST to blend.  Gradually stir in the cranberries and nuts.

3. Divide the batter among twelve muffin cups.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake for 20-22 min.  Cool in the pans for 15 min. then finish cooling on a wire rack.

* Wheat Cranberry Walnut Muffins: Substitute  1 cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.

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Arroz Con Leche

A few years ago, I spent a year and a half in Southern California serving a mission for my Church. I spend that time with the Hispanic population in the area, and came to love their culinary traditions (well, some of them).
I could never quite fall in love with Menudo (a traditional soup made from cow stomach) or anything that involved tongue – but this sweet rice and milk dessert gained a favourable place on my palate. I love the thick, hearty porridge-like consistency and the way the raisins soften as though they are slowly transforming back into grapes.

Rice is such a huge staple in Latin American cooking, but that doesn’t make it easy for us gringos to get right. Growing up, I remember joking about the fact that Mum’s rice was usually soupy. And perhaps to counteract that, my first endeavors to make rice resulted in hard, crunchy grains that my husband and I both pretended were fluffy and, well, cooked… Arroz con Leche scared me for a long time. My food cravings eventually overcame my food fears, and, I’m happy to report it turned out well!

Arroz Con Leche (rice with milk)
– 1/2 cup rice (short-medium grain)
– 4 cups milk
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 raisins
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tbsp butter
– ground cinnamon to garnish

In a saucepan, combine rice, milk and cinnamon stick. Heat on medium-high just until milk starts to boil. Lower heat to low and let mixture simmer, stirring often (scraping sides and bottom of pot) for 45 min. Add the sugar and the raisins and continue cooking on low for another 15 min. Stir in the vanilla and the butter and cook another 5 min. Garnish with ground cinnamon. Serve hot or cold.

I like to eat some when it’s hot, refrigerate the rest and eat it cold the next morning for breakfast. Sabe muy rico!


Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

When I was little, to my mum’s chagrin, my culinary tastes weren’t quite as developed as they are now.  My hatred extended from onions and mushrooms (I haven’t quite got over my mushroom aversion yet) to milk, and I think even sporadically through my childhood, ice cream.   I was difficult to feed.  Needless to say zucchini was a long-time resident on my personal food blacklist.

While the delicate and subtle flavour that zucchini’s emit rarely penetrated my palette, I think I rather hated the idea of the zucchini: a long, green vegetable an oddly spongy texture. Yuck.

Imagine my surprise when Mum produced a delicious smelling, moist chocolaty loaf that tasted just like chocolate cake but had a foundation of nothing other than the formidable legume?  My surprise was great indeed.  I’m sure I tried to hate the loaf solely on principle, but chocolate has a way of over-powering most principles (at least for me anyways).

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf:

  • 1 cup chopped zucchini (mine was pretty mushy…)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (or you can use oil if you want to)
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cups sugar (use less if you use sweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp backing powder

In a blender, blend zucchini, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Pour the zucchini mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula (if you use apple sauce instead of the traditional oil, the less you have to stir it to combine the batter, the better).  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (9×5) and bake at 325F for 50 to 60 minutes.  Cool on a rack.