Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Posts tagged “Walnuts

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.


Ranger Cookies

Yesterday, I gleefully pulled Harry Potter #2 AND #5 off the shelf at my local library.  I was so excited to find these two books available.  Don’t worry that #1, 3 or 4 weren’t available.  I have read the series so many times now it doesn’t matter which book I jump into (it probably wouldn’t matter which chapter either…)  How many times is it okay to read the same book?  Your favourite book?  Seven?

Anyways, the whole situation got me thinking about my cooking philosophy.  I often scour cookbooks in search of new recipes to try and new things to make.  When I find something that the husband and I love, I tend to file the recipe away the same as I do for the mediocre ones I come across.  To me, food isn’t like books.  I really struggle to re-make things!  I think it’s a disease, really.

I made the BEST ranger cookies ever a few days ago.  I need to remember to treat this recipe like one of my favourite books.  I need to make it again.  These cookies were gooey in the middle and crispy around the edges.  The brown sugar and butter gave them a caramel flavour.  And, unlike the last Ranger Cookie recipe I failed with, they were FLAT!  Maybe you don’t like your cookies flat, but that’s how mum’s always were and that’s how I think they should be.  (If you don’t want flat cookie – the horror – refrigerate your batter between uses and avoid putting your batter on hot cookie sheets.)

Ranger Cookies (Makes 4 dozen… don’t worry, they are THAT good.  You’ll eat them all)

  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ chopped walnuts

*Instead of the raisins, coconut and nuts, feel free to put in whatever you like.

Cream the butter.  Add the sugars and cream.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Drop batter onto ungreased baking sheets.  Cook for 8-10 minutes at 375F.  Let sit for 1 minute, then remove them to cooling racks.

I took my out of the oven when the middles were still uncooked.  They firmed up on the cooling racks.


Broccoli Pesto

Ever since I saw a recipe for this on stoveria.blogspot.com, I’ve been dying to make it.  Staring into the green goo, my husband was a little bit skeptical, but as soon as he realized the pesto had cheese in it, he was happy.  I was happy too.  Broccoli pesto makes everyone happy apparently.

Broccoli Pesto (adapted from stoveria.blogspot.com)

  • 1 head of broccoli, steamed
  • 1/2 chopped walnuts (or blanched almonds, or I suppose if you wanted to spend $19.38/lb, you could use pine nuts too!)
  • 1/2 shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese (the texture is about the same, but the price is vastly different, at least in cities where Mexican ingredients abound)
  • 1 lb cooked pasta, with the starchy water reserved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the broccoli, nuts, and cheeses.  Pulse until the sauce is thick and combined.  Add the oil and seasonings.  Combine.  Pour over warm pasta and using a bit of the starchy water, combine until the pesto is creamy.