Apple Oat-Bran Muffins

Apple Oat-Bran Muffins

12 servings

Ingredients:
Butter or paper muffin cups
2 large green apples
2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
1 c unbleached white flour
1 1/4 c oat bran
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 12-ounce can apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 c water

Instructions:
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease muffin pan or line with muffin cups. Peel and core apples, chop roughly and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir pastry flour, white flour, oat bran, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. Add apple juice concentrate, apples, and enough water to make a light batter.

4. Mix enough to moisten. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake till lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.

5. Remove muffins from cups while hot.

Citrus Salad Dressing

Citrus Salad Dressing

4 Servings

This tart, sweet salad dressing is wonderful on dark, leafy salad greens like romaine or leaf lettuce tossed with orange segments, black olives and red onion slivers.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Whisk all the ingredients together or combine in a small jar and shake well. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Bean Dip with Horseradish

Bean Dip with Horseradish

8 Servings

If you’re using canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of excess salt.

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked beans (Cannellini, pinto or Great Northern)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 scallions, trimmed and minced
Salt to taste

Instructions:
1. Combine beans, olive oil, horseradish and scallions in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.

2. Season with salt to taste.

Inspiring Blog Nomination

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I am grateful to have been nominated for the Inspiring Blog Award by Forcing the Bloom. I may have been quiet with the posting lately but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading and Forcing the Bloom has some of the best ideas and examples for implementing Montessori at home.

So, first of all, thank you so much to Forcing the Bloom for nominating me!! Please check out her award post to learn about her and see her other nominations. Here are seven facts about myself…

  1. I’m having another baby! Yes, we will be having our second child in January.
  2. I’ve dug through all my recipes that I’ve got on my computer but not on my site and have scheduled them out so be prepared for tons of recipes.
  3. I finally started baking bread again in the house. I hope that I keep it up because it tastes soooo much better.
  4. I often struggle these days to keep up with the house (laundry, dishes, toys…).
  5. No one ever warned me that the second time you are pregnant it is harder! Seriously, I get super tired and can’t take a break while little man is asking to read the 20th book for the day or just dumped out the whole bucket of Lincoln logs.
  6. I’m so thankful for my husband who has been super supportive and even though he works a busy job, he still finds time to help out with my household tasks.
  7. I’m going to be a bit selfish and not pass on the award. I know so many awesome people who have already been given it and it’s more important to post this than procrastinate another week or two while I see who hasn’t received it that I’d want to pass it on to. Don’t hate me. It’s time for this pregnant mama to get some much needed rest.

Thanks again to Forcing the Bloom for the nomination because I do really appreciate it.

Recipe: Olive Bread

Olive Bread

Makes 2 Round Loaves
Flavorful olives stud this bread, making it moist and rich tasting. The bread s a great accompaniment to a simple green salad. You can
change the character of the loaf by using different types of olives, such as Gaeta, or by using a mixture of olives.

Ingredients:
3 packages (7 ½ tsp) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
2 cups bread flour
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and dusting the loaves
1/2 Tbs sea salt
2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Directions:

By Hand: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil, the flours, and the salt and stir in with your hand or a wooden spoon until a rough ball forms. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, dusting the work surface with the flour to keep it from sticking, 5 – 7 minutes.

By Stand Mixer: In the 5-qt (5-l) bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil, the flours, and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook, and knead on low speed. Add a little flour as needed for the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl after a few minutes. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl.

Sprinkle the olives over the top of the dough and knead them into the dough briefly and gently. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 – 1½ hours.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it briefly and gently to disperse the olives evenly. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut it in half. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes before shaping. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper. Shape each half of the dough into a tight round loaf by rotating the bread in a circular motion on the work surface between your hands. If any olives fall out while shaping, just tuck them back into the underside of the round. Put the loaves on the prepared pan, spacing them generously apart. Cover the loaves loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they double in size, 30 – 40 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 450′ F. Lightly dust the tops of the loaves with flour. Using a serrated knife, slash a half crescent from one end of the loaf to the other, just off-center. Put the pans into the oven and reduce the heat to 425′ F. Bake the breads until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 – 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for at least 45 minutes.

Variations:

Walnut Bread

Use walnut oil instead of olive oil, and substitute 2 c walnut pieces, toasted, for the olives.

Hazelnut-Fig Bread

Use hazelnut oil instead of olive oil. Plump 1 c chopped dried figs in hot water. Substitute 1 c skinned, toasted hazelnut (filbert) pieces for the olives. Drain the figs and add them when working the nuts into the dough.

Pine Nut – Asiago Bread

Substitute 1 c pine nuts, toasted, and 1 c coarsely shredded Asiago cheese for the olives.

Rosemary-Feta Olive Bread

Add 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary and 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper with the salt. Reduce olives to 1 c and chop them finer. Add 1 c crumbled feta cheese to the dough with the olives.

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Kitchen Tip: Cutting Chicken

There are many ways to cut chicken but for a minute here, lets talk about cutting raw chicken when prepping for a recipe. Most people will have the thawed chicken and cut it with a knife on a cutting board. WRONG! Here’s two easier ways to do it:

With a Knife

Cut your chicken while it is still partially frozen so it doesn’t slide around on you.

With Kitchen Shears

Yes, with the scissors in your knife block. You can cut your thawed raw chicken with the scissors in your knife block and the chicken will cut easily. I often will cut the chicken directly into the dish I’m working on (if it’s the time to put the chicken in).

With both of these methods, you can slice thinner chicken and not worry about cutting yourself when the slimy stuff moves on the cutting board. It also makes it quick to do a rough dice too.

Top 10 Recipes of All Time!

I love looking at my website stats and seeing what you are interested in. It’s amazing how some of my recipes have lived a quieter life while others seem to be constantly shared everywhere. So, here’s my top 10 Recipes of All Time!

  1. Recipe: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole
  2. Recipe: Rubin Sandwich
  3. Recipe: Meatloaf
  4. Recipe: Egg Flower Soup (Egg Drop Soup)
  5. Recipe: Louisiana Hot Link Soup
  6. Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  7. Recipe: Italian Salad Dressing
  8. Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
  9. Recipe: Pretzel Cheese Sauce
  10. Recipe: Tuna Casserole

Now I have many more recipes on my site than the ten listed here, but these are the most viewed recipes I’ve ever written (as of today).  So check one of these hits out or find another great recipe. Type any ingredient into the search bar at the top to discover recipes that work with what you have on hand. Have a wonderful day and eat well!