Whole Wheat English Muffins

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I’m grateful to live in a world full of convenience when it comes to food. It’s not like it was for people in generations before me who had to do mostly everything by themselves when it came to putting a  meal on the table. I can admit that I take that for granted. These days, if you want something, you can usually go into the grocery store and buy it, or go to a restaurant or fast food joint to eat it. Such are the conveniences of living in a first world country.

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Breakfast foods are one of those things that I think most people would rather be able to buy in a store or restaurant rather than put in the effort to make themselves. Who can blame them, really? If you have to wake up and be at work by say 8 or 9 in the morning, you may be in the mood for pancakes or french toast but you’re probably not going to feel like waking up super early to make them and still be on time to your job-especially if you have kids to get ready for school on top of that. Sometimes I wake up in the morning craving a honey butter croissant- I’ve never woken up craving one and actually attempted to bake it before I had to be where I needed to be in the morning. Nor am I likely to ever try.

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I usually just resort to the ease of store bought or restaurant made method when I want something for breakfast. If I want bagels, I’ll buy a bagel. If I want pancakes, I’ll go to a restaurant to eat some. If I want a breakfast sandwich, I’ve always just went out to the store to buy the ingredients to put it together, or just picked one up through a drive-thru.

Until now, that is. This time was different.

Sometimes, I’ll be flipping through one of my numerous cookbooks and suddenly come across a recipe that at first glance, I may think: why on Earth would I make that for myself, when I know very well that I can go out and buy it at the store? What a waste of time.

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Then I’ll give it another glance and think, “Well…why not?”

That was what basically happened with these English Muffins. I bought this huge, beautiful cookbook called “Bake” that features regional recipes from around the world and was looking through it  to choose a recipe to make and I stumbled across this one. I’d never seen how they were made before  and when I saw that it looked relatively easy, I began thinking about giving it a go for myself. To make them a little healthier, I substituted whole wheat flour in the recipe and I think it gives the bread a nuttier, heartier flavor. Was it a necessary recipe to make? No, but it was a lot of fun.  It also made me decide to go a step further and throw together the ingredients for a full on breakfast sandwich- recipe is soon to follow.

I hope you guys don’t mind me bringing whole wheat English Muffins to this week’s Fiesta Friday- I wouldn’t mind if they just get pushed to the back of the table while you guys smash on some ‘less healthier’ options. I swear they taste great toasted and smeared with butter and jam though!

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Whole Wheat English Muffins

Recipe Courtesy of ‘Bake’ by Edward Gee

 CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4  tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • Fine cornmeal or polenta, for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for drying

 Directions

1. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

2. Add buttermilk and water and mix to combine. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth dough forms. If it is too wet, add a little flour. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for about 2 hours.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to thickness of 1/2 inch. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles, rerolling the trimmings, if necessary. Do not overwork the dough. Sprinkle the circles with fine cornmeal and let rest for 1 hour.

4. Put some oil into a flat griddle pan or heavy skillet and het over medium heat. Add the muffins to the pan, in batches, and cook on one side for about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Place the cooked muffins on some paper towels and cool before serving.

 

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Blueberry Crumble Muffins

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It’s the first day of May, and for me that’s really good news. Why? Well, besides the fact that Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Cinco De Mayo is coming up pretty soon ,  I’ve always just really, really liked the month of May a lot. My birthday is in September but if I had a choice of when I was born, it would be in the month of May. If I was engaged to be married (which I’m not, nor am I evenly remotely close to being), I would want my anniversary to be in the month of May. If I had any children (I definitely don’t, my 1 year old niece is plenty, k thanks), I would want at least one of them to be born in May. It may be random, but I’m just really fond of May.

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So, because May feels like a holiday to me, I decided to put up some random facts and trivia about it:

  • May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day.” (Ummm, okay. Never mind about the wedding part I said earlier. Eh, Just kidding, I don’t care about superstitious nursery rhymes.)
  • May 11th- Eat What You Want Day (Great ‘holiday’. I personally think that it should ‘celebrated’ every day, but that’s just me.)
  • The United Kingdom celebrates May as the National Smile Month. (Awww, that’s schweet).
  • Celebrities I love that were born in the month of May: George Clooney, Emilia Clarke, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Henry Cavill, Bono, Stevie Wonder, Ian McKellen, Jamie Oliver, John C. Reilly, Kim Fields, Dule Hill

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See, all that proves that May is just full of all kinds of goodness. What about you guys? Anyone have a birthday in May? How about a wedding anniversary? Any great May stories to share? I’m all ears.

Okay, now onto the food.

True story: I actually didn’t use to like blueberries. I know, right?  The heck was the matter with me? I can’t really explain it, but the taste of them just wasn’t my cup of tea, whether it was raw blueberries or the flavor of blueberry baked goods.

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Luckily, I got over all that foolishness and found out that blueberries were friggin delicious. They’re even better when made into baked goodies. Those, I just can’t get enough of. Like blueberry muffins; pretty much one of the best snacks, breakfasts and sweets ever, right?

This recipe is another one of the ones that I tried out when I first began cooking for myself. It was huge hit, and I’ve made them several times over the past few years with great results every time. These blueberry muffins aren’t your typical ones either; for one, they’re flavored with lemon zest, which is such a great flavor contrast to the sweetness of blueberries. the best part though, is the crumble streusel topping that’s baked on top. I could eat that stuff all on it’s own. I could also see these muffins made with other types of berries too- raspberry or blackberry would probably be just as good.

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Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Recipe Courtesy of Great American Baking

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Streusel

  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. For the muffins, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Place the blueberries in another medium bowl. Sprinkle the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Toss to coat the blueberries.

4 . Place eggs in a medium bowl and beat lightly. Add the sour cream, oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix well.

5. Pour the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Gently fold in the coated blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about half full.

6. For the streusel, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon zest and butter in a small bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter in the muffin cups.

7. Bake until lightly golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Blackberry Jam- Filled Muffins

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Hey guys. Let’s talk about forgetfulness for a few minutes. What are the types of things that we can forget?

I forget things when shopping at the grocery store (for some reason, it’s almost always the mouthwash. I ALWAYS forget to to buy the mouthwash. Don’t ask why, cause I don’t know).

Sometimes I forget to send in my monthly check for 1 of my latest student loan payments (which is actually really bad and you think I would’ve learned my lesson by now, but I think it’s an unconscious desire on my part to stick my tongue out at the Powers That Be that make education so ridiculously expensive these days).

I took Arabic as a second language in college for 3 years. Anyone who’s ever learned a foreign language outside of their native one knows that the key to getting really good is retention. It’s been a while since I was learning it 7 days a week and taking exams on it every two weeks or so and needless to say, I’ve forgotten more than a few things of what I learned of that lovely language. Don’t get me wrong, I can still read and write it phonetically, but my translation skills are very rusty.

I also forget to do laundry. And dishes.

….and who am I kidding? No one really forgets to do laundry and dishes, I just pretend to forget them sometimes because I don’t feel like doing them. Don’t act like you’ve never done it before.

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I’ve got a question for some of my fellow bloggers out there: am I the only one who will make a dish, take all the pictures in a photo shoot, and even eat all of the food, but then just set aside the actual post to put on ‘for later’ in favor of another post, the end up forgetting about it by mistake? I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one who does that. I’d feel kinda silly if I was, so please go ahead and tell me in the Comments section that it’s happened to you before. Seriously, tell me if you’ve done this before.

Why am I asking you this? Well, because that’s kinda what I did with this recipe. Do you all remember a few weeks ago when I made the scrumptious Blackberry Jam for the ‘Scandal’ series? If you don’t, or just weren’t following my blog when I posted it, go ahead and check it out, cause not only is it bomb.com, it’s also featured in this recipe that I may or may not have made a while ago and accidentally forgot to put up on the blog.

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But, if I had forgotten to do so entirely, it really would have been a shame. Because despite being extremely easy to make, these muffins are really quite good. For one, they’re bursting with delicious and lovely blackberry jam that provides the perfect balance between sweet and tart. What is really the unexpected hero of this recipe though, is the cinnamon that’s sprinkled on top. After the muffins are baked, it provides a kind of ‘crunchy’ texture to the soft muffins that just works really well.

You definitely don’t have to make jam from scratch to make these muffins (although I certainly won’t discourage you from doing so). A jarred jam of your choice would work just as well with these.

Note to self: don’t forget to post yummy recipes. Ever again.

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Blackberry Jam-Filled Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Great American Recipes

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup blackberry jam
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix the flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

3. Combine the milk, vegetable oil and egg with in a medium bowl.

4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring gently until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Fill the muffin cups halfway  with batter. Place 1 tsp jam in the center of the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the jam.

6. Combine the remaining sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over each muffin. Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm.

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Baked Corn Casserole

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Let’s talk side dishes, shall we?

They’re mainly meant to be the wind beneath the wings of the main course. They usually don’t take very much effort to put together. They’re usually some kind of vegetable or starch. They’re also meant to be the back-up just in case the main dish doesn’t quite fill you up all the way.

Side dishes in my family are kind of a big deal. Whether it’s for a holiday or special occasion, or just an ordinary dinner, we always take them pretty seriously, even to the point where they can be just as popular and in high demand as the main dish.  Plain, store-bought steamed veggies that have just been heated up in a microwave? Uh, no. That’s not gonna fly ’round these parts. I’m gonna need for you to step up your game.

Baked Corn1My grandparents have their own vegetable garden and for as long as I can remember, we’ve been eating their produce for side dishes. My grandma’s greens are unsurpassed in the entire history of cooking. Period. I could seriously eat a bowl of her cabbage greens and cornbread every.single.day.of.my.life. No joke. Ditto with her green beans. Because of her, I had no problem eating my vegetables growing up. Smothered cabbage with bacon is another family favorite of ours- mine taste good, but I’m also willing to admit that Ashley’s taste slightly better (I said SLIGHTLY Ash, don’t get a big head).  No one else really digs them, but I’m crazy about oven roasted brussel sprouts too. I also make a mean pot of barbecue baked beans for our cookouts. Don’t worry. Come Memorial Day, you guys will be getting that recipe.

Then there’s baked corn. We’ve been eating this as a staple side dish in my family for a pretty long time now. One of my mom’s co-workers introduced it to her and from the first, we were huge fans. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this dish yourselves- and if you’re not, then you’re certainly gonna be. Because it’s not only really good, it’s also incredibly easy and quick to make. Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and you can put them together in a real ‘Jiffy’.

*Rimshot*

I know. That was a really lame joke. Just try to bear with me here.

Baked Corn4So for those of you that have never had it before, Baked Corn is like a cross between a very moist cornbread, and a tender corn souffle. If you’ve ever had spoon bread, this is very close to that, only a little more spongy in texture. As I said before, it’s really very good. In addition, unlike when when cooking a souffle, you don’t have to worry about things like ice baths, or the casserole rising or falling once out of the oven. It’s almost embarrassing how simple this recipe really is. So have no fear beginner cook-letes. You’d be really hard pressed to mess it up.

I’m giving a very basic, straight-forward version of this recipe, but after you try it for the first time and decide you love it (and you will), I’d recommend any number of ways to take it to the next level, even elevating it beyond a mere ”side-dish’. For instance, I could definitely see adding crumbled, pre-cooked sausage, ham or bacon along with a slew of diced onions and peppers to make this a ‘main casserole dish’. The original recipe also includes cheese- we’re not huge cheese fans in my family, so I never include it, but if you are then feel free to throw it on top of yours in the last 15 or so minutes of baking.

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This is a really great dish not only for side dishes at dinner, but for a dish to pass at potlucks or picnics. It also tastes just as good cold as it does hot. I’ve never done it before, but I could easily see the casserole divided into muffin tins for individual portions as well- just be sure to lessen the baking time by about 15-20 minutes depending upon your oven.

Finally, for those looking to slightly ‘lighten’ this recipe up, that’s quite simple to do as well. The sour cream can be replaced with a plain Greek yogurt (I say Greek yogurt because it has a thicker consistency than regular that more closely mimics the sour cream.  Butter could be substituted for melted coconut oil, or even melted Earth Balance spread. I’m not going to promise you that it will taste the same as the original though. (because let’s face it, nothing competes with Butter. It’s a rule of nature, and who am I to argue with that?)

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Baked Corn Casserole

Recipe Adapted from Paula Deen

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, melted butter,  onion powder,  garlic powder and paprika.

3. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

4.  Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.