Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Woops" Cooking or Muffins vs. Cake

I do a lot of what I call "woops" cooking. As in, "woops. I'd better use this before it goes bad."

Now I'm not saying that I serve anything that's actually gone bad. Really. I'm talking about the celery that's not so crunchy anymore, the carrots that have gotten a little bendy. You know what I'm talking about.

Today I wanted to make muffins & I looked in the fruit bowl for inspiration. There were 4 little mackintosh apples that would have been crisper a couple of days ago. All I'm saying.

I turned them into apple muffins:

For those of you who may not watch hours & hours of Food Network like I do, Ellie Krieger has a show with healthy recipes. Works for me. Every recipe doesn't have to start with 2 sticks of butter or a pound of bacon. (although that does pretty much guarantee deliciousness.)

So when I saw Ellie Krieger's name on the recipe I thought, "she'll have a good muffin recipe that I'll like." But no. Not quite.

Let's talk about muffins. & the difference between muffins and cake.
Muffins are supposed to be a semi-healthy breakfast option. Cake is dessert. Are you with me so far?

In my world a muffin is not super sweet. It doesn't have a lot of sugar. For example, check the corn muffin recipe on the Quaker box.

Quaker Yellow Cornmeal 1.8 lb. - 6 Unit Pack12 muffins: 1/4 cup of sugar.

These muffins: 3/4+ cup of sugar. If you've added a cup of sugar you've just made cake. No matter what you call it.

Nothing wrong with cake. I love cake. I just try not to have it for breakfast.

OK. Rant over. Thanks for listening.

So if you want muffins healthy/delicious style try them with less sugar. I recommend 1/4 cup of honey.

& if you like them cake style I'm sure this recipe is still delicious. But either way: Apple muffins!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crock Pot Conversion

It's 8:00 a.m. It's supposed to snow today. (In fact, it's already an epic storm, a "snowpocalypse" farther down the east coast.) Time to try out my new crock pot!

I missed the original crock pot trend in the 70's and was missing it again this time around until a friend at work got a beautiful new one & passed her gently used one on to me. So with snow in today's forecast I just dumped 5 ingredients into the cooker, turned it on & now I get what it's all about. Could this be easier? I don't think so.

I'm making "drip beef" from the Pioneer Woman.

These "drip beef" recipes look like French dip and Italian beef sandwiches to me.

I'm going with the Italian-style:

Italian Beef

4 lb. chuck roast
12 oz. jar of pepperoncini (including all the juice)
3-4 T Italian seasoning
28 oz. can of low sodium beef broth
salt & pepper
(I left out the salt because the pepperoncini are salty enough for me.)

Dump it all in the slow cooker & cook on low till the beef falls apart.
Serve on really good Italian rolls. Dip in sauce.

That's it. I get it now. Now I get it. Slow cookers forever!
Looking forward to beef happiness this afternoon. & maybe some snow.