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Raisin Walnut Bran Muffins

O.k. so most people don’t typically get excited about bran muffins, but I’ve always loved them. Unfortunately most of them are either too dense or too sweet for me. This recipe is one of the best one’s I’ve tried. It’s adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog.

2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups wheat bran

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups full fat plain yogurt (I used a mixture of Brown Cow’s cream top, and low fat)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup of raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

oven to 425F degrees, racks in the middle.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, wheat bran, salt, baking soda and sugar.

Beat together the yogurt, egg, honey, and butter in a second larger bowl. Add the dry ingredients and fold in until everything comes together. Fold in raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. Don’t overmix!

Line  the muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Fill each 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, until muffins are golden on top and cooked through.


Spicy Grilled Shrimp

We are so lucky to be able to get fresh local shrimp every week (in season of course). We’ve been getting shrimp, scallops, trigger fish, and grouper from our local farmers market almost every week this summer. This recipe is by far my favorite way to fix the shrimp.  It is adapted from Singapore Style Noodles with Shrimp.

1 pound shrimp (shelled and cleaned, tails on)

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp ground coriander

1/8 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Combine everything together in a big zip lock bag (so that you can flip it around a few times). Marinade for 30 minutes.  In the meantime, soak about 4 or 5 wooden skewers in water (so they don’t catch fire when you grill them).  Grill them over medium heat just a few minutes on each side, you don’t want to over cook shrimp.

That’s it. Pretty simple, and super yummy!

We typically have this with a big salad, some roasted potatoes, and some local fish (my favorite so far is trigger!).

Cranberry Pecan Bread

This super yummy bread recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart Baking Handbook recipe. If you don’t have her Baking Handbook yet, I would highly recommend it!

1 cup pecan pieces, toasted

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 envelope active dry yeast

10 ounces bread flour (about 2 cups)

5 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour  (about 1 cup)

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir yeast into the warm water to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Add the flours, salt and sugar, and mix on medium low speed until dough just comes together. Switch to the dough hook, and beat on medium speed about 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, mix in the cranberries and pecans. The dough will feel stiff.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with oil.  Turn the dough out onto a floured suface. Roll out the dough to a rectangle, about 13 x 10 inches, and about 1/2 inch thick.  Turn so the short side is facing you, fold 1/2 inch flaps inward on the shorter sides of the rectangle. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Gently roll back and forth to seal the seam. Transfer to the baking sheet, seam side down, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until loaf is a deep golden brown.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dip

This may be the best thing on the planet. The moment I tasted this yummy dip, I was in love. I think in the past week or so I’ve eaten it almost every day. It’s super yummy on apple slices, celery sticks, carrot sticks, toast, fingers, spoons, pretty much anything.  This recipe came from a sweet lady by the name of Fran Emory.  Fran’s Baked Goods will be a vendor at the Duke Farmer’s Market this coming season. So, if you happen to be at Duke on a Friday this spring and summer and need a yummy snack, she will be selling this dip partnered with some local produce.

This is the whole recipe, but I actually made it with about 1/2 cup brown sugar and it was still super yummy! Nutritionally  you get the healthy fats and protein from the peanut butter plus loads of beta carotene from the pumpkin. Perfect!

1 cup creamy peanut butter (Trader Joe’s is my favorite, just peanuts and salt)

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together till smooth.

It’s that easy!

This tasty meal is super easy to make, perfect for a busy workday.  It’s adapted from a recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, The Kitchn.

about 3 pounds pork shoulder (also called Boston Butt), trimmed of thick fat
Salt and pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large piece fresh ginger, about 3 or 4 inches long
1/2 bottle hoisin sauce (use about 7 ounces)

Rub the trimmed pork shoulder all over with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Put in the slow cooker. Add the smashed garlic cloves, tucking them around the pork. Peel and grate the ginger and put it in too. Pour the hoisin sauce over everything. Cover and cook on low for about 10 hours or overnight.

When finished and tender, use two large forks to shred the meat and mix it with the sauce.

Serve with warm whole wheat tortillas, peanut slaw (recipe below) and plenty of chili garlic sauce.

Peanut Slaw

1/2 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about one big handfuls unchopped)
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup light oil, like canola
1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Shred the cabbage very finely. Toss with the peanuts in a large bowl. Toss the chopped cilantro with the cabbage, seasoning very lightly with salt and pepper.

Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preferences of sweetness and saltiness.

Wheat Berry Salad with Figs

If you have never had wheat berries this is a great recipe to start with. Wheat berries are chewy, a bit nutty, and super yummy.

1 cup wheat berries
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice of one orange
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 2 lemons
1/4 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Put the wheat berries in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn the heat down to low and partially cover the pot. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the wheat berries are soft yet still chewy.

While the wheat berries are cooking, whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice, and honey together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the raisins and chopped figs. Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture.

When the wheat berries are tender enough to be chewed easily, drain them, then pour them into a large bowl with the celery. Toss with the olive oil and lemon zest. Add the vinegar and juice mixture, and all the fruit, and mix. Toss with the almonds, chopped parsley, and with the salt. Add pepper to taste.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

This yummy recipe is adapted from the High Flavor, Low Labor cookbook I’ve been so excited about lately. This cookbook is a must buy! The combination of the spicy Italian sausage and the sweet butternut squash is just perfect.

10-12 ounces small pasta (like penne or rotelle)

olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2  cup chicken broth

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the pasta, cook until tender. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking heat some olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic, and sausage. Saute about 4-5 minutes breaking up the sausage into small chunks. Add the squash and rosemary and saute 5 more minutes.

Add the chicken broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cover and simmer until squash is tender. Remove the cover and cook until the broth is almost all gone.

Add the pasta, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. MMM Good!

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