Cinnamon Muffin Cake – Recipe

On January 9 I posted about Muffin Cake. Today I am recreating that process of making muffins (ha ha!) on purpose.

2/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. milk

3 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

Put the sugar and eggs into a mixer bowl, then slowly increase speed and mix until smooth. Melt the butter and on slow speed drizzle the butter into the egg/sugar mixture. Mix well on a faster speed. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing well.

On a low speed add the dry sifted ingredients and mix gently until all the dry in incorporated into the milk/sugar/egg/butter mixture.

Butter a 13×9 pan, pour the batter evenly into the pan, pushing into all the corners using a silicone spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until done (cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean)

Muffin Cake

I was making muffins for breakfast yesterday morning and then something happened which made me hand the process off to my daughter. I was going to write the recipe down on an index card, but I got distracted by the other thing, and then my husband and I had to go to homedepot for the thing, so I wasn’t there when she put the recipe together. I’d gone over what I had done and what needed done (with her) but she goofed up and when I was there, I saw and flipped out (as I do when she’s got a great handle on what’s going on in the kitchen and goofs up anyhow.)

Finally I was able to tell her what to do to make it work (hopefully.) It did work, but it was almost a huge problem.

I had taken a recipe, and doubled it. I have showed my daughter how to double something, she has known for some years now, practiced it fine oft times. This time though, she took the ingredients and did everything right, except for the milk. She doubled the DOUBLED amount. Original amount was 1/2 cup. I don’t mess up that way (yes, other ways, not that way though!) and it’s part of what I need to do with all the children, go over measurements and fractions again, every so often.

So what did she end up doing? I had her put it into a 13×9 pan and bake it as a cake. It turned out well enough. We could do it on purpose, or not. Well, it’s something else she goofed up, I like to put cinnamon in the batter, and she added all that milk before the cinnamon, so she didn’t get the cinnamon into it, just sprinkled it on top, which isn’t the same effect when it’s baked as having it inside is. Even with it that way, it was good.

This isn’t a recipe. If I want to experiment I just might do so with this process and come up with a good recipe to post. Later of course.

Chocolate Syrup

Makes 1 Qt. chocolate syrup (4-cups)

1 1/2 cups Cocoa
2 3/4 cups Rapadura (experiment with more or less, or substitute another sweetener)
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 cups Spring Water (or filtered)
4 tsp. Vanilla (REAL vanilla, not imitation)

Combine everything except for the Spring Water and Vanilla into a medium saucepan. Gradually add the Spring Water to the dry mixture in the pan, stirring well, until smooth.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and once at the boiling stage allow the mixture to cook for at least 3 minutes (all the while stirring!) You can cook it longer if you prefer the syrup thicker. [I have used double the water once, and let it simmer for a long time to thicken, getting rid of the extra water, and it turned out really nice, without stirring it the whole time, though I’d not recommend doing this!]

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the Vanilla. Pour into a clean container that has a sealing lid. Like a wide-mouth Quart Jar (canning supplies) and allow to cool, uncovered. Once cool, cover well and refrigerate.

Use to make chocolate milk of whatever dark or light version is your preference. Also good as an ice cream topping. Yummy over homemade vanilla ice cream!

Maisy’s Cheeseburger Macaroni

The Meat Base

2 lbs. ground beef (organic, grass fed, if can find) (or 1 lb. if necessary)

1 large onion, diced fine

1 can/jar tomato paste (approx. 7 oz.)

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder

Dash of Tabasco Sauce (to taste)

In a large pot (Dutch Oven size) start the onions in some virgin olive oil over a medium heat, cook until beginning to turn translucent, then add the ground beef, chopping into small pieces, cook until browned. Add the tomato paste, cayenne pepper, and Ancho chili powder. Stir well. Add the Tabasco Sauce, taste, add more to desired level of flavor.

Meat filling

Combine this with the macaroni and cheese, see below.
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The Macaroni & Cheese Part

Cheese Sauce

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups milk

Tabasco sauce

1 box of elbow macaroni, cooked via package directions (make sure to add salt to the water!)

In sauce pan melt the butter and stir in the flour, mixing well. Allow to simmer (should be a loose paste, add more flour or butter as needed.) When the flour butter paste has cooked for at least a minute, add the milk, stirring well. On a medium-low heat bring the cream sauce up to heated through, it will thicken as it gets closer to the boiling point. Full thickening will occur when it boils. This is a thick sauce. Once the cream sauce is thickened, add the shredded cheddar cheese, stirring well until it’s melted and incorporated into the cream sauce. Add some Tabasco sauce to taste (I like a lot!)

Cheese Sauce

Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions, in a large pan or bowl combine the macaroni with the cheese sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese

Combine with the meat, just enough to mix them together a bit.

Macaroni and Cheese with Meat filling Oven (Optional)

If you want to, put the whole thing into an oven-able casserole then place into a 350-degree-F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until hot through-out.

Cheeseburger Mac

Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

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I made this for dinner last night, had the leftovers for lunch today. Everyone loved it and still loves it. It’s my own creation, based on the fact that it’s “out there” but this is my own concoction of it, including spice and sauces.

Posted from WordPress for Android on HTC EVO View

[Recipe and Post Updated on January 3, 2015 at 8:12pm]

Penne Pasta & other dishes

I had a box of Penne pasta I’d gotten at Costco a long time ago, never used any of it since I like the Capellini pasta with my homemade version of meat sauce often, and didn’t want to add another tomato sauce dish into the mix. (All my life I made meatballs to go with my sauce until sometime in the last 5 or so years I did it the “wrong” way and made meat sauce, and only have made meat sauce since, except for one time I forced myself to make meatballs in the last year. That’s a whole topic unto itself for sometime.)

I was out of Capellini though one night in the past couple of months and went looking for ideas online about something besides my normal meat sauce & what to do with Penne.

I found this: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/penne_pasta_with_meat_sauce/

That is similar to what I now make sometimes, using Penne, and my nearly 3 year old loves it the best on anything I make.

I don’t make that recipe, just use it for inspiration. I nearly make my regular sauce, but I leave out olives & put less basil & in it, and put Thyme in it (something I don’t put in my regular sauce ever) and it is good.

I serve my “spaghetti” meals with meat sauce in a separate dish from the pasta. The Penne though, I mix them in the dish.

There is another dish I make using medium noodles. I got the idea from a Cambell’s cook book I have. I’ve been making that more since Winter. Never before that. In the last month I took that idea and pared it with the Penne idea and made a third dish.

I know I don’t have any recipes written out in this post. My recipes are not cook book sort. I cook this kind of thing with my feelings (don’t know that that is the right way to say it.)

When I cook it’s for a larger than many households crowd. Hubby isn’t always here, but the rest of us are: 14 year old boy (eats more than anyone here), 11 year old girl (usually eats way more than me), 9 year old boy (spotty eating habits, getting more sometimes though), Toddler (eats a lot sometimes, not much others) then me and hubby.

I like to cook so that there is some left-over for snacks and lunches, at least 1 or 2 or 3 servings. Sometimes I sort of plan that and make a lot, and often in such a case there are no left-overs at all.

I’ve been stuck in the “what to make” rut a lot the last few years, so this post has progress showing for me. Less “hamburger crap” [ground beef stroganoff) –which is great. That nick name for the dish shows my feeling about it. It’s what I’ve called it for a long time around here, something that doesn’t sound very nice indeed.

Spelt Bread (food)

I’ve ignored my Sourdough cultures of late. I’ve taken to this process:

Day 1: Put 1 1/2 cups of whole grain spelt in a bowl, and mix into that 1 cup of yoghurt. Cover with plastic well, and sit that bowl on a shelf until sometime the next day, to make bread with it.

I continue to use my breadmachine to make bread, but don’t alway allow it to “make the bread” but use it to “make the dough”. My preference for the latter is starting to come alive.

Today that is what I did.

I take my bread machine pan and add 1-1/2 cups of white spelt flour, 2 tsps. salt, 1 egg, 2 Tbsps EVOO,  and yeast, and let the bread machine begin mixing, and add the spelt/yoghurt mixture on top of all that.

As the mixing/kneading process goes on I add more white spelt flour as needed to make a lovely non-sticky dough.

I can use more whole grain spelt in the yoghurt mixture, I just have settled on the 1-1/2 cups for now because my grain buckets are getting mighty low.

Anyhow, the breadmachine can take it all the way and does make a nice loaf, but as I did the other day, and also did do today (well, yesterday, Friday) I set it to only make dough, and when the time was up I put it in a bowl to rise again, then shaped it and put it in a bread pan to rise then bake.

No mistaking how much nicer it is when I let it rise as long as I deem right, and how lovely it is when slicing it later, no hole to contend with. 🙂

Now years ago I used to make a big batch of bread, several loaves of bread and I fell off of that wagon and do prefer to make one loaf at a time now, fresher bread, nothing frozen.

Of course this will have to change, something will have to change, very soon. My hubby will not make bread with any of my methods. I doubt he could actually follow any recipe that the breadmachine’s book has in it, and produce a sliceable as well as eat-able loaf. 😉

The whole deal about it is “soaking” though. Whole grain is better than white. A mixture is alright though. I do like a 3 to 1 mixture, or less. Soaking the whole grain makes for a finer loaf of bread, but it’s an artform, not a scientific recipe, and not something to write down and have hubby attempt when I am down with the end of my pregnancy, or post-pregnant with little newborn baby.

So I have to get more Spelt grain, and be sure and put some loaves into the freezer that they can use in June/July. Or else I know what will happen, icky bread from Publix … ugh.

Sourdough and Spelt, Soaking, bread (food)

I put my original sourdough culture in the fridge the other day, as well as a small batch of some from that which I had started to add only white spelt to. They both seemed to be going along fine, so into the fridge with them was my choice.

I was reading further in my sourdough book (by Ed Wood, and he basically says that Spelt is perfect for sourdough bread) and in the section that goes over different flours he gives directions under the Spelt section on how to convert any existing culture to “only spelt” over a period of several 8 hour cycles: Taking 1/4 cup of culture and adding 1 cup warm water and mixing well, then adding 1 cup of spelt, mixing well. Sit in warm place for 8 hours, do it again, then again, at least 4 times, or more.

I started doing that Spelt conversion on Wednesday night and so completed two FULL cycles by Thursday afternoon, but I did slack off — I’ll look at it in the morning to see what can be done.

Not liking to just “throw stuff away” I did take some of the original culture when I last fed it (directions are to discard a cup and then feed the water and flour) and put that in a different container and am adding spelt to it as well. I’m keeping it out, to see what happens, to see if it’s useful to use in bread or something soon. (I find I don’t like the fragrance of the Rye culture, so I’m just leaving that in the fridge to work with seldomly since it was my original, not wanting to lose a place to “start from” at this point.)

The other day I did add some of the Rye culture to a batch of pancakes I was making. I didn’t thin the batter to my desired texture before adding some baking soda, so the batter was thicker than I wanted, but it did make super rising pancakes that the children liked, they tasted different.

The pancake batter I make is one that I developed from NT between the Pancake recipe and the Waffle recipe. I put things together however I want to each time, but do it basically the same for either with good results, and this allows me to choose which cooking method at the drop of a hat anyhow. My main difference is “to separate the eggs or to not separate the eggs” which means I either put the whole eggs in or I separate them, put the yolks in first and whip up the egg whites and fold them in at the end. This also means I put more or less baking soda in, which is the last thing I do when Not Separating, and the second to last thing when Separating. I prefer to use some baking soda with the fluffy egg white addition, I just do not use as much as when I don’t use the egg white fluff for leavening.

The NT way for Pancakes, or any grain based thing, is to soak for 12 to 24 hours, with the best results obtained with 24 hours of soaking, and I agree. The best way to soak is with cultured things, to ferment the grain, which breaks down the properties of the grain to make them more digestable, and the texture is wonderful and it feels so good to eat those products (whole grains done this way are so filling yet not that over-full-bloat feeling, it’s a natural, “that really satisfies me” sort of thing.)

Sourdough does the same sort of thing, sort of, but it’s a basic “yeast replacement” thing. I’m toying with my bread recipes, trying to figure out if I want to “sourdough them” or just do what I have been doing of late: soaking my Spelt flour in at least water over night when I am making bread, that produces a nicer loaf in the bread machine. The other day I started using yoghurt to soak it in, and it got to the point using the bread machine yesterday that I just “had” to take the dough out and knead it by hand and treat it by hand from there on out. I later shaped it and put it into a large breadpan and baked it, but I didn’t quite bake it long enough, it needed longer than usual loaves, though it looked and sounded done, pretty much. When I cut into it there was a small part in the center near the top that was a bit gooey still … so that is Toast Applicable bread. Tomorrow morning I have the same set-up to start with, spelt flour soaking in yoghurt and a bit of water in the bread machine, with a few other ingredients on the sides, then about a 1/4 cup of white spelt covering the soaking dough. In the daylight AM I’ll start the machine, and add an egg, then some more white spelt as needed. I’m sure I’ll just take the dough out after awhile and finish it off by hand. I do like the bread to be a whole loaf and if I feel like doing it, I do like doing it by hand, and this way just makes it a tad easier, to let the machine fool with it more than me to a certain point. (what I meant by ‘whole loaf’ is that bread machine bread has a hole in the middle of the bottom, and isn’t shaped like my hand made loaves at all … though it’s valid bread and does work out fine to use.)

In order to “sourdough” my bread I’m going to have to come to a place where I sacrifice a recipe to the method or a combined method, or a few loaves with different methods, to determine yeast or no yeast with what, and more. Right now I’m not at that point and prefer to know that what I make will be eat-able by humans such as me and my family.

New Meals inspired by Food TV (food)

I was watching Food TV yesterday, and Paula Dean’s show was on. It caught my undivided attention because she was using recipes for crockpots and slow cooking, particularly the first recipe, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese for the crockpot … which is something that she said they use in their restaurant (in Savannah, GA) a lot.

I immediately got up and started making it once she had put it together on the show. (I did go to the website and print out the recipe for my binder as well.)

It was an easy thing to make, but I made it more complicated due to “making most everything from scratch” being my main methodology in the kitchen.

The recipe called for a can of condensed Cheddar Cheese soup. I don’t use condensed soups most of the time …

So I put 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan, and added couple Tablespoons of arrowroot powder, stirred it well, then added 2 cups of milk and stirred and heated until it started to thicken, then added shredded cheddar — in essence I “made a simple cheese soup” and in that was included some of the ingredients from the recipe.

The recipe is good, it has a couple of differences from mainstream recipes for such a dish: sour cream and eggs. It’s a true casserole, not just “mac and cheese” — and a good dish to serve with dinner. It’s really quick to put together, and just needs to be in the crockpot for 3 hours on “low” — yes you need to cook the pasta a bit before putting it into the sauce in the crockpot, but just “7 minutes”. I used Kamut pasta (elbow macaroni made by Eden Organics that I obtain at Whole Foods Market.)

On the same show Paula made “Swiss Steak” and it’s moreso a normal recipe I guess, but I’ve never made it that way. I used “cubed steaks” just one way generally — pound them flatter with flour, and brown in oil and butter on each side in a skillet (cast iron being best,) and then let all the meat cook a bit longer on a low heat. Before cooking them I often carmelize a very large sweet onion in the very skillet the meat will cook in, and then hold the onions in a dish, and when the meat it done put the meat on a platter with a foil tent covering it, put the onions back into the skillet, stir to loosen up and warm up, then put in a cup of sour cream with 1 tsp. of salt, stir to warm, not boil. That is a lovely carmelized onion beef sour cream sauce to use with the meal. On top of the meat, or dipping the meat, or mixed with rice, etc.

Paula used cubed steaks, seasoned them, put flour on them (but no pounding) and brown them in a cast iron dutch oven, then pulled them out, put in green bell pepper slices, onion slices, and garlic … canned tomatoes, and eventually put the steaks back in and added water and cooked on a low heat for a while.

I decided to do that, so I went to the website and printed the Swiss Steak recipe and put it in my binder, sent DH to the meat store to get some cubed steaks since we didn’t have any (but I meant to have some in the house the last time we got meat) and made that for dinner along with the mac and cheese.

Oooh, it was so good! I used Red Bell Peppers, don’t like green, and prefer the Red for their vitamin content anyhow. The Swiss Steak was a great hit for the whole family, but I most particularly loved it and said I’d make this at least twice a month, and maybe never make that other cubed steak dish I make again. (It’s good, but I’m really tired of it, KWIM?)

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Last week I saw another show, which gave me an idea to make my usual asian inspired dish, red peppers and onions and tamari sauce , etc. and usually has noodles in it, and beef …

This time I marinated chicken breasts in lime juice, tamari sauce, and toasted sesame oi, grilled those on the stove with my cast iron grill pan. Then I let them “rest”; and in my cast iron big skillet I put: Red Bell Pepper strips, green scallions, garlic finely diced, snow peas, water chesnuts, toasted sesame seeds, tamari sauce, toasted sesame oil, and fresh pineapple chunks. Stir fried them not adding it all at once, but in that basic order as needed time for each thing, then add left-over marinade, and at the end applied Arrowroot powder dissolved in water (3 tbsp. Arrowroot and enough water) to the stir fry, mixed it well, and cooked until thickened.

I served it like this: White basatmi rice with strips of chicken placed atop, and finished with a good amount of stir fry and sauce on each plate.

It was really good, and next time I’ll use MORE pineapple — it’s fresh pineapple that I cut myself, BTW.

Grinding Meat (food)

I made spaghetti for dinner last evening. I didn’t make fresh Kamut pasta, my preference –what I haven’t done much in the past, but am trying to get going regularly now, but I did use Spelt pasta, bought at Whole Foods, a VitaSpelt product (Purity). It’s a dry boxed pasta, Angel Hair being my favorite type to use.

I did make meatballs how I prefer though. Last time at Whole Foods we got a little over a pound of Bison cubes. So I had fresh Bison and ground that up and added my favorite things and rolled it up into small balls, and then put those meatballs into my large cast-iron skillet that was heated with (First Cold Pressed) Extra Virgin Olive Oil at least a quarter inch deep. I turned the meatballs frequently to brown them on all sides, then added more of the EVOO and freshly diced onions, then later freshly diced garlic. When all that was soft I added tomato products, I use canned tomatoes (Muir Glen) and also something from Bionature to make my sauce. Then basil, oregano, parsley –at this point all dried herbs. Near the end I add sea salt to taste, and sometimes some cheese, like last night I used some leftover Romano (I grate it myself, it’s a sheeps milk variety, super tasty!)

I made some rolls to go with a garlic/olive oil dip (which I also made.)

The meatballs were so good, I am sure as long as I can freshly grind my meats again, and hopefully have Bison usually, I’ll have no qualms at making meatballs for spaghetti again. Last nights were so much better than the ones I used to make, back in the day. Many reasons for that, no doubt, but I view the freshly ground meat as the biggest cause for betterment. I wish to grind any “ground meat” needs from now on. I’ve wanted to, and it’s just a matter of getting the right cuts of meat to allow me to do it this way. DH is the one who goes to the meat store nearby to get things, we get most of our meat there, some at Whole Foods, and he likes getting ground meat, seeing as it’s cheaper and something useable for quick meals.

I don’t like having it though, it’s a stop-age thing to me, in using ground meat effectively and happily. I make blah things with it since it’s a lump of cold stuff, often frozen by the time I use it (since ground meat needs to be used right away or frozen.) Cubes of meat can be frozen and easily partially defrosted in order to grind the meat. This sort of thing is so much easier for me and floods the creativeness in me with energy.

It takes time to grind meat, but not that much, but it’s not a negative thing, that “extra time it takes to grind” … it’s actually more than positive and absolutely fuel for the kitchen to become a lovely place to make something grand, different, better, nicer. To be happy making something creative.

Having a meat grinder is the best thing since sliced bread.

Another thing that is ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ is whole loaves of bread made at home, and sliced manually with my 9-inch Classic WÃœSTHOF bread knife. 🙂

St. Patty eats (food)

Tomorrow is “St. Patty Day” …

I have Irish in my family tree (many, many years ago); and I had a beloved Aunt who was married to my blood-uncle — she was 100% Irish (as far as I know) but born (I think) in the USA, and raised in the USA.

I like having the American Tradition of “Corned Beef” for dinner on March 17th. I don’t do anything else for sure. Long ago I didn’t wear “green” on the “day” claiming I didn’t have to wear green clothing or accesories due to having “green eyes” –so “Don’t Pinch Me” was my motto — “I have Irish in me, and my eyes are green, don’t pinch me.”

So then, tomorrow I’ll put the natural ‘not-cured’ “corned beef” into the crock pot and decide what else to make with it. It was the only piece of corned beef left in the store the day we were there (Whole Foods) and it’s not as big as I would have liked it to be. (2.26 lbs. is too small for a family of 5, when you are talking good Corned Beef!) We’ll have to just be happy with less. FWIW

I haven’t made biscuits in a very long time (some years) and I’ve an appetite for some good ‘white spelt buttery buscuits’

I have two pie crusts in the refrigerator and want to come up with a dessert. I also have the stuff to make a cheese cake. I do have two cans of cherries that I bought when I was hungry for a cherry pie, but didn’t make one after all then. I really was looking for them weeks before and the store didn’t have but one can of what I wanted. It’s a cherry in cans that isn’t “sweetened” it’s just canned cherries. So I add what I want to make them good and wholesome. So I’m thinking a cherry pie, or I also have lemons and love “Lemon Meriange Pie” and haven’t made one in some years, maybe I’ll make one of those. Or a cheese cake. I love good old plain New York Cheese cake. Homemade of any of the above are great, way better than anything from a store. Amen.