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Resolution Recipe 7: Almond Date Breakfast Bars


Getting caught up on recipes and posts before school starts up so here’s the last one I have in the queue that I’m getting around to posting about. 20140825_215216 These bars are really easy to make but they do require a few different ingredients you probably don’t have in your pantry. These include dates and wheat germ. I definitely had to make a stop a Sprouts to pick up these items as well as the oats, almond butter and almonds since I didn’t have those in my pantry either. I thought I had whole wheat flour on hand but I didn’t. This always seems to happen to me with one ingredient! You would think I would have learned by now, but nope. I’m learning to be the substitution queen. In this case I felt lucky because whole wheat flour seems like an easy thing to replace with regular flour. However, I’m wondering now if it would have helped with holding them together since it is more course then regular flour. Noted for next time. 20140825_215438 I was able to find pitted dates at Sprouts so I encourage you to try and find the same if you can since I imagine pitting these guys is not the easiest thing to do since they are a bit on the sticky side when cutting into them. I have to be honest. These look like bugs to me….cockroaches to be exact….so I pretty much never eat them if I can help it, let alone work with them. I got over my squeamishness a little bit working on this recipes, but just know the sacrifice it took for me to do this you guys….it was a big one. (Dramatic much…:) 20140825_221817   Recipe is easy…combine dry ingredients as seen above. Then…. 20140825_223325   Combine your dry ingredients until you reach the smooth texture you see here.

This is the point in the recipe where things went a little south for me…unfortunately. I’m learning the ropes in my parents kitchen since I recently moved home. (Side note…had to move from Whittier to Corona because they are selling the house I lived in. Sad to leave but happy to have a place to transition to while I figure out where I’ll live next. Rent free and nice kitchen to cook in is a super bonus, but commute to work/school went up so we’ll see how long I last). Being in this new kitchen has been lovely. More surfaces to use and better kitchen supplies on hand…all great. What is not great is the bummer process of learning how you mother stores her ingredients the hard way. She has an olive oil bottle (seen pictured above with ingredients) that HAS been used for olive oil in the past. I swear! Recently she put a different kind of oil in there…thinking canola oil….and uses olive oil straight out of the bottle. *sigh*. And guess who did not smell the oil to make sure it was right?! Yep yep, this novice right here. Lesson learned.

20140825_223447I sadly ended up using the canola oil which, let’s face it, does not taste as good as olive oil. As soon as I poured it in the bowl I knew I had done something wrong because the smell was more of the oil used in deep frying and I had pictures of deep fried treats dancing through my mind as soon as the smell hit my nose. NOT the taste or smell you want associated with your healthy breakfast bars. I kept hoping that the taste would not be affected, but sadly it really was. It had an unfortunately greasy taste to it and I don’t think that’s what we were going for with these. Ugh. 20140825_223655 Back to the recipe…after you get the creamy consistency of your wet ingredients you’ll combine it with the dry and mix until well coated. You’ll pour that into the pan and do your best to press the mixture down into the pan to make it as compact as you’re able. I do not think I did as good of a job at this as I could have. I know that would have made the difference in how well they were able to stay together in the end so learn from my mistake please!20140825_223951 Deb gives a suggestion to do two crisscross pieces of foil or parchment paper to help with removing the bars after they have cooked. Doing this also makes for an easier clean up with all the oil you’re using as well so I suggest you take her tip. 20140825_230658 You won’t notice a major change in color once it come out but the oats will be a bit more brown like an apple crisp (my only real comparison…haha). She suggests that you let them cool inside the pan for a bit and then to take them out with your foil and place them on a cooling rack before cutting them. I did try to do this but when I went to take them out, they began to break apart. I was able to do it in part to get a picture but they are pretty fragile.  I ran into the same problem the next day so I wasn’t able to really cut them into easily removable bars that would hold up long term. Again, I’m sure this was due to me not packing them in very well so there is hope for success next time. 20140825_233144Instead of keeping them in crumbly bars, I ended up breaking them up into the chunks of granola they were naturally falling into. I figured the crumbles would make good bite sized versions. It would also be a good yogurt topping as well if you’re a yogurt lover.  The think I loved about these clusters/bars that is different from anything I’ve had is the orange zest! It’s a different but lovely flavor to have in bars like these. I might also want to add dried cranberries when making these again since they would complement the freshness of the orange. Can’t wait to try them again with all the right ingredients!

RECIPE:

Once again I’m flying and not able to post the recipe without the book so I’m redirecting you to another blogger who has done the recipe and an excellent job of taking pictures of what it SHOULD look like! Check out the details on the blog Cafe Carol.

Thanks for reading everyone! Next post will be about my foodie adventures in Delaware and Philadelphia! I got to check something off my Philadelphia bucket list while I was there so I’m excited to pool my pictures and share about my good eats from my trip.

Also, if you’re a fellow Pinner, be sure to check out some of the stuff I’m pinning on the Novice Cook Diaries Pinterest Boards  if you haven’t already! Tell me which boards have the tastiest looking recipes and if I get enough feedback and I’ll pick a recipe from that board and give it a try.

Follow Novice Cook Diaries on Pinterest!

 

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Homemade Roasted Chipotle Salsa



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Alright dear readers. I am not a great cook. I’m not even a cook for goodness sake. I’m just a recipe follower that enjoys writing about my experiences in the kitchen. Novice status, confirmed.

However, once in a blue moon, I have a creative moment of genius. This salsa is my latest genius moment that I can’t help but get excited about!

Alright, let’s be honest. I got a little help from a fellow blogger since I am inexperienced in the roasting veggies for salsa department and she honestly lended me  tips to make this idea amazing….but…I kind of want to take the credit for thinking up the idea of doing a roasted salsa instead of buying one…and…for buying the ingredients that are going into the salsa! That was all me guys! I didn’t follow a recipe or anything until I got home and picked up a few extra ingredient ideas…..ugh. Who am I kidding. This is a semi-original idea at best. Who cares…it’s one of the best salsas I’ve ever had!

Where did the inspiration to make salsa come from you ask? Well it came about on a whim when buying ingredients for fajitas. Instead of buying salsa I thought it might be good to try and make my own so I know what’s going in it.

I think I’ve come to care a little bit more about what ingredients go into food since joining Weight Watchers. Since my world has become about counting everything I eat, I love easy, no count recipes that are full of fruits and veggies (0 point foods for the most part) because they make my life so much easier.

Alright back to the salsa! When you think about your favorite salsa(s) it’s likely that you have a consistency in mind when trying to put one together yourself. One of my favorite in the jar salsas is Pace Picante. I think it is just the right mix of chunky and spicy and the flavor works. If we’re talking restaurants, I love El Torito Grill’s chipotle salsa or Chili’s salsa you get with your chips (so so so my favorite thing they make!) For me, I’m not much of a fan of salsa that is pico de gallo consistency. I  tend to love the ones that resemble more of a marinara sauce and have a smokey or chipotle flavor to them.

For the record, I know very little about buying peppers/chilis or roasting them other then a few things I’ve seen on the Food Network, and let’s face it….I don’t remember the details of much to save my life, let alone a show I watched forever ago. So, the humorous part of this whole thing is that I did really good when picking peppers for this salsa. I ended up buying some jalapenos and Anaheim chilis along with chipotle peppers in a can to add to the flavor I was wanting.

The ingredients that I picked up from the store or assembled before starting this adventure include:

minced garlic, 2 jalapeno peppers, 1 Anaheim chili, 4 roma tomatoes, 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 onion, and 1 lime.

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Other ingredients that I included were cumin, fajita seasoning, salt, oregano and white wine vinegar. I have to give credit to Monica from “The Yummy Life” blog since it’s her site I landed on when trying to figure out how to roast my peppers for the salsa. She has a pretty delicious looking Roasted Salsa Recipe you should check out too!

I knew I wanted the flavor that comes with roasting the peppers so Monica’s site did a marvelous job of telling me how simple it was. What I wasn’t planning to do was roast the tomatoes and onion but I happily took that suggestion and added them to my roasting pan.

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To begin I cut the onion into chunks, halved and scooped the seeds out of tomatoes and then loaded up my jalapeno peppers and Anaheim chili. Monica suggests 450 for 30 min so I went with her recommendation and that worked well.

NOTE: I would probably spray your pan down lightly. I failed to do this and the onions were sticking to the foil. Luckily, I checked on them about half way into the 30 min and moved them around a bit to keep them from sticking too much.

When the time is up Monica suggests removing the veggies from the oven and putting something over the pan to help them steam up a bit. I found a pan that was about the same size and put it over top as she recommends but you could probably do foil too if you didn’t have two similar sized pans.

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Once the veggies sit for a bit out of the oven, the skins will be much easier to remove and make the rest of the process go a lot quicker. I peeled the tomatoes and then cut the peppers in half, removed the stems and then scrapped out the seeds. The one thing I do know about peppers is that their seeds are what hold some of the heat so if you are not like me and enjoy the burn of a hellish salsa, then leave those babies in there. If I had any seeds in there it was only by accident! She suggests using gloves when working with the peppers. Good idea if you are using some really hot guys, but I made sure to keep my hands on task and then straight into the sink when done to avoid transferring the heat of the chilis to the counters or other fun things like my eyes!

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Once you’re done with the peeling and extra cutting, then throw your stuff in the food processor along with a teaspoon or two of garlic, lime juice, and a chipotle pepper. I only wanted to put one of the chipotle peppers in after I licked my finger to try the adobo sauce. Spicy indeed! I about choked on the heat of it! Did you guess that spicy isn’t my thing?? Because of that I choose to drain the chipotle of some of its juices to reduce the extra liquid going into the salsa. I actually don’t know if it mattered too much other then it probably took some of the heat out of it.

At this point I added in my spices. I knew I was going to do cumin and salt and while scrounging through the spice cabinet I found some fajita seasoning I decided to include as well. However, Monica gave me the tip about the oregano and vinegar. She suggests apple cider vinegar….I wasn’t paying close attention (shocker) when reading her blog so I grabbed the white wine vinegar which was just fine. She suggests that the vinegar gives it a tang and to not put in a bunch or you can even leave it out completely if you’re not interested in adding that element to the salsa. I needed a little liquid so I probably put a teaspoon or two in to help with that. Water would obviously have done the same thing, but vinegar made sense in the moment. I didn’t have exact measurements for any of these ingredients so if you’re looking for something exact, go back up to the link and see her recipe. I was embracing the spontaneous that night :) If you’re feeling a bit dangerous and spontaneous yourself, then have at it. You can’t really mess up salsa unless you drop your salt shaker in there…and even then, if you go back and roast a bunch of veggies to make the batch bigger, eventually it won’t be that salty any more!

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This picture shows where I was at after a pulsing it for a few whirls around the food processor. At this point I began tasting it for flavor and adding some salt and lime juice along with some of the other spices in as needed. I couldn’t tell you how much salt I added to it, so if you’re making this I would plan to start with 1 tsp and go from there adding as you see fit. I had a taste tester say it was too salty but I thought it was okay so know yours and your audiences palate to salt accordingly. Season it until you have it where you want it and then scoop and enjoy!

For using the four roma tomatoes, this only made up about 3/4 to 1 cup of salsa so any big batches you wanted to make would need to include a bunch more ingredients. That amount was enough for David and I to enjoy with chips and add to our fajitas, while also having about a 1/2 cup left over.

I love this salsa so much that when I’m done writing it I will be heading back to the store  to get more ingredients for a second batch. I still have chips that need a friend so I’m going to go and fix that quickly!

CANNING:

I see on Monica’s blog that she cans her salsa (with detailed instructions on how to do that…thank you!). I love and fear that idea since I’ve only ever canned stuff a few times before.I I do, however, really want to give it a try again and I have a good reason why! I”m possibly going to go on a missions trip with my church to Israel this next year and in the process of thinking through fundraising efforts I thought canning and selling some stuff would be a fun way to raise support and thank people for it at the same time. I pinned a few recipes I thought would be fun to make that are not too complicated but would produce some yummy results. I don’t know if I had a salsa on there, but I certainly will now!

I recently bought the Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker with this fundraising idea in mind and I can’t wait to use it! Of course I will blog about those recipes but dream with me for a minute please…bacon jam, carrot cake jam, onion jam, and raspberry jalapeno jam….wow right?? I can’t wait to get started!! Even if I don’t get selected to go on the trip, you better believe I’m using my new little machine to on those guys!

Alright, this was suppose to be a quick post but I’m getting a bit long winded here. Make this salsa! You won’t regret it :)

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WEIGHT WATCHERS NOTES AND UPDATE!

WW friends this is zero points so eat hardy! I would love to add some fruit into this guy (mango, peaches, etc) which would also be a low point addition.

As for me and my journey, I am happy to report I am at a 16.4 pound loss as of 7/17. I’m happy things are still moving along and I’m still able to enjoy foods like this!

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Resolution Recipe 5: Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones



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Back to the blogging! Feels like it’s been awhile, but oddly enough I’ve been in the kitchen more then usual so I have a few posts coming your way. Let’s start with this one!

I made these scones back on February 1st. I think I made more mistakes with these then I would have liked, but let’s learn a few things from my failures, shall we? You can find the recipe on Deb’s Website along with her notes on how she came about the idea.

 

RECIPE: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones 

Ingredients 2

 

Ingredient Notes

Baking Powder:

Deb has a note about Baking Powder in her book. When shopping for baking powder make sure to find one that is Aluminum Free. You can see in the picture above the Argo brand I chose. Deb’s note on the aluminum free suggests that, “Some bakers feel that aluminum contributes to a ‘metallic’ or ‘tinny’ taste in baked goods that use large volumes of baking powder, such as biscuits, scones, and muffins. She has also found that baking powders with aluminum in them are more likely to discolor or give a blue-green tint to baked goods with fruit in them, such as these scones (pg xiii).” I assuming the acid in the fruit is what’s going to cause that discoloration but you would have to ask someone who actually knows a thing or two about. How about a French pastry chef? Yeah, that works…check out David Lebovitz’s post on Baking Powder and read up on the benefits.

For those of you who might have a hard time finding it, Deb also offers a recipe for aluminum free baking soda in her “Notes and Tips” section of the book….mix 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, and 1/4 tsp corn starch to make 1 tsp of baking powder (can find that on xiii in her introduction).

I didn’t have a difficult time finding it but if you want to make it go for it. I never have Cream of Tarter in my ingredients so I couldn’t make it if I wanted to!

 

Mixing 2

 

Raspberries:

Caution with the Raspberries! I don’t know how she was so careful with her raspberries because my dough was pretty pink while hers seems to have flecks of pink. I believe I used the Kitchen Aid to mix them in but it would have been better to to fold them in with a spatula or spoon. You do want the berries to break up a bit but try not to over stir where the berries are breaking and coloring your dough.

dough 2

Flour:

I definitely over floured the dough. Definitely. I put them on the pan with more then a little too much flour and mostly because the dough is very moist. Moisture in dough is fantastic, especially scone dough, because it can be on the dry side which makes scones dense. This recipe boast the opposite as you’ll read in Deb’s post on her site and it’s surely the ricotta cheese that helps with that. She mentions being generous with the flour, but don’t do what I did and over use it for fear of the dough being to wet.

Because I put so much flour on the scones as I was rolling them and cutting them, they ended up very floury when they went in the oven. The end result is a burnt flour funkiness on the bottoms of the scones (sorry, I forgot to take a picture) and the tops need to be brushed off a bit. Instead you might try to find the balance of allowing the scone to be both moist and yet controlled a bit with the flour. If I get it right and find a magic trick to this, then I’ll make sure to update! Next time, I would really try to brush the flour off the bottom before putting them in the oven. I imagine that would make an improvement. Squares

 

Review of Recipe:

These are good, but I don’t think I did them very well. I really want a redo on them. I am not the biggest scone eater either so I was hoping for my mind to be changed. I would be very interested to hear a bit from those who do like scones and have tried this recipe. What do you think??? For my WW friends, you can enjoy these scones for 6 Points a piece at the normal yield of 9, two-inch square scones. If you make the scones a bit smaller you can cut those points in half for 3 a piece. Not bad for a pastry.

I am also learning that I’m not a fan of baking with whole-wheat flour. I use King Arthur brand since that seems to be the only one I find when I shop for it. Not sure if it’s the brand, the recipe, or the cook :) but I am not a big fan. I would be up for trying this with a 2nd cup of AP flour and pulling out the whole wheat flour to see if I like it better. I know that baking is a science so I would hate to alter it too much but it’s worth a try.

Hope you give these a try and please post a review if you have one yourself!

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COMING UP NEXT:

Home made Salsa, Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies…sounds good doesn’t it?!

 

 

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The Anaheim Packing House: Black Sheep Grill Cheese Bar


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If you live in the Southern  California area and are looking for a fun thing to check out this summer I highly recommend visiting the Anaheim Packing House. I think it’s my new favorite place to drop in for a quick bite to eat since there are so many delicious places to try. They have places serving up everything from hot pots, waffle sandwiches, beer, cocktails, grilled cheese, fish and chips, gourmet Japanese food, Indian food, comfort food, popsicles, homemade ice cream, crepes and so much more. There are more places yet to open (Ecco, Georgias, Dark 180, Sawleaf Vietnamese Cafe, and a Fish Market) so this will continue to be a growing hub for food lovers.

I’ve been watching them work on this place over the past year or so since a good friend of mine lives right across the street. She’s been the best at keeping us up on the news of the events and details of how things were coming along. They have been renovating this old Sunkist Orange Packing House into what has become the popular new hang out in Anaheim, for quite awhile. The delays in opening have caused much anticipation for what they have to offer and so far they have not disappointed.

The Anaheim Packing House is  located in downtown Anaheim which has been under renovation for many years now as new shops, restaurants and nostalgic style housing is bringing some hope to a part of Anaheim that needed a little TLC and, honestly, people with the Benjamins who could do something about the area. It’s fun to see this part of the city spruced up a bit and treasure a part of its history in a fun way.

20140614_131237I was excited to visit them on opening day a few weeks ago with the hopes of trying out the new eateries. During that opening weekend I visited the PopBar which was good, but because of WW I didn’t try what I should have to really give it a good review. So, I will hold my comments back until me, or someone I go with, tries again and I have pictures to show! You might already be familiar with PopBar since I know this is not their first and only location.

This past weekend I had the privilege of being a first timer at Black Sheep Grill Cheese Bar. I believe it was the grand opening for them so it was fun to support their opening day.

I have been to a few grilled cheese places so I was expecting it to be similar to one of those…The Grilled Cheese Truck (Los Angeles/Orange County area), Melt It (Pasadena, CA), and Valley Shepherd Creamery & Meltkraft Grill Cheese Shop (Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, PA).

This place ended up being mostly like the Valley Shepherd Meltkraft in Philly because it was more gourmet in it’s cheese, bread, and ingredient selection then the other two locations. Those “other two” location specialties are more about adding bbq, mac and cheese, pulled pork, etc. to a grilled cheese sandwich. Also good, but this is a different, more unique kind of grilled cheese that you just know is made with a consideration of the best way to pair ingredients with the finer cheeses available.

I decided to try the first one listed on the menu (let’s work our way down the menu each visit, right?) and was not at all disappointed. I think in eating this sandwich I discovered a new cheese love that I had no idea existed…formage blanc. 20140614_122440Guys…it’s awesome. Awesome mostly if you like goat cheese since the taste had a similar tang to it that goat cheese does. And like goat cheese, it is a cheese loving dieters friend being very low in  fat, calories, etc. The tangy bite in the cheese paired so well with the sweet onions, roasted tomatoes and peppery arugula pesto. It was well balanced as a sandwich…really incredible. As rich as it sounds, it ended up being a very clean sandwich and you were not overwhelmed with a grease ball in your stomach when you were done. Hard to explain but you can’t help but feel it was a sandwich worth all $7 when you were done with it. Since I’m counting points, I think (if I calculated correctly), this sandwich is about 10-13 points (depending on how much butter they use). I would say that’s not bad at all and so so worth the points you would spend on it WW friends. So. Worth. It.

Another treat I have to brag on a bit, because I think they are genius for incorporating them into their merchandise, is the Brown Butter Cookies from The Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos, California.

They had samples out by the register when I was ordering and the kid at the register suggested I try one because they were “soooo good.” I thought…yes, yes. I’m sure you’re trying to upsell me on something that is average. I’m sure they told you to say that.”

Oh was I wrong. He wasn’t kidding. You take one bite into these cookies and stop, look around for someone to share this moment with, and say…”Oh. Oh my gosh. These are so good.” Literally that is what happens. I’m not kidding dear readers….I did that. My boyfriend did that. My friend Michele did that. It’s just what happens. These cookies evoke the same response from everyone. PhotoGrid_1402783501791You know you’re biting into excellence with these cookies. So if you’re not a grilled cheese fan, then just go for the cookies. You’ll get a bag of 6 for way too much but shut your mouth and don’t complain because you will not regret it. I promise you. (WW friends they are about 3pts per cookie but you can enjoy 3 cookies for 8 points…if you want to…I might have maybe done this on Saturday…maybe).

There is so much more to say about the Anaheim Packing House, but I hate to fit it all into one post. I hope to try a few more of their restaurants and be able to say a few words about them on here when it works out. I love this new place and all the work they’ve put into it. I would love to do a small part in helping them generate traffic and keep people coming back. I’m thrilled to see so many people swarming the place each time I go. I  keep telling everyone about it and you guys are the next ones on my list to excite about it. If you’re an out of towner and are heading to the Southern California area sometime soon, try to stop by the APH and have a quick bite to eat.

More to come later on my adventures in the APH!

 

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Resolution Recipe 3: Plum Poppy Seed Muffins



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Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

Okay, we’re back in business! Happy to be blogging once again. Thanks for your patience loyal readers. I hope this is worth it!

I actually just made these muffins yesterday because even though this recipe was next in the book (back in January),  it wasn’t plum season. I figured I would postpone this recipe and come back to it in the summer…well…summer is here. What a coincidence! Small advantages for not having time to blog!

These muffins were pretty easy and delicious. They yield about 12 muffins according to the recipe, but in honor of making things more Weight Watchers friendly, I decided to make mini muffins instead. Using a Tablespoon I was able to make 37 muffins.

 

TIPS: 20140613_1902241. CHOOSING PLUMS: I would make sure to use plums that are not tart or sour. She says you can use any kind of plum ( I guess I didn’t realize there were other kinds then the reddish ones I see in the store, but there are….even Italian plums! Wanna see some pictures?? Click here) I mistakenly used the first ones I bought at Wal-mart and didn’t really make sure to buy those which were sweeter and riper. How does one do that you ask…well let me tell you. According to the helpful blog entitled “Just Plums” you do not look for plums with your eyes, but with your nose. They indicate that plums that are ripe and un-ripe are the same color. They say that a ripe plum will smell sweet and fruity where an unripened plum is not going to have a smell to it at all. Other sites mention that the plum will have a give to it if you press on it and the opposite is true for an unripened plum. If you have unripened plums that you want to use for this recipe, refer to the post from WikiHow about “How to Ripen a Plum.” I found this very helpful….AFTER doing this recipe. Yes, I’m proving very much to be the novice I claim to be when I do stuff like research the ingredients after I work with them.

2. MINI MUFFINS: Yes, mini muffins are just mini versions of muffins. 20140613_195557It’s not magic at all. However, if you are wanting to watch your waistline or you’re a WW point counter, then mini muffins are the way to go. This recipe went from 5 points a muffin to about 2 points a muffin if you yield 37 muffins when you only use a tablespoon of batter. I highly recommend this as an alternative because as WW people know, 2 point snacks are the best things to have on hand. You can still use the same recipe and enjoy, but in moderation that works for you.20140613_193049

3. MAKING BROWN BUTTER: I love that Deb Perelman simplifies what sounds like a potentially scary process of browning…not burning…butter. In her cookbook she takes you to a dessert recipe to learn how to make the brown butter. Her suggestions are as follows on page 202 of her cookbook:

  1. Using a pot, heat the pan to medium low heat
  2. Drop in your butter
  3. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
  4. Stir frequently, scrapping up any bits from the bottom as you do.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the pot. You may be impatient for it to start browning, but the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a min.

She has a lot of other tips and tricks but I have to leave something for you to read when you buy her cookbook!

REVIEW: I think you’ll love this recipe any time of the year. I love how it’s summer but with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg I felt transported to fall with one waft of amazing from the oven. I would love to see how these turn out with other kinds of fruit. I happen to find the most sour/tart plums on the earth that were most definitely under ripe…now that I know what to be looking for…ugh. The great thing about this recipe is that the sweetness of the muffin batter helps balance out the sourness of the plums so be encouraged if you too end up making these with a few bad plums. You might actually like the way they turn out! Hope you give these a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed and they are fun change to the muffins we all know and love.

Happy baking, friends!

 

PLUM POPPY SEED MUFFIN RECIPE

Ingredients

YIELDS 12 MUFFINS (5 WW Points) , 37 MINI MUFFINS ( 2 WW Points)

6 T. unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffins cups

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c packed dark or light brown sugar

1/4 c. sour cream or a rich, full-fat plan yogurt (WW: use light/low fat sour cream to keep muffins low points)

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 T. poppy seeds

2 cups pitted and diced plums from about 3/4 pound of Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do). (NOTE: If doing mini muffins, consider doing 1 1/2 cups instead).

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Butter muffin tins
  3. Whisk egg and sugars in bowl
  4. Stir in brown butter than sour cream
  5. In separate bowl, mix flours, bp, bs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds
  6. Stir dry  mixture gradually into wet mixture “until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy.”
  7. Fold in plums
  8. Divide batter into cups.
  9. Bake for 10 -12 min (mini muffins) 15-18 (regular size muffins)
  10. Allow to cool in pan for a few min before removing to cool on rack

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Resolution. Failure.


Alright.  Let’s face it. I failed. Great resolution but honestly life turned out to be obsessed with school. Obsessed I tell you! Every weekend was about studying and homework and I was bad and barely went grocery shopping.  And if I’m being super candid, I ate terribly too. Fast food was enjoyed way too much and healthy food was ignore in the same way. ” Easy” was my word when it came to cooking….not “healthy” or “home made”.  That also means sticking to my resolution was absolutely not going to happen. *sigh*

My last post was around January…this is June. Yikes. I did make a few recipes over the past 5 months or so but those haven’t been written up yet. I have a lot of catching up to do.

I think I have recovered from my semester a bit and now I’m chomping at the bit to get back to this cookbook goal. I’m excited for what I can get done this summer but it might be quite awhile between posts, folks. Just being realistic here.

In other news, with all that bad eating from this past semester, I’ve been more than a little inspired to start some sort of dieting or weight loss program. The hardest thing for me is moving more often and eating at home more frequently. I figured summer was a good time to start new eating habits since I have time to think about it.

Recently my workplace started a Weight Watchers group and with healthy eating on the agenda for the summer I decided to join in on the fun!

Fun, however, was not exactly what I was thinking  the week after sign ups. When they started explaining the Simple Start program I started inwardly groaning and scolding myself for joining. I was not thrilled with the food they were saying we could eat and I figured this would last me a whole week and I would be done.

The things that stopped me from giving up, however, was the accountability I was going to be experiencing by doing it in a group. My previous WW experience was on my own and I didn’t go to meetings which was probably also why I didn’t last. When I thought about the pressure of showing up next week and having lost nothing or maybe be the one to have gained weight I knew I had to give it a try. My embarrassment and pride is what motivates me :o) Good to know.

The other thing that encouraged me was knowing I could just count points and not do Simple Start to experience results. So I decided to get the first week a try. I am now three weigh-ins into the program and I am happy to report that I am down 7.6 lbs and enjoying the program so much!!

All that to say, I think my focus will switch a little bit on this blog to incorporate a few nuggets of wisdom from the WW world I am now a part of. That way if you also happen to be in a Weight Watchers program you can enjoy this food knowing the point value.

The one thing I love most about WW is that you don’t have to stop eating the food you love. And for me that means I still get to work on this goal of cooking and blogging about these yummy recipes. Should be fun!

Here’s a sneak peek of some recipes I’ll be posting. Get excited everybody! This novice cook is back in the kitchen!!

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