Well, November is here, and we are about to head into the heart of the holiday season. That said, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and many of us will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks together.
All of it means there’s a lot of planning underway to put family favorites on the table, and you might be looking to try a few new recipes to include for your get-together. As the unusually warm air gives way to colder temps, you might be looking for something that makes your feel warm inside, and a nice bowl of soup fits the bill.
This recipe comes to us courtesy of Catherine Fulvio of the Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. Catherine’s Kitchen Quarantine Edition had a wonderful recipe for red lentil soup, that’s soothing, delicious, and 100% vegan. The addition of coconut milk makes this soup creamy and velvety. Many of us will have people with different dietary needs at our tables this Thanksgiving, and this is a soup that is sure to please.
Finally, the soup comes together quickly with a minimum of prep time. You can season the soup to your taste. Be mindful of the fresh ginger, it can have quite a bite. Keep tasting as you go along, and remember to use salt and pepper to balance everything on the palate. Also, Catherine has a tip for ginger that I always use. Store fresh ginger in the freezer. Use a freezer bag and use it as needed. Not only will it keep, but it also makes it far easier to use in recipes.
This recipe is Vegan. Vegetarian, Gluten-free, and low-fat.
I hope you give this a try.
Red lentil and ginger soup by Catherine Fulvio
1 tsp Oil
1 Onion finely chopped
1 ½ Red Chilies deseeded and finely chopped
Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
2 Red Peppers deseeded and diced
4 oz Red Lentils soaked for 10 minutes in water and drained
20 fl oz Vegetable Stock
14 fl oz Can of Coconut Milk
1 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
Salt and Pepper
Toasted Desiccated Coconut and Fresh Herbs to garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 10 minutes until transparent.
Add chili and ginger and cook for a further minute.
Add the peppers, lentils, and nutmeg and stir to mix. Add the coconut milk and the stock to the soup. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked through and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
Sprinkle over the toasted coconut, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Breakfast cereals have long been a big business. They’re a quick and easy way to enjoy a good breakfast on busy mornings. There are a number of delicious granola brands on shelves to choose from, but there’s something special about making your own. Not only can you make it any way you like, but it’s also economical and the recipe is fairly simple.
The best part is, granola isn’t limited to your breakfast bowl, it makes a great topping on yogurt or you can dress it up to top a fancy yogurt parfait.
I did love granola as a kid. Now, instead of buying granola, I’ve found it’s easier and more economical to make it. This way It allows me to make it my own. I hope this recipe will inspire you to do the same.
This recipe is based on a mash-up of Ina Garten and Catherine Fulvio’s homemade granola recipes.
Homemade Cinnamon Granola
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup quinoa
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
3/4 cup vegetable oil
½ cup liquid raw cane sugar or clover honey (liquid monk fruit sweetener)
1 cup raisins, soaked for 1 hour
1 cup dried cranberries
Cinnamon or Vietnamese Cinnamon (your taste)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk the oil and liquid raw cane sugar together in a small bowl. Toss the oats, quinoa, cinnamon, and coconut together in a large bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees, then add the soaked raisins, toss with a spatula and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool, stirring occasionally. Add dried cranberries. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
You can also add cashews, almonds, walnuts, or pecans, along with other dried fruits like cherries, figs, or apricots.
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Most of the country has been enjoying a longer Indian summer than usual. However, fall is beginning to make its presence known with temperatures beginning to dip all across the country. Although many are sorry to see the warmer temps go, I enjoy the cooler temperatures. Sleeping weather is also a perfect time to enjoy a nice bowl of soup.
Squash is available year-round everywhere, but there are seasons when certain varieties are more plentiful. I love the hearty gourds like acorn and butternut squash. Both are versatile and can be used in many recipes. This Makeover Monday puts the spotlight on butternut squash soup.
This soup has been on my fall and Thanksgiving table for many years. The recipe is very simple, and you can adjust the ingredients according to your flavor palate. It’s a wonderful combination of roasted butternut squash, sweet onions, and ginger. To make it even easier, you can buy butternut squash that’s already prepped. It’s a time saver.
This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free.
Total Time: Approximately 1 hour
Active time: 15 minutes Estimate
Inactive time: 45 minutes
Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup
2 large butternut squash (Cut in halves and seeded) (or 2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash)
4 medium sweet onions, rough chopped
1 small fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
3 tablespoons Canola oil
Virgin Olive Oil
4 ½ – 5 cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Split the butternut squash in half and take the seeds out. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the squash on the pan, skin down, and drizzle olive oil until the squash is coated. Place it in the preheated oven and roast it for 45 minutes to an hour. When you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, take it out and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool enough to handle scoop the softened squash into a bowl.
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft, then add the minced ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and the squash. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions, ginger, and butternut squash. Add the remaining vegetable stock, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for ten minutes. How thick or thin the soup is up to you. If you like a thinner soup, add more stock, if a thicker soup is to your liking, add less.
You can save money buying fresh butternut squash and cubing it yourself. Split the squash in half, and then into quarters. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin, then cut into medium-sized chunks.
You can use unsalted or low salt vegetable broth
You can also use unsalted chicken stock or broth to add a little more depth to the soup
How much ginger you use is up to you. Remember, you can add more ginger, but you can’t take it out. If you use a bit more than intended and it has a little too much bite, you can a little applesauce to add a bit of sweetness and tamps the spiciness down.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender. Be careful to do it in small batches, and make sure the mixture isn’t too hot to avoid making a mess.
You can store the soup in the fridge for up to 11 days
This soup freezes beautifully in an airtight container for up to three months.
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Although life north of forty and fifty plus has changed in a more positive way for us as women, many of us still struggle with the changes our bodies go through in the three stages of menopause. According to Johnson Memorial Health, the three stages are:
Perimenopause– The earliest stage of menopause usually happens 3 to 5 years before full menopause occurs. During this time, estrogen, and progesterone levels drop.
Menopause– The technical definition of menopause is not having your period for 12 months or more without having other health issues like illness, surgery, or pregnancy. At this time, the ovaries cease to make estrogen and progesterone.
Post-menopause– When a full year has passed after your last period, you are officially in post-menopause. Over a period of years, your shifting hormones will settle into a more stable balance. Hot flashes and other menopause symptoms will likely reduce significantly.
Besides hot flashes, many women find themselves battling weight issues. For some women, hormone fluctuations make it harder to lose weight, and it can feel like you’ve lost control over your weight regardless of what you eat. There is always something shiny and new when it comes to the world of dieting and diet fads. At one time the grapefruit diet and cabbage diet were the rages. Then there was the Scarsdale diet that focused on protein and the villainization of carbohydrates, which resulted in weight loss but raised cholesterol levels and caused gout in some people. Here in the US, we have the proliferation of diet plans from Nutrisystem and Jennie Craig, diets where you buy the food you eat, and then there’s WW formerly known as Weight Watchers. WW uses a system of points for each food. Servings of food are assigned points based on four criteria: calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Every Weight Watchers member gets assigned a daily and weekly point goal based on their height, weight, age, and gender. One of the latest entries for weight loss is Noom, which uses psychology to design a program to change eating habits. Members are coached virtually by psychologists whose goal is to help unlearn bad habits to form a healthy relationship with food. Dieting in America is a multi-billion dollar industry. Where it doesn’t seem to be a billion-dollar industry is in Europe.
People in countries like France, Italy, and Spain consume a lot of butter, pasta, cheese, and more, but they also have lower cases of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, just to name a few issues that are very common in the US. What is their secret? Well, there really is no secret. Europeans eat an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. They also eat beef, lamb, game, and pork. What is most notable is the smaller portion sizes, and if they do snack, they don’t go for a bag of chips, choosing fresh bread, cheese, fruit, or nuts.
Since there’s so much going on in our lives, one of that the best ways to address this issue is to make a change gradually. Our bodies have been evolving since we were in utero, if we embrace this as something that happens incrementally, it can help with our health goals. We’ll share recipes that touch on facets of the Mediterranean diet (Italy, Spain, Greece), and the French diet full-fat cheese and yogurt, butter, bread, fresh fruits, and vegetables (often grilled or sautéed), small portions of meat (fish or chicken than red meat), wine, and dark chocolate.
Naturally, before beginning any lifestyle diet change, check with your doctor so the two of you can work together for a healthier you.
We begin with Baba Ganoush which is usually served as an appetizer. It’s a spread made chiefly of eggplant, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. There are a lot of variations of this eggplant spread. This recipe comes from the Mediterranean Dish Blog by Suzy, who has a number of wonderful recipes to try. The link to her site and social media platforms is below the recipe.
Baba Ganoush by Mediterranean Dish
2 pounds Italian eggplants (about 2 small-to-medium eggplants*)
2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more if necessary
¼ cup tahini
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the eggplant and garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
¾ teaspoon salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish
Serving suggestions: warmed or toasted pita wedges, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, etc.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides down.
Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is collapsing, about 35 to 40 minutes (this might take longer if you are using 1 large eggplant). Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes. Flip the eggplants over and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind.
Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, then transfer the flesh to the strainer and discard the skins. Pick out any stray bits of eggplant skin and discard them. You want to remove as much moisture from the eggplant here as possible, so let the eggplant rest for a few minutes and shake/stir the eggplant to release some more moisture.
Discard all of the eggplant drippings, drain and wipe out the bowl, and dump the eggplant into the bowl. Add the garlic and lemon juice to the eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until the eggplant breaks down. Add the tahini to the bowl and stir until it’s incorporated. While stirring, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue stirring until the mixture is pale and creamy, and use your fork to break up any particularly long strings of eggplant.
Stir in the parsley, salt, and cumin. Season to taste with more salt (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon) and more lemon juice, if you’d like a more tart flavor.
Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Lastly, sprinkle parsley and smoked paprika on top. Serve.
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Even though the official beginning of fall is still a few days away, many of our favorite coffee shops and/or coffee houses have begun to offer fall-themed, or more specifically, pumpkin-spiced hot and cold beverages. The pumpkin theme also extends to donuts, muffins, and quick bread. If you would like to try something a little different that’s easy to make and save you a little money, we have two terrific recipes for you to try.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a banana bread baking movement that seemed to be everywhere. As time went on, interest in making banana bread waned. Many people enjoy Starbucks banana bread, so we made a concerted effort to find a recipe that most closely replicates the taste. This recipe was found on the Butter Your Biscuit Blog.
If you are not into pumpkin-spice flavored coffee, we came across a recipe for an Iced Maple Frappe Coffee by Dan McLaughlin on TikTok. It’s super easy and if you’re into maple this is a wonderful twist on a delicious fall-themed beverage.
Both of these recipes are quick and easy. Start the week off on a deliciously thrifty note.
The recipe has been adapted for:
Low Sugar diets
Copy Cat Starbucks Banana Bread recipe by Butter Your Biscuit adapted by Still A Chick Lit
2 cups flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet or brown rice flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1 1/8 cup sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw can sugar, pulsed fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Canola oil)
2 tablespoons buttermilk (dairy: whole fat buttermilk or low-fat buttermilk) (non-dairy: 2 tablespoons rice, soy, almond, or light coconut milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 extra ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, spray an 8 x 5 loaf with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper if desired.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and whisk just until combined.
In another medium bowl add egg, sugar, and oil and whisk until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, the mixture will be thick and dry.
Add in the buttermilk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and mix until combined.
Pour into a loaf pan, sprinkle walnuts over the top.
Bake on the center oven rack for 60-75 minutes or until the knife comes out clean.
You can adjust the cinnamon to up to 1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, depending on your taste.
Maple Greek Frappe by Dan McLaughlin @softpourn on TikTok
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon good quality instant coffee
8 ounces of Milk (Whole, Low-fat, 2%) (non-dairy: Almond, Rice, Soy, Oat, Light Coconut, or hazelnut milk)
In a glass or travel mug add the maple sugar, brown sugar, and instant coffee.
Add enough cold water to cover, but don’t add too much
Using a frother, a small immersion blender, blender, or something like a Nutri-bullet. Mix the ingredients together until it’s thick
We are always on the lookout for delicious recipes to start your week off right. To that end, we came across this lovely recipe by the Real mom Kitchen for an unstuffed peppers skillet. Many of us know and love a version of stuffed peppers made by our moms or grandmothers. The presentation was always as delightful to the eye as it was the palate. Laura Powell’s unstuffed recipe is a great take on this classic.
To make this recipe a little more inclusive, we have adapted it for vegans and vegetarians too. Remember, you can season it your way. The seasonings used in Ms. Powell’s original recipe work nicely, but feel free to go with your own palate. It can easily be more Italian with the addition of dried oregano, basil, or parsley too. For an Indian flare, a little curry or Garam Masala might be nice. You get the idea, make it your way and enjoy.
Unstuffed peppers skillet recipe by Real Mom Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit
3 bell peppers, diced (I used one green, 2 red)
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef 80/20 or 85/15, 90/10) (Chicken: ½ pound ground chicken breast, ½ pound ground chicken) (Turkey: ½ pound ground turkey breast, ½ pound ground turkey)
(Beyond meat, ground, Gardein ground, Impossible Plant-Based Burger Ground, Farmland Protein, ground, Good and Gather, meatless beef style ground)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can beef broth (chicken or vegetable unsalted stock)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya cheddar cheese shreds or vegan cheese shreds of your choice)
additional diced peppers and/or green onion for garnish
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
In a large skillet with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil, add onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Remove from the skillet and wipe clean. Brown the ground beef or sausage until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, then add the vegetables back in. * If you are using chicken, turkey, use 1 ½ tablespoon of oil to cook the meat thoroughly until no longer pink. For the vegan ground, you can cook the onions, peppers, and vegan ground together in the oil until the vegetables are tender.
Add garlic to the meat or meatless mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain off any excess grease (meat).
Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire, and rice to the skillet.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed and rice is tender. At 20 minutes check and give a stir and continue cooking if needed.
Once the rice is tender, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and cover to get the cheese melted.
Once melted garnish with chopped peppers and /or green onion and serve. Serves 4-6.
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July is nearly over, but as the calendar changes to August with the heat still on in much of the country, you want to keep your time in the kitchen to a minimum. This recipe comes courtesy of my sister, who spotted it in her Google feed just before Independence Day.
The recipe for this Cowboy Caviar is from the Dinner At The Zoo Blog. It works great as an appetizer, with a salad, or your favorite tortilla chips. The recipe requires a little knife work, but you can find a number of the ingredients pre-chopped at most grocery stores. Low-sodium versions of the canned beans are widely available too. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, you can use parsley instead. If you like it hot, add more jalapenos. If you don’t like heat, leave it out. Play with the recipe until you get it to suit your palate.
It’s one healthy bite that I am sure you and your family will enjoy.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 21 minutes
Cowboy Caviar by Dinner at the Zoo
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained (low-sodium)
1 can black-eyed peas rinsed and drained (low-sodium)
1 cup tomatoes seeded and finely diced (plum, cherry, grape tomatoes are great to use)
1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
1 cup corn can be fresh, canned, or thawed from frozen
1 avocado chopped
3/4 cup red and/or orange bell pepper seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup red onion finely diced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Place the beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, jalapeno, corn, avocado, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, cumin and salt, and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve as a salad or with chips.
Make-ahead instructions: Assemble according to instructions, except omit the avocado. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Add the avocado right before serving.
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When the temps begin to rise, it’s time to move the cooking outside. There is something about a grill that turns people who don’t normally cook inside into grill masters. Steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, and pizza are made more delicious under the watchful eye of the king or queen of the barbecue. What about dessert? Well, you can grill stone fruit like nectarines and peaches with a little sugar, then serve it with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Smores are always a hit with the crowd and the kids love it.
As someone who loves to bake, even I won’t turn on the oven with the mercury rises. Okay, that’s not completely true, I get up super early to bake during the coolest part of the day. If you don’t want to lose any sleep and you don’t feel like heading out for ice cream after a long day at work, no-bake desserts are the way to go. Mix it, pour it, put it in the fridge to chill. That’s it.
This recipe comes to us from Martha Stewart. It takes about 25 minutes to make, and even less time if you decide to buy a ready-made graham cracker, Oreo, or a chocolate cookie crust.
This recipe include adaptations for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sugar, and no sugar added diets.
No Bake Cheesecake- Martha Stewart adapted by Chamein Canton
2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers (gluten-free graham crackers or chocolate wafers)
** It’s important to use light cream cheese and not Neufchatel. Although Neufchatel is slightly lower in calories, it’s a bit more watery than light cream cheese, which can affect how it sets once the cheesecake is chilled. If this recipe used agar-agar or gelatin, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Put graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form.
Pour crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar. Add butter, and stir until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Unclasp sides of pan, and remove cheesecake.
Skip the crust: use cheesecake filling in a parfait and invent a whole new “layer cake.” Mix the filling, then put some in a glass. Top with broken-up cookies (such as chocolate or vanilla wafers) or graham crackers, and add fresh fruit (such as raspberries or blueberries). Alternate layers. Refrigerate parfait for 30 minutes, and serve.
Don’t have time to make a crust? Use a ready-made graham cracker, Oreo, Nilla Wafer, or chocolate wafer pie crust. They also have gluten-free graham crackers and chocolate wafer crusts.
Chocolate cheesecake: make the crust with chocolate wafer cookies (10 ounces, or about 50 cookies) instead of graham crackers. Once you’ve mixed the filling, gently stir in 1 cup mini chocolate chips, and then fill the crust. Sprinkle more chips on top of the chilled cake.
Welcome to the premier posting for Monday Meal Makeover. Here we will try to up your Monday meal game for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snacks. All the recipes that can be adapted will include:
Gluten-Free, Celiac Disease
Low Sugar/ Low Carb
Lactose Intolerance/Egg Allergies
For what I hope will be the first of many, welcome to the first Monday Meal Makeover.
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Blueberry Muffins by Tastes Better From Scratch adapted by Chamein Canton
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, millet, sweet or brown rice flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or egg replacer)
1/3 cup buttermilk (dairy: full-fat, low-fat, or light) (non-dairy: almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, mixed. Let stand for at least five minutes before using)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon lemon or orange extract, optional
1 cup blueberries , fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar pulsed fine)
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, millet, sweet or brown rice flour)
2 Tablespoons cold unsalted or salted butter, chopped (vegan unsalted or salted butter)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a standard size muffin tin with liners, or grease well with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, orange or lemon zest, and baking powder.
Add oil, egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and orange or lemon extract (if using), and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix (the batter doesn’t need to be “smooth”)
Toss the blueberries in a spoonful of flour. This will help them not to sink to the bottom of the muffin. Gently fold blueberries into the batter.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
If you are making the crumb topping:
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl. Use your fingers, pastry cutter, or a fork to work the butter into the mixture.
Sprinkle crumb mixture over the tops of muffins in the pan.
Bake for about 5 minutes at 400-degrees, then reduce the temperature to 375-degrees. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
Remove muffins from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
The bake time may vary by ovens. It may take a little longer or a shorter time depending on your oven. I tend to err on the side of a toothpick coming out clean or with a few crumbs when inserted in the center of the muffins.
I don’t recommend using shortening or butter-flavor shortening. It makes the batter heavier and the muffins oily.
Cast Iron Roasted Chicken- Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen adapted by me
1 whole chicken. Fryer or young chicken
Canola or vegetable oil
This is the seasoning rub I use, adapt it to your likes and measure it out to the size of the chicken.
Paprika sweet or smoked
Remove the chicken back. Set aside to make stock
Combine the seasoning in a bowl
Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Season the chicken skin side down
Place into a cast iron skillet
Make sure the skin of the chicken is dry. Rub the skin with oil. Season liberally and tuck the wings underneath. Roast In hot oven 450-475. Make sure there’s about seven inches from the rack to the top of the oven.
Roast for about 1 hour. It could be more or less depending upon your oven. So keep a watchful eye. The temp of the chicken should be about 160-165 degrees from the thickest part of the chicken.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup molasses * (sorghum syrup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon mustard powder
pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon chili powder
pinch of allspice
In a saucepan over medium heat, saute onions until tender, about four to five minutes. Add garlic, and stir for one minute. Add the tomato paste, and carmelize it stirring for two minutes. Add the ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir for one minute. Add the chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pinch of cayenne, and allspice. Stir. Add 1/4 cup water and cook stirring for four minutes until thickened. Take the sauce off the heat and let cool. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also use a blender or food processor, but be sure it’s cool. It will make for quite the science lesson and a mess.
Spruce Eats list of molasses substitutes
If you don’t have molasses, you can make one of several quick substitutes. Replace one cup of molasses with one of the following: 1 cup dark corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup. 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup water
These substitutions may alter the taste of your recipe a bit. If the molasses flavor is vital to the success of your recipe, try the brown sugar substitute. Since brown sugar is granulated sugar and molasses it’ll be the closest flavor match. Maple syrup or dark corn syrup would be the next best choice.
If you have to use granulated sugar or honey as the substitute, consider increasing the spices in the recipe a bit to make up for the flavors that the molasses would have contributed.
The first week after Daylight Savings Time is usually pretty hard for most people. However, the arrival of spring helps make the time change a little more bearable. The days are longer and we begin to see more spring vegetables and fruits in the market.
I love blueberries. They are rich in antioxidants, sweet, and a good source of fiber. I am always on the hunt for a good blueberry muffin recipe. Luckily, the majority of the recipes I’ve tried have turned out well.
I’m sharing this recipe from the Life Made Simple blog. I adapted it for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-sensitivities, low and no-sugar diets. It’s a tasty way to get more fiber in your family’s diets. I hope you try this recipe for one fine spring morning at your home.
Blueberry muffins by Life Made Simple adapted by me
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, or brown rice flour)
1/2 cup cake flour ( ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose less 3 tablespoons, then add 3 tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch, sift together)
1 cup sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (3/4 cup of soy, rice, almond, oat, or light coconut milk with 1 ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, combine and let stand for five minutes before using)
2 eggs ( ¼ cup Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, or vegan egg replacer)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons or the zest of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons of orange zest
1 1/4 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
3 tbsp coarse sugar or raw cane sugar – optional topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 standard muffin cups with liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly beat together oil, butter, vanilla, eggs, and milk.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.
With mixing speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
Remove bowl from stand, gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Place into oven and bake for 24-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Place muffins on wire rack to cool completely.
I used a combination of orange and lemon zest in this recipe. I also prefer adding the zest to the flour. I find that even when you mix the wet ingredients well, the zest has a habit of clumping together. If you add the zest to the flour mixture, it gets evenly distributed, and you don’t run the risk of clumps or over-stirring your batter.