Thursday, February 24, 2011

poppy seed muffins! .. or bread

I am in heaven and I won't tell you how much of this I have eaten in the last week.  I baked it twice!

Axel and I have been making a list of things we are missing ... so far we've tallied up "the Kids," cherry pie, a really good chinese and a burger with the works (that's mine, not his).  Funnily enough, Poppy Seed muffins missed that list ... not sure how - they were my breakfast staple along with a non-fat triple-tall latte with a hint of raspberry (or peppermint or almond) for years! Well I can promise you this fixed that with this recipe ... now if I could just solve the good home-made latte thing ...


1-1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350F / 175F.  Grease two 5"x9" loaf pans.
  2. Beat together milk, eggs, almond extract and oil.
  3. Add in sugar, flour, baking powder and salt and beat for 2 minutes.  Stir in poppy seeds.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 45-60 minutes (depending on your oven).  Remove from oven as soon as a toothpick comes out clean.  For muffins you'll have to check but I'm guessing about 20-25 minutes.  I like the bread because it keeps fresher and makes for a smaller portion.
  5. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
  6. This freezes well if wrapped in a double layer of aluminum foil.  Defrost at room temperature before serving.
The verdict:  we loved them!  Axel says they taste just as good if not better than Costco poppyseed muffins!
So the recipe credit?  Well, I changed a recipe that had been "adapted from Mary Engelbreit's Fan Fare" recipe book.  For starters I cut the sugar down from 2-1/2 cups (!!!) to 1-1/2 cups.  I have a firm rule about sugar and nearly always half any recipe I get ... but in my opinion the sugar should never be close to the quantity of flour - yikes!  I also left out the vanilla - actually I forgot it the 2nd time and noticed no difference.  I also cut back a tad on the oil and upped the poppy seeds!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

White Bean Stew with Spinach

White Bean Stew
PHOTO CREDIT:  "White Bean Stew by jive turkey, on Flickr"

Things I loved about this recipe:
  • It's packed with vegetables.
  • Beans .. I love 'em for their great source of protein.
  • Spinach .. Axel loves it!
  • It was very quick and easy to make.
  • There's only good in it.  Nothing bad, nada, nothing whatsoever.
Verdict:  A+   this recipe definitely goes on our must-make-again list.

My comments regarding Smitten Kitchen's recipe:
  • I pureed the tomatoes so there were no chunks - it made a lovely orange sauce when finished. Chunks would be fine, but I just didn't want them tonight ...
  • Used spinach because Axel loves it! - I just heaped it on top of the stew and wilt.
  • Topped with a fried (sunny-side up) egg instead of a poached one - mostly because I've never made a poached one and I used very very little olive oil to fry it.
  • I did not add ham (as seen pictured above), that addition seems to be an earlier adaptation of this recipe.
  • The white wine might not have been necessary ... the jury is out on this on, might try making it without (like in next time I just don't have it in the house) and see what happens.
  • A sprinkle of parmesan on top of the stew would be lovely ...

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