Tag Archives: cranberries

Home Made Muffins – Just Not From Scratch

Among my favorite surprises are spontaneous visits from friends and other loved ones, especially during the holidays. I typically like a challenge, so when someone phones ahead to announce they’re on their way, I spring to action.

Those are also the times when I most appreciate the stash of couponing treasures and clearance items I’ve gleaned from town; the things I wouldn’t otherwise buy. Combined with my old, die-hard habit of up-cycling even food items all come in handy.

orange peel marabuFor example, I wash citrus fruits before peeling them. Then I’ll either peel carefully with a paring knife to dry for teas later on, or I grate the peels and either dry or freeze them.

cranberries odpicturesThis week the pouches of muffin mix that I’d bought just because they were on sale, combined with the fresh cranberries I got the day after Black Friday and tossed into the freezer, and the grated orange peel came into play.

Apples and especially frozen apple juice concentrate* are nearly always a staple in our kitchen and they added pop to the 2nd quick recipe instructions below. A little habitual practice and the sale items kept my secret that the fresh, home made muffins I took from the oven as unexpected visitors arrived weren’t actually made from scratch.

 

Best Quick Orange Cranberry Muffins

cranberry muffins terryb

Ingredients:

1 box or pouch of muffin mix; Cranberry Orange is delightful, but plain works.

3/4 cup frozen cranberries, covered with 1 Tablespoon of sugar, thawed in microwave. Let sit a few (5) minutes.

      OR 3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tablespoon dried grated orange peel or fresh grated peel of 1/2 an orange.

1 large or 2 small eggs

3/4 cup water – If orange peel is not available use one third water and tw0-thirds orange juice.

if desired 1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans are nice too.

 

Instructions:

Take a calming, deep breath. Now go!

  1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gather bowls, sifter, muffin pans, spoons, ingredients.
  3. If you have paper or foil muffin cups if on hand, great! If not, ‘grease’ those reusable muffin cups or go au naturale and ‘grease’ the pan with non-stick spray, butter, coconut oil or canola oil.
  4. Sift mix into a medium sized mixing bowl using rubber spatula, add cranberries from mix and the extra berries.
  5. In separate bowl slightly beat eggs. Mix in water (and/or juice if orange peel isn’t available), and orange peel.
  6. Make a well in dry ingredients, pour in wet mix and stir until blended, don’t over mix. Fold in nuts if desired.

muffin two thirds

7. Spoon into muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake large muffins 28 – 30 minutes; 9 – 12 muffins 24 – 28 minutes – toothpick inserted into center should come out clean :))

 

 

Quickest Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

apple crumb muffins

Ingredients:

1 box or pouch apple cinnamon muffin mix, (or plain, you’ll add apple juice and grated apple)

1 large or 2 small eggs

3/4 c water  or apple juice if apple isn’t available

1 Small apple, grated (or apple juice :))

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans if desired

apples

If mix doesn’t come with a separate topping, no worries. This one adds the wow factor:

Topping Mix:

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup almond flour (best) or unbleached flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

dash salt

2 dashes cinnamon

2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gather bowls, sifter, muffin pans, spoons, ingredients.
  3. If you have paper or foil muffin cups if on hand, great! If not, grease reusable muffin cups or the pan with non-stick spray, butter, coconut oil or canola oil.
  4. Sift mix into a medium sized mixing bowl using rubber spatula – toss in any dried apple pieces from mix.
  5. In separate bowl combine all Topping ingredients except butter or coconut oil. Mix together. Drizzle and toss with melted oil with fork till crumbly and moist.
  6. In separate bowl slightly beat eggs. Mix in water (or juice if an apple isn’t handy) add grated apple.
  7. Make a well in dry ingredients, pour in wet mix and stir until blended, don’t over mix. Fold in nuts if desired.
  8. Spoon into muffin pan 2/3 full. Spoon on Topping mix, tapping each in slightly.
  9. Bake 6 large muffins 28 – 30 minutes, or 9 – 12 muffins 24 – 28 minutes. A toothpick inserted into center should come out clean :))

While muffins bake, whisk away the dishes and then start a pot of coffee or tea!

Answer the door!

Salud, Roo’s Muse!

 

*I often substitute frozen apple juice concentrate for sugar in many recipes ;).

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Delicious No-Sugar Cranberry-Berry Sauce and Oats

It’s the season we crave stick-to-your-ribs, soul satisfying food. Because of the inclement weather it’s also harder to force ourselves outdoors so we naturally tend to put on Winter weight.

Don’t take it laying down (or curled up in the easy chair all winter). Start by reducing the processed sugars from your diet. Below are two recipes to help make that simple and I included groats (whole oat grain) to cook ahead and reheat.

No Sugar Cranberry-Berry Sauce

12 oz bag cranberries, rinsed
12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate thawed
6 – 8 oz flat blackberries or blueberries
dash salt
Grated peel of 1 small or med orange (tangerine, tangelo, 1/2 grapefruit peel are also good) or (1/4 t. lemon or lime juice)
1 1/2 -2″ piece finely minced crystallized ginger

Assemble in a saucepan, stir gently, bring to boil and then reduce heat immediately. Stir and continue to simmer until cranberries stop popping, about 10 – 15 minutes depending upon your altitude and range top.

Stir and let cool. Taste. Before adding any other sweetener, consider whether you are simply used to a sweeter (sugary) sauce. If desired you can add a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey. This will thin your sauce slightly and add more calories.

Use your imagination using this sauce. Aside from making fowl, ham and most any smoked meat even tastier, another delightful way to use it is in oats.

 

Cranberry-berry Oats

Serves 2

For Microwave combine in deep bowl:

1/2 cup cranberry-berry sauce
1/2 cup 4 oz. (snack cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup apple juice or water
1/2 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Microwave: stir gently, microwave at high heat 3 1/2 mins, stir microwave another 2 1/2 mins
Range top: Combine ingredients in a deep, medium sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending upon altitude.

Top with 1/4 cup diced walnuts,
1 teaspoon golden flax seed,
1 teaspoon chia seeds

Be creative with your favorite toppings, but watch out for saturated fats (butter, cream) and refined sugars. For example: vanilla powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, grated unsweetened coconut, a splash of almond milk, cashew milk (and soy creamer is delightful). No added sugar is actually needed!

Frozen, chopped strawberries or blueberries are great during the winter months. I get a bag of frozen mango, pineapple strawberry mix from Aldi, soften in the microwave, chop and add to oatmeal and yogurt for a great energy boost that sticks with you all morning.

 

Groats (whole grain oats, hulls removed)

The healthiest form of oats is simple to cook, but it takes more time. The best advantage to groats is they reheat beautifully in the microwave or on the stove top. I make them ahead and freeze half the batch.

Simply put:

Use 1 part groat grains,
3 parts water,
1 small, grated apple (peels and all, omit seeds), and a
dash of salt.

That’s it!

In a large pan (grain will expand to 3 times it’s bulk), bring grain, water, salt and grated apple to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let soak overnight (all day, whatever works for you). After 8 hours cook on low heat another 20 mins, add a dash of cinnamon if desired. Serve or store in serving sized bowls for convenience. Top as you like (cranberry-berry sauce and walnuts is especially good). Excellent re-heated for a delicious, satisfying breakfast in minutes.

For lots more information about the benefits of groats, click the links to these fine sites:

From the Culinate Kitchen collection by Carrie Floyd

Slow Cooker Groats by Martha Matheny

Spend less time cooking so you’ll have a little more time to exercise – “I like to move it!”

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