Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Month Muffin Dough

My daughter is constantly begging me to make a batch of these muffins.
They are so good, I don't mind taking the time and once done the  muffins last for up to a month...or in my household...2 weeks...or less....
FYI...The recipe is from my mother's friend and we made them a lot back in the 1970's!  It's a keeper.

One Month Muffin Dough 
(Click here for printable version of recipe)

2 c. boiling water, poured over:
2 c. Kellogg's All Bran "Bran  Buds".   Let Set.

3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 qt. buttermilk
4 eggs, beaten
5 c. flour
5t. baking soda
1 t. salt
4 c. Kellogg's All Bran Cereal

Cream oil and sugar, add buttermilk, beaten eggs and hot Bran Buds cereal.  Mix.
(Disgusting to look at, but a necessary step!)
Add flour, salt and soda (sifted).  Mix.  Add All Bran Cereal.  Mix.
Bake in a 400° oven for 20 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean.
Keep in quart jars or 2 three pound coffee can.
Refrigerate 24 hours, then use as needed.
Can keep up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

NOTES~~(It's going to get long this time!)
1.  What really needs to be discussed is storage.  While my mom and her friends used coffee cans, I find them somehow unfit for service, if not downright ugly.  So I found a plastic storage container that fit the bill perfectly and takes little room in the fridge.
 I then placed a label on the top of the container that had the baking time, so I wouldn't have to keep referring to the recipe.

2.  After the muffins have been baked and cooled, place them in a plastic food/bread bag.
In a few hours they will be perfect.  I don't know why, but they seem to almost "glaze" themselves in the plastic bag.  Slightly sticky, moist and yummy.
3.  I like to substitute 2 cups of the all purpose flour with 2 c. whole wheat pastry flour.  I've also substituted egg beaters for the eggs and applesauce for the oil...or at least half the oil...
4.  I've never tried it, but I bet diced dried apricots would be good in these...or raisins...or dried cranberries! 

Update 05/2012:  I didn't have Bran Buds last time I made these and used "The Original Fiber One Bran Cereal" as a substitute.  I worked well, but the batter was a little "gloppier".  Taste was not affected to any noticeable degree.
These are great for breakfast, with any meal or just as a snack with a piece of fruit.  I'm not big on bran muffins, but these are exceptional!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dutch Beauty Sampler, Part Deux

It's done, it's done, it's done!!!!   I feel a little like Steve Martin in "The Jerk", excitedly screaming, "The new phone books are here, the new phone books are here!"  Yes, it's like that. Just like that.

After 3 LO-O-O-ONG years of working on The Dutch Beauty Sampler, I have finally finished, framed and hung this beautiful long term project.  Yes, three years of the same dozen or so colors staring at me from an off-white canvas.  Three years of wondering if I would EVER finish and three years of wondering if I bit off more than I could chew... I emerge victorious!  Queen for a day (or even a week!).  High priestess of the #26 tapestry needle.  M'lady of linen.

I've been renewed.  After placing the last stitch in mid-January, I immediately ran (it may have been closer to a heel-toe) to my favorite little cross stitch shop, The Stitching Cottage, for framing.  The owner hand-laced the back for me and even went beyond the call of duty, using conservation glass as an additional layer of protection.  It turned out better than I had ever imagined.  She did an absolutely beautiful, professional job.  I couldn't be more pleased with the finished product.   And speaking of.....
(Can you find my initials?)
It measures 41½" x 26½", including the frame, and was stitched on 32 count Belfast Cream linen.
The pattern didn't have a stitch count so as an FYI, my count was 630 across and 390 down (please count it yourself if you have the pattern, I take no responsibility for my possibly faulty count...though it worked for me).
(Info updated April 9:  Thank you "The Stitching Cottage", who noticed the Permin of Copenhagen pattern was void of the above details and that I had omitted them! )

We hung it above the fireplace mantle...
For the last 5+ years I wouldn't let anything else be considered for placement.  I knew it would be the perfect spot for "Beauty".  The focal point of the room.

Now that I've carried on far, far more than I probably should have, I'll go...happily skipping off into the sunset in search of another, easier, project.  Something with lots of color.  If you want to read my previous post regarding 'Beauty', you will find a link in my sidebar or here.  It goes into a little more detail regarding the pattern.  
It was before I lost my mind....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sweet Sour Meatballs

I love to see the wafting of snowflakes from the sky on a winter's day as much as anyone...
but enough is enough already!
I've been hearing rumors (or possibly wishful thinking) that THIS is DEFINITELY the LAST snow of the season.  That malicious gossip was first spread two (count 'em) storms ago.
I don't think this storm system is going to lay much down.  The weatherman guessed 1 to 3 inches.  As long as the roads stay clear, I'll survive.  But please....NO MORE ICE!!!

To keep from going completely cabin crazy, I worked on another one of Grandma's recipes recently.
It wasn't one of my favorites and it certainly needs tweaking, but maybe you'll want to play with it a little more than I had time for.  I'll post suggestions at the end, as usual.

So recipe experiment #6 from Grandma's Private Cookbook~~
 I always like to assemble all the ingredients I use so you see what I tend to reach for, brand-wise.  Nothing fancy or high end.  All usually accessible in your local grocery.

 I did decided to try some Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals I recently purchased at Trader Joe's.  Couldn't really taste any difference....they were just "pretty".
I will tell you though, I buy nearly all of my spices (and especially cocoa powder!) from Penzey's.  Their products are far superior to the grocery store varieties, in cost, variety and freshness.  I usually buy the products in bag form and store them in my basement cupboard, refilling the store bought jars as needed.  Such a deal.  Look for them online and locally.

 My assembly line ready...
And meatballs rolled...
I can finally dive into the mechanics...there go the onions!

And the meatballs...

After you're done can relax...and eat...(before the clean up)

The rewrite (adjustments in red)...

Sweet Sour Meatballs
1 lb. hamburger or ground pork
1 egg
1 quart water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
4 peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1 t. salt, or to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 quart tomatoes, drained
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
cornstarch, to thicken

Mix the meat and egg, forming 1 inch balls.  To the water add all the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and cook a few minutes.  When boiling add the meatballs, simmer until meat is done, then thicken with the cornstarch.

1.  What on earth is a clove red pepper?  I could have used chopped chiles, but somehow I don't think Grandma had that available to her.  So I substituted 1/8 t. red pepper flakes.
2.  I used 1 quart of home canned tomatoes, Grandma didn't specify an amount.
3.  You'll get 28-30 1-inch meatballs.
4.  This was very watery.  Maybe a quart of tomatoes wasn't a good guess?!  With a quart of water I felt it needed all those tomatoes.  The flavor needed something...more intensity.  Maybe try a can of tomato paste?  Or cooking it down?  Celery?  Tomato juice instead of water?  Add a can of tomato soup?
5.  I would strongly suggest using corn starch instead of flour.  The flour just didn't thicken this nearly enough for my taste.  The next day I thickened the leftovers with cornstarch.  It worked MUCH better and helped to slightly intensify the flavor.
6.  About the bread mentioned in Grandma's recipe...maybe it was used as an additional thickener?  The idea of it made me squinch my nose, so I left it out.
As I mentioned above, the flavor has potential, but is only half way to the finish line.  Something to work on during another storm, I guess.  Seems like every other recipe is a dud, but I'm going to keep plugging through more of these.  Gives me something to do, I don't get out as much as I used to since the knee surgery.  S'all good though.

Stay warm!  Spring is just around the corner!...right???