Thoughts on muffins and quick breads

I have lately been making quick breads, the kind that bake in one loaf pan without yeast. According to Bittman in How to Cook Everything “The only real difference between muffins and other quick breads is the pan you bake them in.” Sure, this makes sense. We choose between corn bread and corn muffins, same batter. This means I cold make a loaf out of some of my favorite muffin recipes. Cool!

I have enjoyed making loaves. Recently I made the Blueberry Lemon Walnut Bread from the back of the walnut package. This had a bread-like texture and not cake-like in the chocolate walnut loaf made previously. I liked the cake-likeness; Hubby preferred the bread-likeness texture.

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So as I was looking at these recipes in a variety of books, I find that there is a range of sugar involved. Bittman’s muffins call for 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste),  whereas Betty Crocker’s muffins call for 1/3 cup but her nut breads call for 1 cup and pumpkin bread calls for 1 1/3 cup per loaf. What’s up with this?

And why are muffins in The Cookie and Biscuit Bible cookbook? This book also has my go-to popover recipe.

Looking through all these cookbooks to see the differing amounts of sugar tempts me with more and more things to bake. I’ll never lose weight this way!

Here are some thoughts, not all about bread and muffins:

  • What does it mean when an onion starts looking pithy between layers? Is this like celery meaning that it is a bit old? Can one still cook with it? Am I a bad cook if I dice it up anyway and saute it in a dish? Don’t tell anyone.
  • Why did I put the dog food dish under the butcher block table I use for chopping vegetables and rolling out pie dough? Or, why does the dog choose that time to chow down? This is rhetorical because we know the dog can’t talk.
  • I have to decide not to be obsessive over composting when I go camping on weekends. I am sure Hubby won’t want us to come home with a bowl full of food scraps stinking up the truck!
  • Syrian casseroles are what I need to look for so I can provide meals for a family in need. And there are children. What sweet treat would be wholesome for them?
  • Do other’s of you sneak spinach into sauces and casseroles so the family doesn’t know what they are eating? Is this dishonest? I confess if asked.
  • I am planting herbs. What is the difference between German thyme and English thyme? And what to do with lemon balm?

I could go on and on but that is enough for today. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Crock Pot Meal

I like cooking in the crock pot. Meals are ready when evening comes. It is convenient and simple. Slow cooking meat this way is a way to turn tougher cuts into tender meals. I usually cook chicken in the crockpot although I have cooked beef. I would like to use it more but to be honest the texture of the meal is similar regardless of what I’ve cooked. It seems to be all “stew-like.” But this does not stop me from preparing meals this way. It is rather an assembled meal and not necessarily really a recipe meal.

It is convenient. I do not necessarily need the convenience in that I have 1 ½ hours at home alone before my husband arrives home from work. I have 45 minutes to an hour in the morning as well. I REFUSE to feel guilty that I have arranged my work to be so close to home. I do recognize that some may call this a luxury and that not everyone can arrange life like this. But I did and I really enjoy it. Work is work but this change saved my sanity from my previous job!

So we had a huge grocery shopping trip this week. And I say “we” because my husband makes it a practice to go shopping with me. Now this is a luxury! Lots of chicken was purchased at my discount grocery store. I have a 10 pound bag of chicken leg quarters. These work nicely in the crockpot. I have every intention of making my own barbeque sauce and barbeque rubs. I have not done so yet. Well, that is not true. I made one sauce and used it over chicken but it would be better over pork. I am not sure that I like it; it is made without ketchup. My plan is to make a simple sauce in the morning before work. This does not happen. I have about ½ cup tomato  soup leftover and will use that instead.

Here is an assembly of ingredients that make a meal: chicken parts, potatoes, carrots, onions, tomato soup, spice rub, liquid smoke.

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I put all that in the crockpot and cooked it on low for 8 hours then kept it on warm.

Maine weekend and crockpot meal 056And then there are muffins. I thought at first that I would make corn muffins but the KAF 200th Anniversary Cookbook had a wheatgerm muffin and I have wheatgerm in my fridge. So that is what I made. Page 76.

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And then I make pie! Dough from Emily RPCV referenced in previous blog (Savory Pie). And the pumpkin pie from the KAF cookbook. My standard pumpkin pie recipe is from the Betty Crocker cookbook. But I am trying to keep to my goal of baking through this one cookbook.

So I had gone to the grocery to buy a few more items that we forgot at the big grocery shopping trip. I come home and bake and bake. I feed my husband and we have a nice dinner. I make the pie after supper and then need to clean up. He says he is not doing dishes until the morning. Well, I did the dishes this morning since they needed to be done. I am sweeping up the kitchen floor and slightly seething, very slightly, not even seething, more like minor brooding trying not to brood, while my husband is trying to get his iPhone to find local pool halls. I have made his favorite pie! I bring this to his attention and he tells me he works hard enough and he is not going to work at home this evening after working hard all day! And he sometimes feels like Cinderella! This is true for both of us. I just wanted a bit of help cleaning up the kitchen. But it is done and we can relax and wait for the pie to cool down so we can have a slice.

Pie makes everything right. Happy autumn!