Tuesday, May 31, 2011

B-b-b-b-b-b... Blueberry Muffins

So this may be hard to believe, even for us here in Chicago as we are now sweating in our post-Memorial day 90 weather, but just a few short days ago it was only 40. Yes, that's right, we had a 50 degree swing this week. I guess it shouldn't be a shock for those of Chicago natives, but it never seems to sit just right with me. 

On Friday when I was walking around shivering in my house (now reread the title of this blog), I decided I needed to find something to bake to warm up the kitchen. And the idea came out of nowhere... what about blueberry muffins??? Everyone loves them and if done right, can be somewhat nutritious. Yes, they are a little high in sugar, but they do also include whole grain flour and those little bitty antioxidant powerhouses... aka blueberries. 

I posted the recipe here since no matter the weather, these delicious treats are always a hit!

Blueberry Muffins (adapted from allrecipes.com)

Use organic ingredients if possible:

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash... really is just too fun to say. In my book, that alone is a perfectly good reason to have it for dinner.

Sunday night we decided to enjoy a little of this tasty German combination. Our meal consisted of small bratwurst (made in Germany, but bought at Trader Joes), mashed potatoes (skin on), sauerkraut, big soft pretzels, and spicy mustard. It was a lot of fun and more nutritious than you may think.

For starters, we only had 1 serving of the meat, 3 oz each for Oscar and me, 1-2 oz for the kids.

The potatoes were mashed with chicken stock and a little butter. By leaving the skin on they had much more Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium, Copper and Iron.

Sauerkraut is also very nutritious. It is a good source of Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Plus, it's a fermented food and like yogurt, is excellent for gut health. To reduce the sodium content, I'd recommend rinsing it before serving.

The pretzels are just plain yummy. You can make your own... Check out my pretzel blog here. 

Theme meals are great for the whole family. Explore and be creative with something new this week, perhaps your very own bangers and mash dinner. You know it will be a ton of fun to answer when the kids ask you what's for dinner!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mad About Miso

I'm gonna take a guess and say that the vast majority of you readers out there have never tried miso at home. In all honesty, I hadn't until a few weeks ago. Sure, we've all had the occasional miso soup, but probably really never stopped to think much beyond that, let alone even ask the question... "what the heck is miso anyway?"

So here it is, miso is fermented soybean paste. OK, I admit that probably doesn't get you jumping in the car and heading to Whole Foods to buy some, but I'm hoping you find your adventurous side and pick up a container next time you shop. I'll tell you this, it adds an awesome flavor to dressings and marinades. Sort of like soy sauce on steroids. I mixed up the dressing recipe below and tossed with the Trader Joe's broccoli slaw the other day, and no joke, Max was following me around the kitchen trying to get more. Literally mouth open pointing to the bowl I was eating out of. It was hilarious. 

One of the very cool things about miso is it satisfies your 5th sense of taste, namely umami. You've all heard of your other 4 tastes... sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umami is the less commonly referenced taste and it gives you the sensation of savoriness. I think umami is what can make a salad made with miso much more satisfying than one made with just your everyday vinaigrette. 

Here's a web site with a ton of miso recipes. And below is my dressing recipe that works well on most salads. I really like it on chopped raw kale and/ or chard. It can also work as a great veggie dip for the kids!

Creamy Miso Dressing

4 T Miso paste (white)
1/2 C Organic Mayo
2 T apple cider or white wine vinegar
4 T Honey (I use raw honey)

Whisk all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. If dressing is too thick you can add a little water or Canola oil.