Happy National Blueberry Muffin Day!

blueberrymuffinsBlueberry muffins make a delicious and simple change of pace for breakfast and afternoon snacks. They can be made in large batches and stored in air-tight containers or frozen for future use.

The following recipe is a family favorite and can be easily whipped up in less than an hour.

Enjoy!




Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 cups flour
2 cups milk
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups blueberries
Grated peel and juice of one orange

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease muffin tins with butter or margarine.
3. Mix oil, sugar, eggs, orange peel and juice with the electric mixer.
4. Gradually add milk, flour and baking powder.
5. Add blueberries.
6. Stir using a wooden spoon, not the mixer.
7. Drop mixture into tins.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 24 muffins

*Photographed by Christina Guidoccio.


On a Greek Culinary Journey

Gilda Greco, protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room, and I have a special fondness for Greek cuisine. We appreciate the simple and elegant flavors of foods and beverages that can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Here are ten interesting milestones from Greek culinary history:

1. Feta cheese is said to be about 6,000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest cheeses.

2. In Greece, cheesecakes were considered excellent sources of energy and served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms celebrated their nuptials with cheesecake.

Continue reading on Ryan Jo Summers’ blog.


Easy Avgolemono

After all her guests stormed out of the restaurant, Gilda Greco (protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room) took refuge in the steaming goodness of Chef David Korba’s Avgolemeno, a Greek lemon chicken soup that warms up body and soul while releasing endorphins.


Find out more about Too Many Women in the Room and get the tried-and-true recipe for Easy Avgolemono on the Romance Recipes blog.


Happy National Raisin Day!

When grapes are dehydrated to produce raisins, the nutrients become more concentrated, making a handful of raisins rich in iron, potassium, and B vitamins. But don’t take too many handfuls. One cup of raisins has a whopping 440 calories!

Here’s a family favorite recipe for raisin cookies.

Ingredients

1/3 cup margarine or shortening
2/3 cups brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, well-beaten
½ cup chopped raisins
1½ cups sifted pastry flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbsp milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using an electric mixer (or hand mixer), cream together margarine, sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the egg and raisins.
4. Add sifted dry ingredients, alternating with milk.
5. Beat until all ingredients are well combined.
6. Drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet.
7. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the centers are soft with a touch of color and the edges are golden brown.

Enjoy!


In Praise of Spinach

Today is National Spinach Day, a day set aside to honor and consider all the delicious ways we can incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into our diets.

Here are 10 interesting facts about spinach:

1. During Catherine de Medici’s reign as queen of France, spinach was served at every meal. Many modern dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” in honor of Catherine’s birth in Florence.

2. The earliest written record of the spinach plant was found in Chinese, suggesting the spinach plant was introduced in China via Nepal.

3. Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.

4. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production.

5. California accounts for almost three quarters of national production. Other spinach-growing states include Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Maryland, and Arkansas.

6. In the 1930’s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.

7. Alma, Arkansas—the home of “Allen Canning Company” which cans and ships spinach—holds an annual spinach festival each April. Alma proclaims itself to be the “Spinach Capital of the World”…a title also claimed by Crystal City, Texas.

8. An excellent source of protein, calcium, folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K, spinach is also loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants.

9. A half cup of raw spinach counts as one vegetable serving.

10. Studies have found that eating cooked spinach and carrots – versus raw – results in much higher blood levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to guard against heart disease and lung cancer.

On a personal note…

I look forward to my breakfast smoothie. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

I start with one scoop of Sun Warrior Vegan Protein Powder (vanilla flavor). Recommended by my nutritionist, this brand contains brown rice protein and works well for anyone who is sensitive to eggs, dairy, and soy. I add one-half cup of blueberries, one cup of baby spinach leaves, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. I then add six to eight ounces of water and blend.

Do you have a quick-and-easy spinach recipe to share?


A Mangiacake Tradition

italy1Scalilli. Turdilli. Crostoli. Grispelle. Biscotti. Pizzelle. I have fond memories of all those Italian desserts my mother and grandmother prepared during the Christmas season. They would start baking early in December and then make more batches as the month progressed.

While I enjoyed partaking, I was not overly thrilled with the amount of work involved. In fact, delicious and labor intensive would be two apt descriptions for many of the entrées and desserts that emerged from my mother’s kitchen.

One Christmas in the early 1970s, my mother presented a different kind of dessert. She placed a dish filled with unusual shapes on the table and said, “Help yourself to a snowball.”

Continue reading on Kathy Bryson’s blog.


Free…And Two By Me!

comfortfoodsholidaygardengourmetTreat yourself to our favorite comfort food recipes–soups and stews; breads, biscuits and muffins; salads and sides; cookies and bars–all from the kitchens of The Wild Rose Press authors.

I’m happy to share two of my recipes: BCR Casserole on Page 28
and Banana Muffins on Page 104.

Happy Holidays!

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