Apple Carrot Bran Muffin

carrot apple bran muffin -trustinkim

Healthy, delicious and moist is the way I’ll describe these. An excellent item to have in the freezer for snacks or quick breakfasts. A great source of fibre, not too much fat or sugar, and I added nuts to up the protein. Did I mention really really yummy? I’ve already made them a half dozen times and given many away.
I found the recipe on the All-Bran website; I bought a box of Bran Buds and realized I was never going to eat it (ew!), so I searched for recipes to use it up. Now I’m purposely going out and buying it so that I can make these muffins. I could probably just make bran muffins, but I’m so addicted to these that I don’t want to risk a change.
I only made a few changes in this recipe; I added nuts, and I soak the raisins in milk. I find the raisins burn too easily on the top of the muffin if they aren’t soaked first.
What you need:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups All-bran Buds cereal
  • 1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk (or add a tablespoon of vinegar to regular milk to make your own)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 1 cup apple, unpeeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Soak the Bran Buds and raisins in milk for 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a dozen muffin tins with paper liners.
  3. Add the egg, oil and vanilla to the Bran Buds and stir it in. Add the grated carrots and apples and stir them in too. At the last minute stir in the nuts.
  4. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir the cereal mixture into the dry ingredients only until it is combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins; it makes quite large muffins.
  6. Bake immediately for 20-25 minutes. At 20 minutes insert a toothpick into the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffin is done. If not bake for a few more minutes and test again.
  7. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack. You can eat them before they are cooled, but allow them to cool completely before freezing.

How to Hard-Cook an Egg

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I know it seems too simple to bother writing about, but I really do believe there is a “right” way to hard-cook an egg. Most mornings I start my day with a hard-cooked egg since it’s a good source of protein, and when cooked this way . . .  the Right Way . . . it is tender and delicious.

I used to call these hard-boiled eggs, but I stopped using the word ‘boiled’ when I found the Right Way stopped boiling them. You see, eggs don’t like to be cooked at high temperatures; they turn tough when you boil them. This method is really easy, and the results are much better.

I have also been using free-range organic eggs for a while, and I believe the flavour is much better. The eggs in the photo are from London Heritage Farm in Steveston, BC. It’s a great place to cycle to for tea and a scone in the their tea house, and a walk through the garden.

What you need:

  • one large free-range organic egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper – optional

What you do:

  1. Place the egg in a small pot and add enough water to cover the egg. Place the pot, with the lid on, on high heat and bring to a simmer – just before it begins to boil, turn the heat off.
  2. Keep the pot on the burner that has been turned off, with the lid on. Set a timer for 11 minutes. (Give it a few extra minutes at high altitudes)
  3. Pour the hot water out of the pot, then cover the egg with cold water for a moment.
  4. Crack and peel the egg, salting and peppering if desired. Eat it while it’s hot!

You can use the same method to make devilled eggs, egg salad sandwich, or any other recipe that calls for hard-boiled eggs.

 

Savoury Italian Cake

savoury italian cake - trust in kim
photo by sarah scott

This salty and cheesy savoury cake is something I baked to serve along with a friend’s chili at a Superbowl party. It is quite easy to make, and really tasty, flavoured with bacon, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, and arugula. So good.

I found the recipe in Ilona Chovancova’s cookbook Cakes and Loaves: 110 Recipes you can Make at Home. The main things I changed from the original recipe were some parts of the method of preparation. The author didn’t specify to cook the bacon, so I fried it to get a lot of the fat out of it, but didn’t make it crispy. The other part that confused me was the addition of baking powder: the author says to fold it in at the end, after everything else has been mixed. But this worried me – how would it be possible to mix it in completely without over-mixing? So I solved that problem by adding the flour in two portions, one at the end with the baking powder in it, and that way the baking powder would be distributed better. That would also avoid adding the baking powder with the rest of the flour, which could cause over mixing, resulting in a tough cake. Problem solved.

The only ingredient change I made was to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

What you need:

  • a generous handful of arugula
  • 150 grams bacon (or pancetta)
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups white aged cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup aged Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

What you do:

  1. Chop the bacon and fry it until most of the fat is removed, but don’t let it get crispy. Place the fried bacon on paper towels to absorb the fat. Let it cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
  3. Chop the arugula coarsely.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk and oil in a large bowl and beat with a fork. Add 1 cup of the flour along with the cheeses, arugula, bacon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Mix the baking powder into the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Fold the flour and baking powder into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes. The top of the loaf should become browned, and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

This was delicious served cold, but if you can time it right, it would probably be awesome to eat it while it’s still a little warm.

 

Egg & Avocado Open-Faced Sandwich

egg and avocado open-faced sandwich - trust in kim

This might look a little odd – like green eggs without the ham – but it’s pretty darn good. And a healthier alternative to using mayonnaise in a sandwich.

I developed this simple recipe out of necessity – I had a half an avocado that needed to be used up, and I was hungry and didn’t have much food in the house. So instead of the usual egg salad sandwich I made and enjoyed this:

What you need for one sandwich:

  • one large free-range egg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 slices bread of your choice

What you do:

  1. Place the egg in a small pot filled with water and put a lid on the pot. The water needs to cover the egg. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off as soon as it begins to boil, and set a timer for 11 minutes, keeping the lid on the pot. This method of making a “boiled” egg without actually boiling it ensures that your egg will be tender – boiling can cause the egg to become rubbery.
  2. Drain the hot water off the egg and immerse it in cold water. I like to crack the egg while it is in the water because this helps to get the peel off easily.
  3. Mash the avocado in a bowl and add some salt and pepper. When the egg has cooled somewhat, cut it up and add it to the avocado. Mix the egg and avocado together.
  4. Toast your bread.
  5. Pile the egg mixture on top of the bread and eat it right away.

Enjoy!

Scrambled Eggs ‘n Veg

scrambled eggs and vegetables - trust in kimRecently I realized that I don’t tend to post my easy meals, the ones that I make pretty often that don’t take much time. So this recipe marks the beginning of my attempt to post more of these. They aren’t fancy, but I keep making them because they feed me when I don’t feel like taking a lot of time too cook, and they taste good.

This is one of my favourite weekend breakfasts. I usually have a pepper, onion, garlic and egg on hand, and sometimes I even have mushrooms. So I just fry up a whole bunch of veggies and add a scrambled egg. It’s delicious, and gives me energy to run errands or do other weekend activities.

This recipe is for one person.

What you need:

  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup-ish onion (I prefer sweet onions)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil or butter

What you do:

  1. Chop up the onion and pepper. Heat a frying pan to medium high and add a little olive oil or butter (1/2 teaspoon or so). When the pan is hot, add the onion, then turn the heat down and cook them, stirring from time to time, for a few minutes. Turning the heat down allows the onions to mellow and sweeten.
  2. Add the pepper and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned.
  3. Slice the garlic and add it to the pan, cooking for about another minute.
  4. Crack the egg into a bowl, add a little salt and pepper to it and beat lightly with a fork.
  5. Turn the frying pan heat a little higher and push the veg to the side. Add a little more butter or olive oil to the pan, then pour in the egg. When the egg starts to cook, push it around a little so the rest of the egg runs onto the surface of the pan to cook. I don’t like to move the egg around too much, so it cooks but doesn’t get mushy.
  6. Combine the veg with the egg and serve. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if you wish. Hot sauce could be awesome on this too! Buttered toast is a nice accompaniment.

A pot of tea makes this perfect for me, but I understand that there are a lot of people who prefer coffee – do what you love!

 

 

 

Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits

cheddar chive biscuits - trust in kim

 

I made a batch of these up quickly the other morning before bringing them to a great big brunch celebration. If I had brought my camera there might be a better picture posted here – oops – but I think you get the idea. Cheesy and salty biscuits with nice crispy edges.

My favourite coffee shop makes a cheddar scone that is the best I’ve ever tried. They are almost always sold out when I go in for one, so in order to feed my craving I tried to find a recipe that approximates the coffee shop ones. Mine aren’t as pretty, but they taste pretty close to the real thing. This recipe is from Gourmet Magazine, but it seems to be a really common one that comes up in a web search.

Makes 12 biscuits

What you need:

  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, grated
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used soured milk – add 1 tablespoon vinegar to milk)

What you do:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450F and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the cold butter up and then blend it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the butter is about the size of small peas. Add the cheddar and scallions to combine.
  4. Add the buttermilk and stir only until it is combined.
  5. Scoop onto the cookie sheets (I used an ice-cream scoop) into 12 mounds. Add a touch of salt to the top if you wish.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes, one tray at a time, in the middle of the oven. Mine baked really fast, so they came out a little earlier. They look nice and browned when they are done, thanks to the cheese.
  7. Eat ASAP so they are still warm, or let them cool. Yummy either way! Some people might want a little butter to slather on them, but I think they have enough flavour without.

My Favourite Breakfast – yogurt, granola and fruit

yogurt, fruit and granola - trust in kim

Most days I enjoy some version of this breakfast, depending on the fruits that are available.  This one has blueberries and papaya – can’t wait until there are fresh local fruits available!

I make my own granola so I can control the ingredients and limit the fat and sugar content, and because I think it tastes great.

What you need:

What you do:

  1. Choose a pretty bowl, if that matters to you, and put some fruit in it.
  2. Add some yogurt.
  3. Top with granola.
  4. Enjoy.

Best served with a cup of tea, in my opinion.