Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Reasons Muffin Tins Rock

Now, we all love ourselves a good muffin, right? It is, afterall, the only time you can refer to a muffin top with a smile, not a frown, on your face. BUT! Our wonderful friend the muffin tin is so much more than just a muffin-baker. Here are nine other, non-muffin ways to use that old pan in your pantry.

1. They work wonderfully when making a crumbly pastry, like a butter muffin, which easily crumbles when formed onto a tray.

2. They are great for starting plants in your home. I recently did my entire herb garden, all started in various muffin cups. They are especially great if you want to plant just a few of each type of plant so that they are eassily distinguishable.

3. Bake, don't fry, your meatballs. They keep their shape really well (mini muffin tin) and you pick them up and leave LOTS of grease behind.

4. (Not Pictured) Eggs IN Ham. You use a piece of thin sliced ham as a 'muffin cup', then crack one egg into each cup. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes and you have a beautiful all-in-one breakfast cup- see more at Pollyanna Reinvents.

5. Of course, smack dab in the middle, come blueberry muffins! And if you want to take the effort to bake them from scratch, may as well use the BEST recipe and make the BEST muffins ever.

6. Fancy Jello desserts! Use the tin to tip your cups while the gelatin sets for surprisingly attractive parfaits! Thanks William Recipes for a fun idea!

7. Mini pie shells. You can use pie crust or even just a ball of cookie dough, smashed down in the center, to make your own mini pie shells.

8. Paint projects! So perfect when you have more than one kiddo painting at the table- it helps to divide up (and keep divided!) your paints.

9. Condiment holder at a barbeque. Everything you need for your burger in one easy, display-worthy stop.

10. And, to finish out.... Use your muffin tin for big, fat cinnamon rolls! Cut them extra thick and place into your tin to bake. Baking times are slightly shorter in the muffin tin and if you are lucky... your cinnamon roll will have a muffin top of its own.

There you have it. Ten reasons to justify you having multiple muffin tins. I know I do!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Avocado Salsa Salad- Fresh AND Refreshing

I love avocado season, when the prices drop from 1.09 and up to.... 3 or 4 for 1.00! I always buy a dozen or so and go on kind of an avocado binge- I make guacamole, put it in my DIY Sushi- and, perhaps most frequently, this avocado salsa salad. I call it a salsa salad, because I eat it as both. It is mild enough that it can be eaten by the bowlful as a mid-day snack but is also great with tortilla chips or on a grilled tortilla. Bonus? Perfectly vegan.

*4 cups tomatoes, diced
*2 cups onions, diced (Walla Walla or Vidaila are best because they are sweet and mild)
*1/2 bunch cilantro, diced
*7 medium avocados
*juice of 3 limes
*1 Tb garlic salt
*1/2 Tb pepper
*1/2 Tb onion salt

All but the avocado...
Step 1
Mix together everything EXCEPT the avocados into a large bowl.

Step 2
Half the avocados, remove the pit (of course) and cut it horizontally and vertically (see the pic). Run your finger between the flesh of the avocado and the skin in order to remove it directly into the bowl. Once all of the avocados have been added, mix them in very gently, in a folding motion, with a wooden spoon.

Step 3
Enjoy! It's just a perfect balance of mixed veggies and seasoning.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Grapefruit Muffins! Possibly the BEST Muffins I've Ever Eaten

I was in muffin mode today, baking a whole passel of muffins. I like to bake a few dozen, freeze them, and then thaw a few when I'm in the mood for a homemade muffin. And as I was making all of my favorites like apple cinnamon and pumpkin chocolate chip, I noticed a few grapefruits in my fruit bowl on the table. And I thought, "Hmmmm, why not? Can't be much different than lemon muffins, right?" So, I jerry-rigged a grapefruit muffin recipe together. I couldn't resist popping a piece into my mouth right as they came out of the oven. Well worth a bit of singed tongue. They were delicious! Allow me to share my moment of inspiration with you.

2 cups flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
Juice from 1 medium grapefruit
1 Tb fresh grapefruit zest

Streusel Topping
1 Tb melted butter/margarine
3 Tb sugar
3 Tb flour

Step 1
(preheat oven to 400) Mix dry ingredients  together thoroughly in one large bowl.

Step 2
Mix wet ingredients together thoroughly in a smaller bowl.

Step 3
Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the large bowl and combine with a few strokes up a wooden spoon- just enough so that it is mixed together- lumps are ok!

Step 4
All the way full, generous streusel
Pour batter into a muffin tin that is greased or lined with paper cups. Use spray grease on the top portion of the pan. Make sure that the batter goes almost to the top of each cup- you WANT them to fluff up over the top when they are baking.

Step 5
In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and butter from the streusel topping all together. It should be the consistency of crumbly cookie dough. Sprinkle it generously over the top of the muffin batter in each cup, making sure to NOT get any on the top part of the muffin tin.

Step 6
Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes (or when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Allow to cool a couple of minutes until they are warm and not hot- then pop them out of the tin and into your mouth! They are delicious!!