Thursday, February 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Back in the fall, I went apple picking.  It was fun (obvi, because apple picking is the best) and I got a lot of apples.  Then, I had to figure out what to do with them all; that's always the challenge with apple picking, isn't it?  I used a ton of them to make some super tasty apple butter, ate a few, and then got stuck.  So, I started looking up recipes for apple cake, thinking that'd be a good way to use up the rest of them.  This was a glorious idea.

The last time I made this confection, I baked it in a casserole pan.  However, I wanted to take some in for class (night classes are rough on the eating schedule), so I needed it to be easily transportable to work and school.  So I made them into muffins.  I know it's not apple season anymore, but these are good for any day.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins - Adapted from The Pajama Chef

For the Muffins:
1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar 
1/3 Cup Oil (I used vegetable, but canola would also work well.  I'd stay away from oils that have a strong flavor, unless there is an apple oil that I'm not aware of) 
1 Egg
1 Cup Buttermilk (You can make this at home by putting a tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup and then filling the rest of the cup with milk.  Let it sit for a few minutes, and then you have butter milk)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla  
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
2 1/2 Cups Flour 
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Apples (I just used two and chopped them pretty small, peel and everything.  No need to be mega precise) 

For the Topping:
1 Tablespoon Melted Butter 
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 325 and line 20 muffin cups with liners, or grease a 9 x 13 baking dish very well. 

Combine the brown sugar, oil, egg, and buttermilk in a bowl.  Then add the vanilla and baking soda. 

Lastly, add the flour and apples.  Mix to combine.  I did not use a mixer for this, the whole thing works fine with just a whisk or a wooden spoon. 

Melt the butter and mix in the sugar and cinnamon.  Spoon that on top of the muffins before putting them in the oven.  If you go the whole cake route this will not cover the entire cake, but that's ok, it kind of spread out in the oven anyways. 

Bake at 325 for about 40 minutes, until a fork comes out clean. 

These muffins are super simple and come together in no time.  Also, since they have apples in them, they're basically a health food, so it's got that going for it.  Whip these up anytime you're craving a bit of fall (or bought too many apples and don't know what to do).  Maybe avoid taking the dumbest picture ever, like this one.  My brain doesn't work real well at 6:30am....I somehow thought this was a great idea.  Weirdo, but it gives you a good idea of how big the muffin is?  

Question of the Day:
What is your favorite kind of muffin?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Hi, guys!  Long time, no see.  I got a little busy shoveling snow and going to school.  On the bright side, I have a pink backpack and lunchbox, and a hat with a pom pom on top.  So, the average 6 year old thinks I'm stylish; I'm fine with this, have you ever spoken with a 6 year old?  They're hilarious.

Anyways, I got the lunchbox because I'm trying to spend less money on food at work.  I added it up, and for a while there I was spending a shocking amount of cash every week on bagels, deli sandwiches, and coffee.  Still have a solid coffee problem, but I'm fixing the other things.  And one of the ways that I've fixed it is by making this casserole once a week.  It's super easy, freezes well, and you probably already have half the ingredients on hand anyways.  Best part?  You can change it up depending on what you have on hand and what you're feeling like that week.  Beautiful.

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole:
6 Eggs 
1/2 Pound Sausage 
3/4 Cup Shredded Cheese 
2 Small Squash, Chopped
4-6 Slices of Bread, Cut into Cubes
1 Cup Milk 
Salt and Pepper 

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  While that's happening, brown up the sausage on the stove.  

While the sausage is browning, beat together the eggs and milk.  Add the bread, squash, and cheese. Season to taste. 

Allow the sausage to cool for a bit, so that you don't scramble the eggs.  Once it's cooled off, drain it and add it to the egg mixture. 

Pour into a WELL GREASED casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until it's brown on top and the eggs are set. 

The awesome thing about this is that everything but the eggs are completely interchangeable.  If you don't like squash, you can either skip it or replace it with a veggie you do like.  Or, add in some greens that are on their way out.  You can use whatever kind of meat or non-meat product you like, or skip it entirely.  And the bread?  Well, I've used a stale piece of baguette, a bagel and a half (no idea how I had a half bagel but I did), and some kind of mixture of random bread ends that I found in the freezer.  So definitely make this casserole, it's a great way to use up odds and ends.  

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite make ahead meal?