Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I’ve mentioned before my preferred rules for healthy eating, but something I failed to mention is that I hate wasting food in any way. One issue that’s been nagging me for a few months now came to my attention after buying a box of Quaker Oats instant oatmeal packets. Although I typically get the maple and spice type flavors, this specific time I bought the fruit and cream variety pack.

Ever since I purchased this specific box, I’ve had four packets of banana and cream instant oatmeal sitting in my kitchen cabinets. Determined, I began to do a little research to figure out the best way to prevents this perfectly good food from going to waste. That’s when I had an epiphany…

 

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Despite being a bit dense in true muffin fashion, this recipe somehow managed to be light and airy at the same time. Also, the hint of a cream flavor really makes an impact! Even my picky eater of a husband enjoyed a couple of these for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 packets banana and cream instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of your dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash your bananas and then add your wet ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. If you overmix, you’re risking your muffins becoming far too dense.
  5. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I recommend to start checking around 12 minutes if your oven cooks a bit on the hotter side.
  7. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool on wire rack.
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Crunchy Maple & Spice Granola

When deciding on my meals and snacks, I have three major goals.

  1. I like for my food to be healthy and as free from chemicals and preservatives as I can make it.
  2. I like to be as self-sufficient as possible, making whatever I can from scratch.
  3. Cost is a major factor for my tiny family so I need to keep everything budget friendly.

Often all three goals aren’t met with my food. However, I occasionally get lucky like I do with one of my favorite homemade snacks, granola!

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It’s so simple to make and makes a decent amount. I like to store mine in small containers so it’s easy to grab and go, or even to quickly mix into yogurt or cereal.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (honey works as a substitution)

In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients until evenly mixed. Spread the mixture out onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for one hour at 250 degrees (F).

Allow to cool to room temperature before storing. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

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+20 to Cooking!

Venison Burgers on Pretzel Buns

With my hunting father-in-law and brother-in-law, we tend to get an influx of fresh and frozen venison. What to do with all this venison?

Homemade burgers!

Before starting my patties, I begin by putting together pretzel buns that are continually big hits in my house. My go-to pretzel bun recipe is from Lady Behind the Curtain.

I then put together my panade mixture. Taking this extra step when making burger patties will keep your burgers from being too dry and/or falling apart. I put two slices of white bread, torn to pieces, and ¼ c milk into a glass casserole dish. A large bowl would work perfectly fine, too.I’ve learned to mix my patties in a casserole dish because once I combine the rest of the ingredients and the meat I’m able to use a fork and divide my patties up equally right in the dish for easy forming.

I then combine the bread and milk together until they form a paste. I then add  two tsp garlic powder, one tsp onion powder, one tbsp Worcestershire sauce, two tbsp olive oil, one tsp dried oregano, and ground pepper to taste into my dish. Finally, I add my one pound of ground venison and mix it all together.

Then, I divided my meat mixture into six even patties and grilled!

Panade Mixture:

  • 2 slices of white bread, torn to pieces
  • ¼ c milk

Meat:

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, make panade by combining milk and bread together to make a paste. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Divide the mixture into sixths and make six patties.

+10 to cooking

 

Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

There’s nothing quite like good old fashioned extra crispy Southern fried chicken. But I’m picky about my crispy and Jess is picky about everything else. I somehow managed to find the perfect recipe to meet both of our tastes!

Ingredients:

  • Marinade
    • 4 cups water
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 4 pounds of chicken
  • Coating
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (will be split into two different bowls)
    • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
    • 2 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp baking powder

 

Directions

  1. In a large glass dish or bowl, combine the water, salt, and Worcestershire sauce and mix together. Add chicken and turn to coat; cover and refrigerate to marinate for 20 minutes, turning a few times.
  2.  In a large bowl, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, and half of each garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the remaining flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper, as well as the baking powder, water, egg, and milk.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade (discarding remaining marinade) and drain.
  5. Preheat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees F.
  6. One at a time, dip chicken pieces into flour mixture, then batter mixture, then flour mixture again, making sure each piece is well coated. Stack coated pieces on a plate or baking sheet.
  7. Drop chicken, one piece at a time, into the hot oil. Fry half of the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, then fry remaining pieces for the same amount of time.  (Note: Stir chicken around hallway through the frying time, so that each piece cooks evenly).
  8. Drain fried chicken for about 5 minutes on paper towels or a wire cooking rack before serving. Season more if desired.

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+10 to cooking

How I Detox

To beat my once a month bloat, every month I mix up an apple cider vinegar detox drink. I drink it daily for a week and have been very happy with the results. In addition to beating the bloat, it also helps clear up my skin! You can’t beat that, can you?

I use a 59 oz bottle and mix…

  • 8 tbsp cloudy apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
    • raw is recommended but I often opt for pasteurized because I have issues with the raw honey clumping up and not mixing in correctly after refrigeration.
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • fill the rest of the bottle up with cold water and shake-shake-shake! Don’t forget to keep it chilled!

I created this recipe after doing quite a bit of research into detox mixes. I combined a lot of the common ingredients that I thought would be most beneficial to my needs. Admittedly, this mix is a little hard to swallow at first, but I did get used to it and it no longer phases me.

Dragon Tail Bread

I saw this video and was immediately inspired. The recipe they used is very complex, even for a bread recipe. I decided that I would simplify it and altered an artisan bread recipe that my mom taught me. Use the pictures and explanations in the video to figure out how to get the correct shape, because I haven’t had a chance to take step-by-step pictures.

Dragon Tail Bread

  • 3/4 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 3 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fire salts
    • 2 parts sea salt
    • 1 part paprika
    • 1 part red pepper
    • 1 part garlic

egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp fire salts
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  1. Mix water, yeast, and pink salt and stir well. Add fire salts and flour and stir until dough is evenly moist.
  2. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm spot for at least 2 hours.
  3. Dump dough onto a very well floured surface and roll into a log. Transfer onto parchment paper and let rise for 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place cookie sheet on the bottom rack.
  5. Use clean scissors to cut angled slices deep into the bread. Flip the cut dough out so the peak is overlapping the top of the bread. Egg wash lightly to finish.
  6. Once the bread is in the oven, pour about 2 cups of water into the cookie sheet and close the door.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until well browned.

See what I did there with the fire salts? Not only do they add a little heat to the dragon tail bread, but they’re also steeped in videogame lore. There aren’t many gamers who realize that fire salts are a legitimate culinary ingredient, however.

+10 to cooking!

These Waffles Were Made For Freezing

It didn’t take me long to realize that every recipe on the internet was created with a family of four in mind. This causes cooking for two a bit more frustrating than it should be, especially since splitting a recipe in half doesn’t always cut the cake. Beth, you’re not funny. When you’re making something like waffles, it only makes the overabundance of food worse. Should I really complain about having too much food? No, I shouldn’t. That’s why I experiment with recipes and figure out the best types of food and the best ways to freeze my treasure for later!

And waffles. Man, I love waffles. I’ve got a rinky-dink waffle iron that I bought for dirt cheap at a Black Friday sale a few years back. It doesn’t exactly cook evenly, but it gets the job done.

On to the good stuff! Here’s the recipe for the perfect waffles for freezing. Simply toss a couple into the toaster when you’re ready for them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder (Yes, that says tablespoons. There’s no eggs in this so that helps the fluff.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (Or less if you’re not nutso for it like I am.)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp oil mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 2 c milk
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together dry ingredients and then add in wet ingredients. Cook up and then let cool to room temperature on a plate (separate layers with paper towels). When you’re ready to freeze them, place in layers in a large freezer bag. Separate the layers with parchment or wax paper.  It’s that simple!

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+5 to cooking