Friday, March 28, 2014

Blueberry Pancake Muffins

I think blueberries are one of the many tiny blessings God gives us. Which means that blueberry pancakes are medium sized blessings. But how often do you really, really want a blueberry pancake but don’t have an hour to make them? (Well, it takes our family an hour because we quadruple our recipe!)

The solution… Blueberry Pancake Muffins! They keep for days in an airtight container. They freeze and thaw well. And they taste just as good a couple of days old as fresh from the oven, whereas pancakes are best just off the griddle. How much better can it get?

Every July for the past several years, my family has gone blueberry picking. For the first few days after that, we have blueberries with our breakfasts, blueberries with our lunch and blueberry desserts.

The rest of the berries we freeze in gallon bags to have in smoothies... or, in this case, in muffins. Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Pancake Muffins
(Makes 3 Dozen)

  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sucanat
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

First mix together the whole wheat flour, sucanat, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, orange juice, water, and butter or coconut oil... and stir until fully combined. Fold in the blueberries. At this point you could add 3/4 cup of slivered almonds for a heartier muffin. Spoon into 3 dozen medium muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. (The batter will be very thick, more like dough than batter... as you can see from the above picture.) Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: the longer you cook these, the less like a pancake in texture they will be. You don’t want to under cook them though. They should be done when the tops are browning a bit and the blueberries are bubbly.

All my siblings love this recipe... even Tickle, who doesn't like blueberries. I guess that makes them really good!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

For my 14th birthday a couple weeks ago, Mamma made me a Mochaccino Cheesecake, Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, and a garden salad. But my grandmother wasn’t able to come down at that point so last weekend, when she came to visit, I made a cookie cake to celebrate with her.

In fact, I made a chocolate chip cookie cake… to have with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious in every way. It looked delicious, smelled delicious, tasted delicious. (It felt and sounded delicious too… Just kidding.)

Looks good doesn’t it? (Sorry this pic isn’t professional. I’m still practicing.)

I just used an old fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe, made a few substitutions, and baked it for 25 minutes instead of 12. (I did keep a good eye on it.)

I ended up substituting honey into the recipe because our sucanat is running low. I used 3/4 cup of sucanat and 1/2 cup of honey instead of 3/4 of each since honey is so much more intense than sucanat. That made me a bit apprehensive about the results.

The final result was great though, much to my relief. The honey gave it just the right richness, and it was neither too sweet nor too plain. Here’s the recipe/what I did.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
3/4 cup butter or coconut oil (or half butter, half coconut oil like I did)
1 1/2 cups sucanat or other unrefined sweetener
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Combine butter and sucanat in a mixer bowl. Blend until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix again. Slowly add baking soda, salt and flour mixing until thoroughly blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Press into a lightly greased 14 inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. You will want to watch this pretty carefully as it will burn quickly.

This was another simple recipe. It took so little time to mix it up and stick in the oven. Recently, my little brothers, Superman and Curious George, have wanted to help me with my baking so these easier recipes make it more fun for them and easier for me. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Choose Your Own Granola Bars

Hi, my name is Rainbow, the eldest daughter of the mamma of this blog. 

I am fourteen years old and working through my freshman year of high school. I’ve been homeschooled from the very beginning, and I am so glad my Mamma and Daddy decided to keep their children at home. 

Mamma started teaching me to cook a couple of years ago, and now I am in charge of all our breakfasts and most of the baked goods our family of eight eats. 

Describing me would be pretty hard because I take pleasure in a lot of different things. First of all, I love dresses, heels, jewelry, and shopping (the girly kind, for clothes and accessories)… 

Secondly, I love the outdoors: gardening, hiking, boating, camping, doing farmwork, and just exploring on our property with a brother who was born for it… 

Thirdly, I love anything creative: knitting, sewing, cooking, designing outfits, making beaded jewelry, etc… 

Fourthly, I love school (currently my favorite subjects are Cultural Geography and Algebra 2)… 

And fifthly, I love Jesus. He’s my role model, my comforter, my strength, the one I can tell secrets to. He’s always there helping me along my walk with Him, catching me when I stumble, and whispering encouragement in my ear when I am discouraged.

Since we moved to a farm with nearly 40 acres last summer, Spiderman has taken on a lot of responsibility outside with our animals. He comes in extra hungry most afternoons, so for Christmas I made him a batch of granola bars crammed full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. He loved them. But what’s funny is that he can’t decide whether to eat the last one or to leave it in the freezer for a while.

Anyway… the thing I love about this recipe is that you can tweak it to your heart's content (a thing I LOVE doing). We’ve made this recipe nearly a dozen times and I doubt we’ve done it the same way twice. I think my favorite was when we made cherry chocolate bars. I think that was Mamma’s favorite too. In case you haven’t noticed, her absolute favorite food is chocolate and her favorite fruit is a cherry. 

Spiderman’s bars had dried apricots (from Costco), dates (from Costco), cashews (from Costco), slivered almonds (from Costco), and dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut (from Frontier). Here's the recipe:

Choose Your Own Granola Bars
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups sucanat, or other unrefined sweetener
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 ½ cups nuts and/or seeds
  • 1 ½ cups dried fruit
  • 1 cup melted butter, coconut oil, or combination
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Orange juice (if needed)

First mix together whole wheat flour, whole rolled oats, sucanat, baking soda, and salt. Here’s where the fun comes in! Coarsely chop 1 ½ cups nuts of your choice, and 1 ½ cups dried fruit of your choice. Feel free to mix and match. You could put in a half cup of six different things! You could put seeds in with the nuts. You could put dried blueberries, cherries, apricots, anything really … just be sure not to exceed 3 cups total. Mix that with the coconut into the other dry ingredients.

Add melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Finally, mix it all together. You may need to use your hands to get it fully mixed. If it is too dry you can add a bit (maybe 2 tablespoons to a ¼ cup) of orange juice.

Press into a 9x13 pan. Put it in a 350 degree oven for around 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned. Let it cool completely before cutting. If not, it may crumble up or stick to the knife.

I love making these because they are so simple and easy… Well, unless you’re trying to make them as a surprise for a brother who’s always curious to know what food you will be setting on the table later. That was an adventure!

Sorry there are no pictures with this recipe,  but in my next post I will include a few to show you the yumminess.