Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

Jumbo Blueberry Muffins make for a Jumbo Suzy. My son is getting married next summer and  I'd like to lose about 25 pounds by then, so waking up in the mood to bake is problematic and the fact that I made Scones, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Blueberry Muffins certainly didn't help my cause today but I figure I have until July of 2011 so what the hell. I had  a little extra batter so I made some mini muffins,  I at least have that going for me. Unless of course I eat those along with the Jumbo's.

This Blueberry Muffin recipe was featured in this months Midwest Living Magazine. I really love this magazine. It's always full of great things to bake and cook, places to see and usually features a great home that inspires me to clean mine.

This recipe makes 6 Jumbo or 16 standard sized  muffins.

Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Line muffin pan with paper baking cups. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup sugar, beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla (mixture looks slightly curdled) Stir in flour until just moistened (batter should be lumpy) Gently stir in berries.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling each nearly full. In small bowl combine the 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle mixture over batter.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or 35-40 (jumbo) or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers come out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beef Stew with Butternut Squash over Couscous

Today was easily the nicest day I've spent home in a very long time. All alone, no offense to my husband or daughter, but lately I've had no time alone and it's sometimes just what you need to reset your dials.

My day started out with me taking my coffee out to the hot tub where my eyelashes and hair got crispy with frost. I did some house cleaning, listened to some Dylan and then at my cousin Rusty's suggestion I had another soak in the hot tub with a glass of wine. Rusty is a musician, knows how to have fun and has figured out how to spend his life doing what he loves most. So I took his suggestion and enjoyed a glass of Cabernet at 1:00 in the afternoon in my hot tub. It was a perfect day. The best feeling is knowing I have another day off tomorrow, except for one small thing I have to attend to in town tomorrow I may just be spending it like I did today.

Now my day wasn't all wine drinking and hot tubbing. I cleaned and cooked too. I made a Beef Stew with Butternut Squash. I served it over couscous.

Moroccan Spiced Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound stew beef, cut into chunks
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound peeled cubed butternut squash, cut into cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
11/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate, leaving the juices in the saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute. Return the beef to the pot and stir in the squash, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
Spoon the stew over the couscous, and sprinkle each serving with almonds and parsley.

I buy my couscous in bulk from the coop but you can also purchase it boxed in the organic section of the grocery store or in the rice aisle. I made mine with vegetable broth, but you can make it with water alone or chicken broth, adding spices if you wish.