August 27, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins

I was never a big soap opera fan and never got caught up in any of the story lines or characters of the main shows of the time, but for some reason during my last year of high school (I'm not divulging how long ago that was) I started watching an episode here and there of The Bold and the Beautiful, and got hooked.  I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with a certain dark-haired, manly, though perfectly coifed, main character with a jaw line you could slice cheese on.  There was just something mesmerizing about the show for me, and I was hooked for a year of two (what did he see in her...or her...I mean really!).  

So, what do banana nut muffins and a soap opera have in common?  Well, for some reason while baking and subsequently admiring these lovelies, that show title came to mind, and it seemed fitting...these banana muffins are definitely bold and beautiful, slightly addictive, somewhat nutty, and a great way to wind down in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee.  Where the muffins and show part company however is on Good For You Street (muffins good, ongoing daytime soapie emotional drama bad).    The muffins are packed with full-on, one might even say bold banana and toasted walnut flavors, carried on a sweet, moist and slightly dense (but not heavy) cloud of whole wheat goodness, and are blessed with a mesmerizing spice aroma and exterior that are, simply, beautiful.  However, unlike some other stars out there, these lovelies get their good looks, eh hem, naturally.

August 15, 2011

The Best No-Knead Bread

OK, so that's a pretty bold title, but I think well-deserved.  Let me tell you why!  I've been making bread for a long time now, and was pretty intrigued when the now famous no-knead bread sensation raced around the Internet a few years ago.  I dove in head first thinking, Eureka, here is the answer to my inner-housegoddess prayers...a way to put homemade, fresh-from-the-oven loaves on my family's dinner table while still working a full-time job and without a laundress!  Less fussing, less mess.  Great!  Right?  Well, for me...not so much.  Was it just me, I wondered, or was there something just not quite right about this legendary loaf?  I found the texture, well, strange and slightly unnatural--almost foamy.  I just couldn't put my finger on it.  It was over-the-top salty as well (I think the first recipe that was circulating called for 3 teaspoons of salt!)  I was, frankly, disappointed.  The other problem--you actually had to plan ahead, like a whole day, like the day before you want to eat it.  I mean, hello, I'm a card carrying member of the 

(Organizationally Challenged Full-Time Working Moms Who Try To Cook Real Food)

and the likelihood of me planning ahead for the next day's meal was, well, pretty darn unlikely.  That started a whole recipe tweaking adventure that has been a few years in the making...hence, the well-earned recipe title.  If you too have been a little disappointed by the famous no-knead bread, and/or would like to put a delicious, warm and very fulfilling and healthy loaf on your table (without the texture and time commitment issues of said other loaf) with very little, and I do mean very little effort, read on!

August 7, 2011

Asian Slaw

Summer and salads...they just go together.  But sometimes I think it is easy to get in a salad rut this time of year (has anyone else out there overdosed on tomatoes yet?)  So when you make a salad that is (you think) something special, something different, something that wakes up the taste buds, is cool and refreshing, and just bursting with healthy goodness, well then that really is a salad to sing (or blog) about!  The asian flavors in the dressing drench all the colorful and crunchy vegetables in a bright and rich blanket of ginger, citrus, sesame and a little bit of heat to keep things interesting.  A beautiful salad, in every way!