Tag Archives: sunflower seeds

Morning Glory Muffins

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Morning Glory muffins will always take me back to my childhood.  Growing up, the local bakery produced these giant muffins filled with lots of flavors and textures–from carrots and coconut to raisins and nuts or even fresh fruit, these were my favorite bakery treat.  In hindsight they were probably a lot less healthy than I thought they were at the time.  Somewhere along the line these muffins seemed to drop off of bakery menus in favor of new trends but I still love them.

This recipe is an adaptation of one from King Arthur Flour and is a formula rather than an exact recipe.  If you don’t like dried cranberries you can substitute whatever dried fruits you prefer.  The pecans can be omitted entirely or switched with almonds, walnuts, or additional sunflower seeds.  Be creative; you won’t be disappointed with the results.  As my son says, these muffins are yummy in the tummy!

MORNING GLORY MUFFINS

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled and grated carrots

1 pear, peeled, cored, and grated

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup wheat germ

3 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a muffin tine with papers and coat the papers with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  • Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover them with hot water; set aside to soak.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the carrots, pear, coconut, nuts, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
  • In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir until evenly moistened.
  • Drain the cranberries and fold into the batter.
  • Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin.  The cups will be very full.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Turn them out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Yields:  1 dozen muffins

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Grilled Peach & Steak Salad

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Entree salads are a favorite summer time dinner. When topped with protein they are cool, crisp and completely satisfying. For me, the trick to keeping salads interesting is continually changing up the ingredients. This salad is built around what is good at the markets this time of year and peaches top that list. Grilling them gives them a slightly charred flavor which complements the steak. Peppers and tomatoes add to the salad’s texture while the blue cheese and sunflower seeds add interest. I’ve kept the seasonings for both the steak and the dressing simple as to not detract from the freshness of the fruit and vegetables. Add other vegetables if you want; after all the key to a good salad is one that includes the toppings you want.

GRILLED PEACH & STEAK SALAD

2 rib eye steaks, trimmed

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 peaches, halved and pitted

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

8 cups mixed greens

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • Pre-heat a grill to high heat and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the steak with the garlic powder, half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Sprinkle the cut sides of the peaches with the nutmeg.
  • Reduce the grill temperature to medium-high then place the steak on the grill. Cook the steaks, turning after 6 minutes, until they are cooked to your liking. Medium-rare takes  approximately 9-11 minutes. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing along the diagonal.
  • Add the peaches to the grill, cut side down, and cook for 3 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You want the peaches to be slightly softened but not mushy.
  • While the steaks cook, make the dressing by combining the honey, vinegar and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Divide the greens, peppers and tomatoes between two large shallow bowls.
  • Top the salads with the sliced steak, drizzle with the dressing then sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and blue cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 2

 

Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Strawberries & Feta

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Spring has arrived in Belgium and while some days still call for warm and comforting food, others inspire lighter meals. And when that is the case salads are the perfect dinner option. This salad is inspired by  Cooking Light and is filled with juicy seasonal fruit, crisp greens and sweet and tangy chicken breasts.

For me, the secret to building a satisfying salad that can serve as a satisfying entree is a variety of flavors and textures. The chicken is glazed with a simple mixture of preserves before being grilled; if your dinner hour is rushed, you can cook up the chicken ahead of time. Alternatively you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand or even buy a rotisserie chicken to slice up as a topping. I am a fan of sweet and savory combinations  so this salad uses a combination of strawberries and fresh pineapple tossed with onions and peppers. Use whatever fruits and vegetables sound good to you. And because you build the salads individually you can add or omit toppings depending upon your family’s individual preferences.

GLAZED GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD w/ STRAWBERRIES & FETA

1/3 cup black current, cherry or seedless raspberry preserves

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

4 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup thinly sliced orange bell peppers

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds

  • Combine the preserves, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper and the garlic powder in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until combined. Set aside.
  • Preheat a lightly oiled grill to medium-high.
  • Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with the preserve mixture. Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning every 4 to 5 minutes and brushing with more preserves until cooked through, about 24 to 28 minutes depending upon the thickness of the breasts. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and set aside.
  • Combine the oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the strawberries and onions in a medium sized bowl and then add the oil and vinegar mixture. Toss gently to coat.
  • Divide the salad greens amongst four plates or shallow bowls.
  • Evenly divide the strawberry mixture and dressing over the top of the greens.
  • Add the peppers and pineapple to the tops of the salad.
  • Slice each chicken breast on the diagonal and place one breast on top of each salad.
  • Sprinkle with the feta cheese and sunflower seeds over the top of the salads and serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

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