Honey Bran Muffins 

Rain, Rain, Rain. We have had more rain this year so far then we have had in years. Now I am not complaining. I love the rain as long as I do not have to drive in it. I especially love to baking and cooking comfort foods when it rains. Baking when it’s raining just warms up the house and makes it feel all snuggie inside.

This past weekend before the next set of storms comes rolling in, Big V and I decided to go for a drive up in the hills near our house to see if any of the dried streams and riverbeds had water in them. The drought has taken a toll on our poor hills.

Boy, we in for a big surprise! We found so many little steams, riverbed that have been dry for years with water in them, lakes and bens that have been low with lots of water. And lots of green! It reminded me of when I was little growing up in the area, everything was so green and the all the streams and riverbeds had water in them.

Today it started to rain again and they say we should have rain off and on for the nexted day or so. What does that mean? Time to Bake! Tonight when my sister came over she wanted some muffins. We whipped up a batch of Honey Bran Muffins in no time at all. They were quick, easy and so yummy. I think I am going to make another batch tomorrow. So bake up a batch and let me know if you think these muffins are as good as I do! 

Honey Bran Muffins 

Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins

(I made the 12 regular in the picture )

Pre-Glaze

3 Tablespoons softened butter 

3 Tablespoons brown sugar 

3 Tablespoons regular white sugar 

2 Tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons warm water

Muffin mix

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup wheat bran

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/2 cup milk 

1/3 cup brown sugar 

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup canola oil 

1 egg 

2 Tablespoons molasses 

1 Tablespoon orange zest 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Put a piece of foil or cookie tray on bottom of oven. Muffins may bubble over. Just for easy clean up.
  2. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the pre-glaze until well combined and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, bran flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  4. In a different medium bowl, mix together milk, brown sugar, honey, oil, egg, molasses and orange zest until well combined. 
  5. Do not use liners and no need to spray muffin tin. Divide your pre-glaze into each muffin tin, spread the pre-glaze on to bottom and sides of each muffin slot. Set aside.
  6. Fold the milk sugar mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. 
  7. Divide muffin batter into each muffin tin slot on top of pre-glaze should be about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes (jumbo muffins might take a little bit longer) or until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. When muffins are finished baking, immediately invert muffins tin over on to a piece of waxed paper or a light sprayed piece of parchment paper with non stick spray. Muffins should pop out, if not a nudge them with a spoon. Let cool if you can.

Enjoy! 

Easy Chow Mein Noodles

Moving away from the city we lived in for the last 15 years was hard. I miss all the good friends and neighbors. Big V and and I were very active in our kids lives as they were growing up. And by doing that we met a lot of nice people. Talking to them on the phone or on Facebook is just not them same. One of these days we will all get together and share stories about the good old days!

I also miss the little whole in the wall Chinese take out that was around the corner from us. They had the best Orange Chicken and Chow Mein Noodles I have ever had. I tried different place in my new (old) town, but nothing compares to that little place. I have tried making my own orange chicken and have had no luck so far, I am still working on that. But the noodles I think I might have come up with some close to theirs. I got thumbs up from Big V, he even claimed the leftovers for his lunch the next day. So today I share my recipe for Easy Chow Mein Noodles. 

Easy Chow Mein Noodles 

1 medium cabbage shredded, about 4 cups

1 1/2 cups celery  thinly sliced on a diagonal

1 cup julienne cut carrots 

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions

1/2 cup low soduim soy sauce 

2 Tablespoons brown sugar 

6 cloves garlic minced 

1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated 

4 tablespoons oil

1 package of pancit flour noodles

1) In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Set aside. 

2) In a large pot boil enough water that will cover noodles. Add noodles when water when water is at full boil. Cook only about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. These noodles will cook fast. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.  

3) In a large saute pan add oil, when hot add celery, onions and carrots. Saute about 2 to 3 minutes. Add cabage and saute another 2 to 3 minutes. Add noodles and soy sauce mixture saute 3 to 4 minutes.  Make sure everything is combined well.

Enjoy! 

Easy Peanut Butter Bars

Some people like peanut butter, some people love peanut butter and some people really love peanut butter. I fall into the 3 group. I have been known to grab the jar of peanut butter and get a big spoonful and eat it just like that. I also know someone, not going to say who! He will sit there and just eat peanut butter out of the jar for dinner…

Growing up my mom always had a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread on the counter. If you didn’t like what she made for dinner, then that would become your dinner. Just bread and peanut butter, no jelly because than that would become a treat. There were many nights that’s what I had for dinner. I am not a picky eater I just didn’t care for pork, turkey, corned beef & cabbage and ketchup. I like them now, but back then..no thanks! I think that’s why I love the stuff so much, thanks mom♥

I was looking online one night for peanut butter treats and found many that I liked, but most of them had more ingredients then what I had in my cabinets. I needs something quick and easy to make. I was inspired by a couple different recipes so I took what I liked from them and came up with something yummy. Easy Peanut Butter Bars!

Easy Peanut Butter Bars 

Cookie Crust

1 cup softened butter 

1 cup peanut butter  (Creamy or Crunchy)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 regular size box of vanilla wafer cookies (crushed it to semi fine crumbs, some chunk are ok) 

1 bag of chocolate chips (I use semisweet)

Topping

1 bag of chocolate chips (again I use semisweet)

1/2 cup of peanut butter (any type)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

1/3 -1/2 cup of chopped peanuts (for sprinkling on top)

(You can also add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or mini marshmallows with the chopped peanuts if desired)
Cookie Crust 

  1. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by butter bottom and sides. You can line it with parchment paper if you like for easy removing, just make sure you leave extra on the side to hang over for easy grabbing. 
  2. In a large bowl mix peanut butter and butter until smooth, add powdered sugar mix until combined, fold in chocolate chips,and cookie crumbs.
  3. Press cookie mixture into prepared pan.

Topping 

  1. In a double boiler on medium heat add chocolate chips and peanut butter to top of double boiler. When melted turn off and add vanilla. 
  2. Pour over cookie crust, top with chopped peanuts. 

Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until firm.

Cut in to desired sized pieces. 

Enjoy! 

Sliced cookies 

Fall is my favorite time of the year… pumpkins, apple, the smell of spices and cool weather. Except if you are in California, last week you would have thought it was in the middle of summer HOT HOT HOT!! 

Any way back to fall. I love the cooler nights, having a pot of soup simmering on the stove, a big roast cooking away, the smell of cookies in the oven, and my all time favorite….Halloween! 

I like to make batches of this super easy sliced cookie recipe to keep on hand. It is so versatile, you can make it in all kinds of different shapes. For fall I make candy corn, December it becomes Christmas tress, Easter time I make carrots and colorful egg shapes. I even make just plain old rounds logs and add sprinkles. One year I found some heart and flower shaped bread tube, I use them to make my logs. They came out so cute. So let your imagination wander, I’m sure you can come up with some great ideas!

 When you get a chance whip up a batch or two, you will be happy you did!

Sliced Cookies 

1 1/2 cups of softened butter 

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

3 cups flour 

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla 
  2. In another bowl mix baking soda, salt and flour. 
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix together. It will look crumbly at this point, mix by hand and it will come together. 
  4. If making candy corn cookies.. divide you dough into to 3 different parts, large part for yellow dough, medium part for orange, and small part for white. Mix colors. 
  5. Divide each color into 2 parts. Take 1 part of each color and roll each color into a 10 inch log. When done, stack the dough with yellow on bottom, orange and then white on top. Shape into a triangle shape log. Wrap with waxed paper and chill for 4 hours or freeze for future use. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. If making plain round cookie, divided dough in half roll into a 10 inch log shape or which ever shape you decide. Add sprinkles!!
  7. When baking, Pre-heat oven to 350 slice cookies into 1/4 slices place on parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let set on cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes then remove to baking rack to cool completely. 

Enjoy! 

My Caramel Corn

Every fall around my nieces birthday it’s time to pull out the big popcorn pot and make “My Caramel Corn”. It has been a big hit with my family and friends since the first time I made it years ago. I always make several batches because everyone wants to take some to go. This past weekend we had family over and I made 4 batches. It was so much, I had to ask my sister to stop by the store and pick up a big Rubbermaid tub to store it in. Then when everyone is about to leave I pack up a gallon or two sized zip bags for each family to take with them, and of course I make sure to have lots left for us… It’s so good you’re going to have to make a batch, but be warned it’s addicting.

My Caramel Corn 

8 quarts of plain popped popcorn (about 2 cup of unpopped popcorn)

2 cup of your favorite nuts (optional)

3 cups of brown sugar 

3/4 cup light corn syrup 

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 1/2 cups of butter 

3/4 teaspoon baking soda 

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 

  1. Pre-heatoven to 250
  2. Divide popped popcorn into 2 large roasting pans that have been sprayed with non stick spray, top each pan with 1 cup of nuts.
  3. In a heavy sauce pan on medium heat add brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt, stir. Once it comes to a boil, keep stirring for 5 minutes.
  4. After the 5 minutes, remove from heat and carefully add baking soda and vanilla mixture will foam. Quickly add half of the mixture to each if the prepared popcorn pans. Mix, mixture will not cover all popcorn.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, stir popcorn every 15 minutes. When finished baking let set for a couple of minutes, then mix to brake up clumps. 
  6. Store in air tight container.

    Enjoy! 

    Happy Birthday Cupcake Bouquet for my Bestie!

    It’s a little late posting but I had to share. 

    Happy Birthday to Big Red! I have known her since I was a toddler, and that’s a long time. I couldn’t ask for a better person to call my best friend! She is always there and never ask for anything in return. Happy Birthday! 

    My sister thought if would be fun to make a cupcake bouquet for her birthday. We got together with our daughters and came up with this beautiful cupcake bouquet. It was very easy to make, the hardest part was baking the cupcakes. 

    We took plastic cups for the dollar store and stapled them together. We added green confetti paper grass in each cup. Wrapped it with a ribbon and set the decorated cupcakes in each cup opening. Then we added frosting leaves in between each cupcake, and bingo we were done!

    We had fun making the our 1st cupcake bouquet, we decided to make another bouquet for a friends bridal shower party. This one was made with almost 60 mini cupcakes. 

    We didn’t stop there, my sister had the idea to shape the cupcakes together as a wedding dress, she’s so smart! 

    We make a great team!!

    Can’t wait to make more cupcakes creations!

    Chocolate Banana Bread 

    I love anything with chocolate and banana… candy, ice cream and cake. I especially like chocolate covered frozen bananas. When I was little and the ice cream truck came down our street, I always got a frozen banana. To this day if I get anything off the ice cream truck, my first choice is still the frozen banana.

    When I was in my kitchen one day I noticed that my bananas were getting kinda ripe. I didn’t want to make just plain banana bread, I thought why not add chocolate. So I tweaked my banana bread recipe and added chocolate…. mmmmm.. did it come out good! Big V asked me to make another loaf so he could take some to work. I knew it was a keeper at that point. So here I share my Chocolate Banana Bread recipe with you!

    Chocolate Banana Bread 

    1 1/2 cups mashed bananas 

    1/2 cup melted butter  (1 stick)

    1 egg

    3/4 cup brown sugar 

    1/4 cup  white sugar 

    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    1 teaspoon baking soda 

    1/4 teaspoon salt 

    1 teaspoon cinnamon 

    1 cup flour 

    1/2 cup cocoa powder  (I use dark cocoa powder)

    1/2 cup chopped walnuts  (optional)
    Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare loaf pan with non stick spray.

    1) In a medium bowl mix mashed bananas, melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, egg and vanilla. 

    2) In a different medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. If adding nuts do so at this time.

    3) Fold flour mixture into banana mixture just until combined. Do not over mix. 

    4) Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out on to cooling rack to cool.

    Enjoy!