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 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! 

    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! 

    Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls

    When it comes to fresh homemade “HOT” bread or rolls right out of the oven, can you wait until they cool down? Not here, I try but no luck and my family is just as bad. Big “V” will have the butter and knife waiting until I give the ok to dig in. Because of our lack of patience, I have to make more than one batch of what ever bread I am making.
    So when it come to my Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls, 1 or 2 batches is not enough. I sometimes make 4 batches. 1 batch for us to test to make sure they are ok to eat, 1 batch for my neighbor, 1 batch for my sister’s family, and another one for us for dinner. And if my brother lived closer or coming down, I would have to make another batch or two for them. If your family is anything like my family, save yourself some time and just double the recipe from the start. You will not regret it!

    Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls 

    2 1/4 teaspoons of dry active yeast

    1/4 cup warm water

    1/3 cup sugar (divided) 

    1/4 melted butter 

    1 cup hot milk

    1 teaspoon salt 

    1 egg beaten 

    4 1/2 cups flour

    2-4 Tablespoons of melted butter (for topping rolls)

    Pre-heat oven to 350. 

    1) In a large measuring cup, add warm water, yeast and 1/2 of the sugar. Do a quick stir and set a side until  yeast foams, about 10 minutes. If it does not foam your yeast is not good.

    2) In large bowl add hot milk, the 2nd 1/2 of the sugar, salt and butter. Mix well, make sure sugar is dissolved. Let cool until about 110 degrees. 

    3) Add yeast mixture to the milk mixture, add beaten egg. Mix well, add the 4 cups of flour one cup at a time. Leave the 1/2 cup flour aside. You will have a soft sticky dough.

    4) Dust a clean counter top with some of the 1/2 cup of flour, kneed dough adding flour as needed for 5 to 6 minutes. Dough will be smooth at this point.

    5) Place dough in a well buttered large bowl, cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

    6) After dough has risen, punch dough down and kneed for  5 minutes. I do not add more flour, but if needed use as little as possible. Adding to much flour, you will not get a light fluffy roll.

    7) Divide dough into 16 equal parts and roll in to balls, place balls into a well buttered 13×9 baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes until doubled again.

    8) Brush with 1/2 the melted butter for topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Once out of the oven brush with the remaining melted butter. 

    Let cool if you can!

    Enjoy! 

    Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts

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    One of Big V’s favorite muffins are Bran Muffins. He loves them slightly warm with butter. So when he asked if I could make some, the hunt was on for the “Perfect” Bran Muffin. I started playing around with different concoctions tying to get the best muffin that was moist and with big flavor. I tried some with bran cereal and some without. I tried toasting the wheat bran and not toasting. I added all white flour with the wheat bran and all wheat flour.l I even tried a 50/50 white flour/wheat flour mix. In the end I came up with a muffin recipe that Big V was very happy with. I am very pleased with my Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts, but like all other recipes I will still keep playing around with it. Who knows I might come up with the “Ultimate Perfect Bran Muffin”.

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    Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts
    (Makes about 12 regular size muffins)

    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup dark molasses
    2 eggs slightly beaten
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup white flour
    1/2 cup wheat flour
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups wheat bran, toasted
    1/2 cup raisins
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    Pre-heat oven to 350
    1) Toast wheat bran on a plain cookie sheet in oven, stir every couple of minutes to prevent burning for 6 to 8 minutes. It will have a toasty smell when done. Set aside, cool completely.
    2) Spray muffin tin or line with liners.
    3) In a medium bowl add sugar, molasses, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla, mix well.
    4) In a large bowl add cooled wheat bran, wheat flour, white flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, mix well. Add raisins and walnuts coat with flour mixture.
    5) Fold wet mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Do not over mix.
    6) Fill muffin tin almost to the top of liners. I use an ice cream scooper.
    7) Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
    8) Cool muffins in tin for about 3 to 5 minutes, remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
    Enjoy them warm or at room temperature. They also freeze well. And don’t forget the butter!

    Enjoy!