If you have young children, the thought of including them in your kitchen activities may seem overwhelming. Before I had children, I imagined us happily cutting out sugar cookies together, neatly, in a perfectly clean and sunshiny kitchen. The reality was much messier and featured me trying to figure out exactly how much flour would need to be re-added to the mixture to make up for the massive amount on the floor and countertops.
But here's the thing: if you can include the children when they are young, and if you invest the time to teach them basic kitchen skills, then it will pay off, I promise. One day you too will hand your children a knife and a scrub brush and come back to clean, cubed potatoes. I know, it's hard to imagine when you're watching your children peeling carrots at the rate of one carrot for every ten minutes, or when cracking an egg is more like smashing an egg and then spending half an hour picking out shards of eggshells, but eventually, with patience and practice, your children will be able to actually HELP in the kitchen.
Which brings us to this recipe. If you're looking for a fun activity with the kids, this recipe is perfect. Even young kids can help spoon the jam, dip the muffins in butter, and roll them in sugar. There is very little chance of a baking catastrophe! It is a fast recipe, too, which is a nice bonus for little ones with short attention spans.
These treats are muffins that taste like doughnuts, which is pretty fun; sampling them is a perfect reward for those little helpers. The only problem I have with this recipe is what to call these tasty delights. I suggested to my younger son that maybe I should dub these "moughnuts" or "duffins", and he gave me the look that only tweens do so well. "I think, Mom," he said, "That you should just say that they are doughnut-flavoured muffins."
Preheat oven to 375 degrees; spray or grease mini muffin pans.
Mix together flour and baking powder, set aside.
Whisk together melted 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla. Gently whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.
Fill muffin tins 1/2 of the way full with the batter. Top with a scant teaspoon of jam, then with remaining batter. Spread the top portion of the batter carefully to cover all the jam.
Bake for 15 minutes; allow to cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan.
Dip muffins in melted butter, then roll in the sugar to coat.
Yield: 24-30 mini muffins, depending on the size of your muffin tins.
Adapted from Fresh Juice magazine
Did you know that most commercial tomato sauces and soups contain added sugar? Even ones touted as being healthy choices contain added sugar, either in the form of cane sugar or in glucose/ fructose form. I'm not anti-sugar, but I prefer it in my desserts - not my spaghetti.
There's a reason for the added sugar, and that is that tomatoes are acidic little orbs. We all have that lovely, kind friend who surprises us with an unexpected edge; tomatoes are the fruit world's equivalent of that edgy friend. The sugar that is added to sauces and soups acts as a cover-up for this bite, but I have a better solution.
A little while ago, my cousin shared with me our grandma's recipe for tomato soup, which was always delicious. It turns out that the secret didn't lie in Grandma's home-canned, home-grown tomatoes; no, it was more than that. It turns out that Grandma was a bit of a chemist. She always added a bit of baking soda to her tomatoes which neutralized the acidity.
MY GRANDMA WAS BRILLIANT.
If you love tomato based sauces and soups, THIS TRICK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Trust me. The sauces and soups that come out of my kitchen are spectacular, and I have my grandma to thank for that. They are naturally sweet and flavourful - all the great taste of tomatoes, with none of the bite.
As an added bonus, my husband no longer gets heartburn on pasta night at our house. If you suffer heartburn after eating a bowl of linguine with marinara sauce, the acidity might be to blame - and the baking soda will put that fire right out.
In your favourite sauce or soup recipe, for every 2-3 cups of crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, or strained tomatoes, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
Stir well; the baking soda will make the sauce foam up. Keep stirring until the foam settles down.
Now, taste it. Isn't that amazing?
Are you craving pasta now? Go grab your tomatoes and baking soda and get busy! Here is the recipe for my Easy Basic Tomato Sauce - and never buy jarred sauce again! Have you got a bit more time on your hands? Try this scrumptious Ultimate Eggplant Parmesan (or with chicken for the meat-lovers)! And don't forget my version of Grandma's Tomato Soup, the recipe that started it all!
March is a lovely month, isn't it? Even if it's blizzarding outside - which it is, right this minute - there is still the promise of spring. There's more daylight, the weather starts to become milder, and if you're very lucky there might even be greenery starting to poke out of the thawing ground.
Speaking of lucky, March is the month where we celebrate the luck of the Irish, as well as all things green. Around this time every year I see commercials for Shamrock Shakes, and while they look delicious, they are not particularly healthy. This is where this recipe comes in.
This healthy, vegan version of a Shamrock Shake will make you feel great! It's nutritious and tasty, and you can whip this up in your kitchen year-round! You could even have it for breakfast - a "lucky charm" to start a great day. Now, it's time to go look for that pot of gold!
In a blender, blend together spinach and almond milk until smooth.
Add frozen banana chunks and mint extract and blend until smooth.
Taste - add more mint if needed.
For a decadent treat, top with coconut whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.