Bran Muffins

This recipe is not necessarily part of our Cooking with Kids series, but it could be! I include just a couple of ideas below. And if you are interested in getting your kiddos in the kitchen, this post has many of our tips and tricks.

There’s nothing like a good breakfast (and a strong cup of coffee) to get your week off to a great start. Do you agree? Somehow/somewhere a few months back, my breakfast routine completely vanished. I wasn’t interested in my spiffed-up bowls of oatmeal, eating cereal didn’t fill me up and tasted a bit too sugary (we all make bad choices in that aisle!), and I didn’t have the time or patience to scramble eggs. So I just didn’t eat, which is the worst plan when your mornings start with a bang and you’re running after two kids.

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It took me some time to identify the problem. Maybe I did a little of the five whys? Alex definitely does a whole lot of the 500 whys every day now. Anyway, I realized that I needed to find a healthy breakfast that I could pick up and go. I’m definitely not a fan of processed bars, and I don’t even like that a “grab-and-go” option is what my breakfast urges are calling for right now, but if it fills me up, it’s better than a hangry hangover.

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Cooking with Kids : Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We have all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, as well as a face mask to wear while drinking your lattes. Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, read our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones; subsequent posts are less detailed.

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You may have seen these pumpkin muffins on Instagram, they spent Halloween week masquerading around the house as spiders. After browsing the Halloween baking supplies on sale, Alex picked out the spider holders, and they dictated our afternoon baking activity.

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It had been a couple of weeks since Alex helped Calder and I in the kitchen (somehow we had even skipped our usual weekend pancake session), and I didn’t realize how much he was yearning for some kitchen time until we started these muffins. The kiddo went ballistic when I put “his” measuring cup and spoon in front of him. I wish I had a recording of his excited giggles/yelps.

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In the first Cooking with Kids post, I mentioned using my phone to look up recipes while in the kitchen. While I do get recipes online, I’m proud to say that just as often I’m using cookbooks as my source. For this particular recipe (and much of my basic baking), I used the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. I recently read an article about how kids today aren’t getting the experience of using phone books, dictionaries, and other physical resources because so often we just search for information online. While I could wax poetic about how much I love cookbooks for their recipe ideas, inspirational photos, and stories, I think Alex will pick up on all of those details himself if I just keep the books around and continue using them during our kitchen adventures.

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King Arthur doesn’t have a recipe for pumpkin muffins, but it does have reliable recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins with whole wheat flour. I just subbed pumpkin puree for the banana and white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet. I might have stuck with chocolate chips if we had any, but the white ended up being a delicious alternative, adding an an indulgent candy sweetness to these hearty muffins.

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On this particular day, I decided to let Alex try using the can opener. I knew (and I’m sure you do too), that there’s no way he would be strong enough to operate our basic opener, but sometimes I think it’s nice for him to figure out what we can’t do on his own rather than having me always telling him. With a two-year-old, letting them try can actually make your days a lot more peaceful because you won’t have the whole “you can’t do it/you’re too little”, “but i want to/whining” back and forth. Instead, they try, fail, and then we use “teamwork!” to open the can together.

After opening the can (and reminding Alex that the edges were sharp), I gave him a spoon and let him measure out the pumpkin. He started scooping the pumpkin into the measuring cup, but after a few minutes, the temptation was too much, and he ended up tasting the puree. One taste led to two and three, and he completely lost interest in measuring out the puree, so I finished the task. That was no big deal at all. I could have tried to keep him on task, but why cause a fuss that would stop him from eating the healthy pumpkin?

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Other than the pumpkin, the rest of our baking proceeded as normal. Alex measured and sampled. He smelled the cinnamon. He sampled, and spit out, the salt. He ate a few walnuts and a few white chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Scrape down the bowl and then beat in the egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, and then gentle mix them into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups (grease the muffin cups if not using papers). Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
http://liveseasoned.com/cooking-kids-pumpkin-muffins/

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Bake these muffins, I promise they are anything but scary! Of course, if you’re looking to add a bit of spook to your table, we found the spider holders at Michael’s.

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Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkins are our ingredient of the season. In the past we’ve sampled pumpkin brews, used them to make mini pumpkin pies, and have added the seeds to not one, but two, salads.

After seeing Sarah’s request, I couldn’t help but make pumpkin butter as the first recipe for our new ingredient of the season. I have made apple butter many times, this was my first attempt at pumpkin, and rather than use the crockpot, I decided to try an oven-based recipe. I’ve since learned that while they are both butters and methods equally easy and produce delicious results, pumpkin butter cooks up much faster than its apple counterpart! I used this recipe for guidance, but made a few modifications as discussed below.

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For this recipe we’re skipping the canned variety and starting with a raw pumpkin. If you’ve never bought a pumpkin for baking, you want to pick up one of the smaller “sugar pumpkins” and not the big pumpkins used for carving jack-o’-lanterns.

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Cooking with Kids : Lemon Bread

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein bars, in a savory pasta, and in the shower. Oh, and there are two on my counter waiting for our next project!

You don’t have to have a kid to make this Lemon Bread, but it’s more fun messy if you do! As you’ll see, the simplicity of this recipe is what makes it the perfect choice for cooking with an assistant, but it’s also what makes it an easy go-to treat. You can bake a loaf in no time at all for a last minute brunch, but it also stores well, so it’s the perfect tangy treat to make on a Monday and eat it all week long with your afternoon tea break (speaking from experience). Now on with the cuteness ~

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We’ve reached a new milestone in our house : weekly cooking sessions with Alex. It’s no surprise that Calder and I love to cook, and we’ve kept the kitchen open to Little A from the start. We recently turned a corner when it comes to sharing the kitchen with a little guy; at first we were just trying to keep him busy and safe, but now he’s actually helping with the cooking and he understands what’s going on!

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Blueberry Lemon Buckle

Lemons are our ingredient of the season. We’re exciting to fill our summer with all things lemony, and until then you can click through our archive of lemon posts, from body scrubs and shower cleaners to lemonade and vodka waters.

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This past weekend we pulled together a last minute brunch at our place, and one of the things we served was this blueberry lemon buckle. Now that we’re fully settled in the new house, we want to do a lot of entertaining, especially during the summer months when we can have everyone out on the deck and the kids playing in the kiddie pool. To make entertaining actually happen, and to keep it stress-free, it’s nice to have a few reliable recipes, like this buckle, that you can make ahead. Don’t know what a buckle is? Read on to find out!

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In my vocabulary, buckles are fruit-filled coffee cakes. You’ll commonly see buckles that call for blueberries as the fruit, but I was introduced to the buckle in Rustic Fruit Desserts, where my mind was blown by the variety of buckle options (rhubarb, apple, blueberry, and cranberry!). You really can have a buckle for each season. So far I’ve made the apple, cranberry, and blueberry varieties, but we recently discovered a rhubarb plant growing in our yard (no joke), so that will be next!

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Potato Patties With Egg and Asparagus

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I hope this post finds you well and just in time for the weekend. Why? Because big breakfasts are what my weekends are all about and precisely where these Potato Patties With Egg and Asparagus were born.  I rarely eat any breakfast during the week.  I’m not sure when that happened, but it did and I know, it’s not a great routine to get into, but so it goes.  Let’s forget about Monday through Friday and focus on the weekend, which is when you’ll be making this eggy, garlicky, asparagussy (<quite proud of that made up word) goodness.  There’s something about layering food that makes it taste that much better to me.  I like grabbing a little of everything in each yummy bite.  I know I could do that if these three ingredients were all sitting side-by-side on the plate, but it just takes the fun out of all of it.  I want everything snuggled together ready to be devoured in under a minute’s time.  This potato, egg and asparagus breakfast is extremely simple.  If you haven’t ever cooked a thing, try making this.  Everyone can make eggs, right? Can you use a spatula? Do you know how to shake a salt shaker? Sweeeeet! That means you can also impress your family with this super tasty take on breakfast.

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Sarah’s Warm Winter Drink

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I really didn’t know what to call this warm milk creation.  I certainly don’t want to call it that.  It is kind of a mix between horchata and Spanish rice pudding, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by calling it that because I made this recipe up. I don’t really know if it is anything like authentic Spanish rice pudding or Mexican horchata and that’s why we’ll refer to it as Sarah’s warm winter drink, a name that’s completely non-descriptive, whoops. It’s a pretty awesome drink though and you can make it several different ways so don’t let its disappointing name discourage you.  Vegan? We got you covered too.  Like most recipes and projects on Seasoned, we try to give you the gist of the recipe, but encourage you to make it your own. Katie and I cook depending on seasonal ingredients and what’s in our cupboards, which means lots of these recipes are adaptable.

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Rosehip Jam

While roses and treats are synonymous with Valentine’s Day, we wanted to turn that tradition on its head by suggesting you make a sweet rosehip jam instead! Plus, you can get around those thorny environmental and social impacts by skipping the bouquet this year. And, if you’re about to tune out because we’re suggesting making a jam, hang in there because this jam contains only two (2!) ingredients and doesn’t require any cooking. It’s that easy, folks. liveseasoned_w2015_rosehipjam4-1024x954 copy

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Valentine Archives

Hey there sweethearts! With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to share/re-share some super simple projects for dressing up your space and celebrating the ones you love. And don’t forget to put on your favorite lovey-dovey playlist as you craft.

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Instead of packing away the felt hearts I made as Christmas ornaments, I strung them on a piece of rustic twine to create a mini garland that greets guests right inside our door.

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If you’re throwing a party, Sarah’s tassel and lace garland makes the perfect decoration and photo backdrop!

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Almost Vegan Jam Muffins

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A couple months ago, I was invited to a JAMboree hosted by a dear friend.  She described it as, “a sweet swap and contest of sorts.” She had us all cook up a favorite jelly, jam chutney or conserve and bring eleven quarter-pint or half-pint jars of our entry to her home.  She served wine as everyone had a taste of all the entries.  After all the wine sipping and socializing all the guests voted on their favorite and a winner was chosen.

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I’m not here to tell you I won. Before this, I had never canned solo.  I’ve done it plenty of times in my mom’s or Katie’s kitchen, but never in my own little apartment.  I was a little bit intimidate and overwhelmed by the possibilities.  I went to the farmer’s market to purchase supplies and I came home with 12 pounds of onions.  I was in a burger with blue cheese and onions phase.  I decided to can caramelized onions, which I now realize was the most unexciting offer, but at the time I was really excited about to make a big batch of them.  I cried. A lot. It was glorious.  Anyway, I mailed in my entry because I couldn’t attend in person (you’ll see me at the 2nd annual JAMboree!) and a month later my mom gave me eleven jars of delicious and interesting jams to try.  I had totally forgotten that I would be receiving jars of jam in exchange for my caramelized onion slop.  I’m over my blue cheese burger phase and well into my what do I do with all this jam phase.

I intended on creating a vegan jam muffin recipe, but in my morning daze I added honey to the muffins.  Technically honey isn’t vegan, which is why I hereby name this batter creation the almost vegan jam muffins!  You could swap out the honey for maple syrup or another preferred sweetener, but I love them just the way they are.  For the milk, I simply used almond milk; you can use whatever you prefer.  Instead of adding an egg, I created a flax meal egg substitute, the easiest and most reliable in my experience.

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 Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup jam (I used a friend’s strawberry balsamic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP ground flax meal
  • 3 TBSP water

 The How:

  • In a small cup stir 1 tablespoon of ground flax into 3 tablespoons of water and set aside.  This will transform into your egg substitute.
  • Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a standard-sized muffin tin.
  • Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, honey, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
  • By now the flax and water mixture should have a gelatinous texture resembling that of an egg. Incorporate the flax egg into the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the flours and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Pour the jelly into the batter and stir just a few times.  You want the jelly to appear in large swirls throughout the batter.  Add some more jelly if you want sweeter muffins.
  • Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way.  Batter should make 12-15 muffins.
  • Bake for 16-20 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick into the center of the largest muffin.  If it comes out clean they are done.  Remove the jam muffins from the tin and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Enjoy with tea, coffee or juice 🙂  These almost vegan jam muffins are hearty enough for breakfast, but delicious enough for dessert too!  The strawberry balsamic jam was SO tasty.  I was tempted to add nuts or oats to the muffins, but I really wanted the jam to shine in this recipe and it really does.  These whole wheat muffins have the perfect about of moisture and sweetness for a breakfast snack.  Now that they’re all gone, I’m left wishing I had more strawberry balsamic jam!

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