61 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, December 8, 2018

  1. I don’t want brownies, I want muffins! I SO want to bake muffins, but I can’t decide on the flavour. I was thinking of trying out some new things like either Matcha-vanilla-blueberry (or just matcha-blueberry) or raspberry and chili chocolate, or chai and cherry (however I don’t have any potato- or corn flour at home, so that one is probably out of the question for today…), or perhaps green tea & raspberry… I have this wonderful green tea with rose and raspberry flavour that I think would be fun to try in a recipe. I would make a split-up batch and try two flavours if dividing the mixture evenly didn’t feel so tricky. I don’t think I have enough butter at home to make two batches.

    Or perhaps I should just go for some reasonably normal ones like “plain” blueberry, blueberry/raspberry or apple-cinnamon. Play it safe.

    I’d also like to try making some at least a BIT more healthy ones and see if that actually tastes nice, but I lack most of the ingredients so that’s probably not gonna happen today. According to most recipes I found on Google ysterday, many of those also include banana and ugh… I don’t want that because it feels like the banana taste would drown everything else. Please correct me if I am wrong. Anyway, healthy is no option right now so let’s go for unhealthy. But…which one? 🙁

    1. Oooh, me too. I’ve been craving Grape Nuts muffins (love GN, but they hurt my teeth; this recipe gives me the flavor without the crunch) for weeks, and finally got the cereal and made them this morning. Mmmm. Not sure if they’d qualify as healthy. There’s not much added sugar in the recipe (not sure what’s in the Grape Nuts themselves). I can’t find the recipe I use online (they’re all much more complicated, with bizarre — to me — ingredients), so if anyone wants it, just reply here, and I’ll post it.

      1. Share! Share share share! 🙂

        (Which reminds me I promised to translate my gratinated chicken & bacon pasta recipe….whooops. Will do that soon…!)

      2. Inspired by Madelaine Bullwinkel’s “Gourmet Preserves Chez Madelaine” (out of print, but if you can get a used copy, I highly recommend it for jams/jellies, as well as the stuff to put the jams/jellies on), but with some modifications by me:

        1 cup Grapenuts
        1 cup milk (or buttermilk in the original recipe; I use regular milk because I never have buttermilk on hand)
        4 T. butter, melted (I use salt-free)
        3 eggs
        1 cup flour
        4 teaspoons baking powder
        2 T. sugar
        1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (not in original recipe)
        salt (optional — I think it’s plenty salty already from the baking powder, but I eat very salt-free, so your taste buds may disagree)

        Combine first three ingredients and let sit for ten minutes to soften the cereal. (Or just combine the milk and cereal and leave it in the fridge overnight for morning baking, and add the butter & eggs when you’re ready to go.) Combine the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients. Add raisins. Divide into 12 greased muffin cups (or ungreased if you use silicone liners like I do). Don’t worry that the cup is more full than most recipes recommend. They rise only a little, and not in a way that will cause the cups to overflow. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven (original recipe said 400, but that’s too high in my experience) for about 15 minutes. They’re best warm, but hold up to toasting (and freezing) if you don’t eat the whole batch right away. Top with butter or honey or molasses. Or jam, I suppose, but they have a pretty strong flavor on their own, unlike, say, crumpets or English muffins.

        Picture at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrInaqylG64/

        1. These sound tasty! Pretty sure grape nuts don’t have much sugar, since they were on the “allowed” cereal list growing up and my parents based that entirely on sugar content, haha.

          You can make your own buttermilk by adding lemon or white vinegar to the milk and waiting ten minutes for the acid to curdle it–that’s my go to, especially since my go-to muffin is blueberry lemon (juice curdles the milk, zest flavors the muffin).

      1. I like substituting applesauce for oil. Doesn’t overwhelm the flavor, adds nutrients and fiber, and and I think makes things more moist.
        Use a 1:1 ratio.

    2. Raspberry chili chocolate is making my mouth water…recipe?

      I would make brownies but I’m trying to fit into pre-maternity pants (the baby’s almost seven months old so I’m not stressing about it, but I am definitely sick of all of my maternity/in-between-size clothes) and I suspect “just eat a small one” wouldn’t be an effective strategy…. Especially since I ADORE brownies and mine are divine (Baker’s Chocolate one-bowl brownies, but substitute half the flour with almond flour, be generous with the (REAL) vanilla extract: results are VERY fudgey and very slightly almond-y). I pretty consistently eat the whole batch in three days. :/

      1. FINALLY someone that doesn’t think I’m crazy for wanting to combine those! <3 I will most definitely share a recipe when I have made them 😉 because I still need to try it out. I feel more confident now when someone's with me. 🙂 Thank you!

        But first I need more butter and flour. The Matcha-blueberry muffins took most of what I had yesterday. (I need to polish that recipe a bit more before I share it. They were good but a little bit more dry than I'd prefer.)

        1. Ok, I’ll wait as patiently as I can, hahaha. I’m allergic to mist teas so matcha doesn’t appeal to me personally but I love the idea of experimenting with new combinations!

    3. I think it’s ironic and kind of awesome that I made this recipe today before I read this post:

      I’m taking them to a small family get-together tomorrow. And I suggest that you make them to because they basically are muffins and brownies in one so no need to choose. 😉 Healthy ingredients. And I made the applesauce version so they’re even less “sugar” than the original

      1. Thank you for the link! I’m allergic to chocolate but there was a recipe for chai muffins that I’m going to try.

  2. Thank goodness my gut-cleansing diet month is over and I can eat gluten, dairy, and sugar again! Brownies for everyone!

    (My acupuncturist, who suggested the diet in the first place to treat leaky gut syndrome, was disappointed that eliminating All the Foods didn’t seem to help any of my pain or exhaustion issues. She thought maybe I should do it for a second month. I thought the idea of not eating gluten, dairy, sugar, and a bunch of other things was a Really Bad Idea in December. So that’s a hard no.)

    1. Ugh, sounds like something akin to the FODMAP-diet. I tried that earlier this year and…let’s just conclude I’m happy I didn’t need to stick to it. On the good side: I learned how to make chicken teriyaki 🙂 because I was allowed to eat that.

      Happy you can eat what you want now, Deborah! I hope you’ll find the solution to your problems soon, that it’s easy to fix without too much ado.

      1. The problem is I have fibromyalgia, and have had for over 30 years. I thought it was highly unlikely that an elimination diet was the miracle cure, but I’d tried everything else and the drastic weather shifts this year have caused the flare from hell, so I thought I’d try this. But the odds were never good.

      2. I’m so happy for Fodmap! Food without onion that’s easy to obtain, sweet! My food allergies are challenging. Onion, pork, chocolate, cola, kiwi are the top 5. The rest are handle thru medicine.

      1. I had that same experience a few months ago. “Your body has stopped absorbing B12 and I’m convinced that it’s coeliac disease.”
        “But I’ve never had symptoms from gluten, and I would recognise them because I’m lactose intolerant.”
        “No, it’s definitely coeliac.”
        Spoiler alert: I’m not coeliac. And the test proved that.
        But she wanted me to eat gluten free anyway because that was “the only way to heal your gut so it starts absorbing B12 again!”
        “Um, couldn’t we try and figure out what actually caused my health problem instead?”

        1. Someone I’m close to was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, then later leaky gut. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS is a connective tissue disorder that has various specific types; in the version I’m talking about, the collagen that should provide cushioning in joints doesn’t do its job. In addition, my friend has — to varying degrees — other conditions.

          At one point, she acceded to several doctors’ recommendations to try a gluten free diet for a month. Sounds like Deborah’s experience. There was no significant change, but her doctors still believe that gluten-free is the right way to go. (Every time I read one of Deborah’s reports on her health, I think of my friend.)

    2. My guy was put on a low sodium/no sodium diet for a month which meant no prepared foods, no fish, no shellfish, no red meat (I think), i.e., things with sodium added and things naturally high in sodium. He claims it was the most miserable month of his life and he will never do it again. It also did not work for the dizziness spells.

      1. My dietary sodium limit is 1500 mg per day, and some days that’s an easy goal. It’s meant that I do my own preparing of all my meals… except when I don’t. Like today – I really don’t feel like cooking, so I’m eating Food Lion chicken salad, made from rotisserie chicken. A quarter pound serving is around 270 calories and 500 mg of sodium. So I put half a serving on a mini-bagel, and that was lunch. If I’d made the chicken salad myself, there’d have been 1/10 the sodium, but then I’d have had to cook chicken, chop celery, yada yada yada.

        I’ve been doing this since October of 2016. You can get used to anything.

        But now I want a brownie.

  3. For my birthday last month, a coworker brought in brownies with peanut butter icing. (Her office is across from mine, so she’s undoubtedly seen me bringing Reese’s Cups back from the break room.) Best possible birthday treat, since we can’t drink wine at work.

  4. Brownies don’t seem very christmassy to me. I think I will make sugar cookies and biscotti instead. And some whole wheat sourdough bread.

  5. Brownies are in the freezer along with mini cupcakes, cookies, well that’s another story, what didn’t make it to the freezer I ate. Burp! I am just about cookied out and came to my senses today in not making the Santa Trash Chocolate Chip Cookies. That’s the recipe where you add crushed pretzels and crushed potato chips and garnish with flaky sea salt. There was theme there. But I will stay with adding red and green sprinkles to the mix. For every two cookies I ate I should have balanced them off with a Halo tangerine.

    1. The ones that look like a maze? I had one of those and discovered it was a bear to clean. I think Krissie took it with her when she left. But all the brownies had edges, so that part worked.

      1. I avoid so many utensils based simply on how hard something would be to clean. I imagine maybe making brownies in multiplr, smaller pans would achieve the same effect? Kinda? More to clean, but easy.

        1. Make ’em in a muffin pan! Solves the problem of the crust and that craving for muffins at the same time.

  6. I have a mini muffin tin. Maybe I’ll make that with muffin papers and see how that goes.

    I know I should have asked this Thursday but Thursday was latkes at the neighbors…why instapot? Specifically, is there a reason if you are not the kind of person who will get up and assemble the meal before going to work? I never have time in the morning on work days and don’t mind cooking when I get home.

    Is there another reason to use it? What am I missing?

    1. Just having that discussion with friends last night. I *think* the idea is that you don’t have to get everything assembled before you leave for work. You can start dinner when you get home and the pressure cooking option will generally have it done in 30ish minutes. I have several friends who swear by them, but I just can’t seem to get on board…

      1. The speed sounds lovely, but they also sound complicated…. but a one-stop tool sounds so desirable….

    2. Pressure cooker, so it tenderizes meat. Plus it is rumored you can make stroganoff in one pot. We’ll see . . .

  7. Did brownies last couple weeks. Not surprising since I’ve never been good at being on trend. The MC in my book series is also a brownie gal, which she may or may not have gotten from me:)

    Today I’m making tarts as part of Christmas prep. Make three kinds but today likely just apple. Then if extra time may get to the ginger snaps. I bake in quantity for guests and such so it takes me a while to prep. But since we got this cold snap early around here, I’m kinda looking forward to an afternoon in the kitchen with a warm oven:)

  8. I would nose dive face first into a pan of freshly made brownies right now if they were in front of me but I have cut back on sweets and am finally seeing results on the scales (below 140 lbs finally!).

    Tonight is going to be my splurge night as I am going to my workplace Christmas dinner/party . Dessert will be skimpy (a platter with our choice of one of a few blah desserts) but the food itself will be delicious and filling. And I may indulge in a mug of hot chocolate before bed if I don’t overeat. We have been told that they cancelled giving employees a bottle of wine each (as a gift) so they could up the ante on the food and have a live band instead of a deejay. I never stay for the music so that doesn’t bother me; I’d rather be home in my pj’s curled up with a cat on my lap and a mug of tea or cocoa at hand and a good book or tv program available. I must be getting old or something! lol

  9. I’m still in Belgium, so it’s been nothing but truffles, hot chocolate, and waffles all week. Brownies would just be overkill.

      1. Belgium is lovely! Chocolate and waffles and lace and the Atomium in Brussels. And chocolate. Did I mention chocolate?

        1. Strop seriously spoiled me for chocolate by sending me a huge box of British chocs one year. I am now a Maltesers addict. No, the Maltesers you can buy in the US are not the same.

          1. My dad’s morning routine included a side-trip into the study each morning for one malteser from the box he kept on the second shelf of the bureau there, before going to the kitchen for breakfast.

    1. But the waffles and chocolate are great! So you don’t really miss out on anything. Hope you’re enjoying your time over there! 🙂

  10. For the first time in my life, I’ll be far away from home for Christmas (in France — where the protests are going on right now) (oh, well, at least there isn’t a blizzard in the forecast). (My husband, daughter, and I and are celebrating abroad in order to include our son and daughter-in-law who live in Poland.)

    So, no plum pudding to feed with rum, no cookies, no tree or decorations or presents. I’ve mailed the annual donations and the Christmas cards. I’m taking the Christmas stockings with me, so we will have a tiny taste of tradition.

    To tell the truth, I’m very psyched — it’s thrilling to be freed from the weight of living up to holiday expectations. I’ll be served great food in fine restaurants instead of having to plan, shop, and cook for everyone else. I won’t have to coordinate family get togethers. And there are great places to visit. I feel guilty for being so excited.

    Yet, I’m seeing photos on the news of tear gas clouds and flames from trashcans in front of the monuments I’m planning on visiting. They make me just a tad uncertain about the whole adventure.

    1. It seems to only be happening on Saturdays. The rest of the week they just seem to go to work like everyone else. The more recent protests have been getting violent, though.

  11. My partner came home yesterday with box mix for cake in a cup, it comes as four individual sachets. I was delighted with the treat and the evidence that he doesn’t care my jeans are getting too tight (I do). But I’m a bake from scratch kind of girl, so this will be interesting.

    1. Update: I’ve given it a go. You’d want to be desperate. Brownie day deserves the real thing.

      (None of the above means that the three remaining sachets will go to waste, it’s still sweet and chocolatey. My poor jeans).

  12. All this talk of cooking made decide to finally try biscuits again. I read that you need soft wheat flour instead of the hard wheat in most all-purpose flours so I bought a box of pastry flour (soft wheat) and used James Beard’s buttermilk biscuit recipe. Then I made bacon/onion/mushroom brown gravy to top them with. For the first time in my life my homemade biscuits from scratch were light and tasty and the gravy was pure heaven (also pure fats and carbs). I won’t be doing that anytime soon again but for a treat, it was wonderful. And now I know I can do biscuits from scratch.

      1. Good to know. I’ve discovered Bob’s Red Mill (the main store is about 15 miles from my house) has both 5 pound and 25 pound sack of soft wheat pastry flour. If this works out for my guy’s pie crust then I may just switch. I’ve used bread flour for bread for years and have never been able to master ciabatta, it may be that I have used the wrong flour.

  13. I made brownies for my retail pals last week and gave a few to my physical therapist. He was so thrilled with them that he wanted the recipe so he could surprise his wife with them. Since I have the best brownie recipe in the world, I wasn’t surprised, but I get a huge kick out of thinking of them as a romance facilitator.

    Too bad that I’ll never hear how she liked them as my therapy is now over.

  14. I can’t do regular brownies as the chocolate would give me a migraine. Instant pain helps a person with her resolve. However, I could do a blond brownie with caramel instead… except my jeans are also getting tighter as I’ve been traveling every other weekend.

  15. I was ahead of time. I made brownies Friday and then left them at my friend’s house (on purpose). Yum. I put chocolate chips and peppermint candy in them.
    Now I want to make scones


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