Paper-bag Microwave Popcorn

We eat a lot of popcorn in our house. A lot! We usually prefer using the hot air popper so it’s on the healthier side, but occasionally we’ll make a large batch of kettle corn. We never eat microwave popcorn. Besides the fact that is laden with all sorts of unhealthy ingredients, we just can’t stand the smell! I found this idea on Pinterest. It’s one of those simple ideas that works beautifully. It’s also great when you want a single serving of popcorn. The recipe below is for decent single serving. I use a sandwich sized brown bag, but if you’re looking for a nice bowl of popcorn to share, then just double the recipe and use it with a larger brown paper bag.

Paper-bag Microwave Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • paper lunch bag

Place 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into lunch sized paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice. Place in microwave, standing up, and cook for 3 minutes. Stop the microwave once the popping slows to one to two kernels a second.

Source: Squawkfox

Cinnamon Molasses Muffins

I’ve hit that stage where my almost 2 year old daughter has become a picky eater. She barely eats something she loves and she doesn’t often try anything new. The bigger problem I have is she has a severe peanut allergy. I’m constantly looking for recipes to give her some uumphf in the morning, while still making her happy. I found this recipe on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis website. I go there quite often to find recipes and resources for my daughter. This recipe isn’t good for her, but it’s tasty and she loves them. Frankly, at this stage of the game I just want her to eat! The cinnamon molasses combination gives the muffin a heartier feeling. Next time, I’ll throw in some oatmeal, wheat flour, wheat germ to add more fiber.

Cinnamon Molasses Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease mini-muffin tins and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, 3/3 tsp cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix oil, molasses, and applesauce. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix well. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Combine sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over the tops just before baking. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Makes 30 mini-muffins. If you want to bake standard muffins, increase baking time to approximately 20 minutes.

Source: The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Cook’s Best Banana Bread

Happy Banana Bread Day! Did you even know there was one? If not, hopefully you have a few over ripe bananas hanging around and you can make a loaf today. This is a super easy recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. It calls for one loaf, but I actually put it into two loaf pans. Thus, creating a smaller sized piece, reminiscent of biscotti. This allows my little one to walk around and munch on it when she refuses to sit for breakfast. I also omitted the walnuts since we have a nut allergy.

Cook’s Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, soft, darkly speckled, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of a regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick loaf pan, set aside. Greasing and flouring only the bottom of a regular loaf pan causes the bread to cling to the sides and rise higher. Greasing and flouring the bottom and sides of a nonstick pan will allow the bread to rise from a otherwise slick surface.

Combine the first five ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into a prepared loaf pan, bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, March 1998

Brandied Apple Cake

My mother-in-law’s birthday was last week and she isn’t a fan of sweets. I decided to look for a cake that was a little on the savory side and I found a winner. This cake screams, “I’ll keep you warm this Winter!” It’s everything that makes up a great comfort treat on a cold day. The cake by itself was wonderful, but add the brandy sauce and a scoop of ice cream, and I was a happy girl. I’m a huge fan of anything iced in butter cream, but sometimes you need to change things up and I’m glad I did!

Brandied Apple Cake

Cake

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz French Vanilla Nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Honey Apple Butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Apple Brandy Sauce

  • 3/4 cup Honey Apple Butter
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 inch square baking pan with vegetable cooking spray, using a paper towel to make sure the pan is thoroughly coated, flour pan.

In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with cinnamon. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to apples, stir to mix, and set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, baking soda, ginger, and cloves.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, eggs, yogurt, honey apple butter, oil, brandy, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined, being careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Place a single layer of apple slices on top in a decorative pattern.

Bake until a cake tested in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan on a wire rack.

Make the brandy sauce. Combine honey apple butter, brandy, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisk until smooth and evenly blended.

Serve cake warm or at room temperature. Top each slice with ice cream, if desired, and a drizzle of warm brandy sauce.

Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2012