Friday, September 29, 2006

Oven-Fried Chicken

“Yum, this is crispy and crunchy!” This was Matheus phrase as we were eating this chicken today at lunch!
Oven-fried Chicken was a great change to our usual oven baked chicken! I was really amazed with the end results, considering it was so simple and easy to make.
Skinless chicken pieces are first dipped in a combination of buttermilk and egg whites, then they are dredged into a mixture of flour and cornmeal, which were seasoned with salt and pepper. I actually added some paprika and a touch of garlic powder to my dry mix, and also salted my chicken pretty well before coating, which I guessed would add some more flavors to it.
After being coated, the chicken is quickly sautéed in a skillet and then into the oven it goes, and about 30 minutes later you have oven-fried chicken! Yummy!
The chicken was really moist and yummy, and the crust was surprisingly crispy, even more since it didn't have a skin underneath. Yes, healthy and good for you too!
We really enjoyed this! I made ours using drumsticks and bone-in chicken breast (which I halved to make smaller pieces). Oh, and next time I will try to get a thicker coating on the chicken, as it was definitely the best part of it!

Oven-Fried Chicken
(Cooking Light, October 2006)

1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large egg whites, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 chicken breast halves, skinned (about 1 pound)
2 chicken thighs, skinned (about 1/2 pound)
2 chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 1/2 pound)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine buttermilk and egg whites in a shallow dish; stir well with a whisk. Combine flour, cornmeal, 1/2-teaspoon salt, black pepper, and red pepper in a separate shallow dish; stir well. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture; dredge in flour mixture.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet; lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half or 1 drumstick and 1 thigh)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One of the best dessert… ever!

Not really a recipe, but I created this “dessert” the other day and it was so good that I had to share!
I wanted to make a nice and sort of fancy dessert the other day for me and the husband so that we could have a little time together (after Matheus went to bed) to try the nice bottle of wine I got for him as an anniversary present.
The day before I found some fresh figs at a very decent price at the store and bought a ltitle box. Oh my, so good were those figs, nice, soft, sweet. Perfect!
I halved them, sprinkled just a tiny bit of brown sugar on top, and broiled them for 3 minutes, just to get them warm a little softer. Then I mixed up some Greek yogurt (and I bet mascarpone would be even better here, in place of the yogurt) with honey and a little scraped vanilla beans, formed into “quenelles” (did I spell it right?) and placed them on a plate. I then put 3 pieces of fig on each plate and drizzled some warmed up honey. Was it good! Super tasty, sooooo delicious! Perfect paired with our wine, and so romantic!
I would choose this dessert over any other at any time, without blinking.
Simple, yet decadent. Fresh figs are so good on their own that I don’t even like to use them in recipes, preferring to eating them as they are. But this little creation of mine did embellish them beautifully!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pumpkin Pie

As soon as Matheus saw the mounds of fall pumpkins in front of the market last week, he started to beg me to buy one for him (and he wanted the huge one!) in order to make pumpkin pie.
We were definitely going to buy some pumpkins, but I wanted to wait a little more, you know, it is not even October yet… Plus I wanted to get the pumpkins at the farmers market, as there are a variety of them and they look very nice there too.
Trying to explain all that to a 4-year old didn’t actually worked well, and Matheus started to ask me every day when we were going to buy our pumpkin to make some pie. So, in order to keep my sanity, I finally gave in and we both headed to the kitchen to make the so desired dessert.
Now, I have got to say: it was so worth it! Pumpkin pie is soooo easy to make, and so delicious, that there was no reason to wait until we “feel like fall”. Matheus was definitely right, it was time for pumpkin pie, and we really enjoyed ours over the weekend!
I opted to make a cookie crust instead of the more traditional pie dough, but it is just a matter of personal preference. I am not a big fan of piecrust (except for apple pies!), but do enjoy the traditional cookie-crumb crust used for pies and cheesecakes alike, so I decided to use that instead. For this crust I used a cookie called Vanilla Snaps, which I recently discovered and liked a lot, but the regular graham cracker will work perfectly here. And, for those who like ginger, I bet ginger snaps would work really well here too.
I didn’t follow an exact recipe, but sort of made mine based on other recipes I have previously seen, and since it was a basic traditional pie filling, it worked very well. The filling was very creamy, and nicely complemented by my yummy cookie crust!
As I said, this was so easy to make that Matheus went ahead and mixed up the filing all by himself; my only help was opening the can of evaporated milk to him.
I don’t even need to mention that he was very proud of his pie, and was more than happy when eating his share. It was definitely time for Pumpkins around here!!

Note: If, like me, you also don’t care for the crust and feel like the filling is the best part, then check out my pumpkin custard recipe, it is really good!

Pumpkin Pie with cookie-crumb crust

About 2 cups cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs (I used 4 egg whites)
½ cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (you can use pumpkin pie spices)
1 can evaporated milk
1 (15oz) can unsweetened pumpkin (or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree)

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter together in a bowl. Press mixture into bottom and sides of a pie plate and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.

In another bowl combine the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Pour into pre-baked piecrust and bake at 325 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until center of pie is almost set. Let cool and serve!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Greek Chicken

I can’t even start talking about how good this dish was. Oh my, this was without a doubt one of the best meals I had lately. Extremely full of flavor, the sauce was amazing, and the chicken perfectly cooked and full of the yummy flavors of the wine and lemon juice from its marinade.
Truly a dish to make when you have company over, as it wasn’t hard to make and you can have all things chopped up and ready in advance (as I did!). Just assembling and putting the dish together doesn’t take much time at all and could easily be done while you chat with your friends enjoying some wine.
I really loved this chicken dish; it was for me perfect in all senses. The tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives and the lemon juice, oregano, and wine from the marinade just blended together wonderfully making a scrumptious sauce, so flavorful that I literally licked my plate clean.
Awesome, awesome dish! We don’t go out to eat much (once a month, maybe…?), and this was better than many chickens I have had at restaurants.
I am so happy that I know how to cook, and I love doing it!

Note: if you haven’t seen the book this recipe came from then go check it out. It is so pretty, full of yummy recipes and nice looking pictures, I love this book! Even more today; after having my delicious Greek chicken! You can take a look at the book here.

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta
(adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pitted olives
6 basil leaves, cut into strips
2 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes (1/2 cup)

Place chicken in a glass baking dish. Combine the lemon juice, zest, wine, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour mixture over chicken and let marinate (in the refrigerator) for a few hours or overnight.
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet; remove chicken breasts from marinade and place in the skillet. Reserve marinade to make the sauce.
Cook chicken turning only once, 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan, put in a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Put onions, garlic, and tomatoes in the skillet and cook until tomatoes and onion are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer sauce for 3 minutes, until it reduces by half. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Return the chicken to the skillet and add olives and basil to the sauce. Simmer on low heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and feels firm to the touch.
Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter, garnish with fresh basil and oregano. Sprinkle the feta cheese and serve.
Serves 4.

Multibean Salad

I wanted to make a different salad this week for our lunch, you know, we have had so many tomatoes and zucchini salad over the summer that I decided to change things a bit.
This salad was exactly what I wanted, nice and refreshing, colorful and very tasty, all in one bowl! It was a very happy mix of veggies in my opinion, and the vinaigrette complemented it all nicely. I followed the recipe, but omitted the bell pepper (didn’t have) and used a different kind of vinegar (what I had on hand). To be true, I don’t think that made a difference at all, because at the end the salad was very flavorfull just the way I made!

Multibean Salad
(Adapted from Cooking Light, April/05)

2 cups green beans (about 8 ounces)
2 cups wax beans (about 8 ounces)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook or steam
beans and edamame until they are crisp-tender. Drain and put beans into ice water; drain. Combine beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar, sugar, and mustard, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil to vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in parsley, salt, and black pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; toss gently to coat.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Big Bananas!

Well, not really bananas, but Plantains! These are a cousin of the regular bananas, found in the tropics and used a lot in Latin cooking. Its flavor is similar to that of a banana, however as far as I know, yellow, green, or black, these are always cooked before being eaten. (Does anyone know if they can be eaten raw?)
I had eaten them before, but this was my first time cooking with plantains. They are used in cooking more as a vegetable, rather than as a fruit, but there are desserts made with very ripe plantains also.

The recipe I made stated that the plantains should be black all over, so I had to wait almost a month for it to ripe in my counter (inside a paper bag) before I was able to use them. Yes, I bought them green, and had no idea it would take so long for a plantain to ripen; they were all green at the store, and you know, bananas usually turn black within a few days, so I guessed these would be similar…well, living and learning!
When green the plantains are starchier, even a little glutinous, almost like a potato. And since sweetness has not developed at this stage, they are used to make plantain chips and other savory concoctions.
As they get a little riper and turn yellow, these big bananas start to get sweeter, making them suitable for an array of savory dishes, where they can be fried, sautéed, baked, etc.
Black plantains have a softer skin and are the sweetest ones. When cooked they retain their shape more than a ripe banana does though, and are delicious browned in a skillet with some butter. Which by the way is how I made today’s recipe!!
Maduros, as this dish is called, is basically very ripe plantains sautéed in some butter with sprinkles of salt and pepper. Easy to make and so flavorful! My husband enjoys eating plantains at a local Cuban restaurant, so he really liked when I decided to make them at home. Plus, I believe these were a lot healthier, as the ones he likes are usually deep-fried.
The taste reminds me a lot of bananas of course, however these have a deeper flavor and texture than its familiar counterpart.
We liked it and now I will certainly adventure myself more into the world of plantains, as I know I still have a lot to learn about them. Any recipes suggestions out there?!

Plantains in a bowl, tossed with salt and sugar (by the way, I used less sugar than the recipe specified and it was very sweet).

Maduros (Sautéed Sweet Plantains)

Use plantains with completely black skins, which indicate that they are fully ripe.

4 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices soft black plantains (about 6)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add plantains; sauté 5 minutes or until browned and tender. Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 1/3 cup)

Source: Cooking Light, September 2006

Maduros, warm and ready to eat, yum!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pea Soup!

After a couple “anniversaries”, we are back to normal posts!
Last week was so hard on me that I am ready to move on. I got some sort of stomach bug that just messed me up. Not fun, and hard to eat much aside saltine crackers and some plain rice. Even harder is having to cook and feed the husband and Matheus when I could not eat much of what they wanted… argh! I like to cook, and I like to eat what I cook, so I am just glad to be feeling better now!
We saw today’s recipe being made in a cooking show a while ago and since then Matheus had been asking me to make it. We both like all vegetables and fruits a lot, and lately he discovered the wonders of green peas! It is sort of funny, because a few years ago, peas were his least favorite baby food. Luckily we all learn to like good foods!
This soup is super simple to make and yet very delicious! I halved the recipe, and my only complain is that it wasn’t enough… half of the recipe yielded about 1 ¾ cups of soup, as opposed to 2 ½ as it states. So both of us ended up wishing for more at the end of our meal (of course we had other side dishes to go with it), which was not bad, as we can make it soon again!!
It was delicious a little chilled, and the yogurt swirl complemented it well. Sweet and simple flavors here, and I bet it would be also nice with a touch of fresh mint in it too!
An easy and versatile recipe, which can be served during both warm and colder months. We sure enjoyed it; and best of all: Matheus loved the soup!
Hope you like it too!

Green Pea Soup (Ellie Krieger – foodtv)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz) bag frozen peas
4 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt, optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over moderately-low heat. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tarragon, salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook just until defrosted.
In a blender, puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. If serving hot, return the soup to the pot and bring just to a simmer. If serving cold, transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Ladle into bowls. Stir the yogurt so that it is smooth and top each serving with a swirl of yogurt.
Yield 4 servings (1 ¼ cups each)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wow... it may seem like a lot, it may seem like a little; time flies by us and here we are, 7 years of loving and caring for each other.
Seven years... and each day I Love You More!
Happy Anniversary Fran!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday!!! To My Blog!!!
It's been exactly a year since my first post and I still can't believe it! It has been a lot of fun to blog about my passion of cooking and sharing my recipes with you all!
Although still only "virtual", I have made some good friends through this blog, which have filled me with joy and happiness throughout these 12 months of postings and taste testing. Thanks for everyone that visits my blog; you make my days happier and I truly appreciate each and every one of your comments and friendship!

And I hope to keep “blogging away” for many years more!


Note: I meant to make a real and prettier cake and post a decent picture here today, it is a super special day to me, but due to a nasty stomach bug I haven’t been able to eat or cook much these past few days. I am really sorry, but I hope you feel my intentions are still good with the “funny looking” cake I created in the pc! (I know… I am not very artistic!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Soup Day!

Soup is something that always makes me happy! I find it comforting and it can’t be so full of flavors that you might need nothing else but a big bowl of yummy soup for a nice rounded meal.
I had this recipe from Nigella Lawson on my list for a long time, and today decided to give it a try. It is called Happiness Soup, and its name couldn’t be more appropriate.
I was amazed as how such a simple soup could have so many flavors. Simple ingredients, nothing more than dicing squash and throwing in a pot with a few more items, and in a matter of minutes you have soup, a yellow and mellow yummy soup!
The squash gets tender and the broth infused with the lemon and turmeric flavors. I really liked the subtle flavors of this soup and being this easy I am pretty sure I will make it again. My only changes were to use a little less oil and cooked brown rice (which made it even quicker). Oh, and we added some shredded chicken breast pieces (which I poached in the soup!), just to have a little protein.
Paired with one of my whole-wheat rolls, our soup lunch was perfect. And the soup made us happy indeed!

Happiness Soup (adapted from Nigella’s book, Summer Forever)
500g yellow squash (2 large)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1teaspoon turmeric
1 litre (1000ml) chicken stock
100g basmati rice
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the squash, but don’t peel them; cut into rings and then finely dice them. Put them into a pan with the lemon zest and oil, stir to coat, then cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have slightly softened. Stir in the turmeric and pour in the stock and lemon juice and then drop in the rice. Cook, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes, or until yellow squashes and rice are tender. Serve warm.
Serves 4-6.

Monday, September 11, 2006


When I think about my country’s typical cuisine, only a few food come to mind that are so Brazilian as Brigadeiro. This is an extreme popular sweet in Brazil, present at almost all kid’s birthday parties and family gathering events.
These little brown gems are fudgy in texture and very chocolaty in taste, creamy inside and rolled in crunchy decorative sprinkles on the outside.
Matheus had a “cultural feast” last week at school and each child had to bring in a dish from its own heritage. Well, I asked him what Brazilian food he would like to take to school and after a few undoable treats (like churrasco and kinder eggs – which are not Brazilian at all but he discovered them when staying in Brazil) he decided he wanted these. Brigadeiros are one of his favorite treats when we go to Brazilian birthday parties. He usually can’t wait for the birthday kid to cut the cake so he will be able to get some of the brigadeiros, which usually surround the cake in a decoratively manner.
Kids of all ages really love these treats! And the best thing is that they are super easy to make. A few ingredients and you get a lot of the little balls! The size I made them I got about 50 from 1 can of condensed milk, which is basically the main ingredient here.
The catch of the recipe is to cook it at medium heat, and stir constantly as you don’t want it to burn or lump up on you. It takes a couple of time making it to get it right, and once you do it you won’t forget.
Since I had to make it for the school last week, I took a few pictures of the process to post it here, together with the recipe of course!


1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa (add 2, try it and see if you want more chocolate… I like to use 3!)

1 tablespoon butter

First of all, grease a big plate (or a pie plate) with butter and set aside.
Mix all ingredients on a medium saucepan, put pan over medium heat. It may take about 20 to 25 minutes for the mixture to cook completely, and during this time you must keep stirring constantly. The mixture will get thicker as it cooks, and you will know it is ready when you tilt the pan and the mixture sort of comes out of the pan, it runs down without sticking to it (look the picture below!). It will thicken up quite a bit, become darker and smoother than when you started.
After the mixture is cooked pour it on the prepared plate and let it cool completely. Pour sprinkles in a small bowl. Coat the palms of your hands with butter (or oil – some people even use water for this) and, using a teaspoon, spoon the “dough” into your hands and form it into a ball. Roll the ball into the sprinkles and put into a plate or in little paper cups/molds.
It may yield at least 30, or more, depending on what size you make them!

Here are a couple of pictures I took while making them. (and remember, you can always click on the pictures to make them easier to view!)

Here is how it should look like when the mixture is cooked through. Tilt the pan, and if done the mixture should easlily slide off the bottom of the pan.

My little assembly line for rolling the brigadeiros...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spinach Fettuccine

This past weekend for our “Sunday pasta” the husband requested a white sauce. I have a tried and true Alfredo Sauce that I always use and we all like a lot, but this time I decided to try something new. You know, if you repeat a recipe too much you start to get tired of it, and I don’t want that to happen with a favorite of ours. Plus, I wanted to have some added veggies to the dish, this way I would not need to have too many pots and pans cooking in the stove, it is still summer and a little warm here after all!
This Spinach Fettuccine recipe was exactly what I wanted and pleased us all, with pasta and vegetable rounded up in one dish!
It was relatively simple to make, but I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had on hand. I used a different creamy cheese, and Parmesan instead of Romano (what I had at home), and used milk with a little bit extra flour in place of the half-half, just because I didn’t have any at home, but I am pretty sure half and half would have made it even better!
I made half recipe for the sauce and used 1/3-pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta (we like sauce!), plus I used fresh spinach that I had hanging around in the fridge.
It sounds like a lot of changes (and it was, now that I am writing it down…), but let me tell you, my substitutions worked well, because there was nothing but happy faces left at the end of the meal!
The sauce was delicious, very tasty and the spinach complemented it well, it really tasted great in there!
Oh, and let me not forget my major substitution… I sprinkled our pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, as I cannot stomach bacon in any form (and I wanted it to look like the picture in the magazine...). However, if you like the taste of it, then go ahead and indulge, I guess it would be a nice addition for those who happen to like it.
I served this dish with grilled chicken breasts. Yummy pasta for a happy Sunday meal!

Spinach Fettuccine (Cooking Light/August 2006)
1 pound uncooked fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
10 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
Parsley sprigs (optional)

Cook pasta according to package instructions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add reserved pasta water and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk to combine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add pecorino Romano, stirring until smooth. Add half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Stir in spinach. Combine cheese mixture and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Place about 1 cup pasta mixture in each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Whole Wheat Rolls

Oh boy, I just made these this morning and could not wait to come here and post the recipe in the blog. Actually, first I have to thank my friend Karen for the recipe, as I got it at her blog, Kafka na Praia. THANK YOU SO MUCH KAREN!!
This recipe is great; the rolls were awesome, full of nutritious stuff and so delicious!! They had the best flavor from all the whole goodness in them, nutty and wholesome, plus they turned out very moist and when warm out of the oven and spread with butter… they were out of this world!! Definitely the best whole-wheat rolls I have made, or eaten!!

I have been buying some oat rolls from the bakery of a natural grocery store that I really like, but after today no more store bough oat rolls; these are by far superior and better tasting than those… Karen’s Whole Wheat Bread rocks!

It was super easy to make, and the dough was great to work with, no sticking here and there, and I didn’t even had to add much flour. I made half of the recipe and used about 2 ¼ cups of the extra flour needed (1extra cup whole wheat and 1 ¼ cups white), and it yielded 11 dinner-sized rolls. My dough didn’t rise much when resting, but the rolls were nice and fluffy when done, actually a lot lighter than one might expect when making whole wheat bread. Next time I may try adding a bit more yeast to see if it makes a difference, but the recipe is great just as is!

Also, the recipe states to bake for 40 minutes, but mine were done after 26 minutes in the oven at 375, and they even got a little over brown in the bottom. Depending on your oven, I would bake them at 350 and check around 30 minutes; they might be done by that time. (I adjusted the recipe bellow for 30 minutes baking time)

I followed Karen’s tip and added flax seeds, great idea; the seeds added not only flavor but made the bread look good also! Oh, and these smelled so good when baking… huuummm!

Thanks again Karen, these are truly delicious, I really loved them! And Matheus did too; he liked them ever before trying, saying he was going to have 2 for lunch! Hehe!! Of course, he ended up eating only one, leaving no crumbs behind!


Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups warm water
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups oats or oat flour
2 tsp active dry east
About 2 pounds all-purpose flour

Combine oil, eggs, salt and sugar. Add wheat bran, wheat germ and warm water. Stir well. Add east, whole-wheat flour and oats. Combine everything well and add the flour little by little until you are able to work with the dough. Knead for some minutes (the longer the better). Allow it to rise for about 1 to 2 hours. Divide the dough into three balls. Shape each of them and put in greased loaf pans. Leave them to rise for 1 to 2 hours. Bake at 350F for about 30 min.


I know, the picture does not look that good, but I like this recipe so much that I had to share it here.
We are not big fans of pickles at our home; I never buy pickles, as we are not used to eat it with anything. However, I have been making this particular recipe every summer since it appeared on the magazine, in 2003.
Sweet Spicy Cucumbers are a type of refrigerator pickle, those that you don’t have to can and that keep for just a small amount of time in the fridge (or am I wrong?), but they are so good that they don’t even last that long.
The mixture of sugar and cider vinegar give these cucumbers the sweet-spicy taste, making them so delicious that they became almost addictive. The mustard seeds and garlic adds bite, and the pickled onions are great, actually my favorite part! I don’t find the chiles actually add heat; they are here more for an extra subtle burst of flavor.
These are good when paired with tomatoes, or just as a small side dish to a summer meal. The recipe says to marinate for 4 days… well, I find they super tasty on the next day already (or like this time that I made it in the morning and had some in the evening, yum!). Also, for those controlling their sugar intake, I made it this time using splenda (2 tablespoons), and it turned out to be just as good, I couldn’t even tell it wasn’t made with real sugar after it was done.
Really good stuff, I am the one who likes it the most here, but the husband tries a little bit every year with me! Ana

Note: I know, splenda may not be the healthiest of things, but at least it has no calories… and sugar does have an effect on me, sort of makes me cranky later in the day, does anyone else feels this when they have too much sugar?

Sweet Spicy Cucumbers (CL May 2003)
2 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumber (about 2 cucumbers)
1 cup thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 whole dried red chiles

Arrange half of cucumber in a 9-inch pie plate. Top with half of onion. Repeat procedure with remaining cucumber and onion.
Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (vinegar through chiles) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 to 4 days.

One sweet one savory!

I made two great muffin recipes this week, one of them sweet and the other savory, yes, a savory muffin indeed!
The first one, Apple Oat Bran Muffins was actually an adaptation I made on a pumpkin recipe, and it came out perfect!! I am definitely going to try it with the pumpkin next, but for now I will post my apple version, which we liked a lot. The muffins came out super moist and with a wonderful apple flavor and smell, even though it had applesauce in it. Next time I may add grated apples to the batter, even raisins might be good (I am not fan of raisins, but the boys like it and Matheus said he missed the raisins on his muffins… oh well!)
The second recipe came on the recent issue of my favorite magazine (Cooking Light). Cheddar Green Onion Muffins was a very nice surprise. I made the recipe one weeknight when I wanted something quick and savory for us to have as a snack. They came out quickly and delicious, very moist and cheesy. I believe a little more green onion would not hurt, as its flavor was not very pronounced, but we liked it as is!
I made mine in a bowl (no food processor here), and used white cheddar.
Two simple and tasty recipes today! How can one not love muffins?!?!

Apple Oat Bran Muffins
1 ½ cups unprocessed oat bran
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk (I used buttermilk)
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine applesauce, milk, egg, and oil; stir well. Add apple mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into greased/sprayed muffin pans, bake at 400 degrees, for 18 to 20 minutes. (I got 8 muffins out of this recipe)

Cheddar Green Onion Muffins (Cooking Light/Sept 06)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (about 7 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
11/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a food processor; pulse 3 times to combine. Add 5 tablespoons cheese and butter; pulse 5 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon mixture into a medium bowl. Combine buttermilk, onions, garlic, and egg; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield: 12 muffins