Blueberry Bran Muffins

I use the same base Bran Muffin recipe ALL THE TIME. It is the best I’ve ever found.

I change up the recipe slightly almost every time I make it, sometimes I add cinnamon, sometimes a banana, other fruit, nuts, etc. I add apple butter, change up the amounts of liquid or dairy. It is really extremely versatile. You could use a variety of flours, spices, or even liquids. The important part is the relative proportions.

Anyway, I wanted to make some muffins for Stephen before he left today so the recipe below is the variation I used. I didn’t try them but I’ve never made a bad batch of these muffins, no matter the changes I make (they’re always reasonable!). And they smelled incredible. Sometimes I want to bake muffins just so the house smells cozy.

Blueberry Bran Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson via Holly & Rose.

  • 1/2 Stick Salted Butter, Melted
  • 3/4 Cup 0 Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 Cup 2% Milk, hot
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bran (Oat or Wheat – I usually use half and half, depends what I’m looking for)
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Flax Meal
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt (1 Tsp if using unsalted butter)
Warm milk until hot and add dried blueberries to help reconstitute. Let them sit for as long as you can until adding them to mixture, giving them time to soak. Combine melted butter, greek yogurt, eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar & vanilla. Add bran, flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
The batter is usually a bit thick so don’t worry but if you think it’s too thick, feel free to add a little milk, applesauce, water, or something else you’d like to use.
Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin papers and fill about 3/4 full. Oftentimes I have extra batter so I just fill the papers extra full rather than having to use another muffin pan.
Bake at 400 Degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 22 minutes. The range is so broad because of the variations that could be made. They usually take about 18 minutes though.
Let cool (mostly) and bon apetite!
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My Birthday!

It’s my birthday and there’s a lot to write about! Including Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Bran Muffins. Then there’s the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Damimmo’s, The Old Stein Inn, and my mother’s Eggs Benedict. There’s also my birthday presents to talk about so I’m excited!

I’ll start with Friday night. Stephen took a bus in from State College and we picked him up in Baltimore. We headed over to the Meyerhoff to see guest conductor, 35 year old, Russian Vasily Petrenko lead the orchestra in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3. The Rimsky-Korsakov piece was an all around favorite of the night. The conductor was very animated and fun to watch.

After the symphony my brother met us at Damimmo’s for dinner in Little Italy. Just after we were seated Brian Billick, the former coach of the Ravens, was leaving. I ordered the Lobster Tetrazinni which was amazing. Every single thing we ordered was delicious. Stephen ordered the Chilean Sea Bass which was cooked PERFECTLY. For dessert the Creme Caramel was definitely the best. They brought it out with a candle for my birthday!

Saturday morning Stephen & I went to Michael’s to pick up some poster board & tissue paper. He made me a lightbox for my birthday!!!! As well as The Amish Cooks Baking Book. Stephen is from Eastern PA, surrounded by Amish & Mennonite culture. As anyone from the area knows, the Amish make some of the best baked goods ever. Every time I visit I make a very exciting trip to a dry goods store called Echo Hill Country Store. It is, by far, my favorite store ever. It is a Mennonite owned store that repackages dry goods to sell. For a pretty tiny store, it has one of the widest varieties of dried goods at extremely affordable prices. I’m completely smitten. I can’t wait until next weekend when I get my fix at Echo Hill.

After our trip to Michael’s, and after building my new Light Box (Thank you Tater : D ) I made some cookieeees. Some Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Smells Like Home.

COOKIES:

  • 1 Stick Salted Butter, Melted
  • 2/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup AP Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Oats

Melt butter and combine with peanut butter, whisking thoroughly. Add sugars and continue whisking. Add egg & vanilla. Stir with spoon to combines. Add AP flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir until just combined.

Form dough into tablespoon sized balls using measuring spoon. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 Degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your cookies after 10 minutes. Let cool before assembling.

FILLING:

  • 4 Tbsp Salted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup 2% Milk, you may use more depending on how thick you like your filling.

Beat butter & peanut butter together. Add 1 cup sugar. Combine. Add milk. Add rest of sugar and beat together. Add more milk as desired.

Spread generous amount of filling on bottom side of one cookie. Sandwich together with another cookie of about the same size.

These cookies were soooo amazing. The filling is smooth and creamy and you’ll probably want more & more. EAT & BE MERRY!

Boca Food!

I haven’t posted in like a week! I was vacationing in Boca Raton, Florida for a long weekend.

The first morning we got pastries from Bakery of France including Brioche, Croissants, Chocolate Croissants, and some raisin pastry. Everything was delicious but I’m not a huge fan of raisins so that one wasn’t for me.

A picture of the Brioche via a Yelp Reviewer.

We also went to dinner at Seasons 52, which was DELICIOUS. All of their dishes are designed to be less than 475 calories and use seasonal ingredients. Their dinner menu for autumn had a great number of vegetarian dishes and the concept is very inspiring. I ordered the Organic Baby Spinach salad and the Goat Cheese Ravioli then had the Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse for dessert. There are no pictures on the website of any of the meals we ate so I’ll just post a picture of the dessert!!

Picture of the miniature desserts via Seasons 52 website.

On Saturday night we had an 8 o’clock dinner reservation at Uncle Tai’s, a very nice & quite tasty Chinese food restaurant. We ordered the Honey Crispy Shrimp, Sliced Fish Hunan Style, and Crispy Beef (which I, of course, did not try), and vegetable fried rice. The Fish was definitely the best. I’m not entirely sure which dish is featured in the picture below but it’s the only picture I found from their site!

Picture via Uncle Tai's Website

A couple more places we went:

Flakowitz Bagel Inn - HUGE breakfast plates. I ordered a 4 egg omelet with broccoli and cheddar cheese. It was ENORMOUS. And it came with breakfast potatoes and a bagel & cream cheese. Talk about enough food to feed a family of 4 (or a small army).

Renzo’s - Italian food. SO GOOD. We ordered a large cheese pizza which was hot & melty and just the way pizza should be. Also ordered some Arancini balls which were yummy yummy yummy. And they came with the best marinara EVAR. Then I got a Veggie Muffaletta sandwich which was the size of my head. I only ate most of half. It had grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, greens, roasted red pepper and mozzarella.

Señor Burrito - Got the spinach enchiladas. They were covered in an amazingly good tomatillo sauce. I love mexican food.