Maple Pecan Banana Muffins


Good Morning– Isn’t it nice to have help in the kitchen??  Had one of my favorite kitchen helpers with me yesterday morning to mix together these happy muffins.  They are sweet and tender– just like little Lois!  And we all sat around the coffee table for breakfast to munch muffins and drink coffee, while we watched the World Cup this morning!

MAPLE PECAN BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, thoroughly smashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1  3/4 cups four
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Plus more chopped pecans, to top the muffins

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and maple syrup.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, salt and cinnamon.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins that have been lined with muffin papers. Sprinkle the extra pecans on top on top of the muffins.  Drop them into a 350 degree for 18 to 20 minutes.  What a smell when you lift them from the oven!

Actually, Lois likes tasting the batter as much as mixing it!

Blackberry Avocado Salad

Hello there– We had another important celebration at our house last week– Larry’s folks came in to celebrate their 69th anniversary!!  It’s a joy to watch them together.

So we made toasts and ate lasagna (Stu’s favorite) and Larry’s cheery sister brought in a magnificent cake. It was a great time together.  Stu & Helen, you’re the best!!

Oh, and with our supper, we dug into this bright salad– sweet berries, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, salty feta– tossed with a mustard & maple dressing.  Just fine on the plate with our lasagna.

BLACKBERRY AVOCADO SALAD

Salad:
6 cups salad greens
2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 avocados, cut into chunks
6 oz. carton of blackberries (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cut feta, crumbled

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon veingar
2 tab. maple syrup
1 tsp. seedy Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Layer the salad ingredients in a shallow bowl.  When you are ready to serve it up, shake together the dressing ingredients in a container with a tightly closing lid until they are all blended and drizzle over the salad.

Muesli (with yogurt & cherries)

Hi friends– The first time I met muesli was on a road trip with our kids years ago when we lived in Spain.  Some friends in Austria offered to let us stay in their apartment while they were away– as long as we would feed their rabbit and feel free to help ourselves to anything.  That’s where we found the muesli– in their kitchen cupboard!  And loved it from the start.

So here’s my current version, sweetened with maple syrup and full of lovely crunch.  With yogurt and summer cherries, it’s perfect!

MUESLI (WITH YOGURT & CHERRIES)
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup coconut
2 tab. sesame seeds
3 tab. olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt*
also– serve with yogurt & fruit (like cherries!)

Stir together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until the oats are thoroughly coasted.  Spread the muesli evenly onto two baking sheets that have been lined with foil.

Bake the muesli at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, taking it out mid-way to stir it up and spread it back out over the pans.  Let it cool and then heap it onto a bowl of yogurt & fruit!

Maple Walnut Banana Bread

Hello Bakers–  I’ve been making my Grandma Rose’s banana bread for as long a I can remember,  It’s the favorite in kitchens all over our family.  But when I saw this version sweetened by maple syrup, I had to give it a try.  I can just say it smells heavenly coming out of the oven!!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

topping:
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Prepare the topping first.  Chop the nuts, mix in 2 tab. brown sugar and set aside.

Mash those bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the oil, syrup, egg and vanilla.  Next mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder an salt.

Spoon the batter in to a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees from 35 to 40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  (I used two smaller pans to make one loaf to keep, one to take to my father-in-law Stu). Enjoy!!

Maple Butternut Squash Mash

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Hi there– Our big Christmas meal is on Christmas Eve, with the Great Grandparents and family come in from far and wide.  It’s a little hectic (read, stressful) getting it all on.  And a definite squish to squeeze all of us around the table.  But it’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas, Larry pouring wine, Jodi taking pictures, Laurel and the grand-girls trading puns.

And here’s one of the things we served up this year…

MAPLE BUTTENUT SQUASH MASH
1 large butternut squash, peeled & cubed
(about 6 cups of cubes)*
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
garnish: sliced green onion (or pumpkin seeds or pecans or feta… )

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Peel and cube the butternut squash.  Then mix it in a bowl with the olive oil and liberally salt and pepper it.  Spread the squash out on two baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Roast the squash in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until it is tender.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the roasted squash, milk, vanilla, salt and maple syrup with an electric mixer or a stick blender.  Continue beating until it is smooth and creamy.  Serve it up nice and hot (you can make this ahead and heat it in the microwave at the last minute).

*Cooking the big meal for Christmas Eve, I didn’t want to take the time to peel and big squash, so I used 2– 32 oz. bags of cubed squash from Trader Joe’s.  Works fine in this recipe.

And here’s the family, sitting down to eat our Christmas Eve lunch.
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Whole Wheat Maple Apple Upside Down Cake

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Hey there–  couple weeks ago we got a large heavy package in the mail.  It was from Alfie, our daughter-in-law’s dad.  He’s the kind of guy you just want to be best friends with, warm and friendly.  And it turns out he is a prolific maple syrup maker.  He taps trees all over his small town in upstate New York and gathers in his “sugar shack” with family and friends in early spring to churn out gallons and gallons of the best maple syrup!  And, thankfully, we are recipients of his generous syrup dispersal to people all over the country!  What a guy!

So in honor of Alfie, here’s a luscious maple-y upside down cake, with tender apples and sturdy whole wheat cake.  But the star of this dish is the maple syrup.  Thanks again Alfie!!

MAPLE APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut in slices
2/3 cup whole wheat four
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Spray a 10″ cake pan** lightly with cooking spray.  Pour in the maple syrup to coat the bottom of the pan.  Then arrange the apple slices neatly to cover the syrup.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the 2 flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Next mix in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.

Spoon the mixture over the apples carefully to cover them all.  And put the cake into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes until the cake is golden and firm to the touch.  You can test it by sticking in a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean.

While the cake is still hot from the oven, cover it with a large plate.  Then flip the plate and cake over so that the cake falls from the pan onto the plate.  If it doesn’t fall right out, gently lift one edge of the cake pan just half an inch and the seal will break and the cake will plop down onto the plate.

Best serve warm with a nice scoop of whipped cream.  Delish!

*In place of buttermilk, I used 2 tab. cider vinegar and filled up to 1/2 cup with regular milk. Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.

 

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Maple Dijon Chicken (3 ingredients!)

IMG_1765Hi busy friends– It’s that crazy time of year when things get a little bit out of control. But I found a chicken recipe that couldn’t be easier and tastes like it took a whole lot more effort!  Just 3 ingredients you might just have on hand, (plus a little salt & pepper), pop it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.  Think of all the multitasking you could do while it’s cooking– make a salad, do those phone calls, wrap a few packages, fold a load of laundry, write up your Christmas list…

We had this chicken with a plate of roasted potatoes (actually leftover from dinner with friends a couple nights ago) and a quick salad.  Dinner in a hurry.  That’s just what I need about now.

MAPLE DIJON CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs*
1/4 cup seedy Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_1766Put the chicken thighs in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Salt and pepper the chicken liberally.  Stir together the mustard and maple syrup and spread it over the chicken.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I did pull it out about half way through to baste the chicken with the sauce that was puddling in the bottom of the dish.  Add bonus: it smells delish while it’s cooking!

P.S.  The recipe I worked from also added oil, but I think there’s enough fat in the chicken– And they left the skins on the chicken thighs, but I pulled them off before cooking.  I’m sure it’s just fine either way…

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* I just made half of recipe in these pictures– enough for Larry and me.

Ani’s Maple Baked Beans

IMG_8576Hey there–  Well, this certainly isn’t a glamorous dish– and no one’s going to say “Wow! when they see this photo.  But let me assure you this is one of those tried & true recipes that you’d use again and again.  And every time you tote these tasty beans to a bar-b-que with friends, someone is going to ask you for the recipe.  They’re good.

And P.S.– thanks, thanks to Alfie for the amazing maple syrup he brews up and mails across the country to us every year.  That jug’s a treasure tucked away in our kitchen and perfect for these maple baked beans.

ANI’S MAPLE BAKED BEANS
2  1/2 cup little white navy beans (about 1 pound)
8 oz. bacon, chopped to bits
1/2 green bell pepper, coded fine
1 onion, chopped
15 oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 tab. yellow mustard
3 tab. cider vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bottle hickory bar-b-que sauce

First step is a long one.  Cover the beans with water about 2″ above the beans.  Soak them for 6 to 8 hours.  Then drain and rinse the beans and drain completely.

Then cook the bits of bacon in a large soup pot until they are browned.  Remove the bacon from the pot and drain most of the grease, leaving just a couple tablespoons of fat in the bottom of the pot.  But in the green pepper and onion and cook unit the onions are completely soft.

Then put the onion, green pepper, tomato sauce, maple syrup, mustard, cider vinegar, chili powder, salt, pepper and the beans into a crock pot.  Cook it in the crock pot on high for 8 to 10 hours until the beans are tender.  (if you are crock-potless like me, just put it all in the soup pot and pop it into the oven for 8 to 10 hours at 250 degrees).

I mixed in the bottle of bar-b-que sauce right at the end before we served them up because everything’s better with bar-b-que sauce…

P.S.– So this recipe works best if you soak the beans over night and then in the morning pop them in the oven to bake through the day until you’re ready for dinner.

Maple Apple Pork Cutlets

IMG_5478Hi all– It’s the sauce, the glorious sauce, that makes this dish so delectable.  All the apple-y sweetness, not to mention the maple syrup, finished off with a bit of cream.  It’s a dish made for stay at home fall evenings, with a glass of wine, a bright salad and a loaf of rosemary bread.

MAPLE APPLE PORK CUTLETS
6 pork loin cutlets (a little over a pound)
1 tab. olive oil
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup whipping cream (or half & half)
2 tab. maple syrup
2 tsp. fresh snipped thyme
thyme for garmish

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Brown the cutlets on high heat about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove them from the pan, leaving the juices.  Put the apples and garlic in the pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Then add the apple juice into the pan and simmer 4 minutes more.  Stir in the cream, maple and bits of thyme and simmer until it thickens, a few more minutes.

Nestle the pork chops in among the apples and leave it on low just until it’s all warmed through.  Serve it all up on a pretty plate and sprinkle on a few extra sprigs of thyme.

Maple Glazed Salmon


Hey there– Well, schools out.  So Friday was my first day of summer, just the time for  a light meal on a long summer evening.   Salmon, hot from the broiler along with roasted banana squash and a bright green salad with nectarine and boysenberries, just picked outside the kitchen door–with a sweet tarragon dressing.  Add a chunk of rosemary garlic bread.  Just right.

MAPLE GLAZED SALMON
2 6 oz. salmon filets
cooking spray
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tab. maple syrup

Combine the paprika, chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt.  Spray your pan with cooking spray and set on the salmon.  Coat the top of the fish with the spice mixture. Cook under the boiler on medium for 5 to 6 minutes until just about done.  Drizzle on the maple syrup and broil for 1 minute more.  Serve it up hot and just a bit spicy.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!