Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Kiss Me I'm Irish" Muffins {Irish Soda Bread Muffins}

Pin It Now! *yawn* G'Mornin'.  I detest daylight savings time, don't you?  I know, I know, we get an hour of extra sunlight at the end of the day blah blah blah, but for the first few days after the "Spring Forward" has sprung forward, I'm a sleepy mess.  I definitely couldn't get through it without a good (read: exhorbitant) amount of coffee.

I'm sure I'll come around and stop being a negative Nelly about it soon enough, but until then I guess you'll have to put up with my excessive coffee drinking and somewhat incoherent rambling. 

Even Chico is feelin' the lost hour :)

So this Saturday is some sort of Irish holiday if I'm not mistaken.  I had to get my butt up off the couch and accomplish a little something this weekend, so in the spirit of all things Irish I whipped up some Irish Soda Bread.  Kinda.  Loaves take longer to bake, so muffins were the way to go here.  I can stay awake for fifteen minutes.  Maybe.

Typically you would find raisins or currents in a traditional loaf of Soda Bread.  I'm not a huge fan of raisins (*gag*) but I do love me some cranberries, so since I'm the boss in my kitchen there will be no raisins in any baked goods.  Only cranberries.

And pistachios.


I forgot how yummy and buttery pistachios are until I started snacking on taste testing the ingredients for this recipe.

What are your St. Patty's Day plans?  I'm sure you'll find me sleeping in and generally being a couch potato.

Irish Soda Bread Muffins
2 1/4 c AP flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 c almond milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c pistachios, unsalted, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with baking cups.  Or spray it with cooking spray if that's what you're into.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can stir it up by hand as well) mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, stir together the egg, almond milk, melted butter and vegetable oil.  Add the wet mixture into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined, but do not overbeat.  Finally, mix in the dried cranberries and chopped pistachios.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar.  Bake for approx. 15 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden and a tester comes out clean.

Yields 1 dozen muffins.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pin It Now! Sweet potatoes.  You either love 'em, or hate 'em.  I happen to love them.  I'll take them any way I can get them; baked, boiled & mashed, tossed in olive oil & roasted... or the truly sinful sweet potato fries.  Sweet potato fries send me into a feign-like frenzy, so if you're around when a basket of those are involved I recommend you keep your hands a safe distance away.

Today's post, however, isn't about sweet potato fries.  It's about the delicious balance between tangy balsamic and sweet, creamy sweet potatoes, complimented by earthy, aromatic rosemary.  Oh my, that sounded romantic, didn't it?

Pretty mixing bowls make everything taste better.

This was so simple to put together, they were in the oven roasting away in no time.  Hmm, maybe this could be doctored up into a sweet potato salad?  I'm open to ideas!  I used two pretty large potatoes, which yielded enough for about 4 servings.

Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt & pepper
Rosemary (dried or fresh - I used about 2 tsp dried)
3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar, more or less depending on your preference

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until potatoes are completely coated.
Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast for approx 35 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.