tips & tricks

Broccoli Stalks and Big Baby News

Broccoli StalksIf any of you have been wondering why I’ve been MIA this past month or so, I swear I have a good reason. I went on a last minute cruise around the world…oh wait. This just in: that actually didn’t happen. That was someone ELSE I saw going on a cruise around the world in travel magazine. The REAL reason is *even* better! Travis and I met our handsome baby boy! He decided to come a couple weeks before his due date. Just like his dad–always on time and a little early, just in case. For any parent out there, you know what a whirlwind the first month is (little guy will be a month old already!). I’ve been SUPER busy with dirty diapers and feedings and keeping the guy happy but it’s all been more than worth it! I get to see him grow a little every day, which makes me so happy. I can already tell we’ll have so much fun together!

Broccoli StalksSo with that said, I have had little time to shower (no joke, unfortunately), let alone time to think about blogging. Bummer, right? Well I thought I’d kick things back off with a very simple, but delicious tip about broccoli. Yes, who knew there could be a broccoli tip?  The vegetable seems so straight forward! But I’ve been lacking in my knowledge of broccoli for years it turns out. 

As an adult, I’ve always loved broccoli (not so much as a kid but I just didn’t know any better). I went about my cooking using the broccoli florets like it was my job, throwing away the seemingly useless broccoli stalk. For awhile, I bought just the broccoli “crowns” at the store because I started to wonder why I was paying for the stalk that I just threw away. Just recently, I realized that I could actually use the broccoli stalk in stir fry recipes and basically any other recipe that calls for broccoli. Am I late to the game? Probably. But my mind was blown nonetheless.


Broccoli StalksThe broccoli stalk is just as amazing as the florets! And I hear it’s also good for you, but since I’m not a nutritionist I won’t even try to tell you why. You may wonder how to prep those stalks because they seem so tough and inedible. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Cut off the florets and use as normal. Yum!
  2. Cut off the top and bottom so you have a nice thick section of stalk to work with.
  3. Cut off the thick outer layer of stalk. I cut off 4 sides so it looks like a square cylinder (see above picture since “square cylinder” really makes no sense otherwise). 
  4. Cube, slice, dice, shred, etc. the remaining inner section of the stalk.
  5. You’re done! Use the broccoli stems in any recipe that calls for broccoli!

Broccoli StalksI used the cubed stalks from the pic above in some fried rice and it was oh-so-yummy. You could use the stalks in stir fry recipes, coleslaw, salads, etc. Opportunities are endless! I could get at least an extra cup of cubed stalk out of a large bunch of broccoli. I feel so sad knowing that I threw away all that good broccoli in the past! Here’s to learning something new every day! 

Talking about learning something new, the little guy teaches me something new every day. So now back to diapers and learning new things. Hopefully another recipe will come soon, if the little guy cooperates! Wish me luck with that!

 

Blueberry Crumble Muffins & DIY Muffin Liners

Blueberry Crumble MuffinsThis recipe is a must at least once a summer with fresh blueberries. At LEAST. Most likely more than once. You’ll totally understand when you try it. I know. I know. It’s technically Fall now but this is my end of the season, last hurrah for blueberries before they cost a million dollars a pint. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. We’ll go with half a million dollars.

Blueberry Crumble MuffinsThe recipe originated from a blueberry buckle (kind of like a cake) from my grandma. I’ve already made the buckle form this summer so it was time to switch it up into muffin form! These muffins are the perfect way to make this recipe seem like breakfast material. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I would definitely eat it for breakfast in buckle form too but muffins just seem more socially acceptable.

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Muffins are great because they are easy to share and serve. They can also be a grab and go food but that would just be wrong with these muffins. Spend some time enjoying them. Seriously.

Notice my fancy muffin liners?? You know that part of the recipe where you’re supposed to use a muffin or cupcake liner and you realize you completely forgot to buy them? That only happens to me about every time I make a muffin or cupcake. Literally. Every time. It’s like my brain doesn’t register the fact that I need them. Weird. So I make my own!

liner-comboIt’s a seriously simple solution to your muffin liner woes. All you need is some parchment paper and a pair of scissors. Just cut your parchment into squares that are about 5 inches by 5 inches. This is not a science. Measure if you must but really just make sure they are a couple inches bigger than the diameter of the muffin tin cup. Press the parchment paper in each muffin tin cup, folding to press in. This for sure takes some finagling. You can use a can or cup that fits in the muffin tin cup to push the paper down into the bottom. I, however, usually take the more rustic approach of pressing and then frantically filling the liner with batter to hold it down. You can either choose the more refined method or my method. Either way, you end up with a DIY muffin liner! It adds a bit of charm to your cupcakes or muffins and it’s super cheap too. Yay!

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Blueberry Crumble Muffins
Yields 12
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients for the muffins
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup butter
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 2 cups flour
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 cups blueberries
Ingredients for the crumble topping
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/3 cup flour
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1/4 cup soft butter
Directions for the muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and egg with mixer. Stir in milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Gently stir in blueberries.
  5. Divide batter into lined muffin tin (12 muffins). The muffins will come almost to the top of the liners.
Directions for the crumble topping
  1. Mix together all the crumble ingredients until the butter is distributed into pea size pieces throughout.
  2. Top each muffin with crumble topping.
  3. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Notes
  1. This originated as a blueberry buckle. Also AMAZING! To make this follow the same recipe, spreading the batter into a greased and floured 9 inch square pan. Top with the crumble topping and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  2. Delicious with fresh blueberries but you can use frozen blueberries that are completely drained of any liquid as well.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Tips & Tricks: Peeling Ginger Root

I never bought ginger root before about a year ago. No reason except that I thought I was perfectly content with the little dried jar stuff. WRONG. Don’t do it!! Buy the real stuff! It’s cheap and simple to use. I’ll even show you how peel it!

Ginger root kind of looks alien-like. Kind of scary. Looks like there’s a chance it could bite you if you touch it. Don’t worry…I’ve used ginger root many, many times in the past year (for recipes like Veggie Packed Peanut Butter Pasta) and I swear to you that it does NOT bite. You can quote me on that one.

So you buy the ginger root from the store (you can find it almost anywhere now) and bring it home. Simple, right? You got this. Next, you get a spoon. Everyone has a spoon. This is seeming easier and easier. That’s because it is. Take the spoon and scrape the skin of the ginger off. Ginger root is a little flexible so you can even get around the little knobbies pretty well. That’s it. Nothing scary. All you need is ginger root, which remember I said doesn’t bite, and a spoon. And a trash can for the peels if you want to get technical on me I guess. The peels could even be composted though so a trash can is actually not essential in this process.



To use the ginger, prepare it by grating it with a microplane or chopping it into whatever size you may need. Put what you don’t use in a freezer bag and freeze. The ginger root will last in the freezer for about 3 months and grates beautifully frozen. I just pull it out, grate the amount I need, then stick it back in the freezer until its next adventure awaits. Simple, folks. So go get some ginger root and make something!