Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple Muffins

These are some of my favorite muffins to make, and with some many apples in season, it is a great way to use them up! When it came time for me to make these, I realized i didn't have enough vegetable oil. I decided I would just use EVOO and deal with the horrible taste, but to my surprise, they were delicious! They were moist and dense (but not too dense.) They were just right. I will definitely be making these again soon!

1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of apple sauce
3 cups of flour (i used a combination of white ap and whole wheat)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
3 cups of peeled, cored, diced apples (1/2-1inch pieces) (around 3- 4 apples. I used a combo of granny  smith and honey crisp)

Crumble (optional):
(these are not in exact measurements because it just depend on how much crumble you like)
-2 parts brown sugar
-2 parts flour
-1 part butter (cold, diced)
Mix the brown sugar and flour together and then cut in the butter (make sure to not let the butter melt)
Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with paper liners.
Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for 3 mins on medium.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
With the mixer still running, pour in the oil and the apple sauce.
Slowly add in the flour mixture with mixer on low. Once as all the dry ingredients are combined in, add the diced apples. Don't be alarmed. The batter WILL BE THICK. It may also look like there are way too many apples, but don't worry. You are doing it right.
Line pan with muffin liners/cups and fill 2/3 full with batter. This is optional but the last step is to put around 2 teaspoons of the crumble mix on the top of each muffin.
Bake in a 350 oven for 20-24 mins.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Introducing: Mr. Alton Brown

On Monday, October 24 2011, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Alton Brown of Good Eats. Meeting him has been a dream of mine for years, but i never thought it would ever come true. When he announced that Good Eats was ending all my hopes of ever seeing him in person were crushed. Then, one day at the end of september or the beginning of october my mom said she had something to tell me. "I have a surprise for you!" I thought the surprise was going to be that i got to clean the kitchen, or cut the grass or something, but that couldn't be any farther from the truth. My mom had saw that Alton Brown was coming to Kansas city in just a few weeks! I was practically at the point of tears. I couldn't control my excitement.
When the actual day came, I couldn't focus on much of anything. I was too anxious for that night to focus on anything else. The event was to start at 7pm, but we got there at 5 to make sure we got good seats. When Alton first came out I couldn't believe it-There was Alton Brown! Right in front of me!
If you have never seen him live, you really should. He is so funny! He would poke his head in and do silly stuff while announcements were being made. He is a great storyteller. He never lost my attention.
When we first got there they gave us a card that we could write questions to alton on.

Most of the night was taken up with answering these questions. One of the questions some one asked was, "Do you think that cooking shows, like Good Eats, have changed the way Americans cook and what they eat?" Alton turned the question back to us since, asking if it has changed us and we all shouted back "Yes!" Ok all minus one man in the second row. All heads turned towards him. What was this man doing here if he didn't really believe in all of this? He then expanded on his shout of no saying, "People in America are pretty lazy and don't actually want to do the work. They just want to watch others do the work and receive the comfort from that, then go out and eat not actually do the cooking." This was an interesting concept that i hadn't really thought of before. Alton agreed that some people (of course not any of us that were there but you know the people "out there")  don't actually want to cook, but like to watch others do it.
        "You know, there really isn't that much that we have in common with one another. Groups have become some specific, and we have become and crackled society, and we can thank technology for that. Anthropologist have said that there are two things that every civilization and every people group have in common though. They want to laugh with one another, and they want to eat. Those are the two things that every person no matter how young or old want. To laugh and to eat good food. And cooking is a very comforting process, to watch someone pour love and care and create something delicous. It is a very comforting process to watch. And yes there are many Americans who want that comfort but don't actually want to put in the work for themselves so they will watch a cooking show and then sadly eat a frozen meal."
I thought this was such a inspirational statement(s). It's so true. Think about the best moments in your life. The times where you were the absolute happiest. They usually will include laughter or family or food, or all of the above. And the one thing that he didn't say that i think unites us all is a hope of something bigger than us. We all have a desire for there to be something more to life. Which that idea ties in with Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." I think it is so cool to see how there are so many parallels between food and Go. It's so cool.

Anyways, after talking and reading off some questions people had written in he asked for questions form the floor. Obviously, i took this great chance to talk directly to Mr. Brown. I decided to ask him what my first meat meal should be, since this next week i am breaking my year fast of meat. The dialogue back and forth took more than five minutes and would require way too much typing on my part to pen it all down. Besides, i am currently making apple muffins at the moment and only have a little while to be able to type before i have to pull them from he oven. Anyways…
I asked if i should make his chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie. He thought that it was a horrible decision to go with chicken for my first bite of meat but i want to make sure i don't get sick when i first eat meat. Anyways, after making an analogy of vegetarianism to terrorism and talking with me about my mission trip to Greece, and talking about how many pairs of glasses he owns, he made the decision. I am to eat Chicken Pot Pie for my first bite of meat. (check back next week for the recipe and reviews and pictures when i make this!)
So many things happened that night to write it all down, but there are a few more things that must be shared. We got in line for him to sign our cookbooks (and my planner), which only took about an hour and a half. While we were waiting, I was editing my letter that i had written him. In the letter, i thanked him for Good Eats. It has taught me so many things over the years. The great thing about Good eats is that it evolved from just a TV show to an idea. The idea that we do not need to be slave to a recipe. We can actually understand the food that we are working with. We can be in control of the food we are working with instead of it controlling us. Ideas never die, and by that Good Eats will live on through the inspiration that it has given us all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Many Faces of Soup

Oh, the many possibilities of soup. It's like a little package of warmth, as if the sun packaged itself up into a little bowl and gave you a hug. This is especially a big deal for Missourians. It seems that every year the sun dislikes coming our way and leaves us without sunshine for sometimes months at a time. After only 15 years here, I dread winter and the cold, bitter, darkness it brings. But Missouri's lack of time with the sun in the winter is another matter. We are talking about soup. Soup is a great family friendly and time friendly dish. While it is simmering away on the stove you can start on the dishes, or sit back and relax as you watch your kids or husband do the dishes. (What? That doesn't happen? Well it was a nice thought.)
Anyways, the tomato plants that we have at my house are a little confused. They just started blooming a few weeks ago and are now in full production. We picked about 30 vine ripened tomatoes of the vine yesterday. The whole thing seemed odd to me. I had to wear a coat to pick tomatoes… Oh well. I am fine with receiving fresh juicy tomatoes at this time of year. It's all fine by me! So what can a girl do with all of these tomatoes, you ask? Why, make tomato soup of course!

Fresh Creamy Tomato Soup
3 TBS of Butter or EVOO (I use a half of each)
2 Large Onions, diced
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, diced
2 medium Carrots, diced
1/4 tsp of Crushed rep pepper flakes (more or less if you like)
1 tsp of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
16-17 Fresh medium tomatoes
2 TBS of Tomato Paste
1 TBS of Sugar
1 tsp of dried Parsley
1 1/2 tsp of dried Basil
2 Bay leaves
1/4 tsp of dried Oregano
1/2 tsp of dried Sage
1/2 tsp of Rosemary
1 cp. of Milk
1/3 cup (or more) of grated parmesean cheese (optional)


In a large pot, heat the 3 TBS of oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute over medium-medium high heat for fifteen minutes. Next, add the the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the herbs and milk, recover with the lid and cook for another 25 minutes over medium heat. (Note: Your taste buds may be more sensitive to certain flavors or herbs. Don't be afraid to taste it and add more or less than called for in the recipe. Don't worry, the kitchen police won't give you a ticket for test tasting the soup.) Next is blending the soup. My personal method of choice is the immersion blender. Now you could of course use a food processor or a food mill (which is great because then you don’t have the tomato peel in the soup), but with these methods it requires you to move the soup. If you do use a method which requires transportation of the soup, just be careful and use common sense. (Don’t forget that the soup IS hot people!) Return back to the heat and let simmer over low until ready to serve. (Note: The longer you let it simmer away the more the flavors will mingle together.) Right before serving stir in parmesan cheese, which is optional but for my taste buds, it's a must. Stir with a little extra shredding of parmesan on top and a nice chunk of warm bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alton Brown

Yes Ladies and Gentleman, you did read that title correctly. I said Alton Brown; and I am going to see him in less than two weeks! He is coming with Rainy Day books to the Unity Temple on the plaza. He is going to talk about his new book, "Good Eats: The Later Years." I am so excited that I can barely contain it. I'm actually going to be meeting one of the most influential man in my cooking experience. (Check out my first post -What I'm all about) After watching and studying everything he has taught to the viewers of Good Eats, I have discovered a new respect and passion for food. Three times every day we have the opportunity to take our mouths on an adventure with flavors from all over the world. So, why waste any meal on the same plain old boring when it can be exciting and different?
I will be sure to take notes when I go to see him and share them all with you. Check back in a few weeks to hear all about it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh Nashville...

Oh please forgive me diligent reader. I know, I know i have not blogged in months but I do have some reasons why: 
-School- This could be a good enough excuse in and of it self since i am taking advanced classes but oh no there is more.
-Forensics- This is a class and an activity. This is the week that we host our tournament which means there is a lot more things to do and a lot more stress and pressure being passed among us. We have tournaments every weekend that go from approx. 1pm- 10 pm Friday and 7am- 5pm on Saturday.
-Church- I’m to trying to use this as an excuse, or as a more holy-er than though statement but i do spend a lot of time at church and my youth group and i am also on student leadership
-Drama team- I am the vice president of our youth groups drama team, which meet every week. We do skit and mimes for out youth group.
-Babysit- I baby sit for a couples discipleship bible study. I have fun but it takes a whole lot of energy. I think I’ll blog about her after I update the blog on everything else. I’ve been trying to decide what i could make her that wouldn’t be a mess and wouldn’t get her to wound up. Hmmm... I’ll be thinking about that.
-Discipleship- I do a bible study before youth every week with three other girl and our leader Carrie.
-Modern Language Club- I am a member of modern language club at school. It’s really fun and celebrates world cultures.
Sophomore Rep- I am sophomore representative at my school. 
Mud throwers- this is an after school club where we make ceramics/pottery.
FCA- I am apart of the leadership for FCA which is the Christian club that wehave at our school
Greece-Greece is coming up really close and i have been doing different fundraisers to raise money but I am getting really close to my goal!
And, if that is not enough I was nominated to be a South’s representative at these two leadership camps over the summer and I have to write an essay to turn in for them to decide on who South will send to represent the school.
To sum it all up, I’ve been a little busy. Whenever I am in the kitchen, i am usually on a strict time limit and don’t have the time to stop and take pictures and write down recipes as I am going along. So I am not going to share any new recipes with you write now but share some of my favorite place i like to go. Particularly, my favorite food places to go in Nashville TN! 
You Can’t Miss These
If you plan on going to Nashville or even if you are going to be just driving through, you can’t forget to stop by Marche (or Margo). Marche and Margo are sister restaurants both funded around the idea of using fresh local food to make the best tasting seasonal food possible. Both of their menus change week to week depending on what is in season. Everything Is always delicious, but My favorite meal to eat here would have to be brunch. I also do have a soft spot for their french toast. Any version of it is always good, but my favorite is their french croissant french toast. It is absolutely to die for. Their crepes and salads are always splendid as well. 
Check them out!
Mas Tacos
This place is off the hook. I could eat here for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then eat another taco for dessert and not get tired of it. It’s just that good. While the out side of the building does look a little rough, once as you take your first bite of that taco all your doubts will be washed away. When you walk in you see a cute array of mismatched furniture in a small but inviting space. They usually have 3-5 tacos every day, maybe a soup or bean dish or elote (corn). (And if they have corn you need to order it.) They also make their own salsas and sauces which are always superb. They offer homemade aqua frescas that are refreshing and unique; Also on the plus side, tacos are usually around $2! It has sort of become tradition to eat here the first night we go to Nashville and you should make it yours too. You won’t regret it. Follow them on twitter at!/mastacos
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
The foodie in you will just about have a heart attack upon entering this store. Upon entering, you will be met by the warm sweet smell of sugar and the coolness of cream. My favorite is goat cheese and cherries, or the Ugandan vanilla. Their vanilla ice cream isn’y plain at all but packs a punch. You definitely don’t want to miss trying out some of their delicious combinations.
Fido has long had a place in my heart. This whole section of town is one of my favorite. Sprinkled all across the street is cute shops and local restaurants that will keep you coming back again and again. Fido is a great hang out spot. On several occasions this has been where I chilled while waiting for my brother to get out of a meeting. Their coffee is delicious and their cake is my favorite hands down. Plus, they have las paletas!
When in need of cafeine, a snack or light lunch stop here!

Las Paletas
These crazy flavored popsicles are worth every penny. (and available at Hot & Cold- which is right next to fido!) They don’t have an official website but here is some info.
Burger Up
This is a really neat place. They use local beef to make their juicy one of a kind burgers. They have a great turkey burger and a great veggie burger too. Their fried mushrooms and their fried pickles are a must try. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of pickles (like me) or mushrooms, this concoction is a win.
Check it out at