Banana Blueberry Blizzard Muffins!

So the weather person was sort of correct…I haven’t seen any “thunder snow” but it’s pretty much a blizzard out there.  I took a beautiful scenic photograph…just look at it!

I decided to make some muffins…yes, I baked!  It was a little scary but I got through it and the muffins turned out beautifully.

Here’s the ingredients you will need (the boring part) but let’s walk through the recipe together because that would be so fun!

1 1/2 cups – all purpose flour
1 tsp. – baking soda
1 tsp. – baking powder
1/2 tsp. – salt
3/4 cup – granulated sugar
1/4 cup – coconut oil melted in the microwave (you can also use butter)
1 egg lightly beaten 
1 cup blueberries
3 small or 4 large bananas

So, I have to admit that I strayed slightly from my original banana muffin recipe that I’ve been using for a few years now.  I know, I am SO crazy!  I have a ton of blueberries in my freezer that I bought during the summer so I decided to chuck some of them in there.  

As for the bananas, they gotta be ripe!

It’s like I always say, when your bananas start to look like cheetahs they are ready to bake with. Just kidding, I’ve never said that but I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance…am I right?!

I LOVE this recipe because it’s so easy…there’s no sifting or complicated steps here, the only rule is DON’T OVERMIX. You want a nice fluffy muffin and these muffins won’t get fluffy if you beat them up, got it?!

Start with pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. If you can’t do this part, you might just want to pack it in now.

If you’re using fresh berries you can just fold them in as directed right before baking but if you’re dealing with frozen ones you’re going to want to run them under cold water several times and then pat them dry with paper towels and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher (it’s fine if there are clumps), then add the sugar, egg and melted coconut oil. My original recipe used butter but there are a few great things about coconut oil that make it perfect for this recipe. First of all, for this recipe you need to melt whatever you use so it gets nicely incorporated …melted butter gets REALLY hot so you have to temper it before combining it with the egg mixture or it will all go to pot (I don’t know what this means, my mom says it). With coconut oil, you can nuke it for about 25 seconds and it will be slightly warm but nothing like that hot ass butter. And second, I was watching Dr. Oz at 4:30 AM the other night because a two year old had kicked me in the face when I was sleeping and he said something about coconut oil containing some magical properties that will literally melt all the fat off your body. I can’t wait to eat all of these muffins and watch that weight just fall away…your welcome.

Here’s what I used, they sell this everywhere…

Now it’s time to carefully stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until almost moistened, like this…

and then carefully fold in the blueberries…oh that is looking nice…

Now spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups…

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until they are golden on top…

And then let them sit in the tin and cool off a little while before you remove them…

Now you eat them…not all of them, I was kidding earlier.

As you may have noticed, these muffins are pretty low in fat and sometimes a low fat muffin translates to a hockey puck muffin but these babies are so moist and delicious, no one will be playing hockey I promise!

Well it has snowed another foot since I started this post, I’m watching my neighbors attempt to shovel their driveway so that’s fun. I hope you try out this recipe and let me know what you think…

The Good Cooker

Teriyaki Salmon and a Snow Storm

Well, it looks like another snowpocalypse (Winter Storm Ion) is upon us with heavy snow and sub zero temps for the next few days…maybe I won’t have to go back to work on Monday, or ever!  A girl can dream…Anyway, what does someone like me do on a night like this?  Make Teriyaki Salmon of course!  I had a huge hankerin’ for this today when I went to the store to stock up on the rations before the storm hit (actually we were out of everything so this was more of a coincidence).  Grocery stores on the morning before a big snow storm remind me of black friday and are equally insane, but when the weatherman is using terms like “thunder snow” people do tend to get a little…psychotic.

I make this dish a lot, in the summer my husband catches lake trout in Lake Michigan and this is always my go to preparation.  I was going to say that lake trout and salmon are basically the same kind of fish because they look and taste exactly the same however my husband just informed me that if I make such an ignorant remark, fishermen from all over will come out of the woodwork (literally) and beat me with both a dead lake trout and a dead salmon until I know the difference.

So this is where is gets good…the marinade.  You can always make a dynamite teriyaki marinade from scratch but someone has already made the best teriyaki marinade in the world and put it in this bottle for me so I’m gonna go ahead and use that…

It’s called Island Teriyaki made by Soy Vay…it has all natural ingredients and no junk!  (I hate junk).  I like this marinade because of it’s sweetness, it has pineapple juice in it!  They also make a teriyaki that’s more on the savory side but this one has my heart and always will.  I have seen this at my local grocery store, Whole Foods, and Target so it’s definitely making the rounds out there!

Next, I arrange the salmon in a shallow glass casserole dish, you want your pieces to have some room around them but not too much or you’ll end up having to use too much marinade to cover them.

Now here comes the REALLY tricky part…you pour the marinade out of the jar and onto the salmon.

Ta Da!!!

I use about half the bottle for three decent pieces of salmon. (A ziploc freezer bag also works well for this if you don’t want to use a casserole.)  Cover it and stick it in the fridge anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  Salmon is a hearty fish so it holds up well to longer marinade times unlike a cod or a tilapia which will actually start to cook if the marinade is acidic enough.

After the salmon has been marinating for the desired time frame, remove the salmon and place on a foil lined baking sheet and throw in a 350° F oven for about 15-18 minutes. Make sure not to overcook it or everyone will yell at you.  The marinade on the foil will start to get charred but this is perfectly normal.  I like to use the foil lined baking sheet for skin on salmon because you will find that when removing the salmon from the baking sheet, the fish pulls away effortlessly while the skin stays secured to the foil.  You could definitely cook the salmon in the same dish you used for marinade if you’ve got skinless fillets.

Once the salmon comes out of the oven, it will take no effort at all to separate the meat from the skin using a spatula.

I paired our salmon tonight with simple sautéed spinach and saffron rice because I love that stuff.  My husband was in heaven…and so were my boys!  Success!    

So as you can see, there’s no real recipe here because it’s so easy that you don’t need one…now I know what you’re all thinking, “she’s a fraud, she’s a food phony!” but that’s okay. We will make some other things and I will include recipes I promise!  I REALLY had to get accustomed to the practice of documenting my “recipes” because it wasn’t something that I was used to, the whole following a recipe thing.  That is what’s so great about cooking (but not baking!)…when you cook, you can modify the recipe to your tastes for the most part by adding ingredients you like and omitting ingredients you don’t or that someone may be allergic to. Baking obviously isn’t that forgiving, it’s more of an exact science (I learned that the hard way).

I hope you try this out and let me know what you think!  The snow is really coming down now…maybe I will bake something tomorrow…and if you’re in Winter Storm Ion’s path I hope you have enough wine to hold you over.

The Good Cooker

What makes you so GOOD?

Wow, my first blog post…lots of pressure here.  Well if you’re reading this then at least one person has read my blog and that pretty much makes me feel like the queen of England.  Anyway, my blog is titled “The Good Cooker” based on my six year old son’s funny way he likes to compliment most of the meals I make for him and his siblings (yes, there are more of them, yikes!).  Anyway, he used to tell me I was a Goooood Cooker in the best southern twang accent even though he’s never actually been to the South.  So there it is…I’ve been wanting to share my home cooked recipes for a while now with more than just friends and family but that little thing called procrastination keeps getting in the way, I freaking hate that thing!

I’ve been cooking for a while now and I do seem to really enjoy it (except for the clean up)…I also like to laugh, laughing is my favorite.  So my (hopefully) funny cooking blog has been born and I’m so glad you are here to witness this miracle…please don’t leave us!  I started posting some of my food on instagram at #thegoodcooker so feel free to check it out.  I have an iphone camera and that’s about as good as it gets for my food photos, unfortunately I’m not a multiple threat blogger (writer, cooker, photographer, candle maker, underwater basket weaver, etc.) so I don’t have a fancy camera.  

I do like to cook things that are not only good, but good for my family (there are exceptions to this rule, some things just need to be bad to be good).  I do shop at Whole Foods (great stories about that are yet to come) but I also shop at Sam’s Club and Target.  I like organic and I will buy it if it’s reasonably priced but it’s not a must on my sheet of rules to live by and I lost that sheet two years ago anyway.  So long story short, I’m not a crunchy mom…but my sister is!  Maybe she could be a guest on my blog sometime unless she starts stealing my thunder, then we must cut ties.  WOW, I am getting way ahead of myself.

Well, I think that’s it for the intro, you know a little about me now (besides the fact that I love using parentheses) so stay tuned for great recipes and cooking tips that I hope you find useful because if not, this has been a huge waste of time for both of us.

The Good Cooker