Well then! 3 months have passed in my blogging efforts. I have still been cooking dutifully every week, but have forgone the recipe box out of convenience and familiarity with other recipes. In December, days after my last post in fact, I fell ill and unfortunately the illness carried me into the beginning weeks of January. At that point, another member of my family fell ill right as I recovered. This, however, was different.
Jeff Benchich, beloved husband to Aunt Maggs and stepfather to Dan, Nancy, and Jack of the Blayney clan, and my amazing uncle (who honestly felt more like a stepfather to me), passed suddenly in the middle of January 2017. He is sorely missed, and will continue to be an inspiration and mentor to everyone in his life despite of our inability to talk with him as we once did. Eventually some of his amazing recipes will be featured in this blog as well. Rest in Peace, Jeff.
As we entered into February, I once again was struck with illness that lasted the entirety of the short month. As I healed, life again had other plans. Zeus was hospitalized with a condition requiring minor surgery, and then major surgery was required when he didn’t improve. Things got dicey, but luckily he is doing alright. He’s got a beautiful new headdress as prize for his troubles.
Yes, it’s pathetic. But we’re making it through. And of course, two days after his surgery, I was once again struck down with illness that took me out of work for a week straight and cost me a business trip to sunny Miami (what would have been a welcome relief from this frigid March in Philadelphia!). And that takes us right up to Friday, folks! So I hope you will forgive my absence, but often times life has other plans and it is all we can do to just function, setting aside our passions for our necessities until once again returning to the usual status quo.
Onto cooking! Today I rekindled the recipe box project with a simple recipe from my Aunt Joan: “Breakfast Puffs.” My grandmother from the Rubright clan said that this recipe came from a restaurant near where her sister, Joan, lived. The recipe card has a note saying “Cindia Restaurant,” so I expect that’s it! They would order this whenever they dined there, having the muffin halved and grilled with melted butter on top. It was a nice memory for my grandmother to recall, and she was excited to hear how the recipe would turn out.
Funny enough, when I first skimmed the recipe I thought these were mini egg frittatas because of the name; I just assumed they were savory. But once I started gathering ingredients I quickly noticed all of the cinnamon and sugar in the recipe. Oops. This recipe is fairly straightforward like all other muffin/cupcake recipes. Cream together butter and sugar then mix in the dry ingredients. I went a little heavy handed with the cinnamon (doubled it) because in my experience older recipes typically err on the conservative side with any spices – especially cinnamon.
I utilized my mini muffin tin pans because it makes these sugary treats easier to eat in moderation, and easier to share! After lining the tins, I decided to experiment with a few blueberry and bananas at the bottom of the muffin cups in addition to the straight batter. Bake for 10 minutes and these are ready to go! I also did a bonus round of regular sized muffins with a banana on top, and those trays only took ten minutes as well.
The final step to these treats is to roll the muffins in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar. Because I used muffin liners, rolling wasn’t resulting in the prettiest final product. So, I used a silicon basting brush to apply the butter and sprinkled the cinnamon/sugar on top.
These muffins were great! Super quick and easy recipe. I would highly recommend adding 2 bananas (chopped) stirred into the batter and a sliced banana on top (in the case of the larger muffins). These would be perfect with coffee, or halved and toasted with butter as my grandmother and great-aunt loved them 🙂 .
In this session, I’ll throw in a bonus recipe. It was not from the family recipe box, but it is a healthier alternative to mac and cheese that features delicious roasted veggies and America’s favorite mystery meat, hot dogs. Enjoy!
Ingredients – makes about 2 dozen full sized muffins
5 TBSP butter, room temperature
1/2 C sugar + 2 TBSP sugar
2 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon + 1 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C milk
optional: 2 small bananas, chopped and 1 banana sliced into rounds
2 TBSP salted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350º F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1/2 C sugar until soft and well mixed. Beat in eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients into the egg mixture, stirring into a batter. Stir in bananas, if using. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners if desired, or grease the tins with baking spray. Pour batter into cups until halfway full (no matter which sized tins you are using). Top with a slice of banana, if using. Bake for 10 minutes or until muffins are spongy.
Combine remaining cinnamon and remaining sugar in a small ramekin. Once removed from the oven, coat the top of each muffin with melted butter and sprinkle on the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
PROTIP: Feel free to add additional fruit to this recipe.
Cheesy Baked Quinoa
Ingredients – serves 4
1 C quinoa
1 1/4 C water
2 C broccoli/cauliflower (small bite-sized florets)
olive oil, slat & pepper to taste
optional: 2 hotdogs, quartered and chopped
1 C milk
1 C cheddar cheese
panko or breadcrumbs
nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400º F. Toss veggies in a bowl with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (as needed) and salt and pepper to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out each piece in a single layer over the sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, edges of veggies should just be beginning to brown/crisp.
While the veggies are baking, bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pot, add quinoa and reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has evaporated, stirring once to fluff. Turn off burner and keep covered, set aside. Cook hot dog pieces in microwave, about a minute, until cooked through and starting to curl.
Once everything is cooked, reduce oven temperature to 350º F. Turn burner back onto medium heat and place the quinoa pot back over the heat. Stir in milk and bring everything to an evenly warm temperature. Once milk is hot, stir in cheese, then veggies and hot dogs. Pour quinoa mixture into a square baking dish and top with a 1/4 inch layer of panko and sprinkle with a layer of nutritional yeast. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes until bubbling and top is golden; cool for 10 minutes before serving.
PROTIP: This recipe would also work with pasta.
VEGAN PROTIP: Use daiya or vegan cheese and you’re good to go! (Sans hot dogs, of course)