Banana Zucchini Flax Muffins

i have gotten so many positive comments about these muffins and they truly are wonderful! We had a 10 day project recently in Moscow and I knew I was going to busy from early in the morning until late at night, so I baked up some of these babies for a fast and healthy breakfast option. I literally couldn’t wait to eat breakfast everyday! My friend Kelly said they tasted like they were from a bakery and my friend Robi who l am living with in Hungary right now,  said a couple times, “You know you could bake those again, right?” Heehee. 

I hope YOU’LL bake some soon!

Banana Zucchini Flax Muffins from Martha

  
Ingredients:

  • 1 & 3/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (льняное семя)
  • 1 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar (if you don’t have or can’t find packed brown sugar, use regular brown sugar or white sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey or molasses to give it some moisture)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda       
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder       
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt       
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon       
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from 1 large zucchini)       
  • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (from 1 large banana)       
  • 3/4 cup whole milk       
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten       
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or one small packet vanilla sugar)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat muffin pans with butter or margarine or a little oil or cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground flaxseed, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add zucchini and banana and stir to combine. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined (do not overmix).                                                            

4. Divide batter among about 18 muffins cups in the pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until too thick or knife when inserted comes out clean from the muffins. 

Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.

Yummo!!      

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Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

from A Teaspoon of Happiness

I really enjoyed this yummy Asian dish! I thought it tasted like what you would get in a restaurant! Enjoy!
  
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large head of broccoli or one package frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon oil

MARINADE:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

SAUCE:

  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons water

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl – pour oven chicken.

2. Marinate the chicken while preparing the sauce and broccoli. Steam broccoli for just 3 minutes (or defrost the  frozen broccoli), then set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken with marinade and ¼ cup of the sauce mixture. Sauté until chicken is golden brown, stirring frequently.

4. Add remaining sauce and the steamed broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes to thicken sauce.

Serve with rice or on its own! Or be Russian like me and enjoy it with some buckwheat! 🙂

Stuffed Peppers

Oh my gosh these are so good!  I had never even heard of stuffed peppers until I moved to Russia.  That is a staple at many Russian restaurants. But apparently they are popular in the U.S. too!  Win win for my blog! 🙂  You gotta make these!  Actually, I gotta go make these, AGAIN.  They are that good! 🙂  Oh…sorry this picture is not so great!

Stuffed Peppers adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 C. brown rice, cooked
  • 4 large bell peppers
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, separated
  • 8 oz. (225g) ground pork
  • Sausage seasoning: 3/4 tsp, salt, 1/3 tsp. ground black pepper: 1/3 tsp. fennel seeds (hard to find in Moscow, you can also omit), 3/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1. Trip the bottom of the peppers so that they have a flat bottom side.  This is so they will stand up straight in the baking dish.  Cut the top offof the peppers, dice the top (to be added to the stuffing later), and remove the seeds from the inside of the pepper, taking care to keep the pepper whole.

2. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Place peppers in a square or round baking dish that you’ve sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil.   Try to use a pan that just fits the 4 peppers, rather than something larger.

3.  Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet, then saute diced pepper (tops) and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren’t browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a separate bowl.

4. Add 1 tsp. more olive oil to the pan, then add the ground pork and seasonings (salt, pepper, fennel seed, parsley), then cook until it’s lightly browned.

5. Put the onion-pepper mixture back into the pan with the sausage, and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the cooked rice and Parmesan cheese to the mixture.  Season with additional salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook a few more minutes so that the entire mixture is warm.

6. Stuff the filling mixture into the peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it’s tightly packed into the pepper shell.  If you have any extra filling, you can put it in a small baking dish and bake along with the peppers. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. Put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Monkey Bread

Made this sweet treat for some friends the other day to have during our coffee tasting party.  Our teammate Zach had the idea to do a tasting of the cheap, medium, and more expensive coffees that you can find in Moscow to see if there really is that much of a difference.  In short, yes, there is, there really really is a big difference.  Of all the coffees I tried, I liked the Startbucks Blonde Willow Blend the best, which actually surprised me.  Go figure!  But now I know that if I’m low on cash and need coffee, I can still buy the Cafe du Paris brand from our local Auchan and be ok with it! 🙂

Monkey Bread

Why is this called “Monkey Bread”?  Well probably because you eat it in little bites like a monkey would?  I don’t know but who cares, it’s some amazing, cinnamony, sugary, buttery goodness!

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 packages frozen bread dough or one large bag fresh (rising) bread dough (or if you are in the U.S. you can use 3 cans of buttermilk biscuits from the refrigerated section.).  You need enough dough to fill up about half of a bundt pan.
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. (113g) butter
  • 1 C. brown sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Put 1 C. white sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a plastic bag and shake to mix.

2. If using frozen dough, let it thaw enough so that you can cut/handle it.

3. Cut (or tear off) thawed or fresh dough into small pieces.  Put the pieces in the bag with the cinnamon/sugar mix, and shake to coat the dough.

4.  Grease a bundt pan with some butter.  Layer the pieces of dough in the bundt pan.  Fill it about halfway full.

5.  Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan on the stovetop and let it boil for one minute, stirring continually.

6.  Pour the brown sugar mixture on top of the dough in the bundt pan.

7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until bread is no longer doughy.  Let stand about 10 minutes and then use a knife to loosen the bread from the sides of the pan, so that you can turn it over and remove it from the pan..

Enjoy all that cinnamony, sugary, buttery goodness! 😀

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Here is another comfort food meal for you.  I really love to make this for new mom’s to pop in the oven for an easy weeknight meal, or when newbies come to Russia for the first time and need a taste of home. 🙂  Mmm, just thinking about it is making me hungry!

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

adapted from the Pioneer Woman

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. ground beef or pork or turkey….whatever you feel like having
  • 22.5 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 12 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
  • 3/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 cups Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup Grated cheddar, colby jack, or other cheese that you like.
  • more salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat Oven to 350. Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat from the meat then add the tomato sauce, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

3. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and mix.

4. To assemble, add half of the noodles to a 13×9 baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.