Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Didn't I Think of That and Power House Banana Muffins

Somehow I’ve managed to accumulate a lot of wooden skewers. Every summer I seem to forget I’m well stocked in this area, and pick up a new package of skewers the very second grilling season begins. We all think kebobs when we think skewers, but also they have a lot of other practical uses.
This summer go beyond grilling and try these creative uses for skewers!
  • Skip the plates and forks, whether it's an appetizer, salad, dessert, breakfast or even a cocktail (yes, a cocktail!), food on a stick is always a hit.
  • Test cakes and baked goods for doneness
  • Level measured ingredients, like flour and sugar, when baking
  • Flip items in a small toaster oven without pulling the racks out
  • Stir large pitchers of iced tea and lemonade
  • Grab burnt food bits from the bottom of the oven
  • Nab food bits that fall close to the open flame on a stove top
  • Clear solids from wire mesh strainers without pushing everything else out
  • Fish things out of the toaster (after it's been unplugged, of course)
  • Whisk a single egg without sloshing it out of a small bowl
  • Cut wooden skewers in half and use them as a cake pop stick
  • Create plant markers for your garden
  • Arrange an edible fruit bouquet
  • No cherry pitter, no problem....use a skewer
Why Didn't I Think of That...
Brilliant Idea #1
Wooden skewers need to be soaked at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent charring. Take an empty wine bottle and fill it with water. The bottle is just the right size to hold the skewers and allow the water to soak through. 

Brilliant Idea# 2 Even Coverage
When you want to drizzle balsamic vinegar over a roasted or grilled item and find food unevenly covered leaving bare spots use a spray bottle. Fill it with balsamic vinegar and spray for a more even coverage when finishing off a grilled or roasted item. 
Power House Banana Muffins
Wheat germ is a goldmine of very interesting nutrients. An excellent source of vitamin E, a good source of folic acid, thiamine and zinc, a source of fibre, magnesium and phosphorus – it would be hard to do without it! Apart from these vitamins and minerals, wheat germ contains lipids rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Because of the presence of this fatty acid, wheat germ will tend to go rancid quickly. 
Helpful hint! Keep your wheat germ in the refrigerator to increase its storage life.

Just try it once and you’ll be be surprised by its great tasting nutty flavor and light crunchy texture! You’ll might even be be tempted to add it to food and dishes such as: breakfast cereals, fruit salad stewed fruit, muffins, banana bread, meatloaf and patties, etc. 

Cook's notes: Recipe makes 12 muffins and was adapted from Food Network Magazine April 2015. These muffins are flavorful and with the addition of blueberries and wheat germ they certainly are a healthy treat to add to your diet.  
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour  
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium ones)
  • 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla  
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  
  • Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl combine mashed banana with milk and buttermilk. With the mixer on low, alternately add one -third of the flour mixture and half of the banana mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  • Bake 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  
Add a cup of coffee or tea and you are set for the day. 

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