Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops

I always forget about popsicles. They’re such a simple, versatile snack that’s just about fail-safe, and I have what is officially known as a “crap-ton” of popsicle molds sitting in one of my kitchen cabinets. But somehow, the idea of making popsicles rarely springs to mind.

Until, that is, I go swimming. When you’re by the pool on a hot day, doing the summer dance of in-for-a-dip, out-for-some-sun, don’t popsicles just sound like the perfect treat? They sure do to me! So the other day, when the kids and I were enjoying an afternoon by the pool, a craving for popsicles came on full force.

These creamy Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops were just the thing, both for me the crew of my own kids and neighbor kids tromping through my house until school starts next week. Of course, if you’ve ever made popsicles, you probably realize that any mix of fruit, juice, and/or yogurt will pretty much work, so think of these as more “popsicle inspiration” and less “popsicle recipe.” The mandarin oranges here could easily be replaced by any frozen fruit, and the yogurt with honey could be flavored yogurt. (There’s a reason why even kids can make these frozen treats.)

What’s your favorite version?

Print Recipe
Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops
Creamy frozen pops with bursts of juicy mandarin orange!
Course snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours (freezing)
Servings
popsicles (depending on mold size)
Ingredients
Course snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours (freezing)
Servings
popsicles (depending on mold size)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together yogurt, honey, and orange extract (if using). Drain about half the liquid from the mandarin oranges, then stir oranges and remaining liquid into yogurt mixture.
  2. Carefully spoon into popsicle molds. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

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Raspberry Cornmeal Muffins

 

Generally, I’m not much into specialty ingredients. If it can’t be found with relative ease at my local Fry’s or Trader Joe’s, I tend to feel I can pretty well do without it or find a reasonable substitute. We don’t need no hifalutin’ muscovado sugar, soy flour, or buffalo yogurt around here, thankyouverymuch. Especially here on the blog, I like to feature recipes that don’t require excessive effort, whether in techniques used, time spent, or ingredients called for. (And I tend to roll my eyes and click right past when other food bloggers post recipes that want you to track down some vegan hemp matcha flax milk. Ain’t nobody got time for that, and the 2% in my fridge will work just fine.)

But today I’m going to make a small exception to my no-specialty-ingredients policy, because my muffin world was recently rocked by the discovery of whole grain medium-grind cornmeal. (Yes, when you make muffins as often as I do, you can legitimately claim to have a “muffin world.”) My dear husband brought me back some cornmeal from the U.S. to Germany when I couldn’t find any here, and lo and behold, it was whole grain medium-grind–something I had never heard of before, since I always buy the cheapo generic 89-cent cornmeal.

Bob’s Red Mill…the FANCY stuff

When I used this semi-specialty ingredient to make the Raspberry Cornmeal Muffins featured here, I fell in loooooove with the result. The grittier texture it yields might not to everyone’s taste, but I found it super hearty and satisfying, like the kind of cornbread the pilgrims would have had at the first Thanksgiving before we got all technologified with grinding our cornmeal into powder.

Come to find out, there is also a difference between whole grain cornmeal and “regular” cornmeal not labeled as whole grain. As a nutritionist, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never really given whole grain corn much thought, but it stands to reason that, just like with any other grain, when the bran, germ, and endosperm of the corn are left intact, the corn will be more nutritious. Therefore, whole grain cornmeal contains more fiber and B vitamins than non-whole grain. Bonus! Awesome taste and texture PLUS better nutrition. And some mega-tasty muffins to use it in.

So there you have it…not too crazy a special ingredient, but maybe a fun one to give a try. After all, the Bob’s Red Mill brand seems to be sold in most mainstream U.S. grocery stores, so I imagine whole grain medium-grind cornmeal won’t be too tough to find if you want to try using it in these summery, bursting-with-berries muffins. When you taste them fresh out of the oven with a schmear of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar, I think you’ll agree they’re worth it.


Print Recipe
Raspberry Cornmeal Muffins
Medium-grain whole wheat cornmeal gives these summery, bursting-with-berries muffins their hearty texture.
Course breakfast
Servings
muffins
Course breakfast
Servings
muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add melted butter, eggs, honey, sugar, yogurt, and milk, stirring to combine. Gently stir in frozen raspberries.
  4. Divide batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe

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Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

You know the phrase, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”? Well, you may not think this phrase applies to the humble muffin, but I’m here to tell you it does.

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

As a muffinomaniac, I am constantly scouring the internet for new muffin varieties to try, but sometimes, alas, I just can’t find exactly the recipe I want for the ingredients I have on hand.

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

Thankfully, muffins are the perfect drawing board for recipe experimentation, even for anyone new to the process. If you can’t find a recipe for exactly what you want, you can always take the DIY route. Muffins are like a bake-able paint-by-numbers kit: hard to screw up and with a bit of room for creativity. All you have to do is find a good basic recipe (like this one from King Arthur Flour or this one from Mark Bittman) and tweak it to your liking, or to fit whatever items in your kitchen need using up. You might even use a flavor guide like The Flavor Bible for inspiration on ingredient combinations. That’s how I ended up with these Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins–which, by the way, are no basic muffin.

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

Popping with lemony tartness both in the batter and in a glaze on top, these little gems also have an undercurrent of the distinctive, mellower flavor of olive oil. They were just what I was hoping for when I decided to roll up my sleeves and figure out a recipe that used honey, lemon, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Knowing they were awaiting me for breakfast even motivated me to get out of bed in the morning during this week of my kids’ return to school after Christmas break. (How did I get so used to sleeping in after only two weeks?)

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

So tell me, what kind of muffins would you make if you were to create your own recipe? Or what other types of foods do you find easy to experiment with? I’m always looking for new ideas!

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins

Print Recipe
Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins
These lemony muffins get their sweetness from honey and their moist texture from olive oil.
Course breakfast
Servings
muffins
Course breakfast
Servings
muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 10 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, almond milk, and lemon juice until smooth.
  3. Add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.
  4. Spoon into greased muffin cups and bake 3 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 15-17 minutes.
  5. Cool at least 10 minutes in the pan. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking together the remaining lemon juice and powder sugar. Remove muffins from tin and drizzle with the glaze. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

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Honey-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce

No matter your thoughts and feelings about canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, you have to admit it has a singular ability that is both fascinating and a little repellant.

I am speaking, of course, of the ability to slide out of the can completely intact in one fell swoop, and stand alone as a quivering magenta tower on a plate.

Sklooooooooooosh.

Boooooiiiiinngg.

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There’s something vaguely disturbing about watching your food being birthed wholesale from its packaging in this fashion. Something, dare I say, un-CAN-ny? Or something just a little too reminiscent of dog food, perhaps. And while we’re on the subject, what’s IN that stuff? I’ll tell you: a whole lotta high fructose corn syrup (and possibly some kind of food lab Jell-O product they can get away with calling “natural flavor”?) I honestly don’t mind the taste of the classic straight-from-the-can Ocean Spray jellied sauce, but Real Talk: it’s not exactly made of wholesome ingredients, and it’s not the classiest item on the Thanksgiving table, with its sklooshy jiggle and the grooves around its circumference that give it away as canned every time.

Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce

So, this Thanksgiving, might I suggest a detour from the can? This homemade orange cranberry sauce is sweetened naturally with honey (not high fructose corn syrup like the wiggle-jiggle variety) and will give your Thanksgiving table a touch of class and a colorful sweet-tart pop. Plus, it’s super easy and smells AMAZING as it cooks. It’s even fun to make because you get to hear the ping! of the cranberries as they burst in the saucepan.

Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce

So go ahead and be the superstar of your Thanksgiving gathering by bringing this wholesome, delicious knockout. My guess is you’ll never go back to the canned variety again.

Skloooooooooosh!

Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

Print Recipe
Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce
You'll never go back to the canned variety after you've tried this orange-flavored naturally-sweetened cranberry sauce!
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients to a boil and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened to your liking.
  2. Remove cinnamon stick and let cool. Serve immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

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Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak

Pecan Crusted Skirt Steak

It is finally election day. Having slogged through the most miserable, acrimonious election cycle in the history of the USA, I’d say we all deserve a reward. I wish I could offer something truly useful, like a magic wand we could wave to start the whole thing over with candidates we actually believe in. But in the absence of a magic wand, how about a big old-fashioned steak dinner?

This easy skirt steak is adorned with an irresistible honey-sweetened, buttery-crunchy pecan topping, and it comes with the added benefit of possibly putting us into a food coma and making us forget our electoral woes. Our family enjoyed it recently as part of a spontaneous dinner-for-lunch when we had steak to use up one Sunday afternoon. It was so unexpectedly fancy to have a steak meal for lunch–especially one this pretty–that I got out the good china and set the table with candles. It apparently made quite the impression on my five-year-old daughter, who is still talking about it weeks later. (Not sure if it was the table setting or the steak she remembers most, but for me, it is definitely the steak.) Even my husband, when he saw I was going to blog about this recipe, said, “Ohhhhh, yeah. That was SO good.”

So, my friends, let’s eat, drink, and be merry, for today we vote. May God bless this food to our bodies, and this nation whose future we are determining.

Print Recipe
Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler on high and position oven rack about 6 inches from broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray generously with baking spray.
  2. Season the steak with about 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
  3. In a food processor, pulse the pecans, butter, honey, rosemary, salt, and pepper a few times until combined.
  4. Broil the steak 3 minutes on each side. Spread pecan mixture on top and broil an additional 1-2 minutes, until pecans are lightly toasted.
  5. Allow the steak to rest 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Fine Cooking.

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