SRC: Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Sweet and tender muffins… these glazed almond poppyseed muffins are a great addition to your muffin repertoire!

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Welcome to my first Secret Recipe Club post for 2016! Woohoo! I can’t believe that this November will be the FIFTH anniversary of when I joined the club. It’s crazy. I had no idea it had been this long until I was notified that I was featured on the SRC blog as a Gold Member. Crazy! And fun. :) So it’s fitting that my SRC assignment this month is also a blogger who has been a member since 2011. That’s right, this month I was assigned to Sara’s blog, Cooking with Sara. With a name like Sara(h), you know she has to have lots of great recipes [even though I think she spells her name wrong. Hahaha!]. She’s a midwestern girl who’s passionate about sharing family friendly recipes–in both taste and time. My kind of recipes! When perusing Sara’s blog, I wanted to make pretty much every other recipe–if not more! Sara and I must have pretty similar tastes. :) So I made up a short list and as usual, asked for Ben’s advice. So if you don’t like this recipe, you can blame him. Hehehe! The choices I gave him included: Spiced Pear Muffins, Creamy Orzo and Chicken, Frosty Coffee Pie, Shrimp Pad Thai, Custardy Baked Orzo with Bacon and Spinach, and the winner… Almond Poppyseed Muffins. Well, her original recipe was for bread, but I prefer muffins so we went with that. :)

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

After taking one bite of these sweet little treats, Ben exclaimed, “I sure made a great choice!” And he did. These muffins are incredible! I’m not gonna lie–these muffins are more on the cupcake side of the muffin spectrum, not healthy in the least… but they are tasty so we’ll let it slide! :) The texture of these muffins is perfectly cakey and soft, very similar to my trusty Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins… even though this recipe uses oil instead of butter. Crazy! If you have an almond lover in your life, I think this base recipe–sans the poppyseeds–would be wonderful with some buttercream frosting! As it was, the poppyseeds gave these muffins a decidedly nutty taste with a wee bit of crunch… and that crunch was intensified with the orange juice-almond glaze that I brushed on top as the muffins were cooling. Oh man! Don’t skip that part–it’s pretty much the best.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Interestingly enough, this glaze is made with granulated sugar, orange juice, and almond extract. I’ve made many glazes in my baking life, but never with granulated sugar. The result [that you can’t see in these photos] is a sparkly glaze with more than your average amount of glaze-y crunch. I was skeptical that a glaze made with granulated and not powdered sugar would actually work, but this recipe proved me wrong. Woohoo! New baking trick! :) The orange juice in the glaze gave these muffins the hint of citrus they were begging for, without being overpowering. I think next time I make these muffins, I might stir some orange zest into the glaze and sprinkle some almond slivers on top! And yes, there definitely will be a next time! Enjoy–and be sure to thank Sara as I am doing for this wonderful recipe!

one year ago: Skinny Lasagna
two years ago: Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins with Avocado Cream
three years ago: {Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars
four years ago: Perfect Black Beans
five years ago: Triple Chocolate Oat Cookies

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

  • Servings: 14-16 muffins
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Cook with Sara

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs*
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon butter extract*
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon poppyseeds

for glaze*

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter extract*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, and vanilla, almond, and butter extracts. Alternate adding flour and milk until just combined, then fold in poppyseeds. Divide between prepared muffin cups, and bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in muffin pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, orange juice, and vanilla, almond, and butter extracts. Spread over warm muffins and let cool to set.

Notes:

Original recipe yielded 2 9×5 inch loaves of bread. I reduced the recipe by half. I reduced the sugar for the half batch from 1 1/4 cups sugar to 3/4 cup; used 2 eggs instead of measuring out 1.5 eggs since the original recipe called for 3 eggs; and omitted the butter extract. To make this recipe as bread instead of muffins, bake for approximately 1 hour.

Be sure to check out all the other delicious recipes featured this week from Secret Recipe Club bloggers in group C at the link below!

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

Chopped salads are my favorite salads… they’re just so fun to eat! This version combines chicken, cabbage, carrots, and mango but the peanut butter based dressing takes the cake by far! :)

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Salad in January? So cliched, I know. Especially since last week with that Amish Cheeseburger Soup I talked about how we didn’t need to just ‘eat healthy’ in January. Ummm, right. :) But still, I stand by what I say… and salads are definitely part of our normal meals. Normally, our salads are pretty standard: romaine/spring mix/spinach, carrots, peppers, cucumber, maybe tomatoes or mushrooms or something else based on what’s in season. Dressing, yes… croutons, cheese… maybe. But never anything too exciting, unless I make a salad for our main course. Then, it is GOOD STUFF! And this salad is good stuff. :)

Thai Chopped Salad: a hearty winter salad everyone will love!

Every bit of this salad is incredible, and it’s perfect for the winter since it’s so hearty and filling, and isn’t your typical bunny rabbit salad fare. :) This salad is basic and fancy all at once, with a basic chicken-cabbage-carrot mixture dressed up with mango, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts. But the best part of this salad by far is the peanut butter-based dressing… it’s just SO flavorful, tangy, and fantastic. The salad easily serves four, so what we do is divide everything in half and eat half for dinner, and save half for lunch the next day. Leftovers will do okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving–hence dividing everything in half before serving. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

one year ago: Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole
two years ago: Oreo Ice Cream Pie
three years ago: Lemon Cranberry Muffins
four years ago: Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls
five years ago: Caramelized Onion Dip

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
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from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:

for the salad

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken [I used some from a chicken we roasted earlier in the week, but a rotisserie chicken would be great too!]
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage [I’ve used green, red, and a combination]
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot [about 3-4 medium]
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mango [or green papaya if you can find it]
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped [about 1/2 a bunch]
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

for the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter [natural works great–just microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt a little if it’s too hard to combine]
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

Combine chicken, cabbage, carrots, mango, cilantro, and green onions in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then stick in the fridge while you prepare the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, lime juice, oil, fish sauce, garlic, and cayenne. Add peanut butter and water and whisk again until smooth.

When ready to serve, pour half of the dressing over the salad, then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Add more dressing to taste, or save for later–the dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Leftovers will be okay in the fridge for the next day, but for best results combine the salad and dressing immediately before serving.

Enjoy!

Menu Plan

Menu Plan | thepajamachef.com

Week of January 10

Sunday: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Monday: Skillet Italian Sausage & Rice – also planning on jazzing it up by adding extra rice & some red beans… yum :)
Tuesday: Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche/Pie depending on what I feel like :)
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: working late… so something simple after I get home
Friday: out to eat
Saturday: Mom’s Lasagna

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

A cheesy, creamy, and hearty soup… if you haven’t had cheeseburger soup before, you are in for a treat!

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on thepajamachef.comI know January is supposed to be all about healthy recipes and “cutting back.” That’s not exactly my philosophy though. I don’t say this to be all holier than thou or anything, and I don’t think I’m being naive/blind, but I don’t think I really indulge to levels of epic proportions during the holiday season. I’ve never been able to eat and eat and eat beyond the point of fullness, and if I did, it won’t be on traditional holiday fare [it would be on some sort of baked pasta :)]. So while I’m all for a reset in January of healthy habits, I’m still all about moderation and enjoying all food all year round. Hence a cheesy, comforting soup in January. :)

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on thepajamachef.com

There’s honestly not too much to say about this soup… it’s like a cheeseburger in a bowl, minus the bun of course! LOL. Plenty of cheese, sour cream, hamburger meat, potatoes, and some veggies to thicken it up! I did healthify the original recipe by using real cheese instead of Velveeta, but feel free to use either to suit your family’s preferences. Ben and I loved every bowl of this soup! I will be honest, it’s not one I’d make every week or even every month, but it is a hearty, comforting meal on occasion. It would be a wonderful addition for a soup potluck–it’s definitely different from anything anyone else would bring, I’m sure! Enjoy! :)

one year ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
two years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
three years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
four years ago: Lasagna Soup
five years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 45 minutes
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adapted from 4 Little Fergusons

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced [about 3-4 carrots]
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced [about 4 stalks]
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed [about 2 pounds]
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 16 ounces sour cream

Directions:

In a large stockpot set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute for 8-10 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook ground chuck through. Drain off fat and set aside.

When vegetables are cooked, season with parsley, basil, and pepper, then add chicken broth and potatoes. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking until potatoes are soft and tender.

While potatoes are cooking, in a separate saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the remaining butter. When melted, slowly whisk in flour to make a roux. Constantly stir for 1 minute, until bubbly. Slowly pour in room temperature milk, stirring continually until mixture thickens. If you use skim milk this may take longer but it will happen. Then pour in potato mixture along with ground chuck and shredded cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook until everything is incorporated and cheese is melted.

Off heat, stir in sour cream. Cover and let rest for a few minutes, then season with additional herbs or pepper.

Note: I think it’d be great to add some diced tomatoes to the soup next time!

What I’m Into (December 2015)

What’s Been Happening

Ohh ya know… I can’t fake it anymore. Guess what? We made a little announcement on Facebook a few days before Christmas… Merry Christmas from our family of THREE! EEEEE!

What I'm Into (December 2015) - thepajamachef.com

 

 

I’m due in May [and can hardly believe I’ve kept it a secret online all this time, hence all the vague “it’s been a busy month” references this fall] and we just found out that the baby is a BOY!

What I'm Into (December 2015) - thepajamachef.com

In the midst of this excitement, we had a great Christmas with both our families and have had a nice nearly two weeks’ off from before Christmas to January 4th. So relaxing. After Christmas, I did some baby shopping/browsing… so fun! :) I even found an ergobaby carrier for 50% off at Target. You better believe I snatched that up! I also did a lot of reading to meet my yearly reading goal [see below] but I realize that’s not nearly as exciting for most people. Hehehe!

Ran a 5K downtown on this beautiful sunshiny morning! #rudolphsrednoserun #nashville #5k #running

A photo posted by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

We also ran a 5k in downtown Nashville… there was even hot chocolate after the race! :)

What I’m Reading

In December, I read/listened to 10 books–just enough to meet my goal of reading 120 books for the year! You can, as always, find my reviews on Goodreads. :)

What I'm Into (December 2015) - thepajamachef.com

My favorite book was In The Woods–I think I’m going to like that series! The Distant Hours by Kate Morton was also good, but slow. A great audiobook was The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, about a murder in 1860 England. Kinda creepy at times though, so you may not want to listen late at night. :)

Some great articles I’ve read online this month include:

 

What I’ve Been Cooking

This year, we didn’t make tons of Christmas cookies. I made these awesome No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars, Sugar Cookies, and Cranberry Cookies. Other than that, I don’t think I cooked very much… lots of Christmas events and such. I plan to cook a lot more in January! :)

What’s on the Blog

My most new popular recipe in December was Cheesy Southwest Farro. This will be on our menu again soon!

Cheesy Southwest Farro: a healthy, delicious dish good any time of the day! Plus you can make it in less than 30 minutes, so it's perfect for busy schedules. :)

Most popular recipes from the archive included: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake, Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole, and Buffalo Pretzels.

What were you into in December?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.