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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins Makes 6 servings Ingredients 1 cup mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin puree), 1 cup brown sugar, divided, ¼ cup canola oil (or coconut oil, but if you use coconut oil reduce to 3 Tlb.), ½ cup low-fat milk (I used almond milk), 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant), 1 tsp cinnamon, divided, ½ tsp allspice, 2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, 3 tbsp chopped walnuts (I used pecan pieces), Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tin by coating with cooking spray. 2. Whisk together sweet potato, ⅔ cup brown sugar, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. 3. In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, ¾ tsp cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, and salt to blend. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the sweet potato mixture. Stir together until just moistened. 4. In a small bowl, combine walnuts and remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. 5. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of the brown sugar-walnut mixture. Bake 15–30 minutes, depending on the size of tins, until toothpick comes out clean. 186 (give or take, it really depends on the size of the muffin) calories per serving (one muffin).
These muffins are dense and packed full of flavor. Enjoy your week.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lamb Ragu

So I had a little dinner party last night. We had another couple over (Mr & Mrs M) for some delicious lamb ragu (new recipe). I love braising meat. Braising takes what could be a tough piece of meat and turns it into tender mouthwatering deliciousness.
It is helpful if you have all your ingredients together before you start any recipe. You will need 2 lbs of chunked up lamb meat (lamb shoulder works well), 2 medium onions cut into large pieces,3-4 peeled and large cut carrots, 8 cloves of peeled and smashed garlic, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 3 tlbs of fresh sage, 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 cups of red wine (something hearty), salt, pepper, fat for frying, dutch oven with lid and a large skillet for frying.
Start by browning your lamb in your very hot pan. I used two pounds of lamb shoulder that I cut up in big chunks and removed most of the fat. Salt and pepper your meat. You will also have to cook the meat in batches (no overcrowding) you want the meat to brown, not simmer. I used bacon grease for the frying, but you could easily use anything you have on hand.
Get it really brown. When it is really brown remove the meat from the pan, turn the pan down some and add the 2 medium chopped onions.
Caramelize those onions until they are soft and golden in color. Then add the carrots, 3 Tlbs. of chopped fresh sage, 8 cloves of peeled and slightly smashed garlic and some more salt and pepper.
Cook for roughly ten minutes. Don't burn your sage.
Next add two cups of red wine and deglaze the pan getting up all those yummy bit of goodness.
Then add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. I used crushed because I think in the end the sauce is thicker and will stand up well to pasta.
Simmer for about 7-10 minutes to let the flavors start to develop.
Combine your browned lamb, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and sauce together in your dutch oven. Put the lid on and slid into a preheated 275 degree oven for roughly 4 hours. Let the magic happen.
Tada! I served it up over pasta but I can see this over mashed potatoes or polenta the choice is yours. I also had made some bread earlier in the day and the fresh asparagus called out to me in the store, so I sauteed up a pound of that for dinner as well.
I made my favorite cocktail Aperol Spritz which is as follows...take a champange flute pour half a shot of Aperol into it, then fill 3/4 of the way with prosecco, and top with a little club soda. Garnish with a bit of lemon or orange rind and there you have it. light, refreshing and sparkly.
Everything was perfect, the food was delicious, the company fantastic and the conversation lively. I even got out of making dessert this time...Mr & Mrs M brought a luscious Raspberry Poppy Seed Cake from a local spot they know that was super delicious.