Posted on Wednesday, 12th May 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
This past weekend was amazing. We traveled to Oshawa for my great nephew’s (Luke) baptism. He looked so handsome in his little white suit, such a good baby, he was so quiet throughout the ceremony, almost like he knew of its importance. I was able to get in my cuddle time between Luke and my other great nephew, Joshua. It was a bit of tug and war between all the aunts and uncles and grand parents but the little ones seemed to enjoy the attention they were receiving. We are looking forward to welcoming a new little girl in the next few days. I was so hoping she would make her grand entrance on my birthday, I guess she had other plans. Other great news, my niece, Natalie got engaged on Tuesday. We are all so very happy for her and look forward to another wedding, another wedding means another bridal shower. My sisters and I are going to become experts at this.
It’s been of a bit of a blueberry festival at the market lately and pretty hard to resist not going home with a few little cartons of the little gems, maybe a few to many. When Matt played football throughout the fall I made muffins at least twice a week. It got to the point Matt couldn’t even look at another muffin. I couldn’t resist yesterday, nice plump blueberries and bananas that had seen better days. My dear friend, Denise, happens to drop by every time my bananas are ready for the bin, ends up taking them home and returns with an amazing Zucchini Nut Loaf and banana muffins. I thought it was time I returned the favour and I decided to tweak her recipe and add a little spin of my own, Blueberry Banana & Walnut Loaf. The aroma of blueberries and bananas lingering throughout the house was very hard for Matt to resist and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on them.
I remember back in elementary school, the days we still had home economics and shop in the classrooms, muffins were one of the first things we learned to bake. At the time my brother and his friends were working on his mustang, his pride and joy, in the garage. They would be out there for hours tinkering away. They were always hungry and they all loved muffins. It was nothing for me to take out two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one for wet and whip up a batch of muffins at 1 in the morning.
I think they made a big mistake when they decided to remove both classes from the elementary school lineup. Too many teens today aren’t learning the importance of cooking with fresh vegetables and fruit, taking the time to learn about the different cuts of meat. They haven’t the first clue when it comes to spending time in the kitchen. They do offer it in high school as an elective but I don’t think it’s a class that most kids line up to take. Our society is so used to ready made foods and don’t take the time to appreciate the local produce. At one point I found myself falling into the trap, the ease of grabbing something from the freezer and throwing it into the oven, the little time it took to get a meal on the table or picking up the phone and calling for takeout, when in actual fact you can whip up a meal in faster time than it takes to pick up the phone, order out and wait for the delivery man to show up, usually with food that is cold. I also found that we didn’t eat together as a family any more. Something that is proven to be so vital in a families day to day, gives you the time to ask how each of your days went, and it keeps you close as a family should be. When I lived at home we ate promptly at 5 pm. I remember my Mom would tell me to get my father’s clothes ready for his shower, prepare his pantofole (slippers) and make sure that a bottle of red wine was on the table waiting for him. Everyone did their little part to help get dinner on the table.
I am so glad I woke up and realized what it was I was putting into the bellies of my children and I have gone back to taking the time to prepare a meal using fresh produce.
Last year I ran across this recipe for Blueberry Muffins from Martha’s site. The muffins are so moist and the flavour of the blueberries is so intense, it has clearly become of my favourites. The Zucchini Nut Loaf recipe I tweaked came out beautifully, I love blueberries so I put in quite a few, the loaf is very moist, the banana flavour isn’t masked by the blueberries, the combination is amazing. The addition of walnuts gives the loaf a great texture and the lemon rind gives the loaf a nice freshness to it.
Matt made a comment to me last night and it really solidified how quick it really is to provide your family with good food in no time. He said, “Wow Mom, it didn’t take much time for you to make all this”. Both are easy to make, you can double the recipes and pack up the blueberry muffins and banana blueberry and walnut bread and share with family and friends. Their tummies will thank you!
I am back to cupcakes, Boston Cream, in my next post. I will be choosing between Orange Cupcakes, Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes and Lemon-Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. Hope you’ll help me choose the perfect gourmet cupcake for V’s bridal shower.
Blueberry Muffins and Blueberry-Banana Walnut Loaf
- Blueberry-Banana Walnut Loaf
- Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry-Banana Walnut Loaf
(inspired by Denise Askham’s Zucchini Nut Loaf)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 small bananas (mashed with a fork)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350° F, coat one 4 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch loaf pan or 8, 2 inch by 3 1/2 inch mini loaf pans with butter.
- Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder into a medium sized bowl. Using a fine sieve, working over the bowl, toss blueberries with 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture to coat. Set blueberries and flour mixture aside.
- In a medium bowl, using a whisk, beat egg until frothy.
- Add sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Add lemon zest, mashed bananas and vegetable oil, whisk until combined.
- Add flour mixture 1/3 at a time, whisk just until combined, do not over mix.
- Using a rubber spatula fold in the blueberries and the walnuts, just until combined.
- Bake, rotating loaf pan halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes or if using small loaf pans, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove from loaf pan and cool completely on rack.
(from Martha Stewart)
(Makes one dozen)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to light coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not over mix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. If desired, in a small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of muffin batter.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centre of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.