a Cook at Heart

practical tips and recipes for busy cooks

Banana Oatmeal Muffins + Vacation Pics

One of the few good things about having a hubby with a travel job is that occasionally, you get to tag along on a really great trip. A few weeks ago, I met him in Las Vegas and we drove down to the Grand Canyon for a few days. Even with tons of tourists, the canyon is one of the most tranquil places I’ve ever visited. It’s breathtaking (and I don’t use that term lightly). There’s something about the vastness of it that leaves you speechless. The last time we went to the canyon it was June and HOT. Blazing hot. If you ever get

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chip Streusel

I can’t believe a whole week slipped by me without doing a post. I kept procrastinating and before I knew it, the week was over. It’s been a hectic week and I’m happy for a day I can rest and relax. Maybe I’ll catch up on some reading. In the mean time, this is my first attempt at making banana bread and it was inspired by this recipe. I’ve never been a huge fan of banana bread but the chocolate chip streusel gives this loaf a whole different taste. Use very ripe bananas for this to get the full banana flavor. Pecans would work if you don’t

How to Make Light Whole Wheat Bread

  For a long time, yeast was my nemesis. We just didn’t get along. I didn’t know when to stop kneading bread so all of my attempts at yeast breads were pretty horrendous until I found “no knead” bread recipes. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method have revolutionized my bread baking life and I’m not just being melodramatic.  For the past couple of months I’ve been playing around with different recipes in search of some home baked alternatives to store bought sandwich breads. I’ve found a few amazing recipes that are unbelievably easy and the results are comparable to

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

Every good southerner loves a fresh buttermilk biscuit whether they want to admit it or not. I’m not talking about the ones you pop out of the tube and into the oven. I’m talking about the real deal, hand mixed, kneaded, and cut with a biscuit cutter biscuits – warm from the oven with a little butter.Unfortunately, biscuits are such a fat fest that they’ve been relegated to “treat” status at my house. When I saw this recipe for Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits in America’s Test Kitchen – “Healthy Recipes”, I got excited. A relatively healthy biscuit I can eat without completely wrecking my day? Is it really possible? Yes. It’s possible for

How to Make Moist Sweet Cornbread

There are two kinds of cornbread lovers:  those that like their cornbread sweet and those that don’t. I call this the great cornbread debate. I grew up in a household that thought sweet cornbread was a travesty so I never knew it existed until I moved to the south. The first time I tasted sweet cornbread, I thought I had found nirvana. What a huge difference a little sugar can make. If you enjoy dry crumbly cornbread, this recipe isn’t for you. The sour cream, sugar, and creamed style corn make this bread light and deliciously  moist.  If sweet cornbread isn’t your thing, this bread is just as good without the sugar.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I have a confession to make. I’ve never made muffins. It’s not that I’m muffin phobic or anti-muffins but they’ve never been interesting enough to warrant the time and energy. Since one of my goals for the new year is to try new things, I figured it was time to mark them off my culinary to do list. These muffins remind me of ones I’ve had at an unnamed overpriced national coffee shop chain. They aren’t overly sweet and have a nice citrusy tanginess that goes well with cranberries. If you can’t find fresh cranberries, you could use dried but plump them first by soaking

Lemon Blueberry Bread Recipe

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Holly Clegg’s Trim & Terrific Cookbook. The texture of this bread is somewhere between a pound cake and a quick bread and is super moist if you don’t over cook it. If you like the fresh taste of lemon you’ll love this because the lemons are definitely the star of this show.  This recipe would be equally as good with raspberries. The simple syrup adds an extra hit of lemon while adding some additional moistness but it’s definitely optional. The bread stands well on it’s own without the syrup so if you aren’t looking for that extra tartness, don’t add the