Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Best Things for You

Granola is a wonderful, healthy food! Homemade is tasty, but sometimes I want a little something special! My mom devised these tasty and surprisingly sweet Granola Muffins that do not have pre-made granola in them but have the ingredients that are in granola! They are so hearty and filling that you only need to eat one for breakfast! They are the best breakfast muffins I have ever had.

Since they are the best, I thought of "The Best Thing for You" sung by Nat King Cole for today's Valentine song. What is better for you than someone who loves you?


2 ½ cups All-Bran® cereal
¼ cups Grapenuts® cereal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup wheat flour
5 tablespoons wheat germ
½ cup dry oatmeal
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup Craisins®

2 eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sour cream
5 tablespoons skim milk
2 bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine All-Bran®, Grapenuts®, all-purpose flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Stir to mix.
  3. Add Criasins® and coconut. Stir to coat Craisins® with flours.
  4. In a very large, separate bowl with high sides, whip the eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add molasses, honey, butter, canola oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until smooth.
  5. Add sour cream and milk. Beat on low speed until combined. There will be little chunks of sour cream still visible.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients. Stir together with a large spoon or scraper spatula.
  7. Peel bananas and put on a plate. With a fork, just slightly smash the bananas. Stir into muffin mixture just until combined.
  8. Line muffin pan with foil cupcake liners. Fill the liners almost to the top.
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a small knife comes out almost clean after being inserted into one muffin.
  10. Cool on a cooling rack.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Embrace the Casserole

A casserole is probably not what you think of as a romantic dinner but frankly, tasty is romantic! And this casserole is such a marvelous blend of favorite foods. And what's tastier and has more memories than a delicious cheeseburger?

This recipe is a family favorite that I grew up having for dinner. Actually, a wonderful neighbor brought it for dinner right after my mom and I came home from the hospital on February 12, 1987.

We have altered it by using plain mushroom soup rather than the tomato mushroom soup and we added more water. It has lasted years with the Chaston family and it's possible it could become a favorite in yours. So embrace the casserole. You won't be sorry!

To help you embrace the casserole, take a listen to "Embraceable You" sung by Ella Fitzgerald. And what is more romantic than an embrace to keep with the Valentine's Day theme?


1 pound ground sirloin
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 ½ cans water
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 pound frozen tater tots
1 pound frozen shoestring potatoes
garnish of grated cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook ground sirloin until browned then drain off any excess liquid.
  3. Combine soups, water, and grated cheese. Add cooked ground sirloin. Mix together.
  4. Place tater tots in a single layer in the bottom of a 9”x13” pan.
  5. Pour soup and ground sirloin mixture over the tater tots, spreading to the edges of the pan to cover the tater tots.
  6. Place the shoestring potatoes over the top in a haphazard way so that they are not pressed into the soup and ground sirloin mixture.
  7. Cover the pan with foil.
  8. Bake covered for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer until the shoestring potatoes are slightly crispy.
  10. Serve with a garnish of grated cheddar cheese and put some ketchup on the side!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Another Zing on My Harp Strings

Happy Friday! I'm excited for the three-day weekend, though honestly, I will be spending my Monday working on outlines, yet it is nice to have a weekday without classes!

If you've ever seen "Meet Me in St. Louis" you'll remember the iconic "Trolley Song" sung by Judy Garland. I always remember the line "Zing went the strings of my heart." The next best thing to heart strings is harp strings, which I have plenty of! So here's another Valentine's Day themed song!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pastrami Sandwiches: Soft or Hard?

I love sandwiches, but I am a bit choosy about the bread I use. I prefer deli hard rolls. If the bread is too soft, it just doesn't hold up to filling and the fixings.

But being soft isn't a bad thing in many contexts. For instance, I remember a song that keeps with the Valentine's Day theme: "Soft Lights and Sweet Music" sung by Dick Haymes.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup cabbage, shredded
¼ cup onion, diced
¼ cup red pepper, diced
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces pastrami deli meat (Boar’s Head® is great), shaved

2 ounces cream cheese
2 deli hard rolls
  1. Put olive oil in a large frying pan. Heat up over medium heat.
  2. Add cabbage, onion, red pepper, and mushrooms. Toss lightly to coat vegetables with olive oil.
  3. Clear a section of the pan for the pastrami. Break up the shredded pastrami and place in frying pan with vegetables—which will take longer to par cook.
  4. Remove frying pan from burner.
  5. Slice hard rolls lengthwise leaving one side attached. Spread both interior sides with cream cheese.
  6. Place pastrami on both sides spread with cream cheese.
  7. Place vegetables in the center. Close the buns to hold ingredients in the sandwiches.