Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mad Scientist

I'm like a mad scientist in the kitchen. Often I don't really know what I'm doing and even more often I don't seem to have the necessary ingredients for a particular recipe. But I do not let little things like that stand in my way or slow me down. It's just not how I roll.

After yesterday's post I was inspired to make a batch of Super Berry Bran Muffins. I started pulling down ingredients from the pantry, located my measuring cups that the twins had absconded with and dusted off my mixing bowls ... only to discover that I had no berries and was almost out of applesauce, two of the key ingredients.

So I did what I usually do in the kitchen, and in life for that matter, I decided to fake it until I could figure out a better solution. Instead of berries I substituted golden and regular raisins and, since I only had 1/4 cup of applesauce, I improvised by smashing a ripe banana in lieu of the last 1/2 cup.

The result? Banana Raisin Bran Muffins. Can you say, yum?

You can't really mess up these muffins so don't be afraid to tinker with the recipe based on the ingredients you have on hand. In the past I have substituted oat bran, wheat germ and even oatmeal when I was out of wheat bran. It doesn't seem to matter and the muffins always taste great.

So don't be a slave to the recipe. View my recipes like Eric views my grocery lists: as a mere guideline.


  1. "like Eric views my grocery lists: as a mere guideline"... and is that why your home occasionally has things that the carnivore LIVES for? hee hee

    My husband does our grocery shopping since he's near the commissary each day. Sometimes he too gets creative. And sometimes he's downright mystified. And sometimes hopeful. When he brings home 3 cans of pumpkin and 3 cans of evaporated milk, I get the hint. It is perfectly acceptable to have pumpkin pie in March. Or July. Or whenever...

  2. Eric's attempts to purchase items that are actually on my list are the stuff of legends. I'm not kidding. After numerous unsuccessful missions I actually started NUMBERING the lists in an attempt to simplify things for him.

    So he returned after one trip and I said, where's the chicken broth? "Huh? No broth on my list." OK, how about the chicken? "Nope. No chicken on my list either." Hmm. Honey, let me see your list.

    It turns out the chicken and broth were numbers 9 & 10 on his list but he only shopped the FRONT side of the list, not the back. When I sent him back to the store to complete his mission, he returned with pop tarts. Evidently they were on sale. I ASSURE you that pop tarts were not on any list I have ever given the man :)

    And now I do the shopping with the "help" of two 14-month old babies b/c that is easier than sending husband.

  3. I'm hoping to trying the recipe out for guests this weekend!

    LOL about your husband's grocery shopping trip! It must be a man gene that just won't let them buy everything on the list.

    Of course, when my Dad went shopping, it meant he'd throw in some desserts or other desirable extras that Mom would never get because she stuck to her budget and her list. Now, of course, I'm more like my Mommy.

    Thanks for another great post, Erin!

  4. After the twins were born my mom was visiting and sent Eric to the store for swiss cheese, mushrooms and frozen chopped spinach to make a quiche. He came home with CREAM cheese and a bag of baby spinach. Then we sent him for ricotta cheese to make lasagna and he came home with COTTAGE cheese. He struggles with the cheeses most I think. But, he always keeps a smile on his face and heads right back to the store to try again :)

    Chimmy: I'm finding if I put too much batter in the muffin pan that they don't quite cook through as well, although that might be more of an altitude issue.

  5. Erin & Chimmy...I think it must be altitude...I made one pan of big muffins with batter almost all the way to the top and then the 2nd tray I made smaller ones. The bigger muffins were definitely more moist & had a better texture.

  6. Thanks Dana. Pretty typical of altitude baking ... sea level recipes seem to cook the top and outer layer, leaving the middle a bit uncooked.