Monday, November 14, 2016

Cranberry Pumpkin Orange Muffins

Here is an easy recipe for the most delicious cranberry pumpkin muffins strongly flavored with an orange zest. Right to the time for upcoming Thanksgiving feasts. 

Blog's Category: Holidays, Effortless, Healthy, Kid's Favorite, My Own Fast and Easy, My Staple Food


Kids are going to love these muffins! They are very pretty inside - bright orange with a red chunks of cranberries and awesome orange aroma. After all, you don't have to disclose all ingredients and tell them there is a pumpkin in there, right?

Look at the ingredient list - these muffins are as close to a healthy treat as muffins itself can possibly be - pumpkin, cranberries, olive oil. If you wish, you can even replace white sugar with brown one ;)

All the above is good, but, to me, the best thing about this recipe is its simplicity - just mix up an ingredients and voila. Slicing cranberries in half is a bit of time consuming process for inexperienced cook, but for me it took about 10 minutes. Or you can bring your kids or husband aboard for this particular work.

Ready? Let's start - it will take about 15 minutes of mixing and 30-40 minutes for baking. 

What is it?

Batter for these muffins is simple and uses olive oil, eggs, canned pumpkin puree, white sugar, orange zest, fresh cranberries and regular flour. 

Taste Description

Despite the fact that the recipe calls for a decent amount of sugar, muffins are not overly sweet at all. To bring up a bit more sweetness I even needed to dust them with some powdered sugar. This nice sweetness balances equally with a sour chunks of cranberries. Taste of pumpkin practically non-existent, you could not even tell there is a pumpkin in it. Muffins have a fantastic orange flavor, perfectly pairing to cranberries.
Texture is moist, not too light nor heavy, with a juicy, bright and pleasantly sour cranberry bits.

How to Serve

Serve when muffins are cooled down completely. Keep them for a two, three days on a counter. If you want powdered sugar to stay pretty and dry, do not cover your muffins with plastic wrap, leave them uncovered.  In a fridge, they will keep longer, but because they are going to be in some sort of container or bag, powdered sugar will melt from moisture and your muffins are not going to be that pretty. Good news - taste wise they are still going to be delicious.


- If you wish, replace white sugar with brown. It will make dough a bit heavier though.

- Add some cream cheese frosting on top to get cup cakes!

- Once, I was really lazy, and refused to cut cranberries in half. Not the same. For better result - take an extra 10 minutes to slice your berries :) 

- I'm not huge fan of pumpkin pie spices, orange flavors are so much better to me, but if you are - go for it and add them to a batter, with or without orange zest.

Cranberry Pumpkin Orange Muffins

For about 20 medium muffins:
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 regular can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pack of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups), halved
  • 1 tbs powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

- Preheat oven to 375F and line up your muffin cups on a baking sheet.

- Stir together eggs and sugar until well combined.

- Add olive oil, pumpkin puree, zest, salt and vanilla. Stir.

- Add flour on top and add soda and baking powder right on top of flour. Mix soda and baking powder into a flour first to activate them, then mix flour into a wet ingredients mix just until well combined. 

- Mix in cranberries. Fill muffin cups to 3/4 of volume. Bake for about 30-50 minutes, depending on a size of you muffins, until baked through.

- To cool down, transfer muffins from a baking sheet to a cooling rack. When they are completely cool, dust with a sugar powder, using small wire strainer.

- Enjoy!

In Pictures

I'm saving on dish washing ;) and activate baking soda and baking powder in a flour right in the same bowl mixing them into a flour first and just then mixing flour into pumpkin mix.

I often give my dough a test by cooking small piece in a microwave, just to check sugar/salt balance. Keep in mind that texture is going to be off, too dry and rubbery, so it is strictly to give an idea about future taste. After oven. taste and texture will be much, much better :)

Sample from microwave - not too sweet at all.. rather under-sweetened, but it's fine with me - I love sweets, but hate when it's too sweet.

My silicon muffin cups are all different sizes. Those on a right are so big.. I'll fill them in half to get medium muffins. Those on a left are small and cutesy - just my size :) 

Done! Smell's amazing! Orangy vanilla..

Transfer muffins on a cooling rack, preferably take them out from muffin cups.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Quick Roasted Potato

My son's recipe for this simple roasted potato has quickly become our family's favorite way to cook potato fast, easy, deliciously.

Blog's Category: Effortless, Kid's Favorite, Perfect Breakfast, Vegetarian


One day, in his desperate craving for potato chips, which is almost never found in our house, my son took vegetable grater and potato in his hands and here is what resulted from it. Everybody loved these "potato chips". Now it is our favorite addition for a weekend breakfast. It takes about 5 minutes of actual work and about 10-15 minutes of waiting while potato is cooked.

There is one rule, though, that you can't break or you don't get it right. You have to use vegetable grater with a two or three long vegetable slicing slots on one of its sites. The secret of this recipe is that using this slicing slots you get irregularly shaped potato slices resulting in differently cooked pieces, ones crispy, others - soft.

Addition of some grated cheddar is welcomed but not necessary. We cook it both ways, with or without cheese, and love them both.

What is it?

Roughly sliced with your regular grater's slicing side, potato, unpeeled, is mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper and roasted at high temperature.

Taste Description

It is absolutely delicious, with some crunchy and tender pieces.  If using cheese, don't worry it overcooks - it will add some cheesy crunch to your potato. 

How to Serve

We like to cook it for a big weekend breakfast as a side for our eggs. On a picture below you see it served with fresh greens from my garden and pouched eggs.


- I did try to make this potato with parmesan cheese instead of cheddar, and, to my surprise, didn't like it that much as with cheddar.

- Sliced onion would be, I think, nice addition to this potato. It shouldn't be sliced too thinly to withstand high temperatures and not to burn.

- I like to use silicon mats for roasting potato, as potato especially prone to sticking to a bottom of a baking sheet.

- Sometimes, to save on time and washing dishes, I do all the slicing and mixing right on a baking sheet :)

Quick Roasted Potato

For about 4 side servings:
  • 4 medium potatoes, with a skin
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • about 1/4 tsp salt
  • some freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/2 c coarsely grated cheddar 

- Preheat oven to 400F.

- Meanwhile, using grater with a large slicing slots (see picture below), slice/grate unpeeled potato into irregular slices.

- Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until some slices are crispy and golden-brown and some are cooked through but still tender.

- Enjoy!

In Pictures

It is purple-veined sorrel from my garden. Unknown underrated greens, mild, with a soft acidity.

I added fresh oregano and thyme, still growing on my deck in pots, despite November on a calendar.

Pouched eggs, soon be broken in half, will give potato its runny yolk topping.