Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWD: Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

It has been so long since I've posted along with Tuesdays with Dorie that I'm quite ashamed of myself. I've been a very bad member. Between Weight Watchers and school, I haven't been motivated to cook many of the yummy treats that they've been baking. But with a week break in between classes, I decided to see what was on the schedule this week and thank goodness it was something fairly healthy like oatmeal breakfast bread!

I did do some substitutions to make it a little more Weight Watchers friendly i.e. splenda instead of sugar and egg beaters for the eggs. For the dried fruit, I used dried apricots because I am in love with them. They are absolutely delicious and so much more tasty than dried cranberries. Plus you get a tangy, slightly chewy piece of apricot in every bite. On the topping I used sliced almonds because that's just what I had in the freezer at the time. I also made them into muffins because it is so much easier to portion control than with a loaf.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Even with my healthier subs, these muffins were amazing! If I had not known that there were some WW changes, I would have thought they were made as the recipe was written.  They were super moist and with just the right amount of sweetness. The topping really made the muffins seem more decadent and not as healthy as they really were. And when you are on a diet, anything that gives you a hint of decadence without all of the fat and calories, is so worth it. It helps keep me on track because I know I can still treat myself without going overboard.

Natalie of Oven Love selected Oatmeal Breakfast Bread for us this week.  You can find the recipe on page 44 of Baking or at Oven Love. Thanks Natalie for the delicious pick this week!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Pierogi!

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.


The 14th really sneaks up on you sometimes doesn't it? I had planned on making the Daring Cooks challenge but as usual, time got away from me and suddenly it was the 14th. Thank goodness I had all of the ingredients so I was able to whip (ha...well not exactly whip) them up today with a few hours to spare.

I decided to go with the cottage cheese pierogi option because it seemed the simplest and quite tasty (plus WW friendlier too!). It also had great possibilities of being either sweet or savory depending on the sauce you chose. They were fairly easy to make. They just took a little time and lots of rolling and re-rolling. But that was okay by me since the filling wasn't complicated.

I managed to get just over 25 pierogi using a 3.5 inch round cut out. I had an "asian" dumpling maker that I bought a long time ago and never used but that was a big 'ol pain in the rear. The dumpling dough kept getting stuck and after about 3 of those I said screw it and did them by hand. After that everything went much faster. That dumpling maker may be on it's way to the dump before long.

I froze most of them unboiled for later. For the serving I made for myself, I decided to go savory and made a tomato dill sauce. I love dill and use it anytime I can. I found this sauce on a pierogi post and couldn't resist making it. It sounded too good not to make it.

Just over an hour after I started, I sat down to a delicious pierogi and tomato dill sauce meal. After I boiled the pierogi, I lightly pan-fried them to get a slightly crunchy outside. In a word, they were amazing! Simple but so full of flavor. The sauce was a nice compliment. It was tasty but it didn't overwhelm the pierogi. As cliche as it might sound, the sauce really allowed the pierogi to shine.   

Thanks to our hosts for the great challenge this month! I'll definitely make these again. To see more wonderful pierogies, check out the Daring Cooks blogroll here!

Cottage Cheese Wareneki (pierogi)
Adapted from The Mennonite Cookbook
½ cup (125 ml) milk (can be whole milk, 2% or skim milk)
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3 cups (450 gm) all-purpose flour
1. Mix flour and salt, add other ingredients, and knead dough until you have a smooth dough. (I kneaded this dough quite a bit, and it yielded a nice, pliable dough).
2. On a floured surface roll out fairly thin (1/8” or about 3 millimeters), cut into 2” (5 cm) squares, and fill with 1 tsp (5ml) cottage cheese filling (see below).
1 lb (455 g) dry cottage cheese (this is usually found beside the “wet” cottage cheese in the supermarket’s dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, please see below for how to proceed with the “wet” cottage cheese.)
3 large egg yolks
Salt to taste
1. Mix well all the ingredients for the filling.
2. Put 1 rounded teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling in each square, fold corners to form a triangle, seal edges well using your fingers or a fork.

3. Cook in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.
Boiled pierogi can also be fried after boiling for a nice crunchy dumpling.

If you can’t find dry cottage cheese, simply drain normal cottage cheese by nesting the cottage in a few layers of cheese cloth or a fine sieve over a bowl.
Tomato Dill Sauce
Inspired by The Kitchen Illiterate
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper
Combine all of the ingredients except for the half and half and simmer until thickened a little, about 10 minutes. If you like puree for a smoother sauce. Allow to cool slightly and then stir in the half and half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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