Friday, February 25, 2011

Valentine's Day, aka I LOVE CHOCOLATE

A few weeks ago I made some impressively messed up muffins. I won't say bad because they were edible, unlike the disastrous cornbread muffins I tried. They were messed up because I just didn't really think about the different types of flour. Those muffins completely failed to rise, resulting in midget muffins that were incredibly dense and had a very strange texture. I ate them for a week or two, and then was sick of having to hide my breakfast in shame each morning.

Notice how you can stack two in a muffin container that's meant for one. Eating just one wasn't filling at all. It just made me hungrier. On Sunday night, I had had enough of them and decided that since I'd be in the kitchen for my Valentine's experiment, I should make proper muffins. And these turned out fantastically, with one~ little problem.

It seems that the heart shaped ones weren't completely done (although I swear I toothpick tested them, I really did). But they still taste delicious so I don't mind. Supposedly they are only 98 calories. I'm not sure I believe that. They don't taste like they're less than a hundred calories. They're deliciously fluffy, even after being frozen. I am tempted to never cook another muffin recipe and try substituting other fruits for the blueberries.

I've already gone through two weeks of them, so I will have to start looking for the next recipe soon. Probably more fruit, as it lets me pretend they're healthy.

Although I can almost fit two muffins in my cupcake holder. I wonder if I just make my muffins too small?

Blueberry Muffins from Chocolatesuze
(Makes 20 mufins, approximately $0.95 per muffin)
  • 1.33 cups sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blueberries

    1. Preheat oven to 345F.
    2. Mix sour cream, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract together.
    3. Add flour to mixture.
    4. Add the blueberries and stir gently.
    5. Add butter and milk, continuing to stir gently.
    6. Bake for 20 minutes, or longer if not done.
    These also freeze just fine, although they stick to each other when you pull them out if you aren't careful. I've had a few causalities. I'm a good bit late for a Valentine's post, but timeliness isn't really my thing. Boyfriend Bird and I decided we didn't really want to celebrate Valentine's Day, or at least not 'traditionally'. For us, Valentine's comes after a string of birthdays and Christmas and our anniversary, so we're both out of gift ideas. (I say us both, but it's me. He's very good at gifts.) We decided that we wouldn't go out to a fancy dinner or buy each other anything, but just have a quiet night together. And it was wonderful. We went to a local grilled cheese place and then played Minecraft and Black Ops for the night. We're nerdy birds. But of course I couldn't resist trying to make SOMETHING for him. So I bought oreos, chocolate, a candy mold, and had some fun. The one in the top corner was me wondering if I could just dunk them with my hands. No. Chocolate is hot. Do not try that. It will hurt and you will feel dumb. (But if you do, you should probably eat that oreo before anyone else sees it. And then post pictures of it on the internet anyway.) I also decided to be fancy and do some white chocolate too. I melted all this chocolate by using what I have dubbed the 'ghetto boiler,' although I think it's actually a pretty common method. Mama Bird has an impressive collection of pots, so I found two that sit on top of each other, boiled water in the bottom one and then put the chocolate in the top one. So by making my own double boiler. There are plenty of guides on how to do it written by people who actually know what they're doing, if anyone is really curious. Sadly, I only made about seven white chocolate cookies. I've used my ghetto boiler two or three times before, but this was the first time I overheated the chocolate. It was an interesting experience; the chocolate firmed back into a solid. I was confused at first, thinking that the steam must all be escaping and that I needed to turn up the heat, so I only made it worse. But at least a few of them weren't ruined. The milk chocolate ones turned out wonderfully. The candy mold chocolates turned out mostly well too. They tasted wonderful (other than burning it, how can you mess up oreos and chocolate?), but I didn't really have a good strategy for trimming the excess chocolate from the edges of the mold. If/When I attempt this in the future, I will be more mindful of scraping the extra chocolate on the mold, and filling them to the proper point so they sit correctly. Not that Boyfriend Bird minded. I think most of them are gone at this point. We did end up going out for a Valentine's dinner that Friday. We went to a wonderful sushi place, and he got me to try some crazy ones. Boyfriend Bird is much more adventurous than I, he really enjoys going out and ordering food or beer he's never had before. Like duck tongue. We ordered sea urchin, but I wimped out because it looked so strange, but I did eat the salmon roe. And the enormous special we ordered that I could hardly fit in my mouth, and the delicious spicy grilled roll... This post's cooking lesson(s):
    • Pay attention to the type of flour you're supposed to use.
    • Don't overheat chocolate when trying to melt it.
    • Try new foods! (maybe this is more of a life lesson...)
  • Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Meatballs don't need to be slow cooked.

    Today was an inspirational experience for me. I went downstairs to elliptical (just some basic intervals), and couldn't find my sports bra. I looked through the dryer, the washer, the baskets of clean (and dirty) clothes, and came up with nothing. So I grabbed a towel instead, and headed to my shower, smiling to myself and thinking 'oh well, what difference is missing one day gonna make?'

    Then I thought about how I hadn't run on Friday, or on Saturday. I felt slightly guilty, but hey, I was busy both days, and there just hadn't been time. And then I realized if I skipped today I'd be my third day off. And then I thought about what a easy thing it would be to just stop running altogether and go back to lazing around everyday. And then suddenly it was easy to go find a bra, and went and did my running for the day.

    It's interesting to think how easy it'd be to stop trying to lose weight. But I am too vain for that.

    The rest of my weekend was not nearly as inspirational. If anything, it was a little disappointing. I may not have done a full year of cooking in my slow cooker, but I think my friends might say that I get overly excited when I get to use mine. It feels like lazy cooking: do a little work, then sit around and smell the food cooking all day, and bask in compliments when it turns out well. What part of that doesn't sound great?

    So when some of my friends were getting together over this weekend, I decided that I wanted to cook. I had been craving meatball subs all week, and seeing as it was a group of guys, I figured they'd be more than happy to have some simple subs. But I didn't want to be cooking while we were hanging out, so I had the genius idea to make them in the slow cooker.

    I don't think anyone was surprised by this turn of events.

    But since we were meeting at someone's parent's house, they suggested I doubled the recipe so we could offer his parents dinner as well. And we all agreed that yes, we definitely had to do that, because it'd be rude to use their kitchen without offering them any food. After some more minor debates about how many meatballs I could expect each of them to eat (I was assured that it was more than I thought they could), we decided that just doubling the recipe would be the best way to go. As I was standing in the grocery store, holding four pounds of meat, I thought to myself, 'Wow, 4 pounds of meat to feed maybe 10 people?' I probably should have thought it through a little more.

    My first concern came when I finished putting all the tomato and onion and garlic in the slow cooker, and realized there was no way that it could possibly hold that much sauce and four pounds of meat. It also looked awfully thin. But it smelled good, and I just turned it on and let it go for four hours. Then when I came back, I admitted defeat. There was no way four pounds of meatballs would fit in my slow cooker, as big as it was.

    We transferred it to a bigger slow cooker, and I plopped the meatballs in, pleased that they (barely) fit. What I didn't think about was that this new crock pot wasn't warm at all. It took it an hour to warm up, and by then everyone was starving and the meatballs were nowhere near cooked. So we transfered everything to a big pot and just boiled them for 10 minutes, and then feasted. And boiled some canned pasta sauce because mine was just too thin to put on subs.

    The meatballs tasted fine. But the experience was certainly saddening. This was yet another 'I'd like to try this again because I messed up' recipes. I'm collecting far too many of those.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Chicken that was too drunk....

    A while back, I found a recipe for Tequila Chicken. I saw it and immediately was excited for some reason. I'm not a big tequila fan, so I have no idea why I thought I'd like this. I didn't even question the recipe until I had put the chicken in the marinade, and thought to myself 'my, it smells a lot like alcohol in here.' A full cup of chicken for three breasts was probably a bit much.

    But I went for it anyway, and Boyfriend Bird came over to taste my food, intrigued by the idea of having tequila for dinner. It didn't smell bad, so we were encouraged.

    I took one bite of it, and made a face. He didn't. I think he was trying to be respectful, since I was just really getting into cooking. Then I tried to take another bite, and just admitted 'wow, this isn't enjoyable at all.' I don't think my dog wanted any either.

    He agreed with me that it was just much too strong, and inedible. So with a heavy heart, and empty stomach, we tossed it. And then went out.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Eating my way through England

    The Bird family recently migrated over to England for a week. We had an amazing time, and I took a million pictures. I also took pictures of just about everything I had while there, which has lead me to my next culinary goal: I want to try to cook everything I ate on vacation. I'm sure it won't be easy, but I think it's an interesting goal, and what better way to expand my culinary horizons? So I guess this blog marks the beginning of Mission: Dodgy Grub. Or something British-sounding. I don't know what order I'll do them in, but I look forward to the challenge!

    But first, a run-down of what I ate. In no particular order.

    Please bear in mind that these photos were taken by me, sometimes with my phone, and none of them are terribly good. Most of them I took without flash, in dark restaurants. So I edited some photos to raise the lighting, but that is all. Sorry for the low-quality, but I just get shy about taking pictures with flash and interrupting people's meals. So some photos have high-quality versions available, and others don't.

    This pastry shop was right outside of Windsor Castle. I didn't get anything to eat here, as I was still trying to be healthy and such. Papa Bird grabbed a late breakfast here. I wanted to eat pretty much everything.

    Before this little family migration, I had never eaten lamb. So when we stopped at The Jazz Cafe, and I saw lamb patty pitas on the menu, I decided to be adventurous. Isn't visiting a new place all about expanding your horizons, after all? (How many times can I work that phrase into this entry, I wonder?)
    The lamb pita came with tzatziki sauce, a little side salad, and tabouleh in the pita. Thanks to my obsession with TasteSpotting, I knew exactly what tzatziki was (even some of the ingredients... Papa Bird was impressed), but I had never heard of tabouleh. Once again Mama Bird reminded me that I may never know as much as her, and she knew what it was.
    And my oh my, it was delicious. I could hardly finish it, but I would have gladly eaten two.
    Mission: Dodgy Grub Lamb Pitas with Tabbouleh and Tzatziki Sauce

    This was actually my first meal in England: a cheese and onion chutney sandwich from The Lamb & Lion. Sadly, this was one of the only meals I didn't like. The chutney was sweet, which I hadn't expected at all, and the cheese was simply shredded because the sandwich was cold. Which is (supposedly) normal. It wasn't terrible, and I did eat most of it, but when I recreate this I think I'll make a non-sweet onion mixture.
    Oh. And of course it came with chips. Everything comes with chips.
    Mission: Dodgy Grub Caramelized Onion Sandwich

    Yes, I know Miss Bird is on a diet (and still is, with only about 15 pounds to go!) but when we stopped in the Fudge Kitchen, I knew there was no way I'd leave without something sweet. So instead of splurging like I wanted and buying fudge, I bought some coconut ice. I have, in fact, already tried to make more, but I'll be re-attempting that, since it was a failure. But this candy was delicious. Now I miss it even more...
    Mission: Dodgy Grub Attempt One

    Papa Bird really wanted to show Sister Bird and I Avebury. Which is quite interesting if you aren't familiar with it, I'd encourage you to read up a little on it. While we didn't spend much time there, we did make sure to eat at The Red Lion, a place where my parents had eaten on previous trips. They also have a cool room that has an old well for a table, although that room was closed while we were there so I couldn't be freaked out and think of the Ring while we ate. (I was a little thankful it was closed, honestly.)
    We ate here early on the trip, so the warning of 'oh, portions in England are much smaller, so be ready for that!' was fresh in our minds. So when I decided that I should order fish and chips here, I was expecting a small portion, thinking it'd be perfect before we went off to see Stonehenge. Buy my god, it was enormous.
    It was also amazing. I ended up eating all of the peas, some of the fries, and maybe a little more than half of the fish. I felt terrible leaving so much of it considering how delicious it was, but our hotel had no fridge so it would have just got bad. Mmm, just thinking of it, with some of the tartar sauce... *sigh* How did the myth that English food was bad get started?

    This was Papa Bird's lunch at The Red Lion. I think he ordered three or four meat pies during this trip, but I think this picture came out the best. The same taste I had was also great. It was weird to think of a pie as savory, but i have totally accepted it as legitimate now.

    We went to the Martini Restaurant for someone's birthday while we in Bath. The first dish we had was a bread appetizer, with a few assorted breads that included focaccia, toasted garlic focaccia, and another I cannot recall, all with a light drizzle of pesto. I think I somehow managed to only eat two. They were delicious.

    For my meal at the Martini Restaurant, I went with manicotti alla romana, which the menu described as cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach, in a creamy tomato sauce. I had wanted to order it for lunch at the place we had gone to, but they said it was a dinner special that shouldn't have been on the menu, so seeing it later that night made it seem like fate. And it was as good as I hoped they would be: full of creamy goodness, with just enough taste from the spinach, and in an amazing sauce. I am pretty sure I actually completely cleaned my plate. I am a pig. But you would have too.

    Mama Bird made sure the waitstaff at the Martini Restaurant knew we had a birthday, and to be sure, they came out with a beautiful tiramisu for the lucky birthday boy. I helped myself to a corner, since I had never eaten tiramisu before, and honestly, I was slightly disappointed. I'm not a coffee person at all, so the coffee flavor was too much for me to enjoy, although I'll admit the rest of it was wonderful. The birthday boy certainly enjoyed it!

    For most people, being on a diet would be enough reason to not order dessert. Apparently I am never going to be a good dieter. Because I ordered a chocolate brownie with hazelnut ice cream after finishing off my dinner at the Martini Restaurant. I honestly thought the ice cream tasted very much like just vanilla, which was disappointing, but the brownie tartlet did not disappoint. I think I waddled out of the restaurant that night.

    The George Inn of Lacock really challenged my vow to try new foods. The staff was great, and we ended up talking to a man who it turned out partially owned the place while we were there for the better part of three hours. They had a lovely fireplace, great ale, and just a great atmosphere. They were also more than happy to talk to us and just give advice, and when he wrote the night's specials on the board I knew I had to try something different. I considered getting a steakstone and making myself some medium raw steak, but I knew I'd burn myself on the stone. Really, there was no question that would happen. So I went with something more interesting.
    Yes, I went with locally made organic faggots. All I knew as I ordered it was that it came with some sort of gravy, and it was a meatball of sorts. Of what kind of meat, I didn't know. I did make sure it was primarily pork, since I'm not a huge pork fan. And they were interesting. A little gritty, some pieces were almost hard, but despite that description, they were delicious. The gravy they were in was also wonderful for chips and peas, but I was pleasantly surprised. Then the owner informed me that they were made of the organs of animals that had been used in other dishes, ground up with more meat and made into meatballs. And I wasn't even disgusted, just 'ah, I am becoming more worldly then.'
    I have no idea how I'll go about making these...

    This was Sister Bird's dessert at The George Inn, so it's not something I'm going to try to cook. I honestly don't remember exactly what was in this, beyond it was a puff-pastry like crust, with wonderful chocolate mousse, and then orange liqueur under it. The orange was too strong for all of us, but the mousse was good.

    I actually did not eat this, since it was someone else's dessert. I don't know exactly what flavors it was, but I believe it was a lemon-y vanilla with raspberry sauce. I could be wrong, because that might be strawberry sauce. I wish I had tried it now, though, it looks great.

    This was not my dessert, but the one I ate the most of. This is a spotted dick from the George Inn. Which is actually a sponge cake with raisins and cream. And in my opinion, by far the best dessert we had that night.

    Please forgive this picture. It was by far one of the darkest pictures I took, so there was never a lot of detail to begin with, but making it visible made it look even worse. Apologizes.
    This was sticky toffee pudding, the dessert I ordered at The George Inn. It was good, but I really enjoyed the dessert Mama Bird ordered much more, so we ended up swapping halfway through. Guess I'll have to make both of these...

    I ordered chicken kiev from The Court House, a pub right next to Caerphilly Castle. I had no idea what it was, so I was interesting when I cut into it and a spring of butter poured forth. Once again, it was served with chips and peas, which I think must actually be a law. The chicken was well-breaded, not too oily, and tasted pretty good, although I spent most of my time in the pub busy staring at the beautiful view of the castle. Still, it's always nice to try something new.

    So this was hands down the worse photograph of food I took. This restaurant was The Eastern Eye, supposedly one of the best Indian restaurants in the area we were in. This was the appetizer we all shared, and I honestly have no idea what it was called. The bread that was served with it wasn't naan, as it was very thin and crunchy. There were four dips: a yogurt sauce, diced onions, a very sweet mango chutney, and a 'picked lime' dip. I found the pickled lime absolutely revolting. Mama Bird seemed to enjoy it. The mere memory of that makes me shudder slightly; I have no idea how she ate it. The yogurt was fine, the mango I found far too sweet, so I ate a lot of onions that night. (I swear I'm not always as picky as I sound.)

    Mama Bird and I shared a burner. I no longer remember exactly what she ordered, but I believe it was Moglai Chicken, which I really did not like. It was far too mild for me, and the nuts gave it a very odd texture. She liked it, which is really what counts. I had garlic chili chicken massalla, which was so spicy I had difficulty eating it at points. But it was completely amazing. Papa Bird had so much spice between my dish and his that he was sweating by the end of the night.

    And the other half of the meal from The Eastern Eye, was more chicken from Papa and Sister Bird. Someone made a silly comment about how it was strange they had no beef on the menu, but I won't name that silly bird. And no, it wasn't me. I no longer recall exactly what they ordered, but I believe Sister Bird had 'basic' Chicken Tikka Massalla, and Papa Bird had something rather spicy, which may have been Chicken Mon Pasand. This was my first time having Indian food, so the whole thing was adventurous for me, but it was also the start of a new love. I had no idea at the depth of flavor their spices have, and in the month since I've been back I've gone out for Indian twice. I don't think Boyfriend Bird has enjoyed it as much, but I don't think he likes food quite as spicy as I do.

    Other than the appetizer, of which I ate really only the onion, dessert was the only other disappointing part of my experience at The Eastern Eye. This dessert, a chocolate caramel tart, seemed like it came directly from the freezer, and seemed like something you'd buy in a grocery store. Mama and Papa Bird also had a dessert that seemed like it came from the grocery store. While it certainly didn't ruin the meal, it wasn't the note I would have liked to end the night on.

    Another picture that doesn't do the meal any justice. This pub, The Raven, was one of our favorite places to hang out. They had great bartenders, who were always fun to have a conversation with, great ales and ciders, and the night before we left the city, we tried their pies. And they were amazing. I would have gladly eaten there more than one night to get more of them. I ended up ordering the Raven Ale Pie, using their house ale, and... and I think this was one of the best meals I had on the entire vacation, honestly. If you are ever anywhere near this place, then try it out. Ignore how bad this picture is, it was dark and I was in a corner. Just have faith in me.

    See how adventurous this trip made me? I ordered a chicken curry almost immediately after my Indian Adventure, from a place in London called the Captain's Cabin. I ignored what I think was sour cream, and completely cleaned off my plate. It was great. This is one dish I am really looking forward to learning to cook, because I know there are a million variations, and I'd love to find something close to this.

    Papa Bird and I went to see Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theater. The show was amazing. I could write three or four blog entries on that. (I might.) Sister Bird and Mama Bird went shoe shopping while we were watching the show, but before we split up we ate at a place called Topps Sandwich Bar. It was incredibly small. So I naturally was obnoxious and took pictures. This was Papa Bird's meal, which was advertised as a kebob, and was not at all what we expected. No idea how I'll recreate this, but I'll try!

    My meal at Topps was rather disappointing. It was a cold lamb sandwich, even though I made sure to ask for it warm. But that aside, the lamb just didn't have a flavor I enjoyed. I ate half of it, and ended up picking off Papa Bird's plate for the rest of my meal. Even though I was hungry, Love Never Dies was still amazing.

    One of the last meals I had on vacation was salmon patties, from a pub called the Coal Hole. They were pretty good, and I had to actually defend them from my family's poaching until I ate them.

    The very last meal I had on vacation was in the airport, at a place called Giraffe. It was their soup of the day, which was a chili-like soup with garlic toasted focaccia. This will probably be one of the easier meals to recreate, but it was just what I needed before getting on a plane for eight hours.

    Mama Bird and Sister Bird shared a fajita dish at Las Iguanas, which smelled amazing. We had a fair number of interesting dishes at that table, including a goat dish. Goat is stringier than I expected, but tastes pretty good.

    This was my meal, a simple chicken enchilada with black beans and rice. The presentation here was really good, which gave me a lot to think about. The beans also had a lot of flavor, although the rice itself wasn't that special. The enchilada sauce also tasted quite nice, although Mama and Papa Bird did mock me for picking such a generic dish when there was goat to be had....

    And there is all the food I ate in England, with the exception of breakfast. The only thing that isn't pictured that I'd like to try to make is curried chicken pockets, which I never remembered to take pictures of.

    And if you're ever in Bath, then check out some of those places! You won't regret it!

    (And for anyone who was curious, I actually lost a pound after eating all of that. Guess it was all the walking...)

    Superbowl Sushi

    A friend was making sushi for a superbowl party, so I invited myself over to learn to make them. I only ate one, but it was yummy. I took the picture with my camera so it turned out terribly, but you get the idea.

    We did California rolls, cucumber/carrot/green pepper, shrimp and green pepper, and... a few other combinations. I'm very slow at it. But now that I know how, I may try again someday and make my very own sushi army...

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Coconut Ice: a lesson learned

    While I was in England, I bought some candy.

    Yes, I know 'you're on a diet, why would you buy a bag of candy?'  Because it was full of coconut, colorful, and tasted delicious.  And when I came home from England, and as I ate the last piece of candy with Boyfriend Bird, I thought to myself, 'you know, this tastes just like sugar and coconut.  I wonder how hard it would be to make.'

    Well, worse things have happened after asking that question, I suppose.

    I hit up Google.  And went with the first recipe I found.  I'm not sure if it was the recipe, or if it was the lack of candy thermometer, but it.... did not exactly turn out well. First off, I don't think the water ever really finished 'gently melting' the sugar, and I ended up eventually saying 'well, I think it's good...'

    The reason I keep mentioning the candy thermometer is that, obviously, I was lacking one. I did have Mama Bird's meat thermometer, and after looking for a while I shrugged and said that it'd do. Which it would have. If it didn't automatically switch off when it hit 200 degrees, maybe it would have been helpful. But so without a way to tell when the sugar water had hit the temperature I wanted, and a really lacking understanding of what 'when a soft ball forms' meant, I just decided at some point that it was good enough.

    The mixture looked great once I had combined it all with the coconut, so I stopped worrying. It smelled great, and the little bits I stole and stuck in my mouth were delicious, and worth the minor burns I'm confident they gave me. I was a little unhappy that I didn't think to melt the vanilla in the liquid, and it ended up giving the coconut a slightly off-white color.

    Then I poured it into the pan it was supposed to be firming in, and noticed a problem.

    That little bottle of green food coloring is there because we didn't have red. I was just going to proclaim the coconut was wintergreen flavored and see if I could fool people, and I was chuckling to myself as I finished patting down the first layer of coconut. And when I looked back in my bowl, I realized it was the only layer of coconut. Either I made way too little, or this recipe wanted a much smaller pan, because I certainly did not have two layers.

    So the experiment did not go well. It still tastes quite good, although sweeter than the original candy. It really does taste just like only coconut and sugar. I think I may try it again some time, but only after I obtain a real candy thermometer... and a different recipe. Every other one I've since looked at uses condensed milk. So at least I learned that I should look at more than one recipe before just blindly following it.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Blueberry muffins and silicone bakeware

    Today, I ate my last cornbread muffin. They were delicious, but all good things must come to an end, and it was time to move onto a new flavor of muffin. My TasteSpotting brought up a picture of some delicious looking blueberry muffins, and I decided that those sounded good.

    It helped that the local Harris Teeter was having a sale on blueberries. And yes, I know they're not in season, but we're not going to focus on that.

    Aside from a new beginning in muffins, today marks the first day I actually used my silicone bakeware for baking. Months ago I used the heart shaped ones to make Bailey's flavored cheesecake, but it didn't involve baking it. I also tried to eat it after only letting it sit for about two hours, which was a disaster. Mama and Papa Bird flew into the nest the next day and ate all the remaining ones with some friends, and assured me that they were wonderful the next day. If only I had been patient!

    But baking with the silicone brought up a big problem for me. Did I spray the liners with Pam, or did I just pray to the cooking gods that it'd turn out okay? Well, I opted to not spray the first batch, just in case you aren't supposed to and it'd ruin them somehow. So if this ruins them, at least it'll only ruin six muffins.

    A recent check on the muffins has shown that the berries are rupturing, spilling their delicious juices all over the muffins. They look delicious.

    First batch out, and I will confirm that you do not need to spray silicone baking liners, or at least these. Now, these muffins...

    I ended up making Chocolate Suze's blueberry muffins, because I loved her pictures. I was a little intrigued by the lack of baking soda or baking powder, but I wasn't concerned because it was supposed to be self-rising flour, and... and then Mama Bird mentioned 'oh, I thought all flour was self-rising.' So I havev extremely dense muffins that did not exactly rise. Despite that, they are not at all bad. Very dense, and not exactly what I'd expect, but definitely tasty. Next time I make them I will put something in them so they actually rise, but my breakfast for the next few weeks is secure, either way.

    I am quite impressed by the bakeware, too. I can' tell if the bakeware is a little smaller than my other muffin tins, if it was the lining, or the lack of rising, but we'll find out when I make the next batch of muffins. We'll also find out how well these babies freeze...

    And for anyone else who didn't know you can make your all-purpose flour self rising, here is the 'official' formula for converting King Arthur all-purpose flour into self-rising. Take 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder and half a teaspoon salt into a measuring cup, then add fluffed flour into it until you reach one cup. Stir well, with a fork or something, and voilĂ , one cup self-rising flour.

    I'm down to 16 muffins already (I... may have snacked on two and taken two for breakfast the next morning morning), so they won't even make it through February. I accidentally bought too many blueberries, so I have enough for a second batch. We'll see how they taste when I don't mess them up.