Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Biscuit Muffins

At Suzy’s request, here is the recipe for the muffins that I made to go with our tuna salad picnic lunch.¬† These muffins look and taste just like biscuits, so they make a great side to soups or stews.¬† And apparently salads ūüôā¬† These are fantastic with honey, and I imagine they’d be just as spectacular with some homemade strawberry jam (hint, hint!).

I feel a little contradictory posting this recipe during my unprocessed month.¬† It certainly doesn’t pass the test!¬† To make it a more healthy muffin, I would use white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and replace the sugar with 1/6 cup of honey.¬† Yes, I know it’s hard to measure a sixth of a cup.¬† Eyeball it, and go short on the honey if you can’t get exact.

This recipe came from The Muffin Cookbook: Muffins for All Occasions.  Sure enough, picnics in the park are one such occasion!

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 20 minutes   Estimated cost: Way less than $1 for 12 muffins

Southern Biscuit Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 T baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 12 muffins cups.  (These muffins brown better on the sides and bottoms when baked without paper liners.)  In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in milk just until flour mixture is moistened.  Spoon into muffins cups.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pan.  Cool on wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins


October 3, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegetarian | , , , | 1 Comment

Homemade Applesauce

This weekend was damp and chilly.¬† It felt like the tail-end of fall, putting me in the mood for all sorts of comfort foods.¬† So when I was given a sack full of homegrown apples (thank you, Dad & Suzy!), I immediately set to work making applesauce.¬† I thought about just making a few servings for me and Will to snack on.¬† Then I saw just how many apples were threatening to break through my paper sack and decided that a winter’s worth of sauce was in order!Canned Homemade Applesauce

My first ever batch of sauce came out better than I imagined.¬† The tart apples mixed with sweet brown sugar made my mouth pucker just enough to make a perfect Mmmm.¬† Using the crock pot, I made enough to can 7 pints of the good stuff with just a quarter cup leftover to savor in the moment.¬† I would have licked the crock clean if it wouldn’t have burned my tongue.¬† I promised Will some fresh sauce for tomorrow¬† morning, so I can get another fix then!

I can’t give you an accurate cost on this, since I got the apples for free.¬† And since I couldn’t tell you how many pounds of apples I used, estimating won’t work either.¬† But I can tell you that it is worth every penny to make your own applesauce.¬† Nothing beats the full flavor of a homemade sauce, and knowing how much sugar is in it and that it’s made without preservatives.

This recipe contains the amounts I used for a large batch to can.  A pint jar is probably 4 good-sized servings, so for a 4-serving batch divide the ingredients by 7.  Or skip the math and just make a whole lotta the stuff and share it with your new best friends!Homemade Applesauce

Prep time: 20 minutes    Inactive cook time: 4-6 hours

Homemade Applesauce

  • 25-30 small- to medium-sized tart apples
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 T vanilla

Peel and core apples, and cut into bite-sized chunks.  Drop into the crock pot as you dice them, and drizzle with lemon juice as you go to prevent them from browning.  Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Cook in crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until apples are soft.  Mash with a fork or potato


Yields 7 pint jars

September 19, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuna Pasta Salad

I’ll be honest, I completely forgot that today was the official $5 Challenge day!¬† Will and I had a picnic lunch with my parents this afternoon, 2 hours from home, so our meal options were severely limited to anything that could withstand the drive there and back.

I improved upon a pasta salad that I brought to a potluck a few weeks ago.¬† It went over well the first time, but I thought it was missing a little something.¬† This time around I nailed it!¬† I added tuna for an extra protein boost, but it can definitely be left out to turn this back to a vegetarian meal.¬† I used Anaheim peppers, because that is the one thing that has grown in abundance in my garden, but Will thought it was a little too spicy as a result.¬† I recommend sticking with red bell peppers if you’re feeding kids… or less adventurous adults.¬† However, even my 1-1/2 year-old buddy loved the noodles, which had picked up a little bit of the heat from the peppers.

Since we were biking after lunch, and because it’s too darn chilly to be filled by a simple pasta salad lunch, I wanted something to round out the meal.¬† I served some tasty baking soda biscuit-type muffins with local honey– which, incidentally, is great for keeping the ragweed blues at bay!¬† For the salad and the muffins, this meal probably cost around $6.¬† Will and I each had lunch size servings of the pasta (okay, I had two), plus the folks had a share as well.¬† There are easily four servings left.¬† I’m a little too sleepy to do the math, but I think the cost per serving works out to somewhere around dirt cheap!

$5 Challenge: mission accomplished!

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes     Estimated cost: $5.50

Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 1 box tri-colored rotini, cooked and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper (or something spicier if you’re brave!), diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons


  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Dash each of salt, pepper, and sugar, or more to taste

Toss the salad ingredients together.   To make the dressing, combine ingredients  in a small container with a lid and shake until well-mixed.  Add dressing to the salad and stir gently to combine.  This salad is best when chilled for an hour.

Serves 4 for a meal, 8 as a side



September 17, 2011 Posted by | Recipes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spinach Salad

We all keep hearing about heart-healthy foods.¬† This salad is not only a boost for your heart, but it’s also packed with iron and probably a lot of those antioxidants everyone keeps talking about.

I had some apprehension when I first made this salad for Will.¬† I knew I would enjoy it.¬† And I knew he likes spinach in other things.¬† No harm in trying this one, since it’s a 3 minute fix.¬† Besides, if he didn’t like it, more for me!¬† Much to my surprise, he devoured this salad and asked for more.

The ingredients are more pricey than I normally like to spend.¬† However, this recipe made at least 6 salads, with over half a bag of cranberries leftover.¬† And it’s still cheaper than ordering the same salad at your favorite restaurant!

Prep time: 3 minutes (or less!)     Approximate cost: $10

Spinach Salad

  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • small bag chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 bag dried cranberries
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette (or make your own– 1 part balsamic vinegar to 3 parts oil)

Toss all ingredients together and serve right away.

Serves 6-8

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Vegetarian | , , | Leave a comment

Spiced Black Beans

Here’s the deal. I made sweet potato muffins for dessert but couldn’t wait that long to eat them. So in order to justify having dessert for dinner, I decided to make something extra-healthy for a side dish. I had no idea it would also be extra-delicious. Will was the first to test my concoction to see if the spices were right. His response? “Oh WOW!!” Now that is a glowing review if I’ve ever heard one. And he was right. It was totally “Oh WOW!!”

This actually made enough for us to each have two generous servings. Served with rice and a salad, it could easily be a main course for 2 rather than a side dish for 4. It’s also a quick fix; 3 minutes of prep and 5 minutes to saute, then the rest is simmer time.

Prep and cook time:  25 minutes       Approximate cost:  $4 total

Spiced Black Beans

  • 1/2 each green, red, and yellow bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1/2 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 1/2 T cumin
  • 1 1/2 T coriander
  • 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 3 T chopped fresh parsley

Saute the vegetables in 1 T olive oil over high heat for about 2 minutes until they just start to get tender. Add beans, corn, and spices, except for parsley. Continue to saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to combine the spices. Stir in 1/4 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the beans will be more tender and the flavors more blended.) Turn off the heat, remove bay leaf, and add parsley before serving.

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main course

July 31, 2010 Posted by | Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , , | Leave a comment