Apple Jelly

I was recently reunited with something I miss very much – a loaded apple tree! Friends of mine who had a house in the French countryside had a tree that, come fall, had so many apples, the limbs threatened to break off. Not wanting to be an accomplice in apple-cide, I decided to do my part to save the tree, and the apples, and make…

I was recently reunited with something I miss very much – a loaded apple tree! Friends of mine who had a house in the French countryside had a tree that, come fall, had so many apples, the limbs threatened to break off. Not wanting to be an accomplice in apple-cide, I decided to do my part to save the tree, and the apples, and make Apple Jelly.

Continue Reading Apple Jelly...

Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jelly

Pepper jelly is a delicious enigma: the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. It is nothing short of perfection on a cracker with cream cheese. This recipe is extremely versatile, use whatever color peppers you have on hand, and adjust the heat level to your liking, from just a hint of heat to inferno-in-your-mouth. This […]

Pepper jelly is a delicious enigma: the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. It is nothing short of perfection on a cracker with cream cheese.

This recipe is extremely versatile, use whatever color peppers you have on hand, and adjust the heat level to your liking, from just a hint of heat to inferno-in-your-mouth.

Jars of red and orange pepper jelly with printable labels

This sweet and spicy pepper jelly is one of my favorite recipes from my canning ebook series, That’s My Jam. It’s been a few years since I’ve made it, but recently a glut of peppers from our CSA left me no other choice than to make a batch or two. The result was so pretty I decided to share it here, complete with brand new labels (the ones in the ebook are specifically for red pepper jelly, so a new, more color-versatile label seemed to be in order).

I’m actually not particularly fond of peppers, if you can believe it. Pepper jelly is the exception, however, and I will devour an entire jar myself with gusto.

Bright sunlight making the red and orange pepper jelly sparkle

I’ve actually posted a pepper jelly recipe before, a traditional recipe using liquid pectin, but I reworked the recipe using Pomona’s pectin for the ebook a few years back. The updated recipe also incorporates the chopped peppers rather than straining them out, which results in a slightly chunkier but noticeably more flavorful jam (not to mention a higher yield).

Another benefit to using a low sugar pectin? It’s much quicker. In fact, the third batch of this jelly I made (I had high hopes for the purple version using some pretty purple sweet peppers, alas, ’twas not meant to be…) only took 30 minutes start to finish, minus the water bath (which I opted to skip for the third batch since it was smaller and ugly and not worth preserving). Even including the 10 minute boiling water bath, you can easily be done in 45 minutes… an hour total if we’re including dishes. Still, for jam, that’s definitely on the quick side, and one of the reasons I love canning with Pomona’s pectin.

(Be sure to click through and scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable labels… including a NEW editable template option for your canning convenience!)

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Chocolate Banana Muffins

What to do with browning bananas? It’s the question that never stops needing to be answered. The other day I was about to make a batch of my Yogurt Banana Bread with some over ripe bananas, but I decided to change it up last minute. I added little cocoa powder and a handful of chocolate […]

The post Chocolate Banana Muffins appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What to do with browning bananas? It’s the question that never stops needing to be answered. The other day I was about to make a batch of my Yogurt Banana Bread with some over ripe bananas, but I decided to change it up last minute. I added little cocoa powder and a handful of chocolate chips to the batter, then scooped it into a muffin tin instead of a bread pan for easy portioning, and I got these tasty little Chocolate Banana Muffins. They’re the perfect not-too-sweet treat that I can keep in my freezer for days that I want a little something special to go with my morning coffee.

Chocolate banana muffins in the muffin tin, on a cooling rack, and a wooden cutting board

Use Ripe Bananas for the Best Flavor

I know chocolate banana muffins sound delicious, but have patience and wait until you have some brown, over ripe bananas to make this recipe. Over ripe bananas are sweeter and their banana flavor is more intense, which is what you want for the banana flavor to really come through in the muffins. Plus, they’re easier to mash when they’re soft and super ripe. ;)

How to Freeze Chocolate Banana Muffins

I love the fact that these banana muffins are already in single-serving portions, which makes them really great for freezing and thawing as-needed (or “as-wanted”?). To freeze the muffins, make sure they cool completely to room temperature, then place them in a gallon-sized zip top freezer bag and transfer to the freezer. To thaw, you can either let them sit for 15-30 minutes at room temperature, or microwave for about 30 seconds until they’re warm and the chocolate chips are melted. They’re sooooo good with a cup of coffee!

Other Muffin Add-in Ideas

Muffins like this are kind of fun because you can really play around with the add-ins (in addition to, or in place of the chocolate chips). Peanut butter chips would be really good in these muffins, as would something like shredded coconut. Walnuts are a classic with banana bread, but almonds would probably taste really nice with this banana-chocolate combo, too.

Chocolate Banana Muffins in a muffin tin, some turned on their side

 
Chocolate Banana Muffins in a muffin tin, some turned on their side

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Chocolate Banana Muffins are a delicious freezer-friendly sweet treat, and a great way to use up brown bananas so they don't go to waste!
Total Cost $3.97 recipe / $0.33 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 232.86kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2-3 bananas) $0.42
  • 1 cup plain yogurt $0.67
  • 2 large eggs $0.46
  • 1/2 cup sugar $0.40
  • 4 Tbsp metled butter $0.52
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.30
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour $0.23
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder $0.21
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips $0.70

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Mash the bananas well. You'll need one cup mashed bananas. If you have slightly less than one cup, you can use slightly more yogurt to make up for the banana. If you have slightly more than one cup, you can reduce the yogurt slightly to compensate for the extra banana.
  • Add the mashed banana to a large mixing bowl along with the yogurt, eggs, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk the ingredients together well.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir just until they are combined. It's okay if the mixture is a little lumpy. Do not over stir. Finally, fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Divide the batter between the 12 wells of the muffin tin (it will fill each well up to the top). Transfer the muffin tin to the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  • After baking, remove the muffins from the tin and allow them to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 232.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.8g | Protein: 4.37g | Fat: 8.02g | Sodium: 233.58mg | Fiber: 2.22g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up front view of the chocolate banana muffins in the tin

How to Make Chocolate Banana Muffins – Step by Step Photos

Mashed banana in a measuring cup with a fork

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Mash 2-3 bananas well with a fork. You’ll need 1 cup mashed bananas. If you have slightly less banana, you can add a little extra yogurt to make up for it. If you have a little more than 1 cup banana, you can reduce the yogurt a little to compensate for the extra banana.

Wet ingredients for the banana muffins in a bowl

Add the mashed banana to a large mixing bowl along with 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 large eggs, ½ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk these ingredients together well.

Dry ingredients for muffins in a bowl

In a separate bowl, stir together 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt. Stir until the dry ingredients are very well combined.

wet and dry ingredients being stirred together with a spatula

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. The mixture will be lumpy, but try not to over stir (the photo shows the mixture half stirred, check the next photo for the appearance of the fully stirred batter).

Chocolate chips being added to the batter

Finally, fold a ½ cup chocolate chips into the batter, again taking care not to over stir.

Muffin batter in the muffin tin, unbaked.

Divide the batter between 12 wells of a muffin tin. The batter will fill each well all the way up to the top. Transfer the muffin tin to the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked chocolate banana muffins in the muffin tin

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove the baked muffins from the tin to cool before serving.

Chocolate banana muffins in the muffin tin, on a cooling rack, and on a cutting board

Enjoy!

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Confetti Amaretti Cookies

Soft and chewy and ready to party, these birthday cake amaretti cookies are studded with rainbow sprinkles and flavored with almond and cake batter extract. Rainbow sprinkles make everything better, and my popular amaretti cookies are no exception! With pops of bright color peeking through the sugary cracks, and a nostalgic cake batter flavor with […]

Soft and chewy and ready to party, these birthday cake amaretti cookies are studded with rainbow sprinkles and flavored with almond and cake batter extract.

Rainbow sprinkles make everything better, and my popular amaretti cookies are no exception! With pops of bright color peeking through the sugary cracks, and a nostalgic cake batter flavor with a hint of almond, there’s no denying these confetti amaretti are little bites of fun!

Messy arrangement of funfetti amaretti cookies with broken and bitten into cookies to show texture

With the half dozen different amaretti flavors I’ve posted so far, I’m actually kind of shocked I didn’t think of this sooner. Especially considering my obsession with wordplay and recipe names (funfetti fours, strawciatella, cookies ‘n cream puffs, the list goes on. I often name a recipe before I develop it for this very reason.)

I mean, if there was any cookie more destined for a funfetti/confetti adaptation, it’s amaretti. Funfetti amaretti. Confetti amaretti. Spaghetti amaretti? (Ok, nix that last one).

It’s virtually impossible to look at these cookies and not feel just a little bit better about the world.

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Peach Scones

Peach Scones- fluffy, buttery scones dotted with fresh peaches and finished with a sweet honey vanilla glaze. These homemade scones are going to become your new favorite breakfast treat.  Millions of peaches, peaches for me! I feel like we ha…

Peach Scones- fluffy, buttery scones dotted with fresh peaches and finished with a sweet honey vanilla glaze. These homemade scones are going to become your new favorite breakfast treat.  Millions of peaches, peaches for me! I feel like we have millions of peaches, thanks to our trees. We’ve picked SO many peaches. I have been eating…

The post Peach Scones appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Moist and tender coffee cake muffins studded with fresh blueberries and a cinnamon sugar topping that bakes to a delightful crunch. Turns out my grandma’s old fashioned sour cream coffee cake recipe makes for some pretty spectacular muffins. For a while now I’ve wondered if my grandma’s old fashioned coffee cake recipe would translate into […]

Moist and tender coffee cake muffins studded with fresh blueberries and a cinnamon sugar topping that bakes to a delightful crunch.

Turns out my grandma’s old fashioned sour cream coffee cake recipe makes for some pretty spectacular muffins.

Scattered blueberry muffins and loose blueberries on a marble background

For a while now I’ve wondered if my grandma’s old fashioned coffee cake recipe would translate into muffins.

The answer?

Resoundingly YES.

I may as well burn all my previous muffin recipes because this one beats them all. Sorry sourdough muffins, these coffee cake muffins have my whole heart (ok ok that’s not fair to the sourdough muffins which really are quite good. Seeing as these are made with butter, sour cream and almost double the sugar, I mean, it’s not entirely a fair comparison).

Split blueberry muffin to show inside texture, on marble with more muffins and blueberries in the background

I think the keys that make this recipe so spectacular are twofold: sour cream for adds moistness, richness and a hint of tang, and the crispy sugar topping for a truly terrific textural experience.

I’m always a fan of muffins with toppings; the more streusel the better, I say. But sometimes it pays to be minimalist. In this case, a simple sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar bakes up into a light and crispy topping that puts any streusel to shame. Not to mention it’s way, way easier.

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Ultimate S’mores Cookies

Ultimate S’mores Cookies–I turned everyone’s favorite campfire treat into a gooey and delicious cookie! Graham cracker crumbs, chocolate, and marshmallows are all here in this decadent S’mores Cookie. All the flavor, no campfire required! O…

Ultimate S’mores Cookies–I turned everyone’s favorite campfire treat into a gooey and delicious cookie! Graham cracker crumbs, chocolate, and marshmallows are all here in this decadent S’mores Cookie. All the flavor, no campfire required! One of my all-time favorite summer flavor combinations is a classic s’mores. Crunchy graham cracker, melty chocolate, and gooey marshmallows? I…

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Drunken Peach Jam

Peach and bourbon come together in this delightfully tipsy drunken peach jam. With ripe summer peaches, a splash of lemon juice and more than a splash of bourbon, this might just be your new summer jam. Homemade jam is a perfect way to preserve the best of summer peaches to enjoy throughout the year. I […]

Peach and bourbon come together in this delightfully tipsy drunken peach jam. With ripe summer peaches, a splash of lemon juice and more than a splash of bourbon, this might just be your new summer jam.

Homemade jam is a perfect way to preserve the best of summer peaches to enjoy throughout the year. I mean, what’s better than a spoonful of sunshine in the dead of winter? How about a boozy spoonful of sunshine (indeed!)

Glass jars of orange peach jam on a pink background, with a small glass of bourbon and peaches cut in half.

Peach season is far too short, if you ask me.

May is really too early, even if you see peaches starting to pop up at the markets they are usually not the best, having been picked prematurely.

June is when the peaches really start to shine, and by July, when the heat of summer has infused the fruit with liquid sunshine and sugar, well, that’s your cue to eat all the peaches your stomach can handle.

But for the rest… the extra peaches sitting on the countertop, starting to soften and wrinkle… why not turn those peaches into homemade jam so you can enjoy them all year round?

Open glass jar of drunken peach jam with a gold spoon and hang tag label, showing the perfect texture of the jam.

I really haven’t felt like making much jam lately. Let’s just say I’m all jammed out. Which, if you count just how many jars of jam I’ve made over the past few years, sort of makes sense.

But… when faced with a giant box of seconds peaches, ripe and juicy and just begging to be used, I simply couldn’t resist getting out my canning pot, gathering a mishmash of random leftover jars, and diving right in to a big bubbling batch of this beautiful boozy jam.

Seconds are a great option if you’re willing to accept a few bumps and bruises. But for jam, since you’re peeling and processing the fruit anyway, it’s really not a problem (just cut out any bruised areas and make sure the fruit hasn’t gone rotten, otherwise it doesn’t matter what the peach looks like as long as it’s ripe and juicy!)

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Sourdough Ice Cream

You won’t believe your tastebuds: this homemade ice cream tastes just like freshly baked sourdough bread! Topped with crunchy caramelized breadcrumbs, it’s a truly unique and delicious treat you have to taste to believe. Bread-flavored ice cream might sound a bit weird, but trust me on this one: it’s simply divine. And a sprinkle of […]

You won’t believe your tastebuds: this homemade ice cream tastes just like freshly baked sourdough bread! Topped with crunchy caramelized breadcrumbs, it’s a truly unique and delicious treat you have to taste to believe.

Bread-flavored ice cream might sound a bit weird, but trust me on this one: it’s simply divine. And a sprinkle of sweet sourdough breadcrumbs on top makes for the perfect textural contrast to the rich, custard-based ice cream.

Metal pie tin with three scoops of Sourdough Ice Cream, sprinkled with sourdough breadcrumbs and three spoons on the side.

Back in December (you know, back when eating out at restaurants was totally normally and not terrifying) we sat down to a wonderful meal at Rolf & Daughters—one of our favorite neighborhood spots that never disappoints.

After a soul-satisfying meal, we glanced at the dessert menu, sure that we were too stuffed to even consider another bite.

And then I saw it.

Sourdough. Ice. Cream.

My eyes lit up. My stomach growled (how that was possible I have no idea). I may have drooled a little bit.

Despite it sounding a little bit weird, I knew I just had to try it, and ordered a serving for us to share.

The dish arrived, and rather than scoops of ice cream like I expected, the ice cream was spread on top of a cake-like layer underneath and topped with sweet crunchy bits (I don’t exactly recall the exact components, I just know that it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time). At one point we looked at each other, our eyes widening over the tops of our spoons, not quite believing what we were tasting.

It was ice cream. That tasted like sweet, toasted sourdough bread.

Overhead showing three scoops of Sourdough Ice Cream in a metal tin, with three spoons and a dish of breadcrumbs on the side.

We’ve had Rolf’s sourdough ice cream twice now, the second time things looked a little bit different since it came in a take out box along with the rest of our dinner, dropped on our doorstep by a gloved and masked delivery person. I miraculously managed to make that little half-pint container last for 3 nights by only eating a spoonful at a time (trust me, it took nearly all my willpower not to devour it in one sitting).

But now… well, let’s just say I’ve cracked the secret to making this amazing sourdough ice cream at home, so willpower is no longer an issue (so give me a triple scoop, please!)

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Sesame Cucumber Salad

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer […]

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer cucumbers, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. So, if this Sesame Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!

Originally posted July 2019, updated 7-9-2020.

A bowl of Sesame Cucumber Salad from above, chopsticks on the side

Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?

I strongly urge you not to substitute the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. While people have substituted the rice vinegar with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, I find them both a bit too strong for this recipe. Also, be mindful not to use “seasoned” rice vinegar, which has other ingredients added and tastes quite different.

Where Do You Find Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

The other key ingredient in this cucumber salad is toasted sesame oil. Unlike regular sesame oil, toasted sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor and a little bit can really add a LOT of flavor to any dish. You can find toasted sesame oil in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or Asian grocery stores. It may not say “toasted” on the label, but you’ll know it is toasted by the deep walnut color. Untoasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil.

How Long Does This Salad Last?

This salad does get kind of limp in the refrigerator fairly quickly, but it’s still insanely good once the cucumbers soften. They’re almost like pickled cucumber slices at that point. They’ve been marinating in the spicy-sweet vinegar solution and are just totally delicious! I enjoy this salad for about 2-3 days after making it (if I don’t eat it all sooner). If you like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, try cutting them into chunks instead of thin slices.

Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

 
Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and vibrant in flavor. It's the perfect summer side dish or companion to any Southeast Asian inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.44 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 62.82kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 large cucumbers $1.38
  • 3 green onions $0.13
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the peanuts, green onions, and dressing to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 62.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.63g | Protein: 1.87g | Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 199.82mg | Fiber: 1.4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad

How to Make Sesame Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Spicy vinegar dressing in a bowl

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.

Bottle of toasted sesame oil and a bottle of rice vinegar

Here is the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar that I used. The sesame oil is from Aldi and the rice vinegar is from Kroger.

Two cucumbers, one half peeled

Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.

Two cucumbers, one mostly sliced

I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. 

Sliced green onion and chopped peanuts

Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers, green onion, and peanuts

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, add the sliced green onion and chopped peanuts, then pour the dressing over top.

Finished sesame cucumber salad in the bowl

Finally, stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.

Side view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks on the side

The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!

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