Cranberry Corn Bread Mini Loaves

I have learned a lot about blogging in the 9 months A Solitary Feast has been up and running but I still have so much more to learn. Today I learned one of the biggest lessons a food blogger can learn. Don’t schedule a round of taking food photos when you haven’t eaten all day. You will only intend to take a little bite but you will eat the whole thing and not have anything to photograph. Opps!
I don’t know what surprised me more, looking down and realizing I ate both loaves or that I actually liked this corn bread. I am not usually a fan of corn bread’s texture. However, I had to try because it had cranberries in it and it came from The Great Grain Breads cookbook. A cookbook for which I have expressed my admiration before. I have loved everything I have made from that cookbook so far.

The only change I would make to the recipe is to double the cranberries in it and make sure I mixed it well. The second loaf didn’t have very many cranberries in it.

Cranberry Cornbread Miniloaves

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup buttermilk
2 TBS salad oil or melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt and baking soda, mix well. Mix in the cornmeal, wheat germ, and nuts. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and eggs. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Fold in the cranberries. Divide batter between two 5×3 inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from The Great Whole Grain Breads Cookbook

A Solitary Thanksgiving Feast–Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I have come to the conclusion that mashed potatoes and gravy are the least photogenic food on the planet. Fortunately, they taste a lot better than they look.

Steph's Smashed Potatoes

3 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 TBS butter
1 TBS milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes into a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 60 minutes. Drain the potatoes and roughly mash with a fork or a potato masher. Add the milk, butter and salt. Continue mashing until the butter is melted and the potatoes are the desired consistency, you want them mashed not liquefied.

Variation: Mince one clove garlic and microwave 45 seconds. Add garlic and 1 ½ teaspoons chopped chives to the potatoes and mix well.

Adapted from a recipe by Steph Norton

The key to success with the gravy is to use the best broth you can find. I usually use my homemade vegetable broth but was out this time. Instead, I used Swanson’s chicken broth. Make sure you taste before you season, especially with canned broth. You may need to add very little extra salt.


2 cup broth
2 TBS flour
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the broth until hot but not boiling. Place the flour in a small bowl and ladle in enough hot broth to dissolve the flour, about ¾ cup broth. Use a small whisk and whisk until smooth. Pour it back into the hot broth, whisking the broth as you pour. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes or until lightly thickened. Add salt and pepper, if desired. 2 cups gravy.

Adapted from a Mollie Katzen Cookbook, I don’t remember which one

A Solitary Thanksgiving Feast– Spiced Cornish Game Hen

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Finding a suitable main course for my solitary Thanksgiving feast was difficult. I wanted something that didn’t leave tons of leftovers and didn’t cost a fortune but also seemed special, not something you would have at just any meal. I finally settled on Cornish game hens.

I think Cornish game hens are nice alternative to turkey. You get all the positives of turkey, the dramatic presentation of a whole bird, the choice between light and dark meat, and they taste good. You get none of the negatives, the dried out meat, the hefty price tag, the hours in the kitchen cooking the dang thing and more leftovers then you can ever eat. And let’s face it, anything in miniature is just darn cute.

The spice rub makes enough for two 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens. If you only do one save the rest of the rub in a small jar or baggie and use it on chicken later.

Spice Rubbed Cornish Game Hen

1-2 Cornish hens (approximately 1 1/2 pound each)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 TBS spice rub
1 1/2 tsp canola oil

Spice Rub
1 TBS paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse each game hen under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the cavity of each hen with 1/2 of the lemon wedges and half the cloves of garlic. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Mix the oil and 1 tablespoon of the rub together into a paste. Rub each bird on the outside with the rub mixture. Arrange birds on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes. Check for doneness with a digital thermometer by reading the temperature measured at the thickest part (usually right between the thigh and body of the bird.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Adapted from The Guilty Kitchen

Gingerbread French Toast And My Pet Peeve

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It has only been cold here in North Dakota for about a week and you know what? I am already sick of people complaining about how cold it is. Unless this is your first winter in North Dakota, you know winter in North Dakota is cold. Last winter was cold. This winter is going to be cold. And guess what? Next winter is going to be cold too. Get over it! Complaining about the weather, all day, every day isn’t going to make it any warmer.

Okay. That is the end of today’s rant. Lets move on to today’s recipe. In the winter time, I like to start the day with more substantial carb heavy breakfasts. I use a lot of warming spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to help fortify me for the cold.

Gingerbread French Toast

2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp allspice
½ cup milk
3-4 slices of bread

Place eggs and milk in an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish and mix well. Add the spices to the eggs; mix well again. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a slice of butter to the pan. When the butter is melted, add the bread to the egg pan and let it sit for a few seconds then flip. Remove the bread from the egg mixture. Put the wet bread in the hot pan and cook until brown underneath. Flip the bread with a spatula and cook until the bread is brown on the other side. Any leftover egg mixture can be kept in the fridge for up to three says.

Adapted from One Mollie Katzen’s cookbooks for Kids