Sunday, July 31, 2011

Muffin Monday: Blueberry Muffins

You might think you have had the best ever blueberry muffins before, but trust me, you have not!! Not yet anyway, until you make these bad boys. America's Test Kitchen has all the best recipes. Yes, there are multiple steps. Yes, sometimes time consuming. Yes, worth every effort!!

Makes 12 muffins

If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

Lemon-Sugar Topping
  • 1/3cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
  • 1 1/8cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2large eggs
  • 4tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4cup vegetable oil
  • 1cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

  • 2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • 3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

  • 4. Following photos below, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

  • 5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honey Oat Wheat Bread

This is one of the yummiest homemade wheat breads I have had!! It is not totally heavy, it is spongy almost. And sweet and healthy on top of it. And no odd ingredients. My husband liked this so much that he said he wouldn't eat out anymore if I would just make him a peanut butter honey sandwich on this bread for work every day. Done and done!! Perfect for Sunday. Perfect for soup. Perfect for snack!
This recipe is courtesy of The Food Nanny. She is an adorable woman whose mission it is to save dinnertime and family's dinner together. She has a great plan. You can check it out here.

1tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
2 1/4cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees)
3tablespoon Canola Oil
3tablespoon Honey
1large Egg
5tablespoons Rolled Oats
3cup Whole Wheat Flour
2teaspoon Salt
3cup All-Purpose Flour
Generously grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and set aside. Note: My favorite loaf pans for bread baking are glass. Your bread will brown beautifully and look even better than what you can buy in a bakery! Combine the yeast and water in a small bowl. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, mix the oil, honey, egg, oats, whole wheat flour, and salt. Add the yeast mixture. By hand or with the dough hook of the mixer, mix the dough to a spongelike consistency, about 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes or until you begin to see little bubbles appear and the sponge is almost doubled. Gradually add 21/2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Knead in the mixer for 5 minutes or by hand on a floured surface. Add more flour a little at a time only as necessary to make a moderately soft dough. (Put some canola oil on your hands if needed to make the dough easier to handle.) Return the dough to the bowl, greased, and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes. Punch down and knead briefly to remove air bubbles. Divide the dough in half. Shape two loaves. Place the loaves in the prepared pans top side down to coat the dough with oil, then turn back upright. Top with a light sprinkling of oats. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until a finger mark remains when a corner of the dough is poked, 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes. For a soft crust, immediately remove the loaves from the pans and place on kitchen towels to cool. For a crustier crust, place the loaves on wire racks to cool. Brought to you by BYUTV The Food Nanny

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Favorite Friday: Blogs that make me happy

You know how there are a few blogs that you just think are so great? That you get all excited when they are updated and fill your soul with happy thoughts? I have a few if you are interested.

1) I had a friend in college, Ryan, who was a great guy. He fought a year long battle with cancer and returned to heaven. The amazing thing is his wife and kids. She kept a blog of his year long journey with the most optimistic and hopeful point of view. Truly, he is a lucky man to have her for a wife. She has continued the story by writing a blog, Dear Ryan, where she talks about what she and her kids are up to. It is so great to see such testimony and love of her husband and our Savior, Jesus Christ. You would be doing yourself a real favor to stop by.

2) I don't know this girl, but her mother in law is in my book club. Don't I wish I knew her though because she seems like the most fun and sweet girl ever! Such sweet kids and her outlook on life is great! She switched from digital photography to (gasp!) film photography, which I totally give her props for. This is not an easy task! I did film photography in high school and it is time consuming and tough. She does it so well!

2) This is a daily blog. You can get an 8 by 10 print of gorgeous photography from amateur and professional photographers. Beautiful!! And you can't beat 10 bucks a print! One of my favorites:
Daisy Blues - Heather McFarland

4) And finally, this amazing girl who changes junk furniture into unbelievable treasures!! She perfects the art of shanty chic! And gives me inspiration to paint all of my furniture fun and bright colors! Here's a spoiler!

Fat Friday: Ice Cream Sundae Brownies

Wow! Yes, you heard me right. Ice cream sundae brownies. And they are wickedly delicious and unfortunately easy to make! Thick and creamy and moist and chocolately chocolate!! Picky Palate has to be the best extremely unhealthy and FUN dessert site ever!!

I am sorry to all of you who would like a chance at these brownies. They are spoken for by my wonderful mother who is watching my kids while my husband and I run away for our (2 month late) anniversary getaway. But tune in next week: might have something root beerish up my sleeve.=)

Here is the recipe:

Ice Cream Sundae Brownies

1 box Brownie Mix

2 eggs

1/2 Cup canola or vegetable oil

Heaping 1/2 Cup of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food)

1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips

1/4 Cup hot fudge topping (chilled)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl mix the brownie mix, 2 eggs and oil until combined…and thick. I did NOT add the water. Scoop in ice cream, chocolate chips and hot fudge; mix until combined. Pour into a foil lined 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been GENEROUSLY sprayed with cooking spray. More is better here :) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center.

2. Let cool completely. Remove foil from baking dish, cut into squares and serve.

12 brownies

First Guest Blog!

I did my first ever guest blog over at Keeping It Simple. Go check out this blog! Full of great ideas from talented ladies!

Thinking Thursday: Girl Power!

These two books are two of my most favorite books. They are light without being thoughtless. They are entertaining without being stupid. They are thought provoking without being braggy. In other words, they are perfect writes and in my mind perfect books to read over and over again!

If you haven't read this book, (where have you been?!), you must!! You must not see the movie before you read it! I haven't seen the movie and I really want to but I am afraid, because what if it doesn't live up to my expectations? No matter what happens, this book will never be ruined for me! The setting: 1960's. The plot: White woman and the black woman who work for them. The downside: You might never want to eat chocolate pie again! (hardy har har!) So wonderful to see this time in period from a totally different and honest perspective. Kathryn Stockett has a beautiful writing style and an up front perspective! Please read this and LOVE it!!

The next book is The Wednesday Sisters and I am proud to say I know Meg Waite Clayton! She is a delight. I got lucky and put a review of this book on goodreads and she responded saying she does book club interviews in person or over the phone, depending on your area. She called. She was absolutely delightful! She is intelligent, charming and not patronizing at all! She also has two other books, The Language of Light and The Four Mrs. Bradwells.

This book is about a writing group of women in the 1970's and their lives progressing throughout history. Their struggles, their triumphs, their friendship, their goals. It will make you want to create a writing group. It will make you appreciate your best friends forever!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summertime Blues?

This is my first real summer. My daughter finished kindergarten, so was pretty happy to have a break from running around, dropping off, homeworking, meetings, etc. Well, a few weeks ago, I started getting a bit sick of summer. Could be the constant 105-110 degrees, could be the crying, etc, but I was starting to get a little loopy. So, I pulled out all my "fun" cards and we went wild! Summertime blues, no more!

Grow heads in a jar! They draw the faces. Put seeds in and water. Fun for all!
Play do!!!
Tape some paper to the table and let them go crazy. (Outside might be wise!) And PS, don't go inside even for 5 seconds to get a drink or your 3 year old will dump all the green paint out and you will have a very heavy painting.
Have a reading party. I got this from a magazine also. Get a ton o books from the library. Let the kids pick some treats. And READ!!
Turn a movie on outside and all of a sudden, it's a partay!
We found this on a craft video from the library. Cut banana, roll in honey, and graham cracker crumbs. This is yummy!! And a nice tricky way to get your kids to eat healthy!
Go to the play place at the mall, hot dog on a stick, disney store and don't care if your kids and their cousins dance around like crazies in the middle of JC Penney to Britney Spears. In other words, laugh a little!
Make some fudge pops. 2 1/4 cups milk and pudding. I happened to have some oreos left from this project. Crush into 1 cup. Put in handy dandy popsicle makers. (got mine at target in the dollar spot). Freeze. Done and done!
I got this idea out of Family Fun magazine. If you don't have it, you must get it!! Put your kids against a wall. They pose. You spray. Cool results!

Banana Split Crepes

These originally began as strawberry crepes and I wanted to make them pretty, so I started adding more stuff. When we tasted them, they tasted like banana splits!! I am serious! I was pleasantly surprised and so were my kids who had 3 each. (Won't even mention how many my husband had!)=)

This crepe recipe comes from a woman in my church who is pretty much the most amazing woman/mother/person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! 7 chilren, homeschools, seemingly endless patience and on top of that, cute as a button! So, I knew this recipe had to be great!!

1 cup flour

1 1/4 c. whole milk ( I have used 1% and it is fine.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

2 T powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 heaping tablespoons heaping butter, melted

Mix and mix and mix except eggs and butter, until there aren't any lumps. Add the eggs and butter and mix again. Chill in fridge for half hour.

While it's chilling, cut bananas and strawberries and make the SECRET WEAPON! Yes, this is the secret weapon that makes these crepes taste like banana splits. I had this dip at a playgroup 3 years ago and we make it every summer. It is heaven. It is easy! It is perfectly perfect!

Mix large cool whip and large vanilla pudding. Have also used sugar free everything and it tasted exactly the same!

Heat skillet to medium heat. Spray. Spoon 3 T of batter onto pan and swirl around till coats pan. Let it cook 1 minute until the top isn't wet anymore. Flip and cook for about 30 seconds more.

This is so easy! Your kids will love it! I am on a mission to fill with more fun stuff.

Add mini chocolate chips and a bit of syrup and a bit of cinnamon. You can use anything you love on a banana split, nuts, chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, but please no cherries!!!

If you have even read down this far, let me know what you like in crepes?!

Muffin Monday: Mimi's Cafe Carrot Bread

Have you been to Mimi's Cafe? I have. The food is eh, the bread is heaven!! The best part is the bread comes before the meal. The second best part is it is free. It is great. It is good every time. Makes me happy just thinking about it! So, when I saw this posting on my college friend Donna's blog, I just had to share! You will love Donna, by the way, she is hilarious and honest and lives in the middle of New York City. You will enjoy your stop at her blog!

In the meantime, here is the recipe. Which you can also turn into muffins by the way!! Just cook for 18sh minutes and check on them every few minutes to see if they are done.

Mimi's Carrot Raisin Bread

1 1/2 C flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1C white)
1teaspoon baking soda
2t baking powder
2t cinnamon
1/2t salt
3/4 C oil
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C walnuts chopped (I used almonds since that was what I had. I'm sure pecans would be good too)
1/2 C crushed pineapples drained
1/2 C raisins
1 C shredded carrot ( I threw mine in the food processor)

Sift first five ingredients (yes you have to.) In a separate bowl whisk oil, sugar and eggs. Stir liquid mix into flour mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients. Grease a 9-in pan or four mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 mins. For the mini loaves you want to bake for about 30. Baking time will also depend on your oven. I have a gas oven, and its a bit wonky.

**After its done baking leave the bread in the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a cooking rack. If you take it out right after its in the oven, it will fall apart, and so will you**


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