Friday, February 1, 2013

mid-winter blues & blueberry muffins

January is over and I for one am happy to see it gone.  January is just one of those months where I seem to feel down in the dumps.  Cold, dreary weather and lack of sunlight leave me feeling sluggish and longing for spring.

The weather has been all over the map these past couple weeks.  We went from -16 frigid deep freeze temps to +14 with thunderstorms in a matter of a week and today, it's wintery outside...again.   I'm sure I'll be seeing much more of fluffy white stuff this month.  

But I won't let that get me down.  Spring is coming and before long I'll be making these muffins with fresh local berries, but for now, store-bought ones work just fine.   I found the recipe on where else...Pinterest.  It was another one I can say was a success.  So much so that I can't wait to make them again.  They were that good.  If you love muffins, and who doesn't, then these would be a perfect addition to your morning coffee. 

Have a fabulous Friday!

blueberry streusel muffins
recipe adapted from: a cook's quest

streusel topping
3 tablespoon white sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups blueberries
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To make steusel, combine ingredients and mix in a bowl until it is the size of peas. Set aside.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners.

Bring 1 cup blueberries, water,  and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half.  (about 6 minutes).
Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature (10-15 minutes).

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.
Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined.
Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.
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 over mix.)

Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, 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 streusel evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.
Beun appetito!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

virtual coffee date

It seems like we were just celebrating the New Year and here we are half way through January.  We stop for a season to celebrate and then life just moves on.  The weeks are busy and seem to fly by.  I don't take the time to write here often.  It's not that I don't want to.  Sometimes there just isn't much to say and all I could do is share pictures or a recipe with you.  

Today, I'm going to have a virtual coffee date with you. I'm going to share what's on my heart and mind.
If we were having coffee on this cold, blustery January morning, we'd sit in the living room, I'd serve one of these blueberry muffins to enjoy with that coffee.  I'll share the recipe with you this week.  I'd tell you I gave some to my mom and she almost didn't believe me that I baked them.  They are that good. 

I'm sure we'd have these three waiting at our feet for a crumb to drop, begging with their sweet, beautiful dark eyes.  

If we were having coffee this morning, I'd tell you how happy I am that Michael will be starting a new job in a week.  No more long commute to work.  That in itself is a blessing more than words can express.

If we were having coffee this morning, I'd tell you how I attended the funeral of Michael's uncle this past week.  The stories that were shared of Lino were a testament to the wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend that he was.  He was a man who truly lived life to it's fullest.  He leaves a legacy to all to do the same.

If we were having coffee this morning, I'd probably complain about the weather and tell you how much I long for spring. I'd also tell you that that I've been looking up flights to anywhere warm and my feet just may be in some warm sand before long.  

I'd tell you that I've finally committed to running a half-marathon and will be running the half in Niagara Falls in October.  I know it's a long ways a way, but I for one will need this amount of time to train and will likely join a running group in early summer to prepare.  

I'd thank you for stopping in and tell you your friendship means the world to me.  I'm already looking forward to our next coffee date.  Have a great Sunday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmas

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas. 

May your holidays be filled with family, friends, love and laughter and lots and lots of good food. 
I wish you a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween

Happy Halloween! 

I can hardly believe it's the end of October.  Before long we'll be singing Christmas carols and then ushering in a New Year.  But first things first.  Today I'm sharing with you a recipe for a halloween (or insert whatever holiday) party mix.  The first time I made this was many years ago, but it left a good enough lasting impression that I whipped it up again this past weekend.  It's quite versatile in adding whatever mixin's you want.  Just be prepared to put on your elastic waist pants while consuming, as it is quite ADDICTIVE. 

Here's Bianca waiting for all the little goblins and gouls tonight.  I hope you all have a chocolatey filled Halloween night.  

halloween party mix

recipe adapted from very best baking

9 cups Chex cereal 
1 1/2 cups peanuts
1  1/2 cups pretzels
1 bag of  Reece's Pieces
1 cup candy corn
1 1/2 cups chocolate covered peanuts
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 250° F. 
2. Grease large roasting pan.
3. Mix cereal, peanuts and pretzels in large bowl.  Pour into prepared pan. 
4. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium, heavy-duty pot.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. 
5. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. 
6. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda. 
7. Pour evenly over cereal mixture, stir to coat evenly. 
8.  Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
9. Cool compltely in pan, stirring frequently to break apart mix. 
10.  Stir in choc covered peanuts and candy corn

Store in airtight container and enjoy!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bianca - in pictures

Bianca one day old
Five weeks ago I brought home this beautiful little Italian Greyhound pup, Bianca.  Bianca weaved a place into my heart from the first day I met her at a day old.  She is a sweet, happy, funny, lively little girl.  She has quite the personality and I don't think a day goes by where she hasn't made me laugh.  She has healed a spot in my heart that was longing to be filled.   I am so grateful for her. 
Grateful and blessed.   
 puppy ears & whiskers

hello jewel



 puppy kisses

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

happy birthday ziva

You would have been 3 years old today.  Today I will remember you for the sweet, loveable, energetic, curious and very playful little girl that you were.  You left an impression on my heart that will last a lifetime. 

   Run free my sweet ziva.

    I miss you and love you.  Always. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

sunday edition: september moments

A week ago I was taking in this breathtaking view.  Breathing in the salty atlantic ocean air in a quaint historical region known as Peggy's Cove in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 Today, I am sitting in my living room next to this little love who has completely captured my heart.  Meet Bianca.  Isn't she gorgeous!  Remember when I told you about her when she was just a day old.  She's now four months old and the newest member of my family.

I think I found the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I know that's a bold claim. But, I for one will be using this as my go-to recipe. I baked it no so long ago and was not disappointed in the least.  These cookies are everything they claim to be. A thick, chewy, rich with chocolate chip and buttery goodness.  The recipe can be found on this great blog.   I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you decide to whip up a batch. 

Happy Sunday.