Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Delicious Blueberry Muffins with Blueberry Swirl

It has been far too long since I made muffins from scratch seriously...like over 2 years since I tried a new recipe!  It is now time to redeem myself!  So, here we go with a muffin that doesn't only taste good, but is darn pretty to look at!  These muffins have whole blueberries inside as well as a swirl of some beautiful blueberry syrup.  The result is a cakey, moist muffin sure to please anyone!  

Stay tuned, I feel a muffin-baking spree coming on and have lots of recipes on my list to try!  Some are healthy, some just look sinful ;)

Delicious Blueberry Muffins with Blueberry Swirl

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
zest from one lemon

2 cups frozen blueberries (or 2 cups fresh)
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping, stir together sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.

For the muffins, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse one cup frozen berries under cold water and spread on a double layer of paper towels to dry well. Bring remaining one cup berries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until the berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the berries that have dried on the paper towels in with the flour mixture. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy with a few dry spots of flour – don’t overmix. This is the key to moist and tender muffins.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin cups until they are about 3/4 full. Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer (or a chopstick), gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.

Bake until the top of the muffins are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Black Bean Soup

 I have been trying to come up with some new quick fix (no to mention healthy) meals.  My usual go-to on a busy night is chili-dogs, cobb salads, tacos, or grilled cheese and canned soup.  This soup is literally one of the easiest things I have made in a while, and I loved it, the hubster loved it, as well as our 5-year old.  Be sure to use low sodium chicken broth and beans to keep this more on the healthy end of things :)
Black Bean Soup

2-3 cans black beans (do not drain)
2 cans chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
3 cups cooked rice, white or brown
avocado, sliced
grated cheese
tortilla chips, crushed
sour cream
red onion
(I have also seen people put ham in this, but have yet to try it)

Blend together the black beans with one of the cans chicken broth. Add black bean mixture, the other can of chicken broth, and salt to a large pan. Cook on medium heat until nice and hot. (You don't need to bring it to a boil).

In individual bowls, layer the rice, then the soup, then the other toppings.

Recipe Source: Favorite Family Recipes

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms

My friends and I were recently discussing (well, like 2 months ago anyway) why peanut butter blossoms were such a traditional Christmas cookie. One of our conclusions was that they are so fast to make. With the I can agree with that. They are a great cookie for kiddos to help with, which is great around the holidays as well.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates (hugs, peppermint kisses, Reeses PB cups...be creative!)
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each
cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Makes about 48 cookies.
Recipe Source: Hersheys

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

For whatever reason, red velvet has been deemed as a Valentines Day treat. I'm guessing it is the wonderfully red color that it brings, but maybe there is a much more meaningful story behind it all ;) In any case, I LOVE it!

Next up, some yummy sugar cookie bars.  They are GREAT!  They match the classic pairing of red velvet with a cream cheese frosting that is just perfect!

Also, check out my other Valentine sweet treats ideas like Strawberry Oreo Cookies and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie here.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

3⅓ cups flour
¼ cup unsweet­ened cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bak­ing pow­der
1 cup but­ter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons (one 1-ounce bottle) red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 8 Oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9×13 inch pan ready. I like to line mine with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray so that the bars easily lift out and are easy to cut.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup butter softened and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and food coloring until combined.

Add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press into the bottom of the 9×13 inch pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until smooth. Frost the top of the bars and enjoy!

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Happy Day 'o Love to you all!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Out of This World" Corn Dip

I had planned to post this well before the Superbowl, and then life happened.  So here you get it today! We enjoyed our Superbowl time with friends and ate some delicious food, including Completos...something new for me (I'll share about these another day).  It has been fun to live in the state with the Superbowl champs (even when we aren't fans of the team ;)  Just seeing the excitement in the community and the excitement of my husband's co-workers has made it so great.  

This appetizer is great for football parties, or I have also seen it called "poolside" corn dip, so set this recipe aside for summertime gatherings as well.  It is yummy!

"Out of This World" Corn Dip

3 (11-oz.) cans sweet corn & diced peppers, drained
7-oz. can chopped green chiles
6-oz. can chopped jalapeno peppers, drained and liquid added to taste
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
16-oz. pkg. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 bags scoop-like corn or tortilla chips

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chips. Chill two hours to overnight. Serve with your favorite chips (I used Fritos and Tostitos) for scooping. Makes 6 cups.

Recipe Source:  Inspired By Charm

Monday, February 3, 2014

Red Velvet Muddy Buddies

I can't believe I have let my blog go like I have with no posts for so long...forgive me!  The transition from 2-3 kids has thrown me for a loop.  That and the fact that my kitchen is so shut off from the rest of the house...it has been hard to find motivation to cook.  But here I am :)

Valentines is such a fun holiday.  I love spoiling the hubs, but love that the kids can get so into things as well.  My Kindergartener is extremely excited to give Valentines to all his buddies in class.  

These muddy buddies are a perfect snack for this month.  Red Velvet is one of my favorite cakes, and so I knew I'd like this recipe.  It did not disappoint.  Make yourself up a batch...it only takes 10 minutes and well worth the effort! 

Red Velvet Muddy Buddies

5 C. Rice Chex cereal
¾ C. white chocolate melts or chips
¼ C. chocolate melts or chips
2 oz cream cheese, room temp
Tbsp. milk
1 C. Red Velvet Cake mix
½ C. powdered sugar
Valentines colored M&M's or other candies
Heart sprinkles for extra decoration and cute-ness

Measure out Rice Chex cereal and place into a large bowl.  Place cake mix and powdered sugar into a large plastic bag or tupperware with a lid. 

Melt chocolates together in the microwave or on the stove top. Careful not to burn and stir until smooth.  Stir in cream cheese and milk (the chocolate will get thicker, but it's okay) Pour chocolate over Rice Chex cereal and stir until coated. 

Dump cereal into the bag or tupperware with powdered sugar and cake mix. Shake, shake, shake until coated.  Dump onto a cookie sheet and let cool.  Mix with extra colorful candies and serve! 

NOTE: Because of the cream cheese, keep in the fridge if you won't be eating them that day. You can also omit the cream cheese all together if you wish...if you do that, you don't need the milk either!  

Recipe Source:  Key Ingredient