Blueberry Muffins

13614969_10209500776134398_6526415755031680992_n

Blueberry muffins with sugar on top, could this recipe be any more “comfort food from mom’s kitchen?” Baking is something I don’t do very often because, honestly I’m not the greatest baker. It is an exact science and I’m more of an “add-a-pinch-or-two-more” kind of cook. I will say that I have gotten better at making muffins, so who knows maybe there is hope for me! These babies have a great texture. I can only describe them as the traditional cake-y, dense and sweet muffins you would find at your local bakery. I think the trick is to use sour cream to get just the right texture. The sugar on top is an added touch I remember my mom adding to her chocolate chip muffins when I was a kid. It is crunchy, sweet nostalgia my friends. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are baking for a whole family. You can also get more muffins if you use smaller “cupcake style” baking cups. Just adjust the time if you are using smaller cups so you don’t burn the muffins. I will usually make these on Sunday to enjoy them throughout the week for breakfast, that is if they make it that long! This recipe was inspired by http://www.yammiesnoshery.com. I highly suggest you check out their site. They explain why you need to use the right amount of each ingredient and how it can go wrong if you use too much or too little. I found it very informative.

Makes: about 8 large muffins     Calories: 329 per muffin     Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk, I used 2%
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • sugar to top, I did not account for this in the calories because my perfect amount of sugar topping is more than likely different from everyone else’s. Be aware of this if you are counting calories and add what you need.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spritz your muffin tin with cooking spray
  2. Combine sugar, egg, oil, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined. Try not to get too crazy mixing as you don’t want to overmix the batter.
  3. Fold in the sour cream and blueberries being careful not to chop up the blueberries in the process. Continue to fold/mix until the sour cream is just mixed in.
  4. Place baking cups into your muffin tin and fill each cup leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top. Top each muffin with as much sugar as you think is necessary 😉
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from oven to check readiness with a toothpick. To do this check just insert a toothpick into the center of each muffin and if it comes out without any gooey muffin residue they are done. If there is gooey muffin residue continue to bake for a few more minutes and perform the check again.
  6. Serve up with your favorite fruit, yogurt, coffee, or whatever tickles your fancy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.yammiesnoshery.com

Advertisements

Spinach Muffins

11889607_10207135361200503_7959142779445121194_n

In trying to get Chance to eat fruits and vegetables I thought it would be genius to essentially lie to him and tell him I dyed these muffins with food coloring. He ate the first one with no problems but the second time around he started noticing the flecks of green. Looks like I need to be more sneaky with this one. Nonetheless my husband and I are loving these and who knows maybe I’ll get my picky little monster to try them once more. You cannot taste the spinach at all and I think this is because the vanilla extract masks the veggie-ish smell overpowering it with sweet vanilla. I thought these tasted like cupcakes so I’ll enjoy every last one!

Makes: 12 muffins    Calories: 192/muffin    Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 20 minutes per batch

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of spinach, pureed (We buy fresh spinach by the “bunch at our store. If this is not an option for you, a bunch is equal to about 2 very large handfuls)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a blender or food processor puree spinach.
  3. Add the rest of your wet ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend until smooth
  4. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir it all together.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. You don’t want to over mix because that will change the texture of your muffins.
  6. Spray a muffin tin/mold with cooking spray or full muffin tin with muffin papers and pour batter 2/3 of the way into each cup.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and do a toothpick check. If the toothpick comes out clean you’re all set but if it comes out with batter stuck to it you need to add a few minutes of bake time. Repeat toothpick test until it comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy warm with butter 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.messforless.net

Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Rolls

10320585_10206106904969740_6464627731940356914_n

This past Easter my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful brunch for the family. I volunteered to step out of my comfort zone and bake. When I say I can’t bake I mean that I cannot even slice and bake a Pillsbury cookie roll. So, when I saw the millions of recipes on pintrest I took on the challenge and whipped up some gooey and delicious lemon blueberry sweet rolls. These were a hit! I will admit that the process was time-consuming and my anxiety levels were high (because I ruin everything I bake), but I pulled it off. I know it sounds cliché but if I can do it anyone can. I would describe the taste as sweet and fresh. The blueberries explode in your mouth as you chew and the lemon glaze adds a creamy yet tangy bite to a perfect finish

Serves: 12    

Calories: 206 per roll    

Time: Prep and rise time: up to 3 hours 20 minutes ; Baking time: 30 minutes – Total time approx 4 hours

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2 + 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Ingredients for Blueberry Filling:

  • 1 + 1/3 cups of frozen blueberries, must be frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions : SAVE YOURSELVES FROM PANIC AND MAKE SURE BLUEBERRIES ARE FROZEN, BUTTER IS UNSALTED AND THE EGG IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. 

  1. Combine the ingredients for the filling. Gently toss to coat and let sit while preparing the dough.
  2. Begin preparing the dough. Measure out 1/2 cup of flour and set aside. In a large bowl combine the remaining flour, sugar, salt and yeast until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  3. Heat the water, milk and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to the touch. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg, don’t forget this egg must be at room temperature, and only enough of the reserved 1/2 cup of flour to make a soft dough. You will know the dough is ready when it gently pulls away from the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  4. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place dough ball into a clean and lightly greased bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes as passed, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Pour the blueberry filling mixture over the dough and gently spread the filling to cover the dough. Spritz your fingers with nonstick spray and roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 pieces and place into a lightly greased pan (I used a rectangular aluminum pan so I could take it to my sister-in-law’s house but). Cover the pan with foil and allow to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the rolls have doubled in size preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Bake rolls for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  8. Prepare the glaze by mixing the glaze ingredients together until smooth.
  9. Glaze the rolls immediately before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

Italian Baked Sausage and Pasta – ★★★★✩

11164052_10206242482519094_8996574297336642248_n

This recipe had me at pasta and sausage. Who doesn’t love an Italian style bake?! It’s easy and IT’S DELICIOUS! This one seems like it has a lot of steps but it’s actually pretty effortless. I was impressed with how nicely each step came together and even more impressed with how crazy my children could get when I had 10 minutes between steps to rest.. Cooking with kids in the house is no easy feat, which is why I really enjoy these types of recipes that give me short bursts of time to give them some attention. The only thing that turned Perry off a bit was how this pasta dish reheated the next day for lunch. I will let him explain it in his rating/review, but I believe what happened to him is because of microwave user error. I did not have the experience he did but that might be because I heated mine up in the oven. I found it to be wonderfully creamy as a left over.

“When Kels first served this it was awesome. The pasta was perfect, the sausage was savory, the tomatoes were sweet/tangy and the sauce was creamy. What happened the following day is the reason I am giving this one four stars. Don’t get me wrong it was still delicious, but the texture changed which threw me off. It was so creamy the night before that I was a little disappointed when it took on a grainy ricotta texture after being reheated. I still enjoyed it but be informed that when you make this the leftovers might take on a new identity. I would definitely eat this again even as a left over!”

Serves: 6     Calories: 400 per serving    Time: 1 hour 20 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 lb Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 6 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce, we used a sweet basil variation
  • 1 container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk, we used 1%
  • 1 and 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, we used reduced fat
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta. You don’t want it to be cooked completely because you are going to bake it. You still want a little crunch when you strain it. (DON’T STRAIN UNTIL YOU READ STEP # 6)
  3. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and cook sausage over medium heat until cooked through/browned (approximately 15 minutes).
  4. Add in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Turn off heat, remove sausages, and scrape what sauce and garlic is left in the pan into a bowl.
  5. Slice the sausage into bite-sized disks.
  6. Place the spinach in the bottom of your strainer. When pasta is done, pour pasta and pasta water over the spinach allowing the spinach to wilt.
  7. Pour pasta, sausage, spinach, and tomatoes into bowl with the garlic.
  8. Add tomato sauce, yogurt, milk, 1 cup of the cheese, and spices. Mix very well.
  9. Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover dish with foil.
  10. Cook for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil, cook for an additional 10 minutes.
*Photo is an original belonging to me
*Recipe adapted from http://www.taylormadebytaylorbee.com/

Baked Pesto Chicken – ★★★★★

1978774_10205587880114443_8010916815274238925_nThere is something to be said about a recipe that you just throw in a dish and bake. With a wild toddler and a brand new baby recipes like this are my saving grace. I am able to give my family a tasty meal without sacrificing nutrition and my own time with them. I’m learning that life is all about balance, so if that is something you are . I took some shortcuts to save even more time, for example using store-bought pesto and pre-sliced chicken breasts meant for stir fry. Perry gave five stars and here is why:

The chicken was so moist and the oil from the pesto made it taste, as I can only describe it as, silky. I think the pairing of pesto and mozzarella works so well because the flavors basically melt together leaving you with a creamy-herby savoriness. I would like to try this chicken and the sauce over a bed of fettucine Alfredo. Could you imagine?! Kelsey made rice to eat with the left overs and she poured the sauce left in the pan over top. Quite possibly the best rice I’ve ever had. Five stars for flavor!”

Serves: 4     Calories: 340 per serving     Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, if you like to make them bite sized like I do then cut them into bits.
  • 1/2 cup pesto, you can make your own with this recipe here or, if you need to save time, buy a jar of fresh pesto already made (this is usually found by the gourmet pastas in the refrigerated cheese section of your grocery store.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9×13 baking dish
  4. Lay chicken over the pesto and top chicken with the remaining pesto.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Uncover and sprinkle the mozzarella over the dish. Bake for an additional few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  7. Dish and spoon the hot sauce left in the pan over the chicken.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.food.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Vanilla Allspice Glaze – ★★★★★

Image

Tis the season for all things pumpkin! This is my favorite time of year and I could not resist baking something sweet to kick off the -BER month season. I’ve seen all kinds of pumpkin recipes on pinterest but this one caught my eye. It is a makeover recipe so these bad boys are only 230 calories a piece. Pair one with a cup of coffee in the morning and you have a guilt free sweet start to your day 🙂 Or you could be like my husband and eat as many of these as fast as you can before you leave for work.. Either way enjoy 🙂 The only downside is that you do have to eat them within a day or two because they get really sticky and are not as good. You can look at this as a challenge or a wonderful opportunity. I’m more of a glass half full kind of gal myself 😉 Perry gave this recipe a full five stars and this is why:

I have a heck of a sweet tooth so I could have just eaten the glaze by the spoonful. The doughnut itself was more like a mini cake than an actual doughnut and Kelsey explained it is because this recipe is baked and not deep fried. I like it better this way because I can have more than one and not feel bad about it. It wasn’t overly pumpkin which was also plus. I would describe it as a light pumpkin bread with killer sauce on top. I could eat these every morning.”

Makes 10-12            Calories: 230

Ingredients:

For the doughnuts:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp nonfat milk
  • A pinch of allspice (optional but highly recommended)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease two baking sheets (or donut pans)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Add pumpkin, eggs, milk, and butter. Beat until mixed.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with a 1/2-inch opening (Or if you are super low tech like me use a ziplock baggie and cut an edge to make 1/2 inch opening,) Pipe onto prepared baking sheets in 3-inch circles (or pipe onto donut pans). Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool doughnuts on a rack over waxed paper.
  4.  In a small mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar, vanilla and allspice. Stir in enough milk to make a smooth icing of glazing consistency. Spoon icing over doughnuts.
  5. Serve warm or heat up the next day and enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.recipegirl.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me

Baked Fruity Oatmeal Bars

Any recipe whose directions are simply “Mix together all ingredients and bake” is my idea of a dream recipe! I have been wanting to try new breakfast recipes for a while now because while cheerios are yummy and good for you I am getting tired of the breakfast monotony. I made this dish last night and it was perfect and sticky on top this morning. It tastes like an oatmeal cookie but you know it is much better for you without the flour and butter. I am still working on cutting the sugar by at least half so when I am successful I will edit this post with the healthiest ingredients I can muster up. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6 ….. 1 serving (about a cup) is only 297 calories!

Ingredients:

– 1 egg lightly beaten

– 1-1/2 cup cooking oats

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1/2 cup milk

– 1/3 cup canola oil

– 1/4 cup chopped nuts

– 1/4 cup fresh fruit of your choice (We used strawberries and will try blueberries next)

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.) Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.

3.) Pour the mixture into a greased 8-in square baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

  

4.)Let cool, cut into squares, indulge 🙂

**All photos are originals taken by me**