Blueberry Muffins

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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

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Grilled Jerk Wings

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I tend to make major leaps after a small success. I pulled off a grilled romaine salad so I got cocky and took my grilling challenge to wings. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little terrified. Additionally I’ll be honest and admit that the emergency water bottle was used a handful of times to put out small rack fires.. However I pulled it off and these wings were yummy. Who knows what’s next in my grilling adventure. Tri-tip anyone?

These wings are spicy and tangy. The original recipe called for a Scotch Bonnet chile pepper which is reportedly much hotter then the habanero pepper I used. If you like really really hot wings then I suggest finding said pepper and using it in this recipe. Our grocery store does not carry it so I had to substitute. I also shared some wings with my neighbors who are connoisseurs of all things chicken wings and they suggested rounding out the sauce with something sweet such as honey. I will certainly heed this advice and cannot wait to make these again. As for the grilling process, this recipe is pretty easy to follow. You season the wings, grill them, and toss them in sauce. Done deal! These will be great for the upcoming Super Bowl and quickly approaching summer barbecues.

Serves: 4     Calories: 460 per serving     Time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings, we bought party wings already cut
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • *optional* any chicken rub you like, I used garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large habanero pepper, minced (wear gloves when handling these hot peppers)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • scallions, chopped for topping

Directions:

  1. Light your grill and heat to medium, approximately 350 degrees F
  2. Rub your wings with olive oil, salt, pepper and optional chicken rub.
  3. Put chicken on the grill and turn them occasionally cooking for 25-20 minutes. Times vary depending on the size of your chicken and how often you lift the lid of your grill to turn the wings. Do not open too much as it releases the heat and takes longer to cook your wings. You will know the chicken is done by cutting into one of the wings and finding that there is no redness near the bone.
  4. While your wings cook prepare the sauce by mixing together the vinegar, habanero, mustard and oregano in a large bowl.
  5. Once wings are done and have a nice char add them to the bowl with sauce and toss coating them evenly.
  6. Top the wings with chopped scallions and enjoy!

*photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Schlesinger, Chris.  Willoughby, John. “Jerk Wings from Hell.”  Grill It!. Ed. Louise Abbott, Marek Walisiewicz, Kati Dye. New York: DK Publishing, 2008. 165. Print.

Mini Cheesecake Bites – ★★★★★

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Perry occasionally invites his band mates and their wives over for dinner. Since they put up with him and his crazy antics during the 80s I feel like I really owe them 🙂 Because of my deep appreciation for them all I try to make dinner really special. We don’t usually make sweets unless we have guests because frankly I’m terrible at baking. These mini cheesecakes were good because they required minimal work on my part and were delicious. I didn’t get Perry to sit down and write a review because we were enjoying our guests, but the general consensus was 5 stars. The fact that our guests requested to take some home tells me they really enjoyed dessert. 

Serves: 48 minis     Calories: 95 per mini      Time: Approximately 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 oz) package of vanilla wafers
  • 2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (21oz) can of cherry pie filling 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line mini muffin tins with mini paper liners. If you do not have a mini muffin tin just set the paper liners on a baking sheet. Put a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.*It helps to soften the cream cheese for a few seconds in the microwave.
  4. Fill each mini paper with mixture almost to the top. If not using a mini muffin tin do this very carefully.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool.
  6. Top with a few cherries and filling.
  7. Enjoy!
*Original recipe belongs to http://www.allrecipes.com
*Photo is an original belonging to me
 

Homestyle Sun-dried Tomato and Herb Hummus – ★★★★★

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We love hummus and find our homestyle recipe to be better then the store bought stuff. This recipe isn’t exactly creamy because it is hand mixed, and that is one of the things we love most about it. Every bite is different with chunks of tomato, chickpea and garlic. I’m seriously about to go break some out of the fridge just talking about it. It’s that good! We like to make it not only for ourselves but as an appetizer for when we have friends/family over. Definitely a crowd pleaser! Perry always gives five stars and here is why:

“This hummus is unique in that it’s not what you would expect hummus to be.. I was used to what Kelsey calls “liquid hummus” from the store before she introduced me to this recipe. I’m hooked and am now appalled by store bought hummus. I like this recipe because it is thick, hearty and versatile. Each batch never tastes the same because Kelsey likes to experiment with herbs. That being said we’ve never had a bad batch. We usually eat this hummus with triscuits making it a delicious protein/fiber snack.” 

Serves: a ton         Calories: 30 calories/ tbsp      Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15oz) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 medium jar of sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  •  4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dill seed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain beans. 
  2. In a microwave safe bowl heat chickpeas for approximately 1-1.5 minutes
  3. Mash chickpeas with something like a meat mallet or potato masher. They will be hot so please be careful
  4. Once it’s cooled a bit add 1/2 of the jar of tomatoes and oil (you can use more if it suits your taste but at least use half of the jar), garlic and spices.
  5. Mix it all together and serve with a drizzling more of the tomato olive oil overtop. 
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo and recipe are originals. Feel free to use recipe on your own blog but please link it back to my blog for credit. 

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars – ★★★★★

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Does this even need a description? Perfect, heavenly, dangerous, mouthwatering, delectable… Should I go on? These babies are the absolutely perfect ending to a great meal. I would only suggest making sure you have a ton of people with you to eat them because they are addictive! This recipe really saved me because I cannot bake to save my life! Thank you http://www.mybakerlady.com for this wonderfully perfect no bake recipe 🙂 Perry clearly gave 5 stars and this is why:

“I don’t know what Kelsey put in the peanut butter layer to make them crunchy but these bars are better then Reese’s cups. I didn’t know what to think when Kelsey said she didn’t have to bake them but now I get it. They are gooey chilled bars that are best shared with friends. I hope this becomes her go-to desert. I would have eaten the whole pan myself so for that alone they get five stars.”

Serves: 15    Calories: 389/bar      Time:  5 minutes for assembly and 1 hour chill time

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter, melted
  • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1.5 cups of milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together the butter, graham crackers, sugar, and peanut butter. Mix well
  2. Press evenly into a 9×13 baking pan.
  3. In a microwave safe container melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals mixing between intervals. (Mine took a 30 second zap and then an additional 20 second zap.)
  4. Scoop melted chocolate over the pressed peanut butter mixture. Evenly spread chocolate over with a knife of the back of a spoon.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour before serving and cut into 15 squares
  6. Enjoy!
*Original recipe belongs to http://wp.me/pr0i6-Ko
**Photo is an original belonging to me

Garden Fresh Guacamole – ★★★★★

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Last night we had friends over for a Mexican inspired dinner. If you follow my blog you know I’ve gotten into Asian and Indian cuisines so it was really nice to step back into SoCal and whip up a nice south of the border dinner. We started with two variations of fresh guacamole, hot (mild) and regular. The original recipe called for half of a jalapeño but instead I threw a whole one (with seeds) into one batch and left jalapeño completely out of the second batch. Six adults went through one whole batch so I think it’s safe to say it was a hit! Perry gave five stars and this is why:

“I hate it when you order guacamole in Mexico and the waiter brings back a bowl of chopped onion and tomato with very little bit of avocado. I understand that avocado is expensive, but isn’t it the core ingredient of guacamole? Kelsey’s guac was the opposite as it was chock full of avocado making it really creamy and fresh tasting. The hot guac could have been a little spicier but it was tasty nonetheless. Full stars for a great appetizer”

 

Assembly time: 20 minutes      Set time: 1 hour at room temperature

HOT Batch Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved pitted and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Regular Batch Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved pitted and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Decide if you want hot or regular guacamole and use that ingredient list above.
  2. In a large bowl place avocado and lime juice toss to coat. 
  3. Add spices and with a potato masher mush it up.
  4. Gently fold in the onion, jalapeño (if you are making it hot), tomato, cilantro and garlic.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving
  6. Enjoy!

*Original recipe found at http://www.foodnetwork.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Toffee Crackers – ★★★★★

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These bad boys were the perfect thing to satisfy my sweet tooth last weekend. They are not that healthy as a warning so if you are looking for a healthy snack this is not it. As long as you don’t overindulge you’ll be alright but I warn you they are addicting. It only took me 15 minutes to make these which is just about the time my almost-three-year-old allows me have to myself per day haha!  The only way to improve on these would be to drizzle some dark chocolate over them, but that would be downright dangerous! Perry gave these 5 stars and this is why:

I was Scuba Diving the morning Kelsey made these so she teased me with a picture text right in the middle of my morning. I couldn’t wait to get home and have some after working up an appetite. They were SO good and I had to stop myself from eating the whole box. They have enough sweet and salt ratio to be perfect. I’ll take these over our occasional ice cream treat from now on. 

Makes: about 1.5 sleeves of saltines      Total time: >15 minutes      

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray
  3. Arrange crackers as evenly as you can on your baking sheet and set aside 
  4. Melt butter in a small/med pot.
  5. Once butter is melted add 1 cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil stirring constantly. 
  6. Boil for about 3 minutes. 
  7. Pour toffee mixture over crackers and spread over with a knife or spatula.
  8. Bake in oven for 7-8 minutes and no longer as it will easily burn and stink up your house/apartment. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cool before touching/eating. The toffee will be extremely hot and will stick to your fingers making a bad burn very likely. (Lesson learned 😉 ) 
  10. When cooled break pieces apart and enjoy! 
  11. Storage: Store in an airtight container or ziplock to keep crisp.

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.iheartnaptime.net where you will find many other wonderful recipes and tutorials 

*Photo is an original belonging to me