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Archive for the ‘Blueberries’ Category

I’m not really all about variation. When I figure out what I like I stick with it.

Running shoes? Yes I buy the same New Balance shoes every year. Listening to country music and nothing else? Guilty as charged, although I am trying to branch out. But only a little bit. Eating sushi? California, yam tempura or dynamite roll every. single. time. Only using the treadmill at the gym? I’m sorry, what the heck is an elliptical and why is it taking up precious space?

I mean really, why would you mess with a good thing?

The same can be said for breakfast around here. Homemade muffins. Every. Single. Week…for the past 15 or so years. Yeah, that’s definitely a sign that I’m a fan.

These muffins are a constant in the freezer. Sure they sound a bit different, but they are delicious. And they taste healthy, which means that they must be good for me.

Instead of the typical and familiar carrot muffin, zucchini takes centre stage this time and pairs extremely well with raisins or blueberries. That’s why we alternate around here…one week it’s the raisins, and the next week, what a surprise when the blueberries arrive.

Clearly this was a blueberry week. Because sometimes life needs a little bit of spicing up.

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Spice Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour        1 cup sugar

2 1/4 tsp cinnamon  1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda      3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt               2 eggs

1/2 cup oil                2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup raisins or blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl beat eggs and oil until light. Stir in zucchini.

Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened.

Stir in the raisins or blueberries.

Divide into muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes.

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These days we’ve got berries coming out the ying-yang! All of the jamming has been completed, pies have been frozen for the winter (how great is that!?) and the refrigerator has been stocked with frozen strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. What else could a girl want? Oh right, muffins.

Left to right: Tayberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Muffins

Have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with muffins? Love them. Almost every single type. Maybe not those bran ones though. Let’s be honest, they are way too healthy for me! But these? These muffins are perfect. The best thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. The original recipe was for a rhubarb and oat muffin but this summer it has become the basic recipe for all berry muffins.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, tayberries (seriously you NEED to get on the tayberry wagon!), they’ve all been done. And will be done again, and again. Other fruits could definitely be used as well, whatever your preference is, just add the same amount of that berry or fruit.

Personally the rhubarb is still tops for me, followed closely by the tayberries.

Ps. have you seen these muffin liners before? They’re silicon liners so they can be used over and over again. Such a great money saver, super cute (they come in all sorts of designs), and you can buy them at any kitchen store. Thank you genius/amazing past roommate for this birthday present! Martha would for sure say that they are a “good thing.”

Fruit and Oatmeal Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour    1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup oats            1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt              1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk   1/2 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla          1 tbsp orange peel

1 1/4 cups berries of your choice or rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, oats, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl whisk the egg. Gradually mix in the milk, oil, vanilla and zest until well blended. Add all at once to the flour mixture, stirring until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Fold in the fruit until just combined.

Bake 23-25 minutes.

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Blueberry Buckle

Another weirdly named dessert? Done. Blueberry buckle.

Think coffee cake. In fact you could probably just call this blueberry coffee cake. Or you could call it a crumble, since buckle and crumble are apparently the same thing. Who knew? English why are you such a difficult language? Do we really need 3 words to describe the exact same thing? Confusing. And English is my first and only language…

Eat this for breakfast, eat this as a snack, heck you could even put ice cream or whipping cream on the buckle and have a post-dinner feast.

Even though the internet tells me that a buckle is normally made with blueberries I’m sure this would be delicious with other fruits (I’m thinking freshly picked blackberries?). A multi-purpose dessert, I like it.

 

 

 

Blueberry Buckle

Cake

3/4 cup sugar       1/4 cup shortening

2 eggs                  1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour    2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt           1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves       1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and milk until well blended.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Fold in blueberries.

Spread batter into greased 9 inch square pan.

Topping

1/2 cup sugar        1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon  1/4 cup soft butter

Combine ingredients for topping; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

Bake for 40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

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Themes. I like using themes and I stick with them so bring on the fruit and weird vocabulary! Grunts! Yes I have already posted about a grunt, this one is a bit different but equally delicious.

Blueberries. They’re everywhere these days. Every year at this time we buy a flat or two of blueberries. Many of the berries end up being made into jam and the other half get frozen for the year. I can’t get enough of them in the wintertime. Blueberry pancakes, blueberry milkshakes, blueberry muffins…yes please.

Seriously people, buy them now and freeze them. Buying bags of frozen berries from Safeway in the winter is the biggest waste of money ever. We all know how frugal cheap I am…

Raspberries and blueberries aren’t normally the first combination that comes to mind when I think of fruit desserts. Trust me on this one, it works. This is a recipe that our family has used numerous times over the years but normally we keep it a strictly blueberry dish. Holy heck, raspberries just took this number to the next level. End of story.

Please excuse me while I run off to the kitchen to taste test one more bite horde all of this to myself…

Blueberry Raspberry Grunt

2 cups blueberries    2 cups raspberries

2 cups water            1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour       2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg        1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

Place blueberries, raspberries and water in a large pot; stir in sugar. Cook until mixture just starts to bubble. Lower heat.

Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.

Stir in milk until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Drop dough by spoonfuls on top of simmering berry mixture. Cover; cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is puffed.

Serve dumplings with sauce from pot and ice cream.

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One of the things that I love most about the summer is all of the fresh fruit that we get to eat. Strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries, the list could go on.

Nothing says summer like a good fruit dessert. This is the one time of the year when I will gladly pass on the chocolate and head straight for the fruit. My waistline wishes that this happened more often!

This year I’ve realized that with fruit baking comes a whole new jargon to learn. I thought I was informed, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Cobblers, grunts, slumps, crisps, crumbles, buckles, brown bettys, pandowdy, and sonkers (yes you read that right). Looks like we need a vocabulary lesson. Here it goes…

Cobbler: contains a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (peaches, berries, etc). Some versions are enclosed in the crust, while others have a drop-biscuit or crumb topping. Often baked in the oven.

Grunt/Slump: a simple dumpling-like pudding (basically a cobbler) using fruit. Usually cooked on top of the stove. Named after the sound the berries make as they stew.
Crisps/Crumbles: Crisps are baked with the fruit mixture on the bottom with a crumb topping. The crumb topping can be made with flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, or even breakfast cereal.
Buckle: a type of single layer cake with berries (usually blueberries) added to the batter. The topping is similar to a streusel, which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance.
Brown Betty: consists of fruit (normally apples) baked between layers of buttered crumbs.
Pandowdy and sonkers…those have yet to be attempted in my kitchen so I’ll leave it up to you to discover those.
I’ve already made a crisp and grunt so it was only fitting that this cobbler was next. Every single bite was delicious. I’ve never paired blueberries and peaches together, but apparently everyone else has, and I am currently killing myself for getting onto this train so late. Smitten Kitchen you never fail to amaze me. This one is another hands down summertime winner.
Make this, then make it again, then curse peach season for being too short…
Peach Blueberry Cobbler
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the fruit

4 cups peaches, pitted, skinned and cut into slices
2 cups rinsed blueberries
2/3 cup brown sugar          2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice     1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F.

Toss peach slices with blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish.

For the biscuit topping

1 cup flour
1 tbsp dark brown sugar     2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder     1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk (1 tsp vinegar + remaining milk)

Stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt.

Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.

Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface.

Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for 10 more minutes or until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned. (If the biscuits are not fully cooked but are brown on top cover the dish with aluminum foil)


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1 of the many perks of being a high school teacher…spring break. Even better…a 2 week spring break. The best part…a 10 day southern Caribbean cruise. The worst part…returning from 27C weather to 5C and pouring rain, oh, and probably gaining a zillion pounds. My stomach has officially expanded.

Climbing rocks and getting drenched by a wave in Aruba, snorkelling in Bonaire, having a monkey sit on my shoulder in Grenada, going to waterfalls in Dominica, having a walk-in only most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen all to myself in St. Thomas and kayaking/drinking pina coladas on the beach at Princess Keys made for an amazing vacation. Tired and stressed out? You should go on this vacation.

Food. Good food. But so much food. More specifically desserts, my favorite. From oatmeal raisin cookies to tiramisu to german chocolate cake to pecan pie, you name it, they had it…and I tried it. Those photos above were all served in the dining room and include a: hazelnut toffee cake, apple strudel, cookies and cream parfait, floating islands of meringue, chocolate souffle and a variety of different treats. One of my favorites were the blueberry blintzes. Crepes stuffed with warm blueberry sauce. Instead of dessert they were my lunch. I didn’t regret it for a second.

Favorite food memory of the trip: the baked alaska that the waiters paraded around the dining room and then served at our table. I opted for a different dessert that night but my dad ended up being served a piece that was a quarter of the cake. Enormous. Needless to say my help was required. Unfortunately we still weren’t able to finish off the huge piece. Maybe more training is required for such an event?

And now, back to reality. Thank you Princess Cruises for an amazing time. I thoroughly enjoyed every second. The food was incredible, the service was excellent and the sunshine that you provided couldn’t have been any better. I’m glad that I’m now a darker shade of white.

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They say that bad things happen in 3’s.

Case in point when I lost a wallet on 3 different occasions in 2 months. The first time I left my purse (wallet, keys, cell phone, aka my life) on the bus at 11pm. It wasn’t pretty but an incredible friend of mine drove me down to the bus depot at that nasty hour and I got everything back. Not a thing was taken.

Time number two was when I was visiting one of my favorite people in Minnesota. My wallet was left at the IHOP but thankfully turned in by some kid, again everything just as I had left it.

And finally the time I put my Mom’s wallet on the trunk of the car and we drove away. Some nice lady found it in the middle of the road and dropped it off at our house. Amazing right!? 3 wallets lost and 3 wallets returned, nothing ever taken.  Honest people really do exist and I couldn’t be more appreciative.

In other news, I’m currently sitting at baking blunder #2, waiting for #3 to strike at any time. I made Peanut Butter Brownies, followed the instructions to a T, baked them for 40 minutes as suggested, but they ended up being totally overbaked. Not fun.

Then there was this loaf. I baked it for 50 minutes, like the recipe said, the toothpick came out clean in a few places and the top was a nice golden color. After 10 minutes of cooling I attempted to flip the loaf out of the pan and uncooked batter came oozing out of the center. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Solution…attempt to bake the darn thing again. Fortunately it worked. The top was pretty dark but the inside is delicious. So lemony and moist. I hate the word moist. Mmmmoist. But better moist than dry!

The combinations for this loaf are endless but I would recommend the lemon and blueberry…although come summer and blackberry season you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be trying that combo. Until then I’ll be waiting for baking blunder #3 to pass. Wish me luck!

Lemon Yogurt Loaf

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp flour     2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt                          1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar           3 eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest      1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup vegetable oil           1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1/3 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, mix the  yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, or use a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

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