Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Scones

Last week, I bought Ethan blueberries. He likes blueberries. . . or so I thought. He had one taste and spit the one he had out, which was quite the opposite of the last time, where he couldn't stop eating them. I decided to try them and so did my husband and bland and not sweet they were. That explained so much. . . I was beginning to wonder if my little toddler was just going to protest all food minus Gerber Graduate cheese puffs (which I am pretty sure he could just live off!). So, since we obviously wouldn't be eating these not-so-sweet (and might I add, expensive) blueberries, I needed to try to find a solution so I would not feel as if I were wasting our money.

Thankfully, I was hosting a playdate at my house and needed a new scone recipe to try. So, I found this one at Joy of Baking and whipped up a batch. So, since I started with bland blueberries I really wondered how these would even come out. . . which was a common theme throughout my baking adventure that day. This ended up being an almost-disaster. I usually just prepare my scones in the food processor - it cuts butter like magic and takes just a couple of minutes to prepare. Yeah, not such a great idea when you add blueberries. Basically, it worked well up until the last, and most important ingredient was added. If you haven't guessed already, I ended up with very pureed blueberries. My scones were no longer white with blueberry chunks, but a blue/purple tint and no chunks. OOPS!

I baked them anyway, cutting them in circles and adding the yummy streusel topping (mmm. . . good!) and baked them. I mean, what was there to loose? The blueberries started off yucko and were now juiced, so if they even turned out a little tasty, then I wouldn't feel as if I had wasted money on these blueberries.

The end product, would be that of the picture above. .. nothing like the picture here (which is what they are supposed to look like). The taste. . . well. . . apparently, they are husband's new favorite scone (Which is funny, because I actually also made his favorite scone, the Buttermilk Cranberry Scone for the playdate, too!). They also received rave reviews from the ladies at the play date. So, needless to say, for a recipe that started out VERY bad, it turned out not to be a disaster at all. I will try making them again. . . someday, just not right now.

You can find the recipe here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine's Tea

Last week, my Tuesday morning Bible Study had a tea party. It was a delightful morning designated to bring encouragment and joy to the ladies that attend. My friend Steph and I were in charge of putting the tea together. . . one of my favorite things to do.
We went with a Valentine's theme and filled the room with red, white and pink. A great color scheme when you have everything tying together.
Our centerpieces were clay pots filled with my browned butter rice krispie treat hearts and a table number. The table number can easily be printed (for free) at Martha Stewart. I found these great place cards at Michael's on clearance, which was awesome, since we were on a tight budget. And of course, Hershey kisses sprinkled along the table just added to the delight.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine fun

I love Valentine's Day! I love all the paper crafts and possibilities that paper and creativity can make! As much as I don't want my little one to grow up, I just can't wait to sit with him and help him make his own Valentine's.
I found this idea on a blog and just couldn't stand not making it. . . it was so easy! All you need are boxes of conversation hearts, printed scrapbook paper, and this printout. I didn't make the ear buds, but they looked cool too! If you search google images for Ipod, they have an awesome heart graphic that I copied to make bag cover for my treats.
Now, I needed a reason to make these cool valentine's, so, since my husband and I hosted dinner for our Sunday School class Progressive Dinner, I thought that they would make great favors for each of my guests.
So, I place them on the place setting like so. . . which in my opinion made it look finished.

I do also have to say that during the dessert portion of the evening, I was sitting on a couch talking with my friends Steph and Denise, and they pulled out there cameras to show off their nicely set tables. . . I could also pull out mine, because I, too, took pictures of my table. I was so glad that I was not the only crazy one who takes pictures of how I set my table for special events.
We had 6 other fun couples join us for dinner. I went super easy for dinner and made heart shaped raviolis that I found at Costco with white and red sauce, French bread and salad. Super easy, but I really liked the theme of Valentine's Day!

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A tribute to Vancouver 2010

In honor of the Olympic Winter Games starting last weekend, I decided to go out of my baking comfort zone and make one of my favorite desserts of all time! Who doesn't like Baklava? The flaky layers of phylo dough and the yummy nutty, syrupy sweetness of this Greek treat are sensational. I have always been terrified to make this because I thought it would be really hard. Boy, was I mistaken. . . it was so very simple! Simple is good. I like simple. Quick, it is not! The recipe I found said it took 30 minutes to prepare. It took me more like an hour and a half. Buttering layer after layer of phylo dough takes lots of time!
But, they came out so delicious, it was well worth it! Now, I will definitely make these again, but probably not for a very long time. I am thinking a really, really (and I mean, REALLY) good occasion (like the next Olympics?)
I got really good feedback from those that partook in this delicious treat. My husband's was the best. . . he said it was better than store bought. That made my day! I also talked to my sister, who mentioned that her boyfriend (who is Greek) doesn't like the store bought kind because it is too dry. Mine was VERY moist. . . so I am guessing it was more like authentic baklava.

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 cups sugar, water, honey, cinnamon stick, lemon and vanilla. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, skimming any foam that is formed. Set side.
  2. In a small bowl, combine chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons sugar, ground cinnamon and cloves; set aside. Brush butter on bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Each sheet of phyllo dough is twice as big as the pan, so cut each in half, making 2 sheets. Place a sheet of phyllo on bottom of pan, and brush with melted butter. Repeat process for a total of 8 sheets, buttering each. Sprinkle about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of nut mixture evenly over the phyllo, and cover with 4 more sheets, buttering each. Continue sprinkling nuts after every 4 sheets of phyllo, until all but 8 sheets (4 full sheets) are used.
  3. Use remaining 8 sheets for the top layer, buttering each sheet of phyllo. Before buttering the last sheet, tuck in any loose edges. Press down layers with palms of your hands. Pour remaining butter over the top. With a large knife, cut 5 strips lengthwise about 1/2 inch deep, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and immediately pour syrup over baklava. Allow to cool thoroughly. Cut diamonds to go all the way through, and serve.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Orange Cranberry Muffins

With Jon heading to work earlier, he finds that there is just not enough time for cereal, and has given me the task to make sure he has easy to grab and go food for breakfast. I love it because I now don't have to wait for an excuse to make all these yummy breakfast treats anymore! Last week, I tried my hand at this orange-cranberry muffin. To my delight, Jon said they were AWESOME!!!!!! (and I must admit, I agreed wholeheartedly!).
These were super easy to make, which I loved. The recipe calls for the cranberries to be boiled in OJ for a bit, I just poured OJ into the pot and it was way more than 1/4 cup. Probably closer to a cup. But they plumped up beautifully and there was no risk of burning and running out of juice. I also was able to do that while I was cleaning the kitchen, and then could go back to it after the cranberries had cooled off a bit.

I use the Wilton sugar sprinkles to give my muffins a slight "glow" before they go in the oven, resulting in an appetizing gleam that just adds an extra touch. . . that melts in your mouth. So delicious.
Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing themuffin tin
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping the muffins, if desired
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside to cool and plump. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.

(I found this at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine Time

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know, the holiday has come and gone, but I am so behind on my blogging that the next few posts will be full of Love. . . just for you!
My mom bought this cool new set of stamps, called Sweetheart through Stampin' Up. With the use of the heart punch and these new heart shaped treat containers that fit right into the punched out heart, it makes the cutest card! I had so much fun playing. My mom let me have a few of her containers and I new that I was going to make something for the gals at my MOPS table. Instant inspiration! I decided I was going to fill the hearts with Red Hots (which by the way, are a bit harder to find than expected. . . Cost Plus World Market had them!). Then I decided to go with a red and Black theme. I kind of copied an idea out of the SU website, but used one of my Martha Stewart punches for the white strip and then a red and white polka dot ribbon. I had so much fun!
Now, I will note that there is a down side to this card. . . not very mailable. Thankfully, I just put them at there place at our last MOPS meeting. You probably could mail them, with extra postage and maybe a cushion-y envelope. . . but I probably wouldn't.

So, Happy Valentine's Day to you. I have a camera full of blogworthy posts to blog about that I just uploaded. . . so, I hope to catch up really soon. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I almost forgot . . .

I can't believe that I have had this pictures sitting in a file (very ready to post) and I completely forgot! I think it's even more sad that I was so excited to share this incredible recipe with you . . . 2 weeks ago! So, here I am, my second post of the day. . . just so you can join me in the deliciousness of this recipe.

Okay, so this is a bad picture (sorry).
I have recently became an self proclaimed addict of Panera Bread's Cobblestone muffin. . . it is so stinkin' delicious. Since, I just don't have the finances to eat there every day (does anybody?), I went on a quest to find a similar recipe. My search ended here with this yummy version of Panera's famous yeasted muffin. I don't think I had ever made a yeasted muffin. . . I've made cinnamon rolls, but no muffin. So, I had to try this and quick. Let me just say that these were easy. . . a little time consuming, but super easy. They also don't last very long. . . and you may just have to give up your diet to eat these. (There's no dieting in our home. . . just healthy food and daily exercising. . . so that we can indulge in these lovely muffins every now and then).
Cinnamon Pull-Apart Muffins
(adapted from Joy the Baker)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
handful of golden raisins (optional)
more flour, granulated sugar and cinnamon for dusting

Step #1: I totally cheated. . . the original recipe calls for you do sit and do all the kneading and bread making yourself. Call me lazy, but I perfer to try out my bread maker for this. . . and it worked! So, combine warm water, flour, olive oil, salt and yeast into your bread maker. Set the machine to dough setting and let it do the work! (trust me it's great!). Oh yeah, I also through in a few sprinkles of cinnamon into the dough for extra flavor.
Step #2: In a bowl, combine butter, sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, and raisins. Using a fork, work it together until you have a crumbly mixture.
Step #3: Roll out finished dough and cut little pieces and throw them into a bowl with cinnamon and sugar. . . toss until evenly coated with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Step #4: Use liners. . . (or not. . . but call me lazy. . . it saves on the mess and makes the much easier to pull out with out destroying the masterpiece).
Step #5: Put 3 to 4 dough pieces in bottom of each liner. Squish them together and sprinkle crumb mixture over top. Repeat with more dough and again with crumb mixture. You should have a total of 4 layers.
Step #6: Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before taking them out of the pan. . . unless you want to indulge yourself right away. . . which was me the day I made these.
Step #7: Pour yourself a glass of cold milk and sit and enjoy these yummy yeasted muffins. . . you worked hard. . . enjoy them. . . then go and run a couple of miles (or not!).
Enjoy these. . . please. . . they are delicious! If you want to make them without the bread maker and see the original recipe go visit Joy, the Baker.
Happy Baking!

February is here. . .

Happy February everybody! Yesterday marked that silly little holiday centered around a groundhog. . . apparently he saw his shadow, which means apparently means 6 more weeks of Winter. I am a firm believer that this DOES NOT apply to my California brain. Yesterday was beautiful and included some park time with the kiddo. Today, I woke up to dense fog! Oh well. There is so much going on in the next 6 weeks, that I will keep busy. . . I promise! I am sure you will all survive, too.
Now, on to more important matters . . . Valentines Day! Wahoooo!!!! The day of Love! I just love fun holidays . . . they make me smile from the inside out! Sunday, I made these heart treats on a stick to see how many hearts I could get out of 1 batch (10 glorious hearts). Next weekend, I will be making 4o of them for a tea party. . . they are going to look wonderful!
I didn't just use the ordinary rice krispie treat recipe, but the salted browned butter recipe from Smitten Kitchen. These are just fantastic! I have made them twice and can't wait to make them again! So delicious! I got the idea for the hearts on a stick over at (they have some fantastic ideas, if you are in the need of some Valentines Day ideas).
Here's the recipe:
Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars
4 ounces (1/4 pound
or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
Butter (or coat
with non-stick spray)
an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then
foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your
eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the
period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where
it burns is often less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty
color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from
the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back
on low until the marshmallows are smooth.
Remove the pot from the stove and
stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked
to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press
it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works
almost as well.
A Baking Dissastor Story:
These week I made banana bread. I didn't have all the ingredients to make my traditional recipe, so I tried the one here and it completely messed it up. I ended up not having enough brown sugar and was too lazy to make my own, so I used white sugar and poured a bunch of molasses into the batter. Yep, was not expecting anything too pretty. I am sharing this, because there is no picture. . . not because it went immediately into the trash, but because it is gone. . . as in we ate it all! It was delicious!
Happy Baking!


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