Blueberry Muffins

Is there anything more beautiful than a blueberry muffin? Not if you’re into baked goods with crumbled topping and bursts of fruit- which I am. And it just so happens that I am in Michigan where we have the best blueberries in the world (and cranberries, and cherries, and apples…). We are fortunate enough to have two blueberry seasons, and by-golly we can freeze them in-between. So eat up buttercup, life is good.

Adapted from Muffins by Williams-Sonoma

As organic as possible:

For the Topping:

1/4 cup Flour

2 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp cold unsalted Butter


For the Muffins:

7 Tbsp unsalted Butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 1/4 cups Flour

4 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1 cup Milk

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 pint Fresh Blueberries


Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

To make the topping, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients just until coarse crumbs form.

For the muffins, using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until blended into the butter.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve a tablespoon of the dry ingredients and set aside. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 increments, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently toss the blueberries in the reserved tablespoon of flour. Carefully fold the blueberries into the batter, just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do no over mix.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle each muffin with some topping.

Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Unmold the muffins and serve warm or at room temperature.




Marsh-bani Fruit Dip & Fruit Salad

It doesn’t get easier or tastier than this. Honestly it’s just delicious. The fruit dip is sweet and a little tangy, ridiculous when you think about how easy it is. Did I mention it is fat-free? Your taste buds will never know. The yogurt goodness coats the fruit nicely as a dip, but why stop there? The next thought was, oh my goodness, this needs to be in a fruit salad. And can I just tell you, it was stellar. As in: this is what fruit salad needs to taste like for the rest of my life. If you are having a party this weekend, it’s great to serve dip style or in individual cups. So because I really can’t decide which way I like more, I’m sharing both. Lastly, let me just add that if you have any left over, you should throw it into a morning smoothie, because it is awesome… and so are you.

1 cup Marshmallow Creme

1/2 cup Chobani Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained

2 pints strawberries, rinsed and drained

2 large bananas (or 3 medium), I leave mine in the peel and third or quarter

2 apples, cut into wedges (with a couple center slices reserved for garnish)

Dipping fruit of your choice

Garnish with apple slices and fresh mint (optional)

That’s it! Two parts marshmallow creme to 1 part Chobani Vanilla Greek yogurt. Brilliant! I used a hand held mixer (with a whisk attachment) to blend the marshmallow and yogurt in a medium sized bowl. If you are blending by hand, just mix until they are incorporated. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or until party time), and the marshmallow and yogurt blend will continue to infuse.


Now if you want to turn it into fruit salad…

Hull and half (or quarter depending on size) your strawberries, peel your bananas and cut them along with the apples into bite size pieces. Place the fruit into a bowl, drizzle with the Marsh-bani Fruit Dip and gently toss. I take the extra step of tossing the fruit salad in a separate bowl from the one I am serving in, especially for a party… but that’s up to you. The dip can be made a day in advance, but I would not dress and toss the salad until ready to serve. Present in a bowl with a serving spoon or in individual serving dishes for guests to help themselves. Indulge yourself in this sweet treat!




The Richmond Avenue’s Cottage Cheese Oatmeal Pancakes

At first glance these pancakes looked like something I had to try. I know what most people were thinking, “these sound weird,” because Jasmine wrote that they did. But not me, I was thinking these sound unique, I love cottage cheese and look at that picture! I want to eat that! Of course that’s what I think about most of the food from The Richmond Avenue, which is why I selected this recipe for my WordPress Cooking Challenge!

When I started to collect the ingredients I would need to make these pancakes, my first thought was I need to get a new food processor with a larger capacity. Which actually has no connection with this recipe because the instructions clearly state to combine the ingredients in a blender, which I did. However, that was my first thought none-the-less.

It was when I began to pour the ingredients into the blender, I actually started to question “how is this going to work?” I understand that the oats were taking place of the flour (of which there is none) and I think it’s pretty cool that this is a gluten-free recipe. But there was no oil or melted butter, the only fat was in the cottage cheese. The baking powder and vanilla were normal for me (because I make pancakes on a weekly basis), but when I went to throw in a pinch of salt I had to stop myself… no salt in this recipe either! I figured the cottage cheese is probably salty enough and I started feeling healthier by the second. I have to confess- that I used three whole eggs as opposed to 6 egg whites. It was a calculated decision based on four things: firstly, I know from experience that it will add the same amount of moisture: secondly, the recipe did not call for me to whip the egg whites and gently fold them in, so although it may have been lighter I really didn’t feel I was messing with airy-ness: thirdly, I’m not worried about the amount of cholesterol I am eating, although I respect that as a healthy option: and lastly, I love my organic eggs, I don’t have any recipes in the line-up that call for yolks, and I didn’t want to waste them. But honestly all of this inner turmoil isn’t worth it! I did add the optional tablespoon of sugar- because that’s the kind of girl I am.

As I was heating up the griddle and watching my butter foam in readiness for the batter I actually got excited to see how this was going to turn out! And as I watched for the bubbles to cue me that it was time to flip the pancakes, I was happy to see the beautiful golden color that occurred on the first side! So far so good! As I moved my first round of pancakes to a side plate I had to pinch a piece off of one to see how this was going to taste. It was sweet, salty, and just like a pancake, except healthier and full of protein! It’s a delicious recipe and it even got more fun with all of the fresh fruit toppings!

For the original recipe and picture check out The Richmond Avenue

1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp almond or skim milk
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
Strawberries for topping (optional)
Blueberries for topping (optional)
Maple syrup for topping (“optional, but not really” – love that BTW!)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and let it do its thing! Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter at a time on the prepared griddle (with butter or baking spray). Flip when you see the bubbles… Serve warm!
Enjoy! I know I sure did!

The Chef’s Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee is Owen’s all time favorite dessert. And I can’t argue with fabulous. It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s got a little sugary crunch… I could probably eat it on a regular basis. And despite its sophistication, it is actually not difficult to make. This recipe is from The Chef (aka my sister); if I can do it, you can do it.

Makes 7-9

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk, divided

1/2 vanilla bean

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Strawberries and blueberries for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup milk, sugar and egg yolks. Set aside. Cut the vanilla bean in half (down the center) and scrape the seeds our of the bean pod with the point of the knife. Combine the vanilla beans, the vanilla pod, cream and the remaining 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan. Bring to a roiling boil. Remove boiling cream mixture from heat and temper with egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly (To temper: Add a little of the boiling mixture, whisking all the while, to egg mixture to get it to avoid curdling before adding the rest.) Return tempered mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking 1 more minute. Remove from heat and strain using a fine mesh sieve. Pour cream mixture evenly into the ramekins. Bake in a water bath (place ramekins in a baking dish with sides and surround them with water about half way up the sides of the ramekins) until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and center is almost set, about 30 – 45 minutes.

Let the cream cool before spreading a thin, even layer of sugar on the top. Using a torch, evenly flame the sugar until brown and bubbly; creating a crust (brulee) on the top of your cream (creme).

Side note: I am also aware of people scorching their sugar in the oven, with a broiler. (But I have no experience with that.)

Place sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries on the top before serving if desired. Congratulations! Now you get to eat!

Another Side note: These can be made in advance. You can chill the desserts in the refrigerator ahead of time until ready to serve.