Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Muffins

I found this recipe in a magazine around Halloween and was reminded of the bright green color as we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  I made them back in October but didn't get a chance to post them so here they make their debut!

Not only do they match the color of the holiday, but I consider them healthy using a banana for some sweetness and half whole wheat instead of all white flour.  Can you guess where the green color comes from?

Nope, it's not food coloring or anything artificial...


Don't tell your kids and they'll never know! ;)

Here is how to make them:

St. Patrick's Day Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup milk
6 oz (6 cups packed) fresh baby spinach
1 large banana
2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees and coat 16 muffin cups with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  In a blender, puree the oil, milk, and spinach until smooth, then blend in banana and vanilla.  Fold the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.  Fill each prepared muffin cup 2/3 full.  Bake muffins until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes.

May the Lord bless you
and keep you;
May He make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
May the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, August 4, 2014

Shrinking a Dasani Water Bottle

What happened to July and August?  Better look at the pics on my phone to remind myself of that whirlwind.   Whew!

Let's try and get back to this blogging thing...

Today, I'm sharing an environmentally friendly tip with you that my sister shared with me a while back.  Although we have a water purifying drinking system (which I use most of the time), my family still seems to go through A LOT of Dasani.  It's my husband's preferred water of choice and the rest of us grab a bottle here and there.  Needless to say, the recycling bin fills up way too fast with these bottles.  This tip will save lots of room in your recycling bin and create less work for you when taking those recyclables out to the curb.

Take this roughly 8 inch tall bottle of Dasani Water,

and magically transform it into this 3 1/2 inch crushed plastic bottle!

To do it, you simply remove the cap from the empty bottle of water.  Press down and replace the cap.

Maybe some of you already do this and that's awesome, but this was new to me and I'm so glad my sister showed it to me.  Now, I just have to get in the habit of actually doing it and getting my family to do it along with me!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Going Deeper

A few weeks ago, I wrote about going deeper.  It wasn't until I watched Dr. Timothy Keller's sermon "Lord of the Wine" that my thoughts became even more clear.  For my own thought process, and yours if you're interested in reading further, I wanted to share with you what I learned.  The message is based on John 2:1-11 where Jesus performed His first miraculous sign of turning water into wine at a wedding celebration.  Through this miracle, Jesus reveals many things including that he has a powerful sensation to offer believers.

As Christians, we are invited to experience God through a new sensory ability.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit can illuminate the words on the page and reading the Bible can push you past just knowing to tasting and seeing the goodness and holiness of God.  In his message, Tim references Johnathon Edwards in "A Divine and Supernatural Light" when he says...

There is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious,
and having a new sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace.
Like there is a difference between having a rational belief that honey is sweet,
and having the actual experience of its sweetness.

 When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior and receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we move into that sweetness.  Tim goes on to say that it's one thing to know and believe God is gracious, but the first step in tasting it is you start to hunger for it, long for it, thirst for it.  Second, you begin to delight in it.  It's not just there for you to believe in, but it begins to ravish you, to delight you, and soothe you.  It begins to satisfy and overwhelm you.

"My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."
Psalm 63:5

In the words of Beth Moore, you haven't tasted it until you can say,
"because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you."
Psalm 63:3

Life can be hard, but with the Holy Spirit, we have power over our joy.  Jesus sat there in the midst of joy at the wedding celebration sipping the coming sorrow he would face on the cross, so that you and I can sit in the midst of this sorrowful world sipping the coming joy.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

Challenge yourself to go a little deeper next time you open God's Word tasting its sweetness and seeing His goodness.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

When I was craving Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, I asked my grandma to see if she had a good recipe.  Her recipe cabinet looks like this!

So, I just knew she would have something for me in that stash!  Ask and you shall receive!  She sent me this really cool "basic batter" page from a 1991 edition of Ladies Home Journal.  It has 16 variations of muffins on one page!  There are bran and corn ones, even oatmeal and plain types.  I already had a Lemon Poppyseed Muffin mix in my cabinet but I will definitely try the homemade version from this sheet next time!

Here are the Oatmeal Blueberry ones and how to make them:

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins


1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/3 cup flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1/3 cup all-purpose white.)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, tossed with 1 Tablespoon flour
For topping:
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease twelve 2 1/2 inch muffin pan cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients:  melted butter, milk, egg, and oats.  Let stand 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until combined.  Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and serve warm.  Or cool completely, wrap well and freeze up to 1 month.  To reheat, loosely wrap each muffin in a paper towel and microwave for 15-20 seconds.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Blueberries, blueberries, blueberries!  I love, love, love them!  When I was little, we used to go blueberry picking every summer.  It is one of my favorite past-times.  My grandpa made these little cans that my sister and I could tie around our waists to collect our own.  This year I got to share the sweet tradition with my little guy.

I literally could not wait to start baking with them.  That afternoon I added about a cup of freshly picked blueberries to some Lemon Poppyseed Muffins I had planned to make using this mix.

It was a simple addition that made all the difference.

I would suggest sharing these with friends or making for a group because the glaze doesn't last but a day or so before dissolving into a sticky, soggy mess.  Afternoon treat, anyone?

We picked about 3lbs and I bought an extra 5lbs just to freeze.  I measured them out in 4 cup increments, rinsed and dried them, and tightly sealed them in freezer bags to be used during the months when the store-bought versions are small, tart, and expensive!

A few days later, I made Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins which I'll share with you soon. :)

The little guy picking his first blueberry and loving the morning adventure!  Now, if I could just get him to eat one fresh! ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Croque Madame

A few months ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to join my husband in Paris for a quick trip of sight-seeing and exploring the historical city!  He had traveled with his classmates to London then Paris during their final semester in obtaining their masters degrees from Auburn University.  Many of the wives were able to join them.  It was a once in a lifetime trip.

Of course, the macaroons were fabulous!  But I was so bummed when I found out they didn't ship to the US...until I found this little place in Winter Park, which I'll be sure to visit next time I'm there.

Surprisingly however, it wasn't the desserts that caught my eye on this trip.  One of the items on a Parisian menu that stuck out to me the most was a Croque Madame.  While most people were probably drooling over the fancy shoes, handbags, and jewelry in the store windows along Champs-Elysees or taking in the views from atop the Eiffel Tower, I was thinking about how I could recreate this masterpiece at home. ;)

Well, here it is!

The Croque Madame:  Basically, it is just a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich (a croque-monsieur) with a fried egg on top.  The egg is supposed to resemble a old-fashioned woman's hat making it a madame.

Here is how to make my version:

Croque Madame


2 slices whole wheat bread
2 slices Gruyere cheese
Deli ham, sliced
Dijon mustard
1 large egg
Fresh cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter 1 side of each bread slice.  Set one slice buttered side down in a skillet.  Top with a slice of cheese.  Place a few slices of ham over the cheese and place other piece of bread over the ham, buttered side up.  Heat skillet over medium heat.  Cook sandwich until bottom is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove sandwich and place on a plate.  Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the top of the sandwich then place a piece of cheese on top.  Put the sandwich back onto the skillet then place in the oven, cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.  Remove and place back onto the plate.

Spray a small skillet with nonstick spray and cook the egg sunny side up.  Turn egg over and cook 3 minutes longer for a soft-cooked egg or 5 minutes longer for a hard-cooked egg.  Place fried egg on top of the sandwich.  Season with fresh cracked black pepper.  Serves 1.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cherry Pie

Last week, we celebrated 4 years of marriage!  Time flies when you're having fun. :)

When thinking about an anniversary gift for my sweetie, I always start with the Hallmark list of annual anniversary gift ideas.  It at least gets the ball rolling for this indecisive, over-thinking mind of mine.  For Year #4, traditionally the gift is fruit or flowers.  A more modern gift would be an appliance.  I'll pass on the appliance since we moved into our house about 2 years ago, I think we are all set there.  Sticking with the theme, I decided to make something I knew he would love as part of his gift.

A cherry pie!

Wow, did I have a heck of time trying to find fresh tart cherries in May in Florida!  I couldn't even find frozen ones.  So, I resorted to canned tart cherries in water.  I'm sure fresh or frozen would have been a little better but we couldn't tell a difference.

Here is the inspiration for the pie decoration. :)

Here is how to make it:

Cherry Pie


2 refrigerated pie crusts (I like Pillsbury.)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups sour or tart cherries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter 
Milk & sugar for brushing top of pie


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9" pie pan with non-stick spray and line with one crust.  In a bowl, mix sugars, cinnamon and starch.  Gently stir in cherries.  Add vanilla and stir.  Pour mixture in pie pan lined with crust.  Dot top of cherry mixture with pats of butter.  Cover with top crust.  Cut off excess pie dough around the edges.  This can be used to make a decoration for the top of the pie.  Flute around the edge of the pie sealing the dough using the first finger from one hand between the first and middle finger from the other.  Gently brush a small amount of milk or beaten egg over the top of the pie.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Cut a few slits in the top for ventilation.  Bake for 1 hour checking near the end to make sure crust doesn't burn.

Best served with vanilla ice cream in my opinion!


Happy Anniversary, babe :)

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