Friday, March 11, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

This is a basic blueberry muffin recipe, but it does the trick, no doubt. Plus if you place extra blueberry towards the top the colors start to run and your muffins become more art. Thie recipe is the To Die For Blueberry Muffins on  The recipe is quite popular and has over 6,000 reviews, incase you would like an additional reference.

The recipe is as follows:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3-1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups of blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix. Add the egg, vanilla extract and oil into a 1 cup measuring cup and then pour milk into the mixture until the measuring cup is full.  Pour this mixture into a small bowl and mix. Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients and mix. Fold in the blueberries.

Feel free to add as many blueberries as you want. The muffins look better if there are a lot of blueberries near the top.  As you bake the blueberries will start to bleed creating an irresistible appeal. You have to play with the placement of the blueberries.

I never have muffin cups for baking at my house, but I always have parchment paper so I started cutting the parchment paper into squares and using them instead.  Its easiest to just eyeball the size of the square and learn as you go rather than measuring out a certain size every time. When you place the parchment paper squares in the muffin pan press down and try and make the square take the shape of the cup in the pan. It often helps to add some of the muffin batter while you do this so the parchment paper stays in place.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coconut Shrimp Garden Salad

This is a quick and unique salad perfect for lunch. I usually just guesstimate the ingredients and decide as I go. All the given measurements are approximate:

    • 1 1/2 cups of mixed greens
    • 6-8 mini tomatoes
    • sharp white cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 tbsp raisins (optional)
    • little under 1/4 cup peas
    • 1/2 tbsp
    • 3-5 shrimp
    • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

    Wash and dry the mixed greens and place them in a medium bowl. Cut the mini tomatoes in half and add them to the mixed greens. Then cut up the cheese into small pieces. The amount of cheese added is really up to you. I never add more than a small handful. Add the pieces of cheese and the raisins.

    I usually buy my peas and shrimp frozen. If you are starting with frozen peas and shrimp, which I recommend, place them in a small frying pan on medium to low heat. The ice on them will melt and help cook the shrimp. Once the shrimp is all pink add 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil and continue to cook for 20-30 seconds. Drain the extra water and add the peas in the bowl with the mixed greens. Cover the shrimp in pepper before adding them to the mixed greens.

    For the dressing I like some form of vinegar and olive oil.

    I love this salad because of the subtle sweetness of the coconut oil in comparison to the tart vinegar and strong pepper tastes.

    Vanilla Cinnamon French Toast

    • 3/4 cup Milk
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
    • Sourdough Bread

    Combine Milk and eggs and whisk until homogeneous mixture is achieved. Add the Vanilla and cinnamon, stir. At this point the combination may look a little weird, but I promise it will end up tasting fantastic. The vanilla will turn the mixture slightly brown and most of the cinnamon will float.

    As for the bread, you will need somewhere around 4-7 pieces depending on how big your slices are. I prefer to cook with sourdough bread, but try and avoid any loafs with holes in them. Picking the bread can be tricking, but its worth the extra time. A bread that isn't fluffy will most often create soggy french toast. A fluffy bread that is not densely packed and has a lot of holes will be too dry. You want thick, dense yet fluffy sourdough bread. I also strongly advise against using a whole wheat bread. This bread is often to dense and takes away from the sweetness of the french toast. Besides no one is eating french toast to be healthy.

    Heat your frying pan. Once it is hot add some butter so the french toast does not stick to the pan. Keep the pan on medium to low heat.

    Place a piece of bread in your egg and milk mixture. Press down on the bread with a fork for roughly two seconds so that the bread slowly starts to sink within the egg and milk mixture. Then quickly flip the bread over and repeat. Transfer the bread to the frying pan. You do not want the bread to soak for too long in the egg and milk mixture, otherwise it will get to heavy and the bread may begin to tear or break into pieces. This is never pretty. However, you want to make sure that the egg and milk mixture have soaked all the way through the bread so you don't end up with a dry middle.

    Now the hard part begins. Everyone likes their french toast cooked differently. Some like it soggy and some like it really crispy. I find that cooking each side for 3-5 minutes usually satisfies most people. However, the second side often cooks faster. I suggest experimenting a little with your first piece.

    As for the toppings, I prefer powdered sugar and fruit, but maple syrup isn't that bad either. If you are being adventurous I would try putting Nutella on an extra crispy piece. I know some people like their french toast with peanut butter, although it has never been a favorite of mine.
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