Yummiest Blueberry Muffins!


I love blueberry muffins, but homemade, so I can see what’s going in. I’m going to share a muffin recipe that’s become a staple in our home. All of us enjoy them, even my picky kids. It’s a recipe that combines tidbits from a slew of recipes I have tried. I have finally got it right! Here we go…

Makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line a muffin tin or spray with Pam (I rub coconut oil all over mine)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1 & 1/4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cups FRESH blueberries
  • 1/2 brown sugar (I use Swerve substitute – has no yucky aftertaste and doesn’t spike insulin) Get it here (affiliate): Swerve
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt & baking powder
  • Stir in the oats, blueberries & sugar until just combined
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in oil and applesauce
  • Pour the egg mix into the larger bowl and blend till combined
  • Fill muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

The oats give the tops of these muffins a slight crunchy texture, so biting into one is amazing. They are moist and delicious and won’t last long! Store them in a sealed tupperware container in the fridge and eat within seven days.

 

Thinking of Nonna


Nonna

Nonna means Grandma in Italian. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Maybe because Easter is approaching and that’s when she’d make enough Easter bread to feed a village. I loved baking with her.

Growing up, I had the pleasure of her company all to myself for a few years when she lived with us. I remember those years with fondness. I was her helper when it came to baking, cleaning, and cooking.

She offered free hugs and cuddles all the time. And a good lecture too when I misbehaved. The only time I remember her relaxing was for an hour in the evening when she would watch her Italian soap opera, which the whole house could hear as she’d put the volume on full blast. She was partly deaf in her later years. And instead of turning her hearing aid up a notch, it was the TV volume instead. I used to giggle when she’d turn to me and ask in Italian “Is the TV too loud?” I’d tell her it was just fine.

I was amazed at her fearlessness. One sunny summer afternoon there was a garden snake in our yard. My mother shrieked, I ran. My Nonna? She casually picked up the snake and whipped it in the air like a cowboy about to lasso a bull. When it wouldn’t just die after its little head was slammed into the cement a few times. She hollered at me to grab a pot of hot water.

When I returned, she threw the half-dead snake in a bucket, and the hot water along with it, drowning the snake. I guess the hot water did the trick.

“There, it’s dead. Now let’s get back to picking those tomatoes.” And that was that. My mother and I were left a little shaken by the critter in our yard, but Nonna just got on with her day – there were things to be done after all.

Every night she’d read this small compact bible she had. I could hear her whispering away as she read the passages. Once she was done reading, she would hold the rosary in her hand while praying. Then she’d lean over turn off the lamp and go to sleep.

I’ll never forget one day she was going into our cantina to get some flour as we were baking homemade pasta. There is a big step to climb over to get into my parent’s cantina, and she lost her footing a bit and fell. I was so scared. Nonna wasn’t a fragile woman, she was big boned and tough. She got up, dusted herself off, turned around and said to me:

“Don’t tell your mother about this. She’s only going to worry and lecture me on how I should rest. I’ll rest when I’m dead.”

“So you want me to lie to mommy?” I asked her in my broken Italian, knowing that it really wouldn’t be a lie. I just wanted to hear what she had to say in response. She said the greatest things.

“If mommy comes home from work and asks you if I fell today, then tell her the truth. But if she doesn’t ask you, then there is no need to tell her, is there?” She said to me with a wink.

One night, my parent’s went to a wedding. Nonna asked me what I wanted for dinner. There was a pack of Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry that my mother bought about a year ago and never made for me. I really wanted that. And it would still be good since those things don’t expire for a few decades. When I showed Nonna the box she wrinkled her nose at it and mumbled how disgusting it was. I begged her to make it for me. So she did.

She placed the dish of fluorescent orange macaroni and cheese in front of me at the table. She watched as my eyes lit up. Then she shook her head and took the plate off the table, throwing the food in the garbage.

“That isn’t food. It’s too bright! Not natural for food to be so bright. You want cheesy pasta? I’ll make you some.” About twenty minutes later I was eating fettuccini Alfredo.

Sometimes I wish I could still talk to her, ask her for advice when it comes to Jacob. She used to cure us kids of anything when we were younger. Whether it was a bad cough, sore tummy, headache or stuffy nose, she’d whip up a concoction that was offering us relief in minutes.

I can feel her sometimes too. There was this one time I was watching Jacob sleep in my arms after rocking him. I felt a nudge at my elbow. It was so forceful that my arm jerked a little. I looked up quickly expecting someone to be there, but it was just Jacob and I. And then I felt her. It was as though she were alive and in the room with me. I stayed there for an extra fifteen minutes that night. Just rocking Jacob, feeling Nonna and enjoying the moment.

When I’m having a bad day, when I’m feeling blue, defeated and tired, I think of her. I think of the tough, hardworking, never-complaining woman she was. I think of how long she lived, how she watched the world change before her eyes and always adapted without a single complaint. I also think about her when I find myself complaining about little things and feel guilty. She was a simple woman. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren are what brought her joy. She didn’t need anything else but to be there for her family. I want to be more like her.

What do you love about your Grandmother? What are your favorite memories about her? 

Sweet Sundays: Zucchini Bread Recipe


zucchini bread

This recipe makes two loaves of zucchini bread – one for you, and one for the rest of the family! It’s so moist with a little crisp to the outer layer. Bring it to a potluck or to work and people will bow to you 😉

What You Need

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first seven dry ingredients
  3. In another bowl, combine eggs, zucchini, oil and vanilla extract
  4. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients ***When it’s all combined, the consistency is pretty pasty, that’s normal
  5. Fold the walnuts in
  6. Pour into 2 greased 9x5x3 loaf pans
  7. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes ***Some ovens will bake it in one hour, so do the toothpick check at the one-hour mark
  8. Let the loaves cool in the loaf pans for at least 30 minutes before removing

You can also add chocolate chips to this recipe. Just decrease the walnuts to ½ a cup and add ½ cup of chocolate chips. And for chocoholics…or those allergic to walnuts, replace the whole cup of walnuts with chocolate chips.

Sweet Sundays: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Cookies

Last night I had a sweet tooth. Normally I like watching Cops on Saturday at 8pm, but if I didn’t get my sugar fix, I may have been the one in cuffs by the end of the evening. I’m kidding – like 80% kidding.

So while I listened to Cops from the kitchen, I whipped up my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip recipe. They have a nice crunch on the outside, but inside, they’re gooey, chewy and delightful.

The recipe is below. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt in a large bowl, set aside
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugars until fluffy
  • Add egg whites & eggs in, one at a time
  • Stir in the vanilla
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go
  • Stir in the oats & chocolate chips
  • Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes
  • Let the cookies stay on the cookie sheet for 5 mins after taking out of the oven
  • Transfer cookies to cookie rack to continue cool
  • Eat them all yourself! Ha, kidding – like 80% kidding 😉

**Makes approximately three dozen cookies**

The BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!


Fluffy CCC

I’m a Pinterest user. And like a lot of people, I have tons of projects pinned but haven’t tackled even a quarter of them. I have tried a few of the recipes I pinned though. My husband is both happy and annoyed that I use this cookie recipe I found. It makes about 36 cookies, and they don’t last more than two days. They’re THAT amazing. If you’d like the recipe, see below. For more incredible baking and cooking ideas, visit Kelsey’s blog Apple a Day.

Ingredients: 

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all purpose flour

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.

4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.  Try not to eat them all.