Friday, July 29, 2016

Blueberry Muffin Cake

Blueberry Muffin Cake 2

So it's blueberry picking time here in Rhode Island. I've been out picking 2 times so far and hauled in 21 pounds!

Last year for the first time in over 25 years I didn't get to go to my favorite local blueberry farm and pick, so this year was extra special. For you local folks, I pick at Macomber's Blueberry Farm in Rice City. His berries are the size the grapes so the pickin' in easy and plentiful.

The first thing I do when I come home with my berries is to get right into baking something delicious with them. I start looking for recipes back in May in anticipation. Once I get them home, I flash freeze my unwashed berries on a cookie sheet for easy, clump-free freezing. I freeze a good amount so we can have cake, pies and muffins all through the cold New England winters. There is nothing like eating berries you picked in July in the middle of winter. Makes me happy.

So I had this recipe mulling around for ages. I wanted to make something that tasted like my To Die For Blueberry Muffins. If you haven't tried these you are missing out! They are THE BEST muffins. Click here for the link.

Blueberry Muffin solo

This cake taste just like a big giant blueberry muffin with streusel topping without the hassle of filling muffin cups. It bakes up nice and high and that crunchy topping is amazing!

Blueberry Muffin Cake

I doubled this recipe. One little 8x8 wasn't going to cut it with 3 men in the house. They could polish that off in one sitting. You won't be sorry if you double it, trust me!

Blueberry Muffin Cake
For the cake:
2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the cake ingredients except blueberries. Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the batter until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Batter will be thick. Spread in greased and floured 8 inch pan. If doubling the recipe use a 9x13 pan.

For the topping:
Combing all the ingredients with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over over and bake for 40-45 minutes for 8x8. If doubling, increase time to 50-55 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the center and it comes out with just a few crumbs on it. You can let it cool completely or eat it while it's still a bit warm.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Little Lemon Drops

Lemon drops

As with everything I'm playing catch up on recipes now.

I made quite a few new recipes while I was on vacation during 4th of July week and I'm just now getting to post them.

I started a love affair with lemon a few years ago after never liking anything lemon flavored (with the exception of lemons. go figure). It all started with the incredibly delicious and ridiculously simple to make Light Lemon Cake.

This cake is always a huge hit no matter where I bring it and ends up being the first thing gobbled up on the dessert table.

Light Lemon Cake

Click here for the recipe.

So with all things lemon on my mind, as it so often is now, I found yet another great lemony recipe, This one in bite size proportions even!

These Little Lemon Drops are not only adorable but very portable. Perfect little bite of sweetness for a party or bridal/baby shower!

Lemon Drops 1

Little Lemon Drops

recipe from Butter with a side of bread
For the cake:
1box lemon cake mix
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sour cream (I actually didn’t have quite enough sour cream so I used half sour cream/half vanilla yogurt and it worked great!)
1/2 cup milk
For the glaze:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Zest from one lemon)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 325. Coat a mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Beat the ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer for several minutes until blended and smooth. Fill each muffin hole about 1/2 full. I used a small cookie scoop and it worked perfectly. Bake for about 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 2 minutes and then turn the muffin pan over on a wire rack so that all the muffins are upside down. Cool completely.

Place the wire racks over waxed paper. Beat the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Dip muffins in glaze to coat the bottoms (which are now the tops!) and the sides and let the excess drip off back into the bowl. Place each lemon drop back on the wire racks until the glaze is set. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

“Time is the missing ingredient in our recipes.

Most of us are moving too fast for slow cooking”. 

Slow down.

That’s my new mantra for 2016 (even though it's half over!)

Slow down. Take it easy. The trendy…"slow food" is ringing in my head. We are all moving way to fast. Take it from someone who had a year that forced her to slow down. I know I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit, but I can’t apologize. I’m simply enjoying every day. After a year of chemo, surgery and radiation, I’m finally starting to truly feel like my old self again. My energy, which was at its all-time lowest last fall, has finally started to creep back up and I’m able to push myself harder than I have in over a year.

I have some neuropathy in my feet and hands and the medication that I’m on is making every joint in my body ache. I feel like I’m 100 years old when I wake up, but I slowly push myself and get going. I really have no room to complain. My tumor is gone and I finished my last treatment on June 15th! What a year it’s been. My hair is growing back, no more head coverings! I had a nice buzz cut that has now turned into a short hair style and my curls are coming back with a vengeance!

I also had a life changing event recently when I resigned from my job with the same company of 33 years. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, but I needed more time. I needed time to cook and bake and craft and read and enjoy life! To be more connected to everything. I'm not retiring. I'm working for a dear friends company and in doing so, cutting back on the hours I work. So while cancer took many things away from me, it also freed my soul and spirit and made me take a step back and really take a good hard look at my life.

While I laid on the couch for quite a few months over the fall and winter, I daydreamed about my little garden, what I would plant, the new design of my raised bed, how to keep the critters out, what flowers I would plant in the yard. Last year my poor garden was neglected. We only managed to keep a few tomato plants going. I had to let it go. It was the first year time in almost 30 years that I didn’t have my veggie garden. Now my garden is booming. I’m so happy to have dirt under my nails again and to be outside working until dusk (when the weather permits, I am in New England after all).

My hubby built new raised beds for me and filled them with some beautiful soil and compost. We have planted all our veggies and flowers and worked on little projects here and there. I'm taking things at a pace I can handle. Not the pace I usually pushed myself to before.

So, I offer no apologies for my tardiness. I’m relishing in it in fact. The way I feel about just about everything has changed. So, when I’m here I’m here which might just be a little more often now. When I have something good to share, you guys will be the first to know. When I’m not here, please know that I’m digging in the dirt, or sitting under the gazebo reading a book, or picking veggies and dreaming up recipes to share with you all.

As always I want to share something delicious with you. I made these Chocolate Oatmeal Bars many months ago. Almost forgot about them until I came across the photos I took of them. These were so delicious and devoured quickly by my men. I really should have double the recipe. I will next time.

Take it slow friends.

Fudge filled oatmeal bars 1

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
For Crust and Topping:
1 1/3 cups oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter- melted

For Filling:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Overhang the edges of the foil to lift the bars easier from the pan when finished cooking.

Combine flour, oats, 1 cup of light brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, add 10 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and stir to combine. Press half of mixture firmly into the pan and bake about 8 minutes, cool.

To make the filling, melt the butter and chocolate chips together and stir until it’s smooth.
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk eggs into cooled chocolate mixture, and then stir in flour mixture. Pour chocolate filling over cooled crust and top with remaining oatmeal mixture.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before serving.