Raw Chai Coconut Pecan Brownies

DSC_1842 edit

This week has been crazy.  Tom’s in the middle of an insane work schedule.  14 hour days for 2 weeks straight.  I have a 4 month old and a 9 year old who is acting more like a 15 year old lately.  Its been stressful, I don’t know how we do it.  I am so glad it’s almost over.

I’ve been craving sweets all week, but since I cut out dairy and eggs most of my favorites are off the menu.  A friend of mine recommended I try raw vegan desserts.  So I did some research and found this one at Green Kitchen Stories.  I have been a longtime follower of their blog.  I LOVE the photography.  Just beautiful.  I love macro and started out shooting macro with my grandpa’s camera a long time ago.  When it came time to take pictures of these brownies I dusted off my macro filters and began playing.

I had to change up the recipe a little since I didn’t have syrup or hazelnuts.  Plus I wanted more coconut flavor.

They. Were. Awesome.  Like incredibly awesome.  Especially when smeared with honey roasted peanut butter.

Raw Chai, Coconut & Pecan Brownies

  • 2 cups of pitted Medjool dates
  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 6 tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 bags of chai tea, cut open bags and use tea.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.  If you have a good food processor then just throw everything except the pecans in and let it go, scraping down the sides occasionally, until its thick and pasty.  My magic bullet didn’t cut it, so I chopped up the dates until very fine.  Mixed all the ingredients in one by one with a spoon and then mashed everything with a fork until it was thick like paste.  Add the pecans and fold in until they are spread throughout the dough.

2.  Press the dough into a parchment lined brownie tin.  It should be about 1/2 inch thick.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Blackberry Muffins

Hi everyone!

I am still here and still pregnant.  We are currently 36 weeks and my brain has turned into oatmeal.  The plain bland kind that everyone hates.  Every drop of creative inspiration has been sucked out of me.  It really blows.  What ever happened to nesting?  I thought all women turned into nesting monkeys in the third trimester.  Making blankets, deep cleaning, decorating, ect…  I was kinda looking forward to that.  I just sit around on the couch most of the day knitting baby vests and watching Julie and Julia (gotta love that movie) or reruns of Top Chef Masters (Go Kerry, Go!).  Oh well, I am sure you will all understand if I post less frequently over the next couple months.  It’s not that I don’t want to post, just that I can’t seem to come up with anything witty to say, I can’t find the desire to pick up my camera or even my iphone and honestly I hardly have the energy to cook.  I have eaten way more than my share of taco truck tacos this month.  Of course, I should probably just post more often and not worry about pretty pictures, witty comments or helpful recipes.  Lets try that instead.

So on that note, today I want to share a muffin recipe that we have been enjoying.  I have made these four or five times in the last month and everyone loves them.  The recipe belongs to the ultimate culinary genius and my favorite chef Alton Brown.  I took his recipe found in I’m Just Here For More Food and added blackberries, lemon juice and zest to it because those two flavors just seem to pair so well together and I have a horde of frozen blackberries to go through.  Thank god because the blackberries in the backyard are literally rotting on the vine because I can’t find the energy to pick them.  I am also sick of getting itchy scratches, but mostly my lazy butt just can’t get up and pick.

A quick side note.  If you are making berry muffins and do not want them to turn purple or blue then I suggest freezing your berries for a few hours beforehand.  I learned that during round 1.  If the berries are frozen and tossed with the flour before mixing with the wet ingredients they will not break apart and color your batter.  Tada!  Perfect golden muffins with whole berries right where they ought to be.

Blackberry Lemon Muffins

Recipe by Alton Brown

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced, seeds removed
  • 2 cups of frozen blackberries

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place paper muffin cups in your muffin tin or butter each cup well.

2.  In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In a medium sized bowl stir together everything else except the blackberries.

4.  Toss the blackberries in the flour and coat evenly.  Then make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir about 10 times making sure to scrape the bottom, but don’t overmix.  You will want to stir more, but as long as most of the flour is mixed in it will be ok.  Over-mixing will result in dense muffins.

5.  Use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter into the muffin tins.  Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.  Store in a zip top bag on the counter.

 

Pregnancy Updates and Blackberry Syrup

The last week has been a blur.  The chickens began laying eggs, I played host to several friends and coworkers who were visiting for the weekend and Brae started school, thank goodness!  She has been antsy, bored and grouchy the last couple weeks.  After three months of free time she was craving a new routine with some structure.  Now she comes home much happier after spending the day with her friends and challenging her brain with new facts.

My pregnancy is progressing perfectly so far.  When I was pregnant with Brae life was a nightmare.  Tom and I were on the verge of homelessness, his mom was dying of cancer and passed away a couple of months before my due date, and I had relentless morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy.  On top of that I had just opened my own business the year before and unexpectedly had to quit working 4 months earlier then I had planned, putting an even bigger wrench in our finances.

I won’t get into too many specifics of that labor and delivery, but will say that it was traumatic.  The hospital anesthesiologist messed up my epidural which caused me to have a much more painful labor, delivery and recovery than normal and I had to return to the hospital a couple days later to have another operation to fix their mistake.  The whole experience was a total nightmare.  Which is why Brae is almost eight years old and we are finally having a second child.

This time around I have a midwife and we are going to a birth center instead of the hospital.  I am really excited about having a medicine free birth.  I will be able to do it my way instead of being pigeonholed into a hospital regimen that fights a woman’s natural ability to give birth rather than trusting a woman to labor on her own.  I have learned so much about women’s natural ability to bear children without things like epidurals, pitocin, and episiotomies.   I am thrilled I will get the chance to do this all natural, in a calm and soothing place, and with a skilled midwife who will be with me the entire time instead of barely making it in the room to catch the baby.

I have about 6 1/2 weeks left until then and time is flying by.  Many women at this point in their pregnancy are cleaning the baseboards, organizing the closets, and washing baby clothes.  But not me.  I have been baking.  When boredom hits I head to the kitchen to experiment with a variety of blackberry recipes I have been saving up for the harvest.  The past few weeks we have been harvesting blackberries several pounds at a time.  Most are immediately washed and frozen using this method, but many are making their way into muffins, quickbreads and preserves.

So far my all time favorite blackberry recipe has been blackberry syrup.  This blackberry syrup was one of the tastiest treats I have made in a really long time.  We all agreed that it hardly tasted like any particular berry, but more like some exotic elven berry you would have during breakfast while visiting Rivendale.  Its tart and sweet at the same time and just a little swirl of it over pancakes, french toast or oatmeal is the perfect start to my day.  It makes butter, jam and maple syrup totally unnecessary.  Plus it’s not that hard to make!

Blackberry Syrup

Slightly adapted Food Network recipe

  • 4 cups of fresh blackberries (about 2 pints)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1.  Combine all ingredients except the cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is melted and the mixture begins to boil gently.

2.  Turn heat down to med-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir often and crush the berries with a wooden spoon or potato masher as they cook.

3.  When the mixture begins to thicken take off the heat and stir in the cornstarch.
Strain the syrup through a sieve to remove the seeds.  Smash the berries in the sieve to get all the pulp you can off the seeds.

4.  Stir well and store in a glass mason jar with a lid.

Can be frozen in a canning jar or stored in the fridge for several months.

Mini Blackberry Galettes

Last week I went to see my midwife who told me that the baby had turned again, back into the breech position.  She said not to worry, but that I should take a long walk everyday to encourage him to turn.  I used to love a long walk, but these days a long walk is across our long driveway to the chicken coop and back.  But I definitely want the baby to turn so I promised I would try.

The blackberries behind our house are still holding out their big harvest so yesterday Brae and I walked down the street to a large stand of blackberry bushes that were blanketed in plump sweet berries.  We should have brought a larger bowl because the one we had was full in less than 15 minutes.  After getting home we decided that these berries were too sweet and ripe to freeze.  Plus I had a spare pie crust in the fridge that needed to be used up so we made quick, super simple mini blackberry galettes.  They made the perfect end to a hot summer day.

Quick and Easy Mini Blackberry Galettes

  • 1 pie crust (I used 1/2 of Alice Waters pie crust recipe)
  • 2 pints of blackberries
  • turbinado or granulated sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out the chilled pie crust and cut out circles about the size of your hand.

2.  Place a handful of sweet blackberries in the center of each circle and fold in the edges leaving the center open.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar and gently press some sugar into the dough.

3.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.

Nectarine Crisp

Nectarines must have been a sacred fruit.  My idea of heaven on earth.  When in season they are sweet, juicy, tender, a perfect dessert all on their own.  But sometimes you want something a little more fancy.  Maybe your mother in law is coming over for dinner and you need something easy, but impressive.  Or maybe you are like me and need to have something sweet and fruity for dessert every night for the entire summer.

That’s what happened this afternoon.  I sat at the kitchen table thinking about dinner and absently staring at a bowl of yellow nectarines I bought yesterday until I was no longer thinking about dinner.  I was dreaming up dessert.  Something simple and not too unhealthy, but still sweet.  I almost made a galette, but decided on a crisp instead.  Both are stunning to look at and are perfect with summer fruits, but a crisp is faster and easier then making, chilling and rolling out dough for a tart.

It took all of 20 minutes to prepare.  Just slice the fruit in half and peel away the pit, then cut each half into three slices.  When you have about 3.5 cups of fruit toss it with a couple teaspoons of sugar and of flour.  Dump the fruit into a baking dish and sprinkle with a handful of frozen or fresh berries.  Then set aside to make the crisp topping.

To make the topping massage the flour, sugar, seasonings and nuts into small cubes of cold butter with your fingers until it resembles clumpy wet sand.  Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and bake on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes.  That’s it!  I like mine pretty hot so I wait about 15 minutes for the crisp to set before scooping some onto a plate.  You could wait longer, but I really don’t think you’ll be able to.  If I had some vanilla ice cream I would add a scoop on top as well.

Nectarine Crisp

Serves 4, and can be easily doubled

  • 7-8 nectarines (about 3.5 cups, sliced)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp flour
  • handful of frozen or fresh mixed berries
  • 1.5 cups of crisp topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Toss the sliced nectarines with the sugar and flour in a large bowl then spread evenly in an ungreased ceramic baking dish.  It’s best to use a smaller dish and have a deep layer of fruit.  Sprinkle a handful of berries over the fruit.  Evenly cover the fruit with crumb topping and bake for 45 minutes.  Check after 35 minutes and if the crumb topping is browning and the fruit has not started to bubble up then cover the crisp with foil or parchment paper for the last 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes check to make sure the juices are bubbling through the crisp and the fruit is fork tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Crisp Topping

Makes 1.5 cups

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Toast the walnuts for a few minutes in the oven or toaster oven.  Let cool then chop into small pieces.  Mix the nuts with the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the butter and massage the butter and flour mixture together with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it is well mixed and resembles clumpy wet sand.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.  Can also be frozen for later use.

Cherry Jam Tart

Over the last couple years I have come to love making jam.  The patience it takes, slowly stirring the bubbling juice waiting for just the right thickness.  The simplicity of the recipe, just fruit and sugar, and maybe a squeeze of lemon.  Its practicality, turning fruit thats almost gone bad into something that will last a year after its been canned.  And finally, I adore the rich colors.  Cherry jam has the most luscious hue, close to what I imagine Dorothy’s ruby slippers would look like.  For the last two summers I thought jam making was just my newest fascination until I started writing this post and remembered the first time I made homemade jam.

I was in 8th grade and all my friends were hanging out at our friend Erin’s house.  As we lounged in the sun drinking lemonade Erin’s mom told us she was making jam and asked if we wanted to crack open a few pomegranates for her.  Every kid loves the tart juicy seeds of a pomegranate so we all readily agreed to help.  We sat around the table gossiping and breaking open pomegranates until the table, our clothes and our mouths were stained with red juice.  After a while my friends lost interest, but not me.  I stuck by Erin’s mom the entire afternoon absolutely entranced by the jam making process.  I took home a new found love of jam making and three jars of fresh pomegranate jam.

Since I began making my own jam a couple years ago I have been on the lookout for yummy things to do with all the jam that ends up in my fridge.  This last week I came across a jam tart via David Lebovitz and it was instant love.  Even more perfect, I had just bought a pile of sweet cherries that were begging to be turned into more jam.

But I don’t need more jam.  I have three kinds of homemade jam in my fridge as I write this.  The apricot and peach jam I made last week and a fabulous jar of blackberry jam, made by a friend.

I wanted to find something else to make with those cherries, but after finding David’s tart, the cherries won.  I made more jam… and a tart.

No Recipe Cherry Jam by David Lebovitz

Cherry Jam Tart

Recipe via David Lebovitz and The Wednesday Chef

  • 9 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/8th tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups of cherry jam, or other favorite jam
  • 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar

1.  Beat together butter and sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture stirring until it forms a dough.

3.  Take 2/3 of the dough and shape into a disk.  Form the remaining dough into a log about 1.5-2 inches wide.  Cover both with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Take dough out of refrigerator and allow to warm up for a few minutes.  Press the dough into an ungreased removable bottom tart pan with the palm of your hand until the pan is evenly covered on the bottom and sides.

5.  Spread the jam evenly over the tart dough.  Take the log of dough out of the fridge and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Cover the top of the tart with dough slices.  Sprinkle at least 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over the top of the tart.

6.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the dough turns golden brown.  Cool before serving.

Best served at room temperature, the day after its made, but only if you can wait that long!

Marshmallow Madness Cookbook Review

A couple months ago I received an awesome cookbook by Shauna Sever called Marshmallow Madness to review and have been having a blast looking through all the recipes.  She has a recipe for almost every kind of marshmallow you could think of.  It took me two tries, but I figured it out and made some incredible chocolate marshmallows.

My first attempt was a disaster.  Granted, candy making is not easy and sugar work can be very difficult.  Add in my inexperience around a stand mixer and you have lots of melted threads of sugar all over the kitchen floor.  But, I have not been thwarted.  The author made this whole process sound attainable and I knew it was probably my error.  I reread the recipe and discovered that I should have used a smaller pot and I should have kept the mixer running when I added the hot sugar syrup.  The second time around I corrected these mistakes and success!  Watching the mallow puff up was quite magical.  During the first five minutes I watched the mixer whip the chocolate and began to have my doubts that it would work, but then after I turned it up to med-high speed everything started happening.

I am so happy I conquered marshmallows!  Cooking them was a good mental exercise for my preggo brain.  You have to pay close attention to the sugar as it boils and as you pour so you may want to make these when the kids are in bed or at school.  I would hate to accidentally burn curious young bakers.

I can’t wait to make more of the recipes in this book.  I mean, who doesn’t want a Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallow?  Or how about a Key Lime Pie Marshmallow covered in ground graham crackers?  Fabulous right?  I think next time I might skip those fancy ones and go straight for the Strawberry Marshmallow made with fresh strawberry puree.  Can you imagine what that must taste like?  Probably amazing.  I can’t wait to find out.

Deeply Chocolate Marshmallows

Recipe from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever

The Bloom

  • 5 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water

The Chocolate Syrup

  • 3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

The Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

The Mallowing

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sugar Coating
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 
Equipment
  • stand mixer
  • candy thermometer
  • medium saucepan
  • 8×8 cake pan
  • heatproof spatula
  • a fine sieve or sifter
  • measuring cups and spoons

Directions

1.  Gather and measure ingredients before starting.  Lightly coat a 8×8 inch cake pan with cooking spray.  Make the sugar coating by mixing all sugar coating ingredients together, sifting if necessary.  Set aside.

2.  Make the Bloom: Whisk together the water and gelatin in a small microwave safe bowl and set aside to bloom for 5-10 minutes.

3.  Make the chocolate syrup:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cocoa powder, espresso powder and hot water until smooth.  Pour in corn syrup and whisk until well blended.

4.  Make the sugar syrup:  Stir together the sugar, remaining corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and have it submerged in the sugar mixture but not touching the bottom of the pan.  Boil stirring occasionally until it reaches 248-250 degrees F.  Meanwhile, microwave the gelatin mixture for 30 seconds or until completely dissolved.  Pour into the chocolate syrup and set your mixer on low (#2 on my KitchenAid).  Let it run while you attend to the sugar syrup.

5.  When the syrup reaches 245-250 F, slowly and carefully pour it into the running stand mixer with the chocolate syrup.  Increase the speed to medium (#5 or 6) and whip for 5 minutes.  Increase to med-high speed (#8) for another 5 minutes.  Increase to high speed (#10) and beat for another 3-5 minutes or until the mallow holds a soft shape when you stop the mixer and pull up the whisk.  The finished marshmallow will have tripled in volume.

6.  Pour into prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula or knife. Sift a thick layer of sugar coating over the top and leave in a cool dry place, like a counter, uncovered for at least 6 hours.

7.  When set, use a butter knife to loosen the edges of the marshmallow from the pan.  Sift a thick layer of sugar coating over a piece of parchment paper and carefully flip the marshmallow onto coating covered parchment.  Using a large knife, cut the marshmallows into squares and coat all sides with more sugar coating.

8.  Store in a single layer in a covered container with the lid vented to avoid building moisture.  Dust on more coating if it gets absorbed.

Makes 30-40 marshmallows

Honey Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My doctor recently scolded me about the abundance of sugar and high glycemic carbs in my diet.  Type 2 diabetes is common in my family and I always start to have blood sugar issues anytime my weight starts to creep up.  She also recommended a dairy and wheat free diet to help my tummy and allergy troubles, but that was just too much for me to process in one afternoon so I’ve started with lowering my family’s intake of processed sugar.

Honey and pure maple syrup have always been my favorite all natural sweeteners.  So when I was craving oatmeal cookies one night I was thrilled to find this cookie recipe which not only has no processed sugars in it, but also is egg free.  You know what that means right?  Yup, we can eat all the cookie dough we want without worry!  WooHoo!

These were wonderful cookies.  Chewy, full of texture and flavor.  They were amazing hot out of the oven and still great two days later.  The recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs, White on Rice and is the newest permanent addition to my recipe box.

Honey Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins (I used 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup raisins)
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside and combine all wet ingredients in a med bowl.

2.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Roll the cookie dough into 1.5 inch balls and space about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

4.  When the oven is ready bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until just set.  Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a minute or two before removing them to a cooling rack.

Makes about 30-40 cookies depending on the size of your dough balls.

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

I am not a breakfast person.

Since I was a teen, most of my mornings involve a cup of tea and a queasy couple of hours trying to keep it all down.  I know, its terrible!  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but try telling that to my chronically upset stomach!

Over the years I’ve developed ways of tricking my stomach into eating earlier.  My favorite is to have “dessert” for breakfast.  I don’t mean a bowl of ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake.  I’m talking more like these blueberry muffins made with Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries.

Muffins have to be one of my favorite treats to bake.  So versatile!  You can make them sweet or savory just by changing up a few ingredients.  I like to make a double batch and I wrap the extras individually in plastic wrap for easy to-go breakfasts, lunches and snacks.  No one complains with muffins at least not in this house.

The other day I found a tower of fresh blueberries on sale at the grocery store.  I know, blueberries are totally out of season and these were from Chili so they were in no way local, but they were organic and 2 pints for $4.00.  It’s January!  How could I resist fresh blueberries at that price, even out of season.  Anyway, as soon as I saw them I began envisioning the perfect blueberry muffin.  Since I am no expert baker I took to the internet to find a good starter recipe.  My requirements for a breakfast muffin usually include extra protein and less saturated fats and sugar.  I quickly came across Kamran’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins post and agreed that they looked quite perfect.  With just a couple minor changes I had a new breakfast muffin.  I hope you enjoy them as well!

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Recipe originally from Cook’s Illustrated and Smitten Kitchen.  Found via The Sophisticated Gourmet.

  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries (wash and dry fresh berries, keep frozen berries frozen)

1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a muffin tin with 12 liners or butter the tin.  In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well.  Add the yogurt and lemon zest.  Stir to combine completely.

2.  In a med bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.  Pour half the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until well mixed.  Pour in the rest of the dry mix and stir until it’s about half mixed in, then add the blueberries.  Fold the berries and remaining flour into the batter until it just comes together without crushing the berries.  Don’t overmix. The mixture will be thick.

3.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 23-30 minutes.  When the time is up check the centers with a toothpick.  If it comes out clean then they are done.  If not cook for 2-4 more minutes and then check another muffin.

Enjoy!

(Click on recipe card to save and print.  It is designed to be printed on 5×7 photo paper and stuck in a card file, on the fridge or given to a friend.)

Top Posts of 2011

Strawberry Cakeradishes - first harvestGiant Chewy Chocolate Chip CookiesAsparagus and Gruyere Tart

2011 was a great year for us!  I harvested another 100 pounds of vegetables from my tiny city backyard, raised some cute chickens, moved to a beautiful town and met several new friends!  Its been a good year indeed.  2012 is going to be interesting, that’s for sure!  More to come about our plans for this year.  For now, onto other things.

Thanks to a nifty end of the year report that WordPress so graciously provided me I know that these were my most popular posts of 2011.

#1.  Giant Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – Yea, this is America, of course the chocolate chip cookie is the most popular.

#2.  Asparagus and Gruyère Tart – Oh so cheesy and yummy.  Asparagus season is in just a couple of months!

#3.  Red Lentil Dal – Wonderful for a stuffy head and nose.

#4.  Strawberry Cake – Perfect for summer parties… or to hoard for yourself.

#5.  No Bake Chocolate Tart – Written in 2010 but came up #5 for most popular in 2011.  I have to say its one of my favorite posts to date.  The tart is great too.

I have to add some of my own favorites to the list.  How about…

Eggs and Zucchini – this post made it onto Glamour.com!  Crazy right!

Plum Jam – Hands down, my favorite jam.

Camp Chicken and Corn + Camp Menus – I love camping.  I love camp cooking even more.  Add a bunch of rain for a real adventure.

Oven Fries – I love these oven fries.  I make them almost every week.

Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread – I have been craving this.  So perfect for winter.  Not so perfect for my after the holidays figure.

This year I have two blog goals.  One is to share more of the great lunch and dinner recipes I make on a regular basis.  I have loads of recipes that I make repeatedly from memory.  I want to get those written down for my family to have.  My dad often cooked from memory and its taken me 4 years to figure out a close match to his pinto bean recipe, which, by the way, I will be blogging about in the next week or so.

My second goal goes back to my original motive for starting this blog, which was to figure out and/or collect my favorite family recipes, like my Dad’s pinto beans, and blog them for us all to enjoy.  I would love to have enough for a little book of family recipes by the end of the year.  We will see!