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Easy Recipes/ Food

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

best blueberry muffins

The Joy of Baking

 

Sometimes we forget to grease the pan or add baking soda, but we learn from our mistakes.  That’s the joy of baking. Knowing that mistakes are…eh…just part of the learning process. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

If you don’t consider yourself a baker, this is my message to you:

Throw caution to the wind! Go forth! Burn the cookies. Make mistakes. Get better. Live to bake another day. I can attest that so-so cookies are *usually* damn delicious. You’re gonna do great. 😉

best blueberry muffinsMr. C’s Favorite Blueberry Muffins

Mr. C is NOT a breakfast person. He’s a 5-star fanatic of brunch, and rarely has more than juice for breakfast. I, myself, am a firm believer in breakfast, so my husband’s aversion to it is an absolute mystery to me. Eating always holds the #1 spot for my day’s priorities. If I miss breakfast, I’m ruined until I’m able to grab a snack or early lunch.

In the past few years, I’ve made it my mission to find a breakfast food Mr. C will actually eat. So what’s the one exception to the hubby’s anti-breakfast lifestyle? MUFFINS. That man loves muffins, especially blueberry muffins. It was Mr. C’s birthday yesterday, and because he’s a legitimate cake hater — yes there are weirdos out there who dislike cake — I got up early and made him muffins instead.

TIP:It’s okay to substitute olive oil for vegetable oil.(in this recipe at least)For the right texture on the cinnamon crumble topping, use stick butter, not spread.

Happy Baking!

RECIPE HERE: Best Blueberry Muffins EVER!

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Show Diana Johnson @EatingRichly some love for today’s recipe. 🙂 Thanks, Diana!

Easy Recipes/ Food

Arugula Pesto Pasta

My motto is, “The fewer dishes I have to clean later, the better.”

(That and “Don’t trust anyone who dislikes Star Wars,” but that’s neither here nor there.)

I hate washing dishes. If I put together a list of Activities I Don’t Like to Do, “washing dishes” would be up near the top, along with “ironing” and “solving quadratic equations.” So I’m always supremely pleased when I come across a recipe that requires few prep tools and bowls because that means hooray! — fewer things to wash later.

This is one such recipe. The only things you’ll have to clean up afterwards is your food processor, pine-nut-toasting pan, pasta-boiling pot, and garlic-smashing tool of choice, leaving more time for watching Mythbusters reruns. Bliss.

Arugula pesto is more peppery than typical basil or spinach pesto, so I like to toss it with a more substantial pasta, like spinach tagliatelle (which I did here) or fusilli. I imagine it could easily overpower more delicate pastas like spaghetti, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to pair it with.

Arugula Pesto Pasta

From: Epicurious

4 cups arugula (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cooked pasta of choice (recommended: tagliatelle, fusilli)

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over low-medium heat until they’re slightly browned. Make sure to move them around often and keep an eye on them as they toast because pine nuts can go from “perfectly toasted” to “burnt and useless” in a flash.

In a food processor, pulse together the arugula, pine nuts, and Parmesan until it’s almost smooth. Then, with the food processor running, gradually pour in the olive oil until everything is nice and blended. If the pesto looks a little too thick for your liking, drizzle in more olive oil until it has reached your preferred consistency. Keep in mind, though, that it’ll likely get slightly thinned out when you toss it with pasta later.

Season it with salt and pepper to taste, and toss with your cooked pasta of choice. Serve with additional toasted pine nuts on top.

Easy Recipes/ Food/ General

Easy Homemade Bread (Only Four Ingredients!)

There are some people who always seem to bring delicious treats to pot lucks. These people also have wonderful get-togethers with well-thought-out menus with appetizers, wine pairings, and/or specialty cocktails. Well, that’s definitely NOT me. I wish it were me, but the truth is that my success rate in the kitchen can be likened to one hit wonders (which I play on repeat until you decide to buy me dinner instead of coming over for dinner.)

What’s my chart-topping hit you ask?

Chicken and ____! That’s right, I’ll thaw out some chicken breasts, marinate them in whatever marinade I find in my pantry, add some bell peppers, and in the oven it goes. I make some rice, and if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll make a salad.

I’m not saying I’ve never outdone myself in the kitchen, but those times come once in a blue moon and usually happen when someone else was in the kitchen with me.  Then again, with a bar set so low, out doing myself sometimes isn’t much about an amazing dish as it is about getting out of my routine and actually attempting something with more than three ingredients.

Here’s one of my successes: Four Ingredient Bread! That’s right…FOUR (4)! It’s a delicious, easy homemade bread.

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I found the recipe at the Simply So Good blog. (She has a ton of helpful hints and suggestions for additional ingredients.) Because baking is such a precise process, I followed the instructions step-by-step, and in the end produced a wonderful loaf of bread.  My husband was just as surprised as I was with my wonderful homemade bread, and he also really liked it. I used it to make fancy shmancy grilled cheese sandwiches.

Words of Warning

When I attempted to replicate my first success, I came out defeated. What was to be a homemade bread bowl for my spinach dip ended up being a salty brick.  (Pictures not attached)  So listen, don’t get your measuring spoons mixed up. And make sure you have enough flour to roll the dough in before baking. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a salty, biodegradable assault weapon.

I do have one useful tip; if you don’t have a cast iron pot like the recipe calls for, you can use the inside pot from a crock pot and a glass lid from a baking dish that matches in size.  Don’t put your crock pot lid in the oven because it is not oven safe.