“Two old Bachelors were living in one house; One caught a Muffin, the other caught a Mouse.” ~ Edward Lear

I seem to keep adding to my list of food obsessions.

The latest one is muffins.

I think what started this new craving was around Christmas when we went to the Opryland Hotel.

There are several restaurants in the hotel but only one that really served breakfast – if you have ever been to The Opryland Hotel at Christmas, you can only imagine how crowded that one restaurant would be!

So breakfast would consist of grabbing a quick bite at one of the few coffee shops scattered across the property.

There was still a pretty long line and  I remember thinking – I hope these muffins are worth it.

Well, they were and now I guess I keep hoping to find some as good as those.

You know, they might not have been that good – it could have just been the wonderful Christmas atmosphere that only The Opryland Hotel can give you…..

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Topping

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour

Muffins

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For topping:

Mix sugars, flour and melted butter with fork until crumbly, set aside.

For muffins:

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer, use whisk attachment to mix sugar and eggs. Continue until completely mixed.

Slowly add in the butter and oil until combined. Followed by buttermilk and vanilla.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the flour mixture and blueberries. Do not over mix (it’s ok if it’s a little lumpy).

Fill a muffin tin lined with muffin cups ( 12 muffins) to the top.

Now, crumble the streusel topping on each muffin.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and toothpick  comes out clean.

Cool muffins for about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to continue to cool before serving.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
-abp

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“Kiss my grits!” ~ Flo Castleberry

Some things are just southern.

Fried chicken.

Pimento cheese.

SunDrop and Nehi.

Cornbread.

But nothing says southern like grits.

Luckily the rest of the United States have started to catch on and use them in recipes at great restaurants across the country.

If you are new to the south and want to solidify your place here – try this recipe. If you are already from here, you already understand the importance of trying this recipe.

This recipe is versatile – it’s great for breakfast or to add to any shrimp and grits recipe.

Perfect Cheese Grits

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grits
  • 3 oz. Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook grits according to directions in chicken broth, adding garlic before grits.

Once grits are cooked, remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter and cream.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

-abp

“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” ~ J. K. Rowling

As I have mentioned before – I have never been to Mardi Gras but it is definitely on my list of “to-dos”!

And just like last year when I made Mini King Cakes, I am determined to have a little Mardi Gras fun right here at home this Fat Tuesday.

This year it will be in the form of Beignets.

When in New Orleans, Cafe du Monde is a must at least once a day. I have been known to pop in twice. My own order of beignets and a cafe au lait (hot in the winter, iced in the summer) makes for one very happy girl.

Making them at home will never be the same but it is a great holdover until I make it back to my happy place!

Biscuit Beignets

  • 1 can buttermilk biscuits
  • Vegtable Oil
  • Powdered Sugar

Cut each individual biscuit into thirds.

In a dutch over, heat 2 inches of oil over medium high heat until it gets to 350º. (Check with a candy thermometer – it must not be too hot).

In batches, fry biscuit pieces on each side until golden brown (30-60 seconds per side).

Drain on a paper towel lined plate and dust with lots of powdered sugar.

Let sit for 10 minutes.
Serve.

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-abp

“The book is called opportunity and it’s first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I have another breakfast idea for you!

I had actually made the Sausage and Gravy Biscuit Casserole I posted last not too long before Christmas morning so I decided to try something else that morning.

It was so, so simple and delicious! I would highly recommend this for any morning that you are short on time or dragging about – especially if you were up late and not feeling up to doing much cooking. Would have been great for New Years Day morning but I was a slacker and didn’t get it up on the blog in time! 😉

Deep Dish Breakfast Bake

(adapted from Bran Appetit)

  • 1/2 lb sausage (mild or hot – your preference)
  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Brown sausage over medium high heat, breaking it up as it cooks.

Roll out crescent rolls into a 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Press seams together as so to make a whole sheet of pastry.

Sprinkle cooked sausage over dough, followed by cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with milk and add in rosemary, salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture over the cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until eggs are set and the crust is a golden color.

***This can be made with bacon and diced ham in place of the sausage as well***

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“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” ~ John Gunther

It’s almost here!

Can you believe there are only 2.5 days left until Christmas?!?

I can’t.

But I shouldn’t be surprised, my favorite time of the year always goes by so quickly.

(Although, one thing I am happy about the time passing is that yesterday was the shortest day of the year, so now with each passing day we will have more daylight! Yippee!)

I believe Christmas Eve is the most exciting night of the year and Christmas morning is the most enjoyable morning of the year. I like for my Christmas morning to be cozy and relaxing and nothing makes that more perfect than a warm cozy breakfast!

So if you are still looking for something to serve your family this coming Christmas morning, the following recipe is a great choice!

Sausage and Gravy Biscuit Casserole

(adapted from Lemon Sugar)

  • 1 can large, flaky biscuits (such as Grands)
  • 1/2 pound ground breakfast sausage
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cut biscuits into quarters and spray a small baking dish with cooking spray.

Layer half the biscuit quarters in the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown sausage in a heavy skillet on medium/high heat until completely cooked, then sprinkle sausage with flour and stir until absorbed.

Turn heat down to medium and continue to cook for around 3-4 minutes. A

Add milk, salt and pepper, stirring and cooking until it comes to a slight boil and cook for 4-5 minutes to thicken it up but still be a little runny. If it’s too thick, add a little milk.

Give it a taste and adjust seasons accordingly.

Pour gravy over the cooked biscuits and top with remaining biscuit quarters.

Bake for 20 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remaining time.

 

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Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

-abp

 

“I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.” ~ Noam Chomsky

Brrrrr.

It’s that time of year again.

Cold.

Brutally cold.

At least in Southerners terms.

If it doesn’t get out of the 40’s, like today, I do not get out of the house.

Well, if I can help it.

Luckily, today I had nothing pressing to do outside of the home so I am staying in and have spent most of the morning in the kitchen.

It’s nice and warm in there with the oven on.

This gave me an opportunity to try a couple things that have been on my “want to do” list.

One being the very simple Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  • 1 Box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Confectioners Sugar Glaze

Preheat oven to 350º.

Mix together cake mix, pumpkin, vanilla and nuts

Scoop even amounts into a lined muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Top with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar and prepared Sugar Glaze (recipe below)

Sugar Glaze

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

Stir milk into sugar. Add vanilla. Drizzle on cupcakes.

May be thickened with confectioners’ sugar or thinned with milk.

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This would be a great last minute breakfast or snack to throw together because it’s quick, simple and you could easily have all the ingredients in your pantry.

-abp

“The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

You wanna know a sure fire way that you are officially a “grown up”?

When you feel like a kid at Christmas, I mean pure giddy over getting a new appliance.

I realized this a couple years ago when I got a deep freezer for the garage. But that does not even compare to the excitement of getting my new Vitamix in the mail!! Fun times!!!

Remember this is coming from the same girl who has been known to clean out the pantry on New Year’s Eve.

And call it a very successful night.

But, come on ladies (and gents), you know what I mean!!

It also means my poor husband will be drinking half his meals for the next couple weeks or until the new wears off!

Here is an example:

Blueberry Banana Oat Smoothie

  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

(makes one smoothie)

Yum!

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-abp

“I think children are like pancakes. You sort of ruin the first one, and you get better at it the second time around.” ~ Kelly Ripa

Hello friends!

I’m sorry it’s been a little while but it has been a busy spring – if you want to call it spring. brrrrrr.

I’m ready for it to get warm and stay warm. Mid-April and still worrying about your plants freezing. Not cool.

On another note – I’m still on my quest to find GOOD food that is GOOD for you. I have had a few misses but I’ve also found some keepers and last night we had one of those!

It still surprises me to find something that has all the flavor without all the calories.

Lemon Poppy seed Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon rind, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6.6 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Combine blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon rind, 1 tablespoon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 10 minutes or until blueberries break down, stirring frequently.

While compote cooks, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons rind in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub rind mixture together for 15 seconds. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to rind mixture, stirring with a whisk. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Preheat nonstick pan to medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto pan. Cook 3 minutes or until edges begin to bubble and bottom is browned. Turn pancakes over; cook 3 minutes or until done. Serve with blueberry compote.

 

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If you are short on time or ingredients or just prefer plain – this is a great healthy pancake recipe without the lemon or poppy seeds. I plan on it being the pancakes my little Elizabeth grows up with.

-abp

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving (serving = 2 pancakes and ¼ cup compote)

  • Calories: 286
  • Fat: 6.4g
  • Saturated fat: 1.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.9g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 46g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 64mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Sodium: 279mg
  • Calcium: 219mg

 

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I ran across the best little recipe on Pinterest the other day!

Since I’ve been on this little health kick I am noticing recipes that I would normally skim right on past.  I have been missing out.

I’m thrilled that this little jewel caught my eye.

It’s always good to get a little burst of energy in the morning as you are headed out the door or on your way out to exercise. A lot of those times it would be one of those blah fiber type bars. They’ve always tasted ok but they were usually dry and tough and seemed old even if they were not.

Well, no more! My now go-to burst of energy is homemade. Not only are they not dry, they taste great!

Energy Bites

(adapted from Lil’ Luna)

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup milled flaxseed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all dry ingredients together then add in the wet ingredients.

Place in fridge for 30 minutes, then roll into 1 inch balls.

Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

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-abp

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand.” ~ Mother Teresa

When I’m trying to eat healthier, one of the things I try and keep on hand are ingredients for smoothies. Frozen fruit, yogurt, juice, protein powder etc.

They are tasty, filling and if you make them right – good for you.

I usually have the typical one with strawberries, blueberries and bananas but I wanted to switch it up a bit.

The following recipe did just that and it did not disappoint.

Citrus Banana Oat Smoothie

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup prepared quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Pour everything in blender and blend until smooth.

Makes 2 servings. Around 260 calories per serving.

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-abp