Blueberry and Cherry Muffins


I took a pretty long hiatus from baking this winter. Maybe it was my new job or moving into my new apartment and never really unpacking all of my kitchen stuff, but for whatever reason, I stopped baking until about a week ago. I forgot how much of a rush I got off of cooking and baking and how much it helped with my stress. After a stressful Saturday, I decided I needed to bake something. With limited ingredients, I made these wonderful muffins, and they were pretty delicious too!

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Blueberry and Cherry Muffins:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup cherries

Streusel Topping

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Makes about 14-20 muffins.
  2. Prepare streusel topping by whisking together sugar, flour, cinnamon and oil. Mix until topping has sandy texture, then set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest, then set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy on low medium (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each egg. Then, add sour cream, milk and vanilla.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in blueberries and cherries.
  7. With an ice cream scooper, divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle muffins with streusel topping.
  8. Bake at 350º for 20 to 25 min, to test, insert a tooth pick into the center to see if it comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins cool in the pan for about two minutes. Then, place on cooling rack for about ten minutes. Muffins are great to eat while they are still warm.

 

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Spring Fling Cake


Spring is finally here in Colorado, at least until today! But, what better way to celebrate the first few days of spring than cake? I first tried this cake at the Market in Larimer Square and I just love it! I adapted a recipe from Paddle Attachment,. Check out her photos step by step guide; it’s really helpful.

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For the cake:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Apricot jam and water to coat the fruit

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. I use baking spray with great results.

2.  Grate the zucchini with the “fine side” of your grater. In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil, sour cream and vanilla and mix on medium to combine.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet with the mixer set on low. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the baking pans and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the center. Cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

5.  Cool the finished cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pans and allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1  cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1.  Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium high until creamy and smooth (3 minutes or so). Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix until combined.

2.  With the mixer set to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until well combined.

Assemble the Cake:

I used strawberries, blackberries, mangoes, kiwis, and mandarin oranges, but you can us whatever fruit you want.

Directions:

1.  Cut the cooled cake layers in half lengthwise, making four layers.

2.  Spread even amounts of frosting between the layers and place fruit on top frosting with fruit.

3.  Frost the top and sides of the cake.

4.  Arrange the fruit in circles over the top of the cake, starting near the center.

5. I placed sliced strawberries around the sides of the cake, so I didn’t have spend a lot time frosting the cake.

6.  Melt some apricot jam and tablespoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a pastry  brush, lightly brush the melted jam over the fruit on the top of the cake.

 

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The Kitchen


When I first moved to Boulder, everyone recommended The Kitchen and their many various restaurants (The Kitchen Next Door and The Kitchen Upstairs). I was a little hesitate, mostly because I was poor and the menu seemed kind of pricey. Then I discovered their happy hour menus and fell in love with their food. It was simple, clean and the menu was really transparent. The origins of most the food is listed on the menu and it’s mostly local ingredients.

I have eaten at the Kitchen (Upstairs and Next Door) many times, but have never eaten at their Denver location. Thankfully, it was very similar almost identical to the Kitchen in Boulder. Dining at The Kitchen is like dining a family farm, the decor is so earthy and eccentric.

My main reason for dining at the Kitchen is their dessert dish: the Sticky Toffee Pudding; it is the only non-chocolate that I adore. It is the perfect dessert. The cake is spiced beautifully and the brown sugar pecan sauce has so much flavor and provides the perfect amount of crunch. The warm pudding and cold vanilla gelato are a divine combination. If you haven’t tried this dessert, do so immediately, you are missing out on a masterpiece. Seriously, get in your car or a plan and get this dessert. I promise it will not disappoint.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding – $8

kitchen (1 of 1)Marinated Olives – $6

kitchen (1 of 1)-3La Quercia Prosciutto & Burrata Sandwich – $14

kitchen (1 of 1)-4Portobello Sandwich – $11

kitchen (1 of 1)-2Roasted Organic Beet Salad – $11

Pumpkin Pancakes (Gluten Free)


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On Thanksgiving, I tried this gluten free pumpkin pancakes recipe, and I was surprised how much I loved it, plus my gluten loving friend was wowed by these pancakes . I have also made these vegan by using chia seeds instead of eggs. This recipe is from Cookie and Kate, and I only made a couple of changes, but it’s definitely a must try and making the oat flour is pretty simple.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup oat milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 small lemon, juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs or 2 tablespoons soaked chia seeds.
  • 1 cup oat flour (Add about two cups of old fashion oats (not instant) to a food processor and mix until preferred consistency. I made the flour a little chunky.
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, milk, coconut oil (or butter), lemon juice and maple syrup (or honey). Beat in the eggs. (If your coconut oil goes back to its solid state like mine did at this point, just warm the mixture for short 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each, until it is melted again.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. With a big spoon, stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Do not overmix! Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet/non-stick pan over medium-low heat, or heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil the surface of your pan with coconut oil, butter or cooking spray. If you’re using a non-stick electric griddle like mine, you might not need any oil at all.
  5. Once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it, pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan. Let the pancake cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cake.
  6. Once the underside is lightly golden, flip it with a spatula and cook for another 90 seconds or so, until golden brown on both sides. You may need to adjust the heat up or down at this point.
  7. Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Starting Over with a Juice Cleanse


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Almost three years ago, a young woman decided to make a big life change, she was moving from her Larose, Louisiana to Colorado, that young woman was me. I had never lived anywhere besides to Louisiana and wanted to experience something different and have an adventure.  My plan was to stay in Colorado for six months to complete a culinary school program, and then move back to Louisiana or possibly somewhere new. But then something magical happened, I started feeling really connected to Boulder and did not want to leave.

 

So, I stayed in Boulder, wrestle a lot of demons, and fix some serious bad habits in my life, but in the back of my head, there is a little voice saying “you’ve always wanted experience living in a big city; now is the perfect opportunity, what are you waiting?” That voice in my head is a bit of a pusher. I began to think of new cities to move to; my lease ends in March 2014, so it was perfect timing. Like it was meant to be, something amazing happened, I got a job offer in Downtown Denver.

 

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Everything seemed to fall into place; I gave my two weeks notice, said goodbye to some truly remarkable people and the place that was my security blanket since I moved to Boulder. I thought this new job would be challenging and exciting.

I never anticipated how hard starting a new job can be; the first week was brutal, second was worse. I was completely humbled. Then all of my bad habits starting creeping back and years of hard work was all undone in a couple of weeks.

With a bunch of affordable fast food within walking distance of my new job, I started eating my feelings again and drinking vast amounts of coffee, three cups a day at least and I felt terrible. Then, slowly my shopping addiction which took two years to break came back in a full swing. Almost every day over the last month, I tell myself I need this or that, and it just CANNOT wait. But, the absolute worst thing to resurface is my skin picking.  It is my darkest secret. Anytime I get stressed I start to pick at my skin, finding any little bump and turning it into an open wound. This Monday I hit my limit. I looked at myself in the mirror and counted eight scabbed over cuts just on my face.

I had been stopping by a cold pressed juicery (Pressed Juice Daily) near work for a while and thought maybe a juice cleanse would be the radical change I need? So, on Tuesday I made the decision to do a two-three day juice cleanse depending on how I feel.  I spent the week phasing out caffeine which is one of the hardest parts of cleanses for me. The most difficult part will be giving up sugar. Sugar, well chocolate, is my weakness.

I was going to purchase all of my juices through Pressed Juice Daily in Denver, but there was no way I could carry sixteen bottles of juice on the bus. I will purchase their juices on Monday because they are fantastic. For the weekend, my juices are from SolJuice, and they delivered right to my door. I decided on the “Green Cleanse” which is five green juices and one nut milk. They have another option that is mixed with fruit juices, but when I eat too much fruit I get shaky.

Today is Day One. I am sipping on my first juice which consists of kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, apple and lime. My spirits are high or maybe I am just high off of the kale juice…

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Yellow Watermelon


 

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No, this photograph is not photoshopped.. I found a yellow watermelon; I had never tasted one before. It was definitely sweeter than the pink watermelons and tasted thicker like honey, maybe the color is playing tricks on me like when eating mint ice cream it taste more minty when it is colored green!

Red Velvet Smoothie


I saw a Pinterest photo about using beets to make a red velvet smoothie. Here is my recipe and it is definitely worth a try. I thought it was amazing!

day 249 (1 of 1)Red Velvet Smoothie

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients except water and blend until smooth.
  2. If mixture is too thick add more water.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


I posted this photo on one of my Project 365 posts, but did not have time to post the recipe. I am new to gluten free baking and I feel like I am relearning how to bake again! This recipe is very easy and is easily adaptable. I saw a version of this recipe on Facebook, unfortunately, I did not save the recipe, so I had to work off of my memory.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup of nut butter ( I used peanut butter)

  • ¼ cup honey/maple syrup (you can use more or less)

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  • ½ cup chocolate chips

 

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with silicone pads or parchment paper.

  2. Combine nut butter and honey.

  3. Add egg and stir until everything is smooth.

  4. Stir in baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla bean paste

  5. Fold in chocolate chips

  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop cookies dough on lined baking sheets.

  7. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes

  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes

  9. Let stand on baking sheet for five minutes, then move to cooling rack.