Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Guilt-Free Blueberry muffins

Annually I make a trip to Washington Farms in Watkinsville, GA and pick blueberries with my mother. It is such a gratifying experience to pick your own fruit and then store it up in the freezer for endless possibilities later. I decided to mix up my blueberry muffin routine and discovered a so called guilt free recipe on the Kitchen Meets Girl blog. Not so sure about struesel topping being guilt free but I guess the use of yogurt and skim milk balances it out. Of course I used 1% milk instead of skim so basically this is pure indulgence. It seems my struesel did not come out like Ashley's, based on her pictures. It still tastes good though!

Guilt-Free Blueberry Muffins

makes 12 muffins
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup Greek blueberry yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fat free skim milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
  • For the struesel:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add yogurt and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract.
  4. Add half of flour mixture and half of milk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and milk; beat until smooth.
  5. Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full.
  6. To make streusel topping:
  7. Combine remaining 1/4 cup each of sugar and flour in a small bowl. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. Divide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes at 425, then reduce your oven temperature to 325. Bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Polenta French Toast

I have been saving this recipe for awhile...waiting for the right moment. The stars had to align perfectly, ya know? Anyway I was making a big ole pot of polenta and realized there was no way I was eating that much Italian polenta with the Creole Chicken and Sausage I made in the slow cooker. I remembered I wanted to try Breakfast Polenta and specifically use the tip at the end of the Take a Megabite blog post. Ms. Megabite is right, this is like French Toast's cousin. I sliced my pieces big like I would French bread so it took a bit of time to brown up in the pan. May not be photo friendly but then again I snapped a quick picture as I was digging in...just returned from the gym. This is delicious stuff and the polenta flavor barely comes through with all that cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla goodness.


Vanilla Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta

{Serves 3-4}
Recipe adapted in half from Joy the Baker
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • heaping 1/4 t salt
  • 2 heaping T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon
  1. Measure out the polenta in a small bowl and top with 1/2 cup cold water. Put remaining cup of water and milk in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add salt and stir. Slowly add polenta mixture, whisking away lumps.
  2. Once all of the polenta is added, turn the heat to low, and simmer until thickened. When it’s the thickness you fancy, stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Remove from heat and serve in a small bowl or cup topped with a little bit of milk and some additional brown sugar if you want. Enjoy!
TIP: Pour the leftover polenta into a plastic wrap lined loaf pan and chill until firm. Then slice, dredge in flour, and toss in a frying pan with some hot vegetable oil. Top it with jam or syrup and enjoy! It’s like French toast’s cousin!

Okay, so this blog is mainly cupcakes and other baked goods but I just have to share this Slow Cooker Creole Chicken and Sausage with ya'll too. I served mine up with polenta instead of rice.

Slow Cooker Creole Chicken and Sausage

Serves: 6
The essentials:
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 ounces smoked Andouille sausage, cut into small rounds
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
Optional extras:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced green onions for topping
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (randomly delicious)
  • salt to taste
  • brown rice for serving

  1. Place the essential ingredients in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken directly in the crockpot to your desired texture. Add the extras, if you want, and cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes. This is also a great time to make your rice, if you're serving it with rice. When everything is ready, taste the chicken mixture and season with salt. Serve the creole chicken over rice and topped with green onions.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Well another Father's Day has gone by. I do not know about your dad, but mine loves cake. I showed him the Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake on Sally's Baking Addiction and his eyes lit up like a five year old on Christmas morning. I knew with that response that this cake would be a good one for Father's Day. He is not a big fan of blueberries. However, my mom and I are berry addicts so he obliged since it is a three layer cake. This was my first three layer cake and I was up for the challenge. My mom later admitted that she knew I could do it but was not sure the cake would "cooperate". Apparently my mom has a history of cake mishaps. As a kid I remember her struggling with caramel frosting (my dad's favorite).

I followed the recipe to a tee and am a little disappointed in the blueberries. Sally recommends rolling the blueberries in flour so they do not sink to the bottom of the cake. Well as you can see in the pictures my blueberries fell! Of course my mom says, "I could have told you they were still going to sink". She is just a baking know it all after 40 something years of baking. If you are looking for a work out then zest and squeeze the lemons for this cake! Squeezing lemons is hard work!!! My hands were hurting and my mom had a response for that too "you do have little hands". I must be doomed in the baking world if lemons are required with my little hands.
This cake made the father happy and that is all that matters! He did not have too much to say, probably did not want to get in trouble with my mom. You know he really likes it when he licks the front and back of the fork and says "this is good". My mom said "this is better than anything you can get in a bakery. I think you out did me on this one. You will have to make this ever year." If you have a cake lover in your life or you like lemons and blueberries, then make this cake.


Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake



  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
Get Rich, Delicious Dessert Recipes


Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.
Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
Make 1 day in advance if you'd like. Extras keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3days.


                                  Happy Father's Day!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cranberry-Almond Muffins

I am still on a cranberry kick. I just cannot let go of the season even though it is over. Sadly the fresh cranberries have left the grocery store. I have been unable to locate frozen cranberries. Anyone know where I can find some? I suppose I should make a visit to Whole Foods to see what is in their freezers.. My cranberry obsession has been fueled by some of the blogs I follow and then left to my own devices I search the Internet. Not to mention I purchased a Cranberry Orange muffin at the Ingles bakery (Red Velvet is good too) and shared it with my mom. Yes, I'm an only child and wanted muffins of my very own.

I spotted this recipe on Whole Living. It was simple. The hardest part was zesting and juicing the orange. If you are not one of these New Year's resolution people who signed up for a gym membership, then this recipe will help build you upper body strength. Just kidding. Can you tell I am ready to get my gym back? Big class sizes make it difficult to workout. Anyway, back to the recipe. I substituted dried cranberries since fresh and frozen were not an option. I would imagine it would be better with fresh or frozen but dried cranberries did the trick too. The almond flour is lovely in this recipe and the extra almonds on top provide a nice crunch. I baked these on the night before the coldest day we have had in thirty years in the ATL. It was a great way to heat up my home and the smell was fabulous too!

Cranberry-Almond Muffins

  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield Makes 16

  • Ingredients

    • Vegetable oil cooking spray
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup almond flour 
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • Coarse salt
    • 2/3 cup nonfat milk
    • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 orange, zested and juiced
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 cups of
      two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups,
      and lightly coat each with cooking spray.
    2. Whisk together sugar, flours, baking soda,
      and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk
      together milk, yogurt, eggs, and orange zest
      and juice in a medium bowl. Fold milk
      mixture into flour mixture, then gently fold
      in cranberries until combined.
    3. Spoon batter into baking cups until each
      is three-quarters full. Sprinkle with almonds.
      Bake until a toothpick inserted into the
      center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
      Transfer pans to wire racks, and let
      cool for 10 minutes. Turn out muffins onto
      racks, and let cool completely.

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes

    Well I just had to share one more pumpkin recipe with you all before we can say pumpkin season is  over. How can it be? In my opinion pumpkin season is too short. Anyway sometimes I want a simple recipe and I love that the Nutella in this recipe is like frosting. Could it be any easier? To me pumpkin and Nutella are a wonderful combination. My coworkers tried to act like these were acceptable for breakfast and not just dessert. You be the judge.

    Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes
    Makes 12-15 cupcakes
    • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Nutella for topping
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
    Place the pumpkin, oil, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat to combine.
    In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
    Fill muffin cups around 3/4 full. Place a couple of teaspoons of Nutella on top of each cupcake. Use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella around the top of the batter.
    Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

    Crustless Cranberry Pie

    My mom and I love cranberries so for her birthday this year (yes it took me over a month to post this) I searched for a new dessert. I found a recipe for crustless pie. Never really heard of crustless pie but I decided to go for it. And I'm so glad that I did. It was such an easy recipe and the taste is amazing. A little tart and sweet. Of course it turns out to be a beautiful explosion of red.


    Crustless Cranberry Pie


    Original recipe makes 1 (9-inch) pie


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 inch pie pan.
    2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts, and toss to coat. Stir in the butter, beaten eggs, and almond extract. If you are using frozen cranberries, the mixture will be very thick. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    White Bean Pumpkin Chili

    I know this is primarily a dessert blog but I had to share these recipes. Fall is my favorite season and this chili with cornbread made for an awesome fall lunch. I adjusted the chili recipe by cooking it over the stove instead of in a crock pot. It is chili so I let it simmer for about two hours after bringing all the ingredients to a boil. I was concerned the white northern beans may get too soft in the crock pot. I'm sure it is not an issue and is just my anxiety...I'm a baker and not the best with cooking.

    Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin ChiliGina's Weight Watcher Recipes
    Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 1 cup • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 6 pts
    Calories: 272.5 • Fat: 2.5 g • Protein: 32 g • Carb: 31 g • Fiber: 12 g • Sugar: 2.4
    Sodium: 499 (without salt)


    • cooking spray (I used my Misto)
    • 2 lb 99% lean ground turkey
    • 1/2 tsp olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp chili powder, to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 2 (15 oz cans) white northern or navy beans (I prefer Goya) rinsed and drained
    • 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 4.5 oz canned chopped green chile
    • 2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
    • chopped cilantro and chives for topping
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • low fat sour cream for topping (optional)


    Heat a large heavy saute pan over high heat and lightly spray with oil. Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5 minutes. Add to crock pot.

    Add oil to the saute pan, then onions, garlic, sauté about 3 - 4 minutes; add cumin and sauté another minute.

    Add to crock pot. Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chilis, broth, chili powder, oregano, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

    Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving. Enjoy!



    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup polenta
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1 cup buttermilk
    About 1/4 cup cooled melted butter or margarine


    1. 1. In a bowl, mix flour, polenta, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs to blend with buttermilk and 1/4 cup butter; pour into flour mixture. Stir batter until evenly moistened.
    2. 2. Scrape batter into a buttered 8-inch square pan and spread level.
    3. 3. Bake in a 400° oven until cornbread is browned, springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and begins to pull from pan sides, 20 to 25 minutes. Use hot or cool.
                           Happy Fall!!!