Sunday, July 27, 2008

UPDATE: Muffins

Okay, here it is...all that talk about muffins made me want one (or two) so I made a batch (or two). Looks good, huh? I hope you like this recipe. Notice how they aren't all blue and purple? I love it! Everyone in my house is happy now too. :o)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Favorite Muffins!!!

Ever since I was little, I've had a love with blueberries that's unbelievable. I was so happy to find this recipe for blueberry muffins, that I made them right away. Now when I make them, I have to make two batches, at least. Otherwise they won't last till the next day!

This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart (when in doubt, pull Martha out!). Her recipes are always the best and hardly disappoint! I have changed it for myself...instead of plain sugar, I use cinnamon sugar to top them with, and I add at least 2 cups of frozen berries. Frozen berries won't break as much as fresh as you mix the batter. However they will split as you scoop the batter...but your muffins won't be blue. You can also add lemon zest, orange zest, or make it with cranberries instead! Note: If using frozen berries, the batter may stiffen up. I use a small ice cream scoop to put it in the cups. Also, you may need to extend the baking time by 5-10 min or so...depending how many berries you use.

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 6 large or 12 small muffins

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups blueberries


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.butter large (3 3/4 inches) or small (2 3/4 inches) muffin tins, and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolks, and vanilla; mix until well combined. Reduce speed to low; alternate adding reserved flour mixture and milk to mixer, beginning and ending with flour. Remove bowl from mixer; gently fold in berries by hand. Divide batter among muffin tins; sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until light golden, about 45 minutes for large muffins, about 30 minutes for small muffins. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; transfer to wire rack, and let cool completely.

"Let Your Kids Paint On The Walls"

("Peace" roses)

"I just heard the news...Randy Pausch has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Right away I started tearing up, got a lump in my throat, and my heart sank through the floor. I'm completely devastated. Because of his generosity, letting us all into his life, he became like family to so many even if we've never met him. I feel like we have all lost such a model mentor for us all. We all have something to learn from Randy. He truly had a unique way of looking at life. He didn't get lost in some rut like most of us do everyday. He took life head on and followed his dreams by upholding a great optimism. His life did come full circle as few do. I can honestly say that as I look at the achievements he has made. Although I am so sad about this loss, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to have learned from him some of the greatest lessons in my life.

If you haven't thought you have had the time to watch Randy Pausch's lecture, PLEASE do! Not only is his story a fascinating inspiration, he has a terrific humor too. Please watch his lecture, read his book, and visit his website!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome Home!

Okay...I'm really excited about this. Although I don't get much time, I do like playing "Martha Stewart" once in a while. I love doing the crafts, gardening, cooking, baking, etc. I really only get to do it all once a year though.

So, I'm going to be sharing all the things I find that are fun, useful, not to mention fast and easy! Short cuts are "a good thing". LOL!

My first tip/recipe:

This is super fast! It's not exactly that healthy but will get the job done and you can serve it on or with salads or tons of veggies.

Deep Fried Pork Chops

2 cups Bisquick
1 package ranch dressing powdered mix
4-6 pork chops ~ boneless or bone-in
large gallon sized Ziploc bag
oil for frying
optional ~ salt, pepper, and dried parsley flakes

I don't actually "deep fry" these. I fill the pan I'm frying in until it would be about half way up the chops. You can add in/substitute the spices and flavors really easily too.

Mix together the Bisquick and ranch mix (and optional ingredients) in a bowl or something easy to lay a chop on.

Rinse the pork chops making sure they are really wet, and place in the Ziploc bag.

Heat the oil

Place one wet chop in the Bisquick mix, patting it firmly into the mix. Flip it over and do the other side. Leave it in there for a few seconds (to let the moisture help adhere the mix). You can flip it one more time before you put it in the oil.

Place in oil and fry until medium golden brown. Flip and repeat. Cooking time varies depending on thickness.

Repeat the above steps for the rest.

If you're not sure if they're done, to check them, press on one side. It should be firm but not extra firm (overdone). What I like to do is just under cook them and tent the ones to be eaten with foil while I cook the rest. This way if you have left-overs, when you reheat them, they won't be overdone.

See? Easy!!! Usually when I do this, it takes about 30-45 min. So total, including other food prep, maybe an hour? Hope you try it.

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