Homemade muffins were a weekend breakfast staple in my house growing up. We would go pick our own fresh blueberries practically just to have for muffins. My mom would freeze them in big bags so we would have them for muffin making year round. We also made banana muffins, peach muffins, and strawberry muffins, but blueberry (with lemon and walnuts!) will always be my fave. Last summer, I went blueberry picking with some friends on the North shore, just outside New Orleans. I have a large bag of those blueberries in my freezer just for muffin making! The recipe we used growing up is great, but after going gluten-free, I found I didn’t like the way the muffins in that recipe came out as much. I also like this GF Blueberry Lemon Ricotta muffin recipe, but when I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen I knew it was bound to be great. I tweaked it a little to make it gluten-free, more lemon-y, and to add walnuts, and I’m in love with the result! The first time I made these was over Mardi Gras when Drew’s mom was in town and Susie and I had eaten them all within 24 hours. They must be good, because when I made the next batch, even Drew (who says he doesn’t like blueberry muffins) ate TWO!
Blueberry Lemon Walnut Muffins
makes 12 muffins, adapted from this recipe
-6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (OR 6 Tbsp salted butter & decrease salt to 1/8 tsp)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-3/4 cup sour cream
-zest of one lemon or orange (at least 1 tsp)
-1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I just squeeze some in)
-1 1/2 cups flour (I use GF all purpose mix)
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt (OR 1/8 tsp if using salted butter)
-1 cup blueberries (use fresh, or ones you’ve frozen from fresh, don’t buy frozen)
-1 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12-cup muffin tin.
2. In electric stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, beat, then beat in sour cream, zest, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mixture should be creamy and slightly fluffy (I use one of the highest settings on my mixer).
3. Stir together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a separate bowl.
4. Turn mixer setting down to just a stir and slowly mix in dry ingredients (in about 1/4 cup-fuls) just until combined.
5. Gently fold in blueberries and walnuts.
6. Batter will be thick (almost like a cookie dough). Scoop into prepared muffin tin cups.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown and when a tester comes out clean.
8. Remove from muffin tin to a wire rack to cool.
9. Serve warm with a pat full of melting salted butter.
Hello 2016! As I always do, it is time to share my goals for the new year. I love setting goals and giving myself a roadmap of where I want to head in the next year. Things always change slightly from where I think I’m going to where I end up, but setting goals helps me to go somewhere on purpose instead of aimlessly working my way through life. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time in reflection of what worked and didn’t over the past year, where I want to be a year from now, and what I need to work on to get me there. My goals aren’t just yearly in nature, but often flow and build on each other from one year to another (and I break them down month by month throughout the year to ensure I’m living with intention and making progress on what is important to me). That system has worked wonderfully, but I wanted to dive even deeper this year. So I decided to try out Lara Casey’s Powersheets (I’m using the 1-year workbook) this year. I’m already loving the process and I’m excited to see how this helps me even more this year! (see my reflections on 2015, here)
I’m at an interesting place in life right now, where I feel like it is time to make some decisions on what direction I want my life to take. Several years ago, when I graduated from college, I started a “Real Life List.” On that list were a bunch of things that I’d always wanted to do, but being in college had held me back from. Once I graduated and I was more in control of how I spent my free-time, I started working on the list. In the last two and a half years, I’ve pretty much completed most of the things I wanted to do (and working on a few last ones!). See the updates to that list, here.
The more I’ve thought about that list over the last several months, the more I’ve realized that it was really just a sampling of things I wanted to try out in various creative disciplines. I’m very happy at what I’ve learned by completing those things and how exploring those creative disciplines have stretched me as a person. But now I’m at a point where I want to do more strengthening than stretching. I want to delve deeper into my passions, rather than just scratching the surface of my interests. I feel like I’m moving on to a new phase of life and I’m really pumped about it!
My goals for this year are a little different than in the past. They are categories that I want to make a priority (similar to Jess Lively’s Values Based Intentions) by establishing routines that make working towards them a regular part of my life. I’ll take these values (and I have ideas of where I want them to take me this year), and break them down into steps that I can work on monthly, weekly, daily. I’ve listed some of what they mean to me below each one. They all tie into my goal of living a simple, well-intentioned, thoughtful, and creative life.
I think some pretty awesome and exciting things are in store for 2016. Word of the year: STRENGTHEN (to strengthen not just stretch – to delve deeper into my passions rather than just scratching the surface of my interests).
create daily – spend time daily in my studio – painting, drawing, quilting, design – working towards my 10,000 hours in surface pattern design – to gain direction, clarity, refinement, progress, and purpose in my work – to define my SPD style and build my portfolio of designs/patterns – actively work towards my dream of becoming a textile designer – “do one thing a day in the direction of my dreams”
live simply – reduce stress and anxiety by being thoughtful and well-intentioned with time, money, resources, choices – financially/debt free – reduce physical and mental clutter – simplify wardrobe – simplify posessions and belongings – simple, whole foods – fill our lives with only things that spark joy – safe and loving home – waste less – recycle more – consider the environmental impact – “have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
value rest – live with intention (time, energy, creativity, goals) – not over-scheduling myself – mindfulness – being present and aware – bliss in the everyday – recharging, refreshing, relaxing – down time – fill my cup – take care of myself – eat well – exercise/yoga/walks – take breaks – be a happier, healthier, kinder person – establishing daily routines (to simplify and reduce stress) – calmer mind – making time to read for pleasure and expansion – journal – going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, not being late for work – longer, better sleep – movie/date nights with Drew – make time for intentional marriage – can’t be strong without rest!
be open to adventure – travel – explore – learn – expand minds and horizons – love the world – seize opportunities – to be happier, healthier, more open-minded people – be more open to leaving comfort zone – travel to Europe! – read – take workshops and continue textile design education – live a great story
Here’s to making things happen in 2016!
A few quotes to inspire your goal setting this year:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
“Success is a series of small things repeated, day in and day out.” -Robert Collier
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no.’ If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” -Nora Roberts
“The grass is greener where you water it.”
P.S. Past old year reflections and new year goals: Reflections on 2015, Reflections on 2014, Goals for 2015, Reflections on 2013, Goals for 2014, Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013, Happy 2012, 2011 and 20 Before Twenty.