Blueberry Lemon Walnut Muffins

February 21, 2016

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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

Ingredients:
-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

Directions:
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.

Enjoy!

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Everything Cookies

October 4, 2015

In high school, I used to make these everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies all the time. My original recipe makes quite a lot (I’ve downsized it here), so I would make them and my sisters, Drew, whoever was at my parent’s house or Drew’s parents house, would eat them all up. The cooler temps the last few days have me all nostalgic. Fall always reminds me of when Drew and I first started dating (8 years ago this month!), and in turn reminds me of home and high school. I was flipping through my old handwritten cookbook the other day and came across these again. This very well may be the first time I’ve made these since high school! Definitely the first time I’ve made them since I’ve been gluten-free. This is an easy recipe to make GF since it takes so little flour to begin with!

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Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Cookies
makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients:
-1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 cup flour (I use my GF all purpose flour + a little bit of xanthan gum)
-1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-6 oz chocolate chips (I use half milk chocolate, half semi-sweet)
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
-3/4 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1. In a stand mixer (or large bowl) cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
2. Beat in egg, then vanilla.
3. In separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
4. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet.
5. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut.
6. Roll or scoop dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for around 12 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Don’t overbake.
8. Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

P.S. My original recipe (if you want double what’s above): 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups flour, 2 1/2 cups oats, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 12 oz chocolate chips, 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, 1 1/2 cups coconut.

Cornbread Muffins

June 29, 2015

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Growing up, cornbread was a daily staple at my grandparent’s house. We had it often enough at our house too, only usually in muffin form. My grandparents made drier, unsweet cornbread (that my Papaw often experimented with and threw in whole kernels of corn or jalapenos) and my Mom always made hers sweet (and a little more cake-like) with Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. After going gluten-free, I thought cornbread would be a quick and easy replacement for bread with meals. However, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix is not gluten free. I’ve made many different GF cornbreads, all good, but none the same as that muffin mix. That is, until I came across this recipe by Smitten Kitchen. These are seriously the best, homemade cornbread muffins — gluten-free or not.

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Homemade Cornbread Muffins (gluten-free)

makes 12 muffins, recipe from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
-2 cups yellow cornmeal (divided)
-1 cup flour (I use my gluten-free all purpose flour + 1 tsp or so of xanthan gum)
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
-1 1/4 cups whole milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
-1 cup sour cream
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
-3 to 5 Tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like your cornbread)
-2 large eggs

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease 12-cup standard muffin tin.
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal. Cook cornmeal/milk mixture over medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until it’s thickened to a batter-like consistency.
4. Stir melted butter, sugar, and sour cream into cooked cornmeal. When mixture is cool enough to not cook the eggs, whisk in eggs and stir until combined.
5. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined (batter will be thick).
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (will mound slightly above the rim).
7. Bake until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.
8. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm with butter and/or honey.

Enjoy!

This is my version of a Vietnamese rice bowl/beef salad that my Vietnamese sister-in-law makes. Lately I’ve been in love with this quick, simple, tasty, and filling meal. We’ve been making it at least once a week! (Thanks Trang for the inspiration!)

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Beef & Rice Salad Bowls
makes about 4 servings

Ingredients (for the beef marinade):
-1 lb beef skirt steak, sliced in small pieces, against the grain
-4 Tbsp GF tamari soy sauce
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-1/2 tsp sugar
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
-pinch of salt
-sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
-(optional) 1 Tbsp chopped fresh lemongrass (the soft part of about 3 sticks) — (I use this if I have it on hand, but leave it out if not)
-1 Tablespoon butter (for cooking)

Ingredients (for serving):
-cooked white rice
-raw, unsalted peanuts, chopped
-lettuce
-tomato, chopped
-cucumber, chopped

Directions:
1. Combine sliced meat and marinade ingredients (soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, lemongrass) in a glass or plastic bowl with a lid. Stir together. Place lid on container and return to fridge. You can leave beef to marinade for a few hours if you like, but I generally just let it sit while I prepare the rest of the meal.
2. Cook rice and prepare salad ingredients.
3. Heat skillet or wok. Over medium-high heat, melt one tablespoon butter. Once butter is melted, add beef (including marinade) and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.
4. Serve beef over a bed of white rice with salad and chopped peanuts (this is my favorite, so that the rice soaks up the beef juices) or serve beef on top of salad with rice on the side.

Enjoy!

In honor of National Buttermilk Biscuit Day (May 14), here is my recipe for gravy and gluten-free buttermilk biscuits.

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Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
recipe from Fine Cooking’s Gluten-Free 2014 Magazine – makes 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients:
-1 1/4 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
-3/4 cup cornstarch
-1 Tablespoon sugar
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
-1 large egg
-1 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt) until well combined.
3. Cut butter pieces into flour mixture with a pastry cutter (or a fork or two knives), until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
4. In small bowl, beat egg and add buttermilk. Mix thoroughly.
5. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened and mixture comes together into a soft dough.
6. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
7. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.
8. Immediately transfer biscuits to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm.

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Sausage Gravy

Ingredients:
-1 log Jimmy Dean mild breakfast sausage
-2 Tbsp butter or bacon grease
-1/4 cup flour (I use my GF flour mix)
-2 cups milk (I’ve made with unsweetened almond milk and it works great too!)
-salt & pepper

Directions:
1. In skillet, melt butter or bacon grease on medium-high heat.
2. Scramble and cook sausage.
3. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and stir until slightly browned.
4. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, until gravy is thickened.
5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Serve with warm biscuits.

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These biscuits are great with gravy, butter, jam, or plain!

Enjoy!

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