Friday, October 16, 2015

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

You can't beat a blueberry muffin straight from a great bakery with that buttery streusel crumble on top! When I have guests in town, I always like make sure they have a grab-and-go option just in case there isn't time for my home cooked all-american breakfast spread in their schedule! Having a baby on the way doesn't turn off the "hostess" side of me.... so before I head to the hospital, knowing family and friends will be coming in town to meet my new little addition, I decided to plan ahead (see, I'm getting the hang of this scheduling with a new baby thing already!).  I am making my favorite Blueberry Streusel Muffins ahead of time and, get this....FREEZING THEM so that I can pop out a fresh batch of muffins for my guests....with zero effort! Obviously they are perfectly scrumptious fresh out of the oven....but they are equally as good out of the freezer (tested and husband approved!)    

Dry Muffin Ingredients:
5 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Wet Muffin Ingredients:
1 cup room temp butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
2 cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, regular milk works fine)

3 cups fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup flour
cinnamon (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine all your dry ingredients and mix well; set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream your sugar and butter together. Mix in one egg at a time until well incorporated. Slowly add in your buttermilk. Add your dry ingredient mixture a little at a time until all ingredients are mixed well. Make sure mixer is on low and add the dry stuff in slowly or you'll have a flour bomb! Using a rubber baking spatula, gently fold in your blueberries - Yes, this is a thick batter which makes the perfect consistency for the muffins!   To make the streusel, simply combine the butter and sugar and mix in flour and cinnamon until crumbly. 

Line your muffin tin OR spray them well with a "baking spray with flour" type cooking spray (CLICK HERE if you have no idea what I mean). Fill your muffin tins about 2/3 of the way up and top with crumbled streusel topping.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean – makes approximately 30-36 muffins (We like big batches at our house!).  Make sure that your tin gets cooled and cleaned in between batches, or use 3 different tins!

To Freeze:
Allow the muffins to cool COMPLETELY. Place them back into the tin (or in a casserole dish) and freeze them for 2 hours in the freezer. Remove the muffins from the tin and place in one-layer, in gallon-sized Ziploc type bags to store in freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready eat them, just grab a few out of the bag and pop them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds!! Instant from scratch breakfast any day of the week with no mess!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pot Roast with Gravy

With fall already here and in my case, a baby around the corner, I’m working on stocking up on some of my favorite easy fall comfort foods to get me through those first few weeks of sleepless nights. Nights are getting chilly and the smell of wood fires are starting to fill the crisp night air. What better way to feed your family, and your soul, than with a perfect pot roast paired with the perfect gravy? This is my go-to easy dish this time of year. It is nearly effortless thanks to the crock pot doing all the hard work and it is absolutely scrumptious!!  It doesn’t hurt that it will freeze and re-heat to perfection as well!

3-4 lb Chuck Roast (I used an arm roast I had on hand this time)
1.5 lb bag baby yellow potatoes
1/2 lb bag baby carrots
1 large white onion
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp dried minced garlic  (or 2 Tbsp of fresh minced)
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp chili powder
4 cups water
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

In a dutch oven or skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Liberally salt and pepper the entire roast; rub it in good! Place the roast in the skillet and sear both sides. Place the roast in your crock pot, top with all veggies. Mix the 4 cups of water with the cornstarch and seasonings (except the salt and pepper since you already used those on the meat). Cover and turn your crock pot on the “High” setting for 6 hours.  When the roast is done, separate the cooking liquid (about 3 cups) from the roast and veggies and begin the gravy!  Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour a little at a time until incorporated. Allow the butter and flour to cook for a minute or two while you whisk constantly until you see the mixture start to brown a bit. Add in the cooking liquid and some salt (a big pinch) continue to whisk until incorporated. At this point you can go to medium-high heat whisking occasionally until the mixture reduces to about 2 cups. The gravy will thicken as it cools.  Serve this immediately with the pot roast and enjoy!

If you are freezing your cooked pot roast, you should freeze the roast and veggies with a little of the cooking liquid in one container and freeze the gravy in a separate container.  I like to freeze the pot roast in a disposable foil casserole dish with foil lid so that I can just pop it in the oven at 325 for an 90 minutes to reheat!

Enjoy!  XOXO~

Friday, June 26, 2015

Strawberry Daquiri

I took a recent trip to Cabo with some of my closest gal pals as sort of a last hoorah with the ladies before I become a mommy. You can check out pics from my trip on Instagram. We had all our favorite groceries to cook amazing meals, the girls had all their favorite beer and margarita mixes but we found it incredibly hard to find a mixer for strawberry daquiri's to have on hand at the house when the inevitable craving came on - sans alcohol for me on board and all!  As you can guess...that didn't stop me!  I grabbed some frozen strawberries, my favorite citrus fruits, sprite and simple syrup and we had all we needed to get the lazy-pool-lounging party started! (Clearly I run with a rowdy crowd!)  I started making these when I was a kid, the grown-ups would make margaritas while we were in Mexico, but since I'm not a big lemon-lime fan....I decided I could whip up some virgin daquiri's for me and my sister. I played around until I got just the right combo for the perfect daquiri....little did I know that someday I could add rum and it would REALLY rock my world!  Once the daquiri's started flowing for me and the girls in Cabo....Margarita's were a thing of the past. Let me know what you think!

The Goods:
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 cups of ice
3-4 oz rum
1/4 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup Sprite
1/4 cup orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime

Put all ingredients in a good blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2-3 drinks. 

Feel free to make it your own! If you like them super sweet, add more simple syrup. If you like them thinner, add some extra Sprite. Thicker? Add more ice or frozen strawberries. If you don't have simple syrup on hand....make your own with the below recipe:

Simple Syrup:
1 cup white sugar 
1 cup water

Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool completely before use. This recipe makes a little over a cup of simple syrup.