Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

I would like to start by apologizing for the poor quality pictures. I've lost my camera batteries, so I've resorted to using my cellphone camera again. And being that it was one of those free phones that comes with the plan, the camera is not that great. I was so happy to be using a camera, and I had to go and lose my batteries. Well, they're here somewhere and hopefully I'll find them soon. Anyway, these muffins turned out so cute that I really wanted to get a couple of pics up for this blog post. And even though they're not the greatest pictures ever, I think they still capture the cuteness of my muffins :)

These muffins turned out wonderfully. I was looking for a healthier recipe, so my friend Beth gave me this one from Weight Watchers. They are 4 points per muffin, which sounds like a lot to me, although I'm not on Weight Watchers, so you can take that with a grain of salt :). But with the sour cream, and all the sugar and the streusel topping, I don't see how they're especially good for you :) But they're great in the morning with a big cup of coffee. I am definitely holding on to this recipe. They turned out moist and delicious and packed full of blueberries. Thanks Beth!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins (source: my buddy Beth. original source: Weight Watchers website)

~2 1/4 cups flour, divided (I used half all purpose flour and half whole wheat)
~1/2 tsp baking soda
~1 tsp baking powder
~1/2 tsp salt
~1 large egg
~1 cup sugar, divided
~3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
~1 tsp vanilla
~1/4 cup fat free milk
~2 cups blueberries
~2 tbsp butter, melted

~Preheat the oven to 375. Place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin.

~In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour (this is where I used half AP and half WW), baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

~Using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla.

~Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and milk and beat until smooth.

~Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.

~To make streusel topping, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup each of flour and sugar. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips (this part was kinda fun :)) Divide crumb mixture over muffins. Gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips.

~Bake until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10-15 minutes and then remove to cool completely on wire racks. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
Nutrition Info:
  • Calories: 192.9
  • Total Fat: 4.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 26.7 mg
  • Sodium: 207.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 35.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
  • Protein: 4.0 g

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pacman Cheesecake

How cute is that?

I never get to make cheesecake. I mean, I could. Except I'm the only one in my house who will eat it. Which means I'd have to eat the whole thing by myself. Which is really not a good idea. So when my friend Beth (aka Shortcake79 on The Nest) invited us all over to her house for dinner, I knew I would have someone to make a cheesecake for. See, neither of our husbands will eat cheesecake. So we decided that we'd have cheesecake and the guys (and the kids) would have chocolate chip cookies. I decided to look for a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake and I came across The Cheesecake Factory's recipe on

The recipe was incredibly easy. The part that took the longest was processing the cookies for the crust in my Magic Bullet. The recipe called for graham cracker crumbs. But I didn't have any, so I substituted Vanilla Wafer crumbs. The crust was delicious and I think the only thing I would do differently next time would be to add some cinnamon and nutmeg and prebake it a little longer. I meant to add spices to the crust this time, thanks to the advice of my wonderful friends on The Nest's WHat's COoking message board, but I forgot. I definitely recommend using the vanilla wafers for the crust. I don't think I'd like it as much with a graham cracker crust. Elly suggested Gingersnaps, which I think would be even better than the Vanilla Wafers, but I didn't have any. So I'll use them the next time Beth invites me over :-)

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake (source:

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar, plus
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used more like 1 tsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • whipped cream - (I omitted this)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Combine vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a medium bowl. Stir until the crumbs are coated with the butter. Do not over mix. You want it to be crumbly. Press into the bottom and up 2/3 of the sides of an 8" springform pan (I used a 9" pan because that's all I have). Put foil halfway up the outside of the pan. bake the crust for 5 minutes and set aside until you're ready to fill it.

    In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs and spices and continue mixing until creamy. Pour the filling into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cake is at room temperature, place in refrigerator to chill. Once the cake is chilled, remove the pan sides and serve.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Cornmeal Crusted Chicken

    I realize that Elly just made this last night. And I feel like a complete copycat. But one of my favorite teachers from when I was little always told me that "copying is a compliment." So take it as a compliment Elly, that I thought your dinner looked so wonderful last night that I just HAD to make it tonight :-)

    Anyway, I did mine a little differently than Elly did, although the inspiration came solely from her delicious looking concoction from last night. I did not stuff my chicken with anything. In the kosher world, mixing chicken (or meat of any kind) with cheese (or dairy of any kind) is a big no-no. I may have mentioned that once or twice before, but I just wanted to clarify just in case. So stuffing my chicken with cheese is pretty much out of the question. Coating it in cornmeal, on the other hand, is completely ok, so I just stuck with that. I also didn't add the peppers. For one, I don't really like spicy peppers too much. Also, we had no peppers on hand. So I just added a good dose of paprika and chili powder to my cornmeal before tossing my chicken in it.

    I also wanted to clarify one other thing. Eggs are not dairy. I know, I know. I thought they were too. But they're not. Dairy products are anything that consists of milk. So butter, cream, milk (duh), cheese...those kinds of things. Those are all dairy and you will not find any of them in my meat dishes. I sometimes feel limited because I cannot combine these things in my kitchen and so many wonderful recipes that I've come across call for them. But honestly, I love being kosher and I am more than willing to make the sacrifice. Also, there are always substitutions that cane be made. For example, dairy free margarine comes in handy when making mashed potatoes that will be eaten with meat. Or when making a dessert that will be eaten after a meat meal. Ok, I think I've rambled long enough. I just wanted to give those of you who may not know much about the kosher lifestyle a glimpse into what goes into keeping kosher. Onto the chicken.

    3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 egg, beaten
    1/3 cup cornmeal
    chili powder

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

    Coat chicken in egg and then toss in cornmeal mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and spray chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear.

    This was such an easy and delicious dinner. I know I'll be making this many many times again! Thanks for another winner Elly :-)

    (sorry for the lack of pictures. i took one and it turned out teeny tiny. i don't know what's going on with my camera.)

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Molten Lava Cakes

    I have been meaning to make this dessert since the beginning of the year. I promised Rob and Maura that I would make them for New Year's Eve. But for whatever reason, I didn't end up making them. Then I told them I would make them for Valentine's Day, but I didn't make them then either. So when Rob asked for them tonight, I made sure I got whatever ingredients I was missing when I went to the store and I finally made them.

    I have made these once before, so I knew how easy they would be to throw together. I love how it's so simple. Just one big bowl and a wire whisk. My pictures didn't turn out so great though. Mostly because I think I have the worst camera known to man. Also, the top of the cake cracked open a bit. I think it sort of resembles an outie bellybutton. But anyway, they were really yummy and really easy and the nice big scoop of French Vanilla ice cream was the perfect compliment :)

    Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes (source:

    ~1 package (6 squares) BAKERS Bittersweet Baking Chocolate (I used Nestle Chocolatier 62% Cocoa Bittersweet Baking Bars)
    ~10 tbsp butter
    ~ 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    ~1/2 cup flour
    ~3 eggs
    ~3 egg yolks

    Preheat oven to 425. Grease six 6oz ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

    Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on Medium for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and flour; mix well. Add eggs and egg yolks and beat until well blended. Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins

    Bake 14-15 minutes or until cakes are firm around the edges but still soft in the centers. Let stand one minute. Run a small knife along cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

    I took my cakes out at 14.5 minutes and I thought they were still too runny. I will leave them in another minute or so next time to firm them up just a bit more.

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    I've been tagged!

    Ok, so I've actually been tagged several times by different people. But I can never think of anything to say about myself! But I was just recently tagged by Robin over at Made with love... and I decided to go ahead and give it a shot finally. I mean, I enjoy reading other people's memes. It's fun to learn a little about other bloggers. So here's my meme...

    1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
    2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
    3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
    4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

    1. I love to read. It has become almost an addiction of mine. I am always reading something and always on the lookout for new books. So if you have any great book recommendations, let me know!

    2. I love sappy movies. Like, the girly kind that usually make me cry at more than one point in the movie.

    3. I have a huge family, My Dad was one of 10 kids and my Mom was one of 3. And I think I have something like 30 cousins just on my Dad's side of the family. And now that my cousins are having kids, the family is just getting bigger and bigger. And I love it!

    4. I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I never got my degree, and now that I have a family, I'm finding that it's harder to go back to school. But my dream is to go back and get my degree and teach 2nd or 3rd grade.

    5. I love animals. We currently have only one dog and one cat, but when we have a house and more space, we totally plan on fostering homeless animals. My husband and I both have a very strong passion for helping homeless animals, and although our dog was purchased from a breeder, we plan on only adopting any of our future animals.

    I am tagging:
    Lindsey at Lindsey's Kitchen
    Nikki at Pennies on a Platter
    Kylee at What's cooking, Kylee?
    Kelly at Kelly's Kitchen
    BMK at Reservations not Required

    Saturday, February 9, 2008

    Baked Tortilla Chips

    This is such and easy and fun snack! i got the inspiration from Amy Finley of The Food Network's "The Gourmet Next Door" and the most recent winner of "The Next Food Network Star." I really like Amy, although I haven't caught too many of her new shows. A few weeks ago she made Chiliqueles and homemade stovetop salsa. She fried her tortilla chips, but I knew I wanted to bake mine. I tried her recipe for Homemade Salsa, and while it was good, it wasn't what I really think of when I think of salsa. It was more of a puree. I like my salsa thick and chunky. However, since making the chips a few weeks ago, they have become one of my favorite snacks and I've made them several times. They are so easy, which I love, and I can be completely done and munching on them in about 15 minutes, including baking time. They are fabulous dipped in some hummus, but I plan on trying other homemade salsa recipes to dip them in. I also plan on trying them with corn tortillas in the future! Here is my method for making tortilla chips.

    7-8 flour tortillas, soft taco size (or more tortillas, depending on how many chips you want)
    kosher salt

    Preheat oven to 350. Stack tortillas on top of each other and cut them in half down the middle. Cut the halves in half and then cut them into triangles. Lay in a single layer on baking sheets sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray chips with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them becuase they go from done to burned very quickly!