Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Double Chocolate-Chip Muffins

My kids love chocolate...they take after their mommy in that way!  My daughter is always asking for chocolate muffins and I'm always telling her I'll make them for her "soon".  I'm not the type of person who cringes at a chocolate muffin for breakfast.  Give me pie, cake, name the dessert, I'll eat it for breakfast!  It's a curse, but I've learned to embrace it.
This is the first recipe I came across for chocolate muffins and it was VERY SIMPLE!  She pulled up the barstool and my little Ella helped me make them.  It's one of those recipes that can be put together and baked in less than 30 minutes.  She thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of her labor, as did I, with a nice hot Americano!

Double Chocolate-Chip Muffins {slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson}

INGREDIENTS:  {Makes 12 muffins}

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour {you could substitute half whole-wheat flour if you like}
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. good quality cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, and 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until mixed.  Try not to over-mix batter.   Evenly scoop batter into muffin tin and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bruschetta with homemade pesto

I decided to go simple for dinner the other night.  Salvaging through the refrigerator, I found some mozzarella and I immediately felt like bruschetta. I knew I had tons of fresh basil from my garden and I recently planted arugula, so I decided to make a pesto to go with the bruschetta.  The only bummer was that I had to buy tomatoes since my plants are taking a while.
Bruschetta can be served hot or cold, really however you like, but I decided I wanted mine warm.
This is how I made it...

Bruschetta with homemade pesto {serves 4-6 as appetizer}


  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh basil, torn
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • homemade or purchased pesto {recipe for homemade pesto below}
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, cut into thin slices
  • 1 loaf french bread or baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
 Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Gently mix the tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.  Slice the bread and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle or brush with some olive oil and bake in oven for 5 minutes, or until crispy.  Remove from oven and place one slice of mozzarella on each slice of bread. Place back in oven for about 4-6 minutes, or until cheese has slightly melted.  Remove from oven and top with 1 tsp. of pesto and 1 Tbsp. of the tomato mixture.  Serve immediately.  

Homemade Pesto anyway you like
*Now arugula is a little bit on the spicier side.  If you prefer a more mild-flavored pesto, then choose basil.  I combined arugula and basil for my pesto.  Some recipes call for pine nuts or walnuts in their pesto recipes, but I decided to leave the nuts out.  Feel free to experiment!


  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil OR fresh Arugula {I used 1 cup basil and 11/2 cups arugula}
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts {optional...I left the nuts out}
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if desired
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  Place basil or arugula, peeled garlic, and parmesan cheese in food processor.  Turn on processor and blend for 1 minute.  While processing, slowly add the olive oil and process for 1 more minute.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse for a few seconds.  If the pesto seems to thick for your liking, you may add more olive oil.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Frittata Caprese

Frittata's are fun and easy.  Any combination of vegetables, or meat, or cheese can work in a frittata.  There's no rules...which can be really freeing for someone who doesn't do well with following a recipe {like me}.
I wanted to use the basil from my garden, which is growing in abundance, along with my zucchinis.  A little mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and tasted like a caprese salad, only warm.  Which is why I named this frittata caprese.  Frittata's are great to make for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.  I made this frittata with my blueberry buckle and it made for a perfect lazy saturday breakfast.

Frittata Caprese {serves 4}

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1-2 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh basil, divided and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. mozzarella, cut in chunks
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl and set aside.  Heat a 10 inch non-stick {oven-proof} skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Once pan is hot, add zucchini and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper and let cook about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and stir until tomatoes have softened, just another minute or so {you don't want tomatoes to get too mushy}.  Remove the vegetables from pan and place on a plate.  Add 1 more Tbsp. of olive oil to hot pan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add whisked egg mixture.  Let eggs cook for a couple of minutes and then place the sautéed vegetables and mozzarella chunks evenly into the eggs.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the fresh basil and then place in oven.  Cook in oven 5-10 minutes or until eggs have fully set and feel slightly firm to touch.  You don't want the top to brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp. fresh basil.  Slice into large triangles and serve warm.  If you have leftovers, it also tastes great re-heated for lunch the next day!  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blueberry Buckle. Summer is here.

I couldn't resist.  Our first official day of Summer vacation and I'm in the kitchen making breakfast.  I had to celebrate with something that we  More specifically...breakfast!  I rolled out of bed at the crack of 8:30 {a miracle for me}and came into the kitchen with an idea.  Blueberries and cake. 
Fresh blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.  They have to be nice and firm with a tiny bit of tartness.  I bought a pound of organic blueberries at one of our local grocery stores to use for baking.  
The smells throughout the house were amazing!  I made a frittata {I'll blog about that later}, a big pot of coffee, and sat down with my plate of food.  What a nice way to start off our vacation! 

Blueberry Buckle {recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour}


  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk {you can use regular milk instead}
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries {you can use frozen too}
  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and flour 9 inch square baking dish or a 9 inch cake pan.  
To make the topping, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add cold butter chunks and crumble with your finger tips until the mixture becomes very crumbly.  Set aside.
To make the batter, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk thoroughly.  In another bowl, or your electric mixer, combine butter and sugar.  Beat until nice and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Alternately add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture.  Mix gently, just until combined, ending with the flour mixture.  If you used your electric mixer, you will want to do the rest using a spatula.  Add blueberries and gently fold into your batter, making sure not to break up any of the fruit.  
Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle crumble topping evenly over the entire cake batter.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let sit at elate 5 minutes...if you can wait that long!


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