Love these muffins...warm sweet berries in every bite! Such a nice way to enjoy a cold winter's morning!

Berry and Jam Muffins
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 6 jumbo muffins

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen or fresh berries (I used frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
3 Tablespoons berry jam (I used raspberry jam)

For the topping:
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Put a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Generously butter muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in the berries and the jam.

Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

For the topping:
Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-22 minutes for regular or about 22-25 for jumbo. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Black Hills...

My mother, children and I went to the Black Hills of South Dakota for the weekend; one of my favorite places. It is a beautiful drive across the state: the endless serene plains, then the badlands slowly rise in the western horizon followed by the majestic Black Hills, "an island of trees in a sea of grass" or snow in this case!

Yes, snow and more snow...6-8 inches of powder fell that day. The snow was gorgeous but became spectacular when we were surrounded by fire! Forrest Service started burning slash piles surrounding the house and throughout the forest. The fires burned all day, night and into the morning! It was quite a sight to see!

The kids burned energy climbing!




Finally the weather is warming up it is so nice to see the sun again! I actually was out running errands without a jacket was only 40 degrees but it felt like 60 when it has been below 0 for so many days.

I came back to the house filled with fresh air in my lungs and a desire to bake. I was thinking cookies but then I saw three inconspicuous brown-speckled bananas just begging to be used.

I can remember when I was a kid, I would come home to the most wonderful smell filling up the house but I would always be slightly disappointed when I realized my mom had baked banana bread...I would be hoping for chocolate cake, of course! Times have changed, I still love chocolate cake but a piece of banana bread is something I could eat every day! This recipe is so delicious with a hint of Bourbon and warm spices in every bite. And as a bonus your entire home will smell AMAZING all day!

Jacked-up Banana Bread
Adapted from Simply recipes via Smitten Kitchen
one 4x8 inch loaf

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (depending on the level of sweetness you prefer)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan.

Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.




This is a recipe re-post but with Valentine's Day right around the corner I thought it was perfect. Maybe instead giving your Valentine a dozen roses this year try a dozen chocolate dipped strawberries and a bottle of champagne...I cant think of anything better! Also a delicious short cut for all of you non bakers try using Bakers Dipping is located usually in the baking section by chocolate chips and it is completely evil and addicting so beware.

It is the perfect shortcut for chocolate dipped strawberries or you can follow the recipe below for more of a ganache style chocolate.

I love to bite into a chocolate covered strawberry that melts right away in your mouth; there's nothing better, except maybe a chocolate covered strawberry with a hint of orange brandy in each bite...or maybe coconut rum with toasted coconut flakes...the options are limitless!

These are so easy to make and perfect for any occasion. You don't have to add alcohol but if you do some great options would be Grand Marnier, Chambord, Kahlua, Malibu Rum or Champagne.

To achieve the chocolate covered strawberry that melts in your mouth I add heavy cream the chocolate when melting. If you want more of a semi-firm shell use the Bakers Dipping Chocolate.

Baker's Dipping Chocolate
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream

12 large strawberries
3 teaspoons of Grand Marnier, Chambord, Kahlua, Malibu Rum or Champagne

Wash and dry thoroughly, fresh firm room-temperature strawberries.
I will usually wash them in the morning and let them sit out on a paper towel during the day so they are dry and at room temperature when ready to dip in chocolate.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take a skewer and poke a hole under the leaves at the top of the strawberries.

Take a dropper filled with alcohol of your choice and infuse strawberries with about 1/4 teaspoon per strawberry.

Melt Baker's Dipping Chocolate according to directions
Warm the cream for about 15-20 seconds in the microwave.
Add 3/4 inch of water in a small sauce pan and bring to a low simmer.
Pour chocolate chips and warmed heavy cream in glass bowl and set on top of simmering water. Do not let any water or steam touch the chocolate mixture or it will seize.

Whisk until it is melted. Quickly remove from heat and dip the strawberries.

Set on parchment lined baking sheet.

If you are using Barker's Dipping chocolate let strawberries set on counter for about one hour. if you are using the cream and chocolate chips chocolate let straberreis set in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Eat and enjoy!

* A syringe would be the easiest to infuse the strawberries with alcohol.
* Make sure strawberries are at room temperature and completely dry before dipping.
* Make sure heavy cream is at least at room temperature before adding to the chocolate.
* Use strawberries that are firm and not overly ripe.
* Do not let any water/steam touch your chocolate or it will seize and turn into a gritty texture that you will not be able to use.
* If you use a chocolate bar make sure you chop it into small pieces before melting...that is why I like the mini chips...because they melt fast.
* You can toast coconut flakes in the microwave (about 2 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds) on a plate and then sprinkle on top of unset chocolate. This is really good with a Malibu Rum infused strawberry.

While I am cooking, my Labradoodle sits all day long looking longingly out the kitchen window at this little guy...they both know the chase is coming in only a few short months.





This is a fabulous recipe sent to me by my sister as a nutritious alternative to white rice. I love cauliflower so this was right up my alley! Don't let the name fool you...the texture is like rice but the taste is still cauliflower. Yet the taste is mild enough so it would work as a perfect substitution for white rice. It can be eaten as a side alone or as a base for dishes like stir-fries or curries. I added onion because I was eating it as a side and wanted a little more flavor but you can easily skip the onion and just saute the cauliflower in the oil for it to be used as a mild base for other dishes.

Cauliflower "Rice"- Clean Eating
Serves 4

1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
small onion, chopped small
garlic flakes
salt and pepper

Add oil to a large saute pan, add the onion and saute until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, clean the cauliflower. Remove the leaves and most of the core.

Chop it into medium pieces and process in a food processor until it is the size of rice or couscous, either using a plain steel blade or a shredder blade. Alternatively, you can shred it with a hand-held grater, or even a knife. The key is to make it fine.

Once the onion is browned add the cauliflower and the garlic flakes.

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. If garlic isn't your thing, try a seasoning you like best: ginger, paprika, curry or red pepper. Taste along the way. I garnished with a little green onion...delicious!




My husband loves granola cereal. He can take out a little box in one sitting without a problem! Lately, I feel like I am buying numerous little boxes every time I go shopping so I decided it was time to find a recipe for a homemade version.

In an attempt to save some cash and give him something healthier I decided to take on the cereal challenge. Who knew granola was so easy to make?! Now I admit this isn't the healthiest but it was delicious. In fact my daughter took a bite and said "mmmm, Momma, you gave me a little taste of heaven!" She knows how to give me compliment!

What I love about this recipe is that you can make it into whatever you want...more or less nuts/sugar, different dried fruits/nuts, etc. My next challenge is to to make it healthier yet still taste good...I am experimenting with applesauce instead of oil.

Cranberry Granola
Slightly Adapted from Alton Brown
Serves 6

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 shredded coconut
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
6 Tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey, (or to taste)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.

Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven, add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.

Granola will become crunchier as it cools. Store in an airtight container.



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