Scrumptious (and Easy) Blueberry Muffins

2014-02-15 11.16.36One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh produce – from the farmers market to my own backyard, there’s never a shortage of awesome organic fruits and vegetables to cook up. Nothing feeds my baking addiction better than freshly picked fruit!

A few weeks ago I decided to take advantage of some delicious looking blueberries that I managed to snag for dirt cheap. Always a favorite in my family, these blueberry muffins are deliciously thick, moist and flavorful. The best part? I manage to keep them health(ier) by replacing buttermilk and oil with 1% milk and applesauce! Not to mention all the antioxidants from those juicy ripe berries. All in all, a fantasticly wholesome way to start the day!

Scrumptious (and Easy) Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

  • 2014-02-15 09.40.563 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray your muffin tin of choice with non-stick spray or line with muffin liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently toss together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until all dry ingredients are combined.

2014-02-15 11.00.04In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until combined. Mix in milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Mixture will be pale and yellow. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand. Avoid overmixing. Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be VERY thick and somewhat lumpy. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden and centers appear set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before enjoying.

Namas-tasty!

Easter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2014-04-20 16.27.22Hello from the other side of Easter (and Passover) weekend! I hope it was fantastic for all of you. I, personally, just about died of happiness when it actually reached 75 DEGREES yesterday here in the windy city; what an absolutely beautiful day to spend with friends, and with food, of course.

This year being my first in Chicago, some of my newest acquaintences invited me over for an early Easter dinner, complete with fresh ham straight from a farm in Ohio and an incredible array of side dishes, everything from spinach and cheese quiche to potatoes au gratin to kale and farro salad. We were all stuffed to the brim, but of course everyone saved just a bit of room for dessert!

My contribution to the feast was (you guessed it!) a classic Easter treat: carrot cake! This awesome recipe is made a bit on the lighter side than the traditional carrot cake, using applesauce to replace some of the oil as well as egg whites. Yet it still turned out wonderfully moist and delicious! And while definitely not low-calorie, the cream cheese frosting is a mandatory addition, in my opinion. Sometimes you just have to indulge for a special occasion 😉 Enjoy this elegant confection at your own Spring Fling event, or any old time of the year, for that matter!

2014-04-21 08.23.34Nutty Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg plus 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

2014-04-19 22.39.30Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

2014-04-19 22.44.50Bake cake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frost cake. Top with mini Easter eggs or other festive treats. Store covered in refrigerator.

Namas-tasty!