January 24, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

You'd have thought it was London with all the rain that's been falling in California over the last week.   I know we need the water and we'll be thankful come spring/summer, but come on, enough is enough!  When the weather gets like this all I want to do is stay at home in  my flannel pjs and bake!

A recent episode of America's Test Kitchen featured the best blueberry muffins and fortuitously I had all the recipe ingredients in my kitchen so I had to make them, right?  I just love blueberries.  They're one of nature's super foods; full of flavor and rich in antioxidants.  Blueberries have been shown to improve night vision (take that carrots!) and may even reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.  Who knew that all this power was packed in to such a tiny blue fruit.

The recipe is very easy and straightforward to make and the muffins tasted fantastic.  Only problem was they were a pain to take out of the muffin tin in one piece.  Despite spraying the nonstick pan with cooking spray, as was instructed, the finished muffins didn't come out so easily. In fact, the tops were the only things that managed to come off.  Next time I'll either bake them longer to ensure the bottoms and sides are really browned or I'll just use paper liners.

January 19, 2010

A Baby Shower...and a Baby to boot!

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of co-hosting a baby shower for  my very close friend Evelyn who was expecting her first baby (a boy!).  I was in charge of food and drink.  Considering that the party was scheduled just three days after I got back from Hawaii I wasn't able to make as many of the munchies as I would have liked.  But I made sure to set time aside to make the treats.

For the dessert table I made brownies and three kinds of cupcakes: red velvet with cream cheese frosting, french vanilla with blue-tinted swiss meringue buttercream and gluten-free devil's food with chocolate buttercream.  As a cupcake topper I rolled out fondant and cut out little ABCs with mini alphabet cutters.  This was the first time I've used fondant and I found it really easy to work with.  It was a bit tedious to remove the rolled out fondant from the mini cutter because they were so darn tiny, but with a toothpick I managed to get them out.  Luckily my friends (and helpers) Angel and Christine corrected any misshapen letters.   

As favors I made iced sugar cookies shaped in the letter "P", which represents the baby's last name.  Evelyn wouldn't disclose the first name she and her hubby had chosen...darn!!!

The shower was a success..especially the food and games.  Apparently it was so much fun that someone else decided they wanted to join the party...three weeks ahead of schedule!  Early the next morning Evelyn started having contractions and wouldn't you know it baby Micah made his debut later that afternoon.   What could be a better shower gift????

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