Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I have been wanting to make homemade blueberry muffins (the store bought ones just aren't the same) for a while now, so when I came across the perfect recipe a few days ago I knew I had to try them! They have a wonderful crumble on them, which is always my favorite part. They were so delicious that I thought I should share the recipe with you!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

I made my muffins in a rose-shaped pan and they turned out beautifully!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Little Bit Personal

I am in a bit of a transition period right now. I have been jumping back and forth between churches since I started college, and I think I am finally starting to find my place. For the last couple of weeks Sarah and I have gone to The Church at Brook Hills (and I went there some during school as well). I am glad that I can worship and talk about God with my best friend. I think that Brook Hills is a really good place for me. I just needed a change. I have always followed in my parents' footsteps and am now at a point where I want to make my own decisions and form my own opinions. I feel so much more alive when I go to Brook Hills. I actually learn things instead of hearing the same monotonous sermons over and over again. The church is a breath of fresh air, and I can feel that its members really have passion for God and His people. It may be difficult to figure out who to go to church with once Sarah goes back to school, but I would love to continue attending Brook Hills. Honestly, I am a little worried about changing churches. I miss going out to eat with my parents for Sunday lunch and I am afraid that I will no longer be included in activities with my friends from GVBC. But I have come to realize that these are risks that I need to take. I need to step outside of my comfort zone and attend a church where I have a meaningful encounter with Jesus every single week. I believe that Brook Hills is where God wants me to be because He is so prevalent there. Last Sunday, Pastor David Platt preached on abortion. It is a sensitive subject (and one that I have always enjoyed debating) but I think that he handled it beautifully. He talked about those who are to blame for abortion, why the Bible says abortion is wrong, and what ALL of us need to do about abortion. I am going to transition to something a little more personal here because it has been weighing on my heart recently. I have a hereditary disease called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It has many side effects but perhaps the most significant is that it causes low fertility or infertility. Sometimes I feel like I have been cheated because I feel that (when the time is right) I want to have a baby more than almost any woman I know. And, quite honestly, I have never been content with the idea of just being a mother. I want to carry my baby for 9 months. I want to nurture a baby that I gave birth to. I am not afraid of pregnancy at all, in fact, I look forward to it. So the thought that I may not be able to have a baby has been haunting me since I found out that I have PCOS. But when I heard Pastor David's sermon on abortion last Sunday my wants changed a little. I realized that I could love ANY child as my own. I could give life to a child that might otherwise be aborted, neglected, or abused. This thought gave me hope. I am hopeful because I know that not all women could love any child, but God has given me that ability. Adoption is what I can personally do about abortion. I know that it will be several years before I become a mother, but this is something that is so incredibly important to me, and I am thankful that I now feel less fearful of what lies ahead.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yummy Tips

Since I am now on summer break, I have had more time lately to cook and do a little experimentation. I just wanted to give y'all some little tips that I have found to be so simple and so good to give a little life to your everyday meals. 
A few nights ago, I got the urge to make breakfast for dinner. Breakfast is a great thing to cook when you don't have any meat thawed out. I made stone ground grits, scrambled eggs, chocolate croissants, bacon, and sliced some delicious fresh tomatoes. A little trick that I have recently discovered is to put a bit of Philadelphia cooking creme (I used garlic flavored) into eggs. I like to add a tablespoon or two and some cheddar cheese to my scrambled eggs to give them a unique flavor! I also tried making chocolate croissants for the first time. I simply used a store-bought package of refrigerated crescent dough. I placed two squares of a Hershey dark chocolate bar into each triangle of dough and rolled it up. I then bathed them with an egg wash (one egg and two tablespoons of water or milk), dusted them with refined sugar, and baked them according to the package's instructions. These were really a hit!
Last night, I decided to grill out. I wanted to try the Ranch burgers that are advertised on Hidden Valley commercials. I mixed one packet of dry Ranch dressing mix with one pound of hamburger meat. I then made patties in which I placed a small piece of cheddar cheese before grilling. These cheddar filled Ranch burgers were very good for an added kick to hamburgers!
Tonight, I made pudding parfaits for dessert. It was very simple but surprisingly delicious. I got this idea from Paula Deen, who made cheesecake parfaits. I did not have cheesecake pudding mix or Nilla Wafers, however, so I made up my own parfait recipe. I layered chocolate pudding, white chocolate pudding, whipped cream, chocolate Graham Cracker crumbs, and fresh raspberries. It was really very good, and relatively low fat because I used sugar free, fat free pudding mixes. 
I hope that you can use some of these simple meal tips to make an ordinary dinner just a bit more extraordinary :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Bells

My sister, Lindsey, is getting married on April 30, so we have been busy getting ready for the wedding! We are into the stage where we now have a shower/tea/party every weekend. They've all been great so far. Last weekend was the bachelorette party, which I hosted along with some help from a bridesmaid, Ashley. We kept things pretty simple: dinner at P.F. Chang's and a movie and desserts at Ashley's apartment. Although the party was not extravagant, it did seem like a lot of work. I think it was successful, though :) I wanted to share with you all one of the crafts that I did and a couple of the desserts that I made.
I wanted to make a creative centerpiece, so when one of my friends showed me this website, I knew that I wanted to somehow incorporate these adorable little rosettes. Once I got the hang of things, they weren't too hard to make. I ended up putting them with some "diamonds" in a vase labeled "S" for my sister's future name, "Schoenfeld." I think it turned out pretty cute.

I made three desserts for the party: raspberry lemonade bars, Oreo truffles, and cheesecake pops.

I got the idea for cheesecake pops from Bakerella, one of my favorite bloggers. I used this basic recipe but made the pops with a homemade butterscotch cheesecake at my sister's request. Cheesecake pops are so delicious and not too hard to make because you can use a store bought cheesecake if you prefer. I think they turned out well for my first try at pops! I decorated them with cute little "diamond" rings.
I have made Oreo truffles several times now, and they are always a hit. I get requests for them fairly often. The hardest part is dipping them in the chocolate, but that gets easier with practice. 

  • (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided

  • 1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted
  1. Crush 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
  2. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with edible glitter, sprinkles, or anything your heart desires.
  4. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Exhausted to Encouraged

Last week was one of the busiest weeks that I have had in a long time. School was occupying all of my "free" time, and my professors have not let up yet. I have two exams (one of which is HUGE), a "self quiz," and a group project/presentation, along with several other random assignments, to do this week. I am terrified. Terrified that I will not study the right things, that I will not have time to finish studying, that I will not do well on my tests, that I will not be able to adequately prepare for my presentation, etc. It is consuming my life. I am a worrier. It's what I do best. So tonight, I am taking the time to remind myself that God is SO much bigger than any task that is placed before me. I am doing my best to lay all of my worries upon Him so that I may live a life that is free of stress and focuses solely upon Him. He is my provider.
"My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest" -- Exodus 33:14
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" -- Philippians 4:13

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Skinny

I decided last weekend that I have got to get back on my diet. I feel so much better when I am eating healthy and exercising, and I know that it is better for my health as well. So, I have been dieting for about a week now and have also begun exercising. I am proud of my restraint and motivation thus far. I have found that the best way to turn a diet into a lifestyle is to eat things that you actually like and find substitutes so that you do not feel deprived. One of my favorite dietetic desserts is Crystal Light lemonade pie. It is so good and easy, and I really enjoy it more than full fat lemon pie. I made a couple of pies a few days ago and my family and I have been eating on them whenever we are craving something sweet. I think that next time I might just eat the filling as a mousse instead of a pie. I do not care much about the pie crust and that will cut back on some of the calories. I just wanted to share this recipe with you all! Enjoy :)

Crystal Light Lemonade Pie
2 small (1 oz.) packages of sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 cups of milk
1 small tub of Crystal Light lemonade mix
1 16 oz. container of (sugar free, fat free, or light) Cool Whip
2 reduced fat Graham Cracker pie crusts
Mix the pudding with the milk. Add the Crystal Light mix. Fold in the Cool Whip. Pour the filling into the pie crusts.