Tag Archives: baking

Light & Fluffy Blueberry Muffins

This breakfast delight is another recipe from Kelsey Banfield’s book “The Naptime Chef: fitting great food into family life.” I’m not usually inclined to bake, but the indulgence of eating muffins for breakfast (kind of like dessert, in my book) was too powerful a call for me to resist.

And I can never say the word ‘fluffy’ without quoting from one of my favorite sources of funniness. Fluffity puffity sugar delights! Hand-puffed at the factory in Newconsin!

(I hate Marshie. But I love to hate him.)

I thought about calling these Fluffity Puffity Blueberry Muffins.

Or Perschmuffity Muffities.

But then I went for the more standard “light and fluffy.” It’s the Voice of Reason triumphing over silliness, and I can’t decide if the victory went to the right party in this matter.

Now I have recipe namer’s remorse . . . but thankfully I can take that out on my baby by giving her one of what will be many ridiculous nicknames.

Hi there little Pershmuffity Muffity!

You talkin’ to me?

Yes, Alice. You’re a hand-puffed sugar delight.


Wait Alice! Wait! That’s a good thing in my book! I love puffed babies! I love rolls and thighs and double chins! Now enough of this crying–can I get a hoo-rah hee-rah hubbah hubbah YAY!?

And can I have permission to squeeze every inch of baby roll I can find?

Okay . . . have at it, lady.

Why thank you. I believe I’ll start with these deliciously fat little feet.

I’ll proceed with kissing those dimples . . .

. . . and we can finish it out by a million kisses under your chinny-chin-chin.

Babies, muffins–they both cry out to be chomped.

So whip up a batch and chomp away, my friends.


(Makes 12 muffins)

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 TBS sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
Zest from 1 lemon
4 oz (1 stick) butter, chilled
1 large egg
¾ cup whole milk
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries

1. Heat oven to 425 F and prepare a muffin pan by buttering it, spraying it with baking spray, or lining it with paper liners.

2. Mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and zest.

3. Cut the butter into small cubes and incorporate it into the dry ingredients using a pastry knife, until the mixture has the consistency of small pebbles.

4. Separately, whisk together the milk and egg; stir them into the dry ingredients. The batter will be very lumpy.

5. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula, taking care not to smash them.

6. Distribute the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups.

7. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The muffins are done when the tops are turning golden and have a little spring on top when touched. Serve hot!

And then tear them apart with your bare hands. That fluffiness has no business being anywhere but your mouth. Now.

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Skillet Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is yet another winner from America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. And no, I am not their covert sales agent, and I’m not getting some kind of commission off the sales of this cookbook (though if they want an Overt Sales Agent I’d be happy to consider their offer)–I just happen to be on a kick with this awesome volume of deliciousness. And given that I just returned this marvelous tome to the library bookmobile after renewing it the maximum number of times allowed, a little trip to amazon.com has ensured that my kick need not end–ever.

So! This mac and cheese. My husband pronounced it perfect and proceeded to consume 100% of the leftovers over the next 2 days. Crispy on top, firm (but not too firm) and creamy inside, great flavor, using only one skillet–YES. This is only the third recipe that he has ever pronounced perfect, so it’s no small thing that Perfect Mac and Cheese is now joining the ranks alongside Perfect Pork and Perfect Fish.

I sneaked a bite off his plate to see how it reheated the next day, and it was great, unlike a lot of stovetop macaroni recipes, which tend to reheat into a greasy mess regardless of how awesome they were on day #1.

And since I seem incapable of posting about anything these days without including pictures of my tiny bundle of baby, let’s check in with Alice and see if she endorses this recipe.

So Alice, what do you think?

Is this recipe finger-licking good or what?

Well, she doesn’t exactly know how to use her words yet, but . . .

. . . aaargh.

I’ll take that violent hand-eating as a signal that she wishes she could have some.

All in due time, Oh Tiny One. And by the way, have you been dribbling food all over yourself? Because your chin is quite dirty.


(Serves 4)

3 ½ cups water
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz (3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
2 slices white sandwich bread
2 TBS unsalted butter
8 oz (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 475 F with the rack in the middle.

2. In a 12’’ nonstick oven-safe skillet, bring the water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, ½ tsp salt and the macaroni to a simmer over high heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the noodles are tender.

3. While noodles are cooking, tear the bread into large pieces and melt the butter; pulse the bread and butter along with ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a food processor to make bread crumbs.

4. Whisk remaining ½ cup evaporated milk, mustard, cornstarch and Tabasco together, and (once the macaroni is tender) add the mixture to the skillet.

5. Simmer for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.

6. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in a little extra water.

7.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the macaroni and bake for about 10 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve it with buttery peas . . .

. . . and you have perfection on a plate.

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