Thursday, September 30, 2010

Most Amazing Blueberry Muffins


When we finally decide to start eating healthy, we will stop eating things for breakfast like this amazing muffins. Not that they are really bad for you or anything, it has eggs just like any other traditional breakfast. It’s that these are just too hard to give up.  Making muffins from scratch is way too easy!!


Amazing Blueberry Muffins

1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter
1 1/3 c self rising flour*
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sugar**
2/3 c. milk
2 large eggs
1 1/4 c blueberries (fresh or frozen)
brown sugar

*  if you prefer to use 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour then you can add 1 T. baking   power and 1/4 t. salt to the flour and sift together.
** if you like to omit the brown sugar topping then increase granulated sugar to  2/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a large 6 muffin tin or standard 12 muffin tin or use muffin cups.

Melt butter over stove or microwave in a bowl.



Add vanilla, sugar, milk, and eggs and combine. Mix in flour mixture.


Fold in blueberries using no more than 10 strokes. I used Trader Joe’s frozen Wild Boreal Blueberries from Quebec, Canada. They are all natural, free of pesticides and smaller then the curiously overgrown blueberries that you find in your local grocery store. I feel like you can get a lot of them in the muffin. My husband likes them very blue so I used 1/2 the 16oz bag.  Yeah! Very blue!


Pour into muffin cups. Top with brown sugar or you can top with a streusel. I think they are perfect with brown sugar but if you need more richness then here’s a streusel recipe I love.

5 T. melted unsalted butter
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon (optional)
pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix with your fingers until the mixture is moist and crumbly.


Bake muffins until tops are golden, 19-23 minutes for large, 15-17 minutes for standard muffins.


Let cool for 10 minutes and transfer out of pan. Serve warm.




Variations:

1 1/4 c. boysenberries/raspberry mixture (another husband favorite)
3/4 c. walnuts
3/4 c. pecans
1 1/4 c. sliced strawberries
1 1/4 c. sliced peaches
2 T. fresh lemon zest
2 T. fresh orange zest
2 T poppy seeds
1 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t cinnamon

Oh and here's a shot after my husband cracked into one. It tastes just as good as it looks.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apron Chic

There was a time when I wanted a modern and stylish apron, and everyone I knew wanted one for themselves as well. So I drafted a pattern and proceeded to gather my favorite fabrics. I started off with a hot pink daisy apron for one of my sisters with a matching pot holder. It has a flange bottom, cute pockets with bow, and lace trim. She loved it.


I was commissioned again when a different sister wanted a Christmas Apron so I used the same pattern and added rick rack. Another one is available in my store as well.


Then my friend too, of course, wanted one.  I still don't know how she knew about my apron making. She provided this lovely fabric and I added a waistline. Eyelet fabric made the straps and trimmed the inside of the pockets.


This one I gave to my aunt. I was making it for me but she pulled me aside one day and whispered..."you'll make me an apron too, right?" I agreed, but then she made me promise her so I gave her the one that I just finished. It was a beautiful Robert Kaufman cupcake fabric with eyelet trim and, my favorite, pockets.


I drafted a slightly different pattern keeping the popular flange at the bottom, this time adding bias tape around a lovely Loralie Designs Eiffel Tower fabric. This was to be for me finally, although a lady in my Mom's boutique saw it and promptly bought it. Alas, I will have one for me one day.
 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

French Market Bag Collection

I was feeling like using up my unbleached canvas material and started on a tote bag. The size and shape came out well. I just sort of improvised and did a simple box technique at the corners.  I call it a French market tote. To make it French, I needed to embroider something on it and I thought 'the market' would be perfect. Embroidering without an embroidery machine was easy. I just hand drew the words then zig zag stitched on top of it. A gingham lining finished my French Market tote. Of course these items ended up in my shop.



I had a canvas bag that I never used and just repurposed it into a French Market zippered pouch embroidered with 'a small bag' on front and lined with Amy Butler's Cypress Paisley in Blush.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Peach Hand Pies



I had some leftover white peach preserves that I had made earlier and decided to use my favorite galette recipe to make hand pies. I lived in NYC for 11 years, and in the east coast they say things a little differently. Instead of dolly, they say hand truck. Instead of turnover, they say hand pie. To this day I still call turnovers hand pies. It's nice to have some dough ready in your freezer.




Galette dough: makes enough for 10 hand pies (can store in freezer for 1 month)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 cup to 1/2 ice water

Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer or food processor or simply use a pastry cutter. Add butter to flour mixture and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water in a slow steady stream just until dough holds together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces and place on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.



I used 1 half of this recipe and separated the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll the dough and cut into a 4-6 inch circle. I chose 6 inches and used a bowl as a cutting guide. Transfer dough to baking sheet.


Fill one half with 2 tablespoons of fruit filling. You can use apples, cherries, plums, peaches, or berries. Cook the fruit with some lemon juice, sugar, and a little bit of flour or cornstarch. I used peach preserves that worked out perfectly.


Fold over and press edges with a fork. Cut a steam hole on top. Brush with an egg wash.


Sprinkle a course sugar on top such as turbinado. I only had granulated. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. So quick and tasty.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Reversible Bag



 Today I repurposed an eyelet dress and added Amy Butler's Love Tumble Roses fabric for trim to make this reversible bag. The strap to the dress became a lovely bow. I added a medium interface which was impossible to turn out from one of the straps. If you make this bag I suggest you use very light or no interfacing. I also made a small change purse from the leftover fabric. I'm glad that my dress will live on and I love how this bag is totally reversible!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Amy Butler Charm Quilt


I just finished this Amy Butler Charm Quilt from her free pattern online. It was easy. I used a lot of Amy Butler Love fabrics as well as Nigella, Daisy Chain, and Belle. I also added fabrics such as Tina Givens and Henry Alexander.

The idea was for me to use up all of my scraps so I cut 80 squares and placed them in no particular order.


 The football shapes were then appliqued and quilted. It came out well.



I added a 5" border. The backing was also from Amy Butler's Love line. My husband does a good job holding it up, doesn't he? It ended up being 60" x 60".  The binding is Amy Butler Sunspots.  I absolutely hate to hand stitch the binding so I followed this tutorial to machine stitch it. I doubled up on the batting so it's nice and thick. It's the perfect size to give to my Mother who is always cold. Happy Birthday Mom!