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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Sunrise Breakfast


Just letting you know the cherries have arrived

Cherry Almond Muffins
Cook's notes: These muffins are perfect for your summer breakfast or brunch. Recipe adapted from twopeasandthierpod and makes a dozen. I omitted the white icing glaze suggested in the recipe as I thought muffins did not need extra sweetness.
Cooking Tip: If using frozen cherries thaw completely on double-thickness paper towels. Cut cherries in half and pat dry before adding to the batter.

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk or regular milk
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pits removed and halved or 1 package (12 oz.) frozen sweet cherries, thawed
Almond Streusel Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon cold butter
Optional almond glaze:
Mix ingredients until smooth.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla almond milk or regular milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • In a small bowl, combine the almonds, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with your hands until crumbly or pulse a few times in a food processor. Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line it with paper muffin liners.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and almond milk or regular milk. Mix until combined, do not overbeat. Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Gently stir in the almonds and cherries.
  • Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.
  • Recrumble streusel mixture and sprinkle over muffin batter.
  • Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let muffins cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
Raspberry Sunrise Smoothie
Cook's notes: It's refreshing and made with only 4 ingredients!
Recipe from
  • 1- 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1- 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • Combine raspberries, milk, and 1/2 cup ice in a blender until smooth; set aside.
  • Combine mango, orange juice, and 1/2 cup ice in a blender until smooth; set aside.
  • Place in glass raspberry mixture first topped with mango mixture.
In the photo with the muffins, I combined both mixtures as a serving alternative.

Looking for another Cherry Almond Muffin recipe? This is a similar one that uses dried cherries rather than fresh cherries. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Mini Desserts

Mini Desserts
Cook's Notes;
I really had intended to make this pie from Food Network Magazine pictured below
Black Cherry Chunk Pistachio Ice Cream Pie with an Oreo Cookie Crust. In thinking it out after I had the supplies we weren't having company nor do my husband and I need a whole pie so I went with plan B.
Remember the dessert Chocolate Mousse I posted that came from Costco deli (AZ)  in cute mini glasses? 
Well meanwhile back in MN Costco has tiramisu ones instead of Chocolate Mousse ones. 
So I have been hoarding the empty glasses for future use. Today's dessert idea worked perfectly with them. 
Black Cherry Chocolate Chunk Pistachio Mini Pies
  • Ice cream. quart size (can use any favorite flavor) 
  • Fudge topping warmed so easy to pour
  • Pistachios. chopped
  • Finely crumbled Oreo cookies
  • Whipped cream with a cherry
There will be two layers in each glass, alternately with the following 
  • Crumbs
  • Ice cream
  • Sprinkle of nuts
  • Drizzle chocolate sauce 
  • Top with whipped cream and a cherry
Brownie Caramel Parfaits
  • Store-bought or homemade brownies, cut into chunks
  • Heath Bar bits (baking aisle)  
  • Caramel sauce
There will be two layers in each glass, alternately with the following
  • Brownie chunks
  • Heath Bar Bits 
  • Caramel sauce, warmed 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Your day will only get better with a slice of Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake. 
Invite a friend/neighbor over and share a piece. I just did that.
Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Cook's notes: The recipe is adapted from Alexandra Cooks.  Using cake flour and buttermilk makes a huge difference in the texture. The breakfast cake comes out fluffy, moist, and oh-so-delicious. 
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest from a large lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry on a paper towel
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup crushed almonds or walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Make topping and set aside. 
  • Cream butter with lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.
  • Toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour and set aside.
  • Whisk together the cake flour or regular flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the egg and vanilla a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix on low speed until incorporated then fold in the floured blueberries last.
  • Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with butter or coat it with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.
  • Bake breakfast cake for 28 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Monday, May 29, 2023

The Confessions of Gabriel Ash- Book Review

An international tale of dark secrets, espionage, and corrupt world governments sets the stage for Lee Polevoi's newest spy thriller “The Confessions of Gabriel Ash.” The story takes place during the time of the cold war with Russia set in a 1982 time frame. Gabriel Ash is an ambassador to a small fictional European country, Keshnev, with strong Russian ties. He finds himself conflicted between ties to his homeland versus the life he’s built in America often disregarding known consequences. Ash is now confined in a castle-turned prison cell with a tape recorder, microphone, and blank tape somewhere in Eastern Europe trying to figure out his captors' next move, how he can escape and stay ahead of them. The storyline is in two parts that take the reader back and forth between the events that led up to Ash's imprisonment, his spectacular fall from grace, and how revenge and redemption will ultimately play out as Ash is forced to confront a lifetime based upon deception and lies. At times I did find Ash's moral compass a bit off-center.

Ash's narrative throughout the story is a series of confessions that are being recorded. Retelling his life's story with all the predicaments he has been embroiled in is told in a voice that ranges from skepticism to mockery and cynical humor. As a reader, often I felt like I was in the middle of a James Bond movie wondering how Ash would manage to get himself out of predicaments that were seemingly insurmountable. The narrative device telling the story from the character's point of view worked well in many scenes. The realities of espionage and world government corruption provided the storyline with lots of tension, suspense, action, and even a bit of romance. Themes of communism versus capitalism and differing perspectives from characters are some focal points of the narrative.

Lee Polevoi is a gifted storyteller. Sentences are carefully crafted with power-packed words that move the storyline along from the deceptive luxurious life of New York with its sights, sounds and smells to the harsh mountainous settings of Keshnev’s Lesser Alps and neighboring villages during the Cold War era. The cast of characters is well-developed, solidifying each of their roles and connections to one another giving readers insight into their motivations. The book is definitely a page-turner with an unexpected ending.
Lee Polevoi is the author of a new novel, "The Confessions of Gabriel Ash," and previously published "The Moon in Deep Winter." He has received a Bread Loaf Writers Conference scholarship and a Chesterfield Film Project screenwriting fellowship, sponsored by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment. A short film based on The Moon in Deep Winter screened at Cannes and New York's Chelsea Film Festival. Lee is a graduate of Amherst College and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Celebrate National Burger Day with Burger Cookies


Rejoice today's the day to enjoy your favorite burger in honor of National Burger Day. 
Consider adding a creative twist to the meal with Burger Cookies. 

Cook's Notes:
These burger cookies need to be a side at your next BBQ meal. They are a sweet treat after a satisfying grilled meal. Totally kid-friendly. And easy from start to finish with only 15 minutes to put them together. It's good to look ahead for your planning though to make sure you have a box of Nilla Wafers, canned frosting and Keebler Grasshopper Mint Fudge Cookies on hand. The Nilla Wafers are perfect for the bun and the Fudge Cookies have a rippled edge like a hamburger.
Side Note: I've had this recipe so long that I wouldn't even know who to credit but I do know the recipe is from the 80s. A favorite of my children.
  • 1 package Keebler Grasshopper Mint Cookies
  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 1 can Vanilla Frosting
  • Sesame seeds
  • Food coloring -red and yellow
  • 1 egg white
  • You will need two bowls, 2 spoons, 2 knives, and a large sheet of wax paper.
  • In each bowl place about 1/3-1/2 of the frosting into it. Color each frosting mixture with yellow for mustard and red for ketchup. I did find I needed a lot of red to achieve the ketchup color. Do one burger cookie at a time.
  • Frost generously with yellow on one flat side of the nilla wafer. With frosting side up place a fudge cookie on top. Then frost another flat side of the nilla wafer with red frosting. Place all three cookies together and lightly squeeze to have frosting ooze on the side and to look like a hamburger with condiments on.
  • Hand whip egg white until frothy. Lightly brush the top of the cookie and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Fire Up The Grill

Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce!
A great kick-off to your Memorial Day cookout
The recipe serves 4 from Ribs can be substituted for the pork chops.

2 cups raspberries fresh (or thawed frozen)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 TB. raspberry preserves/jam
2 TB. honey
2 TB. white balsamic vinegar
1 TB. soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
1+ chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 pound pork chops
salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything in a food processor or blender and optionally strain to remove the raspberry seeds.
Heat the grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat, season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste, place them on the grill and cook until lightly golden brown on one side, about 5-8 minutes, flip them and cook until the pork chops are done, about 5-8 minutes, before basting in the BBQ sauce and enjoying them! Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the pork chops.
Option: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the BBQ sauce.

A fun dessert idea
Fishing Pole Cupcakes
Your favorite cupcake mix
White frosting tinted blue-reserve some white frosting to create the squiggle line
Pretel rod
Goldfish cracker
Use photo as your guideline

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Cosmic Brownies and Other Sweet Treats

Homemade Cosmic Brownies
A traditional cosmic brownie is a thin fudge brownie with chocolate ganache on top and colorful sprinkles. They are called cosmic brownies because they were inspired by the cosmic bowling trend in the late 90s. You can find ready-made ones by Little Debbie products.
BUT I saw the word cosmic and knew this brownie recipe was destined to be one of my treats for a Memorial Day gathering. I did some recipe testing and they did not disappoint. For those with a serious chocolate affinity, these brownies may be just what you are looking for. 

One of the best things about making homemade cosmic brownies is that you can get creative with the toppings. Sure, the classic rainbow sprinkles are a must, but why stop there? How about adding some candy, crushed Oreos, peanut butter chips, or even a drizzle of caramel sauce? The possibilities are endless, and it’s a fun way to get your kids involved in the baking process too. Trust me, once you’ve tried a homemade cosmic brownie, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought version again. So put on your apron, grab your mixing bowl, and get ready to blast off to brownie heaven!
Brownie Ingredients: 
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate chopped
  •  3/4 cup melted butter
  •  1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour
Ganache Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips, semi-sweet
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Optional add in 1 tablespoon of Kahlua
  • Rainbow chips or sprinkles
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 9 pan.
  • In a medium bowl melt chocolate and butter together in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Once fully melted whisk in the sugars, vanilla, and eggs.
  • In another bowl sift salt, cornstarch, baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Place batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • Let brownies cool completely. 
Ganache Directions:
  • In a small saucepan on low melt chocolate, butter, and cream. Use a whisk to blend until smooth. 
  • Pour over cooled brownies and add sprinkles.
  • Refrigerate for 40 minutes for the icing to set. 
Some Other Fun Red White and Blue Ideas
Waffle cones filled with yogurt and fresh fruit
Ice Cream Sundae Bar 
Cherry Float Cupcakes
  Prepared ice cream sandwiches coated in sprinkles

Sunrise Breakfast

  Just letting you know the cherries have arrived Cherry Almond Muffins C ook's notes : These muffins are perfect for your summer breakf...