when life gives you lemons

This was my first pinterest fail. Normally I can sort the good from the bad for the most part by looking through the recipe, but for some reason I followed this recipe blindly and didn’t think to edit it. So when I went to make this lemon blueberry bread, I took it’s lemony, berry goodness from the oven and was impressed at first. Then I poked holes in it and brushed what I can only remember as an endless supply of lemon-sugar syrup onto it (reassured by the recipe to make sure to use it ALL). Then, I made the lemon glaze. And lemon lemon lemon later, I tried a piece. My husband got a good kick out of watching me bite into it and literally shiver. I shoved it all into the garbage, regretting the time it took to make when I could have been sleeping cleaning the house in high heels. Yeah. But I remembered how happy that little loaf looked before I drowned it in lemon, so I gave it another shot. I followed the recipe, omitted the syrup, and made a vanilla glaze. It is a great balance of flavors and perfectly moist. I recommend a slice with a big cup of coffee. Because it’s bread. Not cake. So it counts as breakfast. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise : )

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the perfect blueberry muffin


I love blueberry muffins. They are the all pleasing breakfast treat, always welcome and always yummy. Recipes vary here and there but overall they end up with the same basic result. This recipe is the recipe you’ve been looking for. The recipe I always wanted but never found. It’s the kind of muffin you’d want to make if you owned a bakery because it’s better than JUST a blueberry muffin. It’s a blueberry muffin with swirls of homemade blueberry jam and a lemon sugar crust to top. It’s simple yet grand, soft yet crunchy. It may seem like a lot more work than your typical muffin recipe but really it’s just an extra 10 minutes. And I will let you in on the modifications to make it a healthier option as well—using some applesauce, splenda, and wheat flour. It’s now the only blueberry muffin recipe I use, and I get rave reviews every time. And to really impress or for a great gift, make them jumbo size.

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happy morning!

I knew i wanted to make this as soon as I saw the picture. I loved the texture–it has a fine crumb and cuts like a dream. The cake is soft and the top crunchy layer is full of brown sugar and cinnamon goodness with a touch of coffee flavor. A classic coffee cake, this is definitely going to be my new go-to recipe. I love the gourmet look, tall and perfectly sliced, unlike most recipes which leave you with flat, crumbly heaps of cake. It’s simple to make and would make a great base for your own favorite additions—pecans, blueberries, vanilla bean. Best enjoyed with a warm cup of coffee.
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1 biscotti 2 biscotti

I love biscotti. There is something so unique about the idea. Is it a cookie? Is it really socially acceptable to eat these before 9am? Thank heavens the answer is yes. Not too sweet and iconically shaped, biscotti are ridiculous dipped in a cup of coffee and the variations are endless. I debated about dipping them in chocolate (okay, so the debate was very very short) and decided that as long as I was bringing them to church bright and early and sat them next to the eggs and sausage, I could stick them on ice cream and drizzle them with chocolate syrup and they’d count as breakfast. But seriously, they aren’t too sweet and the chocolate adds a touch of glamour and melts perfectly with a hot drink on a cold day. I did this recipe two ways—white chocolate cranberry pistachio and dark chocolate cherry almond. They are from the same basic recipe which allows the imagination to take over for future delectable combinations. Both turned out crisp but not too crumbly, perfect in my book (I got a lot of “did you really MAKE these??”). And it was a fun experience learning how to get that biscotti shape and crunch (warning: you do have to bake them several times so be patient, it’s not that bad).

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faux dough

This is a recipe stumbled upon on the ever popular pinterest, which is heaven for anyone who likes to look at food, eat food, make food….well you get the picture. My husband and I recently joined a gym and have been getting up to get there at 6am before work. I don’t like breakfast food—give me a cold piece of pizza any day over eggs and sausage—and my stomach is especially never happy about being up at odd hours. I saw these and thought they’d be the perfect pre-workout breakfast snack. Easy to pop one or two, healthy, and I hoped—–yummy. Every once in a while I’ll be inspired by something that sounds healthy and I think about how great it’d be to incorporate it into our regular snacks or meals, and usually it will stick for a week or two and then fade because deep down it’s not as good as the unhealthy stuff (pita chips and hummus are an exception—they have stuck in our lives forever, yum!) Okay so that was the build up—these little things are GOOD. Like pop one or five in the morning and then mid afternoon snack and then after dinner dessert good. I am going to say it and you won’t believe me, but I swear I’m not exaggerating…

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chip chip hooray

Moist. I don’t have much of a story about this recipe besides letting you know that this cake was amazing to smell, incredibly moist, and I honestly ate my piece in two bites and began picking off my husband’s plate. I saved a slice for my mother-in-law and don’t even remember seeing her eating it, it was gone. This is one of my favorite bundt recipes now, only after the pecan cinnamon recipe in ‘twice as nice’. It has a nice banana flavor, a clean and clear taste without the more spiced notes that you find in regular banana bread that I don’t like very much. The semi sweet chocolate is perfect without being too sweet for breakfast—I could probably eat this every morning and you wouldn’t see me crying (you might see me plump up a little over time…).  The glaze I used is the same vanilla glaze I now always use, I will post it again at the end. I highly recommend this recipe to please the young and old alike—-because who could turn away a cute little slice of this chocolate speckled bundt?

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Every second sunday of the month I am on breakfast duty— baked goods to be specific. It gives me a chance to try out new recipes (some toeing the line of dessert but who’s to decide, right?) though sometimes it’s tough to find recipes besides coffee cakes and scones. I have been wanting to try making bear claws, but they are too labor intensive and expensive and would make only enough to have the congregation arm wrestling each other for who gets to spike their blood sugar to help get them through the sermon (love ya Charlie!). I was so excited when I found this recipe because it requires so few ingredients, is inexpensive, and sounds SO good. I have another recipe that uses this same crescent roll technique (see “ultimate favorite” on the blog—-and make it!) so I was appalled that I had never before thought to fill this wonderful shell with, oh say— cream cheese, sugar, and cherry pie filling. The end result was delicious, I am ready to make it again for work and with blackberry or blueberry or…..you get the picture. It bakes to a golden glow and sets great so it slices up into picture perfect portions I would expect from a bakery. I also found a great go-to glaze recipe that I will definitely use again, better than any other I have found. Enjoy!

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twice as nice

It’s not often a recipe is this versatile. It’s half of a recipe that can go two ways. Confusing, right? While looking for a good church breakfast treat I could make in a bundt pan, I came across a blueberry sour cream coffee cake. It had everything in it–blueberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans…so much so that since I needed to make two bundts, I made the base twice and then went only blueberry with one and cinnamon pecan with the other. AMAZING, both ways. Let me tell you. It makes for an amazingly moist cake. When you bite into it, the cake practically melts and I have no idea why but it is good and I do not question things that are good. All I know is I may or may not have been making repetitive trips every 5 minutes or so to the leftovers, so that I eventually just left a fork under the saran wrap for convenience.  But this post is specifically about the magic that was the cinnamon pecan result. The bundt I drizzled with a maple glaze. And a day later in response to a request at work for a sweet treat, I scooped this same batter into cupcake sleeves and topped with a maple cream cheese icing. The batter was that same fluffy, melty white goodness with swirls of sweet crunch. I have never seen cupcakes disappear this quickly (they never saw high noon) and one coworker came to me with a mouthful and exclaimed “these are stupid good!”. People went out of their way to come to me and tell me how good these were, they were their favorite yet. It was like a weird dream. I even ate 2 and normally I am so over sugar by the time I pop goodies out of the oven that I rarely make it through more than a few bites. I can say all these things because I am not complimenting myself, but merely reveling in a thing of magic. I don’t know why or how but this recipe is here now, stored forever, and I can’t wait to pull it out when I need it for a breakfast bundt or special dessert.

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all sweet whole wheat

There’s nothing I love more than a simple recipe. There’s something charming about allowing the flavors to speak for themselves. Flour, cream, raspberries, a touch of sugar. These have a little extra—ricotta cheese, that makes them so moist they can barely still be considered scones. They make a great morning treat, mid-morning snack, afternoon pick-me-up, waiting for dinner tide-me-over…oops, I think I may have just recounted my meals for the day. Whatever it is you are eating, it’s summertime. The best time to enjoy berries anyway you can–in drinks, fresh picked, sugar dipped, chocolate covered, whole, smashed, and sliced. And just maybe folded in dough and sprinkled in sugar can be one of them.

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how do I get that goodness in me??

(pardon my momentary Brian Regan reference on how pop tarts come with instructions)

Your reaction to the thought of homemade pop tarts may be similar to my reaction when I first saw this recipe, and my husband’s when he heard me mention them, and those people’s when I brought them to sunday breakfast, and…well you get the picture. No one has heard of such a thing–dared to dream such a crazy thought. But it’s true, it is possible. And though the foil packaged, rock hard iced vending machine treats of childhoods past may forever go unmatched due to sheer nostalgia, these treats are a wonderful twist on that old classic. The pastry is simple and delightful, and the most glorious part of all is that you can put anything inside. Anything.

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