Easy Blueberry Muffins

Sometimes simple is best! These muffins use fresh (I like best) or frozen blueberries.

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c milk

2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 c blueberries

2 T sugar, for sprinkling the tops

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well; stir in milk. Add all dry ingredients; stir to combine. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full – sprinkle tops with a little sugar. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Makes 12-15 muffins

Curried Couscous Salad

This salad uses Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous), which is a little toasted pasta shaped like a small ball. Israeli couscous is easy to cook and is so versatile; it’ll take on any flavors you add. This salad is simple to put together and is best made ahead to let the flavors combine. I love the combination of flavors and textures. Serve over dressed greens for a complete meal!


Molasses Sugar Cookies

Another one of grandma’s recipes great for the holidays. They turn out perfectly every time. So chewy and flavorful!

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar for rolling balls

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat together. Add remainder of ingredients and mix until combined. Chill in the refrigerator at least 45 minutes. Roll tablespoon amounts of dough into balls and roll in sugar, flatten tops just slightly. Bake 8-10 min at 350 until top is cracked and just beginning to brown.

Great Grandma’s Honey Drop Cookies

I received this cookie recipe years ago from my Grandma. Her mom, my great-grandma, Lillian, used to make them a lot when I was growing up and I’ve always loved them. When I was little, we often visited my great-grandma and she always had these cookies, and many others, in her pantry. She would keep lots of different home-made cookies in tins ready for any guests. When my great-grandma passed away ten years ago, I inherited her recipe box. I love sorting through the box and was happy to see this recipe in her handwriting there as well.
What I love about these cookies is that are are soft and chewy, almost cake-like. The honey cookie itself is delicious with the light honey flavor but isn’t too sweet. The addition of the apricot jam in the middle goes really well with the honey flavor! They’re even better as they sit because the jam soaks into the cookies. Because of their long shelf life, they’re great for holiday time and sharing in your favorite cookie tins with friends and family. These cookies remind me so much of my great-grandma!
Honey Drop Sandwich Cookies
1 cup shortening (Crisco) softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Apricot jam, for finishing
Beat together shortening and brown sugar, add eggs one at a time and mix. Add honey and vanilla and mix one more time.
Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined.
Drop a tablespoon amount of batter on to a Roll slightly in your hand to even out. Place on greased cookie sheet (12 cookies on a sheet). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Remove cookies and cool. Once cooled, sandwich two cookies with a teaspoon of apricot jam in the middle.

Meeting Ina!

I woke up this morning with an incredible amount of gratitude and a bit of disbelief. Last night, I attended an on-stage conversation with Ina Garten and MET Ina as well. But, we actually met, chatted and hung around (for about 5 minutes, but Hey!) in the backstage room at the State Theatre.

Here’s how it happened – I had sent a thank you email to Ina (Ina’s team) after I completed my “Cooking for Kyle Project”, where I cooked every recipe in her last cookbook, “Cooking for Jeffrey”. To my great surprise, Ina’s assistant wrote me right back and said Ina was impressed with the project would like to invite me backstage at the Minneapolis conversation. Her assistant arranged it and Lidey, another assistant, met us last night and brought us back before the show. Ina was there in the room with two assistants, the moderator, and us! I can’t believe we were the only ones to go back and say hello!

Ina, of course, was wonderful and so sweet. She took the time to chat with us, take a picture and sign our books. I told her the story of how I came to make every recipe in “Jeffrey” and we talked about some of our favorites. After several minutes, we said goodbye and Lidey led us back out. I still can’t believe how lovely and personal the whole experience was. Not that you could possibly ever need another reason to love Ina, but now I’m a super and grateful fan for life!…now I just to build my cooking barn out back.

In case you wanted a couple of snippets from her on-stage talk, which was fabulous, Ina’s favorite recipes in the new book are the red wine braised short ribs and fresh fig and ricotta cake. She makes every potential book recipe 5-25 times before getting it “right” and the thing she can’t live without – Jeffrey.

And the best line of the night (and the moderator described them as “words to live by”, which I loved) – “fuck it, just give them more champagne!”

Roasted Beet, Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

I’m meeting Ina tomorrow night 😍🤗🤩and I can’t wait to tell her how much I loved this salad! This is only the second recipe I’ve made from her new book “Cook Like a Pro” but we’re 2 for 2 – both keepers (the other one was the mustard roasted chicken)!

Lots of flavor and texture from the roasted vegetables and apple and the viniagrette was great too. Not to mention it’s a beautiful salad with the colors! I added crumbled goat cheese because I love it in salads. My kids loved the beets.

Roasted Beet, Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

p. 58