Sheared Bliss

Muffin Monday
February 25, 2013, 10:40 am
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SweetP loves muffins so I’ve been experimenting with stuffing as much fruit, veggies, and other healthy things as possible into muffin form.  So far pumpkin spice and banana with blueberries have been a hit, but when SweetP eats four mini muffins at a time even minimally sweetened muffins seem like a lot of sugar.  This week I decided to try a savory muffin.

Spinach Cheddar Muffins

1 3/4 c. flour (I used gluten free – half Bob’s Red Mill and half Pamela’s bread flour plus 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream
6 T. melted butter
1 egg
1 c. shredded cheddar
12 oz. bag frozen spinach thawed and with as much moisture as possible squeezed out

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and all of the wet ingredients together (including the spinach and cheese). Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon into muffin tins that have been well greased or lined with muffin papers (I made 6 regular muffins and 16 mini muffins).  Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes for mini muffins or 35 minutes for regular muffins.

I forgot this time, but next time I think I’ll add a couple of tablespoons of flax meal.


Can she make a cherry crisp, Billy Boy?
July 11, 2012, 12:38 pm
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It’s fruit season, and that means crisp.  As various fruits have come into season over last few weeks, I’ve been riffing off of this recipe.  The first time I played it straight and went with the strawberries and rhubarb the original recipe calls for.  Since then, I’ve tried blueberries and, most recently, cherries.


  • 3 cups fruit* (pitted and/or chopped small as necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon or lime juice


  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts**
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix filling ingredients together and pour into a pie plate or other appropriately sized baking dish.  Mix topping ingredients together and crumble over the fruit.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is brown and the fruit is bubbly.  Yum!

* Since there’s very little sweetener in the filling, you want the fruit to be sweet on its own so I used sweet cherries instead of sour pie cherries.

** Use any nuts you like.  I used pecans with the strawberries and rhubarb, walnuts with the blueberries, and almonds with the cherries.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake Muffins
February 20, 2012, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Baking, Family & Friends, Food | Tags: , , , , ,

My baby is three months old today.  To celebrate, we went to the pediatrician.  Then, since that’s a terrible way to celebrate, I made muffins.  This is my current favorite muffin recipe, modified from this one.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used Pamela’s Bread Mix.  If you use a GF flour that doesn’t contain xanthan gum you’ll want to add some.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (This is two gigantic carrots or probably more like 3 or 4 normal sized carrots.)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (This is about half a can of pumpkin puree if you don’t have a freezer full of the homemade kind.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chunks (Use any combination of nuts and dried fruits you like here.  I like walnuts with raisins or dried cranberries.)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Put all dry ingredients including sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add shredded carrots and toss to coat the carrot shreds with flour.  In another bowl combine the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and olive oil.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.  Mix in the chunks.  Scoop into a muffin tin (greased or lined with muffin papers unless you really trust the non-stick power of your bakeware).  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until they pass the toothpick test.  Eat immediately with butter or cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Wiggles can’t eat muffins yet so he ate his lamby rattle instead.

This Cake Can’t Be Beet
May 28, 2011, 9:46 pm
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Are you tired of hearing me talk about how life and work have gotten in the way of me blogging?  Because I sure am.  But, go figure, it happened again.  Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you with cake.

Chocolate Teacake

(Adapted from this recipe)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup secret ingredient*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour (I used Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix but you could use an equal amount of your favorite GF flour blend or even AP flour or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375°.  Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper (to make your life easier later).  This recipe could also be made into cupcakes (just bake them for a shorter time) or, per the original recipe, doubled and baked in a bunt pan.  Cream the butter, minus two tablespoons, together with the brown sugar.  Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter with the chocolate.  Add the eggs, secret ingredient, vanilla, and melted chocolate and butter to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined (it will look a little like it’s separating, but that’s ok).  Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together then add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Stir until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips if using (nuts would also be good, as would dried fruit like cranberries or cherries).  Pour the batter into the loaf pan (it will be a sort of odd mauve color, but that’s ok).

Bake for at least 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (mine took 55 minutes and fell in the middle – darn high altitude).  Let cool some before removing it from the pan (this is where the parchment paper makes your life easier) so that you don’t have a crumbly mess on your hands.  Cut a slice and enjoy.

Not a very photogenic cake, but very yummy with a glass of milk.

*This is another one where you don’t tell anyone what’s in it until after they’ve tasted it.  Unless you don’t want to share.  Then you tell everyone it’s Beet Cake and eat the whole thing yourself.

Gluten Free Squash Bread
February 2, 2011, 10:43 pm
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I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but that might be a good thing.  I mean, if you offer someone gluten free squash bread they’re likely to turn it down resulting in more yumminess for you.  If you’re feeling generous though, you can tell people that it’s the best pumpkin bread ever.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pureed squash (You can use a can of pumpkin if you’re feeling lazy, or you can bake and puree any winter squash.  I used a combination of hubbard squash and something else that might have been an acorn squash.)
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • half a nutmeg, grated

Preheat oven to 350º.  Mix oil, eggs, and apple cider together.  Mix in sugar.  Add in squash puree and mix until thoroughly combined.  Sift together all dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Feelin’ Nutty
December 23, 2010, 10:53 pm
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As you may have gathered, things have been a little bit stressful around here lately.  As a result, it’s taken me a while to start feeling the Christmas spirit.  I think I’m finally getting there though.  The tree is decorated, there are wrapped presents under it, there’s Christmas music playing on Pandora, and I finally baked some Christmas cookies.

Now, I know that a lot of people think that Christmas cookies are, by definition, gingerbread (or possibly sugar) cookies that are rolled out, cut with cookie cutters, and decorated.  I’m not a huge fan of roll-out cookies – I don’t have a good place in my kitchen to do the rolling, I hate the mess it makes, and they’re not even my favorite cookies to eat.  I’m more of a drop cookie kind of girl usually.  However, in my family there are certain cookies that embody the essence of Christmas and I was definitely feeling like a little essence of Christmas was required.

I pondered a couple of options.  From my dad’s side of the family we have kolacky – yummy jam filled squares of cream cheese dough.  However, these require rolling out dough, measuring and cutting it into precise little diamond shapes, and boiling jam.  I just wasn’t up to it this year.  On my mom’s side, one of the major Christmas cookies is the nut cup.  These don’t require rolling out and cutting dough or boiling pots of sticky jam.  They do require mini muffin tins and a bit of patience in shaping the dough – two things I didn’t have.  Luckily, CoworkerK very kindly gifted me a mini muffin tin and my new favorite kitchen gadget which helps to eliminate the fussiness of the dough.  Nut cups, here we come!


  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used a gluten-free flour blend, but you can use whatever kind of flour you prefer)


  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375º.  Beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.  Slowly mix in the flour, changing to the dough hook if the dough starts to climb the paddle.  When the dough comes together in a smooth mass, remove it to a cutting board.

The dough needs to be cut into 48 equally sized pieces.  Roll the dough into a snake and cut it in half.  Cut each resulting snake in half.  Repeat this step until you have 16 small snakes.  Cut each small snake into 3 pieces.

Place one piece of dough into each cup of a mini muffin tin.  Smoosh the heck out of it with my new favorite kitchen gadget (or, you know, shape it gently with your fingers if you’re feeling patient).

Put all of the filling ingredients except the nuts into the work bowl of the stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth.  Add the nuts and beat until just combined.  Spoon one teaspoon of filling into each cup.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is set.  Let the nut cups cool slightly before removing from the tin.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container or enjoy immediately while warm with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.

When the going gets tough . . .
November 1, 2010, 10:51 pm
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Wow.  I’m not really sure where October went.  Did any of you see a speeding month zoom past you?  Actually, now that I think about it, it was really just the last week or two of October that went past like a snowball rolling down the hill.  I had an intense week of training at work.  On top of that, I was pretty heavily involved in the Halloween program at the museum (more on that later after MommaCodeMonkey sends me some pictures).

Well, you know what they say.  When the going gets tough, the tough get baking!

Gluten Free Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Adapted from Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone

  • 1 1/4 cups white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 6 clementines
  • juice of 12 clementines (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Whisk together all dry ingredients.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and zest.  Add half of the dry ingredients.  Add half of the juice.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and juice.  Mix batter for 1 minute.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with muffin papers.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool thoroughly and frost with chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Sift together dry ingredients.
  2. Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients and beat until combined in a stiff paste.  Slowly add in milk and vanilla and beat until smooth, fluffy, and creamy.

Pardon me while I go lapse into a sugar coma now.