Blueberry Muffins


I LOVE blueberries and these are more cake-like than bread like. Super easy for a weekend morning and really delicious!!!

Blueberry Muffins


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • non-stick spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400f. Spray standard muffin tin to make 16 muffins.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another larger bowl whisk together the milk, melted butter and eggs until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.
  4. Add the blueberries and stir until evenly incorporated.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 3-5 minutes then remove.

Makes 16 muffins. Total time 25 minutes. From Williams-Sonoma Baking

Note: if using frozen blueberries don’t thaw them however, this is best with fresh blueberries.

Shrimp Rolls! YUMMY!!!

 A super-delicious, cool, light, yummy sandwich!!

These are SO easy to make and even easier to eat! My husband and I both loved them. The cornichons (gerkins) add a nice bit of sweet/tangyness, the mustard adds just a bit of spice and depth. There is a very small amount of mayo to hold it all together-only 3 tbsp for 1 pound of shrimp. I served mine with chips and kosher dill pickle spears.

Creamy Shrimp Rolls 


  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup cornichons, chopped, plus 1 Tbsp brine
  • Black pepper
  • 1 lb cooked, peeled and deveined large shrimp, coarsely chopped (I used fresh non-frozen)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 4 pieces romaine or green-leaf lettuce (I used boston lettuce instead)
  • Potato chips, for serving
  • Kosher Dill Pickle spears


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise mustard, brine and 1/4 tsp pepper.

2. Add the shrimp, cornichons and tarragon and toss to combine.

3. Line the buns with the lettuce and top with the shrimp mixture. Serve with chips, if desired.

Makes 4 sandwiches. Prep time: 10 minutes  Total time: 15 minutes

From: originally Woman’s Day

Chinese Pepper Steak (kind of)


Last night I felt like making an easy stir-fry. I didn’t have the recipe at work that I normally make so I found Kikkoman’s on and changed it up a bit. I intended to make it just like the recipie until I got to the store and saw that sugar snap peas were on sale, so I bought some of those. And then I started thinking I wanted to add some color so I picked up a red pepper too. So here’s what it ended up being. I was told by my husband that he ‘likes the ratio of ingredients-not too much or too little of anything’. Thanks Kev!!

Chinese Pepper Steak-kind of.


  • 1lb. boneless beef sirloin or round steak
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 green bell peppers-cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 red bell pepper-cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 medium onion-cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1/2 cup Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/2 lb sugar snap peas
  • splash of fish sauce
  • splash of soy sauce


  1. Cut steak across grain into thin strips then into 1 inch squares, coat with 1 tbsp hoisin sauce and set aside
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in hot wok over med-high heat. Add beef and stir-fry about 1 minute (or until almost cooked to your desired temp). Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining tbsp oil in the same pan. Add peppers, peas and onions, splashes of soy and fish sauce and stir-fry until cooked through but still nice and crisp-about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in beef and remainder of hoisin sauce, cook and stir until beef and veggies are coated with sauce. Serve immediately.

I served mine over jasmine rice. Makes 4 servings.

Prep time: about 10 minutes. Cooking time: about 15.

The Cute Hedgehog Fruit Salad

For the 4th of July my Aunt invited me to her house for a cook-out and asked me to bring a fruit salad. I perused a few websites and found this: If you haven’t been to this site check it out-lots of cool ideas. The instructions are pretty lengthy though…but it’s super simple!

So off to the store I went to buy the parts of my hedgehog. Imagine my surprise the next day when I cut into the watermelon and it was yellow. Yeah-I missed the sticker on it that read ‘yellow watermelon’. But no big deal. I think it turned out better this way. I added the blueberries and strawberries to make it red, white (yellow) and blue.

I cut the watermelon and removed the fruit the day before and then left in a colander in my sink to drain the juice.

The Cute Hedgehog Fruit Salad


  • Yellow watermelon, round and seedless
  • Strawberries-1 pint
  • Blueberries-1 pint
  • Any other red or blue berries or fruit

What you’ll need:

  • Cutting Board
  • Large Kitchen and Paring Knives
  • Green Dry Erase Marker
  • Toothpicks
  • Large bowl and spoon
  1. Wash the watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.
  2. Cut strawberries into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Placing the watermelon on its side, cut ¼” off the light yellow ground spot on the bottom so that it sits flat. Be careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind – this would allow liquid to leak from the bottom of the carving. Place the watermelon so that its stem will be the nose.
  4. Find a point at the top of the watermelon about ¼ of the length of the watermelon. Using the dry erase marker, from that point, draw vertical lines half way down both sides of the watermelon. Then, from both points on the sides, draw horizontal lines straight to the back of the watermelon. If you are happy with your proportion, use your knife and cut the lines. Remove this whole portion and place to the side.
  5. Using a large spoon, scoop out the fruit from the removed section and from the base. Chop this fruit into small cubes, drain and set aside.
  6. Use a small paring knife make many small cuts to the edges of the head and body, as shown in the photo. These cuts should be short, small, irregular, angled, curved and almost resemble flames from a fire. Small irregular cuts create the look of the hedgehog’s coarse coat.
  7. Take the removed rind and cut a 1 ¾” strip from the flat end. You now have a slightly rounded strip. Cut a triangle from the center of the strip to make the nose. To attach the nose, place toothpicks just above the stem spot to both side, and slide the base of the nose over the other end of the toothpicks, rind end down. You may need to secure with an additional toothpick. Put one in the tip of the nose and place a blueberry on the end.
  8. Using the rest of the removed rind, cut four equal sized rectangles for the feet. Trim the backs of the rectangles thinner than the front, and then make two cuts on the front of each piece to create a point making the shape of a paw. Attach with toothpicks rind end down to the bottom edges of the hedgehog as shown.
  9. To make the ears, draw two curved triangles that come to a point into the edges of the face area where desired. Carefully cut with the paring knife. Using your finger, gently push out the cut shape from the inside until it’s only slightly protruding, being careful not to crack or break the rind.
  10. For the eyes, simply place 2 toothpicks slightly above the nose and put a blueberry on each end.
  11. Finally, replace the hollow space of the hedgehog with the watermelon cubes. Place toothpicks in the cubes at the top to create the hedgehogs’ coat.

Adapted from

Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas


These quesadillas are easy to make, take almost no prep time and are delicious!! The black beans, avocado and cheese create somewhat of a uniform texture so next time I make them I will add grilled chicken or crisp red peppers.  I also did not cook them stove-top but in my panini press as the tortilla gets nice and crispy and leaves pretty grill marks.  I also didn’t feel like washing a pan.  If you’re going to cook on a press just heat it up (I used the ‘low’ setting on mine), put the quesadillas on, close the cover, watch for the melty cheese magic and remove.

Try to avoid using pre-shredded cheese as there is a substance added to keep the cheese from sticking together in the bag-so it won’t melt as well as if you just grate your own.

After you rinse the beans well let them sit in a colander in the sink for a few minutes to let the excess water drain off. 

Black Bean & Avocado Quesadilla


  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese-I used extra sharp cheddar. I also used about 1/2 cup more
  • 1 ripe avocado, roughly mashed
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • sour cream for dipping
  • lime wedges, if desired
  • chipotle powder for seasoning the sour cream


  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
  2. Place 1 tortilla down flat and spread the cheese and beans onto it.  On the other tortilla spread mashed avocado then lay on top of the bean and cheese tortilla.
  3. Cook until the bottom tortilla is slightly browned and little crispy, then flip over with a spatula.
  4. Cook until cheese is melted and bottom is slightly browned and crispy.
  5. Remove from heat and cut into 4 triangles. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  6. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream sprinkled with chipotle powder.

Makes 2 quesadillas.  Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: about 5 minutes. Like I said-fast!

Adapted from Sing For Your Supper and

Ali’s Lightened-up Eggplant Parmesan


I LOVE this dish! After years of trying to find an eggplant parm recipie that wasn’t totally slathered in sauce/fried etc… I created this one. I love eggplant and this one totally lets the eggplant shine-the texture, the taste-it’s not mushy, it’s not bitter-it’s just right.

The beauty of this dish is the feeling the texture of the eggplant, the melted cheese and pieces of tomato in the marinara sauce. This dish is not a typical eggplant parm as the eggplant is baked instead of fried-saving a ton of calories. Since there are so few ingredients use the best quality and freshest ingredients possible. This is the time to splurge on the San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce and a gorgeous ball of hand-made, super fresh mozzarella and wedge of parmesan. This dish is not one drowned in sauce or cheese (you can add more if you like) but I find that using less keeps the eggplant from becoming mushy. Enjoy!!


Ali’s Lightened-up Eggplant Parmesan


  • 3.5-4 cups home made chunky marinara sauce
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • ¾ lb fresh salted mozzarella cheese, sliced to 1/8 inch rounds
  • 1-1.5 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3-4 tbsp salt
  • Cooking spray


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Coat 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place eggplant in a colander in the sink, sprinkle with salt and mix to coat. Let rest 20 minutes.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in another shallow dish.
  4. Rinse eggplant well and pat dry. Dip eggplant into egg then into breadcrumbs. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.
  5. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish, then 1 layer of eggplant, scatter 1 layer of mozzarella, sprinkle with parmesan. Spoon another layer of marinara sauce over the cheese and continue making layers until all of the ingredients are used-finishing up with a final thin layer of sauce and cheese. There should be about 4 layers.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted and cooked thoroughly.
  7. Remove from oven and serve.

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook time 35-45 minutes total.

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