Homemade Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

If you’re like me and enjoy skipping the boxed mix for cakes, cupcakes, brownies and¬†muffins, when you can ūüėČ but prefer a recipe to help you out a bit, then you need to know about Cook’s Illustrated.

If you’re not familiar¬†it’s¬†published by the people from America’s Test Kitchen, so there is a lot of trial and error and science behind their cooking, (perfect for my Hubby who loves to know how and why things work) We’ve tried several of their recipes and haven’t had a bad one yet!

So here is the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for:

Best Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Streusel Topping

  • 3tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Pinch table salt
  • 1/2cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour¬†(3 1/2 ounces)
  • 5tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

I find that when I’m baking and I measure by weight, that my recipes turn out better because the ingredients are more precise.¬† You can use a food scale, just be sure to tare the scale after you place whatever receptacle you’ll be placing your ingredients in on it.

Instructions for the topping:

Stir together sugar, brown sugar, salt, and flour in small bowl until combined. Drizzle with warm butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Set aside.

Muffins

  • 2cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), washed and picked over
  • 1 1/8cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 1/2cups¬†unbleached all-purpose flour¬†(12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2large eggs
  • 4tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4cup vegetable oil
  • 1cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract

*Did you know that if you don’t have buttermilk on hand that you can substitute 3/4 cup of yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup of milk???¬† I didn’t but it worked…and it saved me a trip back to the store!!!

 FOR THE MUFFINS:

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and spray your muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray

Bring 1cup of blueberries and 1teaspoon of sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir frequently while cooking and mash the berries with a spoon until they have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4cup (about 6 min)

Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature 10-15 minutes.

Next, whisk your flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl and set aside.

Then whisk 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds.

Slowly whisk in butter and oil, then the buttermilk and vanilla until combined

Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture

and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture

Mix until just moistened (being careful not to overmix) your batter should be lumpy

Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).

Spoon a teaspoon of the cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.

Using a chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion.

Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over muffins and bake until muffin tops are golden (about 17 to 19 minutes), rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes,

Then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving

Cut your muffin in half and put a pad of your favorite butter in the middle…

I like to close my muffin back up after I put the butter on it so it melts¬†a little¬†on both sides ūüôā

…or if you prefer your muffins plain that’s fine too because these muffins are so good that they still taste great!¬† And you can enjoy them in the morning with your coffee, or at night with a glass of milk ūüôā

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How is our Little Man already 7 months old???

I just cannot believe that our baby is only 5 months away from being 1 year old!  How did he get so big so fast??

Although it is bittersweet how quickly time seems to be passing us by, we are definitely enjoying our monkey right now.¬† He is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever known, and he’s been sooo good….sometimes I feel like I should be waiting for the other shoe to drop ūüėČ

Regardless….we are so blessed to have such a healthy and happy¬†little man, and this exploratory stage he’s in right now is just the cutest thing!¬†

Here’s what we’ve been up to this past month…

  • Weight and Height…guestimates are just over 18lbs and 29in
  • Even 12-24 month socks are a little small for bigfoot here

  • We bought a convertible carseat and though it’s much bigger and I can’t just plop it in a shopping cart (it stays in the car)…he seems much more comfortable in it
  • Sitting up by himself with minimal topple’s over

  • Getting super fast at scooting¬†(army crawling)¬†towards us or a toy

  • Likes to blow raspberries

  • Starting to pull his feet up underneath him and putting his butt in the air in preparation for crawling (won’t be too much longer)

  • Motors in his little walker, especially after the dogs
  • Tries really hard to open up drawers and doors (sometimes accomplishing the door feat)
  • Eats just about anything you give him (including toys and fingers) although food still needs to be pureed

 

  • Is able to pick up small finger foods like peas, carrots, etc but hasn’t quite begun to like the texture yet
  • Seems to have finally gotten the hang of his sippy cup with a straw, and will drink a little bit from that
  • Still LOVES bathtime and jumping either in your arms or his jumperoo
  • Sleeps consistently between 9 and 12 hours a night, waking (if at all, only once to nurse and goes right back down
  • And as always….smiles

laughs and squeals in delight about 90% of his awake time 

The other 10% looks like this…

if he’s had enough pictures

or this…

if he’s had it in general ūüôā

But most of the time he’s a very Happy Guy!

Garrett….we hope you know that your Daddy

and Mommy

both

you very much

You Sir…Make our World Swirl Happy ūüôā

 

 

A Day in the Life

Before I had Garrett I was an educator. I taught elementary aged students for 5 years and pre-school aged students for a year and a half and I loved it! Yes I had my rough days or weeks in some cases, but I still loved it…all of it. I loved the feeling of accomplishment I got¬†on a daily basis and I loved the structure it added to my life. If I don’t have structure I tend to lose motivation and if I lose motivation I start to lose myself and what’s important and healthy for me.

I knew from the day Dan and I brought up the topic of kids that if I was able to I wanted to stay home with them, and I’m fortunate to be able to do that. I love my life and my job as a Mom but it took some getting used to and it constantly takes motivation and planning my weeks/days to make myself feel accomplished. Several people have asked me (especially at the beginning) what I do all day (as if taking care¬†of an almost¬†7 ¬†month old isn’t enough ūüėČ now that I’m not “working” so I figured I’d do a post about a day in the life of us!

My apologies if what we do with our days doesn’t interest, you don’t have to read ūüôā¬†but my hopes are that you’ll at least enjoy the pictures of our¬†smiley little man!

G’s been waking up around 6 a.m. every morning for a quick feed but he always goes back down afterwards for another hour or 2 making his official wake up time between 7:30 and 8:15. He hardly ever cries in the morning when he wakes up, rather he just lays in his crib and entertains himself (most recently he’s figured out how to turn on his song/nursery rhyme projector and smiles at the songs and pictures on the ceiling)
He ALWAYS wakes up happy, which makes getting up so worth it!

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We’ll usually play for a little bit then get dressed and ready for the day

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Between 8:30 and 9 Garrett is ready for breakfast so we head downstairs to eat some oatmeal mixed with fruit. He’s a very good eater and will typically eat any type if fruit we give him but pears are his favorites!

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After G eats, I eat and then we play some more, change a diaper and (depending on the day of the week) either get ready to go to the gym or play until¬†he’s ready for his morning nap, which almost always comes 2 hours after he wakes up for the day

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If we go to the gym, he usually falls asleep in the car for the 10 minutes it takes to get there and no matter how hard I try to keep him asleep when I drop him off in child watch he always wakes up and stays awake for the whole time, so the women feed him and play with him¬†while I¬†workout, and I always get a good¬†report from the staff and compliments on what a happy baby he is so I won’t complain.

If, we’re at the gym he’ll fall asleep again on the way home and though he wakes up when I get him out of the car, I can usually get him to fall asleep as soon as I put him in his crib, and he’ll sleep for about 45 minutes to an hour.

During this time I try to squeeze in a quick shower, and go through my to do list so I can figure out what I need to do for the day.¬† By the time I get that done, it’s close to Noon and he’s up and ready to play again!

It’s usually around this time that Daddy is able to sneak away from work for a few minutes¬†(it’s nice having him work from home : ) and come and say Hello!

Where is Garrett??

After we play for a few minutes it’s time for lunch so we head back downstairs and eat a fruit/vegetable combination and a little bit of water….followed by some play time with his dishes

Sometimes….we get out and have lunch with friends, and it’s at this time that G gets to practice sitting up like a big boy in a high chair without a tall back : )

When we finish lunch we’ll sometimes take a walk with the dogs or run errands and by the time we finish with all of that, it’s usually time for¬†his afternoon bottle and nap

Yes he seriously does do this to himself….don’t worry, we took his blanket off of his head after we snapped the picture : )

Afternoon naps usually last about an hour and half and I take this time to finish laundry, pick up the house, get things ready for dinner, or just take a break and catch up on my DVR shows…..Mommy needs some time to herself too ūüėČ

When G wakes up, we play a little more (lots of playing in the Brewton Household) and then head downstairs so Garrett can torture play with the dogs while cruising in his motorcycle walker

He’ll play in his walker (or help us cook in his baby bjorn) while I get his dinner ready (usually a meat/vegetable puree) and attempt to¬†make our dinner (if it’s my night to cook) and then we’ll all eat and clean up just in time for some family play time!

After we play for a bit it’s time to warm up his bedtime bottle and head back upstairs for Bathtime which he LOVES!

Dan and I both have to bathe him because he’s such a wild man in the tub….I can’t wait to get him into a pool to see what he does!¬† Then it’s jammies, bottle and bedtime for this monkey.¬† We’ve got a great routine for Garrett’s bedtime that fortunately has worked extremely well for us since the beginning.¬† He never has a problem going to sleep even if he’s wide awake after his bottle.¬† He’ll play a little in his crib…roll around to get comfortable and within 10 minutes and by about 8 o’clock he’s down for the night!

I love that he’s down pretty early because it gives Dan and I time to just relax and enjoy each other’s company (which is SO important to me) and the perfect ending to my day!

We usually head up to bed around 10 or so and watch a little TV or read so that we can be up and ready to do it again the next day!

What’s your favorite part of the day??

S’Mores Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a great weekend!¬† I know all of my Northern family and friends saw a whole bunch of snow, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit jealous….mostly because I didn’t get to see any snow when I was in town for Christmas this year.¬† My Mom sent me a few pictures and it was beautiful!¬† Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the sun over the clouds any day, but I do miss the snow time and again.¬†

View from my parents house

Our weekend was nice and relatively quiet, we did stuff around the house and bought some baby-proofing things, and a convertible car seat for Garrett, because he’s almost to the height limit of his infant car seat (where has my little¬†baby gone??)

…but the best part for me was that I got to get into the kitchen and try a new cupcake recipe!!!¬† I had a taste for S’mores, and since it was too cold to start a fire and roast some marshmallows, and Dan was around to help take care of our little man, and because we were going to some friends house for dinner, I had time and a reason¬†to bake and I decided to try a S’mores cupcake recipe!¬†

You will need….

  • 1 Package of your favorite chocolate cupcake mix (cupcake tins and liners)
  • 1 1/3¬†c Water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • mini-marshmallows (the recipe calls for only 1c¬†but I used 3 mini-mallows for each cupcake, and if I do it again, I may even add more
  • graham crackers (again the recipe calls for 1c, but I just eyeballed it)

Add your cupcake mix, water, eggs, and oil and beat with your electric mixer for 2 minutes

Spoon your batter into baking cups, filling halfway.  Sprinkle 3-5 marshmallows and 3 bite size graham cracker pieces in center and cover with additional batter

Bake 18-20 minutes or until a cupcake tester comes out clean

Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan and then move them to a wire rack, and let them cool completely.¬† Once they’re cooled, frost them…

Sprinkle them with some graham cracker crumbs, top them with a Hershey’s chocolate square…

and enjoy!

I was pleased with the flavor of the cupcakes, but I wish there was a little bit more of a pronounced marshmallow flavor.  Next time, I may try to either add more marshmellows inside or perhaps even top them with a marshmallow cream rather than a frosting. 

Overall…..they satisifed my craving, and they were pretty, so I’d say¬†they were a success!

Have you ever made a S’mores Cucake recipe?¬† Were you able to capture that perfectly smokey, and gooey campfire taste?¬† If so how did you do it?