blueberry coffee cake muffins.

In so many ways, I feel like the last several months have rushed past without me even noticing it. There are still so many things I want to accomplish in our new home, so many things to do to prepare for the arrival of our girl, but every time I look up it seems like another 3 weeks have flown by and I haven’t done anything.

I spent a lot of time at home last week during my spring break, just relishing in our house. Thinking about flowers I wanted to plant in the backyard, pillows I want to purchase for our sofa…you know, the usual. But I also realized, I’ve been so caught up in the things I still want and need to do that I haven’t taken the time to really settle in and do the things that always made me happy in our last home. Like baking on a Saturday morning.

I get worn out pretty quickly these days (read: always out of breath), so I decided to go with something simple and perfect for the new season. This isn’t a traditional blueberry muffin, but I think it might become a tradition in our home. My husband actually declared that it was the best blueberry muffin he had ever had – which is a pretty bold statement. But truthfully, they are delicious! I keep cartons of blueberries in the fridge this time of year, so I already had all of the ingredients in the house and they took no time at all to whip up. They are the perfect comforting breakfast for your weekend…or any day really.

Ingredients

¼ cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin-tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut 8 tablespoons of butter into ½ inch pieces and sprinkle evenly over flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter is oat-sized. Remove 1 cup of the flour-butter mixture and stir into reserved brown sugar mixture until combined to make streusel; set aside. Add baking powder and baking soda to remaining flour mixture and stir to combine.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add ¾ cup of streusel mixture to flour mixture and stir until streusel is just distributed throughout batter. Melt the remaining butter and stir into remaining streusel mixture, until streusel resembles a crumble. Gently fold blueberries into batter.

Divide batter among 12 muffin cups and sprinkle generously with streusel topping, crumbling with your hands to make some big chunks. Bake 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla extract together. Drizzle over muffins. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 days.

*recipe via

lemon cucumber couscous salad + tzatziki

I am typically very much in favor of seasonal dishes, but when the temperatures are in the 70’s and 80’s in February, I tend to throw all of that out the window. Who wants something hot and steamy when you’ve just spent the afternoon outside getting a tan? Not I. And yes, I actually picked up some new tan lines this Saturday.

So instead I decided to go all Greek and springy and make this fantastic lemon cucumber couscous salad with tzatziki. I simply adore Greek food and my husband and I eat Mediterranean meals almost exclusively during the warmer months. Our house is always stocked with loads of hummus, seafood, sun dried tomatoes, pita chips, and white wine. This couscous salad incorporates everything I love about Mediterranean flavors and pairs perfectly with salmon or grilled chicken and a nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Tzatziki is a traditional Greek dip that is delicious with just about everything, and although I have it pictured here with pita chips – I would be lying if I told you I didn’t put a fair dollop on top of my couscous as well.

Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad

Ingredients

1½ to 2 cups couscous
2 medium cucumbers
¼ bunch parsley
1 medium lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the couscous to boiling water, stir once to combine, cover with lid and remove from heat.

Cut the cucumber into quarter rounds and place them in a large bowl. Take a big handful (or about ¼ bunch) of parsley and pull the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the parsley and then add it to the bowl with the cucumber. Use a fine holed cheese grater or a zester to remove the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon and add it the bowl with the other ingredients.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl (you should get 2-3 tablespoons of juice). Add the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine and then pour the dressing over the cucumber, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Add the couscous and crumbled feta to the bowl. Gently stir to combine all of the ingredients. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately or chill until ready to eat.

*recipe adapted via

Tzatziki

Ingredients

½ English cucumber, peeled
2 cups cold plain Greek yogurt
4 cloves garlic, pressed
⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
1½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp salt, or to taste
⅛ tsp black pepper

Instructions

The Cucumber should be peeled, finely diced and strained of it’s juices. I squeezed it really tight by the fistful. You can use a cheese cloth if you wish. Getting rid of excess juice is important so that you tzatziki sauce isn’t watery the next day.

Combine the strained and chopped cucumber with 2 cups plain greek yogurt, 1½ Tbsp lemon juice, 4 pressed garlic cloves, ⅓ cup chopped dill, ½ tsp salt (add more to taste) and ⅛ tsp black pepper.

Mix everything together and add more salt to taste if needed. It’s best to refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld. It tastes even better when refrigerated overnight!

andes mint cookies.

One of the “rules” that southern girls learn growing up is that you are never to show up to a party empty handed. I’m typically all for bringing a nice Malbec, but lately I’ve been consuming more cookies than wine and it turns out – they are quite the crowd pleaser.

These particular cookies are such a fun alternative to my old faithful, chocolate chip. I’ve kind of been on a chocolate-mint kick lately, which can most likely be blamed on Girl Scout cookies, so this batch really hit the spot for my pregnant hankerings. They are great for a get together with friends, and even better when you have some leftover with a glass of cold milk at home.

Which I may or may not have had for the last 5 nights in a row.

Ingredients

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips

Instructions

Cream together the butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar until lightly and fluffy with a handheld or a stand mixer.

Add in the egg and cream everything together.

Slow mix in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt until the cookie dough has formed.

Fold in the Andes Creme De Menthe baking chips.

Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator at for least 3 hours or up to 72 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Scoop 1.5-2 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

recipe via Gal On a Mission