This recipe comes out of Bear Fare, A Cookbook Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Bear Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, Alaska, 1993-94.

The recipe author calls it the Cadillac of Blueberry Muffins. I absolutely agree. It is the best blueberry muffin recipe, ever! Where it calls for a topping made by mixing 1 Tbsp. sugar with 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, I simply sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the unbaked muffin tops. I’m not a big fan of nutmeg.

  • Blueberry Muffin Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs (I use extra-large)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I use paste)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare 16-24 muffin cups with papers or spray or grease. The number depends upon how big your cups are and what size eggs, etc. I usually overfill mine, but this time I made smaller ones (24).

In a mixing bowl beat together butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. I used an electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Slowly stir in flour, baking powder, and salt, alternating with the milk. Fold blueberries in by hand.

The batter is thick. Spoon it into the tins as best you can, no more than 2/3 full. It doesn’t have to be even across the top. Sprinkle tops with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched. Remove from heat and cool in pans. These are the best!

This is a simple idea that I saw on my Instagram feed by @irina.r.georgescu. Her website is www.lifeinsmallbites.co.uk. She gave a description rather than a recipe, so I’ll do the same thing and tell you how I did this. Keep in mind that in the UK and other places, eggplant is called aubergine. This is a gluten-free snack.

  • Ingredients
  • Cooking oil
  • Eggplant (AKA Aubergine)
  • Eggs
  • Corn meal
  • Spices

Heat cooking oil (about 1/2″) in a skillet. I never test my heat, so I’m not sure what the temp should be. Hot.

I had bought these small eggplants from Costco, they’re about 8″ long and 2″ around, however, you can use regular eggplant. Slice the ends off and then cut the eggplant in half the long way, then into slices, about 1/2″ wide. You’re looking for snacking-size pieces.

Beat 2-3 eggs (I used 3 extra large and it was too much for my one little eggplant, but I wish, I wish I had made these snacks using three of the little eggplants).

Spice up a bit of cornmeal. I used salt and pepper and a liberal amount of white pepper. Whatever you want to do will be fine.

Dip the eggplant pieces, in batches, in the egg and then dredge through the seasoned cornmeal, then into the frying pan. Turn pieces over after a couple minutes, then make sure the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.

Remove from oil with a slotted spoon onto absorbent paper.

Irina dipped hers in a tomato sauce, but I just ate mine plain. I confess I ate nearly the whole thing while I was waiting for the last batch to fry. I wish, I wish I had made more. Irina says it’s not so good once it’s cooled off. I wouldn’t know.

These Rhubarb Custard Bars were my backup after an epic fail on a custard “magic” cake with rhubarb topping that I was planning to take to a gathering. It’s good to have a backup. These bars were the hit of the gathering, all of them were eaten, and many people asked for the recipe. I hadn’t intended to post this, but I did snap a few pictures along the way, so I’m going to do it. I used the recipe found at Taste of Home. It was simple and made a ton.

  • Crust Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 7 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 5 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • Topping Ingredients
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13″ baking pan.

Combine flour and sugar, then cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat into the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from heat.

While the crust is baking, stir together sugar and flour. Mix in whipping cream and eggs. Stir in rhubarb.

Pour over crust. Return to oven and bake 40-45 minutes until custard is set. Cool.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly over the top and chill. Cover if you’re storing for awhile. Keep refrigerated until served. Cut into squares and serve.

This is a super simple and delicious salad that I’ve made many times using leftover corn on the cob. It’s based upon the recipe found at Inquiring Chef.

  • Ingredients
  • Corn kernels (I slice the kernels off corn on the cob)
  • Diced bell pepper
  • Diced avocado
  • Bacon bits (I dice crispy roasted bacon)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

To make this salad for two people, I use the kernels sliced off one large corn-on-the-cob. I add approximately equal amounts of bell pepper and avocado. Everything else is just eyeballed, there are no set amounts. Stir it all together just prior to serving.

This is a simple and fresh-tasting salad that goes well with Stuffed Poblanos or Sopes.

This is such a simple and delicious recipe from Scarlett at madeitateitlovedit.com. What you see pictured here is a Blueberry Cream Pie, but I have tried this recipe using golden raspberries with great success.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked 9″ pie crust
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups berries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9″ pie pan with the unbaked crust.

Filling: Stir together 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Stir in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.

Topping: Stir together brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in melted butter. Stir in 1/2 cup flour until well incorporated. Set aside.

Assembly: Place berries into the pie crust. Pour filling over the berries. With your fingers, sprinkle chunks of the topping over the pie.

Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Later in the day that I made this pie, I put it into a 350 degree oven with the heat turned OFF while we ate dinner, etc. for about an hour. It was the perfect temperature served with ice cream.

My mother had finished the pie crust before she fell and went to the hospital in an ambulance. When I arrived at their house, lemons were falling off the tree and my dad said to use them. I made lemon curd, mixed it with whipped cream to make a mousse, and filled Mom’s pie crust. Delicious!

Two days later I made more lemon curd to fill these tarts. Delicious again! I used the lemon curd recipe found at pastrypal.com. The tart recipe is based upon one found at Home Cooking in Montana. I didn’t have mini-muffin tins and so adjusted Montana’s recipe to use regular muffin tins. The leftover lemon curd is in the freezer for whenever Mom comes back home. She can use it as cake filling or to make another mousse pie. Lemon curd has many uses.

  • Lemon Curd Ingredients
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Dash salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) butter, cubed

I created a double boiler by setting a mixing bowl on the edge of a saucepan with a couple inches of water in the saucepan. I brought the water in the saucepan to a boil while I squeezed lemons and prepared the ingredients. In the mixing bowl I whisked together the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Then I set the bowl onto the saucepan and whisked constantly.

The mixture gets frothy as you whisk and then it becomes nearly all froth and then the froth gets thick. Once the mixture is thick enough that it stands up on its own, remove it from the saucepan of water. A handful at a time, whisk in the butter cubes until all the butter cubes are melted. The recipe says you can return it over the water in order to get all the butter melted, but neither I nor the recipe author had to do that. Just sayin’.

Let the curd cool for a few minutes and then place a piece of cling wrap directly on top of the curd so that a skin does not form. Let it cool and then set it into the refrigerator to chill. My guess as to yield is about 3 cups of curd.

In case you’re interested in making Lemon Mousse, whip one cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in 1-1/2 cups lemon curd. Voila! Mousse! It firms up quite nicely in a pie crust or in decorative glasses, a very mild flavor.

  • Mini Tart Crust Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour

Mix ingredients together with your hands. Make sure it is well incorporated. Set in the refrigerator to chill for a little while so that it’s easy to handle for the next step.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into ten even pieces. One-by-one place a dough ball into a muffin cup and spread into the bottom and all the way up the sides.

Set the muffin tin into the refrigerator until the dough is firm, fifteen minutes or so should do it. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove from refrigeration and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Start checking them around 13 minutes. The edges should be brown and the centers should be slightly brown. These will look greasy in the middle as there is a lot of butter, but just ignore it and go with it. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While they are still quite warm, use the back of a spoon to press a well into the center of each cup. Let them sit in the muffin tins until they are completely cool. Very carefully remove them from the tins. I ran a knife around the edge of each muffin cup to release them gently, gently.

  • Assembling the Mini Lemon Tarts
  • Using a teaspoon dollop lemon curd into each tart crust.
  • Decorate with berries and mint leaves.
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Serves ten.

My mother makes a mean shrimp Louie. It’s simple, but delicious. She also uses crab instead of shrimp when she has it available. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to suit what I have on hand and my own taste.

  • Salad Ingredients (measurements dependent upon how many people are served)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Red onion
  • Shrimp, cooked and shelled
  • Thousand Island Dressing Ingredients (makes about 2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Sweet pickle relish
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice

Tear lettuce into bowls. Decoratively slice tomatoes, avocados, eggs, and a little bit of red onion onto lettuce in each bowl. Place shrimp on top.

The dressing ingredients are not exact. Here is what I do . . . Stir the mayonnaise so it’s smooth. Stir in enough ketchup to turn the mayo a pink color. Stir in sweet pickle relish, a fair amount. Stir in a splash of Worcestershire sauce and enough lemon juice to create a dressing-like consistency.

Serve the dressing on the side so each person can add an amount they like.

I really love asparagus. My favorite way to cook it, so far, is roasted in olive oil with sliced shallots. This salad is another favorite of mine. I’ve made it many times. I like to serve it with Eggplant Parmesan. It’s based upon a recipe I found at cookingclassy.com.

  • Salad Ingredients (all measurements approximate — just eyeball things)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/3 lb. grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Dressing Ingredients (all measures approximate — again, just eyeball it)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts. I spread mine out on a pie tin and place it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget about it! Shake it around every few minutes until the walnuts are brown and smell toasted. Set aside. Let cool.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the asparagus pieces and set the timer for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the asparagus. Let the asparagus run under cold water while you’re filling a small bowl with ice. Set your strainer in the ice bowl and add water until the asparagus is covered. Let it cool down quickly. Strain again.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and whisk or shake until it is all incorporated.

To an appropriate-sized serving dish, add the walnuts, asparagus, and sliced tomatoes. Stir in the dressing. Just prior to serving, sprinkle on the feta cheese crumbles. Serves 4.

It’s Cobb Salad y’all! I do love it. I make this with any variety of things. Pictured is a 32-cup Tupperware bowl, so you can mentally figure my quantities. Can you see what’s in the bowl?

Today I used one whole chicken breast, boned and skinless, sliced into thin strips. I marinated it for a short while in about 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. dried rosemary, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I added salt and fresh-ground pepper as it was put into the saute pan. I stir-fried the chicken slices over very high heat in olive oil until it browned quite nicely. Then I let it cool down so as not to wilt the salad. I have also used lemon-pepper and another time I used a southwest seasoning and another time just salt and pepper to season the chicken. I do this differently every time I make it. Whatever you feel like doing at the time will be fine.

Also in this particular salad is a base of two small heads of torn romaine lettuce, a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves, three hard-boiled eggs, five slices of crispy oven-fried thick bacon, sliced green onion, grated sharp cheddar cheese, pitted and sliced black Kalamata olives, three sliced mini sweet peppers, sliced grape tomatoes, sliced green onion, one and a half chopped avocado, and chopped cucumber. Just before I serving, I sprinkle on croutons. Where is the bleu cheese, you ask?

My dad gives me an entire round of Stilton every Christmas. I slice it into wedges, vacuum-seal the wedges, and freeze them for use throughout the year. I usually run out around early November. Bleu cheese dressing goes well on salads and sandwiches, so I make a lot of it. My Cobb Salad is always served with Bleu Cheese Dressing. Always.

  • Bleu Cheese Dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Buttermilk
  • Garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Bleu cheese, crumbled

Stir the mayonnaise to get out any lumps, thin it to a dressing-like consistency with buttermilk. Stir in a dash of garlic powder and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir in crumbled bleu cheese. Let it sit awhile, if you can wait.

This is a recipe that I make often. It’s not fussy and is low-carb. My house smells great while it is simmering all afternoon. It is gluten-free. It is based upon the recipe found at foodnetwork.com. On the day I took these photos, I served the Chile Verde with Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Corn Pudding.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork roast (butt or shoulder is best, but I used a lean loin), trimmed of fat and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano chiles, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3 jalepeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock

In prepping the tomatillos, this is what I do, but I’m sure there is a better, more flavorful way. I’m just going for the easy way. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil. I do not oil or grease the foil. Peel off and discard the tomatillo husks. Rinse the tomatillos. Slice in half and place each half, skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until brown spots appear on the skins. Remove from oven and let cool. Turn off your oven, you’re done with it. Once the tomatillos are cool, chop them. This is sort of messy. Set the tomatillos aside.

Heat a very large cooking pot. Swazz a bit of vegetable oil into the bottom. Liberally salt and pepper the pork pieces. In batches (mine was 3 batches), over high heat, brown the pork cubes and then set aside. Add more oil as necessary.

In the same pot, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chiles and the jalepenos. Saute awhile longer. Add the garlic and saute a little longer. Stir in the prepared tomatillos, oregano, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, and cilantro. Add the pork back into the pot. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally until the meat is fork tender. Add chicken stock as needed. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Yields 6-8 servings.