berries · breakfast · coffee · food · french toast · healthy · lemon · lemon zest · pancakes · with coffee

Berry Preserves Found Their Way to My Heart

img_5356One of my favorite mornings rituals on the weekend is to wake up, stumble to the kitchen with my eyes barely open and get the coffee machine going. Ahh, I love my coffee. It is the one thing I look forward to every morning and sometimes I even start to look forward to it before I go to bed the night before. The darker the better. The hotter the more enjoyable. Recently, I got into the (good) habit of making my own berries preserves to enjoy with my toast and of course coffee. I used to buy my preserves, but one day after scooping out the last bit of preserves left in the container I decided to try and make my own. Oh, heavenly was the day I realized how easy and delicious this was! Now, I make a small batch which lasts me about 2-3 weeks. Here’s how to make this magic happen:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of Blueberries/Raspberries (I’ve used both fresh and frozen)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (you can use regular sugar as well)
  • a splash of lemon juice and water and a bit of lemon zest

fullsizerender-20In a small pan cook down the berries with about 1 tablespoon of water over medium heat until they are soft and you can break them down. I use a wooden spoon to pop the blueberries as they soften. It will take a few minutes for the berries to break down. Add the sugar, lemon juice, zest and combine together. Let everything cook down until you see that jam consistency. Make sure you taste it. Sometimes I’m in the mood for more sweet while others I look for a more lemony taste. Total cooking time is about 5-8 minutes. Pour over a small container and place in the freezer for about a minute or two to cool.

In the mean time get that toast ready, by the time your freshly made berries preserves have cooled they will be ready to slather over your toast and to enjoy with that perfectly made cup of coffee. These also make a great topping for pancakes of french toast or even pie fillings! The possibilities are endless, all it takes is a little creative moment to completely change your life and a few berries to have a change of heart.





blueberry · breakfast · coffee · creativity · experience · hungry · lemon · lemon zest · muffins · prince charming · recipe · snack · tea

Looking for My Lemon-Blueberry Prince Muffin

If you like to bake you know there is something very therapeutic about it. Maybe it’s the focus on the ingredients and process so the outcome can be as delicious as you expect or the mere presence of flour and butter is comforting enough. Whatever the reason, this week I made some lemon-blueberry muffins. My very first attempt. I did replaced some ingredients with what I had at hand, but I had plenty of blueberries so no matter what, this was happening. I went for it because I have a few ideas for the tops of these that I’m excited to try like sprinkling those huge sugar crystals on top, a crumble and  dipping them in a lemon glaze with shaved almonds on top, but I wanted to first start perfecting this recipe. Though these came out pretty tasty (yes, they’re all gone now), I wanted my muffins to come bursting out of the pan cup like it was reaching for the oven sky! This batch must have been the non-flying sidekick muffin because even though they were good, they didn’t have the defined muffin muscles I was hoping to see coming out of the oven. These are perfect however for a small, late morning snack with coffee or in the evening with tea. It’s not the kind of muffin that you can grab to-go in the morning and have for breakfast because you will (I repeat), you will start to feel hangry by 10AM. 

I know a lot of recipes call for sour cream or buttermilk, but I didn’t have that at hand when my sudden need for baking happened. So, I used I made my own recipe and improvised using: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of cane sugar, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, 2 eggs, 1 egg white, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 8 tsp of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, 1 cup of blueberries and some brown sugar to sprinkle on top of the batter right before placing them in the oven set for 375 degrees. 

I first combined the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside. I then mixed the cane sugar, butter, vanilla extract and eggs all together. After a good mix, I combined the egg white, salt and lemon zest. One thing I do is taste the batter throughout the process so I get it the way I like it. Lemon zest can make or break the flavor you’re going for so it’s important to constantly know how the flavor of the batter is coming together. I wanted my muffins to have a hint of lemon, but wanted the blueberries to be mostly front and center. I think next time I make these I’m going to add more blueberries, maybe about 1/2 cup more so that they are more prominent in every bit. The lemon zest amount was perfect.

Once the batter is done, I mixed in the blueberries using a rubber spatula. Remember to dry the blueberries before tossing in the batter otherwise they will sink to the bottom. The consistency should be heavier than cake batter. Fill the cupcakes to the top so the muffins can fully rise and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar before putting them in the oven. I think I left too much space for this rise and ended up not getting my super hero muffin this time around. It’s ok, I guess perfecting a recipe is like finding true love right? You have to eat a lot of muffins before you find the perfect prince muffin.

Enjoy that journey- it sounds delicious!