Wednesday, May 29, 2013

recipe: brown butter blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins always make for a perfect Saturday morning breakfast! I made these muffins last weekend
 and they turned out great! They are not too sweet & using frozen blueberries worked just fine! 
Also... making the brown butter was something new to me, but it was pretty fast & easy 
and it definitely made these muffins extra special! Yumm...
Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins
Ingredients for the muffins:
7 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Ingredients for the topping:
3 tablespoons butter, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
To make the muffins, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. It will melt, froth, and begin to crackle. The crackling will subside and the butter will froth again and begin to brown. Remove from the heat when the butter solids become a medium brown color and the butter smells slightly nutty. Immediately pour hot butter into a small bowl to prevent further cooking and burning.
In a small bowl, whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add brown butter and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add the milk mixture and stir gently to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups.
To make the topping, combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until it is a course and crumbly texture. Sprinkle a good amount evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes until golden and crisp and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins will last in an airtight container for 3 days.
{ Recipe adapted from HERE. }

Thursday, May 23, 2013

downtown charm // rusted poppy inn

I love going downtown, especially when it is spring & summer time! There are flowers blooming everywhere
 & the streets are lined with big, green trees! Also, there are so many beautiful old homes, with so much charm. 
Every time I see those old houses I always imagine what they look like inside...
And of course I daydream about owning one myself!! 
Well, last weekend I was able to tour a gorgeous Victorian home/mansion that was built in 1900!!!
This home has been restored to be a B&B called, The Rusted Poppy.
Each room is filled with beautiful vintage furniture, art & other beautiful pieces.
Also, there is a big beautiful garden in back for guests to enjoy! 
I was actually there for a "garden party"
 with my grandma's church. And it was a very beautiful space with a flowers, a pretty gazebo & a fire pit!
The whole place was so very charming...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

thankful snapshots...

Sometimes life shakes you up a bit and it is not easy to be thankful for all things, in fact it is impossible to be
 thankful for everything... Last week, my family got some hard news & honestly, I am not thankful for it, at all. 
However, I am incredibly thankful for the ways that God has already worked in it!
Life is not always easy, but when you have God it sure makes the hard things so much easier.
After all, the Bible doesn't tell us to give thanks for all things, but in all things!
Sometimes you just have to find joy in freshly-bloomed lilacs that smell like heaven.
And sometimes you can be so thankful for the most comforting words found in a favorite hymn.
There is always something to be thankful for, because God gives us so much.
If we are focused on Him, we will see how He works & how truly blessed we are, even in hard times.
The shots above were from Mother's Day... It was a perfectly beautiful day with my beautiful mom & the rest of my family! There honestly are not words to explain how thankful I am for my mom! My life is so deeply blessed because of her! She is one of the best gifts God has ever given me!! 
I am thankful for a space to plant a garden. I am thankful for a pretty sunset after a day of yard work.
I am thankful for spring time rain.
I am thankful for pretty yarn & crocheting progress. I am thankful for my favorite May flowers.
I am thankful for evening walks. 
AND, most of all, I am thankful that He has overcome the world!
(My current memory verse: John 16:33.)

There is always so much to be thankful for!

Monday, May 13, 2013

photography: i got a lensbaby!!!

First, I have to say, I think the above photo is my most favorite photo from recently!! The character of that old mailbox with the combination of that dreamy tilt-shift focus just makes me incredibly happy! Haha!!

I have always thought that there was something so special about tilt-shift photography. I have always loved the way it can take an average photo & give it the most unique quality. A perfectly dreamy look that is captured straight in the camera is so exciting. I love post-processing & using my Photoshop Elements, but with a tilt-shift lens, you can have so much more fun just within the camera & ultimately that is my favorite!

Last year, I tried to get that tilt-shift quality by playing with the "freelensing" technique... it was fun & I liked the photos that came from it... Of course, it was far more difficult & scary than using a lens that was made specifically to do the job. So, this year, for my birthday, I treated myself to the Lensbaby Composer!!!
Of course, you could spend a lot of money on a tilt-shift lens but the Composer was within my budget & I felt like it would be good quality. I bought the Composer from Amazon, because it is discontinued on the Lensbaby website, but they do have other options too. And thanks to Laney for her advice, I have always loved her lensbaby photos!

Anyway, these photos were the very first shots I took using my new lens & I am very happy with the results, so far! And I am so excited that I got it right now, so that I can take it along for my little summer adventures!

Friday, May 10, 2013

recipe: strawberry lemonade cupcakes

These cupcakes are inspired by one of my favorite summer treats, Strawberry Lemonade! 
The flavors are so good together! And they are perfect for this time of year!
I garnished the cupcakes with lemon zest & a strawberry slice.
And to really play off the "strawberry lemonade" theme, I put a cute striped straw in them!
This would make them so cute for Mother's Day or for a "kick-off to summer party" for Memorial Day!
These cupcakes are moist, but they hold together well & the texture is perfect. 
The frosting is so light, fluffy & very lemon-y! These cupcakes are SO good!! 

Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 cup Fresh Strawberries
1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Butter, unsalted, softened
1 cup Sugar
1 large Egg
2 large Egg Whites

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
Puree strawberries in a small food processor and set aside.
(2/3 cup of chopped strawberries should make about 1/3 cup of puree.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
Cream butter with a mixer on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the egg and egg whites until blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add the strawberry/milk mixture and mix until just blended. Slowly add the remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the batter among the cupcake liners. 
Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. 
Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting.

with Lemon Frosting

1/3 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
3-4 cups Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, salt & one cup of the powdered sugar. Beat until it is creamy. Mix in the lemon juice & then gradually add in the remaining powdered sugar until it is the consistency you'd like.

(I suggest putting the decorations on right before you serve them, so that they stay fresh & looking pretty!)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

thankful snapshots (from my birthday week)

Flowers & birthday cupcakes are such happy things!! My sister made me the cupcakes!

My doggie's cute face & dark chocolate truffles (a b-day gift from my grandpa)!!

For my birthday, my family & I drove up to Denver for a Rockies game! 
Of course, I worked on my blanket in the car on the way... It is coming along so nicely!!

 We had so much fun at the game and the Rockies won!!! Of course my favorite thing is just to spend time with my favorite people ever!! I am very thankful for my family & all they did for me for my birthday! I am so incredibly blessed to have them! 

And because I got a Lensbaby for my birthday, I decided to take it to the game for a few fun shots!! I have a whole post to share soon with more Lenbaby photos, that I have recently taken!! I am having so much fun with it!!

And this week, I tried a new recipe with strawberries & lemons, which I will be sharing soon.... Yummy!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

a little bit of green...

Little pops of green are starting to show up all over the place! So I think I can say that spring has arrived...
 better late than never, I suppose! We had cold/snowy weather last week, on my birthday (May 2nd), which
 honestly made me kind of sad... I had to go out and cover my favorite lilac bush in the yard, to protect
 it from the frost. Usually this lilac bush has the most fragrant, prettiest little purple flowers all over it by my
 birthday, but this year has been different.... Last year the bush was full of blooms in April, and this year, 
I am still waiting for them to arrive... But thankfully these little green leaves are giving me hope!