Reese’s Lemon Cranberry Muffin Adventure

Hey Readers!

I am a self-proclaimed Christmasolic.  I love this time of the year.  In my neck of the woods, we’re pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas every year, and this year was a spectacular one.  All the snow, along with the bombardment of Christmas commercialism, just got me into the Christmas spirit even more.  All of these Christmas-like feelings got me to want to try and do something a little bit different this year where my sweet tooth was concerned.  Usually, we just make easy two-step snacks and have a ton of store-bought chocolate around to nibble on.  I decided to go out on a limb, and try to do some actual baking, something I’m not too good at.  One of the treats I tried creating was a batch of lemon cranberry muffins.

I know, lemon cranberry muffins are not very festive, but they are my favourites.  I crave them, but I never had the guts to try to make them.  I figured, no guts, no glory!  So I went online to find a recipe, went to the supermarket to get my ingredients, got my eldest daughter on board to help, turned on some Christmas specials, rolled up our sleeves and started baking.  Below, you’ll see how we went from chaos to creativity making our lemon cranberry muffins:

Here is my "Baking Elf" slicing up the cranberries for these delectable muffins.  Yes, she still has all of her fingers intact!

Here is my “Baking Elf” slicing up the cranberries for these delectable muffins. Yes, she still has all of her fingers intact!

Can you tell I really put my girl to work?  I'm so glad she was helping, as this would have taken me FOREVER to do!

Can you tell I really put my girl to work? I’m so glad she was helping, as this would have taken me FOREVER to do!

This is what all of the dry ingredients looked like before I mixed them together.  Yeah, I know, you can't make any of them out because they're all the same colour.

This is what all of the dry ingredients looked like before I mixed them together. Yeah, I know, you can’t make any of them out because they’re all the same colour.

I had to borrow a line from Homere Simpson, as I was an idiot when it came to this part of recipe.  For some reason, I freaked out, thinking I put in too much lemon juice into the souring mix with the milk.  I had to run out to the store and buy some more.  At least I didn't add the rest of the wet ingredients to it yet!

I had to borrow a line from Homere Simpson, as I was an idiot when it came to this part of recipe. For some reason, I freaked out, thinking I put in too much lemon juice into the souring mix with the milk. I had to run out to the store and buy some more. At least I didn’t add the rest of the wet ingredients to it yet!

This is what all of the wet ingredients look like mixed together.  I know, it's not a proper mixing bowl, so I had to improvise.

This is what all of the wet ingredients look like mixed together. I know, it’s not a proper mixing bowl, so I had to improvise.

I have all of the ingredients in the bowl.  The cranberries were not cooperating, as usual, but I got them under control.

I have all of the ingredients in the bowl. The cranberries were not cooperating, as usual, but I got them under control.

Into the paper cups my mixture went.  I was so anxious as to how they were going to turn out.

Into the paper cups my mixture went. I was so anxious as to how they were going to turn out.

Here they are!  My lemon cranberry muffins, fresh out the oven.  I had extra batter left over, so I made a thin cake that the stack of muffins are piled up on.  Good work, me!

Here they are! My lemon cranberry muffins, fresh out the oven. I had extra batter left over, so I made a thin cake that the stack of muffins are piled up on. Good work, me!

As you can tell, Readers, we had a lot of fun baking up these sweet and sour treats!  I think the only thing I would change about the recipe would be to use actual lemon juice.  I think it would make them sing!  I have placed the recipe and the All Recipes site below if you would like to try making these muffins yourself.  If you liked this post, you should see my sort of Part 2 of my Adventures in Baking where I made Easy Chocolate Squares the next day.  They were addictive!

Original recipe makes 12 muffins Change Servings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cranberries, halved
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix lemon juice and milk in a measuring cup, to sour milk; beat eggs, oil, and milk mixture in a bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened; fold in cranberries. Fill prepared muffin cups two-thirds full; sprinkle with almonds.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack.

Kitchen-Friendly View

  • PREP 10 mins
  • COOK 20 mins
  • READY IN 35 mins

All Recipes Site: allrecipes.com.

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

My Take on Easy Chocolate Snacking Cake! #Recipe

Hey, Readers!

I did it! I went back into the kitchen, this time in the spirit of Christmas.  As some of may know, it is one of my absolute favourite times of the year.  I love having plenty of treats around the house so that family and friends can fill their faces while celebrating the season.  I decided to try this recipe for Chocolate Snacking Squares after watching Canadian Living: Best Recipes Ever this holiday season, and now it is one of my family’s favourite treats to eat throughout the year!

After gathering all of the my ingredients (some of them were wrong like the sweetened cocoa powder and the demerara sugar), my eldest daughter and I threw on the Christmas specials on TV (you know, to add to our Christmas euphoria), and started baking up these little delights!

 

Here they are!  All cut into 36 mini cubes of snacking fun.  Yeah, I know, They're a bit crumbly, but highly addictive! I'm glad they were around this past holiday season.  I needed mini shots of chocolate every now and then.  Next time, I'll use icing or icing sugar to top them off.

 

These little squares of delight were really good!  I was so shocked as to how they came out. This recipe was a good one, and I plan on using again, and again, and again! Try it out for yourself, tweak it, and enjoy! Thanks, Canadian Living: Best Recipes Ever for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups
  • (325 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL)
  • salt 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla
  • Icing sugar, (optional)
*NOTE – I leave out the baking soda whenever I make this recipe. The squares are a bit more dense, but so much more chocolaty! I also use the milk I have on hand from time to time when I cannot run out to the store to fetch some buttermilk.

Instructions:

In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Press brown sugar through sieve; combine with dry ingredients.
Huh?
Add buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into greased 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan.
Ready for Baking?
Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 35 minutes or until the centre is completely baked through after testing with a toothpick or a knife.Let cool.
Fresh Out of The Oven!
Dust with icing sugar (this step is optional).
Cut into squares.

The Finished Product!

Serves 36 small square pieces.

I hope that you enjoy these little chocolaty delights as much as we do, especially with a dollop of French Vanilla Ice Cream on the side!

Dish with me: What is your favourite treat to eat during the holidays?

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese

Survivor: Philippines, Season 25 Premiere – Don’t Try So Hard So Soon!

Hey Readers!

I’m back covering a different reality show!  Since BB 14 has come and gone, it’s time to different reality show.   This time, it’s going to be Survivor: Philippines.  This series is on it’s 25th season this year, and I’m still surprised people are willing to go on this experience.  Some Castaways like to get their bearings in the game, while others like to go all out.  I would advise to hang back a bit, and see what kind of players are in your tribe.

For this season, the show cast two celebrities, Lisa Whelchel (Blair from the show The Facts of Life) and former MLB player, Jeff Kent.  As well, three former Castaways that got injured and had to leave the game early were back for another try at Survivor.  The other members of this cast had no idea these five people would be joining them, and the celebs were mixed in with the new members.  Let’s get to this season’s premiere and see how they approach their situations.

When the cast reach their destination, Survivor host, Jeff Probst, introduced the three returning players that would be joining them this season.  Some Castaways were happy they were there, while others were already plotting against them.  They also learned they would be placed into three tribes this season: Matsing (in blue), Kalabaw (in red), and Tandang (in yellow).  Each one the returning Castaways were put into one of the tribes to even things out.  These Castaways were Russell Swan (Matsing), Jonathan Penner (Kalabaw) and Michael Skupin (Tandang).  Jeff Probst also informed them of the three Immunity Idols hidden at each of the camps.

The Castaways were then instructed to pick a raft and grab as many supplies as they could within sixty seconds and head towards their new homes.  Kalabaw experienced some early set-backs when their raft tipped over, spilling anything they had collected into the ocean.  As well, Jeff Kent’s knee popped while collecting the Kalabaw’s supplies.  Hopefully, this won’t hinder him and his tribe later on down the road.

When the Tribes reached their destinations, some interesting things happened.  On Matsing, returning Castaway, Russell Swan, declared to his tribe mates that there should be no formal leader for their tribe, and that they should work together to make decisions.  Isn’t what he just did something that a leader would do?  Maybe a passive-aggressive one.  The other tribe members caught on to this when they started to put their camp together.  Russell was telling them what to do, and was showing Malcolm how to start a fire.  Russell’s actions were ticking a few people off, putting a target on his back.

Zane took a different approach to getting to know his tribe mates.  He found a topic he could start a conversation with, and tried getting on their good side.  He then proposed that they should form an alliance with each and every person.  Why would you do that?  He even went so far as to tell Russell and Malcolm that he had done so.  They just shook their heads and commented on him trying too hard too early in the game.

Russell wasn’t looking for an Immunity Idol clue, but he found one in their bag of rice.  He tried to carefully conceal it in his pockets until he was away from his tribe mates to read it.  What Russell didn’t know was that Zane saw what Russell did with the clue, destroying any trust he had built with Russell.

On Kalabaw, Jeff’s knee was just the beginning of his troubles.  Dawson recognized who Jeff was, yet she didn’t let anyone else know of this powerful bit of information.  She will let him know what she knew when the time was right for her.

Jonathan was not doing himself any favours by going all out trying to find the Immunity Idol on his own.  The rest of his tribe noticed what he was doing, and were not impressed with his tactics.  They believed they should work more as a unit and less as individuals.  I can relate with both sides in this situation.  Sure, Jonathan had played the game twice before, putting a huge target on his back, and having the security on an an Immunity Idol in his pocket makes sense to me.  I also get that it may not have been the best play for Jonathan to be so brazen about going after the Idol in front of his tribe.  You’re not helping your social game this way, Jonathan!

On Tandang, an alliance was formed quickly between Abi-Maria and RC.  They then pulled in Pete and Michael to have an alliance of four.

Celeb Lisa was trying to fit in with her fellow tribe mates, but was not succeeding as well as she thought she would.  Michael had recognized her, and let her know he knew who she was.  After finding out why she didn’t want the others to know who she was, was he on her side and would not reveal who she was to the rest of the tribe.  She didn’t want her fame to cloud their opinion of who she was today, or for them to think that she was rich.

Michael was also trying to shed his mistakes from his first time on the show.  It wasn’t working at all.  He cut himself a few times while trying too hard to work around camp and be an asset to his tribe.  He even has a huge gash in his foot.  I don’t know, Michael, your stock may be going down in the eyes of your tribe mates!

At the first Immunity/Reward Challenge, Jeff Probst explained what the Castaways had to do.  Each tribe had its members split into three pairs.  One pair had to race and get the oars for a raft that a second pair had to use to row their raft out to a point and retrieve a chest containing puzzle pieces.  The last pair then had to then put the puzzle together in order to win Immunity from Tribal Council and Reward.  The Reward for the wining tribe was a full fishing kit.  The tribe that came in second would also have immunity, as well as flint to start fires easier.  The tribe that came in last would have to go to Tribal Council, loosing one of its members.

Kalabaw came from behind to win the Challenge.  Tandang  was second, leaving Matsing to have to go to Tribal Council.  Russell took a some of the blame for their loss because he took on the leadership role on Matsing, dictating what role each person took on for the Challenge.

Once back at Matsing’s camp, Russell started lecturing the rest of the tribe about the importance of going all out at challenges.  Zane put in his two cents, putting some of the blame for their loss on himself because he knew he didn’t give it his all.  This was part of Zane’s plan to try to gain sympathy with the rest of the tribe so that they wouldn’t send him home.  I’m not sure how this would work in his favour.  When your tribe looses at challenges, people are looking for scapegoats to vote out.  I don’t think it’s a good idea, Zane.  Zane was also telling the rest of the tribe about Russell potentially having an Idol, setting up a blindside if he didn’t.

Russell continued his “non leadership” role by telling people that Zane was the one to go and that they were safe.  That act upset a lot of the tribe members because Russell wanted to steer the ship, yet he didn’t want to be on the ship as it went down.  The rest of the tribe was conflicted over who to sent home at Tribal.

At Tribal Council, Zane made himself look very cocky and like and idiot in front of everyone.  Russell admitted he blew it for his tribe at the Challenge, and that he realized he resorted back to his dictating ways.  Yet after all of these admissions, he said he would be shocked if he was the one going home.  The rest if the tribe let their feelings about Russell’s actions be known, and they were not favorable.

Matsing voted, and they decided that the first person voted out of their tribe, as well as Survivor: Philippines would be Zane.  As much as Russell became a dictator, Zane did too many things to make his tribe mates want to get rid of him.  I’m not sad he’s gone.  He made too many moves too soon in the game, and it caught up with him pretty quickly.  That is what happens when you try too hard too fast in the game of Survivor!

I’m not sure if I’m rooting any tribe or Castaway in particular at this point.  I haven’t really connected with any of them yet.  As for the celebs, my big question is why do they want to be on these shows and think they will not be recognized? They have to realize that someone will figure out who they are, and it could hurt their game for trying to conceal it.  If you want to learn about any of the this season’s Castaways, check out the link I’ve provided for you under Cast Info found lower on this post .   I wonder what will happen in the next episode.  Will those Castaways on the brink of being let go on their tribes gain some stock in the eyes of their tribe mates?  Will other Castaways step their game?  Well, come back to my blog and check out what happens in the next episode!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.