Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Muffin Man

My husband is a muffin man.  I think his love affair with muffins started at a young age and I'm pretty sure part of our marriage vows included me making his mother's coveted raspberry muffin recipe no less than 12 times a year for the rest of our lives. Thankfully, this recipe is the simplest muffin recipe ever and super delicious.  Total prep time is less than fifteen minutes and you can enjoy a scrumptious warm muffin shortly thereafter.  If you are looking for a perfect recipe to make for guests or just for yourself [no judgement here] then this is the recipe for the job!

Raspberry Muffins

Makes 1 Dozen Muffins

2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray regular muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In bowl combine - flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl beat milk, melted butter, vanilla and egg with a fork.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and still until flour is moist.  Add raspberries.  Do not over stir. Bake 18-20 or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Enjoy!

PS: This recipe has been stud muffin approved.

PPS:  I have NO idea what I'm doing when it comes to food photography.  With that - until I can figure 0.0001 of it out, I'll be using my iPhone for food pics. #fail

PPS:  I maybe or definitely did eat no less than 4 muffins while writing this post.... and yes, I just worked out. #fail again.

A special thank you to my mother-in-law, Sandra for this delicious recipe!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brownies, Baby and Wedded Bliss

This past Friday, our good friends Erin and James tied the knot.  They have been our dear friends for many years and it was SO wonderful to share their special day with them.  Carl was honored to be part of their wedding party and it was a beautiful day.  Erin looked absolutely stunning and James was smiling ear to ear - all day long. We are so happy for them! Congratulations and Best Wishes, Erin and James!

I had originally planned to make some of my brownies for the groomsmen to enjoy while they were getting ready, but time definitely got ahead of me.  Carl and I traveled home last night and today we planned to pick up Henry in NH and meet up with some other friends who recently had a baby.  We planned to do lunch, so I thought it would be the perfect chance to make my brownies!  I wish I could show you a picture of sweet baby, Max - but out of respect for my friends I don't want to post pictures on the blog without their approval.  Trust me when I tell you that he was sweeter than these brownies times a million!  His precious little cheeks were just too much to handle and my heart surely was melting.  It is such a blessing to finally get to meet Mike and Beth's little bundle of joy.  He was born a little earlier than expected and had to spend almost a month in the NICU.  Many prayers later and blessings from above he is doing fantastic and finally home with his mommy, daddy and big brother, David.  It was a wonderful afternoon and we were so happy to get to spend some time with them.  

Mike and Beth have always been a fan of my baking and both noted how fudgy these brownies were. They surely were delicious and fudgy is definitely the perfect word to describe them.

So without further ado...

Fudgy Brownies

Serves 9

3/4 cup butter, melted (1.5 sticks)
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey's)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray

In a large bowl - blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla.  Once well combined, beat in eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl, combine - flour, cocoa and salt.  Slowly blend cocoa flour mixture into egg mixture.  Spread brownie batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Brownies should start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.  Cool brownies on baking rack.  Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life According to iPhone

The past few weeks have been crazy and hectic and exhausting.  I think I need a nap... or two... or three.  You may need one after this post too!  Here is a glimpse of life lately.

My sweet sweet hubs turned 27.  He also said, "Thank You!" no less than 27 times for this gift.

In appreciation, he gave me this lovely gift [insert horrible sinus infection here]!

I smooched this face 234809853 times.

I started my Carmex Lime Twist Detox which was a result of my lime skittle Lent imposed Detox.

We traveled to upstate NY to spend the Easter holiday with my family.

The Easter dog bunny paid us a visit.

...and after a LONG, LONG (and did I mention exceptionally LONG?) Lent - I finally got to eat some goodies.  I choose to stuff my face with these.

Followed by a little bit of this.

My Grandmother cooked for an army - including an 18lb ham for four people.

We finally got to steal away to see the Hunger Games. It was awesome [of course].  If you haven't read the books, go do it now. And as in now, I mean right now.

I took up crocheting again and I forgot how much I love it!  I feel like this is such a lost craft for my generation.

The Easter dog bunny was very tired after all the holiday celebrations.

We celebrated Carl's birthday with my sister and her husband.  I made Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta.  It had lots of cream in it.  It was tasty.

I smooched this face another 234809853 times.
NOTE - the lack of sleep for me is definitely starting to show!

The Boston marathon prep started...

Carl's family came to visit for a long weekend.

I made these Thin Mint Gooey Cake Bars from Picky-Palate and they were scrumdiddlyumptious!

We celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday. Hi, Andrea!

Fit in a few minutes of relaxing in what Carl dubs "one of the best inventions on earth!"

Played tourist in our own city.  Meet MC Quack Quack.

And cheered this handsome fella on in his marathon.

I cannot even express how happy I am for Carl and his accomplishment in the Boston Marathon.  I admire his dedication immensely and my heart is so full of love for him.

He came in 140th overall out of 21,554 people that finished. I am SO happy to have been by his side.  Thank you to all the friends and family that came out to show their support, I know it meant a lot to him.  Until next year...

WHEW!  Are you ready for a nap now?

We have a busy few days ahead as our good friends are tying the knot.  Carl is in the wedding so I definitely plan on taking lots of pictures.  I'll be making some of my fudgy brownies for the groomsmen to enjoy while they get ready - so stay tuned for that recipe to come at the end of the weekend.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Pizza Pie

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter.  This year, Carl and I spent the holiday with my family and it was great.  My Grandma made sure our bellies were full to the brim and happy.  Along with a 18lb ham (yes, there were only four of us + Henry dog!) - she made homemade scalloped potatoes, my fav mac+cheese, corn bread, broccoli, chocolate cream pie etc etc etc.  To say that I ate a lot was an understatement.  And in true Nicole fashion, I came home and made the recipe below and then proceeded to stuff my face yet again. 

A few days ago on the BIOMO Facebook page, I posted this delicious picture with a caption that said, "Recipe including these tasty morsels on the blog this week.  LIKE if you love caramelized onions!"
The post only got four LIKES but that was enough for me to get really excited about posting this recipe.  This is definitely my type of pizza - ALL. THE. WAY.  I love the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the smokiness of the chorizo.  The brie just sends it over the top and it is perfect. Aireen, Charlotte, Kate and Sarai - this one's for you!

Brie, Chorizo and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Serves 4

1 medium vidalia onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
few pinches kosher salt
4 oz chorizo, chopped
8 oz brie, sliced
3/4 cup pizza sauce
16oz pizza dough
1 oz grated fresh parmesan

Peel onion and slice in half.  Lay the onion cut side down and slice lengthwise to desired thickness.

Heat oil and butter in a medium or large saute pan at medium/high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion slices and stir to coat with the oil and butter mixture. Spread the onion slices out evenly across the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.   After 10 minutes, sprinkle a few pinches of kosher salt on onions. 

Let cook for at least 45 minutes (or until golden brown).  Stir onions every few minutes.  This is the tricky part - you want to leave the onions alone enough to brown, but not long enough that they burn.  If you stir them too much, they will not brown.  If you see them starting to cook too fast, lower the stove temperature a little and add a touch more oil.  The onions should be golden and soft upon completion.

While onions are caramelizing, preheat oven and pizza stone to 425 degrees F.  Let oven and stone heat for at least 25 minutes.

Stretch or roll pizza dough and place on hot stone.  Cook dough for 6-8 minutes until a light crust forms. Remove dough from oven/stone using a large spatula or pizza peel.

Spread pizza sauce evenly over crust.  Add slices of brie, followed by chopped chorizo and caramelized onions. Grate the parmesan over the top of the pizza.

Place in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Let pizza sit for 5 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1 Week Birthday

Baking it on My Own is one week old and Henry is toasting to the occasion!

Stop by tomorrow for a super tasty pizza recipe.  

Your taste buds will thank me.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Recipe: Very Berry Baked Oatmeal

I am still learning the ropes around here and have a LONG way to go.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and also started following "Baking it on My Own" on Twitter and Facebook.  I have heard a few comments that the widgets for Facebook and Twitter [to the right] seem to not be working for some Firefox versions.  If anyone is having any issues with the website, please contact me at I hope to get the issues resolved as soon as possible.  I'm a bit overwhelmed but excited to get this blog moving along.  It is going to take a little while until I get everything perfect, so I apologize in advance for some of the wackiness you will see on here in the coming weeks.  I have a lot to learn... and by a lot, I really mean - A TON!

Now onto the first recipe -

I am not one to enjoy sweet-ish type breakfasts.  I am a savory girl - through and through.  If the world was run by me, I would eat eggs benedict and corned beef hash each and everyday.  Unfortunately, I do not run the world and my waist/my work schedule do not accomodate such luxuries.  5:00am comes a little too fast during the week and I need to get something in my system to keep me motivated and avoid nawing off my fingers off by 11am.  This breakfast is the perfect solution to that problem.  The best part about this recipe is that I make it on Sunday and have a square for every breakfast throughout the week.  It re-heats great in the microwave and tastes just like it came right out of the oven!  The mixture of berries and milk/cream is delicious and certainly keeps me full until my mid-morning snack.  I mix up the recipe most weeks by adding different berry combinations and it really has become a breakfast that I look forward to!

Very Berry Baked Oatmeal
[Recipe adapted from Quaker]

Serves 6-8

2 and 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups 2% milk
1/3 cup light or heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 cup assorted berries (I used blackberries and strawberries in this recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl - combine oats, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (if desired).  In a separate bowl - combine milk, cream, eggs and vanilla.  Whisk liquid mixture until blended.  Add liquid mixture to oat mixture and stir until well combined.  Pour mixture into baking dish.  Sprinkle berries evenly over the surface.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until center jiggles slightly.
NOTE:  Oven times may vary. You should see almost no liquid.  If you do, you need to cook the oatmeal longer.
Serve warm.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cause for Celebration

It has taken years to drum up the courage to finally start this blog and I could not be more excited to get it up and running.  It is only fitting that my first post be a thank you to all the people who helped me make a dream of mine - a reality.

First, I would like to start by thanking my friends and family for encouraging me to do this.  I really hope you haven't been lying and telling me my food is good when it really hasn't been.  Otherwise, I'm in real trouble here!

Secondly, I'd like to give a shout out to the ubber-talented Erika from The Fairy Blogmother
for taking my rough ideas, thoughts and vision and whipping them into reality.  Thank you for being so sweet, kind and patient - I sincerely appreciate all your help and hard work. 

Thirdly, I would like to thank all of the wonderful websites out there that motivated me to start this blog. I have been inspired by so many of them throughout this process. You can find a list of my favorite blogs in the right sidebar.  There are a mixture of food and life blogs and they all are really fantastic. Check back often as I will be updating that list periodically.

Lastly, an extra special shout out to my brother-in-law [Tim] who helped me come up with the name for this blog.  For those of you who know me really well, it is a perfect name and very fitting.  He will be duly compensated with homemade cookies of his choice in which the recipe will be posted on this blog in the coming weeks.  Thank you, Tim for your creative mind and I apologize in advance for all the techie type questions I will ask you in the months to follow.

I'm SO excited and very grateful for your support and interest in this blog.  Feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter using the icons to the right of the screen. You can also subscribe via RSS feed or e-mail to get updates when a new post has been added.

I look forward to sharing many sweet treats [and other odds n' ends] with you!!  Stop back in the next day or so for a super yummy breakfast recipe that will get your mornings started off right!

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