Blueberry Lemon Streusel Muffins

Bakery-style blueberry lemon streusel muffins are such a treat! I cannot tell you how popular these are in my house. They are beautiful to look at, and taste just as fantastic! This recipe is my favorite “pretend like you’re at a fancy brunch” pastry when we have guests in town! There is just something about having baked goods in pretty glass dome on the counter that feels so homey to me.

One of my sister’s really loves lemon, so I try to make a special batch just for her! This recipe doubles easily, and they keep at room temperature several days/refrigerated for about a week. Ya-ya-YUMMMM.

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INGREDIENTS

Crumb Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened not melted
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Muffins:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries *if frozen, see pro tips below 

Optional Glaze:

  • 3 tbs lemon (juice)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Total Servings: (24) standard sized muffins/ (12) jumbo

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STEPS

  1. Preheat oven at 350F
  2. Combine softened butter, lemon zest, lemon juice
  3. Add vanilla, sugar, and eggs; stir until combined
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, add buttermilk, and mix until combined
  6. Fold in rinsed frozen or fresh blueberries slowly and GENTLY stir. No hand beaters, or you blueberries will become mush.
  7. Bake at 350F for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your container. I made this batch (as pictured) jumbo, and it took about 20 minutes.
  8. While they are in the oven, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice for your glaze.
  9. Once they are finished and completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the top and marvel at your masterpiece!

Prop Tips:

  • No buttermilk on hand? You can substitute 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tbs of white distilled vinegar. In a separate small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using.
  • Do not over-stir batter. Just until combined to keep the final product fluffy.
  • If using frozen blueberries (I did!), make sure to rinse before combing or the residue for thawing and refreezing from the grocery store to your home will turn your batter blue.
  • Let the muffins cool completely before icing or the glaze will melt into the muffin instead of giving that perfect crisp iced top.

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These really are so delicious. I just cannot say enough about them. You will feel like a total professional in the kitchen when these are served. As you can see, I certainly enjoyed mine… can’t you tell!!

Jo

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Homemade Essential Oil Cleaning Wipes

I don’t know about you, but reading the back of an all-purpose cleaning bottle…. scary. I can hardly pronounce the ingredients much less know their side-effects. I stumbled into making homemade cleaning wipes that are natural, chemical-free, and customizable to the scent of your choice! They are safe on counters, stainless appliances, glass, mirrors, furniture (painted, laminate, and wood), television screens… you name it! They are sanitizing for daily maintenance, but also have become my go-to dusting cloth. (If you are concerned about a new surface, just test a small area before wiping it down.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup alcohol (I use 91% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol)
  • 1 tsp dish soap (I use blue original Dawn)
  • 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • Viva paper towels (need to be thick, cloth texture)
  • Container of your choice (mine is from Bed Bath and Beyond)
  • Sharp knife to cut paper towels in half

STEPS

  1. Cut the paper towel roll in half with a sharp kitchen knife.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar and water, add alcohol, add dish soap, and top it off with the essential oil of your choice (lemon for me!). I whisk it together (bubbles are fine) and pour over the pre-cut roll of paper towels until evenly saturated. If you think they are too dry, you can add a bit more vinegar.
  3. The cardboard center should easily pull out at this point, and you are all set! They should unroll from the center just like Clorox wipes (minus all the bad stuff).

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You will love these! My once skeptical husband even uses them for anything and everything! Clean your phone, the TV remotes, your computer, kids toys, and obviously all of the household chores!

Enjoy!

Jo

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Braided Bread

As the cooler weather approaches, my baking kicks into overdrive. There is just nothing better than a kitchen that smells like homemade bread. I have played with a few recipes over the last couple weeks, and this is my favorite. It is an adaptable recipe that can be easily manipulated by adding different variations of seasonings and spices. YUM.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. warm water (works best between 100-110F)
  • 2 packets of active yeast (2 tbsp.)
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4-6 c. flour (can use all purpose flour or bread flour... I usually do both!)
  • Large bowl and butter to coat it (this is where the bread will rise)
  • Parchment paper is not required, but it bakes well on it!

Total Servings: One braided loaf as pictured (or two standard loaf pans)

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or large bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Stir until completely dissolved (about 1 minute).
  3. Add in all ingredients but flour; Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add flour a cup at a time. I usually add about 5 cups.
  5. On a clean, floured surface (usually my counter) – knead the dough for about five minutes. NOTE: If you have a stand mixer, you may keep the dough on level 2-3 with the paddle attachment. Add flour if too sticky. You should be able to manage it without it ending up all over your hands.
  6. Ball the dough into one large clump. Place in a buttered bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. I use a large metal bowl and place it in the oven at 170F to rise. Room temperature on the counter is fine, too. I have found the the heat helps it to rise faster. Let this happen for 1.5-2 hours… It should triple in size!
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl on your floured surface. I always have a cup or so of flour set aside at this point to use when kneading. Keep kneading for about 3 minutes. Split the dough into three equal parts.
  8. Roll each section into a rope with your hands. They need to be about the same thickness and length.
  9. Line up your three dough ropes and begin braiding.
  10. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and cover with the same towel. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 375F. Baste with butter…It is melt in your mouth good.

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Pro Tips:

Additional seasoning options (mix in before flour):

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. oregano, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. ground mustard
  • Depending on your flavor profile, you can press a garnish into the dough after the final round of kneading is complete. There is not a wrong or right way to do this. I usually visually add until it looks good! Some of my favorites include sesame seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed, oats… the options are endless!

Jo

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