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Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins


I love a good, easy, blueberry muffin. There's nothing more classic, is there? These muffins are so easy - you don't even need any equipment other than a bowl, spatula and muffin tin. I love these for when we have company in town, because they're so quick and easy to whip up, but we enjoy them on any slow weekend morning!


I love how the lemon juice and lemon zest really help to brighten the flavors in these muffins. Classic blueberry muffins are good as is, but lemon and blueberry are such natural compliments, I couldn't resist! You'll also notice that these muffins call for cardamom. If you haven't used cardamom before, it's a relative to cinnamon, but a little bit lighter. I love it with citrus flavors, and it's delicious with the blueberries as well! Check out my other cardamom recipes here!




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Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease or line a muffin tin. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through cardamom. In another bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sour cream through butter, mixing until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the blueberries. Bake 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Enjoy! 

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Kirsten Bell
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Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes


Valentine's Day may still be a month away, but it's never too early to start planning your Valentine's Day desserts! These strawberry champagne cupcakes are a perfect Valentine's Day dessert because they sound super fancy, but they're really not at all! I also love that they can be made ahead of time, so if you're planning a nice dinner for two you don't even have to think about dessert on the day of.


You guys know that I like flavor in my baked goods. So if you don't like champagne, these are probably not the cupcakes for you! But if you DO like champagne, read on my friend! I love how light the flavor in these cupcakes is - it really does taste like you're eating champagne! The fruitiness of the strawberry buttercream compliments the cake so well, and I love the pieces of real strawberry in it.


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Champagne Cake Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon LorAnn Sparkling wine extract
1/3 cup sparkling wine
1/4 cup buttermilk

Strawberry Buttercream Ingredients: 

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons strawberry extract
3 strawberries, very finely diced (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with liners. Combine flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add extracts, egg, yolk, champagne and buttermilk, mixing to combine. The batter may look piecy at this stage, which is ok! Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Pour batter into liners and bake for 14-16 minutes.

For the buttercream: Whip the butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and extracts, mixing on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Then increase speed to high for about 3-4 minutes. Gently stir in the strawberry, if using. Frost with a big tip to avoid the strawberry pieces getting stuck.


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Kirsten Bell
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White Wine and Parmesan Risotto

White Wine and Parmesan Risotto


Risotto is one of my favorite foods on the planet. It's creamy and cheesy, with just a hint of white wine. Yum! I love this as a side dish for my Garlic Salmon, but have also been known to eat a bowl of it on its own haha! Risotto has a reputation for being difficult, which I don't think is very fair. It does require more hands-on time than regular rice, but you will be rewarded with the best rice of your life! Seems like a fair trade to me.


Risotto is made using arborio rice, because it's incredibly starchy. That's what makes this dish so creamy and delicious. The starch is released by adding liquid slowly. While the liquid absorbs, you need to stir the rice continuously. Just pour yourself a nice glass of wine (you have to open a white for this recipe anyway - waste not!) and enjoy the process. I think that's half the fun!


Ingredients:

1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions: 

Bring chicken stock to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. Heat butter in a large stockpot over medium heat, then add shallot and garlic and let cook until translucent.

Add the rice to the shallot mixture, tossing to coat. Toast the rice for about 3-5 minutes, then add wine. Simmer over medium-low heat until the wine is almost evaporated.

Add the broth one cup at a time, continuing to stir until all the liquid is almost absorbed before adding more. Once all the broth has been added and cooked into the rice, remove pan from heat and stir in parmesan, salt, pepper and paprika. Serve hot.


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Kirsten Bell
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Healthy Lemon and Garlic Baked Salmon

Healthy Lemon and Garlic Baked Salmon


Looking for a new favorite weeknight meal? This garlic baked salmon is bursting with flavor, and is so delicious, you'll feel like you're cheating on those New Years resolutions. But you're not! And the best part? It comes together in about 45 minutes, making this our go-to healthy weeknight meal.


This recipe has been used by my family for over two decades. Which makes me feel super old haha! My parents got it from a family friend, and it's one of those recipes that is crazy good probably because it's crazy simple. The flavors are bright and fresh, and I love all the superfood ingredients like olive oil, garlic and (duh) salmon! In the summer we cook this on the grill, and when it's super cold out like it is now, we bake it in the oven. It's delicious either way, and I've included directions for both below! I love to dress up this salmon by serving it with my Parmesan Risotto. or if I'm going for a simple meal I serve it with a my Kale Caesar Salad.


Ingredients:

1 (2 lb) wild caught piece of salmon*
1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon pepper

Sauce Directions:

In a small saucepan, heat garlic in olive oil until golden. Add lemon juice to the garlic. Simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens a bit, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and stir. Sprinkle lemon pepper  over the flesh side of the salmon.

Oven Directions:

Lay the salmon flesh side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Broil 3-5 minutes, or until the salmon just begins to brown. Pull the foil up around the salmon, and then pour the garlic sauce over the salmon. Lightly close the foil to create a tent over the fish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until the fish is cooked to your satisfaction. (Salmon can technically be eaten raw, and just like beef everyone has different ideas of what "done" looks like. For us, if the salmon easily flakes with a fork, we call it done!)

Grill Directions: 

Grill salmon until golden. Flip fish skin side down in casserole or foil. Pour garlic sauce over, making sure the foil holds all the oil, and finish cooking to your satisfaction.



* We also use frozen salmon from Costco, which is way more cost-effective since we don't live near a coast! Just thaw the salmon you want to use, and then follow directions as usual.

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Kirsten Bell
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Simple and Delicious Vanilla Cupcakes

Simple and Delicious Vanilla Cupcakes


These vanilla cupcakes may be simple, but they are definitely not plain! This classic dessert is full of rich, vanilla flavor and is perfect for any occasion. The easy vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream frosting come together in less than an hour, making this a perfect go-to cupcake recipe!


I have been on a mission the last few days for the perfect vanilla cupcakes! I wanted them to be full of rich vanilla flavor, but also really easy to make! Simple in every sense of the word. I also didn't want to include ingredients that were difficult to find or expensive to buy. I'm looking at you, vanilla beans!

Make these for the next birthday party, or even for Valentine's Day with some fun red and pink sprinkles! You'll love what a quick and easy cupcake recipe this is, and everyone else will love how delicious they taste!




Makes 12 standard cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt (greek or regular is fine)
1/4 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients: 

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed 

Cupcake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and buttermilk and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin, filling the liners evenly to about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool before removing from liners.

Buttercream Directions: 

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high, and mix about 2-3 minutes. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and serve!



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Kirsten Bell
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