Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

When I spotted some cream cheese in my fridge and a container of fresh blueberries, I got the idea to bake some muffins.  I found a recipe online here and not only do the blueberry muffins have cream cheese inside but they're topped with a sweet and crunchy streusel that would sell out fast at any bakery.  These Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins are perfect for breakfast and its hard to stop at eating just one.  I've been eating them straight from the fridge, as they're so good cold with the cream cheese and chilled berries. 

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins



  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bueberries (wild or regular sized, fresh or frozen but defrosted and drained)


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. If you’re using frozen berries, make sure to let them defrost and drain well before adding them to the muffins.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper baking cups.
  3. Make the topping by stirring together all topping ingredients with a fork in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer, mix eggs with electric mixer about 1-2 minutes until thick and frothy. Mix in sugar and oil, beat until creamy. Mix vanilla, vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in sour cream then stir in flour using a wooden spoon. (Batter may be slightly lumpy.) Stir in blueberries.
  5. Make the cream cheese filling: stir (or use a hand mixer) together cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  6. Fill muffin cups with about 2 tablespoons of muffin batter. Add about 1-2 teaspoons of cream cheese to the center of each muffin, then top with another 1 tablespoon of batter. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top of the muffins.
  7. Bake for 15-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of a muffin. Cool 5 minutes in pan then remove to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lunch at Golden Daisy Restaurant

If you're looking for a quick and inexpensive spot for Dim Sum in Beacon Hill then Golden Daisy's your spot.  Looks kind of like a hole in the wall but once you're seated and served your food, you'll be pleasantly surprised and satisfied.  The Chinese food is authentic, if that's what you're craving.  Don't get me wrong, Panda Express can be delicious and I always enjoy the Orange Chicken from Red Apple in Beacon Hill.  But when you want some duck with crispy skin or some juicy shrimp dumplings, then you have to dig a little deeper to find your spot for lunch.  Chinatown and South Seattle are full of spots like these, just remember that many are cash only and the ambiance won't always be so noteworthy.  Our family had a little dim sum and a couple of plates from the menu.  We had some shrimp dumplings, some fried pork dumplings, and chicken feet.  Then we had duck with white rice and Sweet and Sour Chicken with white rice.  It was all great tasting and now I know why my husband's family is always ordering food from there.  For something a little sweet, we shared a piece of Malaysian cake.  This classic dim sum dessert is a sponge cake that is light, soft, and spongy.  We also shared some white rice cake, another standard dim sum dish to end the meal.  

Golden Daisy Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How To Make A Plum Clafoutis

Nothing feels more like summer than taking a bite of a fresh picked plum.  Summer will be over soon so you better get some plums and soak every moment up while you can.  Before we know it we'll be drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes and visiting pumpkin patches.  It will be oh so fun, but let's live in the moment for now and eat some plums.  If your neighbor or your cousin hands you a bag of ready to eat plums, do what I did and make a clafoutis.  I used six plums and it was the perfect amount of fruit for my dessert.  Not sure what a clafoutis is? It's a rustic French dessert and you can find the other post I did about Cherry Clafoutis here and read more about the dessert and get the recipe.  Just substitute plums for the cherries or any fruit you want. 

One thing about this recipe I didn't follow was that I used a cake pan to bake it and not a cast iron or frying pan.  I used a frying pan to cook the butter and the plums, then I added sugar and mixed it up well.  Then I poured my fruit mixture into my cake pan,  poured the batter over it and baked it for the twenty minutes the recipe says to.  The Plum Clafoutis came out perfectly and will be delicious for dessert or even for breakfast. 

Need some more plum recipes?  Another one is Open-Face Banana Plum Cake, something I baked and blogged about before and you can find that recipe here.  Plums are sweet and subtle and bake nicely.  Their purple color means they photograph well and look delicious in any dessert.  Enjoy the rest of the summer! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy Hour at Maximilien

My husband and I treated ourselves to a night out at Maximilien inside Pike Place Market.  We just had the Happy Hour outside on their patio, but it still felt upscale and refined and who doesn't love a view while they dine.  The patio was busy for a weekend and we scored the second to last table available.  It felt like we eating in a secret garden, with our table for two set against the greenery of a rooftop garden on the other side.  The night was hot so I cooled down with a glass of Rose, $5, and my husband had a bottle of French beer for $3.  The happy hour menu had a nice well rounded selection with food prices ranging from $4-$12. 

Maximilien is a French restaurant where the chefs utilize the local ingredients using French techniques.  Being in the heart of Seattle inside Pike Place Market, I'm guessing they don't have a problem finding the freshest local ingredients.  We ordered four food items, the Belgium Frites, the Stacked Beets, the Goat Cheese Mousse, two Lamb Burger Slider's, and a half French Baguette with butter.  We also shared a cocktail, a Black Opal, to beat the heat and go with the rest of our meal.  A Black Opal is similar to a Long Island Iced Tea but has Chambord.  

The food was delicious and I enjoyed all of the dishes.  Everything came to only $55, which isn't bad for a date night and al fresco dining near the water.  Maximilien would be a great spot to take guests from out of town or to impress a date.  There are so many choices for dining in Pike Place Market and I'm having a nice time discovering them with my husband on our date nights.  The Market might seem touristy and kind of crowded but the food scene makes it worth visiting every time. 

Maximilien Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread Muffins

It's ninety degrees outside and I'm standing in the kitchen baking muffins.  But when there's ripe bananas around, I love taking advantage of making fresh baked goods.  It's fun to experiment with different banana recipes because let's face it, baking the same kind of banana bread every time would get boring.  When I saw a recipe for banana bread muffins with cream cheese I couldn't resist.  They went from a muffin to a dessert with the sweet element of the cream cheese giving them a cheesecake taste.  I think the muffins are best chilled because the cream cheese filling is cold and sets up better.  For a hot summer day, the muffins right out of the fridge are just the ticket!

Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread Muffins

I found the recipe here on buzzfeed.com

For the bread:1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sour cream (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the cream cheese filling:1 large egg
4 ounces softened cream cheese (1/2 block)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
2. To prepare the bread, combine egg, sugars, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together. Add the bananas and mash together.
3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and mix lightly to combine. Set aside.
4. To prepare the cream cheese filling, mix egg, cream cheese, sugar, and flour in a small bowl.
5. To assemble the muffins, spoon a layer of bread batter into a greased muffin tin. Then spoon a layer of cream cheese filling, then top off with another layer of bread batter.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Baking times may vary. Muffins are done when a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Allow muffins to cool for 15 mins.
8. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dinner at Tavern Hall

My experience at Tavern Hall in Bellevue was a hit and I was pleasantly surprised.  Right away I liked the spacious dining room with its high ceilings, flat screens everywhere, and a large white clock.  It reminded me of a converted train station, with a little stretch of the imagination, maybe the Orsay Museum in Paris. 

It was only the second night for our server, Lucy, and she did very well.  She recommended the hearth baked pretzels, two for ten dollars, to start.  I'm glad she did because all four of us loved them and the four sauces they came with.  One was a salted peanut caramel sauce, which was my favorite.  There's just something about the combination of sweet and salty I can't get enough of.  The other three sauces were homemade ale mustard, white cheddar jalapeƱo, and bacon-onion dip.  

I also tried a Moscow Mule for the first time and our server reassured me how delicious they are, which was nice.  It came in a copper mug and was a relatively good size.   Moscow Mule's have Vodka, lime, and Homemade Ginger Beer.  My husband had a martini which tasted like a Mojito and tasted cool and refreshing.  For fun, I also sampled a 3 oz. Blackberry Hard Cider for $2.  It arrived in an adorable little beer mug. 

For our entrees, I had the Stadium Nachos with the ale-braised brisket.  The pan they arrived in was incredibly hot and I kept touching it accidently, silly me.  The nachos were covered in a rich chili cheese sauce and there was meat for days on top.  There seemed like an endless amount of nachos and I didn't finish them but they were delicious.  My husband had the BBQ Brisket Sandwich with a Kale Salad.  It was made with the ale-braised brisket, like my nachos, and I was impressed by the quality of the meat. 

Another reason I liked my server?  She brought us chocolate cake.  She said since it was our first time there that they like to give you a free dessert.  You can't argue with that, now can you?  The dessert was the Mason Jar Chocolate Cake and it was dark chocolate cake topped with a malted vanilla ice cream.  The cake was hot, so the ice cream cooled it off and melted a little.  Oh so good.  Tavern Hall you impressed me. 

Tavern Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato