Spinach Blueberry Salad & a Blueberry Botanical

blueberry watercolor 5x7 arches 140lb rough prussian blue panes gray green gold

Blueberry watercolor 5×7 arches 140lb rough prussian blue panes gray green gold

For today’s #WorldWatercolorMonth Painting, I present:   Blueberries in Prussian Blue.  This is a “botanical” painting of sorts and possibly one of my more “realistic” paintings.  A bit of a diversion for me.

And while we are on the subject of blueberries – the yummy, nutrient-packed fruit of the gods,  here is a recipe for a spinach salad I made last week with blueberries in it.  DIVINE!

Spinach blueberry salad

I tossed some fresh spinach with blueberries and blue cheese (but you could use feta or goat or any other cheese you like), toasted walnuts, and green onions, and then drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette for a really fresh, yummy salad.

Spinach blueberry salad 2

Some other favorite blueberry recipes I’ve shared in the past you might want to check out are my “almost famous” to-die-for Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and melt-in-your-mouth  Fresh Peach and Blueberry Streusel Muffins.  Maybe not quite as healthy, but very delish!


Spinach & Blueberry Salad


  • 1 lb Spinach
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup toasted and sugared walnuts*
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup Balsaimic Vinaigrette

Combine fresh, clean spinach, blueberries, green onions and walnuts and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.  Top with crumbled blue cheese and serve immediately.

*Melt 1 Tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts, and sprinkle with sugar.  Saute over medium heat for approximately five minutes until sugar has melted and walnuts have browned.  Cool completely.

Cheers & Hugs,



Fresh Peach & Blueberry Streusel Muffins

fresh peach and blueberry struesel muffins

Do you know a muffin man?  One that might live on your lane?

If so, you might want to make him this yummy Fresh Peach and Blueberry Streusel Muffin recipe this weekend for Father’s Day brunch.

After all, we would be muffin without our dads – right?

fresh peach and blueberry struesel muffins 3

Silly nursery rhymes and puns aside….   I was excited to try out some new silicone muffin “pans” I got on clearance at Tuesday Morning a while back, and they did not disappoint.

No need for liners, the muffins popped right out, and clean up was SUPER easy!

The pair of baking pans I bought were slightly odd-shaped I came to find out when I tried to stand the finished little buggers up.  They are wider at the top and quite narrow at the bottom.  (They are likely shaped for some other baking delicacy, but the muffins still tasted AMAZING even though they could stand up straight on their own! Hence my inspiration for the picture to the left.)

These muffins are bursting with fresh fruit flavor and moist from the addition of creamy vanilla yogurt and milk.

And who can pass up a crumbly topping swirled with icing?!

fresh peach and blueberry struesel muffins 2

Peaches are just coming in season around our neck of the woods.  Mixing the tart burst of blueberries with the sweetness of ripe peaches is a muffin combination that is sure to make for happy tummies when you bake these for your family or friends or even just for you!

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Streusel Muffins*

Ingredients:fresh peach and blueberry struesel muffins

Muffin Batter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup half and half or milk
  • 1 cup peaches, peeled chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons half and half or milk or Italian Sweet Creamer*
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.

For muffin batter, beat butter on high speed in electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugars and beat on high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat until mixture is combined.  Add, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and beat 30 seconds or so to combine.  Add flour and mix until well combined.  Add milk and mix until no lumps remain.

Add a teaspoon of flour to the blueberries to coat and do the same to the peaches.  This helps them to no all sink to the bottom of the batter when baking.

Fold fruit gently into batter.

For the crumb topping, combine sugars, cinnamon, and flour.  Mix in softened butter until thick and crumbly.  You can use a spoon or fork or even your fingers.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top or even a little over. Divide the crumb topping among each of the muffin cups, crumbling with your hands to make some big chunks.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425, then lower temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

Make glaze by mixing the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla together. Drizzle over muffins when most of the way cool.

*slightly adapted from SpoonfulofNature


Cheers & Hugs,


Chocolate Chunk and Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Muffins

raspberry chocolate chunk chocolate muffins

Last week I wrote about “perfect pairs.

But seriously…

does anything “pair” better than the divine taste of rich, creamy semi-sweet chocolate and the tangy, sweet, juiciness of fresh red raspberries?

raspberry chocolate chunk chocolate muffins 1

Oh these muffins!

raspberry chocolate chunk chocolate muffins 2

They are pretty much heaven in a paper liner!

raspberry chocolate chunk chocolate muffins 3

If you are looking for an amazing muffin recipe that goes as wonderfully with coffee in the morning for a decadent breakfast treat as it does with red wine or milk for dessert or as a snack, look no further.  Here is a recipe I slightly adapted from Creme de la Crumb.  ENJOY!

Chocolate Chunk and Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Muffins

raspberry chocolate chunk chocolate muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup red raspberry Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup Half & Half
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 pint fresh red raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pan with liners.
  • Combine flour, sugar, 1 cup chocolate chunks or chips, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Whisk egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil in another bowl until smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Scoop into muffin pan.
  • Divide raspberries and remaining ¼ cup chocolate chunks among the muffins (just sprinkle the chocolate chips on the tops of the batter and gently press the raspberries into the top – I used 3 raspberries per muffin)
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing.

Cheers & Hugs,

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

There are certain foods that just love each other…
peanut butter & jelly… bacon & eggs…. macaroni & cheese…
and bananas & chocolate!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies – photo by Nick

So when I saw a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies on Rantings of an Amateur Chef’s Maggie Monday yesterday, I knew I had to try them.

And I had some perfectly over-ripe bananas on the counter just waiting to be used.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies – photo by Nick

I hesitated a bit messing with chocolate chip cookies, but when I read that these were more like muffin tops in their taste and texture, I was sold.

Be warned, these are not your normal chocolate chip cookie, and they taste nothing like my “almost famous” chocolate chips cookies, but they are a surprisingly delightful treat.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

Even Nick, who was skeptical with me messin’ with chocolate chip cookies, gave them a big thumbs up (and shared some of his photography talent by taking some of the photos I’m sharing today).

If you are looking for something different, and you love banana bread, muffins, and chocolate chips cookies, these are a must try.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookie & Milk – Photo by Nick

Here is the recipe as posted yesterday on Rantings of an Amateur Chef:

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and bananas. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add this to the creamed mixture and blend well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least one hour. Drop by tablespoonfuls about 2” apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Cheers & Hugs,



The BEST Ever Banana Bread

bbcoverI used to have the best banana bread recipe years ago from Aunt Francie.  (Aunt Francie is Marty’s 91 year old Aunt – who happens to be engaged and living with her 92 year old boyfriend – a random, but oh so cute piece of information 🙂 )

Somehow I seemed to have lost it, so I’ve been trying various banana bread recipes on the web every time I have a few over-ripe bananas to spare.


Sadly – none have even come close to comparing…


O… M… G…

I found a recipe for Extreme Banana Nut Bread and read the various comments and reviews.  Seemed everyone LOVED it, but tweaked it this way or that.


So I set out to put this extreme banana bread recipe to the test with my own little touches, and I have to say…  THIS IS IT!

Dare I say even better than Aunt Francie’s?!

I made it three different ways for my first experiment.


I divided the recipe into three separate batches.  I added pecans to one batch, cinnamon chips to another batch, and kept the last batch plain.  Then I made some loaves and some muffins.


This bread is dense and sweet with crispy edges and a buttery, rich banana taste like no other.


One of the new tricks I tried that made it even EXTRA AMAZING was  greasing the pans with shortening and then coating with cinnamon sugar instead of the usual flour dusting.

WOWSERS!  On top of the banany goodness, imagine a crust that taste like the cinnamon toast of our childhood days. OUTRAGEOUS!!

This bread doesn’t raise very high, and it isn’t fluffy or light in any way, shape or form.  It is more rustic looking as it stays dense and ooeey gooeey.  Some of mine ran over the edges and got extra crusty, but it only added to the awesomeness.


Not the most perfect loaves of bread to look at, but I dare you to try it and tell me if you’ve ever tasted better.

This is my new GO TO recipe for Banana Bread.

It is truly Extreme.


Best Ever Banana Bread Recipe:


1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups mashed over-ripe bananas
Optional: Pecans or Walnuts or Cinnamon Chips
Sugar and Cinnamon Mixture for coating pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and cinnamon sugar coat pans (do the same way as you would with flour).

In mixer, beat together sugars and butter until creamy. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, and continue creaming until well beaten.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together, then add to creamed wet mixture, beating well with electric mixer.

Once that is all well combined, beat in the mashed bananas.

If using nuts or cinnamon chips, fold those gently in last.

Fill pans 3/4 full. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan for about 5 mins, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

Once cool, place in large Ziploc bag or wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate.

BEST served if refrigerated for at least 2 hours first.

Large loaf pan needs to bake about an hour.
Mini loaf pans approximately 30 minutes.
Muffins approximately 20 mins.

WARNING             WARNING                 WARNING
This recipe is NOT low-fat and may become HABIT FORMING!


Cheers and Hugs,