musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mmmmm. . . . Magnificent Marvelous Muffins

Yum! Yum! And DOUBLE Yum!!!! 

 Blueberries. . . orange juice. . . . whiskey. . . . come together for (drum roll, please) ~ ~ ~

Citrus-Blueberry Muffins with Honey-Whiskey Butter!!!!!

Sweet, tart, and smooth. . . Deliciously complementary when served warm from the oven with our Corned Beef & Cabbage. . . a delectable dessert a day later following a meal of cheese ravioli, fresh-from-the-garden tomato and basil, and fresh parmesan. A single batch just wasn't enough!

Citrus-Blueberry Muffins

Line 12 regular muffin cups with liners
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Rinse and set aside 1 cup of fresh blueberries

In medium measuring cup or mixing bowl blend following 5 ingredients and set aside:

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange peel
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla extract
1 cup / 8 oz yogurt (I prefer honey-blueberry Greek yogurt - but any style of vanilla or plain is also tasty)
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

And make well or 'bowl' in center of mixture. 
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients stirring until JUST moistened through.
GENTLY fold in blueberries.

Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Batter will be thick and will generally fill each cup to just below top edge. I like to use a spoon to scoop up the batter and a spatula to push it into the muffin cup.

Optional:  Sprinkle vanilla-sugar over each unbaked muffin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until tops are golden.

While the muffins are baking, let's make some ~

Honey-Whiskey Butter

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened to just melted
1 Tbsp of honey
1 Tbsp of honey-whiskey (I prefer Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, but any brand would be delicious)

Blend all three ingredients - adding more honey or honey-whiskey to taste - not to exceed a total of 3 Tbsp.

Using a teaspoon, spoon the butter mixture over each freshly baked muffin while still hot in muffin pan continuing until tops are all 'shiny' and all butter is used.

Served warm or room temperature. Store any leftover (are you kidding?!?!) muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

Oh man! Have I said it already? Well, I've just gotta say it again - YUM!!!

Have a Delicious-Muffin kind of day,

Robin Z  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bird-i-fying A Lovely Tray

Sometimes inspiration can take awhile to strike. . . and sometimes what you thought was a great idea. . . turns out to be not such a good idea. And sometimes, things just come together. Those are my favorite. When you have all these parts - in your stash, around the house, or being used in another way - and they all come together into a pretty cool thing. That's pretty much how this particular project came together.

I love trays. If you've ever visited the studio (or your follow along on Facebook as well as this Blog) - you'll see trays of all shapes, sizes, colors, styles. . . and while some are more display (like this one), than utilitarian, they all get used at one time or another for some special purpose.Just sitting here at my desk, I can see 10 trays - some in use, some just hanging around, and a couple others stacked and waiting to be grabbed.

Robin Z received this 'frame-tray' for her Birthday (thanks Jane!) last year. . . Only there were pictures of those mysteriously happy stranger-people in each of the spots - and they had to go.  I thought about swapping out with my own happy (with not-stranger people - LOL!) photos. . . but wanted to do something just a little different. Though not permanent so I could mix it up and change my mind later if I was so included;-)

But what to put in those five 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 slots *NOW*? Hmmmmm. . . Several months later and Ta Da!!! Inspiration struck - some creatively cut embossed scrapbook paper to fit each slot and a collection of awesome 3-D, semi-sparkly stickers (LOVE stash-shopping) - and it all nested together:-) 

I initially removed the tray-sized glass and set aside. The background of each slot is created from a single piece of earthy-green scrapbook paper (which is, incidentally, smaller than the tray size) with an ever so slight grid pattern and edged in a glossy brown series of swirls and curly cues.

  With the tray laying bottom-side up, I removed the back and I worked on the backside of the photo dividers and to arrange and secure the scrapbook paper with scrapbook adhesive. It was quite the challenge to get the paper cut in such a way to show off the curli-cues to best advantage AND create the illusion of it being one piece of paper. I finally decided to start in the bottom middle, and use my craft knife ever so carefully to cut each piece to show off it's design 'just so.'

Once the paper was in placed precisely as I wanted it, I put the back on to secure everything, and flipped the tray over to arrange my birdie bits.

The stickers - Susan Winget designs called Botanical Robin manufactured by K & Company  are created by layers of cardstock for a 3-D effect. A few, like this nest, have a rhinestone for a flower center.

The 3-D egg stickers all have a whisper of glitter on them.

Some of the card stock stickers have a wee paper flower embellishment like you see in this cute little 3-D birdie.

Stacked simply, the eggs are framed by the curli-cues and become the focal of their own frame. I really really like how strikingly simple the two egg stacks are. And how well the placement of each of those squares further frames the birds. Yup. I'm in love with this!

Once all the stickers were secured, I gave the glass covering a thorough polishing and replaced it. With the small gap created between the paper backing and the glass top - the 3-D stickers really have some depth!

I had also initially toyed with the idea of painting or distressing the tray - perhaps even giving it a 'distressed soft gold gilding' on the edges. But, in the end - I liked it the deep brown-red that it is.

Though each frame is different, together they create a cohesive (the same background in each frame) collection of related items. And the *bestest* part? Not only was everything from my goodie-collection, but, all put together the tray is an even more personalized and special gift that makes me think of Jane every time I see it. ♥

Have a Special Bird-i-fied Tray Kind of Day -

Robin Z

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lovin' on Spring!

 Know what I love? Spring. Summer. Warm temperatures. Sunny Days. Blooming flowers. Tasty veggies. Fragrant herbs. Dirty hands. Clay pots. Patio furniture. Wind chimes. Chirping birds. Being outside on a warm sunny day, listening to the birds sing, getting my hands dirty, and potting plants.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter! Easter! Easter

The trees are leafing out, the daffodils are blooming and the grass is greening up - about darned time winter let go of its reign and is bowing to spring. It's been a long hard winter (at least in my humble opinion) and I'm ready to see some color, enjoy the sun, and be outside!! I've been spending a lot of time rearranging, redecorating, and cleaning off the two porches in celebration of warmer weather. . . but that's all for another blog!

The beginning of my favorite season is Easter. Pastels! And bunnies! And flowers!!! And in my house - Easter is a time for the annual family gathering, food, celebration, and reconnecting. And a time to brighten up the house with some bright, colorful and Spring-like decorations!! The way I decorate each year may change. . . but many of the decorations stay the same.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's All About Color

What's your favorite color?

Are you able to answer quickly? Do you have to think about it? Does it matter if it's a color of clothing? Or perhaps a house color? I always give a bit of a pause, balance if I'm going to wear it or stare at it on the wall, then respond. Then again. . . I've been perfectly obsessed with my favorite hue for multiple years and couldn't care less if my outfit blends in with the background;-)

It seems such a simple question and you would perhaps think that the answer doesn't change. . . But if your exposure to color changes as grow older, and color options change as you seek them out, then your favorite would change right along with it all, right? I think so! I mean - look at the options!!!

And what makes one color so much more appealing to you than another? Sometimes, is the name of the color? I've noticed when trying to decided on a paint color, and it's narrowed down to two, it's the name that helps make that final decision. Hmmm......