Lola’s Blueberry Muffins

Mom and Gage (Sea World, April 2008)

I love how food can bring you back to special time in life. This recipe reminds me of my dear Mom – my role model and our family rock. She unexpectedly passed away in April 2009 from a verry aggressive form of Stage 4B non-smoker lung cancer, just three months after our daughter was born and one month after our son turned 2. But the recent memories that I most cherish about my Mom were the precious times that she spent caring for our son Gage during his first few years, while I was at work. My Mom had her full-time job as an ICU Nurse, but on her off-days, she would babysit Gage. He called her “Lola”, meaning “Grandmother” in the Filipino language. They would simply hang out at the house, read books together, watch cartoons, draw/color together, and he would help my Mom water the plants in their backyard. Also, my Mom would often bake muffins for him, including banana chocolate chip muffins and blueberry muffins, both made with applesauce. Last Winter, I was going through my Mom’s recipe collection, and came across the original Blueberry Muffin recipe that she made for Gage. What confirmed that it was the same recipe was his scribbling all over the recipe paper! I envisioned what probably happened in her kitchen while she was babysitting Gage – he sitting in his high chair scribbling on her recipe papers, while my Mom entertained him and whipped together these muffins, all at the same time! I now have one of numerous wonderful memories left behind of my Mom to carry on with my own kids. I continue to share stories of times spent with her, including how much she loved baking for him and his cousin Phoenix when they were both little toddlers. Now, my own children easily get going in the early morning, knowing that they get to have these yummy muffins for their breakfast!



Servings: 12 regular-sized muffins (or 24 mini-sized muffins)


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries


½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place applesauce into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups. Sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

TO MAKE STREUSEL TOPPING (Optional): Slightly melt the cubed butter in the microwave for 15-20 sec. Mix together ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup cubed unsalted butter, and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. You can cut throught the small cubes of butter and dry ingredients with a mixer or the blades of butter knives until coated. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 18-23 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. (These muffins will be generously-sized muffins.)

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Breakfast


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Valentine Cookie Bouquet

My husband and I’s wedding anniversary is on Valentine’s Day. This year, we agreed to do something different with our gift-giving. Instead of buying each other gifts, we created something special for each other. I’m so glad we did because it made our anniversary so much more special! My husband’s favorite cookie is my Valentine Sugar Cookies with Icing. So, I decided to bake these cookies and turn them into something more by making a Cookie Bouquet. It was my first time creating it, and I was happy with the way it turned out. I bought a pack of 20 lollipop sticks found in the party supplies/baking section of Wal-Mart for a couple of dollars, and got a pack of 25 clear plastic favor bags with twist-ties from Michael’s using my 40% off coupon. The sticks are oven-safe, too. I just simply pressed the stick on the bottom half of the heart-shaped cookie dough cut-outs, and wah-la! The bottom of the vase was filled with 100+ pieces of folded paper of “Reasons Why I Love You”. Next time I make one of these cookie bouquets, I’ll put something heavy like glass pebbles inside the bottom of the vase to weigh the it down.

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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Crafts, Desserts


Valentine Sugar Cookies with Icing

My sister introduced me to this Williams-Sonoma recipe several years ago. Ever since then, I’ve made these cookies as a tradition every Valentine’s Day season. They have become my husband’s favorite cookies!


When working with differently shaped cookie cutters, make sure that the cookies on each cookie sheet are the same shape to ensure even baking.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Frosting, decorative icings and sugars


Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, margarine and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until just blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, beating each addition until just blended.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
Preheat an oven to 350ºF.
Generously flour 2 cookie sheets and roll out the dough directly onto the sheets to 1/4-inch thickness. Using lightly floured cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Carefully gather the dough from around the cutouts and set aside to roll out again.
Bake the cookies until the edges are just golden and the centers are just firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, immediately loosen the cookies and let them set for 3 to 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. When the cookie sheets have cooled, roll out the remaining dough onto the sheets, cut out cookies and bake.
Decorate the cookies with frosting, icings and sugars. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Makes 20 to 24 cookies.


This icing dries hard and shiny and the colors stay bright. Choose as many different food colorings as you desire.


1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 teaspoons milk
3 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring


In a small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add a tiny bit more of corn syrup and/or milk to get the desired consistency, if needed. Divide icing into seperate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Put the icing onto the cookies with a frosting spatula or spoon. Sprinkle crystal sugars onto them, if desired. It takes several hours for the icing to dry.

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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Desserts


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