Best Blueberry Muffins Ever

IMG_1025Saturday breakfast, Sunday brunch, or anytime you’re in a blueberry muffin kinda mood, these are simply the best. You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries, but I’ve made them more often with frozen fruit as those are cheaper year round. Plus, if you keep a supply of berries in the freezer, you’re always ready to whip up these easy treats.

These are so popular in our house that they’ve become the “it’s your birthday” breakfast muffin, as well as the Father’s Day or Mother’s Day staple (if I want to make them for myself), too. I scribbled the recipe on scratch paper after seeing it in a magazine years ago, and don’t recall which one—probably Better Homes & Gardens or Family Fun. The key to their fabulosity is the nutmeg sugar topping. I once forgot to add that before baking, and we were all like, “What’s wrong with the muffins today? Where’s the magic?” So don’t be tempted to skip that last-second sprinkle before tossing them in the oven. It really does make these the best blueberry muffins ever.

Makes 12-18 muffins

½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2½ cups fresh blueberries or 12 ounces (1½ cups) frozen blueberries


1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 ° Fahrenheit. In large mixing bowl fitted with paddle, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and continue to cream mixture. Add in vanilla and cream again.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to the creamed butter and sugar mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in blueberries by hand.

Combine sugar and nutmeg in a small bowl. Put papers in a muffin tin. Fill each paper with batter. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until light golden brown on top. Remove muffins from tin and cool on rack for about 10-15 minutes. (Or eat immediately and burn your mouth on scalding hot blueberries—it’s your call.)


(Based on me and my sisters, and our interest and comfort-level in the kitchen)
Judy—I hate to cook, but I’ll make this one!
Susan—I’m fine with cooking and will tackle something a little more challenging.
Cheryl—I love to cook and bake and seek out food challenges

Swedish Pancakes

FullSizeRenderEvery culture has some version of the French crêpe, even the Swedes. When my son’s friend Karl dropped in with some lingonberry sauce* made from fresh Swedish lingonberries, we thought we better whip up a batch of the crepe-like Swedish pancakes to try the sauce. Recipes for these light pancakes abound in cookbooks and online, so I don’t quite know who to credit for it. This one is similar to the Easy Swedish Pancakes from, but I found that batter a little too thin and therefore doubled the flour. It also needed more salt than called for. Top with anything from maple syrup, to apple sauce, to strawberries and whipped cream—just about any fruit pairs perfectly with these pancakes. I’d love to hear what ratio of eggs, milk, and flour some of YOU true Swedes use for this Scandinavian staple…maybe make ’em for Father’s Day and post a comment.

Makes 10-12 pancakes


4 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping suggestions

Lingonberry jam
Sliced strawberries
Sliced bananas
Powdered sugar
Whipping cream

In large bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk. Add milk and butter, and whisk again. Sprinkle flour, sugar, and salt over egg mixture, and beat with whisk until smooth.

Heat non-stick skillet to medium heat. Brush a little butter on hot pan. Pour 1/3 cup batter into pan, and rotate to coat bottom of pan. Once edges of batter are dry, flip to cook reverse side. Flip pancake onto plate. Fold into quarters and top with lingonberries or fruit. Add powdered sugar or whipping cream.

*I was a little confused when Karl said his neighbor had made the lingonberry sauce he brought over. Last I checked, lingonberries don’t grow in Minnesota, or any bordering state for that matter! Turns out they had picked fresh lingonberries while vacationing in Sweden, and made it into the sauce. If you don’t have a friend that brings you fresh lingonberry sauce, IKEA sells “Sylt Lingon” (lingonberry jam), and so do most high-end grocery stores, like Lunds & Byerly’s or Kowalskis.

Mini Herb Garden Pots

Herb Pots IMG_0697Fresh summer meals require fresh summer herbs, and if you’ve got a patch of sunshine, you can grow a pot of herbs. No need to own your own acreage—even apartment-dwellers can do this with a little bit of deck and a place to put a pot. I’ve been growing pots like these for years, and if you combine the herbs in an artful fashion, they can be decorative as well as utilitarian. The pot pictured here has (from left counter-clockwise) rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, purple basil, and chives, with sweet basil in the center. I also plant a pot with just spearmint. In the summer, we go through mint like Kleenex, as I’ve got a recipe for mint ice tea that is absolutely to die for—posting to come! (FYI—we don’t use those two items interchangeably…)

Summer table IMG_0345NOTE: If you are going to plant a pot of mint, make sure you grab spearmint instead of peppermint, unless you want your culinary efforts to have a Pepto Bismol after taste. (Been there, done that.) Mint is a perennial if planted in ground, but it tends to take over a garden. One trick for outsmarting the all-consuming plant is to plant it in the ground inside an old cracked plastic pot. It keeps it somewhat contained, and if the roots are protected underground through winter, it comes up year after year. (More info below on the table setting at right.)

Back to the mixed herb pots. I try to do a variety of leaf shapes and sizes, and a mix of bright greens, dark greens, and purples. Mixing heights adds interest to your containers too. Last year, I was super lazy and didn’t pull the dead herbs out of their pots in the fall, and surprise, surprise, the chives actually came in again! Who knew there was an upside to lazy?

Herb Centerpieces IMG_0346Once your pots start growing like crazy, you can put together some sweet little centerpieces like these. The bright, clean labels on these 28-ounce Red Gold ® diced tomatoes really caught my eye. So after I used the tomatoes in a recipe, I rinsed and saved three cans for table decor. (Hey, reduce, reuse, recycle, right?) Then I cut squares of wet floral foam slightly larger than the cans, and soaked them in water about an hour. To do this at home, wedge the soaked floral foam into the cans (yes, you are putting a square peg in a round hole), then poke cuttings from your herb garden into the wet block. They will last a week or more, and make nice, low-profile centerpieces. No playing hide-and-seek with guests at the table around a gargantuan arrangement. An added bonus is that the fresh cut herbs smell awesome!

IMG_0701The super simple napkin rings (shown here and above on the table setting) are made from stringing wooden beads onto suede leather lacing, and then looping one end back through the first bead to secure. My daughter-in-law strung these one Thanksgiving (thanks, Jessica!), and they were great with our warm, neutral palette for fall. They also work with bright, summery colors like those pictured here. I’m a sucker for the affordable IKEA napkins, which are 50 for $1.99. The color choices are always fun, and keeping these napkins on hand helps to be ready for impromptu guests.