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To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Better than any coffee shop blueberry muffin, these really are ‘to die for’.

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter softened to room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

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

Place vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add the egg and then enough milk to fill the cup, which is approximately 1/3 cup of milk. Pour into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla and combine well with a fork.

Add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the liquid mixture and blend well. Carefully fold in the blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together the brown sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking. Makes 8-9 muffins.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven until done or a toothpick inserted into centre of a muffin comes out clean.


Amazing Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

The triple chocolate comes from cocoa powder, chocolate bits and fudge icing!

Amazing Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Amazing Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes one 8- or 9-inch baking pan

1/2 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup crushed walnuts (optional)

½ cup semi sweet chocolate bits (optional)


Fudge Icing:

3 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Amazing Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Amazing Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Preheat oven to 350°F. Use parchment paper to line an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan or in microwave. Remove from heat or microwave and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat in the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes. Do not overcook. Almost immediately remove from the pan by lifting it out with the parchment paper. Let cool but not completely for about 10 minutes.

To Make Fudge Icing: Combine butter, cocoa, honey, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm so the icing will melt and spread easily.

Cut into long, thin rectangles. Enjoy!

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Don’t you just love the smell in the house when anything is being made with oranges. And what about that beautiful orange colour….so dramatic and alive! Well I have been trying many different recipes that meld cranberries with citrusy flavours like lemon and orange, and have come up with a fluffy, yummy, melt-in-your-mouth kinda muffin – not one of those hard, heavy and dry ones. So give it a try!

Makes 16 muffins

1 cup cranberries

2 large Jaffa (or substitute) oranges

1 large egg

1/2 cup butter (margarine can substitute)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Sugar (coarse granulated sugar is optimum) to sprinkle on top.

Preheat oven to 400F. Fill a muffin tin with muffin papers and set aside. (you’ll need to repeat with 4 more papers after the first batch are baked).

Chop the cranberries by hand with a knife or in your food processor. Set aside.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the oranges. Place in a food processor to chop the peel. Leave the peel pieces in the bowl. Then cut off the bottom and top of the oranges and score the pith (the bitter white insides of the oranges). Remove the outer pith and break the orange sections apart. Cut each section into 4 pieces and put into a food processor (or blender) along with the peel and process or blend until pureed. Set aside.

Place the egg and butter in a large bowl and mix well. Add the pureed orange.

Combine the remaining ingredients to the orange mixture and continue to stir until blended.

Fill 12 muffin cups about 3/4 full. There will be enough dough left over to make 4 more. Sprinkle the tops with 1 teaspoon each of granulated sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove from oven and let stand until slightly cooled before removing muffins.

Repeat with remaining dough to make 4 more muffins. Enjoy!

Playground Granola Bars

Playground Granola Bars

Playground Granola Bars

Lots of good and healthy ingredients in these bars and not bad chemicals or unhealthy additives. I may have posted this recipe before but since then I have made improvements to the taste to the original recipe which I found online (forgot where I got it from so sorry to the original poster). In addition, I have found the way to cut them so beautifully. I have yet got a way to cut them all equally but there must be some gadget out there for making them all the same size! And I must write that blog post/article about the many uses for my new best friend, parchment paper!

Playground Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds (preferably unsalted)

1/2 cup flax seed

1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I use 2 teaspoons)

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 – 3/4 cup raisins

1/2 – 3/4 cup semi sweet little chocolate bits

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Better still, line the pan with parchment paper, it’s my new best friend!

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon, flour, walnuts, raisins, chocolate bits and salt.

Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla.

Mix well. Pat the mixture evenly and press down well with a spatula into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Do not over bake.

Cool for 5 minutes and remove from the pan with the paper and all. Let cool completely then cut into bars with your best cleaver.

Store in a sealed container. Moist and yummy the next day.


Luscious Lemon Squares

luscious lemon squares

luscious lemon squares

Makes 1 – 9×13 inch baking pan

Bottom crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Lemon filling:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced and the outer skin grated
Powdered icing sugar for sprinkling
  1. Prepare the crust by mixing together the softened butter, flour and sugar with a pastry cutter, hand mixer or a fork. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Beat together the ingredients for the filling.
  3. Pour over the baked crust.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. The lemon filling may not be solid but will firm up as it cools. Carefully remove from the pan onto a cutting board together with the paper while still hot. Sprinkle with powdered icing sugar. Cut into squares when cool with a sharp knife dipped in cool water each time you make a slice and place in muffin papers.
  5. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake Recipe

Challah Buns this morning

Made in my ‘Easy Bake Oven’!

The Titanic Birthday Cake – 2012 100th Anniversary

Today my daughter Jennifer completed this cake – marble cake with butter cream icing covered with fondant icing. Isn’t it amazing!!

Titanic Birthday Cake

Funky Apple Jell-O

How about this? An oldie from my past but a goodie, chronicling my love for jelly gelatin treats, this dessert returns!  Jell-O with fresh grated apple. It can’t get easier or more refreshing.

Last week, I found a Cherry-flavoured box of Jell-O. Imagine – in my Chinese kitchen cupboard. Where I got it, I can’t remember. Must have been in Beijing where this kind of foreign food is available in select stores (at a price premium).

So I went ahead and made Funky Cherry Apple Jell-O for the party. All of it was gone almost the minute I put it on the table along with the cheesecake and the fudge brownies. Now, no more Jell-o! I know you say, why not find a suitable “how to make homemade Jell-0” recipe off the web. Well, guess what, I certainly did but – can’t find Kool-aid here in Kunming either.

Well, in my travels in town yesterday I managed to pass by Paul’s Foreign Food Store and low and behold – Jell-O. Certainly not my favourite flavours – but beggars can’t be choosers. So I take three, cranberry, berry blue, and lime.

On my way out, I speak with Paul and ask him if he can get the most common and delicious flavour, strawberry, raspberry and cherry. He is going to call me if/when he gets more Jell-O.
So to make Funky Apple Jell-O, all you need is one small box of Gelatin mix, 3 crisp apples, hot water and cold water or one cup of ice cubes.

Being a bit on the impatient side for some things, and making Jell-O is one of them, I always use the Quick Set method and if I’m adding stuff to it, I will also cut down on the amount of hot water. For the quick set method, mix one box of Gelatin Mix with 3/4 cup of boiling water. Stir the mixture until all of the crystals are dissolved. Stir in one cup of icecubes and stir until the mixture starts to thicken. Peel and core the apples. Grate them into the Jell-O mixture. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).

You will enjoy the sweet jelly taste mixed with the crisp texture and tartness of the apples!

Scrumptious Fudge Brownie Recipe – Will My IPad End Up Like My Cookbooks?

Will my iPad start to look like my cookbooks, all splattered with grease and food?

The question comes to mind because I’m quite sure I’m not the only one who’s got the same issue with their eReader…and have purchased an eCookbook. It’s not a totally new trend and the idea’s simply infectious because of the convenience of eReaders. I’m catching up with the technology and since my ‘Secrets of Chinese Comfort Food” Cookbook will be launched for sale soon on I want to be ready, realizing all issues that an eCookbook purchase would entail.


I began using my iPhone to cook my recipes several months ago. I started emailing a recipe of something I wanted to cook to my iPhone and then used it while cooking. Problem was I never set the screen to stay ‘on’ so each time the screen shut down I’d have to look back to the recipe, I would have to touch the screen – doing the ‘swipe’ thing. So  you can only imagine the mess I’ve made of my phone!

Now I’ve switched to my iPad in the kitchen because it’s bigger and easier to read. Yesterday I put it on a plate stand so it stays upright perfectly (just like the Plexiglas cookbook stands they sold several decades ago) and the screen’s already set to stay on indefinitely so it was a perfect replacement for my cookbooks. I admit that I do adore cookbooks. The lovely pictures, the descriptions, the feel of a book….but I’m a convert to technology and always have tried to stay current. My iPad has become my library (I’ll never be without a good book to read – I’ve got over 70 books from my favourite authors on it). If/when I move again, I won’t have to worry about ‘schleping’ books half way around the world.

And then there’s the cooking tutorial videos – but that’s a discussion for another day.

It comes to mind that I shall upload my recipe books to my iPad permanently so I never have to email a recipe again, unless of course it’s one I’ve just created.

I digress. So WHAT HAVE I COOKED TODAY, YOU ASK? In preparation for a party I am having this Saturday night, I have made something chocolatey and delicious…

Scrumptious Fudge Walnut Brownies


Yield – 1 6 inch x 9 inch tray (17 cm x 23 cm)

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup walnuts, crushed

Icing: 3 tablespoons butter, softened

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup icing sugar

In a bowl cream the butter and sugar together.

Stir in the eggs, and vanilla.

Beat in cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder, and walnuts until blended. Spread the batter into a parchment-lined baking pan. Parchment paper is my new best friend.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook – softer is better for this recipe.

Remove from the pan together with the parchment paper and allow the brownies to cool for 15 minutes.

While waiting for the brownies to cool, in the same bowl, make the frosting by combining the butter, cocoa, honey, vanilla, and icing sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm so the heat from the brownies will slightly melt the frosting and help to spread it.

When completely cooled cut into squares by dipping a sharp knife into cool water before each slice and putting each brownie into paper cupcake cups for serving. These brownies freeze well in an airtight container.

Eat and enjoy!

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