Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I have been loving muffins these days. Last week I made morning glory muffins (that recipe is to come). This week I had some lovely blueberries that I wanted to use, hence my lemon blueberry ricotta muffins. Ricotta cheese makes these muffins so moist and fluffy! They’re so refreshing.

Start by combining the lemon zest and lemon juice. Let that sit and get nice and lemonie while you get the rest of the ingredients together. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Wash and dry the blueberries. In a standing mixture, beat the ricotta cheese until it’s smooth. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next, beat in the buttermilk and the extract.

Mix in the dry ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, followed by the lemon juice/zest mixture. Then fold in the blueberries. Use about ½ cup ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins.

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually let muffins cool before eating them. These were no exception. There’s nothing like a warm muffin right out of the oven! 

Blueberry Lemon & Ricotta Muffins

zest of 1 lemon

1 lemon, juiced

1 C ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1 C buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C all purpose flour

1 C Oat flour

3/4 C sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fresh blueberries washed and dried.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 15 muffin tins with paper liners.

Combine the lemon zest and lemon juice. Let that sit and get nice and lemonie while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Beat the ricotta cheese until it’s smooth. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Next, beat in the buttermilk and the extract.

Mix in the dry ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, along with the lemon juice/zest mixture. Fold in the blueberries. Use about ½ cup ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze in a ziplock bag and they thaw out nicely!

Morning Boost Juice

I have been juicing for about a month and a half now. I have my juice every morning instead of coffee… wait, did I just say instead of coffee? I know I can’t believe it either… I QUIT DRINKING COFFEE! I feel great! So back to the juice. Once I made juicing a part of my morning routine, it was easy to keep it up. I usually choose one juice per week when I’m planning out my meals. That way I get the produce once, and I don’t have to spend a million dollars every day making a different juice. Although, now that my CSA starts, I will be creating some crazy concoctions with produce I need to use up! This juice is truly delicious. I could drink it all day! It’s sweet because of the grapes and apple, but there’s so much packed into it! It’s easy to be fooled that you’re actually getting tons of veggies! 

Morning Boost Juice

2 cups kale

1 inch piece ginger, skin removed

1 cup green grapes

1/2 cucumber

2 celery stalks

1/2 granny smith apple

Run all ingredients through the juicer starting with the kale and ginger. Enjoy!

Ok, I’m Really Pregnant

Six weeks hit, along with pregnancy symptoms. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t supposed to feel sick because I was so healthy!! I was feeling nauseous and dizzy for 2 weeks. I couldn’t even drive to my office so I worked from home. Yuck! When I went to my first doctor’s visit, she said it was normal and gave me some things to try… I was desperate! Sea Bands-NOPE; peppermint extract-NOPE; fresh ginger-NOPE; ginger snaps-NOPE; Morning Sickness Tea-NOPE. Around 7 weeks, I started taking 400mg of Magnesium before getting out of bed in the morning and then 25 mg of B6 every 4 hours. I think that helped, but it’s hard to tell. All I could eat for those 2 weeks was carbs. My favorites were whole wheat english muffins with butter and apricot jelly, mini cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese, cheese and crackers, and saltines. I felt so guilty for eating such bland things and not exercising (how could I exercise when I could barely walk) but my midwife reassured me that the baby would be fine and I’d make up for it in a few weeks.

She was right! At 9 weeks, I’m starting to feel human again! I even ate a whole bunch of kale the other night. I’m getting back into my old ways. I’m working everyday and even went to the gym twice so far this week! Hormones are crazy! I’m eating much better these days… much more produce and protein. I’m so lucky that the worst part of it was only 2 weeks. I couldn’t imagine going through that until week 12 or 13! Now I can get excited! 

Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is probably the most comforting meal for me. Growing up with my Italian family, I had it (and still do) all the time. My dad and I would laugh because whenever we go to my (very Italian) aunt and uncle’s house, we gorge ourselves with fresh homemade pasta, bread, and cheese! It’s just so good that I can’t stop! I got to a point where I still wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs but didn’t want to feel like I ate a ton of bricks every time! So I converted to either the smart taste pasta or rice pasta, which my tummy really appreciates!

These meatballs take me back to my childhood. My favorite smell in the world is that of garlic and onion simmering on the stove for the beginning steps of my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce. You know exactly what I mean right?! I was lucky enough to have a mom who made EVERYTHING homemade. But even if you don’t do the homemade thing, there are a few things that are definitely worth the extra time. Spaghetti sauce and meatballs are two of those things. Anyway, I digress.

My mom used to make these meatballs with half turkey and half beef. I just use all turkey. They are SO moist that you have to be careful not to break them. These have all the flavor of homemade meatballs, yet so much less fat! The herbs and cheese really make these what they are. I even eat them without sauce as a snack! When my husband and I make a batch of these, we take them out of the oven and eat them right off a plate, as is. I know you’ll love them too!

Turkey Meatballs

2 pieces whole wheat bread

ice water

2 eggs

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup to 1 cup Bread crumbs

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, soak bread in ice water. In the meantime, combine eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined. Remove the bread from the ice water and squeeze out excess water. Add the bread to the egg mixture. Use a fork to mix and break up the crust pieces. Add the ground turkey and mix with your hands until the ingredients are incorporated into the meat. Avoid over mixing. If the mixture is too wet and doesn’t hold its shape, add breadcrumbs a 1/4 cup at a time. Heat an oven safe nonstick saucepan to medium high heat. Drizzle about 2 Tbsp oil into the pan. Then, use your hands to form meatballs, about 2 Tbsp each. Place meatballs into the saucepan and brown on all sides. Be careful when turning the meatballs as they’re very delicate. Once meatballs are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total, place the pan into the oven to finish baking, about 7 minutes depending on the size.

Our First Doctor Visit

Stew and I decided a few months ago that we wanted to do a birth center. It all started when I found out that, as of last November, individual healthcare (which is what we have) doesn’t cover any maternity costs. Now if you have insurance through a group it’s a different story. So I figured if we were going to pay thousands anyway, I might as well go somewhere that’s more aligned with my way of thinking.

A few months ago we went on a tour of the birth center and absolutely fell in love. At that time, we weren’t even pregnant but knew it was where we wanted to be. There are 4 midwives that are all wonderful (we met 2 that night and 2 at our first visit). The atmosphere is so calm. They are completely supportive of what mom and dad want. We loved every second being there.

Just a few short months later, we were there again! This time it was for our 8 week check up. How exciting! We met the other 2 midwives and loved them. Each time we go, we’ll see a different midwife and then whoever is on call when I go into labor will deliver our baby. Our checkup was great. She talked to us for a long time, took some tests, and gave me an exam. Everything was normal and looking good! Our next visit will be May 8th. Can’t wait!

Vegetable Pad Thai

This is a delicious Pad Thai dish. It’s simple and SO quick to make. The step that takes the longest is soaking the noodles for 30 minutes. But other than that, it all comes together in a few minutes. It’s been so warm here, so I wanted something really light for supper. This was the winner! Thai food is one of those genres that I want to perfect. It’s the one food that’s usually not as good as when you buy it at a restaurant. But this one IS! I don’t like fish sauce, but you can definitely add that if you like it. A light refreshing summer supper! It hit the spot.

Vegetable Pad Thai-serves 4

8 oz dried flat rice noodles

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced

1 garlic clove minced

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro

1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

  • Soak noodles according to the package instructions. Drain. In a bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add eggs and cook, scraping the skillet with a rubber spatula, until eggs are cooked through. Transfer egg mixture to a plate. **If you want to add protein, like chicken or shrimp, add it in now and saute before adding the noodles.
  • Add noodles and soy sauce mixture; cook, tossing constantly with tongs, until the noodles are soft and coated with the sauce (about 1 minute). Add the egg mixture and toss with the sauce.
  • Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with herbs and peanuts.