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Entries in blissful eats (142)


blissful eats with tina jeffers: Meyer lemon pudding cakes

In my household dessert is only considered dessert if it involves chocolate.   Every now and then I get a little selfish and go for pure self indulgence. The expectation around here is for chocolate but why not a little tart with your sweet?  My son absolutely loved these little cakes so I didn’t have to suffer through eating them all by myself.   

Meyer lemons are sweeter and mellower than regular lemons and work perfectly in this magic lemon cake.  While the cake bakes it separates into two layers so you have a light fluffy sponge on top and a rich creamy pudding layer on the bottom.  Serving these with a little bit of fresh fruit is a must in my opinion, I like to swirl my strawberries in the pudding layer it’s like a little taste of heaven. 

Meyer lemon pudding cakes

From Food and Wine

Makes 6 servings



3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice 

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

fresh raspberries and strawberries, for serving



Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray six 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the butter until well blended. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour the lemon mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.


In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and transfer them to a small roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.


Bake the pudding cakes for 35 minutes or until they are puffy and golden on top. Using tongs, transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Serve the cakes in the ramekins or run a knife around the edge of each cake and unmold onto plates. Serve warm or at room temperature with the berries.


blissful eats with tina jeffers: Blackberry hazelnut muffins

We have an amazing bakery in town called Bakeshop owned by James Beard award-wining cookbook author Kim Boyce.  She has a unique approach to cooking with whole grains and her recipes are deliciously original.  I had some blackberries in the fridge that I needed to use up and I remembered that she had a hazelnut muffin recipe that I have always wanted to try and I thought the blackberries would go well with the flavor of the hazelnuts.  She has some great baking tips as well in her book Good to the Grain and every recipe I have tried has been a revelation. 

I did make a few changes to the recipe mainly since these were a spur of the moment decision and I adapted it to fit ingredients I already had on hand.  These muffins do taste best the day they are made but I enjoyed them the next day after a quick re-heat in the microwave.  Kim recommends only filling every other muffin cup so that you’ll get nicer domes on the muffins.  It does mean that you will need two muffin tins for this recipe but they will still work just fine with one if that’s all you have. 

Blackberry hazelnut muffins


Adapted from Good to the Grain


Makes 12




6 tablespoons unsalted butter


for the topping:


½ cup raw hazelnuts, finely chopped

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup turbanido sugar



Dry mix:

1 ½ cups plus whole-wheat pastry flour

¾ cups hazelnut meal

½ cup natural cane sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Wet mix:


1 cup buttermilk

½ cup plain yogurt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries




Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or line muffin tins with paper liners.


Place the butter in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until the butter begins to brown and starts to smell nutty.  Remove from the heat and let cool.


In a small bowl, stir together the chopped hazelnuts, cinnamon and turbanido sugar.  Set aside.


Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any flour or other ingredients that remain in the sifter.  Set 2 tablespoons of the mixture aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. 

Pour the browned butter over the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk mixture on top of that. Using a spatula, mix together the wet and dry ingredients.

Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture over the blackberries and toss to coat.  Add the blackberries to the batter and gently mix to combine.

Scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups, using a spoon or an ice cream scoop. The batter should be mounded above the edges of the cups. Sprinkle the hazelnut topping evenly over the batter, gently pressing it into the batter so that it adheres.

Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The muffins are ready to come out when they smell nutty, the hazelnuts are toasted, and the bottoms are golden in color (twist one out of the pan to check). Remove the pan from the oven, twist each muffin out, and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This keeps the muffins nice and crunchy.

Serve warm from the oven.


blissful eats with tina jeffers: Turkey zucchini meatballs

One of my very favorite cookbooks is Jerusalem by Ottolenghi.  He highlights vegetables in unique ways with Middle Eastern flavors and I have had a wonderful time cooking my way through both of his cookbooks.  The photos alone are worth purchasing the book for and the recipes are truly inspirational.  We have made these several times over the last few months and the addition of the mint and cilantro gives a nice lightness and freshness that you wouldn’t usually associate with meatballs.  We’ve served them up on a salad and made burgers out of them as well.  They would also make wonderful appetizers for a party if you want to something a little different.  You could also use chicken instead of turkey but don’t forget the herbs, they are critical to the taste of these meatballs. 

I’m posting everyday for the rest of the month at my blog www.scalingbackblog.com so come by for a visit, I’d love the company!

Turkey zucchini meatballs

Adapted from Ottolenghi

Serves 4


1 ½ pounds ground white meat turkey

1 medium zucchini coarsely shredded

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons canola oil for frying


for the sauce:

½ cup Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


8 cups mixed greens

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup fresh mint

¼ cup fresh cilantro


Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. 

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the sauce together until smooth.  Chill until ready for use.

In a large bowl combine the all the ingredients for the meatballs together and using your hands mix well.  Shape the turkey into 20 1-inch meatballs.

Heat the oil over medium heat until hot and sear the meatballs in batches until brown on all sides, about 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the meatball to a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the pre-heated oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are just cooked through.

In a large bowl add the greens and zucchini, add the tablespoon of oil and toss to coat.  Divide the salad between 4 plates, top with 4-5 meatballs and spoon some of the sauce over the top.


blissful eats with tina jeffers: Grapefruit, Avocado & Crab Salad

I’ve been really busy this month with my blog since I’ve been posting a recipe a day so I’ve been trying to focus on delicious fresh food that doesn’t take a tremendous amount of work.  It’s really the way that I like to cook anyway.  Sometimes I get caught up with these elaborate procedures and recipes that seem pages long but at the end of the day if you have beautiful quality ingredients you shouldn’t have to manipulate them very much.  This salad is the best representation of that philosophy.  I know that crab is a luxury and I don’t indulge all the time but it’s nice to treat myself and it’s one of my very favorite foods.  Make sure that you buy the best quality ingredients you can find.  I have a wonderful local fish shop that I frequent and I find that their prices are actually very reasonable and the quality is amazing.  It's a good practice to check out specialty grocers in your area, just like a farmer's market you might find that the prices are just as good or even better than your local grocery chain.  Anyway I would rather spend a little bit more and get really quality ingredients rather than save a few dollars that I would probably spend on a fancy cup of coffee or a manicure anyway.  

Citrus is at it’s peak right now so I paired my favorite grapefruit with some fresh avocado and Dungeness crab.  You could omit the crab altogether and the salad would still be amazing or substitute some shrimp instead. 

I'm still posting a recipe a day for the rest of the month at www.scalingbackblog.com so come on by for more healthy recipes!

Grapefruit, Avocado & Crab Salad

Serves 4 


2 pink grapefruits, segmented and juice reserved

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar

1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and torn into small pieces

2 firm but ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) slices

1/2 lb. (250 g.) fresh lump crabmeat 



In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, shallot, chives and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil until well combined to make a vinaigrette.

In a bowl, toss the lettuce with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 salad plates. Gently toss the avocado slices in 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and place a few slices on each plate. Place the grapefruit slices, lettuce, avocado and crabmeat on a platter or in a serving bowl. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the top and toss until lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.


blissful eats with tina jeffers: Grapefruit, carrot, ginger juice

It's that time of year.  You know the one where we all make tons of resolutions that last about a week and then we go right back to our familiar bad habits.  I've always been reluctant to voice my resolutions because I hate the fact that I tend to fail miserably at them.  However I did manage to kick a 25 year caffeine habit a few years ago by replacing my usual beverages of choice with a month of juicing.

Since I'm not big on eating breakfast I do like to start my morning with a fresh juice.  It keeps hunger at bay, gives me enough energy for my workout and sets me up to eat healthier during the rest of the day.  Carrot juice is one of my very favorites and this time of year the citrus is bountiful at the market so I thought I'd share one of my favorite blends with you.  You can make this in a blender if you don't have a juicer available, just use one carrot and add 1/2 cup of water or coconut water to thin out the mixture.  Alternatively you could use 1 cup of carrot juice and blend it with the grapefruit and ginger.

I am seriously feeling my 43 years of age when it comes to my metabolism and weight.  It's been getting increasingly easy to put on a few pounds and much harder to take them back off.  So to inspire me and keep me on the right path I'm posting a recipe everyday in the month of January on my blog at www.scalingbackblog.com.  There will be lots of new dishes as well as some old favorites but they will all be based on whole foods, with no processed or artificial ingredients.  So if you are also in need of a little resolution inspiration be sure to visit me!

Grapefruit, carrot, ginger juice




1 grapefruit, peeled

2 medium carrots, peeled

1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger

squeeze of lime juice


Process all the ingredients through a juicer and stir to combine.  Serve chilled or over ice if desired.

Alternatively blend, 1 grapefruit, 1 carrot, 1/2 cup coconut water or water with the ginger and lime in a blender.