Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apples and cinnamon, yum, classic Fall flavors. Even better, when it is use in a muffin with zucchini and no butter.  Genius, right? Just in time for our first snowfall this weekend, I selected to bake these yummy treats for our car ride to Alba, Italy.

Swiss Note: since in Switzerland many ingredients are not available, I have modified the recipe to for the Expats 🙂 I made buttermilk by adding some lemon juice to the milk and letting it set for 10 minutes.  Gala apples are easy to find, but Granny Smith is a bit tricky…sometimes I find them at Coop or Denner and I make my own vanilla.


Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

Yield 15 muffins, I was able to produce 20

For the Muffins:
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple (Granny Smith, Gala or Pink Lady)
1/2 cup grated zucchini, moisture slightly squeezed out
1 cup chopped peeled apple (Granny Smith, Gala or Pink Lady)

For the Topping:
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C degrees . Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the grated apple, zucchini, and chopped apples.

3. To make the topping, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir well.

4. Fill the prepared muffin pan with muffin batter, filling each cup about 3/4 the way full. Sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool to room temperature and serve.

Note-these muffins freeze well.

Brussels Sprout Love

I always grew up hating brussels sprouts, didn’t every kid?   I never had them growing up, but I always heard others saying how gross they were.  It wasn’t until last year that I finally broke down and tried them and wowsers, I fell in love.  I had them roasted at a restaurant in Zurich and vowed to be able to recreate a sprout that I could eat at home.  I have finally found it! And the best part…I can make it here in Switzerland, despite the recipe being American #dailychallenge.

*Note, you may use dried Black-eyed peas, however be sure to cooked them prior to beginning this recipe.  Shockingly enough, Switzerland actually had canned peas vs dried.  Such a time saver!

Brussels Cut

Make sure to prep the sprouts but cutting off a little of the brown stem at the bottom and remove any brown or damaged leaves.  Rinse sprouts and cut into quarters.

In the pan

Place sprouts and onions on a baking pan to roast.  Pay attention to the onions.  Since they are much smaller than the sprouts, they are more likely to become burnt before the sprouts.  My oven cooks a little faster than most, so I would recommend checking the veg around 12 minutes. Cooked

Ok, so my veg became a little bit on the crispy side, which normally would be bothersome, however in this dish, it just adds another layer of flavor!


Black-Eyed Peas and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

servings: 2

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts

1 cup chopped red onions

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas

1/2 tsp dried red pepper flake (or more, depending on your taste)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Quarter Brussel sprouts and place them, along with onions, in a large rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt, and black pepper over the Brussel sprouts and onions. Toss well.
  3. Roast for 12-15 minutes, until browned and tender.
  4. While sprouts are roasting, combine the remaining ingredients, except oil, in large serving bowl and toss to combine.
  5. Remove the veg from oven.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the serving bowl and toss well.  Add sprouts and onion to the bowl and toss well.
  7. Season with additional black pepper and red pepper flake.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Green City Market Cookbook. Recipe by Debbie Sharpe, owner, Feast Restaurant and The Goddess and the Grocer

Homemade Pesto

It all starts with a recipe from a famous chef and you realizing that you will never be able to recreate that dish. C’est faux. Last night I created a wonderful dish from House Montali in Umbria.

Pesto Finished

| Adapted from The Vegeterranean | 2 servings |

50 g basil

1 1/2 tbsp pine nuts

1 garlic clove, peeled

100 ml olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp grated Parmesan

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano

Place all ingredients, except cheese, in food processor, blend until combined, pulse. Pour into bowl and mix in cheese.



Why We Love Pretty in Pink

Why We Love Pretty in Pink

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Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 3.50.31 PMRalph Lauren Home

I’m sure we all have certain stereotypical thoughts when we think of of “pretty in pink.” From a young girl’s princess-themed room to frilly laces and flowers, if you are wary of rooms that are “pretty in pink”, read on to find a new found appreciation and love for this color. When done right, pink can be an excellent backdrop or accent color that resonates the soft, tender feel you may be going for. Alternatively, a bright pink can be exactly the extra spice you want for a boost of energy.

Pink has long been used to decorate magnificent interiors. The word “pink” comes from the German word that is used for the frilly edge of petals. Madame de Pompadour during the Rococo period transformed the usage of pink through her use of it within the French court.Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 3.52.54

The great thing about pink, whether for interiors or for fashion, is that the various shades ranging from a baby pink to blush red, make for an excellent palette to choose from. Pink goes well with a monochromatic background, and can be just that extra pop of color that you need in your home or outfit. An easy way to add some pink to any room is through extra accessories such as a fresh batch of flowers, towels in the bathroom, or extra pillows on the couch or bed.

Light pinks in home decor bring about a soft and elegant look to the room. Great for a living room or dining room, the space can easily transform into one with extra class and grandeur.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 3.53.00 PManthropologie

This elegance can also be added to any outfit through just a small dose. From a piece of delicate jewelry to a pink top, the extra touch of color matches well with golds, silvers, or simply a black and white theme.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 3.53.07 PM

Style At Home

If you are a bit more daring, you can use a light pink as the background, opting instead to have darker shades of pink or red to become the accents. Choose wisely on what you decide to decorate in bright pink as this will be the center of attention. Try and see if you can come up with creative ways to make both the color pop and allow your room to shine.

Pretty in pink can transform your room to truly be a classic and elegant look that is “pretty in pink”. Whether you decide to add a dab of pink or go full on and tackle a whole room, you may just find yourself choosing pink as your next color!

Good Morning Summer

Good Morning All! Its the first official day of Summer and the Swiss White Nights have started.  Its something strange for a Midwest Girl for it to be light outside until 10PM and eating at 8:30PM.  Something in my past 3 years in Lausanne that I started to become use to.

Since we have much longer days here than in Chicago, I was decided to try and make use of the extended daylight and try a new project per week..or when work allows me to step away from the computer 🙂

Spicy Pickles is next…