Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

Nothing is tastier to me this time of year than fresh berries.  I remember as a kid, helping my grandmother and great-grandmother pick fresh blueberries from Great Grandma Jones’ blueberry bushes.  Of course, it was a “one for the berry bucket, one for me” kind of thing.  But, it’s better to do that with fresh fruit than, let’s say, a bag of mini Snickers, right?

Once the berries were picked and cleaned, Grandma Stone would prepare them for her from-scratch blueberry pie.  While blueberry pie is good, it’s not as convenient to make.  You have to make a crust – two crusts for that matter since it’s a closed pie.  And, then you have to bake it for the better part of an hour.  And, then you have to cut it into slices.  Besides, if you don’t have somewhere to take it and share, you’re stuck eating a whole pie (or letting it go to waste – but, who really does that with pie?).

While I love Grandma Stone’s blueberry pie, I’ve found that blueberry muffins are a quick and easy way to get my blueberry fix.  I can also freeze them, which comes in handy when I have a couple dozen on hand.  While I enjoy your basic, run-of-the-mill blueberry muffin, I have to admit that adding some cinnamon changes the flavor profile – drastically (but, in a really good way).

Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins – Recipe

6 Tbsp Butter (Melted)

1 c Brown Sugar (Packed)

1/2 c Milk

1 Egg

1 1/2 c Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 c Blueberries*

– Preheat oven to 400 and prepare muffin tin (either with baking papers or lightly greased).

– Whisk butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg.

– In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

– Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold until the batter is combined.

– Fold in blueberries.

– Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake approximately 15-20 minutes.  (They’re done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.)

*NOTE: I like to use fresh, organic blueberries when they’re in season.  They’re naturally sweet and not sour.  However, when off-season, I will use frozen blueberries.  I just let them thaw and rinse them vigorously before adding to the batter.

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Woah…This BINGO.

I have heard of it for a while now, seen the pictures, and heard the rumblings of hoots over “O69″…But this BINGO was OUTrageous. Once a month the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Oakland fills with people all to host a great night for charity filled with shouts of “BINGO” and cheers from the players when asked “Who wants some MONEY?” 11377145_10153459950263787_6022503966666340938_n Tickets sell out, sometimes a month in advance, and go for $18 for 6 boards for about 10 regular play games. There are three special games and one Twitter game where they secretly give out four numbers over Twitter. The special games are the big money. There is also 50/50 raffle and As seen on TV giveaways and door prizes. 11112216_10153459949948787_6104323761479481093_n But there is the charity and why this night is important and it was solidified when this BINGO virgin had to take an oath with her BINGO marker raised in the sky. It was only a game and the point was to raise money and have fun. There is a guest caller for a game also. This night it was Hugh McGough a judge in the Oakland area who marries a lot of same sex couples, one of which was there that night. 11046343_10153459950178787_702119950189251697_n There is also a Drag Queen and Drag King Show intermission with music, dancing, and fun. OUTrageous BINGO is taking a BINGO break over the summer and will resume again in September so keep your eye to the Facebook Page for the release of tickets. And a Super Spoiler Alert: There is a OUTrageous Bingo on Halloween this year and there is costumes and treats all night long from what I hear. This girl didn’t win but I had a blast and can’t wait for fall to join in again. So as they say at OUTrageous BINGO: Now Sit Down, Shut Up, and Play Bingo! Check out OUTrageous BINGO. Facebook and Twitter. amanda tag

Jenny Lewis-Opening Night of Three Rivers Arts Festival

On the opening night of the Three Rivers Arts Festival we were blessed with the lyrical stylings of Jenny Lewis.

Child star gone rocker her voice is as strong as an ax and her ability to play the guitar stands above all. Her set list included old songs and songs off of her newest album “Lullaby”.

If you missed her set check out the pics below and short video. Check out Three Rivers Arts Festival for the rest of the live free concerts now until Sunday.

Jenny 5 Jenny 1 jenny 2

Quick Bite-Perry Perk

Outside

You wold never know it is there unless you walk by and notice the fountain outside. Tucked into a strip of stores sits Perry Perk a small coffee shop with breakfast and sandwiches.

I stopped in for lunch when I was working nearby. I decided on the Cranberry Twisted Turkey Sandwich. On a croissant is turkey slices and swiss cheese; topped with a mayo that is mixed with walnuts and cranberries. I thought the combo was interesting and to my delight it was delicious.

Sandwich

To drink I got a Iced Tea with a Passion Fruit sweetened syrup. It was sweet and tasty.

Looking around the shop waiting for my sandwich it was small, probably seats about fifteen people. It has free wifi and also sells homemade goods along the shelves.

They had breakfast items too and according to their YELP reviews their coffee can’t be beat. So next time you need a quick bite and your in North Hills check out Perry Perk.

Perry Perk • 1012 Perry Highway • 412-348-0079

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Smokin Sweet Betties!

Back in Issue 10 we had the pleasure to meet the sweet ladies of the Smokin Bettie’s Burlesque. Since then they have been in high gear to produce their next show which took place on May 30th at 10PM at Club Cafe on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

To say there was a lot of high energy in the venue was un understatement, this girl is horse from cheering. The evening was hosted by the divarific Lillith DeVille. Her outstanding comedy and flair for the fun left me in stitches.

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The Betties: Lucy La Bam, Violet Corbeau, Demdare Eyes, Sueno Del Mar, Luna La Creme, Gigi Coudray and Midnight Mame all lit up the stage with new routines and new sexy costumes. From a Beetlejuice theme to Black Eye Peas to a little bit of naughty teacher was included. I could tell the ladies had practiced for months and each girl was flawless and beautiful.

betties

There was three special guest performers included. They were: Lita D Vargas, Penny De La Poison and Viva Valezz.

Overall the entire night was a blast and we look forward to seeing them live again.

Like them at Smokin Betties Burlesque of Facebook and follow them @smokinbetties for updates on their next show.

amanda tag

Olive and Marlowe

I was fortunate the first time to try Olive and Marlowe at a Neighborhood night at Wigle Whiskey and then bought another bottle at a farmers market in Edgewood.

If you can think of a flavor for balsamic vinaigrette or olive oil they carry it. The flavors can be a bit extreme and even a bit spicy. But I love a london broil marinated overnight.

The two bottles I purchased previously to visiting their East Liberty Shop were the Hickory and Day Cherry Balsamic vinaigrette. We even mixed them together for the last steak. Amazing.

I had finally decided to visit there store on a sunday when finally both bottles were empty. There storebeautiful and had a tasting table in the middle of the store. We got to try a few before settling on the Espresso and one bottle of Black Currant.

Also in the Shop is handmade boxes that hold the bottles or even one that holds four of the smaller bottles which are perfect for gifts.

Olive and Marlowe can be found at:

5975 Broad Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206

or visit their website.

Bottles of Vinigerette

Olive and Marlowe

BRGR South Hills

BRGR Menu South Hills Pittsburgh

BRGR Menu
South Hills
Pittsburgh

BRGR has opened its newest location in the Galleria Mall in Mt. Lebanon. As a local chain BRGR is one of my favorites for a craft beer and a great burger.

This location is an interesting one being inside a mall with patio seating and a fireplace. If you have ever seen the previous tenants you can see they didn’t change much of the actual layout of the restaurant but changed much of the decor. The biggest difference was in the bar area. While they kept the main bar the same, with the exception of the outer part being a different color, they added a fireplace to the far end of the bar. There was plenty of seating and the layout was easy to get around.

Your craft beer, appetizers, and build your own burger is the same as Cranberry, Eastside, and PNC Park. Which means it is delicious. I did start with a North Country Brewing Jack Frost Winter Warmer. It was a hearty beer that paired well with a burger and fries. I did get the fries. I cannot put my finger on why the fries are so good at BRGR. They top them herbs and parmesan cheese. They are crispy and can come with other toppings like truffle cheese wiz and gravy.

BRGR Beer-South Hills Pittsburgh

BRGR Beer-South Hills
Pittsburgh

I usually opt to “Craft Your Own Burger”. In addition to there burgers that come with usual toppings this option allows you to get creative. Just don’t order it naked. That is bun-less, oops made that mistake. Start with the meat which can be anything from angus to shrimp to even bison. Next is the bun, choices are: Brioche, whole wheat, lettuce wrap, and gluten free. Oh and Naked…But that is bun-less, so that is really interesting. Then you can choose your cheese; american, cheddar, brie, swiss and a few others. Lastly you can choose toppings. These are not your typical lettuce, tomato, and pickle. There is fried egg (my favorite), bacon, onion rings and some slaw just to name a few.

Angus Burger with fried egg, cheddar cheese, onion ring and mayo.

Angus Burger with fried egg, cheddar cheese, onion ring and mayo.

The service was good. I sat at the bar and was able to return my burger for a bun (yes I ordered it naked) without an attitude. Our food was hot and fresh and cooked correctly. The only constructive thing I can say is to redo the bar. While from the customer perspective and untrained eye it looks like a normal bar, but to anyone who has been in the business it doesn’t flow well. That way people aren’t on top of one another and it can increase more people to come and watch the game while they have a burger and beer.

Above the Bar.

Above the Bar.

This location of BRGR is as awesome as all the other locations and I say:

“WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!”