Friday, July 11, 2014

“National Culinary Arts Month” & “Spiced Blueberry Muffins”

Welcome, did you know that July is “National Culinary Arts Month?” Each July, National Culinary Arts Month is held, which promotes awareness of professional cooks, chefs, and their contributions to the culinary world of excellence. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are pleasing to the palate as to the eye. The world of Culinary Arts not only consists of creating delicious dishes, but also the use of kitchen utensils, tools, and equipment that must be associated with the preparation of the recipes.   

I did not have any professional training to be a good cook or, baker but I remember when a young girl I would always watch my mom prepare and cook dinner. My job was always to set the table, quite boring. As I got older I would help my mom prepare the food by peeling the potatoes or fixing the salad, but that wouldn't due either. I desperately wanted to be taught how to create such mouthwatering dishes. So, then I became more curious about cooking and wanted to seriously learn. That is when my mom started to teach me about how to cook certain recipes. My mother and grandmothers taught me the basic instructions of cooking and baking. They said that baking was a science which you had to follow the recipe correctly. Cooking on the other hand, you can be more creative with, by adding a little of this or that. They told me that the tools and equipment you need are extremely important to create wonderful and tasty recipes.

I received my first cookbook from my mom in 1974. It was the same cookbook that we used at home when I was a young girl. She wrote in it and it said, “Enjoy! Be happy in your kitchen as I am in mine, Love Mom.” For those of you wondering what cookbook it was, “Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook,” revised edition 1971. Her copy was from 1948 which was the first printing of the cookbook.  As the years went by and I became a wife and mother I learned how to improve my skills, by still watching my mom, plus cooking shows, and reading recipes in cookbooks. This month is the perfect time to try your hand at cooking! Here are some helpful tips and the tools that you will need to be the chef and baker in your own kitchen.
Buy basic equipment; invest in a good set of sharp knives, sturdy pots, pans, and a set of glass baking dishes. You will also need measuring cups (dry & liquid) plus a set of measuring spoons. A food processor and an electric mixer will come in handy as you learn the ins and outs of food preparation. You will also need some wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a few spatulas, a vegetable peeler, a pastry brush, a rolling pin, a grater, a cutting board, and a strainer just to name a few. The inventory of tools and equipment are countless, but as you learn to advance in your cooking techniques you can always add to your collection.

Familiarize yourself with cooking terms such as poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, and parboiling. Again these are just some examples that you will need to learn. You can use cookbooks for research and also an online cooking dictionary will help you learn the correct terms to use for your preparation of special dishes. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of cooking classes being given in your neighborhood such as in schools or libraries. Look at cookbooks; sometimes they supply you with tutorials which are extremely helpful.

Most of all make your cooking and baking experience fun! If you make a mistake, just try again. Every inspiring cook or baker needs assistance, so ask help from your family, friends, and even your children. Chopping, cutting, and dicing are how they learn. So put on your apron, get out your knife, and start chopping to create your next flavorful meal as the master chef of your own kitchen.

Besides, July is “National Culinary Arts Month,” today July 11th just happens to be “National Blueberry Muffin Day.” With that being said, my recipe today is “Spiced Blueberry Muffins.” These sweet but spicy muffins are easy to bake and they are made with the Original Bisquick® mix. They can be served for breakfast, brunch, or for a delightful dessert. This muffin is a favorite in my family and a perfect summer time treat which you can bake in 30 minutes. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and I’m sure that your taste buds will be thanking you!

                                                “Spiced Blueberry Muffins


2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 400°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except blueberries. Now, gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm, if desired.
Serves: 12    Enjoy!

Till next time……..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Such wonderful tips and advice on cooking, Dottie! I agree 100%, no one "can't" cook, they just don't want to or choose not to. There's something for everyone, and I think that every single person should have some form of cooking skills. Of course, it's easy for us because it's in our blood and we love it...can't imagine it any other way! Lovely blueberry muffin recipe too, Dottie! :)

    1. Good Evening Christina, Thank you for your comment and for visiting. I think what you said is totally correct. There is something for everyone, and learning good cooking skills is what it is all about. I am still learning, every time I read a recipe, or see a cooking show, or even read a blog post. Years ago when I was in school they had Home Eco.I learned many things form that class as well. I am not sure if they even give those classes now a days. But everyone can do it! All you need is time, some basic skills, and common sense. Yes, I think it is in our blood, and you are correct again, I wouldn't trade it for anything! This recipe is so good, have made this so many times, Bisquick the old standard. Thanks again Christina, hope that your daughter is having fun on her trip. Blessings, have a glorious weekend, Dottie :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Ollie, thank you so very much! Everyone can learn to cook, they just need the skills and tools. So glad that you enjoyed this one...Have a great weekend! Dottie :)

  3. Hi Dottie,
    very good write-up on baking tips. Know what? When I was young (even now) I love to collect cook books and would read it like bible each night before I go to bed. I have a big collection of cookbooks but ironically is that, I am hopeless in baking! Now, at this matured age, shy to tell you that I just took the courage to start easy and simple baking!

    Thanks for sharing your Spiced Blueberry Muffins. Looks quite easy and will try this one day too! You have a fabulous day and warmest regards :)

    1. Hi Ivy, thank you for stopping by and your wonderful comment! I would do the same thing, Ivy...keep reading them, I do. My collection is large as well, every time I feel low, I just pull out those books and look at them, and before you know it, I am all excited about what I can make or create next.
      Don't be afraid! So what if you make it not exactly the way it should be, the next time it will be better as you have learned. I personally prefer baking over cooking. Then this recipe is perfect for you, it is easy and very simple to follow. Once you make something that is wonderful, it will give you a big boost. I have seen your blog and you are a wonderful cook. Love your recipes and your dishes are very inviting. Don't underestimate yourself...Enjoy your weekend, and warmest regards to you as well, Dottie :)

  4. Hi Dottie, I loved reading your amazing post, and you are so correct about everyone 'can cook' comment, because there are step-by-step photo, and video methods on making the simplest things...a person just has to know, or learn the basic methods, on how to even boil eggs, or cook rice which really is quite simple and totally basic. Not to mention how to grill simple piece of boneless chicken breast in a Georg Forman grill, or for that matter, bake a piece of salmon in a toaster oven! 10 min. and its done! Simple, and delicious with just a few splash of a simple salad dressing which can be even used for marinade!
    Your Spiced Blueberry Muffins are so scrumptious, and yummy...thanks for sharing! xo

    1. Hi Elisabeth, Thank you for visiting and your comment. So glad that enjoyed this post. I agree with you 100% as long as you know the basics, you don't need to have a 5 star kitchen. As long as you enjoy your food, and have fun doing it! Plus I have used salad dressing for marinades many times and the meat/fish comes out amazing! Enjoy your muffins, and your weekend...thanks again..Dottie :)

  5. Great post Dottie! This is why you are a very good cook now. Learning from your mom and grandmother was the best way to achieve perfection. I don't know why but even if I have stacks of cookery books at home the best recipes are always my moms. My grandmother taught me how to make gnocchi and I still remember her words! She passed away last year in October. I will never forget how to make gnocchi!
    I love your muffins and I could not think of anything better than blueberries in them! Have a nice weekend. x

  6. Hi Dottie! What a great post! Now I know why you are such a good cook!
    My grandmother taught me how to make gnocchi and I have never forgotten that. I still remember her words and her best tips about it. She passed away last October. I will never forget how to make gnocchi.
    I have so many cookery books at home but I always find that the best recipes are my moms. I don't know why but there must be some kind of wisdom there!
    What a great book your mom gave you. That is a real treasure.
    Love your blueberry muffins! Have a nice weekend x

    1. Dear Alida, Thank you for your sweet comments and for stopping over....I owe everything to my mom and my grandmother's you are correct. But I still am learning from my friends (you) and so many other food bloggers. I am sure you will treasure the memories that you have with your grandmother and I know you will remember her teaching you how to make gnocchi. How wonderful for you to have that memory. My cookbook that my mom gave me is very special, and I still to this day use it many times. I am so glad that you enjoyed this post and the Spiced Blueberry Muffins....Grazie Alida, and you have a wonderful weekend as well! Dottie :)

  7. good evening Dottie ,
    Love your post , so full of information for cooks that's cooked a long time and for the cooks that's just starting out . I have collected cookbooks from a very young age , the best place to find older cookbooks is yard sale ... thrift stores etc . I also collect from magazines , Hubby built me a bookshelf a few years back ... I read them like people read love novels .
    I always have Bisquick on hand ... I made some after seeing your post and they are delicious , I added some chopped pecans and doubled the recipe . My kids finish their dinner and had a ball . As always dear Dottie your post was terrific and I love your GIF ( graphic) just to cute for words . Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful and blessed week . Thanks so much for sharing .....Nee ;-D

    1. Good Evening Nee, So glad that you enjoyed this post and thanks for your comments. You are too fast, Nee, I am thrilled that you made the muffins already! The chopped pecans sound like a yummy addition. I would figure you had to double the recipe. Glad that the kids had fun.
      I would think that you, and I know Louise has many, many cookbooks. It is like my friend Christina said, it is in our blood, cooking and baking.I have many as well, and like you I have read mine also like novels. I do enjoy seeing each recipe and trying to figure out how I can change it or add something that may enhance it. Bisquick is always in my cupboard. You can make wonderful pancakes with the mix as well. Glad that you liked the GIF, I think of you every time I try to find one. I really love them, I think it adds to the whole post. Thanks for always stopping by and supporting me. You are the best. Have a blessed weekend with your family. Dottie :)

  8. Hi Dottie!
    First I must say, those Spicy Blueberry Muffins sound quite enticing. Love that warm apice feeling with blueberries. It must be delicious in muffins too:)

    I did remember July was National Culinary Arts Month. I do believe I did a post about it a few years back and may have even shared that book! Guess what? My mother gave me her book like that too!!! It's like an encyclopedia of recipes and kitchen tips. Oh so many of them never go out of "style."

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie...

    1. Hi Louise, Great to see you...Yes, those muffins are to die for!!! I like you love the warm feeling with all the spices of the Fall, even though we are in the summer. Plus so easy to make. What a coincidence that our mom's gave each other the same cookbook. I know it was the book to have back then. I still use it today, and like you said it never goes out of "style." Thanks for dropping in and your kind comment! Have a glorious and Blessed Sunday. Dottie :)

  9. Its been a long time since I baked some muffins. Wish I can have some of yours before I bake anything. Hope you're having a fabulous day.
    Blessings, Kristy

    1. Hi Kristy, Welcome, Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment! I am having a great day and hope that you are as well. These muffins are very easy and I am sure you can make them for your family. They are delicious and with the blueberries, they are even healthy. Now what is better than that...Blessings on the rest of your week...Dottie :)

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