Simple Muffins

So the other day there was a nice, simple recipe for muffins in our local newspaper (Richmond Times Dispatch – Holly Prestidge),which I cut out. Yesterday, I decided to make them for my book club – all three of us reading a book in Spanish at my house, weekly!

muffins - minemuffins - newspaperThe image on the left is of MY muffins, what’s left of the dozen large and dozen small ones. The image on the right, is the photo from the newspaper. Hmmm, What made the difference. I’m not sure but perhaps because I used brown sugar or because I beat the eggs too much?  I’m going to try the recipe again and see what happens. The club members and my husband really liked them. Try the recipe and let me know how it goes for you.

Muffins – makes about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen

2 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1/2 t baking soda, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 C of sugar (I used light brown sugar loosely packed), 1/4 C vegetable oil, 1 large egg, 1/3 C milk (I used almond milk, recipe called for 2 % cows milk)

Heat oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine baking powder, salt, baking soda, flour and sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk oil, egg, and mill, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Do NOT overmix (I might have done this.)

Fill muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm. Which I didn’t. I served with butter and strawberry preserves.

Add ins – dried cranberries, chopped up nuts, coconut flakes



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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Autumn Soup

Autumn Soup2

Adapted from a recipe by Clare Osdene Schapiro, which she adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Makes 8 to 10 main course servings.

2 large cloves garlic
2 T olive oil (divided)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded,  and cut up into cubes. About 4 cups.

8 C veggie stock
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 C finely shredded green cabbage
1 – 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, including liquid.                                                              I actually found this type of tomato in Muir Glen brand. Very surprising.
1 T finely shopped fresh sage (optional)
1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds
Coarsely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping
Freshly ground black pepper
Add more Salt if desired

In large, really large, soup pot, over moderate heat, cook garlic in 1 T oil, stir frequently
Do Not let burn.
Once garlic is golden brown, add the squash, stock, beans, cabbage, tomatoes and liquid, and sage. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, over moderately low heat cook the pumpkin seeds in the remaining 1 T oil, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and lightly toasted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl lined with a paper towel and season with sea salt.

Mash some of the squash against the sides of the pot (or as we did, use an immersion blender and blend a bit) to thicken the soup. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 C of cheese, salt and pepper to taste. We forgot to stir in the cheese and added it on top at the table.
Place in individual bowls, sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

This soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept, covered, in the refrigerator, the recipe stated. We ended up with three jars to keep for additional lunch or dinner meals. This soup is really delicious and filling.

Sorry for the “breaks” in the list of ingredients. I don’t know how that happened and I couldn’t change it.

Posted in Autumn, beans, Soup, squash, vegetables | 1 Comment

Pimiento Cheese Spread – Southern USA goodness!

pimento cheese
A good old southern tradition from the pages of Southern Living Magazine 1986.
This is the very basic recipe. People change it up a bit and put in some Worcester sauce or onion flakes or other seasonings to their own taste. We like this very plain version.

16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, grated finely (I use my food processor grating blade)
4 oz chopped pimientos (from a jar) drained
4 oz. cream cheese softened
1 C mayonnaise  ( I use Duke’s, it’s a southern tradition made right here in Richmond,         VA, USA)
1 T sugar
1/8 t ground pepper

Mix the pimientos with the cream cheese.
Then add all the remaining ingredients and mix it all up until it’s blended.
( I use my clean hands to do it. It’s much more efficient and I learned to do that from an old cafeteria lady when I was in collage working the lunch line at the student union, only we were mixing up a huge batch of cole slaw, but you get the idea.)

Chill a couple hours or overnight for the flavors to meld. Let come to room temperature to serve with some nice crackers of your choice OR use to make yummy grilled cheese sandwiches.

If you make this, let me know how you like it!

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Notice: this is not about food!

bicycleBeachI wanted to share with my food-interest readers that I’m having a Mail Art call about bicycles. Yes, bicycles, not food, although food eating while on bicycles is good, and riding a bicycle to a picnic is good, it’s all good.

If you’d like to participate, and I hope you will, send me a standard sized postcard with a bicycle theme. It’ll be displayed in a venue during the UCI World Bicycle Races here in my city, Richmond, VA, USA.

Here are the details:

Thanks! Mim

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Soda Crackers


Since my grand-girl isn’t yet eating cookies or sugary things, I was looking for some kind of recipe we could use for her to roll dough. Crackers! That’s it! Sure enough, I found a recipe using old school method – I looked in one of my cookbooks! More-with-Less Cookbook, put out by the Mennonite Central Committee in 1976, which I got in 1980 according to my note inside. It’s full of recipes from all over the world, and some basic ones, like crackers.

Soda Crackers (with my variations)
Makes about 1/2 lb
375°f oven, 10-12 minutes
Preheat oven.

Combine in a bowl:
2 cups flour (I used regular white)
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

cut in – 2 T cold margarine (I used butter)

Stir in 2/3 Cup sour milk or buttermilk (I used buttermilk, available dried in the baking section of most grocery stores. However, I think one can substitute plain yogurt for this, or a nut milk) I added a dash of worcestershire sauce to the liquid. I think some hot sauce would be nice, if one likes spicy.

I added a cup of grated cheddar cheese, too.

Round dough into a ball and knead a few strokes. (I used my food processor for all of the above, gently and not over-doing it, I hope)

Divide dough into several pieces and roll out very thin on a floured board. (I’m not sure I rolled it thin enough but was unsure of what I was doing. Next time, I won’t be so afraid and will roll it thinner.)

Lay sheets on un-greased flat baking pan. Sprinkle with alt and prick with a fork.
Cut into 1 1/2″ pieces using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. (I wasn’t so precise with squares.)

Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

These puffed up! I liked the crispy edge ones, but my honey liked the middle pieces which were soft in the middle (not thin enough!) I was pleased with the results and think this will be a good recipe to make with the grand.

Try it and let me know what you think. It’s so basic and lends itself to personal touches.

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Our Aunt Elna’s Apple Pie

photo 3-3

Preheat oven to 450 F

2 Cups flour
1/2 pound of cold butter (2 sticks)
1 beaten egg

3 pounds or more apples (assorted varieties)
1/2 C sugar (or a bit less)
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon

1/4 C brown sugar
3T room temperature butter
1/4 C lemon juice
additional sugar for sprinkling on top

– peel and cut apples into slices and put into a large bowl. Mix with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
-Blend the flour and butter until crumbs are formed ( I use a food processor to do this) After crumbs are made, add the beaten egg and process to form a dough ball.
DO NOT over process.
-Pat 1/2 of this mixture into the bottom of a large pie pan or a 13″ x 9″ pan.
DO NOT handle this dough too much.or the butter will get warm. We don’t want that to happen. Reserve remaining dough for top crust.
-Put the apples in the pan. On top of apples, put the brown sugar, bits of the butter, and the lemon juice.
-Take remaining dough and form into flattened pieces and place all over the top of the apples. There’ll be some empty spaces, which is okay. Sprinkle some sugar on the top.
-Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until apples test soft. If the crust is browning to much, cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil.

Let me know if you make this! Enjoy!

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