Do You Know the Muffin Joy?

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I love muffins. They are the perfectly sized treat. Today I had a hankering for corn muffins. I’ve made plenty of those yummy boxed muffins. I’ve searched the web endlessly for a muffin recipe that’s not too sweet, not too heavy. I wanted an easy recipe that was purely about the cornmeal. I found this recipe in the NYT Cooking section. I don’t understand the concept of a muffin mix to be stored for later, yet only has directions to make the whole batch of muffins. How hard is it to mix together some dry ingredients and then some wet ingredients? My batch made more than the 12 muffins the recipe says it yields. When I read the comments, most people agreed.  The comments were rather amusing. So much concern for nutritional informational swapping ingredients. Really? These are corn muffins. What do you expect? Just enjoy the muffin.

Let’s get baking!

Dry Ingredients

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk (not skim)

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Are you still with me? I like to let the mixture sit for a minute or two at this point. The baking powder is magical. The batter becomes wonderfully thick. Fill the buttered muffins tin about halfway. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes. Always check on anything you bake a minute or two earlier. Oven temperatures differ. My mix made 16 muffins, even with my thorough batter taste-testing.

These muffins are best served warm. A smear of butter and raspberry jelly will make you want to close your eyes and hum. Follow with a sip of coffee or tea. If you can eat these in the early, dark hours of the morning while alone….even better! Treat yourself!!

Here is the original recipe.

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I just threw this together in anticipation of snow. Baking before snow is my own tradition. I got the coffee brewing. I’m ready to hunker down!

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I discovered this recipe years ago in a church fundraiser cookbook. I tried it on a whim and found that it is a hit wherever I bring it. During the Christmas season, I shape it as a candy cane or a wreath. Easy peasy. I’ve adapted it a little.

4 oz. of cream cheese

¼ cup of butter

2 cups of Bisquick

1/3 cup of milk

½ cup of seedless raspberry jam

1 cup of powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons of milk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Let cream cheese and butter become room temperature. Cut the cream cheese and butter together. Add the Bisquick until the mixture is crumbly. I use a fork for all of this. Mix in the milk. Form the dough into a ball. Sprinkle some flour on your hands and the dough. Knead about 8 to 10 strokes. On a piece of…

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Learning is living

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I love the Boston Public Library. If you find yourself in Boston you need to visit. The physical structure is an architect’s delight. I love going into the Bates Room and looking at the rows of tables with green library lights. photo.JPG

The main stair case is beautiful marble. There are beautiful chandeliers throughout.

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It is a library lover’s happy place. Besides the physical presence, the library offers many services. You can check out their website, but let me tell you about something I just discovered.

Last year I upgraded from my eCard to an actual library card. You can apply for the eCard online and with it, you have access to all of their databases. There are certain requirements to get a library card, such as being a resident of Massachusetts. I’ve been more vigilant to read their emails and peruse their website. Recently I read about their online classes. I like to take online courses in areas that interest me, like writing, or may help me professionally, like Excel. I have relied on ed2go.com. They offer many different kinds of online classes for a cost. The Boston Public Library offers the same courses through the database GALE Courses for FREE!!! This is such an opportunity for continual education. I encourage you to check this out. If you’ve never taken an online course, this would be a great introduction. You don’t have to worry about your grades because there are none. This is all for you to continue learning. You should never be discouraged from learning.

 

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey

American philosopher

Makin’ the Bacon Appetizer

 

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I love football for pretty much one reason….the SNACKS. What represents snacks better than BACON? Nothin’. This recipe is titled Holiday Bacon Appetizers by the Pioneer Woman. Why would you limit consumption of these for just the holidays? That’s just crazy.

You only need a couple of ingredients. The most important part of this recipe is how they are cooked: on a rack over a cookie sheet. You cook these at a low temperature so the fat drips off. If they’re not on the rack, you will be cooking them in bacon fat. Now I love bacon fat as much as the next guy, but if you want some crunch, you need to cook them up off the baking sheet.

Ingredients:

Keebler Club crackers (not the minis)

1 pound of thinly sliced bacon

grated parmesan cheese (please use the real stuff)

brown sugar (This is a wonderful option)

 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

You will get different amounts of these appetizers depending on the bacon. First thing I do is take the bacon out of the package and cut it in half. You only need half a piece of bacon for each cracker.

I like to put my cheese or brown sugar in bowls. You are going to put about a teaspoon of each on a cracker. Sometimes, the teaspoon always comes in contact with the bacon. You don’t want to keep the unused cheese or sugar because it could be contaminated by the raw bacon.

Once you put the cheese or brown sugar on the cracker, wrap the bacon around it. I sometimes do half the crackers with cheese and half with the brown sugar.  Don’t pull too tightly or the cracker will break. You want to try to have the ends on the bottom of the cracker so it doesn’t curl when it bakes. Don’t stress too much. It took me several times to master this. If the bacon curls, is that really the worst thing to happen? Nope. It will still taste delicious.

Place the crackers on the rack over a baking sheet. I like to put a piece of parchment on the cookie sheet. It makes for easy clean up. They usually fit on one baking sheet.

Put these delicious nuggets in the oven and cook for about 2 hours. I suggest you set the timer for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check them. You don’t want them to get too dark or burn.  Sample one to determine doneness. But that’s just me!

You can serve these right away, or let them cool, and place in a Ziploc bag then toss in the freezer for another day. I microwave them before serving. How easy is that? Your house will smell like Bacon Heaven!!!

Here’s Ree’s recipe!