Muffins. Make these. As soon as humanly possible.

I have a confession to make.

Yesterday, when I was writing my post on using Thanksgiving leftovers, I was talking through my hat when I suggested sweet potato muffins. I THOUGHT sweet potato muffins ought to work — people make pumpkin muffins, after all — but I’d never actually MADE them when I tossed out that offhand suggestion.

Now I have. And I can testify that you ought to, as well.

Got up this morning determined I’d get to Sunday School AND church — I’d been skipping the first, of late. I wasn’t cooking a family dinner, so I decided I’d make some muffins. More to the point, I’d try the sweet potato muffins, since I had proffered them as a use of leftover Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

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Muffins and biscuits. More muffins in the oven at that point.

With apologies to Jane and Michael Stern, of “Road Food” fame, and damn, do I miss hearing them every Saturday morning on WKNO in Memphis now that I’m an Arkansas public radio listener, and hey, KUAR/KASU peeps, can y’all do something about putting Splendid Table on the air here so a sista can hear it?

I am headed out on a road trip tomorrow, going to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, where I used to live, and spending a few days in that part of the world with a girlfriend and her niece and adopted niece. (I understand all about those “adopted” kinfolk, having several.) I need a break, albeit I have had a fair amount of road time lately, but this comes at a good time, as I have hit a semi-slack period at work, though it promises to pick up by the latter part of August.

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Baking breakfast

May 2, 2016

A collection of convenience: Baked oatmeal muffins.

A collection of convenience: Baked oatmeal muffins.

For some reason, even though my office is two dozen steps from my couch, which is probably less than three dozen steps from my bed, and I don’t have to dash out of the house in the morning after hurrying to get ready, I still find myself wanting something simple, grab-and-go-ish, for breakfast.

So when I saw a recipe for baked oatmeal, I snagged it and determined to make it.

The recipe is here. My two changes were to sub for the cup of brown sugar, a half-cup of honey, and to use almond milk in place of skim. They were plenty sweet. My other change I’d make the next time I made them will be to stir the fruit up in the muffin; it wants to fall off. I’d probably also think in terms of putting some nuts in them. I think it’d be particularly good with dates and pecans, like bran muffins are. That’s on the agenda for the next batch.

You keep these in the fridge, nuke them for 30 seconds, and boom, there’s breakfast. And it’s probably somewhere around 125 calories. You could add protein powder to the mix to give yourself a protein boosts, too, or cooked quinoa. Two of them would be equivalent to a full bowl of oatmeal.

They taste like, well, oatmeal. The applesauce is not noticeable. I did store these in a plastic bag with some others I’d made that had bananas in them, and I swear these picked up some banana taste. They’re pleasingly solid, like a dense muffin, and plenty moist.

While I was about it, I also made another breakfast recipe that wound up being a similar prep, with a bit different taste. It was shown as a bar cookie, but I made muffins out of it. The recipe calls for:

  • Three ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cups applesauce
  • 2 cups uncooked oats
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

and baking at 350 for 10-15 minutes. This one makes about 9 muffins.

This one I made several changes to. I added a couple of eggs and a couple of glugs of oil (maybe 3 tbsp) because I thought it needed it. I cut back on the cinnamon a bit (in the first one as well). And for good measure, I added a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter powder. Peanut butter…bananans…made sense to me. Again, I’d stir the fruit up in it. I might add nuts; these didn’t seem to need it as much as the others did, maybe due to the peanut butter flavor. Really, I think banana chips would have been good.

Because of the addition of the eggs and oil, these were very similar in texture and character to the first batch, the flavor different, of course, due to the add-ins. It would be easy enough to use either basic recipe, increasing or decreasing the almond milk to account for the difference in moisture in the mashed bananas vs not including them. I’m going to try some with ginger next; I love the ginger flavor on my granola. In fact, molasses instead of honey would accentuate that even more.

I took a dozen with me as a hostess gift this past weekend, and left a dozen in the fridge at home. Had one for breakfast this morning. Good stuff. Wouldn’t want it all the time, but certainly good for a change. They’ll stay in the lexicon. I see no reason they couldn’t be frozen and just nuked a little longer.

So if you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em need a quick breakfast on the go some morning, just drive by, slow down, and I’ll toss on in the window for you.


Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Steaks. Pretty things, they are.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus.

I have been cooking all freaking day. I mean, seriously. All. Day.

I have made:

  • Three quiches. It was supposed to be two, but I had too much stuff to go in one of the crusts, so I grabbed another crust out of the refrigerator (thank you, Pillsbury) and stuck it in a pie plate. Boom.
  • Two and a half dozen muffins. A dozen and a half bran muffins, with dates and pecans, and a dozen almond poppy seed muffins, a variation on the Peabody Vanilla Muffin recipe.
  • Steaks, hasselback potatoes, and Mushrooms Berkeley.
  • And a batch of country style pork ribs with onions, braising away in the Instant Pot in hard cider as we speak, flavored with caraway, juniper berries and allspice. Tomorrow morning, I’ll shred up the meat, stir in some spicy mustard and brown sugar, and let it go another two or three hours before we serve it up over egg noodles with sauerkraut on the side.

Y’all think I’ve been busy, much?

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Muffins. Blueberry variety.

Muffins. Blueberry variety.

There are muffin tops, and there are muffins that are tops. These would be the latter.

OK, that was a reach. Give me a break. I’ve been working on a brochure, and my mind has turned to tapioca, and I need to think about something else.

Like muffins.

One thing everyone ought to have in their culinary repertoire is a good muffin recipe. I have two: the bran muffin recipe long detailed on the All-Bran box, which remains one of my favorites, particularly when you add diced dried figs and toasted walnuts.

And this one.

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