Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DOUGHNUT MUFFINS

"It's Tuesday so that means Patricia brings goodies to Hillcrest."  That's what I hear when I go to Hillcrest Thrift Shop on Tuesdays to volunteer.  Even before my husband decided to lose some weight and cut down on his eating, I enjoyed taking my goodies on Tuesday when I went to "work".  They are always so appreciative and complimentary.  One Tuesday I decided to clean out my freezer and I took about 6 loaves of my "breads" that I had made and frozen.  I invited them all to take a loaf home and enjoy it there.  

Yesterday, I was trying to decide what I was going to take...whether I was going to take a loaf out of the freezer and let it thaw or if I was going to try a new recipe.  The latter won out.

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago from Mom's Recipe Collection.  The name caught my attention.....Doughnut Muffins.  Who doesn't love doughnuts?!  So last night I checked to make sure I had all the ingredients and decided I would make them after I got home from the Y and my water exercise class.

My husband got up at 6 this morning to go play golf so I decided to go on and get up at 6:30 myself.  Since there was nothing else I wanted to do (there was plenty I could do), I decided to go on and make the muffins before I went to the Y and then I wouldn't be rushed afterwards with washing my hair.

They are super fast to mix up and bake so I had plenty of time before leaving to go to the Y.  I followed her recipe but am showing substitutions you could make in parenthesis.




DOUGHNUT MUFFINS

1-1/3     cup flour
1-1/2     teaspoon baking powder
1/2        teaspoon salt
1/2        teaspoon nutmeg
1/4        teaspoon cinnamon
1/3        cup canola oil (1/3  cup unsweetened applesauce)
3/4        cup sugar (3/4   cup stevia or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar blend)
1           egg
3/4        cup skim milk

Topping:
1/4        cup melted margarine
1/4        cup sugar
1/4        teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a bowl with a whisk.

Mix the oil, sugar, egg, and milk in  another bowl and beat til well mixed with a whisk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix til just blended. (Will be lumpy)



Pour into muffin tin.  (I made 10 muffins....filled the two empty cups half way with water so the muffins would cook evenly.)

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

While they are baking, melt margarine in microwave.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl suitable for dipping.

When done, cool 5 - 10 minutes.  Remove by running a knife around the inside edges if necessary.

While muffins are still hot, dip the top into butter

and then roll in cinnamon sugar.



Well, they were a big hit.  N.C. told me they were sweeter than what I usually bring.  I told him they were because I used the real stuff this time.  I usually take them things that I have made using sugar substitute, which is what I will do when I make them for us. When my shift was over, I went in the community room and there was only one left.  I cut off part of it to taste it, and it was good.  Josh, the floor manager, ate the rest of it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

SKINNY BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

I think it has been a week since I baked anything.  The only room in the house that I am not sad in is my sewing room.  I have been staying outside as much as I possibly can.  I don't feel as confined outside.  I know things will get better with time.  Right now though, Auntie, is very much in my thoughts.

Since I have been sewing, I have made two gathered skirts for Madison and one each for Hallie and Sadie.  I will be sharing them with you in the next day or two.  They turned out so adorable.  Thanks, dil Sara, for showing me the picture and asking me if I could make it for the girls.  

Yesterday, my husband and I went to Aldi's and I got some blueberries.  I didn't really need them, but the price was really good and I do need to buy them when they are fresh and at a good price to keep in the freezer for future baking.  

I felt like baking this morning so I decided to try a recipe I copied down a few weeks ago and use some of the fresh blueberries instead of some of my frozen ones.  I think I saw the recipe on Facebook .... you know one of those frequently seen posts of delicious dishes with the recipe.  The best I could find as far as whose recipe it was was Spark People user Leprechaun.  I only made a few changes from her recipe, which is not unusual for me.

There is no oil and the only sugar is the 7 g of sugar in the Greek Yogurt and the natural sugar in the blueberries.  She used Splenda and I used stevia.  I also used whole wheat pastry flour for the flour.  She used plain non-fat yogurt and I used the Key Lime 100 calories Greek yogurt that is fat free and only has 7 g of sugar.  The Greek yogurt also has 2x the protein.  My husband loved them.




SKINNY BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

1-1/2     cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4        cup stevia
2           teaspoon baking powder
1           teaspoon baking soda
1/2        teaspoon salt
2/3        cup plain non-fat yogurt (I used 5.3 oz container of Key Lime 100 cal Greek yogurt)
2/3        cup water
3/4        cup blueberries (can substitute other fruit)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.


Combine flour, stevia, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl with whisk.






Then add water and yogurt, mixing well.


Add berries and stir carefully.










Fill cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 minutes.


I made 10 mini muffins and baked them for 12 minutes.  I filled the two empty cups with some water so the other muffins would cook evenly.


  
I also made 8 medium muffins (they are between the mini muffin and regular muffin size) and baked them for 15 minutes. 






I cooled the muffins for 10 minutes before removing them the tin.










They are chocked full of blueberries.











Saturday, May 25, 2013

IMAGES OF AUNTIE AND SO MUCH MORE

When we got to the funeral home for visitation, I enjoyed reminiscing by watching the images of Auntie and others looping through a digital photo frame.  Some I had never seen, but I knew everyone in the pictures.  

When I got to that part in my story, I thought about pictures that I have taken of Auntie.  Right now I really hate that I don't have all my photos organized.  Because of that, I can't share so many pictures I have.  

One picture I saw that night and brought a smile to my face was a picture of Auntie and me after we had finished making her "Double knit Quilt".  We had so much fun that week and the quilt was so beautiful.  Right now I can't find that picture.  When I do, though, I will share it with you.  

I guess it is good that I don't have my pictures organized because my scanner isn't working right now, either.  But I will share the digital photos I have found.

After my parents died, I would go back each summer and visit her. I also started calling her every week...usually on Sundays.  Here are some of the pictures I took on some of those visits.


Auntie loved to crochet....actually all three of the "sisters" (my mother, Auntie, and Corine) crocheted.  Auntie could look at a piece of work and tell me which one of them had made it.  Here is a picture of her I took the summer of 2004.



Later in her kitchen.  She was a good cook, just like her sisters.











At least once or twice during the week of my visit, we would be sitting in her living room and she would say, "If you want to, we will ride over to Sister's (that was her grandaugther Carol, aka "Little Carol") and check on the boys ( Carol's sons, her Great Grandsons)".  We didn't call first or anything.  She would say that they might not be there, but we would see.  Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren't.  Here is a picture I took when we went over later that day. 
Hunter, their Great-grandmother, and Cole
Here is a picture of her and Jim that I took that visit.












In July, 2005 during my visit, we went to Little Rock to Clinton's Presidential Library.  It was a hot day that day but we really enjoyed ourselves.  Her daughter "Sissy" and Marie (Corine's daughter) also went.  (The three of us, all daughters of the three sisters, were raised like sisters.)




Marie, Auntie, and Sissy

Back home in Louisiana we enjoyed watermelon with the "boys".
David (Sissy's husband), Auntie, Cole, Jim, and Sissy

She was making sure all the seeds were out for Cole.  That's how caring she was.










After I went back home to CA, I made my first rag quilt and decided to give it to Auntie. It was folded on the back of "her" chair in her living room when we were there for her services.









In 2006, when my husband and I retired, we took a road trip and visited most of our relatives.  These pictures were taken at my Uncle J.D.'s, in my hometown in Southeast AR at a family get-together.  


Auntie and Corine, the two surviving sisters...










Aunt Nita (my Uncle James' wife), Aunt Virginia ( J. D.'s wife), Auntie, and Corine.  I think it is interesting that I grew up calling all adults Mr. or Miss (their first name), but  I didn't call any of my uncles "Uncle" and only three aunts "Aunt"....Auntie Gert, and then the wives of two of my mother's brothers...Aunt Virginia and Aunt Nita.  Aunt Nita's name is Juanita but most of the family call her "Neat"....at least that's the way we pronounce it.  I should also add that we pronounce Aunt as if it were "ain't". I have never called Corine - Aunt Corine...it just didn't sound good.


and then Auntie, Jim, and Corine...










Here is a picture that was taken in 2009 on one of my visits of the two of us.









The next year in their back yard.














Last year when we went for a visit, I took her two quilts I had machine quilted.  They were quilt tops that she had made and I took them home to "finish" them for her.  She was so pleased with them.


Here is one of them....














This post has been difficult to write.....so many emotions felt, so much frustration in not being able to find pictures I wanted to share, and so much I want to say, but the words just won't come.  Just like my mother, Auntie was a very special person and I feel a great sense of loss.  With the onset of her dementia the last couple of years, I experienced a little loss with each Sunday conversation when she wasn't fully "herself".  

I didn't want to hang up on the occasions when she was having a good day.  I remember when we talked the Sunday before my grandson Tyler was born a little over a year ago.  She started the conversation with, "Do we have a baby yet?" I knew it was going to be a good "visit" and it was.  I miss those Sunday calls and the calls during the week when something happened that I wanted to share with her.

But I'm not the only one missing her...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FRESH STRAWBERRY BREAD

In my last couple of posts I have been sharing about my experiences during the last couple of weeks with losing my Auntie and the joy of being with and seeing our son and his family in CO. 

In my post yesterday we had made the 1069 miles from CO to northeast LA before visitation at the funeral home was over.  In the room on a table was a digital picture frame with pictures of Auntie and friends over the years.  They brought back so many memories.  I have spent the last 24 hours looking through my digital pictures looking for pictures to share here of her and the family.  I have found some good ones but I have had some difficulty finding certain ones I know I have.  So it is taking me longer than I thought it would to prepare the next "installment".  

I will write the next post as soon as I gather the pictures I would like to share.  Until then.....here is a post I wrote for Fresh Strawberry Bread that I made and really liked.  Hope you will give it a try.

I love fresh strawberries...just about any way you can enjoy them.  When we lived in CA, it was so hard driving by a field where they were growing.  Seeing all the red in the field just made you want to stop and go out and pick some.  When we first moved there and saw the field before the plants came up, the field looked like a pond.  That's because after the wide rows were flattened, they were covered with black plastic.  This kept the ground warm so the plants were grow quickly.  It also kept the berries off the ground.  The rows were so wide, they would plant 2 - 3 strawberry plants wide down the rows.  To keep the strawberries plants producing  those large (No. 1) strawberries, they would start all over and plant new plants several times a year.

This recipe for fresh strawberry bread was cut from a newspaper somewhere.  The paper is now brown and ripped along the top because it was just a little bigger than my recipe cards and every time I went through the cards in my recipe box, the top would get bent over again.

I had some of those nice No. 1 strawberries (first of the season) and decided to use them for this recipe.  The recipe calls for 1 cup crushed or chopped fresh strawberries.  My strawberries were so large it only took 6 of them to make a cup.

I usually make mini loaves even though the recipe says to use a 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan.  That way I can eat one and freeze the other one(s).  When I saw that the recipe said to line the loaf pan with greased wax paper, I decided I would just make this in the larger loaf pan and then cut it in thirds to freeze two of them.  That worked out perfectly.




FRESH STRAWBERRY BREAD

1/2     cup butter or margarine
1        cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup truvia sugar blend)
1/2     teaspoon almond extract
2        eggs, separated
2        cups flour (I used soft wheat flour)
1        teaspoon baking powder
1        teaspoon soda
1        teaspoon salt
1        cup crushed or chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  


Separate the eggs -- yolks and the whites.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and almond extract.










Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time.










I combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl with a whisk before sifting.


Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.








Add the flour mixture alternately with the strawberries to creamed mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.


Beat the egg whites until stiff.











Fold into the strawberry mixture, combining completely.


Line a 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan with greased wax paper.  (I lined the pan the the wax paper,








and then sprayed the pan with cooking spray.)










Turn batter into the pan spreading it out evenly.










Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until bread tests done with a toothpick.

Cool 15 minutes on a rack.






Lift the bread out with the wax paper.











Remove the wax paper 










and cool completely.












Then I cut the loaf into thirds so I could freeze two of the pieces.