Guilty Pleasures

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Like many of you, I have a few “guilty pleasures”. One of them is a sandwich with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. The other is Irish Soda Bread. Now, the grocery store starts selling the bread the end of February and ends the end of March. I usually buy two loaves per week. I hack off a chunk and slather it with soft butter. Yum!

One autumn day, when I was visiting my college roommate, her mother introduced me to pumpkin muffins and here is the recipe!



Kitchen Tested
Pumpkin Muffins
15 MIN
45 MIN
Why buy these fall favorites at your local coffeeshop? This recipe comes together easily—no electric mixer required—and you’ll end up with a full two dozen freshly baked warm-from-the-oven pumpkin muffins, ready to serve right away or freeze ahead for on-the-go breakfasts all week long.

By Betty Crocker Kitchens
Updated June 14, 2019

1 1/2
cups Gold Medal™ whole wheat flour
cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 1/2
teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4
teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt
1 1/4
teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/8
teaspoons ground nutmeg
teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2
cups sugar
cup canola oil
cup water
can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) SAVE $
Buy Ingredients Powered by Chicory
Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
In large bowl, mix flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; make well in center of mixture. In medium bowl, stir sugar, oil, water and eggs with whisk. Stir in pumpkin; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Serve warm or cool.

Expert Tips
Freeze the muffins in large resealable freezer bags, so they’re ready and waiting for breakfasts on the go. Wrap them in waxed paper and reheat them individually (from frozen) in the microwave just until heated through.
If your muffin tins have a dark nonstick surface, you’ll want to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. The dark surface absorbs heat, speeding up the baking process making the muffins brown more quickly.
The best muffins should be golden brown, slightly rounded with bumpy tops, tender, moist, even textured and easy to remove from the pan. Here are some things that can happen, with solutions to help. Pale: the oven was not hot enough or was underbaked. Peaked or smooth on top: too much mixing. Tough and heavy: too much flour or overmixing. Dry: too much flour, oven too hot or baked too long. Tunnels: too much mixing.
There are some best practices for mixing up quick breads, most importantly not overmixing the batter. The dry ingredients should just be moistened by the wet ingredients—and it’s okay if there are still some small pockets of floury ingredients as you spoon the batter into the muffin tin.


Baking Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A TV channel called CPTV features a show called Weekends with Yankee which airs in our area on Saturdays. One show featured a segment with Chef Jacques Pepin. The notable conversation between Chef Pepin and the host featured not only the preparation of a meal but a scrapbook he had kept since he started his career. The scrapbook contains the menu, the preparation, the food, the guests.

With COVID-19, a baking/cooking journal  is a necessity. Some of the features you should consider are: notes and clippings about the recipes you write in your journal, review of restaurants, baking tips, conversions, pantry inventory (to avoid panic buying) and healthy snacks.

We’ll be exploring some new avenues for our journal this month.




Recipe for a New Year

Recipe for a New Year

                        Take 365 days, trim off all the old memories of hate and discord. Soak and wash thoroughly in plenty of love and courage. Cut these days into 12 parts, cooking only one day at a time. Be sure the fire is hot with enthusiasm and your kettle is bright with hope. Season each kettle with some kindness for others and add patience, for small trials that come up every day. Add a little earnestness and willingness. Serve with smiles, praise and plenty of heartwarming joy, with your chin up.

                                       Author unknown

Happy New Year to all!!! It’s been an amazing journey this year and I am thankful for each and every one of you. You make my writing and blogging so much better by your comments and suggestions. A special thanks to my authors: Denise, Paul, Marybeth and of course “G”. Keep tuned – next year’s journals will be coming soon.

Peace, love and joy,


Do you collect cookbooks?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Do you collect cookbooks for a certain cuisine, chef, ingredient (pasta), diet (low carb), item (bread) or a myriad dish like Betty Crocker? I found this topic interesting while doing research on the topic of food journaling. Apparently some people collect cookbooks like some of us collect Christmas Ornaments and for much of the same reasons.

Some people I have talked to about this subject indicate that years before they collected everything from civic organization sponsored cookbooks, Pillsbury pamphlets to “coffee table” glossy paged high-priced cookbooks. Some collect Betty Crocker cookbooks and some collect books with pictures of the finished meal for what they say is inspirational.  Some like cookbooks by certain chefs like Rachael Ray.

Some people collect cookbooks for their value. That reason really surprised me. For instance, it seems that a Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook can bring a price range between $10-$450! A trip to the local book shop confirmed my suspicion that there were hundreds of different types of cookbooks and that if one was to start a collection, they would have to narrow the field considerably and say. only specialize in a single genre or chef. The demand for a rare, good condition cookbook is fueled by the fact that once they go out of print they become increasingly difficult to find. Some astonishing facts from a web site called lists a first edition of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 & 2” for the staggering price of $7500!! and the “Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer’s 1931 first edition at $4000!!

Happy Hunting through your kitchen, attic and basement and remember, check the pages for handwritten notes by your ancestors. You might find a hidden treasure that is priceless.

Happy Cooking and crafting,


Prize-Winning Fudge

     In my humble opinion, you must have fudge for the holidays. I have made this fudge for over 40 years and still get raves!


4 1/2 cups sugar (the real kind, not Splenda)

1 (12 oz) can Carnation evaporated milk

3 (6 oz) packages of Chocolate chips (or 1 (12 oz and 1 6 oz) I use Nestle

1 (10 oz) package mini marshmallows

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)


     Pour sugar and milk into large pan – I use a Dutch Oven). Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. This mixture tends to bubble a lot so be sure to stay near the stove to avoid disaster! Let boil on medium heat for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, marshmallows and butter. Beat until chips and marshmallows melt. Mix in vanilla. Spread in 13″ x 9″ pam-sprayed pan. Cool and cut. I place the pan in the refrigerator to harden.

 The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


1 cup butter 2 sticks
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned uncooked
1 cup raisins or walnuts or both

350 degree oven. Beat butter and vanilla. Mix all dry into butter mixture except the nuts and raisins once mixed then add them. Ungreased cookie sheet but I use parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes.


Recipe for Life


Recipe for Life

          1 cup of Determination

          1 cup of Courage

          2 cups of self-awareness

          Dash of hope

     Bake in your heart and sprinkle with faith. Store in your soul.

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