Tag Archives: food

Last Week’s Muffin–Apple Pumpkin Ginger, Plus Great Health News!

I didn’t get around to making these until Friday, but they turned out so nicely that I thought I’d share after the fact.

Also, some great news for folks who are tracking their nutrition. I love MyFitnessPal and have used it for years, but it was tedious to add new recipes to it. Now it has a great new feature in which you can paste a URL of a recipe into their app and it will calculate the calories, fat, etc. This is a killer feature and makes the site SO much more useful:

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And here they are: Apple Pumpkin Ginger Muffins, from the Baked by Rachel site. My only change is that I melted the butter and mixed by hand rather than creaming the butter and sugar. Also, these muffins need to be stored in the fridge because they are moist.

I don’t do the fancy-pants photos and endless narrative that actual cooking sites do. But here’s the muffin in all its simple morning glory. (We do bananas with toothpicks when our bananas are starting to get too ripe—somehow they’re more palatable that way.)




Muffin of the Week: Orange Cranberry


Cranberry bog. So boggy!

This recipe is adapted from the great Gimme Some Oven. I was feeling lazy this morning and didn’t zest the orange, but my dried cranberries were the orange cranberries from Trader Joe’s, so—just as zesty!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest (or omit and use Trader Joe’s orange cranberries)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest (for the non-lazy)
1/4 cup orange juice


To Make The Muffins:

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Grease a 12-count muffin pan or prepare with baking cups; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg until combined, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick and thoroughly combined. Stir in the orange zest until evenly distributed. Slowly whisk the vanilla and butter into the mixture until combined. Add half the sour cream, whisking until just combined, repeat with the remaining sour cream.

Add the flour to the sour cream mixture and fold with a spatula until the batter comes together. Add the cranberries and continue folding the mixture until the berries are evenly distributed. Do not overmix.

Evenly divide the batter in between the cups of the muffin pan (about 3 tablespoons of batter per cup). Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until light golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before glazing.

Mix glaze ingredients together. Spoon on top of the warm muffins prior to eating. Store extra gaze for the leftovers!


photo credit: tinatinatinatinatina via photopin cc

This Week’s Muffin: Coffeecake

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DC traffic earlier today

The traffic outside was frightful thanks to snow that hit at just the wrong time… Schools were open but it was treacherous for buses, walkers and drivers alike. So I opted to keep the kids home, but not before baking some “sorry you have to go to school” muffins.

Here they are. Adapted from The Ultimate Muffin Book by Weinstein and Scarbrough

1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (which I just realized I forgot. Oh well)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  2. Make the filling: Combine nuts, 3 tablespoons of the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and remaining salt.
  4. In a separate bowl combine remaining butter, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Fold wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Fill muffin cups 1/2 full with batter; level off the batter. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each muffin cup; top off with the remaining batter.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy.

Bread of the Week: Uncle John Calvin’s French Toast Casserole

If I know the Internet--and I like to think I do--someone will 'shop a chef's hat onto this picture.

If I know the Internet–and I like to think I do–someone will Photoshop a chef’s hat onto this picture.

This week’s recipe is not a muffin, but it’s still a great breakfast food (or lunch food, or dinner food).

When I was new in ministry, a friend said she liked to use leftover communion bread to make bread pudding. It’s not often I get to bring home the bread after a worship service, but that’s what I like to do too. More specifically, I like to make french toast casserole, recipe below.

In a discussion on Facebook it seems that the Catholics and Episcopalians are a bit squicked out theologically by the body of Christ, mixed with egg and milk and baked. With all respect to my transubstantiating brothers and sisters, I say, ¡Viva la reformación! 

Incidentally, the Presbyterian Book of Order requires that you dispose of leftover bread “in a manner consistent with the Reformed understanding of the Sacrament and the principles of good stewardship.” As I put the dish together last night, I thought about our Longest Night service, and the many prayers that were spoken and unspoken around that loaf. That counts, does it not?

Uncle John Calvin’s French Toast Casserole

Feel free to adjust the recipe based on how much bread you have. This morning’s casserole was made in a 11×7 and baked for about 40 minutes.


  • leftover communion bread, or a loaf of challah or other firm bread
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • maple syrup, for serving


  1. Grease a 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish with softened butter or cooking spray.
  2. Slice or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Arrange half the bread in a single layer in the prepared dish, then sprinkle half the sugar mixture evenly over the top. Add a second layer with the remaining bread and the sugar mixture.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the milk and vanilla extract, whisking until well blended.
  6. Starting from the sides of the dish and working toward the center, pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. With a spatula, gently press down on the bread to coat it with the egg mixture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
  7. Heat the oven to 350°. Bake the casserole covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole turns a light golden brown and looks slightly puffed, about 30 minutes more.
  8. Serve the casserole warm with maple syrup. Give thanks for the spiritual presence of Christ.

This Week’s Muffin: Apple Cider “Donut”

I was skeptical about these because they have no fat in them whatsoever—well, except the melted butter/cinnamon sugar coating. But they turned out scrumptious. Of course, like most low-fat recipes, they make up for it in sugar, which is no better nutritionally. Oh well, the apple cider has some fiber in it, right? Don’t tell me differently.

I messed up the cinnamon sugar step. Instead of dipping them in melted butter, THEN rolling them in cinnamon sugar, I mixed it all together and coated the muffins. So what should have looked an elegant dusting of snow on each muffin ended up looking like this:


However, I’m sold on the “mistake.” The topping became a nice glaze when it cooled. Yum.

Last thing before the recipe: Don’t forget the girls’ fundraiser. We’re on our way to $1000, and Carol of the Bells is sounding very good!

Apple Cider Donut Muffins

Recipe available at Baked by Rachel.

When you get to the last step, consider following in my absent-minded footsteps by combining butter, cinnamon and sugar and coating the muffins with the glaze.