Category Archives: Recipes

Snowflakes, wood smoke and cheater muffins

We awoke to the first significant snowfall of the season. Beautiful. Dramatic. Dangerous for driving. And as the kids found out, not ideal for sledding. They managed to squeeze in a few trial runs on their way back from early morning barn chores. Conditions were not quite right for a quick trip down the hill, although it didn’t stop them—or the kids over at the Amish school—from trying. Shrieks of glee and bouts of laughter could be heard echoing through the hills this morning, long before the school bell rang.

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

About four inches fell overnight. It’s coming down right now … a presumed white-out in our back yard, as snowflakes mingle with thick plumes of wood smoke. I love the sights, sounds, smell and resulting coziness of winter. A time to be thankful and reflective. Especially this year … for some reason, I seem to have accomplished the tasks on my list. I don’t know how, but the garden and flowerbeds are cleaned; bird feeders are filled; porches cleared; chicken coop prepped for winter winds … I think it was that extra week of 70-degree sunshine in early November. One last chance to do what needed done.

Some days you deserve a shortcut. I do believe that most things taste best when made from scratch … like brownies or chocolate chip cookies. Recently, however, I’ve stumbled upon a great recipe for muffins. It’s perfect for snowy days when you’re expecting eight children and their 16 snow boots in addition to your own three kids. While they all gather round the table to make Indian Property Sticks (it’s a Thanksgiving-Squanto-Pilgrim sort of craft), you can pull out a basket of freshly-baked muffins. And these four ingredients always seem to be on hand in our house.

Farmgirl’s Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip-Cheater Muffins

  • 3 boxes Jiffy Oatmeal Muffin Mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 bag chocolate chips

Prepare muffin mix according to package directions (milk & eggs). When all ingredients are combined, dump in a bag of chocolate chips. Stir. Coat two muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill 2/3 full with muffin mixture. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve with glasses of milk.

They’re yummy, satisfying and slightly healthy (oatmeal is a good thing). The kids will eat ’em all up and you’ll be hero for the day.


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Filed under Children, Family, Homekeeping, Recipes, Rural Life

The pleasures of pasta

Fresh basil. Can you smell it? It was freshly plucked from my humble little herb garden and showcased at supper this evening. It was one of those days when the supper menu was the very last thing on my mind. I stood staring at the contents of my pantry for 10 minutes before inspiration struck. No recipe, not even a name for this dish, but it was delish!

Dressed to impress in our vintage aprons, my daughters and I boiled a box of fettucini pasta. We opened a jar of our favorite tomato sauce, added some grilled chicken, a can of blackeyed peas, a chiffonade of basil, and some salt and pepper. When the pasta was ready, we tossed it in the sauce, garnished with a sprig of fresh basil and topped it with freshly grated parmesan. It turned out well for a thrown together, last-minute supper!

And I have to thank Susan over at NotQuiteJuneCleaver for sharing a glimpse of her new dishes with her faithful followers. I was so inspired I purchased my own set of Everyday Dinnerware from Williams-Sonoma (and yes, they’re still on sale, hurry!). They are lovely. Heavy-duty restaurant-style dishes that are microwave, dishwasher and broiler safe.

When my dear husband arrived home from work to a kitchen littered with packing peanuts, cardboard boxes and stacks of dishes, I simply greeted him with a kiss and, “Thank you sooo much for the anniversary present! I absolutely adore the new dishes.”

It’s a good thing he loves me so much! The fact that he is the most patient man on earth is also prudent.

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Filed under Homekeeping, Recipes