One of the main reasons that I absolutely adore my career is the fact that food is tied in with so many memories of our lives. Each of us can remember a time or event, or suddenly a cherished picture of days gone pops into our thoughts, by simply smelling or enjoying a food tradition. Our family recipe box is laced with so many recipes that evoke traditions. I want to share with you our traditional Easter breakfast, one that we have celebrated for decades. Easter breakfast needs to be easy because there is so much activity that morning–Easter baskets to adore, eggs to fetch and of course, arriving at church early so our daughter can sing in the youth choir. Breakfast has to be fast and special on this day. We celebrate with hard cooked,dyed Easter eggs and Hot Cross Buns. I make the Hot Cross Buns a day ahead and voila! Breakfast is served, no hassles and such fun. [Read more…]
My mom loved to bake—and her cinnamon rolls are baked into my memory. She served them every holiday morning. She made them when family came to visit and she made them frequently, “just because.” Now, I want cinnamon rolls for special breakfasts—and everyone in my family knows you cannot have a holiday or family gathering without cinnamon rolls. It has to be on my “Eat-to-Save” mission. Yet, how could I make them and serve them hot out of the oven and not stay up all night or bake them the day before? I challenged myself to figure out how to make them fresh and easy. Make Ahead Freezer Cinnamon Rolls are my answer.
My family, the Ensminger cousins, meet for a weekend reunion each fall. We travel from all over the country and enjoy a weekend of fun, laughter, reminiscing, and of course, eating. This year, the gathering was in Oklahoma and the large cabin had a kitchen so we could cook together. We always enjoy the local sights and foods—and eat far too much. This year, the crowning glory of the weekend was a chuck wagon dinner, cooked and served from an antique chuck wagon. It was great fun and they served wonderful food! [Read more…]
Have I ever mentioned that I love to bake? I don’t have to have an excuse—any reason to step into the kitchen and bake is reason enough. This time of year, the approaching holidays are certainly reason enough. It seems that many people are planning meetings or festive gatherings and a little treat just helps to make it more joyful. Out of town guests, large family meals and time to meet up with old friends means baking—and baking ahead makes it so much easier. I also know that when I bake, it brings me peace—and I don’t know about you, but some weeks I just need a good dose of sweet peace.
I love fruits and nuts and often, honestly, would rather choose fruit flavors over chocolate. Now that cranberries are finally available at the grocery store, I love to cook with them. (One important tip—buy an extra bag or two or three to freeze. This is one time when you don’t have to do anything special—just keep the bag tightly sealed and freeze it. You will have cranberries to use year round!) I also love nuts—just about any kind of nut adds a great flavor—at least in my book.
Lately I have been baking a lot of goodies using the Babycakes Cupcake Maker. This time I made muffins –little two-bite wonders that I can serve for any breakfast or brunch. These are different than most cranberry muffins I know of, as they are chocked full of toasted pecans, but only have the slightest hint of orange. I serve these warm with a little spread of an orange butter. To me, it is just a heavenly treat. (I have a funny, yet important tip on that orange flavor–I use the grated zest of an orange and I cannot help but think of my mom when I do. You see, she was a great cook–except when it came to orange zest. She would always get too much of the white and it tasted bitter. That is just the way it was–always. When I learned that you only zest the colored portion–oh my–the flavor was entirely different and so much better.)
I know not everyone has a Babycakes Cupcake Maker, so I went ahead and made them in the oven –as regular size muffins and again as mini-muffins. I learned a few important things. First, I like Toasted Pecan and Cranberry muffins anyway they are baked. I do like the size of the Babycakes Cupcake Maker –because they just seem right. Here is a picture of the muffins all lined up—just so you can see how they compare in size.
They are also moist, since the closed appliance really keeps the moisture in—which in my life means I can make them earlier in the week and freeze them to serve on a busy morning.
Yes, all homemade baked goods are wonderful—anyway you want to bake them. So, I have included the baking directions for the oven, so you really can bake these muffins anyway you want. Give them a try—and let me know how you baked them. [Read more…]