Tag Archives: baking


Late winter is my favorite season for baking. It warms the cottage while filling it with delightful aromas.

It was the last week of the month. With frozen, wet roads I had left the ranch only when necessary, so supplies dwindled. This is typical. I have seen hard times, so any day there is food is good and having choices is great! I take advantage of bargains and stock the freezer and pantry. Still, there was remarkable room in both.

That particular day I had to be especially creative. I was delighted to find all the makings for a pumpkin cheesecake pie – of all things! Hey, it includes all four food groups.

I gathered the ingredients and began making the crust. But when I went to roll out the dough I couldn’t find my rolling pin.

After exhausting every possibility I looked about for anything suitable for the task. Rolling the dough with a tall juice bottle, I mentally rummaged through lists of things I’d inadvertently left in Texas or Colorado last year.

I put the pie into the oven and began cleaning up. As I put things away I began to laugh. Without some extensive reorganizing I actually have no place for anything else. This cottage is stuffed full!

I know any time I need a rolling pin or baking sheets, I can walk 20 yards and borrow Kendra’s, but the situation made me deeply reflective.

Over my history I experienced some devastating losses. Yet, hard times taught three generations of my family to be resilient, flexible, inventive and most of all thankful for what we have.

It’s not my preference, but if I must I can fish and hunt. I know how to clean fish and dress out a deer, rabbit or fowl. More important, I adore growing vegetables and canning them.

Over the years, I learned to use a pair of forks or knives as a pastry cutter. A tall glass makes an adequate rolling pin as well as a cookie cutter. Since I needn’t make it anymore, a quart of yogurt provides me calcium and protein and a storage container as well. With friends I learned how to make cheese and delightful breads. Long ago, Moms passed their talents for making biscuits, tortillas and pancakes from scratch on to me. And hanging out with Kendra I recently learned to make candy.

Though some of my history is grievous indeed I’m glad for it all today. Because of hardships and heartbreaks, God and I are sufficient in all things. I am blessed indeed!

“I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any circumstances: fed or hungry, with or without.” Philippians 4:11, 12 (The Voice)


*Image courtesy of ABSFreePics

All other images courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello



Filed under Notes from the Apex

Home Made Muffins – Just Not From Scratch

Among my favorite surprises are spontaneous visits from friends and other loved ones, especially during the holidays. I typically like a challenge, so when someone phones ahead to announce they’re on their way, I spring to action.

Those are also the times when I most appreciate the stash of couponing treasures and clearance items I’ve gleaned from town; the things I wouldn’t otherwise buy. Combined with my old, die-hard habit of up-cycling even food items all come in handy.

orange peel marabuFor example, I wash citrus fruits before peeling them. Then I’ll either peel carefully with a paring knife to dry for teas later on, or I grate the peels and either dry or freeze them.

cranberries odpicturesThis week the pouches of muffin mix that I’d bought just because they were on sale, combined with the fresh cranberries I got the day after Black Friday and tossed into the freezer, and the grated orange peel came into play.

Apples and especially frozen apple juice concentrate* are nearly always a staple in our kitchen and they added pop to the 2nd quick recipe instructions below. A little habitual practice and the sale items kept my secret that the fresh, home made muffins I took from the oven as unexpected visitors arrived weren’t actually made from scratch.


Best Quick Orange Cranberry Muffins

cranberry muffins terryb


1 box or pouch of muffin mix; Cranberry Orange is delightful, but plain works.

3/4 cup frozen cranberries, covered with 1 Tablespoon of sugar, thawed in microwave. Let sit a few (5) minutes.

      OR 3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tablespoon dried grated orange peel or fresh grated peel of 1/2 an orange.

1 large or 2 small eggs

3/4 cup water – If orange peel is not available use one third water and tw0-thirds orange juice.

if desired 1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans are nice too.



Take a calming, deep breath. Now go!

  1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gather bowls, sifter, muffin pans, spoons, ingredients.
  3. If you have paper or foil muffin cups if on hand, great! If not, ‘grease’ those reusable muffin cups or go au naturale and ‘grease’ the pan with non-stick spray, butter, coconut oil or canola oil.
  4. Sift mix into a medium sized mixing bowl using rubber spatula, add cranberries from mix and the extra berries.
  5. In separate bowl slightly beat eggs. Mix in water (and/or juice if orange peel isn’t available), and orange peel.
  6. Make a well in dry ingredients, pour in wet mix and stir until blended, don’t over mix. Fold in nuts if desired.

muffin two thirds

7. Spoon into muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake large muffins 28 – 30 minutes; 9 – 12 muffins 24 – 28 minutes – toothpick inserted into center should come out clean :))



Quickest Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

apple crumb muffins


1 box or pouch apple cinnamon muffin mix, (or plain, you’ll add apple juice and grated apple)

1 large or 2 small eggs

3/4 c water  or apple juice if apple isn’t available

1 Small apple, grated (or apple juice :))

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans if desired


If mix doesn’t come with a separate topping, no worries. This one adds the wow factor:

Topping Mix:

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup almond flour (best) or unbleached flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

dash salt

2 dashes cinnamon

2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted


  1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gather bowls, sifter, muffin pans, spoons, ingredients.
  3. If you have paper or foil muffin cups if on hand, great! If not, grease reusable muffin cups or the pan with non-stick spray, butter, coconut oil or canola oil.
  4. Sift mix into a medium sized mixing bowl using rubber spatula – toss in any dried apple pieces from mix.
  5. In separate bowl combine all Topping ingredients except butter or coconut oil. Mix together. Drizzle and toss with melted oil with fork till crumbly and moist.
  6. In separate bowl slightly beat eggs. Mix in water (or juice if an apple isn’t handy) add grated apple.
  7. Make a well in dry ingredients, pour in wet mix and stir until blended, don’t over mix. Fold in nuts if desired.
  8. Spoon into muffin pan 2/3 full. Spoon on Topping mix, tapping each in slightly.
  9. Bake 6 large muffins 28 – 30 minutes, or 9 – 12 muffins 24 – 28 minutes. A toothpick inserted into center should come out clean :))

While muffins bake, whisk away the dishes and then start a pot of coffee or tea!

Answer the door!

Salud, Roo’s Muse!


*I often substitute frozen apple juice concentrate for sugar in many recipes ;).


Filed under Kitchen Sync

Bomb Diggity Baked Spring Rolls

In our household, dietary restrictions from salt, oil, etc. aside, we can’t get enough Chinese food. Aside from pot stickers and that amazing green onioney-ginger-soy dipping sauces we also relish spring rolls. Neither are ideal on a low-fat diet. One late spring evening an on-going craving form something crispy-gooey-steamy got the best of me. I set about experimenting, pulling everything from the ‘fridge that was left over from a lumpia* party the weekend before.

As typically happens, Opal arrived home from work as I mixed and tasted. Between the two of us, we brainstormed through to some crispy, tasty satisfying rolls that are very forgiving of experimentation and well worth trying. It’s become a thing at our house.

Bomb-Baked Spring Rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 large carrot
1 Tablespoon fresh, peeled ginger root
Finely mince:
1/2 cup Cabbage
¼ cup Red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
¼ cup Celery
1 – 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
Approximately 12 Egg roll wrappers
Can of canola oil or coconut oil spray**

In mixing bowl mix 1 – 2 t. teriyaki sauce and grated ginger together well. Add and mix all remaining ingredients well, being sure to distribute ginger evenly (consider using ground, dry ginger according to taste).

Liberally spray a baking sheet with oil. Lay egg roll wrapper on sheet, fill with vegetable mixture, tuck ends in first and then roll. Set aside on tray setting rolls 1 inch apart until sheet is full. Lightly spray oil over all rolls.

Place in center of preheated oven, bake 8 minutes. Turn rolls. Bake another 4 minutes until wrappers are completely golden brown. Be careful to not let bottoms scorch.

Remove from oven, serve immediately with prepared hot Chinese mustard and duck sauce. Leftover packets from previous Chinese take-outs are never wasted in our house. Consider adding more ingredients according to your personal taste, like shrimp, crab, minced leftover chicken, etc. and more wrappers, of course.

*A Filipino spin on the asian classic

**Refillable aerosol or pump cans from a restaurant supply stretch the food budget farther and are well, worth the initial expense.



Filed under Kitchen Sync