Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Courtesy of the most recent Taste of Home magazine, these two recipes are very tasty and kid-approved!

Gingerbread Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, oil and molasses until smooth; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Makes approximately 1 dozen muffins. Serve warm with lemon curd.

Lemon Curd:
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir a small amount into the egg yolks to raise the yolks' temperature. Return all into the pan; bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until mixture reaches 160 degrees and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from heat; gently stir in butter and lemon peel until blended. Pour into a bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap (press down onto the curd). Cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes approxminately 1 cup.

Lemon Pound Cake Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and the extracts; beat well. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over muffins. Serve warm. Makes approximately 1 dozen.

Personal note: I have transcribed the ingredients for this recipe as it was published, but I made only half the glaze and that was more than plenty to drizzle on a dozen muffins. Use 1 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1-1/2 tablespoons (4-1/2 teaspoons) of lemon juice.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Split Pea with Ham Soup

It's chilly out there! Here's another crock pot recipe that will warm you up on cold winter evenings. This particular recipe was created by my mother, and is a fantastic way to use up a ham bone and get all the meat off it. But the best part is that you can do it with a turkey ham as well. I have a 4-quart crock pot, so the recipe can be scaled back if you have a smaller one.

1 lb. dried split peas – rinsed and drained
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ham bone, or cubed ham (1 to 2 cups, depending on size of crock pot)
1 small onion, diced
4 to 5 carrots, diced
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 to 8 cups water

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook approximately 8 hours on low or until peas “break down” in soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.