Cooking Therapy: Jam-Filled Muffins

Cooking TherapyY’all, do you ever just have one of those days?

Today was one for me. It started out with bad news and got even worse. What with work and the extra stuff going on in my life, I was stressed, frustrated, and beyond annoyed.

I needed something practical, something helpful for my hands and mind. So I got to baking!

Does anyone else use baking as therapy? Sometimes it is the only thing that will calm my mind and improve my mood. There’s just something about deciding on a recipe to make, gathering the ingredients, and then baking it all up.

Oh, and don’t forget surprising your family with something yummy!

Anyway, a few weeks back my husband bought some jam for us as a treat. It was a locally made wild blackberry jam. It has a tart yet sweet taste, just perfect to spread on toast. But what about baked in a muffin? A tiny bit of searching, and I found this recipe.

As I didn’t have much time to get the recipe mixed up before my next shift, I loved the fact that you could mix the batter by hand. And better yet, I had all of the ingredients in my pantry! So very frugal and easy for me.

Just a few (very minor) changes:

  1. I used coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil in the recipe.
  2. I filled each muffin tin about 1/3 with batter, put in the jam, and then topped it with more batter.
  3. Using only about 2 Tbsp of butter for the topping, I melted it in the microwave and poured it over the finished muffins. I then gave each muffin a generous sprinkling of the cinnamon sugar mixture. It was just easier (and quicker) for me to do it this way.

Although nothing in my life had changed by the time the muffins were out of the oven, my viewpoint had shifted a bit toward the positive. I had done something helpful and baked a treat that my husband would appreciate.

Cheap and frugal therapy, right?

 

Getting Back to Basics: Easy Bread

Getting Back to BasicsI must admit something. I’ve been distracted lately with various projects and family issues, and my domestic efforts have gone by the wayside.

Do you ever go through these times? Whether due to work or whatever, cooking and cleaning can occasionally take the back burner.

I’ve been trying to push myself out of this obviously un-frugal way of doing things, but doing my usual cooking seemed overwhelming. Attempting to look for recipes–or even simply cook familiar ones–was just too much. Honestly, it was just easier to order out for dinner.

So I decided to get back to basics, so to speak.

My husband had asked for some yummy baked goodies. And what’s easier than a good homemade bread, right? Well, he’ll be waking up tomorrow morning to coffee and toast with butter. Just good, old-fashioned cooking.

After a tiny bit of searching, I decided to try this recipe. As it’s just the two of us, I made the smaller loaf in my bread machine.

The result? We did have an issue with my bread machine, which caused some frustration, but the bread came out wonderful and was oh-so-easy. We have some tasty bread just waiting for a generous spread of butter.

And even better, I’m getting back to my frugal basics.

We Shall Return!

10406866_973124322763428_5824350206391150250_nHubby is currently working on our kitchen, so it’s off limits at the moment.

While he’s doing some renovations, I probably won’t be posting much on this blog. Until then, feel free to tune in to Stories from This Life or Books, Coffee, and a Whole Lotta Faith.

We shall return! And thanks to his hard work, with a shiny, new-to-us sink!

Very grateful for a hard working husband who is handy, resourceful, and frugal.

Quick Tip: Frugal Hair Rinse

hair rinseI unfortunately don’t remember where I first read about this, but it is the easiest and most effective hair rinse I’ve discovered, especially for those of us with many allergies and sensitive skin.

This rinse seems to help with itchiness in my scalp and makes my hair look shiny. And you can’t beat that, right?

To make it up, I put a couple of drops of rosemary essential oil in a bowl, add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, and then fill up the rest of the bowl with water.

Carefully pour over your scalp and hair, making sure to avoid your eyes. Rinse with regular water, and you’re done!

 

My New Favorite Egg Salad Sandwich

egg salad sandwichGrowing up, I loved it when my grandmother would make warm egg salad sandwiches. Such a simple meal, but so comforting and tasty. Isn’t that the way with so many traditional meals, though?

I hadn’t had egg salad sandwiches in years but recently began making them again. And boy am I glad I did! This humble sandwich is fairly frugal, easy, and fun.

Fun? Well, why not? Do a search on egg salad sandwich recipes, and you’ll find dozens online. One person’s creamy egg and avocado sandwich can be made into something spicy. And that very fun, versatile nature of the sandwich makes it frugal and the perfect way to use up ingredients you may have lying around.

And don’t forget it’s tasty.

So what’s my new favorite? I call it the Southwest Egg Salad Sandwich. It came about one day when I needed a quick meal using only what we had in the refrigerator, which happened to be pretty bare at the time.

Here are the basic ingredients for this egg salad:

  • A couple of boiled eggs, mashed
  • Handful of crumbled bacon
  • Chipotle ranch dressing
  • Ghost pepper infused salt

That’s it! Just mix it all up, put it on some bread, and you’re ready to eat! You can adjust the ingredients depending on your own tastes or what you have on hand.

Do you have a favorite version of the humble egg salad sandwich? Please share!

Hi! How’s your day going? If you like this post, then maybe “like” the Facebook page too! 

 

The Importance of a Full Pantry and a Good Attitude

Full Pantry and Good AttitudeDo you ever just wake up overwhelmed? I do.

The first thought on my mind this morning was not one of gratitude, but rather, “I have SO much to do!” And instead of taking a moment to re-focus, I proceeded with my day, hurrying and grumbling about what lay ahead.

After a few hours of work and over an hour of house cleaning, I was tired. And grumbling. And well, more and more overwhelmed.

Then it hit me. We had nothing for lunch.

I was tempted to order takeout in that moment and continue my grumbling, but I stopped and thought about something I had read in Deliver Me from Negative Self-Talk Expanded Edition: A Guide to Speaking Faith-Filled Words. Paraphrasing, of course, but the author says at one point in the book that we often miss the blessings in front of us when we’re wishing for something else.

(The above link is not an affiliate link. I’m just a happy reader wanting to pass along a good read.)

I stopped and looked around, thinking about the blessings all around me. And my mood shifted to more of a can-do attitude.

So I looked through the pantry and found a package of red pepper corn chowder from Frontier Soups. Once that was one the stovetop, I began mixing up some quick biscuits. Those went in the oven, and lunch was in the works.

I felt better and grateful. And when my husband came up the stairs and said “Wooo! It smells great up here!” I felt happy.

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  —Isaiah 40:31

Hey! How are you? Just thought I’d wave hello!

 

 

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

Cinnamon Bun MuffinsLast night, my husband was rummaging through our refrigerator. Frustrated with finding nothing of note, he asked, “Don’t we have anything sweet?”

No, we sure didn’t. My heart sank as I realized I hadn’t cooked any treats for us lately.

I decided to do something about that today during my break from work. I was excited to try to this recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins as I had recently purchased palm shortening. Although fairly common in paleo recipes, this particular type of shortening was new to me.

Unfortunately for the muffins, I was distracted. Thinking about everything under the sun–along with the muffins–I happily began gathering the flour, eggs, and such. Mixing it all up and filling the muffin tins, I was pretty proud of it all.

And then it hit me. I had forgotten to add the vanilla extract. Seriously.

I didn’t want to throw it all in the trash, so I put the topping on the muffins and set the pan in the oven. I just hoped it would be edible.

The smell while the muffins were cooking was just wonderful. And you know what? The muffins still taste yummy. I can only imagine how great they would taste if I hadn’t forgotten an ingredient.

The moral of the story is “Never bake when you’re tired or distracted.” And even if you make a mistake, sometimes everything will turn out OK.

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