Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Muffins

I'm always looking for a new little treat to make for the ladies who come to Tuesday night Bible study at my home.  I don't lead the study, which gives me the time to go that little extra bit when it comes to treats.

Last Tuesday it was apple muffins.

I found this recipe at The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.  I followed it pretty faithfully, which is near shocking for me.  The only thing I "tweaked" was that I added a little nutmeg along with the cinnamon.  But, c'mon, I'm totally justified in that it is fall!  After all, what is fall without nutmeg?  Exactly.

So I used Honey Crisp apples because... well, I was given a bushel and that's what I have.  Besides, Honey Crisps are the bomb.  I understand someone wanting to go with a tarter apple like a Granny Smith, but in this house it's the HC.  And because they are HUGE, I only used two apples diced to make the three cups required.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your muffin tins with paper cups.  This recipe makes 18 muffins.

Peel, core, and dice enough apples to make 3 cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together:
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil (yeah, I know... but it's fabulous, trust me)
1 TBS vanilla

In a smaller bowl mix your dry ingredients together.  Feel free to sift them all if that is what you do, I'm too lazy.
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix completely.

Okay, so the mix is REALLY thick.  Like between a cookie dough and bread dough.  Add your apples.  I found the best way to do this was just knead it in with my hands.

I then used an ice cream scooper to fill the muffin cups.  One heaping scoop does the trick while using another spoon to scrape it out.  These muffins won't rise all that much, so fill it good and full.  The blog says 3/4 full, but you'll have plenty of batter so don't be shy.

Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-24 minutes.  I actually let these bake for more like 25-30 minutes, but my oven is like that.  I don't think with a whole cup of oil, that you'll need to worry about these being too dry!

As you can see, there isn't much to fret about when it comes to filling them too full.  Not much rising happening here.
So yummy and makes the house smell warm and inviting.  Now, where's my cup of coffee?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

French Pressed Mexican Mocha in Moscow?

My feeble yet somewhat successful attempt at recreating the blissfulness of a Moscow Mexican Mocha.  Okay, so not Moscow, Russia... think Idaho.  Yup, I said Idaho.

My daughter and I took a trip recently to Moscow, Idaho.  And when you say it, say it like this:  MoscOH, IdaHO.  It's where she intends to spend her college years.  And while we were there we inevitably ended up at Bucer's: the coffeehouse to best all other coffeehouses.

The remnants of my Mexican Mocha at Bucer's.
So after feasting on several Mexican mochas during our trip, I am attempting to recreate the Latin Latte at home.

As a kid, I remember my dad buying a special kind of chocolate called Ibarra.  It came in this great yellow and red hexagonal shaped box. We'd get giddy as he unwrapped one layer and used a huge knife to cut each of us a single triangle of chocolate.  Oh how we savored that wonderful little wedge.   Apparently, Nestle now makes a similar kind of chocolate called Abuelita (Grandma).  Inside the box are discs of Mexican chocolate.  I'm not sure what it is about this chocolate that makes me swoon so much, except for the obvious fact that it's... chocolate.  It's not creamy... actually, it's quite grainy and slightly bitter, with hints of cinnamon lingering on the pallet.

I grind my own beans, so I just dumped a triangle or two of the Mexican chocolate in with the beans and ground it all together.  Put that in the bottom of your french press and pour some seriously hot water over it all.  I use water that I've heated in my tea kettle.  Let that sit for a couple of minutes in order to get the chocolate melted and to seep the coffee grounds.  Give it a quick stir with a plastic spoon (never use a metal spoon with a glass French press!) Then press the plunger down slowly.  Pour your coffee into your teacup or mug and add steamed or hot milk. I like mine especially sweet, so I add sugar free vanilla creamer.  
If you don't grind your own beans, I'm sure adding the chocolate directly to the coffee would work as well... so long as you try to smash it up into smaller pieces first.

It's not quite Bucer's, but I'll take it. :)

Monday, September 3, 2012


I was going through some of the drafts in my blog which never got posted and came across this one from a couple years ago written during a learning time; a character defining moment in my daughter's life.  I didn't post it because the situation was still quite fresh and I didn't want to draw any attention to it.  However, time has passed and as I reread the things I wrote, I mean them even more today than I did then.

 Bringing babies home from the hospital, and learning about night time feedings, how to function without sleep, how to understand the needs of this little being who has absolutely no ability to share their feelings outside of screaming incomprehensible cries... It really is very much like the teenage years. :)  I know it will embarrass her a bit, but sometimes I just want to yell out to the world how absolutely breathtakingly beautiful my daughter is.  And to encourage moms of young girls, I say this:

Know what you want for your daughters and hold fast.  Do not let others outside of God's Word tell you it isn't possible.  (Or even those inside the church who have resigned themselves to a diluted version of a godly woman.) Be diligent, pray, and watch... and then do it some more. Be open to correction and direction, and then live in the grace and forgiveness of Christ.

Emily turns 18 this coming February, and this time next year she will have left for college. I am striving to adjust to this new chapter in our lives...  The one that has me letting go of my life's work.  I know it isn't going to be easy, and I know there will be many tears (I'm blubbering as I write this), but she is so ready.  So prepared.  What a privilege it is to be her mom.

Here is my post:

Sometimes I get glimpses of the woman my daughter will be some day.  And I really like her.  It's not easy to do the hard stuff.  It's not easy to hold your tongue when you really just want to scream.  To not tell someone how much they've hurt you,  just so you can hurt them back.

 It takes maturity to stop, decide not to react, assess the situation, and conform your will to God's.

 It takes love to give someone the chance to hurt you more... because you hope and pray they will take that opportunity... your willingness to be vulnerable... to realize what they've done and to ask for forgiveness... which you've already given.

It takes obedience to forgive that person for no other reason than it's commanded by God. To know that God EXPECTS you to forgive...not because you stopped hurting or are free of the consequences of someone else's sin, but because you were forgiven first, by your heavenly Father, when you didn't deserve it and without your knowledge.

It takes wisdom to know that friendships are based not on common tragedies or sins, but on a shared hope, Christ...  and those friendships which are strongest ALWAYS share that bond.

...end of post.

Proverbs 31:28

I am blessed.