Rhubarb Muffins

I love rhubarb.  I’ve also discovered Norwegians in general love rhubarb. It’s one of the first signs of spring in Moorhead, Minnesota.  People in Norway greet it with cheers and festivals.  There’s something about the sweet and tart aspect of rhubarb that totally appeals to everyone in Scandinavia.

So, why do we love rhubarb so much?  Because we’re smart, we have great taste, it’s good for you, it’s very versatile, it’s a hardy plant that comes back year after year.  My mom always canned rhubarb sauce each spring.  You never see it anymore, but that would be dessert.  It was fabulous.

The first book I ever bought written by Martha Stewart was Entertaining.  It was a glorious book with a fabulous idea on every page.  One of the recipes was for rhubarb bread.  I’ve loved that recipe since I first made it a zillion years ago.  These muffins are a riff on that recipe.  I’ll hunt up the bread recipe soon and share that with you as well.  You’ll love it.

4 tablespoons room temperature butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 to 8 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  With an electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in egg; add buttermilk and beat to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture; beat until smooth.  Fold in rhubarb.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin, dividing evenly among 12 paper lined cups.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Now, I freeze containers of rhubarb.  If you put 2 cup ziplocks filled with rhubarb in the freezer, you always have rhubarb when you feel the need for a hint of spring.

and remember:  I dream of a better world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.  Big kiss, Lynn

Spinach Salad

The sis-in-law (hereafter known as S-I-L or L) made the most wonderful salad for Thanksgiving.  It was something C the MP requested.  She used to make it all the time.  Remember how I was telling you recipes fall out of the rotation, well this one did for no particular reason.   We all loved this salad, but did I get pictures or the recipe then?  Of course not, I was much too busy having a good time.  Fortunately, the S-I-L took pity on me and made it again.

I think I mentioned how we have been having a Harry Potter marathon.  I lead a very exciting life filled with a variety of fun events.  Don’t judge me.  P and L and G and I get together every couple of weeks and watch 2 more of the movies.  We take an intermission after the first movie and have lunch.  This week it was P’s birthday so I made scalloped oysters and L made spinach salad and coconut shrimp.  Since it was a special day, we all had a feast.

So, what is it about this salad that is so satisfying?  The components are simple:  fresh spinach, hard cooked eggs, crisply fried bacon, miniature corn on the cob, sliced red onion, fresh shrimp and a wonderful honey vinaigrette.  I like having plenty of dressing, so I’ve enlarged the ingredients in the parenthesis.

1/4 cup mayonnaise (1 cup)

2 tablespoon vinegar (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons honey (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)

Mix all ingredients.  Place in refrigerator for several hours to let ingredients blend.

The leftovers

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is a lovely salad that never feels heavy.  I could eat it every day.

I like the canned corns cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths before I combine everything in the salad bowl.  They roll around if you try and cut them when it’s time to eat.

and remember:  And then I decided that being sad was just a huge waste of precious time.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

 

Lara Bar Knock-off

I read about 20 Instagrams a week and about half a dozen blogs.  However, I only follow 1.  I’m making the distinction because they do.  You literally have to sign up and give information about your blood type, your favorite color and things like that.  Yes, of course I’m exaggerating.  I’m really not good sharing my private info.  I’ve talked about Rumbly in my Tumbly before.  She lives here in western Washington fairly close to me.  Her pies are to die for.  I’m not a Keto person like she is, but I still find much to give me inspiration.

Now I personally don’t eat energy-type bars, but G does.  He especially likes a wee nibble after one of his gym runs or marathon walks.  I’ve heard of Lara bars, but I’d never purchased any.  Shannon of Rumbly made these sound so easy and good for you, we decided to give them a try.  These are the exact recipes from Shannon’s blog.

Apple Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 12 pitted Medjool dates
  • ¾ cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried apples
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins (unsweetened)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the dried apples, raisins, almonds, walnuts, and cinnamon and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and raisins remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!
Cherry Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 10 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried cherries

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the almonds and cherries and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and cherries remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!

*  From the Recipe Box:

Give Shannon’s blog a try.  Even if you don’t fix a single recipe, the pictures are amazing.

G and I found the mixture a little dry so we added a quarter of an apple to each recipe and it made the perfect difference for us.

Yes, they taste like cherry and apple pie.  I truly don’t understand how.

Cheese Balls

You know, I’m older than dirt per my children.  As a result, I have recipes that predate disco.  This one was in mom’s recipe box.  Cheese balls were a really big deal in the 80’s.  You could roll them into balls, logs or just serve them in a bowl (my personal choice).  I do like store bought cheese spreads, but this one is so creamy.  I also like that you can make it your own.  I like more garlic than the average person.  A dash of Sriracha totally changes the taste profile of this cheese.

This one calls for some ingredients you might not be able to find easily, but no matter, we can fake it.  I love having this in the freezer.  Whether you form it and roll it in nuts or keep it in a bowl, it’s so handy to have this.  I keep them in easy to defrost sizes.  You never know when someone is going to drop in and this makes a great nibble.  I like it on cheesy crackers or crustini, but it’s equally good on celery or sliced cucumbers.  You need to make some today.

 

1/2 pound butter

8 ounces cream cheese

1 5 ounce jar each Bacon, Roka, Olde English and Pimento cheese (Kraft makes these)

1 garlic clove

mix thoroughly and refrigerate overnight

Roll in into balls and then into finely chopped walnuts and parsley

Freeze until ready to use.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The Kraft cheese jars are becoming increasingly difficult to find.  I usually use what I can find and then replace the rest with a grated cheddar mix.  It still tastes wonderful.

I like a little more garlic than this, 2 to 3 cloves are my go to.

It really does freeze ever so well and keeps for several months.  Give it an hour or 2 to thaw out.

and remember:  You have to think anyway, so why not think big?  Big kiss, Lynn

And remember Life

For a long time, it had seemed to me, that life was about to begin – real life.

But, there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.

At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

Big kiss, Lynn