Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mystery Cuisine Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins



I’m never happier than when I find a new mystery series to read, especially if recipes are included. Krista Davis’s Domestic Diva series is one of my favorites, and I’ve shared a couple of recipes in the past from her books. So it made sense to try her Paws and Claws series.



I read the first chapter of Murder, She Barked while standing in the bookstore! This series is set in the town of Wagtail, Virginia, which as the name suggests, is a very pet-friendly place. Holly Miller’s grandmother owns the Sugar Maple Inn, where guests and their pets are welcomed. Add a few unique characters, plus a murder or two, and you’re in for a fun visit.

As with Davis’s other series, this one offers lots of recipes at the book's end. For pet owners, there are recipes specifically for our furry friends.

With it being autumn, I gravitated towards this people-friendly Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffin recipe. My favorite flavor and a fall flavor classic mixed together. How could I go wrong? The recipe is easy to mix up and tastes amazing! I enjoyed it with both my morning coffee and afternoon tea, and I think it would make a nice Thanksgiving breakfast.

Now I'm off to get book 2 in the series.

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis
Serves 12

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Topping
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and pumpkin until well blended. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Be sure to not overmix.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Spoon the muffin batter into the muffin tin until the cups are almost full. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the topping mixture on top of each muffin cup. Using a toothpick or a bamboo skewer, swirl the topping into the top of the muffin.

Place the muffin tin into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.



Monday, October 10, 2016

Winsor Farms Cornbread from Kansas #FarmFoodTour



Recently, I packed my bags and joined a group of bloggers, dietitians, and farmers on a #farmfoodtour sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Soybean Commission. We spent three days traveling across Kansas to see where a big chunk of the world’s food is produced.


I met pigs…


Lots of pigs…


I met cows…


Lots of cows…


Did I mention LOTS of cows…


Plus a few horses...


And I saw fields of grain…


...most ready for harvest.

I grew up visiting my grandparents’ farm in Missouri, so farming is a lifestyle I’m familiar with. However, my family farm is tiny when compared to the ones I saw on this trip, with their thousands of acres and hundreds of livestock...



...and I learned that size doesn’t matter. Those huge operations are still “family farms.” Many have been in the same family for generations, and now they not only support that family but also the families of their employees. Yes, they are managed like a business, but my grandfather did the same thing, just on a smaller scale. His business savvy assured my grandmother a comfortable life after he passed away and continues to support my mom today.


On the final evening of our trip, we arrived at Winsor Family Farm in Grantville, Kansas, while they were in the midst of the corn harvest. Our bus pulled up in time to see the golden grains being loaded into huge bags to store until they could be hauled to the local grain elevator and sold.


Kids love to play on the bags.


The Winsor family joined us in the field, where we had a boxed supper as the sun set on a chilly autumn evening.


The family talked with passion and pride about their farm operation.


Stories and laughter were shared.

And LaVell Winsor, who had traveled with us on our journey, gave us each a gift bag before we left.


The gift contained a bag each of cornmeal and flour, along with the family’s cornbread recipe. It said, “This was LaVell’s great-grandma’s recipe and is a family favorite. She would have made this using bacon grease. In modern times, we use vegetable oil, which is crushed from soybeans which we raise on our farm.”


I mixed up a batch, and this is now my favorite cornbread recipe! It is light, tender, and tasty. Those of you who are fans of the mix in the blue and white box need to try this recipe. It tastes just like it and is just as easy to make. (If sweet corn bread is not to your liking, just cut back a bit on the sugar.)

Stay tuned for more blog posts featuring recipes I picked up on the tour.


 With the cool weather settling in and the holidays around the corner, I thought this cornbread was a good place to start.

Winsor Farms Cornbread

1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8- x 8-inch baking dish. (I used non-stick cooking
spray.) Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and then pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.





Disclaimer: The #FarmFoodTour was sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Soybean Commission, who paid for all of my travel expenses and compensated me for this post. However, my writings, views, opinions, thoughts, and cravings are entirely my own.