Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal Muffins

Betty Crocker was a common fixture in our kitchen growing up. Her brownie recipe was perpetually open and had batter splotches instead of a bookmark. The other recipe I could flip to easily in that cookbook {because of the broken-in spine} was oatmeal muffins. Oatmeal Muffins showed up with many meals, but it was guaranteed to be on the table whenever mom made macaroni and cheese.

Everyone needs a tasty, basic muffin recipe in their baking arsenal. This was ours and this should be yours.

If the buttery outer crust and tender insides don’t win you over immediately, you won’t be able to resist the simple ingredients and throw together process of these Oatmeal Muffins.

Oatmeal MuffinI went through a phase in high school where I’d bake a batch of oatmeal muffins in jumbo muffin tins and have a briefly warmed muffin with a tall glass of milk for breakfast every day. Every forkful felt nourishing and rich without weighing me down with sweetness.

You can serve these craggy muffins with any meal and with virtually any condiment {jams, PB, honey, Nutella, cream cheese… you get the point}.

Oatmeal Muffin Upclose

Even though oatmeal muffins are simply perfect by themselves, they are also a great blank canvas for sweet and savory mix-ins. Can’t you just imagine mini chocolate chips and lightly toasted coconut  lending a touch of Mounds bar charm to these muffins? Or, a healthy mound of grated parmesan and cracked black pepper enhancing the earthy oat flavor?

Oatmeal Muffins 2

Despite the copious amounts of time I’ve made this recipe, I’m still shocked that the lumpy, slightly runny batter turns into these glorious muffins. Small chunks of shortening melt into the muffin, transforming humble oats into soft buttery bites.

Just like my mom’s best meal, whenever I make macaroni and cheese, oatmeal muffins are a non-negotiable part of dinner. You’ll also love these with soup in the winter and salads in the summer.

Oatmeal Muffins Split

Oatmeal Muffins  {adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook}

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mix-ins (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and mix-ins in a bowl and set aside.

Beat Crisco, brown sugar, and egg together with an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients to shortening mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined.

Fill lightly greased muffin tins with batter, 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes until just golden brown. Remove from muffin tins immediately and cool on wire racks.

Store in airtight container.

Don’t miss the rest of the recipes from My Mom’s Best Meal!

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Peanut Butter & Trail Mix Sandwich

PB and Trail Mix sandwichCostco is a dangerous place. So many delicious things and in such large quantities. I try not to go when I’m hungry or I’ll come home with mounds of unnecessary goodies that called my name, either from a sample cup or my ravenous wanderings up and down the aisles.

When we first moved to CDA, I did one of those ravenous wanderings and ended up bringing home a large package of trail mix {peanuts, almonds, M&Ms, and raisins}. We waited two weeks for our things to arrive so trail mix seemed like a decent choice since we were devoid of cookwar

Trail MixI adore that particular trail mix, especially the raisins which seem to be perfectly firm and salty. A few weeks ago, I noticed we still had the remnants of that bag of tasty trail mix. Inspiration struck at the sight of the last handful of nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit.

Seemed like peanut butter and the ingredients of that trail mix would be a wonderful combination. Most of the time I eat my peanut butter by the spoonful {we all know how I feel about peanut butter}, but my other favorite vehicle for peanut butter is toasted bread. A peanut butter and trail mix sandwich. Yes!

PB and Trail MixThe textural and flavor elements of this sandwich are addictive. Crunchy nuts, slightly salted and chewy raisins, and the crispy sweet bursts of chocolate. I used creamy peanut butter {which isn’t my norm} but crunchy would work well, too

Peanut Butter and Trail MixIf you didn’t happen to have pre mixed trail mix, create a custom mix. Raid your pantry for nuts, dried fruit, and sweets. Craisins, yogurt covered raisins, white chocolate chips, toasted pecan, or chopped macadamia nuts would be lovely in this sandwich. Get creative.

Train Mix SandwichPeanut Butter & Trail Mix Sandwich

  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • 2 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup trail mix

Roughly chop the trail mix. Spread one piece of toast with peanut butter. Sprinkle trail mix over peanut butter. Place second piece of bread on top of trail mix. Press slightly to adhere trail mix to peanut butter.

Yield: 1 highly addictive sandwich

What’s your favorite thing to put on a peanut butter sandwich?

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones

Oatmeal Nutmeg SconesDownton Abbey Season 3 is finally delighting US devotees and what better way to enjoy the Crawley family drama than with your own tea time.  Sunday evenings are the perfect time to brew a pot of Earl Grey, bake a batch of delicious Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones, and watch the story unfold.

Scones have earned a bad reputation for being high-maintenance, but don’t be intimidated by these pastries.  Even if you don’t have Mrs. Patmore and Daisy working their culinary magic in your kitchen, scones are well within your baking grasp.

Oat Scone

Up Close SconesDorie Greenspan is one of my favorite baking gurus.  For this simple, hearty scone, I adapted a recipe from Dorie’s cookbook Baking: From My Home To Yours.  Nutmeg is the perfect compliment to this buttermilk based scone.  Oats offer texture and depth to an otherwise light crumb.

I used brown sugar because the strong, caramel flavors taste wonderful with nutmeg.  If you can, use freshly grated nutmeg.

Scone plate

sconesUsing a food processor to cut in the butter takes much of the guess work out of scone making.  Add all the dry ingredients, give an initial mix, then add cubes of cold butter. Pulse until butter is pea sized and distributed throughout the dry ingredients.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and add liquid.  I had to add a bit more buttermilk to my dough to get the right consistency.  If your dough seems too dry, add liquid one tablespoon at a time. You will get lovely scones every time.

scone 2

Serve scones with jam, lemon curd, or a pat of butter. So, even if Mr. Bates never makes it out of prison you can drown your tears in a warm Oatmeal Nutmeg Scone and the Dowager’s humor.

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones 

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

A subtle sweetness compliments the earthy oatmeal texture. Try them with a slice of cheese or a dollop of raspberry preserves.

1 large egg

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 T) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the egg and buttermilk together.  Set aside.

Put the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Drop in the butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly with pea sized pieces of butter. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

If mixing by hand: Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers or a pastry blender, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Add buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough isn’t coming together.

Gently knead the dough while still in the bowl, shaping it into a ball. Divide the ball in half and turn one half out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat the dough into a rough circle that’s about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the other half.

At this point, you can freeze the scones.  Add two minutes to baking time for frozen scones.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish.  Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scone

Crockpot Apple Butter

Slowcooker Apple Butter

Simple.

4 ingredients.

Crockpot.

Have I convinced you yet?

Homemade apple butter always seemed complicated until my mom discovered this crockpot method.

 

Crockpot Apple Butter

Peel and chop enough apples to fill your crockpot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Add vanilla extract and brown sugar (or maple syrup for no-sugar peeps) and let it cook some more. The result is a thick apple spread with intense flavor.

Now, I have no excuse not to have copious amounts of this versatile condiment in my refrigerator. Now, please excuse me while I dip my finger in the jar…

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Crockpot Apple Butter
Author: Emily C. Gardner
Four simple ingredients transform into an intensely flavorful condiment you’ll want to have all year around. Use maple syrup or honey for a spread with no refined sugar.
Ingredients
  • 10-15 apples (Amount depends on the size of your crockpot. Use a variety. I like a mix of Golden Delicious, Fuji, and Braeburn.)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Peel and core apples.
  2. Chop each apple into 8 pieces.
  3. Fill your crockpot to the brim with apple pieces. My 6-quart crockpot holds 12ish medium apples.
  4. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 8 hours. I let mine cook overnight.
  5. When you wake up, give the apples (now brown) a stir. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Mix to combine.
  6. Let the apple mixture cook, uncovered, in the crockpot until it has reduced to your desired thickness. Mine usually takes a couple more hours.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or can it for later consumption.

A New Holiday Tradition {of the culinary sort}

I am a stickler for traditions – especially around the holidays and especially in regards to food.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without brown sugar, pecan crusted, butter laden sweet potato casserole or stuffing made with Mrs. Cubbison’s (who I always imagined was good friends with Aunt Jemima…) classic dressing mix.

Every once in a while, however, a new culinary tradition is born, a recipe so good it breaks right in to the standards with fresh flavors and an addictive quality that demands repeating.

This happened last year with Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip.

A friend brought it to a Thanksgiving celebration and I couldn’t walk away from the plate. We ate the dip with tortilla chips and Wheat Thins. Basically, anything crispy or salty was an excellent foil for the smooth tang of cream cheese piled high with a sweet-tart cranberry relish.

My fiance, now husband, and I proceeded to take this dip to every function left in the holiday season.  It went from the desert to the chilly Ozarks and back home again.

My mom flew to Idaho for Thanksgiving this year.  When we planned the menu, you better bet the Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip made the list for pre-meal munching.

If you’re like me and forget to pick up a lemon while you’re at the grocery store, sit your little hiney back in the car and go get one. (Or have your ever so kind husband grab one on the way home from youth group even though he is dead tired – thanks, babe! When he heard what I needed it for, he agreed that the extra stop was worth it).

The lemon juice, combined with the sugar, helps break down the cranberries and totally brightens up the relish.  Our go to vehicle for this insanely addictive dip is Wheat Thins, but any beloved crackerish item will work.

I do hope this dip finds its way into your holiday recipe repertoire! Your family and friends will love this new tradition.

 

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Original recipe by Jamie Cooks It Up!

Time: 15 minutes prep + 4 hours refrigeration

1  12 oz package fresh cranberries

1/4 C green onion, chopped

1/4 C cilantro, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper

1 1/4 C sugar

1/4 t cumin

2 T lemon juice

dash salt

2  8 oz packages cream cheese (I used reduced fat)

The night before (or at least 4 hours in advance):

Rinse cranberries under cool water and pick out any shriveled or bad cranberries. Place berries in the bowl of a food processor. I’ve chopped by hand and the results are much quicker and more cohesive when done in a food processor.

I’m not one for extreme heat so I use half of the jalapeño.  Take the rib and seeds out. Chop green onion, cilantro, and jalapeño into smaller pieces.  Add to processor with sugar, cumin, lemon juice, and salt.

Pulse mixture until the cranberries look like gravel and the other ingredients are well incorporated.  Put in a bowl and chill (I vote overnight!).

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature a couple hours before you’d like to serve the dip.  Place the foil wrapped bricks in room temperature water for awhile to speed up the process.

Use a knife or spatula (an off-set spatula, like you would use to frost a cake, works wonders here) to spread both blocks of cream cheese over a plate.  Pour cranberry mixture over the cream cheese.

Serve with crackers or chips of choice.

Three of us devoured half of it in one sitting and the remaining half the next day. Just put saran wrap over the plate and all is well for eating leftovers.

Pure & Simple